Pea self-fertilisation: has forty-five varieties growing side by side.
Describes seed-salting experiments: e.g., immersion in tank filled with snow. Reports some successful germinations.
Made list of naturalised plants from Asa Gray's Manual [of Botany] to calculate the proportions of the great families.
Down Farnborough Kent.
My dear Hooker
I am sorry for your sake to say I must write at considerable
Length.— First would you object to send me list of the 12 superior
men: I had made up my mind with you about the Pres.
Secondly: here is to me a calamity, I have sent to Edinburgh for the
“Lawsonian Collection &c” it is
“quite out of print”. Now can Sir William lend me any old
copy: the first Edit. would do perfectly; I say old, for I
Thirdly, if Dr
Fourthly. Thank you very much for the information about the seeds. I had fancied you had some definite opinion that seeds of certain groups could
not possibly withstand salt-water. I am not yet prepared to try the experiment on so
large a scale as you suggest: indeed I have hardly the means; but I am glad to find I
have commenced very much on the principles you suggest, but on a much smaller scale. I
have had one experiment some little time in progress, which will I think be interesting,
namely seeds in salt water immersed in water of
32o–33o, which I have & shall long have,
as I filled a great tank with Snow.— When I wrote
last, I was going to triumph over you, for my experiment had in a slight degree
succeeded, but this with infinite baseness I did not tell in hopes that you would say
that you would eat all the plants, which I could raise after immersion. It is very
aggravating that I cannot in the least remember what you did formerly say, that made me
think you scoffed at the experiments vastly; for you now seem to view the experiment
like a good Christian. I have in small bottles out of doors,
exposed to variations of temp., but in shade, exposed to light, as yet only Cress,
Radish, Cabbages, Lettuces, Carrots, Celery, & Onion seed; 4 great
Families. These after immersion for exactly one week, have all germinated, which I did
not in the least expect, (& thought how you
I have made, at cost of more trouble than worth, a list of all the naturalised plants
from A. Gray to calculate proportions of the great
Families, as I did from the Cybele: as you seemed to think
this of some interest; I do not scruple to ask you to deliberately read over the
enclosed papers; for Gray uses so many different expressions
that I am puzzled what to do, & am afraid of being biassed from theory in any
selection. Please read heading. The expressions are exactly copied. There is from
context, no essential difference between “introduced” &
“naturalised”. I have doubted whether to take whole list,
as it stands or to strike out those with (?) or clear doubt expressed. Once I thought of
selecting those best & most thoroughily naturalised; but this would be difficult
to do & the number left would be few. If I were to make any selection, I
Goodbye | My dear Hooker | Most truly yours | C. Darwin
I plant my salted seeds in glass tumblers (having first tried & recorded rate of germination of same seeds unsalted) so that I can see the seed all the time, before & after germination, on the chimney piece.—
- f1 1667.f1CD refers to the list of candidates for election to the Royal Society. The Athenæum, no. 1428, 10 March 1855, p. 295, stated that the certificates of 38 candidates were hanging in the society's meeting rooms, of which only 15 could be elected at the meeting in June. Hooker may well have known the council's nominations in advance, although he was not a member. The council announced their list of 15 nominees on 5 May (Athenæum, no. 1436, 5 May 1855, p. 522), and they were elected on 7 June (Athenæum, no. 1442, 7 June 1855, p. 708).
- f2 1667.f2An allusion to either William John Hamilton or Daniel Sharpe. Hamilton had been elected president of the Geological Society in May 1854 to replace Edward Forbes, who had resigned when he accepted the chair of natural history in Edinburgh (Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 10 (1854): 397). The council, of which Hooker was a member, re-elected Hamilton at the following anniversary meeting in February 1855. Daniel Sharpe was elected president at the anniversary meeting in February 1856.
- f3 1667.f3The reference is to a ‘Synopsis’ of the collection of vegetable products of Scotland prepared by Peter and Charles Lawson, the horticulturists (Lawson and Lawson 1852). The collection had been displayed at the Great Exhibition and then moved to the Museum of Economic Botany at Kew.
- f4 1667.f4See letter to M. J. Berkeley, 7 April , n. 1.
- f5 1667.f5See letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 April , n. 6.
- f6 1667.f6On the front cover of a heavily annotated copy of John Cattell's 1855 catalogue of floricultural seeds (DAR 46.2: 2), CD wrote in ink:
Hooker suggests for sea-water 1 Plants with wide ranges 2 Water Plants. *Ask Cattell how I am to get any? [added] 3 Plants with farinaceous album 4 With fleshy d[itt]o 5 With oily d[itt]o.
- f7 1667.f7Described in letter to Gardeners' Chronicle, 21 May . CD's notes on the experiment, dated 9 April 1855, are in DAR 27.1 (ser. 7): 17–18.
- f8 1667.f8See Correspondence vol. 3, letter from J. D. Hooker, [23 February – 6 March 1844], where Hooker stated: ‘It is I think high time throw overboard laying much stress on the subject of the migration of seeds, except in the cases of lands we know to have been recently formed, or, from devastating causes, to be recently clothed with vegetation’.
- f9 1667.f9A reference to Vestiges of the natural history of creation ([Chambers] 1844, pp. 184–5).
- f10 1667.f10See letter to Gardeners' Chronicle, 11 April .
- f11 1667.f11Recorded in DAR 27.1 (ser. 7): 7, 18a.
- f12 1667.f12CD's calculations, derived from data in A. K. Johnston ed. 1850, ‘Physical chart of the Atlantic Ocean’ (p. 34), are in DAR 27.1 (ser. 7): 8.
- f13 1667.f13A. Gray 1848. See letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 March . CD's list is in DAR 46.2 (ser. 2) 38–41. At the end of his list, CD wrote: ‘This shows that chance introduction of seeds an important element in the Flora of any country.—’ (DAR 46.2 (ser. 2): 41).
- f14 1667.f14The Cybele Britannica by Hewett Cottrell Watson (H. C. Watson 1847–59). CD possessed the first three volumes, published between 1847 and 1852. They had been given to CD by Watson. The concluding volume was added to his set (now in the Darwin Library–CUL) in 1859. Only the final volume is annotated. The notes and calculations mentioned in the letter are in DAR 46.2 (ser. 2): 42–58.
- f15 1667.f15The list is in DAR 46.2 (ser. 2): 38–41.
- f16 1667.f16See letter to Asa Gray, 25 April .