Discusses Wallace's view on European plants and effects of glaciers on Alpine plants.
A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Total Pages : 7
Pages with text: 7
Transcriber: Humphries, Ceri
Transcription date: January 14, 2015
Scrutiny: 14/01/2015 - Benny, Ruth;
Signed off: no
Sat[urday]. Feb 26/ 813
4 Bryanston Str[eet], W
My Dear Hooker4,
It was a real pleasure to me to see your hand-writing again, for it is a long time since I have heard of you. What a bore about the mumps; but I am very glad that you will soon have complete rest & change, in which latter I have untold faith. I suppose that Lady Hooker5 goes with you & I hope she may enjoy herself. Pray give her my kindest remembrances. I had vaguely thought whether I [] would pay you a call at Kew, but thought that you would probably be too busy, & it seems that you will be on the road before I could come.
I sh[oul]d think that you might make a very interesting address on Geograph[ical]. Distrib[ution].. Could you give a little history of the subject. I, for one, sh[oul]d like to read such history in petto; but I can see one very great difficulty, that you [] yourself ought to figure most prominently in it; & this you would not do, for you are just the man to treat yourself in a dishonourable manner! I sh[oul]d very much like to see you discuss some of Wallace’s6 views, especially his ignoring the all powerful effects of the Glacial period with respect to Alpine plants. I do not know what you think, but it appears to me that he exaggerates enormously the influence of debacles & slips & new [] surface of soil being exposed for the reception of wind-blown seeds. What kinds of seeds have the plants which are common to the distant mountain-summits in Africa? Wallace lately wrote to me about the mountain-plants of Madagascar being the same with those on mountains in Africa & seemed to think it proved dispersal by the wind, without apparently having enquired what sort of seeds the plants bore.
[] I suppose it w[oul]d be the travelling too far, (though for geographical section the discussion ought to be far reaching) but I sh[oul]d like to see the European or northern element in the C[ape]. of Good Hope Flora discussed. I cannot swallow his Wallace’s 7 view the European plants travelled down the Andes, tenanted the hypothetical Antarctic continent (in which I quite believe) & thence spread to S[outh]. Australia & the Cape of G[ood]. Hope.
[] Moseley8 told me not long ago that he proposed to search at Kerguelen Land the coal beds most carefully & was absolutely forbidden to do so by Sir W Thompson9 who said that he would undertake the work, & he never once visited them. This puts me in a passion. I hope that [] you will keep to your intention and write make an address on Distribution. Though I differ in much from Wallace, his Island Life10 seems to me a wonderful book.
Farewell, I do hope that you may have a most prosperous journey. Give my kindest remembrances to Asa Gray11.
Ever yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin [signature]
1. "509" written in a later hand in the top right hand corner.
2. Printed address crossed out by author.
3. "Sat. 26" written by author, "Feb" and "/81" added in a different pen.
4. Hooker, Joseph Dalton (1817-1911). British botanist.
5. Hooker, Hyacinth Jardine (1842-1921). Second wife of Joseph Dalton Hooker, married in 1876.
6. Wallace, Alfred Russel (1823-1913). British naturalist.
7. Word "his" crossed out and "Wallace's" written above.
8. Moseley, Henry Nottidge (1844-1891). British naturalist who sailed on HMS Challenger.
9. Thomson, Sir Charles Wyville (1830-1882). British naturalist and chief scientist on the Challenger expedition (1872-1876).
10. Wallace, Alfred Russel (1881) Island Life, Harper and brothers, New York.
11. Gray, Asa (1810-1888). American botanist.
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