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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   15 April 1875

April 15/75.

Dear Darwin

I was uncommonly stupid about the Vivisection Memorial & after all I forgot to put P. R. S. to the autograph which I gave to B. S. for you— pray use my name as you think fit.1

I hope to start on Tuesday morning with Strachey2 for Paris—& Marseilles, where I hope to pick up Harriet3 & take her a little trip,— where to must depend on the weather—if cool along the Riviera: if hot—to Mount Dore & Auvergne.

I am very anxious to get away as my head has been rather bad. I find now that any council or Committee (as Atheneum),4 if any thing important is to be done gives me a headache— I shall be away a month.

Playfair has very kindly taken upon himself to stand up for Kew & my Assistant, if any objection is taken in the House to the Kew Estimates. & a better man could not be5

Delpino writes rather annoyed at Benthams critique on his Artemisia theory.: it is odd how touchy foreigners are in such matters— I think they are worse than we are.6

Have you any Botanical suggestions for the Arctic Expedition   if so please let me have them at once— I recommend special attention to insect action & fertilization Hybrids &c sowing earth from Icebergs   Also to try experiments on germination of seeds exposed to various degrees of cold.7

I suppose that you are expecting Leonard soon.8

Ever aff yrs | J. D. Hooker

CD annotations

1.2 pray . . . fit. 1.3] double scored pencil
Top of letter: ‘agrees about Bill’ pencil


Hooker had evidently signed the petition to call for the regulation of vivisection that CD had prepared with John Scott Burdon Sanderson and others (see letter to E. H. Stanley, 15 April 1875 and n. 2). Hooker was president of the Royal Society of London.
Richard Strachey.
Harriet Anne Hooker.
Athenaeum Club, London.
Hooker had applied to have an assistant appointed to help with his work at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 17 March 1875 and n. 7). Lyon Playfair had agreed to support the bid in the House of Commons. The civil service estimates for 1875–6 contain an estimate of £500 for an assistant to the director; this estimate had not appeared the previous year (House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, Estimates for civil services and revenue departments: for the year ending 31 March 1876, 1875 (100-I-VII), XLIX.10). William Turner Thiselton-Dyer was appointed to the post in June 1875 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 June 1875).
George Bentham had criticised Federico Delpino’s classification of the Artemisiaceae (Delpino 1871) for relying exclusively on different pollination mechanisms (Bentham 1873, pp. 342–3). Delpino had previously complained to CD about being misunderstood by Bentham (see Correspondence vol. 21, letter from Federico Delpino, 18 June 1873). The family Artemisiaceae is now subsumed within the family Asteraceae (sunflowers).
The British Arctic expedition of 1875–6 set sail on 29 May 1875 (Nares 1878, 1: 1). Hooker wrote the introduction to the botany appendix (Nares 1878, 2: 301–10).
CD’s son Leonard was visiting the United States and Canada on his way home from the transit of Venus expedition in New Zealand. He returned to Down on 20 June 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Nares, George Strong. 1878. Narrative of a voyage to the Polar Sea during 1875–6 in H.M. ships ‘Alert’ and ‘Discovery’. With notes on the natural history. Edited by H. W. Feilden. 2 vols. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington.


Approves vivisection memorial.

Lyon Playfair supports his request for Kew assistant.

Asks whether CD has botanical suggestions for Arctic expedition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 23–4
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9932,” accessed on 4 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23