Murray are in "Gardeners' Chronicle." What conclusions he draws from a single Carabus (379/3. "Dr. Hooker on Insular Floras" ("Gardeners' Chronicle," 1867, pages 152, 181). The reference to the Carabidous beetle (Aplothorax) is at page 181.), and that a widely ranging genus! He seems to me conceited; you and I are fair game geologically, but he refers to Lyell, as if his opinion on a geological point was worth no more than his own. I have just bought, but not read a sentence of, Murray's big book (379/4. "Geographical Distribution of Mammals," 1866.), second-hand, for 30s., new, so I do not envy the publishers. It is clear to me that the man cannot reason. I have had a very nice letter from Scott at Calcutta (379/5. See Letter 150.): he has been making some good observations on the acclimatisation of seeds from plants of same species, grown in different countries, and likewise on how far European plants will stand the climate of Calcutta. He says he is astonished how well some flourish, and he maintains, if the land were unoccupied, several could easily cross, spreading by seed, the Tropics from north to south, so he knows how to please me; but I have told him to be cautious, else he will have dragons down on him...
As the Azores are only about two-and-a-half times more distant from America (in the same latitude) than from Europe, on the occasional migration view (especially as oceanic currents come directly from West Indies and Florida, and heavy gales of wind blow from the same direction), a large percentage of the flora ought to be American; as it is, we have only the Sanicula, and at present we have no explanation of this apparent anomaly, or only a feeble indication of an explanation in the birds of the Azores being all European.
LETTER 380. TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, March 21st .
Many thanks for your pleasant and very amusing letter. You have been treated shamefully by Etty and me, but now that I know the facts, the sentence seems to me quite clear. Nevertheless, as we have both blundered, it would be well to modify the sentence something as follows: "whilst, on the other hand, the plants which are related to those of distant continents, but have no affinity with those of the mother continent, are often very common." I forget whether you explain this circumstance, but it seems to me very mysterious (380/1. Sir Joseph Hooker wrote (March 23rd, 1867): "I see you 'smell a rat' in the matter of insular plants that are related to those of [a] distant continent being common. Yes, my beloved friend, let me make a clean breast of it. I only found it out after the lecture was in print!...I have been waiting ever since to 'think it out,' and write to you about it, coherently. I thought it best to squeeze it in, anyhow or anywhere, rather than leave so curious a fact unnoticed.")...Do always remember that nothing in the world gives us so much pleasure as seeing you here whenever you can come. I chuckle over what you say of And. Murray, but I must grapple with his book some day.
LETTER 381. TO C. LYELL. Down, October 31st .
Mr. [J.P. Mansel] Weale sent to me from Natal a small packet of dry locust dung, under 1/2 oz., with the statement that it is believed that they introduce new plants into a district. (381/1. See Volume I., Letter 221.) This statement, however, must be very doubtful. From this packet seven plants have germinated, belonging to at least two kinds of grasses. There is no error, for I dissected some of the seeds out of the middle of the pellets. It deserves notice that locusts are sometimes blown far out to sea. I caught one 370 miles from Africa, and I have heard of much greater distances. You might like to hear the following case, as it relates to a migratory bird belonging to the most wandering of all orders--viz. the woodcock. (381/2. "Origin," Edition VI., page 328.) The tarsus was firmly coated with mud, weighing when dry 9 grains, and from this the Juncus bufonius, or toad rush, germinated. By the way, the locust case verifies what I said in the "Origin," that many possible means of distribution would be hereafter discovered.