skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   28 October [1845]

Down. Bromley Kent.

Oct. 28th.—

My dear Hooker

I have returned home now three days.— You offered to send me a copy of your testimonials; I shd like to see them (for the purpose of mentally abusing the corporation),1 for I have read with much interest & sympathy in the Gardeners’ Chron. the speech of the Provost.—2 I cannot get over my surprise at the result, so confident did I feel about it, knowing who your competitors were.

I have finished Cosmos & you must excuse my having sent it to be half-bound, for I was really ashamed to return it, with the out side (not inside) in so tattered a condition. On the whole I am rather disappointed with it; though some parts strike me as admirable; there is so much repetition of the Personal Narrative, & I think no new views, in those parts on which I can at all judge.— His occasional notice of my Journal ought to turn my head.—3

I have been taking a little tour, partly on business, & visited the Dean of Manchester & had very much interesting talk with him on hybrids, sterility & variation &c &c.—4 He is full of self-gained knowledge, but knows surprisingly little what others have done on same subjects.— He is very heterodox on ‘species’: not much better, as most naturalists would esteem it, than poor Mr. Vestiges. I also visited Chatsworth, & was absolutely delighted with the great Hot-house.

When you feel inclined (but not before) write to me, about yourself & tell me what your intentions are for the ensuing winter: I suppose you have lots of work in hand. I trust from my bottom of my heart, that this election will not discourage you in the noble scientific career which is open to you.— I was much amused with one of the Baillies remarks, that if Balfour had gone on the Antarctic Expedition, he would have done as well as you;5 & no doubt if he had gone to S. America, he would have done as well as Humboldt! How they do crow over their Professors; in my day at least, it wd. have been hard to have picked out a poorer set.

I see the “Antarctic Expedition” advertised:6 if Sir J. Ross’ face & maners do not belie him, it will not be a very entertaining work.— How long & earnestly I have wished, that you wd. publish a Naturalist-Journal of the Expedition.—

Have you anything you wish to send to Ehrenberg? I am going in a few days to send a parcel to him

Will you be so good as to remember me kindly to Sir William. Yours ever | C. Darwin


Appointment to the chair of botany at Edinburgh was under the control of Edinburgh Town Council, or Corporation (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 1 September [1845], n. 3).
Adam Black. There is no account of Black’s speech in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, although John Hutton Balfour’s election was announced in the issue of 18 October 1845 (p. 704). CD was perhaps referring to the account in the Scotsman, 8 October 1845.
Humboldt 1845–8, 1: 302, 319.
CD had corresponded with William Herbert, Dean of Manchester, on plant breeding in 1839 (see Correspondence vol. 2).
Baillies are municipal officers of Edinburgh, next in rank on the Town Council to the lord provost. The remark was made by Baillie Gray, and quoted in the Scotsman, 8 October 1845. Hooker had accompanied James Clark Ross on the Antarctic expedition of 1839–43, and was at this time publishing the botanical results in J. D. Hooker 1844–7.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1844–7. Flora Antarctica. 1 vol. and 1 vol. of plates. Pt 1 of The botany of the Antarctic voyage of HM discovery ships Erebus and Terror in the years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. London: Reeve Brothers.

Humboldt, Alexander von. 1845–8. Kosmos; a general survey of the physical phenomena of the universe. Translated by Augustin Prichard. 2 vols. London.

Ross, James Clark. 1847. A voyage of discovery and research in the southern and Antarctic regions, during the years 1839–43. 2 vols. London: John Murray.


Would like to see JDH’s testimonials.

Disappointed with Kosmos.

Has visited Dean of Manchester, who is very heterodox on species.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 44
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 922,” accessed on 20 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3