From J. D. Hooker 2 December 1864
The enclosed letters of Hectors1 may interest you at your leisure.
Have you heard of the small breeze at R.S. apropos of your award—2 Busk3 told me—thus— Sabine said, in his address, that in awarding you the Copley, “all consideration of your Origin was expressly excluded”—4 After the address Huxley5 gets up & asks how this is—& being assured it is so, he insists on the minutes of Council being produced & read, in which of course there was no such exclusion or indeed any allusion to the Origin—6 Busk & Sabine afterwards were discussing the point—Sabine saying that no allusion = express exclusion, & shuffling as usual—when up comes Falconer & to Busk’s horror compliments Sabines address unreservedly.—7 Busk thinking that F. had overheard the discussion said nothing at the time, but calls Falconer to account afterwards; upon which F. is grievously put out, at finding out what he has done, & forthwith goes & writes a letter to Sabine on the subject—8 May the Lord have mercy on S. is all I can say; for F. will have none
This is the story as I believe Busk to have told it me yesterday: but as it has thus passed through 2 hands I do not doubt it is damaged in the process,—so pray take it for no more than it is worth—
Wistaria certainly twined right up a Salisburia upwards of 6 in diam in our Garden. & I think I may positively affirm that Ruscus androgynus is twining sua sponte,9 round one of the columns of our new winter Garden. which is 9 in. diam.10
I carried a proposition in the Linn. Council giving a gratuity of £50 to each of our Secretaries Busk & Currey11—who I hope will get out the Journal in future without delay at the same time I have divorced the Zoology from the Botany (the latter has always had to wait for the former) & urged greater speed in publication making special complaint of your Lythrum paper being so delayed.12 I cannot think you have digressed too much in it.13 it is a splendid paper: quite your best.
A man named Bastian read last night what appeared a capital paper on Nematoid worms advocating the separation of the non-parasitic from the parasitic.14 What is Willy about? has he quite given up Natural History?15
Ever yrs affec | J D Hooker
Christchurch. 15th July 1864 My dear Hooker,
As I have been travelling about N.Z. I have not yet received my letters by either of the two last mails & so cannot answer them. I wrote you a few lines from Auckland acknowledging receipt of the lists of plants.16 Since then Buchanan17 has compared it with the plants and has sent me a few notes which I enclose.
I trust that by this time you have received the West Coast Plants which were sent by the Jany & Feby mails. Also the Analysis of the Geographical distribution.18
In answer to your enquiries— The Areca Sapida does not occur in Otago, but I believe 〈is found〉 on Banks Peninsula and also at the mouth of the Grey on the West Coast. This brings it as high as Lat. 44.° S. & very considerably above its S. American limit!!19 Dr. Munroe20 fancies from the Nelson Africanus that Cordyline indivisa was always sessile, but both on our West Coast and near Auckland I have seen them with stems 12 ft. high. All those I saw in the Nelson woods were however without stems. Can these be two similar species. The leaves also appeared diff. to me.21
I shall send you full illustrations of C. Australis.22 I have enjoyed my tour very much & have made acquaintance with many persons I only knew by name previously— such as Dr. Knight,23 Colenso,24 Travers25 Haast26 &c. Travers is going home soon and I have no doubt that you will like him— He is a natural born botanist that has only lately discovered his vocation. And as he is rich & can afford the leisure you must secure him as a work man. Haast improves very much on acquaintance & is really a very good fellow on the whole. He is most indefatigable & has done lots of good work in the way of collecting and [revising] sections. The excellence of his botanical work you well know. He shewed me some of the proof sheets of your Flora—27 It is splendid & will be highly appreciated in this Colony as there are an unusual percentage of folk here that take an interest in Botany.
Haast asks me to tell you that he has not had time to write by this mail. We have been up country for a few days together looking at the structure of the plains where the rivers hurry on them from the mts. Haast as I suppose you know goes in strongly for glacier action, & has made some excellent observations,28 but his notions on the subject are very confused I think as he does not distinguish sufficiently between the extension of glaciers under existing conditions & their mode of opperating when the features of the mts were different— Oscillations & Faultings have undoubtly occurred in late Geological times & they must have aided & even overruled the Ice action in the formation of the mt valleys. I dont remember if I ever pointed out to you the relation of our great Lakes to the Sounds of the West Coast29
East side sea level Lake 1000 ft. above the sea 2000 ft deep 1290 ft deep
Here it is evident the rock bound basins have been formed on the East side and deep sounds on the West side of the mts by the whole mass of the Island having undergone depression at unequal rates— the West side sinking fastest. The original formation of the valleys I have no doubt was formed by the errosion of glaciers along Anticlines & lines of fault.30 My principal news this mail is that the General Govt have asked me to organise & direct a permanent Geol: Survey of the whole of New Zealand on the same footing as in other Colonies,31 and that as I have agreed to do so I must give up all hope of returning to Europe for many years to come.
I think you will agree that this is right step on the part of Govt so far as the principle is concerned, but whether they have pitched on the right man or not I wont venture to say— At any rate I will work hard to make New Z. what you predicted it should be vizt. a Geological Guage on which we may measure the changes which Physical Geography has undergone in recent Geol: times, by a study of the recent fossils & the living animals & plants.
Already I begin to perceive that in the matter of shells there has been a gradual displacement of S. American (Miocene & Pliocene) forms by forms that are in the equivalent strata of Australia so that the littoral fauna of N. Z. was, say in Miocene times, identical or nearly so with that of W. America but now it is almost Australian—32
I return to Otago today in the mail steamer & if I have time after getting my letters & anything requires answer I shall write you a few lines— Now that I have seen the whole of New Zealand do you know that I think the South Island will be the greater colony. The N. Island has all the natural advantages but the S. Island shews all the signs of active development. I fear very much they are going to break assunder as the miserable Maori question is dragging the whole into the mud while the S. Island has no interest in the matter whatever.33
Pray tell Mrs. Hooker34 that I have never yet been able to get the Postage stamps she wished—they must be very rare indeed but I do not dispair yet.
Ever your affect. friend | James Hector
Dr. Hooker | Kew
Inch Clutha 14th Augt 1864 My dear Hooker,
I have been suddenly obliged to take the field again before I had written my letters. I meant to have sent you several photographs &c. by this mail but cannot do so now. I was glad to learn by your last letter that the plants had all arrived.35 I shall send you the bulk of those sent by post in a box along with other things.
I enclose a small fern that Buchanan says is very rare—only in one spot near Dunedin—& which he does not know whether he has previously sent. It looks like a fern I have seen from the Chatham Is.
I can learn nothing of Antipodes Island but I understand it does exist.36 If I can find out anything about it I will not forget your enquiry. I got a lot of specimens from Chatham Island lately & among them recognised rocks (grits &c.) identical with our old Tertiary (or perhaps Cretaceous) rivers that yield the Brown Coals.
I have every reason to expect that that formation indicates the last great Continental state of the South Hemisphere.
It must have been then occupied by land with gigantic forests & mighty rivers. The great faults that have tilted the older rocks to form the N.Z. Southern Mts. have all been since then & the earliest of the volcanic rocks are of a still later date.
1. Slates. 2. Grits with Brown Coal & [2 words illeg] 3. Clays with Eocene? fossils. 4. Calcarious Sandstone with Miocene and Pliocene fossils. 5. Volcanic rocks (Dolimites and the like.) After 5. comes the epoch of the Moa. 37 This section serves for about any part of the province38 & you will see that the faulting of 1. must have begun after the deposit of 2, but before the deposit of 3 & 4. Thus as 2 is Grits & Conglomerates (i.e. shore deposits) with coal, & is overlaid by clays & this by shale sandstones, it seems to indicate a gradual passage from [Terrestrial] to deep sea conditions & then a partial [recovering] or shoaling prior to the volcanic outbursts. This is only to be applied to faultings that have given form to the surface & dip to the various strata. In addition, just as I believe there was in America, there has been great alternating heavings of the land in mass. Is it possible that this may arise from the unequal retardation of the tides in the opp. hemispheres at diff. periods & be therefore a change of the mean level of the ocean & not an alteration in the radial distance of the Earths surface at the plane?
I think I told you last mail that the General Govt have asked me to remain in N.Z. to organise a Geol. Survey of the whole Colony— It will be many months however before I transfer to my new masters. I am away now to the South Coast where there is a thickly bushed & almost unknown country. I have a lot of papers with me but it is too early for anything but the orchids. I am going in a whale boat with three hands & expect to be gone 4 weeks. Folks say I run great risk but I find they generally overestimate the things they have not tried. I am longing for your book in common with many other folks. You seem to have got on with it at a great pace if you are at Gramineae.39
Ever yours sincerely | James Hector
I have never yet been able to get the P. stamps for Mrs Hooker
Recounts row at the Royal Society over exclusion of mention of Origin from Sabine’s address awarding Copley Medal to CD.
Encloses two letters to JDH from James Hector in New Zealand.
- Letter no.
- Joseph Dalton Hooker
- Charles Robert Darwin
- Sent from
- Source of text
- DAR 101: 260–1; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Director’s correspondence 174: 429–31 & 433–4)
- Physical description
- 4pp † encl 11pp