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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Lawson Tait   16 June [1875]1 

7, Great Charles St. | Birmingham.

June 16

My Dear Sir,

Thanks for your letter just received.2 

Your courtesy, I fear, must lead you into troublesome correspondences. I wait for your book with inexpressible impatience, and you will see in the paper I send that I guard myself as being liable to your correction.3

I gave a rough paper on the subject at our meeting last night, because Dr. Braithwaite of London took the trouble to come down a few weeks ago to deny all the facts in connection with the Droseraceae.4  This will account for many liberties I have taken with your name. The report is not very accurate but it is substantially so.

I shall develop my paper into a book but I shall wait till yours has appeared that I may cover myself with your mantle.5 

Meantime I shall go over absorption again

Yours faithfully | Lawson Tait

Please do not acknowledge this unless you have fault to find with any thing I may have said

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘(Postage)’ pencil


The year is established by the reference to the paper read at the Birmingham Natural History Society (see n. 4, below).
The book was Insectivorous plants. Tait sent the report of his paper that appeared in the Birmingham Daily Post, 16 June 1875, p. 5.
Tait’s paper was read at a meeting of the Birmingham Natural History Society on 15 June 1875 (see Birmingham Daily Post, 16 June 1875, p. 5); he announced his success in isolating a pepsin-like substance from the secretions of Drosera dichotoma (a synonym of D. binata, the forked-leaf sundew). A report of the paper was published in the Birmingham Daily Post, 16 June 1875, p. 5. Tait refers to Robert Braithwaite.
Tait later published two papers on insectivorous plants, ‘Researches on the digestive principles of plants’ (Tait 1879), and ‘Notes on the structures of pitcher plants’ (Tait 1879–80). CD’s offprint of the latter paper is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.


Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Tait, Lawson. 1879–80. Notes on the structures of pitcher plants. Midland Naturalist 2 (1879): 265–8, 295–7; 3 (1880): 5–8, 58–62.

Tait, Lawson. 1879. Researches on the digestive principles of plants. [Read 22 May 1879.] Proceedings of the Birmingham Philosophical Society 1 (1876–9) pt 2: 125–39.


Is waiting impatiently for the appearance of CD’s book [Insectivorous plants].

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 11
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10020,” accessed on 15 April 2021,

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