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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [16 February 1863]1

Royal Gardens Kew


Dear Darwin.

Very glad indeed to hear excellent acct. of the London trip.2 I return the list marking out what we cannot give—3 by all means send the Tax cart as you propose, & whenever you please—with mats &c.   if you chuse a fine day they cannot hurt.4

Thanks for Asa Grays letter5—it is impossible to put him right.— we cannot tell him the plain truth—that England does not hate America the least bit, only despises & thinks very slightingly of her— we think ourselves far too superior to be able to hate her, she hates us with the hatred of envy— we have not enough to envy to make hate of. No paper tries to incite hatred, that I have seen, but most strive to keep up feeling of contempt.6 The notion of Democracy of plants is good, but I demur to a Commonwealth & Democracy being synonymous.7

Please return the list with the man who brings the tax cart

I have had some capital pickings out of the Wedgewood Medallions   some of the seals are most beautiful things8

Ever yours affec | J D Hooker

I will come & see your Hot house one Saturday soon.9

CD annotations

3.1 Please … cart] double scored ink
Top of letter: ‘Seedspencil; ‘Slide    Hothouse | Bell-glasses.’ ink


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters to J. D. Hooker, 15 February [1863] and [21 February 1863]; the intervening Monday was 16 February.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 February [1863]; CD had been in London from 4 to 14 February 1863 (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II)).
The list, which CD had apparently given to Hooker during his visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 February [1863] and n. 6), has not been found; however, a contemporary list of hothouse plants in CD’s hand, including ‘Gloxinia droopy and upright’ (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 February [1863], n. 9) is in DAR 255. For lists of CD’s hothouse plants, see Correspondence vol.11, Appendix VI.
See letter from Asa Gray, 27 January 1863; Hooker’s views on the American Civil War had prevented him from discussing politics in his own correspondence with Asa Gray (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from J. D. Hooker, [19 January 1862]). For Gray’s views on the British response to the war, see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from Asa Gray, 10 November 1862, and this volume, letter from Asa Gray, 1 September 1863.
In his letter of 27 January 1863, Gray stated that ‘the vegetable kingdom does not culminate as the animal kingdom does. It is not a kingdom, but a commonwealth—a democracy’.
Hooker had started to collect Wedgwood ware (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from J. D. Hooker, [27 or 28 December 1862]). In his letter of 13 January [1863], CD informed Hooker that somewhere in Down House there was ‘a whole Box of small Wedgwood medallions’, and, ‘if worth pocketing’, Hooker should have them; CD may have given them to Hooker when he visited the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on 11 February 1863 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 February [1863] and n. 3).
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 February [1863]. The hothouse was built behind Down House, in the kitchen garden beyond the lawn (LL 1: 321). Hooker visited Down on Sunday 22 March 1863 (see letters from J. D. Hooker, [15 March 1863] and [24 March 1863]).


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

LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.


British attitude towards America: not hate as Asa Gray thinks, but contempt.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 103–4
Physical description
ALS 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3989,” accessed on 8 February 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11