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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Bentham   15 May 1862

25. Wilton Place, S.W.

May 15 1862

My dear Sir

Many thanks for the copy of your most valuable book which I received last night1   I have only had time as yet to go through the first two chapters but they are quite enough to show what a new field for observing the wonderful provisions of Nature you have opened—as the notice you gave of a portion of it at a recent Linnean meeting put us on a new and unexpected track to guide us in the explanation of phenomena which had before that appeared so irreconcileable with the ordinary prevision and method shown in the organised world.2 I can only hope you will continue to give the world the benefit of your invaluable observations.

I sincerely trust your health did not suffer after your evening at the Linnean Society and that we may again occasionally have the great advantage of seeing you there

Ever yours most sincerely | George Bentham

C. Darwin Esq


Bentham’s name is on CD’s presentation list for Orchids (see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix IV). George Bentham helped CD to acquire specimens of Orchis pyramidalis (see Correspondence vol. 9, letters to George Bentham, 17 June [1861] and 22 June [1861]).
CD read his paper, ‘Three sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum, before the Linnean Society of London on 3 April 1862.


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

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.

‘Three sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum’: On the three remarkable sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum, an orchid in the possession of the Linnean Society. By Charles Darwin. [Read 3 April 1862.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 151–7. [Collected papers 2: 63–70.]


Thanks CD for his book [Orchids]. CD has opened a new field for observation and a new unexpected track to explore phenomena that had before appeared "irreconcilable with ordinary opinion and method shown in the organic world".

Letter details

Letter no.
George Bentham
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Wilton Place, 25
Source of text
DAR 160.1: 152
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3554,” accessed on 3 February 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10