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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. M. Reade   8 November 1881

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.)

November 8th 1881

My dear Sir

I noticed your account of the pipes in the under-clay, but feel quite unable to express any opinion on the subject.1 It is certain that roots often run down worm-burrow, but I believe that roots can penetrate the ground to a great depth without such aid. I am much pleased that my book has at all interested you;2 it has been a complete surprise to me how many persons have cared for the subject.—

I remain, my dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


See letter from T. M. Reade, 6 November 1881. Reade had found deep roots in clay, some of which were lined with mould, and wondered whether the roots had followed the path of worm burrows.


Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.


"Roots often run down worm burrows, but can penetrate the ground without such aid."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Mellard Reade
Sent from
Source of text
University of Liverpool Library (TMR1.D.7.8)
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13472,” accessed on 25 September 2023,