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Letter 1300

Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D.

3 Feb [1850]

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    Summary Add

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    Hooker's imprisonment.

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    Birth of Leonard Darwin.

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    Barnacles will never end; on to fossils.


Down Farnborough Kent

Feb. 3d

My dear Hooker

I hope that there cannot be a shadow of a doubt, that long before this letter gets to India, you will be a free man.— I was quite astounded a short time ago, when indolently skimming through the Paper, to see your imprisonment announced. I was at first anxious enough about your safety, so I wrote to Henslow, & this, through the very great kindness of your Father, procured me a note from him, giving me details of all that he knew, & which, I trust, shows that your case is not bad. Indeed if you are enabled to go on collecting it may even be a good thing. In another way, I hope it may be a good thing, for perhaps Sir William & Lady Hooker will insist on your coming home;—surely you must have reaped a noble & sufficient Botanical harvest.— For myself I have in truth no news; I have never been so much cut off from all scientific friends, for I have found that interrupting the water cure does not answer. My health has of late kept stationary, & I begin to fear I shall not derive much more benefit from W. Cure; though the amount has been more than I at first even dared to hope for.— Sharp work my Baths have been for 5 minutes with water under 40o— I am on the Council of Royal Soc. & am ashamed to say that I have not attended once.—

I have now for a long time been at work at the fossil cirripedes, which take up more time even than the recent;—confound & exterminate the whole tribe; I can see no end to my work.—

My wife desires her kindest remembrances to you; she has lately produced our fourth Boy & seventh child!—a precious lot of young beggars we are rearing.— I was very bold & administered myself, before the Doctor came, Chloroform to my wife with admirable success.—

I shall be anxious to hear how Falconer goes on; I do most sincerely trust that he may have behaved better to you: if you have any communication with him, give him my affectionate remembrances.—

Farewell, forgive this dull letter, & accept all good wishes of all kinds from your most sincere friend | C. Darwin

Perhaps you may not have seen in the papers the account of Dr Fittons eldest son with his wife & one child, having all been wrecked & drowned on their way to N. Zealand.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1300.f1
    See CD's letter to W. J. Hooker, [January 1850], n. 1.
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    f2 1300.f2
    CD was elected onto the council of the Royal Society in November 1849; he attended only one council meeting on 7 February 1850 and was not re-elected (Royal Society, Minutes of Council 1846–58).
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    f3 1300.f3
    See second letter from J. D. Hooker, 3 February 1849.
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    f4 1300.f4
    The Times, 24 January 1850, p. 4, records the shipwreck of the transport ship Richard Dart on 19 June 1849. On board were a ‘Dr. and Mrs. Fitton and child’, who died in the wreck. William John Fitton was the oldest son of William Henry Fitton the geologist.
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