skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [17 June 1865]1

Down Bromley | Kent.


My dear Hooker

I am very glad to have seen Huxley’s letter which is capital.2 As Etty is much interested in the controversy & I thought it cd not signify I have sent H’s letter to her,3 telling her to return it immediately to you. How witty it is!

I am pleased to hear that you are reading my climbing paper4 for I thought you wd not have time & it is awfully long. Of all men in the world Kingsley has written to me a note full of interest about it & especially about the Lathyrus.5 I suppose you do not know any one who from having attended to such subjects wd care for a separate copy.6

Remember you have Max Wichura’s book on Hybrids.7 Not that I want it back in any hurry. There was a capital resumé of it in the Reader some time ago.8 We have read your Indian novel & I liked it very much. We want to read a Hist of the Indian mutiny. Can you recommend one?9 I am extremely glad you are going an excursion with Mrs Hooker & we both very much hope it may do her good.10 I have had a very bad 6 weeks with much vomiting & fear that the ice will not do much for me.11

Yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin

E’ D’s12 love to Mrs Hooker & is very sorry to hear how unwell she continues


The date is established by the reference to the letter from Charles Kingsley, 14 June 1865 (see n. 5, below). The first Saturday following 14 June 1865 was 17 June.
CD refers to Henrietta Emma Darwin. She was on holiday in Wales from 29 May 1865 to 22 June 1865 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)), and mentioned the letter from Thomas Henry Huxley in a letter to Emma Darwin that can be dated 19 June 1865 (DAR 245: 26). She wrote: Many thanks for Dr. H. it is very amusing. But can such a thing have had influence. I wish people weren’t so foolish. The controversy referred to is the dispute between Charles Lyell and John Lubbock. See Appendix V.
See letter from Charles Kingsley, 14 June 1865 and n. 2. Although Kingsley pursued an interest in natural history, he was perhaps better known for lending religious support to CD’s views (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 7, letter from Charles Kingsley, 18 November 1859).
See annotations to letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 June 1865]. No presentation list for ‘Climbing plants’ has been found.
Early in the year, CD had received a presentation copy of Wichura 1865 from Max Ernst Wichura, and had evidently lent it to Hooker (see letter to M. E. Wichura, 3 February [1865], and letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 and 28 [October 1865]). CD’s copy, which is annotated, is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 871–3).
An abstract of Wichura 1865 was published under the title ‘Vegetable hybrids’ in the Reader, 3 June 1865, p. 631. In his annotations to the letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 June 1865] CD wrote ‘Wimmer Book?’; the article in the Reader mentions Christian Friedrich Heinrich Wimmer. Wichura cited Wimmer, not only for his published work (Wimmer 1853), but also for giving him access to the garden in which Wimmer grew many varieties of Salix (see also Wichura 1865, pp. 1–2).
See CD’s annotations to the letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 June 1865], where he writes, ‘How to | Histry of Indian Mutiny.—’. ‘How to’ is probably a reference to the novel How to manage it (Prichard 1864), set during the Indian Mutiny or Sepoy War of 1857–8. The novel received a favourable review in the Athenæum, 21 January 1865, p. 86.
Frances Harriet Hooker had suffered a miscarriage, and the Hookers were planning to travel to Teesdale, County Durham (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 June 1865] and nn. 5 and 6).
CD had been undergoing John Chapman’s ice treatment since 20 May 1865 as a cure for his frequent bouts of sickness (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). See letter to John Chapman, 7 June 1865 and n. 1.


‘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–.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Prichard, Iltudus Thomas. 1864. How to manage it: a novel. 3 vols. London: R. Bentley.

Wichura, Max Ernst. 1865. Die Bastardbefruchtung im Pflanzenreich erläutert an den Bastarden der Weiden. Breslau: E. Morgenstern.

Wimmer, Christian Friedrich Heinrich. 1853. Wildwachsende Bastardpflanzen, hauptsächlich in Schlesien beobachtet. In Denkschrift zur Feier ihres fünfzigjährigen Bestehens herausgegeben von der Schlesischen Gesellschaft für vaterländische Kultur. Breslau: Joseph Max & Komp.


Huxley’s capital, witty letter.

Charles Kingsley has written of his interest in "Climbing plants".

Health has been very bad.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 271
Physical description
LS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4862,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

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