From Asa Gray 10 November 1862
Nov. 10, 1862
Here is a new stamp for L. D.—tho’ not postage.1
And I shall put this in an envelope embossed with a 20 cent postage stamp. I have really nothing to write this week. I trust I shall receive to-morrow in time for foreign post, some copies of sheets of notices in Nor. Amer. Journal,—in which there are two articles upon which I wish your opinion.— One of them is continuation of remarks on your far-famed Orchid-book.—with the substance of my notes on our species of Ophryd. & Cypripedium.2
I am waiting for Capt. Anderson to come to this port that I may send you Cypripediums, &c—for your study next spring.3 If he does not come over in next Cunarder, I fear I shall have to consign my package to Kew.— —where they may get out of the way before Hooker can turn them over to you.4 We are now wintry with precocious snow; but we still expect a short Indian summer.
I have to thank you for yours of the 16 Oct.—which has been lying a fortnight here.5 As you do not speak of your family, I conclude they are doing very well.
It is just as I thought about Rothrock’s notes on Houstonia.6 All his projected experiments came to nothing, as I thought.—not well carried out.
It is refreshing to me that you find the Special Correspondent of the Times detestable.7
Your comments upon our affairs always show such a good spirit, that you need not fear even my wife’s “indignation”.8
We are sorry that you suffer in England; but you must blame the rebels for it, not us,—and your Manchester people should have looked earlier to India for cotton.9
You dont see, as you would if here—the total impossibility of coming to any terms of peace with the South, based on their independence. Before that can be they or we must be thoroughly beaten. You can’t be expected to see too,—what seems plain to me, that you English would give us no end of trouble, if we attempted a piece-meal existence. We must be strong enough to keep any Old-world power at bay. Then we shall behave pretty well, on the whole,—surely so when the North is dominant and is fairly treated. “Siezing on Canada”.10 What do we want of Canada? When the South was aggressive and making Slave States, we often looked to the peaceful acquisition of Canada as desirable as a counterpoise— But when we had “changed all that”—and it is changed, a〈nd〉 slavery limited, past all do〈ubt,〉—however the combat ends— we no longer have use or need of Canada. If we get set up again, we have work enough at home, & our hands full for years— we shall be strong for defence but weak for aggression. The ill-feeling to England will die out when we are well able to defend ourselves and our home interests.
It does seem that all England wishes us to be weak and divided,—perhaps that is good national policy. But the more that is so, the more necessary it is for us to vindicate our integrity, at whatever cost. Let us have it out now, even at the cost of 10 times what it has cost so far.
I never thought anything of American institutions for England.11 Aristocracy is a natural & needful appendage to Monarchy. You work out your own type—and you will liberalize fast enough,—and leave us to do ours. We’ll make it do,—with some jangling.—
I wish we could be shut up, like the Japanese of old,—for 10 or 20 years,—12 —only with a weekly 〈ma〉il from you and Dr. Hooker, 〈Fa〉re-well.— Ever Yours cordially | Asa Gray.
AG has Cypripedium to send to CD.
Civil War and English feelings.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3799,” accessed on 20 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3799