Sends specimens of a Tertiary sandstone from Tierra del Fuego in which there are leaves; CD thought they were beech. What is JDH's opinion?
Asks whether JDH can make sense of a note on silicified wood.
Has read Vestiges [of creation (1844)]; "his geology strikes me as bad, & his zoology far worse".
Would like to see lists [of plants] from Society and Sandwich Islands.
Doubts JDH's information regarding imagination of mother affecting offspring.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
I will send back the books, which have much interested me, on Thursday by our carrier
& so by the Deliv: Comp: to you: I did not buy the numbers of Bot: Journ.
because I had cut the leaves, but because, I was interested by several of the papers: I
sent for the 15 & 20th
Have you in your Library Capt: Porter's Voyage in the Essex (in the Pacific) I
have long wished, but never been able, to see it? Would you
oblige me, by looking at the two or three specimens, with the books, of a tertiary
modern sandstone of T. del Fuego, in which there are leaves, & which I
thought, when collecting them, were of the Beech:
Thirdly (& lastly, you will say, gracias a dios)
I do not know, whether you will think it worth while to refer to it, but Pœppig in his Reisen Band 1. p. 367. has a list of genera, from Cordillera by Concepcion & remarks on their Europæan-Alpine character, with relations to T. del Fuego, the Tropics, & Australia.—
I am glad to hear that you are going to Paris & hope that you may enjoy it; thank you much for your offer of enquiring about the price of the Annales.— With respect to Brown in Flinders, I shd not like to give more than 10s, as, though in itself so valuable, it is easily procurable.— I shall be curious to see Streletski's book, though how he is to tell that ancient eruptions happened on the same day, I cannot see or believe: your account of his views seems wild enough.—
I have, also, read the Vestiges, but have been somewhat less amused at it, than you
appear to have been: the writing & arrangement are certainly admirable, but his
geology strikes me as bad, & his zoology far worse. I
shd be very much obliged, if at any future or leisure time, you
wd tell me on what you ground your doubtful belief in imagination of a
mother affecting her offspring. I have attended to the several statements scattered
about, but do not believe in more than accidental coincidences. W. Hunter told my Father, then in a lying-in-Hospital, in many thousand
cases, he had asked the mother, before her confinement whether anything had
affected her imagination & recorded the answers, & absolutely not one
case came right, though, when the child was anything remarkable, they afterwards made
the cap to fit. Reproduction seems governed by such similar laws in the whole animal
kingdom, that I am most loth (& shd
I am delighted to hear that you are attacking the Pacific Flora; I am unwilling to
trouble you, but I shd like just to glance over the lists of Society
& Sandwich Isld
Thanks for your offer of collecting facts about coral-reefs, but I will not trouble
you, as I shall never publish a second Edition.;
but shd you meet anything about subsidence of the land
in the Pacific, or about Elevation in out-of-the-way-Books, <I>
Why do you speak, as if writing to you was a ‘task’ to me; it is a great pleasure, & I only shd be better pleased, if I thought my random observations could possibly be quarter of the interest to you, which you are pleased to say they are.— I am often frightened for you, when I think how hard you must be working: the time was, when I thought that speaking about too much work was a chimera—
Farewell. Ever yours | C. D.
N.B. I have enclosed my rough note from Pœppig, (if you can read it) which please to return: the translation may not be very accurate.
- f1 814.f1D. Porter 1823.
- f2 814.f2CD presumably copied this information from notes taken following conversations with Robert Brown in 1837 (see Correspondence vol. 2, letter to J. S. Henslow, 18 [May 1837]), some of which still survive (DAR 42: 45). It refers to an anatomical test for identifying coniferous wood, proposed by William Nicol (1834). According to Nicol Araucaria is characterised by having pits or ‘discs’ in its cell-walls arranged alternately in double rows. CD's confusion results from the bad punctuation of the note; a comma after ‘opposite’ would make the meaning unambiguous. Brown's identification of the silicified wood was used in Journal of researches, p. 406, and South America, p. 202.
- f3 814.f3Pöppig 1835, 1: 367–8.
- f4 814.f4Strzelecki 1845. Paul Edmund de Strzelecki's claims were not as extreme as CD suggested: he asserts there were a series of distinct eruptions, each clearly distinguishable from the next (pp. 120–2, 150).
- f5 814.f5CD's immediate reaction to the Vestiges ([Chambers] 1844) is reflected in the following note, which he kept with his material on divergence and classification (DAR 205.5: 108):
Nov/:—/44/. After the “Vestiges of *Nat Hist [interl] Creation”, I see it will be necessary to advert to Quinary System, because he brings it to show that Lamarck's willing (& consequently my selection) must be erroneous— I had better rest my defence on few English, sound anatomical naturalists assenting & hardly any foreign.— Advert to this subject, after Chapter on classification, & then show, from our ignorance of comparative value of groups, source of error—
[Chambers] 1844, pp. 231–2, favoured the quinarian system of classification because, among other things, he felt it showed Lamarck's theories were untenable. Regularities in animal structure, as revealed by the quinarian arrangement, were ‘totally irreconcilable with the idea of form going on to form merely as needs and wishes in the animals themselves dictated’ (p. 232). CD apparently believed that the quinarian system might be used by other naturalists to refute his theory of natural selection.
- f6 814.f6William Hunter.
- f7 814.f7Henslow 1838.
- f8 814.f8Lesson and Garnot 1826–30. Lütke 1835–6.
- f9 814.f9CD eventually revised Coral reefs for a second edition in 1874.