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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   9 June 1862

Royal Gardens Kew | Kew

June 9/62

My dear Darwin

Oliver has written what appears to me to be an able review of “Dimorphism” apropos of your Primula paper for the forthcoming No. of the N.H Review.1 Your account of Viola impregnating direct from the anther is to me novel & most interesting   it is half-way to the structure of Asclepias &c.2 I have finished the Cameroons Mt plants, are you ready for the gross results? as to the proportions &c of temperate forms.3

I am daily at Exhibition Jury work except Monday— it is just as well to be slaving there as at Kew, & as amusing.4

We are still in domestic perplexity— My wife5 is very thin & watery, lacks energy, blood & muscle. & though she does her best honestly & heartily with the children, she lacks energy & method & does not get on.— We have agreed to a plan of housekeeping which will I hope answer better—to get a middle aged cook who will be sort of housekeeper in as far as keeping an absolute control over who comes in & out of the kitchen—6 Mrs Darwin is not likely to know of such a person, but perhaps you will kindly mention it to her—quite a plain cook is all we want, who can roast, boil & bake, but she must be beyond the age of flirtation— I can promise her a quiet place, a most indulgent mistress & good wages.— Then we shall return to the Nursery Governess plan—but endeavour to get an older & more practised one than we had before—

I am getting over my dispiriting feelings of annoyance & anxiety. I wish I could add that my wife was better— she complains of palpitation of heart & shortness of breath & she has hardly a perceptible pulse—that she looks very ill every one says. I want above all to take her away, but neither of us can leave home till our household is arranged.

Ever yrs affec | J D Hooker

CD annotations

Top of first page: ‘This letter Private; to be returned to me   You will see why I send it.’7 pencil


Hooker had been preparing a list of the plants collected in the Cameroon mountains by Gustav Mann (see letters from J. D. Hooker, [5 May 1862] and nn. 3 and 5, and [29 May 1862] and n. 4); he read a paper entitled ‘On the vegetation of the Cameroons’ before the Linnean Society of London on 5 June 1862 (Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (Botany) 6 (1862): cvi). The paper was not published in the society’s journal, but in 1863 Hooker read before the society a further paper on the subject that was published together with his list of the plants (J. D. Hooker 1863c; see also J. D. Hooker 1863b). CD was interested in the evidence these collections provided concerning the historical causes of the prevailing geographical distribution of plant species in tropical areas (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 May [1862] and n. 6).
The Hookers’ home had recently been broken into, an incident for which Hooker felt they themselves were to blame for not taking better care of their ‘servts, doors & establishment’ (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [5 May 1862]).
CD appears to have sent the letter to Emma Darwin, who was in Southampton (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 June [1862] and n. 5).


Oliver has written able paper on dimorphism for Natural History Review [n.s. 2 (1862): 235–43].

CD’s account of Viola is novel and interesting.

Has finished Cameroon mountain plants.

Jury work at exhibition.

Domestic problems – wife is ill, no cook, etc.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 40–1
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3593,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

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