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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Scott   20 June [1864]1


June 20th.


I have just got home from Edinburgh; where I have secured through your favour a sufficiency of articles for an outfit.2 I expect to have these forwarded in the latter end of the week, when I will send you a list with cost. I would have liked if this had been less, but a friend who had been in India,3 and to whom I freely stated my circumstances and desire to limit expenditure, assured me that I was ordering nothing but real necessaries.

I also made several enquiries as to cost of the 2 routes; but I could not get full particulars in Edinburgh as to Cape route further than that the expenses of the latter are so much less, as not to permit of further enquiry as to the other or— overland.

I wrote two of the Shipping Cos. in London—whose vessels run between Southampton & Calcutta for information as to costs of voyage. I am daily expecting an answer which I will immediately forward to you. I am glad to find that Dr. Hooker has so kindly thought of getting an agent to look out for a ship for me, when he gets particulars.4

I have now the pleasure of acknowledging the honour you have done me in drawing up for me such a very excellent testimonial.5 I beg to assure you that I will make it my endeavour more & more to merit such.

I am greatly surprised with the self-fertility of your Peloric Antirrhinums. I wrought much on my 2 plants, but utterly failed in getting them to yield a single seed, by own-pollen. When fairly settled in India, I will take advantage of all the opportunities presented for working out the subject of the fertility of monstrous flowers: and should you not have occasion to notice previously your own results & mine on Antirrhinums I will be glad to incorporate both.6

I have just received proofs of a portion of my paper on Primulas.7

With sincere thanks for your unremitting kindness. I have the honour to remain. | Sir. | Your obedt. Servant | John Scott

P.S. I will send you copies of my tables of Verbascum experiments, I place them entirely at your service.8


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Scott, 10 June 1864.
CD had sent Scott £25 to purchase items for his journey to India (see second letter from John Scott, 10 June [1864]).
Scott’s friend has not been identified.
Joseph Dalton Hooker had made enquiries about ships for Scott through his shipping agent, Henry Taylor (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [11 June 1864] and n. 8).
In his first letter of 10 June [1864], Scott had given the results of his experiments on the self-sterility of peloric forms of Antirrhinum. CD evidently sent the results of his own experiments in a letter that has not been found. For CD’s work on peloric flowers of Antirrhinum, see the first letter from John Scott, 10 June [1864], n. 3. CD reported that Antirrhinum majus was self-fertile when pollinated artificially in Variation 2: 166–7 and Cross and self fertilisation, p. 363. Scott’s observations are not reported. No paper by Scott on Antirrhinum has been found.
The reference is to Scott 1864a. Scott had experimented extensively with species of Primulaceae during 1863 (see Correspondence vol. 11). CD had encouraged Scott to publish his results, and reviewed a draft of the paper (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 11, letters to John Scott, 6 June [1863] and 7 November [1863]). CD communicated the paper to the Linnean Society, where it was read on 4 February 1864. See also letter to John Scott, 20 May [1864] and n. 3.
Scott had undertaken experiments on Verbascum at CD’s suggestion (see letters from John Scott, 19 March 1864 and n. 21, and 16 May [1864] and n. 9, and letter to John Scott, 20 May [1864]). He published his results in 1867 (Scott 1867). CD summarised Scott’s experiments in Variation 2: 106–7.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Scott, John. 1867. On the reproductive functional relations of several species and varieties of Verbasca. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 36 (pt 2): 145–74.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Preparations for trip to India. Thanks for testimonial.

Surprised by the self-fertility of CD’s peloric Antirrhinum.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Scott
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 177: 111
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4541,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

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