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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   30 March [1875]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

March 30th

My dear Hooker

I write solely for the sake of congratulating myself, for I have at last finished correcting M.S. of Insectivorous Plants & recorrecting Climbing Plants.2 This has taken me exactly 3 months! Mere correction! It has been an awful grind, & has almost done me up. It is lucky for authors in general that they do not require such dreadful work, in merely licking what they write into shape. Ill-luck to it my M.S. makes a very big bundle, which I take up tomorrow to Murray & then for the tiresome job of correcting the press.3 I have, also, to congratulate myself that Mr. Ouliss finished my picture yesterday & means to send it to the Academy.4 I look a very venerable, acute melancholy old dog,— whether I really look so I do not know.— We go to 6. Queen Anne St. tomorrow & shall be there for about 6 days, & then perhaps shall go for few days to Henrietta at 2 Bryanston St.—5 I fear there is no chance of your being in London, & wanting Luncheon; but if the fates are propitious do come. I see by your last note that you will be off on the 15th & I am very very glad of it.6 Now do not travel too quickly or exert yourself in any way too much; try & get some rest. I shd. think the private note from Disraeli must make Dyer’s appointment certain.—7 I hope that “Primer” makes some progress.—8

Farewell | dear old friend | Yours affect. | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Insectivorous plants (see n. 2, below).
CD recorded that he finished working on the manuscript of Insectivorous plants and recorrecting Climbing plants on 29 March 1875 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
CD went to London on 31 March 1875; he received proof-sheets of Insectivorous plants on 18 April 1875 (letter to J. V. Carus, 19 April [1875]).
Walter William Ouless exhibited his portrait of CD at the Royal Academy summer exhibition in 1875. The portrait remained in the family until the mid twentieth century; it is now in Darwin College, Cambridge (J. Browne 2009, pp. 552–3; see frontispiece).
CD and Emma Darwin stayed at the home of Erasmus Alvey Darwin from 31 March to 6 April 1875, and then at the home of their daughter Henrietta Emma Litchfield; they returned to Down on 12 April 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR242)).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 17 March 1875 and n. 2. Hooker was planning to join two of his children in Algiers.
Hooker had received a letter from the prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, asking whether William Turner Thiselton-Dyer was the person Hooker would recommend for the post of assistant at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 17 March 1875 and n. 7).
Hooker was writing Botany (Hooker 1876) for Macmillan and Co.’s ‘Science primers’ series.


Browne, Janet. 2009. Looking at Darwin: portraits and the making of an icon. Isis 100: 542–70.

Climbing plants: On the movements and habits of climbing plants. By Charles Darwin. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green; Williams & Norgate. 1865.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


Has at last finished Insectivorous plants

and is rewriting Climbing plants.

W. W. Ouless has finished his picture of CD for Academy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 382–3
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9905,” accessed on 1 August 2021,

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