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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   3 March [1877]1

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

March 3d

My dear old Friend

How kind it was of you to write.— Your note has pleased us beyond measure.2 I did not know how Frank would succeed in explaining himself; nor could I gather from his own account how far he had succeeded.3 So your note was most welcome. It has done him good & his manner since has been more completely than hitherto like his old manner.— But poor dear fellow no doubt it constantly crosses his mind that he has no sympathy when it wd have given him most joy.—4

The filaments from Dipsacus will have to be examined by other good workers; but I do not think that anyone cd see their spontaneous action & that under the most diversified stimulants or reagents, & doubt that they were formed of living matter.

Dyer’s objection in a note to Fr. today is the best, viz that protoplasm cd not pass through a cell-wall; but white blood corpuscles pass through the walls of vessels; & in a growing cell there must be protoplasm between the molecules of cellulose.—5

I have been working at the rich treasure of specimens & information which all you good botanists at Kew gave F. for me.—6

I received Moseley’s splendid collection of Photo’s all safe: it did not occur to me, but I ought to have acknowledged them.7

Yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 March 1877].
Francis Darwin had delivered his paper on the teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris; F. Darwin 1877a) at the Royal Society of London on 1 March 1877.
CD alludes to Francis’s wife, Amy, who had died on 11 September 1876; see Correspondence vol. 24, letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 September [1876].
William Turner Thiselton-Dyer’s note has not been found. The material observed between the cells was later characterised as plasmodesma.
Francis Darwin had collected specimens from Kew for CD’s research on Forms of flowers; see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 January [1877].
Henry Nottidge Moseley; see letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 March 1877] and n. 7.


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

Forms of flowers: The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1877.


CD counters Thiselton-Dyer’s objection to protoplasmic filaments of Dipsacus protruding beyond cell-wall, as Frank’s paper claims, by citing white "blood cells passing through vessels".

Has received Moseley’s collection of photographs.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 435–6
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10874,” accessed on 2 December 2021,