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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Price   28 October 1868


Oct 28 | 1868

My dear Charlie

If I wrote as often as I think of you & long for a crack, you wd be wearied with weary letters!1

I wanted to congrate you on your Boy’s success; & now I see fresh reason therefor, thank God.2

My Son gives me no satisfaction by the mere fact of being a Clergyman;3 but I cd tell you of many very pleasing traits in him & in Mary,4 who is not (yet) in Orders, nor an electress, nor M.D., nor even a whipper-in, tho’ she rides respectably, when she gets a chance for I can’t keep a “Peggy” for her. D’ye mind Peggy? what Woman will be—qui sait?

I am sending you a Phenomn.* wh. I think you will attend to.5 Botanists are, I fear, bigots; &, when they have ascertained that certain plants are “proliferous” or “viviparous”, some of them seem to think that the ne plus ultra; whereas I think the various ways in which difft. plants perform that supererogatory duty deserve most careful & discrimg attention, wh. may throw lt. on reproduction in genl.

If you have time to read what I have said about Card. pratensis & then to look at the “funny stories” in the best Flora, I think you will be amused by their concise-ness.6 And if you dont take the plant in hand, you will set your youngsters, or some others, to work on it, to more purpose than I have skill or time for. I mean to send also some seeds of Heracleum Ponticum biennial umbellate 12 to 15 feet!7 I never saw so grand a herb. Your thistles wd. make it look small, aiblins.—

I constantly see a Darwin revolving in our district   I mean Frank Parker, who married a young friend of mine,8 & keeps a good horse or 2 or 3— He & I were robbed, 1 nt., of some small articles; the rogues having the good taste to plunder the rich man most

*The leaves I was to have sent rotted   when I get more you shall have them. I send this as a token of good will.

Yours very truly | J Price

Love to Raz.9


Price was a childhood friend of CD’s; they attended Shrewsbury School together, and had corresponded sporadically since 1826 (see Correspondence vols. 1, 7, and 11). Price’s last extant letter is that of 5 March 1868.
George Howard Darwin had just been awarded a fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge (see letter from E. A. Darwin, [11 October 1868]). In his letter of 5 March 1868, Price had congratulated CD on George’s success in the Mathematical Tripos examination at Cambridge.
Elis Price was a curate near Abergele, Wales, in 1868 (Crockford’s clerical directory 1882).
Mary Elizabeth Price was John Price’s daughter. [Additional information December 2019.]
The item has not been identified.
For Price on Cardamine pratensis in Price 1863–4, see the letter from John Price, 5 March 1868 and n. 4. In Lindley and Moore eds. 1866, p. 221, the authors give the plant’s common names of lady’s-smock or cuckoo-flower and note that the flowers are ‘associated with pleasant ideas of spring’. For more on the plant’s common names, see Grigson 1996, pp. 65–6.
Price may refer to giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), a native of the Caucasus Mountains, or the Persian hogweed (H. persicum). The name H. ponticum, which refers to a closely related plant almost as tall, did not appear in print until 1932 (Index Kewensis).
Francis Parker, CD’s nephew, married Cecile Agnes Longueville (Darwin pedigree).
The reference is to Erasmus Alvey Darwin.


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

Crockford’s clerical directory: The clerical directory, a biographical and statistical book of reference for facts relating to the clergy and the church. Crockford’s clerical directory etc. London: John Crockford [and others]. 1858–1900.

Darwin pedigree: Pedigree of the family of Darwin. Compiled by H. Farnham Burke. N.p.: privately printed. 1888. [Reprinted in facsimile in Darwin pedigrees, by Richard Broke Freeman. London: printed for the author. 1984.]

Grigson, Geoffrey. 1996. The Englishman’s flora. 2d edition. Oxford: Helicon.

Index Kewensis: Index Kewensis: plantarum phanerogamarum, nomina et synonyma omnium generum et specierum … nomine recepto auctore patria unicuique plantae subjectis. 4 vols., and 20 supplements. Compiled by Benjamin Daydon Jackson, et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 1893–1996.

Price, John. 1863–4. Old Price’s remains; præhumous, or during life. 12 pts. London: Virtue, Brothers & Co.


Congratulates CD on success at Cambridge [of George Darwin].

Would like CD to study the anomalous Cardamine pratensis.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Price
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 174: 75
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6434,” accessed on 4 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16