From J. D. Hooker 13 May 1866
My dear Darwin
This may interest you.1 I can talk with A. Gray now calmly & dispassionately, which I could not do during the war, holding as I then did, that whatever the rights of the N. may have been, they had no right to resort to bloodshed to procure their ends—2
I am longing to know how you go on, after the startling apparition of your face at R.S. Soirèe—which I dreamed of 2 nights running.3 Tyndall came up to me in raptures at seeing you—& told me to worship Bence Jones in future—4
Tylor was here & spent the day last week, I like him much & have persuaded him to draw up questions to be sent to Consuls & especially missionaries, through whose wives a lot of most curious information could be obtained—5 Tying the umbilical cord has always appeared to me to be the greatest mystery of humanity— how ever did such a custom originate & spread— it is to me an unanswerable argument in favor of unity of species of man.6
What shocking twaddle is old Crawfurds paper on cultivated plants!.7
A fine Surveying ship is going to survey Magellans straits & I am doing my utmost to get a good Naturalist with Zoological acquirements especially to be sent out.8 Capt Mayne (son of Head Beak) & who wrote a fair book on Brit Columbia, is going out—a nice fellow.9 What a nuisance this “international” week will be10
Mrs Oliver has been very ill indeed—but is better I hope though still confined to bed— She has had a little daughter, prematurely—but her complaint is of the throat & mucous membranes.11
Lowe (Revd.) of Madeira is here— he has had a second winter in Cape de Verde with Wollaston, both in a Mr Gray’s Yacht,12 He describes the interior as most beautiful & most wild & picturesque. He has got a good many of the Cameroons plants on the high Mts. which you will be glad to know of—13 I must get a list for you.14
I hope these commercial failures have not affected you or your’s.15 my balance being on the wrong side at my Bankers is a comfort!
Has Woolner begun your bust?16 Huxley has a 7th. daughter!17
I hear the Miss Horners are in a state of frantic excitement about Katy—18 I have often thought what a picturesque Joan of Arc Susan would make.—19 N.B. my ideas of J. A. are wholly derived from Etty’s & Millais’ pictures:20 I do not know even in whose reign she lived, if in any;21 and as I have no Wedgwood Medallion of her I have no means of knowing.22 By the way my pursuit of that blue art is over, & the crockery shops know me no more. I have never time to go to London now, and hope never to have again.— I do hope to have time to get to Down with my wife this summer if Mrs Darwin will take F. in & let me go up & down— What are your plans for June or July?23
What news of Etty?24
If you could run up to Town to take one peep of this Hort show on 22d. it would repay you I am sure & I would meet you there.25 I expect it will recall the Tropics— we are sending 8 Van loads of Palms &c
Wallace is married you see—a daughter of Mr Mitten a very acute cryptogamic Botanist of Hurst Pier point26
Ever Yours affec | J D Hooker
Refers to enclosure from Asa Gray
with whom he can talk calmly now that war is over. North had no right to resort to bloodshed.
Startled by CD’s attendance at Royal Society soirée.
Has asked E. B. Tylor to make up questions for consuls and missionaries, through whose wives a lot of most curious information [for Descent?] could be obtained.
Tying umbilical cord has always been a mystery to JDH.
John Crawfurd’s paper on cultivated plants is shocking twaddle ["On the migration of cultivated plants in reference to ethnology", J. Bot. Br. & Foreign 4 (1866): 317–32].
R. T. Lowe back from Madeira.