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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   21 July [1858]

King’s Head Hotel | Sandown | I. of Wight.—

July 21.

My dear Hooker

I received only yesterday the proof sheets, which I now return. I think your Introduction cannot be improved.1

I am disgusted with my bad writing. I could not improve it, without rewriting all, which would not be fair or worth while, as I have begun on better abstract for Linn. Soc. My excuse is that it never was intended for publication.— I have made only a few correction in style; but I cannot make it decent, but I hope moderately intelligible.2 I suppose some one will correct the revise.— (Shall I.?)

Could I have clean proof to send to Wallace?

I have not yet fully considered your remarks on big genera, (but your general concurrence is of highest possible interest to me);3 nor shall I be able till I reread my M.S; but you may rely on it, that you never make a remark to me, which is lost from inattention.— I am particularly glad you do not object to my stating your objections, (in a modified form) for they always struck me as very important & as having much inherent value, whether or no they were fatal to my notions.

I will consider & reconsider all your remarks.

If you would at some future time purge some Floras of stragglers, I would have the vars. tabulated. I remember wishing this much, but thought it was too much to ask, & I had some other motive, but cannot now exactly remember what.

One shd. never forget that many of the most flourishing orders will surely in time arrive at their maximum & begin to decrease, & then if my views are right, they will begin to vary less, for the manufactury for new species in this order is beginning to languish. But I will say no more at present.

I have ordered Bentham, for as Babington says it will be very curious to see a Flora written by a man who knows nothing of British plants!!!4

I am very glad at what you say about my abstract, but you may rely on it, that I will condense to utmost. I wd. aid in money if too long.—

In how many ways you have aided me!

Yours affecty | C. Darwin


CD refers to the letter from J. D. Hooker and Charles Lyell to the Linnean Society, 30 June 1858, which was printed as an introduction to the contributions by CD and Alfred Russel Wallace (Darwin and Wallace 1858).
For CD’s alterations, see Correspondence vol.7, Appendix III.
Bentham 1858. George Bentham was an expert on temperate and tropical plants and had not previously studied the British flora. CD and Hooker considered Bentham to be a far better botanist than Charles Cardale Babington.


Bentham, George. 1858. Handbook of the British flora; a description of the flowering plants and ferns indigenous to, or naturalized in, the British Isles. London: Lovell Reeve.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Correcting proof for CD–Wallace paper. Has begun abstract.

Large and small genera.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 244
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2311,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7