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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   23 July [1863]1


July 23

My Dear Father,

I am disgusted to say that I went to look for the Anchusa last Sunday and they are all utterly out seed and disappeared, I suppose it is on account of this very hot weather.2

They are fine big plants and I could easily go over in the afternoon before coming home and dig up a dozen plants or so on chance, I feel almost certain from what I remember of the position of the plants that I could get some of each kind; I could put them in a hamper and bring them home with me.

Mr. Atherley is unwell and quite unfit for work so that I don’t suppose I shall get away till the end of the month.3

Your affect son | W. E Darwin

When do the boys go back to school4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. E. Darwin, [10 May 1863] (Correspondence vol. 11).
William had sent CD some specimens of what he supposed to be Anchusa officinalis in May; the specimens were subsequently discovered to be Pulmonaria angustifolia (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to W. E. Darwin, [4 May 1863] and n. 3). Anchusa officinalis (alkanet or bugloss) and Pulmonaria angustifolia (blue lungwort or blue cowslip) are both heterostyled and both in the same section of the family Boraginaceae.
George Atherley was William’s partner in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank.
Leonard, Francis, and George Howard Darwin were pupils at Clapham Grammar School in South London; they were due to go back to school on 12 August (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to W. E. Darwin, [25 July 1863] and n. 4).


Could not find Anchusa but will go out and find some.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 18)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4251F,” accessed on 9 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)