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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   15 October [1859]

Wells Terrace | Ilkley | Otley | Yorkshire

Oct 15th

My dear Hooker

Be a good man & screw out time enough to write me a note & tell me a little about yourself your doings & belongings. Is your Introduction fairly finished?1 I know that you will abuse it, & I know well how much I shall like it.

I have been here nearly a fortnight, & it has done me very much good; though I sprained my ancle last Sunday, which has quite stopped walking. All my family come here on Monday to stop 3 or 4 weeks & then I shall go back to the great Establishment & stay a fortnight;2 so that if I can keep up my spirits I shall stay 8 weeks here & thus give Hydropathy a fair chance. Before starting here I was in an awful state of stomach strength, temper & spirits.

My Book has been completely finished some little time;3 as soon as copies are ready of course one will be sent you. I hope you will mark your copy with scores so that I may profit by any criticisms. I shd. like to hear general impression. From Lyell’s letters he thinks favourably of it; but seems staggered by the lengths to which I go. But if you go any considerable length in the admission of modification; I can see no possible means of drawing line, & saying here you must stop. Lyell is going to reread my Book, & I yet entertain hopes that he will be converted or perverted as he calls it. Lyell has been extremely kind in writing me three volume-like letters;4 but he says nothing about dispersal during glacial period: I shd. like to know what he thinks on this head.5 I have one question to ask; would it be any good to send copy of my Book to Decaisne?6 And do you know any philosophical Botanist on Continent, who reads English & cares for such subjects? if so give me their addresses.— How about Anderss?on in Sweden?7

You cannot think how refreshing it is to idle away whole day, & hardly ever think in the least about my confounded Book, which half killed me. I much wish I could hear of your taking a real rest. I know how very strong you are mentally, but I never will believe that you can go on working as you have worked of late, with impunity. You will some day, stretch the string too tight.

Farewell my good & kind & dear friend. Yours affecty | C. Darwin

Pray give my very kind remembrances to Mrs. Hooker.—

If I could keep at home like I feel here, I shd be a man again; & should so enjoy a little society of my friends.—


Hooker 1859.
CD recorded that he ‘Finished proofs’ of Origin on 1 October 1859 (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 7, Appendix II).
Only one of Charles Lyell’s letters has been found. See letter from Charles Lyell, 3 October 1859.
CD had asked in the letter to Charles Lyell, 25 September [1859], for Lyell’s opinion of his discussion of geographical distribution.
The French botanist Joseph Decaisne was a friend of Hooker’s who had adopted Hooker’s views on the great variability of species (Correspondence vol. 6, letter from J. D. Hooker, [6 December 1857]). His name appears on the presentation list (see Correspondence vol. 8, Appendix III).
Nils Johan Andersson, a Swedish botanist who had worked with Hooker at Kew, had helped CD in the past (see Correspondence vol. 6, letters to J. D. Hooker, 22 August [1857] and 11 September [1857]). His name appears on the presentation list (see Correspondence vol. 8, Appendix III).


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

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.


Book finished some two weeks.

Feeling much better at Ilkley.

Lyell thinks favourably of book but "staggered" at lengths to which CD goes.

Which continental botanists should receive presentation copies?

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 23
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2504,” accessed on 15 July 2024,

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