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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [25 January 1864]1



My dear Hooker

As I do nothing all day, I often get fidgetty, & I now fancy that Charlie2 or some of your family ill. When you have time let me have a short note to say how you all are.— I have had some fearful sickness: but what a strange mechanism one’s body is; yesterday suddenly I had a slight attack of rheumatism in my back & I instantly became almost well & so wonderfully strong that I walked to the Hothouse, which must be more than 100 yards.—3

I have sent Scott’s paper to Linn. Soc.—4 I feel sure it is really valuable, but I fear few will care about it. Remember my urgent wish to be able to send the poor fellow a word of praise from anyone.—5 I have had work to get him to allow me to send the paper to Linn. Soc; Even after it was written! out.—6

I asked in former letter about Herbert Spencer, & now I see a number come about Variation &c,—7 but I cannot of course at present read it.—

I find it hard to be patient; now for five months I have done nothing but be sick.—8

Farewell my dear old friend.— | C. D.—


The date is established by the fact that this letter crossed with Hooker’s letter of 24 January 1864 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [27 January 1864]). The Monday following 24 January 1864 was 25 January.
Charles Paget Hooker, the Hookers’ third child, was 8 years old.
Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) records frequent illness for CD in January 1864; for 24 January she wrote ‘rheumatism & excellent day’ (see also letter to J. D. Hooker, [10 and 12 January 1864] and nn. 2 and 11). The hothouse at Down House was completed in February 1863 (see Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix VI).
CD refers to John Scott, Scott 1864a, and the Linnean Society. See letter from John Scott, [13 January 1864] and nn. 5 and 6.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, [10 and 12 January 1864] and nn. 12 and 13.
CD refers to number 10 (pp. 239–328) of Spencer 1864–7, vol. 1. See letter from J. D. Hooker, 24 January 1864 and nn. 3–8.
See Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II, and this volume, Appendix II.


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

Spencer, Herbert. 1864–7. The principles of biology. 2 vols. London: Williams & Norgate.


CD’s illness.

The difficulty of getting John Scott to publish his work. Has sent Scott’s paper [on Primulaceae] to Linnean Society. CD is sure it is valuable.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 217
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4397,” accessed on 24 October 2021,

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