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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   21 [December 1859]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

Pray give my thanks to Mrs. Hooker for her extremely kind note, which has pleased me much.—2 We are very sorry she cannot come here, but shall be delighted to see you & Willy 3 (our Boys will be at home) here in 2d. week of January or any other time.— I shall much enjoy discussing any points in my Book with you.—

I think the copy of your Introduction for Wallace had better go to Stephens’.—4 Will you send me a copy? I hate to hear you abuse your own work. I on the contrary so sincerely value all that you have written. It is an old & firm conviction of mine, that the naturalists who accumulate facts & make many partial generalisations are the real benefactors of science. Those who merely accumulate facts, I cannnot very much respect.

I had hoped to have come up for the Club tomorrow, but very much doubt whether I shall be able.5 Ilkley seems to have done me no essential good. I attended the Bench on Monday & was detained in adjudicating some troublesome cases 112 hour longer than usual, & came home utterly knocked up & cannot rally.—6 I am not worth an old button.

It is curious about Revue Horticole.7

Many thanks for your pleasant note. | Ever yours | C. Darwin

I feel confident that for the future progress of the subject of the origin & manner of formation of species, the assent & arguments & facts of working naturalists like yourself are far more important than my own Book: so for Gods sake do not abuse your Introduction.

P.S | I have this minute received another most interesting letter from you with Asa Gray’s—but I am feeling so sick that I cannot read Gray’s—8

Yours remarks are excellent—specially about explaining too much, yet I cannot yet see my error.—


Dated by the reference to the forthcoming meeting of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society (see n. 5, below).
CD had invited the Hookers to stay at Down (letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 December [1859]).
William Henslow Hooker was the Hookers’ oldest son.
CD refers to Hooker 1859, which was due to be published in December 1859. Samuel Stevens was a natural history dealer who lived in Kennington in south London. He had acted as Alfred Russel Wallace’s agent since 1848 (Wallace 1905, 1: 266).
A meeting of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society was held on 22 December 1859 (Bonney 1919, p. 147).
CD was a county magistrate for the Bromley division of Kent. His name appears in the list of magistrates, misspelled as Darcori, in Post Office directory for the six home counties 1859, p. 441.
Hooker must have mentioned the paper by Charles Victor Naudin on species and varieties published in the Revue Horticole (Naudin 1852). See following letter and letter to J. D. Hooker, 23 [December 1859].


Bonney, T. G. 1919. Annals of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society written from its minute books. London: Macmillan.

Naudin, Charles Victor. 1852. Considérations philosophiques sur l’espèce et la variété. Revue Horticole 4th ser. 1: 102–9.

Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1905. My life: a record of events and opinions. 2 vols. London: Chapman & Hall.


Delighted JDH coming to Down. They will discuss Origin. JDH’s remarks that theory explains too much are excellent, yet CD cannot see his error.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 28
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2591,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

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