To Julius von Haast 22 January 1863
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
I thank you most sincerely for sending me your address & the Geological Report.1 I have seldom in my life read anything more spirited & interesting than your address. The progress of your colony makes one proud, & it is really admirable to see a Scientific Institution founded in so young a nation.—2 I thank you for the very honourable notice of my “Origin of Species”.—3 You will easily believe how much I have been interested by your striking facts on the old Glacial period.4 And I should suppose the world might be searched in vain for so grand a display of Terraces.—5 You have indeed a noble field for Scientific research & discovery.— I have been extremely much interested by what you say about the tracks of supposed mammalia.—6 Might I ask if you succeed in discovering what the creatures are, you would have the great kindness to inform me.— Perhaps they may turn out something like the Solen-hofen bird-creature with its long tail & fingers with claws to its wings!7 I may mention that in S. America in completely uninhabited regions I found spring Rat-traps, baited with cheese were very successful in catching the smaller mammals.8
I would venture to suggest to you to urge on some of the capable members of your Institution to observe & annually record the rate & manner of spreading of European weeds & insects, & especially to observe what native plants most fail: this latter point has never been attended to. Do the introduced Hive-bees replace any other insect? &c &c.— All such points are, in my opinion, great desiderata in science.—9
What an interesting discovery that of the remains of Prehistoric man!10
Believe me, Dear Sir, with the most cordial respect & thanks | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin
Thanks JvH for his address [to the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury], his Geological Report [Topographical and geological exploration of the western districts of the Nelson province, New Zealand (1861)],
and for the "honourable" notice of Origin.
CD especially interested in JvH’s facts on the old glacial period.
Asks about fossil remains [of supposed living mammalia] which CD thinks may be like "the Solenhofen bird-creature" [Archaeopteryx].
Urges the recording of rate and manner of spreading of European weeds and plants and observation on which native plants "most fail".
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Haast, J. F. J. von
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand (Haast family papers, MS-Papers-0037-051)
- Physical description
- endemic forms
- experiment, scientific observation
- geological time, epochs
- introduced forms
- positive attitude/assessment
- queries / requests
- reception of Darwinism
- struggle for existence
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3935,” accessed on 29 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3935