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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [31 March 1863]1



Dear Darwin

One line to say that the article is surely Owens & none others.2 I was certain of it on reading it, the expressions are identical with those of the Edr. Review,3 & the whole method of traduction is typical of Owen & unapproached by any one else.— so are the longwinded phrases, & so is the unutterable rubbish of the doctrine. Good Lord what rubbish & what vulgarity. I think there must be truth in a report I once heard—that he tippled.— Your doubt caused me to hunt up Carpenter today,4 who assures me it is so, both from his judgement, & from a conversation he had with Hepworth Dixon on Saturday about it—5 he is going to answer it—mildly.6

Froude7 told me today that Carlyle8 is a violent anti-Darwinian—of course it is of no consequence, but I should not have expected it.

Ever Yours affec | J D Hooker

I have just got sent a splendid Wedgwood of Dr Johnson!9


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Lubbock, 5 April 1863, and by the reference to the anonymous review of Carpenter 1862 in the Athenæum of 28 March 1863, pp. 417–19; the intervening Tuesday was 31 March.
Hooker refers to Richard Owen’s anonymous review of Carpenter 1862 in the Athenæum, 28 March 1863, pp. 417–19 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [29 March 1863]). The attribution is confirmed by the publisher’s marked copy of the Athenæum (City University Library, London). Owen’s review is reproduced in Appendix VII.
Hooker refers to Owen’s anonymous review of Origin in the Edinburgh Review ([Owen] 1860a).
William Benjamin Carpenter.
William Hepworth Dixon was editor of the Athenæum (DNB).
Part of Carpenter’s response to Owen’s review was published in the Athenæum, 18 April 1863, p. 525.
James Anthony Froude.
Thomas Carlyle.
Samuel Johnson. Hooker was an enthusiastic collector of Wedgwood ware (see letters from J. D. Hooker, 6 January 1863, [16 February 1863], [6 March 1863], and [24 March 1863]).


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.

Carpenter, William Benjamin. 1862. Introduction to the study of the Foraminifera. Assisted by W. K. Parker and T. R. Jones. London: Ray Society.

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.

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.


Owen is the author of the Athenæum article [28 Mar 1863, pp. 417–19]. JDH dismisses it as vulgar rubbish. W. B. Carpenter intends to write a reply.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 126–7
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4098,” accessed on 4 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11