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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   15 June 1872

Royal Gardens Kew

June 15/72

Dear Darwin

A thousand thanks:— you were right to return the address to Tyndall. I quite expect that it will make Gladstone frantic— he is already utterly out of temper with my affair—but I must put a good face on it.— I don’t tell Tyndall this.1

The Govt now regret having granted Ld Derby the correspondence in the upper House! I have obliged Lubbock to postpone this moving from there in the lower till Monday—2 this looks fishy as the boys say.

My wife is at St. Albans for change of air, not that she is ill but terribly harrassed with this affair   she returns on Wednesday.3 Thank God my mother4 does not yet know of it. Ld. J. Manners is very kind, he reminds me that it will render it impossible for Ayrton & me to hold our relative positions.5

I hold to my old motto “Servate animam æquam”6 with what tenacity I can, but need hardly conceal, that my frame of mind is hardly philosophical, under the circumstances of the last few weeks!

I do long for rest

Ever dear old friend | Yours | J D Hooker


Edward Henry Stanley, earl of Derby, moved for a discussion of the dispute over the administration of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the House of Lords in mid-July, and John Lubbock for discussion in the Commons on 21 July. Copies of the correspondence relating to the affair were formally presented to Parliament on 26 July, and Stanley spoke on the subject in the House of Lords on 29 July. (MacLeod 1974, pp. 64–6.)
Hooker and his wife, Frances Harriet Hooker, had a friend in St Albans, Hertfordshire (Correspondence vol. 12, letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 March 1864).
John James Robert Manners was one of Acton Smee Ayrton’s recent predecessors as first commissioner of works, under whose jurisdiction Kew fell (ODNB).
Servate animam aequam: keep a level head. The phrase may be a recollection of Horace, Odes, 2.3.1–2: ‘Aequam memento rebus in arduis | servare mentem’ (Remember to keep a level head in difficult circumstances).


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

MacLeod, Roy M. 1974. The Ayrton incident: a commentary on the relations of science and government in England, 1870–1873. In Science and values: patterns of tradition and change, edited by Arnold Thackray and Everett Mendelsohn. New York: Humanities Press.

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.


Expects the memorial to make Gladstone frantic. Government regrets granting Lord Derby the correspondence and Lubbock has been advised to postpone calling for it in Lower House. This looks fishy. Is exhausted by the affair.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 114–15
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8386,” accessed on 24 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20