Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP5313

Sent by:
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent to:
Charles Robert Darwin
25 January 1859

Sent by Joseph Dalton Hooker, Hendrefoilan, Swansea, Wales to Charles Robert Darwin [none given] on 25 January 1859.

Record created:
20 May 2013 by Chillingworth, Nancy


Hooker is relieved and pleased by Wallace's letters.

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  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP5313.5857)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Cambridge University Library
Finding number:
MS DAR 100: 131-2
Copyright owner:
Reproduced with kind permission of members of the Hooker family

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Transcription information




Hendrefoilan Swansea

Jan[uary] 25/[18]59

Dear Darwin

I am very greatly relieved & pleased by Wallaces letter which I have forwarded to Lyell.1

I am here rusticating with my friends the Dillwyns2 & giving 3-4 hours a day steadily to my Australian Essay3--which I hope may progress at last. Since seeing you I have seen a very intelligent Madras naturalist who confirms what I say of the Casuarina being truly naturalized in Madras--He tells me that other Australian plants are naturalized at Hyderabad & Bangalore, along with European (Plantago major) but I want more definite information. I do not know why you object to the Nilgherries--as localities for [[2]] naturalization of Australian plants. --they are vast upland areas where alone you have a climate for temperate Australian plants. I have been looking over the list of Australian European naturalized plants of Australia & find almost all are social or roadside or cultivated-field plants of England, that must have been introduced over & over again into Australia & by hundreds of people--Consider how many thousand people have imported Europ. Cerealia &c &c into Victoria & garden plants. According to your own theories these plants have adapted themselves to dressed or disturbed ground, & most are found no where else. In Australia there was no such ground till Europeans made it & it it [2 words illeg.] would take that centuries of civilization & cultivation to adapt any Australian plants to [[3]] these habits of life. Out of a list of upwards of 100 naturalized European plants of Melbourne all, with very few exceptions, are plants that are scarcely ever found in England except where they have been brought by man or his agents.--they are field, cultivated, dung heap, wayside, cornfield or pasture plants: & would disappear if the Victoria colony was deserted, most certainly. Exceptions occur as Rosa rubiginosa, which is the only woody plant in my list of 100:

Alphonse DeCandolle4 has written asking me to help him to election as Foreign fellow of R.S. & referring me to you, Murchison5 & Lyell6. I am greatly shocked, having always thought him too much of a gentleman, though I never gave him credit for overmuch modesty. I have been talking over the matter with Bentham7 & Lindley8 & we [[4]] both agree that Asa Grays9 claims are out of sight superior, as also Grisebachs of Hanover10. I think that A.G. Should come in, & if I have an opportunity of mentioning it I would like to refer to you--

Muellers11 death offers a vacancy & they want an American & a Botanists turn is more than passed.

I am rejoiced at the award of the Wollaston medal.12

From the old glacial moraines of Sikkim to Kangra is about 900 miles. I know of [1 word. Illeg] no more Westerly evidence.

Ever Y[ou]rs | Jos D Hooker [signature]


1. Charles Lyell (1797 – 1875). A British geologist.

2. The family of Lewis Weston Dillwyn (1778 – 1855), a porcelain manufacturer and botanist, and Mary Adams who resided in Swansea.

3. On The Flora of Australia: Its Origin, Affinities, and Distribution, Being an Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania published in 1859.

4. Alphonse Louis Pierre Pyrame de Candolle (1806 – 1893). A French-Swiss botanist.

5. Roderick Murchison (1792 – 1871). A Scottish geologist.

6. Charles Lyell (1797 – 1875). A British geologist.

7. George Bentham (1800 – 1884). A British botanist.

8. John Lindley (1799 – 1865). A British botanist.

9. Asa Gray (1810 – 1888). An American botanist.

10. August Grisebach (1814 – 1879). A German botanist.

11. Johannes Peter Mueller (1801 – 1858). A German anatomist, herpetologist, and physiologist.

12. A Wollaston medal is granted by the Geological Society of London. Charles Darwin was bestowed this award in 1859 for the classification of fossil mammals in his Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle.

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