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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [22 January 1860]1

Down. Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

What a splendid, magnificent letter from Asa Gray!2 I should out of pure vanity rather like to keep first sheet, so do not throw it away.—3 It is rich about Agassiz.

I mean to come to London on Tuesday evening for the vain purpose of consulting a new Doctor for my stomach;4 & for the Club on Thursday, where, if I can possibly, attend, I very much hope to see you.5 What a time it is since I have seen you my dear old friend, & such kind & generous sympathy you have shown me.—

God Bless you | Yours affect | C. Darwin

I tried to come up last Thursday to dine at Athenæum with you Naturalists, but failed.

I hope Lady Hooker goes on favourably.—6

Is there a cool-greenhouse Goodenia, so that I could get a plant & examine the process of impregnation?7

A capital clear article in todays Gardener Ch. I suppose by you.—8


Dated by the reference to CD’s intention to attend a meeting of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society (see n. 5, below) and to the review of Origin in the Gardeners’ Chronicle (see n. 8, below).
The first sheet of the letter is in DAR 98 (ser. 2): 20–1.
There is an entry dated 24 January 1860 in CD’s Account book (Down House MS) that records a payment to ‘Mr Headland & Physic’. Edward Headland was the leading general physician in London; his address in Portland Place is recorded in CD’s Address book (Down House MS).
CD refers to a meeting of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society held on 26 January 1860, at which he was present (Philosophical Club minutes, Royal Society).
CD feared that Goodenia presented a strong case against his doctrine that all organic beings occasionally cross. Auguste de Saint-Hilaire maintained that in Goodenia the pollen is ‘enclosed in a cup surrounding the stigma & is then hermetically sealed; so that here a cross would appear physically impossible.’ (Natural selection, pp. 63–4, 72).
‘Natural selection’, the continuation of Hooker’s anonymous review of Origin, appeared in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 21 January 1860, pp. 45–6.


Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

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.


Very pleased with Asa Gray’s letter to JDH [see 2638], which is "rich on Agassiz".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 37
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2672,” accessed on 26 February 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8