Referring to his candidature for the Royal Society, he writes on February 21, 1865:] “With reference to your candidature, I am ready to bring your name forward whenever you like, and to back you with ’all my might, power, amity, and authority,’ as Essex did Bacon (you need not serve me as Bacon did Essex afterwards), but my impression has been that you did not wish to come forward this year.”
[And on November 2, 1866, congratulating him on his] “well-earned honour” [of the F.R.S.]—“Go on and prosper. These are not the things wise men work for; but it is not the less proper of a wise man to take them when they come unsought.”
26 Abbey Place, December 3, 1865.
My dear Parker,
I have been so terribly pressed by my work that I have only just been able to finish the reading of your paper.
Very few pieces of work which have fallen in my way come near your account of the Struthious skull in point of clearness and completeness. It is a most admirable essay, and will make an epoch in this kind of inquiry.
I want you, however, to remodel the introduction, and to make some unessential but convenient difference in the arrangement of some of the figures.
Secondly, full as the appendix is of most valuable and interesting matter, I advise you for the present to keep it back.
My reason is that you have done justice neither to yourself nor to your topics, and that if the appendix is printed as it stands, your labour will be in great measure lost.
You start subjects enough for half a dozen papers, and partly from the compression thus resulting, and partly from the absence of illustrations, I do not believe there are half a dozen men in Europe who will be able to follow you. Furthermore, though the appendix is relevant enough—every line of it—to those who have dived deep, as you and I have—to any one else it has all the aspects of a string of desultory discussions. As your father confessor, I forbid the publication of the appendix. After having had all this trouble with you I am not going to have you waste your powers for want of a little method, so I tell you.
What you are to do is this. You are to rewrite the introduction and to say that the present paper is the first of a series on the structure of the vertebrate skull; that the second will be “On the development of the osseous cranium of the Common Fowl” (and here (if you are good), I will permit you to introduce the episode on cartilage and membrane [illegible]); the third will be “On the chief modifications of the cranium observed in the Sauropsida.”
The fourth, “On the mammalian skull.”
The fifth, “On the skull of the Ichthyopsida.”
I will give you two years from this time to execute these five memoirs; and then if you have stood good-temperedly the amount of badgering and bullying you will get from me whenever you come dutifully to report progress, you shall be left to your own devices in the third year to publish a paper on “The general structure and theory of the vertebrate skull.”