From J. D. Hooker 26 March 1871
Royal Gardens Kew
The Hibiscus is probably quite new—a grand plant, & referable to Abutilon, it is closely allied to A. virens, & may indeed be a var of that plant1
Can you send me or Oliver a good flowering specimen, in a tin box, for figuring in the Bot. Mag.2
We have dried specimens from Fritz Mueller also.3
The Azalea of which Mrs Darwin is enamoured is A. amœna of China;4 I have ordered a plant to be sent to you— unluckily we have no young plants, so that which goes is rather old: & possibly may not live— plant it in peat & put leaf mould or dead leaves over the soil. All that class have very fine subsurface rootlets that easily perish through evaporation of surface soil.
I will see to Drosophyllum5 A Sirdar is a head man overseer or such like, & may be of any nation: it is I think a persian word.6
The success of your book delights me to hear of— 5500 copies!— it is tremendous. I grudge John Murray his share.7 I hear that Ladies think it delightful reading, but that it does not do to talk about it, which no doubt promotes the sale— the only way to get it being to order it on the sly!— I dined out three days last week, & at every table heard Evolution talked of as an accepted fact— & the descent of man with calmness. I take it to read in P. & O. in intervals of Sea Sickness.8
Cunningham is here, I am sore put to, to talk about his book— it is melancholy9
A man called yesterday who had been up to my most distant passes in the Himalaya—the first man to do it since 1848! a Mr. Elwes,—formerly I believe a Guardsman,10 who has taken enthusiastically to Ornithology— one of the Blandford’s accompanied him— I must be vain enough to tell you that he found my book a “miracle of accuracy” & that he could find nothing I had not taken note of. Of course he is not much of an observer himself, & I dare say that Blandford will tell a different story!—11 “sufficient for the day is the [textgreek[kudos]] thereof”12
I sail on 1st by P & O to Gibraltar—& shall take good care of myself— As to the interior or the Atlas, I cannot go without the Sultan’s firman, which is absolute protection— & I must confess that, despite of Ld Granville’s efforts & Drummond Hay’s influence, I am not sanguin of obtaining it—13 still the climate of Tangiers (if I get no further) is capital & the Botany admirable. I shall think wofully of you when away.
John Ball & G. Maw14 are both safe men, & will be accomplished companions, & I do feel that I want a thorough change. What with my ordinary duties, & the life that that insensate brute & fool Ayrton has led me last winter,15 I shall be glad enough to get away— I shall leave my wife & family well, Willy doing as well as possible with his private tutor, & Charlie at Springrove—& Harriette at Bury.16
I fear for Huxley who, (his wife tells me), is running a fearful rig of work— & the School of mines is naturally enough complaining—17 What I most dislike is, this unsettlement for any future scientific or self sustaining work: his love of exercising his marvellous intellectual power over men is leading him on—& on—& on—God knows to where— here he is now, at Owen’s College Manchester on Friday & lecturing again to working men at Liverpool yesterday, & to be back in London tonight!
Love to you all | Ever yours | Jos D Hooker
Answers CD’s questions.
Reception of Descent. Evolution accepted everywhere; descent of man accepted calmly.
Fears for Huxley, who is overworked.
- queries / requests
- reception of Darwinism
- scientific fieldwork/fieldtrips
- sexual selection
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7627,” accessed on 30 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7627