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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   2 September [1867]1


Sep 2

My dear Hooker

I am extremely sorry to hear about Lady Hooker for I fear she must be in a very dangerous & what I always think worse a very suffering state.2

The address you require is “Dr Fritz Müller Desterro Brazil” (viâ Bordeaux.)3 He always writes via Bordeaux so I suppose there is some advantage. He is a capital observer & most obliging man.

We recd the novels all safe, & your jolly note of Aug 17. but I do not think you do justice to Mary Barton.4 I return Tyndall which I have been particularly glad to read. How true & striking it is what he says on the power of pondering.5 Parts of the article seem to me very obscurely written. I return Cunningham’s letters;6 they are too full of details about plants for my taste. I am very glad you are attending to the Victoria & Euryale.7

Will you be so kind as to get any of your assistants (but do not think of doing it yourself) to name for me the enclosed common greenhouse Mimulus. The nurseryman cd only tell me that he always sold the seed as “mixed vars. of Mimulus”. It is of real importance to me to know the name, as I have experimented much on it.8 Also ask some one (if possible) to send me a few fresh & youngish flower of the yellow var. of Mirabilis jalapa.9

yours affectionately | Ch Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 31 August 1867.
Hooker’s mother, Maria Hooker, had been diagnosed as suffering from peritonitis and enteritis (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 31 August 1867).
For Hooker’s opinion of the novel Mary Barton (Gaskell 1848), see the letter from J. D. Hooker, 17 August 1867.
CD refers to an article by John Tyndall on ‘Miracles and special providences’ that appeared in the 1 June 1867 issue of the Fortnightly Review (Tyndall 1867). In a section on the nature of scientific discovery, Tyndall remarked, ‘There is much in this process of pondering and its results which it is impossible to analyse’, and concluded that by ‘a kind of inspiration’ the investigator moved from ‘contemplation of facts to the principles on which they depend’ (ibid., p. 655).
CD refers to Robert Oliver Cunningham (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 17 August 1867 and n. 5).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 31 August 1867 and n. 5. CD reported on the self-fertility of Victoria regia and Euryale ferox in Cross and self fertilisation, p. 365.
CD reported the results of his experiments with several generations of Mimulus luteus in Cross and self fertilisation, pp. 63–81. In a note (ibid., p. 63), he thanked Hooker for identifying the specimens he sent to Kew. Notes on crossing experiments with Mimulus that CD made between 1866 and 1873 are in DAR 77: 111, DAR 78: 17–40, 42–5, and DAR 109: B12.
CD had mentioned his wish to carry out crossing experiments with Mirabilis species in his letter to Hooker of 20 November [1866] (Correspondence vol. 14). In his letter of 17 August 1867, Hooker stated that Mirabilis was ‘not in flower yet’.


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

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn. 1848. Mary Barton. 2 vols. London: Chapman and Hall.


Sends Fritz Müller’s address;

disagrees on Mary Barton.

Seeks name of the Mimulus on which he has experimented [see Variation 2: 128].

Requests flowers of yellow variety of Mirabilis jalapa.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 94: 33–4
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5621,” accessed on 25 October 2021,

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