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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   14 December [1878]1

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

Dec 14th.

My dear Hooker

I have been greatly pleased & interested with every word of your Address in Nature.2 You have honoured me greatly by giving to me a whole column & an excellent abstract of what I have done.— The sole criticism which I am inclined to make is that there ought to have been a little more on Zoology & Palæontology of animals.— But I suppose space failed you.—

I think that you will like to hear of a very strange event & bit of good fortune which has happened to me; for I well know how sympathetic you are. A Mr. Anthony Rich, an old gentleman living at Worthing (whose name I had never heard of) wrote to me about a week ago, that he & his old sister are the sole survivors of his family owing to recent deaths. He says with many strong phrases that he thinks that I have done much for science, & that he has long been of opinion that persons situated, like he is, could not do better than leave their property to those who have benefitted mankind.3 He has therefore bequeathed his property (rather above 1100£ per year) to me after his sister’s & his own death. Is this not a curious event! As he has no natural heirs I have had no hesitation in accepting it for my children’s sake; but of course I told him that I was a rich man, as this might make him change his intentions, but it has not done so.4 This is the oddest thing that ever happened to me, or as far as I know any scientific man.

Ever yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 December 1878.
Hooker’s presidential address to the Royal Society of London (Hooker 1878b) was published in Nature, 5 December 1878, pp. 109–13, and 12 December 1878, pp. 132–5 (for Hooker’s remarks on CD’s recent work, see p. 133).
Rich’s sister was was Emma Burnaby. See letter from Anthony Rich, 7 December 1878.


Thanks for JDH’s description of CD’s work in Nature.

Anthony Rich to bequeath his property (over £1100 a year) to CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 477–8
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11794,” accessed on 16 September 2021,