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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [12 September 1847]

Down Farnborough | Kent


My dear Hooker

I was astonished to see Kew at the head of your letter, for I did not doubt that you were enjoying yourself over the hills & far away. Your sister has cause to scold, though Heaven knows you have excuse enough in all you have been doing. I am delighted to hear that your prospects are showing some signs of falling into order & that your Indian scheme flourishes.1 I cannot say that I have ever felt very cordially over that scheme; always excepting the Thibet part, which would be worth going through fire & water for. I suppose, however, that you are quite right about plain India, considering how young you are & have such indomitable powers of work: it will certainly have been a grand thing to have seen all the chief types of vegetation in their native homes. November 20th,2 sounds awfully close & I shall miss you terribly. My small plans have been changed a little since I saw you; I was to have gone to Shrewsbury this month, but now it is deferred till next, as it suited my Father best.3 I presume I shall go early in Oct. & in the latter part, I do hope, busy as you will be, that you will spare a little time for here.— I enjoyed my two days at Kew much4 (whilst the horse was baiting at Dulwich, I saw & admired very much the beautiful picture gallery5 ) & it did me a great deal of good: but I have been bad enough for these few last days, having had to think & write too much about Glen Roy (an audacious son of dog (Mr Milne,) having attacked my theory) which made me horribly sick.—

Do you ever write to Thompson6 in India; if you do, urge him to attend to the presence of far transported erratic boulders; it is highly desirable to know the eastern & southern range of these old evidences of a much colder climate.

I will return all your books by the Thursday Kew boat: if they do not arrive, you had better let me know; if I do not hear, I shall understand they are safe; I did not find much for me in them: I am now reading the 3d series of the Ann. des Sci: Nat: & wonderfully full of good matter the Zoology is.—

Pray give my compliments & kind remembrances to Lady Hooker7 | & believe me | Ever yours | C. Darwin

What an excellent thing it is, that your sister has lost that cough.


At this time Hooker hoped to join the British Commission to define the boundaries between Kashmir and Chinese Tibet, on which his friend Thomas Thomson was to serve in the autumn of 1847 (L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 216). By the end of September, however, his plans had changed again (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [5 October 1847]).
Hooker’s anticipated sailing date.
CD visited Shrewsbury from 22 October to 5 November (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I).
Dulwich College Picture Gallery was built in 1814 to house a major collection of paintings bequeathed to the college by Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois in 1811. Emma’s uncle, Lancelot Baugh Allen, had been master of Dulwich College from 1811 to 1820.
Thomson, botanist and geologist with the East India Company, had been a schoolfellow of Hooker at the Grammar School, Glasgow. See also n. 1, above.
Maria Hooker, Hooker’s mother.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


David Milne’s attack on his Glen Roy paper ["On the parallel roads of Lochaber", (1847) Trans. R. Soc. Edinburgh 16 (1849): 395–418] made CD horribly sick.

Wants Thomas Thomson to establish geographical range of erratic boulders in India.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 103
Physical description
ALS 6pp & C

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1118,” accessed on 27 May 2024,

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