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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Fritz Müller   18 July [1869]

Caerdeon, Barmouth N. Wales

July 18

My dear Sir—

I received your last letter shortly before leaving home for this place.1 Owing to this cause, & to having been more unwell than usual, I have been very dilatory in writing to you.— When I last heard about 6 or 8 weeks ago from Mr. Murray, 400 copies of your Book had been sold, & I daresay 500 may now be sold.2 This will quite repay me, if not all the money; for I am sure that your book will have got into the hands of a good many men capable of understanding it: indeed I know that it has. But it is too deep for the general public. I sent you 2 or 3 Reviews: one of which in the Athenæum was unfavourable; but this Journal has abused me, & all who think with me, for many years.—3 I enclose two more notices not that they are worth sending: Some other brief notices have appeared.4

The case of the Abutilon sterile with some individuals is remarkable: I believe that I hd. one plant of Reseda odorata which was fertile with own pollen; but all that I have tried since are sterile except with pollen from some other individual. I planted the seeds of the abutilon; but I fear that they were crushed in the letter.—5 Your Escholtzia plants were growing well, when I left home, to which place we shall return by the end of this month, & I will observe whether they are self-sterile.—6

I sent your curious account of the monstrous Begonia to Linnean Soc. & I suppose it will be published in the Journal.—7 I sent the extract about grafted Orange trees to Gardeners’ Chronicle, where it appeared.—8 I have lately drawn up some notes for a French Translation of my Orchis-book: I took out your letters to make an abstract of your numerous discussions, but I found I had not strength or time to do so, & this caused me great regret. I have alluded to your work, as you will see in my Paper, which will also be published in English, & which I will send it you.9

With the most cordial feelings believe me, my dear Sir, | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

P.S. By an odd chance, since I wrote the beginning of this letter, I have received one from Dr. Hooker, who has been reading Für Darwin: he finds that he has not knowledge enough for the first Part; but says that Chpt X & XI “strike me as remarkably good”— He is also particularly struck with some of your highly suggestive remarks in the note to p. 119—10 Assuredly all who read your book will greatly profit by it, & I rejoice that it has appeared in English.


The reference is to Dallas trans. 1869. See letter from John Murray, 28 April [1869].
The reviews have not been identified.
Müller had evidently enclosed seeds of an Abutilon species (later named A. darwinii) found by him near the Capivary river with his letter of 14 March 1869. Müller published the results of his hybridisation studies with Abutilon in ‘Bestaubungsversuche an Abutilon-Arten’ (Pollination experiments on species of Abutilon; F. Müller 1872–3). CD reported the results of his own experiments with A. darwinii in Cross and self fertilisation, pp. 333–5. Reseda odorata is mignonette. CD reported the results of his experiments with this species in Cross and self fertilisation, pp. 119–23.
CD refers to plants raised from seeds of Eschscholzia californica (California poppy; see letter to Fritz Müller, 14 March 1869 and n. 11.)
Müller evidently enclosed a brief article from Colonie Zeitung with his letter of 14 March 1869. A translation of a portion of the article appeared in Gardeners’ Chronicle, 26 June 1869, p. 686. The excerpt does not mention CD or Müller by name, but mentions that the newspaper was published at ‘Santa Catharina, Brazil’. The article discussed the influence of the stock of Citrus decumana (now C. maxima, the pomelo) on the scion of an orange variety known as Laranga selecta.
CD refers to Rérolle trans. 1870 (French translation of Orchids), and ‘Fertilization of orchids’.
CD refers to Joseph Dalton Hooker. See letter from J. D. Hooker, 17 July 1869 and nn. 2 and 3.


Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

‘Fertilization of orchids’: Notes on the fertilization of orchids. By Charles Darwin. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4th ser. 4 (1869): 141–59. [Collected papers 2: 138–56.]

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Reports reviews of Facts and arguments for Darwin [1869].

Is preparing for a French translation of Orchids.

The case of Abutilon which is sterile with some individuals is remarkable.

Has sent FM’s account of the monstrous Begonia to the Linnean Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Johann Friedrich Theodor (Fritz) Müller
Sent from
Source of text
The British Library (Loan MS 10 no 29)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6835,” accessed on 15 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17