skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   8 February [1860]

Down Bromley Kent

Feb— 8th

My dear Hooker

The extract from Naudin, which I owe to Mrs Hooker’s kindness, was amply & more than amply sufficient.—1 Pray thank her also for her nice little note received yesterday which has pleased me much.— I am very sorry to hear about the price of your Introduction; it seems very high, but I suspect that it contains much more matter or words than anyone would at first think. Your presentation copies will cost you a little fortune.— It is really a horrid shame to think that after all your immense labour that you should be heavily fined in hard cash.—2

By an odd chance, on my honour it was only night before last, I was thinking to myself how you could work up your published materials into one volume. It seemed to me very difficult; but I thought you might make a new Essay, & beginning by a sketch of the general great affinities & classification of the great orders, & then pass on to their geographical Distrb. & Geological Succession. And add a chapter on effect on Landscape.— But I clearly foresaw that you would object to the noble art of compiling; but for a general subject surely compiling is necessary. You know how I admire a Compiler! Such a Book would be very difficult; & style would come much into play; & yet I believe you could, if you would, produce a grand Book of the kind.—

You did not answer my query about date of publication of Essay, but I have put down December 1859, & that ends my little Historical sketch.—3

Farewell my dear Hooker | Ever your affect | C. Darwin

I walked home with Grove from last Royal Soc. meeting4 & he harangued me to that extent I was half-dead, & he did not at all clearly see what he was talking about. I had thought you rather unjust about Grove; I humbly axe your pardon.—

From a talk a year or two ago, I am sure he then saw nothing about means of modification, & he knew nothing of difficulties—


See letter to J. D. Hooker, 31 [January 1860]. In the preface added to the revised American edition of Origin, CD cited Charles Victor Naudin as having ‘expressly stated his belief that species are formed in an analogous manner as varieties are under cultivation; and the latter process he attributes to man’s power of selection.’ (Origin US ed., p. ix; see Correspondence vol.8, Appendix IV).
Hooker had told CD of his intention to buy 100 copies of Hooker 1859 for distribution (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter from J. D. Hooker, [8–10 April 1859]). The publisher of the work, Lovell Augustus Reeve, had apparently charged Hooker a high price for each copy. For CD’s offer to pay Hooker for the copies he had sent to CD, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 February [1860].
On p. xi of the preface added to the revised and augmented American edition of Origin (see Correspondence vol.8, Appendix IV), CD cited Hooker 1859 as follows: In December, 1859, Dr. Hooker published his Introduction to the Tasmanian Flora: in the first part of this admirable essay he admits the truth of the descent and modification of species; and supports this doctrine by many original and valuable observations.‘
William Robert Grove was an active participant in Royal Society affairs. CD was in London to attend the meeting of the Royal Society on 26 January 1860 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).


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.

Origin US ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. A new edition, revised and augmented by the author. By Charles Darwin. New York: D. Appleton. 1860.


Urges JDH to work his essays into a book.

CD’s historical sketch ends with JDH’s introductory essay to Flora Tasmaniae.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 39
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2689,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

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