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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   14 December 1874

Down, Beckenham, Kent

Dec 14 1874

My dear Hooker

It is most generous of you & Huxley to think of taking up, for my sake, & more especially on the grounds of justice, the false & shameful attack on George.1 I think, however, that this is too disagreeable a job for any one to undertake without a strong personal motive. I can assure you that the possibility of such a thing never occurred to me; but I am deeply gratified by your sympathy. I have been wishing for some time that Mr Mivart wd give me an opportunity of coming to an understanding with him; & why it did not occur to me to write direct to him I cannot imagine. Do you not think it wd be a good plan for me to send him the enclosed note? If Huxley & you, on further deliberation are inclined to take any step in the matter, you can forward this letter & enclosure to Huxley. I expect that Mr. M. will refuse to answer; & in this case I should repeat that I was convinced that he was the author, & that it was as false, malicious & base an article as ever was written. You & Huxley, whether or not you do any thing, ought to read (& this wd take you only a few minutes) George’s article on Marriage in the Contemp. for Aug. 73 & the passages about him in the Q. Rev. for July 74, so as to judge whether I am right in saying that there are no grounds for the direct accusation & the hideous innuendo which follows.

You ought also to read George’s short statement in the Oct. Number of the Q. & the Reviewer’s rejoinder.2 Those who have read the article in the Q. & the rejoinder agree with me in thinking that the accusation was most direct, the excuse mere equivocation. If you & Huxley think I had better send the enclosed note to Mr M. I will do so at once, as I shd be very glad to know on what terms to stand with him. I should have said that my reasons for believing that the Article was written by him are slight peculiarities in subject & style, & 5 unusual expressions or remarks which he has lately employed in his acknowledged writing

My dear Hooker | yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin


To St George Mivart Esq | not sent

Dear Sir

I have good reason to believe that you are the author of an article on Tylor & Lubbock in the July number of the Quarterly Rev. for 1874, which includes an attack upon my son Mr G. Darwin. As I desire to know on what terms we are to stand in the future, I request you to be so good as to inform me whether you are the author of any part of that article. I shall use your answer in communicating with other persons including Mr Murray on the subject.

Dear Sir | yours faithfully


St George Jackson Mivart had attacked an article by George Howard Darwin (‘On beneficial restrictions to liberty of marriage’; G. H. Darwin 1873b) in an anonymous essay review of works by John Lubbock and Edward Burnett Tylor in the Quarterly Review ([Mivart] 1874b, p. 70). CD had recently told Thomas Henry Huxley of the incident (see letter to G. H. Darwin, [6 December 1874]). For Huxley’s letters to Hooker on the subject and Hooker’s reply, see Gruber 1960, pp. 103–5.
George’s statement, discussed at length with CD in letters in August 1874, appeared in the October issue of Quarterly Review (137 (1874): 587–8), followed by an anonymous rejoinder by Mivart. See also Appendix V.
The enclosure, like the letter, is in Emma Darwin’s hand; drafts of both the letter and the enclosure, in CD’s hand, are in DAR 97: C69–70 and C72 (letter), and DAR 97: C71 (enclosure).


Gruber, Jacob W. 1960. A conscience in conflict. The life of St. George Jackson Mivart. New York: Columbia University Press for Temple University Publications.


Thanks JDH for his and Huxley’s countering of the false attack on George [Darwin] by Mivart. Encloses a note to Mivart on which he asks JDH’s opinion.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 350–1, DAR 97: C73
Physical description
LS(A) 3pp † & ADraft 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9757,” accessed on 31 January 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22