skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [25 February 1846]1

Shrewsbury | (next Monday back at Down)


My dear Hooker

I came here on account of my Fathers health, which has been sadly failing of late, but to my great joy he has got surprisingly better.— I write now on account of the enclosed note: do you wish for the scraps, if so of course they are at your service; I presume I asked formerly for you.—2 Let me have a line in answer some time, & I will write to Henslow.— I had not heard of your Botanical appointment & am very glad of it, more especially as it will make you travel & give you change of work & relaxation.3 Will you not some time have to examine the Chalk & its junction with London Clay & greensand &c? if so our house wd be a good central place, & my horse wd. be at your disposal: could you not spin a long week out of this examination? it would in truth delight us, & you cd. bring your Papers (like Lyell) & work at odd times.—

Forbes has been writing to me, about his subsidence doctrines; I wish I had heard his full details, but I have expressed to him in my ignorance my objections, which rest merely on its too great hypothetical basis; I shall be curious, when I meet him, to hear what he says— He is also speculating on the gulf-weed. I confess I cannot appreciate his reasoning about his miocene continent, but I daresay it is from want of knowledge.—

You allude to the Scicily-flora, not being peculiar, & this being caused by its recent elevation (well established) in main part; you will find Lyell has put forward this very clearly & well.—4 The Appenines, (which I was somewhere lately reading about) seems a very curious case.—

I think Forbes ought to allude a little to Lyell’s work on nearly the very same subject as his speculations; not that I mean that Forbes wishes to take the smallest credit from him or any man alive: no man, as far as I see, likes so much to give credit to others, or more soars above the petty craving for self-celebrity.—

If you come to any more conclusions about polymorphism, I shd. be very glad to hear the result; it is delightful to have many points fermenting in one’s brains, & your letters & conclusion always give one plenty of this same fermentation. I wish I cd ever make any return for all your facts, views & suggestions.

Ever yours most truly. C. Darwin

Pray give my best remembrances to Mr. Bentham5


CD was in Shrewsbury between 21 February and 3 March (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II). The only Wednesday was 25 February.
The scraps referred to were a small, miscellaneous collection of plants, some of them duplicates from CD’s Beagle collection, offered by John Stevens Henslow to Hooker. Henslow later wrote to Hooker himself (28 February and 9 March 1846, collection of R. A. Hooker).
Hooker was appointed botanist to the Geological Survey of Great Britain in February 1846 (Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 207).
C. Lyell 1837, 3: 445. In CD’s copy (Darwin Library–CUL) he has written ‘Capital!’ beside this passage.
George Bentham, with whom Hooker was staying (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 2 [March] 1846, n. 1).


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


Glad to hear of JDH’s botanical appointment [with Geological Survey].

Edward Forbes has written about his subsidence doctrine; CD objects to its hypothetical base.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 55
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 955,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

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