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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   11 [September 1859]1



My dear Hooker

I corrected last proof—yesterday; & I have now only Revises, index &c, which will take me to near end of month.— So that the neck of my work, thank God, is broken.—

I write now to say that I am uneasy in my conscience about hesitating to look over your proofs; but I was feeling miserably unwell & shattered when I wrote.—2 I do not suppose I could be of hardly any use, but if I could pray send me any proofs.— I shd be (& fear I was) the most ungrateful man to hesitate to do anything for you after some 15 or more years help from you.—

As soon as ever I have fairly finished, I shall be off to Ilkley or some other Hydropathic Establishment. But I shall be some time yet, as my proofs have been so utterly obscured with corrections, that I have to correct heavily on Revises.—

Murray proposes to publish in first week of November.—3 Oh good Heavens, the relief to my mind & body to banish whole subject from my mind.—

I hope to God you do not think me a brute about your proof-sheets.—

Farewell | Yours affecty | C. Darwin

100 Head of Trifolium pratense protected from Bees did not produce one single seed; another Hundred visited by Humble-bees produced nearly 3000 seeds! Melilotus officinalis produced 30 or 40 fold as much after I let the Bees in.—4


Dated by CD’s expectation that his work on the revised proof-sheets and index to Origin would be finished by the end of the month. CD recorded finishing his proofs on 1 October 1859 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
Origin was included in John Murray’s list of publications for November (Publishers’ Circular, 1 November 1859, p. 546). For the actual date of publication, see letter to John Murray, [3 November 1859], and Freeman 1977, p. 75.
The results of CD’s experiments are given in his Experimental book, pp. 46–7 (DAR 157a). The Trifolium pratense entry is dated 13 August 1859; that for Melilotus officinalis, 10 September. CD calculated that 2720 seeds were produced when T. pratense was uncovered.


Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

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.


Corrected last proof of Origin yesterday. Still has revises and index to do.

Will read more JDH proofs of Flora Tasmaniae.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 21
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2490,” accessed on 15 September 2023,

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