skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. T. Thiselton-Dyer   16 February 1877

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Feb. 16th 1877

Dear Dyer

I must tell you how greatly I am pleased & honoured by your article in Nature which I have just read.1 You are an adept in saying what will please an author,—not that I suppose you wrote with this expressed intention. I shd. be very well contented to deserve a fraction of your praise. I have, also, been much interested, & this is better than mere pleasure, by your argument about the separation of the sexes. I daresay that I am wrong, & will hereafter consider what you say more carefully; but at present I cannot drive out of my head that the sexes must have originated from two individuals, slightly different, which conjugated. But I am aware that some cases of conjugation are opposed to any such view.—2

With hearty thanks | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


Thiselton-Dyer’s review of Cross and self fertilisation appeared in Nature, 15 February 1877, pp. 329–32.
For CD’s argument on the development of hermaphroditism from the primordial condition of separate sexes in plants, see Cross and self fertilisation, pp. 409–13; for Thiselton-Dyer’s counter-argument, see Nature, 15 February 1877, pp. 330–2.


Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.


Pleased and honoured by WTT-D’s review ["Darwin on fertilisation", Nature 15 (1876–77): 329–32]. Comments on review.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Turner Thiselton-Dyer
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Darwin: Letters to Thiselton-Dyer, 1873–81: ff. 60–1)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10848,” accessed on 6 December 2021,