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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Kemp   24 November 1843



Novr.—1843 Sir

I have examined the paper sent for my approval, and I beg to say that I am more than pleased with the manner in which you have drawn it up. I beleave that it embraces all that is worth notice in the case, I do not think more could have been done even had you been witness to all concerning it.— I have not an idea, or a word to add, or take from it.—1

I thank you for a perusal of the Gardeners Chronicle, I have seen the article aluded to in the papers of the day but in that I admire the prudent caution given to su〈b〉stantiate by the clearest evidance any discovery of that nature. Doubtes may still be intertained in this case, that I cannot help; however, were it a case in Law it could be proven by the best of evidance. Fortunately a Mr. Bell of Melrose, the proprietor of the place, was at the sand-pit at the time of the discovery,2 who is now sorrie that he had not kept a few of the seeds. You may rest satisfied that even the antiquety of the Egyptian Wheat3 is not more genuine than this is.

With this I hope you will receive the Chronicle safely.

I am Sir | With the warmest gratitude | your much Obliged and, | very Humble Servant | William Kemp Charles Darwin Esqre.


CD’s draft of the paper is in DAR 50: 1–6. The published version (Kemp 1844) is, except for a few changes, a verbatim copy of the draft. See Appendix VI. See Correspondence vol. 18, Supplement, letter to William Kemp, 22 November [1843].
John Bell. The fact that Bell was a witness was added to the first paragraph of the published version.


Kemp, William. 1844. An account of some seeds buried in a sand-pit which germinated. By Mr William Kemp of Galashiels, in a letter to Charles Darwin, Esq. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 13: 89–91.


Approves of the paper CD has drawn up concerning WK’s seed discovery.

Mentions article in Gardeners’ Chronicle.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Kemp
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 50: A18
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 716,” accessed on 5 December 2019,

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