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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. W. Bennett   22 November 1872

6, Park Village East, | Regent’s Park, | London N.W.

Nov. 22nd 1872

My dear Sir

I hope you will excuse my troubling you with a matter which is occupying my thoughts just now.

It has long appeared to me that it would be a great advantage to have a medium, in the form of a Quarterly Journal, for the publication of articles bearing on Natural Science that are now dispersed through a great number of magazines, the Proceedings of Learned Societies; &c; I mean especially articles recording new researches, articles of a more popular character, & sterling reviews of works on Natural History. Such a magazine, could, I am satisfied, tend to spread a love for & knowledge of natural science among the educated public; &, to add to its attractiveness, it should be well illustrated.

In order to induce any publisher to support such a scheme, it would of course be necessary to show that it had the support of the leading scientific men in the country: & I venture to ask you, whether, in the event of such an idea being floated, I might calculate on your being able to contribute some short essay or the yet unpublished record of some series of observations that would be of the character I have named.1 I need not say how great an encouragement to me would be your approval of the idea and promise of co-operation. The idea of course would be as a medium for longer articles than can appear in a weekly journal like “Nature”.2

Believe me, | very truly yrs. | Alfred W. Bennett

C. Darwin Esq. F.RS.

I shall be obliged if you will kindly consider this communication as at present strictly confidential.

P.S. You kindly gave me permission some time since to use some of your cuts from your Essay on Climbing Plants for an article I am preparing for “Nature”; may I consider the sanction as also extended to the “Fertilisation of Orchids”, Mr. Murray’s sanction having been first obtained?3

The “Quarterly Journal of Science” is now exclusively physical.4


No reply to this letter has been found, but Bennett’s planned journal was never started.
Bennett was the subeditor of Nature.
No earlier correspondence on the subject has been found, but CD had probably already sent Bennett the blocks for the woodcuts in Climbing plants (see Correspondence vol. 21, letter to A. W. Bennett, 11 March [1873]). Bennett abandoned his plans for a paper in Nature (ibid., letter from A. W. Bennett, 16 March 1873). John Murray was the publisher of Orchids.
Physical: i.e. not biological. From 1871 to 1878 the full title of the journal was the Quarterly Journal of Science and Annals of Mining, Metallurgy, Engineering, Industrial Arts, Manufactures, and Technology.


Climbing plants: On the movements and habits of climbing plants. By Charles Darwin. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green; Williams & Norgate. 1865.

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


Proposes establishing a quarterly journal for longer, illustrated articles of some popular appeal. Seeks CD’s support.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred William Bennett
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Park Village East, 6
Source of text
DAR 160: 138
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8640,” accessed on 12 August 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20