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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [3 September 1845]1

Down Bromley | Kent


My dear Hooker

I had not heard of your grandfather’s death: coming at the time it did, it must have been an additional blow, when you were involved in all the disagreeable annoyment about the Professor’s Chair.— I shall be most anxious to hear of the result, but I shall no doubt see it in the Papers & you will have just then a multitude of letters to write.

I shd. like to hear, sometime whether you had other competitors besides Mr. Balfour. I do not think you have sufficiently plumed yourself on the high honour (& assuredly it is so) of being elected at your age to so great a Chair. I think there is the smallest possible chance of the good things of this life, making you fat & idle, as has too often happened in your new University.

I hope & suppose you will spend your summers in England, so that we may not be quite separated. Many thanks for your invitation to Kew; but as soon as my wife can move, we shall go into Staffordshire, & I do not now like to leave her. I heartily wish Kew & Down were not so remote.—

I will return the Astrolabe2 (which I have only very slightly skimmed) the Boston Journal,3 —Red-Sea Conferæ4 —and L’Espece5 (NB. please allow my pencil marks to stand) I will retain, for I have as yet made no progress in Webb & Berthelot.6 I will send my Journal in some future packet. Are you really sure you can spare Cosmos:7 I am very anxious to read it, & till knowing whether worth while not anxious to buy it. I beg you not to think of sending it, without you & any others in your family are sure they have quite done with it. I shall indeed be proud of the Antarctic Flora, as you are so kindly determined to give me a copy.—

By the way, I have never thanked you for your sharp-sighted corrections of the two sheets: I fear I shd. have overlooked several of them.— I abide by Pernety, as in an old French Edition it is so spelt: it is also spelt Pernety.—8

I am very glad that Forbes has one such thorough apperciator as you: I fancied I was bold enough in upheaving & letting down our mother earth, but Forbes beats me hollow, without any proof to speculate on Ireland & Portugal having been once connected: it staggers me. All this boldness is undoubtedly the direct consequence of Lyell’s Principles.—

I shall be particularly interested to see what you make out of species taking each others places along the shores of S. America: I was particularly interested with similar facts in the Birds &c: Do the representative species actually join on a neutral territory? Are both species, or one, rare in such neutral territories? It is a curious & to my mind very interesting subject.—9

With my most hearty wishes for your success, ever my dear Hooker Your’s | C. Darwin


Boston Journal of Natural History, containing Hayes 1844.
Webb and Berthelot 1836–50, vol. 3, pt 1.
Pernety 1769, discussed in Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 196, 399. Pernety is also spelt Pernetti.
The question of a ‘neutral’ ground where the geographical ranges of closely allied species overlap had long interested CD and was raised in what may be CD’s earliest transformist statement, recorded in or about March 1837 in his Red notebook, p. 127 (see Notebooks): ‘Speculate on Neutral ground of 2 ostriches: bigger one encroaches on smaller.— change not progressif [’e‘ del]: produced at one blow, if one species altered:’.


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.

Gérard, Frédéric. 1844. De l’espèce dans les corps organisés. Extract from d’Orbigny, Alcide Charles Victor Dessalines, ed., Dictionnaire universel d’histoire naturelle. 16 vols. Paris. 1841–9.

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

Humboldt, Alexander von. 1845–8. Kosmos; a general survey of the physical phenomena of the universe. Translated by Augustin Prichard. 2 vols. London.

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.

Montagne, Jean François Camille. 1844. Mémoire sur le phénomène de la coloration des eaux de la Mer Rouge. Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des Sciences Paris 19: 171–4.

Notebooks: Charles Darwin’s notebooks, 1836–1844. Geology, transmutation of species, metaphysical enquiries. Transcribed and edited by Paul H. Barrett et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press for the British Museum (Natural History). 1987.

Pernety, Antoine Joseph. 1769. Journal historique d’un voyage fait aux Iles Malouines en 1763 & 1764. 2 vols. Berlin.


Condolences on JDH’s grandfather’s death.

When his wife can move, they will go to Staffordshire.

Returns some books; would like to see copy of Kosmos [by Alexander von Humboldt]. Would be proud owner of JDH’s work [Flora Antarctica (1844–7)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 40
Physical description
ALS 8pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 912,” accessed on 1 March 2024,

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