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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [29 December 1861]1



Dr Darwin

We employ several heaters & have written fully to Mr Cresy about them.2

My wicked conscience smited me about the Gongora when your letter came— I am truly shut up & confess I forgot that very trifling commission.3 I do not give up Acropera luteola—& think I shall find some reference to it yet.4

Do you hear from Asa Gray now? & if so does he with you (as with me) avoid all allusion to politics & war. I do not know your views on this crisis   I am with the popular view in this country & do confess I long to see the Yankees well drubbed by us.— I have no further sympathy with the South than that it is the weakest.—& I have no wish to see England break the blockades.5

Willy has returned from his Quarantine—all clear. I think he improves but is singularly backward & childish of his years.6 he is very good & a charming boy in disposition & manners, so generous unselfish & conscientious, like poor dear old Henslow.—7 he has lots of brains, but no power whatever of using them, no memory, & the most volatile disposition of any child I ever saw. The rest are all well.

I have been in bed half day with violent cold to the amazement of the household & ⁠⟨⁠3 words illeg and text destroyed⁠⟩⁠

Do you want Eul⁠⟨⁠ophia⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠viridis⁠⟩⁠8 Have you any inqu⁠⟨⁠iries⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ Otago? Dr Hector ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ Geolog. Surveyor ea⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ & dines with me on Fri⁠⟨⁠day⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ send at once & I will ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ for his executing any sci⁠⟨⁠entific⁠⟩⁠ commissions.9

I have been reading J. Haasts survey of N.W. parts of Middle Island. he alludes to extensive drift formations (Glacial) amongst the mountains.10

Oliver gave me enclosed reference possibly worth your consulting

Yours | J D Hooker


Lestibudois Phyllotaxie Anatomique in Ann. Sc. Nat.11

CD annotations

4.1 Willy … saw. 4.5] ‘Whateley’12 brown crayon
Top of first page: ‘Naudin13 | Henslow’s life’14 ink
End of letter: ‘Glacial’ ink, circled ink; ‘Jan.— 1862’ ink


Dated by the relationship to the letter to J. D. Hooker, 27 [December 1861]. The following Sunday was 29 December.
See letters to J. D. Hooker, 18 [December 1861], 27 [December 1861], and 28 [December 1861].
Hooker refers to the so-called ‘Trent affair’. See letter to Asa Gray, 11 December [1861] and n. 3.
Hooker’s eldest child, William Henslow Hooker, was eight years old. William had been quarantined with suspected scarlet fever (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 18 [December 1861]).
John Stevens Henslow, Hooker’s father-in-law, had died in May 1861.
Eulophia is a genus of orchids. See letter to J. D. Hooker, [30 and 31 December 1861].
James Hector was preparing to leave for New Zealand, where he was to assume the position of geologist to the provincial government of Otago (DNB). In the fourth edition of Origin, CD cited information provided by Hector concerning evidence of past glacial action in New Zealand (Origin 4th ed., p. 443).
Haast 1861, pp. 89–124.
In the letter to J. D. Hooker, 16 January [1862] (Correspondence vol. 10), CD related an anecdote told to him by Richard Whately, archbishop of Dublin, about a boy who, although thought a dunce throughout childhood, came to exhibit his inherited genius as an adult.
Jenyns ed. 1862.


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.

Haast, John Francis Julius von. 1861. Report of a topographical and geological exploration of the western districts of the Nelson Province, New Zealand. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson provincial government.

Lestiboudois, Thémistocle. 1848. Phyllotaxie anatomique, ou recherches sur les causes organiques des diverses distributions des feuilles. Annales des sciences naturelles (botanique) 3d ser. 10: 15–105, 136–89.

Origin 4th ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 4th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1866.

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.


Asks CD whether he hears from Asa Gray. JDH’s opinion of the crisis [Trent case, Nov 1861] and the American Civil War.

Julius von Haast alludes to glacial drift in Middle Island of New Zealand.

Backwardness of JDH’s son, Willy.

Encloses a reference from Daniel Oliver which may be useful.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 1, 2a–c
Physical description
ALS 3pp damaged †, encl 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3374,” accessed on 23 May 2024,

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