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CD memorandum   July 1857


Memorandum about £250 investment in Patent Siliceous Stone Company, owned by David Thomas Ansted and Frederick Ransome.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  unknown
Date:  July 1857
Classmark:  DAR 210.10: 23
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2115F

To Asa Gray   [after 15 March 1857]


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 Gardeners’ Chronicle   [after 28 February 1857]


Reports that he fertilised a single pale red carnation with the pollen of a crimson Spanish pink, and a Spanish pink with the pollen of the same carnation. He got seed from both crosses and raised many seedlings. There was no difference between the seedlings from reciprocal crosses, not one plant set a single seed.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [after 28 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 7 March 1857, p. 155
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2061

To Robert Patterson   10 March [1857]


Asks RP’s help in procuring a specimen of a real Irish rabbit, L. veomicule [Lepus vermicula]?.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert Patterson
Date:  10 Mar [1857]
Classmark:  W. E. Praeger 1935, p. 714
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2062

To J. D. Hooker   15 March [1857]



Separation of sexes in trees [U. S.].

Do plants offer positive evidence for "continuous land" theory?

Protean genera.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  15 Mar [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 193
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2066

To J. D. Hooker   [21 March 1857]



Ranges of species in large vs small genera: Asa Gray’s compilation fits CD’s expectation.

CD studies seedling mortality in his weed garden.

JDH’s work on Indian flora.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  [21 Mar 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 192a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2067

To J. D. Dana   5 April [1857]


Asks whether Crustacea from temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere are more strongly analogous to those in same latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere than are Arctic to Antarctic Crustacea.

Discusses astonishing finds of mammalian and reptilian remains in Purbeck beds; notes reactions of Lyell.

Has doubts about Richard Owen’s recent classification of mammals [J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Zool.) 2 (1858): 1–37].

Works away [on Natural selection].

Asa Gray has given valuable assistance.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  James Dwight Dana
Date:  5 Apr [1857]
Classmark:  Yale University Library: Manuscripts and Archives (Dana Family Papers (MS 164) Series 1, Box 2, folder 44)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2072

To J. D. Hooker   8 April [1857]



Independence of variation from climate shown by several plant genera; CD asks for confirmation.

Progressing with book [Natural selection].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  8 Apr [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 191
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2073

To William Sharpey   9 April [1857]


Recommendations of books of general interest [for the Royal Society library]. These include [Louis] Agassiz’s works, [William] McGillivray’s [History of] British birds, and David Low’s [On the domesticated animals of the British Islands].

Comments on current candidates for the Royal Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Sharpey
Date:  9 Apr [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 249: 128 (photocopy)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2073F

To J. D. Hooker   12 April [1857]



Thanks JDH for response on variation. Studying variations that seem correlated with environment, e.g., north vs south, ascending mountains.

CD’s weed garden: observations on slugs killing seedlings.

Seed-salting. One-seventh of the plants of any country could be transported 924 miles by sea and would germinate.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  12 Apr [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 192
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2075

To Charles Lyell   13 April [1857]


CD returns a letter from Wollaston.

Although opposed to the Forbesian doctrine [of continental extension] as a general rule, CD would have no objection to its being proved in some cases. Does not think Wollaston has proved it; nor can anyone until more is known about the means of distribution of insects – but the identity of the two faunas is certainly interesting.

His health is very poor and his "everlasting species-Book" quite overwhelms him with work. It is beyond his powers, but he hopes to live to finish it.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  13 Apr [1857]
Classmark:  Edinburgh University Library, Centre for Research Collections (Gen.109/702)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2077

To Laurence Edmondston   19 April [1857]


Thanks for pigeon.

Are there Shetland birds chequered with black marks, as Carl Julian Graba states are in Faeroes [Reise nach Färö (1830)] and Col. King in the Hebrides?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Laurence Edmondston
Date:  19 Apr [1857]
Classmark:  L. D. Edmondston (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2079

To P. H. Gosse   27 April [1857]


Asks PHG to conduct an experiment to see if young littoral molluscs will cling to a duck’s foot – CD seeks to explain distribution of molluscs without adopting E. Forbes’s [continental extension] theory.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Philip Henry Gosse
Date:  27 Apr [1857]
Classmark:  Leeds University Library Special Collections (Brotherton Collection: Gosse Correspondence)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2082

To J. D. Hooker   [29 April 1857]



Curative power of hydropathy.

General hairiness of alpine plants questioned: direct environmental effect.

CD has long felt JDH is too hard on bad observers.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  [29 Apr 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 194
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2084

To W. D. Fox   [30 April 1857]


His impressions of the hydropathic establishment and E. W. Lane. Is convinced the only thing for "chronic cases" is the water-cure.

Asks if WDF knows of any breed of pig that originated or was modified by a cross with a Chinese or Neapolitan pig, and whether the crossbreed bred true.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  [30 Apr 1857]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 103)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2085

To Alfred Russel Wallace   1 May 1857


Reports long preparation of work on how species and varieties differ. Agreement with Wallace’s conclusions as reported in Annals and Magazine of Natural History and in his letter to CD of 10 0ct [1856]. On distinction between domestic varieties and those in "a state of nature".

On mating of jaguars and leopards, the breeding of poultry, pigeons, etc.

Requests help for his experimenting on means of distribution of organic beings on oceanic islands.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alfred Russel Wallace
Date:  1 May 1857
Classmark:  The British Library (Add MS 46434)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2086

To J. D. Hooker   [2 May 1857]



JDH has shaved the hair off the alpine plant.

CD apologises for his criticism.

Apparent but false relations of plant structure to climate: heath-like foliage of all Cape of Good Hope plants.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  [2 May 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 195
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2087

To J. D. Hooker   [3 May 1857]



JDH’s last letter demolishes woolly alpine plant theory.

Correlation of apetalous flowers and cold climate.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  [3 May 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 196
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2088

To Asa Gray   9 May [1857]


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 W. B. Tegetmeier   12 [May 1857]


Accepts a dozen eggs of rumpless Polands. Having so many enables him to see whether the breed "comes true".

Asks what colour turbits have dark tails – "it is just the class of facts which interest me".

Do fowls when crossed throw odd and unexpected colours like pigeons?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  12 [May 1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2090
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