Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP5330

Sent by:
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent to:
Joseph Dalton Hooker
14 March 1862

Sent by Charles Robert Darwin, Down, Bromley, Kent to Joseph Dalton Hooker [none given] on 14 March 1862.

Record created:
20 May 2013 by Chillingworth, Nancy


Darwin mentions that Wallace will soon return from the Malay Archipelago.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP5330.5874)

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

Held by:
Cambridge University Library
Finding number:
MS DAR 115: 150
Copyright owner:
©William H. Darwin

Physical description

Transcription information




Down Bromley Kent

March 14th/[18]62

My dear Hooker

Thanks for your letter: I agree with much of what you say about the amiable reciprocal feelings of nations: but Emma agrees with your last sentence that you wrote in a Mephistophelean spirit. I think you are a bit too hard on Asa Gray; but he evidently tried to be as serve as he civilly could. I knew he was quite wrong about your indifference. --

Thanks, also, for Photograph, who about a fortnight ago we were wishing for; but it does not give your expression & so by no means does you justice. --

What a capital letter of Bates': he is [[2]] evidently a true thinker; it has made me very curious to see your letter; if it contains nothing personal relating to Bates or yourself, might I see it? If so, & you are writing, would you ask him to send it; or I would write; but I thought he might feel scruples without permission in sending it.

The point which you have been discussing is most difficult: I always come, after doubt, to your side. There is one pretty clear line of distinction; -- when many parts of structure as in woodpecker show distinct adaptation to external bodies, it is preposterous to attribute them to effect of climate &c. -- but when a single [[3]] point, alone, as a hooked seed, it is conceivable that it may that have arisen. I have found the study of orchids eminently useful in showing me how nearly all parts of the flower are coadapted for fertilisation by insects, & therefore the result of n[atural]. selection, -- even most trifling details of the structure. I have just, by the way, been studying Mormodes ignea --; it is a prodigy of adaptation; but I had to examine 12 flowers in all sorts of ways, before I made out its mechanism.

I should like to read Oliver's paper, but I am so hard-worked with proofs &c., that I must give it up, till it appears in print. --

[[4]] It is real good news that you will try & come here in Easter; Emma desires to join me in hoping that Mrs Hooker will come also; I fear we cannot take in your children, as all our Boys, & perhaps others, will be at home.

I am pleased to hear that you like Lubbock & Mrs. L.; he is a real good fellow & she is a charmer. --

Farwell, my dear old fellow | Yours afffect[ional]ly. -- | C. Darwin [signature]

Wallace will be home in a month or two. --

Do not forget Lythrum, Saxifrages &c. Avoid Saxifrages with flexuous or woolly hair; but choose a plant with longest straight hairs.


This transcript is based on that produced by The Darwin Correspondence Project (http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/): see


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