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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   22 December 1874

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Dec 22. 74

My dear Hooker

I must write just to say how grateful I feel both to you & Huxley, & how I honour your zeal in a cause in which you are in no way personally concerned.1 I have written a line to Huxley, & have told him that you still feel inclined (as soon as you hear the result of his move) to write direct to Mivart, & that I thought there were some advantages in this plan.2 But Mivart cannot fail to understand, after the message through Mr Roberts, the cause of Huxley’s cutting him, if he does so.3 Your proposed letter seems to me excellent. I shouldn’t be surprised if Mivart acknowledges the article, but he says it was altered,—a dodge which he practiced before, & in this case Murray shall hear that the libel is in fact thrown on the Editor’s shoulders.4 I’ll not write to Mivart until I know the result of what you & Huxley do, & then I will write in the plainest terms & so come to a dead cut.

I should be extremely glad to have another plant of Drosophyllum for there is a very curious point about the different power of the secretion from the tall & short glands, & I was not able before fully to determine this.5 If you can get a plant from Edinburgh, it had better not be sent till the frost is gone, & please ask for it to be address as on the enclosed paper6

My dear old friend | Yours affecly | Ch. Darwin


Hooker and Thomas Henry Huxley had taken an interest in an anonymous attack on George Howard Darwin by St George Jackson Mivart in the Quarterly Review ([Mivart] 1874, p. 70). See, for example, letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 December 1874.
Huxley had sent a message to Mivart via William Walter Roberts, a Catholic priest who was a friend of Mivart’s and attended Huxley’s lectures (see enclosure to letter from J. D. Hooker, 21 December 1874).
See also letter to T. H. Huxley, 22 December [1874] and n. 3. John Murray was the publisher of the Quarterly Review; the editor was William Smith.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 21 December 1874. CD discussed the tentacles and sessile glands of Drosophyllum lusitanicum (Portuguese sundew or dewy pine) in Insectivorous plants, pp. 333–4.
The enclosure has not been found.


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

[Mivart, St George Jackson.] 1874b. Primitive man: Tylor and Lubbock. [Essay review of the works of John Lubbock and Edward Burnett Tylor.] Quarterly Review 137 (1874): 40–77.


Expresses his gratitude to JDH and Huxley in the Mivart affair. Thinks he should write directly to Mivart, if Mivart does not retract.

Would be glad to have another Drosophyllum.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 354–5
Physical description
LS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9770,” accessed on 31 January 2023,

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