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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   30 March [1859]

Down Bromley Kent

March 30

My dear Hooker

Many thanks for your agreeable note.— Please keep the Geograph. M.S. till you hear from me; for I may have to beg you to send it to Murray; as through Lyells intervention I hope he will publish; but he requires first to see M.S.1

I demur to what you say that we change climate of the world to account for “migration of bugs flies &c”,2 we do nothing of sort; for we rest on scored rocks, old moraines, arctic shells & mammifers.— I have no theory whatever about cause of cold, no more than I have for cause of elevation & subsidence; & I can see no reason why I shd not use cold, or elevation or subsidence to explain any other phenomena, such as of distribution.— I think if I had space & time, I could make pretty good case against any great continental changes since Glacial epoch, & this has mainly led me to give up the Lyellian doctrine as insufficient to explain all mutations of climate.—

I was amused at the Brit. Mus evidence:3 I am made to give my opinion so authoritatively on botanical matters!

I shall be very glad to see your proof-sheets.— I hope to begin printing in middle of May

As for our belief in origin of species, making any difference in descriptive work, I am sure it is incorrect.—for I did all my Barnacle work under this point of view. Only I often groaned that I was not allowed simply to decide whether a difference was sufficient to deserve a name.4

I am glad to hear about Huxley,—a wonderful man.5

Ever yours affect in Haste. C. D.


Roderick Impey Murchison had included a letter from CD (letter to RI. Murchison, 19 June [1858]) in the materials presented to the trustees of the British Museum pertaining to the removal of the natural history collections (Parliamentary Accounts and Papers, Finance; Estimates, Session 3, February–19 April 1859, 14: 61). CD’s letter particularly singled out the botanical collection.
CD previously expressed his opinion to Hooker that believing in the impermanency of species made little difference in the process of classifying, except in deciding whether a form should be designated as a species or only a variety. See Correspondence vol. 4, letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 June [1850]; andvol. 5, letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 September [1853].
The reference may be to the recent increase in salary that Huxley had been given, which secured his position as lecturer at the Government School of Mines (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 162).


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


Hopes Murray will publish after seeing MS [of Origin].

Demurs at JDH’s saying that CD changes climate to account for migration of bugs, flies, etc. "We do nothing of the sort; for we rest on scored rocks, old moraines, arctic shells, and mammifers." Has given up the Lyellian doctrine as insufficient to explain all changes in climate; CD has no theory about the cause of the cold.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 94
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2440,” accessed on 19 July 2024,

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