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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   [11 October 1873]1

6 QA.


Dear Father

I have got a cold & unless it sets much better tomorrow I shant go to Kew.2 I wrote to Dr H3 to tell him I shouldnt come most likely & said about the price of the Micro’s & that Hartnack didnt mention any agent— Our micro’s are both petit nouveau modèle. I cant say about the “grande ouverture” no mention of that was made in ordering them I think. My micrometer is No 2 Eyepiece 3—Object Glasses 4; 5; 8. I will find out about the micrometer values the ones which are badly written. I will ask him which is the best immersion & learn how to use it.4 I told Hooker that Klein says Tisley & Spiller’s micros are absolutely the same as the ones he keeps in Paris—5

Yrs affec | FD

Uncle Ras6 is still bad

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Has Frank [‘asked about [Desmodium] [illeg]del] other Dionæas’ pencil
End of letter: ‘My Microscope papers’7 pencil


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Francis Darwin, 10 October 1873. In 1873, the Saturday following 10 October was 11 October.
CD had included questions to be answered at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in his letter to Francis of 10 October 1873.
Joseph Dalton Hooker was director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
CD had written to Francis about buying an immersion lens from Edmund Hartnack in Paris, and had asked him other questions about his own and Francis’s microscopes, in his letter of 10 October 1873.
Francis refers to Edward Emanuel Klein. Samuel Charles Tisley and George Spiller, scientific instrument makers of 172 Brompton Road, London, were agents for Hartnack’s microscopes (Chemical News, 5 December 1873, p. iv).
Erasmus Alvey Darwin.
Some notes by CD on microscopy, including an annotated handwritten instruction manual for his Smith and Beck compound microscope, are in the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge; see Jardine 2009, pp. 388–90.


Jardine, Boris. 2009. Between the Beagle and the barnacle: Darwin’s microscopy, 1837–1854. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 40: 382–95.


Has got a cold, so will not go to Kew. Wrote to Hartnack about price of microscopes and describes own model. Told Hooker about Tisley Spiller’s microscope in Paris.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 9

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9095F,” accessed on 17 September 2021,

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