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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Isaac Anderson-Henry   22 May [1867]1

Down, Beckenham, Kent. S.E.

May 22nd.

My dear Sir,

I am very much obliged to you for the case of the grafted ash   I presume I may keep the note for a few weeks and will then return it if required. Mr. Rivers gave me a very nearly similar case; and in correcting the press of my present book I shall be glad to add this new case.2

I am sorry to give you any trouble but if the Arabis soyeri has much larger pods than those of the other Arabis (the name of which I cannot read) I should be very much obliged to you if you would inform me; but if I do not hear I shall understand that the large pod is a mere monstrosity and not directly caused by the pollen of a species having been used which itself naturally produces a large pod.3

You are so kind as to offer to lend me Maillet’s work which I have often heard of but never seen. I should like to have a look at it, and would return it to you in a short time. I am bound to read it, as my former friend and present bitter enemy Owen, generally ranks me and Maillet as a pair of equal fools.4

With very many thanks for all your kindness. | I remain, my dear Sir, | Yours very faithfully. | Charles Darwin.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Isaac Anderson-Henry, 20 May 1867.
For the case of the grafted ash, see the letter from Isaac Anderson-Henry, 20 May 1867. The similar case, also involving an ash, is discussed in Correspondence vol. 11, letter to Thomas Rivers, 7 January [1863] and n. 3. CD gave both cases in Variation 1: 394; he was correcting the page-proofs of Variation at this time.
The name of the other Arabis was Arabis blepharophylla. See letters from Isaac Anderson-Henry, 20 May 1867, 24 May 1867, and 25 May 1867. CD was interested in the direct action of the male element upon the female as a phenomenon to be explained by his hypothesis of pangenesis (Variation 2: 365–6).
CD refers to Maillet 1750; see letter from Isaac Anderson-Henry, 20 May 1867. Richard Owen mentioned Benoît de Maillet several times in his review of Origin ([Owen] 1860): in particular he said that exceptions to the hypothesis of transmutation were ‘so many and so strong, as to have left the promulgation and advocacy of the hypothesis, under any modification, at all times to individuals of more imaginative temperament; such as Demaillet in the last century, Lamarck in the first half of the present, Darwin in the second half’ (p. 503). There is a copy of Maillet 1750 in the Darwin Library–Down.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

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.

[Owen, Richard.] 1860b. [Review of Origin & other works.] Edinburgh Review 111: 487–532.

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


Obliged for case of grafted ash.

Asks about pods of Arabis.

Would like to borrow Maillet [Telliamed (1750)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Isaac Anderson/Isaac Anderson Henry
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 145: 4
Physical description
C 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5545,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

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