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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   28 September 1866


Sept 28/66

Dear Old Darwin.

The Drosera has gone I hope, with Erica Massoni.1 The Drosera attains twice the size you have it here. It should die down in winter, & be kept cold & moist: but not too close. I do not think your plant will grow bigger this season

I have heard of Agassizs new doctrine, but had not of the manure (your theory) that raised it.2 Had you heard that his brain had been a little disordered?

I did not read the article on Murray in the Gardeners’ Chronicle—having had no time to look at the number;— I wrote it—however, as I think you suspect, from the most welcome praise you give it, which I find to be very sweet.3

I tried Franklands lecture, but it was altogether too deep for me— it seemed very learned & good. & I only wished I could understand it.4

I shall probably send my Lecture to Gard. Chron., if they will print it in a reasonable-sized type.5

What a capital joke is the Dundee Town Councils discussion.6 it reminds me of the Edinburgh T. C. when I was Candidate for poor Graham’s Chair:7 I long to see Wallaces paper also.8

Lady Lyell & Mr & Mrs Pertz were here the other day—9 he is a very agreeable & able man. Sr C could not come. I hope he is not overdoing his “Principles”.10

I am very busy, out of doors 6-hours a day, & delighting in my occupation. I can make even Kew 50 percent better than it is.11

I must get on with Gen. Plant. soon again.12 Bentham goes to Cranworth’s in a fortnight & hopes to see you—13

Do let me have one line by Henrietta when your poor sister is gone.14

Ever yr affec | J D Hooker

Old Gœppert of Breslau sends Photog. & asks yours in return.15

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Peas | My crossed seed’16 pencil


CD had asked Hooker to send a specimen of Erica massoni as well as the previously promised specimen of Drosera binata (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 September [1866] and nn. 4 and 5).
CD had told Hooker of Asa Gray’s view that Louis Agassiz had constructed the theory that the whole of the Amazon valley was once covered by a glacier in order to disprove CD’s theory of transmutation (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 September [1866] and n. 7; see also letter to Charles Lyell, 8[–9] September [1866] and n. 6).
CD had speculated that the article, a review of Andrew Murray’s book on the geographical distribution of mammals, might have been written by Maxwell Tylden Masters (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 September [1866] and n. 8).
The reference is to Hooker’s lecture on insular floras, delivered on 27 August 1866 at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Nottingham (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [28 August] 1866, n. 3). The Gardeners’ Chronicle used three sizes of type in the main text, 8pt, 7pt, and 6pt, 8pt generally being reserved for leading articles. Hooker’s lecture was set in 7pt type (J. D. Hooker 1866a).
Hooker probably refers to disparaging remarks made by members of Brechin Town Council, not Dundee Town Council, reported in the Athenæum (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 September [1866] and n. 11).
Hooker refers to political manoeuvering by Edinburgh Town Council in awarding the chair of botany at Edinburgh University following the death of the incumbent, Robert Graham, in 1845. For a detailed explanation of the council’s role in the matter, see L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 204–5.
CD had expressed a desire to see Alfred Russel Wallace’s paper on butterflies, read at the British Association meeting at Nottingham in August 1866 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 September [1866] and n. 12).
Hooker refers to Mary Elizabeth Lyell, Georg Heinrich Pertz, and Leonora Pertz, who was Mary Lyell’s sister.
Charles Lyell was working on a new edition of Principles of geology. The ninth edition had appeared in 1853; the tenth edition, in two volumes, was published in 1867 and 1868 (C. Lyell 1853, 1867–8).
After the death of his father, William Jackson Hooker, in 1865, Hooker became director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. For Hooker’s view of the difficulties of Kew administration and his efforts to promote scientific botany and horticulture, see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 April 1864, and Correspondence vol. 13, letter from J. D. Hooker, [7–8 April 1865] and nn. 5 and 6 (see also Allan 1967, pp. 211–13).
Genera plantarum (Bentham and Hooker 1862–83) was published in seven parts. The second part appeared in 1865, the third in 1867.
George Bentham was a friend of CD’s neighbour, Robert Monsey Rolfe, first Baron Cranworth.
Hooker refers to Henrietta Emma Darwin and to Susan Elizabeth Darwin, who was gravely ill.
CD’s annotation relates to his discussion of cross-pollination in peas in his letter to Hooker of 2 October [1866].
No photograph of Heinrich Robert Göppert has been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.


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

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

Frankland, Edward. 1866. On the source of muscular power. [Read 8 June 1866.] Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain 4 (1862–6): 661–85.


Drosera and Erica massoni have been sent.

Had heard of Agassiz’s theory but not that CD’s theory had raised it.

JDH wrote the article on A. Murray.

Frankland’s lecture too much for him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 102: 106–7
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5222,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14