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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [December 1846]

Down Farnborough Kent


My dear Hooker

I shd. have answered your note sooner, only I have been very unwell, with a small abscess at the fangs of one of my grinders, complicated as is invariably the case with me with my wretched stomach: I think, however, I shall be well again tomorrow.—

I am truly delighted to hear that you will have some work & come here in middle of January. In all human probability this time will suit us capitally, as indeed wd almost all times: for the only engagement I know of this winter is a visit for a week to my Father.—

Sorrow take you for wishing me sorrow, merely because I egged you on to make a capital speech, & which I am very glad, if it does not turn you from more valuable work, you are forced to publish.—1 I do not think you were the least “hard” on Bunbury;2 perhaps he hardly got the usual proportion of “butter” on the occasion.— I suggest & urge on you, to find out where the Coal-plants from Melville Isd. are deposited & have a good look at them: the case is all important & never has been gone into even with approximate care, do think of this.—3

When I was drawing with Leonard,4 I was so delighted with the appearance of the objects, especially with their perspective, as seen through the weak powers of a good compound Microscope that I am going to order one: indeed I often have structures, in which the 130th is not power enough.—

I enclose a prospectus of a lady, our neighbour & friend of Berkeley: I do not know how the book will be done, but her own drawings are in truth quite wonderfully beautiful:—

Thanks for the corallines; Heaven knows when I shall begin them; I have been nearly 3 months on Cirripedia & have done only 3 genera!!!

We are both very sorry not to hear a better account of your Sister.

Ever my dear Hooker | Yours | C. Darwin


Possibly a reference to Hooker’s reading of his paper (J. D. Hooker 1846) to the Linnean Society on 1 and 15 December 1846, or to his having spoken at the Geological Society (see n. 2, below).
Charles James Fox Bunbury read a paper on the coal plants of Cape Breton to the Geological Society on 3 December 1846 (C. J. F. Bunbury 1847). Hooker was present and according to Bunbury had a ‘favourable opinion’ of the paper (see F. J. Bunbury ed. 1891–3, Middle life 1: 196).
Melville island, much further into the Arctic than Cape Breton, was known to possess coal strata. Hooker was at this time preparing his account of the vegetation of the Carboniferous period for the Geological Survey (J. D. Hooker 1848).
Probably Samuel William Leonard, the artist used by W. B. Carpenter (see letter to W. B. Carpenter, [October–December 1846], n. 1). In his Account Book (Down House MS) CD recorded £3 paid to ‘Mr Leonard drawing Conia’ on 5 December 1846.


Bunbury, Charles James Fox. 1847. On fossil plants from the coal formation of Cape Breton. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 3: 423–38.


Hopes JDH can come to stay in January.

Thanks for the corallines.

Mention of JDH’s capital speech.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 76
Physical description
6pp & C

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1035,” accessed on 22 January 2022,

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