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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Isaac Anderson-Henry   20 May 1867

Hay Lodge, Trinity, | Edinburgh.

May 20/67

My dear Sir

Happening to pass thro’ Perth last week and having an hour to spare I visited the Nursery of which Mr Brown, who communicated to Dr Neill the extraordinary results of a graft I alluded to in the Paper I lately wrote on hybridisation, I thought I might learn some particulars of it from my friend Mr Turnbull of Belwood the Head of the existing firm now an old gentleman.1 I have not been disappointed, (tho I missed Mr Turnbull) as you will see by the enclosed letter I have from his nephew—of which make any use you please2

I have got another instance of monster pods in Arabis blepharophylla a new North american sps. of which the seeds were sent me by Dr Hooker, resulting from being crossed with Arabis Soyeri—the 2 pods so obtained being about twice the size of the normal pods. They are yet quite green however3

Have you ever seen a singular book I fell in with lately the “Telliamed” of M. Maillet in which he treats “of the origin of men & Animals”. My copy, a Translation, is dated 1750   If you have not seen, and should wish to see it, I will gladly send it. It stoutly asserts the fact of men having tails & gives instances4

Very faithfully yours | Is: Anderson Henry

Charles Darwin Esqre FRS. &c. &c


Nursery & Seed Warehouse, | 26. George Street. | Perth

16 May 1867

Isaac Anderson Henry Esq | Edinh

My Dear Sir

My Uncle was sorry he did not see you and hopes you will have more leisure the next time you look in.

With regard to the Ash, he says, it is an event of half a century ago. Mr Brown and he were on a Botanical excursion in the Highlands, being the time they discovered the Menzesea Cærulea,5 and on their way back, as they were looking over a Glen about three miles west from Kenmore they noticed the branch of an Ash entirely yellow which they took away with them and budded it on the common Ash at Perth Nurseries. as far as I can ascertain from him none of the buds grew, and memory fails him in recollecting much about it, only the fact that the operation communicated the disease or blotch to the stocks on which it had been budded, and it has been grown since that time, and annually grafted and catalogued under the name of Blotched Breadalbane Ash.6 It had been further experimented upon by grafting Weeping Ash on the same stocks and it communicated to the Weeping Ash the blotch also.— We will have to presume that the piece of bark introduced with the bud did attach or grow, although the eye did not push.7 this is a circumstance that takes place often in budding. I have seen the bud of a variegated Holly lie dormant, or blind as we term it, for a number of years and grow afterwards.— It is fortunate you made the enquiry, as it fixes the fact of the inoculation of the disease by budding in this case, and perpetuated through a long series of years.

as you appear much interested in the fact I have forwarded to your address a plant of the Breadalbane Blotched Ash.

I am | Yours truly | John Anderson

CD annotations

Enclosure 2.10 Blotched Breadalbane Ash] underl red crayon


Anderson-Henry refers to Robert Brown (c. 1767–1845), a Perth nurseryman, Patrick Neill, a well-known horticulturalist, and Archibald Turnbull, also a Perth nurseryman. Turnbull had inherited property at Belwood, near Perth (Florist and Pomologist (1875): 48). Anderson-Henry’s paper (Anderson-Henry 1867a) was read before the Botanical Society of Edinburgh in March, and published in the society’s Transactions for 1867. There is a lightly annotated offprint of the paper from the Farmer, which Isaac Anderson-Henry sent with his letter of 3 April 1867, in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. Anderson-Henry, discussing changing the colour of a calceolaria by crossing, added, ‘I communicated the result to Dr Neill, who, I remember, felt great interest in it, instancing something of a like nature produced by grafting operations, communicated to him by Mr Brown, of Perth’ (Anderson-Henry 1867a, p. 105).
Turnbull’s nephew was John Anderson Anderson (R. Desmond 1994).
In Anderson-Henry 1867a, p. 112, Anderson-Henry mentioned the large seed pod resulting from a cross between Rhododendron dalhousiae and R. nuttallii. He discussed his cross between Arabis blepharophylla and A. soyeri in Anderson-Henry 1867b; there is a copy of this paper in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. CD mentioned the Arabis cross in Variation 1: 400. Anderson-Henry refers to Joseph Dalton Hooker.
Anderson-Henry refers to Maillet 1750, Telliamed: or, conversations between an Indian philosopher and a French missionary, on the diminution of the sea, the formation of the earth, the origin of men and animals, and other curious subjects. ‘Men with tails’ are discussed on pp. 246–53. In it, Benoît de Maillet gives a number of examples, some of which he claims to have seen himself, and argues that humans with tails are a different species from humans without, and that the tail is not due to chance or the effect of the mother’s imagination upon the foetus. On the Telliamed and its influence, see Carozzi trans. and ed. 1968.
Brown discovered Menziesia caerulea (a synonym of Phyllodoce caerulea, blue mountain heath) near Aviemore, Strathspey (J. E. Smith 1824–36).
Kenmore, near where the branch was found, is at the head of Loch Tay, in the Breadalbane region of the Scottish Highlands.
‘The eye did not push’: that is, the bud did not produce a shoot. See OED.


Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

Maillet, Benoît de. 1750. Telliamed: or, discourses between an Indian philosopher and a French missionary, on the diminution of the sea, the formation of the earth, the origin of men and animals, and other curious subjects, relating to natural history and philosophy. Translated from the French. London: T. Osborne.

Smith, James Edward. 1824–36. The English flora. 5 vols. in 6. Vol. 5, pt 1 (mosses etc.), by William Jackson Hooker; pt 2 (fungi) by Miles Joseph Berkeley. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green.

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


Offers to send Benoît de Maillet’s Telliamed [1750].

Encloses a letter [16 May 1867] from John Anderson, a nurseryman, giving information on budding of blotched ash at the nursery.

Letter details

Letter no.
Isaac Anderson/Isaac Anderson Henry
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 159: 68, 68a
Physical description
ALS 3pp, encl ALS 4pp † (by CD)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5542,” accessed on 19 April 2024,

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