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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   10 November [1860]


Nov 10.

My dear Henslow.

We return home this afternoon, as my poor dear girl is now just strong enough to bear removal.—   I received your letter forwarded from Down this morning, & very much obliged I am to you for having taken so much trouble about Dr. Bree.1 I had thought I would have inserted a letter in some Journal on so unprovoked attack on my veracity; but I am glad I did not. No one would ever have dreamed of his interpretations. Again I sincerely thank you.—

I never heard of such a muddle about the stone Hatchets.2 If you are sure that you can spare & know no one else who would make better use of B. de Perthes Book, I shd like to have a copy.3 His course of investigation has been a strange one.—

On my return home I will settle about the seeds.—

I am still at work on Drosera. I asked you about the moving red matter in the cells, & now for the chance of your knowing, I want to ask one other question; but please observe if I get no answer I shall understand that you do not know.—   My question is whether, observations have been made on the action of weak solutions of Carb. of Ammonia (or of other salts) on the fluid contents of the cells of living plants.—   I find that C. of Ammonia has a remarkable & rapid action when absorbed by the roots.

My dear Henslow | Ever yours gratefully | C. Darwin


The physician Charles Robert Bree had attacked Origin in a recently published book (Bree 1860). See letter to J. S. Henslow, 26 October [1860].
See letter to J. S. Henslow, 26 October [1860], in which CD discussed Henslow’s letter published in the Athenæum, 20 October 1860, p. 516. Henslow had written a further letter, published in the Athenæum, 3 November 1860, pp. 592–3. He again discussed the confusion about whether the gravel beds had been disturbed or not and showed evidence of the action of water.
CD probably refers to the second volume of Boucher de Crèvecoeur de Perthes 1847–64. CD had discussed the implications of Jacques Boucher de Crèvecoeur de Perthes’s work with Joseph Dalton Hooker, and indicated that he had already looked at one of his volumes. See Correspondence vol. 7, letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 [June 1859].


Boucher de Crèvecoeur de Perthes, Jacques. 1847–64. Antiquités celtiques et antédiluviennes. Mémoire sur l’industrie primitive et les arts a leur origine. 3 vols. Paris: Treuttel & Wurtz [and others].

Bree, Charles Robert. 1860. Species not transmutable, nor the result of secondary causes. Being a critical examination of Mr Darwin’s work entitled ‘Origin and variation of species’. London: Groombridge & Sons. Edinburgh: Maclachlan & Stewart.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


The stone hatchets are a great muddle. Would like a copy of Jacques Boucher [de Crèvecoeur] de Perthes’s book [Antiquités Celtiques et antédiluviennes (1847–64)].

Is studying action of carbonate of ammonia on Drosera. Asks if this has been done.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 93: A83–4
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2981,” accessed on 28 February 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8