Mystified by the origin of coal-plants.
Milne's Glen Roy theory is absurd but, oddly, it has staggered CD in favour of Agassiz's ice-lake theory.
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Hooker
I have nothing particular to say, but as I have nothing particular to do, so I will at
least thank you for telling me how your plans get on, which I am always very anxious to
hear. Your great men seem to have all been bungling, but I trust that will be only a
temporary inconvenience: you surely, however, will never be able to get away on the
20th of Novr
My plans are, to go to Shrewsbury on the 22d & return home on
4th of Novemb, stopping in London for the first Geolog. Meeting; I should probably have gone sooner, but we have a gang of
relations coming here on the 9th
I have had several long letters to write lately on Glen Roy, which has vexed me much— Mr Milne has been trying to prove the former existence of common lakes, which I feel sure is absurd, but his paper staggered me in favour of Agassiz ice-lake theory, so I wrote a letter to the Scotsman. Now R. Chamber, who was a follower of me, & then became a convert to Milne, has been there again, & now says he can prove the sea theory— The confounded subject has made me sick twice.—
Ever yours | C. Darwin
Pray give my kind remembrances to your sister: I am exceedingly glad that she is at last free of her cough.—
- f1 1123.f1The conjectured date is based on CD's reference to a visit from Charles Lyell, and on the assumption that CD had not yet heard Hooker's news about the official confirmation of his journey to India (letter to J. D. Hooker, [6 or 13 October 1847]).
- f2 1123.f2The date first mentioned by Hooker for his departure on the expedition to India (letter to J. D. Hooker, [12 September 1847]). Hooker, in fact, left on 11 November.
- f3 1123.f3The Admiralty, originally opposed to the Indian journey, had proposed that Hooker join an expedition to Borneo (see L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 216, 217). Hooker's decision not to ‘take ship’ at Borneo evidently stimulated him to request a personal interview with George Eden, Earl of Auckland, who was first lord of the Admiralty (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [6 or 13 October 1847]), at which a compromise was reached.
- f4 1123.f4At a time when the Indian journey seemed unlikely to meet with the Admiralty's approval, Hooker considered an expedition to Ascension Island, since Kew Gardens had undertaken a government project to replant the island with trees (L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 217).
- f5 1123.f5CD did not attend the Geological Society council meeting on 3 November (Council Minute Books, Geological Society Archives) as he was unable to return to Down until 5 November (letter to J. D. Hooker, [6 November 1847]).
- f6 1123.f6For CD's arguments with Hooker about the origin of coal, see letters to J. D. Hooker, [6 May 1847] and [12 May 1847].
- f7 1123.f7Equisetum grows chiefly in swamps. Charles Lyell addressed the question of the origin of coal in C. Lyell 1847, p. 278. He believed the plants to be of fresh-water origin.
- f8 1123.f8Anthony Carlisle, chairman of the board of curators of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1836, had supervised the acceptance of CD's fossil Mammalia into the college's collection (Correspondence vol. 1, letter to Richard Owen, 19 December ).