To Joseph Dalton Hooker 3 January 
My dear Hooker
I am burning with indignation & must exhale. If you have not already read, do read the first part of Falconer’s paper on Elephants in N. H. Review & mark Owen’s whole conduct.—1 I could not get to sleep till past 3 last night from indignation. Thinking over his conduct in this case, in the Brain-case2 & towards Mantell3 Nasmyth,4 Huxley,5 you & self,6 & review on Lyell,7 the Terlepeton case8 &c &c, I declare I think every honest man of science is almost bound to show his sense of Owen’s character. I have made up my mind, as far as I can at this distance of time, to attend when next Council of Royal is elected, & if no else does, vote for some other man;9 & if Owen were to come & speak to me I would tell him for what I came. But possibly he may answer Falconer, & explain. I have read only about of Falconer’s paper.—10 The Reviews seem good in this number.—11
Now for pleasanter subjects; we were all amused at your defence of stamp collecting & collecting generally.12 Henrietta13 had audacity to say “well I think Dr. Hooker shows that it leads all sorts of vice; yet I shall go on collecting plants, for I love to look at them.” I ought to say nothing against collecting for th of my children collect, & I collected seals, franks, coins minerals, shells insects & God knows what else. But by Jove I can hardly stomach a grown man collecting stamps. Who would ever have thought of your collecting Wedgwood ware!14 but that is wholly different like engravings or pictures. We are degenerate descendants of old Josiah W. for we have not a bit of pretty ware in the house.—15
When you see Mr Oldfield pray thank him; my questions were foolish; but not rarely foolish questions, lead, I find, to good results.—16
Notwithstanding the very pleasant reason you give for our not enjoying a holiday, namely that we have no vices, it is a horrid bore.—17 I have been trying for health sake to be idle with no success. What I shall soon have to do, will be to erect a tablet in Down church “sacred to the memory &c” & officially die, & then publish books “by the late Charles Darwin”; for I cannot think what has come over me of late; I always suffered from the excitement of talking, but now it has become ludicrous. I talked lately for 1 hours (broken by tea by myself) with my nephew18 & I was shaking & vomiting half the night— It is a fearful evil for self & family.
Goodnight | Ever yours | C. Darwin
My children’s dried flowers get a little mouldy; is it not good to wash them with corrosive Sublimate19 (how much?) in spirits? or in water? Sometime tell me.—
Indignant over Owen’s conduct as described in Hugh Falconer’s article on elephants ["On the American fossil elephant of the regions bordering the Gulf of Mexico", Nat. Hist. Rev. (1863): 43–114].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3898,” accessed on 28 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3898