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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Henslow   12 June [1866]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

June 12th

My dear Mr Henslow.

I have read over your Proofs, & have appended some criticisms.—2 I think your paper will do good by calling attention to subject. Several sentences appear to me to require making clear.—

It would really be of no use, I shd. prefer your not stating that I had read over the proofs, as it makes me to certain extent responsible; & I am not sure that I shd agree with all.3

I shd be much obliged if you would inform me, whether Naudin does really say that ovules (not seed) of Hybrid Luffa & Cucumis are imperfect.—4

Kindly tell me when the books are sent to 6. Queen Anne St & be so good as to direct them plainly.5 If sent there on Thursday morning I could get one of my servants who will be in London to call for them— But do not send them, if not finished with.—

In Haste | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from George Henslow, 11 June [1866].
Henslow had sent CD the proof-sheets for an article on Charles Victor Naudin’s research on hybridity (Henslow 1866b) with his letter of 11 June [1866]. For an indication of the nature of CD’s comments, see the letter from George Henslow, [13 or 14 June 1866].
In his letter to CD of 11 June [1866], Henslow had asked whether he might add a postscript to his article, evidently acknowledging that CD had read it in proof.
Henslow had reported that, according to Naudin, sterility in hybrids was a result of defective ovules (Henslow 1866b, p. 307). Henslow’s article accurately summarised the discussion in Naudin 1863, pp. 181–2, as follows: ‘In order to account for the sterility of hybrids, M. Naudin remarks that we must, in all probability, go to the ovules to look for the cause, as the pistil often presents every sign of fertility, while the ovules, either all, or some only, remain abortive, as is the case with Luffa acutangulo + cylindrica and Cucumis Meloni + trigonus’ (Henslow 1866b, p. 307).
See letter from George Henslow, 11 June [1866] and n. 2. Six Queen Anne Street, London, was the address of CD’s brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin.


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


Returns proofs of GH’s paper ["On hybridization among plants", Pop. Sci. Rev. 5 (1866): 304–13] with his criticisms. Prefers that GH not state that CD has read the proofs.

Does C. V. Naudin really say that ovules (not seed) of hybrid Luffa and Cucumis are imperfect?

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5118,” accessed on 3 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14