RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1929. Unpublished Darwin letter [to Symington Grieve, 1882.] The Scotsman (18 January): 12.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by John van Wyhe and Rosy Clarkson 12.2019. RN2

NOTE: With thanks to Samantha Evans and Rosy Clarkson of The Darwin Correspondence of Charles Darwin.

Symington Grieve (1849-1932) was a whisky merchant and amateur ornithologist from Edinburgh.

Introduction by Christine Chua:

Emma Darwin's diary noted that Darwin was better on 20 March 1882 and the weather was 'exquisite' since the beginning of March. She also recorded that there was an 'odious storm' on the 22nd and that Darwin was 'out a good deal' on the 23rd.


[page] 12

UNPUBLISHED DARWIN LETTER.

Mr Symington Grieve mentioned that in 1880 he wrote a paper which appeared in the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Botanical Society. That paper created some discussion at the time, and, hearing at the beginning of 1882 that Professor Charles Darwin was interested, he sent him a copy of his note. He did not know that Profesor Darwin was then very ill and unable to leave his room. He had been told that he was so prostrate that he could only be lifted to a couch from his bed to have it made. Notwithstanding his critical state, Darwin wrote to Mr Grieve on March 22, 1882, the following letter, which had never been published:—

"Dear sir, — The subject of your essay would, I think, be well worth pursuing. I have long known that stones were transported by floating Fuci, but I cannot remember my authority. Perhaps cases are given by Lyell. It is, however, quite new to me that stones are thus dragged along the bottom, leaving a trail behind them.— I remain, dear, sir, yours faithfully, (Sgd.) Ch. Darwin."

That letter was evidence of the kindness and enthusiasm of the great naturalist. There was something pathetic about it, as it was written from his deathbed.

[...]

Picture on this Page.

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.)

March 22nd 1882

Dear Sir

The subject of your Essay would, I think, be well worth pursuing. I have long known that stones were transported by floating Fuci; but I cannot remember my authority.— Perhaps cases are given by Lyell.— It is now, however, quite new to me that stones are thus dragged along the bottom leaving a trail behind them.

I remain Dear Sir | Yours faithfuly | Ch. Darwin

[The letter here is transcribed by Rosy Clarkson.]

A DARWIN LETTER.—A hitherto unpublished letter from Charles Darwin on the floating power of seaweed, written during his last illness. See article in this page.


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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

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