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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   7 April [1847]

Down Farnborough Kent

April 7th.

My dear Hooker

I should have written before now, had I not been almost continually unwell, & at present I am suffering from four boils & swellings, one of which hardly allows me the use of my right arm & has stopped all my work & damped all my spirits.— I was much disappointed at missing my trip to Kew, & the more so, as I had forgotten you would be away all this month;1 but I had no choice & was in bed nearly all Friday & Saturday. I congratulate you over your improved prospects about India, but at the same time most sincerely groan over it: I shall feel quite lost without you to discuss many points with, & to point out (ill-luck to you) difficulties & objections to my species hypotheses. It will be a horrid shame, if money stops your expedition; but Government will surely help you to some extent.—2

I am delighted & surprised to hear, after what you said, that you have found a clue to affinities of Lepidodendrum; I will not mention it to a soul. Your present trip, with your new views, amongst the coal-plants will be very interesting.3 If you have spare time, but not without, I shd. enjoy, hearing some news of your progress. Your present trip will work well in, if you go to any of the coal-districts in India: would this not be a good object to parade before Government; their utilitarian souls would comprehend this. By the way I will get some work out of you, about the domestic races of animals in India.—4

When you come back I must have a visit to Kew & finish going over my Species sketch, which I fear you will forget all about. I trust Dropmore5 will not fall through; but I must get stronger, before I shall be up to anything, beyond howling & bemoaning myself.—

I send today all my specimens of Nulliporæ, through L. Reeve, to Harvey.—6 Do not, pray, forget to tell me, if you can call to mind, cases of varieties between two other varieties being rare; such appear to me very interesting.—7 I have been getting on wretchedly with the Barnacles, & have done only two other genera.—8

Farewell my dear Hooker. Ever yours | C. Darwin


Hooker visited Cambridge and then travelled through the Midlands carrying out Geological Survey work during April (Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 220–1).
At this point, Hooker was hoping to receive financial support for an expedition to India from the Department of Woods and Forests, then in charge of the Geological Survey and Kew Gardens (Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 218).
The results of Hooker’s work in the Midlands are described in three articles in the Memoirs of the Geological Survey (J. D. Hooker 1848a, b, c). In the first article Hooker related the fossil genus Lepidodendron to the existing genus Lycopodium. In the third, on the structure and affinities of Lepidostrobi, the petrified cones found in coal formations, Hooker concluded that they belong to Lepidodendron and that ‘both are allied to the existing genus Lycopodium’ (J. D. Hooker 1848c, p. 445).
Hooker sent information to CD on domestic animals in India in his first letter from India, see letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 February – 16 [March] 1848.
Dropmore, Buckinghamshire, famous for its natural woods and the parkland of Dropmore House. Hooker and CD were planning to visit Dropmore and nearby Burnham Beeches during the meeting of the British Association in Oxford.
Hooker evidently complied with this request by sending a letter from Hewett Cottrell Watson on the subject to CD (see letter from H. C. Watson to J. D. Hooker, [12 April 1847]).
Tubicinella and Coronula (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


JDH’s proposed India trip.

Will sorely miss discussions with JDH on species theory.

CD is getting on wretchedly with cirripedes.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 84
Physical description
3pp & C

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1077,” accessed on 26 October 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4