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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   12 November 1862


Nov 12 1862

Dr Darwin

I have found out that Haughton is the identical one & indivisible with our Nat. & prejudiced reviewer of the Origin.1 He is certainly a man of large capacity, & that is his special quality— he has taken to the Medical classes lately & turned his attention to poisons,—2 My own impression as regards his strychnine case3 is that it is only a deduction from Dr. Andersons discovery, some 8 years ago, that one Narcotic &c counteracts another, I do not know where Andersons paper was published, but can enquire & let you know—4

Haughton is as I am given to understand a man without any faculties of imagination or discovery.—but a plodder & applies with many horse power brains. He will grapple any subject on a moments notice, & the only thing to be deplored is that some of his friends would not put him up to a wrinkle or two on Theology, & let him get his steam up— wouldn’t he just break things!—

I send the Maize book by Carrier today, & it will go on from Nag’s head tomorrow by your Carrier.5

I have a little yesterday from our West Africa collector, he has been across Du Chaillus country & says his accounts are all false. 6 That impudent liar Burton (another Geogr. Soc. protegee) has in a public despatch) filched away all poor Mann’s credit for the ascent of the Cameroons, calls it his Expedition, planned & carried out by him, & calls Mann his volunteer associate.7 I never read any thing so gross in my life— Poor Mann had set his heart on this thing for 2 years, had failed the first time, & was actually leaving F. Po. for the ascent when Burton arrived at F. Po as Consul, did leave & had ascended the Mt. several weeks before Burton following him was at its foot; having prepared the way & provided guides & every thing— I am quite disgusted, but hardly know how to act, I dislike & despise the Geogr. Soc. way of going so much that I do not like to bring the matter forward there, & as to having a quarrel with Burton, we all know what it is to touch pitch.8

I have some more matters (in your letter) to write about, but they are not at hand here (B. House) where I am examining.9

Ever Yours | J D Hooker

CD annotations10

Top of first page: ‘(Acropera)’ ink
End of letter: ‘Hooker | L Büchner11 | on Mann | Welwitschia’ ink


See letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 November [1862] and n. 14. Hooker refers to Samuel Haughton, author of a critical review of Origin that was published in the Natural History Review ([Haughton] 1860b).
Haughton had been professor of geology at the University of Dublin since 1851; he entered the university’s medical school in 1859, at the age of 38, in order to obtain a better knowledge of anatomy for his palaeontological researches. He graduated in 1862 and was appointed medical registrar of the school (DNB).
Haughton 1862.
The reference is probably to Anderson 1848, a paper documenting a ‘Case of Recovery from a poisonous dose of Strychnia’; it was published in the Monthly Journal of Medical Science 8 (1848): 566–74. In the paper, Thomas Anderson, professor of chemistry at the university of Glasgow, and an expert on the chemistry of narcotics, stated (p. 569): The question may be raised as to how far the action of the strychnia may have been affected by the habitual use of opium … In this case, it is just possible that intoxication [with opium] may have prevented the immediate access of symptoms [of strychnine poisoning], exactly as it is known to do in the case of poisoning by opium.
Bonafous 1836 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [18 October 1862] and n. 6). Hooker refers to George Snow, who operated a weekly carrier service between Down and London.
Gustav Mann was botanical collector for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on the Niger expedition led by William Balfour Baikie (R. Desmond 1995, p. 433). The veracity of Paul Belloni Du Chaillu’s account of his explorations and adventures in equatorial Africa (Du Chaillu 1861) had been repeatedly questioned and was the cause of much public controversy (see Vaucaire 1930, pp. 125–41).
Burton 1862. Richard Francis Burton was appointed British consul in Fernando Po, West Africa, in March 1862. He had previously received Royal Geographical Society support for a projected expedition to cross the Arabian peninsula, and for an exploring expedition into Central Africa (DNB).
Hooker sought to secure Mann’s reputation in a paper read before the Linnean Society on 5 November 1863 (J. D. Hooker 1863c). He apparently began the paper at the end of 1862; in a letter to Thomas Henry Huxley of [before 19 December 1862] (The Huxley Papers, College Archives, Imperial College, London, V.3.78), Hooker wrote: ‘I am making a précis of our poor German collector, G. Mann’s, West African letters, to contradict Burton’s assertions’. In his account of Mann’s ascent of the Cameroon mountains (J. D. Hooker 1863c, p. 174), Hooker stated: Some of the physical characters of the group have been described in a memorandum transmitted to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by Consul Burton, who accompanied Mr. Mann on his second visit to this group. The account there given of this adventurous expedition seeming to imply that it was one planned and conducted by Consul Burton, to which Mr. Mann had attached himself, I have been desired by Mr. Mann to publish the accompanying statement of the facts of the case as communicated by himself The subsequent report demonstrated, as Hooker noted, that Mann began his exploration ‘nine months before Consul Burton arrived on the coast of Africa’.
Hooker probably refers to examinations at University College London, where he was examiner in botany (Medical directory (1862): 200). University College was one of several organisations to have its offices at Burlington House, Piccadilly (Post Office London directory 1861).
Ludwig Büchner.


Anderson, Thomas. 1848. Case of recovery from a poisonous dose of strychnia; with observations on the tests for the organic alkalies. Monthly Journal of Medical Science 8: 566-74.

Bonafous, Matthieu. 1836. Histoire naturelle, agricole et économique du maïs. Paris and Turin.

Burton, Richard Francis. 1862. Account of the ascent of the Camaroons Mountain, in Western Africa. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 6: 238–48.

Desmond, Ray. 1995. Kew: the history of the Royal Botanic Gardens. London: Harvill Press with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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.

Du Chaillu, Paul Belloni. 1861. Explorations & adventures in equatorial Africa; with accounts of the manners and customs of the people, and of the chace of the gorilla, crocodile, leopard, elephant, hippopotamus, and other animals. 2d edition. London: John Murray.

Medical directory: The London medical directory … every physician, surgeon, and general practitioner resident in London. London: C. Mitchell. 1845. The London and provincial medical directory. London: John Churchill. 1848–60. The London & provincial medical directory, inclusive of the medical directory for Scotland, and the medical directory for Ireland, and general medical register. London: John Churchill. 1861–9. The medical directory … including the London and provincial medical directory, the medical directory for Scotland, the medical directory for Ireland. London: J. & A. Churchill. 1870–1905.

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.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.

Vaucaire, Michel. 1930. Paul du Chaillu: gorilla hunter. Being the extraordinary life and adventures of Paul du Chaillu. New York and London: Harper & Brothers. [Vols. 9,10]


Samuel Haughton was the prejudiced reviewer of the Origin. JDH’s opinion of SH.

Has heard from a W. African collector that P. B. Du Chaillu’s accounts [Explorations and adventures in equatorial Africa (1861)] are all false.

R. F. Burton has impudently stolen credit for Gustav Mann’s Cameroon expedition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 75–6
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3802,” accessed on 21 January 2022,

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