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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   12 January [1873]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan 12th

My dear Hooker

I am glad to have seen Gladstone’s letter, for one does read a Prime Minister’s letter every day.2

Thanks about Strachey’s article: I had thrown the number in the waste paper basket, but fished it out; & as the man shows such admirable power of discrimination I will read the whole article.3 Pray thank Prof. Dyer for his intended notes: it is good news to me that it is Sach’s book, for I have been blundering over parts with much interest.4 The additions to the 3d Edit, just out, seem very important.5 I wish he was more controversial: I can see no discussion on Paul Berts admirable (as it seemed to me) paper on the essential difference of the movements in Mimosa from irritation & from so-called sleep.6 Again he apparently gives no reason for ignoring Cohn on the contraction of cells, independently of their elasticity; though I imagine that I see where Cohn’s flaw lies.7

You are a real good man about Drosophyllum: when sent to Orpington St., have it packed up so that leaves may not be injured, & inform me.8 It is wonderful how many points I omitted to observe, which I ought to have observed.

Ever yours affectionately | Ch Darwin

I have become wonderfully interested in Drosera & Dionæa, & have two months work in experiments next summer: the plants of Dionæa which you sent are going on pretty well, but I must try & purchase some bigger plants next summer.9

Did I ever boast to you on the success, as judged by the lowest standard of sale, of my Expression Book— 9000 copies have now been printed off, & most of them sold!10


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 12 January 1873.
CD had misread the part of Hooker’s letter of 7 January 1873 where he mentioned that William Turner Thiselton-Dyer was translating Julius Sachs’s Lehrbuch der Botanik (Sachs 1873). See letter from J. D. Hooker, 12 January 1873 and n. 2.
CD’s annotated copy of the third edition of Sachs’s Lehrbuch der Botanik (Sachs 1873) is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 727–30).
CD refers to Bert 1867–72. See Correspondence vol. 20, letter from M. T. Masters, 4 November 1872, n. 2. Sachs did refer to Bert’s publication in Sachs 1873, p. 786 n. 2.
For CD’s disagreement with Ferdinand Julius Cohn over the part played by elasticity in the movement of plants, see Cohn 1860 and Insectivorous plants, pp. 256–7. Sachs referred to Cohn 1860 in Sachs 1873, p. 789 n. 4.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 January [1873] and n. 3. Orpington Station was the nearest railway station to Down.
CD published his observations on Drosera (sundew) and Dionaea muscipula (Venus fly trap) in Insectivorous plants. Hooker sent CD Dionaea plants in 1872 (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter to J. D. Hooker, 31 October [1872]).


Bert, Paul. 1867–72. Recherches sur les mouvements de la sensitive (Mimosa pudica, Linn.). Journal de l’anatomie et de la physiologie 4 (1867): 534–52; 8 (1872): 201–33.

Cohn, Ferdinand Julius. 1860. Ueber contractile Gewebe im Pflanzenreiche. [Read 1 November 1860.] Abhandlungen der Schlesischen Gesellschaft für vaterländische Cultur. Abtheilung für Naturwissenschaften und Medicin 1 (1861): 1–48.

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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.


Had thrown Geographical Society’s Proceedings in waste-basket, but as Strachey shows such admirable powers of discrimination he will fish it out and read the whole article.

Comments on 3d ed. of Sachs’s work [Lehrbuch der Botanik (1873)]. Wishes he were more controversial.

Has become wonderfully interested in Drosera and Dionaea.

9000 copies of Expression have been printed and most are sold.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 94: 251–2
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8733,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21