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Letter 9613

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

30 Aug [1874]

Summary

Thanks JDH for his “quite admirable” address [Rep. BAAS 44 (1874) pt 2: 102–16]. Suggests revisions.

CD thinks he is “now on right track about Utricularia” after wasting several weeks “in fruitless trials and observations”.

Mrs Barber’s paper is very curious and ought to be published.

Transcription

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Aug. 30th

My dear Hooker

I am particularly obliged for your address.f2 It strikesme as quite excellent & has interested me in the highestdegree. Nor is this due to my having worked at the subject, for Ifeel sure that I shd have been just as much struck, perhapsmore so, if I had known nothing about it. You could not in myopinion have put the case better. There are several lights(besides the facts) in your essay new to me, & you have greatlyhonoured me. I heartily congratulate you on so splendid a pieceof work. There is a misprint at p. 7, Mitschke forNitschke.f3 There is a partial error at p. 8 where you say thatDrosera is nearly indifferent to inorganic substances: this ismuch too strong; though they do act less efficiently than organic with soluble nitrogenous matter; but the chief difference is inthe widely different period of subsequent reexpansion.—f4 ThirdlyI did not suggest to Sanderson his electrical experiments;though no doubt my remarks led to his thinking of them.f5

Now for your letter   you are very generous about Dionæa;but some of my experiments will require cutting off leaves, &therefore injuring plants. I cd not write to Lady Dorothy.—f6 Rollisson says that they expect soon a lot from America.f7 If Dionæa is not despatched have marked on address“to be forwarded by foot-messenger.”

Mrs Barber’s paper is very curious & ought to be published; but when you come here (& remember you offered to come) wewill consult where to send it.f8

Let me hear when you recommence onCephalotus or Sarracenia, as I think I am now on right trackabout Utricularia, after wasting several weeks in fruitlesstrials & observations.f9

The negative work takes five times moretime than the positive.

Ever Yours | C. Darwin

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (JDH/6/3 Insectivorous plants 1873–8: 40)

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