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Darwin Correspondence Project

To [W. W. Baxter?]   [early July 1871]1


Dear Sir

Will you have the kindness to send or procure for me 12 oz in Bottle with cork of Nitrate of Ammonia, as pure as possible, which I want for experiment on plants.2 Also to fill the accompanying Bottle with distilled water.— Will you have the goodness to see whether the 2 accompanying measuring glasses are as far as ounces are concerned accurate, & if not let me have others.— I want also a minim glass like the enclosed.3

You were so obliging as to enquire for me about Curare or Ourari poison: I have now got some, but it came from Leipzig.4

Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin

I leave home on the 26th.5 which I mention on account of the Nitrate of Ammonia & Distilled water.—

Please fill accompanying Bottle with Lavender Water.—

Also a double sheet of patent felt or lint like enclosed.—


The date is established by the relationship between this letter, the letter from Michael Foster, [26 June 1871], and the letter to Michael Foster, 29 [June 1871] (Correspondence vol. 19). The recipient is conjectured from the fact that Baxter, a chemist in Bromley, was regularly used by the Darwins.
CD described the use of nitrate of ammonia in Insectivorous plants, pp. 148–53.
A minim was a measurement used by apothecaries, equivalent to one drop of water.
Curare and ourari are alternative names for the paralysing poison derived from Strychnos toxifera. CD had obtained the curare from Michael Foster, who had two stocks of the poison, one of which was purchased in Leipzig (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter from Michael Foster, [26 June 1871]).
The Darwins stayed at Haredene, Albury, Surrey, from 28 July to 25 August 1871 (Correspondence vol. 19, Appendix II).


Orders nitrate of ammonia for experiment on plants.

Are measuring glasses accurate?

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9524,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)