DARWIN, Charles. The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs: being the first part of the Geology of the Voyage of the Beagle. London: Smith, Elder, 1842.
8o (220 x 143 mm). 14 pp. publisher's catalogue dated May 1842 at end (Freeman calls for 16pp.). Folding hand-colored map as frontispiece, two folding maps at end (one hand-colored) wood-engravings in the text (lightly browned, frontispiece repaired at the gutter, creased and spotted). (Lightly browned, one or two spots.) Original blue cloth decorated in blind by Westleys and Clark with their ticket on the lower paste-down (rebacked to style, covers slightly and unevenly faded). Provenance: Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911), signature, (his?) marginal annotation on p.62); Perry W. Gilbert (1912-2000), marine biologist (ownership inscription dated 3 January 1952).
"YOU WILL NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH I OWE TO YOU FOR YOUR CONSTANT KINDNESS AND ENCOURAGEMENT" (Darwin to Hooker, letter 14 September 1862)
FIRST EDITION AND A SUPERB ASSOCIATION COPY FROM THE LIBRARY OF DARWIN'S CLOSEST FRIEND AND CONFIDANT, THE EMINENT BOTANIST SIR JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER, signed by him on the recto of the front free endpaper: "J.D. Hooker". Assistant Surgeon on H.M.S. Erebus and Botanist to James Clark Ross on his voyage to the Antarctic between 1839 and 1843 Hooker was inspired to emulate Darwin's achievements of his voyage on the Beagle. He had been given proofs of Darwin's Voyage in a roundabout way by Charles Lyell (father of the geologist): "I used to sleep with the sheets of the 'Journal' under my pillow, that I might read them between waking and rising. They impressed me profoundly, I might say despairingly, with the variety of acquirements, mental and physical, required in a naturalist who should follow in Darwin's footsteps" (Clark pp. 67-68).
Hooker did publish an account of his voyage in three volumes: Flora Antarctica, 1844-1847; Flora Novae-Zelandiae, 1853-1855; and Flora Tasmaniae in 1860. In the "Introductory Essay" to this latter work "Hooker supported, with few qualifications, the revolutionary theory of [On the Origin of Species] that Darwin was now seeing through the press. Coming from Britain's leading botanist, it was support that could not easily be brushed away" (Clark p. 127).
Containing Darwin's theory of the formation of coral reefs, in which he "hypothesized that atolls and barrier reefs were formed on gradually sinking land, while fringe reefs appeared on land undergoing elevation - a theory that, with slight modifications, remains the accepted explanation for this marine phenomenon" (Norman).
Final leaf with 2-page advertisement for Darwin's Geological Observations and the Zoology of the Beagle. Clark, The Survival of Charles Darwin; Freeman 271; Norman 587; Sabin 18648.