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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [29 July 1865]1



My dear Hooker

You were a good man to write me so pleasant a letter from Yorkshire.2 I live such a life, I have never heard of Palestine Explo: Fund;3 as you are interested in it, I am sure it must be good, & not merely to map the Temple,4 so I will with pleasure subscribe 3 or 5 guineas (whichever you like) for the 3 years—5 But you must tell me to whom to send money.—

Lyells corrected pages came when I was extra miserable;6 I read them & threw them away & now to my surprise find that I have no clear recollection about them,—only a feeling that I was disgusted with everything in world—7

I was glad to read your article on Glaciers &c in Yorkshire—8 you seem to have been struck with what most deeply impressed me at Glen Roy (wrong as I was on whole subject)9 viz. the marvellous manner in which every detail of surface of land had been preserved for enormous period—10 This makes me a little sceptical whether Ramsay, Jukes &c are not a little overdoing sub-äerial denudation.11 In same Reader there was a striking article on English & foreign men of science; & I think unjust to England, except in pure Physiology; in Biology Owen & R. Brown ought to save us, & in Geology we are most rich.—12

It is curious how we are reading same books— we intend to read Leckie13 & certainly to reread Buckle, which latter I admired greatly before.—14 I am heartily glad you like Lubbock’s book so much.—15 It made me grieve his taking to Politicks, & though I grieve that he has lost his Election,16 yet I suppose now that he is once bitten he will never give up Politicks, & Science is done for. Many men can make fair M.P.s, & how few can work in Science like him.—

I have been reading a pamphlet by Verlot on variation of flowers,17 which seems to me very good, but I doubt whether it would be worth your reading. It was published originally in Journal d’Hort.18 & so perhaps you have seen it. It is very good plan this republishing separately for sake of foreigners buying, & I wish I had tried to get permission of Linn. Soc for my Climbing paper, but it is now too late.—19

Do not forget that you have my paper on Hybridism by Max Wichura.20

I hope you are returned to your work refreshed like a giant by your huge breakfasts— How unlucky you are about contagious complaints with your children.—21

I keep very weak & had much sickness yesterday, but am stronger this morning—

Yours ever affect | C. Darwin

Can you remember how we ever first met; it was in Park St. but what brought us together??22 I have been rereading a few old letters of yours, & my heart is very warm towards you.—


The date is established by the reference to the general election in West Kent, 22 July 1865 (see n. 16, below). The Saturday following 22 July 1865 was 29 July.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1865. Although Hooker and CD both make reference to Yorkshire, Middleton-in-Teesdale, where the Hookers stayed, was in County Durham, just over the border from Yorkshire.
Hooker had asked CD whether he could afford to subscribe to the Palestine Exploration Fund (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1865 and n. 22).
CD refers to the Temple of Jerusalem. An ordnance survey map of Palestine was completed under the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1881, together with memoirs on topography, archaeology, plants, and animals (EB).
Although there is no record of any payment for 1865 or 1866, there is a payment of £6 6s. to the Palestine fund in July 1867 (CD’s Classed account books (Down House MS)).
Hooker had asked CD why he had not commented on the revised preface and note that Charles Lyell had written for Antiquity of man (C. Lyell 1863c). Lyell apparently arranged for proofs to be sent to both CD and Hooker (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1865, and n. 9). No letter to or from Lyell discussing these pages has been found. Lyell had sent CD copies of his correspondence with John Lubbock on the issue of plagiarism, but his letter to CD has not been found (see letter from Charles Lyell to J. D. Hooker, [31 May 1865] and enclosures; see also letter to J. D. Hooker, 1 June [1865] and n. 13).
CD recorded in his journal that he had been ill since 22 April 1865 (see Correspondence vol.13, Appendix II). For CD’s list of symptoms, see Correspondence vol. 13, Appendix IV; see also Bowlby 1990, p. 379.
Hooker 1865. Hooker had told CD that he was spending time studying the local moraines while on holiday (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1865).
In his 1839 paper, ‘Parallel roads of Glen Roy’, CD had argued that the ‘roads’ were ancient beaches formed as the land gradually rose from the sea. CD was eventually convinced by the observations of Thomas Francis Jamieson that the ‘roads’ were beaches of a glacial lake (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter to T. F. Jamieson, 6 September [1861], and Appendix IX; see also Correspondence vol. 10, letter to A. C. Ramsay, 14 December [1862]).
In his letter in the Reader (Hooker 1865), Hooker described the moraines in the upper part of the Tees valley. He asserted that the contour of this part of the Tees valley was due to glacial action, but qualified this by adding: ‘I do not thereby imply that the Valley, as such, is wholly due to subærial glacial action.’ He concluded that the topographical features of the area were essentially unchanged since the glacial period.
Subaerial denudation is erosion resulting from fluvial and glacial action, in contrast to erosion from marine action (Challinor 1978). Andrew Crombie Ramsay and Joseph Beete Jukes had both rejected marine denudation as an explanation of topographical features, arguing instead in favour of glacial and fluvial action (see Jukes 1862a and 1862b and Ramsay 1862 and 1865). Another geologist who favoured the theory of subaerial denudation was Archibald Geikie (see Geikie 1863 and 1865). See Davies 1969, pp. 317–55, for a discussion of the role of these three geologists in the revival of fluvialism. CD had corresponded with Ramsay and Jukes about their theories (see Correspondence vol. 10, letters from J. B. Jukes, 25 May 1862 and 30 May 1862, letter from A. C. Ramsay, 26 August 1862, and letter to A. C. Ramsay, 5 September [1862]). CD’s annotated copies of Jukes 1862b and Ramsay 1865 are in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. CD had not been entirely convinced by the subaerial explanation, however, and continued to express doubts about it to Hooker (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from J. D. Hooker, 26[–8] October 1864, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 November [1864]; see also this volume, letter to Charles Lyell, 21 February [1865] and n. 8).
CD refers to the article ‘British and Foreign Science’ in the Reader, 15 July 1865, pp. 61–2. The article claimed that England compared unfavourably with Germany and France in most fields of science. The author attributed this failing to the ‘small social consideration paid to a scientific career’, poor scientific education, and the absence of career structure in the sciences. The article noted the lack of laboratory facilities in physics and the biological sciences, and purposely omitted geology because it was ‘not an abstract science’, and because its ‘popularity and success’ in England were ‘due to special causes not far to seek’. CD refers to the anatomist Richard Owen and the botanist Robert Brown.
Hooker told CD that he had read the second volume of Lecky 1865 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1865 and n. 15).
Lubbock 1865; see letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1865. CD had written to John Lubbock praising the book (see letter to John Lubbock, 11 June [1865] and n. 2).
John Lubbock stood for West Kent in the general election of 1865. He was defeated on 22 July. The election results were reported in The Times, 24 July 1865, p. 6.
Verlot 1865. There is an annotated copy in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 817–19).
Bernard Verlot’s paper, ‘Sur la production et la fixation des variétés dans les plantes d’ornement’, was first published in instalments in Journal de la Société Impériale et Centrale d’Horticulture (Verlot 1864). It was the prize-winning essay in a competition held by the Société Impériale et Centrale d’Horticulture. CD cited Verlot 1865 frequently in Variation, especially on colour variation in plants (see, for example, Variation 1: 386 and 2: 20, 70).
The London publishing firms of Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green and Williams & Norgate offered commercial offprints of ‘Climbing plants’ from August 1865 (Publishers’ Circular, 1 August 1865, p. 391; see also Freeman 1977).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1865. In March 1864 Charles Paget Hooker had caught another contagious illness, ringworm, at school (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from J. D. Hooker, 9 [March] 1864).
CD probably refers to a meeting in May or June 1839, when he and Hooker were introduced in the street by Robert McCormick, who had been with CD on the Beagle voyage between 1831 and 1832, and who was to become Hooker’s superior on the Erebus voyage, 1839–43 (LL 2: 19, L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 41–4, Browne 1995, p. 419). However, there is evidence that suggests they first met briefly at the Hunterian Museum on 22 January 1839, when Hooker, William Jackson Hooker, and Asa Gray were visiting London together (J. L. Gray 1893, 1: 117; D. M. Porter 1993, p. 9.). CD and Hooker began corresponding in November 1843 (see Correspondence vol. 2, letter to J. D. Hooker, [13 or 20 November 1843]).


Bowlby, John. 1990. Charles Darwin: a biography. London: Hutchinson.

Browne, Janet. 1995. Charles Darwin. Voyaging. Volume I of a biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Buckle, Henry Thomas. 1857–61. History of civilization in England. 2 vols. London: John W. Parker & Son.

Challinor, John. 1978. A dictionary of geology. 5th edition. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

‘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. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

EB: The Encyclopædia Britannica. A dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. 11th edition. 29 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1910–11.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Geikie, Archibald. 1863. On the phenomena of the glacial drift of Scotland. Glasgow: John Gray.

Gray, Jane Loring, ed. 1893. Letters of Asa Gray. 2 vols. London: Macmillan and Co.

Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1865. Moraines of the Tees Valley. Reader 6: 71.

Lecky, William Edward Hartpole. 1865. History of the rise and influence of the spirit of rationalism in Europe. 2 vols. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green.

LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.

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.

‘Parallel roads of Glen Roy’: Observations on the parallel roads of Glen Roy, and of other parts of Lochaber in Scotland, with an attempt to prove that they are of marine origin. By Charles Darwin. [Read 7 February 1839.] Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 129: 39–81. [Shorter publications, pp. 50–88.]

Porter, Duncan M. 1993. On the road to the Origin with Darwin, Hooker, and Gray. Journal of the History of Biology 26: 1–38.

Ramsay, Andrew Crombie. 1865. Sir Charles Lyell and the glacial theory of lake-basins. London: n.p. [Extracted from Philosophical Magazine 29 (1865): 285–98.]

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Verlot, Bernard. 1864. Mémoire sur la production et la fixation des variétés dans les plantes d’ornement. Journal de la Société Impériale et Centrale d’Horticulture 10: 243–56, 305–20, 375–84, 420–32, 468–80, 518–28, 571–6, 624–40.

Verlot, Bernard. 1865. Sur la production et la fixation des variétés dans les plantes d’ornement. Paris: J. B. Baillière.

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


Was glad to read JDH’s article on glaciers of Yorkshire ["Moraines of the Tees Valley", Reader 6 (1865): 70].

Reader article [6 (1865): 61–2] about English and foreign men of science is unjust.

Lubbock is now lost to science.

B. Verlot’s pamphlet on variations of flowers [Sur la production et la fixation des variétés dans les plantes d’ornement (1865)] is very good.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 273
Physical description
ALS 8pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4874,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

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