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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [8–18 January 1865]1

Royal Gardens Kew

Dear Darwin

Bentham craves your paper however long—for the Linnean, & so do I.2

The worst of the Royal Socys. Proceedings is, that to Naturalists they are nought, they do not take them in, & if you print a paper in them, you are pestered by correspondents about it—3 I wish the Royal & Linnean would join in publishing as Physical, & Biological sections of one body

I think the 2 last Nos. of Reader vast improvements   The spiritualism Leader was Tyndalls. I had heard it rehearsed often, any time this 5 years past, about which time ago it occurred.4

What the devil is this “suppressed Gout”? upon which Doctors fasten every ill they cannot name   If it is suppressed how do they know it is gout.? if it is apparent, why the Devil do they call it suppressed? I hate the use of cant terms to cloak ignorance.5

Ever Yrs affec | J D Hooker.


The date range is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] and 19 January [1865].
Hooker refers to George Bentham, ‘Climbing plants’, and the Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany). See letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] and nn. 6 and 7.
CD had considered sending his manuscript to the Royal Society (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] and n. 7). The Proceedings of the Royal Society of London were published monthly and contained shorter papers and abstracts of papers read at the weekly meetings of the Society. Longer papers were published annually in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions (see Record of the Royal Society of London, pp. 178–9, 312–13). As a fellow of the Royal Society, CD received both publications. His copies of the Proceedings and Transactions are in the Darwin Library–CUL.
Hooker refers to John Tyndall and a description by Tyndall in the Reader of a séance he had attended (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] and n. 14).
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] and n. 16. Hooker had also expressed scepticism about the diagnosis of ‘suppressed gout’ in his letter of 2 July 1862 (Correspondence vol. 10).


‘Climbing plants’: On the movements and habits of climbing plants. By Charles Darwin. [Read 2 February 1865.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 9 (1867): 1–118.

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

Record of the Royal Society of London: The record of the Royal Society of London for the promotion of natural knowledge. 4th edition. London: Royal Society. 1940.


Bentham wants "Climbing plants" for Journal of the Linnean Society, however long [J. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Bot.) 9 (1865): 1–118]. Publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society restricts correspondence.

Reader much improved.

Tyndall did write piece on spiritualism ["Science and the spirits", Reader 4 (1864): 725–6].

"Suppressed gout" annoys him as a term cloaking ignorance.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 102: 4–5
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4743,” accessed on 7 October 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13