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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. H. Hooker   6 September [1865]1

My dear Mr. Darwin

Joseph made no progress to recovery at Kew—2 & so by Dr. Quain’s3 advice, we removed to Notting Hill on Saty., where we are staying with the Campbells—4 Joseph bore the little journey very well, & was better on Sunday—

Monday was a bad day, with much fever, which pulled him down very much—but he is now better again, & says he is certainly gaining strength— But he is very much reduced, & very unequal to any, even the slightest exertion—

Buxton will probably be the next move, when he can bear the journey—5

He asks if you saw the article of Mr. Croll in the last Reader on the displacement of the Earth’s axis(?) by the ice of the glacial epoch?—6 & also do you know that the Reader has been sold to the Anthropologicals?7

Sir C Lyell8 told him this,—if true, Joe thinks it a great disgrace to all parties concerned—

Sir Charles was looking very well, & Joseph was delighted to see him, though he unfortunately had a very severe fever attack at the time—

We wish much to know how you are— Will you kindly let the Lubbocks know about this account of Joseph?9 as I am overwhelmed with letter writing—

Joe’s love & mine to Mrs. Darwin, Etty & Lizzy10 & yourself—

Believe me | Your’s afftly. | F H Hooker

Dr. Campbell’s—

104. Lans-downe Road | Notting Hill. W.

Sep. 6.—


The year is established by the reference to James Croll’s article in the Reader (see n. 6, below), and by the relationship between this letter and the letter from F. H. Hooker, [17 August 1865].
Hooker had contracted rheumatic fever while attending his sick father, William Jackson Hooker. See letters from F. H. Hooker, [17 August 1865] and [21 or 28 August 1865], and Allan 1967, p. 209. The Hookers lived at 55 The Green in Kew, Surrey (Allan 1967, p. 199).
Richard Quain was a London physician with premises at 56 Harley Street (Post Office London directory 1865, DNB).
Archibald Campbell and his wife lived in Lansdowne Road, Notting Hill, London (Post Office London directory 1865). Hooker and Campbell had become friends while Hooker was travelling in India (Allan 1967, p. 166).
Buxton, Derbyshire, was a popular spa town and centre of hydropathy in the latter half of the nineteenth century (Leach 1987, pp. 76–7).
The reference is to Croll’s article ‘On the physical cause of the submergence of the land during the glacial epoch’ in the Reader, 2 September 1865, pp. 270–1. Croll hypothesised that the weight of the ice-sheet that formed during a glacial period caused a shift in the earth’s centre of gravity, resulting in a rise in sea-level in northern latitudes.
The Reader was purchased by Thomas Bendyshe, who was a member of the Anthropological Society of London, in August 1865 (Sullivan ed. 1984, p. 3). In December 1864, it had been purchased by a consortium of scientific men and established as the Reader Limited Company (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter to John Lubbock, 19 November [1864] and nn. 2 and 4, and this volume, letter from Herbert Spencer, 22 April 1865 and n. 1). The journal was sold to Bendyshe following the retirement of the editor, William Fraser Rae, due to illness (Byrne 1964, p. 65). On the controversies surrounding the Anthropological Society and the opposition of some of its leading members to CD’s theory of transmutation, see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from J. D. Hooker, 9 [March] 1864 and n. 23, and letter from A. R. Wallace, 10 May 1864 and n. 7.
Charles Lyell.
John and Ellen Frances Lubbock were neighbours of CD.
Emma, Henrietta Emma, and Elizabeth Darwin.


Allan, Mea. 1967. The Hookers of Kew, 1785–1911. London: Michael Joseph.

Byrne, John Francis. 1964. The Reader: a review of literature, science and the arts, 1863–1867. PhD thesis. Northwestern University.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Leach, John. 1987. The book of Buxton: spa of blue waters. Buckingham: Barracuda.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


They have left Kew to improve J. D. Hooker’s health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frances Harriet Henslow/Frances Harriet Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Notting Hill
Source of text
DAR 104: 239–40
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4890,” accessed on 27 November 2021,

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