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Letter 1680

Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D.

11 May [1855]

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    Summary Add

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    JDH to be appointed Assistant Director at Kew.

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    On where to publish seed-salting paper. Floating problem perhaps more important than germination.


Down Farnborough Kent

May 11th

My dear Hooker

I have just received your note. I am most sincerely & heartily glad at the news it contains & so is my wife. Though the income is but a poor one, yet the certainty, I hope, is satisfactory to yourself & Mrs Hooker. As it must lead in future years to the Directorship, I do hope you look at it, as a piece of good fortune. For my own taste I cannot fancy a pleasanter position, than the Head of such a noble & splendid place, far better, I shd think than a Professorship in a great town.— The more I think of it, the gladder I am. But I will say no more; except that I hope Mrs Hooker is pretty well pleased.—

Just to answer your remarks in your note. The article on Job, is in Westminster Review, October 1853, article IV: I could lend it you, & bring it up with me, if you can wait, for I doubt whether I shall come up for next Philos. Club for that is the day, when about 40 salted seeds “come due”, & you wd be surprised at the time which my little experiment takes, as I do everything with my own hand.—

As the Gardeners' Chronicle put in my question, & took notice of it, I think I am bound to send, which I had thought of doing next week, my first report to Lindley to give him the option of inserting it; but I think it likely that he may not think it fit for a Gardening periodical. When my experiments are ended, (shd the results appear worthy) & shd the Linnean Journal not object to the previous publication of imperfect and provisional reports, I shd be delighted to insert the final report there; for it has cost me so much trouble, that I shd think that probably the result was worthy of more permanent record than a newspaper; but I think I am bound to send it first to Lindley. I begin to think the floating question more serious than the germinating one; & am making all the enquiries which I can on subject, & hope to get some little light on it.

Thanks for information about Kerguelen insects; it will save me plaguing the museum men.— The two sexes of moth is very curious.—

I shd think Binney wd be excellent for R. Soc:—

I hope you managed a good meeting at the Club.— The Treasurership must be a plague to you, & I hope you will not be Treasurer for long; I know I wd much sooner give up the Club, than be its Treasurer.—

Farewell Mr Assistant Director & dear friend | C. Darwin

I will not mention subject of Directorship to anyone.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1680.f1
    Hooker had been appointed assistant director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The appointment was not officially announced until July (see Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 27, 7 July 1855, pp. 451–2).
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    f2 1680.f2
    An allusion to Hooker's disappointment at losing the election to the chair of botany at Edinburgh University in 1845 (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to J. D. Hooker, [5 or 12 November 1845]).
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    f3 1680.f3
    An anonymous article published in the Westminster Review n.s. 4 (1853): 417–50, praising the new school of biblical criticism emerging in Germany. The author was James Anthony Froude (Wellesley Index 3: 620). Froude complained that English scholars shrank from investigating the Bible as a secular text.
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    f4 1680.f4
    See letters to Gardeners' Chronicle, 11 April [1855], and to J. D. Hooker, 19 April [1855].
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    f5 1680.f5
    John Lindley was editor of the Gardeners' Chronicle.
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    f6 1680.f6
    CD's report, ‘Does sea-water kill seeds?’, was published in the Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette on 26 May 1855 (see letter to Gardeners' Chronicle, 21 May [1855]). CD presented a more extensive report at the Linnean Society on 6 May 1856 (see Collected papers 1: 264–73).
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    f7 1680.f7
    See letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 March [1855], and letter from J. D. Hooker, [before 17 March 1855] and n. 4.
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    f8 1680.f8
    Probably the single species of moth found by Hooker on Kerguelen Land and mentioned in Natural selection, p. 292. Hooker described it as apterous (letter from J. D. Hooker, [before 17 March 1855]).
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    f9 1680.f9
    Edward William Binney had published extensively on the Midland coal formations and their plants. He and Hooker had written a paper on fossil plants in bituminous formations (Binney and Hooker 1855). See letter from J. D. Hooker, 25 August 1854. Binney was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1856.
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