...What a grand, immense benefit you conferred on me by getting Murray to publish my book. I never till to-day realised that it was getting widely distributed; for in a letter from a lady to-day to E., she says she heard a man enquiring for it at the RAILWAY STATION!!! at Waterloo Bridge; and the bookseller said that he had none till the new edition was out. The bookseller said he had not read it, but had heard it was a very remarkable book!!!...
CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, 14th [January, 1860].
...I heard from Lyell this morning, and he tells me a piece of news. You are a good-for-nothing man; here you are slaving yourself to death with hardly a minute to spare, and you must write a review of my book! I thought it ('Gardeners' Chronicle', 1860. Referred to above. Sir J.D. Hooker took the line of complete impartiality, so as not to commit Lindley.) a very good one, and was so much struck with it that I sent it to Lyell. But I assumed, as a matter of course, that it was Lindley's. Now that I know it is yours, I have re-read it, and, my kind and good friend, it has warmed my heart with all the honourable and noble things you say of me and it. I was a good deal surprised at Lindley hitting on some of the remarks, but I never dreamed of you. I admired it chiefly as so well adapted to tell on the readers of the 'Gardeners' Chronicle'; but now I admired it in another spirit. Farewell, with hearty thanks...Lyell is going at man with an audacity that frightens me. It is a good joke; he used always to caution me to slip over man.
[In the "Gardeners' Chronicle", January 21, 1860, appeared a short letter from my father which was called forth by Mr. Westwood's communication to the previous number of the journal, in which certain phenomena of cross- breeding are discussed in relation to the 'Origin of Species.' Mr. Westwood wrote in reply (February 11) and adduced further evidence against the doctrine of descent, such as the identity of the figures of ostriches on the ancient "Egyptian records," with the bird as we now know it. The correspondence is hardly worth mentioning, except as one of the very few cases in which my father was enticed into anything resembling a controversy.]
ASA GRAY TO J.D. HOOKER. Cambridge, Mass., January 5th, 1860.
My dear Hooker,
Your last letter, which reached me just before Christmas, has got mislaid during the upturnings in my study which take place at that season, and has not yet been discovered. I should be very sorry to lose it, for there were in it some botanical mems. which I had not secured...
The principal part of your letter was high laudation of Darwin's book.
Well, the book has reached me, and I finished its careful perusal four days ago; and I freely say that your laudation is not out of place.
It is done in a MASTERLY MANNER. It might well have taken twenty years to produce it. It is crammed full of most interesting matter--thoroughly digested--well expressed--close, cogent, and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible...
Agassiz, when I saw him last, had read but a part of it. He says it is POOR--VERY POOR!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he is very much annoyed by it,...and I do not wonder at it. To bring all IDEAL systems within the domain of science, and give good physical or natural explanations of all his capital points, is as bad as to have Forbes take the glacier materials...and give scientific explanation of all the phenomena.
Tell Darwin all this. I will write to him when I get a chance. As I have promised, he and you shall have fair-play here...I must myself write a review of Darwin's book for 'Silliman's Journal' (the more so that I suspect Agassiz means to come out upon it) for the next (March) No., and I am now setting about it (when I ought to be every moment working the Expl[oring] Expedition Compositae, which I know far more about). And really it is no easy job, as you may well imagine.
I doubt if I shall please you altogether.