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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lindley   25 October [1861]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Oct. 25th

My dear Lindley

I am infinitely obliged for your letter, answering everything so clearly & so fully.—2

Do not read enclosed without you like, I send it on mere chance of being new to you.—

I shd. be most grateful for any orchids (especially Dendrobium) in flower & bud : if it be a small parcel tin cannister best way by Post, & you must let me repay postage: if too large, address.

C. Darwin | care of Down Postman | Bromley | Kent per Railway

I terribly want any one of your “Arethuseæ.”3

Mr James Veitch has been most generous;4 I did not know that you had spoken to him: if you see him pray say I am truly grateful. I dare not write to a live Bishop or a Lady;5 but if I knew the address of “Rucker”?? & might use your name as introduction I would write.6 I am half mad on subject.— Hooker has sent me many exotics; but I stopped him, for I thought I shd. make a fool of myself; but since I have determined to publish, I much regret it.

I will not trouble you for the Books, for systematic works are out of my line.—

Hooker is trying to buy Reichenbach on the pollen & if he gets it will lend me, for it is in no public Library & I do not suppose would be worth my buying.7

With cordial thanks for your great kindness.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is given by the reference to Reichenbach 1852 (see n. 7, below).
The letter from Lindley has not been found. It was presumably a response to the letter to John Lindley, 18 October [1861].
Of the seven tribes of orchids described in Lindley 1853, the Arethuseae was the only tribe members of which CD was unable to examine.
James Veitch, a Chelsea nurseryman, supplied CD with many species of exotic orchids.
Sigismund Rucker, West Hill, Wandsworth, is acknowledged several times in Orchids for having ‘repeatedly’ sent CD valuable orchids (see especially Orchids, p. 158 n.).
CD refers to Reichenbach 1852 (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 15 [October 1861], 18 October [1861], and 23 October [1861]).


Lindley, John. 1853. The vegetable kingdom; or, the structure, classification, and uses of plants, illustrated upon the natural system. 3d edition with corrections and additional genera. London: Bradbury & Evans.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

Reichenbach, Heinrich Gustav. 1852. De pollinis orchidearum genesi ac structura et de orchideis in artem ac systema redigendis. Leipzig: F. Hofmeister.


Sends thanks for an informative letter;

would be grateful for any orchids; names some he would particularly like.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lindley
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Lindley letters, A–K: 194)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3299,” accessed on 23 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9