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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [12 December 1875]1

2. Bryanston St

Sunday 11th

My dear Hooker

I have not felt so angry for years, & could hardly get to sleep after receiving your letter last night.2 I will urge Frank (now in N. Wales) to get admitted on Jan 25th. & we will come & vote together.— I shall feel it a duty to come up, & will attend, if my head will possibly allow me.3 I hope & think that the voting is before the papers are read aloud.— I will call on Allman4 one of these first mornings, as I want much to hear who the malcontents are. It seems to me the most disgraceful act which any scientific Socy. has done in my time.— I wish that I knew what the malcontents have to say for themselves.— I will speak to Romanes to get admitted so as to vote.—5 I wish that I had got a list of members to see whether there is anyone whom I could interest. What a waste of time & good feelings these blackguards cause.

Ever affecty. yours | C. Darwin

I am off in an hour’s time to Huxley & will hear what he says.—6

I have come back from Huxley but he does not know who the Malcontents are.


The year and month are established by the allusion to the blackballing of Edwin Ray Lankester at the Linnean Society (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 2 December 1875). The day is established by the reference to a visit to Thomas Henry Huxley, which took place on Sunday 12 December 1875 (see n. 6, below). CD dated the letter Sunday 11 in error.
Hooker’s letter has not been found; he evidently wrote to give more detail about the blackballing of Lankester at the 2 December 1875 meeting of the Linnean Society (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 2 December 1875).
CD decided to second a new proposal for Lankester to be elected a fellow of the Linnean Society (see letter to ?, [after 11 December 1875]); Lankester was proposed at the next meeting of the society on 16 December, but the election did not take place until the meeting of 3 February 1876, when Lankester was duly elected (Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (1875–6): iii). Francis Darwin, having been elected a fellow on 2 December 1875 (Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (1875–6): ii), still had to be formally admitted to the society (see letter from Francis Darwin, [after 2 December 1875] and n. 2).
George James Allman was president of the Linnean Society.
George John Romanes had been elected a fellow of the Linnean Society on 2 December 1875 (Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (1875–6): ii). He had to be formally admitted by the president at a meeting of the society before he was eligible to vote.
CD and Emma Darwin visited Thomas Henry Huxley on Sunday 12 December 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


CD is furious at the prospect of Lankester’s being black-balled by the Linnean Society. He plans to solicit support from various members and to come up with Frank for the voting.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
London, Bryanston St, 2
Source of text
DAR 95: 401–2
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10295,” accessed on 25 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23