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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [13 or 20 November 1843]

Down near Bromley | Kent


My dear Sir

I had hoped before this time to have had the pleasure of seeing you & congratulating you on your safe return from your long & glorious voyage.1

But as I seldom go to London, we may not yet meet for some time—without you are led to attend the Geological Meetings.

I am anxious to know what you intend doing with all your materials—2 I had so much pleasure in reading parts of some of your letters, that I shall be very sorry if I, as one of the Public, have no opportunity of reading a good deal more.—3 I suppose you are very busy now & full of enjoyment; how well I remember the happiness of my first few months of England—it was worth all the discomforts of many a gale— But I have run from the subject, which made me write, of expressing my pleasure that Henslow, (as he informed me a few days since by letter) has sent to you my small collection of plants— You cannot think how much pleased I am, as I feared they wd have been all lost & few as they are, they cost me a good deal of trouble.— There are a very few notes, which I believe Henslow has got describing the habitats &c of some few of the more remarkable plants.—4 I paid particular attention to the Alpine flowers of Tierra Del. & I am sure I got every plant, which was in flower in Patagonia at the seasons, when we were there.— I have long thought that some general sketch of the Flora of that point of land, stretching so far into the southern seas, would be very curious.— Do make comparative remarks on the species allied to the Europæan species, for the advantage of Botanical Ignoramus’es like myself. It has always struck me as a curious point to find out, whether there are many Europæan genera in T. del Fuego, which are not found along the ridge of the Cordillera; the separation in such cases wd be so enormous.— Do point out in any sketch you draw up, what genera are American & what Europæan & how great the differences of the species, are, when the genera are Europæan, for the sake of the Ignoramuses.—

I hope Henslow will send you my Galapagos Plants5 (about which Humboldt even expressed to me considerable curiosity)— I took much pains in collecting all I could,— A Flora of this archipelago would, I suspect, offer a nearly parallel case to that of St Helena, which has so long excited interest.6

Pray excuse this long rambling note, & believe me, my dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

Will you be so good as to present my respectful compliments to Sir W. Hooker.


Hooker was Assistant Surgeon on H.M.S. Erebus and Botanist to James Clark Ross’s Antarctic expedition (1839–43). He returned home in September 1843.
Ultimately published as J. D. Hooker 1844–7, 1853–5, 1860.
CD read Hooker’s letters written to Charles Lyell Sr, see letter to W. J. Hooker, 12 March [1843]. He may also have read some published extracts in W. J. Hooker 1843.
CD–Henslow letters on the transfer of Beagle plants have not been found, but letters from Henslow to J. D. Hooker on the transfer of CD’s plants survive in the collection of R. A. Hooker. CD’s plant notes were found by Mrs Rita I’Ons and Duncan Porter in the Cambridge University Herbarium in 1980 (see D. M. Porter 1981).
Ultimately published as J. D. Hooker 1845 and 1846.
It was the endemic character of St Helena’s native species that excited CD. He had long been interested in the comparison of this island, located 1900km from Africa, with the Galápagos. See Notebook C: 184e.


Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1844–7. Flora Antarctica. 1 vol. and 1 vol. of plates. Pt 1 of The botany of the Antarctic voyage of HM discovery ships Erebus and Terror in the years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. London: Reeve Brothers.

Hooker, William Jackson. 1843. Notes on the botany of HM Discovery Ships, Erebus and Terror in the Antarctic voyage; with some account of the Tussac grass of the Falkland Islands. London Journal of Botany 2: 247–329.

Notebook C. See de Beer 1960; de Beer and Rowlands 1961; de Beer, Rowlands, and Skramovsky 1967; Notebooks.

Porter, Duncan M. 1981. Darwin’s missing notebooks come to light. Nature 291: 13.


Congratulations on JDH’s safe return.

Henslow has sent CD’s S. American plants to JDH for examination.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 1
Physical description
ALS 8pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 714,” accessed on 31 January 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2