skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   10 October [1855]

Down Bromley Kent

Octr. 10th.

My dear Hooker

I am glad to hear from Mrs. Hooker that you are returned, & that your tour has answered well.—1 I suppose you will be very busy for some time, as Mrs. Hooker says you are going to move to Kew soon.—2

I write now to thank for the seeds for salting received about 10 or 14 days ago from Kew; but I am sick of the job for reasons which I will tell you when we meet, & which will please you3 (. NB. capsicum & celery seed have come up after 137 days immersion.).

I was going to have written to you to send 2 grand seeds which I have received from Norway,4 cast up by Gulf-Stream; but since enquiring about your return, I have changed my mind & determined to soak them in salt-water for 10 days to see if they continue to float, & then I will send them you to name (if you can) & have them planted.—5

I wrote a short & dull letter from Glasgow to you;6 I don’t know whether you received it, but do not fash yourself on any account by writing to me now that you must be very busy.—

I was much pleased with, & extremely obliged by the excessive kindness of Mr Gourlie7 at Glasgow, to whom you once introduced me at the Gardens.—

Adios. I suppose you will soon set to work like a Trojan. Farewell. | C. Darwin

I am reading Decandolle8 with much interest.


After his appointment as assistant director of Kew Gardens, Hooker and his family moved back from Richmond Hill to a house near the gates of the gardens (L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 352).
Although CD’s experiments demonstrated that many seeds germinated after prolonged submersion in salt water, most of the seeds sank after a few days. This result seemed to weigh heavily against transport by ocean currents. See letter to J. D. Hooker, 24 April [1855], n. 2, and subsequent letters.
See letter from J. R. Crowe, 27 September 1855.
The letter has not been found. CD was in Glasgow to attend the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
William Gourlie, Scottish botanist, had studied under William Jackson Hooker.
Candolle 1855. An annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


Candolle, Alphonse de. 1855. Géographie botanique raisonnée ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle. 2 vols. Paris: Victor Mason. Geneva: J. Kessmann.


Sick of seed-salting.

Reading Candolle with great interest.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 151
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1763,” accessed on 3 December 2020,

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