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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   20 January 1867


Jany 20/67

Dear Darwin

Prof. Miquel of Utrecht begs me to ask you for your Carte— & offers his in return. I grieve to bother you on such a subject— I am sick & tired of this Carte Correspondence.1

I cannot conceive what Humboldts Pyrenean violet is, no such is mentioned in Webb, & no alpine one at all.2

I am sorry that I forgot to mention the stronger African affinity of the Eastern Canary Islds.—3 Thank you for mentioning it.

I cannot admit without further analysis, that most of the peculiar Atlantic Isld. genera were derived from Europe & have since become extinct there. I have rather thought that many are only altered forms of Existing European genera: but this is a very difficult point & would require a careful study of each genus & allies with this object in view—4 the subject has often presented itself to me as a grand one for analytic Botany. No doubt its establishment would account for the [community] of the peculiar genera, on the several groups & Islets, but whilst so many species are common we must allow for a good deal of intermigration of peculiar genera too

By Jove I will write out next mail to the Governor of St Helena for boxes of earth; & you shall have them to grow.5

Thanks for telling me of having suggested to me the working out of proportions of plants with irregular flowers in Islands;6—I thought it was a deuced deal too good an idea to have arisen spontaneously in my block, though I did not recollect your having done so   no doubt your suggestion was crystallized in some corner of my sensorium. I should like to work out the point.

My wife goes on well but has a horrid face-ache.— & Reginald blooms & squeaks.7

This awful weather has terribly damaged us.8

Ever Yrs aff | J D Hooker

Have you Kerguelan land amongst your Volcanic Islds.—9 I have a curious book of a sealer who was wrecked on the Islands & who mentions a Volcanic Mt & hot Springs at the S.W. end: it is called the “Wreck of the Favrite”10


Hooker refers to Friedrich Anton Wilhelm Miquel, professor of botany at Utrecht. Beginning in 1862, it became commonplace for CD and his correspondents to request a carte-de-visite from one another (see Correspondence vols. 10–14).
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867] and n. 4. Hooker refers to the Histoire naturelle des Iles Canaries (Webb and Berthelot 1836–50).
For CD’s query on this point, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867]. For Hooker’s discussion in the third instalment of his article on insular floras, see J. D. Hooker 1866a, p. 50.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867] and n. 8. The governor of St Helena was Charles Elliot, who co-operated with Hooker in introducing plants to St Helena (Meliss 1875, p. 35).
Heavy snowfalls in January 1867 destroyed many trees at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (R. Desmond 1995, p. 371).
CD did not mention Kerguelen’s Land in Volcanic islands.
Hooker refers to John Nunn and to his Narrative of the wreck of the ‘Favorite’ on the island of Desolation (Nunn 1850). The description of the volcano and the hot springs is in Nunn 1850, pp. 103–4.


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

Desmond, Ray. 1995. Kew: the history of the Royal Botanic Gardens. London: Harvill Press with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Meliss, John Charles. 1875. St Helena: a physical, historical, and topographical description of the island. London: L. Reeve & Co.

Nunn, John. 1850. Narrative of the wreck of the ‘Favorite’ on the island of Desolation: detailing the adventures, sufferings, and privations of John Nunn. Edited by W. B. Clarke. London: William Edward Painter.


His view of CD’s hypothesis that Atlantic island genera are descended from extinct European plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 102: 135–7
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5372,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15