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Darwin Correspondence Project

To R. D. Fitzgerald   18 August [1876]

Down, Beckenham, Kent

Aug 18th

I received yesterday your most kind present of the 2d pt. of your magnificent work.1 It has just come in time as I shall send to press soon a 2d. Edit. of my Orchid Book,— a copy of which when published shall be sent to you.—2

Ch. Darwin

(P.S. I find these cards cannot be sent to Australia)3


Fitzgerald had sent volume 1, part 2, of his work, Australian orchids (Fitzgerald 1875–94).
Orchids 2d ed. was published in January 1877 (Publishers’ Circular, 1 February 1877, p. 93). CD cited Fitzgerald’s description of Spiranthes australis (a synonym of S. sinensis) in Orchids 2d ed., p. 115. Fitzgerald’s name is on CD’s presentation list for the volume (Appendix III).
CD had written his thanks on a postcard, but then enclosed it in an envelope, adding this comment on the front of the postcard. Australia was not then part of the General Postal Union (Universal Postal Union after 1878); foreign postcards could only be sent to member countries (British postal guide, 1 July 1876, p. 12).


British postal guide: British postal guide; containing the chief public regulations of the Post Office with other information. London: Post Office [and others]. 1861–76.

Fitzgerald, Robert David. 1875–94. Australian orchids. 2 vols. Sydney: Thomas Richards.

Orchids 2d ed.: The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition, revised. London: John Murray. 1877.


Thanks for RDF’s Australian orchids [1874]. It comes just as CD’s Orchids [2d ed.] is going to press.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert David Fitzgerald
Sent from
AU 18 76
Source of text
Mitchell Library, Sydney (A 2546)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10579,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24