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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [21 December 1862]1


Sunday evening

My dear Hooker

I send just a line to thank for Begonias & the very curious Oxalis, which arrived quite safe.— I am low about the Plant=case, & cannot keep it hot enough.—2

It is not at all worth while to write about wild Gooseberry, unless you wish to have it in garden.—3

I keep obstinate about crossing & could argue till doomsday, but will not bother you.—4

I infer from G. Chronicle that you have read your Wellwitschia paper & I heartily wish you joy;5 for it is great satisfaction finishing a job. It is certainly the greatest pleasure about a book. I inferred from one of your notes that you did not think much of Huxley’s Lectures;6 they seem to me capital; perhaps not deserving of such a man’s time, but otherwise, as it seems to me, excellent.—

I have finished my Linum paper7 & an abstract of Bates’ paper8 for N. Hist Review—thank God—& today have begun to think of arrangement of my concluding chapters on Inheritance, Reversion—Selection & such things & am fairly paralysed how to begin & how to end & what to do with my huge piles of materials9

Ever yours affectly | C. Darwin


The date is established by the reference to CD having finished his paper, ‘Two forms in species of Linum, and to his resumption of work on Variation (see nn. 7 and 9, below).
The Gardeners’ Chronicle of 20 December 1862, p. 1194, reported that Hooker had read his paper on Welwitschia (J. D. Hooker 1863a) before the Linnean Society of London on 18 December. See also letter from J. D. Hooker, [21 December 1862] and n. 4.
T. H. Huxley 1862c. See letter from J. D. Hooker, 26 November 1862. For CD’s opinion of Huxley’s lectures, see the letters to T. H. Huxley, 7 December [1862] and 18 December [1862].
According to his ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II), CD began his paper ‘Two forms in species of Linum on 11 December 1862.
‘Review of Bates on mimetic butterflies’ was published in the April 1863 number of the Natural History Review. See also letters from John Lubbock, 15 December 1862 and 18 December 1862, and letter to John Lubbock, 16 [December 1862].
According to his ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II), CD began to prepare a draft of chapter 11 of Variation, ‘On bud-variation and on certain anomalous modes of reproduction and variation’ (Variation 1: 373–411) on 21 December 1862.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

‘Review of Bates on mimetic butterflies’: [Review of "Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley", by Henry Walter Bates.] [By Charles Darwin.] Natural History Review n.s. 3 (1863): 219–24. [Collected papers 2: 87–92.]

‘Two forms in species of Linum’: On the existence of two forms, and on their reciprocal sexual relation, in several species of the genus Linum. By Charles Darwin. [Read 5 February 1863.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 7 (1864): 69–83. [Collected papers 2: 93–105.]

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for Begonia and Oxalis.

Keeps obstinate about crossing and could argue till doomsday, but will not bother JDH.

Sees that JDH has finished Welwitschia.

Thinks Huxley’s Working Men’s Lectures excellent.

Has finished Linum paper [Collected papers 2: 93–105],

and abstract of Bates’s paper for Natural History Review,

and has begun to arrange concluding chapters [for Variation]. Is paralysed on how to begin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 174
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3871,” accessed on 26 February 2021,

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