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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [16 April 1845]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

I am particularly obliged to you for having informed me of Dieffenbach’s arrival: other business compelled me to go to town & I called at the Geograph. Soc to enquire after him & by good luck there met him: he seems really sorry for the trouble his publisher has caused me, & he declares he will return through Brunswick on purpose.—

Many thanks for your information about books &c: how can you ask whether it bores me: I assure you deliberately that I consider all the assistance, which you have given me, is more than that I have received from anyone else, & is beyond valuing in my eyes.

When you tell me not to buy Kingdons trans. of Decand: veg: organ: do you mean you can sometime lend it me.2 I will order Jussieu:3 I hope you will not forget the French pamphlet on variation. & I shd like to see the iceberg-paper in Boston Journal.4 I have got Couthouy’s paper on Coral-Reefs.5

Your ideas on the formation of the flat icebergs appears to me quite new & very probable; I have occasionally wondered at their flatness, but never thought about their origin: on your view there ought to be, I should think, horizontal stratification. Goodsir, I have been very glad to hear, is going on the Arctic Expedition, as Naturalist.6 At Forbes request,7 I have sent him some suggestions (so will not trouble your friend) on icebergs, boulders &c &c

By the way, let me say, whilst I think of it, I saw C. Streletski the other day & found that Morris is describing for him the plants, in the tuff from Van Dieman land, & I said, that I had no doubt that you would put the few specimens, which I gave you, into his hands if he so liked.8

What a very curious fact is the discovery of the Cyttaria in Van Diemens land—the means of distribution in such cases, is indeed a non-plusser; & if one was forced to believe that the land & water had held even nearly the same relative positions, since the first existence of our present species, it would be a complete poser: it is indeed a most perplexing subject. I shall be very curious to know at some future day, the result of your examination of the species of T. del Fuego & the Cordillera: I have been reading parts of d’Urvilles sketch of the Flora of the Falkland Isds. 9 & I see, he makes a good many species identical with Europæan.

I fear your Edinburgh lectures must interfere for a time with your Antarctic Flora; though you seem, as yet, to have taken your lectures very coolly. I shd think the “modest assurance” to lecture from notes, instead of from a fully-written paper, would soon come to any one well understanding his subject: do not you think it is much pleasanter to hear a speaking than a reading lecturer. I heartily wish you well through them.

I must go to breakfast so farewell my dear Hooker. | Ever yours | C. Darwin

Whenever an Abstract of your paper on the Galapagos plants appears, I hope you will try & get me a copy.—

The enclosed little lichens, came from near summit of most barren isld of San Lorenzo off Lima: what on earth made me think them worth collecting I know not—please throw them away.

I have by this mornings post just heard from Murray, that he agrees to publish my Journal in the Colonial Library.10 Did you make any comments criticisms or corrections on the margin of your copy of my Journal: if so, will you kindly lend me your copy & never mind if any of your criticisms are severe or short & few. I shall have to shorten my Journal a little.

I am determined not to give you much trouble or ask many questions now you are busy, but I must beg sometime for a single sentence about the Galapagos plants. viz what per-centage are (as far as is known) peculiar to the Archipelago? you have already told me that the plants have a S. American physionomy. And how far the collections bear out or contradict the notion of the different islands, having in some instances representative & different species.

Will you tell me, may I not leave out, without any loss, the little & imperfect account (p. 14–16) in my Journal of the oceanic confervæ? But I am breaking my vow of not giving you trouble, now that you must be so very busy.—


Dated from CD’s reference to having received a letter from John Murray and his reply to Murray, 17 [April 1845].
Jussieu 1842.
Hayes 1844, in which several of CD’s observations on icebergs in South America are cited.
Couthouy 1844. CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. Joseph Pitty Couthouy endorsed CD’s coral reef theory.
Harry Goodsir.
Presumably Edward Forbes.
See Strzelecki 1845, pp. 245–54, for John Morris’s description of plant fossils. Tuff is any light porous rock, but CD may be referring to ‘the yellowish compact limestone’ near Hobart that Morris described (p. 254).


Candolle, Augustin Pyramus de. 1839–40. Vegetable organography; or an analytical description of the organs of plants. Translated by Boughton Kingdon. 2 vols. London.

Couthouy, Joseph Pitty. 1844. Remarks upon coral formations in the Pacific; with suggestions as to the causes of their absence in the same parallels of latitude on the coast of South America. Boston Journal of Natural History 4: 66–105, 137-62.

Dumont d’Urville, Jules Sébastien César. 1826. Flore des Malouines. Mémoires de la Société Linnéenne de Paris 4: 573–621.

Hayes, John Lord. 1844. Probable influence of icebergs upon drift. Boston Journal of Natural History 4: 426–52.

Journal of researches 2d ed.: Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. 2d edition, corrected, with additions. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1845.


Thanks for information about books.

Murray is publishing CD’s Journal of researches. Would be grateful for a sentence on Galapagos plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 31
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 849,” accessed on 28 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3