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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lindley   14 September [1862]1

Cliff Cottage | Bournemouth

Sept. 14th

My dear Lindley

I suppose that it is a sin against propriety, but I really cannot resist expressing my cordial thanks for your most kind review of my book.2 One quarter of the praise which you have bestowed on it, coming from you to whom I have long looked up, would I assure you have much more than satisfied me. Considering that you are the great authority on orchids the cordial tone of your article strikes me as something much more than merely kind. I was led to publish the book almost by accident; for whilst I made all the earlier observations I had not the least intention of publishing even a separate paper on the subject, but was led to it by finding that some persons were interested by what I showed them of our British species. And you in one of your letters when I had looked at only two or 3 foreigners, encouraged me, & to a great extent led me to go on.—3

Accept my cordial thanks & forgive me for troubling you.

Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the reference to [J. D. Hooker] 1862c (see n. 2, below).
CD refers to the first part of a review of Orchids that appeared in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette of 23 August 1862 ([J. D. Hooker] 1862c). Lindley was the editor of the Gardeners’ Chronicle; however, the review was actually written by Joseph Dalton Hooker (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 November [1862], and letter from J. D. Hooker, 7 November 1862). CD’s annotated copy of the Gardeners’ Chronicle is in the Cory Library, Cambridge Botanic Garden; CD kept in a separate parcel his copies of the numbers in which [J. D. Hooker] 1862c appeared (see DAR 222 and DAR 75: 1–12).
Lindley’s letter has not been found; however, the two corresponded at length on the subject of orchids in 1861 (see Correspondence vol. 9).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 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.


Thanks JL for review [of Orchids, Gard. Chron. (1862): 789–90, 863]; CD published almost by accident, having been led on in part by encouragement from JL.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lindley
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Lindley letters, A–K: 192)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3723,” accessed on 27 February 2021,

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