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To Lawson Tait   4 June [1875]

Summary

CD’s observations on the power of movement and transmission of motor impulses in plants. If RLT succeeds with the tails of mice, it will be "a beautiful little discovery"; CD will enjoy it the more "because some German sneered at natural selection and instanced the tail of the mouse" [see 10013].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  4 June [1875]
Classmark:  Natural History Museum (General Special Collections DC AL 1/19)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10009

To Lawson Tait   11 June [1875]

Summary

Has found that H. G. Bronn in the chapter appended to his translation of Origin cited ears and tail of mice as facts opposed to natural selection. Suggests RLT examine hairs of tails of mice for possible nerves.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  11 June [1875]
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 24–5
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10013

To Lawson Tait   13 June [1875]

Summary

RLT’s observations come too late, as CD’s book on Droseraceae has been printed.

Reports on his observations of ferment in secretions in Drosera rotundifolia and Drosophyllum.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  13 June [1875]
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 26
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10017

To Lawson Tait   [after 17 June 1875] 

Summary

RLT will find abundant evidence of absorption by Aldrovanda in CD’s forthcoming book [Insectivorous plants]. Congratulates him on his discovery of ferments.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  [after 17 June 1875]
Classmark:  Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10019

To Lawson Tait   17 [July 1875]

Summary

Informs RLT of J. D. Hooker’s work on Nepenthes ["Nepenthaceae, Cytinaceae", in Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis by A. P. de Candolle (1873), 17: 90–116].

Has asked JDH to try secretions of pitchers that had caught no insects.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  17 [July 1875]
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 27
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10023

To Lawson Tait   20 July [1875]

Summary

CD returns MS of a paper by RLT. "If you have succeeded in separating the ferment, the fact is manifestly important." Asks whether RLT tested the digestive ability of fluid from pitchers without animal matter. This would be necessary to prove that there was ferment in the fluid. CD is glad to hear about the [passage?] for guiding insects; he had guessed this to be the case.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  20 July [1875]
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 28
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10080

To Lawson Tait   10 September [1875]

Summary

CD gives a few instances of various animals (starfish, earwigs, spiders) that take charge of their young.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  10 Sept [1875]
Classmark:  Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10154

To Lawson Tait   15 August [1875]

Summary

Thanks him for his kind review of Insectivorous plants in the Spectator. Disputes Tait’s report of a Nepenthes that trapped a fly but did not digest it.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  15 Aug [1875]
Classmark:  Leeds University Library Special Collections (Brotherton Collection, tipped into Insectivorous plants (1875): MS Misc. Letters 2)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10177F

To Lawson Tait   14 October [1875]

Summary

Will be happy to present RLT’s paper on Nepenthes to Royal Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  14 Oct [1875]
Classmark:  Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas (MS 331 box 1 folder 11)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10199

To Lawson Tait   27 November [1875]

Summary

Because CD has been unwell, he has not read RLT’s paper carefully, but it seems an important contribution to science. Hopes RLT’s chemical observations will be confirmed. It seems a great anomaly that two substances with an acid should be requisite for digestion.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  27 Nov [1875]
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 30
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10280

To Lawson Tait   1 December [1875]

Summary

Abstract sent to the Royal Society. It seems to CD "uncommonly clear and well-done".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  1 Dec [1875]
Classmark:  Josh B. Rosenblum (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10284

To Lawson Tait   22 February [1876]

Summary

Herbert Spencer invented the term "survival of the fittest". CD used it but found "natural selection" more convenient.

He has often spoken of natural selection’s destruction of individuals which do not come up to "proper standards of structure", which comes to nearly the same thing as RLT’s suggested distinction.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  22 Feb [1876]
Classmark:  Randall House, Santa Barbara (dealers) catalogue XXV (1993)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10406

To Lawson Tait   2 March 1876

Summary

Thanks RLT for his letter. CD took much trouble over his two cases [regrowth of amputated supernumerary digits, in Variation] but the evidence was shaky.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  2 Mar 1876
Classmark:  DAR 147: 527
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10414

To Lawson Tait   25 March [1876]

Summary

RLT’s two articles in Spectator [4 Mar and 25 Mar 1876] greatly honour CD.

Tait has made a good point about "Survival of the Fittest".

Dr Rudinger’s extensive inquiries show that all eminent German surgeons are unanimous about non-growth of extra digit after amputation.

J. Kollmann has written regretting CD has given up atavism and extra digits [in 2d ed. of Variation]; gives new evidence of a rudimentary sixth digit in batrachians.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  25 Mar [1876]
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 33
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10428

To Lawson Tait   28 March 1876

Summary

James Paget’s scepticism about regrowth of digits. Suggests RLT experiment with amputation of digits, both extra and normal, of kittens and fowls. Fears they will fail to regrow, but, if regrowth is proved, it will be an important discovery.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  28 Mar 1876
Classmark:  Roy Davids Ltd (dealer) (1996)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10434

To Lawson Tait   24 April 1876

Summary

The Royal Society have returned RLT’s Nepenthes paper and will not have it read because of unfavourable reports from referees.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  24 Apr 1876
Classmark:  DAR 202: 84
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10470

To Lawson Tait   29 April [1876]

Summary

Sends Thiselton-Dyer’s suggestions for references to Nepenthes,

and gives his opinion on what will influence the Royal Society’s Council in considering RLT’s candidacy.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  29 Apr [1876]
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 36
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10484

To Lawson Tait   5 May 1876

Summary

CD sends the gist of an extremely negative report from the [Royal Society’s] physiological referee on the value of RLT’s modifications of Brücke’s process for isolating pepsin [see 10470].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  5 May 1876
Classmark:  Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10497

To Lawson Tait   6 August 1876

Summary

CD accepts membership in the Birmingham Natural History Society.

Thanks RLT for article. CD cannot quite agree that "under a theological point of view, the origin of evil is explained by survival".

Is glad RLT has not given up polydactylism.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  6 Aug 1876
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 35
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10571

To Lawson Tait   17 January [1877]

Summary

CD has only a trifling point to make in criticism [of RLT’s excerpt from Diseases of women]: he believes "the high value of well-bred males is due to their transmitting their good qualities to a far greater number of offspring than can the female".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Date:  17 Jan [1877]
Classmark:  DAR 221.5: 37
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-10800
Document type
letter (34)
Author
Addressee
Tait, Lawson[X]
Correspondent
Darwin, C. R.[X]
Tait, Lawson[X]
Date
1871 (1)
1875 (14)
1876 (8)
1877 (3)
1880 (6)
1881 (1)
1882 (1)
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