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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   29 January 1881

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

Jan. 29th. 1881

My dear Gray

It was extremely kind of you to send me your review in the Journal & that in the Nation.—1 They have pleased me greatly; for there is hardly any one in the world whose approbation I value more highly than I do yours. That was a stupid blunder about Apium; but you cannot put yourself in my frame of mind: “Celery” calls up an image in my mind, but not the word Apium.— As for Apios I remember the name, & I fancy in connection with climbing plants.2 I am a pretty sort of man to write about plants!!

Nothing in your Review pleased me more than your opening sentence about Frank.3 If you know him well, you wd know that such an idea as being offended with you never could cross his mind.4

In fact I wish I could infuse a few drachms of vanity & self-conceit into his veins, for he never will value in the least what he does.— Therefore I am certain that the notion or wish that you would speak in his praise wd. never have occurred to him.— He was pleased by receiving a letter from you some little time ago,5 & he did not answer it, having nothing definite to say, simply from not liking to trouble you.—

I hope when you come back from the continent that you & Mrs Gray6 may find time to pay us a little visit.—

Once again thanking you for your kindness, extended to me now for very many years | I remain, Ever yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


Thanks for AG’s reviews [of Movement in plants] in the Journal and Nation [Am. J. Sci. 3d ser. 21 (1881): 245–9 and Nation 32 (1881): 17–18], especially for AG’s comment about Frank Darwin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Source of text
Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (130b)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13031,” accessed on 23 September 2020,