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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   31 July 1858

July 31st/58.

My dear Darwin.

Your lucubrations have all gone to Press. Busk, Henslow Huxley & I all thought that two of your after notes should go to footnotes1— 1 That your work was not written with care or for publication.—2 & 2d. the capital illustration regarding cotton seeds fibre.3

I warned you that my tabulation of Bentham was very hasty & inaccurate. 4 I introduced discrepancies by 1. Sometimes not always introducing as varieties well known species of Babington quoted as synonyms by Bentham yet somehow not alluded to as vars 2. Generally by accident but not invariably enumerating as a variety the species itself as well as Benthams 1, 2, 3 &c.5

All these errors tend to favor me & their elimination would I doubt not favor you— I was anxious to put the matter as favorably as I conscientiously could to my views, that the evidence might be overwhelming if the result was still against me.—

Most of the discrepancies are probably careless ones.

I have had several talks with Busk about your

CD annotations

crossed pencil
crossed pencil
Top of first page: ‘Sir William’6


George Busk was the under-secretary of the Linnean Society. John Stevens Henslow and Thomas Henry Huxley were presumably consulted because they were friends of both Hooker and CD. Huxley was not elected a fellow of the Linnean Society until December 1858.
In the published version of Darwin and Wallace 1858, p. 45, CD’s note is printed as a footnote. It reads: ‘This MS. work was never intended for publication, and therefore was not written with care.—C.D. 1858.’
CD’s note on this topic was printed as a footnote in Darwin and Wallace 1858, p. 50: ‘I can see no more difficulty in this, than in the planter improving his varieties of the cotton plant.—C.D. 1858.’
Hooker means that when he counted the varieties listed under a species name, he sometimes added to them the species itself.
CD’s note refers to the fact that William Jackson Hooker had called on the Darwins in Shanklin. See letter to J. D. Hooker, [5 August 1858].


The CD–Wallace paper has gone to press.

JDH’s tabulation of variable species from Bentham was done in haste.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 100: 122
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2316,” accessed on 23 July 2021,

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