To J. D. Hooker 15 [May 1860]1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
I have not the least doubt that Lyell was de facto the originator of the importance of geological changes of level with respect to distribution.2 No doubt he had precursors such as those who speculated on England & France having been joined from presence of Wolf & other Noxious animals in England.— I have passages on subject in my Journal, viz on introduction of old world mammals by Behren’s Sts. & former more intimate connection of N. & S. America but nothing of consequence, that I can remember & I do remember in one case beginning by saying that the facts were good illustrations of Lyell’s doctrines.—3
No doubt Forbes de facto originated the doctrine of distribution during glacial period.4 But Link in his “Urwelt” 1821 speculates on changed climate from greater former height of mountains as explaining identity of alpine & northern plants.—5 With respect to passages in Asa Gray I wrote to him to say that I had no claim for position in which he places me.—6 I have no doubt the reason was that he used (slightly modifying it) the view which I sent him of migration from old to new (or conversely) worlds during former warmer periods by present land;7 & that instead of expressly acknowledging this he gave me undue general credit. I do not say this invidiously, for I have not least doubt, he did it without thought & perhaps because he was bothered, in as much as he had slightly altered my view he could not well acknowledge it.— Of course you will not say anything of this to him.— I may just add that I gave my views at his request, & seeing how he introduced them I naturally thought that he had arrived at analogous view before hearing from me. But he subsequently said in answer to my letter in which I said I had no claim to position assigned me.—he had not; & stated that he had mentioned my name in the way he does as an acknowledgement.— But I have told a very long story about a very small affair.
I most entirely agree to what you say about Müller,8 I was disgusted. One ought not to judge without hearing all that can be said about Candidates.— But I was disgusted at the list; & fancied I saw the effects of a great Surgeon-President.—9 Spence Bate & Sir E. Tennent ought to have been elected long before R. Palmer & Baring M.P..10 It seems to me monstrous.— I will write to Drummond about Leschenaultia;11 but I am pretty easy now, as I am sure intercrossing is at least possible. Would it bother you to make mere outline of flower for me for woodcut of this size & like this? & then perhaps I would give it & your section of indusium.—
How paltry it is in such men as Balfour, Arnott & Co. not reading your Essay.12 It is incredibly paltry.— They may all attack me to their hearts’ content. I am got case-hardened. As for the old fogies in Cambridge it really signifies nothing.13 I look at their attacks, as a proof that our work is worth the doing. It makes me resolve to buckle on my armour.— I see plainly that it will be a long uphill fight.— But think of Lyell’s progress with geology.— One thing I see most plainly that without Lyell, yours, Huxley & Carpenter’s aid my book would have been a mere flash in the pan.— But if we all stick to it, we shall surely gain the day. And I now see that the battle is worth fighting. I deeply hope that you think so.— Does Bentham progress at all?14
I do not know what to say about Oxford.15 I shd like it much with you; but it must depend on health.—
Etty goes on the same.16 The Doctor to day said “well I feel easy about her now”—which shows me that he was more uneasy than he ever expressed.—
Yours most affect | C. Darwin
Lyell, de facto, first to stress importance of geological changes for geographical distribution.
Asa Gray has given CD too much credit for theories of geographical distribution.
Reaction to hostile criticism
and debt to Lyell, Huxley, JDH, and W. B. Carpenter.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2802,” accessed on 27 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2802