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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Robert Caspary   26 April 1866

Koenigsberg in Pr

26: of April 1866

My dear Sir,

I delayed answering your kind letter of the 4th of March1 hoping to be able to express to you the most bright prospect, that I should go to the congress of botanists to be held at London and that I should be perhaps there fortunate enough as to make your personal acquaintance.2

Will your health be strong enough as to enable you to partake of the congress; You are as I see member of the committee.3 How very glad I should be to meet you somewhere, particularly if I could spend a few quiet hours with you.4 It was only a few days ago that the decision, that I should go the congress fell to the positive.

I express to you at the same time my warmest thanks for your photography; the circumstance that it is a home-made one, enheightens rather the interest, which I take in it5

I shall leave this place by about the 12th of May and go directly without any delay to London. I have a long list of books—and plants; which I want to study at the British Museum and at Kew or to [get] in some garden or other.6 I am only sorry, that I can not spend more than 3 weeks at the utmost to the whol tour, as I can not interrupt longer my course of lectures—7

I sent to Dr M. Masters a paper, destined for the congress, on a rather curious subject; on the motion or changement which the direction of branches undergos by frost.8 I examined last winter 10 species of trees as regards this change by dayly observations. Some trees bend their branches in frost down, others lift them up and still others lift them up in mild frost and head them down in severe frost. All have a movement to the side.

I the hope of seeing you soon face to face with most sincere respect yours very truly | Rob. Caspary


Caspary refers to the International Horticultural Exhibition and Botanical Congress, held in London from 22 to 31 May 1866.
CD was a vice-president of the committee of the botanical congress (see letter from M. T. Masters, March 1866 and n. 1).
CD did not attend the congress. Caspary visited CD at Down on 27 May 1866 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
CD enclosed his photograph with the letter to Robert Caspary, 4 March 1866. It was probably a copy of the photograph taken by his son William Erasmus Darwin in April or May 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, frontispiece).
Caspary refers to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Caspary was professor of botany and director of the botanic garden at the University of Königsberg.
The reference is to Maxwell Tylden Masters and Caspary 1866a. See letter from M. T. Masters, 20 April 1866 and n. 3.


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


Coming to London for Botanical Congress. Requests interview.

Thanks for photograph.

Letter details

Letter no.
Johann Xaver Robert (Robert) Caspary
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 119
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5067,” accessed on 27 January 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14