To J. D. Hooker 24 July 1
Caerdeon, Barmouth N. Wales
My dear Hooker.
We shall be at home this day week, taking two days on the Journey & right glad I shall be.2 The whole has been a failure to me but much enjoyment to the young, except to poor George3 who has been a good deal unwell & has just got over a severe abscess in the throat, & is much pulled down. My wife has ailed a good deal nearly all the time; so that I loathe the place with all its beauty.—
I was glad to hear what you thought of F. Müller, & I agree wholly with you: your letter came at nick of time for I was writing on the very day to Müller, & I passed on your approbation of Chapt X & XI.4— Some time I shd like to borrow the Transact. of N. Zealand Institute so as to read Colenso’s article.5— You must read Huxley v. Comte: he never wrote anything so clever before, & has smashed everybody right & left in grand style.6 I had a vague wish to read Comte & so had George, but he has entirely cured us of any such vain wish.
There is another article, just come out in last North British, by some great mathematician, which is admirably done: he has a severe fling at you, but the article is directed against Huxley & for Thomson.7 This review shows me, not that I required being shown, how devilish a clever fellow Huxley is, for the Reviewer cannot help admiring his abilities— There are some good specimens of mathematical arrogance in the Review, & incidentally he shows how often astronomers have arrived at conclusions, which are now seen to be mistaken; so that geologists might truly answer that we must be slow in admitting your conclusions. Nevertheless all Uniformitarians had better at once cry “peccavi”;8 not but what I feel a conviction that the world will be proved rather older than Thomson makes it, & far older than the Reviewer makes it.9— I am glad I have faced & admitted the difficulty in last Edit. of Origin, of which I suppose you received, according to orders, a copy.10
You ask about my man-book; everything has been of late at a stand still with me, for I have not had strength to do hardly anything: the new Edit of Origin took 8 weeks, & notes for French Edit. of Orchids nearly 2 weeks; I shall publish these notes in English likewise.11—
In the last Quarterly there is a long article on “Design”, & I shd like to hear who the author is, if you shd. ever hear.12— I have read only a small part & do not think much of what I have as yet read.
Did you ever study Drosophyllum, as you proposed to do when at Down, & does it prove closely allied to Drosera?13
It will be very comfortable to you, when you know that your Willie is settled with a good man with a quiet & healthy occupation.14—
My dear old friend— Yours affect. | C. Darwin
An article in North British Review by mathematician against Hooker and Huxley and for William Thomson [P. G. Tait, "Geological time", North Br. Rev. 50 (1869): 406–39]. Feels a conviction that world will be found older than reviewer makes it.
Article on "Design" [by J. B. Mozley] in Quarterly Review [127 (1869): 134–76].
Has JDH studied Drosophyllum?
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6841,” accessed on 24 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6841