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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [17 December 1871]1



Dear Darwin

I quite forgot that I had a friend coming to lunch with me tomorrow, & so I cannot meet Sir Henry Holland & taste the Grouse2

It is very probable that he has seen Mr Lowe already & may be able to give you some idea of his views, if so & you can let me know anything I should be thankful to hear it.3

I had half an hour with Lyell after leaving Q. A. Street & found him wonderfully well— I am to take him to the Phil. Club on Thursday—4 Will you not come too?

Ever yrs affec | J D Hooker


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Henry Holland, [16 December 1871].
Hooker refers to Robert Lowe’s views on Hooker’s dispute with Acton Smee Ayrton, first commissioner of the Office of Works. CD had asked Holland to intervene on Hooker’s behalf (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 2 November 1871 and nn. 1 and 2). Lowe was chancellor of the exchequer (ODNB) and therefore in charge of the Treasury, from where the Office of Works drew its funds. See Parry 2000, p. 107. For Lowe’s views, see MacLeod 1974, p. 57.
Charles Lyell lived at 73 Harley Street, London, a short distance from Erasmus Alvey Darwin at 6 Queen Anne Street. Lyell had been ill earlier in the year (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 3 July 1871, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 July [1871]). Hooker also refers to the Royal Society of London’s Philosophical Club, of which he was a founder member (Bellon 2001, p. 58).


Bellon, Richard. 2001. Joseph Hooker’s ideals for a professional man of science. Journal of the History of Biology 34: 51–82.

MacLeod, Roy M. 1974. The Ayrton incident: a commentary on the relations of science and government in England, 1870–1873. In Science and values: patterns of tradition and change, edited by Arnold Thackray and Everett Mendelsohn. New York: Humanities Press.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

Parry, Jonathan. 2000. Gladstone, liberalism and the government of 1868–1874. In Gladstone centenary essays. Edited by David Bebbington and Roger Swift. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.


Cannot come to lunch to meet Sir Henry Holland. Holland may have seen Robert Lowe [Lord Sherbrooke] already. Will CD let him know his views?

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 98
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8108,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19