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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   9 May [1862]1

Down Bromley Kent

May 9th

My dear Hooker

I am so sorry for all the annoyment & loss which you have had.2 But I firmly believe that care on your part of your household would have made no difference; I do not find that those who look most after their servants succeed by any means best. I know that we let matters take their course & upon the whole get on very well. It must have been a horrid bother & I am sure would have greatly annoyed me. I have given your message to our William: I had not heard that you had asked him; it is very kind in you & I am sure he will value it; but you must not give yourself much trouble with him.—3

How goodnatured, also, you & Mrs. Hooker have been to poor Miss Pugh:4 she writes to Emma with great pleasure about it.—

I will most gratefully try & get & send a couple of flowers of Leschenaultia.—5

What a grand case that of the Cameroons; the 4000 ft has been much to my “private satisfaction”.— I will swear that the mundane glacial period is as true as gospel, so it must be true.—6

In a few days you will receive my orchid-book.—7 whenever you read it, will you kindly mark with pencil any errors,—for a German publisher wants to bring out a translation at once, but I have refused till he has got some one to read, that he may not be entrapped;8 so I could correct any glaring error, which is likely enough to have crept in or rather to have walked in.

I have just returned from London & saw old Falconer, very jolly & not at all bitter against modification of species!!!9 He is a good old fellow.

Ever my dear old friend | Yours | C. Darwin

I saw, also, Lyell10 very flourishing & very pleasant.—


The year is established by CD’s reference to the publication of Orchids (see n. 7, below).
Hooker’s home had recently been burgled (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [5 May 1862]).
In his letter of [5 May 1862], Hooker mentioned that he hoped to invite William Erasmus Darwin to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the near future. See also letter to W. E. Darwin, [8 May 1862].
From January 1857 until January 1859, Miss Pugh had been the governess of the Darwin children (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). According to Henrietta Emma Litchfield’s autobiography (DAR 246: 36–7), she was ‘neurotic and semi-mad’, and was finally admitted into an asylum. See also Freeman 1978. At this time Miss Pugh resided in Kew, Surrey (see the letter from Emma Darwin to W. E. Darwin, [14 May 1862] in DAR 219.1: 231), and was thus a neighbour of Hooker’s; CD also refers to Hooker’s wife, Frances Harriet Hooker.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, [5 May 1862]. The discovery of temperate plants at heights as low as 4000 ft above sea level in the Cameroon mountains was further evidence in favour of CD’s views on migration during a mundane glacial period. He proposed that the onset of a cold climate enabled temperate forms to migrate into tropical regions and across the equator, their progress facilitated by the weakened condition of the tropical forms, the greater adaptability of temperate forms to a changed climate, and the presence of high land (Origin, pp. 377–8). CD added Hooker’s evidence from the Cameroon mountains to the discussion on this topic in the fourth edition of Origin (Origin 4th ed., pp. 445–50).
Orchids was offered for sale on 15 May 1862 (Freeman 1977, p. 112). For CD’s presentation list for Orchids, see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix IV.
See letter from Hugh Falconer, 7 May [1862], and letter to Hugh Falconer, [8 May 1862]. Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) records that CD was in London from 6 to 9 May 1862.


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

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

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.


Sorry to hear of JDH’s household troubles.

Will try to get a couple of flowers of Leschenaultia to send him.

"What a good case that of the Cameroons"; the 4000ft [elevation] is much to CD’s "private satisfaction".

Sends JDH a copy of Orchids.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 149
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3541,” accessed on 20 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10