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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Lawson Tait   20 March [1875]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

March 20

Dear Sir

I have read with much interest that part of your essay which you point out, & I hope hereafter to read the whole. I have not knowledge enough to form an opinion of any value of your view   But the facts which you give about these tumours, such as the enclosed teeth &c (tho’ I had never heard of the more wonderful cases you refer to) seem to me highly favourable to some such notion as that of pangenesis; for they indicate that there must be independant germs for each part.2

I cannot remember that there was any thing in my last note worth giving, but you are welcome to use any statement made by me3

Dear Sir | yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Lawson Tait, 17 March [1875].
Tait had recommended that CD read Tait 1874, pp. 58–63 (see letter from Lawson Tait, 17 March [1875] and nn. 2 and 3). CD made several annotations in this section of his copy of the article, which is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. Tait had pointed out that the development of structures like teeth or hair in some ovarian cysts could be accounted for by CD’s theory of pangenesis (Tait 1874, p. 60).
Tait quoted from CD’s letter to him of [13–15 March 1875] in Tait 1875a, p. 127.


Tait, Lawson. 1874. The pathology and treatment of diseases of the ovaries; being the Hastings prize essay of 1873. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


Has read RLT’s essay [The pathology and treatment of diseases of the ovaries (1874)] with interest. His facts about tumours seem to CD "highly favourable to some such notion as Pangenesis".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Sent from
Source of text
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek, Hannover (Noviss. 450: A 48)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9896,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23