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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Kingsley   [17 June 1865]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Sir

I must thank you cordially for your note which has pleased me much.2 I did not think that any one wd have noticed the case of the Lathyrus,3 which interested me because I remember looking at it many years ago in a Lord Dundreary state of mind.4 It appears to me that we have looked at many things from the same point of view; at least I remember well when reading your capital paper on the great fir woods of Hampshire being surprised at your remarks on the presence of this or that weed shewing how exactly the same train of thoughts had often passed thro’ both our minds.5

I ought to have thanked you for sending me your photograph which I am extremely glad to possess.6

Pray believe me my dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Charles Kingsley, 14 June 1865; 17 June was the first Saturday after 14 June 1865.
Lord Dundreary was a celebrated comic part in Tom Taylor’s play Our American cousin (Taylor 1869) The character was described as an English aristocrat with a ‘well-bred air married to a vacant stare’ (see Tolles 1940). See also Correspondence vol. 10, letter to W. E. Darwin, 26 April [1862]. Joseph Dalton Hooker wrote of Dundreary as ‘a far more scientific character than I anticipated’ (Correspondence vol. 11, letter from J. D. Hooker, [28 March 1863]).
The reference is to ‘My winter garden’ (Kingsley 1858), in which Kingsley praised the inexhaustible number of subjects of interest to a natural historian within a relatively small area. He considered, for example, ‘What makes Erica ciliaris grow in one soil, and the bracken in another?’ or, ‘Why did that one patch of Carex arenaria settle in the only square yard for miles and miles which bore sufficient resemblance to its native sandhill by the sea-shore, to make it comfortable?’ (ibid., p. 411).
See letter from Charles Kingsley, 10 June 1865. The photograph of Kingsley has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Kingsley, Charles. 1858. My winter garden. Fraser’s Magazine 57: 408–25.

Taylor, Tom. 1869. Our American cousin. A drama in three acts. N.p.: privately printed.

Tolles, Winton. 1940. Tom Taylor and the Victorian drama. New York: Columbia University Press.


Did not think anyone would notice case of Lathyrus.

Recalls reading correspondent’s paper on great fir woods of Hampshire.

Thanks for photograph.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Kingsley
Sent from
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher Collection: FF10)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13877,” accessed on 26 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13