Hooker is going to Yarmouth ; I trust that the health of your children is not the motive. Good-bye. My dear Hooker, ever yours,


P. S.— I believe you are afraid to send me a ripe Edwardsia pod, for fear I should float it from New Zealand to Chile !!!

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.

Down, June 5 (1857). MY DEAR HOOKER,- I honour your conscientious care about the medals. * Thank God! I am only an amateur (but a much interested one) on the subject.

It is an old notion of mine that more good is done by giving medals to younger men in the early part of their career, than as a mere reward to men whose scientific career is nearly finished. Whether medals ever do any good is a question which does not concern us, as there the medals are. I am almost inclined to think that I would rather lower the standard, and give medals to young workers than to old ones with no especial claims. With regard to especial claims, , I think it just deserving your attention, that if general claims are once admitted, it opens the door to great laxity in giving them. Think of the case of a very rich man, who aided solely with his money, but to a grand extent-or such an inconceivable prodigy as a minister of the Crown who really cared for science. Would you give such men medals? Perhaps medals could not be better applied than exclusively to such men. I confess at present I incline to stick to especial claims which can be put down on paper.

I am much confounded by your showing that there are not obvious instances of my (or rather Waterhouse's) law of abnormal developments being highly variable. I have been thinking more of your remark about the difficulty of judging 1857.)

* The Royal Society's medals.



or comparing variability in plants from the great general variability of parts. I should look at the law as more completely smashed if you would turn in your mind for a little while for cases of great variability of an organ, and tell me whether it is moderately easy to pick out sucht cases; for if they can be picked out, and, notwithstanding, do not coincide with great or abnormal development, it would be a complete smasher. It is only beginning in your mind at the variability end of the question instead of at the abnormality end. Perhaps cases in which a part is highly variable in all the species of a group should be excluded, as possibly being something distinct, and connected with the perplexing subject of polymorphism. Will you perfect your assistance by further considering, for a little, the subject this way?

I have been so much interested this morning in comparing all my notes on the variation of the several species of the genus Equus and the results of their crossing. Taking most strictly analogous facts amongst the blessed pigeons for my guide, I believe I can plainly see the colouring and marks of the grandfather of the Ass, Horse, Quagga, Hemionus and Zebra, some millions of generations ago! Should not I [have] sneer[ed] at any one who made such a remark to me a few years ago; but my evidence seems to me so good that I shall publish my vision at the end of my little discussion on

this genus.

I have of late inundated you with my notions, you best of friends and philosophers.



C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.

Moor Park, Farnliam, June 25th (1857). MY DEAR HOOKER,- This requires no answer, but I will ask you whenever we meet. Look at enclosed seedling gorses, especially one with the top knocked off. The leaves succeeding the cotyledons being almost clover-like in shape, seems to me feebly analogous to embryonic resemblances in young animals, as, for instance, the young lion being striped. I shall ask you whether this is so.*..

Dr. Lane and wife, and mother-in-law, Lady Drysdale, are some of the nicest people I have ever met.

I return home on the 30th. Good-bye, my dear Hooker.

Ever yours,


[Here follows a group of letters, of various dates, bearing on the question of large genera varying.)

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.

March 11th (1858). I was led to all this work by a remark of Fries, that the species in large genera were more closely related to each other than in small genera; and if this were so, seeing that varieties and species are so hardly distinguishable, I concluded that I should find more varieties in the large genera than in the small. . . . Some day I hope you will read my short discussion on the whole subject. You have done me infinite service, whatever opinion I come to, in drawing my attention to at least the possibility or the probability of botanists recording more varieties in the large than in the small genera. It will be hard work for me to be candid in coming to my conclusion.

Ever yours, most truly,


P. S.-I shall be several weeks at my present job. The work has been turning out badly for me this morning, and I am sick at heart; and, oh! how I do hate species and varieties.

* See Power of Movements in Plants,' p. 414. + The physician at Moor Park.




C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.

July 14th (1857?). I write now to supplicate most earnestly a favour, viz., the loan of Boreau, Flore du centre de la France, either ist or 2nd edition, last best ; also“ Flora Ratisbonensis," by Dr. Fürnrohr, in Naturhist. Topographie von Regensburg, 1839. If you can possibly spare them, will you send them at once to the enclosed address. If you have not them, will you send one line by return of post: as I must try whether Kippist * can anyhow find them, which I fear will be nearly impossible in the Linnean Library, in which I know they are.

I have been making some calculations about varieties, &c., and talking yesterday with Lubbock, he has pointed out to me the grossest blunder which I have made in principle, and which entails two or three weeks' lost work; and I am at a dead-lock till I have these books to go over again, and see what the result of calculation on the right principle is. I am the most miserable, bemuddled, stupid dog in all England, and am ready to cry with vexation at my blindness and presumption

Ever yours, most miserably,


C. Darwin to John Lubbock.

Down, (July) 14th (1857). MY DEAR LUBBOCK,- - You have done me the greatest possible service in helping me to clarify my brains. If I am as muzzy on all subjects as I am on proportion and chance, —what a book I shall produce !

I have divided the New Zealand Flora as you suggested. There are 329 species in genera of 4 and upwards, and 323 in genera of 3 and less.

* The late Mr. Kippist was at this time in charge of the Linnean Society's Library.

The 339 species have 51 species presenting one or more varieties. The 323 species have only 37. Proportionately (339 : 323 :: 51 : 48-5) they ought to have had 48$ species presenting vars. So that the case goes as I want it, but not strong enough, without it be general, for me to have much confidence in. I am quite convinced yours is the right way; I had thought of it, but should never have done it had it not been for my most fortunate conversation with you.

I am quite shocked to find how easily I am muddled, for I had before thought over the subject much, and concluded my way was fair. It is dreadfully erroneous.

What a disgraceful blunder you have saved me from. I heartily thank you.

Ever yours,


P.S.-It is enough to make me tear up all my MS. and give up in despair. It will take me several weeks to go over all my

materials. But oh, if you knew how thankful I am to you !

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.

Down, Aug. (1857). MY DEAR HOOKER,– It is a horrid bore you cannot come soon, and I reproach myself that I did not write sooner. How busy you must be! with such a heap of botanists at Kew. Only think, I have just had a letter from Henslow, saying he will come here between ith and 15th! Is not that grand ? Many thanks about Fürnrohr. I must humbly supplicate Kippist to search for it: he most kindly got Boreau for me.

I am got extremely interested in tabulating, according to mere size of genera, the species having any varieties marked by Greek letters or otherwise : the result (as far as I have yet gone) seems to me one of the most important arguments I have yet met with, that varieties are only small species-or

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