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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Maria Hooker1   21 February [1859?]2

Down Bromley Kent

Feb. 21

Dear Lady Hooker

On my return home last night I had the pleasure of receiving your Ladyships letter.— I have already given my Proxy in accordance with Mr. Pagets request;3 but I am almost sure that it was in favour of Mr Kingdon;4 yet I received so many applications & the names being all new, I am not quite certain; but I hope that my impression is correct.—

I am very much obliged for your kind enquiries about my family; & am glad to hear a good account of Sir William.— I beg leave to remain

Dear Lady Hooker | Yours truly obliged | Ch. Darwin


Maria Hooker was the wife of William Jackson Hooker, the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The conjectured date is based on CD’s reference to having recently returned to Down. According to his journal, the only occasion he was away in February, returning around 20 February, was in 1859 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II) and de Beer ed. 1959).
James Paget. The Pagets were close friends of the Hooker family through their mutual connections in Great Yarmouth. The election referred to has not been identified: the only societies in which both CD and Paget took an active role were the Royal Society and the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society. Paget had been elected FRS in 1851 but was not, at the time, on the council; he would, however, have had an ordinary vote in the annual election of fellows and could, if requested, cast the votes, by proxy, of existing fellows. Paget joined the Philosophical Club in 1858.
Possibly John Abernathy Kingdon, a younger colleague of Paget’s in St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. Kingdon’s name has not been located on the list of candidates rejected for election to the Royal Society (Royal Society Archives).


Has given proxy according to James Paget’s request. Almost sure it is in favour of [J. A.?] Kingdon [for election to Athenaeum?].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Maria Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
Houghton Library, Harvard University
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2418,” accessed on 23 September 2019,

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