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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker1   [16 October 1856]2

Dr. Hooker

Please read this, first, I want, especially to know whether Botanical facts are fairly accurate. 2d. any general or special criticisms: please observe if you will mark margin with pencil, if your criticisms run to any length, I would gladly & gratefully come to Kew, to save you writing.

I really hope no other chapter in my book will be so bad; how atrociously bad it is, I know not; but I plainly see it is too long, & dull, & hypothetical.

Do not be too severe, yet not too indulgent: remember that it will be extra dull to you, for it will be a compilation with hardly anything new to you.—

It is only fragment of chapter, & assumes some points as true, which will require much explanation,—as to close relation of plants to plants rather than to conditions: again I am unfortunately forced not to admit continental extensions as you know.—

Glance at the notes, at back of Pages.—

In truth you are doing me a very great kindness in reading it, for I am sorely perplexed what to do & how much to strike out.—


This note accompanied the fair copy of CD’s manuscript on geographical distribution for his book on species (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 13 July [1856] and 28 September [1856]). The fair copy is now in DAR 14.
The date of the letter is that of the meeting of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society at which CD intended to meet Hooker (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 28 September [1856]). Although it is possible that CD sent the manuscript by post, it seems more likely that CD gave it to Hooker on this occasion, along with the covering note printed here. The manuscript had been completed on 13 October 1856 (‘Journal’; Appendix II) and was read by Hooker by 9 November (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 9 November 1856).


Note accompanying MS of part of chapter 11 ["Geographical distribution"] of Natural selection [1975].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 50: E9
Physical description
AL 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1965,” accessed on 20 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6