Mr. Huxley allows me to quote from a letter an account of the happy chance that threw into his hands the opportunity of writing it.
"The 'Origin' was sent to Mr. Lucas, one of the staff of the "Times" writers at that day, in what I suppose was the ordinary course of business. Mr. Lucas, though an excellent journalist, and, at a later period, editor of 'Once a Week,' was as innocent of any knowledge of science as a babe, and bewailed himself to an acquaintance on having to deal with such a book. Whereupon he was recommended to ask me to get him out of his difficulty, and he applied to me accordingly, explaining, however, that it would be necessary for him formally to adopt anything I might be disposed to write, by prefacing it with two or three paragraphs of his own.
"I was too anxious to seize upon the opportunity thus offered of giving the book a fair chance with the multitudinous readers of the "Times" to make any difficulty about conditions; and being then very full of the subject, I wrote the article faster, I think, than I ever wrote anything in my life, and sent it to Mr. Lucas, who duly prefixed his opening sentences.
"When the article appeared, there was much speculation as to its authorship. The secret leaked out in time, as all secrets will, but not by my aid; and then I used to derive a good deal of innocent amusement from the vehement assertions of some of my more acute friends, that they knew it was mine from the first paragraph!
"As the "Times" some years since, referred to my connection with the review, I suppose there will be no breach of confidence in the publication of this little history, if you think it worth the space it will occupy."]
THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES' (continued).
[I extract a few entries from my father's Diary:--
"January 7th. The second edition, 3000 copies, of 'Origin' was published."
"May 22nd. The first edition of 'Origin' in the United States was 2500 copies."
My father has here noted down the sums received for the 'Origin.'
First Edition......180 pounds Second Edition.....636 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence
Total..............816 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence.
After the publication of the second edition he began at once, on January 9th, looking over his materials for the 'Variation of Animals and Plants;' the only other work of the year was on Drosera.
He was at Down during the whole of this year, except for a visit to Dr. Lane's Water-cure Establishment at Sudbrooke, and in June, and for visits to Miss Elizabeth Wedgwood's house at Hartfield, in Sussex (July), and to Eastbourne, September 22 to November 16.]
CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, January 3rd .
My dear Hooker,
I have finished your Essay. ('Australian Flora.') As probably you would like to hear my opinion, though a non-botanist, I will give it without any exaggeration. To my judgment it is by far the grandest and most interesting essay, on subjects of the nature discussed, I have ever read. You know how I admired your former essays, but this seems to me far grander. I like all the part after page xxvi better than the first part, probably because newer to me. I dare say you will demur to this, for I think every author likes the most speculative parts of his own productions. How superior your essay is to the famous one of Brown (here will be sneer 1st from you). You have made all your conclusions so admirably clear, that it would be no use at all to be a botanist (sneer No. 2). By Jove, it would do harm to affix any idea to the long names of outlandish orders. One can look at your conclusions with the philosophic abstraction with which a mathematician looks at his a times x + the square root of z squared, etc. etc. I hardly know which parts have interested me most; for over and over again I exclaimed, "this beats all." The general comparison of the Flora of Australia with the rest of the world, strikes me (as before) as extremely original, good, and suggestive of many reflections.
...The invading Indian Flora is very interesting, but I think the fact you mention towards the close of the essay--that the Indian vegetation, in contradistinction to the Malayan vegetation, is found in low and level parts of the Malay Islands, GREATLY lessens the difficulty which at first (page 1) seemed so great.