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Letter 2504

Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D.

15 Oct [1859]

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    Summary Add

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    Book finished some two weeks.

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    Feeling much better at Ilkley.

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    Lyell thinks favourably of book but "staggered" at lengths to which CD goes.

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    Which continental botanists should receive presentation copies?


Wells Terrace | Ilkley | Otley | Yorkshire

Oct 15th

My dear Hooker

Be a good man & screw out time enough to write me a note & tell me a little about yourself your doings & belongings. Is your Introduction fairly finished? I know that you will abuse it, & I know well how much I shall like it.

I have been here nearly a fortnight, & it has done me very much good; though I sprained my ancle last Sunday, which has quite stopped walking. All my family come here on Monday to stop 3 or 4 weeks & then I shall go back to the great Establishment & stay a fortnight; so that if I can keep up my spirits I shall stay 8 weeks here & thus give Hydropathy a fair chance. Before starting here I was in an awful state of stomach strength, temper & spirits.

My Book has been completely finished some little time; as soon as copies are ready of course one will be sent you. I hope you will mark your copy with scores so that I may profit by any criticisms. I shd like to hear general impression. From Lyell's letters he thinks favourably of it; but seems staggered by the lengths to which I go. But if you go any considerable length in the admission of modification; I can see no possible means of drawing line, & saying here you must stop. Lyell is going to reread my Book, & I yet entertain hopes that he will be converted or perverted as he calls it. Lyell has been extremely kind in writing me three volume-like letters; but he says nothing about dispersal during glacial period: I shd like to know what he thinks on this head. I have one question to ask; would it be any good to send copy of my Book to Decaisne? And do you know any philosophical Botanist on Continent, who reads English & cares for such subjects? if so give me their addresses.— How about Anderss?on in Sweden?

You cannot think how refreshing it is to idle away whole day, & hardly ever think in the least about my confounded Book, which half killed me. I much wish I could hear of your taking a real rest. I know how very strong you are mentally, but I never will believe that you can go on working as you have worked of late, with impunity. You will some day, stretch the string too tight.

Farewell my good & kind & dear friend. Yours affecty | C. Darwin

Pray give my very kind remembrances to Mrs Hooker.—

If I could keep at home like I feel here, I shd be a man again; & should so enjoy a little society of my friends.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2504.f1
    Hooker 1859.
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    f2 2504.f2
    See letter to W. E. Darwin, [14 October 1859].
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    f3 2504.f3
    CD recorded that he ‘Finished proofs’ of Origin on 1 October 1859 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
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    f4 2504.f4
    Only one of Charles Lyell's letters has been found. See letter from Charles Lyell, 3 October 1859.
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    f5 2504.f5
    CD had asked in the letter to Charles Lyell, 25 September [1859], for Lyell's opinion of his discussion of geographical distribution.
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    f6 2504.f6
    The French botanist Joseph Decaisne was a friend of Hooker's who had adopted Hooker's views on the great variability of species (Correspondence vol. 6, letter from J. D. Hooker, [6 December 1857]). It appears that CD did send him a copy of Origin. See letters to J. D. Hooker, 21 [December 1859], 23 [December 1859], and 25 [December 1859].
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    f7 2504.f7
    Nils Johan Andersson, a Swedish botanist who had worked with Hooker at Kew, had helped CD in the past (see Correspondence vol. 6, letters to J. D. Hooker, 22 August [1857] and 11 September [1857]). It is not known whether CD sent him a presentation copy, but see letter to J. D. Hooker,[23 October 1859].
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