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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lindley   [c. 10 October 1846]1

Down Farnborough Kent

Dear Sir

I have directed my Publishers to send a copy of my S. American Geology to the Gardener’s Chronicle, though perfectly aware it is quite out of the line of books reviewed in it. Yet there is one single passage, on the ground of benefit to others, which I venture to call your attention to, more especially as the inference has been chiefly drawn from an article in the Gardeners Chronicle,2 this is at the end of the III. Chapt & refers to the exceedingly pure salt of Patagonia not answering well for preserving meat.3 I have suggested to the merchants of La Plata to add deliquescent chlorides to this natural salt; but my suggestion will never be heard, without it be backed by such authority as your’s. The consumption of salt is very great in those countries & in peacable times would be immense. Will you add the information what percentage of muriate of lime ought to be added & its market cost?4

I hope on the above grounds you will excuse the very unusual step I have taken in writing to you about my own work.—

I have not forgotten your extremely kind offer of allowing me to consult Books in the Hort. Library;5 I have lately been busy with my geology & shall be for some time employed on Invertebrate zoology, but hereafter your kind offer will be of the greatest service to me.

Pray believe me | My dear Sir, with much respect. Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin

Of course this note requires no sort of acknowledgement.


Dated from the references to the publication of South America in the letters to J. S. Henslow, [5 October 1846], and to A. C. Ramsay, 10 October [1846]. The Publishers’ Circular of 2 November 1846 lists the date of publication as being between 14 and 30 October.
In a report about the Agricultural Chemical Association, Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 6, 8 February 1845, p. 93.
South America, p. 75, where CD erroneously cited the reference as Horticultural and Agricultural Gazette. See also letter to Trenham Reeks, [before 8 February 1845], and Reeks’s reply, 8 February 1845.
A short review of South America appeared in Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 5, 30 January 1847, p. 71. The additional information was not supplied in the review. Instead, the editor included CD’s statements about the purity of Patagonian salt and suggested that someone might wish to experiment on reducing the purity to the standard of European salt.
Lindley was vice-secretary of the Horticultural Society and effectively ran it between 1841 and 1858.


South America: Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1846.


CD sends a copy [of South America] to Gardeners’ Chronicle and refers to a passage on Patagonian salt; asks for backing and specific information supplementing his suggestion that an added chloride would increase the salt’s preserving power.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lindley
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Lindley, John letters, A–K: 191)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 999,” accessed on 17 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3