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To Asa Gray   1 January [1857]

Summary

Thanks AG for 2d part of "Statistics [of the flora of the northern U. S.", Am. J. Sci. 2d ser. 22 (1856): 204–32; 2d ser. 23 (1857): 62–84, 369–403].

Is glad AG concludes species of large genera are wide-ranging, but is "riled" that he thinks the line of connection of alpine plants is through Greenland. Mentions comparisons of ranges worth investigating.

Believes trees show a tendency toward separation of the sexes and wonders if U. S. species bear this out. Asks which genera are protean in U. S.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  1 Jan [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (7)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2034

To Asa Gray   [after 15 March 1857]

Summary

Urges AG to generalise from his observations on the flora of the northern U. S.

Expected to find separation of sexes in trees because he believes all living beings require an occasional cross, and none is perpetually self-fertilising. The multitude of flowers of a tree would be an obstacle to cross-fertilisation unless the sexes tended to be separate.

The Leguminosae are CD’s greatest opposers; he cannot find that garden varieties ever cross. Could AG inquire of intelligent nurserymen on the subject?

Thanks AG for information on protean genera; much wants to know whether their great variability is due to their conditions of existence or is innate in them at all times and places.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  [After 15 Mar 1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (8)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2060

To Asa Gray   9 May [1857]

Summary

Thanks for new part of "Statistics".

Interested in disjoined species; do they tend to belong to large or small genera, and are they generally members of small families?

Is glad AG will tackle introduced plants; has noticed that the proportion of a particular family to the whole flora tends to be similar in introduced and indigenous plants.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  9 May [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (9)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2089

To Asa Gray   18 June [1857]

Summary

Thanks for AG’s remarks on disjoined species. CD’s notions are based on belief that disjoined species have suffered much extinction, which is the common cause of small genera and disjoined ranges.

Discusses out-crossing in plants.

Has failed to meet with a detailed account of regular and normal impregnation in the bud. Podostemon, Subularia, and underwater Leguminosae are the strongest cases against him.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  18 June [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (9a)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2109

To Asa Gray   20 July [1857]

Summary

Believes species have arisen, like domestic varieties, with much extinction, and that there are no such things as independently created species. Explains why he believes species of the same genus generally have a common or continuous area; they are actual lineal descendants.

Discusses fertilisation in the bud and the insect pollination of papilionaceous flowers. His theory explains why, despite the risk of injury, cross-fertilisation is usual in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, even in hermaphrodites.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  20 July [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (9b)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2125

To Asa Gray   5 September [1857]

Summary

Encloses an abstract of his ideas on natural selection and the principle of divergence; the "means by which nature makes her species".

Discusses varieties and close species in large and small genera, finding some data from AG in conflict with his expectations.

Has been observing the action of bees in fertilising kidney beans and Lobelia.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  5 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (48)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2136

To Asa Gray   29 November [1857]

Summary

Thanks AG for his criticisms of CD’s views; finds it difficult to avoid using the term "natural selection" as an agent.

Discusses crossing in Fumaria and barnacles.

Has received a naturally crossed kidney bean in which the seed-coat has been affected by the pollen of the fertilising plant.

Finds the rule of large genera having most varieties holds good and regards it as most important for his "principle of divergence".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  29 Nov [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (18)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2176
Document type
letter (7)
Author
Darwin, C. R.[X]
Addressee
Gray, Asa[X]
Correspondent
Date
1857
01 (1)
03 (1)
05 (1)
06 (1)
07 (1)
09 (1)
11 (1)
letter