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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. J. Hooker   [January 1850]

Down Farnborough | Kent


My dear Sir William

I write merely to thank you very sincerely for your great kindness in taking the trouble to inform me about your son. I was very anxious to hear something about his safety.1 Your account is far better than I had ventured to anticipate; I feared that his collection would have gone to rack & ruin— If nothing worse comes of it, it will be in after years a striking episode in his Himmalaya wanderings. How anxious Lady Hooker & yourself must be to see him back, & I am sure that he has very very many friends who cordially unite in this feeling.

With my best thanks | Pray believe me | Yours sincerely obliged | C. Darwin

Some time since Henslow forwarded to you a Geological letter from your son to me; no doubt you will keep it securely, which I mention because your son asked me to keep all his letters.—

I trust Miss Hooker is well— pray remember me very kindly to her.—


Hooker and his travelling companion, Andrew Campbell, political agent to Sikkim, had been made captives on 7 November 1849 by a Sikkim band under instructions from the Sikkim Dewan, who bore a grudge against Campbell. On 12 November, Hooker wrote a letter to his family reporting that, though kept under detention, he was not in danger. Both hostages were released on 23 December 1849 as a result of a threat of force by the British Government. The incident led to the annexation of southern Sikkim by the British. See J. D. Hooker 1854, 2: 203–41, and L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 313–19.


Thanks WJH for information about J. D. Hooker; CD was very anxious to hear something about his safety.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Jackson Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Directors’ Correspondence English letters A–H 1850, 29: 201)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1285,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4