Lyell urges CD to publish a sketch of species theory; CD asks JDH's opinion on best course.
Concerned about opposition, particularly by Owen, to Huxley's admission to Athenaeum.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
Read & return the enclosed from Consul Crowe (a friend of Col. Sabine)
& send me whatever answer you think fit & I will write civilly to
With respect to Huxley, I was on point of speaking to
Crawfurd & Strezlecki (who will be on committee of Athenæum) when I
bethought me of how Owen would look & what he would say. Cannot you fancy him, with a red face, dreadful smile & slow &
gentle voice, asking, “Will Mr Crawfurd tell me what
Lastly, & of course especially, about myself; I very much want advice & truthful consolation if you can give it. I had good talk with Lyell about my species work, & he urges me strongly to publish something. I am fixed against any periodical or Journal, as I positively will not expose myself to an Editor or Council allowing a publication for which they might be abused.
If I publish anything it must be a very thin & little volume, giving a
sketch of my views & difficulties; but it is really dreadfully unphilosophical
to give a resumé, without exact references, of an unpublished work. But Lyell
seemed to think I might do this, at the suggestion of friends, & on the ground
which I might state that I had been at work for 18 years, & yet could
not publish for several years, & especially as I could point out difficulties
which seemed to me to require especial investigation. Now what think you?. I
I am in a peck of troubles & do pray forgive me for troubling you.—
Yours affectiy | C. Darwin
Emma desires her best thanks to Mrs
- f1 1870.f1Dated by the relationship to the letter from J. D. Hooker, 7 May 1856.
- f2 1870.f2John Rice Crowe was British consul-general in Norway, 1843–75. He and CD had previously corresponded about seeds washed up on the coast of Norway (Correspondence vol. 5, letter from J. R. Crowe, 27 September 1855, and letter to J. R. Crowe, 9 November 1855). Edward Sabine was treasurer of the Royal Society of London.
- f3 1870.f3Hooker was attempting to get Thomas Henry Huxley elected to the Athenæum (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 7 May 1856).
- f4 1870.f4John Crawfurd, Paul Edmund de Strzelecki, and Richard Owen. Huxley's relationship with Owen had sharply deteriorated in recent months (A. Desmond 1982).
- f5 1870.f5Huxley had roundly criticised Louis Agassiz's theory of ‘progressive development’ of living forms through geological time and Georges Cuvier's application of his principle of ‘the physiological correlation or coadaptation of organs’ in two Friday evening lectures held at the Royal Institution (T. H. Huxley 1855 and 1856a). He had previously described Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg's researches as ‘wonderful monuments of intense and unremitting labour, but at least as wonderful illustrations of what zoological and physiological reasoning should not be’ (T. H. Huxley 1851, p. 436).
- f6 1870.f6Huxley had received the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1852 for his paper on the anatomy and physiology of Medusae (T. H. Huxley 1849).
- f7 1870.f7CD had made an appointment to see Lyell on 8 May (see letter from Charles Lyell, 1–2 May 1856, and letter to Charles Lyell, 3 May ).
- f8 1870.f8A note inserted in the front of CD's copy of A. de Candolle 1855, volume 1 (Darwin Library–CUL), indicates CD's intentions: ‘When this read skim over (make index) Review Hooker N. Zealand &c & Fl. Antarctica *& Galapagos [added pencil] Skim my own portfolio Then read my own old sketch, & write Essay’.