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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   5 December 1880

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.)

Dec. 5 1880

My dear Hooker

I thank you much for being willing to propose Frank; I had begun to doubt whether I had not been too impudent in asking such a veteran to propose him, & was a little vexed with myself.— I do not see how your proposing him can interfere in the least with the higher claims of anyone else.— If you have not thrown away the list of Frank’s papers please return them; & then I will fill up a certificate & send it you for signature & afterwards get other signatures.1 But probably I shall not be able to do this for about 10 days, as on Tuesday morning we go to “6 Queen Anne St” until Saturday, whence for a few days to Leith Hill Place.2 I fear that there is no chance of our seeing you in London.

Again thanking you warmly | My dear Hooker | Ever Yours | Ch. Darwin

I did not attend to or care about the Haughton controversy; it seemed chiefly about the range of a single or at most two species.—3

I should have hugely enjoyed talking over with you Wallace’s book.—4

Can you give me seeds of Commelyna cœlestis? I have applied to Thompson of Ipswich, & he has not any.—5


See letter from J. D. Hooker, 4 December 1880 and n. 1. Francis Darwin was to be proposed for fellowship of the Royal Society of London. Proposal certificates listed the candidate’s publications. In the event, Francis was proposed by Michael Foster in January 1881 and elected in June 1882 (Royal Society archives, GB 117 EC/1882/09).
The Darwins were in London at the home of CD’s brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, from 7 December 1880, then travelled to Leith Hill Place, Surrey, on 11 December, and returned home on 15 December (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 4 December 1880 and n. 3. Samuel Haughton had argued against a uniformitarian view of geological change in a series of letters published in Nature.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 22 November 1880, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 23 November 1880. Alfred Russel Wallace’s recently published work, Island life (Wallace 1880a), had been dedicated to Hooker.
Commelina coelestis is dayflower; CD’s notes, dated 24 December 1880 to 11 January 1881, on geotropism in young cotyledons of this species, are in DAR 67: 60–4. William Thompson (1823–1903) owned a nursery in Ipswich.


Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1880a. Island life: or, the phenomena and causes of insular faunas and floras, including a revision and attempted solution of the problem of geological climates. London: Macmillan.


Thanks for agreeing to propose Frank as F.R.S.

Would have enjoyed discussing Island life.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 504–5
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12890,” accessed on 12 September 2023,