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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   16 June [1877]1

Bassett, Southampton

Sat. June 16th

My dear Hooker

I have just received your letter of the 14th & have telegraphed in answer.2 If I had been at Down I would certainly have come to Kew to wait on the Emperor, but I suppose that even an Emperor will not expect an old invalid to travel so far at the cost of great fatigue.—3 The Emperor has done so much for science, that every Scientific man is bound to show him the utmost respect,4 & I hope that you will express in the strongest language, & which you can do with entire truth, how greatly I feel honoured by his wish to see me, & how much I regret my absence from home.

What a life of labour you are leading! I wonder that you do not break down, & I rejoice that before very long you will be on the quiet wide Atlantic.—5

One word more,— when I heard that you were made a Knight of the Star of India, not one of your friends rejoiced more heartily than I did, but I resolved not to write, as I knew that you would be troubled with endless congratulations.6 I should think & hope that even you must be pleased with this peculiar honour,— anyhow it has delighted me.—

My dear old Friend | Yours affectionately | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 June 1877.
The emperor of Brazil was Pedro II. CD was at William Erasmus Darwin’s house in Bassett, Southampton, from 13 June to 4 July (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
On Pedro II’s interest in science see, for example, Nature, 28 June 1877, p. 173.
Hooker was planning a trip to the United States; he departed for New York on 28 June 1877 (see L. Huxley ed. 1918, 2: 205–17).
The Star of India was an order founded in 1861; it had three classes: Companion, Knight Commander (KCSI), and Knight Grand Commander (EB). Hooker had been offered a knighthood in 1869, but had declined it (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 November 1869).


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

EB: The Encyclopædia Britannica. A dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. 11th edition. 29 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1910–11.


CD cannot see the Emperor of Brazil because he is in Southampton, but he sends sincere respects for the Emperor’s role in assisting science.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 443–4
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11002,” accessed on 6 May 2021,