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my views & difficulties; but it is really dreadfully unphilosophical to give a resumé, without exact references, of an unpublished work.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 2 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1870