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Darwin Correspondence Project

To F. H. Hooker   31 January [1868]1

Down, | Bromley. | Kent S.E.

Jan. 31st

My dear Mrs. Hooker

I must have the pleasure of thanking you, in which Emma joins, for your very kind note of congratulation. The whole affair has given us intense satisfaction, & no doubt we who have lived in Cambridge appreciate the honour more fully than any outsider can do.—2 George will try for a fellowship at Trinity, but will not, I believe, be content with a drone’s life, though what he will do we are not yet quite decided.3 The more I read on Education the more difficult it seems to come to any definite conclusion, what is the best course; & I am rather inclined to think that real education does not begin till after school & college days; at least I am sure this was the case with myself.—4

With many thanks, pray believe me, | My dear Mrs. Hooker | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from F. H. Hooker, [26 January 1868] (Correspondence vol. 16).
See Correspondence vol. 16, letter from F. H. Hooker, [26 January 1868]. George Howard Darwin was second wrangler at Cambridge in 1868, that is, he was second in the final examination for the mathematical tripos (Cambridge University calendar 1868).
George was elected a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in autumn 1868, after which he studied law in London from 1869 to 1872 (ODNB).
Hooker had read a collection of essays that criticised the traditional classical education in English schools and universities (Farrar ed. 1867; see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from F. H. Hooker, [26 January 1868] and n. 4).


Thanks for congratulations on George’s attaining Second Wrangler.

George will try for a fellowship at Trinity.

CD believes real education begins after school days.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Frances Harriet Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
Swann Auction Galleries (dealers) (13 September 1984)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10822,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

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