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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Thomas Rivers   5 March [1863]1

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

March 5th

My dear Sir

I write one line just to thank you sincerely for additional information on weeping trees & for your great kindness in writing about the Sophora.2 If you could remember, when you see the Weeping Elm in seed, & would send me a few seed; I would force them on, & see whether they weeped.—3

The double Peach is in beautiful flower & I do hope it may set some fruit. The almond,, alas, has not produced one flower; so I shall have to beg a specimen of a fresh fruit in summer for comparison with fruit of double Peach.4

I have been very unwell (& my hand is tremulous & worse than usual) for last 10 days & have very great fear I must knock off all work & go to Malvern for two months.5 It breaks my heart, with so many things to do & observe.—

Depend on it that Lindley will never let your article pass unpublished.6 I was at Kew about a fortnight ago & was mentioning your kindness, & Dr. Hooker burst out in admiration of your articles.—7

Believe me | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Thomas Rivers, 1 February [1863], and by the reference to CD’s visit to London (see n. 7, below).
The letter from Rivers has not been found. CD wrote drafts of the chapters on inheritance for Variation (Variation 2: 1–84) between 23 January and 1 April 1863 (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II)). In his letter to Rivers of 1 February [1863], CD asked for information concerning the character of seedlings from weeping trees; Rivers provided the information in his reply of [3 February 1863].
CD refers to plants sent to him by Rivers in January 1863 (see letters to Thomas Rivers, 11 January [1863], 15 January [1863], and 25 January [1863], and letter from Thomas Rivers, 21 January 1863). See also letter to Thomas Rivers, [9 May 1863], n. 4.
CD refers to James Manby Gully’s hydropathic establishment at Great Malvern, Worcestershire. On the state of CD’s health, see also the letter to H. W. Bates, 4 March [1863], n. 10.
John Lindley was editor of the horticultural section of the Gardeners’ Chronicle; an article by Rivers on seedling raspberries and strawberries was published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle, 14 March 1863, pp. 244–5.
Joseph Dalton Hooker was assistant director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (R. Desmond 1994); CD visited Hooker there on 11 February 1863 (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II)).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for information on weeping trees; asks for a few weeping elm seeds.

The double peach is in flower; the almond has not flowered; will beg a specimen of fruit later.

Has been unwell.

Tells of Hooker’s admiration for TR’s articles.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Rivers
Sent from
Source of text
Sotheby, London (23–4 July 1987)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4023,” accessed on 6 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11