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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Scott   23 May [1863]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

May 23d

Dear Sir

I have just received your two letters.2 I am really incompetent from complete ignorance to advise you.3 But I have done my best for I have written to Dr. Hooker, who must often have sent out superintendents &c &c & who knows Darjeeling well, for his advice.—4 He will do anything for me & as soon as I hear I will not lose a post & inform you.— Can you borrow his “Himalayan Journals”, you will find much about Darjeeling.—5 If the offer is fairly good (especially as you are rather uncomfortable in present position) I would not refuse on account of your experiments.6 You will have plenty of opportunities.

I must not let you suppose that there is any chance of my aiding you to a situation abroad; my health is so broken that I rarely see a soul, & all such applications would be made to Kew or Edinburgh or Dublin—7 I have mentioned your wish to Dr. Hooker; but rather suppose that he would feel bound to recommend anyone whom he had known at Kew.— I have only glanced at your scientific letter; but I see it contains much interesting to me.— Do not expect to interest many others equally; but rely firmly on it, that such experimental researches as yours will have a permanent value, & will be referred to years afterwards, when the endless flimsy papers of the present day are forgotten—

Yours faithfully. | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Scott, 22 May 1863.
Letters from John Scott, 21 May [1863] and 22 May 1863.
In his letter to CD of 22 May 1863, Scott had asked CD’s advice about a post he had been offered in Darjeeling, India.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 23 May [1863]. Joseph Dalton Hooker was assistant director at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and had travelled to Darjeeling in April 1848 (J. D. Hooker 1854b, 1: 114) to begin a three-year botanical exploration of the Himalayas.
J. D. Hooker 1854b, 1: 113–176.
See letter from John Scott, 22 May 1863 and n. 5. Scott was foreman in the propagating department of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
CD refers to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, and the Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, Dublin.


Has written to Hooker for his advice about the Darjeeling position. JS should not refuse the position on account of his experiments.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Scott
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 93: B15–16
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4183,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11