skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   20 October [1857]1

Down Bromley Kent

Oct. 20th

My dear Hooker

I am sorry to trouble you, but will you tell me how I can best send back the large Box.2 Is it not too heavy for Parcels Delivery? Secondly how address it? How to the Library?— You must let me know what the carriage will come to.— I will return all immediately I get your answer, except, perhaps 2d, & except 3d & 4th vols. of Ledebour,3 if you can spare them, but I fear these will be just the Books you are likely most to want. But if you can spare them I will return each vol. as soon as finished.

I shd. like also to keep Grisebach.4 also Cybele;5 this latter, probably, can best be spared. Grisebach I have prepared for classifying, but do not care much about.— So please give me orders, which of the above Books I may keep: Ledebour is by far most useful on account of ranges: I think 12 Ledebour will be done by time Box goes.—

I shall be very glad to do 2 or 3 vols. of Decandolle;6 if you will think which wd. be best:— I shd. think, but will be guided entirely by you, one with some one huge nat. Family, & one with several small ones.—

Also I shd. especially be thankful for any Flora of Holland with varieties marked.— These can be sent in about 3 weeks time, as by enclosed address.

Thank you much for enquiring after our children: Etty is better but far from strong:7 Lenny much better, but has attacks of intermittent pulse.8

How busy you appear to be!

Pray give my very kind remembrances to Mrs. Hooker; How long it is since I have seen her: I hope she is thoroughily well.

Yours most truly | C. Darwin

I have sent little notice to Gardeners’ Chron. on fertilisation of Kidney Beans:9 I have not yet looked to your case of hybrid kidney Beans.—

You talked of coming here for a Sunday: is there any hope of it? I shd. most thoroughily enjoy it & I have a frightful lot of questions to torture you with you unfortunate wretch.—

Cd. you lay your hand on paper in which a Fucus is mentioned not capable of crossing reciprocally?10 it is not worth a hunt.—

If you cannot come here you must let me pay you a call of an hour or two, & do some heavy questioning.—

I have just looked at my list of queries, but it is not so tremendous, as I had fancied.—


The year is given by CD’s reference to his notice on the fertilisation of kidney beans (letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 18 October [1857]).
CD was returning several botanical works lent to him by Hooker (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 September [1857]).
Candolle and Candolle 1824–73.
Henrietta Darwin was at Moor Park, where she was undergoing hydropathic treatment. She returned to Down after ten weeks of therapy on 31 October 1857 (Emma Darwin’s diary).
Letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 18 October [1857].
This is CD’s ‘list of queries’ referred to in the letter. It is preserved in DAR 114: 222c.
Adlumia had been mentioned in the letter from Asa Gray, [August 1857], as a plant in which insects could hardly be agents of cross-pollination .
CD refers to Andrew Campbell, a British civil servant in India whom Hooker had met and travelled with during his stay in India (see Correspondence vol. 4). CD was at this time investigating the breeding of yaks (see letter from Robert Schlagintweit, 25 September 1857).
Boreau 1840. CD discussed this query in a note in DAR 47: 192a: ‘Boreau Tom 2. p. 26. Has seen Linum cartharticum with alternate leaves. Is there not division of Linum into 2 sections.’ The note was pasted onto another sheet of paper, and CD wrote: ‘Ch. 7 | Hooker will enquire’. Hooker answered the query in the letter from J. D. Hooker, [6 December 1857]. CD subsequently added in pencil: ‘(not entered)’.
Saint-Hilaire 1847.


Boreau, Alexandre. 1840. Flore du centre de la France; ou description des plantes qui croissent spontanément dans la région centrale de la France, et de celles qui y sont cultivées en grand, avec l’analyse des genres et des espèces. 2 vols. in 1. Paris: Roret.

Candolle, Augustin Pyramus de and Candolle, Alphonse de. 1824–73. Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis, sive enumeratio contracta ordinum generum specierumque plantarum huc usque cognitarum, juxta methodi naturalis normas digesta. 19 vols. Paris: Treuttel & Würtz [and others].

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

Grisebach, August Heinrich Rudolph. 1843–4. Spicilegium florae Rumelicae et Bithynicae exhibens synopsin plantarum quas aest. 1839 legit. 2 vols. Brunswick: F. Vieweg.

Ledebour, Karl Friedrich von. 1842–53. Flora Rossica sive enumeratio plantarum in totius imperii Rossici provinciis Europaeis, Asiaticis et Americanis hucusque observatarum. 4 vols. Stuttgart. [Vols. 6,7]

Thuret, Gustave Adolphe. 1854–5. Recherches sur la fecondation des Fucacées, suivies d’observations sur les anthéridies des Algues. Annales des sciences naturelles (botanique) 4th ser. 2: 197–214; 3: 5–28.

Watson, Hewett Cottrell. 1847–59. Cybele Britannica; or British plants and their geographical relations. 4 vols. London: Longman.


Returns some of the systematics books borrowed from JDH. Will now take on A. P. and Alphonse de Candolle [Prodromus].

Arrangements for a visit.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 212, 222c
Physical description
6pp CD note AL 2pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2156,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6