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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermann Müller   12 November 1869

Lippstadt. Westfalia

Nov. 12. 1869.

My dear Sir!

I have bestowed the last two summers upon observing the insects frequenting and fertilising our flowers. The bees being of eminent importance for the fertilisation of flowers, I have employed my principal attention in observing, collecting, and determinating them, but although I have extricated positively by far the greatest part of Westfalian species, many forms are still left which I cannot find in conformity with any description in my works on bees. Therefore it is my lively desire to hear the opinion of your highest authority, Mr. Frederick Smith, of the British Museum, o⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠ my yet ind⁠⟨⁠etermi⁠⟩⁠ned species.

Without the judgement of such an authority I should run the risk to publish some species as new ones, which are already described in any work unknown to me.

The domicil of Mr. Fr. Smith being unknown to me, I beg you, to deliver up to him the enclosed letter and to recommand my purpose.1

I am ready to send to Mr. Smith a collection of the Westfalian species of bees as complete as I have collected them, if such a collection would be of any value for the British Museum.2

I hope that you will be so kind and to oblige me on this head.

With sincere respect I remain my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | H Müller.


The enclosure has not been found. Frederick Smith was an entomologist in the zoology department of the British Museum.
Smith agreed to review Müller’s bee collection; see Correspondence vol. 18, letter from Hermann Müller, 8 March 1870.


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


Would like Frederick Smith of the British Museum to determine whether or not some unidentified Westphalian bees are new species.

Letter details

Letter no.
Heinrich Ludwig Hermann (Hermann) Müller
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 295
Physical description
2pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6984,” accessed on 21 January 2022,

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