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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   22 June 1868

Royal Gardens Kew

June 22/68

Dear Darwin

Your grass is Sporobolus elongatus; one of the commonest in the Tropics & subtropics.1

I have just returned from a delightful day at Oxford with the X Club—Lubbocks, Huxleys, Spottiswoodes Tyndall & Hirst,—2 We had a lovely row on the river to Nuneham almost, & a stroll in the Gardens of Magdalen, New College & St John’s—& dined at Baliol—(Spottiswoodes College)—3 Mrs Huxley was very full of her visit to you4

Cannot Frank come here & do a little Botany?5

I should like to go to Down next month for a day or two & certainly shall if gooseberries are ripe.—but not about the address. no. no. no. I would rather write 10 Lectures, having a subject,6 ⁠⟨⁠ 12 page excised⁠⟩⁠ had time to write a word of an “address scientific” & am in statu quo—a cheerful prospect!. I have serious thoughts of making my address a protest against addresses,—I am considered wonderfully reticent on the subject!!!— people will— ⁠⟨⁠ 12 page excised⁠⟩⁠


See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 [June 1868], and letter from J. D. Hooker, 16 June 1868. CD had sent a grass grown from a seed found in locust dung to Hooker for identification; Hooker had sent it to William Munro, an expert on grasses.
On the X-club, a dining club established in 1864 primarily for younger ‘men of science’, see Barton 1998. Hooker refers to John and Ellen Frances Lubbock; Thomas Henry and Henrietta Anne Huxley; William and Eliza Taylor Spottiswoode; John Tyndall; and Thomas Archer Hirst. See also Correspondence vol. 13, letter from J. D. Hooker, [7–8 April 1865] and n. 8.
William Spottiswoode was an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford, between 1842 and 1846 (ODNB).
Henrietta Anne Huxley and her children stayed at Down House from 18 April to 4 May 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Hooker’s visit to Down in the gooseberry season had become a tradition (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter from J. D. Hooker, [after 17 June 1865] and n. 6). On Hooker’s address, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 17 [June 1868] and n. 4.


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

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


The grass [see 6243] is Sporobolus elongatus, common in the tropics.

Visit to Oxford with X Club.

On his forthcoming address.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 102: 218–19
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6254,” accessed on 4 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16