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To Athenæum   5 May [1863]


Replies to a reviewer’s statement, that any theory of descent will connect large classes of facts, by pointing out that no other explanation has been as satisfactory as natural selection. But whatever view is adopted "signifies extremely little in comparison with the admission that species have descended from other species and have not been created immutable".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Athenæum
Date:  5 May [1863]
Classmark:  Athenæum, 9 May 1863, p. 617
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4142

From W. E. Darwin   17 and 20 May [1863]


Alarmed that CD did not see what WED saw in Corydalis lutea. Has found buckbean in the New Forest. Will get seeds of Corydalis claviculata.

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  17 and 20 May 1863
Classmark:  Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 16)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4168F

From J. D. Hooker   [24 May 1863]



Flora of Cameroons shakes JDH’s faith in ability to explain past or present migrations. Sees need for a major novel explanation such as natural selection, glacial cold, or continental connections.

Lyell in a bad way about feud with Falconer.

JDH’s opinion of Wallace, Bates, J. E. Gray, Owen, Asa Gray, Lubbock, and Bentham.

Bentham’s Linnean Society address [see 4118].

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [24 May 1863]
Classmark:  DAR 101: 143–6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4169

From Lydia Ernestine Becker   18 May 1863


Sends flowers of a variety of Lychnis dioica which has bisexual flowers.

Author:  Lydia Ernestine Becker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  18 May 1863
Classmark:  DAR 160: 108
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4170

From Armand de Quatrefages   19 May [1863]


Spoke on Moulin-Quignon Jaw before Académie des Sciences.

Thanks CD for photograph [of Niata skull].

Controversy on species fixity [at Société d’Anthropologie].

Sends photographs of Mouin-Quignon Jaw.

Author:  Jean Louis Armand (Armand de Quatrefages) Quatrefages de Bréau
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  19 May [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 175: 1
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4171

From George Bentham   21 May 1863


Returns CD’s pamphlets.

Wishes CD would work out further what keeps certain species immutable for great periods.

Feels himself a convert, but cannot go all lengths with CD.

Feels some reviewers distort CD’s argument.

Author:  George Bentham
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  21 May 1863
Classmark:  DAR 160: 157
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4172

From L. E. Becker   21 May [1863]


Has forwarded a box of Lychnis plants to CD; gives her observations on the variations in stamen length.

Author:  Lydia Ernestine Becker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  21 May [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 160: 106
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4173

From John Scott   21 May [1863]


Supports, in his orchid paper, CD’s view that sterility occurs at random [Trans. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh 7 (1863): 543–50].

Cannot get his Drosera paper published [abstract in Edinburgh New Philos. J. 2d ser. 17 (1863): 317–18].

Author:  John Scott
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  21 May [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 108: 181, DAR 177: 88
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4174

To George Bentham   22 May [1863]


Natural selection implies that a form remains unaltered unless an alteration is to its benefit. This is not inconsistent with some forms remaining stable for long periods. Natural selection must at present be grounded entirely on general considerations. Of details we are still greatly ignorant.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Bentham
Date:  22 May [1863]
Classmark:  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Bentham Correspondence, Vol. 3, Daintree–Dyer, 1830–1884, GEB/1/3: f. 711–13)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4176

From John Scott   22 May 1863


J. H. Balfour has arranged a position for him at a Cinchona nursery. Reluctant to take this position in part because of his experiments for CD.

Asks CD’s advice and solicits his aid in finding a better colonial position. James McNab mistreats him.

Author:  John Scott
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  22 May 1863
Classmark:  DAR 177: 90
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4177

From W. D. Fox   [16–22 May 1863]


A "quiz" on CD has appeared in the Illustrated Times [2 May 1863, p. 317].

Author:  William Darwin Fox
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [16–22 May 1863]
Classmark:  DAR 164: 175
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4178

To Roland Trimen   23 May [1863]


CD has drawn up a paper from RT’s orchid notes on the fertilisation of Disa grandiflora for the Linnean Society [J. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Bot.) 7 (1863): 144–7].

CD would welcome seeds of any Cape Oxalis for his investigation of dimorphism.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Roland Trimen
Date:  23 May [1863]
Classmark:  Royal Entomological Society (Trimen papers, box 21: 56)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4179

To J. D. Hooker   23 May [1863]



Seeks advice for John Scott on job offer in India.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  23 May [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 115: 194
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4180

To W. D. Fox   23 May [1863]


Health has been poor but eczema is improved.

A "squib" about Owen and Huxley on the brain has appeared in Public Opinion [3 (1863): 497–8].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  23 May [1863]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 139)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4181

From L. E. Becker   23–4 May [1863]


Gives the results of her observations on Lychnis; lists four different types of flower present and their occurrence.

Author:  Lydia Ernestine Becker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  23–4 May [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 160: 107
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4182

To John Scott   23 May [1863]


Has written to Hooker for his advice about the Darjeeling position. JS should not refuse the position on account of his experiments.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Scott
Date:  23 May [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 93: B15–16
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4183

To Hermann Crüger   25 May [1863]


Thanks for news about fertilisation of Melastomataceae.

Discusses fertilisation of orchids.

Mentions observations by John Scott.

Asks about "bud-variations".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Hermann Crüger
Date:  25 May [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 143: 359
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4184

To John Scott   25 and 28 May [1863]


CD does not think he could be wrong about the stigma of Bolbophyllum.

Will not write up Drosera for years.

Praises JS’s experiments. Invites him to send a paper to Linnean Society.

L. C. Treviranus says all species of Primula present two forms except P. longiflora.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Scott
Date:  25 and 28 May 1863
Classmark:  DAR 93: B41–4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4185

To W. H. Flower   25 May [1863]


Sends cheque to pay for photographs.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Henry Flower
Date:  25 May [1863]
Classmark:  RR Auction (dealers) (November 2006)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4185F

To Lydia Ernestine Becker   [26 or 27 May 1863]


Thinks the dark purple anthers are a mass of a Cryptogamic plant, allied to the smut of Wheat. There remains a case of a reversion from a diœcious to a hermaphrodite condition.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Lydia Ernestine Becker
Date:  [26 or 27 May 1863]
Classmark:  Journal of Botany 7: 291–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4185G
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