skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Scott   12 [February 1864]1

Edinburgh | Botanic Gardens

Jany. 12th.


I duly received your notes of the 6th. and 9th. ult.2 I am glad to hear that the Primula paper has been so well received .... thanks to your communicating and assisting.3

I am sorry to hear that two pages have been missed;4 from the trouble it will have given you searching &c.— The omission may have been on my part, as I only hurriedly ran over the pages before posting: but I had done so previously with care and satisfied myself that all was right: and now I cannot lay my hands on the missing pages. I have however succeeded in filling up the hiatus from the papers I have by me. It may require some little corrections but I will easily manage this when proofs are sent. I have now to express my regrets for the further trouble their loss has incurred; and state that by this they are—I hope—in the hands of Mr. Kippist, to whom—as you directed I sent them by yesterdays mail.5

I will feel myself highly honoured, and deeply obliged by your succeeding in getting me elected an Associate of the Linn. Soc.6 It is I can assure you an honour of which I had no expectation. I have you to thank for it however, as I know full well that it is a result of the kind interest you have taken in me. Whether the regulations of the Society should be stringently enforced or not, they are not over-exacting: certainly one would be unworthy of the honour, if not at least having one communication in the course of 3 years. Rest assured that if my name was once entered, I will do my best to retain it; and not prove myself unworthy of your proposing.7

I have just got proofs of my paper on the Monoicous Spikes of Maize; when finally printed I will send you copies.8 Prof. Balfour—as might have been expected—opposed that portion of it in which I considered the occurrence of such phenomena as indicative of descent from an hermaphrodite progenitor9

I had a paper ready for communicating at the last Meeting of the Bot. Soc. on the Sexuality of the Higher Cryptogams, with a notice of a Hybrid Selaginella. But from a long communication before it on our list mine was deferred until the March Meeting.10 The hybrid plant has satisfied all that I have shown it to. I believe it is the first illustration from the Higher Cryptogams, i.e. the result of direct experiment.11

I sincerely hope your health is still improving: and with most sincere thanks for your kindness. | I remain | Sir | Yours most respectfully | J. Scott


Scott mistakenly wrote 12 January; the date February 1864 is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters to John Scott, 6 February [1864] and 9 February [1864].
Scott refers to Scott 1864a. See letter to John Scott, 9 February [1864], n. 3.
Scott refers to Richard Kippist and to CD’s instructions in the preceding letter.
Scott refers to Scott 1863b (see letter from John Scott, 7 January [1864] and nn. 12 and 13, and enclosure 2).
John Hutton Balfour was opposed to CD’s theory of descent (see letter from John Scott, 7 January [1864] and n. 14).
Scott’s paper (Scott 1864c) was read at a meeting of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh on 10 March 1864.
After ‘numerous experiments’, Scott believed he had produced the first hybrid cryptogam; by mixing the microspores of one species of the club-moss Selaginella with the macrospores (now called megaspores) of what he argued was another species of the same genus, he crossed the two plants (Scott 1864c, p. 195). See also Correspondence vol. 10, letter from John Scott, 17 December [1862].


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


Regrets sending his MS missing two pages.

Has proofs of his paper on the monoecious spikes of maize [Edinburgh New Philos. J. 2d ser. 19 (1864): 213–20].

J. H. Balfour objected to notion of maize descent from a hermaphrodite.

Reading of JS’s paper on Selaginella hybrid [Edinburgh New Philos. J. 2d ser. 19 (1864): 192–9] deferred until March. Believes it is first example of experimentally produced hybridity in higher cryptogams.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Scott
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Edinburgh Botanic Gardens
Source of text
DAR 177: 100
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4386,” accessed on 18 May 2024,

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