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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [26 December 1874]1



My dear Darwin

I have carefully gone through Huxley’s letters— There is nothing to be done till we see whether Mivart will write to you or George.2 I think Huxley’s course has been very successful; & his letter to M. is a model. I cannot but in charity clutch at the hope that M. will make a clean breast of it & in a manner that would disarm further hostilities   Nothing that he can do will set him altogether on his legs again with you & your friends: but still so terrible a lesson must be allowed to have its bettering effects, if it has the necessary chastising one. That he is touched is clear from Huxleys letter, & if he would only do all the rest that he ought, we must not be too quick to discover mere self-preservation in the motives.

Meanwhile I shall do nothing till I hear further.

I am personally grateful to Huxley for paving the way for my action— He will doubtless, when I shall ask him, allow me to use his name as authority for Mivart being the author of the article. So there can be no doubt in my mind what my course shall be: whether M. gives as full satisfaction as he ought, or does not. If the first I shall tell him that I am glad he has done so, as it was a matter I must any how have ⁠⟨⁠foot of page excised⁠⟩⁠ simpler still, & I think I can write a letter which would involve no suspicion of clique.3

I write in haste, I will keep the letters to re-read them before returning them.

We got through Xmas nicely. Major Barnard & his son Henslow were here. My favorite cousin Effie Turner, dear old Tyndall & H. Spencer. My mind swayed to & fro strangely.4

The enclosed was written to my sister,5 please ask Mrs Darwin to read it & please return it— it ⁠⟨⁠foot of page excised⁠⟩⁠


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. D. Hooker, 24 December [1874]. In 1874, the Saturday after 24 December was 26 December.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 24 December [1874]. CD had sent Hooker the letter and enclosure from T. H. Huxley, 23 December 1874. Hooker and Thomas Henry Huxley were discussing with CD what action to take over St George Jackson Mivart’s anonymous attack on George Howard Darwin’s article on marriage ([Mivart] 1874, p. 70; G. H. Darwin 1873a).
Robert Cary Barnard (Major Barnard) was the husband of Anne Barnard, Frances Harriet Hooker’s sister; their son Henslow Barnard was aged 12. Frances died on 13 November 1874 (Allan 1967, p. 225). Hooker also refers to Effie Elizabeth Turner, John Tyndall, and Herbert Spencer. Effie and her mother, Ophelia Turner, came to live with Hooker at Kew after Frances’s death and until his second marriage (L. Huxley ed. 1918, 2: 191–6).
Hooker’s sisters were Maria McGilvray and Elizabeth Evans-Lombe; the letter was from Jane Loring Gray (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 27 December [1874]). Asa and Jane Loring Gray were in Europe from November 1868 until September 1869, making long visits to Kew (see J. L. Gray ed. 1893, 2: 565).


Allan, Mea. 1967. The Hookers of Kew, 1785–1911. London: Michael Joseph.

[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.


Has gone over Huxley’s letter, thinks it a model. All must now await developments. If Mivart does not apologise, JDH will write to him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 241–2
Physical description
AL inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9780,” accessed on 5 December 2022,

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