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The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume I

Part 6 out of 10

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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 me--at which I ought to be much flattered and unflattered."), but have
been somewhat less amused at it than you appear to have been: 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. (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 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]...

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.

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 three-fourths 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 (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.'") 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

Believe me, my dear old friend, ever yours,

Down, Monday [February 10th, 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 (Sir J.D. Hooker
was a candidate for the Professorship of Botany at Edinburgh University.),
and most heartily deplore it on my own account. There 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 [our]
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 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 proof-sheets. I do 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 150 pounds.

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.]

Down [July, 1845].

My dear Lyell,

I send you the first part (No doubt proof-sheets.) of the new edition [of
the 'Journal of Researches'], which I so entirely owe to you. You will see
that I have ventured to dedicate it to you (The dedication of the second
edition of the 'Journal of Researches,' is as follows:--"To Charles Lyell,
Esq., F.R.S., this second edition is dedicated with grateful pleasure--as
an acknowledgment that the chief part of whatever scientific merit this
Journal and the other works of the Author may possess, has been derived
from studying the well-known and admirable 'Principles of Geology.'"), and
I trust that this cannot be disagreeable. I have long wished, not so much
for your sake, as for my own feelings of honesty, to acknowledge more
plainly than by mere reference, how much I geologically owe you. Those
authors, however, who like you, educate people's minds as well as teach
them special facts, can never, I should think, have full justice done them
except by posterity, for the mind thus insensibly improved can hardly
perceive its own upward ascent. I had intended putting in the present
acknowledgment in the third part of my Geology, but its sale is so
exceedingly small that I should not have had the satisfaction of thinking
that as far as lay in my power I had owned, though imperfectly, my debt.
Pray do not think that I am so silly, as to suppose that my dedication can
any ways gratify you, except so far as I trust you will receive it, as a
most sincere mark of my gratitude and friendship. I think I have improved
this edition, especially the second part, which I have just finished. I
have added a good deal about the Fuegians, and cut down into half the
mercilessly long discussion on climate and glaciers, etc. I do not
recollect anything added to the first part, long enough to call your
attention to; there is a page of description of a very curious breed of
oxen in Banda Oriental. I should like you to read the few last pages;
there is a little discussion on extinction, which will not perhaps strike
you as new, though it has so struck me, and has placed in my mind all the
difficulties with respect to the causes of extinction, in the same class
with other difficulties which are generally quite overlooked and
undervalued by naturalists; I ought, however, to have made my discussion
longer and shewn by facts, as I easily could, how steadily every species
must be checked in its numbers.

I received your Travels ('Travels in North America,' 2 volumes, 1845.)
yesterday; and I like exceedingly its external and internal appearance; I
read only about a dozen pages last night (for I was tired with hay-making),
but I saw quite enough to perceive how VERY much it will interest me, and
how many passages will be scored. I am pleased to find a good sprinkling
of Natural History; I shall be astonished if it does not sell very

How sorry I am to think that we shall not see you here again for so long; I
wish you may knock yourself a little bit up before you start and require a
day's fresh air, before the ocean breezes blow on you...

Ever yours,

Down, Saturday [August 1st, 1845].

My dear Lyell,

I have been wishing to write to you for a week past, but every five
minutes' worth of strength has been expended in getting out my second part.
(Of the second edition of the 'Journal of Researches.') Your note pleased
me a good deal more I dare say than my dedication did you, and I thank you
much for it. Your work has interested me much, and I will give you my
impressions, though, as I never thought you would care to hear what I
thought of the non-scientific parts, I made no notes, nor took pains to
remember any particular impression of two-thirds of the first volume. The
first impression I should say would be with most (though I have literally
seen not one soul since reading it) regret at there not being more of the
non-scientific [parts]. I am not a good judge, for I have read nothing,
i.e. non-scientific about North America, but the whole struck me as very
new, fresh, and interesting. Your discussions bore to my mind the evident
stamp of matured thought, and of conclusions drawn from facts observed by
yourself, and not from the opinions of the people whom you met; and this I
suspect is comparatively rare.

Your slave discussion disturbed me much; but as you would care no more for
my opinion on this head than for the ashes of this letter, I will say
nothing except that it gave me some sleepless, most uncomfortable hours.
Your account of the religious state of the States particularly interested
me; I am surprised throughout at your very proper boldness against the
Clergy. In your University chapter the Clergy, and not the State of
Education, are most severely and justly handled, and this I think is very
bold, for I conceive you might crush a leaden-headed old Don, as a Don,
with more safety, than touch the finger of that Corporate Animal, the
Clergy. What a contrast in Education does England show itself! Your
apology (using the term, like the old religionists who meant anything but
an apology) for lectures, struck me as very clever; but all the arguments
in the world on your side, are not equal to one course of Jamieson's
Lectures on the other side, which I formerly for my sins experienced.
Although I had read about the 'Coalfields in North America,' I never in the
smallest degree really comprehended their area, their thickness and
favourable position; nothing hardly astounded me more in your book.

Some few parts struck me as rather heterogeneous, but I do not know whether
to an extent that at all signified. I missed however, a good deal, some
general heading to the chapters, such as the two or three principal places
visited. One has no right to expect an author to write down to the zero of
geographical ignorance of the reader; but I not knowing a single place, was
occasionally rather plagued in tracing your course. Sometimes in the
beginning of a chapter, in one paragraph your course was traced through a
half dozen places; anyone, as ignorant as myself, if he could be found,
would prefer such a disturbing paragraph left out. I cut your map loose,
and I found that a great comfort; I could not follow your engraved track.
I think in a second edition, interspaces here and there of one line open,
would be an improvement. By the way, I take credit to myself in giving my
Journal a less scientific air in having printed all names of species and
genera in Romans; the printing looks, also, better. All the illustrations
strike me as capital, and the map is an admirable volume in itself. If
your 'Principles' had not met with such universal admiration, I should have
feared there would have been too much geology in this for the general
reader; certainly all that the most clear and light style could do, has
been done. To myself the geology was an excellent, well-condensed, well-
digested resume of all that has been made out in North America, and every
geologist ought to be grateful to you. The summing up of the Niagara
chapter appeared to me the grandest part; I was also deeply interested by
your discussion on the origin of the Silurian formations. I have made
scores of SCORES marking passages hereafter useful to me.

All the coal theory appeared to me very good; but it is no use going on
enumerating in this manner. I wish there had been more Natural History; I
liked ALL the scattered fragments. I have now given you an exact
transcript of my thoughts, but they are hardly worth your reading...

Down, August 25th [1845].

My dear Lyell,

This is literally the first day on which I have had any time to spare; and
I will amuse myself by beginning a letter to you...

I was delighted with your letter in which you touch on Slavery; I wish the
same feelings had been apparent in your published discussion. But I will
not write on this subject, I should perhaps annoy you, and most certainly
myself. I have exhaled myself with a paragraph or two in my Journal on the
sin of Brazilian slavery; you perhaps will think that it is in answer to
you; but such is not the case. I have remarked on nothing which I did not
hear on the coast of South America. My few sentences, however, are merely
an explosion of feeling. How could you relate so placidly that atrocious
sentiment (In the passage referred to, Lyell does not give his own views,
but those of a planter.) about separating children from their parents; and
in the next page speak of being distressed at the whites not having
prospered; I assure you the contrast made me exclaim out. But I have
broken my intention, and so no more on this odious deadly subject.

There is a favourable, but not strong enough review on you, in the
"Gardeners' Chronicle". I am sorry to see that Lindley abides by the
carbonic acid gas theory. By the way, I was much pleased by Lindley
picking out my extinction paragraphs and giving them uncurtailed. To my
mind, putting the comparative rarity of existing species in the same
category with extinction has removed a great weight; though of course it
does not explain anything, it shows that until we can explain comparative
rarity, we ought not to feel any surprise at not explaining extinction...

I am much pleased to hear of the call for a new edition of the
'Principles': what glorious good that work has done. I fear this time you
will not be amongst the old rocks; how I shall rejoice to live to see you
publish and discover another stage below the Silurian--it would be the
grandest step possible, I think. I am very glad to hear what progress
Bunbury is making in fossil Botany; there is a fine hiatus for him to fill
up in this country. I will certainly call on him this winter...From what
little I saw of him, I can quite believe everything which you say of his

Shrewsbury [1845?].

My dear Hooker,

I have just received your note, which has astonished me, and has most truly
grieved me. I never for one minute doubted of your success, for I most
erroneously imagined, that merit was sure to gain the day. I feel most
sure that the day will come soon, when those who have voted against you, if
they have any shame or conscience in them, will be ashamed at having
allowed politics to blind their eyes to your qualifications, and those
qualifications vouched for by Humboldt and Brown! Well, those testimonials
must be a consolation to you. Proh pudor! I am vexed and indignant by
turns. I cannot even take comfort in thinking that I shall see more of
you, and extract more knowledge from your well-arranged stock. I am
pleased to think, that after having read a few of your letters, I never
once doubted the position you will ultimately hold amongst European
Botanists. I can think about nothing else, otherwise I should like [to]
discuss 'Cosmos' (A translation of Humboldt's 'Kosmos.') with you. I trust
you will pay me and my wife a visit this autumn at Down. I shall be at
Down on the 24th, and till then moving about.

My dear Hooker, allow me to call myself
Your very true friend,

October 8th [1845], Shrewsbury.

...I have lately been taking a little tour to see a farm I have purchased
in Lincolnshire (He speaks of his Lincolnshire farm in a letter to Henslow
(July 4th):--"I have bought a farm in Lincolnshire, and when I go there
this autumn, I mean to see what I can do in providing any cottage on my
small estate with gardens. It is a hopeless thing to look to, but I
believe few things would do this country more good in future ages than the
destruction of primogeniture, so as to lessen the difference in land-
wealth, and make more small freeholders. How atrociously unjust are the
stamp laws, which render it so expensive for the poor man to buy his
quarter of an acre; it makes one's blood burn with indignation.") and then
to York, where I visited the Dean of Manchester (Hon. and Rev. W. Herbert.
The visit is mentioned in a letter to Dr. Hooker:--"I have been taking a
little tour, partly on business, and visited the Dean of Manchester, and
had very much interesting talk with him on hybrids, sterility, and
variation, etc., etc. He is full of self-gained knowledge, but knows
surprisingly little what others have done on the same subjects. He is very
heterodox on 'species': not much better as most naturalists would esteem
it, than poor Mr. Vestiges.") the great maker of Hybrids, who gave me much
curious information. I also visited Waterton at Walton Hall, and was
extremely amused with my visit there. He is an amusing strange fellow; at
our early dinner, our party consisted of two Catholic priests and two
Mulattresses! He is past sixty years old, and the day before ran down and
caught a leveret in a turnip-field. It is a fine old house, and the lake
swarms with water-fowl. I then saw Chatsworth, and was in transport with
the great hothouse; it is a perfect fragment of a tropical forest, and the
sight made me think with delight of old recollections. My little ten-day
tour made me feel wonderfully strong at the time, but the good effects did
not last. My wife, I am sorry to say, does not get very strong, and the
children are the hope of the family, for they are all happy, life, and
spirits. I have been much interested with Sedgwick's review (Sedgwick's
review of the 'Vestiges of Creation' in the 'Edinburgh Review,' July,
1845.) though I find it far from popular with our scientific readers. I
think some few passages savour of the dogmatism of the pulpit, rather than
of the philosophy of the Professor's Chair; and some of the wit strikes me
as only worthy of -- in the 'Quarterly.' Nevertheless, it is a grand piece
of argument against mutability of species, and I read it with fear and
trembling, but was well pleased to find that I had not overlooked any of
the arguments, though I had put them to myself as feebly as milk and water.
Have you read 'Cosmos' yet? The English translation is wretched, and the
semi-metaphysico-politico descriptions in the first part are barely
intelligible; but I think the volcanic discussion well worth your
attention, it has astonished me by its vigour and information. I grieve to
find Humboldt an adorer of Von Buch, with his classification of volcanos,
craters of elevation, etc., etc., and carbonic acid gas atmosphere. He is
indeed a wonderful man.

I hope to get home in a fortnight and stick to my wearyful South America
till I finish it. I shall be very anxious to hear how you get on from the
Horners, but you must not think of wasting your time by writing to me. We
shall miss, indeed, your visits to Down, and I shall feel a lost man in
London without my morning "house of call" at Hart Street...

Believe me, my dear Lyell, ever yours,

Down, Farnborough, Kent.
Thursday, September, 1846.

My dear Hooker,

I hope this letter will catch you at Clifton, but I have been prevented
writing by being unwell, and having had the Horners here as visitors,
which, with my abominable press-work, has fully occupied my time. It is,
indeed, a long time since we wrote to each other; though, I beg to tell
you, that I wrote last, but what about I cannot remember, except, I know,
it was after reading your last numbers (Sir J.D. Hooker's Antarctic
Botany.), and I send you a uniquely laudatory epistle, considering it was
from a man who hardly knows a Daisy from a Dandelion to a professed

I cannot remember what papers have given me the impression, but I have
that, which you state to be the case, firmly fixed on my mind, namely, the
little chemical importance of the soil to its vegetation. What a strong
fact it is, as R. Brown once remarked to me, of certain plants being
calcareous ones here, which are not so under a more favourable climate on
the Continent, or the reverse, for I forget which; but you, no doubt, will
know to what I refer. By-the-way, there are some such cases in Herbert's
paper in the 'Horticultural Journal.' ('Journal of the Horticultural
Society,' 1846.) Have you read it: it struck me as extremely original,
and bears DIRECTLY on your present researches. (Sir J.D. Hooker was at
this time attending to polymorphism, variability, etc.) To a NON-BOTANIST
the chalk has the most peculiar aspect of any flora in England; why will
you not come here to make your observations? WE go to Southampton, if my
courage and stomach do not fail, for the Brit. Assoc. (Do you not consider
it your duty to be there?) And why cannot you come here afterward and


October 1846 to October 1854.

[Writing to Sir J.D. Hooker in 1845, my father says: "I hope this next
summer to finish my South American Geology, then to get out a little
Zoology, and hurrah for my species work..." This passage serves to show
that he had at this time no intention of making an exhaustive study of the
Cirripedes. Indeed it would seem that his original intention was, as I
learn from Sir J.D. Hooker, merely to work out one special problem. This
is quite in keeping with the following passage in the Autobiography: "When
on the coast of Chile, I found a most curious form, which burrowed into the
shells of Concholepas, and which differed so much from all other Cirripedes
that I had to form a new sub-order for its sole reception...To understand
the structure of my new Cirripede I had to examine and dissect many of the
common forms; and this gradually led me on to take up the whole group." In
later years he seems to have felt some doubt as to the value of these eight
years of work,--for instance when he wrote in his Autobiography--"My work
was of considerable use to me, when I had to discuss in the 'Origin of
Species,' the principles of a natural classification. Nevertheless I doubt
whether the work was worth the consumption of so much time." Yet I learn
from Sir J.D. Hooker that he certainly recognised at the time its value to
himself as systematic training. Sir Joseph writes to me: "Your father
recognised three stages in his career as a biologist: the mere collector
at Cambridge; the collector and observer in the "Beagle", and for some
years afterwards; and the trained naturalist after, and only after the
Cirripede work. That he was a thinker all along is true enough, and there
is a vast deal in his writings previous to the Cirripedes that a trained
naturalist could but emulate...He often alluded to it as a valued
discipline, and added that even the 'hateful' work of digging out synonyms,
and of describing, not only improved his methods but opened his eyes to the
difficulties and merits of the works of the dullest of cataloguers. One
result was that he would never allow a depreciatory remark to pass
unchallenged on the poorest class of scientific workers, provided that
their work was honest, and good of its kind. I have always regarded it as
one of the finest traits of his character,--this generous appreciation of
the hod-men of science, and of their labours...and it was monographing the
Barnacles that brought it about."

Professor Huxley allows me to quote his opinion as to the value of the
eight years given to the Cirripedes:--

"In my opinion your sagacious father never did a wiser thing than when he
devoted himself to the years of patient toil which the Cirripede-book cost

"Like the rest of us, he had no proper training in biological science, and
it has always struck me as a remarkable instance of his scientific insight,
that he saw the necessity of giving himself such training, and of his
courage, that he did not shirk the labour of obtaining it.

"The great danger which besets all men of large speculative faculty, is the
temptation to deal with the accepted statements of facts in natural
science, as if they were not only correct, but exhaustive; as if they might
be dealt with deductively, in the same way as propositions in Euclid may be
dealt with. In reality, every such statement, however true it may be, is
true only relatively to the means of observation and the point of view of
those who have enunciated it. So far it may be depended upon. But whether
it will bear every speculative conclusion that may be logically deduced
from it, is quite another question.

"Your father was building a vast superstructure upon the foundations
furnished by the recognised facts of geological and biological science. In
Physical Geography, in Geology proper, in Geographical Distribution, and in
Palaeontology, he had acquired an extensive practical training during the
voyage of the "Beagle". He knew of his own knowledge the way in which the
raw materials of these branches of science are acquired, and was therefore
a most competent judge of the speculative strain they would bear. That
which he needed, after his return to England, was a corresponding
acquaintance with Anatomy and Development, and their relation to Taxonomy--
and he acquired this by his Cirripede work.

"Thus, in my apprehension, the value of the Cirripede monograph lies not
merely in the fact that it is a very admirable piece of work, and
constituted a great addition to positive knowledge, but still more in the
circumstance that it was a piece of critical self-discipline, the effect of
which manifested itself in everything your father wrote afterwards, and
saved him from endless errors of detail.

"So far from such work being a loss of time, I believe it would have been
well worth his while, had it been practicable, to have supplemented it by a
special study of embryology and physiology. His hands would have been
greatly strengthened thereby when he came to write out sundry chapters of
the 'Origin of Species.' But of course in those days it was almost
impossible for him to find facilities for such work."

No one can look a the two volumes on the recent Cirripedes, of 399 and 684
pages respectively (not to speak of the volumes on the fossil species),
without being struck by the immense amount of detailed work which they
contain. The forty plates, some of them with thirty figures, and the
fourteen pages of index in the two volumes together, give some rough idea
of the labour spent on the work. (The reader unacquainted with Zoology
will find some account of the more interesting results in Mr. Romanes'
article on "Charles Darwin" ('Nature' Series, 1882).) The state of
knowledge, as regards the Cirripedes, was most unsatisfactory at the time
that my father began to work at them. As an illustration of this fact, it
may be mentioned that he had even to re-organise the nomenclature of the
group, or, as he expressed it, he "unwillingly found it indispensable to
give names to several valves, and to some few of the softer parts of
Cirripedes." (Vol. i. page 3.) It is interesting to learn from his diary
the amount of time which he gave to different genera. Thus the genus
Chthamalus, the description of which occupies twenty-two pages, occupied
him for thirty-six days; Coronula took nineteen days, and is described in
twenty-seven pages. Writing to Fitz-Roy, he speaks of being "for the last
half-month daily hard at work in dissecting a little animal about the size
of a pin's head, from the Chonos archipelago, and I could spend another
month, and daily see more beautiful structure."

Though he became excessively weary of the work before the end of the eight
years, he had much keen enjoyment in the course of it. Thus he wrote to
Sir J.D. Hooker (1847?):--"As you say, there is an extraordinary pleasure
in pure observation; not but what I suspect the pleasure in this case is
rather derived from comparisons forming in one's mind with allied
structures. After having been so long employed in writing my old
geological observations, it is delightful to use one's eyes and fingers
again." It was, in fact, a return to the work which occupied so much of
his time when at sea during his voyage. His zoological notes of that
period give an impression of vigorous work, hampered by ignorance and want
of appliances. And his untiring industry in the dissection of marine
animals, especially of Crustacea, must have been of value to him as
training for his Cirripede work. Most of his work was done with the simple
dissecting microscope--but it was the need which he found for higher powers
that induced him, in 1846, to buy a compound microscope. He wrote to
Hooker:--"When I was drawing with L., I was so delighted with the
appearance of the objects, especially with their perspective, as seen
through the weak powers of a good compound microscope, that I am going to
order one; indeed, I often have structures in which the 1/30 is not power

During part of the time covered by the present chapter, my father suffered
perhaps more from ill-health than at any other time of his life. He felt
severely the depressing influence of these long years of illness; thus as
early as 1840 he wrote to Fox: "I am grown a dull, old, spiritless dog to
what I used to be. One gets stupider as one grows older I think." It is
not wonderful that he should so have written, it is rather to be wondered
at that his spirit withstood so great and constant a strain. He wrote to
Sir J.D. Hooker in 1845: "You are very kind in your enquiries about my
health; I have nothing to say about it, being always much the same, some
days better and some worse. I believe I have not had one whole day, or
rather night, without my stomach having been greatly disordered, during the
last three years, and most days great prostration of strength: thank you
for your kindness; many of my friends, I believe, think me a

Again, in 1849, he notes in his diary:--"January 1st to March 10th.--Health
very bad, with much sickness and failure of power. Worked on all well
days." This was written just before his first visit to Dr. Gully's Water-
Cure Establishment at Malvern. In April of the same year he wrote:--"I
believe I am going on very well, but I am rather weary of my present
inactive life, and the water-cure has the most extraordinary effect in
producing indolence and stagnation of mind: till experiencing it, I could
not have believed it possible. I now increase in weight, have escaped
sickness for thirty days." He returned in June, after sixteen weeks'
absence, much improved in health, and, as already described, continued the
water-cure at home for some time.]

Down [October, 1846].

My dear Hooker,

I have not heard from Sulivan (Admiral Sir B.J. Sulivan, formerly an
officer of the "Beagle".) lately; when he last wrote he named from 8th to
10th as the most likely time. Immediately that I hear, I will fly you a
line, for the chance of your being able to come. I forget whether you know
him, but I suppose so; he is a real good fellow. Anyhow, if you do not
come then, I am very glad that you propose coming soon after...

I am going to begin some papers on the lower marine animals, which will
last me some months, perhaps a year, and then I shall begin looking over my
ten-year-long accumulation of notes on species and varieties, which, with
writing, I dare say will take me five years, and then, when published, I
dare say I shall stand infinitely low in the opinion of all sound
Naturalists--so this is my prospect for the future.

Are you a good hand at inventing names. I have a quite new and curious
genus of Barnacle, which I want to name, and how to invent a name
completely puzzles me.

By the way, I have told you nothing about Southampton. We enjoyed (wife
and myself) our week beyond measure: the papers were all dull, but I met
so many friends and made so many new acquaintances (especially some of the
Irish Naturalists), and took so many pleasant excursions. I wish you had
been there. On Sunday we had so pleasant an excursion to Winchester with
Falconer (Hugh Falconer, 1809-1865. Chiefly known as a palaeontologist,
although employed as a botanist during his whole career in India, where he
was also a medical officer in the H.E.I.C. Service; he was superintendent
of the Company's garden, first at Saharunpore, and then at Calcutta. He
was one of the first botanical explorers of Kashmir. Falconer's
discoveries of Miocene mammalian remains in the Sewalik Hills, were, at the
time, perhaps the greatest "finds" which had been made. His book on the
subject, 'Fauna Antiqua Sivalensis,' remained unfinished at the time of his
death.), Colonel Sabine (The late Sir Edward Sabine, formerly President of
the Royal Society, and author of a long series of memoirs on Terrestrial
Magnetism.), and Dr. Robinson (The late Dr. Thomas Romney Robinson, of the
Armagh Observatory.), and others. I never enjoyed a day more in my life.
I missed having a look at H. Watson. (The late Hewett Cottrell Watson,
author of the 'Cybele Britannica,' one of a most valuable series of works
on the topography and geographical distribution of the plants of the
British Islands.) I suppose you heard that he met Forbes and told him he
had a severe article in the Press. I understood that Forbes explained to
him that he had no cause to complain, but as the article was printed, he
would not withdraw it, but offered it to Forbes for him to append notes to
it, which Forbes naturally declined...

Down, April 7th [1847?}.

My dear Hooker,

I should have written before now, had I not been almost continually unwell,
and at present I am suffering from four boils and swellings, one of which
hardly allows me the use of my right arm, and has stopped all my work, and
damped all my spirits. I was much disappointed at missing my trip to Kew,
and the more so, as I had forgotten you would be away all this month; but I
had no choice, and was in bed nearly all Friday and Saturday. I
congratulate you over your improved prospects about India (Sir J. Hooker
left England on November 11, 1847, for his Himalayan and Tibetan journey.
The expedition was supported by a small grant from the Treasury, and thus
assumed the character of a Government mission.), but at the same time must
sincerely groan over it. I shall feel quite lost without you to discuss
many points with, and to point out (ill-luck to you) difficulties and
objections to my species hypotheses. It will be a horrid shame if money
stops your expedition; but Government will surely help you to some
extent...Your present trip, with your new views, amongst the coal-plants,
will be very interesting. If you have spare time, BUT NOT WITHOUT, I
should enjoy having some news of your progress. Your present trip will
work well in, if you go to any of the coal districts in India. Would this
not be a good object to parade before Government; the utilitarian souls
would comprehend this. By the way, I will get some work out of you, about
the domestic races of animals in India...

Down [1847].

Dear Jenyns,

("This letter relates to a small Almanack first published in 1843, under
the name of 'The Naturalists' Pocket Almanack,' by Mr. Van Voorst, and
which I edited for him. It was intended especially for those who interest
themselves in the periodic phenomena of animals and plants, of which a
select list was given under each month of the year.

"The Pocket Almanack contained, moreover, miscellaneous information
relating to Zoology and Botany; to Natural History and other scientific
societies; to public Museums and Gardens, in addition to the ordinary
celestial phenomena found in most other Almanacks. It continued to be
issued till 1847, after which year the publication was abandoned."--From a
letter from Rev. L. Blomefield to F. Darwin.)

I am very much obliged for the capital little Almanack; it so happened that
I was wishing for one to keep in my portfolio. I had never seen this kind
before, and shall certainly get one for the future. I think it is very
amusing to have a list before one's eyes of the order of appearance of the
plants and animals around one; it gives a fresh interest to each fine day.
There is one point I should like to see a little improved, viz., the
correction for the clock at shorter intervals. Most people, I suspect, who
like myself have dials, will wish to be more precise than with a margin of
three minutes. I always buy a shilling almanack for this SOLE end. By the
way, YOURS, i.e., Van Voorst's Almanack, is very dear; it ought, at least,
to be advertised post-free for the shilling. Do you not think a table (not
rules) of conversion of French into English measures, and perhaps weights,
would be exceedingly useful; also centigrade into Fahrenheit,--magnifying
powers according to focal distances?--in fact you might make it the more
useful publication of the age. I know what I should like best of all,
namely, current meteorological remarks for each month, with statement of
average course of winds and prediction of weather, in accordance with
movements of barometer. People, I think, are always amused at knowing the
extremes and means of temperature for corresponding times in other years.

I hope you will go on with it another year. With many thanks, my dear

Yours very truly,

Down, Sunday [April 18th, 1847].

My dear Hooker,

I return with many thanks Watson's letter, which I have had copied. It is
a capital one, and I am extremely obliged to you for obtaining me such
valuable information. Surely he is rather in a hurry when he says
intermediate varieties must almost be necessarily rare, otherwise they
would be taken as the types of the species; for he overlooks numerical
frequency as an element. Surely if A, B, C were three varieties, and if A
were a good deal the commonest (therefore, also, first known), it would be
taken as the type, without regarding whether B was quite intermediate or
not, or whether it was rare or not. What capital essays W would write; but
I suppose he has written a good deal in the 'Phytologist.' You ought to
encourage him to publish on variation; it is a shame that such facts as
those in his letter should remain unpublished. I must get you to introduce
me to him; would he be a good and sociable man for Dropmore? (A much
enjoyed expedition made from Oxford--when the British Association met there
in 1847.) though if he comes, Forbes must not (and I think you talked of
inviting Forbes), or we shall have a glorious battle. I should like to see
sometime the war correspondence. Have you the 'Phytologist,' and could you
sometime spare it? I would go through it quickly...I have read your last
five numbers (Of the Botany of Hooker's 'Antarctic Voyage.'), and as usual
have been much interested in several points, especially with your
discussions on the beech and potato. I see you have introduced several
sentences against us Transmutationists. I have also been looking through
the latter volumes of the 'Annals of Natural History,' and have read two
such soulless, pompous papers of --, quite worthy of the author...The
contrast of the papers in the "Annals" with those in the "Annales" is
rather humiliating; so many papers in the former, with short descriptions
of species, without one word on their affinities, internal structure, range
or habits. I am now reading --, and I have picked out some things which
have interested me; but he strikes me as rather dullish, and with all his
Materia Medica smells of the doctor's shop. I shall ever hate the name of
the Materia Medica, since hearing Duncan's lectures at eight o'clock on a
winter's morning--a whole, cold breakfastless hour on the properties of

I hope your journey will be very prosperous. Believe me, my dear Hooker,

Ever yours,

P.S.--I think I have only made one new acquaintance of late, that is R.
Chambers; and I have just received a presentation copy of the sixth edition
of the 'Vestiges.' Somehow I now feel perfectly convinced he is the
author. He is in France, and has written to me thence.

Down [1847?].

...I am delighted to hear that Brongniart thought Sigillaria aquatic, and
that Binney considers coal a sort of submarine peat. I would bet 5 to 1
that in twenty years this will be generally admitted (An unfulfilled
prophecy.); and I do not care for whatever the botanical difficulties or
impossibilities may be. If I could but persuade myself that Sigillaria and
Co. had a good range of depth, i.e., could live from 5 to 100 fathoms under
water, all difficulties of nearly all kinds would be removed (for the
simple fact of muddy ordinary shallow sea implies proximity of land).
[N.B.--I am chuckling to think how you are sneering all this time.] It is
not much of a difficulty, there not being shells with the coal, considering
how unfavourable deep mud is for most Mollusca, and that shells would
probably decay from the humic acid, as seems to take place in peat and in
the BLACK moulds (as Lyell tells me) of the Mississippi. So coal question
settled--Q.E.D. Sneer away!

Many thanks for your welcome note from Cambridge, and I am glad you like my
alma mater, which I despise heartily as a place of education, but love from
many most pleasant recollections...

Thanks for your offer of the 'Phytologist;' I shall be very much obliged
for it, for I do not suppose I should be able to borrow it from any other
quarter. I will not be set up too much by your praise, but I do not
believe I ever lost a book or forgot to return it during a long lapse of
time. Your 'Webb' is well wrapped up, and with your name in large letters

My new microscope is come home (a "splendid plaything," as old R. Brown
called it), and I am delighted with it; it really is a splendid plaything.
I have been in London for three days, and saw many of our friends. I was
extremely sorry to hear a not very good account of Sir William. Farewell,
my dear Hooker, and be a good boy, and make Sigillaria a submarine sea-

Ever yours,

Down [May 6th, 1847].

My dear Hooker,

You have made a savage onslaught, and I must try to defend myself. But,
first, let me say that I never write to you except for my own good
pleasure; now I fear that you answer me when busy and without inclination
(and I am sure I should have none if I was as busy as you). Pray do not do
so, and if I thought my writing entailed an answer from you nolens volens,
it would destroy all my pleasure in writing. Firstly, I did not consider
my letter as REASONING, or even as SPECULATION, but simply as mental
rioting; and as I was sending Binney's paper, I poured out to you the
result of reading it. Secondly, you are right, indeed, in thinking me mad,
if you suppose that I would class any ferns as marine plants; but surely
there is a wide distinction between the plants found upright in the coal-
beds and those not upright, and which might have been drifted. Is it not
possible that the same circumstances which have preserved the vegetation in
situ, should have preserved drifted plants? I know Calamites is found
upright; but I fancied its affinities were very obscure, like Sigillaria.
As for Lepidodendron, I forgot its existence, as happens when one goes
riot, and now know neither what it is, or whether upright. If these
plants, i.e. Calamites and Lepidodendron, have VERY CLEAR RELATIONS to
terrestrial vegetables, like the ferns have, and are found upright in situ,
of course I must give up the ghost. But surely Sigillaria is the main
upright plant, and on its obscure affinities I have heard you enlarge.

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 algae are almost the only, or the only submerged
sea-plants, 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, caeteris
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 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 (The late Sir C. Bunbury, well-known
as a palaeobotanist.) 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

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. (Parts of two letters.)
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.

Ever yours,

[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 day, and I reached home only last night,
much knocked up. Without I hear to-morrow (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...

[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,

I will write to you in India.

[In 1847 appeared a paper by Mr. D. Milne (Now Mr. Milne Home. The essay
was published in Transactions of the Edinburgh Royal Society, vol. xvi.),
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 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
('Ancient Sea Margins, 1848.' The words quoted by my father should be "the
mobility of the land was an ascendant idea."); 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 I commence
the description of them with saying, that 'perceiving their importance, I
examined them with scrupulous care,' and expatiate at considerable length
on them. I have indirectly told him I do not think he has quite claims to
consider that he alone (which he pretty directly asserts) has solved the
problem of Glen Roy. With respect to the terraces at lower levels
coincident in height all round Scotland and England, I am inclined to
believe he shows some little probability of there being some leading ones
coincident, but much more exact evidence is required. Would you believe it
credible? he advances as a probable solution to account for the rise of
Great Britain that in some great ocean one-twentieth of the bottom of the
whole aqueous surface of the globe has sunk in (he does not say where he
puts it) for a thickness of half a mile, and this he has calculated would
make an apparent rise of 130 feet."

Down [June, 1848].

My dear Lyell,

Out of justice to Chambers I must trouble you with one line to say, as far
as I am personally concerned in Glen Roy, he has made the amende honorable,
and pleads guilty through inadvertency of taking my two lines of arguments
and facts without acknowledgment. He concluded by saying he "came to the
same point by an independent course of inquiry, which in a small degree
excuses this inadvertency." His letter altogether shows a very good
disposition, and says he is "much gratified with the MEASURED approbation
which you bestow, etc." I am heartily glad I was able to say in truth that
I thought he had done good service in calling more attention to the subject
of the terraces. He protests it is unfair to call the sinking of the sea
his theory, for that he with care always speaks of mere change of level,
and this is quite true; but the one section in which he shows how he
conceives the sea might sink is so astonishing, that I believe it will with
others, as with me, more than counterbalance his previous caution. I hope
that you may think better of the book than I do.

Yours most truly,

October 6th, 1848.

...I have lately been trying to get up an agitation (but I shall not
succeed, and indeed doubt whether I have time and strength to go on with
it), against the practice of Naturalists appending for perpetuity the name
of the FIRST describer to species. I look at this as a direct premium to
hasty work, to NAMING instead of DESCRIBING. A species ought to have a
name so well known that the addition of the author's name would be
superfluous, and a [piece] of empty vanity. (His contempt for the self-
regarding spirit in a naturalist is illustrated by an anecdote, for which I
am indebted to Rev. L. Blomefield. After speaking of my father's love of
Entomology at Cambridge, Mr. Blomefield continues:--"He occasionally came
over from Cambridge to my Vicarage at Swaffham Bulbeck, and we went out
together to collect insects in the woods at Bottisham Hall, close at hand,
or made longer excursions in the Fens. On one occasion he captured in a
large bag net, with which he used vigorously to sweep the weeds and long
grass, a rare coleopterous insect, one of the Lepturidae, which I myself
had never taken in Cambridgeshire. He was pleased with his capture, and of
course carried it home in triumph. Some years afterwards, the voyage of
the 'Beagle' having been made in the interim, talking over old times with
him, I reverted to this circumstance, and asked if he remembered it. 'Oh,
yes,' (he said,) 'I remember it well; and I was selfish enough to keep the
specimen, when you were collecting materials for a Fauna of Cambridgeshire,
and for a local museum in the Philosophical Society.' He followed this up
with some remarks on the pettiness of collectors, who aimed at nothing
beyond filling their cabinets with rare things.") At present, it would not
do to give mere specific names; but I think Zoologists might open the road
to the omission, by referring to good systematic writers instead of to
first describers. Botany, I fancy, has not suffered so much as Zoology
from mere NAMING; the characters, fortunately, are more obscure. Have you
ever thought on this point? Why should Naturalists append their own names
to new species, when Mineralogists and Chemists do not do so to new
substances? When you write to Falconer pray remember me affectionately to
him. I grieve most sincerely to hear that he has been ill, my dear Hooker,
God bless you, and fare you well.

Your sincere friend,

was born 2nd of March, 1811, and educated at Rugby, under Arnold, and at
Oriel College, Oxford. In 1835 and 1836 he travelled through Europe to the
Levant with W.J. Hamilton, the geologist, wintering in Asia Minor. In 1841
he brought the subject of Natural History Nomenclature before the British
Association, and prepared the Code of Rules for Zoological Nomenclature,
now known by his name--the principles of which are very generally adopted.
In 1843 he was one of the founders (if not the original projector) of the
Ray Society. In 1845 he married the second daughter of Sir William
Jardine, Bart. In 1850 he was appointed, in consequence of Buckland's
illness, Deputy Reader in Geology at Oxford. His promising career was
suddenly cut short on September 14, 1853, when, while geologizing in a
railway cutting between Retford and Gainsborough, he was run over by a
train and instantly killed. A memoir of him and a reprint of his principal
contributions to journals was published by Sir William Jardine in 1858; but
he was also the author of 'The Dodo and its Kindred' (1848); 'Bibliographia
Zoologiae' (the latter in conjunction with Louis Agassiz, and issued by the
Ray Society); 'Ornithological Synonyms' (one volume only published, and
that posthumously). A catalogue of his ornithological collection, given by
his widow to the University of Cambridge, was compiled by Mr. Salvin, and
published in 1882. (I am indebted to Prof. Newton for the above note.))
Down, January 29th [1849].

...What a labour you have undertaken; I do HONOUR your devoted zeal in the
good cause of Natural Science. Do you happen to have a SPARE copy of the
Nomenclature rules published in the 'British Association Transactions?' if
you have, and would give it to me, I should be truly obliged, for I grudge
buying the volume for it. I have found the rules very useful, it is quite
a comfort to have something to rest on in the turbulent ocean of
nomenclature (and am accordingly grateful to you), though I find it very
difficult to obey always. Here is a case (and I think it should have been
noticed in the rules), Coronula, Cineras and Otion, are names adopted by
Cuvier, Lamarck, Owen, and almost EVERY well-known writer, but I find that
all three names were anticipated by a German: now I believe if I were to
follow the strict rule of priority, more harm would be done than good, and
more especially as I feel sure that the newly fished-up names would not be
adopted. I have almost made up my mind to reject the rule of priority in
this case; would you grudge the trouble to send me your opinion? I have
been led of late to reflect much on the subject of naming, and I have come
to a fixed opinion that the plan of the first describer's name, being
appended for perpetuity to a species, had been the greatest curse to
Natural History. Some months since, I wrote out the enclosed badly drawn-
up paper, thinking that perhaps I would agitate the subject; but the fit
has passed, and I do not suppose I ever shall; I send it you for the CHANCE
of your caring to see my notions. I have been surprised to find in
conversation that several naturalists were of nearly my way of thinking. I
feel sure as long as species-mongers have their vanity tickled by seeing
their own names appended to a species, because they miserably described it
in two or three lines, we shall have the same VAST amount of bad work as at
present, and which is enough to dishearten any man who is willing to work
out any branch with care and time. I find every genus of Cirripedia has
half-a-dozen names, and not one careful description of any one species in
any one genus. I do not believe that this would have been the case if each
man knew that the memory of his own name depended on his doing his work
well, and not upon merely appending a name with a few wretched lines
indicating only a few prominent external characters. But I will not weary
you with any longer tirade. Read my paper or NOT, just as you like, and
return it whenever you please.

Yours most sincerely,

The Lodge, Tewkesbury, January 31st, 1849.

...I have next to notice your second objection--that retaining the name of
the FIRST describer in perpetuum along with that of the species, is a
premium on hasty and careless work. This is quite a different question
from that of the law of priority itself, and it never occurred to me
before, though it seems highly probable that the general recognition of
that law may produce such a result. We must try to counteract this evil in
some other way.

The object of appending the name of a man to the name of a species is not
to gratify the vanity of the man, but to indicate more precisely the
species. Sometimes two men will, by accident, give the same name
(independently) to two species of the same genus. More frequently a later
author will misapply the specific name of an older one. Thus the Helix
putris of Montagu is not H. putris of Linnaeus, though Montague supposed it
to be so. In such a case we cannot define the species by Helix putris
alone, but must append the name of the author whom we quote. But when a
species has never borne but one name (as Corvus frugilegus), and no other
species of Corvus has borne the same name, it is, of course, unnecessary to
add the author's name. Yet even here I like the form Corvus frugilegus,
Linn., as it reminds us that this is one of the old species, long known,
and to be found in the 'Systema Naturae,' etc. I fear, therefore, that (at
least until our nomenclature is more definitely settled) it will be
impossible to indicate species with scientific accuracy, without adding the
name of their first author. You may, indeed, do it as you propose, by
saying in Lam. An. Invert., etc., but then this would be incompatible with
the law of priority, for where Lamarck has violated that low, one cannot
adopt his name. It is, nevertheless, highly conducive to accurate
indication to append to the (oldest) specific name ONE good reference to a
standard work, especially to a FIGURE, with an accompanying synonym if
necessary. This method may be cumbrous, but cumbrousness is a far less
evil than uncertainty.

It, moreover, seems hardly possible to carry out the PRIORITY principle,
without the historical aid afforded by appending the author's name to the
specific one. If I, a PRIORITY MAN, called a species C.D., it implies that
C.D. is the oldest name that I know of; but in order that you and others
may judge of the propriety of that name, you must ascertain when, and by
whom, the name was first coined. Now, if to the specific name C.D., I
append the name A.B., of its first describer, I at once furnish you with
the clue to the dates when, and the book in which, this description was
given, and I thus assist you in determining whether C.D. be really the
oldest, and therefore the correct, designation.

I do, however, admit that the priority principle (excellent as it is) has a
tendency, when the author's name is added, to encourage vanity and slovenly
work. I think, however, that much might be done to discourage those
obscure and unsatisfactory definitions of which you so justly complain, by
WRITING DOWN the practice. Let the better disposed naturalists combine to
make a formal protest against all vague, loose, and inadequate definitions
of (supposed) new species. Let a committee (say of the British
Association) be appointed to prepare a sort of CLASS LIST of the various
modern works in which new species are described, arranged in order of
merit. The lowest class would contain the worst examples of the kind, and
their authors would thus be exposed to the obloquy which they deserve, and
be gibbeted in terrorem for the edification of those who may come after.

I have thus candidly stated my views (I hope intelligibly) of what seems
best to be done in the present transitional and dangerous state of
systematic zoology. Innumerable labourers, many of them crotchety and
half-educated, are rushing into the field, and it depends, I think, on the
present generation whether the science is to descend to posterity a chaotic
mass, or possessed of some traces of law and organisation. If we could
only get a congress of deputies from the chief scientific bodies of Europe
and America, something might be done, but, as the case stands, I confess I
do not clearly see my way, beyond humbly endeavouring to reform NUMBER ONE.

Yours ever,

Down, Sunday [February 4th, 1849].

My dear Strickland,

I am, in truth, GREATLY obliged to you for your long, most interesting, and
clear letter, and the Report. I will consider your arguments, which are of
the greatest weight, but I confess I cannot yet bring myself to reject very
WELL-KNOWN names, not in ONE country, but over the world, for obscure
ones,--simply on the ground that I do not believe I should be followed.
Pray believe that I should break the law of priority only in rare cases;
will you read the enclosed (and return it), and tell me whether it does not
stagger you? (N.B. I PROMISE that I will not give you any more trouble.)
I want simple answers, and not for you to waste your time in reasons; I am
curious for your answer in regard to Balanus. I put the case of Otion,
etc., to W. Thompson, who is fierce for the law of priority, and he gave it
up in such well-known names. I am in a perfect maze of doubt on
nomenclature. In not one large genus of Cirripedia has ANY ONE species
been correctly defined; it is pure guesswork (being guided by range and
commonness and habits) to recognise any species: thus I can make out, from
plates or descriptions, hardly any of the British sessile cirripedes. I
cannot bear to give new names to all the species, and yet I shall perhaps
do wrong to attach old names by little better than guess; I cannot at
present tell the least which of two species all writers have meant by the
common Anatifera laevis; I have, therefore, given that name to the one
which is rather the commonest. Literally, not one species is properly
defined; not one naturalist has ever taken the trouble to open the shell of
any species to describe it scientifically, and yet all the genera have
half-a-dozen synonyms. For ARGUMENT'S sake, suppose I do my work
thoroughly well, any one who happens to have the original specimens named,
I will say by Chenu, who has figured and named hundreds of species, will be
able to upset all my names according to the law of priority (for he may
maintain his descriptions are sufficient), do you think it advantageous to
science that this should be done: I think not, and that convenience and
high merit (here put as mere argument) had better come into some play. The
subject is heart-breaking.

I hope you will occasionally turn in your mind my argument of the evil done
by the "mihi" attached to specific names; I can most clearly see the
EXCESSIVE evil it has caused; in mineralogy I have myself found there is no
rage to merely name; a person does not take up the subject without he
intends to work it out, as he knows that his ONLY claim to merit rests on
his work being ably done, and has no relation whatever to NAMING. I give
up one point, and grant that reference to first describer's name should be
given in all systematic works, but I think something would be gained if a
reference was given without the author's name being actually appended as
part of the binomial name, and I think, except in systematic works, a
reference, such as I propose, would damp vanity much. I think a very wrong
spirit runs through all Natural History, as if some merit was due to a man
for merely naming and defining a species; I think scarcely any, or none, is
due; if he works out MINUTELY and anatomically any one species, or
systematically a whole group, credit is due, but I must think the mere
defining a species is nothing, and that no INJUSTICE is done him if it be
overlooked, though a great inconvenience to Natural History is thus caused.
I do not think more credit is due to a man for defining a species, than to
a carpenter for making a box. But I am foolish and rabid against species-
mongers, or rather against their vanity; it is useful and necessary work
which must be done; but they act as if they had actually made the species,
and it was their own property.

I use Agassiz's nomenclator; at least two-thirds of the dates in the
Cirripedia are grossly wrong.

I shall do what I can in fossil Cirripedia, and should be very grateful for
specimens; but I do not believe that species (and hardly genera) can be
defined by single valves; as in every recent species yet examined their
forms vary greatly: to describe a species by valves alone, is the same as
to describe a crab from SMALL portions of its carapace alone, these
portions being highly variable, and not, as in Crustacea, modelled over
viscera. I sincerely apologise for the trouble which I have given you, but
indeed I will give no more.

Yours most sincerely,

P.S.--In conversation I found Owen and Andrew Smith much inclined to throw
over the practice of attaching authors' names; I believe if I agitated I
could get a large party to join. W. Thompson agreed some way with me, but
was not prepared to go nearly as far as I am.

Down, February 10th [1849].

My dear Strickland,

I have again to thank you cordially for your letter. Your remarks shall
fructify to some extent, and I will try to be more faithful to rigid virtue
and priority; but as for calling Balanus "Lepas" (which I did not think
of), I cannot do it, my pen won't write it--it is IMPOSSIBLE. I have great
hopes some of my difficulties will disappear, owing to wrong dates in
Agassiz, and to my having to run several genera into one, for I have as yet
gone, in but few cases, to original sources. With respect to adopting my
own notions in my Cirripedia book, I should not like to do so without I
found others approved, and in some public way,--nor, indeed, is it well
adapted, as I can never recognise a species without I have the original
specimen, which, fortunately, I have in many cases in the British Museum.
Thus far I mean to adopt my notion, as never putting mihi or "Darwin" after
my own species, and in the anatomical text giving no authors' names at all,
as the systematic Part will serve for those who want to know the History of
a species as far as I can imperfectly work it out...

[The Lodge, Malvern,
March 28th, 1849.]

My dear Hooker,

Your letter of the 13th of October has remained unanswered till this day!
What an ungrateful return for a letter which interested me so much, and
which contained so much and curious information. But I have had a bad

On the 13th of November, my poor dear father died, and no one who did not
know him would believe that a man above eighty-three years old could have
retained so tender and affectionate a disposition, with all his sagacity
unclouded to the last. I was at the time so unwell, that I was unable to
travel, which added to my misery. Indeed, all this winter I have been bad
enough...and my nervous system began to be affected, so that my hands
trembled, and head was often swimming. I was not able to do anything one
day out of three, and was altogether too dispirited to write to you, or to
do anything but what I was compelled. I thought I was rapidly going the
way of all flesh. Having heard, accidentally, of two persons who had
received much benefit from the water-cure, I got Dr. Gully's book, and made
further enquiries, and at last started here, with wife, children, and all
our servants. We have taken a house for two months, and have been here a
fortnight. I am already a little stronger...Dr. Gully feels pretty sure he
can do me good, which most certainly the regular doctors could not...I feel
certain that the water-cure is no quackery.

How I shall enjoy getting back to Down with renovated health, if such is to
be my good fortune, and resuming the beloved Barnacles. Now I hope that
you will forgive me for my negligence in not having sooner answered your
letter. I was uncommonly interested by the sketch you give of your
intended grand expedition, from which I suppose you will soon be returning.
How earnestly I hope that it may prove in every way successful...

[When my father was at the Water-cure Establishment at Malvern he was
brought into contact with clairvoyance, of which he writes in the following
extract from a letter to Fox, September, 1850.

"You speak about Homoeopathy, which is a subject which makes me more wrath,
even than does Clairvoyance. Clairvoyance so transcends belief, that one's
ordinary faculties are put out of the question, but in homoeopathy common
sense and common observation come into play, and both these must go to the
dogs, if the infinitesimal doses have any effect whatever. How true is a
remark I saw the other day by Quetelet, in respect to evidence of curative
processes, viz., that no one knows in disease what is the simple result of
nothing being done, as a standard with which to compare homoeopathy, and
all other such things. It is a sad flaw, I cannot but think, in my beloved
Dr. Gully, that he believes in everything. When Miss -- was very ill, he
had a clairvoyant girl to report on internal changes, a mesmerist to put
her to sleep--an homoeopathist, viz. Dr. --, and himself as hydropathist!
and the girl recovered."

A passage out of an earlier letter to Fox (December, 1884) shows that he
was equally sceptical on the subject of mesmerism: "With respect to
mesmerism, the whole country resounds with wonderful facts or tales..I have
just heard of a child, three or four years old (whose parents and self I
well knew) mesmerised by his father, which is the first fact which has
staggered me. I shall not believe fully till I see or hear from good
evidence of animals (as has been stated is possible) not drugged, being put
to stupor; of course the impossibility would not prove mesmerism false; but
it is the only clear experimentum crucis, and I am astonished it has not
been systematically tried. If mesmerism was investigated, like a science,
this could not have been left till the present day to be DONE
SATISFACTORILY, as it has been I believe left. Keep some cats yourself,
and do get some mesmeriser to attempt it. One man told me he had
succeeded, but his experiments were most vague, and as was likely from a
man who said cats were more easily done than other animals, because they
were so electrical!"]

Down, December 4th [1849].

My dear Lyell,

This letter requires no answer, and I write from exuberance of vanity.
Dana has sent me the Geology of the United States Expedition, and I have
just read the Coral part. To begin with a modest speech, I AM ASTONISHED
AT MY OWN ACCURACY!! If I were to rewrite now my Coral book there is
hardly a sentence I should have to alter, except that I ought to have
attributed more effect to recent volcanic action in checking growth of
coral. When I say all this I ought to add that the CONSEQUENCES of the
theory on areas of subsidence are treated in a separate chapter to which I
have not come, and in this, I suspect, we shall differ more. Dana talks of
agreeing with my theory IN MOST POINTS; I can find out not one in which he
differs. Considering how infinitely more he saw of Coral Reefs than I did,
this is wonderfully satisfactory to me. He treats me most courteously.
There now, my vanity is pretty well satisfied...

Malvern, April 9th, 1849.

My dear Hooker,

The very next morning after posting my last letter (I think on 23rd of
March), I received your two interesting gossipaceous and geological
letters; and the latter I have since exchanged with Lyell for his. I will
write higglety-pigglety just as subjects occur. I saw the Review in the
'Athenaeum,' it was written in an ill-natured spirit; but the whole virus
consisted in saying that there was not novelty enough in your remarks for
publication. No one, nowadays, cares for reviews. I may just mention that
my Journal got some REAL GOOD abuse, "presumption," etc.,--ended with
saying that the volume appeared "made up of the scraps and rubbish of the
author's portfolio." I most truly enter into what you say, and quite
believe you that you care only for the review with respect to your father;
and that this ALONE would make you like to see extracts from your letters
more properly noticed in this same periodical. I have considered to the
very best of my judgment whether any portion of your present letters are
adapted for the 'Athenaeum' (in which I have no interest; the beasts not
having even NOTICED my three geological volumes which I had sent to them),
and I have come to the conclusion it is better not to send them. I feel
sure, considering all the circumstances, that without you took pains and
wrote WITH CARE, a condensed and finished sketch of some striking feature
in your travels, it is better not to send anything. These two letters are,
moreover, rather too geological for the 'Athenaeum,' and almost require
woodcuts. On the other hand, there are hardly enough details for a
communication to the Geological Society. I have not the SMALLEST DOUBT
that your facts are of the highest interest with regard to glacial action
in the Himalaya; but it struck both Lyell and myself that your evidence
ought to have been given more distinctly...

I have written so lately that I have nothing to say about myself; my health
prevented me going on with a crusade against "mihi" and "nobis," of which
you warn me of the dangers. I showed my paper to three or four
Naturalists, and they all agreed with me to a certain extent: with health
and vigour, I would not have shown a white feather, [and] with aid of half-
a-dozen really good Naturalists, I believe something might have been done
against the miserable and degrading passion of mere species naming. In
your letter you wonder what "Ornamental Poultry" has to do with Barnacles;
but do not flatter yourself that I shall not yet live to finish the
Barnacles, and then make a fool of myself on the subject of species, under
which head ornamental Poultry are very interesting...

The Lodge, Malvern [June, 1849].

...I have got your book ('A Second Visit to the United States.'), and have
read all the first and a small part of the second volume (reading is the
hardest work allowed here), and greatly I have been interested by it. It
makes me long to be a Yankee. E. desires me to say that she quite
"gloated" over the truth of your remarks on religious progress...I delight
to think how you will disgust some of the bigots and educational dons. As
yet there has not been MUCH Geology or Natural History, for which I hope
you feel a little ashamed. Your remarks on all social subjects strike me
as worthy of the author of the 'Principles.' And yet (I know it is
prejudice and pride) if I had written the Principles, I never would have
written any travels; but I believe I am more jealous about the honour and
glory of the Principles than you are yourself...

September 14th, 1849.

...I go on with my aqueous processes, and very steadily but slowly gain
health and strength. Against all rules, I dined at Chevening with Lord
Mahon, who did me the great honour of calling on me, and how he heard of me
I can't guess. I was charmed with Lady Mahon, and any one might have been
proud at the pieces of agreeableness which came from her beautiful lips
with respect to you. I like old Lord Stanhope very much; though he abused
Geology and Zoology heartily. "To suppose that the Omnipotent God made a
world, found it a failure, and broke it up, and then made it again, and
again broke it up, as the Geologists say, is all fiddle faddle. Describing
Species of birds and shells, etc., is all fiddle faddle..."

I am heartily glad we shall meet at Birmingham, as I trust we shall, if my
health will but keep up. I work now every day at the Cirripedia for 2 1/2
hours, and so get on a little, but very slowly. I sometimes, after being a
whole week employed and having described perhaps only two species, agree
mentally with Lord Stanhope, that it is all fiddle faddle; however, the
other day I got a curious case of a unisexual, instead of hermaphrodite
cirripede, in which the female had the common cirripedial character, and in
two valves of her shell had two little pockets, in EACH of which she kept a
little husband; I do not know of any other case where a female invariably
has two husbands. I have one still odder fact, common to several species,
namely, that though they are hermaphrodite, they have small additional, or
as I shall call them, complemental males, one specimen itself hermaphrodite
had no less than SEVEN, of these complemental males attached to it. Truly
the schemes and wonders of Nature are illimitable. But I am running on as
badly about my cirripedia as about Geology; it makes me groan to think that
probably I shall never again have the exquisite pleasure of making out some
new district, of evolving geological light out of some troubled dark
region. So I must make the best of my Cirripedia...

Down, October 12th, 1849.

...By the way, one of the pleasantest parts of the British Association was
my journey down to Birmingham with Mrs. Sabine, Mrs. Reeve, and the
Colonel; also Col. Sykes and Porter. Mrs. Sabine and myself agreed
wonderfully on many points, and in none more sincerely than about you. We
spoke about your letters from the Erebus; and she quite agreed with me,
that you and the AUTHOR (Sir J. Hooker wrote the spirited description of
cattle hunting in Sir J. Ross's 'Voyage of Discovery in the Southern
Regions,' 1847, vol. ii., page 245.), of the description of the cattle
hunting in the Falklands, would have made a capital book together! A very
nice woman she is, and so is her sharp and sagacious mother...Birmingham
was very flat compared to Oxford, though I had my wife with me. We saw a
good deal of the Lyells and Horners and Robinsons (the President); but the
place was dismal, and I was prevented, by being unwell, from going to
Warwick, though that, i.e., the party, by all accounts, was wonderfully
inferior to Blenheim, not to say anything of that heavenly day at Dropmore.
One gets weary of all the spouting...

You ask about my cold-water cure; I am going on very well, and am certainly
a little better every month, my nights mend much slower than my days. I
have built a douche, and am to go on through all the winter, frost or no
frost. My treatment now is lamp five times per week, and shallow bath for
five minutes afterwards; douche daily for five minutes, and dripping sheet
daily. The treatment is wonderfully tonic, and I have had more better
consecutive days this month than on any previous ones...I am allowed to
work now two and a half hours daily, and I find it as much as I can do, for
the cold-water cure, together with three short walks, is curiously
exhausting; and I am actually FORCED to go to bed at eight o'clock
completely tired. I steadily gain in weight, and eat immensely, and am
never oppressed with my food. I have lost the involuntary twitching of the
muscle, and all the fainting feelings, etc--black spots before eyes, etc.
Dr. Gully thinks he shall quite cure me in six or nine months more.

The greatest bore, which I find in the water-cure, is the having been
compelled to give up all reading, except the newspapers; for my daily two
and a half hours at the Barnacles is fully as much as I can do of anything
which occupies the mind; I am consequently terribly behind in all
scientific books. I have of late been at work at mere species describing,
which is much more difficult than I expected, and has much the same sort of
interest as a puzzle has; but I confess I often feel wearied with the work,
and cannot help sometimes asking myself what is the good of spending a week
or fortnight in ascertaining that certain just perceptible differences
blend together and constitute varieties and not species. As long as I am
on anatomy I never feel myself in that disgusting, horrid, cui bono,
inquiring, humour. What miserable work, again, it is searching for
priority of names. I have just finished two species, which possess seven
generic, and twenty-four specific names! My chief comfort is, that the
work must be sometime done, and I may as well do it, as any one else.

I have given up my agitation against mihi and nobis; my paper is too long
to send to you, so you must see it, if you care to do so, on your return.
By-the-way, you say in your letter that you care more for my species work
than for the Barnacles; now this is too bad of you, for I declare your
decided approval of my plain Barnacle work over theoretic species work, had
very great influence in deciding me to go on with the former, and defer my
species paper...

[The following letter refers to the death of his little daughter, which
took place at Malvern on April 24, 1851:]

Down, April 29th [1851].

My dear Fox,

I do not suppose you will have heard of our bitter and cruel loss. Poor
dear little Annie, when going on very well at Malvern, was taken with a
vomiting attack, which was at first thought of the smallest importance; but
it rapidly assumed the form of a low and dreadful fever, which carried her
off in ten days. Thank God, she suffered hardly at all, and expired as
tranquilly as a little angel. Our only consolation is that she passed a
short, though joyous life. She was my favourite child; her cordiality,
openness, buoyant joyousness and strong affections made her most lovable.
Poor dear little soul. Well it is all over...

Down, March 7th [1852].

My dear Fox,

It is indeed an age since we have had any communication, and very glad I
was to receive your note. Our long silence occurred to me a few weeks
since, and I had then thought of writing, but was idle. I congratulate and
condole with you on your TENTH child; but please to observe when I have a
tenth, send only condolences to me. We have now seven children, all well,
thank God, as well as their mother; of these seven, five are boys; and my
father used to say that it was certain that a boy gave as much trouble as
three girls; so that bona fide we have seventeen children. It makes me
sick whenever I think of professions; all seem hopelessly bad, and as yet I
cannot see a ray of light. I should very much like to talk over this (by
the way, my three bugbears are Californian and Australian gold, beggaring
me by making my money on mortgage worth nothing; the French coming by the
Westerham and Sevenoaks roads, and therefore enclosing Down; and thirdly,
professions for my boys), and I should like to talk about education, on
which you ask me what we are doing. No one can more truly despise the old
stereotyped stupid classical education than I do; but yet I have not had
courage to break through the trammels. After many doubts we have just sent
our eldest boy to Rugby, where for his age he has been very well placed...I
honour, admire, and envy you for educating your boys at home. What on
earth shall you do with your boys? Towards the end of this month we go to
see W. at Rugby, and thence for five or six days to Susan (His sister.) at
Shrewsbury; I then return home to look after the babies, and E. goes to F.
Wedgwood's of Etruria for a week. Very many thanks for your most kind and
large invitation to Delamere, but I fear we can hardly compass it. I dread
going anywhere, on account of my stomach so easily failing under any
excitement. I rarely even now go to London; not that I am at all worse,
perhaps rather better, and lead a very comfortable life with my three hours
of daily work, but it is the life of a hermit. My nights are ALWAYS bad,
and that stops my becoming vigorous. You ask about water-cure. I take at
intervals of two or three months, five or six weeks of MODERATELY severe
treatment, and always with good effect. Do you come here, I pray and beg
whenever you can find time; you cannot tell how much pleasure it would give
me and E. I have finished the 1st volume for the Ray Society of
Pedunculated Cirripedes, which, as I think you are a member, you will soon
get. Read what I describe on the sexes of Ibla and Scalpellum. I am now
at work on the Sessile Cirripedes, and am wonderfully tired of my job: a
man to be a systematic naturalist ought to work at least eight hours per
day. You saw through me, when you said that I must have wished to have
seen the effects of the [word illegible] Debacle, for I was saying a week
ago to E., that had I been as I was in old days, I would have been
certainly off that hour. You ask after Erasmus; he is much as usual, and
constantly more or less unwell. Susan (His sister.) is much better, and
very flourishing and happy. Catherine (Another sister.) is at Rome, and
has enjoyed it in a degree that is quite astonishing to my dry old bones.
And now I think I have told you enough, and more than enough about the
house of Darwin; so my dear old friend, farewell. What pleasant times we
had in drinking coffee in your rooms at Christ's College, and think of the
glories of Crux major. (The beetle Panagaeus crux-major.) Ah, in those
days there were no professions for sons, no ill-health to fear for them, no
Californian gold, no French invasions. How paramount the future is to the
present when one is surrounded by children. My dread is hereditary ill-
health. Even death is better for them.

My dear Fox, your sincere friend,

P.S.--Susan has lately been working in a way which I think truly heroic
about the scandalous violation of the Act against children climbing
chimneys. We have set up a little Society in Shrewsbury to prosecute those
who break the law. It is all Susan's doing. She has had very nice letters
from Lord Shaftesbury and the Duke of Sutherland, but the brutal Shropshire
squires are as hard as stones to move. The Act out of London seems most
commonly violated. It makes one shudder to fancy one of one's own children
at seven years old being forced up a chimney--to say nothing of the
consequent loathsome disease and ulcerated limbs, and utter moral
degradation. If you think strongly on this subject, do make some
inquiries; add to your many good works, this other one, and try to stir up
the magistrates. There are several people making a stir in different parts
of England on this subject. It is not very likely that you would wish for
such, but I could send you some essays and information if you so liked,
either for yourself or to give away.

Down [October 24th, 1852].

My dear Fox,

I received your long and most welcome letter this morning, and will answer
it this evening, as I shall be very busy with an artist, drawing
Cirripedia, and much overworked for the next fortnight. But first you
deserve to be well abused--and pray consider yourself well abused--for
thinking or writing that I could for one minute be bored by any amount of
detail about yourself and belongings. It is just what I like hearing;
believe me that I often think of old days spent with you, and sometimes can
hardly believe what a jolly careless individual one was in those old days.
A bright autumn evening often brings to mind some shooting excursion from
Osmaston. I do indeed regret that we live so far off each other, and that
I am so little locomotive. I have been unusually well of late (no water-
cure), but I do not find that I can stand any change better than
formerly...The other day I went to London and back, and the fatigue, though
so trifling, brought on my bad form of vomiting. I grieve to hear that
your chest has been ailing, and most sincerely do I hope that it is only
the muscles; how frequently the voice fails with the clergy. I can well
understand your reluctance to break up your large and happy party and go
abroad; but your life is very valuable, so you ought to be very cautious in
good time. You ask about all of us, now five boys (oh! the professions;
oh! the gold; and oh! the French--these three oh's all rank as dreadful
bugbears) and two girls...but another and the worst of my bugbears is
hereditary weakness. All my sisters are well except Mrs. Parker, who is
much out of health; and so is Erasmus at his poor average: he has lately
moved into Queen Anne Street. I had heard of the intended marriage (To the
Rev. J. Hughes.) of your sister Frances. I believe I have seen her since,
but my memory takes me back some twenty-five years, when she was lying
down. I remember well the delightful expression of her countenance. I
most sincerely wish her all happiness.

I see I have not answered half your queries. We like very well all that we
have seen and heard of Rugby, and have never repented of sending [W.]
there. I feel sure schools have greatly improved since our days; but I
hate schools and the whole system of breaking through the affections of the
family by separating the boys so early in life; but I see no help, and dare
not run the risk of a youth being exposed to the temptations of the world
without having undergone the milder ordeal of a great school.

I see you even ask after our pears. We have lots of Beurrees d'Aremberg,
Winter Nelis, Marie Louise, and "Ne plus Ultra," but all off the wall; the
standard dwarfs have borne a few, but I have no room for more trees, so
their names would be useless to me. You really must make a holiday and pay
us a visit sometime; nowhere could you be more heartily welcome. I am at
work at the second volume of the Cirripedia, of which creatures I am
wonderfully tired. I hate a Barnacle as no man ever did before, not even a
sailor in a slow-sailing ship. My first volume is out; the only part worth
looking at is on the sexes of Ibla and Scalpellum. I hope by next summer
to have done with my tedious work. Farewell,--do come whenever you can
possibly manage it.

I cannot but hope that the carbuncle may possibly do you good: I have
heard of all sorts of weaknesses disappearing after a carbuncle. I suppose
the pain is dreadful. I agree most entirely, what a blessed discovery is
chloroform. When one thinks of one's children, it makes quite a little
difference in one's happiness. The other day I had five grinders (two by
the elevator) out at a sitting under this wonderful substance, and felt
hardly anything.

My dear old friend, yours very affectionately,

Down, January 29th [1853].

My dear Fox,

Your last account some months ago was so little satisfactory that I have
often been thinking of you, and should be really obliged if you would give
me a few lines, and tell me how your voice and chest are. I most sincerely
hope that your report will be good...Our second lad has a strong mechanical
turn, and we think of making him an engineer. I shall try and find out for
him some less classical school, perhaps Bruce Castle. I certainly should
like to see more diversity in education than there is in any ordinary
school--no exercising of the observing or reasoning faculties, no general
knowledge acquired--I must think it a wretched system. On the other hand,
a boy who has learnt to stick at Latin and conquer its difficulties, ought
to be able to stick at any labour. I should always be glad to hear
anything about schools or education from you. I am at my old, never-ending
subject, but trust I shall really go to press in a few months with my
second volume on Cirripedes. I have been much pleased by finding some odd
facts in my first volume believed by Owen and a few others, whose good
opinion I regard as final...Do write pretty soon, and tell me all you can
about yourself and family; and I trust your report of yourself may be much
better than your last.

...I have been very little in London of late, and have not seen Lyell since
his return from America; how lucky he was to exhume with his own hand parts
of three skeletons of reptiles out of the CARBONIFEROUS strata, and out of
the inside of a fossil tree, which had been hollow within.

Farewell, my dear Fox, yours affectionately,

13 Sea Houses, Eastbourne,
[July 15th? 1853].

My dear Fox,

Here we are in a state of profound idleness, which to me is a luxury; and
we should all, I believe, have been in a state of high enjoyment, had it
not been for the detestable cold gales and much rain, which always gives
much ennui to children away from their homes. I received your letter of
13th June, when working like a slave with Mr. Sowerby at drawing for my
second volume, and so put off answering it till when I knew I should be at
leisure. I was extremely glad to get your letter. I had intended a couple
of months ago sending you a savage or supplicating jobation to know how you
were, when I met Sir P. Egerton, who told me you were well, and, as usual,
expressed his admiration of your doings, especially your farming, and the
number of animals, including children, which you kept on your land. Eleven
children, ave Maria! it is a serious look-out for you. Indeed, I look at
my five boys as something awful, and hate the very thoughts of professions,
etc. If one could insure moderate health for them it would not signify so
much, for I cannot but hope, with the enormous emigration, professions will
somewhat improve. But my bugbear is hereditary weakness. I particularly
like to hear all that you can say about education, and you deserve to be
scolded for saying "you did not mean to TORMENT me with a long yarn." You
ask about Rugby. I like it very well, on the same principle as my
neighbour, Sir J. Lubbock, likes Eton, viz., that it is not worse than any
other school; the expense, WITH ALL ETC., ETC., including some clothes,
travelling expenses, etc., is from 110 pounds to 120 pounds per annum. I
do not think schools are so wicked as they were, and far more industrious.
The boys, I think, live too secluded in their separate studies; and I doubt
whether they will get so much knowledge of character as boys used to do;
and this, in my opinion, is the ONE good of public schools over small
schools. I should think the only superiority of a small school over home
was forced regularity in their work, which your boys perhaps get at your
home, but which I do not believe my boys would get at my home. Otherwise,
it is quite lamentable sending boys so early in life from their home.

...To return to schools. My main objection to them, as places of
education, is the enormous proportion of time spent over classics. I fancy
(though perhaps it is only fancy) that I can perceive the ill and
contracting effect on my eldest boy's mind, in checking interest in
anything in which reasoning and observation come into play. Mere memory
seems to be worked. I shall certainly look out for some school with more
diversified studies for my younger boys. I was talking lately to the Dean
of Hereford, who takes most strongly this view; and he tells me that there
is a school at Hereford commencing on this plan; and that Dr. Kennedy at
Shrewsbury is going to begin vigorously to modify that school...

I am EXTREMELY glad to hear that you approved of my cirripedial volume. I
have spent an almost ridiculous amount of labour on the subject, and
certainly would never have undertaken it had I foreseen what a job it was.
I hope to have finished by the end of the year. Do write again before a
very long time; it is a real pleasure to me to hear from you. Farewell,
with my wife's kindest remembrances to yourself and Mrs. Fox.

My dear old friend, yours affectionately,

Down, August 10th [1853].

My dear Fox,

I thank you sincerely for writing to me so soon after your most heavy
misfortune. Your letter affected me so much. We both most truly
sympathise with you and Mrs. Fox. We too lost, as you may remember, not so
very long ago, a most dear child, of whom I can hardly yet bear to think
tranquilly; yet, as you must know from your own most painful experience,
time softens and deadens, in a manner truly wonderful, one's feelings and
regrets. At first it is indeed bitter. I can only hope that your health
and that of poor Mrs. Fox may be preserved, and that time may do its work
softly, and bring you all together, once again, as the happy family, which,
as I can well believe, you so lately formed.

My dear Fox, your affectionate friend,

[The following letter refers to the Royal Society's Medal, which was
awarded to him in November, 1853:]

Down, November 5th [1853].

My dear Hooker,

Amongst my letters received this morning, I opened first one from Colonel
Sabine; the contents certainly surprised me very much, but, though the
letter was a VERY KIND ONE, somehow, I cared very little indeed for the
announcement it contained. I then opened yours, and such is the effect of
warmth, friendship, and kindness from one that is loved, that the very same
fact, told as you told it, made me glow with pleasure till my very heart
throbbed. Believe me, I shall not soon forget the pleasure of your letter.
Such hearty, affectionate sympathy is worth more than all the medals that
ever were or will be coined. Again, my dear Hooker, I thank you. I hope
Lindley (John Lindley, 1799-1865, was the son of a nurseryman near Norwich,
through whose failure in business he was thrown at the age of twenty on his
own resources. He was befriended by Sir W. Hooker, and employed as
assistant librarian by Sir J. Banks. He seems to have had enormous
capacity of work, and is said to have translated Richard's 'Analyse du
Fruit' at one sitting of two days and three nights. He became Assistant-
Secretary to the Horticultural Society, and in 1829 was appointed Professor
of Botany at University College, a post which he held for upwards of thirty
years. His writings are numerous: the best known being perhaps his
'Vegetable Kingdom,' published in 1846. His influence in helping to
introduce the natural system of classification was considerable, and he
brought "all the weight of his teaching and all the force of his
controversial powers to support it," as against the Linnean system
universally taught in the earlier part of his career. Sachs points out
(Geschichte der Botanik, 1875, page 161), that though Lindley adopted in
the main a sound classification of plants, he only did so by abandoning his
own theoretical principle that the physiological importance of an organ is
a measure of its classificatory value.) will never hear that he was a
competitor against me; for really it is almost RIDICULOUS (of course you
would never repeat that I said this, for it would be thought by others,
though not, I believe, by you, to be affectation) his not having the medal
long before me; I must feel SURE that you did quite right to propose him;
and what a good, dear, kind fellow you are, nevertheless, to rejoice in
this honour being bestowed on me.

What PLEASURE I have felt on the occasion, I owe almost entirely to you.

Farewell, my dear Hooker, yours affectionately,

P.S.--You may believe what a surprise it was, for I had never heard that
the medals could be given except for papers in the 'Transactions.' All
this will make me work with better heart at finishing the second volume.

Down, February 18th [1854].

My dear Lyell,

I should have written before, had it not seemed doubtful whether you would
go on to Teneriffe, but now I am extremely glad to hear your further
progress is certain; not that I have much of any sort to say, as you may
well believe when you hear that I have only once been in London since you
started. I was particularly glad to see, two days since, your letter to
Mr. Horner, with its geological news; how fortunate for you that your knees
are recovered. I am astonished at what you say of the beauty, though I had
fancied it great. It really makes me quite envious to think of your
clambering up and down those steep valleys. And what a pleasant party on
your return from your expeditions. I often think of the delight which I
felt when examining volcanic islands, and I can remember even particular
rocks which I struck, and the smell of the hot, black, scoriaceous cliffs;
but of those HOT smells you do not seem to have had much. I do quite envy
you. How I should like to be with you, and speculate on the deep and
narrow valleys.

How very singular the fact is which you mention about the inclination of
the strata being greater round the circumference than in the middle of the
island; do you suppose the elevation has had the form of a flat dome? I
remember in the Cordillera being OFTEN struck with the greater abruptness
of the strata in the LOW EXTREME outermost ranges, compared with the great
mass of inner mountains. I dare say you will have thought of measuring
exactly the width of any dikes at the top and bottom of any great cliff
(which was done by Mr. Searle [?] at St. Helena), for it has often struck
me as VERY ODD that the cracks did not die out OFTENER upwards. I can
think of hardly any news to tell you, as I have seen no one since being in
London, when I was delighted to see Forbes looking so well, quite big and
burly. I saw at the Museum some of the surprisingly rich gold ore from
North Wales. Ramsay also told me that he has lately turned a good deal of
New Red Sandstone into Permian, together with the Labyrinthodon. No doubt
you see newspapers, and know that E. de Beaumont is perpetual Secretary,
and will, I suppose, be more powerful than ever; and Le Verrier has Arago's
place in the Observatory. There was a meeting lately at the Geological
Society, at which Prestwich (judging from what R. Jones told me) brought
forward your exact theory, viz. that the whole red clay and flints over the
chalk plateau hereabouts is the residuum from the slow dissolution of the

As regards ourselves, we have no news, and are all well. The Hookers,
sometime ago, stayed a fortnight with us, and, to our extreme delight,
Henslow came down, and was most quiet and comfortable here. It does one
good to see so composed, benevolent, and intellectual a countenance. There
have been great fears that his heart is affected; but, I hope to God,
without foundation. Hooker's book (Sir J. Hooker's 'Himalayan Journal.')
is out, and MOST BEAUTIFULLY got up. He has honoured me beyond measure by
dedicating it to me! As for myself, I am got to the page 112 of the
Barnacles, and that is the sum total of my history. By-the-way, as you
care so much about North America, I may mention that I had a long letter
from a shipmate in Australia, who says the Colony is getting decidedly
republican from the influx of Americans, and that all the great and novel
schemes for working the gold are planned and executed by these men. What a
go-a-head nation it is! Give my kindest remembrances to Lady Lyell, and to
Mrs. Bunbury, and to Bunbury. I most heartily wish that the Canaries may
be ten times as interesting as Madeira, and that everything may go on most
prosperously with your whole party.

My dear Lyell,
Yours most truly and affectionately,

Down, March 1st [1854].

My dear Hooker,

I finished yesterday evening the first volume, and I very sincerely
congratulate you on having produced a FIRST-CLASS book ('Himalayan
Journal.')--a book which certainly will last. I cannot doubt that it will
take its place as a standard, not so much because it contains real solid
matter, but that it gives a picture of the whole country. One can feel
that one has seen it (and desperately uncomfortable I felt in going over
some of the bridges and steep slopes), and one REALISES all the great
Physical features. You have in truth reason to be proud; consider how few
travellers there have been with a profound knowledge of one subject, and
who could in addition make a map (which, by-the-way, is one of the most
distinct ones I ever looked at, wherefore blessings alight on your head),
and study geology and meteorology! I thought I knew you very well, but I
had not the least idea that your Travels were your hobby; but I am heartily
glad of it, for I feel sure that the time will never come when you and Mrs.
Hooker will not be proud to look back at the labour bestowed on these
beautiful volumes.

Your letter, received this morning, has interested me EXTREMELY, and I
thank you sincerely for telling me your old thoughts and aspirations. All
that you say makes me even more deeply gratified by the Dedication; but
you, bad man, do you remember asking me how I thought Lyell would like the
work to be dedicated to him? I remember how strongly I answered, and I
presume you wanted to know what I should feel; whoever would have dreamed
of your being so crafty? I am glad you have shown a little bit of ambition
about your Journal, for you must know that I have often abused you for not
caring more about fame, though, at the same time, I must confess, I have
envied and honoured you for being so free (too free, as I have always
thought) of this "last infirmity of, etc." Do not say, "there never was a
past hitherto to me--the phantom was always in view," for you will soon
find other phantoms in view. How well I know this feeling, and did
formerly still more vividly; but I think my stomach has much deadened my
former pure enthusiasm for science and knowledge.

I am writing an unconscionably long letter, but I must return to the
Journals, about which I have hardly said anything in detail. Imprimis, the

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