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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   5 January 1875

Athenæum Club | Pall Mall S.W.

Jany 5/75.

Dear Darwin

Huxley dissuades me so strenuously from writing to Mivart, on the grounds of his being a Fellow of the R.S., & I it’s President, that I suppose I must submit. I must confess that I cannot well see why the Secretary may & the President may not, to which the answer is that the Secretary’s having done it first,—if right—, renders the action of the President secondary—& if not right for the Secretary, it is still less so for the President.1

I must confess that I do not at all like the idea of the Presidentship limiting action in such a matter.— My letter is written, & couched in a strain that is widely different from Huxley’s, but I hesitate to send it if it would at all compromise me in my official position.2 I shall hold my hand till I hear what Bentham says:3 meanwhile I must give Mivart the cold shoulder, if I should happen to meet him.

Ever aff yrs | Jos D Hooker


Hooker had wanted to write to St George Jackson Mivart about Mivart’s attack on George Howard Darwin’s paper on marriage ([Mivart] 1874, p. 70, G. H. Darwin 1873b; see Correspondence vol. 22, letter from J. D. Hooker, 21 December 1874). Thomas Henry Huxley was a secretary of the Royal Society of London.
Huxley had circulated a copy of his letter to Mivart to CD and Hooker; see Correspondence vol. 22, letter from T. H. Huxley, 23 December 1874, enclosure.
George Bentham, who worked on botany at Kew, had legal training and was a member of the Royal Society (ODNB).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

[Mivart, St George Jackson.] 1874b. Primitive man: Tylor and Lubbock. [Essay review of the works of John Lubbock and Edward Burnett Tylor.] Quarterly Review 137 (1874): 40–77.

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.


Huxley strongly dissuades JDH from writing to Mivart because of his Presidency of Royal Society. JDH will hold his letter until he hears what Bentham says.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Athenaeum Club
Source of text
DAR 104: 2–3
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9800,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23