To J. D. Hooker 9 May 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
Read & return the enclosed from Consul Crowe (a friend of Col. Sabine) & send me whatever answer you think fit & I will write civilly to Mr Crowe.—2
With respect to Huxley,3 I was on point of speaking to Crawfurd & Strezlecki (who will be on committee of Athenæum) when I bethought me of how Owen would look & what he would say.4 Cannot you fancy him, with a red face, dreadful smile & slow & gentle voice, asking, “Will Mr Crawfurd tell me what Mr Huxley has done, deserving this honour; I only know that he differs from, & disputes the authority of Cuvier, Ehrenberg & Agassiz as of no weight at all”.—5 And when I began to consider what to tell Mr Crawfurd to say, I was puzzled, & could refer him only to some excellent papers in R. Trans. for which the medal had been awarded.6 But I doubt with an opposing faction, whether this would be considered enough, for I believe real scientific merit is not thought enough, without the person is generally well known; now I want to hear what you deliberately think on this head: it would be bad to get him proposed & then rejected; & Owen is very powerful.—
Lastly, & of course especially, about myself; I very much want advice & truthful consolation if you can give it. I had good talk with Lyell about my species work, & he urges me strongly to publish something.7 I am fixed against any periodical or Journal, as I positively will not expose myself to an Editor or Council allowing a publication for which they might be abused.
If I publish anything it must be a very thin & little volume, giving a sketch of my views & difficulties; but it is really dreadfully unphilosophical to give a resumé, without exact references, of an unpublished work. But Lyell seemed to think I might do this, at the suggestion of friends, & on the ground which I might state that I had been at work for 18 years, & yet could not publish for several years, & especially as I could point out difficulties which seemed to me to require especial investigation. Now what think you?. I shd be really grateful for advice. I thought of giving up a couple of months & writing such a sketch, & trying to keep my judgment open whether or no to publish it when completed.8 It will be simply impossible for me to give exact references; anything important I shd state on authority of the author generally; & instead of giving all the facts on which I ground any opinion, I could give by memory only one or two. In Preface I would state that the work could not be considered strictly scientific, but a mere sketch or outline of future work in which full references &c shd be given.— Eheu, eheu, I believe I shd sneer at anyone else doing this, & my only comfort is, that I truly never dreamed of it, till Lyell suggested it, & seems deliberately to think it adviseable.
I am in a peck of troubles & do pray forgive me for troubling you.—
Yours affectiy | C. Darwin
Emma desires her best thanks to Mrs Hooker for her kind note received this morning.
Lyell urges CD to publish a sketch of species theory; CD asks JDH’s opinion on best course.
Concerned about opposition, particularly by Owen, to Huxley’s admission to Athenaeum.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1870,” accessed on 28 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1870