skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Frances Harriet Hooker   [6 April 1867]1

My dear Mr. Darwin—

Joseph went off to Paris yesterday morning at 7.AM.—in company with Dr. Thomson—so your letter must wait awhile for an answer—2 I do not know when he will return— I am happy to tell you that baby is very much better—recovering fast, in fact.— Dr. Withecombe said this morning that he only wants food & nursing—3 You & Mrs. Darwin4 will be glad to hear this.

Poor Smith & his wife are in trouble about their baby, who is ill of inflammation on the chest—dying, I fear— it is not expected to live through the day.—5

We were very sorry to hear of Horace’s being ill—6 I trust you will soon have no further cause for anxiety.

Believe me | Yrs. affectly. | F H Hooker

Kew. W. | Saty.—


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 April [1867]. In 1867, 6 April was a Saturday.
Joseph Dalton Hooker was attending the Paris International Horticultural Exhibition as a juror for seeds and saplings of forest trees. Thomas Thomson, who had travelled in the Himalayas with Hooker and collaborated with him on various publications (DNB), was associate juror for hothouses and horticultural implements. (Gardeners’ Chronicle, 6 April 1867, p. 348.) Hooker answered CD’s letter of 4 April [1867] on 13 April.
Reginald Hawthorn Hooker had recently recovered from an illness (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 3 April 1867 and n. 1). John Rees Withecombe was a medical practitioner in Richmond, Surrey.
Emma Darwin.
John Smith was curator of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; his wife was named Mary. The child has not been further identified. J. D. Hooker sent CD news of the baby’s death in his letter of 13 April 1867.
CD mentioned the illness of his son Horace in his letter of 4 April [1867].


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.


JDH has left for Paris with Thomas Thomson.

Baby is better.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frances Harriet Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 102: 159–60
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5492,” accessed on 23 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15