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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [31 December 1865]

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

Sunday Evening

My dear Hooker

I write a line to say, firstly, to say how rejoiced I am that there is a good chance of seeing you here for a Sunday:1 do keep to so good an intention— it will be a real joy to me.— Secondly to thank for for information about Karsten & the case of parthenogenesis, about which I became very curious.2 It is jolly to hear of you working in the garden & very good for mind & body.

I will explain about my so-called hybrids of Lythrum when we meet.—3

I had heard & talked with Sir H. H. & Lyell about the C. medal4 (which I knew you would not care very much about, tho’ that is no reason for your friends not wishing it most earnestly) & it was very foolish in Lyell, who, I believe originated the idea this year, speaking to you about it. If I had my way it shd. not be mooted in Council this year with so very few naturalists of any kind (deserving the name) on the Council.—5

Yours affectionately | C. Darwin

As for your thinking that you do not deserve the C. Medal, that I declare is mere insanity.—6


See letter from J. D. Hooker, [23] December 1865. Hooker’s next recorded visit to Down was 24 March 1866 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
CD refers to Hermann Karsten. See letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 December [1865] and n. 7, and letters from J. D. Hooker, [23] December 1865 and 24 December 1865.
Charles Lyell had contacted Henry Holland about nominating Hooker for the Royal Society of London’s Copley Medal in 1866. See letter from J. D. Hooker, 24 December 1865 and nn. 9 and 10. CD had met Lyell, and evidently Holland, on his visit to London in November (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 December [1865]).
For a list of the members elected to the Royal Society council for 1866, see Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 14 (1865): 513. The British Museum zoologist John Edward Gray was the only professional naturalist on the council; however, several other members had made contributions to natural history. Holland often reviewed natural historical works; Francis Galton and Paul Edmund de Strzelecki, had both gained reputations as explorers; Warington Wilkinson Smyth was a mineralogist and surveyor; and the president of the Royal Society, Edward Sabine, had been credited with a number of natural historical discoveries in his early career and was a fellow of the Linnean Society (DNB).


DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.


Will explain about the so-called hybrids of Lythrum when they meet.

JDH should not be proposed for Copley Medal this year because Royal Society Council has so few naturalists on it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 279
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4959,” accessed on 27 January 2022,

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