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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. H. Hooker   13 September [1865]1

My dear Mr. Darwin

I can give you a much better account of Joseph now—2 he is decidedly gaining ground, & this morning he was even able to take a tiny turn in the garden— So that I trust he is really making progress at last—

We are talking of going to Buxton as soon as he can bear the journey—& if he has no relapse, I am beginning to hope we may manage it next week—

Willy is here today, en route for School this afternoon— & Charlie & Harriet3 commenced school life at Brighton last week— Brian is under the care of his godmother, Miss Hawthorn—4 so we are easy about all the children—

Joseph has this morning received the offer of the Directorship—5

We were sorry to hear the Lubbocks came in for a railway accident, but have heard no particulars—6

Believe me | Yours affectly. | F H Hooker

104, Lansdowne Road | Notting Hill. W.

Sept. 13—


The year is established by the reference to Joseph Dalton Hooker’s appointment as director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see n. 5, below).
Hooker had been suffering from rheumatic fever (see letter from F. H. Hooker, 6 September [1865] and n. 2).
William Henslow Hooker, Charles Paget Hooker, and Harriet Anne Hooker were the three eldest Hooker children.
Brian Harvey Hodgson Hooker. Miss Hawthorn (probably Grace Agnew Hawthorn) was a daughter of Robert Hawthorn, the vicar of Stapleford (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter from J. S. Henslow to J. D. Hooker, 10 May 1860, and Correspondence vol. 11, letter from J. D. Hooker, 1 October 1863).
J. D. Hooker succeeded his father, William Jackson Hooker, as director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He took up his appointment on 1 November 1865 (Allan 1967, p. 211; R. Desmond 1999, p. 221).
John and Ellen Frances Lubbock were in a train derailment on 9 September 1865 on their way to Birmingham, for the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The derailment was reported in The Times, 11 September 1865, p. 7. Lubbock was uninjured but Ellen suffered deep cuts to her arm and hand. See Hutchinson 1914, 1: 77–9, for a detailed account of the accident in a letter from John Lubbock to his mother dated by Lubbock ‘Sunday, 10th July 1865’ in error for Sunday 10 September.


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

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

Desmond, Ray. 1999. Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, traveller and plant collector. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Hutchinson, Horace Gordon. 1914. Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury. 2 vols. London: Macmillan.


J. D. Hooker’s health is improving;

he has been offered the Directorship at Kew.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frances Harriet Henslow/Frances Harriet Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Notting Hill
Source of text
DAR 104: 235–6
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4893,” accessed on 25 October 2021,

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