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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   30 September [1857]1

Down Bromley Kent

Sept. 30th

My dear Hooker

In looking over my scraps I find one from you with some cases of Hybridism from Mr Glover of Manchester:2 Who is he? is he alive & do you know his address, as I I shd. like to write & ask him some questions on one of his crosses of Cereus?3 Is he a man to be trusted?—

I hope you are not getting impatient for your Books back;4 for I have done only a few of those which I shd. like to do; for it is very slow work, & our Schoolmaster has only his evenings to spare.— I have chosen Koch5 Webb. & B.6 Visiani7 Grisebach8 & Ledebour.9 This last will be a tough job; more especially as he gives splendid materials for working out range of big and small genera. As I have done Britain & France & U. States, I shall have worked round the N. Hemisphere.—

Hereafter I think I shall borrow 2 or 3 vols. of Decandolle’s Prodromus,10 as you suggested; & if possible a Flora of Holland;11 & then I think I shall have taken ample materials: as yet the results go as I like; & my tables will show some additional results,—as variability & commonness going together, often stated to be the case, but very strongly demonstrated by some of my tables.12

We have been lately taking a very extravagant step & are building a new dining room & bedroom over; & so are in the midst of brick & rubbish.—

My health has been very indifferent of late; & I have given up on compulsion going out anywhere.—

It is a strange thing, & I am sure you will sympathise with us, that for the last ten days our darling little fellow Lenny’s health has failed, exactly as three of our children’s have before, namely with extremely irregular & feeble pulse; but he is so much better today that I cannot help having hopes that, unlike the former cases, it may be something temporary. But it makes life very bitter.—13

I hope you enjoyed Manchester & are all the stronger for your trip.— You never or seldom tell me what you are working at, which I always very much like to hear; but I daresay the reason is that I ask such lots of questions & you have so little time to spare.— How I wish you were as idle or rather as busy a man with free will to do what you like, as I am.—

Farewell my dear Hooker | Ever yours | C. Darwin

Though I work every day, my last two Chapters of rough M.S. have taken me exactly six months!14 Pleasant prospect!


The year is established by CD’s reference to the failing health of his son Leonard Darwin (see n. 13, below) and the building work at Down.
Thomas Glover, of Smedley Hill near Manchester, had met Hooker when he visited Manchester in 1836 (L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 30). He was an authority on breeding cactuses.
Koch 1843–4.
Webb and Berthelot 1836–50.
Visiani 1842–52.
Grisebach 1843–4.
Ledebour 1842–53.
Candolle and Candolle 1824–73.
Miquel 1837.
See Natural selection, p. 155, and J. Browne 1980.
CD recorded in his ‘Journal’ (see Correspondence vol. 6, Appendix II) in October 1857: ‘In latter part of Sept. for about week, Lenny had very intermittent pulse; but now Oct. 6th seems quite well’. Leonard Darwin was then aged 7. One of CD’s fears was that his children had inherited his ill-health (see Correspondence vol. 5, letters to W. D. Fox, 7 March [1852], 24 [October 1852], and 17 July [1853]).
CD recorded in his ‘Journal’ (see Correspondence vol. 6, Appendix II) on 29 September: ‘finished Ch. 7 & 8; but one month lost at Moor Park.’ These are the chapters entitled ‘Laws of variation: varieties and species compared’ and ‘Difficulties on the theory of natural selection in relation to passages from form to form’.


C. F. Ledebour [Flora rossica (1842–53)] particularly useful for variety tabulation. Results generally favourable.

Additions to Down House.

Last two chapters of MS took six months to write.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 210
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2148,” accessed on 20 May 2019,

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