C. Darwin to W, D, Fox.
[Down, September 5, 1843.)

Monday morning.

I was

MY DEAR Fox,-When I sent off the glacier paper, just going out and so had no time to write. I hope your friend will enjoy (and I wish you were going there with him) his tour as much as I did. It was a kind of geological novel. But your friend must have patience, for he will not get a good glacial eye for a few days. Murchison and Count Keyserling rushed through North Wales the same autumn and could see nothing except the effects of rain trickling over the rocks! I cross-examined Murchison a little, and evidently saw he had looked carefully at nothing. I feel certain about the glacier-effects in North Wales. Get up your steam, if this weather lasts, and have a ramble in Wales ; its glorious scenery must do every one's heart and body good. I wish I had energy to come to Delamere and go with you; but as you observe, you might as well ask St. Paul's. Whenever I give myself a trip, it shall be, I think, to Scotland, to hunt for more parallel roads. My marine theory for these roads was for a time knocked on the head by Agassiz ice-work, but it is now reviving again.

Farewell, -we are getting nearly finished-almost all the workmen gone, and the gravel laying down on the walks. Ave Maria ! how the money does go.

There are twice as many temptations to extravagance in the country compared with London. Adios.



C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.

Down (1844 ?]. I have also read the Vestiges,' * but have been somewhat less amused at it than you appear to have been :

* The Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation' was published anonymously in 1884, and is confidently believed to have been written by


the writing and arrangement are certainly admirable, but his geology strikes me as bad, and his zoology far worse. I should be very much obliged, if at any future or leisure time you could tell me on what you ground your doubtful belief in imagination of a mother affecting her offspring.* I have attended to the several statements scattered about, but do not believe in more than accidental coincidences. W. Hunter told my father, then in a lying-in hospital, that in many thousand cases, he had asked the mother, before her confinement, whether anything had affected her imagination, and recorded the answers; and absolutely not one case came right, though, when the child was anything remarkable, they afterwards made the cap to fit. Reproduction seems governed by such similar laws in the whole animal kingdom, that I am most loth [to believe). ...

C. Darwin to J. M. Herbert.

Down (1844 or 1845).

MY DEAR HERBERT,—I was very glad to see your handwriting and hear a bit of news about you. Though you cannot come here this autumn, I do hope you and Mrs. Herbert will come in the winter, and we will have lots of talk of old times, and lots of Beethoven.

the late Robert Chambers. My father's copy gives signs of having been carefully read, a long list of marked passages being pinned in at the end. One useful lesson he seems to have learned from it. He writes : “ The idea of a fish passing into a reptile, monstrous. I will not specify any genealogies—much too little known at present.” He refers again to the book in a letter to Fox, February, 1845 : Have you read that strange, unphilosophical, but capitally-written book, the ‘Vestiges': it has made more talk than any work of late, and has been by some attributed to meat which I ought to be much fattered and unfattered."

* This refers to the case of a relative of Sir J. Hooker's, who insisted that a mole, which appeared on one of her children, was the effect of fright upon herself on having, before the birth of the child, blotted with sepia a copy of Turner's · Liber Studiorum' that had been lent to her with special injunctions to be careful.




I have little or rather nothing to say about myself ; we live like clock-work, and in what most people would consider the dullest possible manner.

I have of late been slaving extra hard, to the great discomfiture of wretched digestive organs, at South America, and thank all the fates, I have done threefourths of it. Writing plain English grows with me more and more difficult, and never attainable.

As for your pretending that you will read anything so dull as my pure geological descriptions, lay not such a flattering unction on my soul * for it is incredible. I have long discovered that geologists never read each other's works, and that the only object in writing a book is a proof of earnestness, and that you do not form your opinions without undergoing labour of some kind. Geology is at present very oral, and what I here say is to a great extent quite true. But I am giving you a discussion as long as a chapter in the odious book itself.

I have lately been to Shrewsbury, and found my father surprisingly well and cheerful. Believe me, my dear old friend, ever yours,


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.

Down, Monday (February roth, 1845). MY DEAR HOOKER, -I am much obliged for your very agreeable letter; it was very good-natured, in the midst of your scientific and theatrical dissipation, to think of writing so long a letter to me. I am astonished at your news, and I must condole with you in your present view of the Professorship, and most heartily deplore it on my own account. There

* On the same subject he wrote to Fitz-Roy: “I have sent my South American Geology' to Dover Street, and you will get it, no doubt, in the course of time. You do not know what you threaten when you propose to read it-it is purely geological. I said to my brother, 'You will of course read it,' and his answer was, “Upon my life, I would sooner even buy it.'”

+ Sir J. D. Hooker was a candidate for the Professorship of Botany at Edinburgh University.

is something so chilling in a separation of so many hundred miles, though we did not see much of each other when nearer. You will hardly believe how deeply I regret for myself your present prospects. I had looked forward to Cour] seeing much of each other during our lives. It is a heavy disappointment; and in a mere selfish point of view, as aiding me in my work, your loss is indeed irreparable. But, on the other hand, I cannot doubt that you take at present a desponding, instead of bright, view of your prospects : surely there are great advantages, as well as disadvantages. The place is one of eminence; and really it appears to me there are so many indifferent workers, and so few readers, that it is a high advantage, in a purely scientific point of view, for a good worker to hold a position which leads others to attend to his work. I forget whether you attended Edinburgh, as a student, but in my time there was a knot of men who were far from being the indifferent and dull listeners which you expect for your audience. Reflect what a satisfaction and honour it would be to make a good botanist-with your disposition you will be to many what Henslow was at Cambridge to me and others, a most kind friend and guide. Then what a fine garden, and how good a Public Library! why, Forbes always regrets the advantages of Edinburgh for work: think of the inestimable advantage of getting within a short walk of those noble rocks and hills and sandy shores near Edinburgh! Indeed, I cannot pity you much, though I pity myself exceedingly in your loss. Surely lecturing will, in a year or two, with your great capacity for work (whatever you may be pleased to say to the contrary) become easy, and you will have a fair time for your Antarctic Flora and general views of distribution. If I thought your Professorship would stop your work, I should wish it and all the good worldly consequences at el Diavolo. I know I shall live to see you the first authority in Europe on that grand subject, that almost keystone of the laws of creation, Geographical Distribution. Well, there is one comfort, you will be at Kew, no doubt, every year, so I shall finish by forcing down your throat my 1845.)



sincere congratulations. Thanks for all your news. I grieve to hear Humboldt is failing ; one cannot help feeling, though unrightly, that such an end is humiliating : even when I saw him he talked beyond all reason. If you see him again, pray give him my most respectful and kind compliments, and say that I never forget that my whole course of life is due to having read and re-read as a youth his 'Personal Narrative.' How true and pleasing are all your remarks on his kindness; think how many opportunities you will have, in your new place, of being a Humboldt to others. Ask him about the river in N. E. Europe, with the Flora very different on its opposite banks. I have got and read your Wilkes; what a feeble book in matter and style, and how splendidly got up! Do write me a line from Berlin. Also thanks for the proofsheets. I did not, however, mean proof plates ; I value them, as saving me copying extracts. Farewell, my dear Hooker, with a heavy heart I wish you joy of your prospects.

Your sincere friend,


[The second edition of the Journal,' to which the following letter refers, was completed between April 25th and August 25th. It was published by Mr. Murray in the 'Colonial and Home Library,' and in this more accessible form soon had a large sale.

Up to the time of his first negotiations with Mr. Murray for its publication in this form, he had received payment only in the form of a large number of presentation copies, and he seems to have been glad to sell the copyright of the second edition to Mr. Murray for 150l.

The points of difference between it and the first edition are of interest chiefly in connection with the growth of the author's views on evolution, and will be considered later.)

« VorigeDoorgaan »