skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Rivers   21 January 1863

Nurseries, Sawbridgeworth, Herts, | Great Eastern Railway.1

Jany 21/63

My dear Sir/

I have given orders to have sent to you

1 double rose flowered Chinese peach 1 Amygdalus communis dulcis

The trees are from pots & if potted & placed under glass they will bloom well.2

I shall be delighted to receive from you the “Origin of Species” with your name attached to it.3 I had it from Mudies when first published & was on the eve of ordering it from Longmans when yr. last arrived4   a bought copy I should of course have valued but a copy as your gift will be to me invaluab⁠⟨⁠le.⁠⟩⁠

The little package of trees will be paid to London from Bromley pr. Down Postman. Pray communicate me if you have the least wish to have a tree or shrub   I have so many thousands that it is always a pleasure to give—a duty to sell

I am My dr Sir | Yrs. very truly | Thos. Rivers

The strawberry hybrids noticed in Journal of Horticulture (I mean a week or two since) are curious but the hybridisms are not accurate enough5   one talks of the “Russian Alpine” & the “High Wood” strawberries   what are they?

CD annotations

4.1 I am … Rivers] ‘Shoots | Origin—’ pencil
Top of letter: ‘(Railway)’ ink


In this letter and later ones, the location of Rivers’s nursery is followed on the letterhead by: ‘Harlow Station is the most convenient for passengers’.
The letter in which Rivers offered to send CD peach trees, a reply to CD’s letter to Rivers of 11 January [1863], has not been found. However, see the letter to Thomas Rivers, 15 January [1863], in which CD expressed an interest in peach trees, as well as an almond tree. Amygdalus communisvar. dulcis is a synonym of Prunus dulcis, the sweet almond.
In his letter to Rivers of 15 January [1863], CD offered Rivers a copy of one of his works.
Rivers refers to Mudie’s Select Library, New Oxford Street, London, and the publishers Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, of Paternoster Row, London (Post Office London directory 1861).
This notice, from William Smith of York (W. Smith 1862), was in response to CD’s appeal for information on strawberry crosses in his letter to the Journal of Horticulture, [before 25 November 1862] (Correspondence vol. 10). When Smith replied, he also sent three runners from one of his crosses, suggesting that the editor send them to CD. His notice was followed by an editorial note: ‘Mr. Darwin, to whom we forwarded all the runners, is very much obliged, and has planted them’ (Journal of Horticulture, 30 December 1862, p. 779). During November 1862, CD was preparing a draft of chapter 10 of Variation, in which he included a section on cultivated strawberries (Variation 1: 351–4).


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

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.

Smith, William. 1862. Cross-breeding strawberries. Journal of Horticulture n.s. 3: 779.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Sends some trees to CD.

Would be pleased to receive the copy of Origin offered by CD as gift.

Will give CD any tree or shrub he may want.

Refers to curious strawberry hybrids noticed in Journal of Horticulture [I. Anderson-Henry, "Crossing strawberries", J. Hortic. n.s. 4 (1863): 45–6].

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Rivers
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
JA 21 63
Source of text
DAR 176: 160
Physical description
ALS 2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3933,” accessed on 14 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11