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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Edward Cresy   29 July 1864

Spring Gardens

29 July ’64.

My dear Sir,

A body of English mortgagees have requested me to examine and report on a line of railway in New Brunswick1 and I avail myself of the chance of profitably occupying my vacation— It is possible that in pushing my enquiries I may have to go to Boston & if so I should feel very much obliged if you would give me a note to Asa Gray whom I should like to know—2

I am afraid you are not likely to have any scientific correspondents at Halifax, Windsor, St John’s or St Andrews—which is my line of route— If I can spare the time & money I shall return via Niagara & New York, but that depends on the result of my enquiries in New Brunswick—& how far I have to travel right & left of my line— I am told the Boston men have projected a line to join ours which would make it a valuable property— at present it is a damnosa hereditas3 to my clients—

I went to the Linnæan to hear your paper & was sorry to learn you were still confined to your room—4 If I had felt sure of having the pleasure of seeing you I should have called in lieu of writing— I hope you are now able to give a better account of yourself.

Pray make our kindest remembrances to Mrs Darwin & yr daughter who is I hope quite florishing—5 I should tell you I leave town on Friday night & sail from Liverpool on Saturday morning—

Yours very truly | E Cresy

C Darwin Esq.


New Brunswick is a province in eastern Canada.
Cresy had evidently been impressed by an article of Gray’s on Origin ([Gray] 1860) that CD had recommended (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter to Edward Cresy, 12 December [1860]). CD wrote in his letter to Cresy of 28 May [1861], ‘I am very glad to hear that you like Asa Gray’ (Correspondence vol. 9).
Damnosa hereditas: a ruinous inheritance (Oxford Latin dictionary).
CD’s paper, ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’, was read at the Linnean Society on 16 June 1864. CD did not travel to London to deliver the paper. Although his long illness had subsided in mid-April (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix II)), he continued to suffer intermittently from sickness and weakness in May and June (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). See also letter to J. D. Hooker, [15 May 1864].
Emma Darwin and Henrietta Emma Darwin.


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

[Gray, Asa.] 1860c. Darwin on the origin of species. Atlantic Monthly 6: 109–16, 229–39; Darwin and his reviewers. Atlantic Monthly 6: 406–25.

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.

Oxford Latin dictionary. London: Oxford University Press. 1968.


Requests letter of introduction to Asa Gray.

Went to Linnean Society to hear CD’s Lythrum paper read [Collected papers 2: 106–31].

Letter details

Letter no.
Edward Cresy, Jr
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Metropolitan Board of Works
Source of text
DAR 161: 242
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4579,” accessed on 16 May 2021,

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