skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   21 March [1867]


Mar 21

My dear Hooker

Many thanks for yr pleasant & very amusing letter.1 You have been treated shamefully by Etty2 & me, for now that I know the facts, the sentence seems to me quite clear. Nevertheless as we have both blundered it wd be well to modify the sentence something as follows. “whilst on the other hand the plants which are related to those of distant continents, but have no affinity with those of the mother continent, are often very common”.3 I forget whether you explain this circumstance but it seems to me very mysterious.

You have not sent Naudin’s letter which I shd be glad to see as according to the Gard. Chron. it is the fruit of the hybrid itself & not of the mother plant which is intermediate in character; & if so I do not care much about the case.4 I must say one wd on Pangenesis viz. that it by no means implies that “every previous attribute of all the ancestors exists in an organism,” but I fear my dear Pang. will appear bosh to all you sceptics.5 You were quite right about Asa Gray, & as seems invariably the case I quite wrong.6

Do always remember that nothing in the world gives us so much pleasure as seeing you here whenever you can come.

I chuckle over what you say of And. Murray, but I must grapple with his book some day.7 yours affectionately | Ch Darwin


For the wording of the passage in J. D. Hooker 1866a and CD’s comments, see the letters to J. D. Hooker, 21 January [1867] and n. 1, and 17 March [1867].
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 March 1867 and nn. 5 and 7. Hooker enclosed Charles Victor Naudin’s letter with his letter of 23 March 1867. CD reported Naudin’s observation of fruit growing on a Chamoerops humilis pollinated by a date palm in Variation 1: 399. For the importance of the example to CD’s theory of pangenesis, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 17 March [1867] and n. 3.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 March 1867. In his discussion of reversion in Variation 2: 398, CD stated that although there were a vast number of active and dormant gemmules, there must be a limit to their number, and that those long dormant would be more liable to perish.
For Hooker’s comment on Andrew Murray, see the letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 March 1867. CD refers to Murray’s book, The geographical distribution of mammals (Murray 1866).


Murray, Andrew. 1866. The geographical distribution of mammals. London: Day and Son.

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


Suggests change in sentence of JDH’s "Insular floras" to make meaning clear.

Naudin’s letter about hybrids.


Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 94: 13f–g
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5451,” accessed on 31 January 2023,

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