Francis Arthur Bather an Ernst Haeckel, London, 17. Oktober 1896
BRITISH MUSEUM (NATURAL HISTORY),
LONDON: S. W.
My dear Sir,
I am greatly obliged by your kindness in forwarding me so promptly your work „Die Amphorideen und Cystoideen“. It will be of great assistance to me in compiling the chapter on these organisms that I am now writing for Lankester’s Textbook of Zoology; though of course I do not || promise to follow all your ideas, which, even you will admit, are a little too speculative for a student’s textbook. For the student should have facts before „Phantasie“.
As, perhaps, Dr Walther told you, your view on the „pore canals“ of some Cystids are of special interest to me; since for many years I have been preparing || a paper advocating almost precisely the same conclusions as you. I am convinced of their correctness, & have only been desirous of accumulating proof. In fact I havea actually submitted my views in MS. first in the examiners for the Rolleston Prize of Oxford & Cambridge, 6 years ago, and again, the same MS. to the examiners for a Fellowship at Merton College, Oxford, 3 years ago. I trust, therefore, that if circumstances should enable me || to publish this MS., you will not think that I am endeavouring in any way to gain unfair credit for myself. Were the desire for credit my object in prosecuting scientific research, I should have published this & many other remarks years ago in the form of a „preliminary notice“. I have contented myself with informing a few friends, verbally or by letter. As present, therefore, I can only be glad that one whose experience in these matters is so far greater than mine, should have arrived at identical con-||clusions, and I merelyb hope that you will not think I am stealing your ideas.
Your remarks on the Anomalo-cystidae will also prove of much interest to me, since I have made many observations on the large material that we have here. I regret now that I did not publish something, as you would then not have been led astray by H.c Woodwards erroneous figures of the Gonopore; also || I could have shown that there is considerable variation in the arrangement of the plates & so forth; so that if your A. Gegenbauri were to be accepted, I should be able propose half a dozen more „new species“ of equal value. May I suggest without offence that it is rather dangerous to attempt to establish new species on one or two fossils || from a foreign country, without careful examination & comparison of the numerous specimens only to be seen properly in the land of its origin. I am sure that had you seen our material of Atelocyslis here, you would not have proposed your A. Gegenbauri.
A detail of this kind, however, does not detract from the admiration with which I regard your work. Among details, too, I am delighted to find || no trace of the d termination „ites“, which I regret to see is still used by some „fossilogists“, even in proposing new names.
respectfully & gratefully
F. A. Bather.
a gestr.: did, eingef.: have; b eingef.: merely; c eingef.: H.; d gestr.: of