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Letter 3149

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

14 May [1861]
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    Summary Add

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    Henslow's long suffering.

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    Donald Beaton's articles in Cottage Gardener clever but not to be trusted.

Transcription

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

May 14th

My dear Hooker

I have been putting off writing from day to day, as I did not wish to trouble you, till my wish for a little news will not let me rest. Unless by a prodigy poor dear Henslow is recovering, good God what a time his sufferings have been prolonged. But from your last note, I hope, I need not say sufferings, but only life. What a miserable time you must have had.—

I am alone at present, as Emma has taken Etty to Dentist in London; & their stay in London, I hope, has done both good. I shd. have gone up, but I have been rather extra ailing of late. I have no news to tell you, for I have had no interesting letters for some time & have not seen a soul.—

I have been going through Cottage Gardener of last year, on account chiefly of Beaton's articles: he strikes me as a clever, but d—d cock-sure man (as L. Melbourne said) & I have some doubt whether to be much trusted. I suspect he has never recorded his experiments at the time with care. He has made me indignant by the way he speaks of G¨artner, evidently knowing nothing of his work.— I mean to try & pump him in Cot. Gard. & shall perhaps defend Gartner.— He alludes to me occasionally & I cannot tell with what spirit. He speaks of ``this Mr. Darwin'', in one place, as if I were a very noxious animal.

Let me have a line about poor Henslow pretty soon.

Farewell my dear Friend | Ever yours | C. Darwin

I fear there is something seriously amiss with Lyell.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 3149.f1
    John Stevens Henslow, Hooker's father-in-law, died after a long illness on 16 May 1861.
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    f2 3149.f2
    Emma and Henrietta Emma Darwin went to London on 8 May 1861 and returned to Down on 17 May (Emma Darwin's diary). See letter to W. E. Darwin, 9 May [1861] and n. 3.
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    f3 3149.f3
    Donald Beaton contributed a weekly column to the Cottage Gardener. He was well known to both Hooker and his father, William Jackson Hooker, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see Cottage Gardener, 4 September 1860, p. 337).
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    f4 3149.f4
    William Lamb, Lord Melbourne, had a reputation for having unconventional manners and speech `interlarded with oaths' (DNB).
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    f5 3149.f5
    CD had studied closely the hybridisation experiments carried out by the German botanist, Karl Friedrich von G¨artner. CD cited results from G¨artner's systematic crossing of various hybrids in Natural selection and in Origin.
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    f6 3149.f6
    See letter to the Journal of Horticulture, [17 May 1861]. CD did not challenge Beaton's criticism of G¨artner's work until 1863, in a letter written to the Journal of Horticulture, [3 February 1863] (see Calendar no. 3966; Correspondence vol. 11).
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    f7 3149.f7
    Beaton briefly mentioned CD's views on species in several of his regular articles in the Cottage Gardener (Journal of Horticulture). CD's reference is to Beaton's statement in `Kew Arboretum and pleasure-grounds' (Cottage Gardener, 11 September 1860, pp. 352--3): For, you see, this Mr. Darwin has made a wonderful impression by his notions of how plants came first into being, and how such beings could hold on for so many ages … They have laws, reason, and logic for all this, and for ten times as much; and ten to one if some of us be not drawn from our own conclusions by that logic—and the logic of facts is the hardest of all to bear up against.
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    f8 3149.f8
    See letter to J. D. Hooker, 18 [May 1861].
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