From J. D. Hooker 17 March 1862
The Saxifragas &c shall go on Wednesday for your carrier to take on on Thursday.— just look at the Saxifrages & let me know at once if they will suit,— as if not I will send others1
As regards my photograph, I believe I have very little expression2 I have often remarked that I am not recognized except by those who know me tolerably well; that I have often to introduce myself—added to which all my photographs & portraits make me look either silly or stupid or affected— artists find nothing salient, nothing to idealize upon— Poor Richmond who generally knocks off his chalk heads in 2 sittings gave me 8 I think & grumbled all the time, & has turned me out a very lackadaisaical young gentleman.3
I am so glad you have asked for my letter to Bates,4 to tell the truth he has roused my curiosity to see it myself, I have not the slightest recollection of what I can have said that has so much impressed him— When I write I shall ask him to send it. I have done nothing more that I know of than ram you down his throat.— probably like some others he did not realize your views until I enforced them by pointing out their applicability to his cases.—
I am greatly puzzled just now in my mind by a very prevalent difference between animals & vegetables—in as much as the individual animal is certainly changed materially by external conditions, the latter (I think) never except in such a coarse way as stunting or enlarging—& this is because in animals there is a direct relation between stimulated function & consequent change in organs concerned in that function—Eg. no increase of cold on the spot, or change of individual plant from hot to cold, will induce said individual plant to get more woolly covering.— but I suppose that a series of cold seasons would bring about such a change in an individual quadruped: just as rowing will harden hands, &c. The cases are not parallel because the parts of plants that could be so changed are annually lost—& the only conceivable parallel is afforded by Bark;—would a cycle of cold seasons cause the bark of a tree to thicken more than it otherwise would?5
I cannot suppose that the buds of the individual would get thicker, or more scales, or more resinous scales; or that its successive leaves can become annually more hairy: except indeed we assume the annual death of a large proportion of the buds, & that those alone are preserved that have most woolly leaves—when no doubt the woolly tendency would be inherited by the successive phytons of that bud as by successive generations from seeds.
Be all this as it may, in neither plant or animal would the induced character be of necessity inherited by the offspring by seed of the individual to any greater extent than if it had not been changed— At least so far as the animal is concerned; though with regard to the plant it might be, the seed being that of the phyton, not of the whole tree, or average tree— Thus a wild complication is introduced into the whole subject that perplexes me greatly.
Berkeleys article on acclimatization is very unclear I think (see last Saturdays Gard. Chronicle).—6
I cannot conceive what you say, that climate could have effected even such a single character as a hooked seed. You know I have a morbid horror of 2 laws in nature for obtaining the same end. hence I incline to attribute the smallest variation to the inherent tendency to vary; a principle wholly independent of physical conditions—but where effects on the race are absolutely dependent on physical conditions—for their conservation—
Huxley is rather disposed to think you have overlooked “saltus”—7but I am not sure that he is right. Saltus quod individuals, is not saltus quod species—as I pointed out in the Begonia case.8 though perhaps that was rather special-pleading in the present state of science.
I hear Falconer is indignant at the base idea of abolishing a tertiary Atlantis—9 what a queer mixture he is of dogma & fancy.— What do you think of 3 of Heers Madeira fossils referred to Ulmus, Corylus & Leguminosæ, all turning out to be the leaflets of one Bramble,10 & this the commonest plant in Europe, & found in Madeira too—! I must confess it rather turns my stomach, for I was beginning to waive many of my objections against Bot. Palæontology in favor of O. Heer.11 I wrote to Lyell about it 10 days ago, but he does not answer my letter!—12 I suppose he is what is called flabbergasted—
Do you know anything of Earl Powis— he is a Shropshire man I know—13 I have to make out a visit to him this week, having been asked so often that I cannot refuse without appearing churlish I do hate such visits, feeling generally thoroughly out of my element. Walcot Hall Shropshire is the place— I go from Thursday till Saturday or Monday, so please direct there if you have anything to say—or whether or no— His brother lives next house to us here14 & I like what I have seen of the Earl; but really know nothing about him.
Many thanks to Mrs Darwin for her kind thoughts of my wifes going to Down with me:15 but I am sure she will not get away, & as to the children it is out of the question, even if you could have taken them in. 2 of my children are equal to a round dozen of another mans. The baby is just the same “nunquam otiosus”—16 Except Charlie17 there is not one that can sit still one moment & he is never idle. Yet I should like my children to know your’s one day.
Ever Yours affec | J D Hooker
JDH has probably influenced Bates by pointing out applicability of CD’s views to his cases.
Is greatly puzzled by difference in effect of external conditions on individual animals and plants. Cannot conceive that climate could affect even such a single character as a hooked seed.
Does not think Huxley is right about "saltus".
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3474,” accessed on 9 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3474