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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   10 August 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Aug 10. 76

My dear Hooker

I enclose 4/8 stamps for the parcel. If not already dispatched please to remember to send it to Orpington Station.1 I am heartily glad to hear that the day of your marriage is fixed, & that before very long you will be tranquilly settled at Kew.2

I don’t know what Asa Gray means by his peculiar views unless it be about variation being led along certain definite lines, which as it seems to me would render natural selection quite superfluous. I have read some of the new theological matter, and I cannot say that makes my ideas much clearer; but everything he says is so clearly & pleasantly put that it is well worth reading.3

Frank won’t be able to be at Glasgow.4

Yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin


CD sent stamps to the value of 4s. 8d. The parcel probably contained orchid specimens requested by CD (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 8 August [1876] and n. 2). Orpington was the nearest railway station to CD’s home at Down.
Hooker married Hyacinth Jardine on 22 August 1876 (ODNB).
Asa Gray’s collection of essays, Darwiniana (A. Gray 1876b), contained a new essay, ‘Evolutionary teleology’, in which Gray argued that CD’s theory was not incompatible with a teleological view of nature. Gray’s only specific reference to ‘peculiar views’ was in another essay, ‘Species as to variation, geographical distribution, and succession’, and referred to Louis Agassiz’s belief that total extinctions and total new creations took place at each successive geological epoch (A. Gray 1876b, pp. 200–1).
Francis Darwin was unable to attend the Glasgow meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in September 1876. His wife, Amy, was expecting their first baby then (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 11 September [1876] and n. 1).


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.


Asa Gray’s directed variation would make natural selection superfluous.

CD has read new theological reconciliations of Darwinism and religion.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 415–16
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10576,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24