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To Gardeners’ Chronicle   21 May [1855]


Reports on his experiments on action of sea-water on seeds and the bearing of his investigations on the theory of centres of creation and Edward Forbes’s theory of continental extensions to account for distribution of organic forms. CD’s experiments confirm germination powers were retained after 42 days’ immersion by seven out of eight kinds of seeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  21 May [1855]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 21, 26 May 1855, pp. 356–7
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1684

From Asa Gray   22 May 1855


Has filled up CD’s paper [see 1674].

Distribution and relationships of alpine flora in U. S.

Author:  Asa Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  22 May 1855
Classmark:  DAR 106: D1–D2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1685

To W. D. Fox   23 May [1855]


He may insert his request for lizards’ eggs in Gardeners’ Chronicle.

His study of mongrel chicks is to ascertain whether the young of domestic breeds differ as much as their parents.

Has already sent a communication on means of distribution of plants by sea to Gardeners’ Chronicle [Collected papers 1: 255–8].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  23 May [1855]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 92)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1686

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 26 May 1855]


Will be obliged if any reader can provide eggs of lizard Lacerta agilis. Wants to ascertain whether they float in sea-water. Offers reward of a few shillings to boys for collecting.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [before 26 May 1855]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 21, 26 May 1855, p. 360
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1686A

To John Higgins   26 May 1855


Discusses his account.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Higgins
Date:  26 May 1855
Classmark:  Lincolnshire Archives (HIG/4/2/1/87)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1687

To J. D. Hooker   27 May [1855]



CD’s seed paper in Gardeners’ Chronicle [Collected papers 1: 255–8];

CD attacks Forbes’s "Atlantis".

Considers solutions to floating problem. Decides to test Azores seeds.

Photographs and drawings of CD.

Plant movement experiments with Hedysarum gyrans.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  27 May [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 132
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1688

From Charles Cardale Babington   [c. June 1855]


Reports that he sees the oxlip, cowslip, and primrose as really distinct species; hybrids are formed between any two.

Author:  Charles Cardale Babington
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [c. June 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 160: 1
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1584

To J. D. Hooker   2 June [1855]



Asks JDH not to send H. C. Watson’s paper on Azores plants [Hooker’s Lond. J. Bot. 2 (1843): 1–9, 125–31, 394–408; 3 (1844): 582–617; 6 (1847): 380–97].

CD cannot endure trying all the Azorean seeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  2 June [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 134
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1692

To Roderick Impey Murchison   3 June [1855]


Accepts invitation for the 20th.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Roderick Impey Murchison, 1st baronet
Date:  3 June [1855]
Classmark:  Cleveland Health Sciences Library
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13831

To J. D. Hooker   5 June [1855]



Seeds: worried they will turn into another barnacle job.

Studies plants colonising abandoned field.

Experiment on plant sleep movements.

CD objects to "Atlantis" because no evidence; does not affect species theory.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  5 June [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 135
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1693

From J. D. Hooker   [6–9 June 1855]



Finds Forbes’s continental theories, migration, and double creation are all unsatisfactory explanations of geographical distribution of plants.

Is currently working on problems of sea transport of plant species.

European plants on Australian Alps only explicable by double creations.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [6–9 June 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 100: 90–3
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1694

To Asa Gray   8 June [1855]


Suggests AG append ranges to the species in the new edition of his Manual.

Is interested in comparing the flora of U. S. with that of Britain and wishes to know the proportions to the whole of the great leading families and the numbers of species within genera. Would welcome information on which species AG considers to be "close" in the U. S.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  8 June [1855]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (2)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1695

To J. D. Hooker   10 June [1855]



Detailed response to JDH’s critique of sea transport and continental connection theories. JDH’s claim that low plants are widely distributed fits both theories.

Species theory does not touch origin of life.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  10 June [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 136
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1696

To T. H. Huxley   10 June 1855


Asks whether THH will attend Council of Royal Society and speak for him on Joachim Barrande and J. D. Dana.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  10 June 1855
Classmark:  Janet Huxley (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1697

To W. D. Fox   11 June [1855]


Thanks WDF for specimens and his great help to CD in his work on variations in young and adult ducks and poultry. Has found feet of tame adult ducks weigh twice as much as those of wild ones.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  11 June [1855]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 93)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1698

To M. J. Berkeley   12 June [1855]


Thanks for approval of seed-soaking experiments in Gardeners’ Chronicle ["Does sea-water kill seeds?", 26 May 1855; Collected papers 1: 255–8]. They seem not to have convinced Hooker of consequences for geographical distribution.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Miles Joseph Berkeley
Date:  12 June [1855]
Classmark:  Shropshire Archives (SA 6001/134/43)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1699

To J. D. Hooker   15 [June 1855]



Thanks for Hedysarum.

Pleasure in identifying field plants.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  15 [June 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 137
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1700

From Margaretta Hare Morris to Richard Chandler Alexander   17 June 1855



On the transport of fish eggs by the water-beetle Dytiscus marginalis.

Author:  Margaretta Hare Morris
Addressee:  Richard Chandler Alexander
Date:  17 June 1855
Classmark:  DAR 205.2: 247
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1701

To J. D. Hooker   23 [June 1855]



Has used borrowing rights at Linnean Society Library arranged for him by JDH.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  23 [June 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 138
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1702

From Thomas Bell Salter   25 June 1855


Discusses hybrid plants he has raised, particularly hybrids between Geum urbanum and G. rivale, which are very fertile and exhibit great variability. [See Natural selection, p. 102.]

Author:  Thomas Bell Salter
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  25 June 1855
Classmark:  DAR 177: 16 (fragile)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1703
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