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Thirdly, it never entered my head to undervalue botanical relatively to zoological evidence; except in so far as I thought it was admitted that the vegetative structure seldom yielded any evidence of affinity nearer than that of families, and not always so much. And is it not in plants, as certainly it is in animals, dangerous to judge of habits without very near affinity. Could a Botanist tell from structure alone that the Mangrove family, almost or quite alone in Dicotyledons, could live in the sea, and the Zostera family almost alone among the Monocotyledons? Is it a safe argument, that because algæ are almost the only, or the only submerged seaplants, that formerly other groups had not members with such habits? With animals such an argument would not be conclusive, as I could illustrate by many examples; but I am forgetting myself ; I want only to some degree to defend myself, and not burn my fingers by attacking you. The foundation of my letter, and what is my deliberate opinion, though I dare say you will think it absurd, is that I would rather trust, cæteris paribus, pure geological evidence than either zoological or botanical evidence. I do not say that I would sooner trust poor geological evidence than good organic. I think the basis of pure geological reasoning is simpler (consisting chiefly of the action of water on the crust of the earth, and its up and down movements) than a basis drawn from the difficult subject of affinities and of structure in relation to habits. I can hardly analyze the facts on which I have come to this conclusion ; but I can illustrate it. Pallas's account would lead any one to suppose that the Siberian strata, with the frozen carcasses, had been quickly deposited, and hence that the embedded animals had lived in the neighbourhood ; but our zoological knowledge of thirty years ago led every one falsely to reject this conclusion.
Tell me that an upright fern in situ occurs with Sigillaria and Stigmaria, or that the affinities of Calamites and Lepidodendron (supposing that they are found in situ with Sigillaria) are so clear, that they could not have been marine, like, but in a greater degree, than the mangrove and sea-wrack, and I
will humbly apologise to you and all Botanists for having let my mind run riot on a subject on which assuredly I know nothing. But till I hear this, I shall keep privately to my own opinion with the same pertinacity and, as you will think, with the same philosophical spirit with which Koenig maintains that Cheirotherium-footsteps are fuci.
Whether this letter will sink me still lower in your opinion, or put me a little right, I know not, but hope the latter. Anyhow, I have revenged myself with boring you with a very long epistle. Farewell, and be forgiving. Ever yours, ,
P.S.—When will you return to Kew? I have forgotten one main object of my letter, to thank you much for your offer of the 'Hort. Journal,' but I have ordered the two numbers.
[The two following extracts (1847] give the continuation and conclusion of the coal battle.
“By the way, as submarine coal made you so wrath, I thought I would experimentise on Falconer and Bunbury together, and it made [them] even more savage ; 'such infernal nonsense ought to be thrashed out of me.' Bunbury was more polite and contemptuous. So I now know how to stir up and show off any Botanist. I wonder whether Zoologists and Geologists have got their tender points; I wish I could find out.”
“I cannot resist thanking you for your most kind note. Pray do not think that I was annoyed by your letter : I perceived that you had been thinking with animation, and accordingly expressed yourself strongly, and so I understood it. Forfend me from a man who weighs every expression with Scotch prudence. I heartily wish you all success in your noble problem, and I shall be very curious to have some talk with you and hear your ultimatum.")
* The late Sir C. Bunbury, well known as a palæobotanist.
C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. *
Down (October, 1847). I congratulate you heartily on your arrangements being completed, with some prospect for the future. It will be a noble voyage and journey, but I wish it was over, I shall miss you selfishly and all ways to a dreadful extent .. I am in great perplexity how we are to meet ... I can well understand how dreadfully busy you must be. If you cannot come here, you must let me come to you for a night; for I must have one more chat and one more quarrel with you over the coal.
By the way, I endeavoured to stir up Lyell (who has been staying here some days with me) to theorise on the coal : his oolitic upright Equisetums are dreadful for my submarine flora. I should die much easier if some one would solve me the coal question. I sometimes think it could not have been formed at all. Old Sir Anthony Carlisle once said to me gravely, that he supposed Megatherium and such cattle were just sent down from heaven to see whether the earth would support them; and I suppose the coal was rained down to puzzle mortals. You must work the coal well in India.
[November 6th, 1847.] MY DEAR HOOKER, “I have just received your note with sincere grief: there is no help for it. I shall always look at your intention of coming here, under such circumstances, as the greatest proof of friendship I ever received from mortal man. My conscience would have upbraided me in not having come to you on Thursday, but, as it turned out, I could not, for I was quite unable to leave Shrewsbury before that
* Parts of two letters.
day, and I reached home only last night, much knocked up. Without I hear tomorrow (which is hardly possible), and if I am feeling pretty well, I will drive over to Kew on Monday morning, just to say farewell. I will stay only an hour. . .
C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.
[November, 1847.) MY DEAR HOOKER,- I am very unwell, and incapable of doing anything. I do hope I have not inconvenienced you. I was so unwell all yesterday, that I was rejoicing you were not here; for it would have been a bitter mortification to me to have had you here and not enjoyed your last day. I shall not now see you. Farewell, and God bless you.
Your affectionate friend,
C. DARWIN. I will write to you in India.
[In 1847 appeared a paper by Mr. D. Milne,* in which my father's Glen Roy work is criticised, and which is referred to in the following characteristic extract from a letter to Sir J. Hooker:) “I have been bad enough for these few last days, having had to think and write too much about Glen Roy. . Mr. Milne having attacked my theory, which made me horribly sick." I have not been able to find any published reply to Mr. Milne, so that I imagine the “writing" mentioned was confined to letters. Mr. Milne's paper was not destructive to the Glen Roy paper, and this my father recognises in the following extract from a letter to Lyell (March, 1847). The reference to Chambers is explained by the fact that he accompanied Mr. Milne in his visit to Glen Roy. “I got R. Chambers to give me a sketch of Milne's Glen Roy views, and I have re-read my paper, and am, now that I have heard what is to be said, not even staggered. It is provoking and humiliating to find that Chambers not only had not read
* Now Mr. Milne Home. The essay was published in Transactions of the Edinburgh Royal Society, vol. xvi,
with any care my paper on this subject, or even looked at the coloured map, so that the new shelf described by me had not been searched for, and my arguments and facts of detail not in the least attended to. I entirely gave up the ghost, and was quite chicken-hearted at the Geological Society, till you reassured and reminded me of the main facts in the whole case.”
The two following letters to Lyell, though of later date (June, 1848), bear on the same subject :
“I was at the evening meeting (of the Geological Society), but did not get within hail of you. What a fool (though I must say a very amusing one) did make of himself. Your speech was refreshing after it, and was well characterized by Fox (my cousin) in three words—What a contrast!' That struck me as a capital speculation about the Wealden Continent going down. I did not hear what you settled at the Council; I was quite wearied out and bewildered. I find Smith, of Jordan Hill, has a much worse opinion of R. Chambers's book than even I have. Chambers has piqued me a little ; * he says I 'propound' and 'profess my belief that Glen Roy is marine, and that the idea was accepted because the ‘mobility of the land was the ascendant idea of the day.' He adds some very faint upper lines in Glen Spean (seen, by the way, by Agassiz), and has shown that Milne and Kemp are right in there being horizontal aqueous markings (not at coincident levels with those of Glen Roy) in other parts of Scotland at great heights, and he adds several other cases. This is the whole of his addition to the data. He not only takes my line of argument from the buttresses and terraces below the lower shelf and some other arguments (without acknowledgment), but he sneers at all his predecessors not having perceived the importance of the short portions of lines intermediate between the chief ones in Glen Roy; whereas
* •Ancient Sea Margins, 1848.' The words quoted by my father should be “the mobility of the land was an ascendant idea."