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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. J. Hooker   [January 1850]

Down Farnborough | Kent


My dear Sir William

I write merely to thank you very sincerely for your great kindness in taking the trouble to inform me about your son. I was very anxious to hear something about his safety.1 Your account is far better than I had ventured to anticipate; I feared that his collection would have gone to rack & ruin— If nothing worse comes of it, it will be in after years a striking episode in his Himmalaya wanderings. How anxious Lady Hooker & yourself must be to see him back, & I am sure that he has very very many friends who cordially unite in this feeling.

With my best thanks | Pray believe me | Yours sincerely obliged | C. Darwin

Some time since Henslow forwarded to you a Geological letter from your son to me; no doubt you will keep it securely, which I mention because your son asked me to keep all his letters.—

I trust Miss Hooker is well— pray remember me very kindly to her.—


Hooker and his travelling companion, Andrew Campbell, political agent to Sikkim, had been made captives on 7 November 1849 by a Sikkim band under instructions from the Sikkim Dewan, who bore a grudge against Campbell. On 12 November, Hooker wrote a letter to his family reporting that, though kept under detention, he was not in danger. Both hostages were released on 23 December 1849 as a result of a threat of force by the British Government. The incident led to the annexation of southern Sikkim by the British. See J. D. Hooker 1854, 2: 203–41, and L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 313–19.


Thanks WJH for information about J. D. Hooker; CD was very anxious to hear something about his safety.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Jackson Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: English letters A–H 1850, 29: 201
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1285,” accessed on 18 September 2020,

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