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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. H. Hooker   [17 August 1865]1

My dear Mr. Darwin

I write for Joseph, as I am sorry to tell you he is quite unable to do so himself— he imprudently slept on the floor beneath an open window one evening, & brought on a sharp attack of rheumatic fever— he has now been confined to his bed for a week, & we hope the worst is past— he has suffered terribly, but is easier now, though even yet scarcely able to turn in bed without assistance

Sir Wm. was taken ill early on the Wedy. morning, in the throat, a disease which is epidemic in Kew—2 (Lady H.3 Joe & I have all had it)   he became rapidly worse— Lady H. was at Yarmouth,4 but joined him on Thursday, & the accounts seemed better until Saty. afternoon, when he rapidly sank— Poor Joseph was so prostrated by rheumatism as to be utterly unable to be with him the last day, & of course could not attend the funeral yesterday—5 He desires his love to Etty, & thanks for her letter, which he received the first day of his illness—6

Believe me | Yours affectly. | F H Hooker


The date is established by the reference to William Jackson Hooker’s funeral (see n. 5, below).
The reference is to W. J. Hooker, Joseph Dalton Hooker’s father. For accounts of W. J. Hooker’s last illness and death, see L. Huxley ed. 1918, 2: 68, and Allan 1967, pp. 209–10, and Yaldwyn and Hobbs eds. 1998, pp. 61–2.
Maria Hooker, wife of W. J. Hooker.
Maria Hooker’s family home was in Yarmouth (Allan 1967, p. 32).
W. J. Hooker’s funeral was on 16 August 1865 (Jackson 1906, p. 203).
The reference is to Henrietta Emma Darwin. The letter from her to J. D. Hooker has not been found.


Allan, Mea. 1967. The Hookers of Kew, 1785–1911. London: Michael Joseph.

Jackson, Benjamin Daydon. 1906. George Bentham. London: J. M. Dent. New York: E. P. Dutton.


J. D. Hooker is ill with rheumatic fever.

W. J. Hooker is dead and was buried yesterday.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frances Harriet Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 233–4
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4883,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13