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Letter 5485

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

4 Apr [1867]

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    Rejoices over baby's improvement.

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    Horace Darwin has intermittent fever.

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    Thanks JDH for page of the Farmer, a great service.

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    R. Trail's potato grafting case would be of extreme value for demonstrating Pangenesis. [See Variation 1: 395.]


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

April 4th

My dear Hooker

We both heartily rejoice that Mrs Hooker & your anxieties about your poor Baby are over.— It must have been very distressing. I never heard of anything like such convulsions. Thank you much for your two letters.—

We have had a little uneasiness, now quite over, about Horace who came from School with intermittent fever, which lasted a fortnight & has made him very thin & has brought back his indigestion & we shall have to keep him here for a month more at least.

You have done me a very great service in sending me the page of ``The Farmer'': I do not know whether you wish it returned; but I will keep it unless I hear that you want it. Old I. Anderson-Henry passes a magnificent but rather absurd eulogium on me, but the point of such extreme value in my eyes is Mr Traill's statement that he made a mottled mongrel, by cutting eyes through & joining two kinds of potatoes: I have written to him for full information & then I will set to work on a similar trial. It would prove, I think, to demonstration that propagation by buds & by the sexual elements are essentially the same process, as Pangenesis in the most solemn manner declares to be the case.—

I do hope that you will have no return of anxiety.—

My dear old Friend | Yours affectly | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5485.f1
    Hooker refers to Frances Harriet Hooker and Reginald Hawthorn Hooker. Reginald had been ill in late March but had recovered; Hooker wrote news of him in his letters to CD of 31 March 1867 and 3 April 1867.
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    f2 5485.f2
    According to Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242), Horace Darwin, their youngest son, returned to Down from school on 16 March 1867 with a fever, and began taking quinine on 1 April. He was attending Clapham Grammar School (CD's Classed account books (Down House MS)). There is no record of when he went back to school.
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    f3 5485.f3
    The page of the Farmer that Hooker sent to CD evidently contained a report of the meeting or part of the meeting of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh on 14 March 1867. The page has not been found in the Darwin Archive--CUL. Isaac Anderson-Henry sent an offprint of the whole proceedings reprinted from the Farmer, 20 and 27 March, but it does not include Robert Trail's remarks. CD's letters to Anderson-Henry and Trail have not been found, but see the letter from Isaac Anderson-Henry, 3 April 1867, and the letter from Robert Trail, 5 April 1867. CD mentioned Trail's information in Variation 1: 395--6; he said he had repeated Trail's experiments without success.
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    f4 5485.f4
    CD published his `Provisional hypothesis of pangenesis' in chapter 12 of Variation (Variation 2: 357--404); he had discussed it with Hooker in 1866 and during March 1867 (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 April [1866?], and letter from J. D. Hooker, [6? April 1866], and this volume, letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 March 1867, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 21 March [1867]). CD thought pangenesis could explain both sexual and asexual reproduction, as well as reversion and the regrowth of body parts (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to T. H. Huxley, 27 May [1865], n. 7).
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