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From Mary Butler   [before 25 December 1862]


J. P. Thom [of Home News] must change his position because of his health. Asks if CD can help find him a new situation.

Author:  Mary Butler
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 25 Dec 1862]
Classmark:  DAR 160: 392
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3838

To Journal of Horticulture   [before 2 December 1862]


Asks for authentic information on following questions: 1. Has the weight of the gooseberry variety London subsequently exceeded the 1845 record of 880 grains?

2. Is any record kept of the diameter of the largest pansies?

3. How early does any variety of Dahlia flower and do some varieties withstand frost better than others?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Journal of Horticulture
Date:  [before 2 Dec 1862]
Classmark:  Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener, and Country Gentleman n.s. 3 (1862): 696
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3840

From T. H. Huxley   2 December 1862


Sends first three of his Lectures to working men [on our knowledge of the phenomena of organic nature (1863)]. Does not intend them to be widely circulated.

Author:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Dec 1862
Classmark:  DAR 166.2: 296
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3841

From Robert Swinhoe   2 December 1862


Sends CD a Chinese breed of guinea-pig. Has heard it claimed that the domestic guinea-pig will not interbreed with the wild rock cavy and that, therefore, artificial selection has formed a new species.

Author:  Robert Swinhoe
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Dec 1862
Classmark:  DAR 177: 327
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3842

From Patrick Matthew   3 December 1862


Apologises for not writing last summer. Scientific progress is all but complete. Our civilisation will fall now that it has reached the peak of its development.

Author:  Patrick Matthew
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Dec 1862
Classmark:  DAR 171: 91
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3843

To John Scott   3 December [1862]


JS’s facts on Primula are new to CD.

In Linum CD has also found dimorphic and non-dimorphic species.

Plans to publish next autumn on successive homomorphic generations in Primula.

"Fluctuating forms" due to culture.

Urges JS to publish.

Lobelia functionally monoecious.

Where did JS publish on Clivia hybrids? Did he count parent and cross seeds, as Gärtner shows is necessary?

CD has done large experiments on artificially fertilised cowslips. They never resemble oxlips.

Would welcome detailed criticism of natural selection by a careful observer like JS. Most criticism worthless. Expects a great deal from Lyell’s reaction.

Suggests JS do orchid experiment to see if rostellum can be penetrated by pollen.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Scott
Date:  3 Dec [1862]
Classmark:  DAR 93: B60–3
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3844

From James Dwight Dana   4 December 1862


Illness has prevented his reading Origin. He has, however, expressed his [negative] opinion on the subject of mutability of species in his Manual of geology [1862]. Since his persuasions are so strong, he can do no less.

Author:  James Dwight Dana
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  4 Dec 1862
Classmark:  Yale University Library: Manuscripts and Archives (Dana Family Papers (MS 164) Series 1, Box 2, folder 44)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3845

From J. D. Hooker   [14 December 1862]



On Asa Gray’s letter; has written why he avoids alluding to the war.

Has read Max Müller [see 3752] – last part unphilosophical.

On CD’s pigeon example, long-beaked and short-beaked pigeons must be either sterile or not inter se. There is "no such thing as Equality – hence no such thing as chance and Nat. Sel. is the sword of Damocles hanging over your head if you make a slip in your premisses."

Has read note on Lythrum sent several weeks ago. Its consequences are of most prolific order to CD’s doctrine.

Kew has no wild gooseberries.

JDH praises the Saturday Review reply [14 (1862): 589] to the Duke of Argyll’s bitter review of Orchids ["The supernatural", Edinburgh Rev. 116 (1862): 378–97].

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [14 Dec 1862]
Classmark:  DAR 101: 83–4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3846

From John Scott   6 December [1862]



JS not ready to publish on Primula.

Some of his objections to natural selection are based on belief that plants with separate sexes are less variable than those in which sexes are confluent (as in ferns).

Sends his paper on fern varieties [Edinburgh New Philos. J. 2d ser. 16 (1862): 209–27].

Will soon read paper on Drosera irritability [Edinburgh New Philos. J. 2d ser. 17 (1863): 317–18].

How does CD explain capricious distribution of irritability among plants?

P. scotica’s non-dimorphism is native.

Beginning Laelia experiments shortly.

Author:  John Scott
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  6 Dec [1862]
Classmark:  DAR 108: 182a–d
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3847

To T. H. Huxley   7 December [1862]


On THH’s Lectures to working men.

Work by Ferdinand J. Cohn on the contractile tissue of plants ["Über contractile Gewebe im Pflanzenreich" Abh. Schlesischen Ges. Vaterl. Cult. 1 (1861)] seems important. CD has come to the conclusion that there must be some substance in plants analogous to the supposed diffused nervous matter in lower animals.

[Part of P.S. missing from original.]

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  7 Dec [1862]
Classmark:  DAR 145: 227, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 179)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3848

To T. W. Woodbury   7 December [1862]


Cannot aid TWW with respect to bees from East Indies. Suggests he write to Edward Blyth.

Thanks him for getting query on variation in bees circulated in Germany.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas White Woodbury
Date:  7 Dec [1862]
Classmark:  DAR 148: 374
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3849

From Asa Gray   9 December 1862


Has forwarded Mitchella roots and Cypripedium.

Author:  Asa Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  9 Dec 1862
Classmark:  DAR 165: 125
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3850

From Julius von Haast   9 December 1862


Will try to procure specimens of native rat and frog for CD. Will be glad to make observations for him.

Cites case of a species of duck that normally nests on ground but builds in trees if disturbed.

Author:  John Francis Julius (Julius) von Haast
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  9 Dec 1862
Classmark:  LS
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3851

To John Scott   11 December [1862]


Criticises style of JS’s fern paper [Edinburgh New Philos. J. 2d ser. 16 (1862): 209–27].

JS’s remark on "the two sexes counteracting variability in the product of the one" is new to CD.

Does the female [fern?] plant always produce female by parthenogenesis?

They seem to work on same subjects; CD has much material on Drosera.

Does not understand JS’s objections to natural selection.

Offers to suggest experiments.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Scott
Date:  11 Dec [1862]
Classmark:  DAR 93: B37, B49–52
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3853

From Edinburgh Royal Medical Society   [before 12 December 1862]


A diploma enrolling CD as an honorary member of the Society.

Author:  Edinburgh Royal Medical Society
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 12 Dec 1862]
Classmark:  DAR 229: 6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3853F

To William Forsell Kirby   12 December [1862]


CD sends thanks for Manual of European butterflies [1862].

Is pleased that WFK does not believe in immutability of species, "a doctrine perfectly adapted to stop philosophical research", and hopes he will publish further.

Notes WFK’s name is the same as the entomologist’s.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Forsell Kirby
Date:  12 Dec [1862]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3854

To J. D. Hooker   12 [December 1862]



Maintains his view on crossing. Thinks practical breeders would agree with him; doubts that variability and domestication are at all necessarily correlative.

Identical plants in different conditions a heavy argument against "direct action" [of physical conditions].

His 1000-pigeon case is altered if long-beaked are in least degree sterile with short-beaked.

His work on dimorphism inclines him to believe that sterility is at first a selected quality to keep incipient species distinct.

Case of easy modification of Lythrum pollen to favour or prevent crossing.


Has just finished chapter on variations of cultivated plants.

Edinburgh doctors have sent him Diploma of Medical Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  12 [Dec 1862]
Classmark:  DAR 115: 176
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3855

From J. D. Hooker   [21 December 1862]



"Throttled off" Welwitschia paper at Linnean Society [Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 24 (1863): 1–48].

Has read Tocqueville’s Democracy in America [1835–40] – disagrees with it. Tocqueville says democracy in America is a success. Democracy has persisted because there has been no cause for its overthrow (i.e., no struggle for existence, too much mobility).

Sends J. W. Dawson’s unsatisfactory letter.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [21 Dec 1862]
Classmark:  DAR 101: 80–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3856

From A. C. Ramsay   13 December 1862


Sends 3d ed. of catalogue of rocks [A descriptive catalogue of the rock specimens in the Museum of Practical Geology (1862)].

T. F. Jamieson’s paper on the parallel roads of Glen Roy to be read 20 January. Asks whether CD will be a referee.

Author:  Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  13 Dec 1862
Classmark:  DAR 176: 10
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3857

From E. A. Darwin   14 December [1862?]


Describes a box which has come for CD.

Asks for John Price’s address.

Author:  Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  14 Dec [1862?]
Classmark:  DAR 105 (ser. 2): 12
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3859
Document type
letter (547)
Darwin, C. R.[X]
Hooker, J. D. (84)
Gray, Asa (37)
Darwin, W. E. (32)
Oliver, Daniel (23)
Bates, H. W. (22)
Lubbock, John (20)
Oxenden, G. C. (17)
Huxley, T. H. (15)
Murray, John (b) (11)
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Scott, John (10)
Babington, C. C. (8)
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Innes, J. B. (8)
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Nevill, D. F. (5)
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