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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   22 December 1874


Dec 22/74

Dear Darwin

By all means let Mr Romaine come here & I will do what I can—1 Our best grafters &c. get such good places abroad, that we cannot keep them, but he shall have the best aid & advice that we can give. Why should he not experiment at Kew himself? I would put plants & all appliances at his service: the only thing is, that he must himself daily inspect his own work:— I cannot get anything of the kind done for myself even, with any approach to skill & care—but I have plants & appliances to any amount.

I am now writing to the Board about a Physiological Laboratory, which Sir Phillip Joddrel offers to build, & which I hope we may get as an adjunct to the new Herbarium building—2 Mr Romanis is just the work which should be conducted in a Laboratory—which should be at the service of such a man as Mr Romanes, on payment of a small fee for materials &c which should be had from the Govt Grant or other funds.

This is the sort of encouragement that I think Govt: should give to original research— Let Govt. find the appliances, & buildings, & private enterprise & Colleges, Universities &c find the workers & funds when they require it for their support. The R.S. will have abundance to repay workers at present, & I am not sure but that it would be well if the Gilchrist works well, to have a similar one raised by Subscription.3

Ever yr affec | J D Hooker


CD had asked Hooker whether he could help George John Romanes with his experiments on graft hybrids (letter to J. D. Hooker, 20 December 1874).
Thomas Jodrell Phillips-Jodrell paid for the building of the Jodrell Laboratory at Kew, although because of fire hazards, it was not an annexe to the herbarium (R. Desmond 1995, p. 250). The Board of Works was the Government body that supervised the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The trustees of the Gilchrist Trust, an educational trust, had recently resolved to place £1000 a year at the disposal of the Royal Society of London to be spent on grants for ‘men of proved ability in scientific research’ who could not carry out research because of their need to earn a living (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 23 (1874–5): 62–4).


Desmond, Ray. 1995. Kew: the history of the Royal Botanic Gardens. London: Harvill Press with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Will help Romanes. Offers Kew’s facilities for experiments. Is writing to the Board [of Works?] about a physiological laboratory, which Sir Philip Joddrell has offered to build. Thinks Government should support original research like Romanes’.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 239–40
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9771,” accessed on 24 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22