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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Daniel Oliver   18 July [1863]1

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

July 18th

Dear Oliver

Would you have the kindness to look over the enclosed: it seems to me a valuable paper.2 Dr. Hildebrand has sent it to me with the request to get it read before some Society, or get it published somehow.3

Now you will see that it is an abstract of a longer paper to be published in the Bot. Zeitung.4 Therefore I fear it would not do for Linn. Soc. How is this; please consult Hooker?5 If it will not do for Linn. Soc. would it do for the Nat. Hist. Review? & this is the reason I send it to you.—6 If not fitted for N.H.R. I will send it to Annals of N. Hist. So at your leisure please let me hear as I must write to Dr. H..—7 Dr. Hildebrand pleases me by telling me that he has been repeating my experiments on Linum & has observed fertilisation of all German orchids & finds my statements correct.— But he adds that he thinks I am probably wrong about sexes of Acropera & Catasetum & I very much fear, indeed feel almost sure, that I have blundered fearfully about Acropera, & probably about Catasetum, which is horrid to think of.—8 I wish my Acropera would flower; I shall soon have two Catasetums in flower & must look to them.9

Dear Oliver | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

Tell Hooker I am madder than ever on Tendrils, & long to hear whether he has anything for me for observation10


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Daniel Oliver, 20 July 1863.
The enclosure has not been found, but see letter from Friedrich Hildebrand, 16 July 1863 and n. 2.
Hildebrand 1863a.
Joseph Dalton Hooker, a colleague of Oliver’s at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, was one of the vice-presidents of the Linnean Society.
Oliver was one of the editors of the Natural History Review.
The English abstract of Hildebrand’s paper was ultimately published, through CD’s intervention, in the September number of the Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Hildebrand 1863b; see letter to Friedrich Hildebrand, 28 July [1863]).
CD’s notes of his observations and experiments on Acropera luteola, dated 29 August 1863, are in DAR 70: 114; he recorded successfully pollinating two flowers. See also ‘Fertilization of orchids’, p. 153 (Collected papers 2: 150).


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

‘Fertilization of orchids’: Notes on the fertilization of orchids. By Charles Darwin. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4th ser. 4 (1869): 141–59. [Collected papers 2: 138–56.]


Sends F. Hildebrand’s paper for publication by the Linnean Society or in Natural History Review.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Daniel Oliver
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.10: 51 (EH 88206034)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4244,” accessed on 31 March 2023,

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