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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to Frederick Pollock   23 October [1863?]1

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

Oct 23.


I write by my husband’s desire to thank you for your very interesting letter. I am sorry to say that he is now so unwell as to be unable to attend to any observations or work of any kind— He is very much interested by the account you give of the inherited variations & the proportion of them & the fact of the frequent occurrence of these variations in one locality is very curious.2 He has heard of facts somewhat analogous to these. He begs me to thank you for the honour you have done him & to say what a pleasure it would have been to have seen these varied plants if his health had permitted him to accept your very kind invitation

I am | Sir yours obediently | Emma Darwin


The year is conjectured from the reference to CD’s illness. He was particularly ill from October 1863 into 1864, and Emma Darwin wrote several letters on his behalf; see, for example, Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Emma Darwin to Julius von Haast, 12 December [1863].
Pollock’s letter has not been found, but in Variation 1: 383, CD referred to information received from him on the percentages of variegated seedlings in two generations of Ballota nigra (black horehound) raised from wild plants. Pollock lived in Hatton, Middlesex (ODNB).


ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

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


Apologises that CD is too unwell to do any work, but he is most interested in the frequent occurrence of inherited variations in one locality. It would have been a pleasure to visit if his health had permitted.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Jonathan Frederick (Frederick) Pollock, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
Private collection
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4321F,” accessed on 12 August 2022,