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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [2 July 1860]1

Sudbrook Park

Monday Night—

My dear Hooker

I have just received your letter. I have been very poorly with almost continuous bad headach for 48 hours, & I was low enough & thinking what a useless burthen I was to myself & all others, when your letter came & it has so cheered me. Your kindness & affection brought tears into my eyes. Talk of fame, honour, pleasure, wealth, all are dirt compared with affection; & this is a doctrine with which, I know from your letter, that you will agree from the bottom of your heart. It is indeed most true there is nothing in this world at all like a good wife.—2 How I shd. have liked to have wandered about Oxford with you, if I had been well enough; & how still more I shd have liked to have heard you triumphing over the Bishop.—   I am astounded at your success & audacity. It is something unintelligible to me how anyone can argue in public like orators do. I had no idea you had this power.

I have read lately so many hostile reviews, that I was beginning to think that perhaps I was wholly in wrong & that Owen was right when he said whole subject would be forgotten in ten years;3 but now that I hear that you & Huxley will fight publicly (which I am sure I never could do) I fully believe that our cause will in the long run prevail. I am glad I was not in Oxford, for I shd. have been overwhelmed, with my stomach in its present state.—

Poor Etty has had one little return of Fever since I left home: but it has not pulled her much back, & I think we shall move her soon.—4

I leave this place on Thursday;5 & would come for one hour between 10 & 11 if that would suit you, but I almost fear from your letter that Thursday will not suit—   If not I would drive over on Wednesday afternoon;6 this would not be quite so good, as I shd lose 12 a day of idleness & baths.—   Let me have one line to say whether you will be at home on Thursday morning. I do not think it would be worth your coming here, for unless I improve much, I am up to very little talking. After seeing you on Thursday I shd. go on by Rail to London & Home.—

God Bless you my dear & most kind friend.—   | Your affect, | C. Darwin

P.S | If you cannot have me on Thursday morning, I think my strongest time for Wednesday will be soon after breakfast, so that I would be with you for about an hour between 10 & eleven; ie if I can receive an answer in time.—   I shd. be very sorry to miss seeing you, but you must not think of altering any arrangement on Thursday for my pleasure.—   You cannot tell how your letter has warmed my soul.—


The letter is clearly a response to the preceding letter, also dated 2 July 1860. Hooker’s letter must have been dispatched early in the morning on Monday, 2 July.
See preceding letter.
The occasion on which Richard Owen made this remark has not been identified. CD first mentioned Owen’s comment in March 1860 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 March [1860]).
The Darwins were planning to leave for Hartfield, Surrey, where two of Emma Darwin’s sisters lived, shortly after CD returned from taking the water-cure at Sudbrook Park. See ‘Journal’ (Appendix II).
CD returned to Down on Saturday, 7 July 1860 (‘Journal’; Appendix II). See letter to J. D. Hooker, [3 July 1860].
Sudbrook Park was in the village of Richmond, Surrey, only a short distance from Kew, where Hooker lived.


CD, ill and despondent about hostile reviews, is cheered by JDH’s account of Oxford battle, particularly by willingness of JDH and Huxley to fight for CD’s theory in public.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Sudbrook Park
Source of text
DAR 115: 64
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2853,” accessed on 27 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8