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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Isaac Anderson-Henry   3 April 1867

Woodend, Maderty, | Crieff.

April 3/67

My dear Sir

Your very gratifying letter of the 31st ulto has reached me here this morning1

I shall have much pleasure in sending your letter and backing your request to Mr Traill, tho I know him but slightly. In fact, I do not know where his place “Aberlady Lodge” is; but I return tonight to my place (Hay Lodge Trinity) where I will learn from a neighbour who knows him, his proper address.2 Aberlady is some 17 miles to the East—yet a Lodge with that name may be in the neighbourhood of Edingh. as I rather think it is, tho on looking the directory I find only one “Robt Traill” with the addition “Vulcan Foundry Admiralty Street” which I think must be the same.3

Like you I was much struck with Mr Traills remark, as long before I ever took to crossing & in very early life,—boyhood I believe,—I was told, I think by a Gardener, that a hybrid was produced by inserting one eye, such as a potatoe’s or a barley corn within the other & the united growth made the hybrid! I never tried the experiment believing it to be a myth—and if you have tried & failed, I fear it is4

I am glad to hear again from you. Knowing your herculean labours I felt unwilling to intrude on your most valuable time with my letters5

You are pleased to regard my small testimony as more eulogistic than deserved. Allow me to assure you that it was amply borne out by the Society—and withal, it is but one small leaf added to the Chaplet which the whole scientific world has conferred.6

The hybrid pod on Rhodn Dalhousiæ was truly a monster of its kind—7 Some of its seeds I sent to Dr Hooker & to other friends—but it went the same way, so far as I heard of it, with them as with me.

I enclose a print of the whole transactions of the Botl Societys Meeting— a Communication I had from Professor Jameson of Quito may interest you—8

Believe me | My dear Sir | Ever faithfully Yours | Is: Anderson Henry


CD’s letter to Anderson-Henry of 31 March 1867 has not been found.
Joseph Dalton Hooker had sent CD a page from the Farmer, apparently giving details of a meeting of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh at which Robert Trail made some remarks about hybrid potatoes (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 April [1867], and letter from Robert Trail, 5 April 1867). The page of the Farmer has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. Anderson-Henry usually wrote to CD from his Hay Lodge, Edinburgh, address; Madderty, near Crieff, is about ten miles west of Perth.
A Robert Traill, iron founder, is listed at 9 Admiralty Street and 1 Regent Street in the Post Office Edinburgh directory 1863–4. Robert Trail later wrote to CD from Aberlady Lodge, Drem (letter from Robert Trail, 5 April 1867); Drem is about three miles east of Aberlady. CD had written to Trail on 1 April; see letter from Robert Trail, 5 April 1867.
CD gave information supplied by Trail about producing potato hybrids in Variation 1: 395–6; he remarked that he had repeated the experiments on a large scale, but with no success (see also letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 April [1867]).
The last extant correspondence between CD and Anderson-Henry is from 1863 (Correspondence vol. 11).
The report of the meeting of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh in the Farmer evidently included Anderson-Henry’s eulogy of CD; see letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 April [1867], and Anderson-Henry 1867a.
In Anderson-Henry 1867a, p. 112, Anderson-Henry mentioned the large seed-pod resulting from a cross between Rhododendron dalhousiae and R. nuttallii. CD described this fruit in Variation 1: 400.
There is a lightly annotated offprint from the Farmer, 20 and 27 March 1866, giving details of the meeting of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh on 14 March, in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. It includes a communication from William Jameson, professor of chemistry and botany at the University of Quito, Ecuador, on the Compositae of the Andes. The communication is also reproduced in the Transactions of the Botanical Society [of Edinburgh] 9 (1866–8): 115–18. Much of the communication concerns the medicinal effects of Chuquiraga insignis.


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

Post Office Edinburgh directory: Post-Office annual directory and calendar. Post-Office Edinburgh and Leith directory. Edinburgh: Ballantyne & Hughes [and others]. 1845–1908.

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


Will find out identity of Robert Trail.

Letter details

Letter no.
Isaac Anderson/Isaac Anderson Henry
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 159: 67
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5484,” accessed on 5 March 2021,

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