Letter icon
Letter 5372

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

20 Jan 1867

Higher resolution and downloadable images available from Cambridge Digital Library

    Summary Add

  • +

    His view of CD's hypothesis that Atlantic island genera are descended from extinct European plants.



Jany 20/67

Dear Darwin

Prof. Miquel of Utrecht begs me to ask you for your Carte— & offers his in return. I grieve to bother you on such a subject— I am sick & tired of this Carte Correspondence.

I cannot conceive what Humboldts Pyrenean violet is, no such is mentioned in Webb, & no alpine one at all.

I am sorry that I forgot to mention the stronger African affinity of the Eastern Canary Islds.— Thank you for mentioning it.

I cannot admit without further analysis, that most of the peculiar Atlantic Isld. genera were derived from Europe & have since become extinct there. I have rather thought that many are only altered forms of Existing European genera: but this is a very difficult point & would require a careful study of each genus & allies with this object in view— the subject has often presented itself to me as a grand one for analytic Botany. No doubt its establishment would account for the [community] of the peculiar genera, on the several groups & Islets, but whilst so many species are common we must allow for a good deal of intermigration of peculiar genera too

By Jove I will write out next mail to the Governor of St Helena for boxes of earth; & you shall have them to grow.

Thanks for telling me of having suggested to me the working out of proportions of plants with irregular flowers in Islands;—I thought it was a deuced deal too good an idea to have arisen spontaneously in my block, though I did not recollect your having done so   no doubt your suggestion was crystallized in some corner of my sensorium. I should like to work out the point.

My wife goes on well but has a horrid face-ache.— & Reginald blooms & squeaks.

This awful weather has terribly damaged us.

Ever Yrs aff | J D Hooker

Have you Kerguelan land amongst your Volcanic Islds.— I have a curious book of a sealer who was wrecked on the Islands & who mentions a Volcanic Mt & hot Springs at the S.W. end: it is called the ``Wreck of the Favrite''

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 5372.f1
    Hooker refers to Friedrich Anton Wilhelm Miquel, professor of botany at Utrecht. Beginning in 1862, it became commonplace for CD and his correspondents to request a carte-de-visite from one another (see Correspondence vols. 10--14).
  • +
    f2 5372.f2
    See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867] and n. 4. Hooker refers to the Histoire naturelle des Iles Canaries (Webb and Berthelot 1836--50).
  • +
    f3 5372.f3
    See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867] and n. 5.
  • +
    f4 5372.f4
    For CD's query on this point, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867]. For Hooker's discussion in the third instalment of his article on insular floras, see J. D. Hooker 1866a, p. 50.
  • +
    f5 5372.f5
    See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867] and n. 8. The governor of St Helena was Charles Elliot, who co-operated with Hooker in introducing plants to St Helena (Meliss 1875, p. 35).
  • +
    f6 5372.f6
    See letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867] and n. 9.
  • +
    f7 5372.f7
    Hooker's wife was Frances Harriet Hooker, and their newborn son was Reginald Hawthorn Hooker (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1867]).
  • +
    f8 5372.f8
    Heavy snowfalls in January 1867 destroyed many trees at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (R. Desmond 1995, p. 371).
  • +
    f9 5372.f9
    CD did not mention Kerguelen's Land in Volcanic islands.
  • +
    f10 5372.f10
    Hooker refers to John Nunn and to his Narrative of the wreck of the `Favorite' on the island of Desolation (Nunn 1850). The description of the volcano and the hot springs is in Nunn 1850, pp. 103--4.
Maximized view Print letter