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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   13 [April 1860]

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

Questions of priority so often lead to odious quarrels, that I shd. esteem it a great favour if you would read enclosed.1 If you think it proper that I shd. send it (& of this there can hardly be question) & if you think it full & ample enough, please alter date to day on which you post it & let that be soon.— The case in G. Chronicle seems a little stronger than in Mr. Matthews book, for the passages are therein scattered in 3 places.2 But it would be mere hair-splitting to notice that.— If you object to my letter please return it; but I do not expect that you will, but I thought that you would not object to run your eye over it.— My dear Hooker it is a great thing for me to have so good, true, & old a friend as you. I owe much to science for my friends.—

Many thanks for Huxley’s lecture: the latter part seemed to be grandly eloquent.3 Thanks for your pleasant little note.— I am very glad that you are so much pleased with your Boy Willy,— that is worth everything.—4

I have had most obliging & kind communication from Masters. His Father sends me some facts which partly remove a weight about crossing which has pressed me down for years.— 5

Ever my dear friend | Yours affect | C. Darwin

I have had nice long letter from Lyell.—6

PS. I have gone over Owen’s Review again & compared passages, & I am astonished at the baseness of the misreprentations. But I am glad I resolved not to answer. Perhaps it is selfish— But to answer & think more on subject is too unpleasant. I am so sorry that Huxley by my means has been thus atrociously attacked.—7 I do not suppose you much care about the gratuitous attack on you.—

Lyell in his letter remarked that you seemed to him as if you were overworked. Do pray be cautious, & remember how many & many a man has done this, who thought it absurd till too late. I have often thought the same,—you know that you were bad enough before your Indian Journey.—8


See preceding letter.
The sections that made up Patrick Matthew’s letter to the Gardeners’ Chronicle were drawn from Matthew 1831, pp. 364–5, 381–8, and 106–8. See Appendix V.
CD refers to T. H. Huxley 1860a. See letter to T. H. Huxley, 11 April [1860].
William Henslow Hooker was Hooker’s oldest son, born in 1853.
Charles Lyell’s letter has not been found, but see CD’s reply (letter to Charles Lyell, 10 April [1860]).
Richard Owen attacked Thomas Henry Huxley’s lecture on CD’s theory given at the Royal Institution (T. H. Huxley 1860a) in his review of Origin ([R. Owen] 1860a).
Hooker had travelled in India and the Himalayas from 1847 to 1851. He had been unwell before setting off. See Correspondence vol. 4.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Matthew, Patrick. 1831. On naval timber and arboriculture; with critical notes on authors who have recently treated the subject of planting. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, & Green. Edinburgh: Adam Black.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Sends a letter concerning priority [of Patrick Matthew] for JDH to read and post.

Angered at Owen’s review.

Huxley’s Royal Institution lecture ends well.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 48
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2758,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8