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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   6 June [1868]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

June 6th

My dear Hooker.

We send you our hearty congratulations at the birth of a daughter & at Mrs. Hookers troubles being over.— I had been thinking for several days that the time must be come & wished much to hear.— You must feel a load of anxiety off your mind. I used to dread the time & hate it with all my heart.—1

I go steadily & slowly on with sexual selection, which has turned out a very large subject & which I have taken up as bearing on Man.—2

You will not feel in the least a gentleman at your ease till that fearful Norfolk week is over.—3

Farewell my dear old Friend | Ever yours | C. Darwin

P.S. If you have done with the Duke of Argyll’s Book I wish you wd return it, as I rather want see something in it about Humming Birds.—4


Hooker had been chosen as the next president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and was to deliver an address at the association’s annual meeting at Norwich between 19 and 26 August (Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1868): lvii).
CD refers to George Douglas Campbell’s The reign of law (Campbell 1867). Hooker had asked CD to lend him the book in his letter of 7 April 1868, and wrote that he had finished reading it in his letter of 20 May 1868. CD discussed Campbell’s comments about the plumage of the humming-bird Urosticte benjamini (the purple-bibbed white tip) in Descent 2: 151–3.


Campbell, George Douglas. 1867. The reign of law. London: Alexander Strahan.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Congratulations on birth of daughter. CD used to dread birth-time.

Sexual selection has turned out to be a large subject.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 94: 69–70
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6233,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

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