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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. P. M. Weale   22 February [1867]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Feb 22.

My dear Sir

I am very much obliged for your letter & the paper on the Bonatea which I have read with much interest.1 Several of the points which you describe are new to me, but I will not here discuss them. I have forwarded your paper to the Linnean Soc., but as the Society has published so much on the fertilization of orchids & as it is rather in arrear I do not feel sure that it will publish your paper.2

I have in fact no means of judging on this head; but should your paper not be published you must not infer from this that the Society does not think it of value. If not published you could if you thought fit reclaim it. The difficulty I foresee will be the expense of engravings; but I hope I may be altogether mistaken in my mistrust.3

Your observations on Asclepias will I have no doubt be new & curious; I am nearly sure that Robt Brown many years ago told me that he did not understand how the pollen masses were retained by the stigmas which do not emit viscid matter.4 I have not heard anything about Dr Brown & his conduct as botanist in your colony.5 I am much obliged for your very kind & flattering expressions with respect to what I have been able to do in natural History.6 It is a most serious drawback to me that I am very seldom able to go to London or to see any of my fellow-workers in Natural History owing to my constant state of ill-health; I thus lose much pleasure & profit.

With my best wishes for your continued success in Natural History I remain | my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


Weale enclosed a manuscript on the structure and fertilisation of Bonatea with his letter of 9 January 1867.
The paper (Weale 1867) was eventually published by the Linnean Society (see letter to the Linnean Society, 22 February [1867] and n. 3).
See letter from J. P. M. Weale, 9 January 1867 and n. 6. Robert Brown (1773–1858) published on the Asclepiadaceae in Robert Brown 1831. Brown’s statement is not recorded in a letter; however, CD often saw Brown in London before and after the Beagle voyage (see Autobiography, pp. 103–4).
Weale wrote about the colonial botanist, John Croumbie Brown of Cape Town, in his letter of 9 January 1867.
See letter from J. P. M. Weale, 9 January 1867 and n. 5.


Autobiography: The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882. With original omissions restored. Edited with appendix and notes by Nora Barlow. London: Collins. 1958.

Weale, James Philip Mansel. 1867. Notes on the structure and fertilization of the genus Bonatea, with a special description of a species found at Bedford, South Africa. [Read 7 March 1867.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 10 (1869): 470–6.


Discusses JPMW’s paper on Bonatea [see 5411].

Mentions Robert Brown’s views on pollen.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Philip Mansel Weale
Sent from
FE 22 67
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.326)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5409,” accessed on 6 June 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15