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From Asa Gray   7 July 1857


Believes, with CD, that extinction may be an important factor in explaining plant distributions, but sees no reason why the several species of a genus must ever have had a common or continuous area. "Convince me of that, or show me any good grounds for it … and I think you would carry me a good way with you". It is just such people as AG that CD has to satisfy and convince.

Feels that the crossing of individuals is important in repressing variation and perhaps in perpetuating the species, but instances some plants in which it cannot, apparently, take place.

Author:  Asa Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 July 1857
Classmark:  DAR 205.9: 381; DAR 165: 98
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2120

To Francis Galton   7 July [1857]


Encloses signed document.

"Much interested about all domestic animals of all savage nations."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Francis Galton
Date:  7 July [1857]
Classmark:  UCL Library Services, Special Collections (GALTON/3/2/1/27)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2121

To T. H. Huxley   9 July [1857]


Thanks THH for his cautionary response on Brullé, but departs from THH in thinking that Barnéoud, if true, would shed light on Milne-Edwards’ proposition that the wider apart classes of animals are the earlier they depart from common embryonic plan.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  9 July [1857]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 50)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2122

To John Lubbock   14 [July 1857]


Thanks JL for saving him from "a disgraceful blunder". Following their conversation he has divided the New Zealand flora as JL suggested and finds genera with four or more species are more variable than those with three or less. It will take several weeks to go back over all his material.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Date:  14 [July 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 263: 18 (EH88206467)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2123

To J. D. Hooker   14 July [1857]



Asks to borrow several Floras. Must redo calculations as John Lubbock has shown him an important error.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  14 July [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 204
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2124

To Asa Gray   20 July [1857]


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 T. C. Eyton   22 [July 1857]


Sends TCE West African dog’s skin.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Campbell Eyton
Date:  22 [July 1857]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.148)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2126

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 25 July 1857]


CD has saved an enormous amount of labour since he replaced the chain on his deep well with wire rope. He now asks readers whether they have had experience of saving on the weight of the bucket by using some material other than oak.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [before 25 July 1857]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 25 July 1857, p. 518
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2127

To W. B. Tegetmeier   27 July [1857]


Arrangements for delivery of pigeons and poultry to Down.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  27 July [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2128

From Asa Gray   [August 1857]


States he has "misgivings about the definiteness of species". Believes there is some inherent tendency for plants to originate varieties. Cross-fertilisation is likely in most cases but sees difficulties with plants like Adlumia.

Author:  Asa Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [Aug 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 165: 100, 101
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2129

To J. D. Hooker   1 August [1857]



Important issue at stake with new flora calculations: evidence that species are only strongly marked varieties. Planning large-scale survey.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  1 Aug [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 206, 207
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2130

To Laurence Edmondston   2 August [1857]


Thanks for rabbit.

Are there dun-coloured ponies in Shetlands? Are they striped?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Laurence Edmondston
Date:  2 Aug [1857]
Classmark:  L. D. Edmondston (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2131

To J. S. Henslow   10 August [1857]


Delighted that JSH is coming to Down. Sends correct train time.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  10 Aug [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A122
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2132

From T. V. Wollaston   [November–December 1857]



He was unaware that varieties occurred proportionately more in large genera.

Recommends a work [Leonard Gyllenhaal, Insecta Suecica, 4 vols. (1808–27)] for tabulating varieties.

Lists "close geographical representatives of Europaean species" based on the species numbers [in T. V. Wollaston, Catalogue of the coleopterous insects of Madeira (1857)].

Author:  Thomas Vernon Wollaston
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [Nov–Dec 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 16: 223
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2133

To J. D. Hooker   22 August [1857]



Tabulation of varieties goes on; very important as it shows the branching of forms. Mentions his principle of divergence.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  22 Aug [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 208
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2134

To W. E. Darwin   [before 29 October 1857]


Reports progress of work on the new rooms [at Down].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  [before 29 Oct 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 210.6: 18
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2135

To Asa Gray   5 September [1857]


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 J. D. Hooker   6 September [1857]



Some negative results in variety tabulation survey.

Galls on wild carrot.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  6 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 209
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2137

To Secretary, Academia Caesarea Leopoldino-Carolina Naturae Curiosorum   8 September [1857]


CD acknowledges honour of his election to the Academy.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Academia Caesarea Leopoldino-Carolina Naturae Curiosorum
Date:  8 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Slg. Darmstaedter Lc 1859: Darwin, Charles, Bl. 200–202 )
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2138

To J. D. Hooker   11 September [1857]



Representative species may complicate tabulation of varieties.

Questions for Mr Anderson about horse colouring in Norway.

Has been writing an "audacious little discussion" to show that "organic beings are not perfect, only perfect enough to struggle with their competitors".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  11 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 211; DAR 115: 73a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2140
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