To Joseph Dalton Hooker [10 and 12 January 1864]1
My dear Hooker.
The last few weeks have been bad ones with excessive vomiting, but I am now better again somewhat.—2 So poor old Boott is gone:3 I never knew him much; but his kindly nature excited love from the first sight.— Emma has written a few lines to Mrs. Boott—4 Do you know her maiden name: I suspect she is grandaughter of Dr. Darwin of Zoonom., who had some illegitimate daughters, who were brought up like ladies.—5
Your article in N. H. Review has been read to me: as usual you honour me.—6 I have been much interested by it; partly because about a year ago I speculated, (after reading about the habits of European weeds in U. States),7 just like you, that our agragrian8 weeds have become habituated & fitted for cultivated ground, And secondly because I have been intending to suggest to you to try & get from N. Zealand, seeds of those few European plants, which are indigenous there, & have been subsequently introduced; & compare the plants raised in this country from such seeds with our true indigenous species; so as accurately see what differences there are.9
Charles had a bad attack of sickness yesterday & he is not able to write himself today11 but he wishes me to tell you that he has a paper from Mr John Scott of the Edin. Botan. Garden on Dimorphism with quite original observations & he will communicate it to the Linn. Soc.12 & he begs if you shd hear it read & hear any favourable mention made about it that you would let Ch. know as Mr Scott has taken immense trouble & is very diffident & low spirited about himself & C. wd be very glad to tell him any thing to encourage him.13
C. wd like very much to know what you think of Herbert Spencer as he cannot appreciate him. He has heard from Mr Wallace with the highest praise of him especially the Social Statics.14 Do you know them
yours very truly | E. D
CD very ill.
Suspects F. Boott’s widow is illegitimate granddaughter of Erasmus Darwin.
CD, like JDH, has speculated that agrarian weeds have become adapted to cultivated ground. Suggests comparison with country of origin.
Wallace’s praise of Herbert Spencer’s Social statics baffles CD.
[Letter completed by E. A. Darwin.]