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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Thomas Belt   31 July 1874

Bassett | Southampton

July 31, 1874.

My dear Sir

Your letter has been forwarded to me here, and has interested me much.1 Several years ago I published a statement to exactly the same effect and I shall be very glad hereafter to give your evidence in confirmation.2 The rapidity with which the hive bee discovered the holes has surprised me whenever I I have thought of the subject.

I have had no communication with you since reading your book. My criticism on it is a short one: viz. that of all the natural hist. travels published during this century yours is the best.3

My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin.


CD had discussed the boring of holes in the base of the corolla in beans and other flowers in a letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, [16 August 1841] (Correspondence vol. 2). He added Belt’s information to Cross and self fertilisation, p. 151 n.
CD had recommended Belt’s book, The naturalist in Nicaragua (Belt 1874) to friends, and sent a copy to Fritz Müller in Brazil (see letter to Fritz Müller, 1 January 1874).


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

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


Comments on bees.

Praises TB’s The naturalist in Nicaragua.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Belt
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 79
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9578,” accessed on 3 August 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22