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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Joseph Henry Gilbert   3 June [1869]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

June 3

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your kind invitation, but I am sorry to say that the state of my health prevents me ever attending so pleasant an excursion as you propose.2

Pray believe me | dear Sir | yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the position of this letter in a chronological set in a bound volume of Gilbert’s correspondence at the Rothamsted Experimental Station.
Gilbert had probably invited CD to visit the grass experiments at Rothamsted; in a letter dated 5 June 1881 (Calendar no. 13196), Gilbert invited CD again: It is just at this season that our “Grass-Experiments” are at their best for inspection; and although the agricultural result is not very promising, I think the differences among the 20 plots, now in the 26th season of experiment, are perhaps as striking as ever, as illustrating the vast influence of external conditions on the character and results of the struggle between the numerous components of an established mixed herbage. CD discussed the results of growing a single species of grass or many different genera of grasses in Origin, pp. 113–14.


Calendar: A calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin, 1821–1882. With supplement. 2d edition. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1994.

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.


Declines invitation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Henry Gilbert
Sent from
Source of text
Rothamsted Research (GIL9.6)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6773,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17