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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   11 May [1855]

Down Farnborough Kent

May 11th

My dear Hooker

I have just received your note. I am most sincerely & heartily glad at the news it contains & so is my wife.1 Though the income is but a poor one, yet the certainty, I hope, is satisfactory to yourself & Mrs. Hooker. As it must lead in future years to the Directorship, I do hope you look at it, as a piece of good fortune. For my own taste I cannot fancy a pleasanter position, than the Head of such a noble & splendid place, far better, I shd. think than a Professorship in a great town.—2 The more I think of it, the gladder I am. But I will say no more; except that I hope Mrs. Hooker is pretty well pleased.—

Just to answer your remarks in your note. The article on Job, is in Westminster Review, October 1853, article IV:3 I could lend it you, & bring it up with me, if you can wait, for I doubt whether I shall come up for next Philos. Club for that is the day, when about 40 salted seeds “come due”, & you wd. be surprised at the time which my little experiment takes, as I do everything with my own hand.—

As the Gardeners’ Chronicle put in my question, & took notice of it,4 I think I am bound to send, which I had thought of doing next week, my first report to Lindley5 to give him the option of inserting it; but I think it likely that he may not think it fit for a Gardening periodical. When my experiments are ended, (shd the results appear worthy) & shd. the Linnean Journal not object to the previous publication of imperfect and provisional reports, I shd. be delighted to insert the final report there; for it has cost me so much trouble, that I shd. think that probably the result was worthy of more permanent record than a newspaper; but I think I am bound to send it first to Lindley.6 I begin to think the floating question more serious than the germinating one; & am making all the enquiries which I can on subject, & hope to get some little light on it.

Thanks for information about Kerguelen insects; it will save me plaguing the museum men.—7 The two sexes of moth is very curious.—8

I shd. think Binney wd. be excellent for R. Soc:—9

I hope you managed a good meeting at the Club.— The Treasurership must be a plague to you, & I hope you will not be Treasurer for long; I know I wd. much sooner give up the Club, than be its Treasurer.—

Farewell Mr. Assistant Director & dear friend | C. Darwin

I will not mention subject of Directorship to anyone.—


Hooker had been appointed assistant director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The appointment was not officially announced until July (see Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 27, 7 July 1855, pp. 451–2).
An allusion to Hooker’s disappointment at losing the election to the chair of botany at Edinburgh University in 1845 (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to J. D. Hooker, [5 or 12 November 1845]).
An anonymous article published in the Westminster Review n.s. 4 (1853): 417–50, praising the new school of biblical criticism emerging in Germany. The author was James Anthony Froude (Wellesley Index 3: 620). Froude complained that English scholars shrank from investigating the Bible as a secular text.
See letters to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 11 April [1855], and to J. D. Hooker, 19 April [1855].
John Lindley was editor of the Gardeners’ Chronicle.
CD’s report, ‘Does sea-water kill seeds?’, was published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette on 26 May 1855 (see letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 21 May [1855]). CD presented a more extensive report at the Linnean Society on 6 May 1856 (see Collected papers 1: 264–73).
Probably the single species of moth found by Hooker on Kerguelen Land and mentioned in Natural selection, p. 292. Hooker described it as apterous (letter from J. D. Hooker, [before 17 March 1855]).
Edward William Binney had published extensively on the Midland coal formations and their plants. He and Hooker had written a paper on fossil plants in bituminous formations (Binney and Hooker 1855). See letter from J. D. Hooker, 25 August 1854. Binney was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1856.


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.


JDH to be appointed Assistant Director at Kew.

On where to publish seed-salting paper. Floating problem perhaps more important than germination.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 131
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1680,” accessed on 22 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5