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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [6 April 1873]

16. Montague St | Portland Sqe

Sunday night.


My dear Hooker

Shall you be at home on Wednesday morning, in case I shd. come down to you to discuss a question in which I am sure you will gladly give your best consideration.— It has been suggested to me that it wd be good, considering Huxley’s state of health, desirability of rest (I have seen his Doctor), loss of profitable employment from ill-health—Law expences &c. &c. &—to raise a testimonial1 for him. Now I want to discuss with you whether he would stand this. I hope to see Lubbock tomorrow, & Tyndall & perhaps Spottiswode tomorrow or Tuesday—2 They may be dead against it & then nothing can be done.— But if they approve I wd. drive down to you & stay 12 hour— I see endless difficulties. I have so little strength & know so few people.— We go home on Thursday morning—3 Turn it over in your head, in case I come down. It wd be easy I am sure to raise 1000£ & perhaps more.— 3000£ was easily raised for Mr Martineau.—4

Ever affectionately yours | Ch Darwin


Huxley had been suffering from overwork and had recently been sued by a neighbour in connection with work on his new house. Moreover, he owed the builders a large sum, due by the end of April. For more on the circumstances leading to the raising of the subscription, see A. Desmond 1994–7, 2: 44–8. Huxley’s doctor was Andrew Clark (letter to G. H. Darwin, [3 April 1873]).
Katharine Murray Lyell had raised the idea of a subscription in conversation with Emma Darwin (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242); Emma Darwin (1904) 2: 262. CD lunched with Hooker, John Lubbock, John Tyndall, and other friends of Huxley’s on 8 April 1873, but William Spottiswoode was unable to attend (see letter to William Spottiswoode, [8 April 1873]).
CD returned to Down on 10 April 1873 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
James Martineau received £5800 raised by friends in 1872 after he gave up preaching owing to poor health (DNB).


Desmond, Adrian. 1994–7. Huxley. 2 vols. London: Michael Joseph.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Emma Darwin (1904): Emma Darwin, wife of Charles Darwin. A century of family letters. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. Cambridge: privately printed by Cambridge University Press. 1904.


Wants to discuss raising a testimonial fund for Huxley and whether Huxley would stand this.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
London, Montague St, 16
Source of text
DAR 94: 261–2
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8843,” accessed on 8 December 2022,

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