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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   11 August [1855]


Aug. 11.

My dear Hooker

I forgot to say that I left Book from Henslow at Athenaeum— you might not ask for it— it is a Hand-Book.1

Secondly I forgot to ask; when Asa Gray wrote last to me through you, whether he sent the marked sheet of his Journal.2 Some expressions in letter made me fancy it was then sent. If it come when you are absent, what shall be done? Will Sir William be so very kind as to send it by some safe channel to 57 Queen Ann St. Cavendish Sqr.—or to Athenaeum, though I think former safer.

Goodbye. | C. Darwin

I am in tremendous spirits for I have just made out a new & wonderful (almost generic) specific (!) character between the two Breeds of my Pigeons.3


Not identified.
‘Journal’ is a mistake for Manual. Asa Gray had said he would send marked, unbound pages of A. Gray 1848 (see letter from Asa Gray, 30 June 1855). See, however, CD’s next letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 [August 1855].
In Variation 1: 157, CD stated: Many of the genera of the Columbidæ, which are admitted by ornithologists, do not differ in any great degree from each other; taking this into consideration, there can be no doubt that several of the most strongly characterised domestic forms, if found wild, would have been placed in at least five new genera. At this time CD apparently had two breeds of pigeons: fantails and pouters (letter to WD. Fox, 23 May [1855]). In Variation 1: 147, CD described how the oil-gland was absent in fantails.


Gray, Asa. 1848. A manual of the botany of the northern United States, from New England to Wisconsin and south to Ohio and Pennsylvania inclusive. Boston and Cambridge: James Monroe and Company. London: John Chapman.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Has left a book from Henslow for JDH at Athenaeum.

When Asa Gray wrote, did he send marked sheets [of his Manual of botany]?

Has just made out "new & wonderful" specific character between two of his pigeon breeds.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 150: 123
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1738,” accessed on 5 August 2021,

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