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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gerard Krefft   [September 1873]1

My dear Sir

I have been ill & must be very brief.—2 Your letter amused me & my family greatly, & I read with much interest your letters to the newspaper.3

Many thanks for the fact about the globular worm-castings; but no bottle has yet reached me.4 I wish you heartily all success. Your letter is so fresh & spirited, you ought to write a book, tinctured with Nat. Hist., about the Colony.5

Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I send on next page my autograph6

P.S. Do you know any Botanist who observes living plants. I much want to know whether the species of Eucalyptus are “dichogamous,” i.e. whether in the same flower the male & female organs are mature at the same time or day.— If Bees visit flowers after the pollen is quite or almost quite shed, this wd. almost show that the flowers are dichogamo〈us〉— I am tired & cannot write.—



The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters from Gerard Krefft, 8 August 1873 and 1 November 1873.
On 26 August 1873, CD had become unwell with a partial loss of memory for twelve hours and ‘numerous bad sinking fits’ (see Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Krefft had enclosed a translation of a humorous poem as well as (probably) the first sections of his article ‘Savages, fossil and recent’ (Krefft 1873), which was being published in parts in the Sydney Mail (see letter from Gerard Krefft, 8 August 1873 and nn. 1 and 6).
Krefft had sent worm-castings in response to a request from CD (see letter from Gerard Krefft, 8 August 1873 and n. 4).
Krefft did not publish such a work on New South Wales, but in 1877 he founded the short-lived popular journal Krefft’s Nature in Australia (Aust. dict. biog.).
Krefft’s request for an autograph has not been found. It was for Henry Parkes, the premier of the Australian parliament (see letter from Gerard Krefft, 1 November 1873).


Krefft, Gerard. 1873. Savages, fossil and recent. Sydney Mail, 19 July 1873, p. 74; 26 July 1873, p. 106; 2 August 1873, p. 142; 16 August 1873, p. 210.


Thanks for observations on worm-castings and for JLGK’s amusing letter.

Wants to know whether species of Eucalyptus are dichogamous. [The P.S. on Eucalyptus may be part of another letter to another correspondent.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Johann Louis Gerard (Gerard) Krefft
Sent from
Source of text
Mitchell Library, Sydney (MLMSS 5828); Smithsonian Libraries (Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology MSS 405 A Gift of the Burndy Library)
Physical description
2pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9037,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21