To J. D. Hooker 12 [April 1859]
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
I have the old M.S, otherwise the loss would have killed me!1 The worst is now that it will cause delay in getting to press, & far worst of all I lose all advantage of you having looked over my chapter, except the third part returned.— I am very sorry Mrs Hooker took the trouble of copying the two pages.—
Do not, pray, think of giving up coming here; I shd extremely regret it. With you I can go away the moment my stomach feels bad, & that is the important point for me. I am rather sorry for my private pleasure, though glad for guests’ sakes, that our House will be so full.—2
I much fear after all we shall not be able to send for you: but let me know train by which you will come to Bromley (Mason Hill) & then I will send if I can, if not you must take fly, & always plenty there.
I would advise you to be cautious about stating so broadly (I thought that you perhaps knew of distinct cases unknown to me) about species not varying for many generations & then suddenly varying. To a certain extent I quite believe it; ie that a plant will not vary until after some few generations (perhaps dozen or so) & then will begin to vary possibly suddenly, more likely gradually. But even my belief in this is grounded on very few facts.— I believe another & very distinct explanation may be given of a sort of current belief in the doctrine, viz that variations are often not attended to, & till they are attended to & accumulated, they make no show.—
Ever yours | C. Darwin
I have worked this notion up in (as it seems to me) an important manner in my Ch. on Domestication of Animals & Plants.3
CD agrees cultivated plants may begin to vary after some time and then may vary suddenly, but cautions JDH on lack of evidence. His explanation is that small variations are ignored until they accumulate.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2453,” accessed on 14 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2453