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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   7 April [1864]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

April 7

My dear Hooker

Nothing can be kinder or better than Balfour’s letter.1 I am almost ashamed of the hint that I gave.2 I think I must tell Scott that he has no hopes of a foreign appt thro’ you.3 I hate giving you the trouble of writing again but do you think I had better say that you cannot recommend him as you do not know him & have men of your own to recommend or had I better say that Balfour tho’ giving him an excellent character thinks that he is not fitted for a superinten: over other men.

Perhaps this wd be a breach of confidence & I don’t wish to say it. Do advise me.

I feel to a certain limited extent the cause of his misfortunes.4 You have been very kind about him. Altho’ I don’t know how I cd manage affairs here, yet if my health permitted I wd have him here at least for a yr or 2—5

I have so much confidence in him that if there was any where he cd work I wd support him. I fear the millennium may come before a private gentn may want a scientific gardener.

yours affectly | C. Darwin


CD refers to a letter to Hooker from John Hutton Balfour (see enclosure to the letter from J. D. Hooker, 6 April 1864).
In the postscript to his letter of 28 March 1864, John Scott had asked CD if Hooker would keep him in mind when foreign appointments became available. CD evidently passed this postscript on to Hooker, and also asked Hooker about the possibility of Scott’s working and experimenting at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with a stipend provided by CD (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [1 April 1864]). See also letters from J. D. Hooker, [2 April 1864], [4 April 1864], and 6 April 1864.
Balfour mentioned in his letter to Hooker that Scott’s absorption in his botanical researches had led him to neglect his work at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (see enclosure to letter from J. D. Hooker, 6 April 1864). CD had been encouraging Scott’s botanical research since November 1862 (see Correspondence vols. 10 and 11, and this volume, letters from John Scott, 7 January [1864] and n. 3, [13 January 1864] and n. 7, and 19 March 1864 and n. 21).
CD had also mentioned this possibility in his letters to Hooker of [1 April 1864] and 5 April [1864].


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


CD apologises for having asked JDH to help him with Scott and now seeks advice on how to break the news.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 228
Physical description
L(S) 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4455,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

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