From J. D. Hooker [24 May 1863]1
I was aware how poorly you must be on receiving the sad case & Abbeville paper, for both of which much thanks.2 No one yet knows who wrote said Case— Busk & Egerton both deny it.3 Wm. Gourlay F.L.S. is the man you ask about,4 a most estimable fellow who did great good in Glasgow all ways, & died awfully of Fungus hæmatodes in the face! a dreadful death, & rapid.
I twice took Clianthus, to look at it, but had no time, & so sent it to you— not doubting that you would explain it readily & rightly, & that if I tried I should make a bungle of it.5
Thanks for your exposition of your Island views.6 I think I understand them precisely— my difficulty in accepting them arises from the want of apparent accordance between the plants common to Isld & continent, & what I should have expected to be common. In other words migration inadequate to explain the presence of what is common to both, & the absence of what is absent in one. I am far from believing in ancient connection, all I hold is that in the present state of science it is to me the least difficult hypothesis—though a very bad one.7 Cameroons Mts have much shaken my faith in our having any clue to ancient or modern migration as yet—8 We want some new hypothesis, as novel as Nat. Selection, or Glacial Cold, & as stupendous as continental connection.
I do hope Godman & Salvin will stick to Gallapagos—9 my fear is that G., a fine looking young man of means, will be bagged by some pretty girl before a year is over.
I had a preliminary talk with F. the other evening about a reconciliation with Lyell.10 of course he was not ready yet, that I expected but I thought right to broach the subject before he was ready—it will probably be months yet. Poor Lyell seems perdu, no one sees him in London, & I am told by one that met him at Osborne, that he button-holes you about F.—as Wheatstone used about Brewster.11
I am going to re-read Wallaces book.12 I do not remember that it interested me at all when it appeared. I wonder that Wallace does not fructify as Bates does.13 Dr Gray is really not malignant, Owen is,—Gray has all the attributes of malignancy except malignance—14 there then!—or rather, he talks like a malignant man without feeling in the least malignant.— I never knew Gray to do an action that sprung from an unkind motive or feeling. he abounds in all the active attributes of unkindness & malignancy without being either in heart.
I will get the Anthropolical.15 I shall be intensely interested in your opinion of Benthams Address16 It is neither judicial nor argumentative, only intended to show his opinion of the position of your hypothesis in regard to its acceptance, its influence & its future prospects, on scientific research— he has taken immense pains with it— of course he does not appreciate half your stand-points.
What a mess Falc. Busk, Carpenter & Prestwich have made of it!17 We had a “field night” at the Club last Thursday, & trotted them all out.18 I cannot but think that Prestwich’s position is most awkward— he had just claimed from Lyell the lion’s share of authority in such matters & forthwith breaks down on a practical question.19 I regard the position of all 4 as humiliating. Falconer is of his original opinion saving solely that no fraud was played, (how he reconciles this to his facts I cannot conceive). Busk believes a little more than F.— Carpenter more than either, & P. is ready to believe any thing!20 Falc. assured us that his whole conversation with Lartet in the train from Paris to Moulin Quignon was, how so to word the Report as to give least umbrage to France’s susceptibility!21 Lubbock tells me he is going next week to see for himself.22
My wife’s knee is bad again but better— we go to the Nightingales for 3 days this week, & to Bury-hill next for as long or longer—23 I do hate these sort of visits, but one has no business to cut old & kind friends, & certainly trotting about agrees with my wife, & it is very nice to see how people like her— How people with disagreeable wives can visit is a most fearful & wonderful thing.
I saw Huxley on Thursday looking quite well— his wife & children are at Felixstow.24
Palmerston has given my brother in Law Leonard a living of £600 & good house in Suffolk, near Halesworth.— his wife has had a very bad confinement indeed.25
I fancy I can feel the bad influence of Yankee affairs on A Gray’s ordinary correspondence:26 it makes him very bumptious scientifically!
I send you Nægeli’s paper & I pity you,27 but you are a hard headed man:—these subjects & papers floor me.— Please send it back when done with as it is Library copy
I will remember the 2-formed stamen plant (Lagerstroemia) when it flowers—28
I am glad that Lubbock is going to Abbeville— that young man wants advice— he is living too hard, a great deal, what with business Society & science—29 I feel very strongly attached to him indeed. I think him the most faultless character I know, who is at the same time one of the best & most active & clever. Thank God there are some men worth living for, but really when one peeps beyond the immediate circle of ones friends one gets disgusted & disquited altogether.
Ever your affecte grumbler | J D Hooker
Flora of Cameroons shakes JDH’s faith in ability to explain past or present migrations. Sees need for a major novel explanation such as natural selection, glacial cold, or continental connections.
Lyell in a bad way about feud with Falconer.
JDH’s opinion of Wallace, Bates, J. E. Gray, Owen, Asa Gray, Lubbock, and Bentham.
Bentham’s Linnean Society address [see 4118].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4169,” accessed on 25 April 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4169