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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   20 [February 1861]

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

You will see by enclosed what an unfortunate accident Asa Gray has had.1 You will see, also, that his pamphlet has arrived. When I get copy you shall, of course, have one.— I shall insert a few advertisements: one & copy to Gardeners Ch. Do you ever see Lindley   could you persuade him to notice it by 2 or 3 lines?2 Is there any Botanical Journal in which you could do same? I shd. much like for Asa Gray’s sake (& indeed for my own) if I could get some sold.—

Many & cordial thanks for your admirable & clear letter about rubbing in oil.3 We have begun.— Our Doctor was so struck with your letter that he begged for copy.— Etty continues about the same, but rather better; Now it is 412 weeks since a vomiting attack.— My health has lately been very bad, & I am become so weak that I cannot listen for above 12 hour even to a novel without great fatigue. But today I am extra well & if I keep so tomorrow, I shall come up for Phil. Club.4 I wish there was a chance of you; but probably I shall fail. Emma declares she will take the whole family to Malvern for 2 months this Spring, & I very much fear I must go.5 It will be a cruel blow to me, as I must give up Drosera, crossing Primulas & many other experiments for this summer. & I had so much to do. But I cannot go on as I now am.—

Please remember the Apocynium.6

By Circular received today I see that your side will be victorious at Athenæum.7 Please return sometime A. Gray’s letter.

Farewell | My dear Hooker | Yours ever | C. Darwin

I received cargo today of 19 moths with pollen-masses of Orchids attached to them!8 Did you observe my little notice on transplanted orchids not being fertilised in G. Chronicle?9 Nothing came up in earth from under Tree. Hang them!10


Asa Gray’s letter has not been found. Gray had lost part of his left thumb in a gardening accident (Dupree 1959, pp. 307–8).
A full-page notice of A. Gray 1861a, with an introduction and extracts, appeared in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 9 March 1861, p. 219. John Lindley, a close friend of Hooker’s, was the editor of the gardening section of the journal.
Hooker’s letter has not been found, but see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 [February 1861].
According to Emma Darwin’s diary, CD went to London on 21 February 1861 and returned to Down the following day. He attended a meeting of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society of London, at which he gave an account of his experiments on Drosera (Bonney 1919, p. 154). See also Correspondence vol. 9, Appendix IV.
CD refers to James Manby Gully’s hydropathic establishment at Malvern, Worcestershire. Although he had derived benefit from Gully’s treatment, CD had not returned since the death there of his daughter Anne Elizabeth Darwin in 1851 (see Correspondence vol. 5).
Through correspondence with Daniel Oliver, CD had established the identity of an insectivorous plant that he remembered growing in his father’s garden. Hooker had offered to send him samples of the plant, Apocynum androsaemifolium, a species of dogbane. See Correspondence vol. 8, letter to J. D. Hooker, 17 December [1860] and n. 4.
The gift may have been sent by Frederick Bond, who had offered to send CD moths that had pollinia attached to them (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter from Frederick Bond, [16? June 1860]). CD thanked Bond for sending him a large number of such specimens in Orchids, p. 35.
See letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, [before 9 February 1861].


Bonney, T. G. 1919. Annals of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society written from its minute books. London: Macmillan.

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

Dupree, Anderson Hunter. 1959. Asa Gray, 1810–1888. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Asa Gray’s pamphlet.

Ill health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115.2: 88
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3065,” accessed on 13 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9