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From H. W. Bates   [before 25 September 1861]


Mention of Volucella.

Author:  Henry Walter Bates
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 25 Sept 1861]
Classmark:  DAR 160.3: 63 (fragile)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3240

From George Rolleston   1 September 1861


The embryology of the vertebrate nervous system may be an exception to the law of inheritance at corresponding ages.

Author:  George Rolleston
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Sept 1861
Classmark:  DAR 176: 207
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3241

From T. F. Jamieson   3 September 1861


Observations from a fortnight in Lochaber. Found the entrance to Loch Treig to present the clearest evidence of intense glacial action. States, in contradiction of David Milne-Home, that there is glacial scoring in Glen Spean, as Louis Agassiz described, and moraine around the mouth of Loch Treig. There is little sign of water erosion on the rocks crossed by the lines in Glen Roy. Believes the smoothed rocks at the eastern end of Loch Laggan are due to flow from the lake and not tidal action. The lines in Glen Roy are too neat for a lake shore subject to tides. Given the glacial scoring sweeping round from Glen Spean into Glen Treig, and all the boulders, TFJ is astonished that anyone could deny that there had been glaciers there. [See 3247.]

Author:  Thomas Francis Jamieson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Sept 1861
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS, Charles Lyell’s journal VII, pp. 75–92
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3242A

To J. O. Westwood   4 September [1861]


Is certain he never had Morren’s paper from JOW or heard of it before JOW’s note; will write to Gardeners’ Chronicle about it [see 3252].

Thanks for the two Sphinx moths; unfortunately the pollen-masses do not belong to orchids but to Asclepias.

Asks whether R. B. Todd’s Cyclopedia of Anatomy and Physiology [1835–59] has an article on fertilisation of orchids.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Obadiah Westwood
Date:  4 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  Oxford University Museum (Hope Entomological collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3243

To Charles Hardy?   4 September [1861]


Has modified the statements about bees visiting clover for honey in 3d ed. of Origin. Can correspondent find out if clover in Lowestoft district was a second crop?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Hardy
Date:  4 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  Dawsons of Pall Mall (dealers)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3244

To George Rolleston   5 September [1861]


GR’s letter is a gold-mine.

Pleased to have Pierre Gratiolet’s comment on the embryology of greatly modified organs

and GR’s valuable cases of analogous variation.

Doubts craniologists, but recounts his father’s opinion that the shape of CD’s head was altered when he returned from the Beagle.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Rolleston
Date:  5 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  Royal College of Physicians of London (ALS/D12)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3245

To Charles Lyell   6 September [1861]


Sends an enclosure [a letter from T. F. Jamieson, see 3247].

"I am smashed to atoms about Glen Roy. My paper was one long gigantic blunder."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  6 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.262)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3246

To T. F. Jamieson   6 September [1861]


Has read TFJ’s letter on Glen Roy. His arguments seem conclusive. CD gives up the ghost. "My paper is one long gigantic blunder." How rash it is "to argue that because a case is not one thing it must be some second thing which happens to be known to the writer".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Francis Jamieson
Date:  6 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  National Library of Scotland (MS. 5406, ff. 167–8)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3247

To J. D. Hooker   6 September [1861]



After much crossing, has worked out meaning of dimorphism in Primula.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  6 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  DAR 115: 112
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3248

To Journal of Horticulture   [before 10 September 1861]


Requests the names of the parents of Gladiolus gandavensis and six varieties for the purpose of determining their probable origin.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Journal of Horticulture
Date:  [before 10 Sept 1861]
Classmark:  Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener, and Country Gentleman n.s. 1 (1861): 453
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3248A

To Charles Lyell   10 September [1861]


Absence of organic remains in many deposits.

Discusses presence of marine animals near icebergs.

Comments on former geological state of England.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  10 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.263)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3249

To John Murray   10 September [1861]


Asks that a copy of Origin [3d ed.] be sent to Mlle Clémence-Auguste Royer; she has arranged with a publisher for a French translation.

Origin is exciting much attention in Germany.

Surprised to receive a Dutch translation.

Has never seen an advertisement [of 3d ed.], which is a pity. Hopes "Bishop of Oxford & Co." have not made JM sorry he published it.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Murray
Date:  10 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 104–105)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3250

To Daniel Oliver   11 September [1861]


Has put Drosera off while amusing himself with Primula and orchids.

Dionaea is prettily adapted to weight detection.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Daniel Oliver
Date:  11 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  DAR 261.10: 30, 66 (EH 88206013, EH 88206049)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3251

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 14 September 1861]


Requests orchid specimens from Arethuseae division for his investigation of the many contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insect agency.

Asks whether Charles Morren has published on the fertilisation of orchids by insect agency.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [before 14 Sept 1861]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 14 September 1861, p. 831
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3252

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 14 September 1861]


Two correspondents report fertilising Vinca rosea by imitating the action of an insect inserting its proboscis. Another says his Vinca rosea seed profusely without artificial fertilisation. CD asks what might explain the difference in results. In the latter instance, are the plants kept in a greenhouse with windows left open, so that moths could get access at night?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [before 14 Sept 1861]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 14 September 1861, pp. 831–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3253

To Charles Lyell   [15 September 1861]


Discusses CL’s correspondence with T. F. Jamieson. Comments on Jamieson’s theory that the roads of Glen Roy were formed by a glacial lake. Discusses elevation of Scotland during the glacial period.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [15 Sept 1861]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.264)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3254

To Asa Gray   16 September [1861]


Is interested in cases of dimorphism like Primula. Discusses Primula and Linum.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  16 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (73)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3255

To Asa Gray   17 September [1861]


U. S. politics and relations with England.

Wants examples of dimorphism similar to Primula.

Structure and function of Spiranthes flower.

Observations and experiments on Drosera.

CD’s views on design.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  17 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (72)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3256

To Henry Fawcett   18 September [1861]


Comments on MS of HF’s address ["On the method of Mr Darwin in his treatise on the origin of species", Rep. BAAS (1861) pt 2: 141–3]. "How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service."

Describes his health.

The response to his views in Germany, Holland, and Russia.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Fawcett
Date:  18 Sept [1861]
Classmark:  Karpeles Library Museum
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3257

From H. C. Watson   20 September 1861


The Primula experiments of J. Sidebotham; HCW’s distrust of the results [see J. Sidebotham, "Specific identity of the cowslip and the primrose", Phytologist 3 (1849): 703–5].

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  20 Sept 1861
Classmark:  DAR 181: 39
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3258
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Darwin’s queries on expression


When Darwin resumed systematic research on emotions around 1866, he began to collect observations more widely and composed a list of queries on human expression. A number of handwritten copies were sent out in 1867 (see, for example, letter to Fritz Muller…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … Gray, Asa 9 May [1869] [Alexandria, Egypt] …
  • … Gray, Jane 9 May [1869] [Alexandria, Egypt] …
  • … Gray, Asa 8 & 9 May 1869 Florence, Italy (about …

Darwin in letters, 1879: Tracing roots


Darwin spent a considerable part of 1879 in the eighteenth century. His journey back in time started when he decided to publish a biographical account of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin to accompany a translation of an essay on Erasmus’s evolutionary ideas…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … that it was ‘dry as dust’ ( letter to R. F. Cooke, 9 September 1879 ). He was also unsatisfied …
  • … which is crowned with glory’ ( letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 February 1879 ). The botanist and …
  • … ). Darwin welcomed Krause’s suggestion, but warned him on 9 June not to ‘expend much powder & …
  • … (Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [27 August 1879] (DAR 219.9: 201)). Celebrity and honours …

Darwin in letters, 1868: Studying sex


The quantity of Darwin’s correspondence increased dramatically in 1868 due largely to his ever-widening research on human evolution and sexual selection.Darwin’s theory of sexual selection as applied to human descent led him to investigate aspects of the…

Matches: 7 hits

  • … Darwin asked Murray to intervene, complaining on 9 January , ‘M r . Dallas’ delay … is …
  • … on the auditory organs of Orthoptera and Coleoptera on 9 September . Darwin annotated a letter …
  • … from the south of France to Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood on 9 Novembe r, describing sphinx moths that …
  • … direct result of natural selection ( Variation  2: 185–9). Wallace seized upon this point in a …
  • … Katherine ( letter from C. M. Hawkshaw to Emma Darwin, 9 February [1868] ). Darwin’s eldest son, …
  • … from Fritz Müller, 22 April 1868 , 17 June 1868 , 9 September 1868 , and 31 October 1868 …
  • … A different order of pride was expressed on 9 November by Ernst Haeckel on the birth of his son …

Darwin in letters, 1862: A multiplicity of experiments


1862 was a particularly productive year for Darwin. This was not only the case in his published output (two botanical papers and a book on the pollination mechanisms of orchids), but more particularly in the extent and breadth of the botanical experiments…

Matches: 7 hits

  • … excited Darwin, who exclaimed to Gray ( letter to Asa Gray, 9 August [1862] ), ‘I am almost stark …
  • … , whether the Book will sell’ ( letter to John Murray, 9 [February 1862] ). To his son, William, …
  • … better fun’ than species ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 February [1862] ), he responded to the …
  • … active young wolves’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 9 October 1862 ). Darwin had managed to …
  • … to read any paper or speak’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 [April 1862] ). A visit in October from …
  • … me go away for an hour after dinner & retire to my room at 9 o clock I do not think it would …
  • … as true as gospel, so it must be true’ ( to J. D. Hooker, 9 May [1862] ). the real …

Books on the Beagle


The Beagle was a sort of floating library.  Find out what Darwin and his shipmates read here.

Matches: 2 hits

  • … the  Narrative  (2: 18). CD, in his letter to Henslow, 9 [September 1831] , discussing the …
  • … Desaulses de.  Voyage autour du monde . . . 1817–20.  9 vols., 4 vols. plates, Paris, 1824–44. …

Francis Galton


Galton was a naturalist, statistician, and evolutionary theorist. He was a second cousin of Darwin’s, having descended from his grandfather, Erasmus. Born in Birmingham in 1822, Galton studied medicine at King’s College, London, and also read mathematics…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … into an entirely new province of knowledge’ ( 9 December 1859 ). He soon became interested in …

Women’s scientific participation


Observers | Fieldwork | Experimentation | Editors and critics | Assistants Darwin’s correspondence helps bring to light a community of women who participated, often actively and routinely, in the nineteenth-century scientific community. Here is a…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … Letter 6736 - Gray, A. & J. L to Darwin, [8 & 9 May 1869] Jane Loring Gray, …
  • … Letter 6453 - Langton, E. to Wedgwood, S. E., [9 November 1868] Darwin’s nephew, …
  • … 5756 - Langton, E. & C. to Wedgwood S. E., [after 9 November 1868] Darwin’s …
  • … Letter 7433  - Wedgwood,  F. to Darwin, [9 January 1871] Darwin’s brother-in-law, …
  • … Letter 8153  - Darwin to  Darwin, W. E., [9 January 1872] Darwin thanks his son …

Darwin & Glen Roy


Although Darwin was best known for his geological work in South America and other remote Beagle destinations, he made one noteworthy attempt to explain a puzzling feature of British geology.  In 1838, two years after returning from the voyage, he travelled…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … field guide to Glen Roy: To Charles Lyell, 9 August [1838] To Charles Lyell, …

Darwin in letters, 1869: Forward on all fronts


At the start of 1869, Darwin was hard at work making changes and additions for a fifth edition of  Origin. He may have resented the interruption to his work on sexual selection and human evolution, but he spent forty-six days on the task. Much of the…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … by his perfectibility principle (Nägeli 1865, pp. 28–9). In further letters, Hooker tried to provide …
  • … hatred—’ ( from Asa Gray and J. L. Gray, 8 and 9 May [1869] ). James Crichton-Browne and …
  • … of the soil ( letter to  Gardeners’ Chronicle , 9 May [1869] ). In March, Darwin received …
  • … I do not care to follow him’ ( letter from T. H. Farrer, 9 October 1869 ). Farrer ventured to …
  • … on summit of a mountain.—’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 9 July [1869] ).  Earlier in the year, …

Capturing Darwin’s voice: audio of selected letters


On a sunny Wednesday in June 2011 in a makeshift recording studio somewhere in Cambridge, we were very pleased to welcome Terry Molloy back to the Darwin Correspondence Project for a special recording session. Terry, known for his portrayal of Davros in Dr…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Beagle voyage, to a letter to C. A. Kennard written on 9 January 1882 , only shortly before …

Jane Gray


Jane Loring Gray, the daughter of a Boston lawyer, married the Harvard botanist Asa Gray in 1848 and evidence suggests that she took an active interest in the scientific pursuits of her husband and his friends. Although she is only known to have…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … (letter from Asa Gray and J. L. Gray, 8 and 9 May 1869 ) Darwin cited Gray’s …
  • … book shows that they spent 14s on a backgammon board on 9 November 1868, a few days after leaving …

Darwin in letters, 1863: Quarrels at home, honours abroad


At the start of 1863, Charles Darwin was actively working on the manuscript of The variation of animals and plants under domestication, anticipating with excitement the construction of a hothouse to accommodate his increasingly varied botanical experiments…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … my teeth at my own folly’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, [9 May 1863] ). After his venture into the …
  • … … who dare speak out’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, [9 May 1863] ). The others listed were himself, …
  • … to Asa Gray, 20 April [1863] , letter to J. D. Hooker, [9 May 1863] , and memorandum from G. H …

Darwin in letters,1870: Human evolution


The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The whole of the year at work on the Descent of Man & Selection in relation to Sex’.  Descent was the culmination of over three decades of observations and reflections on…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … ‘is the bane of existence!’ ( letter to William Ogle, 9 November 1870 ). Researching …
  • … demons and spirits were white ( letter from W. W. Reade, 9 November 1870 ). Keen for more …

The Lyell–Lubbock dispute


In May 1865 a dispute arose between John Lubbock and Charles Lyell when Lubbock, in his book Prehistoric times, accused Lyell of plagiarism. The dispute caused great dismay among many of their mutual scientific friends, some of whom took immediate action…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … Lyell telling him about the letter to the Athenæum . 9  In the same letter, Darwin …
  • … about C. Lyell 1863a are discussed in Bynum 1984, pp. 154–9. 7. See Correspondence …
  • … letter to Charles Lyell, 6 March [1863] and n. 7. 9. See Correspondence vol. 11, …
  • … 11, letter from J. D. Hooker, [24 March 1863] and n. 9. In his published review, Lubbock wrote …
  • … Emma Darwin to Henrietta Emma Darwin, [1 June 1865] (DAR 219.9: 28). 24. See the …

Photograph album of German and Austrian scientists


The album was sent to Darwin to mark his birthday on 12 February 1877 by the civil servant Emil Rade, and contained 165 portraits of German and Austrian scientists. The work was lavishly produced and bound in blue velvet with metal embossing. Its ornate…

Matches: 0 hits

Darwin in letters, 1878: Movement and sleep


In 1878, Darwin devoted most of his attention to the movements of plants. He investigated the growth pattern of roots and shoots, studying the function of specific organs in this process. Working closely with his son Francis, Darwin devised a series of…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … Cactus’, he wrote to William Turner Thiselton-Dyer on 9 May. He later noted that in many Cacteae the …
  • … about the radicles’, he wrote to Thiselton-Dyer on 9 May . ‘The apex is sensitive, & instead …
  • … ‘I am what may be called a rich man’, he replied on 9 December, ‘on the other hand I have 5 sons …

Six things Darwin never said – and one he did


Spot the fakes! Darwin is often quoted – and as often misquoted. Here are some sayings regularly attributed to Darwin that never flowed from his pen.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Spot the fakes! Darwin is often quoted – and as often misquoted. Here are some sayings regularly …

Vivisection: first sketch of the bill


Strictly Confidential Mem: This print is only a first sketch. It is being now recast with a new & more simple form – but the substance of the proposed measure may be equally well seen in this draft. R.B.L. | 2 586 Darwin and vivisection …

Matches: 3 hits

  • … to be killed after painful experiments. “ 9. —Unlicensed persons making painful …
  • … liable to penalties of Cruelty to Animals Act. 9.—Any person not holding a licence under …
  • … and restrictions contained in sections numbered 8, 9, 10, 11, of the said act. (Signed) …

Darwin’s reading notebooks


In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to read in Notebook C (Notebooks, pp. 319–28). In 1839, these lists were copied and continued in separate notebooks. The first of these reading notebooks (DAR 119…

Matches: 21 hits

  • … (read) Smellie Philosophy of Zoology [Smellie 1790–9]. Fleming Ditto [Fleming 1822] …
  • … Read Aristotle to see whether any of my views are ancient 9 Study with profound care …
  • … read Audubons Ornithol: Biography [Audubon 1831–9]— 4 Vols. well worth reading [DAR …
  • … de leurs genres, par M. Latreille, 1 vol. 8vo. 9 s . [Latreille 1825] Mémoire sur la …
  • … [Fabricius 1603]. referred to by Hallam [Hallam 1837–9] D r . Lord has written some new …
  • … 1842] Coleridge. Literary Remains [Coleridge 1836–9] Inconsistency of Human wishes. …
  • … and cheaper Edition, with Plates and Woodcuts. Post 8vo., 9 s . 6 d . [Knapp] 1838] Read …
  • … Duke of Wellington’s Dispatches [Wellesley 1834–9] Carlyles Oliver Cromwell [Carlyle 1845] …
  • … Knight’s facts on dogs instincts Veterinary. vol: 9. p. 229. “A comparative view of the form …
  • … 6. Birds of the Game kind [Jardine 1834b]. 9. Columbidæ (Pigeons.) [Selby 1835] 11. …
  • … vol. Ludlows Memoirs [Ludlow 1698–9] Memoirs of Plumer Ward by Hon …
  • … to the Study of Insects 1868. U. States [Packard 1868–9] (an excellent large Book) [DAR …
  • … of W. S. Landors Imaginary Conversations [Landor 1824–9]— very poor Sir J 57  Browne’s …
  • … 1831] 4 vols 25 Phillips Geology [J. Phillips 1837–9] Lardners 2 nd  vol March 16 …
  • … Miscellaneous Works & several reviews [Carlyle 1838–9] Nov 8 th  Murchison Silurian …
  • … Decemb. Several more of Carlyles Essays [Carlyle 1838–9]— —— Skimmed Ordinaire on Volcanos …
  • … are some few references at end of Hallam [Hallam 1837–9]) Feb. 12 th  Charlsworths Journal …
  • … 4 th . Hallam’s Hist. Lit. 4 vols. [Hallam 1837–9]— good 15 th  Failed in reading Dryden …
  • … Shelley says is victorious & decisive 72 Octob. 9 th  Lindley’s Theory of Hort. …
  • … of Botany ]. 2. vols. 1801 to 1806. extracted. 9 th  Müllers Physiology [Müller 1837–42] 2 …
  • … 24 th . Smellie’s Philos. of Nat. Hist. [Smellie 1790–9] (one vol) d[itt]o— May 20 th . …

Darwin & coral reefs


The central idea of Darwin's theory of coral reef formation, as it was later formulated, was that the islands were formed by the upward growth of coral as the Pacific Ocean floor gradually subsided. It overturned previous ideas and would in itself…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … he arrived at his coral reef theory. Autobiography , pp. 98-9 No statement of Darwin' …
  • … the channels and lagoons of the islands ( Narrative  2: 38-9), so it may be presumed that he was …
  • … wants to be sure they will visit the South Sea Islands:  [9 September 1831] . The first …
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