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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Henry Coe   4 November 1857

Asylum. Knowle. | Nr. Fareham. Hants.1

4th. Novr. 1857.


In an article headed “Bees and Fertilisation of Kidney Beans” published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle of the 24th. ult: I read “I am also astonished that the varieties of the Kidney Bean can be raised true when grown near each other. I should have expected that they would have been crossed by the bees bringing pollen from other varieties; and I should be infinitely obliged for any information on this head from any of your correspondents”.—2

I enclose a few beans they are from the “Black Negro”.— They were planted between the Dwarf Haricot, a “White” Bean, and a Dwarf entirely “Brown”, thus about 10 rows Haricot “White” -’- 4 -’- Negro “Black” then Dwarf. “Brown”.

Such a mixture, I never before met with, and the result was altogether unlooked for or expected— The Haricots (White) are very little touched with the exception of here and there one— The “Brown” not at all.—

I have the honor to be, | Sir, | Your obedt. servt. | Henry Coe. | Gardener Mr. C. Darwin— | &c. &c.

CD annotations

Top of first page: ‘done’pencil, circled pencil
Bottom of last page: ‘not 1/5 part of the crossed Beans were pure, all shades betwen Brown & black & one mottled with white— All the pure (if pure) were the black’3 ink


The County Lunatic Asylum, built in 1852, was about three miles north-west of Fareham, Hampshire. According to his valediction, Henry Coe was a gardener at the asylum.
See letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 18 October [1857].


Responds to CD’s article on kidney beans [Collected papers 1: 275–7]. Sends beans as evidence of crossing.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Coe
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Knowle Asylum, Hampshire
Source of text
DAR 161: 192
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2165,” accessed on 24 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6