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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles James Fox Bunbury   [20 March 1855]1

Queen Anne St | Cavendish Sqe


Dear Bunbury

I thank you much for your very kind note. I leave London on Saturday, & shall not be up again for more than a month, so that, (if I do not hear to the contrary) I must have the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Bunbury, & having an hour’s talk2 with you on Saturday morning, at about 10 oclock.—

Your’s very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I have just thought that I had better direct this to Mrs. Bunbury, that she may open it & perhaps wd be so kind as to let me know, if you do not return on Friday.—


The conjectured date is based on Emma Darwin’s diary, in which she recorded that CD went to London on Tuesday, 20 March 1855, and returned on Saturday the 24th. Some notes by CD dated 25 March 1855 (DAR 205.4: 68) begin with ‘Mr Bunbury says …’ and suggest that CD had recently met Bunbury.
CD wished to discuss the flora of Madeira and the Cape of Good Hope with Bunbury, who had travelled in both areas (F. J. Bunbury ed. 1891–3, Early life: 247 and Middle life 2: 158; see also letter to Charles Lyell, 18 February [1854], n. 1). In the notes of his conversation with Bunbury (see n. 1, above), CD commented on the presence of northern genera on Madeira and the absence of any northern species, the absence of northern plants on Table Mountain, South Africa, and the distribution of the fern Pteris longifolia in Ischia, Tenerife, and Sicily. CD had not attended the meeting of the Linnean Society (6 March 1855) at which Bunbury had read the first section of his paper that dealt with the flora of Madeira (C. J. F. Bunbury 1857). The paper had, however, been summarised in Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 11, 17 March 1855, p. 175. See also letter from J. D. Hooker, [before 17 March 1855], in which it appears that Hooker had some criticisms of Bunbury’s paper.


CD hopes to have an hour’s talk with CJFB before CD leaves London.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th baronet
Sent from
London, Queen Anne St, 57
Source of text
John Hay Library, Brown University
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13784,” accessed on 18 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5