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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Francis Darwin   16 September [1876]

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Sept. 16th

My dear Frank

I send by this post Chapt IX, but I earnestly beg you not to strain your mind & return the sheets marked “uncorrected” if, as I expect, you find it too much for you.—1 It will give me only a little additional trouble. The figures have not been compared. As I had Chapt VIII almost finished a week ago, I despatched it then to the Printers: it had no figures & related to the constitutional vigour of the crossed Plants.2 Some of the present sheets are so heavily corrected that they will be difficult for you to read.

I have put your tools &c up-stairs in order so far as not to be injured; but I cannot find your compound microscope to protect from dust.— I have made a few notes on the state of your plants in the Hot-house.3

My dearest son, your little note yesterday to mother, in which you say that you love me was the greatest possible comfort to me.4 I have been thinking much about you during your whole life, & I am sure that you have deserved the love of your poor dear sweet darling. I am so deeply glad that she did not suffer at last,— it is my only poor consolation.

God bless you my dearest son. Give my best love to Mrs. Ruck:5 I never in my life saw her equal for goodness & kindness of heart. I was much affected by Dicky’s letter to George:6 he was a great comfort to us all.

My dear son | Your affectionate Father | C. Darwin


CD sent proof-sheets of chapter 9 of Cross and self fertilisation; an incomplete set of sheets, date-stamped by the printers William Clowes & Sons, is in DAR 213.6. The extant sheets containing part of chapter 9 have been stamped 26 September 1876 and 7 October 1876, so the sheets sent to Francis at this time have not survived. Francis’s wife, Amy, died on 11 September and he had travelled to Wales, where she was buried (see letter to G. W. Norman, 15 September [1876] and n. 3).
There is one list but no tables in chapter 8 of Cross and self fertilisation; chapter 9 has several tables.
Francis was going to move back to his parents’ home on his return from Wales (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 16 September 1876); his family may have been moving some of his scientific equipment from Down Lodge, the home he and Amy had moved to after their marriage in 1874 (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1874).
The note from Francis to Emma Darwin has not been found.
The letter from Richard Matthews Ruck to George Howard Darwin has not been found.


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

Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.


Forwards chapter [of Orchids (1877)] for correction.

Sadness at the death of Amy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Francis Darwin
Sent from
SP 16 76
Source of text
DAR 211: 10
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10604,” accessed on 20 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24