skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   4 October 1878

Royal Gardens Kew

Oct 4/78

Dear Old Darwin

Your Oxalis is O. Valdiviensis, Gay. of Chili—1

I am glad you are getting on with your movement of Cotyledon’s researches—2

My Address for Royal is nowhere   I have not thought of a word for it, & every time I try it makes my head & heart ache— One’s last address ought to be good.3 I have this last 12 hour (moved thereto by your letter) maundered over the matter & written to De La Rue for some information relative to Electric discharges apropos of Spottiswoodes researches.4 Hitherto I have not, (like my predecessors) sponged on my Fellows for matter for my addresses   Now I must, if, as I am advised, I am to give a resumè of some of the advances in Physical & Biological Sciences that have rendered the Societys labors noteworthy during my Presidentship.5 Would Frank give me some crude data in reference to your & his labors? & as to what they point to? I would work them up.6 Pray do not allude to it to him if you think better not. I should like to give a short analysis of the question of biogenesis—& so forth, but it makes me giddy to think of it. I shall consult the Godlike Huxley on this.7 I must keep off controversial questions.

I am very busy at Grays & my joint paper on the Botany of Colorado in relation to the rest of America & the Universe I suppose. It has I find curious relations with Altai which I hope to shew are not shared by the Floras of either Eastern or Western America. but these comparisons are very laborious.8

Balls & my Marocco Journals are nearly out, they await a brief Essay from me on the comparison of the Floras of Maroccoo & the Canaries— the differences are marvellous & quite unexpected.9 There are no Islands in the world so near the main land with such a difference in their vegetation— they beat the Galapagos in certain respects, but then the separate Islands do not differ much.

I must clear the American & Marocco works off before I begin my Address: happily the matter of these is in my head— then I must go to Paris on the 18th. to be present at the Prize Giving of the Exhibition—which is to be my only duty as a Royal Commissioner!10 I have shirked every other without exception & cannot have the impudence to decline this—though I do hate it.—

I am still looking out for a country cottage within easy distance of Kew to retire to on Sundays & perhaps in the end for weeks—months—years of Sundays;11 for between you & me I am getting giddy with Science in all shapes—& with the worry of Social, Scientific & official life, & I long for rest & nothing but the Library & Herbarium to busy myself with—

This is the best & most sensible growl you have had from me for a long time—

Ever yrs affec | J. D. Hooker.


Frank asked to summarise work with CD for use in JDH’s Royal Society address.

Work with A. Gray shows Colorado plants closer to Altai than to E. or W. America.

Work with J. Ball shows Moroccan plants very distinct from nearby Canaries.

JDH on Royal Commission to Paris Exhibition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 115–17
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11714,” accessed on 16 June 2019,