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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   28 November [1877]

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

Nov. 28th

My dear Hooker

I think the address does very well.—1 Wd it not be better to insert, “zoological” (botanical evidently a misprint) after instead of before “geological, mineralogical”?2

I do not like the first sentence which you have marked with “?”.

I wrote sentence on next page before I saw the last paragraph, & now it is tautological.— I hardly understand what Duncan means. by it.—3

With respect to second sentence with “?” I never saw word “synclinoria”, & I shd doubt about “proof” with respect to “all great chains”— No doubt if he has shown that many mountain chains have been formed in synclinal troughs it is very important, & agrees with what Judd has lately shown.4

Yours affectionately | C. Darwin


Hooker had evidently sent CD a draft or preprint of his presidential address to the Royal Society of London (J. D. Hooker 1877a); the draft has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Probably a reference to J. D. Hooker 1877a, p. 446, on the award of the Copley medal to James Dwight Dana for his contributions to mineralogy, geology, and zoology.
The ‘sentence on next page’ has not been found. Peter Martin Duncan was a member of the council of the Royal Society, and presumably wrote parts of the address on the awarding of medals.
There are no references in the address as published to synclinoria, mountain chains, or synclinal troughs. CD refers to James Dwight Dana’s theory of the origin of mountain chains in the geosynclinal, the bending of the earth’s crust under the weight of volcanic or sedimentary deposits, referred to by John Wesley Judd in his ‘Contributions to the study of volcanos.— Second series’ (Judd 1876, p. 339). CD scored this passage in his offprint, now in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. See also Dana 1873, Judd 1881, pp. 295–301, and Knopf 1948. Dana used the term ‘syclinoria’ (see Dana 1873, p. 439), defining a synclinorium as a mountain chain formed by lateral pressure during the collapse of the geosyncline.


Dana, James Dwight. 1873. On some results of the earth’s contraction from cooling, including a discussion of the origin of mountains, and the nature of the earth’s interior. American Journal of Science and Arts 3d ser. 5: 423–43; 6: 6–14, 104–15, 161–72.

Judd, John Wesley. 1881. Volcanoes: what they are and what they teach. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co.


Suggests revisions in JDH’s 1877 Presidential Address to the Royal Society [Proc. R. Soc. Lond. (1877): 427–46].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 465
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11257,” accessed on 26 October 2021,