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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   5 [March 1859]

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

Many thanks about the seed; but I daresay the grand gentleman will not send it; for why should he wish to oblige a mere plebeian?1 It is curious, petrels at St. Kilda apparently being fed by seeds raised in W. Indies.— It shd. be noted whether it is a nut ever imported into England.

I am very glad you will read my Geograph. M.S.— it is now copying, & I will (I presume) take 10 days or so in being finished; it shall be sent as soon as done.—

I shall read with very great interest your slips on variation &c &c & will make any sort of criticisms which may occur to me.2 Could you get your Printer to send direct to me the duplicate copy, when he sends off your own copy, in order that I may not be hurried; I shd. prefer reading them in afternoon, so that if Printer posted to me by general post on Monday night, I might post them to you on Wednesday at 1 oclock & you wd. get my copy on (I suppose) Wednesday night.— If I were to look over your slips on the Tuesday morning, my Brain is so weak, that the chances are I shd. not be able to work on my own subject, as whatever gets into my brain is not easily displaced by another subject.—

I shall be very glad to see your embryological ideas on plants;3 by the sentence which I sent you, you will see that I want only one sentence, if facts are at all as I suppose; & I shall see this from your note, for sending which very many thanks.

I have been so poorly these last three days, that I sometime doubt whether I shall ever get my little volume done, though so nearly completed.

I have not heard anything about the Japan species; but am very glad of it, as it is, as it should be.4

Ever yours affect | C. Darwin

I am very sorry to hear of “Robinsophobia”.5


CD refers to the proof-sheets of Hooker 1859.
CD had asked Hooker to comment on the significance of embryological characteristics for plant taxonomy (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 March [1859]).
Asa Gray had read a paper on the plants of Japan collected by Charles Wright, botanist to the United States North Pacific Exploring Expedition, at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on 14 December 1858 and 11 January 1859. The paper was published later in 1859 (A. Gray 1858–9). Gray had established that some forty genera were found only in eastern North America and Japan. To explain this distribution, he used CD’s hypothesis of a pre-glacial warm period and the argument of descent from a common ancestry (A. Gray 1858–9, pp. 443–9).
Possibly a reference to James Robinson, the London dentist whom CD and Emma Darwin usually attended. He practised at 7 Gower Street. Hooker may also have attended Robinson for dental work.


Gray, Asa. 1858–9. Diagnostic characters of new species of phænogamous plants, collected in Japan by Charles Wright, botanist of the US North Pacific Exploring Expedition … With observations upon the relations of the Japanese flora to that of North America, and of other parts of the northern temperate zone. [Read 14 December 1858 and 11 January 1859.] Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences n.s. 6: 377–452.


Will read JDH’s printers’ slips on variation.

CD has been so ill, he wonders whether he will get his book done, though so nearly completed.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 6
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2424,” accessed on 22 September 2023,

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