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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   13 April 1867


April 13 /67

Dear Darwin

That certainly is a curious observation of Traill’s, but do you know I have little faith in I. A. Henrys soundness— I put several questions to him regarding his paper & I send his answer— he is a nice liberal & enthusiastic fellow, but not sufficiently exact I suspect— I do hope that the Potato case is a true one.1

I was greatly pleased with what I saw at Paris, & I think the Exposition is most unjustly abused in the English papers;2 it will be far the finest thing of the kind when finished.

How curious is Horace having intermittent fever—3 I hope it will not prostrate him too much. Our baby is fairly well & troubled only with a few muscular twitches—at times— Mrs Hooker was in Town with me yesterday for the first time for many months— I hope she will not knock herself up now, as the Governess has gone away for a month’s holiday, & the boys come home next week. Charlie will go to his Grandmamas at Norwich, & I am going to ask Mrs Darwin if I may bring Willy to Down on Saturday 20th. till Monday.4 One bed is sufficient, as he is a quiet-sleeper. I know she will not hesitate to say no, if in any way inconvenient.

Only fancy poor Smith has lost his infant, (the contemporary of mine), during my visit to Paris! & I only returned in time for its burial— it was a magnificent huge baby—. inflam. of lungs—5

I saw Huxley—well—yesterday. He Lubbock & I go to Brittany on 24th.6

If any of your boys go to Paris at Easter, there is my room which is mine for this month at their service, & there are others in same house, clean new & nice, at 3 frs. a night.—& they need not spend more than 7 fr. a day, in living like fighting-cocks, if they go the right way about it.

Ever Yr aff | J D Hooker.


Robert Trail’s claim to have made a mottled hybrid potato by joining the eyes of two different types of potato had been reported in an account of a meeting of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh in the Farmer, sent to CD by Hooker; see letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 April [1867] and n. 3. The letter to Hooker from Isaac Anderson-Henry, whose paper on hybridisation inspired Trail’s remarks, has not been found. For Anderson-Henry’s paper, see Anderson-Henry 1867a.
The Times published articles on the Paris exhibition, criticising in particular the failure to have the exhibits ready for the official opening on 1 April 1867, in articles on 1, 3, and 4 April 1867. See letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 March 1867 and n. 6.
CD mentioned his son Horace’s ill health in his letter to Hooker of 4 April [1867].
Reginald Hawthorn Hooker, born in January 1867, had been ill, and Frances Harriet Hooker, Hooker’s wife, had also suffered poor health; see letter from J. D. Hooker, 3 April 1867 and nn. 1 and 3. Hooker also refers to his elder sons William Henslow Hooker (aged 14) and Charles Paget Hooker (aged 11), and to his mother, Maria Hooker, who went to live in Norwich in 1867 (Allan 1967, p. 224). The governess has not been identified. J. D. Hooker and William Hooker did not visit Down; see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 [April 1867].
Hooker spent some time in Brittany with John Lubbock and Thomas Henry Huxley, exploring megalithic monuments (L. Huxley ed. 1918, 2: 89).


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

Huxley, Leonard, ed. 1918. Life and letters of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, OM, GCSI. Based on materials collected and arranged by Lady Hooker. 2 vols. London: John Murray.


Trail’s case is interesting, hopes it is true.

Has little faith in I. Anderson-Henry’s exactness.

Pleased with Paris exposition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 102: 161–2
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5501,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

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