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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   10 [April 1865]1


March 10th

My dear Hooker.

You speak of having nothing to say, but your note contained a heap of things which I liked to hear.2 I daresay I shall hear tomorrow of the book &c &c & Strelitzia (for which hearty thanks) being at Bromley.3 I suppose you would like all future numbers of “Can you forgive her”?4 I entirely agree with what you say about J. Lubbock & parliament;5 I am quite vexed to think of it; but it is the commonest of all kinds of ambition.— We heard yesterday a better account of Mrs. L.—6 I cannot conceive how you have managed to detect so much roguery at Kew; you must have had odious work.—

When you write again, if you can remember, tell me who are authors of Review, on Linn: Transact,—, Planchon—& Sub-Species.—7 I have not yet read all, but I am sure I shall be curious to know.— I dare not guess, for you say that my guesses are always wrong.— Nevertheless I am sure that you wrote a Leader in G. Chronicle on Selection &c as to be discussed in Germany.—8

This reminds me that I am, as it were, reading the “Origin” for the first time, for I am correcting for a 2nd. French Edition;9 & upon my life, my dear fellow, it is a very good book, but oh my gracious it is tough reading & I wish it were done.—

I am in truth sorry that you had trouble & gave Busk, trouble by writing to him;10 for there was no hurry; & I feel sure I must bear my load of daily discomfort, & be thankful that I can occupy myself for a few hours daily.

Farewell my good old friend | Yours affect | C. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 12 April [1865], and by the endorsement. CD evidently wrote ‘March’ in error.
Hooker had promised to send Grisebach 1864, a specimen of Strelitzia, and other items. See letter from J. D. Hooker, [7–8 April 1865].
The reference is to the novel Can you forgive her? by Anthony Trollope (Trollope 1864–5), which was published in monthly parts from January 1864 to August 1865 (see N. J. Hall 1991, p. 560). CD may have introduced Hooker to the novel when Hooker visited Down House from 4 to 6 March 1865 (Emma Darwin’s diary, DAR 242).
Hooker had mentioned the apparent illness of Ellen Frances Lubbock; she was in fact pregnant (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [7–8 April 1865] and n. 13).
CD refers to three unsigned review articles in the April 1865 issue of the Natural History Review. Joseph Reay Greene reviewed the 1863–4 Transactions of the Linnean Society of London ([Greene] 1865), George Bentham reviewed Planchon 1864a and 1864b ([Bentham] 1865), and Thomas Thomson’s article ‘Species and subspecies’ was a review of Jordan 1864 ([Thomson] 1865). See letter from J. D. Hooker, 12 April [1865].
CD refers to an article published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle on 25 March 1865, pp. 267–8, reporting that the ‘scientific men of Germany’ proposed discussing ‘Darwin’s theory’, as it related to ‘the production of new races of plants by selection’, at the meeting of the second German horticultural congress, to be held at Erfurt in September 1865; the article went on to discuss definitions of species, races, and varieties.
The second French edition of Origin was translated by Clémence Auguste Royer; CD supplied notes for this edition (see Freeman 1977, p. 102, and Royer trans. 1866). See also memorandum from C. A. Royer, [April–June 1865].


[Bentham, George.] 1865a. The ancient and modern floras of Montpellier. Natural History Review 5: 202–25.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

[Greene, Joseph Reay.] 1865. The Linnean Society’s Transactions. Natural History Review 5: 189–202.

Hall, N. John. 1991. Trollope. A biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Jordan, Alexis. 1864. Diagnoses d’espèces nouvelles ou méconnues, pour servir de matériaux à une flore réformée de la France, et des contrées voisines. Paris: F. Savy.

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.

[Thomson, Thomas.] 1865. Species and subspecies. Natural History Review 5: 226–42.

Trollope, Anthony. 1864–5. Can you forgive her? 2 vols. London: Chapman & Hall.


Roguery at Kew.

Who wrote reviews of Linnean Society’s Transactions, of Planchon, and of subspecies in Natural History Review [Apr 1865]?

Is rereading Origin for second French edition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 263
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4809,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13