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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   15 August [1868]1

Freshwater | Isle of Wight

Aug 15th

My dear Gray

Hooker left us yesterday for his Presidency of B. Assoc. & told me (for he forgot to do so before) the wonderful & good news that you & Mrs Gray are coming to Europe for a year. I must write one line to say how very glad I am. You must pay us a visit at Down & see our solitary & very quiet life.2

We have been staying here for a month & go home next week. I was bad for a month before starting & could do nothing & to my great vexation this outing has done hardly anything for me & I much doubt whether I can resume my small modicum of work.—

I hear that you are coming here to begin a great work & not for idleness, which I should think would be best for you.3

I wish you could have attended the B. Assoc. under the Presidency of our good & dear friend; it has been a great disappointment to me that I had not strength enough for the undertaking.

Farewell till I have the very great pleasure of shaking you by the hand & of seeing, as I hope, Mrs Gray. Farewell | Your sincere friend | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Joseph Dalton Hooker’s presidency of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (see n. 2, below).
Hooker was president of the British Association at the annual meeting in 1868; the meeting took place at Norwich from 19 to 26 August 1868 (Report of the 38th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, p. lvii). Asa and Jane Loring Gray were in Europe from September 1868 until November 1869 (J. L. Gray 1893, 2: 565). They visited Down from 24 to 30 October 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Gray worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, while he was in England in 1868 and 1869; at least some of the time, he was working on the Polemoniaceae (J. L. Gray 1893, 2: 565, 596).


Gray, Jane Loring, ed. 1893. Letters of Asa Gray. 2 vols. London: Macmillan and Co.


AG’s coming visit to England.

Hooker’s Presidency of BAAS.

A month at the Isle of Wight has done almost nothing for CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Source of text
Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (98)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6316,” accessed on 2 April 2023,

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