Louis Pasteur's memoir "is a very able and convincing one" ["Mémoire sur les corpuscles organisés qui existent dans l'atmosphère", Ann. Sci. Nat. (Zool.) 3d ser. 16 (1861): 5–98].
My dear Charles
I write a few lines to thank you for your letter of this m
Pasteur's Memoir, to which you allude, is a very able & convincing
one— He completely pushes Pouchet from the
field. I am rather surprized that he does not refer (or, I
think, does not) to Ehrenberg's papers in the Trans
Ever yours very sincerely | H Holland
- f1 3490.f1The date is conjectured on the basis of the references to Pasteur 1861 and to Horace Darwin's health (see nn. 2--4, below).
- f2 3490.f2CD's letter has not been found. Horace Darwin had been ill since the beginning of 1862, but showed signs of improvement in April (see Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242)). CD wrote to Holland, with a description of Horace's symptoms, on 25 March 1862 (see letter from Henry Holland, 26 March ).
- f3 3490.f3Pasteur 1861.
- f4 3490.f4In 1858, Félix Archimède Pouchet revived the French debate regarding spontaneous generation with a paper in which he described the appearance of micro-organisms in boiled hay infusions, kept under mercury, after the introduction of artificially produced oxygen (Pouchet 1858). Pouchet expanded his claims in a major work on the subject (Pouchet 1859), but his conclusions were opposed by Louis Pasteur in a series of five notes presented to the Académie des Sciences Naturelles, and subsequently brought together in his prize-winning essay, `Mémoir sur les corpuscules organisés qui existent dans l'atmosphère' (Pasteur 1861). Pasteur argued that contaminated mercury was the source of error in Pouchet's work (Pasteur 1861, p. 79). For an account of the French debate about spontaneous generation, see Farley 1977.
- f5 3490.f5Holland probably refers to Ehrenberg 1848 and 1849.