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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   27 [March 1861]

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

I had intended to have sent you Bates’ article this very day.1 I am so glad you like it. I have been extremely much struck with it. How well he argues & with what crushing force against the glacial doctrine. By the Lord I cannot wriggle out of it. I am dumb-founded; yet I do believe that some explanation some day will appear & I cannot give up equatorial cooling. It explains so much & harmonises with so much.— When you write (& much interested I shall be in your letter) please say how far Floras are generally uniform in generic character from 0o to 25o N & S.—2

Before reading Bates, I had become thoroughily dissatisfied with what I wrote to you.— I hope you may get Bates to write in Linnean.3

Here is a good joke: H. W. Watson (who I fancy & hope is going to review new Edit. of Origin) says that in first 4 paragraph of the Introduction, the words “I” “me” “my” occur 43 times!4 I was dimly conscious of this accursed fact.— He says it can be explained phrenologically which I suppose civilly means that I am the most egotistically self-sufficient man alive,— perhaps so.—5

I wonder whether he will print this pleasing fact; it beats hollow the parentheses in Wollastons writing6

I am my dear Hooker | Ever yours | C. Darwin

Do not spread this pleasing joke, it is rather too biting.—

(Many thanks about London Review: I will see how far I care for it—)7


Hooker’s response has not been found. The band of the tropics CD mentions would include the area of the north-eastern part of South America studied by Bates (see Bates 1861a, p. 223). See also letter to H. W. Bates, 26 March [1861] and CD note.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 18 March [1861]. Bates published his next paper in the Transactions of the Linnean Society of London (Bates 1861b).
CD means ‘H.C.’ here: his reference just above to [H. W.] Bates probably prompted the error. No review of Origin by Hewett Cottrell Watson has been identified.
Watson was a firm believer in phrenology; he had published on the subject in the 1830s (DNB).
When the anonymous review of Origin appeared in Annals and Magazine of Natural History in February 1860, CD suspected, rightly, that Thomas Vernon Wollaston was the author because ‘no one else in the world would have used so many parentheses.’ (Correspondence vol. 8, letter to Charles Lyell, 15 and 16 [February 1860]).
Hooker had apparently sent CD a copy of the most recent issue of the London Review and Weekly Journal of Politics, Literature, Art and Society. The periodical had begun publication in July 1860. For CD’s opinion of this number, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 23 [April 1861].


Bates, Henry Walter. 1861. Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley. Lepidoptera: Heliconidæ. [Read 21 November 1861.] Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 23 (1860–2): 495–566.

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

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

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.


H. W. Bates’s excellent article against glacial period [Trans. R. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 5 (1860): 352–3] leaves CD "dumbfounded".

H. C. Watson’s hostility.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115.2: 93
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3102,” accessed on 28 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9