The Life and Letters of Darwin, Volume 2 HTML version
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.