skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [26–31 August 1862]1

Address   Care of Mrs Hooker2 | Westbank Terrace | Hillhead | Glasgow

Dear Darwin

Yours of 22d. arrived just as I was leaving Kew.3 We took train to Glasgow, staid there Sunday & came down Clyde on Monday; we are now with our friends the Smiths Jordan hill4 at his son in laws Mr Buchanan of Shandon a most lovely spot on the Gare Loch,5 & remain till Monday. I am amusing myself wandering over the hills & yachting. I hear from Huxley on Loch Fyne6 & perhaps shall join him after the marriage, (on the 4th)7 but we are uncertain as to our movements after that. Are you sure it is Lennys kidneys that are hurt?8 heaps of kidney symptoms are nothing but rheumatism + vitrated secretions

Mann’s address is9

Mr Gustav Mann

Govt. Botanist

Care of HRM Consul

Fernando Po

he will gladly do any thing he can & is a capital collector & packer but nothing else. He returns to England next spring. Oliver returned to Kew after I left & is there now.10 I bottled the two Vanda flowers after Fitch had sketched them—11 By the way I have a bottle of the Gymnadenia hybrids for you, tell me when you want them.12

I do not wonder you are disappointed with the microscope in the abstract & for Zoological purposes.—13 the great fault you mention of the wheel on wrong side I remedy myself at once with screw driver. (it is a horrible arrangement) The doublet is a necessity easily added.— The fact was that Ross14 alone would supply a good microscope at £4.40. suitable for ordinary botanical purposes.—firm, steady, portable, good glasses, cheap—& above all capable of any & every further appliance that a simple microscope is capable of having.— so a young student of moderate means, may buy his essential at once, & add to it, as he can afford.— Smith & Beck would do nothing of the kind.15 I know from long experience how essential it is that something efficient should be cheap.—especially for young men going abroad with all their outfit to procure & an expensive set of medical & surgical books & instruments to purchase besides.

I cannot remember any plants but melastomads with differently colored polliniferous anthers in same flower,16 but I shall


The date range is established by the reference to the letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 [August 1862], and on the basis of Hooker’s departure from London for Scotland on 23 August 1862 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 August 1862). The letter was written after the Monday following 22 August (25 August) and before the subsequent Monday (1 September).
The reference is to Isabella Whitehead Hooker, widow of Hooker’s brother, William Dawson Hooker; she lived at 11 West Bank Terrace, Hillhead, Glasgow, with her daughter Willielma (Census returns 1861 (Mitchell Library, Glasgow, 6462/11a: 6)). See also n. 7, below.
Hooker refers to the antiquarian and geologist, James Smith, known as ‘Smith of Jordanhill’, and probably to his two surviving unmarried daughters, Jane Charlotte and Sabina Douglas Clavering Smith.
The reference is to Walter Buchanan, widower of James Smith’s daughter, Christina Laura.
Huxley was at Loch Fyne in his capacity as a member of the Royal Commission on the Operation of the Acts relating to Trawling for Herring on the Coasts of Scotland (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 200–1; Report of the Royal Commission on Herring, pp. 141, 143).
Hooker refers to the wedding of his niece Willielma Hooker to James Campbell at St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Glasgow, on 4 September 1862 (Gentleman’s Magazine n.s. 13 (1862): 488).
The reference is to Leonard Darwin (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 [August 1862]).
Gustav Mann was botanical collector for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on the Niger expedition led by William Balfour Baikie (see R. Desmond 1995, p. 433). CD wanted Mann’s address for Thomas White Woodbury (see letter from T. W. Woodbury, 9 August 1862, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 [August 1862]).
The reference is to Daniel Oliver, librarian and assistant in the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (R. Desmond 1994; List of the Linnean Society of London 1862). See letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 [August 1862].
Hooker refers to a spike of Vanda Lowii bearing two different types of flower, which he had mentioned in his letter to CD of 20 August 1862. Walter Hood Fitch worked as a botanical artist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The reference is either to the optician and scientific instrument maker, Thomas Ross, or to his father, Andrew Ross, who had been one of the leading microscope manufacturers in London.
Hooker refers to Smith, Beck & Beck, instrument makers at 6 Coleman Street, and Pear Tree Cottage, Holloway Road, London (Post Office London directory 1861).
CD had suggested that the occurrence of differently coloured anthers or pollen in the same flower, as in the Melastomataceae, would prove to be a ‘safe guide’ to dimorphism and asked Hooker if he knew of any instances other than those he mentioned (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 [August 1862]).


Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

Desmond, Ray. 1995. Kew: the history of the Royal Botanic Gardens. London: Harvill Press with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

List of the Linnean Society of London. London: [Linnean Society of London]. 1805–1939.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.

Report of the Royal Commission on Herring: Report of the Royal Commission on the Operation of the Acts Relating to Trawling for Herring on the Coasts of Scotland. [House of Commons Parliamentary papers, Session 1863, 28: 139–74.]


On microscopes.

Cannot remember any plants but Melastoma with different coloured polliniferous anthers.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 50–1

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3697,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10