From J. D. Hooker 2 December 1875
Royal Gardens Kew
Thanks for your kind congratulations— thank God it is over; though what with nervousness & bad wine I am done up with headache & had a purging today.— It is dreary work. It was the largest dinner ever known (150) but we were bored out of our lives by the speeches of Ramsay, Stokes, Hoffman & Brodie. 1 Tyndall2 writes “I never heard from the chair of the R. S. so good an Address, as your’s of yesterday”—but adds,—“The speeches at the dinner were most intolerable”— I believe the last part, but cannot swallow the first.
I will see that Lawson Taits paper is not sent to you, but I shall have to consult you about it.—3
Dyer shall see to Byblis at once— he is overtroubled with “much serving”— he gets on capitally with Smith & the men—4
He is in an awful way— the beasts of the Brit. Mus: have taken it into their heads to oppose Lankesters election because the Council has put him forward for remission of fees, & there are some who would actually black-ball him on that account.!.5 The Election came off tonight. In the first place the suggestion, it is no more, of remission of fees should never have been mentioned outside the Council!. My views are that it is a matter which should be left wholly in the hands of Zoologists, who are unanimous. & in the council the minority is of one only—& he a Botanist I am ashamed to say—but a most disagreeable fellow.
My impression is that it was a mistake to bring Lankester forward. The action is one of pure charity towards the individual.— it is very rarely taken & only in cases of patent inability on the part of the candidate to pay without serious inconvenience— Such 〈as〉 the case of Owen, Huxley, Bates, Hancock Wallace & Parker.6 These are all who ever had their fees remitted by the Council. Now with regard to Lankester, he is an unmarried man, a Fellow of an Oxford College, & Professor in U. College; and could find the money to join the Royal!—7 added to this his manners are not enticing, & have made him personal enemies: for though I am strong for the election & remission of fees—I am of opinion that his case is not at all a good one. If you add to this that all the cases hitherto acted on are those of Zoologists,—& that zoologists have never been liberal to the Society in gifts or paying for their plates &c I cannot wonder that Lankesters case has excited the odium of the Brit. Mus. Botanists. & in short that poor Dyer with the very best intentions has “put his foot in it”.—
Dyer rather mistook the whole thing— he regarded the remission of fees as an honour whereas it is only a mark of “consideration”—& he was loyally anxious to attach a first rate man to the Society to whom it was not convenient to pay the fees.
Ever aff yrs | J D Hooker.
E. R. Lankester is in danger of being black-balled for admission to the Linnean Society; Thiselton-Dyer is in the midst of the fight.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10286,” accessed on 1 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-10286