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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   14 May 1864


May 14/64

My dear Darwin

I have just received Wallace’s anthropological paper1 & read 12 & am amazed at its excellence— it seems to me a very great move in advance & I am anxious to know what you think of it— It never struck me to account for the fixity of man as Wallace has done, & apparently with good reason.2 I am struck too with his negation of all credit or share in the Natural Selection theory3—which makes me think him a very high-minded man. I am burning to know your opinion of the paper.

We enjoyed ourselves vastly at Mr Wedgwoods, they are extraordinarily kind & most agreeable.—4 the little visit brought some roses back to my wifes wan cheeks.—5 We liked Clement Extremely.6 Of course I dabbled amongst the moulds to my hearts content, & selected some fine plaques &c which Mr W. has promised to have put in hand for me.7 My wife & Clement found a common bond in german music, & we had the happyness of hearing of your continued betterness.

The Lyells8 spent an evening with us last week, both looking very well indeed we thought.

In haste | Ever yrs affec | J D Hooker


Hooker refers to Alfred Russel Wallace’s paper ‘On the origin of human races and the antiquity of man deduced from the theory of “natural selection’”, Anthropological Review (Wallace 1864b).
Wallace referred in his paper to ‘Mr. Darwin’s celebrated theory of “natural selection’”, and to the theory ‘promulgated by Mr. Darwin’ (Wallace 1864b, pp. clix, clx). CD put an ‘X’ in the margin by the first reference in his copy of the paper (see CD’s offprint of Wallace 1864b, p. 2, in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL). Wallace had independently formulated the theory of natural selection; his statement was published jointly with CD’s (see C. Darwin and Wallace 1858, and Correspondence vol. 7).
Hooker and his wife, Frances Harriet Hooker, had visited Francis Wedgwood and his family at Barlaston, Staffordshire (see letters from J. D. Hooker, 6 April 1864 and n. 3, and [26 or 27 April 1864] and n. 15).
Hooker thought his wife had heart or circulation problems (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 5 February 1864).
For Hooker’s interest in Wedgwood ware, see the letter from J. D. Hooker, 6 April 1864 and n. 3.


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


Is burning to hear CD’s reaction to Wallace’s excellent paper on man ["Origin of human races and the antiquity of man", J. Anthropol. Soc. Lond. 2 (1864): clviii–clxxxvi].

Wallace’s disclaimer of credit for natural selection is high-minded.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 218–19
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4494,” accessed on 25 July 2024,

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