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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   25 December [1857]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 25th

My dear Hooker.

The Books arrived quite safely this morning.2

Emma desires her thanks to Mrs. Hooker for her note, but she is sorry she thought of troubling herself about the socks.

I will do D. Candolle first, as I guess that most likely to be wanted: the job will be a long one.—3

I am very glad to have R. Brown’s Prodromus.—4

Whenever I try the Labiatæ in different ways, which will not be soon, you shall hear the result, as I shall wish much to tell it.

Thanks for Dana’s pamphlet:5 I am much disappointed in it. I have high respect for Dana, but in this brochure “I do not think he is much of a Baconian philosopher,” as our friend J. E. Gray says.— I hate such far-fetched analogies, as comparing an atom of oxygen with a living being.— I believe, poor fellow, he believes in 1st Chr. of Genesis, so great allowances must be made for him.6

I have been reading in proof Sheets Huxley’s “Explanatory Catalogue” & it seems to me quite an admirable, but very brief, resume on the Natural Sciences7

I am very sorry to hear that you do not intend to give generalisations in your Tasmanian Introduction, but I do not believe you will be able to resist: what is in the spirit must come out.8

I hope that poor dear Henslow is going on well.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin

I have just finished a tremendous job, my chapter on Hybridism: it has taken me 3 months to write, after all facts collected together!9


The year is established by CD’s reference to having finished his chapter on hybridism, which was completed on 29 December 1857 (‘Journal’; see Correspondence vol. 6, Appendix II).
CD did not conclude his statistical analysis of large and small genera until the spring of 1858 and rewrote his discussion of this work between April and June 1858 (J. Browne 1980, p. 87).
In ‘Thoughts on species’ (Dana 1857), James Dwight Dana tried to establish the immutability of biological species by analogy with chemical species or elements.
T. H. Huxley and Etheridge 1865. See also letter to T. H. Huxley, 16 December [1857].
J. D. Hooker 1860. See letter from J. D. Hooker, [17–23 December 1857] and n. 5.


Brown, Robert. 1810. Prodromus florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van-Diemen, exhibens characteres plantarum. Vol. 1 (no more published). London: Richard Taylor.

Browne, Janet. 1980. Darwin’s botanical arithmetic and the ‘principle of divergence’, 1854–1858. Journal of the History of Biology 13: 53–89.

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

Dana, James Dwight. 1857. Thoughts on species. American Journal of Science and Arts 2d ser. 24: 305–16.


Species with marked varieties.

Dana’s pamphlet also too metaphysical for CD.

Natural selection chapter on hybridism completed.

Doubts JDH will resist theory in his introduction to Flora Tasmaniae.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 218
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2194,” accessed on 1 December 2021,

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