To J. D. Hooker 1 February 1
Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.
My dear Hooker
I return the pamphlets, which I have been very glad to read.— It will be a curious discovery if Mr. Lowne’s observation that boiling does not kill certain moulds is proved true; but then how on earth is the absence of all living things in Pasteur’s experiment to be accounted for?—2 I am always delighted to see a word in favour of Pangenesis, which some day, I believe, will have a resurrection3 Mr Dyers paper strikes me as a very able Spencerian production.—4
It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are now present, which could ever have been present.— But if (& oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia & phosphoric salts,—light, heat, electricity &c present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter wd be instantly devoured, or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.—
Henrietta makes hardly any progress, & God knows when she will be well.—5
I enjoyed much the visit of you four Gentlemen, ie after the Saturday night, when I thought I was quite done for.—6
Yours affecy | C. Darwin
B. T. Lowne’s observation [Mon. Microsc. J. 4 (1870): 326–30] that boiling does not kill certain moulds is curious, but then how account for absence of all living things in Pasteur’s experiment?
Always delighted to see a word in favour of Pangenesis.
Thiselton-Dyer’s paper ["On spontaneous generation and evolution", Q. J. Microsc. Sci. 10 (1870): 333–54] is Spencerian.
The chemical conditions for first production of life are said to exist at present, but in some warm little pond today such matter would be absorbed or devoured, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7471,” accessed on 25 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7471