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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Mary Boott   18 January 1864

Jany. 18th 1864

Dear Mr. Darwin

I had not intended so long a time should have elapsed since sorrow came upon me,1 without sending you the message my revered husband did, not more than two days before he died & when he called me to his bed side & said, “Mary, I wish if you have the opportunity you will let Mr Darwin know that I die as I have lived, with the profoundest admiration of his genius, & with the deepest respect for him as the man: he & Dr. Joseph Hooker2 are the only two individuals I ever class together for their rare qualities, & for a modesty & unaffected simplicity in unison with their high caracteristics”.. These words, my dear sir were uttered by one who knew not how to flatter, & who you will forgive his poor wife for saying was worthy the deep love & respect of those his few dying words thus eulogised

Will you present me very gratefully to Mrs. Darwin for her kind note,3 & say that this would have been to her rather than yourself, had I not felt I had a sacred trust to perform in sending directly to yourself the few words I have done—4

I am | dear Sir | Yours with much respect | Mary Boott


Mary Boott’s husband, Francis Boott, died of a lung disease on 25 December 1863 (DNB).
Joseph Dalton Hooker.
CD referred to Emma Darwin’s note in his letter to J. D. Hooker of [10 and 12 January 1864].
See letter to J. D. Hooker, [10 and 12 January 1864] and n. 5, and letter from J. D. Hooker, [23 November 1864] and n. 14.


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.


On his deathbed her husband [Francis] expressed admiration for CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Mary Boott
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 255
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4391,” accessed on 5 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12