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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   6 April [1865]

My dear Hooker.

Have you the Botanische Zeitung for 1860 p. 204 (Dr. Alefeldt on Pisum.)1 & can you lend it me? It is not in Linnean or Royal Socy.!! If you can lend it, please have it addressed to

C. Darwin

care of Down Postman


Kent per Rail

I am tired today, & no heart to write, & indeed not a word to say. I work a little every day with groans & sighs & am as dull as a pig.— It is hopeless & useless but, when you meet Busk, ask him whether any man is better than Jenner for giving life to a worn-out poor devil.—2

Yours affect | C. Darwin

Down. 6th April.


The reference is to Alefeld 1860, which provided information on a study of around fifty varieties of pea (Pisum), and concluded, first, that all the varieties belonged to the same species, and second, that their ancestral form was the field pea, P. elatius. CD cited this paper and the first part of its findings in Variation 1: 326, as part of a discussion of cultivated varieties of culinary plants and their wild prototypes.
In 1863 George Busk had given advice to CD on his stomach disorder, and recommended consulting William Brinton; both Brinton and William Jenner were experienced in the treatment of stomach complaints (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from George Busk, [c. 27 August 1863]). CD consulted Brinton in November and December 1863, and began consulting Jenner in March 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 [December 1863], and Correspondence vol. 12, letter from William Jenner, 24 November 1864); however, by January 1865 CD had become discouraged with Jenner’s treatment, and had started to enquire about other physicians (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] and 9 February [1865]).


Alefeld, Friedrich Christoph Wilhelm. 1860. Ueber Pisum. Botanische Zeitung 18: 204–5.

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

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


Asks to borrow Botanische Zeitung (1860) with Friedrich Alefeld on Pisum [pp. 204–5].

JDH should ask George Busk whether he knows a better doctor than William Jenner "for giving life to a worn out poor devil".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 262
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4805,” accessed on 29 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13