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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Andrew Murray   31 October 1864

Royal Horticultural Society, | South Kensington, W.

Oct 31 1864

My dear Mr Darwin

When I last wrote you, you were but poorly.—1 I hope you are now better—& if so I would like to speak to you about the work of 〈which〉 I enclose a programme.—2 〈It is a〉 subject on which you have 〈    〉 more perhaps than any other 〈    〉 & I should be greatly oblige〈d〉 〈    〉 would point out any thing 〈    〉 specially attended to wh〈ich〉 〈    〉 likely to make the wor〈  〉 〈    〉

At times I get quite downhearted about it, when I recognise my deficiencies—but no person can be free from the same objection—& I think even a mere compilation on those branches of wh. I am ignorant 〈    〉 be useful.—

〈    〉 always noticed that 〈    〉 person must first clear the 〈    〉 with an imperfect work before 〈    〉 〈  〉me to make the work right. 〈    〉 can give me a little encourage〈ment〉 〈    〉 do so— I at times feel 〈    〉 throw my notes in the fire & give it up.— But I shall have time for I am going to leave the Horticultural,3 & I proposed to refresh myself after my long dry business duties here, with a burst of Natural History

I am | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Andw. Murray


CD’s reply to Murray has not been found (see letter from Andrew Murray, 15 February 1864 and n. 2), but his health was poor between September 1863 and mid-April 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II, and this volume, letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 April [1864] and n. 5).
The enclosure has not been found, but it evidently gave details of a general work on geographical distribution that Murray was planning to write (see letter to Andrew Murray, 2 November [1864] and n. 2, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 November [1864]). CD and Murray had first corresponded on geographical distribution in 1860, in connection with Murray’s critical review of Origin (Murray 1860; see Correspondence vol. 8, letters to Andrew Murray, 28 April [1860], 28 [April 1860], and 5 May [1860], and letter from Andrew Murray, 3 May 1860). For CD’s interest in geographical distribution, see letter to Andrew Murray, 2 November [1864] and n. 5.
Murray had been assistant secretary of the Royal Horticultural Society since 1860 (R. Desmond 1994); his resignation was announced at the ordinary general meeting of the society held on 24 January 1865 (Proceedings of the Royal Horticultural Society 5 (1865), p. 1). See also Fletcher 1969, pp. 190, 199.


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.

Fletcher, Harold R. 1969. The story of the Royal Horticultural Society 1804–1968. London: Oxford University Press for the Royal Horticultural Society.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Proposes to work on geographical distribution before leaving the Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Andrew Dickson (Andrew) Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
R. Hortic. Soc.
Source of text
DAR 171: 327
Physical description
3pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4648,” accessed on 19 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12