skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   22 June [1869]1

Caerdeon, Barmouth | N. Wales

June 22d.

My dear Hooker

It was very good of you to write to me from Stockholm, telling me all the things about which I liked to hear.—2 I had heard nothing of your doings, except, as stated in Gard. Chronicle, that the announcement of your being President of the next Congress, was received with loud & general applause; & this applause made me applaud the meeting.—3

I suppose the Emperor could have given you nothing which you would have liked better than the Vases, which even I shd. like to see: he must have heard of your Crockery madness!—4

We have been here for 10 days: how I wish it was possible for you to pay us a visit here: we have a beautiful House, with a terraced garden, & a really magnificent view of Cader, right opposite.5 Old Cader is a grand fellow & shows himself off superbly with every changing light. We remain here till end of July, when the H. Wedgwoods have the house.—6 I have been as yet in a very poor way: it seems as soon as the stimulus of mental work stops, my whole strength gives way: as yet I have hardly crawled half a mile from the House, & then been fearfully fatigued.— It is enough to make one wish oneself quiet in a comfortable tomb.

I suppose that you have read Bentham’s address: it has interested me greatly, as I particularly wished to hear how Botanists agreed with Zoologists about Distribution.7 Everything Bentham says, always seems to me remarkably wise; & I have an instinctive feeling that every hint from him is well worth pondering over.— Nevertheless I must still think more of the importance of isolation in preserving old Forms, than he seems inclined to do.—8 Does not this address make you wish to write another essay like your former splendid ones?9

I am glad to hear about Andersson & Galapagos: I wd. gladly subscribe, & if necessary wd go as far as 50£.— He surely ought to visit Cocos Isld.—10

Has anyone ever examined the Revillagagos or some such name Arch. off Mexico? I remember looking in old days with longing eyes at this group on the Chart.—11

I fear that you forgot all about the colour of the Beards of the Sclavonic races relating to the colour of the Hair.—12

Give our very kind remembrances to Mrs. Hooker,13 & I am very glad to hear that she enjoyed your trip, which seems to have been in every way a most successful affair—

Yours most affect. | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 6 June 1869.
On Joseph Dalton Hooker’s election as a president of the second congress of the Russian International Horticultural Exhibition, see the Gardeners’ Chronicle, 29 May 1869, pp. 582 and 586.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 6 June 1869. Hooker had been an avid collector of Wedgwood ware (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from J. D. Hooker, [27 or 28 December 1862]).
CD refers to Cader Idris, a mountain. The house was Plas Caerdeon.
CD refers to Hensleigh Wedgwood, his cousin and brother-in-law, and his family.
George Bentham’s anniversary address to the Linnean Society was devoted to the subject of geographical distribution (Bentham 1869b). There is a lightly annotated copy of the address in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Bentham had written, ‘Isolation may be an important element in the fixation of a race, but not an indispensable one, and may take only a subordinate part in its maintenance when fixed’ (Bentham 1869b, lxxix).
CD refers to Hooker’s introductory essay to the flora of Tasmania (J. D. Hooker 1859), his outline of the distribution of Arctic plants (J. D. Hooker 1860), and his paper on insular floras (J. D. Hooker 1866).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 6 June 1869; CD refers to Nils Johan Andersson. CD had written in 1845: ‘I have little doubt that Cocos isld., north of the Galapagos Archipelago, from its insulated position, & judging from the Galapagos Arch. would have a most peculiar flora & fauna’ (Correspondence vol. 3, letter to Edward Forbes, 13 May [1845]; see also Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Charles Lyell, 11 February [1857]). Cocos island is off the coast of Costa Rica.
The Revillagigedo islands are off the west coast of Mexico. CD had suggested that a naturalist should visit these islands in his letter to Edward Forbes, 13 May [1845] (Correspondence vol. 3), and his letter to Charles Lyell, 11 February [1857] (Correspondence vol. 6).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1859. On the flora of Australia, its origin, affinities, and distribution; being an introductory essay to the flora of Tasmania. London: Lovell Reeve.


The house at Barmouth.

His poor health.

Bentham’s interesting Linnean Society Address ["On geographical biology", Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. (1869): lxv–c].

CD particularly wishes to know how botanists agreed with zoologists on distribution.

Still thinks isolation more important in preserving old forms than Bentham is inclined to believe.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 94: 134–6
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6793,” accessed on 6 December 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17