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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   2 April [1859]1

Down Bromley Kent

April 2d

My dear Hooker

Very many thanks for your letter of caution about Murray. I wrote to him & gave him the Headings of chapters, and told him he could not have M.S for 10 days or so., and this morning I receive a letter, offering me handsome terms & agreeing to publish without seeing M.S!2 So he is eager enough; I think, I shd have been cautious anyhow, but owing to your letter, I have told him most explicitly, that I accept his offer solely on condition, that after he has seen part or all M.S. he has full power of retracting.—3 You will think me presumptuous, but I think my book will be popular to a certain extent, enough to ensure heavy loss amongst scientific & semi-scientific men:4 why I think so is because I have found in conversation so great & surprising interest amongst such men & some 0-scientific men5 on subject; & all my chapters are not nearly so dry & dull as that which you have read on Geographical Distribution.— Anyhow Murray ought to be the best judge, & if he chooses to publish it, I think I may wash my hands of all responsibility.— And he made very good bargain for my Journal6 I am sure my friends, ie Lyell & you have been extraordinarily kind in troubling yourselves on the matter.—

I shall be delighted to see you day before Good Friday; there would be one advantage for you in any other day, as I believe both my Boys come home on that day & it would be a almost impossible that I cd. send carriage for you.— There will I believe, be some relations in House, but I hope you will not care for that, as we shall easily get as much talking as my ‘imbecile’ state allows.—7 I shall deeply enjoy seeing you.— Do not fear about interfering with me in your publication; I have little doubt your views will be, & have arisen, independent of mine.—

Do not judge of your Boys intellect at this early age: I have seen how wonderfully they change.—

I am tired, so no more | My dear Hooker | Yours affecty | C. Darwin

P.S. Please to send, well tied up with strong string my Geograph: M.S. towards latter half of next week, ie 7th or 8th that I may send it with more to Murray; & God Help him if he tries to read it.—

I shall be curious to hear how Dr. Boott has got mixed up & interested with Lyell, Murray & Co.—8 I cannot help rather doubting whether Lyell would take much pains to induce Murray to publish my Book: this was not done at my request, & rather grates against my pride. I know that Lyell has been infinitely kind about my affair, but your dashed induce, gives idea that L. had unfairly urged Murray


The year is given by the reference to publishing Origin with John Murray.
The context of this and surrounding letters to Murray indicate that CD meant to say that the popularity of Origin among scientific and semi-scientific men would ensure against heavy loss.
In LL 2: 153, Francis Darwin surmised that CD meant ‘non-scientific’ men here.
For CD’s previous terms with Murray pertaining to Journal of researches 2d ed., see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to John Murray, 17 [April 1845].
According to Emma Darwin’s diary, Hooker visited Down House on 21 April; on 23 April Francis (Frank) Wedgwood and his family arrived.
Francis Boott was a mutual friend of CD and Hooker. See letter from J. D. Hooker, [8–11 April 1859].


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

LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Thanks for letter of caution about Murray. He has offered to publish without seeing MS. CD thinks book will be popular to a certain extent. Lyell’s inducing Murray to publish Origin grates CD’s pride.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 9
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2446,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

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