From J. D. Hooker [8–11 April 1859]1
Lyell called on Boott2 to tell him how strongly (so I understand Boott) he had been urging Murray to undertake your book. I have not the smallest doubt of Lyell’s perfect good faith & kindness in the matter, but from what Boott said I thought Lyell had exceeded so much my estimate of the public’s interest in such works that I could not help saying so, to Boott. How glad I shall be if it proves the contrary, for Sciences sake.
As to my Essay, if Reeve does not print it separately, only 150 copies will be printed & 75 sold as of the Flora Tasmaniæ, if he does, I shall buy 100 for distribution, & the sale of the remainder will, judging from the New Zealand Essay,—be 2 copies!3 In point of sale or awakening interest our books cannot interfere.—the number who will read both will be inconceivably small.
I think there are plenty of examples of best marked vars on verges of range.
Drimys Winteri is another example. Berberis vulgaris in India & Siberia & indeed most of the Indian European species, besides having states identical with European, run into vars more different from the type there than in Europe. E.G. Hedera Helix.—Saxifraga Hirculus— In fact the phenomenon is so common I did not think it necessary to quote any example but Rhododendron & that only as conspicuous illustration.4
Lyell has been strongly urging John Murray to publish CD’s book [Origin]. JDH feels Lyell overestimates the public interest in such works.
Gives examples of plants showing most marked varieties on the edge of their range.