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Darwin Correspondence Project

To M. J. Berkeley   18 March [1856]1

Down Bromley Kent

March 18th

My dear Sir

I am very much obliged for your note of the 7th & kind permission to incorporate your facts: I have now sent a little notice to the Linnean Soc.—2

Many thanks, also, for your remarks on the Peas.— I send a few of the Peas, which produce the black or intensely purple pods.—3

Pray believe me | Yours truly obliged | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from M. J. Berkeley, 7 March 1856 (see Correspondence vol. 6).
Berkeley had experimented on the immersion in sea-water of seeds of different kinds of plants to determine how long they could remain immersed and still germinate. See Correspondence vol. 6, letter to M. J. Berkeley, 29 February [1856] and n. 3, and letter from M. J. Berkeley, 7 March 1856. The notice CD refers to is ‘On the action of sea-water on the germination of seeds’ (read 6 May 1856; Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 1 (1857): 130–40, Collected papers 1: 264–73). CD referred to Berkeley several times in his account of their joint experiments; see also Origin, pp. 358–60. CD’s notes for and manuscript of this paper are in DAR 27.1 E and F. See also Correspondence vol. 5, letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 21 November [1855].
In his letter to Berkeley of 29 February [1856] (Correspondence vol. 6), CD mentioned a neighbour’s ‘curious pea with black pods’; Berkeley had suggested the difference might be due to ‘mere variation and not to impregnation’, and asked for a sample (letter from M. J. Berkeley, 7 March 1856).


Thanks MJB for information which he is including in his article for the Linnean Society.

Refers to the peas "which produce the black or intensely purple pods". [See 1834 and 1836.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Miles Joseph Berkeley
Sent from
Source of text
Joseph R. Sakmyster, ADS Autographs (dealer) (no date)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1843A,” accessed on 18 May 2024,

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