To J. D. Hooker [18 April 1847]
My dear Hooker
I return with many thanks Watson’s letter which I have had copied:1 it is a capital one & I am extremely obliged to you for obtaining me such valuable information: Surely he is rather in a hurry when he says intermediate varieties must almost be necessarily rare, otherwise they would be taken as the types of the species; for he overlooks numerical frequency as an element. Surely if A. B C were three varieties & if A were a good deal the commonest (therefore, also, first known) it would be taken as the type, without regarding whether B was quite intermediate or not, or whether it was rare or not.— What capital essays W. would write, but I suppose he has written a good deal in the Phytologist;2 you ought to encourage him to publish on variation; it is a shame that such facts as those in his letter shd remain unpublished; I must get you to introduce me to him Would he be a good & sociable man for Dropmore?3 though if he comes Forbes must not, (& I think you talked of inviting Forbes) or we shall have a glorious battle.4 I shd like to see sometime the war-correspondence: have you the Phytologist & cd you sometime spare it; I wd go through it quickly.—5 I have not heard from Murray;6 I am rather sorry to hear about Dr Holland being probably the reviewer:7 he does not know enough of Nat. Hist. & between ourselves he is so dreadfully conceited & vain that he never wd condescend to learn, or to think enough of the labours of others.— I have read your 5 last numbers,8 & as usual been much interested in several points; especially with your discussions on the beach & potato; I see you have introduced several sentences against us transmutationists.9
I have also been looking through the latter vols. of the Annals. of Nat. Hist, & have read two such soulless pompous papers of Hinds,10 quite worthy of the Author of the Regions of Vegetation.11 The contrast of the papers in the Annals with those in the Annales 12 is rather humiliating; so many papers in the former, with short descriptions of species, without one word on their affinities, internal structure, range, or habits.— I am now reading Royle13 & I have picked out some things which have interested me; but he strikes me as rather dullish & with all his Materia Medica smells of the Doctor’s shop. I shall ever hate the name of Materia Medica, since hearing Duncan’s lectures at 8 oclock in a winter’s morning—a whole, cold, breakfastless hour on the properties of rhubarb!14
I hope your journey will be very prosperous—15 believe me my dear Hooker | Ever yours C. Darwin.
I think I have only made one new acquainta〈nce〉 of late, that is R. Chambers,16 and I have just received a presentation copy of the 6th Edit of the Vestiges: somehow I now feel perfectly convinced he is the Author.17 He is in France & has written to me thence.—
Thanks for H. C. Watson’s interesting letter. Disagrees with him on intermediate varieties.
CD has read latest numbers of JDH’s The botany of the Antarctic voyage [pt I, Flora Antarctica (1844–7)]; notes several sentences against "us Transmutationists".
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1082,” accessed on 9 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1082