skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [27 June 1845]

Down near Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

I have been an ungrateful dog for not having answered your letter sooner, but I have been so hard at work correcting proofs, together with some unwellness, that I have not had one quarter of an hour to spare. I finally corrected the first 13 of the old volume, which will appear on the 1st of July: I hope & think I have somewhat improved it.

Very many thanks for your remarks, some of them came too late to make me put some of my remarks more cautiously; I feel, however, still inclined to abide by my evaporation notion to account for the clouds of steam, which rise from the wooded Valleys after rain.1 Again I am so obstinate that I shd require very good evidence to make me believe that there are two species of Polybirus in the Falkland Isds:2 Do the Gauchos there admit it?. Much as I talked to them, they never alluded to such a fact. In the Zoology I have discussed the sexual & immature plumages which differ much.3

I return the enclosed agreeable letter with many thanks; I am extremely glad of the plants collected at St. Paul’s & shall be particularly curious, whenever they arrive to hear what they are: I dined the other day at Sir J. Lubbock & met R. Brown & we had much laudatory talk about you: he spoke very nicely about your motives in now going to Edinburgh.— He did not seem to know & was much surprised at what I stated (I believe correctly) on the close relation between the Kerguelen & T. del. Fuego floras. Forbes is doing apparently very good work about the introduction & distribution of plants: he has forestalled me, in what I had hoped wd have been an interesting discussion, viz on the relation between the present alpine & Arctic floras, with connection to the last change of climate from Arctic to temperate, when the then arctic lowland plants must have been driven up the mountains.4

I am much pleased to hear of the pleasant reception, you received at Edinburgh: I hope your impressions will continue agreeable: my associations with auld Reekie5 are very friendly. Do you ever see Dr. Coldstream?6 if you do, wd you give him my kind remembrances.— You ask about Amber, I believe all the species are extinct, ie without the amber has been doctored) & certainly the greater number are.—

If you have any other corrections ready will you send them soon; for I shall go to press with 2nd. Part, in less than a week.— I have been so busy, that I have not yet begun d’Urville & have read only 1st. Chapt of Canary Isd!7 — I am most particularly obliged to you for having lent me the latter; for I know not where else I cd. have ever borrowed it.— There is the Kosmos to read8 & Lyell’s Travels in N. America:9 it is awful to think of how much there is to read.—

What makes H. Watson a renegade? I had a talk with Capt. Beaufort the other day & he charged me to keep a book & enter anything which occurred to me, which deserved examination or collection in any part of the world, & he wd sooner or later get it in the instructions to some ship.— If anything occurs to you, let me hear, for in the course of a month or two, I must write out something: I mean to urge collections of all kinds on any isolated islds.— I suspect that there are several in the northern half of the Pacific, which have never been visited by a collector.— This is a dull untidy letter.

Farewell | Ever yours | C. Darwin

As you care so much for insular Floras, are you aware that I col⁠⟨⁠lected⁠⟩⁠ all in flower on the Abrolhos islds. but they are very near the coast of Brazil: nevertheless I think, they ought to be just looked at, under a geographical point of view.—


In Journal of researches, p. 27, CD suggested that the steam was caused by evaporation from sun-warmed leaves.
CD claimed there was only one species of Polyborus on the Falklands, Polyborus novae zelandiae (Journal of researches, p. 66).
Birds, p. 11.
E. Forbes 1845. CD’s discussion of Arctic–alpine distribution is in his essay of 1844 (Foundations, pp. 162–8).
Edinburgh, literally ‘old smokie’.
John Coldstream, a friend of CD when he attended Edinburgh University (see Correspondence vol. 1).
Dumont d’Urville [1841–54] and Webb and Berthelot 1836–50. For CD’s earlier attempts to borrow the latter work see Correspondence vol. 2, letter to J. S. Henslow, [21 January 1838].
C. Lyell 1845a.


Birds: Pt 3 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. By John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–41.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Dumont d’Urville, Jules Sébastien César. [1841–54]. Voyage au pôle sud et dans L’Océanie sur les corvettes L’Astrolabe et La Zélée, 1837–40. 23 vols. Paris.

Forbes, Edward. 1845. On the distribution of endemic plants, more especially those of the British Islands, considered with regard to geological changes. Report of the 15th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Cambridge, Transactions of the sections, pp. 67–8.

Foundations: The foundations of the Origin of Species. Two essays written in 1842 and 1844 by Charles Darwin. Edited by Francis Darwin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1909. [Reprint edition. New York: Kraus Reprint Co. 1969. Also reprinted in De Beer ed. 1958.]

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.


Busy correcting proofs. Thanks for JDH’s remarks; asks him to send any other corrections soon; goes to press with second part of Journal of researches in less than a week.

Urges collections of all kinds on any isolated islands.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 35
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 880,” accessed on 28 January 2022,

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