To J. D. Hooker 20 January 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
I shd very much like to borrow Heer at some future time, for I want to read nothing perplexing at present, till my abstract is done.—2 Your last very instructive letter shall make me very cautious, on the hyper-speculative points we have been discussing.—3
When you say you cannot master the train of thoughts I know well enough they are too doubtful & obscure to be mastered.— I have often experienced what you call the humiliating feeling of getting more & more involved in doubt, the more one thinks of the facts & reasoning on doubtful points. But I always comfort myself with thinking of the future & in the full belief that the problems, which we are just entering on, will some day be solved; & if we just break the ground, we shall have done some service, even if we reap no harvest.—
I quite agree that we only differ in degree about means of dispersal, & that I think a satisfactory amount of accordance.— You put in very striking manner the mutations of our continents, & I quite agree; I doubt only about our oceans.—4
I, also, agree (I am in very agreeing frame of mind) with your argumentum ad hominem, about highness of Australian Flora from number of species & genera; but here comes in a superlative bothering element of doubt, viz the effects of isolation.—5
The only point in which I presumptously rather demur is about the status of the naturalised plants in Australia. I think Müller speaks of them having spread largely beyond cultivated ground;6 & I can hardly believe that our Europæan plants would occupy stations so barren that the native plants could not live there: I shd require much evidence to make me believe this.—
I have written this note merely to thank you, as you will see it requires no answer.—
I have heard to my amazement this morning from Phillips that Geolog. Council have given me the Wollaston medal!!!7
Ever yours | C. Darwin
At work on abstract.
Continues argument on effectiveness of dispersal. Has doubts about relationship of isolation to highness of Australian flora. Questions about survival of European plants introduced in Australia.
CD receives the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society.
- highness and lowness
- introduced forms
- isolation, islands
- negative attitude/assessment
- queries / requests
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2401,” accessed on 26 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2401