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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Frances Harriet Hooker   [26 January 1868]1

My dear Mr. Darwin—

I saw George’s name in such a very conspicuous position in the Times last evening,2 that I must write & congratulate you & Mrs. Darwin on his success— Cambridge traditions & prejudices still cling to me,3 sufficiently to make me feel how proud you must be—although I have just been reading “Essays on a liberal Education”, which have gone far to disgust me with all modern teaching!4 I can only hope they exaggerate matters—& that my boys at any rate may not be absolutely ignorant of everything but Latin & Greek, & know but little of those!— What is your son going to do now? become a Fellow of Trinity?—5

I hope you & Mrs. Darwin are pretty well— pray give my love to her & your daughters—6 Joseph is gone down to Sir Charles Bunbury’s for the Sunday.—7

Believe me | Yours affectly | F H Hooker

Kew W. | Sunday


The date is established by the reference to the notice in The Times of the results of the Cambridge mathematical tripos (see n. 2, below).
George Howard Darwin was second in the final examination for the mathematical tripos at Cambridge University; the notice appeared in The Times, 25 January 1868, p. 6.
Frances was the daughter of John Stevens Henslow, who had been professor of botany at Cambridge.
Essays on a liberal education was a collection of essays by leading classicists and educators, edited by Frederic William Farrar (Farrar ed. 1867). The essays criticised the traditional classical education offered in English schools and universities, and urged various reforms, such as the introduction of modern languages and science.
George was elected to a fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, in autumn 1868 (ODNB).
Henrietta Emma Darwin and Elizabeth Darwin.


ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Congratulates CD on George’s success at Cambridge.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frances Harriet Henslow/Frances Harriet Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 102: 195
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5853,” accessed on 7 October 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16