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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   20 April 1863

[Royal Gardens Kew]

April 20th/63

Dear Darwin

We returned on Friday having enjoyed the trip most amazingly— visiting Weymouth, Portland & its attractive establishment of rogues & villains, Jersey & Guernsey.—1 We had good weather, but the cool ocean kept down the temp. of the Islands, which are now a good 10 days behind England!

A thousand thanks for your letter.2 I am grieved with Falconers letter, he has made out no case for himself or Prestwich, his vanity & presumption are overweening, & the last paragraphs depreciatory of Lyell as an original observer is as bad as any thing Owen ever writ in its way.3 I am deeply sorry— Lyells answer, though not crushing is damning.4 I like its tone temper & spirit— it is manly & temperate—well done in short.—& (were it possible) raises him in my eyes. What can Prestwich be thinking about to lend his weight to such an attack, by getting on Fs. back, instead of fighting along side him, or by himself.—5 The whole thing is bad

Carpenters love of self has cost him the loss of the best opportunity of smashing Owen that ever was offered to mortal man, & I cannot help thinking that Owen calculated it would be so!—6 C might have smashed Owen like a Black beetle; but his motive was obviously to clear himself of the imputation of being dry-nursed by you,7 & to let the world know that he had a Royal medal!.8

I have just received a bottle of cones of Welwitchia in spirits, these actually bristle with the projecting styliform processes of the useless ovules, all on the look out for pollen, of which they never get one grain, nor have the ovules a trace of embryo-sac.—9 it confirms my conclusions. & is the most wonderful fact in vegetable embryology. only conceive all men having huge mammæ with no lactiferous glands whilst women (breeding) had microscopic ones, & yet the case would not be half so wonderful. There never was such a case of a retained organ whose function was gone—& the more I think of it the more I worship your theory.

I do not think Bentham will make much of the question of species, he only proposes to review the state of the question for Linnæan Anniversary.10

Have you ever read the “Admiral’s daughter”, one of “Two Old Mens tales” by the author of Emilia Wyndham.11 I read it 25 years ago & was deeply interested. I picked it up the other day, & was almost equally affected: it is very powerful & very true. I can send it you (ends badly)

I see McCaul & Manchester have fairly ridden down poor Natal, about the Hare & I cannot but think that their answers will be considered triumphant by 910 of readers.12

Please return Haasts letter at your leisure.13

My boy Willy14 is at home now much the same as ever, very good & good natured, happy & amiable; but not strong & very nervous— his mind is an utter vaccuum, he cares for no one thing, attends to nothing, & regrets nothing. he is very young of his age. I do not think he made one single sensible observation throughout the journey— Charlie15 is as much the other way, overflowing with animal spirits, never says or does a foolish thing, & is as amusing as a monkey & knowing as a Yankee   he attracts a great deal of attention & would be spoiled were he less sensible, or were his mind less occupied— he walks 10 miles without knocking up, & is a keen observer and Collector— he must be very like what his grandfather Henslow was,16 & I long to bring him to Down one day.

I am urging Oliver to take up Orchideæ,17 & hope you will back me. I do not know an order in which there is more to do in every way, & we sadly want an orchidologist. Lindly returns from Vichy today—no better either as to memory or the use of his hands.18

I have notice of Benguela temp. & trop. form, it amounts to nothing per se (it was by Welwitsch).19—but it is important as backing up the Cameroons migrations & in reference to them. I am using it in the discussion.20

Planchon’s address is Prof. Bot. Montpellier21

Your Oxalis is not in flower now with us, but is probably a Mexican species called Deppei, I have ordered an eye to be kept upon it.22

I send Orchis seeds, (do you want pods too?)23

Ever yours affec | J D Hooker

[Enclosure]

Lake Ohau   N. Zealand

December 10th. 1862.

My dear Dr. Hooker

Having hurt my right hand slightly by a fall with a horse, I have to employ one of my travelling companions to write this.24 I had the pleasure to receive here your letter of Sepr. 18th. which like all your communications has given me infinite pleasure.25 I would have written to you sooner, had I not waited for the list of plants, promised to me in your letter of June.26 In the mean time I had the pleasure to send you two memoirs which will I hope interest you.27 You will find in them something more about the Physical geography of this island & on my return to Christchurch in April I shall begin to write a more extended report with maps & sections, illustrative of the Geology & physical geography of this part of New Zealand.28

You see I am again in the Alps, reexamining some spots where the inclemency of the weather did not allow me to remain long enough before, and then I shall continue my researches towards the sourses of lakes Wanaka & Hawea from the former reaching the west-coast to Jacksons Bay.29 I found a few glacial shells, but they were so rotten that I could make nothing of them but I know a spot where there are more to be had, & I shall do my best to procure them. I discovered this latter spot only a few days ago, when on my road from Christchurch here. Amongst them a Mytilus in boulder clay, and if worth while, I shall send you my whole gathering, to have it examined.30 It also struck me forcibly that our glaciers are enormous, when considering the small size of the island the comparatively low elevation of the mountains & the low latitude.

Have you not published your travels in India & by what publisher?31 I should like very much to study your book if it is still to be procured. You are quite right in saying there are many reasons to deter you from coming to New Zealand, and I shall do my best to give you such accounts, that your interest in its physical geography & natural productions, will not be diminished. The other day I again studied your ‘Flora’ & observe that you describe the Discaria as being only a few feet high,32 but this is not always the case as in the valley of the Alps & on the sides of the hills, I have seen it as high as 15 feet, having sometimes a knotty stem a foot in diameter. This spiney gentleman being called by the setlers ‘Wild Irishman’ with this gentle ascociate, aciphylla squarrosa, the ‘bloody spaniard’ of the setlers, forms some-times the only vegetation of these happy river beds, through which we had to wend our way, being hours in going one mile & emerging again on better ground with torn clothes & bleeding limbs.33

In coming here I made again a very striking observation viz. that travelling on the southern side of the Waitaki to this place & crossing hills about 2200 feet high, not a single species of Celmisia was to be found, and only a yellow flowering Sinecio with white leaves whilst on the upper parts of the Canterbury plains, & on the other side of the Pakaki river several species of the Celmisia are abundant, showing how local plants often are.

I have not yet seen Prof. Ramsay’s paper, but as my last case of books arrived as I left town, I shall read it on my return.34 The phenomenon that the Himalayan lakes lie only on the northern side whilst they are wanting on the southern, finds its counterpart in our Alps, but as the slopes of our Alps on their western side, are also narrow & steep, our lakes lie on the eastern, which have shallow & broad valleys; may this occurrance not offer us an easy explanation to this fact? A glacier on the steep side of a mountain will much sooner reach the foot, it cannot collect with others to form one large glacier, which by its compactness offers more resistance to the effect of the sun and atmospheric influences, in consequence the amount of detritus brought down, cannot be so great that it can form large terminal moraines, & the valley being steep, the rush of the waters will soon destroy & disperse this detritus, however large it may be and thus the first cause of the formation of lakes is destroyed.

I have not yet begun to study Mr. Darwin’s new work,35 which will be a great treat for me on my return; he is a man after my own heart & I do not recollect having enjoyed more intellectual pleasure, than when I began to peruse his wonderful work on the ‘Origin of species’, he has no more faithful disciple in the southern hemisphere than me & I have made it my duty to combat the popular prejudices against this work, & I dare say my voice has brought to the right path many an honest man who was seeking the truth on this important subject.36 I consider it the highest compliment you could pay me, in sending my letter to Mr. Darwin & for which I thank you heartily.37 I have written in the enclosed letter to him concerning the animals which he wishes to procure from N.Z.38

I am in hopes that the collection which Mr. Harris takes with him to Europe for you will reach you in time, so that you may use them for your supplement.39 Already on the present journey I have collected a good many plants, some of which seem to me to be undiscribed, and this year I shall be in time in the Alps for the flowering season, so that I hope you will receive my new collection in time for your popular work on the N. Zealand Flora.40 You will have heard from the General Govert. of Auckland that the necessary money has been voted for the publication of this work,41 altho’ there was not the least doubt about it, our friend Monro42 being speaker of the house and the majority of the members men of good education, Mr. Travers wrote separately to each member of our Province,43 & I spoke to them personally before they left, all with one exception cordially entered into the subject, & the only gentleman who was opposed to it, said that the great expenses of the Maori difficulty did not allow them at present to think of science for that Session.44 The consequence was that when I invited the most influential & best educated members of the community, to join me for the formation of the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury,45 I purposely omitted him; Altho’ as I heard afterwards he did vote for the publication of the work. Altho’ he is one of our most influential men, this little lesson has done him good, and I could scarcely suppress a smile when he told me the other day, that in order to prepare himself to be elected a member of our Institute, he had bought some botanical handbooks to study the science.

I had the pleasure to receive the kind note of Sir Wm. Hooker,46 for which you will thank him in my name

Our Provincial Agent Mr. John Marshman 16 Charing Cross London will be happy to forward anything, entrusted to his care for me.47

I see my letter gets so long that I think it wrong to intrude further on your valuable time and hoping that you will continue to let me hear sometimes from you.

Believe me my dear Dr. Hooker | Most sincerely & truly yours | Julius Haast

Dr. J. D. Hooker F.R.S. | Royal Gardens | Kew

Footnotes

Between 2 and 17 April 1863, Hooker and his wife, Frances Harriet, travelled to the Dorset coast and to the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey with their sons William Henslow Hooker and Charles Paget Hooker (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [28 March 1863]). Hooker refers to the convict prison on the Isle of Portland (EB).
Letter to J. D. Hooker, [17 April 1863].
Hooker refers to Hugh Falconer’s letter in the Athenæum, 4 April 1863, pp. 459–60, which criticised Charles Lyell for not giving sufficient credit to his research and that of Joseph Prestwich in C. Lyell 1863a. See letter from John Lubbock, 7 April 1863 and n. 6. Hooker also refers to Richard Owen (see also n. 6, below).
Lyell answered Falconer’s criticisms in the Athenæum, 18 April 1863, pp. 523–5.
Hooker refers to the last paragraph in Falconer’s letter to the Athenæum, 4 April 1863, p. 460, which reads: ‘I need hardly add, that I have been authorized by my friend, Mr. Prestwich, to make those statements contained in the above remarks which have reference to him.’
The reference is to Owen’s anonymous review of Carpenter 1862, which appeared in the Athenæum, 28 March 1863, pp. 417–19, and to William Benjamin Carpenter’s reply (Athenæum, 4 April 1863, p. 461). Both articles are reproduced in Appendix VII.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, [17 April 1863] and n. 9. See also letter to Athenæum, 18 April [1863], letter to Charles Lyell, 18 April [1863], and Appendix VII.
See Athenæum, 4 April 1863, p. 461. The Royal Medals were instituted by George IV, and are awarded annually by the Royal Society of London for the two most important contributions to science published in the British dominions not more than ten years or less than one year before the date of the awards (EB).
Hooker read an account of Welwitschia before the Linnean Society on 18 December 1862 and 16 January 1863; it was published in the society’s Transactions (J. D. Hooker 1863a). He described a functionless male flower, which he called a hermaphrodite: six stamens, fused at the base, surrounded a sterile ovule with a large, tubular styliform body extending outwards (ibid., pp. 21–4). Each such unit, of which there were a number, looked, with its associated bractlets, much like an angiosperm flower; such a structure is not otherwise known in gymnosperms. Hooker reasoned that Welwitschia was a transitional form between gymnosperms and angiosperms (ibid., p. 38).
See letter to J. D. Hooker, [17 April 1863] and n. 18. George Bentham had asked CD for information on published reactions to CD’s theory to use in preparing his anniversary address as president of the Linnean Society, which was to be delivered on 25 May 1863 (Bentham 1863). See letters from George Bentham, [c. 14 April 1863] and 21 April 1863. Bentham’s stated intention in regard to CD and Origin was to ‘ascertain how far the discussion and verification of his views have proceeded since the publication of his work’ (Bentham 1863, p. xvi).
Two old men’s tales: the deformed, and the admiral’s daughter ([Marsh] 1834) and Emilia Wyndham ([Marsh] 1846) were written by Anne Marsh, later Marsh-Caldwell (DNB).
Hooker refers to the controversy that followed the publication of the first two parts of The Pentateuch and the book of Joshua critically examined (Colenso 1862–79) by the liberal clergyman John William Colenso, bishop of Natal. In a speech delivered to the Church Missionary Society in Manchester on 17 March 1863, James Prince Lee, bishop of Manchester, was reported to have stated that anyone declaring one line of the sacred books to be unfaithful or untrustworthy destroyed the basis of Christian belief. In a letter published in The Times, 2 April 1863, p. 10, Colenso argued that nothing endangered the Christian tradition so much as such narrow rigidity; he cited a reference to the hare in Lev. 11:6, which he said did not meet the known facts of natural history and could not be read literally. Colenso’s letter met with an extremely critical response from Joseph Benjamin M’Caul, who challenged his expertise in textual criticism (The Times, 4 April 1863, p. 9).
See enclosure. Haast also wrote a letter to CD on 9 December 1862 (see enclosure to letter from Julius von Haast, 5 March 1863). See also letter from J. D. Hooker, [30 April 1863] and n. 2.
William Henslow Hooker (see n. 1, above).
Charles Paget Hooker.
Hooker’s father-in-law, John Stevens Henslow, had been professor of botany and CD’s mentor at Cambridge; Henslow died in 1861 (see Correspondence vols. 1 and 9).
Daniel Oliver assisted Hooker in the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and was professor of botany at University College London (R. Desmond 1994).
John Lindley was the leading orchid specialist in Britain. In his letter of 7 November 1862 (Correspondence vol. 10), Hooker informed CD that Lindley was suffering from a partial disablement of his arms, and that he feared Lindley was ‘breaking up’. During the last four years of his life, Lindley reportedly suffered from ‘gradual softening of the brain’ (DNB).
See letter to J. D. Hooker, [17 April 1863] and n. 19. The reference is to Welwitsch 1861.
Hooker was writing a paper on the plants of the temperate regions of the Cameroons Mountains and the islands in the Bight of Benin (J. D. Hooker 1863b) that was pertinent to his continuing discussions with CD on plant and animal distribution (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 17 March [1863] and n. 17).
In his letter to Hooker of [17 April 1863], CD had asked for the address of the French botanist Jules Emile Planchon.
Immediately preceding this sentence, Hooker crossed out: ‘Your Oxalis is one called O. Deppii omitted in Harveys Flora Capensis, & I suppose a var of purpurata [after del ‘Bowiei, itself a’] of which O. Bowiei is another var.’ Hooker refers to the first two volumes of Harvey and Sonder 1859–65. CD had questioned the name given to a wood sorrel that had been sent from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; he was interested in the nocturnal movements of its leaves (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [17 April 1863] and nn. 22–4).
Haast was on an expedition travelling across New Zealand’s Middle Island (now South Island) from the east to the west coast. See J. F. J. von Haast 1879, pp. 44–58, and H. F. von Haast 1948, pp. 273–4 and map no. 4. See also Haast’s letter to CD of 5 March 1863 and n. 2.
Hooker’s letter to Haast of 18 September 1862 is in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, MS papers 37.96.
Haast refers to Hooker’s letter of 2 July 1862, in which Hooker expressed enthusiasm about a plant collection that Haast had sent him. In Hooker’s letter to Haast of 18 September 1862, he explained that he had not yet had time to finish identifying the plants. These letters are in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, MS papers 37.96.
Haast probably refers to J. F. J. von Haast 1862a and 1862b, which he also sent to CD (see letter to Julius von Haast, 22 January 1863).
Haast did not arrive at Christchurch until 12 May 1863, but he sent a preliminary report, dated 3 March, to the superintendent of Canterbury Province; the report was published in the Christchurch Press, 1 April 1863, pp. 1–2, and 2 April 1863, pp. 2–3. Haast also wrote a shorter report entitled ‘Report, map, and section of the provincial geologist, shewing result of journey to the western part of the province’, which he presented to the Provincial Council, Province of Canterbury, on 18 August 1863. The handwritten report and the map, but not the section, are in the National Archives, Christchurch (Archives Reference CH 287, CP 608a). See letter from Julius von Haast, 13 May 1863. A description of the expedition was later published in J. F. J. von Haast 1879, pp. 44–58.
See n. 24, above. Haast had explored some of the same areas in an expedition that took place during the first five months of 1862 (see J. F. J. von Haast 1879, pp. 18–44). Haast reached the west coast at the mouth of the Awarua River, about twenty miles north-east of Jackson’s Bay, on 20 February 1863 (ibid., p. 55).
Haast’s interest in glacial shells was related to his proposal that portions of New Zealand had been submerged during the Pleistocene period; he thought that some of the surface geology would therefore be of marine origin (see J. F. J. von Haast 1862b, pp. 128–31). In 1864 Haast changed his mind, partly because the marine shells found inland were determined to be from Maori kitchen middens (see J. F. J. von Haast 1879, pp. 371–6, and H. F. von Haast 1948, pp. 268–9, 1023–37). Hooker and CD had taken a great interest in Haast’s theory of New Zealand’s submergence and later uplift (see, for example, letter to J. F. J. von Haast, 22 January 1863 and nn. 4 and 5, and Origin 4th ed., pp. 442–3). Hooker had asked Haast about further discoveries of glacial shells (see the letter from Hooker to Haast, 18 September 1862, in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, MS papers 37.96).
J. D. Hooker 1854b was published by John Murray of London.
Haast refers to Flora Novæ-Zelandiæ (J. D. Hooker 1853–5), 1: 46–7.
Haast mentioned his riverside encounter with Discaria, measuring ‘16 to 18 feet high’, and ‘Aciphylla Colensoi, the Spaniard or Bayonet grass’ in J. F. J. von Haast 1879, p. 25. See also H. F. von Haast 1948, pp. 41, 72 n., 188, 206, 296 and 464. In the first volume of Hooker’s Handbook of the New Zealand flora, published in 1864, Discaria are described as ‘spiny shrubs or small trees’ (J. D. Hooker 1864–7, p. 43).
In his letter to Haast of 18 September 1862 (Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, MS papers 37.96), Hooker discussed Andrew Crombie Ramsay’s paper on the glacial origin of lakes (Ramsay 1862). For CD’s interest in the paper, see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to A. C. Ramsay, 5 September [1862].
Haast refers to Orchids.
In his address to the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, Haast praised Origin (J. F. J. von Haast 1862a, p. 7). See letter from Julius von Haast, 5 March 1863 and n. 12.
Hooker sent Haast’s letter of 9 June 1862 with his letter to CD of 20 September 1862 (Correspondence vol. 10).
The letter from Julius von Haast of 9 December 1862 (Correspondence vol. 10), is reproduced in this volume as an enclosure to the letter from Julius von Haast of 5 March 1863. For the confusion regarding the sending of this letter, see the enclosure to the letter from Julius von Haast, 5 March 1863 and n. 5.
Mr Harris has not been identified. For Haast’s plans to have the collection transported to Hooker, and for a discussion of the collection, see the letter from Haast to Hooker of 10 August 1862, in the archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Director’s Correspondence 174 (New Zealand letters, 1854–1900: 276)). Haast also mentioned the collection in a letter to Hooker of 9 June 1862 (see Correspondence vol. 10, enclosure to the letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 September 1862 and n. 7). Haast also refers to Hooker’s forthcoming Handbook of the New Zealand flora (J. D. Hooker 1864–7), which supplemented J. D. Hooker 1853–5.
For a list of the plants collected by Haast on his 1862–3 expedition, see H. F. von Haast 1948, pp. 295–8. In the preface to J. D. Hooker, 1864–7, p. 12, Hooker paid tribute to the number and value of Haast’s specimens.
Hooker’s commission from the General Assembly of New Zealand to write a handbook of New Zealand flora (J. D. Hooker 1864–7) was discussed in his letter to CD of 6 January 1863.
David Monro was the speaker of New Zealand’s House of Representatives from 1861 to 1870 (Scholefield 1950, p. 150).
Haast refers to William Thomas Locke Travers and to representatives of Canterbury province. Travers sent significant collections of New Zealand alpine plants to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (J. D. Hooker, 1864–7, p. 12).
In late 1862, Canterbury province was represented by seven men (Scholefield 1950, pp. 154–67); the member of parliament opposed to funding Hooker’s work has not been identified. The New Zealand Wars of 1845–72 were financed primarily by imperial resources in 1861 and 1862; provincial expenditures for the conflicts between the colonists and the Maori were generally not popular with the colonists, so the unidentified member held a minority opinion. See Belich 1986, pp. 76–80, 113–25.
William Jackson Hooker.
John Marshman was the agent at the Canterbury Emigration Office (Post Office London directory 1863).

Summary

Attacks by Falconer [Athenæum 4 Apr 1863, pp. 459–60] and Joseph Prestwich on Lyell.

W. B. Carpenter fails to attack Owen.

Welwitschia male cones with useless ovules marvellous example of lost function and retained structure.

JDH evaluates his sons.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4111,” accessed on 17 July 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-4111.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11

letter