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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   17 January [1875]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Jan 17th

My dear Hooker

I have been more astonished at your note received this morning even that at your last. It is grand about Galton.— It was very bold of you to venture to remonstrate about the Ordnance survey.2 It will indeed be a horrid shame if he is sent there to breed quarrels & trouble. By Jove, if you set to work you could turn out d’Israeli himself.—3

Your attack on Murray & Smith is superb. My thirst for vengeance is now quite satisfied: I always feared that they never would hear what gentlemen thought of the conduct of the Review.4 I feel now like a pure forgiving Christian!

I forgot in my last note to tell you that I wrote a formal letter (my women wd not let me send a savage one) to Mr Mivart, just enumerating his offences, as my reason for never speaking to him again.5 I did so, because it would have been so disagreeable to have met him on doubtful terms. He has taken no notice of my letter, & this was his best course. How he will pitch into me anonymously whenever he can.—

Farewell you best of friends | Ch. Darwin

P.S. | Mr Romanes was greatly pleased by your reception of him.—6

I shall copy part about Murray, & send it off to George.7


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 16 January 1875.
Hooker had heard that Douglas Strutt Galton, with whom he had had disagreements, was to lose his post at the Office of Works, and was trying to get a post at the Ordnance Survey (letter from J. D. Hooker, 16 January 1875 and n. 2).
Benjamin Disraeli was the prime minister.
In his letter of 16 January 1875, Hooker had told CD of his visit to John Murray, the publisher of the Quarterly Review, to criticise Murray’s conduct and that of William Smith, the editor, over an anonymous attack on George Howard Darwin by St George Jackson Mivart published in the Quarterly Review in 1874 ([Mivart] 1874, p. 70).
See letter to St G. J. Mivart, 12 January 1875. Henrietta Emma Litchfield, CD’s eldest daughter, wrote to her brother Leonard on 8 January 1875 (DAR 258: 1643): Also we’ve been concocting a letter for Father to write to Mivart. Everybody has had a shy at it & a word from everybody’s fuel has been patched together & I think has made a good letter. His reason for writing it is that he wants to be sure that Mivart will agree to a cut—for if not & they were to meet in the Linnean or anywhere else & Mivart was to come & shake hands with him he should hurck him down & go into a tremendous passion & I think he wd.
CD had asked Hooker to help George John Romanes with his work on grafting (see letter from G. J. Romanes, 14 January 1875 and n. 4).
The copy is in DAR 210.1: 2.


[Mivart, St George Jackson.] 1874b. Primitive man: Tylor and Lubbock. [Essay review of the works of John Lubbock and Edward Burnett Tylor.] Quarterly Review 137 (1874): 40–77.


Astonished at JDH’s success versus Galton

and his attack on Murray is superb. Has written a formal letter to Mivart enumerating his offences.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 372–3
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9821,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23