To J. D. Hooker 7 March 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker.
I have thought you would like to see enclosed from Gray: without having seen mine, you will not perceive what nice little sneers it contains; & there is a slap at you.2 I heartily wish I cd. sympathise more with so excellent a man. Some time, return the note to me.—
I will soon prepare & modify some extracts for Linn. Soc about the three Orchid forms; why I wrote again was because I did not think that you understood they would be chiefly mere extracts from my book.3
You will be disappointed in my little book: I have got to hate it, though the subject has fairly delighted me: I am an ass & always fancy at the time that others will care for what I care about: I am convinced its publication will be bad job for Murray. Well it won’t be a big concern.—4
Your last note will be very useful when I come to reconsider your Arctic paper5 (by the way I will never believe that naturalists are so dull, as not sooner or later to appreciate this paper); your notion of a preglacial centre of dispersal far north, seems good. I have often speculated that during eocene period, there could hardly have been any strictly Arctic Flora & Fauna; & consequently their curious poverty, from want of time for great modification in strictly Arctic genera.— Greenland is indeed very curious; I do not feel quite so sure as you (considering direction of currents of sea, & greater proximity of land far north) that chance migration would have brought to there temperate forms. I am more willing, considering Geolog. nature of Spitzbergen & Bear Isd. to admit a recent continental extension there than almost anywhere else.—6
“Link Die Urwelt & das Alterthum &c 1821. p. 102”,—on Alpine plants & change of climate.—7
I have had a most obliging letter from Mr. Crocker;8 who offers & wishes to experiment, so I have given him some things to do;9 it will be grand if he will work.— I am at work on Dimorphism; in Primula & am finding out some very odd & perplexing facts; including a third form in the Chinese Primrose;10 & I am nearly sure that daylight is coming with respect to the melastomas.— Can you tell me whether anything is better than Spirits & Water to preserve flowers in, as I have to preserve all, as I cannot draw.—
Have you read Buckle’s 2d. Vol: it has interested me greatly; I do not care whether his views are right or wrong; but I shd. think they contained much truth.11 There is a noble love of advancement & truth throughout; & to my taste he is the very best writer of the English Language that ever lived, let the other be who he may.—
Yours affect | C. Darwin
CD wishes he could sympathise with Asa Gray’s politics.
Orchids to appear soon.
Pre-glacial Arctic distribution.
Work on floral dimorphism.
High opinion of Buckle as a writer.