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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [29 June 1858]1


Tuesday Night

My dear Hooker

I have just read your letter, & see you want papers at once. I am quite prostrated & can do nothing but I send Wallace2 & my abstract of abstract of letter to Asa Gray,3 which gives most imperfectly only the means of change & does not touch on reasons for believing species do change. I daresay all is too late. I hardly care about it.—

But you are too generous to sacrifice so much time & kindness.— It is most generous, most kind. I send sketch of 1844 solely that you may see by your own handwriting that you did read it.—4

I really cannot bear to look at it.— Do not waste much time. It is miserable in me to care at all about priority.—

The table of contents will show what it is.5 I would make a similar, but shorter & more accurate sketch for Linnean Journal.— I will do anything

God Bless you my dear kind friend. I can write no more. I send this by servant to Kew.

Yours | C. Darwin


The endorsement is confirmed by the relationship to the preceding letter.
Alfred Russel Wallace’s manuscript entitled ‘On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type’. The manuscript had evidently been returned to CD by Charles Lyell (see letters to Charles Lyell, 18 [June 1858] and [25 June 1858]). The text is given in Appendix IV.
The original letter and enclosure to Asa Gray are now in the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Asa Gray, 5 September [1857]). The draft of the enclosure that CD kept was corrected in CD’s hand, perhaps during the latter part of June 1858, before sending it on to Hooker for publication. The manuscript also contains a few pencil corrections perhaps by Frances Harriet Hooker (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 [July 1858]). At the bottom of the manuscript, CD wrote in pencil: ‘This was sent about 9 months ago, but I daresay I can get Date’. The signature, originally ‘C.D.’, was altered in pencil to read ‘C. Darwin’. On the verso, CD wrote in ink: ‘This was sent to A. Gray 8 or 9. months ago. I think October 1857 [’or perhaps‘ del]’ (DAR 6: 51–6). The text of the manuscript is given in Appendix III.
CD made the same point in his letter to Charles Lyell, [25 June 1858]. Hooker had read the fair copy of CD’s essay of 1844 (Foundations) early in 1847. The fair copy (DAR 113) is annotated by Hooker and by CD.
CD refers to the extensive table of contents prefixed to the fair copy of his essay of 1844 (DAR 113). On the third (unnumbered) page, he wrote in ink: ‘This was sketched in 1839 & copied out in full, as here written & read by you in 1844’. CD probably refers to an occasion in 1845 when he invited Hooker to read his manuscript (Correspondence vol. 3, letter to J. D. Hooker, [5 or 12 November 1845]). See also n. 4, above.


JDH wants papers at once. CD sends Wallace’s paper and CD’s abstract of his letter to Asa Gray. Sends [species] sketch of 1844 with JDH’s notes to assure JDH he had read it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 240
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2298,” accessed on 20 October 2017,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7