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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Kemp   10 November 1843


Novr. 10—1843


In again tendering my thanks for your courteous treatment, I am aware that I may be too presuming, But I am not, nor would I wish to be thought unthankful. I would not be so proud of my Soverign’s countenance, as of one, whose name and race has now been celebrated through more than one generation.

I return Mr. Babington’s letter which I neglected to do before, That Gentleman states his opinion with confedance, and I doubte not but he is right. It seems he has only seen one Plant.—1

As you still think some statement may be published regarding this case, you have my permission to handle the subject as you think best, It is not at all necessary to send it for my approval, but do as you have a mind,

As I informed you before, I had little hope that any of the seed would germinate, I tested it by puting it in a tumbler of water, and as about a fourth of it sank to the bottom, I had a hope it would grow, I sent you about the halfe of that with as much of the light,— I planted about 3 dozen of the seed in parallel rows in a large pot, marking the rows, Above a dozen of the seeds germinated which I was quite sure off being from the old seed, as the plants threw it up to the top, beside they were exactly in the rows where planted. If I remember right there 5 or 6 other plants sprang up along with them, But these my visiters and I readily detected as common Garden Plants, and plucked up. I think I formerly mentioned that I allowed a plant of a third kind to grow amongst them which I was never certain off a part of which I thoughtlessly sent to Profr. Lindley, A small remaining part of the seed I sew in the Garden, which produced 3 or 4 plants, but I must own I did not pay so much attention to those, besides when they were young I was rather more puzzled with weeds there,— The Garden produced one of the climbing plants, which did not exactly appear to be the same as those raised in the house, but which we thought might be owing to have been by growing in the open air. A Gentleman brought me a plant to compair with the garden climber, mine was about 12 inches long, having 5 small branches, whereas his plant had 18—most of them 6 feet long, and very different in the small flower, But none of us are Bottanists—, I had not so much faith in the Garden plants.2

I am | Sir | your very Humble Servant | William Kemp

CD annotations

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See Appendix VI.


Describes growth of plants raised from seeds he found in sand-pit.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Kemp
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 50: A17
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 713,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2