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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   2 July 1878


July 2/78.

Dear Darwin

A thousand thanks for your most liberal (unexpectedly so) response.1

At present we are only feeling our way— My original idea was, the funding Young’s donation, & any increase that from time to time might accrue, till the sum was sufficient to lighten the fees, & then to go on to let it increase again till the maximum relief desireable reduction might be effected— but the opinion was so strong that it would be better to do the thing off-hand, that I & Spottiswoode have undertaken to see what can be done at once.— Our idea is, that if the £10,000 cannot be raised at once, whatever is raised should be funded & allowed to accumulate till that sum is reached.2

We have had no end of minor schemes—as for raising enough to give free fellowship to poor men, & such like. & I have appointed a Committee which will consider all details of expenditure & report on it— Meanwhile Spottiswoode assures me that several men will be ready with £500 each—& the great thing is to secure the thing being done however far long in future. If your plan is followed of taking no subscriptions till the £10,000 is promised, the whole scheme may break down at £9000!—whereas £9000 funded would in a couple of years or so be £10,000.3

However it is quite within any one’s competence to offer so handsome a subscription as yours conditionally.—

I have just printed my R.I. lecture on Geographl. Distribn. of N. American plants, & shall send you a copy when I get them.4

Ball & I are busy at our Marocco journals—which will I think be interesting.5

Shall you be at home when the Gooseberries are ripe? & will you give me a feast?—6

Ever yr affec | J D Hooker


Hooker had proposed reducing the fees for fellows of the Royal Society of London by setting up a fund to finance the society’s publications; James Young had started the fund with a donation of £1000, and William Spottiswoode, the Royal Society’s treasurer, had calculated that £10,000 would be sufficient for the desired reduction in fees (letter from J. D. Hooker, 9 June 1878).
CD had suggested that the promised donations should not made until the full £10,000 had been pledged (letter to J. D. Hooker, 1 July 1878).
Hooker had delivered an evening lecture on the distribution of North American flora at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in April. The text was published in the institution’s Proceedings (Hooker 1878a); CD’s offprint is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
John Ball was working with Hooker on a book based on journals kept by both men during their trip to Marocco (Morocco) in 1871 (Hooker and Ball 1878, p. vi).
Hooker’s love of gooseberries was well-known among the Darwin family; he had a long-standing invitation to visit Down for a gooseberry feast every summer (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter from J. D. Hooker, [after 17 June 1865] and n. 6).


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


JDH details the subscription fund’s finances.

Has finished lecture for Royal Society on N. American plant distribution.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 111–12
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11583,” accessed on 6 February 2023,