From J. D. Hooker 17 July 1869
Royal Gardens Kew
July 17th /69.
Dear old Darwin
It is mild weather—therm 81. in my room, & I am indisposed to describe Cucurbitaceæ for the W. Africa flora, the interest of which vanished after I had done these Genera for Gen. Plants. & I have just been idling over Fritz Muellers work, & that makes me wonder how you are & that makes me write this letter!—1 I think here is causation enough to please Herbert Spencer. I find the first 96 pp. of F. Mueller very dull, not remembering enough of Crustacea—but Chapt X on Principles of Classification & XI on Evolution strike me as being remarkably good in matter, though the manner of them is not unexceptionable He certainly hits Agassiz hard, & his analysis of the great God J. Muller is searching, & very reverential though damaging.2 The same thoughts anent embryogenic resemblance &c had often crossed my mind.
The obs. 5 in note of p. 119 is a very good one, & exceedingly suggestive.3
I have had a queer Strasburgh Mathematician here with me this morning, about Phyllotaxy &c & we have had a long chat, during which he has expounded certain queer aspects of scientific theories—eg. that the original primordial cell—from which all organized creatures were developed, was that of Man—in as much as it has attained it’s highest development in Man.4 I told him that Pangenesis would demand this, for the original cell must have contained the original Gemmules which enter into the composition of every cell of Man.—5
Hector writes me that he thinks of putting Willy on a farm with a friend of his own, a goodly man with a good wife, who has leased Govr. Gray’s farms on Kawa Island—near Auckland.6
Hector tells me that they have found lots of Saurian bones in the brown coal of N.Z.7
I have just got the 1st part of the Transacts. of the N.Z. Institute—a most excellent volume. Colensos account of the natives seems to me to be most admirable & very interesting—& there are various other (unread) articles with interesting titles.8
I agree with you about fascination, & oddly enough had already written to Mrs Barber, the same view as to not doubting the facts, but the explanation. I have sent it to Pop. Sc. Rev.9
I saw Huxley yesterday at a dinner party, looking well I thought, but complaining of getting bloated. I see he has been at Comte again but I have not read his Article.10
Pray let some one write & tell me how you are. I do wish you would get better. I suppose the book on Man is at a stand still.—11
Ever yrs affec | J D Hooker
On reading F. Müller’s Facts and arguments for Darwin .
Agrees with CD on fascination [of snakes].
Huxley is at Comte again.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6832,” accessed on 9 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6832