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Record number: WCP5332

Sent by:
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent to:
Charles Robert Darwin
24 June 1869

Sent by Joseph Dalton Hooker, [none given] to Charles Robert Darwin [none given] on 24 June 1869.

Record created:
20 May 2013 by Chillingworth, Nancy


Reflects how Bentham might have been more cautious had he read Wallace's volumes.

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  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP5332.5876)

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

Held by:
Cambridge University Library
Finding number:
MS DAR 103: 18-21
Copyright owner:
Reproduced with kind permission of members of the Hooker family

Physical description

Transcription information




June 24/[18]69

Dear Darwin

A few lines just to say that we are back as yesterday—having come round by Stockholm, Upsala, Copenhagen, Hamburgh, Hanover Utrecht, Amsterdam, Hague, Leyden & Rotterdam, inspecting the Bot. Gardens & their museums throughout--I got very tired of it--thought it was excessively interesting--but the constant packing & moving got odious. Such lots [[2]] of people asked for you--Even at Amsterdam the Hague I found a young Frenchman busy making notes on the Pictures, so I pointed out the Dodo to him & he immediately asked me whether it was alluded to in Darwins last book on Animals & Plants, which he had read. Miquel1 we staid 2 days with, in his House--so nice & pleasant: he has 4 very fine daughters such fine pleasant English [[3]] like girls--two of them will visit us in September--M. is quite a convert;--he is a very intelligent man, but in poor health. OErsted at Copenhagen2 also talked heaps about you-- he too is a very able man, & good naturalist.

We have good news of Willy3, who has been up to near the scene of the late murders in a Govt. steamer with Capt. Haultaine, the Defence Minister--Hector4 is looking out for a settlement for him-- he is perfectly well & of course happy I --do hope he will take to a [[4]] settler's life-- I am so sure it is the only thing that can suit him for the next 5 years-- Hector truly says that he is many years younger than his age-- Everyone is charmed with his manner & general conduct.

Miquel has been telling me how the Flora of Sumatra & Borneo are identical, & of Java quite different--just as Wallace shows for the plants animals.

How I wish I could join you in Wales, but it is impossible. I have a pile of letters that appalls myself, & I am [[5]] not easily frightened--plus a large unopened box of documents & pamphlets accumulated [1 word illeg.] during my absence. I too sometimes wish myself in a tomb--though I hold that the balance of life is always on the side of enjoyment, & that the bitterness of the bitterest loss is an insufficient measure of the enjoyment we had in the object lost.--

I am always rejoiced when you like Benthams5 addresses.

I read it all in mss, & modified some very heterodox passages about Insularity & its effects-- you have hit--the flaw in the address-- Indeed I do wish I could write another Essay on [[6]] Islands, & do not give up the hope-- I think if Bentham had read Wallace's volumes he would have been more cautious--but he had no time-- he however modified extensively what he had written on the strength of what I told him--that is to say he struck out several passages & put others more guardedly.--

Your offer to aid Andersson6 is a noble one:--I too have often gazed at the Cocos & Revillagigedos & others more [[7]] isolated still--there away--if Andersson gets a schooner he could do all.

I am woefully disappointed to hear of your health-- is it the sequelle [sic] of your fall that you now suffer from?--

Now as to Beards, we never forget them & began to count--in Russia, but soon gave it up, as there was no exception to the rule of the Beard Moustachies & Whiskers being paler than the hair, usually ruddier also.

The Copenhagen & Stockholm Prehistoric Museums are perfectly wonderful, we have nothing at all like them for richness [[8]] of material & admirable instructive arrangement.-- The Danish one is en suite with an Ethnographical Museum of the very highest value, extent, & beauty, which is now under rearrangement, & that again graduates into a collection of [3 words illeg.] an illustration of Danish Arts & customs, carried down to the present century. The Dutch Ethnographical & Antiquities collections are very far behind hand indeed--in every respect.

I was charmed to find my former visit to Leyden in 1845.! well remembered by Schlegel7 & the 2 or 3 survivors of the 10--12 naturalists I then knew there--but what an old man it made of me!f13

Ever y[ou]rs affec | J D Hooker [signature]


1. Miquel, Friedrich Anton Wilhelm (1811 – 1871). A Dutch botanist.

2. Oersted, Anders Sandoee (1816 – 1872). A Danish botanist and zoologist.

3. Hooker, William (1785 – 1865). A British botanist and father of Joseph Hooker.

4. Hector, James (1834 – 1907). A Scottish geologist and surgeon.

5. Bentham, George (1800 – 1884). A British botanist.

6. Andersson, Nils Johan (1821 – 1880). A Swedish botanist.

7. Schlegel, Hermann (1804 – 1884). A German ornithologist and herpetologist.

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