From J. D. Hooker [24 June 1854]1
My wife presented me with a huge girl2 last night—said to weigh 11 lbs both are doing as well as possible. I read the Psychological book of Brodies3 during the operation & found a good many curious facts new to me with a redundancy of old ones. All would probably be old to you.
Will you oblige me with you ideas of what constitutes highness & lowness in the Animal Kingdom! Eg. in plants I should say that a high developement in the scale is indicated by special adaptation of organs to the discharge of functions & great deviations in those organs from the type upon which they are constructed.4 Thus Ranunculaceæ are low in the scale because the floral organs are apt to run into one another & revert to the type (a leaf) on which they are constructed—because calyx & corolla are so often alike— Stamens often reverting & the follicles present little deviation from a leaf folded on itself.— Hence monopetalous flowers are higher than polypetalous, inferior ovaries a higher type than superior &c &c. Dicotyledons than Monocot. Exogens than Endogens, &c. &c.
I hope your dinner did not disagree with you. 5 I had to walk to Shoreditch next morning no cabs!
Ever Yrs | J D Hooker
Birth of JDH’s second child.
Asks CD’s view of "highness" and "lowness" in animals. Gives his own for plants; extent of deviation from type, e.g., floral parts deviating from leaf.
Reading B. C. Brodie’s Psychological inquiries .
- flowers and buds
- highness and lowness
- plant physiology
- queries / requests
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1572,” accessed on 6 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1572