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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Thomas Laxton   31 October [1866]1

Down. | Bromley Kent.

Oct 31.

Dear Sir.

The Box arrived safe this evening   I have not yet opened it— I will never open 2 parcels at the same time. or if I ever do it shall be on separate tables., so you may rely on the seeds not getting mixed.— I am most grateful for the confidence you place in me by allowing me to look at your collection, which fairly astonishes me from the amount of labour which must have been bestowed on so many crosses.—2 I will consider your generous offer of keeping certain peas;3 but I certainly shall want very few & possibly none, for it is not at present the character of the full grown offspring, only certain points in germination which interest me.4 But I shall be able to judge best after examining the Peas—

I am delighted at the opportunity of seeing so many crosses

With cordial thanks— In haste | Yours very faithfully. | Ch. Darwin.

I will keep the Box only for a few days or a week at most & will advise you when despatched.

P.S. | I have not expressed myself half strong enough. It must have cost you much time & trouble to have so kindly selected all these pods & their parents.

All that I can say is, is that as far (as) interest in the subject goes, your trouble & kindness have not been thrown away.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 October [1866].
Laxton evidently sent CD the entire collection of seeds of pea varieties with which he had experimented. He had already sent CD some specimens of pods and seeds of a cross between the sugar pea and the purple-pod pea (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 October [1866] and n. 7).
The letter from Laxton in which he made this offer has not been found.
CD had mentioned to Joseph Dalton Hooker that Laxton’s results with crosses between the sugar pea and the purple-pod pea showed the direct action of pollen on the mother plant, and thus seemed to support the theory of pangenesis (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 October [1866] and n. 9).


Thanks for box of crossed peas.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Laxton
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 146: 35
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5260,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14