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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Bentham   [c. 14 April 1863]1

25 Wilton Place | SW

My dear Darwin

Would you oblige me by telling me if you know of anything worth looking at for or against or upon your views of the Origin of species which may have appeared abroad2—besides what Asa Gray or A. De Candolle have written—3 I do not mean mere reviews or analysis of your work such as those of the Revue des Deux Mondes4 etc—but any original observations or rational discussion— Have the Germans taken up the subject? I believe Decaisne’s memoir on the variation of species derived chiefly from the observation of cultivated fruits—and Naudin’s on hybrids which contains I believe a great deal of important matter are neither of them yet published5

Yours very sincerely | George Bentham


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to George Bentham, 15 April [1863].
As president of the Linnean Society, Bentham was required to deliver the anniversary address to the society at a meeting on 25 May 1863; traditionally this address reviewed developments in natural history during the previous year. Bentham was planning to discuss the published reaction to CD’s evolutionary theory (see Bentham 1863).
A. Gray 1861a and A. de Candolle 1862a; CD’s annotated copies of these works are in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Laugel 1860. There is an annotated copy of this work in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. The Revue des Deux Mondes was a leading French literary and critical journal.
The references are to Decaisne 1858–75 (published in 129 parts forming nine volumes), and to either Naudin 1863 or Naudin 1865 (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from C. V. Naudin, 26 June 1862 and n. 4). Naudin 1863 was later also published as part of Naudin 1865; an annotated copy of the former is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL, while an annotated copy of the latter is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 638–9).


Bentham, George. 1863. [Anniversary address, 25 May 1863.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 7 (1864): xi–xxix.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Decaisne, Joseph. 1858–75. Le jardin fruitier du Muséum ou iconographie de toutes les espèces et variétés d’arbres fruitiers cultivés dans cet établissement avec leur description, leur histoire, leur synonymie, etc. 9 vols. in 5. Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, fils & Cie.

Laugel, Antoine Auguste. 1860. Nouvelle théorie d’histoire naturelle. L’origine des espèces. Revue des deux mondes 2d ser. 26: 644–71.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Naudin, Charles Victor. 1863. Nouvelles recherches sur l’hybridité dans les végétaux. Annales des Sciences Naturelles (Botanique) 4th ser. 19: 180–203.


Asks CD whether he knows of "anything worth looking at" that has appeared abroad on his theory of the origin of species.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Bentham
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Wilton Place, 25
Source of text
DAR 160: 155
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4096,” accessed on 22 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11