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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   29 December [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 29th.

My dear Hooker

Thank you for your most interesting letter, which I have not had time to consider yet.—2 The case seems as if it would do hereafter as good illustration of gradation.—   Thanks, also, for A. Gray letters.3 I answered him some time ago about the proposed Review.4 Huxley will take it in if it seems good.—5 I write now, with many apologies you poor wretch for troubling you, to say that you forgot to answer my question of date of Rafinesque Flora of N. America Part I.—6 Poor Naturalist as he was, he has good sentence about species & vars. which I must quote in my Historical Sketch & I sadly want the date at once.—7

Poor Etty has had another Relapse, but has rallied again to nearly standard a week ago.—

I am profoundly glad that you will take care of yourself.—   I was always certain no one’s mind could stand your incessant work.—   I feel sure in a year or two you will be as brisk as ever.—

I know well that my head would have failed years ago, had not my stomach always saved me from a minute’s over work.— I am indeed so glad that you are resolved to work more quietly.—   I think I have quoted to you poor Dana’s case, & my prediction to him a few years ago.—8

My dear old friend | C. D.


Dated by the relationship to the letter from J. D. Hooker, 28 December 1860.
In a letter dated 10 December 1860, Gray wrote: ‘Send this note to dear Darwin after perusal’ (Archive, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew).
Asa Gray had asked CD whether he could find a publisher for a review of Origin written by Chauncey Wright. See letters to Asa Gray, 11 December [1860] and 14 December [1860].
See letters to Daniel Oliver, 20 December [1860], and to J. D. Hooker, 26 December [1860].
CD included Constantine Samuel Rafinesque among those naturalists who had discussed the transmutation of species in the historical sketch prefixed to the third edition of Origin. Referring to Rafinesque 1836, he wrote (Origin 3d ed., p. xv): Rafinesque, in his ‘New Flora of North America,’ published in 1836, wrote(p. 6) as follows:—All species might have been varieties once, and many varieties are gradually becoming species by assuming constant and peculiar characters:“ but further on (p. 18), he adds, ”except the original types or ancestors of the genus.“
James Dwight Dana was recovering from a breakdown in his health. For the expressions of concern CD made to him, see Correspondence vol. 7, Supplement, letter to J. D. Dana, 15 June [1851].


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

Origin 3d ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 3d edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1861.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1836. New flora and botany of North America. 4 pts. Philadelphia.


Feels his poor stomach "saved" him from overworking his head.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 83
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3034,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

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