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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Scott   [13 January 1864]1

Edinburgh | Botanic Gardens



I have just received your note.2 I also beg to acknowledge receipt of Mrs. Darwin’s note regarding Primula paper.3 I would have answered the latter immediately & expressed my desire for you to communicate paper as soon as convenient, had it not been for the additions & modifications it has undergone since you criticised it .... .4 a keen sensitiveness of a natural—I fear insuperable—inaptitude in the working out and expressing my thoughts makes me dread publication, and this the more especially in the present instance. However, since you think it fit for publication from what you saw of it before; perhaps—health & time permitting—you will glance over proofs of summary & the few remarks I have made on late mixed umbel of non-dimorphic Cowslip.5

Anyhow, I will be glad now to hear of your sending it off to the Secretary;6 and I will do my best to improve it when I receive proofs.

Pray excuse me, and accept my best thanks for all the trouble I am giving you.

I have been so busy for sometime past that I have never had time to communicate results of experiments on Passifloras &c. &c.7 but as I intend going home in or about the beginning of March, I shall then if not before devote myself to them and give you the results.8

I previously noticed the nearly perfect fertility of the long-styled Linum mongynum   you then expressed a wish for seed.9 A plant which I got in the summer has produced a single capsule. I enclose the seeds— No. 1.—results of a long-styled homomorphic union. Packet No. 2. is queried but I think I got the seeds sent me as from a long-styled L. mongynum.

And now with kindest wishes for a continued improvement of your health | I remain | Sir | Yours respectfully & obliged | J. Scott


The date is established by the relationship between this letter, the letter to John Scott, 8 January [1864], and the letter from Emma Darwin to John Scott, 9 January 1864. The first Wednesday following 9 January 1864 was 13 January.
Scott presumably refers to the letter to John Scott, 8 January [1864].
CD had read an earlier draft of Scott 1864a the previous year (see letter from John Scott, 7 January [1864] and n. 3).
See letter from John Scott, 7 January [1864] and nn. 6, 7, 9, and 11.
CD first encouraged Scott to experiment with Passiflora in 1862 because it was thought that some species were more easily pollinated by a different species than by their own pollen (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to John Scott, 11 December [1862], and Origin, pp. 250–1). Scott and CD continued discussing Passiflora in 1863, and Scott began experiments after 21 May (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 11, letter to John Scott, 6 March 1863, and letter from John Scott, 21 May [1863]). Scott published his findings in Scott 1864d.
By March, Scott had resigned his position at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, and was staying with friends at Denholm, Scotland, his birthplace (see letter from John Scott, 10 March 1864). He sent CD his paper describing his Passiflora experiments (Scott 1864d) on 9 June 1864 (see letter from John Scott, 10 June [1864]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Glad CD is sending his Primula paper to Linnean Society.

Sends promised Linum seeds.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Scott
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Edinburgh Botanic Gardens
Source of text
DAR 177: 99
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4385,” accessed on 8 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12