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Darwin Correspondence Project

From JDHooker   29 August 1872

Royal Gardens Kew

Aug 29/72

Dear Darwin

I enclose letter & cheque from Scott.1 Pray do not think that I have dunned him for this. As you are aware, he wrote spontaneously on the subject to me many months ago2—& he has frequently done so since—but I have not alluded to it to him since.

I am counting the days till Saturday week.3

I am again in the very thick of it with Ayrton, & the good Tyndall is everything in the matter.4 After all he & Huxley are the only two men I know of who have shown themselves equal to the occasion, I mean in point of power & grasp of the subject & tenacity of purpose independent of good will5

Ever yr affec | J D Hooker


Roy Bot Gardens | Howrah,

30th. July.

Dear Sir,

I had hoped to have sent you a first remittance (of the money which Mr. Darwin so kindly advanced me) months ago.6 It has been a great grief to me that it should have been so long due, and very pleased should I have been to have been able at this time to have remitted the full amount. When I wrote to you first on the above, I had in view, Mr. Blechyndens duty, (for which I got very readily the Lieut. Governors sanction)7 and also the Gov. Generals Gardens. It was Lord Mayo’s intention that I should look after them, but Lord Northbrook made them over to the Public Works Department, as he found out they had been many years ago.8 Latterly they had been under the Private Secretary. I have been disappointed of both. I am thus sorry that I can only send you a bill for fifty pounds only. This is not half the amount which I had from Mr. Darwin. I think he gave me money on three different occasions amounting in all if I mistake not to £120. I have thus to remit you a balance of £70. I shall be very pleased when I can do this.

You will have heard of Dr. Kings serious illness, and his leaving us for three months.9 I have just heard from him from Madras where he had recently arrived. He had suffered from sea sickness   This has I suspect thrown him back, though he writes very hopefully. I do hope the Nilgiris10 (where he goes) will put him all right again. But for Dr. Ewart he would have had to go home.11 He ultimately swayed the others, and they all agreed that he should try the Nilgiris for three months. I was just afraid that we might have Mr. Clarke back again:12 though since he lost Sir Wm. Grey he does not appear to have much influence amongst the higher officials. For the three months I have to officiate, and though it is not likely to be of any pecuniary advantage to me for the present it will always be a step to a better appoint in the future.

I have a letter long overdue to Mr. Darwin as to worm-casts which I enclosed in a box to you.13 This is partly through my time having been so much occupied during Dr. Kings illness, and that I have myself been suffering from fever and ague. Just now I am ill with a fever very prevalent here—dengue—and which though not dangerous is a very tiring one.

I enclose the first bill of exchange in this letter and next week I shall send a second in case of any miscarriage. With very many thanks for the assistance you have given me, I remain gratefully obliged | Yours truly | John Scott


An annotation on the letter from John Scott reads: ‘With cheque for £50. for Darwin’.
Hooker had previously sent CD a letter from Scott regarding the repayment of money that CD had given Scott in 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 19, enclosure to letter from J. D. Hooker, 31 October 1871).
Hooker and his wife Francis Harriet Hooker visited Down on 7 September 1872 (see letter to JD. Hooker, 29 August [1872] and n. 2).
On Hooker’s dispute with Acton Smee Ayrton, see the letter to JDHooker, 4 August [1872] and n. 1. Hooker also refers to John Tyndall.
Thomas Henry Huxley had recently written to The Times supporting Hooker against the criticism of Richard Owen (see letter to JDHooker, 4 August [1872], n. 4).
CD and Hooker had helped Scott to obtain a position at a Cinchona plantation near Darjeeling in 1864; CD had given Scott a total of £115 to pay for his travel to India and other expenses (see Correspondence vol. 12, pp. xviii–xix, and letter from John Scott, 2 August 1864 and n. 2). CD had urged Scott not to repay the sum (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter to John Scott, 1 November 1871).
Arthur Henry Blechynden was secretary of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India. William Grey was the lieutenant governor of Bengal until February 1871; his successor was George Campbell (India list 1871–2).
Richard Southwell Bourke, sixth earl of Mayo, was viceroy (governor-general) of India from 1869 to 1872; he was replaced by Thomas George Baring, first earl of Northbrook (ODNB).
George King had been appointed superintendent of the botanic gardens in Calcutta in 1871 (ODNB).
Nilgiri is a hill district, now part of Tamil Nadu state, south India.
Joseph Ewart was a surgeon in the Bengal army and professor of anatomy at the Medical College, Calcutta (India list).
Charles Baron Clarke was superintendent of the botanic gardens in Calcutta from 1868 to 1871 (ODNB).
CD had asked for information on worms in his letter to Scott of 15 January 1872; he had received a box of worm castings in August, but without any accompanying letter (see letter to John Scott, 12 August 1872).


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

India list: The East-India register and directory. 1803–44. The East-India register and army list. 1845–60. The Indian Army and civil service list. 1861–76. The India list, civil and military. 1877–95. The India list and India Office list. 1896–1917. London: Wm. H. Allen [and others].

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.


Encloses letter and cheque [from John Scott].

Again in thick of Ayrton matter. Tyndall and Huxley have shown themselves equal to the occasion in grasp of subject, tenacity of purpose, independence, and good-will.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 118–19; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Directors’ Correspondence 156 f. 1075)
Physical description
ALS 4pp encl 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8492,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

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