To J. D. Hooker 18 [November 1862]
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
Very many thanks for Bonafous, which has been very useful to me; but I greatly fear will not be worth your Library having so magnificently purchased.1 Thanks, also, for information about Haughton, on which I was simply curious; he must have, as you say, “a many-horse power of brains”.—2 what a shame about Mann & Burton; it will be a horrid bore for you to get into a dispute with such a man as Burton.—3
I received the other day a German Book, by Dr L. Bückner in which it is said that the distinguished Botanist Hooker first applied natural selection to the replacement of races of men,—the ruder races as Polynesians &c yielding to the civilised Europeans.—4 I cannot remember reading this.—
I hope your awesome labours on Wellwitschia are drawing to a close.— Take care it does not run on into a case of Barnacles, & consume years instead of months.5
Strange to say I have only one little bother for you today, & that is to let me know about what month flowers appear in Acropera Loddigesii & luteola; for I want extremely to beg a few more flowers; & if I knew time I would keep memorandum to remind you.— Why I want these flowers is (& I am much alarmed), that Mr J. Scott of Bot. Garden of Edinburgh, (do you know anything of him?) has written me a very long & clever letter, in which he confirms most of my observations;6 but tells me that with much difficulty he managed to get pollen into orifice or as far as mouth of orifice of six flowers of A. Loddigesii (the ovarium of which I did not examine) & two pods set; one he gathered & saw a very few ovules, as he thinks, on the large & mostly rudimentary placentæ. I shall be most curious to hear whether the other pod produces a good lot of seed. He says he regrets that he did not test the ovules with chemical agents: does he mean Tincture of Iodine?7 He suggests that in state of nature the viscid matter may come to very surface of stigmatic chamber, & so pollen-masses need not be inserted. This is possible, but I shd. think improbable. Altogether the case is very odd, & I am very uneasy; for I cannot hope that A. Loddigesii is hermaphrodite & A. luteola the male of same species.— Whenever I can get Acropera, would be very good time for me to look at Vanda in spirits, which you so kindly preserved for me.—8
Ever yours | C. Darwin
The D. of Argylls Review is very clever, but not convincing to me.—9
P.S. I am in middle of Bates’ paper;10 it is a very admirable & is worth labour (& that not slight) of careful reading— The remarks in the systematic part excellent on formation of species from vars.—11 It is a pity the title did not more plainly tell contents.12 Most wonderful the mimetic resemblances!
A German scholar says JDH first applied natural selection to replacement of races of men, the ruder races of Polynesians yielding to civilised Europeans. CD cannot remember reading this.
Warns JDH to take care Welwitschia does not turn into a case of barnacles and consume years instead of months.
In what months do flowers appear in Acropera loddigesia and A. luteola? CD is alarmed by John Scott’s observations on them, which differ from his own. "I am very uneasy."
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3812,” accessed on 30 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3812