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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Lawson Tait   23 November [1875]1

7, Great Charles St. | Birmingham.

Novr 23

My Dear Sir,

Thanks for your reply. The paper and its abstract shall be sent to you by post tomorrow or next day at latest.2 If you read it & notice any defects of a serious kind I should be glad to have a chance of rectifying them before it is sent.

Yours truly, | Lawson Tait

You were right to be sceptical on the matter of the acid in the secretion of the virgin pitcher (detailed in Nature)3 I found the source of the error to be the litmus paper. You will find it alluded to in the paper.4


The year is established by the reference to Tait’s paper on the tropical pitcher-plant (see n. 2, below).
CD’s letter to Tait has not been found; see, however, letter from Lawson Tait, 20 November [1875]. CD had agreed to send Tait’s paper on the tropical pitcher-plant, Nepenthes, to the Royal Society of London for possible publication (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 October [1875] and n. 2).
Tait published the results of some of his experiments on the tropical pitcher-plant in Nature, 29 July 1875, pp. 251–2. For CD’s comment about the acid in the secretion, see the letter to Lawson Tait, 15 August [1875] and n. 3.
Tait’s paper was not accepted for publication and no copy of the submitted manuscript has been found. Tait described his experiments in a later publication, and mentioned the mistake with the litmus paper (Tait 1879, p. 128).


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.


RLT’s paper will be sent to CD. Will CD notify him of any serious defects?

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 26
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10274,” accessed on 17 September 2021,

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