From J. D. Hooker [31 January – 8 February 1862]1
I wrote you a frightful screed the other day about the development of an Aristocracy being the necessary consequence of Natural Selection—& then burnt it—so you must take the will for the deed & be thankful!2 If ever we meet again we will talk it over—
I have a capital letter from Bates who is the only man I know that is “thinking out” your doctrines to any purpose— he tells me he is drawing the butterflies himself, I am glad of it— I did not want you to write to offer him again, but only to tell me whether he had arranged any thing with you as we shall be glad to get the drawings in hand. & engraved early.3 We have got the L.S. up to a very decent pitch of prosperity & hope to keep it so.— I think I have driven Bates back to Nat. Selection as the only way of solving his difficulties.—4 I do not know when I have met a more interesting thing than his mimetic butterflies— I wish I had time to do the same thing with plants, which is quite feasable to a very considerable degree.
What the deuce can keep you so irritable about Owen:5 how I wish I could soothe you, I suppose it is the effect of your isolated life, & yet I dare say I am as insane upon some far less worthy score. My only care is to avoid owen— I can see that he hates me now with an intense hate— he fell foul of me at the Linnæan the other night in a most contemptible manner,6 & in so foolish a one that in half a dozen words of answer I set the whole society laughing at him. My God what an eye he fixed on me— Won’t I catch it— of course I shall, but no worse than if I had not— what do I care
On the back of this you will find the case of dimorphous Stellaria flowers7
Huxley has got into a most contemptible squabble with the Edinburgh newspapers, I really am astonished that he should notice such rubbish as they fulminate—8 the beauty of it is that no one in Edinburgh who reads either side sees the other & no one out of Edinburgh reads either! It is not like a Times controversy which every one reads
Ever Yrs | J D Hooker
Stellaria bulbifera—9 a Siberian form of this has the apparently fertile flowers at upper part of plant (as in other Stellarias) these are said by Maximowitch never to ripen seeds.—10 At base of plant are flowers apetalous, or with very short petals, and barren stamens or 0, a succulent ovary with 1 instead of 3 styles, & very numerous ripe seeds.
Wrote a "frightful screed" about aristocracy’s being a necessary consequence of natural selection, and then burnt it.
H. W. Bates is the only man "thinking out" natural selection to any purpose. "I think I have driven Bates back to Nat. Sel. as the only way of solving his difficulties."
HWB’s mimetic butterflies.
JDH wishes he had time to do the same thing with plants.
Owen and Huxley involved in a "contemptible" squabble in the Edinburgh newspapers.
Maximovitch reports Stellaria bulbifera is a Siberian form which never ripens its seeds.
- geographical distribution
- negative criticism of correspondent
- plant physiology
- scientific controversy, confrontation
- social behaviour
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3430,” accessed on 28 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3430