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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   7 April [1859]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap 7

My dear Hooker

I have read your 1st Sheet & return it by this Post.— I like it very much, but really have no criticisms.— Some of your remarks are new to me. There is a good deal, of course, the same as will appear in my Book; but yet somehow everything is taken up from such different points of view, that I do not think we shall injure the originality of our respective Books.—2

I shd. have liked to have seen several examples proving truth (or showing its probability) of some of your remarks; as of best marked vars. being on confines of the range.3 Or again in regard to your remark of a species remaining for many generations constant under culture & then suddenly commencing to vary.—4

Under a purely selfish point of view I cannot help groaning to think what an advantage such a criticism would have been to me, if written after my Essay had been published; I now fear you will wash your hands of subject & think no more about it.— My God how I long for my stomachs’ sake to wash my hands of it,—for at least one long spell.—

Ever My dear Hooker | Yours affecy | C. D.

I again beg to say that there are many new remarks & observations to me.— I felt very sure that this would be so, & only make this conceited remark, because you seemed uneasy about borrowing from me.—5

I hope expressed clearly that the sole reason, why I suggested any other day for your visit here was for your convenience in regard to the Carriage.—6


The year is given by the reference to proof-sheets of Hooker 1859.
CD refers to the proof-sheets of Hooker 1859, which Hooker had asked him to read (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 [March 1859], and letter from J. D. Hooker, [9 March 1859]). Hooker’s text deals with the origin of plant species and varieties.
CD refers to Hooker 1859, p. viii. See following letter.
The point is discussed in Hooker 1859, p. viii.
This sentence and the remainder of the letter were added in pencil by CD. Several phrases elsewhere in the letter were also inserted in pencil (see Manuscript alterations and comments).
Hooker had been invited to visit Down (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 April [1859]). The details were not fixed until later in the month (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 11 April [1859] and 12 [April 1859]).


Has read first sheets of JDH’s Flora Tasmaniae [introductory] essay [published separately as On the flora of Australia (1859)]. Criticises lack of evidence supporting views that best marked varieties occur at edges of range of species and that species remain under cultivation for many generations and suddenly begin to vary.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 10
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2450,” accessed on 19 May 2024,

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