JDH recommends Augustin de Saint-Hilaire's Leçons de botanique . Relates opinions of European botanists on migration and plant distribution.
West Park Kew.
Sunday Evening | March 1845.
My dear Darwin
I had the pleasure of receiving your last welcome letter the
morning after my arrival & thank you much for it. Wilkes you may return at your
convenience, either sending it to Hiscock's Kew boat Hungerford Stairs, or by
Parcel's delivery Coy
With regard to Morphology (Vegetable) the best work I know is
From all that I heard at Leyden, the Indian Islands seem not only to be peculiarly rich in species, but also to present many curious facts regarding the distribution of the individuals & species in the different localities. I talked much with Schlegel, who appears a very nice fellow, he is strongly in favor of a multiple creation & against migration, & as he drew most of his arguments from Zoological grounds, I could not follow him well, he says he has long studied the subject & has come to that conclusion after a full consideration of the number of cases, in which a species is common to two narrow areas seperated by large tracts equally capable to all appearance of supporting the said species: from what I know of the Botany of these regions I incline decidedly to the migration principle, the number of dispersed species being very great & belonging to very transportable orders. Blume told me that the Bos (bubalus?) of Java is decidedly the same as that of India, but that the species is nowhere found (not even fossil) in Sumatra, the high road to Java if it migrated: this is to me startling but Blume may be mistaken, or Bos may have been imported by the Javanese, a very different & more energetic people I suppose than the Sumatrans: I did not think of this latter explanation when with Blume, but Horsfield would doubtless solve the difficulty.
The Holland Botanists are Miquel of Rotterdam, a most agreeable person &
accomplished Botanist, Blume of Leyden who has published a most
beautiful work & knows the plants of Java well,
& de Vriese of Amsterdam, all these, & to the
first I attach some importance, are strong anti-migrationists. I do not think however
that the subject has engrossed much of their attention— I have set Miquel to
collect facts for you, which will probably lead to the modification of his own opinions,
as a similar course did of mine. Certainly the further I trace a diffused species, the
more natural its voyages seem & there are remarkably few plants that inhabit all
countries, they are the exceptions. Schouw was one of the first, I think, who proposed a
double creation amongst plants, & attributed the reappearance of a species in a
remote spot to similar momenta cosmica (or some such name) influencing both
spots, or rather producing the same form in both.
Unfortunately for his theory, besides these plants being the exceptions in the flora of
a country, we further have dispersed species abounding under circumstances where all the
momenta that we can appreciate are opposite. Except
I shall not go N. till the beginning of May I hope, & have quite a month full of work before that, Graham & Brown are trying to get me appointed as Assist. & Successor.
Ever your's most truly | Jos D Hooker.
My pamphlet on variations of species has not yet arrived from Paris where I left it..
- f1 844.f1James David Forbes attributed the movement of glaciers to the viscosity of glacial ice.
- f2 844.f2Adam Sedgwick and William Hopkins. Hopkins' views are set out in Hopkins 1845.
- f3 844.f3Saint-Hilaire 1841.
- f4 844.f4Murray 1845.
- f5 844.f5Herman Schlegel, director of the Natural History Museum at Leiden, with its great collection of specimens from the Dutch East Indies.
- f6 844.f6Carl Ludwig Blume.
- f7 844.f7Thomas Horsfield, keeper of the East India Company Museum in London and previously stationed in Java.
- f8 844.f8Friederich Anton Wilhelm Miquel.
- f9 844.f9Blume and Fischer 1828[–51].
- f10 844.f10Willem Hendrik de Vriese.
- f11 844.f11Joakim Frederik Schouw. Schouw's ‘momenta cosmica’ were rather more like environmental factors than the vague influences that Hooker implies (Schouw 1816). CD's notes for further questions to ask Hooker on these subjects are in DAR 206: 17.
- f12 844.f12To Edinburgh.
- f13 844.f13Robert Brown and Robert Graham were trying to secure Hooker as assistant and successor to Graham, professor of botany at Edinburgh.
- f14 844.f14Caspar Carl Reinwardt.
- f15 844.f15Gérard 1844. See letter from J. D. Hooker, [late February 1845].