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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   31 March [1845]

Down Bromley Kent

March 31st

My dear Hooker

I hope your Book has arrived safely with your M.S.. Have you noticed in the fourth vol. of Wilkes, there is a short discussion on the Flora of the Sandwich Ids., & he considers it as of a very peculiar & confined character: I shall be curious to see the real scientific reports, if they turn out as trust worthy.—1 What a capital tour you have had, & how many great men, you have become acquainted with: by the way I have heard from Ehrenberg, who grieves much at your not having come, & says you would have been hospitably received at Berlin. He has returned me my M.S. & most goodnaturedly has written to Dieffenbach, from whom also I heard seven weeks ago assuring me that my &c &c shd arrive in a few days & laying all the blame on the Publishers; but nothing has arrived! I have many things to write about, but am determined to write nothing, which will require any answer from you, as I am sure your time must be now fully occupied & more than occupied; but I shall keep some memoranda hereafter to screw knowledge out of you. Nothing would do you so much good as a little vanity, & then you would not talk of collecting facts for others, when, say just what you please, I am sure no one could put them to better use than yourself.—

I hope & trust you will find Edinburgh far pleasanter than you expect, though the lecturing must be a direful break in your Antarctic flora (of which there is a little recommendatory notice in L’Institut of last week):2 I shd. think that Forbes3 was one of the cleverest men there; I have found him very civil in correspondence, but I am told he is as frigid as one of his own glaciers: & a capital theory I fully believe his to be.—

You are very kind in your enquiries about my health; I have nothing to say about it, being always much the same, some days better & some worse.— I believe I have not had one whole day or rather night, without my stomach having been greatly disordered, during the last three years, & most days great prostration of strength: thank you for your kindness, many of my friends, I believe, think me a hypocondriac. How late shall you be in Edinburgh: I ask because I think I shall probably take a tour, for my unlucky stomach’s sake, to the Eildon hills near Melrose, in September to see some appearances like the ‘parallel roads of Glen Roy’.—4 & perhaps I might go further on & see you in Edinburgh if there.— I see I have kept to my determination, in a highly praiseworthy manner, & asked you nothing which requires an answer— one of the subject I am curious to discuss hereafter with you—is the position, as a method of induction, in which morphology stands; it seems to me a very curious point.— I will order St Hilaires book;5 I have just finished three huge volumes by Is. St Hilaire on animal monsters, and a nasty curious subject it is.—6

Farewell with all good wishes Ever yours | C. Darwin

N.B. You may see that I have dubbed you a Dr. again, as you are to be a Professor: have I not done right?—


Wilkes 1845, 4: 282–3.
L’Institut 1ère sect. 13 (1845): 120.
Instead of making this tour, CD visited Shrewsbury in September and from there went on to see his new property in Lincolnshire and to visit William Herbert, the plant hybridiser, and Charles Waterton in Yorkshire (see ‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II).
An annotated copy of Saint-Hilaire 1841 is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 1832–7, recorded in CD’s list of ‘Books Read’ (DAR 119; Vorzimmer 1977, p. 133) in an entry dated March 1845.


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

Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Isidore. 1832–7. Histoire générale et particulière des anomalies de l’organisation chez l’homme et les animaux, ouvrage comprenant des recherches sur les charactères, la classification, l’influence physiologique et pathologique, les rapports généraux, les lois et les causes des monstruosites, des variétés et des vices de conformation, ou traité de tératologie. 3 vols. and atlas. Paris: J. B. Baillière.

Vorzimmer, Peter J. 1977. The Darwin reading notebooks (1838-1860). Journal of the History of Biology 10: 107–53.


Hopes JDH will enjoy Edinburgh.

Has just finished Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire on animal monsters [Anomalies de l’organisation chez l’homme et les animaux (1832–7)], "and a nasty curious subject it is".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 30
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 847,” accessed on 8 December 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3