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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. F. Hallett   18 May 1875

The Manor House, | Kemp Town. | Brighton

18 May 1875

Sir

I beg to enclose copy of a paper read by me before the British Association at Exeter and to call your attention to the paragraph surrounded by a red line.1

There is nothing in Col le Couteurs work to even suggest that he ever had such an idea as that you attribute to him.2 The “different powers of grains of the same ear” forms part of my discovery of “the law of development” of cereals and before me no one had ever approached the line of thought in which that discovery had its origin.3

It has recently been suggested to me that such a statement in a work by so celebrated an Author should be more directly challenged.

I am very sure that you will be glad of the opportunity of correcting an inadvertence which in your hands acquires sufficient importance to justify my intruding upon you—

I also beg to enclose paper read last year at Birmingham showing practical application of my system and I post a Brighton Guardian containing report from Hungary showing results on continent4

I have the honour to be | Sir, | Yours obedt. Servt— | Fredr. F. Hallett

Charles Darwin MA | FRS | &c &c &c—

Footnotes

The British Association for the Advancement of Science met in Exeter in 1869; a summary of Hallett’s paper ‘On the law of the development of cereals’ appeared in the Report of the 39th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1869), Transactions of the sections, p. 113. CD’s copy of Hallett’s longer, separately printed paper is in DAR 200.3: 31.
The paragraph surrounded by a red line in Hallett’s paper (see n. 1, above) concerned CD’s statement in Variation 1: 314 that John Le Couteur had established that grains from the same ear of wheat differed and ‘generally transmitted their own character’. Hallett stated that this discovery was his alone, and that Couteur had not grown grains separately and in competition with each other over several generations. CD accepted Hallett’s argument, and referred to his experiments in Variation 2d ed. 1: 332.
Hallett first published his discovery that different grains from the same ear of wheat possessed different qualities in his article ‘On “pedigree” in wheat’, in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (Hallett 1861). He reprinted the paper as a pamphlet, together with reviews, in 1862 (Hallett 1862). CD’s copy of Hallett 1862, inscribed from the author, is in DAR 200.3: 30; it was sent to CD by Hallett on 21 May 1875 (see letter from F. F. Hallett, 21 May 1875 and n. 6).
In his paper ‘Thin seedlings and selection of seed’, read on 4 June 1874 at the Midland Farmers’ Club in Birmingham, Hallett confirmed his discovery that different grains from the same ear of wheat possessed different qualities by reporting experiments that had resulted in the improvement of a variety of wheat produced by Le Couteur; Hallett’s experiments were made at Le Couteur’s request. A copy of Hallett’s paper is in DAR 200.3: 33, and a report of his paper appeared in the Farmer’s Magazine 46 (July 1874): 86–7. The report from the Brighton Guardian has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.

Bibliography

Hallett, Frederic F. 1861. On ‘pedigree’ in wheat as a means of increasing the crop. Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England 22: 371–81.

Hallett, Frederic F. 1862. On ‘pedigree’ in wheat as a means of increasing the crop. London: W. Clowes and Sons.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Summary

Sends his paper to show his priority over John Le Couteur. Claims discovery of the "law of development" of cereals.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9982
From
Frederic Francis Hallett
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Brighton
Source of text
DAR 166: 89
Physical description
4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9982,” accessed on 15 June 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-9982.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23

letter