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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Hutton Balfour   22 April 1863

27 Inverleith Row | Edinburgh

22 April 1863

My Dear Sir

Many thanks for your paper on Linum which is a most valuable contribution to science.1

One of my gardeners is prosecuting the subject of such fertilization vigorously.2 He is much indebted to you for your kind encouragement.3 He has just put into my hands a paper which I hope to read at next meeting of the Botanical Society.4

I am | Yours sincerely | J H Balfour


‘Two forms in species of Linum was read before the Linnean Society on 5 February and published in the society’s journal on 13 May 1863 (General index to the Journal of the Linnean Society, p. vi). Balfour’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for ‘Two forms in species of Linum (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix IV).
The reference is to John Scott, keeper of the propagating department at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, where Balfour was director (R. Desmond 1994).
CD had become a mentor for Scott’s experimental work (see, for example, letter from John Scott, [after 12] April [1863] and n. 5).
Balfour refers to Scott’s paper on orchid pollination, Scott 1863a, which Scott himself read before the Botanical Society of Edinburgh on 14 May 1863 (see letter from John Scott, 21 May [1863]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

General index to the Journal of the Linnean Society: General index to the first twenty volumes of the Journal (Botany), and the botanical portion of the Proceedings, November 1838 to June 1886, of the Linnean Society. London: Linnean Society of London. 1888.

‘Two forms in species of Linum’: On the existence of two forms, and on their reciprocal sexual relation, in several species of the genus Linum. By Charles Darwin. [Read 5 February 1863.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 7 (1864): 69–83. [Collected papers 2: 93–105.]


Thanks for paper on Linum [Collected papers 2: 93–105].

One of his gardeners [John Scott] is also studying such fertilisation and appreciates CD’s encouragement; Scott has paper to read for Edinburgh Botanical Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Hutton Balfour
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 32
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4119,” accessed on 15 October 2019,

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