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Vol. i. Frontispiece'] 

From the Portrait by George Richmond (1855). 




O.M., G.C.S.I. 















THERE seems to be, if I may be allowed to say so, a touch of 
personal appropriateness in the fact that the writing of Sir 
Joseph Hooker's Life has fallen to the son of his close friend. 
The work has thus been doubly a labour of love and re- 
membrance, and by good fortune it traverses a biographical 
field some part of which hag already been worked over by me. 
If, however, I cannot claim to be a professed student of botany, 
something of my defect has been remedied by the kindness 
of others. The proofs have been most carefully read through 
by Sir David Prain, the present Director of Kew, and Miss 
Matilda Smith, Kew's botanical artist, who moreover has 
verified many references at Kew and supplied material for 
biographical notes not easily accessible elsewhere. 

Sir Joseph Hooker, for all that he accused himself on 
occasion of being a bad correspondent, was in reality an 
indefatigable letter writer. Indeed, he declares somewhere 
that the busier he was, the longer and fuller his letters were 
likely to be and he was always busy. Apart from a vast 
official correspondence and regular weekly letters to various 
members of his family, there are extant over 700 sheets copied 
from his letters to Charles Darwin, whose own share of the 
correspondence, typed out, fills more than 800 pages. No other 
single correspondence compares with this ; but it is easily 
balanced by the total of letters to the next half dozen or 
so among his multitudinous correspondents, to name only 
Bentham and Harvey, Anderson and La Touche, Mr. Duthie 
and my father. Add to this his journals of travel, his various 
books, his scientific essays the first written at nineteen, the 



last at ninety-four the material to draw upon has been 
superabundant. Nor must the ' Life and Letters of Charles 
Darwin' (briefly cited as C.D.) and the 'More Letters of 
Charles Darwin ' (M.L.) be forgotten. They are a mine of 
information about the scientific interests of the period and the 
personal relations between the two friends, and my grateful 
acknowledgments to Sir Francis Darwin are repeated here. 

One more name must be mentioned in this place, a name 
which also appears on the title-page. In gathering materials, 
in collating letters, in furnishing personal information, the task 
undertaken with such thoroughness by Lady Hooker has been 
no light one. But if her careful ' spade-work ' has meant much 
for the book, to the writer her active sympathy has meant 
even more. 

L. H. 
October 1917. 









IMPRESSIONS ....... 86 




















REWARDS ........ 405 

XXII. MISCELLANEOUS, 1850-1860 421 

XXIII. LETTERS TO DARWIN, 1843-1859 436 



SHIP 486 







J. D. HOOKER ....... Frontispiece 

From the Portrait by George Richmond (1855). 

AND THEE AT LAMTENQ To face p. 272 


From the Picture by William Tayler. 

J. D. HOOKER AT THE AGE O-F 32 . . . . 340 

From a Sketch by William Tayler, 1849, 




A LIFE whose span is almost a century may well be witness 


P. 19, line 9. For Of Elizabeth's children, &c., read Elizabeth's 
husband, Sir Francis Palgrave, became Keeper of the 
Records. One of their sons, &c. 

P. 67, line 21. For (II. 12.) read (p. 45). 

Life of Sir J. Hooker. Vol. I. 

UctiiitJib IJLLiJJUStJU Uy Hiin CDUCllLf.i.-l.o.LJ.CU. gu.-iu.VK> \jt. ujLLWigi-iu, j.j.vy 

only permitted nature to be interpreted through the perspective 
of creed. 

Against those barriers the flood of natural knowledge had 
been slowly piling itself up, only awaiting the hand that should 
open a channel and a fresh impulse and a common direction 
to these chained-up currents. Mechanical aids, such as the 
magnifying lens, had opened the way to new investigations 
of life since the seventeenth century. From the needs of 



CHAPTEK I . . . 


A LIFE whose span is almost a century may well be witness 
of great changes : the ninety-four years of Sir Joseph Dalton 
Hooker's life are the more intensely interesting because he 
himself was one of the chief workers in bringing about such 
changes. Indeed, the century almost covered by his life saw 
a greater revolution than any of our era except, perhaps, that 
of the Kenaissance. Once more the civilised world was born 
anew : it was the century of the New Eenaissance. The 
revolution in thought was paralleled by a revolution in the 
means of civilised life. The two influences united in effecting 
the most profound readjustments alike in social values and 
in the outlook of the human mind. Power over nature 
transformed the way of life : the insight into nature which 
secured that power, equally freed inquiring minds from the 
barriers imposed by the established guides of thought, who 
only permitted nature to be interpreted through the perspective 
of creed. 

Against those barriers the flood of natural knowledge had 
been slowly piling itself up, only awaiting the hand that should 
open a channel and a fresh impulse and a common direction 
to these chained -up currents. Mechanical aids, such as the 
magnifying lens, had opened the way to new investigations 
of life since the seventeenth century. From the needs of 



medicine sprang the organised knowledge both of botany and 
of animal life : first the herbal and the history book of animals, 
full of strange lore ; then the gradual searching out of living 
framework and vital processes, which finally took rank and 
order as the anatomy and physiology of animals and plants. 
That these researches awakened doubts of the conventional 
creeds as applied to nature is evidenced by the familiar sneer at 
the dangerous folk who recognised the constancy of natural law 
in the workings of the human frame ubi ires medici, fbi duo 
afhei. Chemistry began to emerge experimentally from the 
mists of .JcHemy some half-century before Hooker's birth. 
Ge'ology took operative shape yet later: with LyelTs * Principles ' 
in 1839 the frrst step was built of the stairway that actually led 
to the theory of evolution. The succession of differing forms 
of similar creatures in a fossil state provoked challenge of the, 
doctrine of immutability of species ; indeed, as has been well 
said, if the theory of evolution had not existed, Geology 
would have had to invent it. By the fifties, also, botany, 
in its search for a natural system of classification, was ripe 
for the acceptance of an evolutionary explanation. 

If the interest awakened by scientific men is proportioned 
to the degree in which their researches and discoveries come 
home to ' men's business and bosoms,' giving new colour or 
shape to the eternal questions of the making of the heavens 
and the earth, the nature of matter, the play of subtle forces, 
the laws of life and disease, man's place in the universe, his 
origin and his destiny, then in every province of physics and 
astronomy, in medicine and its fellow sciences, the nineteenth 
century saw great and memorable figures stand out : but most 
memorable the central group, who, touching most nearly upon 
life and its place in the universe, awoke the loudest opposition 
and achieved the greatest triumph. 

Charles Lyell pointed the way to Darwin : after the appear- 
ance of the ' Origin of Species,' Thomas Henry Huxley was 
chief champion in the support and spread of evolution on the 
one hand, and, on the other, of freedom of scientific thought 
and speech. It was Hooker's privilege to be Darwin's sole 
confidant for near fifteen years, his generous friend, his unstint- 


ing helper, his keen critic, and ultimate convert in the light of 
his own work and the material he could so abundantly furnish. 

The story of Joseph Hooker's life-work is, in one aspect, 
the history of the share taken by botany in establishing the 
theory of evolution and the effect produced upon it by accept- 
ance of that theory. He began with unrivalled opportunities, 
and made unrivalled use of them. As a botanist, he was 
born in the purple, for in the realm of botany his father, Sir 
William Hooker, was one of the chief princes, and he had at hand 
his father's splendid herbarium and the botanic garden which he 
had made one of the scientific glories of Glasgow University. 

Joseph Hooker's earliest recollections are preserved in an 
autobiographical fragment, set down late in his life. Note- 
worthy among the events that emerge from childish forgetful- 
ness, like hill-tops above a sea of mist, is the early love of nature 
and especially of plants, inborn in him and indeed inherited 
from both lines of his parentage. His father and his mother's 
father were both botanists, and singularly enough they both 
began their studies as such with the mosses, quite independently 
of one another ; so that, being confessedly ' a born Muscologist,' 
he playfully dubs himself ' the puppet of Natural Selection.' 1 

I was born [he writes] June 80, 1817, at Halesworth, 
Suffolk, being the second child and son of William Jackson 
Hooker and Maria, nee Turner, of Great Yarmouth. My 
brother was older than myself and my parents had sub- 
sequently three daughters. I was named Joseph after my 
Grandfather Hooker, and Dalton after my godfather, the 
Kev. James Dalton, M.A., F.L.S., Eector of Croft, York- 
shire, a student of carices and mosses and discoverer of 
Scheuchzeria in England. 

My memory reverts to a very early age when only three 
years old to my father's house at Halesworth, and inci- 
dents connected therewith, amongst others the gardener, in 
mowing a damp meadow behind the house, slicing the frogs 
with his scythe, and my brother running along the top of 
the garden wall to my mother's alarm. He died in 1840. 
Curiously enough I have no recollection of a magnificent dog, 

1 Anniversary dinner of the Royal Society, Nov. 30, 1887. 


a Newfoundland I believe, that my father kept, and which 
was notorious for its thefts from the butchers' shops of the 

My Grandfather Hooker's house in Magdalen Street, 
Norwich, I remember even better, where my grandmother 
used to show me the glazed drawers of his insect cabinet. 
On leaving Halesworth for Glasgow, my father sold his insects 
to Mr. Spar shall of that city, a well-known collector. The 
collection is now in the Norwich Museum. Also I well re- 
member his little garden and greenhouse of succulent plants, 
and on seeing a Coccinella on a post, repeating to it the stave : 

Bishop Bishop Barnabee 
When will your marriage be ? 
If it be to-morrow's day, 
Take your wings and fly away. 

Of my Grandfather Turner's house' in Yarmouth, I 
remember being carried there in my nurse's arms early in 
1821, on the eve of my mother taking myself, brother and 
sisters to Glasgow, where my father, who had taken up 
his Professorship in the previous summer, was awaiting us. 
My grandfather occupied the house of Gurney's Bank, of 
which he was a resident Director. I remember distinctly 
the railings before the Bank, its drawing-room, and my 
aunts' seizing me from my nurse, dancing with me round the 
room, and striking the harp to amuse me. Also I remember 
the walls of the room being covered with pictures of which 
my grandfather had a small but very choice collection. This 
collection was sold after my grandfather's death in 1858. 
Some of the pictures, notably the Titian, a Hobbema and, I 
think, a Greuze and one or more Cotmans are in the Wallace 

Of the journey from Yarmouth to Glasgow by post 
horses I have a distinct recollection, during which my 
mother caught ague in crossing the Fens, with which she was 
troubled for many years. Of incidents I can only remember 
my brother running to eat a cake of white soap, mistaking it 
for an apple. I also distinctly remember the picturesque 
place, Inn of Beattock Bridge, in Dumfriesshire, but why 
I cannot tell. 

My next memory is the arrival in Glasgow by night, and 
going into lodgings (No. 1, Bath Street) which my father had 


taken pending his obtaining possession of a new house which 
he had purchased in West Bath Street (No. 17), in which 
lodgings I found my Grandfather and Grandmother Hooker, 
who had accompanied or followed my father to Glasgow 
with a mass of furniture from the Halesworth and Norwich 
houses, on some bedding from which I slept, for the first 
night, on the floor. 

Of the following years I have little of note to record 
beyond having an excellent governess, a Miss Turnbull, of 
whom I was very fond, and a mild attack of scarlet fever 
when I was six. No doubt I had other illnesses of childhood, 
as I had the credit of being the leader in contracting them. 

At the age of five or six, my early leaning towards botany 
was shown by a love of mosses, and my mother used to tell an 
anecdote of me, that, when I was still in petticoats, I was 
found grubbing in a wall in the dirty suburbs of the dirty 
city of Glasgow, and that, when she asked me what I was 
about, I cried out that I had found Bryum argenteum (which 
it was not), a very pretty little moss I had seen in my 
father's collection, and to which I had taken a great fancy. 1 

At a later period, when still in my early teens, I took up 
the study of these beautiful objects, and formed a good 
collection of the Scottish species in the Highlands and 
elsewhere ; and my first effort as an author was the descrip- 
tion of three new mosses from the Himalaya. 2 

Of this early love of botany and kindred eagerness for travel, 
he continues in the Koyal Society speech already quoted : 

A little older, and when still a child, my father used to 
take me excursions in the Highlands, where I fished a good 
deal, but also botanised ; and well I remember on one 
occasion, that, after returning home, I built up by a heap of 
stones a representation of one of the mountains I had ascended, 
and stuck upon it specimens of the mosses I had collected 
on it, at heights relative to those at which I had gathered 
them. This was the dawn of my love for geographical botany. 

Another little circumstance connected with a moss had 
also its influence on my future career. You may remember 

1 This is the better version of the tale, as given in the Royal Society speech 
above mentioned. 
8 See p. 22. 

VOL. I. B 


a passage in Mungo Park's ' Travels ' in search of the source 
of the Niger, when he describes himself so faint with hunger 
and fatigue, that he laid himself down to die ; but being 
attracted by the brilliant green of a little moss on the bank 
hard by, said to himself: If God cares for the life of that 
little moss, He surely will not let me perish in the desert. 
Park put a piece of it in his pocket-book, and, fortified by 
the thought, went on his way. He soon, arrived at a hut 
occupied by poor black women, who fed him, and sang 
him to sleep with impromptu words, pitying the poor white 
man far away from his home and friends. 1 A scrap of that 
moss was given to my father by Mungo Park, or a friend 
of his, and was shown to me. It excited in me a desire to 
read African travels, and I indulged in the childish dream 
of entering Africa by Morocco, crossing the greater Atlas 
(that had never been ascended) and so penetrating to Tim- 
buctoo. That childish dream I never lost ; I nursed it 
till, half a century afterwards, when, as your President has 
told you to-day, I did (with my friend Mr. Ball, who is 
here by me, and another friend, G. Maw, F.L.S.), ascend 
to the summit of the previously unconquered Atlas. 
i v When still a child, I was very fond of Voyages and 
Travels ; and my great delight was to sit on my grand- 
father's knee and look at the pictures in Cook's * Voyages.' 
The one that took my fancy most was the plate of Christmas 
Harbour, Kerguelen Land, with the arched rock standing 
out to sea, and the sailors killing penguins ; and I thought 
I should be the happiest boy alive if ever I would see that 
wonderful arched rock, and knock penguins on the head. 
By a singular coincidence, Christmas Harbour, Kerguelen 
Land, was one of the very first places of interest visited by 
me, in the Antarctic Expedition under Sir James Boss. 

' The spirit of a youth that means to be of note, begins 
betimes/ and heredity and early training are strong among 
the directing factors for such a spirit. As has been said, 
Hooker's father, William Jackson Hooker, was one of the first 
botanists of his age ; his grandfather, Joseph Hooker, spent 
much of his leisure in the cultivation of rare plants ; his 

1 The incident of the moss occurs in chapter xix of Park's Travels, after 
he had been robbed by a party of Foulahs ; the negro women's compassion 
is an earlier incident of chapter *v. 


maternal grandfather, Dawson Turner, of Yarmouth, banker, 
botanist, and antiquarian, was especially interested in the cryp- 
togams, made collections, and published sumptuous volumes. 

The Hookers, who claimed lineal descent from John Hooker, 
alias Vowell, the historian, and uncle of Eichard, the * Judicious/ 
author of the ' Ecclesiastical Polity/ were a Devonshire family 
settled in Exeter, who dropped their original name of Vowell 
in the sixteenth century. 

There is a very old parchment genealogical tree taken from 
the Heralds' College in 1597, continued since and completed 
from other sources, which traces the Hooker ancestry for 
five centuries. The first name of the series, Seraph Vowell, 
hailing from Pembroke, suggests a Welsh origin in Ap-Howell. 
The second in descent, Jago Vowell, marries Alice Hooker, 
daughter and heiress of Eichard Hooker of Hurst Castle, 
Hampshire, whose family name is adopted with his own. 
Hence the constant repetition in the genealogy of ' Vowell 
alias Hooker.' 

Though offshoots of the Hookers, especially after the 
Civil War, are found as successful traders at Crediton or as 
far afield as London, where one became Lord Mayor, the Hooker 
family is most closely associated with Exeter, where it is 
still represented. Thus a John Hooker was M.P. for Exeter 
in 1470 ; Eobert Hooker, youngest born and sole survivor of 
twenty brothers and sisters, in 1529, and his son, another John, 
in 1571. This latter John was the first Chamberlain of Exeter, 
and wrote a book on the antiquities of Exeter, still preserved 
in the city archives. He exemplified the active business 
capacity of many of his name by founding the first ' Guild of 
Merchant Adventurers ' under a charter from Queen Mary. 
It was not long before the Devon Merchant Adventurers were 
typified by his kinsman, John Oxenham, Drake's comrade, 
and the first Englishman to sail on the Pacific. Adventure 
also took John Hooker with Sir Peter Carew to Ireland, where 
he became a member of the Irish Parliament in 1568. 

But the world owes him a greater debt. He supplied the 
means for educating his nephew Eichard, the ' Judicious ' 
Hooker. Next after the Chamberlain comes the Vicar of 


Caerhayes in Cornwall, from whose son Valentine the modern 
Hooker family traces its descent. Post-Keformation Hookers 
tended to Puritanism. In the Laudian persecutions the Eev. 
Thomas Hooker escaped to America, and there founded a 
family which has won its own meed of distinction in Church 
and State. ' Fighting Joe Hooker,' for instance, gained his 
by-name in the War of North and South. 

Another Hooker is recorded as fighting under Fairfax 
and Essex in our own Civil War, afterwards settling down at 

Among the 2000 clergy who were driven from their livings 
after the Act of Uniformity were several Hookers. One is 
mentioned as minister of the Presbyterian chapel at Crediton, 
another at Chumleigh. The chapel registers show that many 
of the name became Nonconformists. Zeal for the Protestant 
cause led some to join in Monmouth's ill-starred rebellion ; 
those who escaped the scaffold at Exeter ended their lives 
as slaves in Barbados. 1 

The Joseph Hooker already mentioned, seventh in descent 
from John, migrated from Exeter and set up in business at 
Norwich, where his son William Jackson was born in 1785. 
Lydia Vincent, Joseph Hooker's wife, claims special notice for 
her artistic heritage. George Vincent, 2 her cousin, studied under 
' Old Crome ' with Cotman 3 and J. B. Crome, and during his short 
career, was one of the lights of the Norwich School. Lydia's 
sister had married William Jackson of Canterbury indeed 
Jacksons and Vincents intermarried for several generations 
and their only son was godfather to his cousin William Jackson 
Hooker, to whom he afterwards left the Jackson property. 

1 Based on Devon Worthies, by the late Robert H. Hooker of Weston-super- 
Mare, who erected the beautiful statue of the Judicious Hooker in the Cathedral 
Close at Exeter. 

a George Vincent (1796-1836 ?), the landscape painter, was born and edu- 
cated in Norwich. A pupil of John Crome, he exhibited, chiefly Norfolk views, 
at Norwich between 1811 and 1831, and in London 1814-31, where he lived 
from 1818. His etchings date between 1821 and 1827. 

3 John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) was a landscape and portrait painter, 
chiefly in water-colours. He studied in London in 1798 and exhibited there 
1800-6 and again 1825-39. He was Drawing Master in Norwich 1807-34, 
and in King's Coll., London, 1834-42 ; etched plates of Norfolk buildings and 
antiquities 1811-39, and published etchings of ' Architectural Antiquities of 
Normandy ' made in 1817-20 (see vol. ii. p. 197). 


The Vincent strain is responsible for Joseph Hooker's 
great feeling for art. The power of draughtsmanship came 
also from the Cotmans through his mother, Maria Turner, for 
her grandmother (Dawson Turner's mother) was Elizabeth 
Cotman, but the faculty thus transmitted was that of the 
copyist rather than the art-lover. 

William Jackson Hooker, inheriting love of the garden 
and books from his father, of art from his mother, was one of 
those who came into the world with the true spirit of the 
naturalist, a characteristic he transmitted in full measure to 
his son. Like all such, his love for the outdoor world took 
him into field and wood and intimacy with the life of nature ; 
in his school-days he collected insects and flowers and read 
books on natural history, and early got to know the flowers 
and mosses, the liverworts and lichens and freshwater algae 
round his home in the heart of that county which possesses 
two-thirds of the species of British plants. No sordid cares, 
such as often overshadow a young man's future, prevented 
him from indulging his bent ; for at the age of four he 
inherited a competency from his cousin -godfather, William 
Jackson of Canterbury, and as he grew up, he resolved to 
devote himself to travel and natural history. A keen sports- 
man, he made a fine collection of the birds of Norfolk ; close 
relations with Kir by and Spence x and Alexander Macleay 2 
spurred his pursuit of entomology. 

His science and his scientific drawing both won early notice. 
When he was twenty he discovered, near Norwich, a species 
of moss (Buxbaumia aphylld) previously unknown in Britain ; 
and three years later Sir J. E. Smith, in dedicating to him the 
genus Hookeria, made special mention of his illustrations of 
Dawson Turner's Fuci and of the difficult genus Jungermannia. 
The latter genus, be it noted, was an especial favourite of his. 
He published a monograph on the British Jungermannise 

1 William Kirby (1759-1850), entomologist, nephew of J. J. Kirby : edu- 
cated at Caius Coll., Cambridge, was an original Fellow of the Linnean Society 
1788. He published a famous Introduction to Entomology (1815-26) with 
William Spence (1783-1860), F.R.S. 1818, Hon. President of the Entomological 
Society, to which he bequeathed his collection of insects. 

1 Alexander Macleay (1767-1848), F.R.S. 1809, entomologist and Colonial 
Statesman ; was Colonial Secretary foi New South Wales 1825-37. 


in 1816, and, as will be seen hereafter, his son, finding any on 
his travels, never fails to mention the fact in his letters home. 

In his earlier days, William Hooker travelled afield botanis- 
ing in Scotland and the Isles, no slight undertaking in 1807 
and 1808 ; and in 1809 made his celebrated voyage to Iceland, 
where he witnessed a bloodless revolution (see p. 108), and on 
his homeward way lost his collections and all but lost his life 
by the burning of his ship. But he was unable to carry out 
his wider plans of visiting Ceylon and Java, S. Africa and Brazil, 
though he visited France, where he made acquaintance with the 
great botanists in Paris and Switzerland, a centre of botanical 
and geological interest. 

In 1815 he married Maria, the eldest daughter of his friend 
Dawson Turner, and at his father-in-law's advice, embarked 
his remaining fortune in a brewery, in which the Turners and 
Fagets were interested. This promised to recoup the loss of 
large sums which he had sunk in the bottomless depths of the 
Spanish Funds. It was an enterprise, however, for which his 
aptitudes were little suited, and the business went steadily 
down. But this loss of fortune was the beginning of his greater 
career. Had the friendly alliance of Hooker, Turner, and Paget 
prospered, he would have remained an amateur if a distin- 
guished amateur in science, and would never have achieved 
the special eminence which was to shape his son's career and 
be continued in it. A growing family and diminishing revenue 
made him look out for some botanical post that should both give 
scope to his special powers and bring in an income. Through 
the influence of his friend Sir Joseph Banks, 1 botanist, explorer, 

1 Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), President of the Royal Society, became 
a botanist in a burst of schoolboy enthusiasm. His ample inheritance enabled 
him to travel and to become a munificent patron of science. His most famous 
expedition was that with Captain Cook in the Endeavour, when he took with 
him, at his own expense, Dr. Solander, the pupil of Linnaeus, two draughtsmen, 
and two attendants. In 1778 he was elected P.R.S., and held the office till 
his death, exercising a generous but rather autocratic sway over the scientific 
world, for whom his great collections and library were always open, and his 
house in Soho Square a gathering point. He left his library and herbarium 
to Robert Brown, his librarian, for life, with reversion to the British Museum, 
not only leaving him 200 a year, but providing for the famous draughtsman, 
Franjis Bauer, during his life, that he might continue his drawings from new 
plants at Kew. As scientific adviser to George III, he also arranged for 
collectors to gather plants for Kew from abroad. 


and chief power in the official world of English science, he was 
appointed by the Crown in 1820 to the newly founded Chair of 
Botany in Glasgow, in succession to Dr. Graham, 1 who, after 
occupying it a couple of years from its foundation, had been 
appointed to Edinburgh. 

Here Sir William met with immediate and striking success. 
He established a flourishing school of botany ; raised the infant 
botanical garden to the front rank, supplying it, and his her- 
barium with the products of every country with which the 
trading community of Glasgow was in touch. The experience 
gathered in Glasgow prepared his signal success in after .years 
at Kew. Here, therefore, his sons grew up in an atmosphere 
of natural science, whether class- work or field-work, of long- 
drawn and unceasing industry, of contact with distinguished 
workers in natural history in general and botany in particular. 

The Professor [writes Prof. F. 0. Bower in his Com- 
memorative Oration] had established himself in Woodside 
Crescent, conveniently near to the garden, and doubtless 
his little son was familiar with it and its contents from 
childhood. He grew up in an atmosphere surcharged with 
the very science he was to do so much to advance. 
His father's home was the scene of manifold activities. 
It housed a rapidly growing private herbarium and 
museum. It was there that the drawings were made to illus- 
trate the amazing stream of descriptive works which Sir 
William was then producing. New species must have been 
almost daily under examination, often as living specimens. 
Between the garden and the house the boy must have 
witnessed constantly, during the most receptive years of 
childhood, the working of an establishment that was at 
that time without its equal in this country, or probably in 
any other. The eye and memory will have been trained 
almost unconsciously. A knowledge of plants would be 

1 Robert Graham (1786-1845), M.D. He practised some years in Glasgow, 
and in 1818, when a separate chair of botany was established at the University, 
was appointed the first professor. In 1820 he became regius professor at 
Edinburgh, being succeeded at Glasgow by Sir William Hooker, with whom 
he had a scientific and personal friendship. Joseph Hooker, in turn, was within 
a little of succeeding him at Edinburgh, for he remained a close friend of the 
Hookers, often joining in Sir William's botanical excursions, and when he fell 
ill in 1846, he secured Joseph Hooker as his substitute and prospective successor. 


acquired as a natural consequence of the surroundings, 
and without effort entailed by study in later years. Sir 
Joseph once said to me : ' You young men do not know 
your plants.' Certainly we did not in the way that he 
knew them. Few have ever known, few ever will know 
them in that way. Such knowledge comes only from 
growing up with them from earliest childhood, as he did. 

The influence of Sir William's teaching, with its personal 
stimulus, its wealth of illustration by specimens and diagrams, 
its fostering of accurate observation and its botanising excur- 
sions, is well described in his son's own words taken from the 
address delivered at the opening of the Botanical Laboratory 
in Glasgow 1901. We see the boy sharing in these excursions 
long before he was a regular student at his father's lectures. 

It was a bold venture for my Father to undertake so re- 
sponsible an office, for he had never lectured, or even attended 
a course of lectures. But he had resources that enabled him 
to overcome all obstacles familiarity with his subject, 
devotion to its study, energy, eloquence, a commanding 
presence with urbanity of manners, and, above all, the 
art of making the student love the science he taught. But 
his energies were not confined to lecturing. Feeling the 
want of a manual on the Scottish Flora to put into the 
students' hands, he published, in time for use in his second 
course, the * Flora Scotica,' in two volumes, the outcome 
mainly of his earlier Scottish expeditions ; and in readiness 
for his third course he produced, at his own cost, and from 
drawings made by himself, an oblong folio of twenty-one 
lithographed plates, with descriptions of the organs, etc., 
of upwards of three hundred plants. A copy of this work 
was placed before every two students in the class during 
that portion of the day's lecture which was devoted to the 
analysis of plants, obtained from the garden and placed 
in the students' hands for this purpose. I should mention 
that every student was expected to provide himself with 
a pocket lens, knife, and pair of forceps, aided with which 
he followed the demonstrations of the professor. I think 
it may fairly be said that these early lectures heralded the 
dawn of scientific botanical teaching in Glasgow University. 

Another claim upon the professor's energies was due 


to the fact that the botanical class was in a great measure 
ancillary to that of Materia Medica, a practical know- 
ledge of which latter subject was at that time required 
of candidates for a medical degree, diploma, or licence 
by, I believe, all the examining bodies in the United 

Now the Glasgow students of botany were, with a few 
exceptions, preparing themselves for the medical profession, 
and a considerable proportion of them at that time looked 
forward to service in the army, navy, India, and the colonies, 
where they would be thrown on their own resources for 
ascertaining the quality of their drugs, which had either under- 
gone a long voyage from England or had to be replaced by 
such substitutes as the practitioner's knowledge of botany 
might enable him to discover. The professor hence devoted 
much time to teaching the botanical characters of the 
principal medical and economic plants. To this end he made 
large coloured drawings of them in flower, fruit, etc., which 
were hung in the class-room when the natural orders to which 
they belonged were being demonstrated, and he passed round 
dried specimens of them taken from his herbarium, or living 
ones from the garden when they were to be had, together 
with samples of the drugs or other products which they 

It remains to allude to the class excursions, which have 
always been, and still happily are, a prominent feature of the 
botanical teaching in the Scottish Universities. Of these 
there were three : two, on Saturdays, were habitually to 
Campsie Glen and Bowling Bay respectively. The third, 
which was eagerly looked forward to by the most ardent of 
the students, took place at the end of June. It was to some 
good botanising ground in the Western Highlands. As many 
as thirty students have taken part in these larger excursions, 
each provided with as small a kit as possible, a vasculum, and 
apparatus for drying plants. They were often accompanied 
by students from Edinburgh, and sometimes by eminent 
botanists, British and foreign. In those days there were few 
inns in the Western Highlands, and fewer coaches, and the 
roads were bad. On one of my father's first excursions he 
provided a marquee to hold the party, which was transported 
in a Dutch wagon drawn by a Highland pony ; and for 
supplies the party depended on the flocks and fowls of the 


cottagers. On the first excursion on which I was taken, 
when a boy, to Loch Lomond, there was no inn at Tarbet, 
and we all slept there in our clothes, on heather spread on the 
floor of a cottage ; on another occasion when I was allowed 
to join the party (more for fishing than for botanising) on an 
excursion to Killin, we walked the whole way from the head 
of Loch Lomond along the old military road made in the 
previous century by General Wade, eulogised in the well- 
known distich : 

If you'd seen these roads before they were made, 

You'd have lift up your hands and blessed General Wade. 

If I were asked what I regarded as of most importance to 
the student in the manner of my father's teaching as sketched 
above, I would answer that it taught the art of exact observa- 
tion and reasoning therefrom, a schooling of inestimable 
value for the medical man, and one that is given in no other 
profession, but which ought to come, in this country, as it 
does in Germany, early in the education of every child. 
I have met many of my father's pupils abroad, in India, and 
the colonies, who have told me that these botanical lectures 
gave them the first ideas they had ever entertained of there 
being a natural classification of the members of the vegetable 
kingdom. Then with regard to the results, in a botanical 
point of view, the magnetism of the lecturer and the interest 
of the subject imbued many of his pupils with a love of science 
that proved permanent and fruitful. They made observa- 
tions and collections for their quondam professor in the tem- 
perate or tropical climates of both hemispheres, some of 
them throughout their lives, which have very largely con- 
tributed to a knowledge of the flora and vegetable resources 
of the globe. 

Not only was Sir William Hooker a great teacher and 
administrator, but a most prolific writer. His writings were 
unequalled in the number and accuracy of the plates with 
which they were illustrated. The number of these his son 
estimated at 8000, of which 1800 were from his own drawings. 
His systematic work covered a wide range, and, apart from 
its intrinsic value, has a peculiar interest here in its relation 
to the systematic work of his son. His publications on the 


plants of Parry's and Sabine's l Arctic voyages and on the 
botany of Beechey's voyage to Behring Strait, the Pacific, 
and China, compare with his son's Antarctic and Australian 
work. His ' Flora Boreali- Americana,' his ' British Flora,' his 
'Niger Flora ' are paralleled by work in the same fields. His ten 
books on ferns for he was the leading pteridologist of his 
time prelude Joseph Hooker's interest in the cryptogams, 
while the great series of the * Icones Plantarum,' begun in 
1837 to illustrate new and rare plants selected from the 
author's herbarium, which later became the nucleus of the 
great Kew Herbarium, was continued under his son and suc- 
cessor at Kew, thanks to the bequest left for this purpose 
by Bentham. 

For the most part this work of his was a labour of love, often 
involving financial responsibility as well. Generous to others, 
and enthusiastic for his work, he thought little of his own 
interests in comparison with the scientific privileges offered 
by the position at Kew. He drew upon his private means, not 
only for his books, but for the ceaseless succession of botanical 
magazines of which he undertook the editorship, in order to 
secure a channel for recording the immense variety of new 
facts that came before him as director of large and expanding 
botanical gardens, facts needing to be set on record, though 
too scattered and disconnected for publication in anything 
but a ' miscellany.' 

Joseph Hooker's mother, Maria Turner, brought another 
strongly marked strain of character and capacity into his 

1 Sir Edward Sabine, K.C.B. (1788-1883), saw active service in the American 
war of 1812, but after 1816 devoted nearly all his life to science, especially 
astronomy and terrestrial magnetism. For his researches on these subjects 
when in the Arctic with Ross and Parry he received the Copley medal in 1821, 
and subsequently extended his researches half across the world. He, assisted 
by Ross and others, made the first systematic magnetic survey of the British 
Isles, and, paying a visit to Berlin, prompted Humboldt to urge the establish- 
ment of magnetic observatories throughout the British Empire in connection 
with those already established elsewhere by other Governments, a proposal 
which led to Ross's Antarctic expedition. Sabine was President of the Royal 
Society from 1861-71 ; he had been general secretary of the British Associa- 
tion 1839-59, except in 1852, when he was President. His magnum opus, 
which included a complete statement of the magnetic survey of the globe, 
extended over thirty-six years from 1840, in his series of ' Contributions to 
Terrestrial Magnetism ' in the Philosophical Transactions of the Eoyal Society. 


inheritance. She was an accomplished woman, who not only 
shared her husband's tastes, but by her well-cultivated gifts 
was able to enter into his pursuits. Their outlook on life was 
similar, for both had been bred in the evangelical tradition, 
which she perhaps preserved the more rigidly. Like him, 
she had a love for music and art, and a keen interest in the 
sciences affected by her father, especially botany. She was 
widely read, and wrote with a facile pen steeped in all the 
copious rotundity of the Johnsonian school. From the Turner 
side, no doubt, she transmitted something of the business 
faculty that was to stand her son in good stead when he came* 
to deal with men and affairs. 

Similarity of tastes and interests had first drawn 
together Dawson Turner and W. J. Hooker. The younger 
man .was speedily impressed by the great vigour and strong 
character of the elder, admiring his practicality the more for 
being himself careless of selfish interests in the enthusiasm 
of his pursuits. For the rest of his life Dawson Turner became 
his scientific friend, his intimate correspondent, his business 
mentor. Dawson Turner, indeed, won well-deserved success 
alike as banker, author, botanist, and archaeologist. His mother, 
Elizabeth Cotman, brought him an artistic heritage. On his 
father's side, business and scholarship had been grafted upon 
a solid yeoman stock of Norfolk. For nearly two and a half 
centuries since the first Turner bought his modest acres at 
Kennington in 1570, these passed from father to son. 

At the end of the seventeenth century, a younger son, 
Francis (1681-1719), was bred to the law, and settled in Yar- 
mouth, where he married the daughter of the Town Clerk, 
Thomas Godfrey, and with obvious propriety succeeded to 
his office in 1710. 

His only son was another Francis, who took Orders, married 
Sarah Dawson, and had four sons : (1) Francis, an eminent 
surgeon ; (2) Joseph, who was Senior Wrangler in 1768, then 
Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and ultimately Dean 
of Norwich ; (3) Eichard, who, through the influence of his 
brother the Dean, became incumbent of Great Yarmouth.; and 
(4) James, who became the resident partner in the firm of 


Gurney & Co. when they opened a branch of their Norwich' 
bank at Great Yarmouth. 

This James Turner married, as has been mentioned, Eliza- 
beth Cotman, and gave his mother's family name to his son 
Dawson (6. 1775). 

Dawson Turner, as might be expected, went to Pembroke 
College, where his uncle was Master ; but in his second year his 
father died, and he had to leave the University and take his 
place at the bank. But business did not exclude letters. As 
banker and author he was a forerunner of Grote and Bagehot 
and Lubbock. His library, his collection of autographs, his 
small but choice gallery of pictures, were all notable. 

As early as 1797 he became a Fellow of the Linnean 
Society, and later, of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal 
Society. 1 

* Through the Turner connexion the Hookers gained several 
interesting cousinships notably with the Palgrave family. 
Dawson Turner married Mary Palgrave (1774-1850), second 
daughter of William Palgrave, of Coltishall, and Elizabeth 
Thirkettle. Her younger sister, Anne Palgrave (1777-1872), 
married Edward Rigby, M.D., of Coltishall. Three of the 
Rigby daughters were married in Esthonia : Anne (1804-69) 
to George de Wahl, Maria Justina (1808-89) to Baron Robert 
de Rosen, Gertrude (1813-59) to Theophile de Rosen ; 
Gertrude's daughter, again, in 1860 married General Mander- 
stjerna, and the rest of her children married and remained in 
Russia. These second cousins of his welcomed Joseph Hooker 
on his visit to St. Petersburg in 1869. 

Another Rigby daughter, Elizabeth (1809-93), married 
Sir Charles Eastlake, P.R.A. She was a close and life- 
long friend of her cousin Joseph. Matilda, the eighth child 
and youngest of the Rigbys, married James Smith. Their 

1 Dawson Turner publishe.d important illustrated works on the British 
Fuci, the Mosses of Ireland, and especially the Natural History of Fuci, 
1808-19, and, with L. W. Dillwyn, The Botanist's Guide through England and 
Wales, 1805. Later he devoted himself especially to art and antiquities. 
He wrote largely on the archaeology of Norfolk and Suffolk, inter alia ' Granger- 
ising ' Blomefield's History of Norfolk with 2000 drawings. His chief archseo- 
logical work was his Account of a Tour in Normandy, with fifty etchings by his 
wife and daughters and John Cotman, 



daughter, Matilda, is the skilful botanical artist who succeeded 
Walter Fitch as illustrator at Kew. 

Dawson Turner's eldest daughter, as we have seen, married 
W. J. Hooker. His second daughter, Elizabeth, married that 
Francis Cohen who on his marriage assumed the name of 
Palgrave with the consent of her uncles, the two surviving 
sons of William Palgrave, and last male representatives of 
the family. 

Of Elizabeth's children Sir Francis Palgrave became Keeper 
of the Eecords. One of his sons, Francis Turner Palgrave, 
is in perpetual memory as editor of the Golden Treasury ; 
another was William Gifford Palgrave, the famous traveller 
in the East ; another, Sir E. H. Inglis Palgrave, banker and 
writer on financial subjects ; and the fourth, Sir Eeginald 
Palgrave, Clerk to the House of Commons. To all these first 
cousins Joseph Hooker was warmly attached, and with Inglis 
Palgrave especially, who constantly advised him on business 
matters, he kept up a lifelong correspondence, albeit a 
correspondence which seldom lends itself to quotation for 
general purposes. 

Of the rest of the Turner family Harriett (1806-69) was 
the author of ' Letters from Holland.' She married, 1830, 
Eev. John Gunn, President of the Geological Society, 

Hannah Sarah (1808-82) made sixty portraits from 
drawings on stone, and fifty-one drawings for the ' Outlines 
in Lithography ' for private circulation. She married, 1839, 
Thomas Brightwen of Great Yarmouth. 

Eleanor Jane (1811-95) was an accomplished classical 
scholar. She married, 1836, Eev. Wm. Jacobson, D.D., Bishop 
of Chester. 

Gurney (1813-48) married, 1844, Mary Anne Hamilton. 

Dawson William (1815-85) Headmaster of the Eoyal 
Institution, Liverpool, married Ophelia Dixon. 

The atmosphere in which the young Hookers grew up was 
one not only of strenuous work, but also of a certain austerity 
in moral and religious training, recalling the Puritan trend 
of J)heir forbears. In daily example they saw that their 


father rose early, worked late, and seldom went out to enter- 
tainments. Like his "wife, he was, as has been said, a strong 
Evangelical, seeing the hand of an overruling Providence in 
every turn of events, and accepting bereavements, or the 
prospect of them, with a pious resignation coloured by the 
warm conviction of future reunion. In the letters of both 
husband and wife, hopes for the future are regularly ex- 
pressed with the pious qualification ' if God wills,' and 
present sorrows borne as * the will of God.' Speculative 
thought beyond evangelical limits had no part in this house- 
hold ; they and theirs should uphold their own observances 
boldly before ' the scoffer and the sceptic.' The children 
were brought up simply, strictly, without indulgence it 
seems, indeed, with some measure of rigidity to be 'God- 
fearing, honourable, hardworking members of their society. 
If the outlook was in some respects narrow, compensation lay 
in the intellectual activities that found scope in varied scientific 
pursuits, in drawing and some music, and intercourse with men 
distinguished in science and travel. There is an obvious danger 
of young folk becoming priggish and didactic under such 
conditions, which tend to isolate them from the ordinary 
boys and girls of their world and to make them despise the 
thoughtless amusements and unfruitful occupations of their 
fellows ; the saving salt for the young Hookers lay in their 
real enthusiasm for living pursuits and the freshness of their 

The family was five in number : William Dawson, Joseph's 
senior by fifteen months (b. April 4, 1816, d. January 1, 1840) ; 
Joseph Dalton, b. June 30, 1817; Maria, b. May 8, 1819; 
Elizabeth, b. November 15, 1820 ; and Mary Harriette, b. 
October 2, 1825, who died of consumption on June 19, 1841. 

Keferences to these early days are scattered and fragmentary. 
It is very clear that a strain of delicacy ran through the family, 
which showed itself in susceptibility to consumption. Joseph 
as an infant was * croaky Joe,' with a tendency to cough and 
croupy hoarseness ; William, shortly after his early marriage, 
was threatened with the disease, and was therefore sent to make 
a home and a medical career in Jamaica, where he was carried 


off by yellow fever, January 1, 1840. Then came nearly two 
years' painful anxiety over the two youngest sisters, who 
were at school in London under Mrs. Teed, at Little Campden 
House. A few weeks after Joseph set sail in the Erebus, 
in the autumn of 1839, Elizabeth fell ill, and had to winter at 
Hastings under the care of a great-aunt, Mrs. Walford Taylor, 
and to undergo a course of treatment in the next summer under 
Dr. Jephson at Leamington, where she was joined by Mary 
Harriette at the beginning of the holidays in July. Worse 
followed. On reaching Glasgow, Elizabeth fell back ; Mary 
was found to be very ill. With some difficulty they were taken 
to Jersey at the end of September. Lady Hooker nursed 
them with the help of her capable and devoted eldest daughter ; 
after much suffering, Elizabeth recovered, Mary Harriette 
slowly faded away. 

Brothers and sisters were warmly attached to one another. 
Joseph's affections were not spread afield ; they were the more 
intense for being concentrated upon his family circle ' the 
seven persons I really love ' and a few other friends. Writing 
home from the Antarctic after receiving the news of his brother's 
and sister's death, he accuses himself of the fault of selfishness. 
More justly, perhaps, he would have used the word self-centred ; 
he always has the full sympathy of his correspondents, and his 
own letters show abundant care for those dear to him. 

The home regime was sufficiently firm. Sir William, courtly, 
handsome, attractive, perhaps laid weight mainly on the duty 
of pure motive and honourable conduct ; Lady Hooker was 
also a strict disciplinarian and a stickler for the forms of 
reverence which the manners of her young days demanded of 
children for their parents. When Joseph, for instance, came 
in from school after a long and tiring walk home, he must 
present himself to his mother, but was not allowed to sit down 
in her presence without permission, and was kept standing 
until it was clear that discipline had conquered inclination. 

In their boyish days, William, the firstborn, was clearly 
the mother's favourite. He was the more clever, lively, and 
forthcoming. In Lady Hooker's letters to her father, Dawson 
Turner, Joseph as a rule appears rather as the plodder without 

VOL. I n 


his brother's brilliancy. William, however, with all his 
quickness and cleverness, had a vein of instability. The contrast 
between the brothers in the matter of perseverance shows 
itself from the first, and Joseph's determination to master 
whatever he undertook calls forth his mother's just praise. 
Later, William made a large collection of birds, while Joseph 
collected insects and plants. William won his literary spurs 
at one-and -twenty by printing for private circulation his ' Notes 
on Norway,' the account of a trip to Scandinavia ; while 
Joseph, in the same year, first appeared in print with the de- 
scription of three new mosses from the Himalaya in the 
'Icones Plantarum ' (ii. 194). 

The boys went to Glasgow High School, where they received 
the old-fashioned, liberal, Scottish education an education 
that culminates in the Arts' degree for proficiency in Latin 
and Greek, mathematics, logic and English literature, and 
moral philosophy. In after life Hooker thought the moral 
philosophy course had been of little value to him ; his classical 
studies, however, were not lost even from an utilitarian point 
of view, and he remained always able to write Latin easily. 

* Sir William and Lady Hooker's letters to Dawson Turner 
afford a few glimpses into the boys' school-days. Thus Lady 
Hooker writes on June 9, 1824, after a description of Willy's 
lessons to our great astonishment that little boys of seven 
and eight should attend a college lecture on botany : 

He and Joseph accompany their father, with Frank and 
Kobert, 1 'to the lecture every morning. It is fine exercise 
for them, and they return to breakfast at half-past nine 
o'clock, as hungry almost as my sisters and brothers used 
to be. I think that Joseph would be the child to please 
you in his learning. He is extremely industrious, though 
not very clever. Willy can learn the faster if he chooses, 
but while his elder brother sets his very heart against his 
lessons, Joseph bends all his soul and spirit to the task 
before him. 

1 Frank Garden and Robert Monteith lived with the Hookers for some 
four years, studying at Glasgow before proceeding to Cambridge (in 1827). 
' Our two eldest boys,' Sir William calls them : they were eight or nine years 
older than his own boys. 


And on December 21, 1824, she hopes that the grand- 
father's note accompanying a present will have a stimu- 
lating effect on the grandson who so little inherits his 
disposition ; for : 

Willy is sadly negligent with regard to his lessons, 
especially his Latin ones. If we could but inspire him with 
a little emulation he would make great progress, for when 
any sufficient inducement occurs, he learns remarkably 
quickly and far outstrips his brother ; but generally he is 
content to let Joseph get before him ; and though we caress 
the latter and slight Willy [the modern mother, we hope, 
does not adopt this method of arousing emulation], yet 
William is not in the least jealous, but loves his brother 
as dearly as if he were not his superior. 

Education, indeed, wore a stern face in those days. Poor 
Willy ! 

I wish that I could tell you that your eldest grandson 
had inherited from his grandsire a little taste for learning 
languages. But ever since we returned from Yarmouth, 
the lessons, especially those in Latin, have been a per- 
petual source of sorrow both to the teacher and to the 
teachee (I wish I could say to the learner). Writing and 
arithmetic are the only departments of his education in 
which Willy has made any progress. But during the last 
ten days, a new light has seemed to dawn upon the child's 
mind. [He has made many good resolutions, couched in 
picturesque scriptural phrases.] We shall see how long 
they will last, but you may be sure that we bestow all 
manner of caresses and encouragement upon him. Indeed, 
we are ourselves happy in an opportunity to show a little 
kindness towards the poor child, who has lately received 
from us nothing but reproof and punishment. 

Again, in 1828, Joseph being just eleven, his father writes : 

I wish you could bring the dear boy Gurney with you, 
and let him go to Killin in June with me and see Launden 
Cameron and climb the Breadalbane mountains. . . . Last 
year I took Willy the same route, and this year I think 


of taking both him and Joseph. [Gurney and Dawson, 
by the way, Dawson Turner's sons, were almost of an age 
with William Hooker, being but three years and one year 
older respectively, and so more like cousins than uncles to 
the boys.] 

In 1829 : They make very fair progress with their 
tutor (who coached them in Latin) and are much more 
inclined to like lessons than they used to be. 

1829 : The boys beg to thank you for your kind present 
of ' The Boys' Own Book ' ; it is seldom out of their hands 
during playtime. 

In after life Sir Joseph often talked of how he loved this 
book, and read it and consulted it. 

In 1831 comes the first mention of their repeated stay at 
Helensburgh so that the children may have country air and 
liberty. Burnside was a delightful memory ; but even more 
beloved was Invereck, and it became their country home in 
1837. Indeed, when it came into the market in the late 
seventies, Hooker would have bought it had it not been so 
far from Kew. 

As at thirteen, ' Joseph is becoming a zealous botanist/ so 
at fifteen, 'Joseph is contented and happy at home, and studying 
Orchideaa most zealously.' 

In 1832, when the boys were sixteen and fifteen respectively, 
they entered Glasgow University, with four sets of lectures 
each, all in Latin and Greek for Joseph. 

Joseph has paid a good deal of attention to collecting 
and drawing insects, though he has not nearly so much 
natural ability for sketching as his brother has. Mrs. 
Lyell sent Joseph a very nice specimen box, stored with 
four or five dozen of the rarer insects found near Kinnordy. 

The Lyells of Kinnordy were to play a large part in Hooker's 
life. Charles Lyell, the elder, 1 was a botanist of distinction and 

1 Charles Lyell (1767-1849), eldest son of Charles Lyell of Kinoordy, was 
distinguished both as a Dante scholar and a botanist. Living at Bartley 
in the New Forest from 1798 to 1825, he devoted himself especially to the study 
of the mosses, several species of which bear his name, aa well as the genus 
Lyellia of Robert Brown. 


an old friend of Sir William's ; and his son was that greatest 
of geologists who was to be the early inspirer of Darwin and his 
lifelong friend together with Hooker. 
Later in the same year, 1832 : 

Joseph is in the senior Latin and senior Greek, and next 
year will take logic and mathematics along with his brother. 
William continues ardently devoted to ornithology, and 
Joseph to botany and entomology. The latter is already 
a fair British botanist and has a tolerable herbarium, very 
much of his own collecting. But the orchideae are his 
great favourites, and he has an eye for them, and a memory 
too for their names, which often surprises me. Had he time 
for it he would already be more useful to me than Mr. 
Klotzsch [his assistant]. 1 

The removal to a new house in Glasgow, at Woodside 
Crescent, * spirited up ' the family to an access of tidying, 
and * Joseph has taken in hand to arrange all his father's 
duplicate plants, selecting among them for his own collection, 
and he has been pursuing this occupation with much diligence 
for some weeks.' 

Next year, Joseph being sixteen, his father declines an 
invitation for him to go to the Dawson Turners' at Yarmouth, 
saying, ' the expense is very considerable for a lad who is 
scarcely old enough to derive permanent advantage from 
such a journey ; and both he and his brother have now entered 
upon studies which can scarcely with propriety be interrupted.' 
The permanent advantage of studying his grandfather's col- 
lections would doubtless come later, when he should be further 
advanced in his regular botanical work. 

A little later Sir William sends his father-in-law a parcel, 
in which is enclosed a small box of insects which Joseph is 
* very desirous of transmitting to Mr. Paget.' 2 

The same entomological enthusiasm inspires two early 

1 S. J. Klotzsch spent some years as Sir William's curator at Glasgow, and 
was the founder of the mycological portion of the herbarium. Subsequently 
he became keeper of the Royal Herbarium at Berlin. Hooker gives an amusing 
description of his oddities in the Memoirs of his father, p. xxxiii. 

2 No . doubt Charles, brother of (Sir) James Paget, the famous surgeon 
(1814-99), and one of the seventeen children of Samuel Paget, brewer and ship- 


letters to Dr. Harvey, 1 who had sent him the first part o* 
Stephens' ' Entomology ' with some specimens. As his own 
collection is not yet very well supplied Scotland not being 
a country where insects abound he sends, in default of a 
better return; some German plants given him by Mr. Klotzsch 
(December 3, 1833). 

And again on December 11, 1835, when Dr. Harvey had 
promised to collect insects for him at the Cape, he sends 
instructions as to a new method of preserving specimens in 
hot climates, and continues : 

Your account of the country fills me with an ardent desire 
to go there ; however, I suppose I must be content to live 
on that unnourishing diet hope for some years to come. I 
should give a great deal to be present at the opening of the 
boxes of insects the travellers from the interior bring down, 
they must bring some splendid things ; pray, what becomes 
of them ? 

William is particularly obliged for your anxiety about 
procuring birds, and, believe me, I am more eaten up with 
entomological zeal than ever ; who knows but I may, ere I 
die, publish an Entomologia Capensis ? That poor unfortu- 
nate Stephens is determined to go on to the end with his 
invaluable work ; he cannot now, I hear, afford to keep his 

owner, who was Mayor of Great Yarmouth in 1817. The Pagets, the Dawson 
Turners, and the Hookers were closely allied in a friendship of long standing. 

Between 1830 and 1834 James was apprenticed to Dr. Costerton, and, with 
his brother Charles, wrote a book on the natural history of Great Yarmouth. 

1 William Henry Harvey (1811-66), of Irish Quaker stock, began his 
lifelong friendship with Sir W. J. Hooker through his discovery at Killarney of 
the moss Hookeria Icetevirens (1831). After holding various posts at Dublin he 
went in 1835 to South Africa with his brother, on whose death he succeeded 
in the post of Colonial Treasurer. In 1842 he broke down in body and 
mind from overwork. Returning home, he became Keeper of the University 
Herbarium at Dublin, and in 1848 Professor of Botany under the Royal Dublin 
Society. He visited America in 1849-70 ; the Indian Ocean and Australasia 
in 1853-6, and on his return succeeded to the botanical chair at Trinity College, 

His work included a Flora Capensis, but he is best known as an authority 
on Algae, publishing a Manual of British Algae (Laylor, 1841), the Phycologia 
Britannica, Nereis Australia, The Seaside Book (1849), Nereis Boreali- Ameri- 
cana, Phycologia Australica, as well as on the Antarctic Algae ofBeechey's Voyage, 
and to him J. D. H. refers his collection of Southern Algae. His work lay 
in ' discrimination, description, and illustration ' ; he had no share in the 
Darwinian movement, though ready to admit natural selection as a vera 
causa of much change, he would not go so far as to admit it as a vera causa 
of species. 


wife, a salutary lesson to all not to marry, who want to 
devote their time to Nat. Hist. 

Of Joseph's University work Sir William writes : 

William and Joseph have entered upon their College duties 
of the present session apparently with much satisfaction. 
They both take Mathematics and Moral Philosophy. Joseph 
in addition attends the private Greek class, and William, 

The following letter from Lady Hooker may be quoted at 
length for the light it throws on the family's work and successes. 
Lady Hooker, it will be observed, cultivated a sub-Johnsonian 
style ; or perhaps more truly reflected that of the Swan of 
Lichfield, itself a reflection from the authentic Johnson. 

' Your son ' is an affectionate trope for son-in-law, and 
his ' honors ' mean that he is now created Sir William, Knight 
of Hanover, an order which became extinct with the separation 
of Hanover from the British Crown. 

Saturday, May 7, 1836. 

Many thanks for your affectionate congratulations on 
your son's honors and your grandsons' prizes, on the industry 
of the latter, I should rather say. The hope of pleasing their 
relations and gaining their good opinion, goes so far with 
both William and Joseph (especially the former), and they 
value so highly (as they ought to do) your favor and com- 
mendation, that I feel particularly gratified at your having 
taken the trouble of writing to them upon this occasion. 
Your present to them is quite too munificent, as perhaps 
they felt, for Joseph immediately remarked he hoped his 
grandfather was very rich, or he should not like to take so 
much money from him. They would, I am sure, gladly add 
a few lines to thank you, in their own hand- writing, but their 
father and I have just left them at Helensburgh, where they 
will spend the Sunday with their grandpapa and sisters, 
returning home early on Monday morning. A fortnight ago, 
Joseph walked 24 miles from Helensburgh to Glasgow 
rather than wait for the steamer next morning, by which 
delay he would have missed a lecture. Willie has gone to-day 
to fish in Loch Lomond, he started at 3 o'clock this morning : 
Joseph has been equally earnestly employed in turning over 


stones and hunting in the rejectament of the sea for beetles. 
His collection of insects is becoming considerable, he devotes 
every spare minute to it, and has opened a correspondence 
with several entomologists, both British and foreign. We 
sent you a Glasgow newspaper last Tuesday, which men- 
tioned the prizes : in the Natural Philosophy Class, where 
Joseph gained one prize and worked for three, he was the 
youngest student of all, and much younger than the majority 
of those who attend the Anatomical Lectures, where he carried 
off the single prize which alone is given, among a class often 
consisting of more than a hundred individuals. These 
circumstances, which cannot be publicly known, ought yet 
to be thankfully taken into account by us, when calculating 
the amount of his labour and of the success which has crowned 
that labour. I could not help hoping that the dear boy 
had caught a shred of his grandfather's mantle (far be it 
from me, by this awkward and tattered simile, however, to 
imply that the garment is either worn out or cast aside by the 
honored wearer) when I saw him, earnestly and unprompted 
during his papa's absence, undertake the task of cataloguing 
every book in the house. All the names were written down 
and arranged alphabetically, and part of the fair index was 
made before his father returned. 

Of his tastes and education, Joseph himself wrote later, 
towards the end of the Antarctic voyage, to his aunt, Mary 
Turner. The letter, a copy probably touched up by his mother, 
is dated April 18, 1843. 

You remind me of the times when we used to sit in the 
study (where probably you now are and where this note may 
reach you some two months hence) reading Tacitus : at least 
you and my grandfather reading it and I looking on. 

Alas ! I never had much taste for Latin and Greek, or 
any of the dead languages ; and (except that I should have 
the satisfaction of knowing that my father's money was not 
so much thrown away) I greatly doubt if my having been a 
good scholar would give me now so much pleasure as you 
might imagine. What I do really regret is the little attention 
I paid to Ancient and especially to Modern History. If half 
the time spent on the Classics had been devoted to those 
subjects, the knowledge of them would prove a far more 


agreeable companion than Horace, Virgil or even Homer. 
Do not think I underrate those attainments, which alone 
make a man the perfect gentleman ; but I had no taste for 
them, though ample time and opportunity for all. As it is, 
I sometimes attempt to rub them up, but I enjoy nothing so 
much as Hume and Smollett, 1 This mainly arises from the 
writers' bringing associations, connected with different parts of 
my native land, and of scenes, though perhaps only scampered 
through in a Mail Coach, which my memory, very retentive 
of localities, enables me to .revisit, along with the heroes of 
my Author. A love of poetry is also a sad deficiency in me, 
for you cannot suppose that I should learn to appreciate it by 
being crammed with stanzas of Marmion, not amid Castles 
and Groves, but in a school of 100 boys. Crabbe's Poems are 
my favorites (laugh at me if you will), because I can go with 
him everywhere. As for Thomson, ' void of rhyme as well 
as reason,' he is quite too lackadaisical for me. To the 
Southward, in bad weather, I used to spend a great deal of 
time in reading, chiefly books on Scientific subjects, which 
are of most importance to me now that I have to work for 
my bread. 

Of French he early acquired a working knowledge, im- 
proving it greatly in the winter of 1844-5, before his journey 
to Paris, by dint of lessons and conversation with M. Planchon, 
his father's assistant at Kew. With German, also, he was con- 
versant enough to tackle German books on botany ; but it 
was a labour to him. Hence the zest of his repartee to Darwin, 
of whom it is told (' Life,' i. 126) : ' When he began German 
long ago, he boasted of the fact (as he used to tell) to Sir 
J. Hooker, who replied : " Ah, my dear fellow, that's nothing ; 
I've begun it many times." 

Among his contemporaries he neither courted popularity 
nor was constitutionally fitted to practise the arts of popu- 
larity. Indeed, he suffered from a nervous irritability of the 
heart which from his school- days brought on palpitation when 
he stood up to construe in class. And although he tried to 
overcome this by joining his college debating society and getting 
up speeches carefully beforehand, success was denied him. 

1 The continuator of Hume's History of England. 


Even in later life the delivery of an address meant a strain 
which brought on physical nausea and severe nervous reaction. 

As he grew up, he went far afield on his botanical expedi- 
tions. On September 2, 1836, Sir William, sending a belated 
acceptance of an invitation for Joseph to visit his grandfather, 
writes : ' I only returned from a Highland tour with Dr. Graham, 
Mr. Wilson 1 and Joseph last Saturday. The latter had been 
away some weeks with Mr. Wilson amongst the Aberdeenshire 
mountains, and I could not communicate with him but by 
ferreting him out in person, which I did, and found him and 
Wilson at the old hovel at the foot of Ben Lomond, where they 
were nearly a week.' 

On his way to Yarmouth, he stays at Liverpool with Mr. 
Melly, a collector of beetles, among whose specimens he sees the 
Goliathi, which he afterwards collected himself in India ; and 
at Manchester with Mr. Glover, 2 possessor of a less valuable 
collection ; at each city visiting the Museum and Botanical 
Gardens. The Manchester Gardens are ' the finest I ever saw ; 
finer, I think, than Edinburgh, though not, certainly, so good 
a collection of plants.' 

Then at Hull he stays with William Spence, joint author 
with William Kirby (a Norwich man) of the famous ' Introduc- 
tion to Entomology,' examining his rich collection and twice 
going out entomologising with him. 

At Yarmouth he works keenly an his grandfather's and 
Miss Hutchins' herbaria; and as a result asks his father to 
re-examine his own specimens of a certain moss (Bryum 
triguetrum) in order to correct what he feels sure is a wrong 
ascription of a specimen of his grandfather's. So, too, the latter 
has just received five specimens of the narrow-leaved lungwort 

1 William Wilson (1799-1871) was a botanist who had been attracted to 
the study during the open-air life necessitated by an early breakdown from 
overwork. In 1827 he was introduced by Henslow to Sir W. Hooker, and 
joined him in his annual students' botanical excursion. Through Hooker he 
devoted himself to the mosses, and described the mosses collected on Boss's 
Voyage. His great work, the Bryologia Britannica (1855), though intended 
to be a third edition of W. J. Hooker's Muscologia, was substantially a new 
work of the highest merit. Among the new species added to the British 
Flora by Wilson, his name is preserved in the rose named after him by Borrer, 
and the Killarney filmy fern (Hymenophyllum Wilsoni) by Sir W. Hooker. 

2 Perhaps Stephen Glover (d. 1869), known for his Peak Guide, 1830, and 
History of the County of Derby, 1831-3. 


(Pulmonaria angustifolia). Joseph, examining these, concludes 
that it is one and the same with our common lungwort 
(P. officinalis) , but that Linnaeus' P. officinalis is not a British 

From his visit to Yarmouth he returned on November 8, 
and on the 10th his father writes : 

I need hardly tell you that the boy has enjoyed his visit 
much and seems really grateful for the privileges he has 
enjoyed, especially under your roof. He is quite disposed 
to work at the classes, and set out yesterday morning before 
breakfast to enter them. He takes Surgery, Chemistry, 
Materia Medica, Anatomical demonstrations, and occasion- 
ally the dissecting-room. He is gone to-day to endeavour to 
arrange with Mr. Arnott 1 to give him two hours a day at 
Latin, as you kindly suggested. Thus you see his time will 
be fully occupied, and he can only reckon on a holiday now 
and then to allow him to devote some attention to naturalist 

Next summer we find him geologising, in Arran, with his 
friend Thomas Thomson. 2 And to go forward a year, on 
January 9, 1839, Sir William tells Dawson Turner : 

1 George Arnott Walker Arnott (1799-1868), who had given up the law 
for botany, was a close friend of Sir W. Hooker, with whom he collaborated 
from 1830-40 in describing the plants of Beechey's voyage, and in 1850 in the 
sixth edition of the British Flora. In 1839 he acted as Sir William's substitute, 
and from 1845 till his death held the Glasgow chair of Botany. 

2 This Thomas Thomson (1817-78), naturalist and traveller, was the 
eldest son of Thomas Thomson, Professor of Chemistry at Glasgow from 1817. 
A schoolfellow of the Hooker boys, he was equally devoted to science, and at 
the age of seventeen did some remarkable original work in geology, and later, 
no less original chemical work under Liebig. He graduated M.D. in 1839 with 
the Hookers, and entered the service of the East India Company as assistant 
surgeon. He had a perilous adventure during the invasion of Afghanistan, 
ill-famed for the massacre of the Khoord Kabul, for he was captured by the 
Afghans at Ghazni, and narrowly escaped being sold into slavery in Bokhara, 
1842. Meantime, as later during the Sutlej campaign and his subsequent stay 
in the Punjaub, he studied Indian and Himalayan botany. As one of the com- 
missioners for marking the boundary between Kashmir and Chinese Tibet in 
1847, he travelled into little known regions, embodying his geological and 
botanical observations in his book, Travels in the Western Himalayas and Tibet, 
in 1852. At the end of 1849 he joined Hooker at Darjeeling, and travelled with 
him for fifteen months on his later expeditions, especially to the Khasia Moun- 
tains. Returning to England in broken health, he spent several years at Kew, 
working at his collections, and bringing out, in collaboration with Hooker, the 
first and only volume of the Flora Indica. From 1854 to 1861, he was again 
in India as superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Gardens in succession to 
Dr. Falconer, Professor of Botany. Later he lived again for a time at Kew. 


When I went to bed at a late hour last night I left him 
writing an answer to you, and indeed he may, with a clear 
conscience, give a good account of himself for the last three 
or four weeks, especially as relates to his botanical pursuits. 
He has worked at plants with a degree of steadiness and 
ardour that has been most gratifying, and it appears that 
his industry is likely to meet with its reward . . . [i.e. in 
selection for the Antarctic Expedition]. 

Three letters of August and September 1838, from the 
young Hooker to his father, tell how he went with Dr. Graham 
on a botanising trip in Ireland (August 2-18) ; to the British 
Association Meeting at Newcastle (21-30) ; and then proceeded 
to visit Dr. Eichardson 1 at Haslar (September 1-4), when the 
latter was to take stock of him, so to say, before recommending 
him for the Antarctic Expedition. 

Details of travelling in those days have a curious interest 
in comparison with to-day. Thus, leaving Dublin 

at 4 P.M., started in a track-boat for Ballinasloe, where we 
were met by a Biancini car, which took us to Galway by 
8 P.M. on Friday night ; the car and track-boat were of 
the same company, and we went the whole excursion, 140 
miles, for 18s. each, including a dinner and a breakfast ; 
this, however, was the only cheap travelling experienced. 

To get from Newcastle to Portsmouth he was advised 

to take the coach from Newcastle to London at 9 A.M. on 
Thursday, which I did for 2. I went the whole distance, 
including coachmen and eating, for 3. I travelled all 
night, and arrived in London on Friday night, at 8 P.M. 
A coach was then starting for Portsmouth, in which I took 
a place, 14s., and arrived here on Saturday at 8 A.M. 

1 Sir John Richardson (1787-1865, and knighted 1846) saw much active 
service as naval surgeon, 1807-15, then returned to Edinburgh and took his 
M.D., at the same time studying botany and mineralogy. He was Naturalist 
to Sir John Franklin on two Arctic expeditions, 1819-22 and 1825-27. 
For ten years he was head of the Melville Hospital at Chatham, and from 
1838 was physician to the Royal Hospital at Haslar, where young naval 
surgeons awaiting their gazetting to ships were under him. Again, in 1848-9 he 
led the expedition in search of Franklin. His second wife, m. 1833, d. 1845, 
was a niece of Franklin's. In addition to his works on Polar Zoology and 
Travel, his special subject was Fishes, 


A few more passages may be quoted. 

Galway is a horrible town with 30,000 inhabitants, 
filthy in the extreme, without a single good building in it ; 
the whole neighbourhood is limestone, and the fields are 
all covered with large stones which are turned into walls 
of the worst description. 

Thursday, botanised about Cliffden, rained tremendously 
all day ; went to Mr. D'Arley's at Cliffden Castle. Mr. D. 
is a very nice gentleman, hospitable in the extreme, who 
regretted his inability to take in our party of 12. He is 
tremendously in debt, but no creditor can go to the expense 
of arresting him, for the Connemara boys, with whom he 
is a great favorite, will allow no such intruder near Cliffden 
Castle. The last person who tried was an Innkeeper here, 
but the inhabitants, guessing his intention, would not let 
his servant enter the village, but beat him unmercifully 
and sent him off. The police force were collected, who took 
them, and the malefactors are now lying in Galway jail for 
the next assizes. 

True to his careful upbringing, he is ever punctilious in 
recording his Sunday observances. 

[At Galway] we went to Church twice, and I once to 
the Koman Catholic chapel besides, with which I was much 
disgusted ; the gallery was well filled with respectable 
persons, but the body of the Church was crammed with 
inattentive hearers covered with rags or nearly naked. 
The English services were good, but the congregations 
wretched. [Next week, at Killery] for some reason or 
other no service was performed, nor was there a Church 
nearer than 20 miles. 

It was not a very profitable excursion in its results, albeit 
he is most careful in his expenditure. 

I have regretted the expense, just 10, extremely, as 
except getting a good stock of the above-mentioned plants, 
nothing has been done but making as many sketches as I 
could by waiting behind the party ; these I have had no 
time to finish at all. Of plants I have about 3000 specimens, 
as far as I can count, all dried as well as I could ; this I say 


with conscience, and as I changed the papers every night, 
when possible, I am sure you will be pleased. . . . Mosses 
are extremely scarce here ; I think one is, however, the 
Hymenostoma rutilans, as far as I can judge without a 
microscope ; if so it be, a good discovery and the only one ; 
it was very sparing in a wood near Galway, at the foot of a tree 
on the ground ; it is very minute and there are only three or 
four capsules ; the other Mosses you will see are some of them 
very common and only gathered for my own examination. 

Now, my dear papa, such is the outline of the excursion 
which you were kind enough to allow me to join, solely, as 
it has turned out, for my own gratification. I have enjoyed 
it extremely, and feel twice as strong as when I left Glasgow ; 
I hope the remainder of it, and especially the interview with 
, Dr. Richardson, will be more profitable to myself. . . . 

Excuse this hasty letter, it is now 3 A.M., and we start 
to-morrow morning. I am very sleepy, the fleas in Con- 
nemara keeping me awake the whole night sometimes. 

As to the British Association, the Newcastle meeting of 
1838 was his first. It was said to outshine in splendour 
any former meeting ; and he confessed to his grandfather 
that with all its obvious utility as a common meeting-ground, 
and its encouragement to the non-scientific who were tem- 
porarily proud to be seen with a hammer or vasculum, 
' the scientific department fell far behind the amusement and 
eating.' One notes the number of scientific men he either 
knew already or was introduced to ; the quaint appearance 
of Dr. Kichardson in the Natural History section, as he sat on 
the left of the Chair, and read the report of the previous day's 

being fully attired in a Dumfries Tartan of broad check and 
a shooting coat of the same. . . . There were not above 
50 people in the room, and almost no ladies ; those few 
who were there had come in by accident, and I was after- 
wards much surprised to hear that ladies were precluded 
from attending this section of Botany and Zoology on 
account of the nature of some of the papers belonging to 
the latter division, [for which, in his judgment, there was 
not the least occasion]. 


[On the 24th.] The Medical section was wretched ; when 
I went in Dr. Bowring 1 was reading a violently radical 
paper condemning Quarantine laws and the Government 
which allows them. 

On the 27th, at the Anniversary dinner of the Literary 
and Philosophical Society of Newcastle, 

the Bishop of Carlisle was in the Chair and proposed several 
toasts, among others the Universities of Great Britain, with 
a long speech, which Buckland 2 answered to ; but neither of 
them seemed to remember that there was such a place as 
Glasgow, or Edinburgh either, which much offended me and 
T. Thomson ; I thought it an especial bad compliment to 
Dr. Graham, who was sitting at the same table as the 

The botanist in him was also up in arms next day at a 
public meeting, when it was resolved that a Botanical Garden 
be established in Newcastle, provided that it be united to a 
Zoological one ; whereupon ' proposed that it should be called 
a Zoological and Botanical Garden, and agreed to ; I wondered 
why it should not be called the Botanical and Zoological 

The minor agrtmens of the meeting included the usual 
dinners and fetes ; the botanical excursion headed by Dr. 

1 Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), merchant, linguist, traveller, diplomatist, 
financial reformer, and man of letters. Among his varied activities he was 
editor of the Westminster Review on its foundation by Jeremy Bentham ; M.P. 
for the Clyde Burghs 1835-7, and for Bolton 1841 ; an original founder of the 
Anti-Corn Law League with Cobden, and plenipotentiary in China during the 
troubled times from 1854. Having newly returned in 1838 from a Govern- 
ment commercial mission through Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, he was fresh from 
the exasperating methods of quarantine in the East, which took shape in the 
Observations on Oriental Plague and Quarantines which startled the youthful 

2 William Buckland (1784-1856), wit, geologist, and divine, who was 
Professor of Mineralogy, 1813, and Reader in Geology, 1819, at Oxford, Presi- 
dent of the Geological Society, 1824, and Dean of Westminster, 1845. His 
work, which was valuable and suggestive, included the proof that the * dressed 
rocks ' of this country were the result of planing by glacial ice-sheet ; never- 
theless orthodoxy, alarmed at the claims of other geologists, smiled upon him, 
for in his inaugural address he calmed these fears, and in his 'Reliquiae 
Diluvianae ' (1823) he employed his great knowledge and intuition to correlate 
the cave remains with the deluge. His famous Bridge water Treatise of 1836 
was another buttress of science as applied to contemporary theology. His 
drollery and quaint stories were famous. 


Graham ; the descent of a coal-mine, with its breed of horses 
remarkable for their short and glossy hair like that of a mouse ; 
and visits to a rope- walk, alkali works, and Eichardson's Crown 
Glass factory, which calls forth a reference to one of his encyclo- 
paedic sources of general knowledge : 

The most interesting process was the converting the globe 
of glass into a flat sheet by merely twisting quickly the iron 
rod to which it was attached ; if you remember, the process 
is well described in one of the late numbers of the Penny 



JOSEPH HOOKER had received a unique bringing up in his 
father's house. He did not so much learn botany as grow 
up in it. At one-and-twenty he was probably the best-equipped 
botanist of his years, and he was just finishing his medical 
course. From his father's position he also received unique 
opportunity. Sir William enjoyed the friendship of many 
influential men, scientific and official, who kept him in touch 
with any scientific projects that were taken up by Government. 
Two such were afoot in 1838-9 : one, Eoss's expedition to the 
Antarctic ; the other, Captain H. D. Trotter's 1 to the Niger. 
Each would require a naturalist. Had Joseph Hooker failed 
to secure a place with Eoss, he would almost certainly have 
joined the other ill-fated expedition, most of the Europeans 
on which died of fever. 

James Clark Eoss, the distinguished Arctic explorer, was 
already known to Sir William through their common friend, 
Dr. Eichardson of Haslar. He had told Sir William his prospect 
of leading the Antarctic expedition which only awaited the 
Government's definite authorisation. Now in the early autumn 
of 1838 he was paying a visit to the Hookers' close friends 
and neighbours, the Smiths of Jordan Hill, whose names in 

1 Captain, afterwards Rear- Admiral Henry Dundas Trotter (1802-59), 
who had already distinguished himself in the suppression of piracy, headed an 
expedition in 1841 to the west coast of Africa and especially to the Niger 
to conclude treaties of commerce with the negro kings. Tropical fevers broke 
up the expedition; two of the three ships were forced to return after three 
weeks ; Trotter himself continued another four weeks before returning, so 
shattered in health that he was unable to undertake active service for the space 
of fourteen years. 

VOL. i 37 D 


successive generations will often recur in these pages. James 
Smith 1 himself was keenly alive to all scientific interests. 
Knowing what was afoot, he invited Sir William and Joseph 
to breakfast that the young man might be presented to Boss. 
It was an unforgettable morning. Sixty years later, writing 
to Sabina Smith (Mrs. Paisley), Hooker recalled how he had 
longed to be at the second table, where Boss sat with the young 
daughters of the house and kept the party lively. His own 
turn came later. Boss received him very kindly and promised 
to take him if he would prepare himself for such a duty. One 
point was that he should first qualify as surgeon. This meant 
much hard work : as he wrote to Dawson Turner, October 8, 

Papa has I know told you of the distant prospect there is 
of my going on expedition to the Antarctic Ocean : I can 
hardly conceive my being prepared both as a Medical Man 
and Naturalist ; to pass my necessary examinations will be 
a great push, while again if I do not devote a good part of 
this winter to Natural History, I had better not go at all. 
If the expedition does start and I do not go, I shall be dread- 
fully disappointed, though I am sure I had better not go 
at all than go ill prepared : the matter will, I hope, stimulate 
me to exertion. 

From a letter of Sir William's to Dawson Turner, dated 
January 9, 1839, we catch a glimpse of the difficulties to be 
overcome and the influences set moving to overcome them. 

To-day's post brought me along with your letter one from 
Dr. Bichardson telling me that their Antarctic Expedition 
had on Saturday received Lord Melbourne's 2 sanction and 
would sail on the 1st of May. Dr. Bichardson fears that 
Joseph may not be qualified in time, and indeed strictly 
speaking he cannot be until the 5th of May : but I have 

1 ' Smith of Jordan Hill ' (1782-1867) was a lover of literature and the fine 
arts as well as a considerable geologist, studying especially the changes of 
level on the coasts of West Scotland and of the Mediterranean, in relation to a 
glacial period. In another direction his Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul 
became a standard authority, thanks to his experience as a practical yachts- 
man. His son Archibald, the mathematician, and his daughter Sabina (Mrs. 
Paisley) were contemporaries and friends of Hooker's. 

8 Lord Melbourne was Prime. Minister from 1835-41. 


written to Edinburgh to endeavour to have that difficulty 
obviated, and I have asked the Duke of Bedford x for a letter 
to Sir Wm. Burnett 2 (the head of the Medical Navy Board), 
and I have written to Sir John Barrow 3 and Capt. Boss : 
and I trust there will be no difficulties in the way. The 
poor boy is delighted, and I trust it may be in every way for 
his good. 

Joseph joined him in London ; on the 18th he reports 
that the various friends whose aid he had invoked had duly 
exerted their influence, and Sir W. Burnett 

promised to take Joseph into the Navy as soon as he had 
completed his curriculum [the end of April] and, if I wished, 
to give him an appointment at Haslar Hospital and a charge 
in the Museum there with 120 a year. Then he would be 
employed until the Antarctic Expedition was determined 
upon, for there are some difficulties in the way of it, and 
it is doubtful if it will sail before next year. 

Joseph has quite won Brown's 4 heart by bringing him 

1 John, sixth Duke of Bedford, 1766-1839, was an enthusiastic naturalist, 
devoting himself to botany, agriculture, and the fine arts after his retirement 
from politics in 1807. 

* Sir William Burnett (1779-1861). After studying medicine at Edinburgh, 
and seeing much active service as naval surgeon, he had a brilliant career as 
Inspector of Naval Hospitals. In 1822, Lord Melville appointed him to the 
Victualling Board, as colleague to Dr. Weir, the chief medical officer of the 
navy. Then becoming Physician General of the Navy, he introduced valuable 
reforms, among other things improving the position of assistant surgeons. 

8 Sir John Barrow (1764-1848, Bart. 1835), born of peasant stock in Cumber- 
land, was distinguished from boyhood by his mathematical gift and his 
adventurous spirit. Thanks to the appreciation of Sir George Staunton, he 
accompanied Lord Macartney both to China and the Cape, and from 1804-45 
was second Secretary to the Admiralty. He was specially interested in 
Arctic discovery, having had stern experience of the ice as a youngster in a 
Greenland whaler. A link with the Hookers was his friendship with Dr. 
Richardson, and the fact that he had studied botany at Kew Gardens before 
going to the Cape in order to appreciate the natural history of South Africa. 

* Robert Brown (1773-1858) was called by Humboldt ' facile Botani- 
corum princeps, Britanniae gloria et ornamentum.' Beginning as surgeon- 
mate to the Fifeshire regiment of Fencibles, he made a large collection of 
plants in Ireland where his regiment was quartered, and through his discovery 
of a rare moss, first made acquaintance with Sir Joseph Banks, by whom he 
was afterwards offered the post of Naturalist to the Investigator under Captain 
Flinders, 1801-5. The resulting Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae was a 
valuable piece of systematic work, and his researches into the reproduction 
of plants, and especially in the morphology and interrelation of the higher 
plants, were marked by important discoveries, which carried him as far as 
the conditions of the time allowed. With these, and the discovery of the 
nucleus of the vegetable cell, he took a long step towards the development of 


some Van Diemen's Land plants which the boy had been 
studying with considerable attention. We dined yesterday 
at the Royal Soc. Club and attended the meeting in the 

Thus he can add : 

My journey has been fully answered in respect to Joseph. 
. . . Humanly speaking, his way is clear before him for an 
honourable scientific career. 

And on June 18 : 

Should it please God that Joseph returns safe from his 
present expedition, and if I have the same friends I have 
now, it may be in my power to keep this appointment [the 
Glasgow professorship] in the family by applying to have it 
made over to Joseph. 

As it turned out the preparations took nearly five months 
longer ; part of this time Hooker spent at Haslar, ' a most 
improving situation under Dr. Richardson's eye,' just as his 
future friend, Huxley, was to do seven years later, while waiting 
for his appointment, so long delayed because the discerning 
Richardson kept him back till a scientific post offered in the 
Rattlesnake. The remainder of the time from the middle 
of June, Hooker spent as Assistant Surgeon attached to the 
Erebus at Chatham, where the ships were fitting out Assist- 
ant Surgeon and Botanist for it was in this capacity that 
he went after all, not Naturalist to the expedition, as he had 
confidently hoped. For that responsible post Ross finally 
determined to take a man of longer standing and some estab- 
lished repute, albeit the young Hooker pressed him very 
shrewdly, as appears from the following descriptions of some 
official interviews. 

physiological as well as systematic botany. In 1810, on the death of Dr. 
Dryander, he succeeded to his post as librarian to Banks, who, dying in 1820, 
left Brown his library and herbarium, with reversion to the British Museum, 
and 200 per annum, with his house in Soho Square. In 1827 he arranged 
for the library and herbarium to pass immediately to the British Museum, 
while he was appoii-ted Curator. In this position he had an official influence 
comparable to the influence of his strong character and intellectual powers 
among his friends. 


Golden Cross, Charing Cross : April 27, 1839. 

MY DEAR FATHER, You will be surprised to hear from 
me so soon again, and I assure you the unfortunate cause has 
given me much vexation. 

In my last letter I told you that I had not seen Captain 
Eoss ; I have since, after much hunting, and the result of 
the interview has been most unfortunate. The following is 
a correct statement. 

One of the first questions I asked him was in what 
capacity he was to take me ; he told me ' as Asst. Surgeon 
and Botanist,' adding ' that he had appointed the Surgeon, 
Dr. or Mr. McCormick, 1 to be Zoologist/ I saw at once that 
this would completely interfere with all my duties, but I 
said nothing, desiring first to know whether he would take 
me in any other capacity ; so I asked ' whether he would 
take a Naturalist with him and give him accommodation, 
provided Government would sanction or send him.' He put 
off my question twice, evidently seeing my drift, which I 
did not wish to conceal ; telling me that such a person as a 
Naturalist must be perfectly well acquainted with every 
branch of Nat. Hist., and must be well known in the world 
beforehand, such a person as Mr. Darwin ; 2 here I interrupted 
him with ' what was Mr. D. before he went out ? he, I dare- 
say, knew his subject better than I now do, but did the world 
know him ? the voyage with FitzKoy was the making of 
him (as I had hoped this exped. would me).' Captain Koss 

1 Robert McCormiek (1800-90) was a Yarmouth man, though of Ulster 
descent. He studied medicine at Guy's and St. Thomas', and became a naval 
surgeon in 1823. He had special qualifications for the post of surgeon and 
naturalist on the Erebus, for he had seen Arctic service under Parry in 1827, 
and when on half pay for four years after thrice invaliding home from his special 
detestation, the W. Indian station, he had worked at geology and natural 
history in the study and in the field. Though afterwards he distinguished 
himself by conducting a boat expedition in search of Franklin (1852), he came 
to loggerheads with the Admiralty on the question of the promotion he con- 
sidered due after his exceptional service in the Antarctic, and the end of his 
career was clouded over with a sense of grievance. 

Readers of recent Antarctic, exploration will recall his name in the appella- 
tion of * McCormick's Skua.' the Antarctic gull first described by him. 

8 Charles Robert Darwin (1809-82) was the son of Dr. Robert Waring 
Darwin of Shrewsbury, and grandson of Erasmus Darwin, physician, botanist, 
and man of letters. His mother was Susannah Wedgwood, daughter of the 
potter. Hooker took his Voyage of the Beagle as a model of what his own 
Journals of travel should be. The story of their intimate friendship, both 
before and after the publication of the Origin of Species in 1859, is fully told 


answered, ' Well, perhaps you are right, but at any rate it 
would never be worth the while of any one to go, who was 
really capable, as far as mental acquirements are concerned/ 
Being determined not to be put off, I asked him again ' would 
he take a Government Naturalist ? * He said, * Certainly, 
and give him every accommodation,' at the same time 
adding, what was as much as to say, ' You would never be 
fit.' I said nothing, but must have looked very sorry and 
angry, which however he did not see, as he went on, speaking 
as kindly and almost as affectionately as ever, offering to 
write me letters of introduction to the surgeon and chief 
officers of the ship at Chatham, charging them to give me 
every opportunity of going ashore. I thanked him and left 
him. Major Sabine was in the room at the same time, and 
he must have felt for me, after having been so anxious that 
I should be sent as Naturalist alone. I then went im- 
mediately to Mr. Children, 1 who was highly indignant, and 
said I must not go if I am not to be the only Naturalist, or at 
least the head Naturalist, for that it is utterly impossible 
that we should agree, each having an equal claim on going 
ashore, and he the better right. Mr. Brown and Mr. J. E. 
Gray 2 both said the same thing, and Mr. Children then offered 
to go to Sir William Burnett to put off my examination, 
telling me to meet him afterwards. 

This I did, and found Sir William had put off 
my examination till when I choose, and had strongly 
disadvised my going except as the only Naturalist in the 
ship, the more especially as Dr. McCormick was to be my 
superior. Mr. Brown has gone to Capt. Beaufort, 3 Mr. 

1 John George Children (1777-1852), mineralogist, entomologist, and 
astronomer, held posts at the British Museum from 1816-40, and was one of 
the secretaries of the Royal Society in 1826-7 and 1830-7. He was a friend 
of Sir Humphry Davy, who made many experiments in his private laboratory. 
His personal kindness to the young Hooker was typical of his character. 

2 John Edward Gray (1800-75), began his scientific work as a botanist, 
and was responsible for the greater part of his father's book, The Natural 
Arrangement of British Plants, the first British Flora arranged on the natural 
system. A quarrel over scientific personalities diverted him from botany to 
zoology, and in 1824 he entered the British Museum as assistant to Dr. Children, 
whom he succeeded as Keeper of the Zoological Department from 1840 till his 
death. His great work lay in the improvement and organisation of collections, 
and the scientific descriptions which he wrote. 

3 Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), rear-admiral and K.C.B., retired from 
active service, severely wounded, in 1812, after a brilliant career of twenty- two 
years. The excellence of his surveying work led to his appointment as Hydro- 
grapher to the Navy in 1829, where he was eminently successful during his 
twenty-six years' tenure of the post. 


Lubbock, 1 and Mr. Forster, 2 to recommend my being sent as 
Naturalist, but how can I go, when Capt. Ross would be obliged 
to take me, and at the same time think me unfit ? There 
therefore remain only two ways or situations under which 
I can go, either as Naturalist to the expedition or as Asst. 
Surgeon and Naturalist to the Erebus, a situation which 
Sir William Burnett promised me if I liked it. You can, I 
know, but have the same opinion as Mr. Children and Brown. 
The more I think of it, the more perplexed do I feel. That 
Capt. Ross did not intend to treat me thus two weeks ago I 
am sure, from his asking me to tell the quantity of preserves 
for animals required, and his great good nature to me now 
precludes me from attributing to him any other motive 
than that he is misguided, and that Dr. McCormick (who, 
he told me, had been preparing for such an Exped. for 
three years) has been palmed upon him by someone. Sup- 
posing I were to go under these circumstances, all my notes 
on Molluscs and sea animals will naturally revert, from the 
Admiralty, to the Zoologist, besides which he will have 
more time on shore than I can. The most painful part of 
my duty remains to be done, viz., going to Capt. Ross and 
respectfully declining his appointment and telling him that 
I am still trying for the appointment of Naturalist to the 
Expedition, which all strongly advise me to do. Mr. Children 
and Brown have been most kind, the former especially ; 
I can never thank him too much ; I have invariably made 
a point of telling them everything without the smallest 
concealment, and have been glad to find how their opinions 
coincide with mine. On your account, after all the kindness, 
trouble, and expense you have put yourself to for my comfort 
and good, I feel this annoyance very deeply, but you may 
rest assured that I shall conduct myself well and prudently 
(doing nothing without the best advice) as far as lies in me. 
I shall deeply regret it, if I lose the chance of going with 

1 Sir John William Lubbock, Bart. (1803-65), banker by profession, was 
a distinguished mathematician and astronomer. He was treasurer and vice- 
president of the Royal Society, 1830-5 and 1838-17, and the first vice-chancellor 
of the London University (1837-42). His eldest son, Sir John Lubbock, after- 
wards Lord Avebury, was similarly distinguished in business, science, and 

2 Edward Forster (1765-1849), botanist; vice-president of the Linnean 
Society, 1828, who used to snatch the early hours of the day for his study, mainly 
of British plants, before going to work in a city bank. His herbarium was 
presented to the British Museum. 


the Exped., but I should much more deeply regret going 
against the advice of my friends and losing my time. 

Matters straightened themselves out, however. ' I am 
appointed from the Admiralty as Asst. Surgeon to the 
Erebus, and Capt. Eoss considers me the Botanist to the 
Expedition and promises me every opportunity of collecting 
that he can grant/ McCormick, as will be seen, proved any- 
thing but exacting during the voyage, and indeed made friends 
with him at once when he reached Chatham, and looked after 
him when he met with a slight accident. 

A letter of July 13 to his father tells of another official 
interview, the tone of which he resented and remembered 
against the Society when it made claims on his work or the 
disposal of his collection : 

At the same time as your letter was brought off one 
came from Capt. Eoss calling me up to town on Tuesday to 
attend the Commission of the Eoyal Society for the purpose 
of giving instructions to the Botanist. Mr. Eoyle, 1 Dr. 
Horsfall, 2 Mr. Pereira 3 and Capt. Eoss were there. They 
gave me a long list of advices with little new in them or 
worth reporting but an order to send seeds to the Bot. 
Gardens in India ; you can guess who wanted this. Pereira 

1 John Forbes Royle (1799-1858). His love of natural history made him 
throw up his prospect of a commission in the Indian army and enter the 
Company's medical service, so that he could study Indian botany. In 1823 
he became superintendent of the Saharunpore Gardens. He studied and 
identified many Indian drugs, and with the aid of collectors, gathered vast 
collections, especially of Himalayan plants, which he brought back to England 
in 1831. In 1837 he became F.R.S. and Professor of Materia Medica at King's 
College, London, while at the East India House he organised a department 
relating to vegetable productions, with a technical museum. In his Illiistra- 
tions of the Botany, <&c., of the Himalayan Mountains, 1839, he recommended 
the introduction of the cinchona plant into India. But it was not till 1853 
that Royle, at the invitation of the Governor-General, drew up a report on 
the subject, which in turn was only carried out in 1860, two years after his 
death, by Sir Clements Markham. 

2 Possibly meant for Thomas Horsfield (1773-1859), an American doctor 
and botanist who took service in the Dutch East Indies, but finally joined the 
English service when the Dutch Malayan colonies were temporarily taken 
by us in 1811. In 1820 he was appointed Keeper of the E.I.C. Museum in 
Leadenhall Street, publishing various botanical and zoological papers. 

3 Jonathan Pereira (1804-53), the great authority and lecturer of his day 
on Materia Medica. In 1839 he had begun to publish his great book, The 
Elements of Materia Medica, and had been appointed examiner in the subject 
at the London University. 


talked a great deal and, without exaggerating, much non- 
sense, confusing the genera of different localities in an 
extraordinary manner. None of them seemed cordial to 
me in the least degree. On leaving the room, no one even 
wished me a pleasant or successful voyage, except Mr. 
Eobertson, 1 the Secretary, who has always been very kind 
to me whenever I have occasion to attend at the K.S. 

A few more extracts : 

The Gunroom officers are about to petition lloss that 
I may mess with them ; it is extremely kind of them and 
chiefly McCormick's doing, but I hope Koss will refuse, as 
I cannot, if they offer, and it will put me to an additional 
expense of no mean importance. 

H.M.S. Erebus, Chatham, July 28, 1839. 

Mr. McCormick returned last week from Devonshire, 
and finds that the Government are very loth to make such 
large grants for the Natural History department, and Sir 
Wm. Parker 2 says he does not see what Nat. Hist, has 
to do with the Expedition at all, which has annoyed 
Capt. Eoss exceedingly. Anything that they won't 
supply my Surgeon will make up from his own pocket ; 
he is very zealous indeed in the cause and offers me every 
encouragement. ... In the way of medical duty I have 
ve"ry little to do as far as regards the Erebus, but the men 
of the Terror are so much inferior in constitution and morals 
that there are 5-1 of them ill, to what there are of our men. 
There are besides a whole swarm of women and children 
on the lower deck of the hulk, who are a perpetual 

Sir William paid him a visit at Chatham ; and though 
warmly welcomed by such of his future companions as were 
there, writes on his return home (August 27, 1839) : 

I could have wished you had some zealous Natural 

1 Probably Archibald Robertson (1789-1864). Originally a naval surgeon, 
after 1818 a successful practitioner in Northampton. He wrote on medical 
subjects, and was elected F.R.S. in 1836. 

2 Sir William Parker (1781-1866) was the famous admiral who was at 
the Admiralty under Lord Auckland, 1835-41. 


History companions to keep up the zest of the thing, and 
though I think very favourably of most of your companions, 
I could have wished to have witnessed their conversation 
taking a more scientific and soberer turn. Above all I 
should have liked to have seen them pay more respect to 
the Sabbath. Do you do so, my dear Boy, and carry some- 
thing of the Sabbath into the week and I am sure you will 
be a happier man for it. 

The days pass in preparation till well on into September. 

Our Mess Eoom [he writes to his grandfather] is fitted 
up with redwood and painted Birds-eye Maple ; it is 
abundantly lighted from above and calculated to hold ten, 
half that number is all that will at present occupy it. Each 
has a small cabin of his own ; its dimensions are 6x4; 
it is fitted with a bed-place, a book shelf, a seat, table, etc. ; 
below the bed are very large drawers for our things ; it is 
lighted by a large circular bull's eye on deck ; we fit them 
up as we please ; mine is to be painted satinwood, with 
brass rods and curtains before the door and bed, to be used 
in hot climates when, with the door shut, they would be far 
too close ; the bull's eye is then removed and a grating 
replaces it, which ensures a current of air. 

He expects his whole outfit, uniform, books, instruments, 
private stores, to cost 150. His grandfather sends him a 
travelling thermometer. He had economically waited to buy 
a new watch until his first expenses were settled ; now he was 
forestalled by his father, who gave him ' a beautiful Chronometer 
watch, ' 1 

It is the admiration of all the officers, so much so, that 
I expect that it will be taken from me as soon as we get 
to sea. Of books also I have a good store and some for 
general reading, all Constable's ' Miscellany/ for instance. 
The rest are chiefly Botanical with a few on Zoology and 
Geology. . . . My messmates are all readers and careful of 

[ l This watch he used to the end of his life on his travels and at home, 
wearing it in preference to the watch which Robert Brown left to him. It 
has been presented to the Royal Geographical Society by Hyacinth, Lady 


books : they are delighted we have lots of Cook's 1 and 
Weddell's. 2 

As botanist [he writes in his Journal] my outfit from 
Government consisted of about twenty-five reams of paper, 
of three kinds blotting, cartridge, and brown ; also two 
Botanising vascula and two of Mr. Ward's 3 invaluable cases 
for bringing home plants alive, through latitudes of different 
temperatures. I was further, through the kindness of my 
friends [i.e., his father], equipped with Botanical books, 
microscopes, etc., to the value of about 50, besides a few 
volumes of Natural History and general literature. 

Thus Natural History came off very badly in the matter 
of public equipment. Of this and his own work as a volunteer 
in the neglected department of marine zoology he writes seventy 
years later to Dr. Bruce of the Scotia expedition : 

It does not, I think, appear in the Narrative of the 
Voyage that I was the sole worker of the tow-net, bringing 
the captures daily to Eoss, and helping him with their 
preservation, as well as drawing a great number of them 
for him. 

Except some drying paper for plants I had not a single 
instrument or book supplied to me as a naturalist all were 
given to me by my father. I had, however, the use of Boss's 
library, and you may hardly credit it, but it is a fact that 
not a single glass bottle was supplied for collecting purposes, 

1 James Cook (1728-79). His first great voyage in the Endeavour was 
in 1768-71, when he was accompanied by Sir Joseph Banks ; the second, in 
the Resolution and the Adventure, in 1772-5, when he was accompanied by 
a staff of naturalists, etc., headed by the two Forsters ; the third, in the 
Resolution and the Discovery. 

* James Weddell (1787-1834) held the record for furthest south before 
Ross. He was a common sailor of twenty-one when in a lucky hour his bullying 
skipper handed him over to a man-of-war as a refractory subject. With 
education he became a very competent officer, but being discharged at the 
peace in 1816, took command of a Leith ship for a sealing voyage to the 
newly discovered S. Shetlands. He did much exploration, surveyed the 
S. Shetlands, and in February 1823, on his second voyage, reached 74 15' S. lati- 
tude in an ice-free sea. 

8 Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward (1791-1868), medical man and botanist, was 
the inventor, about 1827, of the Wardian case, in which growing plants can 
be transported without watering through the extremes of heat or cold. By 
its means the Chinese banana was taken from Chatsworth to the Pacific Islands ; 
20,000 tea plants were taken by Robert Fortune from Shanghai to the Hima- 
layas, and the cinchona introduced into India. 


empty pickle bottles were all we had, and rum as a pre- 
servative from the ship's stores. 

The epic days of scientific exploration began when Banks 
and his men joined Cook on his first voyage. To this epoch 
still belong the voyages of Darwin in the Beagle and of 
Hooker in the Erebus. But the expedition to the Antarctic, 
which was to give Hooker his first great opportunity, was not 
intended simply to be a search for new lands nor a mere * dash 
to the Pole.' Geographical discovery was subsidiary to its 
main scientific purpose that of filling up the wide blanks 
in the knowledge of terrestrial magnetism in the Southern 
hemisphere, especially in the higher latitudes. 

Much had already been done in the Northern hemisphere 
since Halley in 1701 drew up the first chart of the variations 
of the compass, based upon the observations made during a 
voyage of discovery sent out by the English Government. 
Finally, thanks to Humboldt, 1 a chain of magnetic obser- 
vatories had been established in Germany and the Kussian 
Empire in 1827, and extended by the famous physicist Gauss, 2 
in 1834, all over Europe, where simultaneous observations were 
constantly made. It was needful to perfect the charts not only 
of variation, but of dip and magnetic intensity, elements which 
were already known to be in a constant state of fluctua- 

1 Baron Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was the leading naturalist 
and traveller of his day. His books inspired Darwin with the desire to 
travel. He spent five years in Spanish America from 1799 to 1804 ; the 
arrangement and publication of his collections and notes took twenty years, 
which he spent in Paris, where he had the assistance of Cuvier, Gay-Lussac, 
and others. Then in 1829 he undertook an expedition through Russian Asia 
for the Emperor Nicholas, which lasted nine months. 

His most famous work was Cosmos, a survey of the physical sciences and 
their interrelation (1845-58). His great interest in geography and exploration 
of the still unknown tracts of the world, the configuration of the country, 
climate, the distribution of life, was an interest in which Hooker shared, and 
which drew them together in Paris in 1845 ; for though he was then settled 
at Berlin, he was frequently sent to Paris on political missions. 

2 J. K. F. Gauss (1777-1855), Professor of Mathematics and Director of 
the Observatory at Gottingen, was a mathematician of singular brilliance, 
equally distinguished in astronomical research, geodesy, and the problems 
arising out of the earth's magnetic properties, inventing, among other instru- 
ments, the declination needle. He was responsible for the foundation of the 
Magnetic Association, in connection with whose work Ross's expedition was 
sent out. 


tion, undergoing local and transitory as well as periodical 
changes. Observations, moreover, must extend over a long 

The many explorers within the Arctic Circle had recorded 
much information. Eoss himself had found the Northern 
Magnetic Pole and seen the compass dip vertically to 90, and 
Gauss had calculated the Southern Magnetic Pole to lie in 
72 35' S., 152 30' E. But as his materials were imperfect 
and the position he had calculated for the Northern Pole was 
3 wrong, he inferred the Southern Pole to be in 66 S. and 
160 E. His inference required verification. Permanent sta- 
tions should be established at suitable spots in the Southern 
hemisphere, where simultaneous observations might be main- 
tained in connection with the European stations, while the 
Erebus and Terror acted as floating observatories on their 
voyage. Besides the hourly records of the three variables 
every day for three years, on the four * term days ' of the 
European Magnetic Association simultaneous records were 
to be kept at intervals of not more than five minutes during 
the twenty-four hours : in fact, on the term day which fell 
in Tasmania, Boss and his colleagues took these observations 
at intervals of two and a half minutes. 

These considerations took shape in a series of resolutions 
passed by the British Association for the Advancement of 
Science in 1838. They were pressed upon Lord Melbourne's 
Government by an influential Committee and strongly supported 
by the President and Council of the Boyal Society, to whom 
they were referred as the acknowledged advisers of Government 
in matters of science. But it was not till the foreign scientific 
institutions, led by Humboldt himself at Sabine's suggestion, 
threw their weight into the scale, pleading for national co- 
operation in magnetic work where private enterprise was out 
of the question, and urging the superiority of the British Navy 
and the unequalled experience of its officers in polar work, that 
the Government early in 1889 agreed to fit out the expedition 
at a cost of 100,000. 

As a result two exploring ships, each with a crew of sixty- 
four men, were carefully fitted out under the experienced Arctic 


navigator, James Clark Eoss, who had shared in no less than 
seven Polar expeditions namely, the Erebus, a bomb of 
378 tons, ' of strong build and capacious hold,' especially 
strengthened to bear the pressure and shocks of the ice, and 
the Terror, 340 tons, which had been similarly strengthened 
for Arctic service in the winter of 1836, when many whalers 
were reported beset by the ice in Baffin's Bay, and which had 
been employed the following summer by Sir George Back 
in his attempt to reach Eepulse Bay. ' They possessed every 
superiority,' writes Hooker, ' except that of sailing qualities 
for manoeuvring amongst ice.' So well found were the ships 
that they suffered no vital injury from storm or collision, or 
from frenzied battering by the masses of pack ice in the long- 
drawn fury of the Antarctic gales : nor, thanks to the precau- 
tions taken, did the crews suffer from the dreaded scurvy 
which cut short the rival cruise of the Astrolabe and Zelee 
under D'Urville. 1 

Eoss was instructed to land the observers and instruments 
for fixed magnetic observatories at St. Helena, the Cape, and 
Van Diemen's Land, finally calling at Sydney, the centre of 
reference for magnetic determinations. He carried with him 
portable observatories, and with these he was to make special 
observations at intermediate oceanic islands (Kerguelen's 
Land being particularly recommended) simultaneously with 
the fixed observatories and those in Europe. 

Then, after refitting at Van Diemen's Land, he was to begin 
his southward explorations, first to determine the Magnetic 
Pole, and incidentally to extend geographical discovery, * while 
seeking fresh places on which to plant your observatory in all 
directions from the Pole.' 

The Antarctic afforded more of ' those yet unvisited tracts 
of geographical research ' than the Arctic. It had been visited 

1 Dumont D'Urville (1790-1842), the French navigator and accomplished 
man of science, whose first claim to fame was the identification and preserva- 
tion of the Venus of Milo. His exploring voyage in search of La Perouse, 
1826-9, took him to Australasia and the Pacific ; in 1837-40, again in the 
Astrolabe, with the Z&lee as tender, he made two voyages to 'the Antarctic. 
Compelled by scurvy to refit at Hobart, he started in January 1840, as Wilkes 
six weeks before from Sydney, in the very direction in which it was known 
that Ross was about to sail. 


by fewer navigators, and the conditions were less favourable. 
Cook in 1774, then Bellinghausen the Russian, Weddell with 
his furthest south of 74, and Biscoe and Balleny, Messrs. 
Enderby's sealing captains, all between 1820 and 1839 had 
passed the Antarctic Circle. Balleny was the immediate 
predecessor of the French, the American, and the British 
expeditions in 1840 and the following years. After the lapse 
of seventy-three years the soundness of his observations has 
received striking confirmation. In the course of his voyage 
he obviously saw the ice wall of C6te Clairee, ' discovered ' 
the following year by D'Urville. This, however, he took for 
an enormous iceberg, and ultimately decided that what seemed 
to be land behind it was probably a distant fog bank hanging 
over the ice. Early in 1912 the Aurora, belonging to the 
Mawson expedition, sailed over'the position of the supposed land. 
This C6te Clairee was a sore point for the French and 
American expeditions, for Lieutenant Wilkes 1 of the United 
States Navy ' discovered ' it independently a week after 
D'Urville, and a great contention for priority ensued. With 
all Ross's admiration for the courage and endurance of both, 
the reader divines in his plain words a touch of national pride 
as he records at full length Balleny's superior claim, if land 
there was, to either : more than this, he must have dimly felt 
a kind of poetic justice in the event. For although he had 
been on a friendly footing with Wilkes, in the outfit of whose 
expedition he had taken much interest, and who later sent him 
privately a chart of his discoveries before the Erebus sailed South 
from Tasmania, he was somewhat nettled on reaching that island 
in 1840 to find that both the French and American expeditions, 
knowing his plans, had endeavoured to forestall them ; and he 
writes (' Voyage ' i. 116) that this ' certainly did greatly surprise 
me. I should have expected their national pride would have 
caused them rather to have chosen any other path in the wide 
field before them than one thus pointed out, if no higher con- 
siderations had power to prevent such an interference.' 

1 Lieutenant Charles Wilkes commanded the Vincennes and its four con- 
sorts on the Antarctic exploring expedition sent out by the United States 
.Government in 1838-40. 


Acknowledging, however, that they were within their rights 
in so doing, whatever the results to him, he gave up his original 
plan. His instructions left him a certain latitude, and, where 
England had so constantly led, he did not choose to follow. 
He therefore resolved to start his cruise in search of the Mag- 
netic Pole farther to the east along the meridian of 170 E. 
His chief reason for choosing this particular meridian ' was its 
being that upon which Balleny had in the summer of 1839 
attained to the latitude of 69 and there found an open sea.' 
It was not, he adds, because he feared to fail where the American 
and French had failed to do more than barely cross the Antarctic 
Circle. Their ships, unlike the Erebus and Terror, were ill- 
adapted to battle with the ice. Even in longitude 170, 
where Eoss met with a belt of pack ice 200 miles wide, they 
could not have forced their way through. Thus in 1839-40, 
though D'Urville added Louis Philippe Land to the South 
Shetlands group south of Cape Horn and south of Tasmania 
traced Adelie Land for about 150 miles before approaching the 
supposititious C6te Clairee ; though Wilkes followed the same 
line with its hairier of pack ice another 20 westwards, the 
ice, impenetrable by their ships, debarred them from so much 
as reaching latitude 70 S. In signal contrast to their moderate 
achievements, Eoss himself, thus diverted from his original 
plan, was rewarded with superlative success in the discovery 
of Victoria Land, with its great volcano Mount Erebus, 13,000 
feet high, in 77 J S., and its stupendous ice barrier, which he 
traced for 250 miles, twice forcing his way beyond the 78th 

Unable to effect a landing so as to visit the southern Mag- 
netic Pole, 150 miles inland, he was able to place it very 
accurately from abundant observations. 

Eoss made three expeditions to the South in the Erebus 
and Terror the first, 1840-1, from Tasmania and back to 
Tasmania again, lasting five months, when he discovered 
Victoria Land and the Great Ice Barrier ; the second, 1841-2, 
from New Zealand and back to the Falkland Islands, east of 
Cape Horn, lasting four and a half months, when he revisited 
the Barrier ; the third, 1842-3, from the Falkland Islands 


and back to the Cape, lasting three and a half months, when 
he visited Louis Philippe Land and the South Shetlands. 

Between the first and second came a stay of three months 
in Tasmania, a visit to Sydney and a stay of three months in 
New Zealand. Between the second and third came a stay of, 
altogether, six months at the Falklands, broken by a seven 
weeks' expedition to Hermite Island in Tierra del Fuego, and 
west of Cape Horn. 

The original voyage out to Tasmania, which lasted nearly 
eleven months, followed an unusual course in order to touch 
at various oceanic islands, to establish observatories there and 
at the Cape, and to pass certain points of magnetic interest. 
The journey home from the Cape, however, by way of St. 
Helena, Ascension, and Eio, occupied only four months. Thus 
four years had elapsed since leaving England on September 30, 
1839, before Eoss and his men once more reached English 
soil on September 4, 1843. 




THE long preparations at last completed, at the end of 
September 1839 they set sail on an adventurous voyage for 
how long they knew not. Its exact scope and length depended 
on the captain and his undivulged instructions. In the end, 
as has been said, they reached home within four years ; but 
there had been talk of a fifth year or more. In three successive 
summers they entered the ice. The first voyage was the most 
rewarding, the second the most perilous. Eoss indeed failed 
to reach his formal objective. He found a continent instead 
of open sea : the Magnetic Pole was 150 miles inland. The 
icy sheet which barred nearer approach to the shore stretched 
a full twenty miles further to the north than it does now : 
and for sailing ships at the mercy of winds and tides it was 
impossible to land here or winter with reasonable prospect of 

Geographically, however, they achieved unlocked for 
triumphs. The experiences of their predecessors offered 
little or no prospect of new discoveries, but as Captain Scott 
wrote of that ' wonderful voyage ' : 

When the extent of our knowledge before and after it is 
considered, all must concede that it deserves to rank among 
the most brilliant and famous that have been made. After 
all the preceding experiences and adventures in the Southern 
Seas, few things could have looked more hopeless than an 
attack upon that great ice-bound region which lay within 
the Antarctic Circle ; yet out of this desolate prospect 
Eoss wrested an open sea, a vast mountain region, a smoking 



volcano, and a hundred problems of great interest to the 
geographer ; in this unique region he carried out scientific 
research in every possible department, and by unremitted 
labour succeeded in collecting material which until quite 
lately has constituted almost the exclusive source of our 
knowledge of magnetic conditions in the higher southern 
latitudes. It might be said that it was James Cook who 
denned the Antarctic Kegion, and James Eoss who dis- 
covered it. 

For over half a century the expedition held the record for 
* furthest South ' and it was from the land Eoss discovered 
that Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen, and again Scott set forth 
on their great Southern journeys. The regions beyond the 
Antarctic Circle yielded next to nothing to the botanist : 
they were barren far beyond the barrenness of the Arctic Zone. 
A seaweed was only once found floating within the Antarctic 
Circle. At Cockburn Island one sole lichen was found, painting 
the exposed rocks with red and orange a lichen, strangely 
enough, abundant in the Arctic, and next seen by Hooker on 
desolate summits of the Upper Himalayas, over against the 
Tibetan Plateau. 

The sea, however, had other harvests, and as elsewhere 
Hooker, unable to botanise, or not wholly engrossed in working 
at his collections, studied the floating creatures brought in by 
the tow-net or dredge, establishing for the first time the occur- 
rence of highly developed animal life at a depth of 400 fathoms, 
so here he determined the presence of abundant infusoria in 
the icy waters, which provided the ultimate means of sub- 
sistence for higher forms. Multitudes of small shrimps fed 
upon them, and supported abundance of whales : they were, 
moreover, eaten by the fish ; while birds and seals lived upon 
both and were themselves the prey of the killer- whales. 

This zoological interest appears from the very outset of 
the voyage and continues to the end, though of the third trip 
to the South he is compelled to write : ' Amongst the animals 
very little or nothing has been done. I lost all my gauze in 
the pack from the water being so full of little pieces of ice, and in 
the clear water it has alw^s been blowing with heavy seas on. 5 


Dr. Eichardson warmly encouraged him in the work ; skill 
with the pencil being a special qualification in dealing with 
sea creatures which could not be preserved. To add to our 
knowledge of the structure of animals, he insisted, is the most 
certain way of attaining a scientific reputation ; to be the 
'first to discover or name a new species is a very secondary 

But, rich as the collections were that he brought back from 
the voyage, they were never fully worked out, to the great loss 
of marine zoology and the disappointment of their zealous 
collector. The * might have been ' was sharply brought home 
to him when, sixty years later, he read Dr. Bruce's report of 
his Antarctic work, ' The Scientific Eesults of the Voyage 
of the Scotia. 1 l 

There is [he wrote to Dr. Bruce, January 10, 1901] 
always something painful to me when I come across the 
scientific reports on Antarctic expeditions, due to the whole- 
sale destruction of the great collections made by Koss and 
myself of marine and submarine animals of all classes. 
Eoss was an indefatigable collector, who never lost an 
opportunity, whether on sea or ashore ; but except my 
collection of Diatoms published by Ehrenberg, 2 and dis- 
cussed in my ' Flora Antarctica,' there is nothing to show 
of the stores of the pelagic materials obtained with so much 
zeal and care by Eoss and myself. Thereby hangs a tale 
which, if we two have the pleasure of meeting again, I may 
unfold to you. 

But his enthusiasm was unabated when his forgotten harvest 
was at last fully garnered. Eight years afterwards Dr. Bruce 
sent him Vol. V. of the ' Invertebrates of the Scotia Expedi- 
tion ' : he replied on February 14, 1909 : 

I have again to thank you for a magnificent addition to 
my Antarctic library. It is really a noble work, and I find 

1 Cp. vol. ii. p. 441. 

2 Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg (1795-1876), Professor of Medicine at 
Berlin, was the founder and chief representative of the study of microscopic 
organisms. He was one of Humboldt's companions on his journey to the Ural 
and Altai mountains. 


in the several articles a great deal that interests me very 
much, especially in the subject of the geographical distri- 
bution of v the various orders and genera so graphically and 
scientifically treated. . . . 

I well remember the deep sea Pycnogon which we dredged 
up in the Erebus, especially the Amnoihea communis, which 
astonished the crew. It is much to be desired that zoologists 
would follow the example of most botanists in giving the 
geographical range of the species they deal with. 

From the moment of starting down Channel the naturalist's 
eye is alert, whether it be that a wren is observed seven miles 
out at sea, or sea- water examined for the microscopic cause of 
its luminosity at night, or the activity of the young of a small 
crab from the Antilles, harbouring in their thousands on a 
piece of driftwood, swimming with the last five abdominal 
segments that in adults are turned in upon the thorax. 

Even after Madeira and the Cape de Verdes had furnished 
some botanical material to work upon, this did not fill up his 
time, and botany took second place after general naturalist's 

To Us Father 

March 17, 1840. 

Since leaving St. Helena, my time has been employed 
exactly as before ; the net is constantly overboard, and 
catching enough to keep me three-quarters of the day 
employed drawing ; the dissections of the little marine ani- 
mals generally take some time, as they are almost universally 
microscopic. Though I never intend to make anything but 
Botany a study, I do not think I can do better than I am 
doing ; it gives me a facility in drawing which I feel comes 
much much easier to me ; it pleases the Captain beyond any- 
thing to see me at work, and, further, it is a new field which 
none but an artist can prosecute at sea ; the extent of this 
branch of Natural History is quite astonishing, the number 
of species of little winged and footed shells provided with 
wings, sails, bladders or swimmers appears marvellous. The 
causes of the luminousness of the sea I refer entirely to 
animals (living). I never yet saw the water flash without 


finding sufficient cause without electricity, phosphoric 
water, dead animal matter, or anything further than living 
animals (generally Entomostraca Crustacea if anybody 
asks you). These little shrimps are particularly numerous, 
especially two species of them, thousands of one kind being 
caught in one night. The library of Natural History that 
you fitted me out with is to me worth any money. Blainville's 
Actinologie and Edwardes' Crustaceae are particularly useful, 
as by them I can name many old species and detect the 
wonderful new forms I meet with. My collection amounts 
to about 200 drawings done from nature under the micro- 
scope. ... As I am learning to use my left eye to the 
microscope, I do not find my eyesight affected even by 

His discovery of the Antarctic infusoria is recorded step 
by step in his Journal. To begin with, he writes on February 
15, 1841, inlat. 76 S.: 

Much young ice was seen to-day of a light brown colour ; 
when dissolved in water it deposited a very fine sediment, 
composed of exceedingly minute, transparent, flat quad- 
rangular flakes, each formed of numerous parallel prisms of 
a perfectly regular form, giving each flake a fluted appear- 
ance ; numerous circular discs, also transparent, were 
scattered among them ; they were very minutely reticu- 
lated, and had often opaque centres. All the young ice was 
very full of it ; when lifted out of the water it did not appear 
discoloured ; many acres were covered with it. I suppose 
it to be some insoluble salt, whose appearance is probably 
connected with the volcano. 

This facile conclusion impressed itself on the other officers ; 
Boss himself forgot to correct it by Hooker's fuller examination, 
and (Voyage, I. 243, II. 146 ; cp. II. 332) records the general 
belief that the colouring matter consisted of fine ashes from 
Mount Erebus, eighty miles away, while ascribing the deter- 
mination of its real nature to Ehrenberg, who examined speci- 
mens after their return. But against this note in Hooker's 
own copy are penned the words : * I recognised them as 
diatoms, &c., at the time. J. D. Hooker.' 


On the second voyage, the Journal records, December 21, 
1841 : 'Much of this ice is discoloured, as was the case last 
year and from the same cause. When melted it gives out a 
strong animal smell.' And again, off Louis Philippe Land, 
December .28, 1842 a point repeated in the letter to his 
father of March 7, 1843, describing the voyage : 

All day the washed pieces of pack ice have been stained 
with yellow, caused doubtless by the infusoriae in the 
stomachs of the Salpae, which are washed up against the 
ice and leave this stain (the same as last year). When the 
wind was light and the fog thick in the morning, I recognised 
the animal smell very strong from the pack, precisely similar 
to that of brash ice, with the Salpoid remains, omitted last 
year by me, in the cabin. 

Letters to Eoss after their return (September 1 and 4, 
1844) speak of two pamphlets on Antarctic Infusoria received 
from Ehrenberg ' in hard German,' one containing descrip- 
tions, the other ' drawings of AsterompJialos Humboldtii, 
Cuvierii, Rossii, Darwinii, and Hookerii. I think, Sir, that 
we are in good company, though I can give you no more idea 
of what the species are like further than that the magnified 
figures resemble the objects at the far end of a kaleidoscope.' 

Before this was sent on to Koss, Hooker ' commenced trying, 
with the German dictionary, to spell out [the] descriptions of 
our Infusoria.' 

I find Ehrenberg has described 70 new species from the 
contents of two pill-boxas and three small bottles, and has 
not yet examined the whole of what I had. As far as I can 
make out they seem to throw extraordinary light on the 
subject, and to have been the most important collections 
ever brought to this country. The amount of species in 
what you have must be enormous, as my specimens were 
mere scraps in pill-boxes from the dredge, and a portion of 
a large bottle you have of condensed brown Ice. 

The other packets I sent were of dirt from the roots 
of Cockburn and other Island mosses, which also seem to 
contain animals. . . . Ehrenberg finds animalculae in all 
soundings, and I feel quite convinced that those you have 


will alone immortalise the Expedition. No person seems 
to have thought of collecting such things before for scientific 

Happily Hooker's short-sighted eyes stood the strain of 
the microscopic work fairly well, though he had to turn his 
unexpectedly good opportunity to account under constant 
difficulties. This, as the voyage drew towards its close, he 
describes as follows (March 7, 1843) : 

During our now homeward passage I shall have plenty 
to do with tropical plants and sea animals ; the latter I must 
keep up, for there never was such an opportunity as this ship 
affords for the study, being a slow sailer and my having 
such accommodation below for drawing and describing them ; 
not that I care for them at all ; somehow with all the time 
I have devoted to them they have not won my affections, 
because I feel sure that two studies in Nat. Hist, cannot 
be well prosecuted together, and though an easier study, 
marine animals require much more time than plants to in- 
vestigate fully ; the drawings will do me some credit if it be 
only for the time taken and the novelty of their being often 
done with the microscope lashed to the table. My eyes are 
as good as ever they were in strength, but my shortsighted- 
ness ' semper idem ' (always worse and worse). The spectacles 
you were so good as to send me were not half strong enough ; 
however, they are much nicer than are procurable out of 
England, and I shall get new glasses at the Cape. Between 
examining mosses and the glare of the Ice and snowy spicules 
in the wind, my eyes smarted very much during the time the 
ships were in the pack and watered, but never inflamed. 
They are all right again now. Your spectacles (green) were 
a great comfort. 

So also with his botanical drawings, done at sea from 
specimens in his collections. He chooses the best model he 
can, and if art is deficient, at least he is accurate. Finding 
a sudden chance to send home his collections from New Zealand, 
the Aucklands, and Campbell Island, he says (June 6, 1841) : 

The notes were all finished in the Ice, where the smooth water 
enabled me to resume my old post in the Captain's cabin. 


As far as I could I imitated Bauer's I style of drawing dis- 
sections, but as the only sketches on board of that artist 
are two in Parry's Voyage, I have not much to copy from 
and I do not expect that they will please you much, and 
further when the ship gets through a pack she at once meets 
the troubled waters, and commences rolling about so that 
I have to lash my portfolio and microscope and to prop 
myself up. However I get on as well as I expected. Some 
of the notes are in a very rude state, for the notice of the 
opportunity was sudden. That they may prove correct is 
all that I hope for, as I endeavoured to stick to facts. . . . 
These are ... both as numerous and as well done as I 

He did not restrict himself to scientific drawing, however. 
In the same letter he tells his father : 

At present I am attempting a sketch of the ships off 
the Barrier and burning mountain in 78 South for you, 
and should I succeed you shall have it ; my talent for 
sketching is, however, far below par, and without colours 
it would be nothing. There is rather a nice print published 
of Weddell's two ships bearing up in 74 15', by Huggins, 
which would be worth your buying ; a few shillings would 
cover it, and the Icebergs in it give a very fair idea of those 
floating masses, though they are not flat-topped like the 
most of those we have seen, nor is the colour at all good, 
as they should have a blue tinge. 

Doubtless his artistic power was improving, for a year 
earlier (February 3, 1840) he is much more severe upon his 
general drawing. 'My sketches are characteristic of the 
different places visited, but miserably done ; they are not 
intended for any person but you to see.' Still, at the end of 
the voyage, he feels that his execution is not equal to his aims, 
though many of his sketches were utilised as the basis of 

1 Francis Bauer (1758-1840), the superb botanical draughtsman employed 
by Banks, who left him a pension that he might continue his work at Kew. 
His name appears as illustrator on the title-page of Sir W. Hooker's Genera 
Filicum (1838-40) ; but more than half the plates were drawn by the new 
draughtsman, Walter Fitch, who was to serve Kew and the Hookers for half 
a century. 


illustration for Boss's * Account of the Voyage of Discovery 
and Kesearch.' 1 

To his Aunt (Mary Turner) he writes (April 18, 1843) : 

In drawing I do not improve much, though I have made 
several sketches of the different places we have visited. 
There is now but one tolerable .artist in the Expedition, 
Mr. Davis 2 of the Terror. Dayman 3 (Aunt Ellen's 
acquaintance), who was the best, is left behind in Van 
Diemen's Land. Your pencil would be invaluable here, 
though you [would] have grown heartily tired of Bergs and 
Ice. Capt. Boss used often to make me sketch coastlines 
of hills and valleys of snow, which is most miserable 
work. Could I have coloured, nothing would be so grand 
as a view of the scenes we have visited, if in fine weather ; 
but let the weather be what it will, an Iceberg is always a 
treacherous thing at the best. 

I am very anxious to know what Fitch 4 is about ; he 
has sent me a very pretty fancy sketch of flowers, for which 
I am extremely obliged to him ; it was very kind of him 
to think of me ; in return I have been making a sketch of 
a curious Iceberg with a hole in it for him. The berg is 
fair enough, but the sea will not do. He could copy it and 
with excellent effect ; it was blowing hard and there were 
some black scudding clouds near the moon, which was 
reflected on the tips of the waves, close to the edge of the 
berg. The water should be of an intense cobalt blue, and 
it should reflect a white glare on the sea. There are no 
harsh lines on an Iceberg ; the shadows should be faint 
and the lights bright. 

This drawing, duly copied by Fitch, was doubtless among 
those shown to Prince Albert, when Sir William was summoned 
to Buckingham Palace in the spring of 1842 to give some 
account of the progress of the Expedition. 

1 See the list, p. 86, footnote. 

2 J. E. Davis was second master of the Terror. 

8 Joseph Dayman was mate on the Erebus, and afterwards lieutenant on 
the Rattlesnake^ in which Huxley was naturalist. In 1840-1, while Koss 
made his first cruise to the South, Dayman was one of the three officers who 
remained in charge of the magnetic observatory in Tasmania. 

4 Walter Fitch (1817-92) was originally a pattern-drawer in a calico 
printing factory. He entered Sir W. Hooker's service in 1834, and for half a 
century continued as the official draughtsman for the Kew botanical publications. 


Landscape drawing was by no means one of the lighter 
occupations banned by Sir William. Like his father-in-law, 
Dawson Turner, the friend and connexion of Cotman, he cared 
for art beyond his own botanical draughtsmanship. ' I rejoice 
that you make drawings of scenery. They will be invaluable.' 
And in the same strain his shipmate Dayman writes on 
August 27, 1841, from Tasmania to Hooker in New Zealand : 

I am particularly happy that you have found the drawings 
you made on the passage out to be of more value than you 
expected if it be only as an encouragement to make more, 
for upon my word without flattery (which you know by 
this time I am incapable of) if you do not something of the 
kind, I do not know who will. As far as poor McCformick] 
is concerned, one of the main objects of the Expedition has 
already failed. 

Valuable as his zoological researches were, both in satis- 
fying his restless intellectual interests and in giving him fuller 
understanding of living Nature, his father strict botanist of 
the older school mistrusted any swerving from the closest 
allegiance to botany. He took alarm at the remark (Febru- 
ary 3, 1840), * My time has been so completely occupied 
with sea animals that I have little time for other drawing.' 
When he showed his son's first collections to Eobert Brown 
he diplomatically abstained from mentioning these zoological 
dissipations, for ' Brown's idea is that without neglecting 
such things, your time even at sea ought to be mainly devoted 
to studying the plants you have collected,' a thing that proved 
easier to do in the calm of the pack-ice than on the unquiet 
expanse of the Southern Ocean. 

Nor was this his only stricture. To try too much is to 
become ineffectual. He urges his son to stick to botanical 
work exclusively to avoid wasting his time in unnecessary 
entertainments ; counsel indeed scarcely needed for one who 
cared so little for the ordinary attractions of society. But 
Sir William's definition of frivolity is strangely wide. 

The first halting- place of the expedition was the beautiful 
island of Madeira, lovely with semi-tropical vegetation, and 


twofold lovely as the first relief after a tedious sea voyage. 
Several hospitable friends of the family lived here, and Hooker 
rejoiced to explore the wonders and beauties of the island so 
familiar to him from books. He and his fellow officers had 
long planned an excursion to the valley of an ancient crater 
in the mountainous heart of the island, and he sent home a 
lively description of the jaunt. This gallop up to the Curral 
is one of the ' unnecessary entertainments.' True, Joseph did 
not fail to collect all the plants he could find both here and 
in the Cape de Verde Islands and St. Helena, where also he 
roamed afield ; but the season was too late everything was 
burnt up : not to add that he was unpractised in making a 
large collection. Worse still, an old hand, Cuming, 1 visited 
St. Helena a week or two after he was there, and in one strenu- 
ous day made a much more brilliant collection. Sir William 
accordingly admits his excuses as to drought ashore, damp 
and ill accommodation afloat, but confesses to considerable dis- 
appointment. Robert Brown, his botanic idol, likes Joseph's 
sketches and notes ; but as to the collection, merely sends 
suggestions for better preservation of the specimens, such as 
the use of brown paper in the tropics, instead of blotting-paper, 
which ferments. 

And Sir William, repeating that he ought in future to 
secure, if possible, an assistant collector to leave him free for 
the mental work of describing and drawing, adds, it is too 
much for a man to collect well and to note well. Assuredly he 
is well employed but is not specialising enough. Great oppor- 
tunities lie before him. No botanist has been to Southern 
New Zealand since Menzies 2 and Vancouver. 3 In Tasmania 

1 Hugh Cuming (1791-1865), conchologist and botanist, who was long 
settled at Valparaiso. He spent 1835-9 in exploring the Philippines. It was 
on his way back to England via the Cape that he visited St. Helena. 

2 Archibald Menzies (1754-1842) began his botanical career as a gardener 
in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden ; was encouraged by Hope, the Professor, 
to qualify as a surgeon, and completed his reputation as naturalist and surgeon 
on Vancouver's voyage in the Discovery, 1790-5. He was elected to the 
Linnean Society in 1790. 

3 George Vancouver (1758-98) sailed as a seaman in Cook's second voyage, 
and rose to be a captain in the navy. After the Nootka Sound dispute with 
Spain, he was sent to take over the district again and explore the coast from 
lat. 30 northwards. On the way out (1791-5) he explored much of Australia, 
New Zealand, and Tahiti, returning by Cape Horn. 


he should visit some of the high mountains, ' which everywhere 
afford what I consider by far the most interesting plants.' 
The Algae in the high south latitudes are particularly worth 
collecting, and indeed should be collected everywhere if no 
phaenogamic plants be available, even if they be known species, 
in order to determine their distribution. 

Throughout, it may be noted, Sir William is the systematist, 
the collector, and describer, urging his son to look for more 
plants and especially those missed by the latest travellers, 
such as Wright 1 in the Falklands, and to get his friends to 
collect specimens ' in quantities not in driblets ' at all stages, 
so as to have ample material for Floras of all the places he 
visits, and the mistakes he corrects in his letters are those of 
identification tested by extant accounts. On the same prin- 
ciple, just as Eobert Brown bade him * collect everything,' 
so Hooker sagely acknowledges, ' such scraps as are useless 
for other purposes may yet, so long as they exhibit the Natural 
Order to which they belong, prove of service in illustrating 
the geography of plants.' 

But later collections were more satisfactory. No extenua- 
ting circumstances needed to be invoked when, at last, in 
June 1842, there arrived the plants and notes from Kerguelen's 
Land, the Aucklands, and Tasmania, which rumour had sent 
to the bottom along with the ship that carried them. Among 
these notes Lady Hooker reports 150 drawings, * with highly 
magnified dissections, some almost worthy, my husband 
says, of Bauer's pencil.' Sir William, after looking through 
the collection with Eobert Brown, writes enthusiastically : 
' Believe me, dear Boy, they have given me infinite pleasure, 
for they prove that you must have been diligent, and conse- 
quently successful.' And again (July 7, 1842) of the drawings 
and notes : * I expected much of you ; but these have far 

1 William Wright (1735-1819), a naval surgeon who, being unemployed, 
took up private practice in Jamaica (1764-77), finally becoming honorary 
surgeon -general of the island. He corresponded with Banks and others, 
discovering especially a native species of cinchona in Jamaica. After botanical 
study in England and military adventures abroad, he finally settled in 
Edinburgh in 1798. Among his friends was Sir W. Hooker, to whom he 
presented a collection made in Iceland to replace Sir William's that had been 


exceeded my expectations and do you credit. . . . And 
Brown is charmed with what you have done.' 

The long stay at Kerguelen's Land, Tasmania, Hermite 
Island, and the Falklands, the travel through New Zealand, 
the short stay at the Cape and Sydney, and flying raids on 
Lord Auckland Island and Campbell Island, provided sugges- 
tive material for his works on the Floras of the Southern lands 
and the Antarctic regions : works which afforded not merely 
a thorough list and account of the plants and the conditions 
under which he saw them existing, but discussed the com- 
parison of South and North, the questions of distribution, 
the problem of the oceanic islands and the former connection 
of the Southern continents, leading slowly but inevitably on 
to the evolutionary theory in which he was to be Darwin's 
confidant, critic, and supporter. Darwin's own ' Voyage of 
the Beagle,' indeed, was the most recent of the various travel 
books that inspired him. It was in the press while he was 
approaching his M.D. examinations, and the old friend of his 
family, and of Darwin himself, Mr. Lyell of Kinnordy, sent 
him a set of proofs that had come from Darwin. Time was 
short : Hooker slept with the proofs under his pillow, and 
devoured them eagerly the moment he woke in the mornings. 
Before he sailed Mr. Lyell sent him a copy of the book, a gift 
most gratefully and enthusiastically acknowledged. As the 
voyage continues he tells Mr. Lyell, ' Your kind present is indeed 
now a well-thumbed book, for all the officers send to me for it.' * 

If Darwin's was the last of the travel books that inspired 
him, Cook's voyage was the first. As has been noted already, 
it fired him at a far earlier age than Darwin himself was stirred 
by Humboldt's ' Personal Narrative,' a fact on which he dwells 
again when writing to James Hamilton, his old college friend, 
after he had sat on the very spot in Kerguelen's Land from 
which the view of. the Arch Eock was taken, and the picture 
of the men killing penguins. 

F f 1 Thus J. E. Davis, second master of the Terror, later thanking Hooker 
for the ' young library ' sent to him, writes : ' I like Darwin's Journal much : 
he has accomplished what Old Johnson said of Goldsmith when he heard he was 
going to write a Natural History : " he will make it as interesting as a Persian 
tale." ' (See also the letter to Lady Hooker, p. 136;) 


Such pictures once visualised were ineffaceable. It was the 
same elsewhere. In his letters he repeatedly brings a view 
home to his father by recalling an illustration or description 
in some familiar book of travels as in Madeira and at Teneriffe, 
Webb and Berthelot, or at the Cape, Burchell's Travels. In 
describing a plant fresh from its native ground, his strong 
visual memory is ready to prompt some detailed comparison 
with a dried specimen once studied in his father's herbarium. 

As to his duties on the Erebus, he gives a detailed descrip- 
tion in his letters to his grandfather. There was little sickness 
on board : on his professional visits each morning to the sick 
bay, he seldom found much to do : indeed, as has been noted 
already, during his stay at Chatham before the ship sailed he 
remarked the superiority in conduct and health on the Erebus' s 
crew over the Tenor's, albeit during the voyage the Terror's 
officers prided themselves on keeping the stricter discipline 
on board. 

He was fortunate in his captain and fellow officers. Eoss 
was a friend of his father, and respected by him both for his 
religious feeling and for his scientific aptitudes. Sir William, 
it will be remembered (II. 12), coming down to visit his son 
at Chatham, found the junior officers, in the r61e of Jack ashore, 
lacking in scientific seriousness of conversation, and what 
was worse in his eyes respect for the Sabbath. Neverthe- 
less, they were good fellows ; and interested in science when 
not, like the surgeon and those trained in magnetic work, 
professionally concerned. The Erebus was, and they were 
proud of it, a discovery ship, not a surveying vessel ; and 
they had been chosen as suitable for a voyage of this kind, 
although it came to be generally recognised that Eoss chose 
for his executive officers men who were never likely to rival 
the brilliancy of his own career. They were not, like the 
lieutenants of the Eattlesnake, hostile to use of the tow-net as 
* messing the decks ' : on the contrary, scientific observations 
went on' every day ; and every day if possible soundings were 
taken to test the ocean temperature at various depths, and the 
tow-net used. 

Hooker was uncertain at first with regard to McCormick, 


the surgeon and nominal naturalist to the Erebus, under whom 
he was to serve, for technically his collections, other than 
botanical, were liable to be merged in his senior's ; but on the 
high seas, where botany gave insufficient occupation, Hooker 
slipped into the position he had first desired, of Naturalist de 
facto to the Expedition. As he writes (February 3, 1840) : 

McCormick has collected nothing but geological speci- 
mens, and pays no attention to the sea animals brought 
up in the towing nets, and they are therefore brought to me 
at once. . . . 

(March 17, 1840, at the Cape.) McCormick and I are 
exceedingly good friends, and no jealousy exists between 
us regarding my taking most of his department ; indeed he 
seems to care too little about Natural History altogether to 
dream of anything of the kind ; for my part I am rather 
glad to have an opportunity of doing more than is expected 
from my department. . . . He takes no interest but in 
bird shooting and rock collecting ; as of the former he 
has hitherto made no collection, I am, nolens volens, the 
Naturalist, for which I enjoy no other advantage than the 
Captain's cabin, and I think myself amply repaid. 

Most of his work, however, was done under Eoss's wing, 
whose special branch of science lay in terrestrial magnetism ; 
but he was keenly interested in Natural History and, adds 
Hooker to his father (February 3, 1840), ' he knows a good deal 
of the lower orders of Animals, and between him and the in- 
valuable books you gave me, I am picking up a knowledge 
of them.' No doubt he would not have been so gracious to a 
mere assistant surgeon who was not the son of his distin- 
guished friend, and indeed in all Hooker's early undertakings 
when he had to deal with officials, he was greatly helped, 
and knew that he was helped, by the social and scientific 
prestige at his back, and the introductions he received to 
notable persons who could help him. 

My time during this sea life has not been, I hope, so 
uselessly employed as I expected it might have been. 
Capt. Boss, as soon as he heard that I was very anxious 
to work, gave me a cabinet for my plants in his cabin ; one 


of the tables under the stern windows is mine wholly ; also 
a drawer for my microscope, a locker for my papers, etc. 
To me he is most kind and attentive, forestalling my 
wishes in many respects. One day he finds a ' box that 
will do nicely for Hooker,' then a seat at his cabin table, 
and a place always clear for me to sit down, when tired 
of standing at the drawing-table. Two towing nets are 
constantly overboard for sea animals. . . . Almost every 
day I draw, sometimes all day long and till two and three in 
the morning, the Captain directing me ; he sits on one side 
of the table, writing and figuring at night, and I on the 
other, drawing. Every now and then he breaks off and 
comes to my side, to see what I am after. . . . 

I have now drawings of nearly 100 Marine Crustacea 
and Mollusca, almost all microscopic ; some of them are 
very badly done, but I think that practice is improving 
me, and as I go on, I hope that some will be useful on my 
return. Were it not for drawing, my sea life would not be 
half so pleasant to me as it is. In the Cabin, with every 
comfort around me, I can imagine myself at home. Other 
duties are given me to do ; indeed, on finding how idle I 
was to be I asked the Captain if I could not in any way be 
useful to him, when he gave me the Hygrometer to take 
four times a day, at 9, 12, 3, and 9 ; and for two days in the 
week at 3 A.M., after the registering there is to draw out 
tables for different Meteorological purposes. The Captain 
has a compound microscope exactly like your large one, 
which I use whenever I require it, indeed he has made every- 
thing in his cabin my own. He has expressed himself much 
pleased with my Botanical collections, from which I judge 
that he never saw a really good collection, for I never look 
back upon a day in which I should not have done more 
than has been done, though at the time I hardly well knew 
how to carry what I had got. ... It would have amused 
you to have come into the cabin and seen the Captain and 
myself with our sleeves tucked up picking seaweed roots, 
and depositing the treasures to be drawn, in salt water, in 
basins, quietly popping the others into spirits. Some of 
the seaweeds he lays out for himself, often sitting at one 
end of the table laying them out with infinite pains, whilst 
I am drawing at the other end till 12 and 1 in the morning, 



at which times he is very agreeable and my hours pass quickly 
and pleasantly. 

The years pass ; but the same note is continued in a letter 
of April 20, 1843. Community of intellectual interests, no 
doubt, minimised the inevitable little rubs of months of close 
quarters in a sailing-ship, frankly acknowledged by the young 
assistant surgeon. 

Our Captain is still always to me most kind and attentive, 
indeed his whole conduct to me, ever since we left, has been 
quite uniform, and I have an immense deal to thank him 
for ; as you may suppose, we have had one or two little tiffs, 
neither of us perhaps being helped by the best of tempers ; 
but nothing can exceed the liberality with which he has 
thrown open his cabin to me and made it my work room at 
no little inconvenience to himself. He is quite now the 
same to me as ever he was, and will be I doubt not to the 
end of the Expedition, so that my situation is most comfort- 
able, nor would I change with any ship in the service. 

But whatever his equitable claim in such circumstances 
he would not lay himself open to the charge of grasping at 
more than his due. 

Whenever the seine was shot I attended on the return 
of the boat, to pick out the fish that were wanted ; a very 
few I kept for myself and Eichardson 1 should he not get 
them, but my duties of course precluded the possibility 
of my making any notes or a large private collection. 
Captain Eoss often feels himself jammed between me and 
McCormick, when the latter wants to keep a nice thing for 
his government collection, and I of course want to put it 
with ours, for he makes no general collection of anything 
but rocks and birds, and as I take the drudgery of collecting 
all the other branches of Nat. Hist, with the Captain's 
assistance, it would not be fair that I should be refused 
the credit of bottling down the more scarce and beautiful. 
Whenever there is the slightest difficulty I always give up, 
remembering the proverb against * those who wrestle with 

* I.e. Sir John Richardson of Haslar. 


Botanical work on board ship was done under difficulties 
of its own, especially at the outset. As has been seen, the 
early collections found small favour in the sight of his scientific 
friends at home, who, as his father said, looked to the actual 
results apart from inexperience and the extenuating circum- 
stances of drought ashore and wet on board, when in the tropics 
the specimens pressed in the ordinary blotting-paper fermented, 
and the presence of the passengers for the Cape left no room 
for dealing properly with the plants. When they left, the 
sick bay was available for the naturalists, 

and a great comfort it is [he writes on March 28, 1840], as 
it is spacious, and hitherto I have been very much at a loss 
where to lay out my plants, not liking to take advantage 
of the Captain's cabin for so extensive a job, and our berth 
being too full during the day to grant me room enough. 
Hitherto I have always laid them out and changed them 
after my messmates have turned in, which often kept me 
up very late after my excursions ; further, until the Captain 
had reduced his cabin into order I had no place to put my 
collections, and they used to get sadly kicked about the 
lower deck ; now, however, I have a nice cabinet in the cabin, 
where there is nothing to fear but the universal dampness 
of the ship, and a few cockroaches which did me some little 
damage, eating out the stems of some plants, and leaving 
the leaves. 

He accepted his father's criticisms as a stimulus to better 
work. The conditions being what they were, this criticism 
was perhaps rather uncompromising, considering that when he 
sent his collections of some 200 species home from St. Helena 
(February 3, 1840) he did not himself think he had much to 
show for his labour : 

Some are good specimens, others are only sent as 
mementoes. I can hardly expect you to be much pleased 
with them, though I assure you I never spent an idle day 
ashore ; nevertheless I never came off at night, without 
being convinced that I might have done much more than 
was done. Capt. Boss wished me to delay sending them 
till we arrive at the Cape. ... I do not care that my 


collections should be mentioned in the public journals (like 
McCorrnick's) should they even be worth it, which I doubt 
as all I care for is to please you. I grow every day more 
selfish and totally indifferent to public opinion ; I still 
scorn the Eoyal Society's commission in botany, and if 
I only hear that the present collection does not go to you, 
my next -first set shall be a different one, but you shall not 
be the sufferer. The Koyal Society ordered me to send 
them a first set, and when they have a right to order me, 
I will ; as it is, I am so sure that this set is for you, that 
I make it a tolerable one. Good as a set it may be ; but I 
fear you will not think it so as a collection. 

Letters were very slow in reaching the exploring ship : 
sometimes they pursued her vainly half over the globe : and 
thus it was not till two and a half years later (November 25, 
1842) that he could speak of being reassured as to his later 

The dissatisfaction my first plants gave has weighed 
on my mind until the receipt of your last letters, and all 
along made me fear that I was physically incapacitated for 
the high trust reposed in me, which the longer I remain in 
the Expedition the more honourable do I feel it. My services 
now are not those of a day, although but a few days have 
been spent in collecting. 

Botany at sea meant for the most part collecting on lonely 
islands and examining the collections afloat when weather 
permitted. A significant note in a letter to Eobert Brown 
(November 28, 1843) explains : 

In a few days we start again for the Ice, and as soon as 
we reach smooth water and the pack, I shall begin finishing 
my notes on the vegetation of the Falklands and Hermite 

Botany at sea also meant collecting floating seaweeds and 
examining them and the animal life upon them. 

Till within a few days [he writes from the Cape on March 
17, 1840] no floating seaweeds have been seen, when they 
suddenly appeared whilst cruising off St. Helen's Bay about 


sixty miles north of the Cape, whilst we were beating to 
the Southward ; they certainly (though only of one kind) 
gave a most exalted notion of a submarine forest, with its 
accompaniment of a parasitic vegetation ; with fish for 
birds, corals for Lichens, and shells for insects. Whilst 
going six or seven knots through the water, we, stationed 
in the quarter boats, harpooned these weeds as we passed, 
and very good fun for botanising it was ; the largest brought 
on board had a short thick branching root from which sprang 
four great stems, the longest 24 feet. ... It belongs 
to the genus Laminaria ; the old stems are brown, with 
flat white corals on them, and some parasitic seaweeds ; 
the matted roots contain numerous other seaweeds, shells, 
Crustacea, corals, Molluscae, Actineae and red-blooded 
worms. The leaves are infested with Patellas, Sertularias, 
and Flustrae. From one specimen I took four seaweeds 
and upwards of thirty animals, by carefully pulling the 
root to pieces. Nor were these large seaweeds ; many 
were seen twice as large if not larger. What extraordinary 
power can have torn them up by the roots I cannot con- 
ceive, for, from their length, they must grow far below low 
water mark. 1 

Nevertheless, however engrossing the twofold interest of 
these occupations, the old spell of botanising ashore always 
gripped him anew with irresistible attractions. The same 
letter tells : 

I have heard naturalists complain of the tedium of a 
sea voyage ; such cannot be naturalists or must be sea-sick 
(which I have never been for an hour). I do not mean to 
say I would not be better employed and happier perhaps 
studying Botany ashore, with more comforts around me, 
but I assure you my weeks fly, though from my slow working 
I have not much to show, and, unaccountable as it may 
appear to you, when we draw near shore I feel quite thrown 
out of my usual routine of employment. I must own, 

1 Writing to his father on May 3, 1842, from the Falklands, he gives an 
explanation with which some observant naval officers supplied him : 

' The officers of the Arrow are very nice fellows. One of them told me 
that as the Macrocystis grows large, it finally weighs up the stone, which was 
its moorings, and then the whole plant goes off to sea, which fully explains the 
reason for our finding so much of it alive at sea.' 


however, whenever my foot has touched terra firma, there is 
a sort of magic in the place that makes me grievously loth 
to quit it again. There are also peculiar emotions attend- 
ing the seeing new countries for the first time, which are 
quite indescribable. I never felt as I did on drawing near 
Madeira and probably never shall again. Every knot that 
the ship approached called up new subjects of enquiry, and 
so it is with every new land or even every barren rock. 
It was the same on approaching the Cape and viewing 
Table Mountain ; I could have, and did, sit for hours 
wondering whether this knoll was covered with heaths or 
Rutaceae, whether this rill produced the Wardia, or that 
rock the Andraea, where was Ludwigsberg, Wynberg, the 
tree fern and all the spots which the mind associates with 
our mutual pursuits, our friends, or our home. Selfish as 
I doubtless am and proved myself to be at home, there is 
one idea, the prosecution of which I often dream of, and 
that is, to tell, of all other persons, my father, mother, and 
brother of what I have seen ; I never view a new scene 
but I think what pleasure it will give me to view it over 
again with you all, to map to you the places where my 
specimens were gathered, to paint the views to my mother 
and to spin to William the yarns of incidents that befell my 
excursions, while grandpapa and my sisters will look upon 
me as ' the Monkey that has seen the world.' 

As his field of study becomes more suggestive we see his 
work passing from the collector's individual notes to the wider 
questions of geographical distribution, so attractive to the 
range of his mind. The details become the tissue of his 

The earliest botanical impressions de voyage for instance, at 
Madeira, overflow with his delight at finding the rich plant 
life, known heretofore only from books and dried specimens, 
now flourishing in semi-tropical exuberance. The experimental 
cultivatipn of the tea plant appeals instantly to the practical 
instinct which did so much for commercial botany in the 
years to come. So too the * cabbage ' of Kerguelen's Land, 
an excellent food for sailors, and the Tussac, or Tussock, 
grass of the Falklands, with its prospect of acclimatisation 


in the Western Highlands for pasturage ; to both of which 
he makes constant reference, alike scientific and practical. 
He sends five sets of his St. Helena specimens home for various 
recipients ; he takes some 300 specimens away with him from 
the Cape on his first short visit there (March 17-April 6, 1840) 
for examination at sea. 

By the time he has visited Kerguelen's Land (May 12- 
July 20, 1840) his researches begin to take definite shape, both 
in subject and in outlook, foreshadowing what was to appear 
in his Flora Antarctica. Here emerges his serious interest 
in the problems of distribution thrust upon him ever more 
forcibly by the plants, living and fossil, so far removed from 
any parent continent, and by the nature of Antarctic vegeta- 
tion in general. He found the Kerguelen flora in form peculiarly 
S. American, with some plants common to the Auckland 
group and more to the Falklands. Later in the voyage he is 
enabled to write under date November 25, 1842, * My regions 
are different both in climate and forms from any other.' At 
Kerguelen's Land above all, his favourite cryptogams, so much 
less known than the flowering plants, and here relatively 
abundant, invited his study. ' You direct my attention,' he 
writes to his father (September 7, 1840), * particularly to 
Cryptogamia ; believe me that I have at Kerguelen's Land 
strained every nerve to add to its scanty Flora in that 

The Journal contains a very full description of this lonely, 
rugged, storm-swept island, for 

though two months there, to the last day I went botanising, 
and as far as I know I have left no hole unexamined or stone 
unturned. . . . You cannot conceive the delight which the 
new discoveries afforded as they slowly revealed themselves, 
though in many cases it was all I could do to collect from 
the frozen ground as much as would serve to identify a 

Indeed the very first day he landed, 

arriving on board, I found that I had ascertained the existence 
of at least thirty species of plants in one day, and within 


two miles of the harbour, thus proving that Mr. Anderson l 
was either not ingenious or not ingenuous. 

During the two months of his stay here, while the portable 
observatory was set up for a long series of magnetic observa- 
tions, not only did he enlarge the list of local species from 
18 to 150, especially among the Cryptogams, but, by analysis 
of his material here and elsewhere, he was able to show 
the relative increase among the lower forms of Antarctic 
vegetation, 2 the peculiarities of plant life in the lonely 
Oceanic islands ; the relation of the island floras to each 
other and to those of the Southern Continents and of tha 
Arctic regions. 

His Journal records a curious discovery in the two small 
lakes between Christmas Harbour and Northwest Bay. 

In these lakes there occurs a most remarkable plant, 
which resembles Sabularia aquatica, forming green patches 
a foot or two below the surface of the water on a loose muddy 
bottom ; here it flowers, the close imbrication of the calicine 
segments and those of the Corolla protecting the stamens 
from the influence of the water. Each germen contains 
a small bubble of air, generated, of course, within the 
ovary. Winter seems to be its flowering season, and I 
found it in flower after a long search, under a coating 
of 2 inches of ice ; as far as I have hitherto examined 
it seems to differ from the characters of any Natural 

The ' Cabbage ' (Pringlea antiscorbutica), as has been said, 
comes in for a good deal of notice, along with other useful 
plants on the island. He writes in his Journal : 

Even in this remote corner of the globe, and scanty 
though the vegetation be, it has more than an ordinary 
interest, from the utility of two of its products. The 

1 William Anderson, at first surgeon's mate, afterwards naturalist, on the 
Resolution under Captain Cook. In the account of Cook's voyages, he is 
referred to as ' the ingenious Mr. Anderson.' He wrote a full account of 
the Kerguelen Cabbage aforesaid (Pringlea antiscorbutica). 

2 Dicotyledons to Monocotyledons as 1:2; grasses as 1 : 2*6 of the 


destruction of its former forests has produced abundance 
of good coal. 1 Cook mentions the remarkable cabbage, 
which, to a crew long on salt meat, is an invaluable 
anti-scorbutic, and to many, a most agreeable dish ; 
unlike other pot-herbs, it possesses after boiling so much 
of its essential oil, as entirely to neutralise or destroy 
any symptoms of heart-burn or flatulence; nothing can 
be more wholesome than it is. The root eats like horse- 
radish and the young hearts like coarse mustard and 
cress ; the seeds are the food of the numerous ducks 
on the island ; growing as it does near the sea, on a 
spot upwards of 1000 miles from any land where fresh 
vegetables can be obtained, it seems planted by Nature's 
hand for the poor mariner, when suffering under his own 
peculiar malady. 

This curious plant was one of Cook's discoveries ; Hooker 
had been specially urged by his father and Robert Brown to 
investigate it on the spot, and it recurs again and again in 
the letters on either side. From seed he brought back with 
him, young plants were raised in Tasmania, though it seems 
without success in establishing the plant as a staple of 
food. Sir William at first failed to raise it at Kew ; his son 
writes : 

I do not understand your not getting the Kerguelen's 
Land Cabbage to grow. I have had fifty plants of it from 
seed. I had it growing in a bottle ! (hanging to the after 
rigging), on a tuft of Leptostomum during all our second 
cruise in the Ice, and brought it alive to Falklands. It was 
sprouting before the Cape Horn plants went home, from 
seeds I scattered under the little trees. We used to amuse 
ourselves planting it here and there where we go. I shall 
fill a Ward's case with Lyall 2 (it is the Terror's second case) 
at St. Helena, with native plants, and sow the seeds among 
it. Try it again in a cool place very wet and shaded, in a 
black vegetable mould like peat. Do not bury it but lay 

1 * If I could get a piece,' responds Sir William enthusiastically, ' I would 
have it framed and glazed.' 

2 David Lyall (1817-95) was assistant-surgeon on the Terror and a useful 


it on the surface. Depend upon it they will grow if cool 
and damp enough. 1 

Some points in its development quite baffled him ; he 
writes (July 6, 1841) : 

The examination of the Cabbage was made on the Island 
and several times since, and I send it in despair of under- 
standing its organisation. You will remark that the radicle 
is pointing away from the funiculus and is on the upper side 
of the seed as it hangs, and how it gets there, supposing the 
foramen of the ovule to be where Lindley 2 describes it should 
be, I cannot conceive, for in its turning it must go f round 
the seed. I suppose Brown understands it all ; the flowers 
I nowhere saw, but he has them in the museum from 

Brown, it may be remembered, was the inheritor of the 
collections of Sir Joseph Banks, who had sailed with Cook. 

Two grasses form most rich and nutritious fodder for 
cattle, as we proved by some sheep being let loose on the 
Island, who soon ran wild, and though they were landed 
hungry and lean, they very soon fattened and thrived. 
Goats, pigs, rabbits, sheep, and perhaps small cattle, would 

1 After his return, however, he had to confess to Boss (Sept. 14, 1845) 
that the seed he himself brought back to Kew ' never vegetated, though we 
sowed all and in all manner of situations.' He wished to name the plant 
Rossia kerguelensis, but ' our friend Brown had already applied the MS. name, 
given both because of the anti-scorbutic nature of the plant and because 
Pringle wrote upon scurvy, which has not much to do with the matter, it must 
be confessed.' (To Ross, September 1, 1845.) 

2 John Lindley (1799-1865). Like Brown and Bentham, Lindley, a hard 
worker and man of versatile powers, took a conspicuous part in building up 
the natural system of classification set forth by Jussieu as against the artificial 
system of Linnaeus ; the convenience of which was merely for identifying plants. 
Through the friendship of Sir W. J. Hooker (for he was an East Anglian) he 
became assistant librarian to Sir Joseph Banks : then Assistant Secretary and 
Secretary to the Royal Horticultural Society, 1822-60 ; Professor of Botany 
at University College, London, from 1828 ; editor of the Gardener's Chronicle, 
1841, till his death. He was mainly responsible for Kew Gardens being pre- 
served and made over to the nation as the headquarters of botanical science, 
though knowing full well that his opposition to officialdom would exclude 
him from receiving any appointment. His chief works were The Theory and 
Practice of Horticulture, 1840 ; The Vegetable Kingdom, 1846 ; the editing of 
Botanical Register, 1829-47, and various works on the Orchids. In his views 
of species he has been described as an evolutionist without knowing it. 


all thrive well on the Island, and would be no ordinary boon 
to the whalers. The little Ranunculus is the only acrid 
plant I have found near the harbour, so I suppose it must 
have been this that Cook's party ate for cress ; it appeared 
to me anything but wholesome. 

Among the seaweeds many are doubtless edible ; on 
one occasion I found our gunner seated on a rock with his 
feet in the surf passing down what he called dulse ; it 
certainly was eatable raw ; I need not add my friend was 
a Scotchman. The Lichens are all much too tough to afford 
any hopes of rivalling the Iceland Moss. Some of the Musci 
might be used by the Laplanders as they do their own, as 
swaddling clothes for their babies. 

Strange that this was an island in S. latitude corresponding 
to that of Jersey in the northern hemisphere. 

To the last hour of his stay at Kerguelen's Land he was 
absorbed in the strange interests of the place, and writing 
from Tasmania, November 1840, with the prospect of visiting 
another oceanic solitude, Campbell Island, he speaks of it as 

another edition of Kerguelen's Land, I suppose. I know 
I shall be happy there, for I was sorry at leaving Christmas 
Harbour; by finding food for v the mind one may grow 
attached to the most wretched spots on the globe, yet 
hitherto I fear I have rather played with Botany than done 
any good at it. 

The long stay at the Falkland Islands in 1842 gave time 
for generalising upon the botanical material collected in the 
South. The main lines of his thought begin to stand out 
clearly in his letters of this date. To his father he writes on 
November 25, 1842 : 

The Cryptogamiae are far more numerous. I am not 
aware of having omitted any species of any Nat. Order 
which came under my notice; this perhaps prevented my 
getting any better specimens of some Phaenogamic plants 
that were in flower, but anybody can collect them, and no 
botanists will attend to the Cryptogamic. I am further 
anxious to know the proportions that the Nat. Orders bear 
to themselves at different Antarctic Longitudes and to 


themselves in each locality, as an object of primary import- 
ance to the elucidation of Bot. Geog. and the effects 
of climate upon the Vegetable Kingdom. Several of the 
tabular results I have drawn out show a delightful accord- 
ance, nor do I know of any result of this Expedition which 
gave me such pleasure as to find how beautifully the 
grasses rose in the scale of importance, beating even Brown's 
published ideas, and yet they are not the only plants by 
whose abundance or want the botanical nature of a country 
may be judged of. As we go South, Fungi disappear, 
Lichens increase, Pleurocarpi 1 diminish, in proportion to 
Acrocarpi, 1 as do the proportion of Pleurocarpi which fruit 
to the barren ones. Cyperaceae decreases, and Dicotyledons 
bear a smaller proportion to Monocotyledons. Nothing so 
satisfies me, that I have observed carefully in any Island, 
as to find these laws to hold good in the collections made 
long ago and when it is too late to remedy any defects, 
to look for more grasses or to wonder if I have not made 
too many species of my Cyperaceae etc. 

And to Dr. Boott 2 four days later he enlarges on the pro- 
portion of the Eush tribe to the Grasses occurring in this region. 

The descending scale for the Southern regions is beautiful 
and in perfect accordance with what was to be expected 
from the climate and position of the several islands. 

Australia, 0'7:1. 

Campbell's Island, 1 : 5. 

New Zealand, 1:1. 

Auckland Island, 1 :1*9. 

Falklands, 1 : 2'5, and 

Kerguelen's Land, : 5. 

1 Two divisions of the Mosses. 

2 Francis Boott, M.D. (1792-1863). Born in Boston of British parents 
and maintaining friendships in both countries, he took up the study of medicine 
in 1820 (M.D. Edin.) and practised successfully in London 1825-32, with ideas 
on fresh air in advance of his times. Another innovation Avas to discard the 
traditional black coat and knee breeches of the physician for the ordinary dress 
of the day blue coat with brass buttons and yellow waistcoat. But with 
characteristic fidelity he changed no more with the fashion, and his endeavour 
to avoid singularity in 1830 ended by making him more singular than ever 
in 1860. Inheriting a competency, he devoted himself to botany, specialising 
on the genus Carex, his Illustrations of which appeared 1858-67. He con- 
tributed a monograph of 158 species to Sir W. J. Hooker's Flora Boreali- 
Americana ; his collection he bequeathed to Kew. He became a member of 
the Linnean Society in 1819 ; secretary 1832-9, and treasurer 1856-61. 


These results, however, I must beg you to keep to your- 
self, as we are not permitted to communicate Botanical 
Information (does it deserve the name ?) except through 
the Lords Commissioners ! 

He perceives also that the distribution and abundance of 
vegetation in this region depends not on the height of the 
mean temperature, but on the amount of moisture in the air 
and the equable level of heat and cold, free from extremes. 

To establish this accurately would prevent critics from 
repeating that ' nothing of importance had been done towards 
investigating the causes of difference in Geographical distribu- 
tion since the publication of Humboldt's work.' 

To his Father 

March 7, 1843. 

I long to see your new work on Ferns ; perhaps you will 
do something to their Geographical distribution, which seems 
most dependent on a uniform and moist temperature such 
as Islands enjoy. All the Magellan species that inhabit 
the Falklands, there become harsh and coriaceous, from the 
vicissitudes of temperature, and of the hygrometric state 
of the air to which they are exposed. . . . The Hygro- 
meter I consider of more importance than the Barometer 
in all ordinary cases, that is, where the Islands are not 
large and the mountains not high. ... I have lately 
been examining some of my hygrometer observations and 
find that the difference between the vegetations of the 
Falklands and the Fuegia may be well accounted for. When 
the results are placed in a tabular form it is quite surprising 
to see to what vicissitudes of temperature and moisture the 
Falkland plants are exposed. Now the mean temperature 
of the Falklands is the highest, but its plants are exposed 
to dry winds, great heat of the sun's rays unimpeded by 
any vapour when it is calm, and great cold at night, whilst 
those of Fuegia are not so, and enjoy perpetual moisture, 
and are very sensitive to extremes of temperature, as also 
to dryness. 

His original intention had been to write a Flora Antarctica, 
where his work would be on a fairly little exploited field. As 


he reached the Cape on the outward voyage he was already 
planning the book. 

March 1 and March 17, 1840. 

I am now beginning to consider what are to be the limits 
of my Antarctic flora ; if I confine it to 23 North of the 
S. Pole it will consist of one species, I suppose, and that 
the Protococcus nivalis, nor would this be a fair limit to 
poor Mora, as she is guided by climate, not parallels which 
man has laid down and called latitude. My idea is, to be 
guided very much by the temperature of the Islands and 
the nature of the plants they contain. It will be, however, 
difficult to draw the line ; the Straits of Magellan must, 
I suppose, come in with the Falkland Islands, whilst the 
Southern Island of New Zealand, Van Diemen's Land, and 
the Cape will be excluded. The mean annual temperature 
of the Antarctic Ocean is said to be nearly that of the 
Arctic ; if this is the case there must be some unknown 
reason for the comparative barrenness of the Islands of the 
two seas. 

It was a different matter when, later, his father suggested 
that he should undertake complete Floras of some of the places 
he had visited. His answer (November 25, 1842) shows a 
natural diffidence at the thought of embarking on so much 
more complex a task. 

In proposing me to publish Floras of New Zealand 
and V.D.L., I fear you overrate my Botanical powers, for 
I am very ignorant of any plants but those I have seen. 
My strict Flora Antarctica will always begin where the 
Pines cease, and I should like it to contain the most of 
the country S. of Magelhaens (but Darwin 1 will give me 
good limits there) provided I can gain access to the proper 
materials. Auckland and Campbell Islands, Kerguelen's 
Land, and the Falklands will be the only other stations except 
what few you have from Macquarie Islands. Do tell me in 
your next what the things are which Frazer 2 sent you : and 
ask Brown whether any things have ever been collected in 

1 As having visited the country on the voyage of the Beagle. 

2 Probably Louis Fraser, 1810-66, who was on the Niger Expedition of 
1841-2 and afterwards took charge of Lord. Derby's zoological collections 
at Knowsley. 


Prince Edward's, the Crozets, Eoyal Companies Islands, 
Emerald Island, and whether Webster's Deception Island 
or Cook's South Georgian plants are in the Museum. Tristan 
D'Acunha and St. Paul's and Amsterdam, though in such 
low latitudes, have an Antarctic Botany, but I have seen 

none of them. 

However, he set to work on his own plants and his books 

during the next six months with this end in view. One more 
botanical letter to his father may be quoted to illustrate his 
work on the Cryptogams, with its tendency to simplify classifica- 
tion and its relation to his Herbarium work. After the third 
visit to the ice he writes on the way from the Antarctic Circle 
to the Cape : 

March 7, 1843. 

During the past voyage I have re-examined all my An- 
tarctic Mosses. . . . The Andraeae puzzled me exceedingly 
and occupied me very many days, for I had to examine 
many hundred specimens. I do hope they are scrupulously 
accurate, for I always compared the present examination 
with what I made on the spot, and consider most of the 
mosses to have had three examinations ; where there is so 
much novelty I may have made varieties into species, but 
in a field so new some allowance must be made. . . * 

There are hardly any new genera, nor have I any wish 
to get a notoriety by having * Hook. 1 tagged on to the end 
of a string of barbarous names. I should be far more proud 
of placing a well-known plant in its true position and relation 
to others than naming another and leaving others to squeeze 
it in between what he may think its congeners. 

All other mosses are divisible into Aero and Pleuro- 
carpi ; there are five groups I consider quite natural, and 
the three first of them abnormal ; these are what McLeay's x 
quinary system acknowledges, but you must not think that 
I am led away by any system, for I formed this system 
before I saw McLeay's and before I understood his views. 
When we met we never broached the subject of his system, 
for I felt myself too ignorant of the subject ; I cannot, 

1 William Macleay, of Sydney, son of the Colonial Secretary, was a naturalist 
of some note, inventor of a now forgotten system of classification which posited 
the number 5 as the basis for the structure and grouping of all living things. 


however, forget a remark he made, saying * he was glad I 
paid so much attention to the minute Orders and to Crypto- 
gamic Botany, for in them would be found the foundation 
of a truly natural system.' Now, though I do not put any 
faith in the quinary arrangement, I believe that 5 happens 
to be the number of groups into which mosses most naturally 
divide themselves, and I am convinced of the truth of the 
circular system. Fries 1 first developed it in the Fungi, 
as Brown knows, for he pointed it out to McLeay, who 
wrote a paper on it (Fries 's work) ; again Berkeley 2 takes 
it up in the 'Annals,' vol. i, and quotes Montagne 3 in 
strong confirmation. Until, however, Lindley took it up 
I do not know any other steps taken towards arranging the 
groups of plants on a fixed plan. Amongst mosses there 
are many beautiful analogies in the groups, but how to 
characterise the genera is quite a puzzle to me. Gymnos- 
tonum must be split up, for there is hardly a genus of 
Acrocarpi to which each of its species is not far more allied 
than to its congeners in the present arrangement. 

The other drawings are attempts and nothing more, foi 
they are the first Lichens I ever drew, and I am no hand at 

1 Elias Fries (1794-1878), a Swedish botanist, successively Professor 
(1834), Director of the Botanic Gardens (1859), and Rector of the University 
(1853) at Upsala. He was an especial authority on the Cryptogams. 

2 Miles Joseph Berkeley (1803-89), the great mycologist, was directed to 
Natural History by the influence of Henslow at Cambridge, finally devoting 
himself to the Cryptogams and especially to Fungi. In 1828 he first came 
into touch with Sir W. J. Hooker, for whom he described all the fungi in the 
volumes supplementary to The English Flora of J. E. Smith. For half a century 
all the exotic fungi received at Kew passed through his hands, and over 400 
papers on fungi stand under his name, apart from those at which he worked 
in collaboration. His Introduction to Cryptogamic Botany (1857) remained 
for many years the standard book on the subject, while he was one of the 
pioneers of Plant pathology, popularly remembered as the investigator of the 
potato murrain in 1846. 

3 Jean Frangois Camille Montagne (1784-1866), botanist, was left fatherless 
very young, entered the French navy at 14, and took part in the expedition to 
Egypt. On his return to France in 1802 he studied medicine, and in 1804 
was attached as surgeon to a military hospital at Boulogne. He became chief 
surgeon to Murat's army in 1815 and again in 1819, and in 1830 was head of 
the military hospital at Sedan. He left the army in 1832 and devoted himself 
to the study of cryptogams. Elected to the Academic des Sciences in 1853, 
and to other Societies, and received the cross of the Legion of Honour 1858. 
Ho contributed many papers to the Archives de Botanique and to the Annales 
des Sciences naturelles, besides working out the Plantae Cellulares for Webb 
and Berthelot's Phytographia Canariensis, Dumont d'Urville's Voyage au Pole 
Sud, Gay's Historia fisica de Chile, etc., etc. 


colour. I have descriptions in full of them, but I can make 
no hand of the genera of Lichens, there seems to me a sad 
want of tangible characters except amongst the larger. 

I have also done a little towards the Flora of the Falk- 
lands, and a good deal of an introductory paper on the 
Geographical distribution of the Antarctic plants, their 
relations to the Arctic, and the analogies between the 
Antarctic, Polynesian, and American floras. 

From the Cape I intend to carry on drawing up to England 
and studying what Cape and Eio plants I can pick up, that 
I may know something of the more common Tropical Nat. 
Ords., of which at present I am totally ignorant. You 
will indeed be surprised when you will find at what a loss 
I shall be to give you the names of the most common garden 
plant, but I have not seen a rose since leaving New Zealand 
or any other flowers but Antarctic. 




FOR reconstructing the history of the four years' voyage, 
abundant materials exist. The official account is Boss's 
book in two volumes, * A Voyage of Discovery and Eesearch 
in the Southern and Antarctic Eegions, during the Years 
1889-43 ' (John Murray, 1847). 1 

This abounds in good matter ; not even the full-dress style 
of the period, very conscious of its epaulets, can mask the 
essential interest of these visits to the young colonies of the 
South, to the solitary fastnesses of oceanic life, and the unima- 
gined wonders of an ice-world in a ' furthest south ' four degrees 
beyond any previous record. 

Next comes Hooker's MS. Journal, upon which he drew for 
some of the material of his letters home. These letters, or 

1 To this Hooker contributed (from his Flora Antarctica) botanical accounts 
of Kerguelen's Land, I. iv. pp. 83-7 ; Auckland Island, I. vi. pp. 144-8 ; 
Campbell Island, I. vi. pp. 158-63 ; the Falklands, II. ix. pp. 261-77, 
including an account of the Tussac Grass, p. 261 ; Hermite Island (Fuegia), 
' the great botanical centre of the Antarctic Ocean,' II. x. pp. 288-302 ; 
and Cockburn Island (in the South Shetlands), II. xii. pp. 335-42, together 
with a description of the Fossil wood in Van Diemen's Land, II. i. 
pp. 5-11, and of hunting wild cattle in the Falklands, II. ix. pp. 

Most of the illustrations are by J. E. Davis, Second Master of the Terror ; 
nine are from Hooker's drawings, some signed, some marked in his own hand in 
the copy of the book given him by Ross : these are Mount Minto and Mount 
Adam, I. chap. vi. ; Cape Grazier and Mount Terror I. viii. (unsigned); Panorama 
of the Great Barrier,!. Appendix (unsigned) ; Seal Hunting on the lee, II. ii. (the 
engravedsignature is queried in pencil) ; Catching the Great Penguins, II. iv. (the 
central figure in the black hat is pencilled Bates) ; Mode of Pushing through the 
Pack during a Fog, II. iv. (unsigned); Tussac Grass of Falkland Islands, II. viii. ; 
Hunting Wild Cattle in the Falkland Islands, II. ix. ; ' Balsam- Bog ' Plant 
(Bolax Glebctria}, Falkland Islands, II. xi. 



copies of them, are faithfully preserved, bound in a large quarto 
volume. His letters home were generally transcribed by 
the willing hand of his mother who frequently Johnsonised 
the style to her own liking for distribution among friends 
and relations, official news being of the scantiest, while letters, 
to these others, were regularly sent to her to copy. This solidly 
bound volume contains fifty-two autograph letters, ranging 
from four to twenty-seven closely written quarto sheets in a 
minute hand, twenty-nine in copy only, and twenty-seven 
duplicates which had returned in course of time to Kew. A 
still larger companion volume contains 234 letters received by 
him during this period. 

So much of this abundant material may be cited as will 
suffice to show the impression made upon his mind by new 
scenes and new ideas, his occasional jaunts, more and more 
coloured by his scientific objects, a few sketches of the people 
with whom he came in contact, a passage or two to show his 
sensitiveness to Nature, and his power of describing what he 

At Madeira, as ever and again on his travels, his eye is 
instantly caught by any likeness to his beloved Highlands, 
whose beauty had sunk deep into his mind from his earliest 
days. Equally he recalls the pictures of the same scenes 
in the books of travel so well known to himself and to his 

On first nearing Madeira, I was strongly reminded of 
some of the islands on the West of Argyllshire, only the 
volcanic rocks are much redder, and clothed here and there 
with low brushwood ; the tops of the hills are often capped 
with pines. 

The ravines are quite like Scotch ones, but more sparingly 
wooded, and the faces of the very deep ravines are most 
admirably like the view in Webb and Berthelot, full of 
vertical perpendicular lines which are dotted with trees. 
These views came into my mind directly I saw the 

With the botanist's eye he notes for his father the botanist, 
the belt of chestnuts running halfway up the mountains : ' the 


tops of the Mts. more sub-divided into conical peaks than 
the Scotch hills and covered with grass ' : the mingled tropical 
and temperate fruits growing in the island : the joy of the 
crews on arrival when ' all hands were busy spreading Bananas 
on our bread instead of butter and relishing grapes .more 
than tea ' : though he found little in his diligent search for 
Alpines on the extremely dry and barren rocks of the Curral, 
for ' Neither the season nor place were favourable to botanising.' 

Here he received the warmest of Scotch welcomes from a 
Mr. Muir, formerly a Glasgow merchant, and a great friend of 
his grandfather, ' who had charged me particularly to call 
upon him,' finding his house by the help of a passing English- 
man, after his enquiries, couched in Dog-Latin with Portuguese 
terminations, had produced no effect on the natives. 

Though unable to accept Mr. Muir's instant invitation 
to stay at his Quinta as long as the ships lay off Funchal, he 
was constantly there, and notes with special pleasure, in the 
little parties got up to meet him, the absence of ceremony 
among the British families living there. Indeed there were so 
many Scotch and Glasgow acquaintances dining one night 
with another friend, that 'the conversation was wholly upon 
Glasgow or Britain, and Mr. Shortridge had a long discussion 
with me concerning the respective merits of Mr. Almond and Mr. 
Montgomery [two Glasgow ministers] ; distance lent energy 
to the cause, and I supported the former with much more 
warmth than I should have done at home perhaps.' 

A party from the ships now carried out a long cherished 
plan of visiting the famous mountain glen known as the Curral. 
On the way, Hooker's unceasing interest in the practical side 
of economic botany, already stirred by the discovery that the 
coffee served him at dinner was home grown, made him pay 
special attention to the * Jardine,' a tea plantation among the 
chestnut woods some 2000 feet above the sea, belonging to the 
late British Consul, Mr. Veitch. In this temperate region, 
with a soil composed of a fine vegetable mould over volcanic 
detritus, he notes that * neither bananas, coffee, nor dates will 
grow here, but the climate seems peculiarly well adapted to 
the cultivation of Chinese plants ; Camellias flourish, including 


the rare C. oleifera which produces the oil used in China.' Mr. 
Veitch was hoping to grow tea regularly and cut into the 
monopoly of the East India Company. To Hooker he con- 
fided his plans and methods, ' telling me that it was his duty to 
impart his knowledge to me as Botanist of the Expedition, 
and only hoped I would not use it to his disadvantage on the 
Island.' His visitor was allowed to take specimens of the 
plants, but ' our time was too short to allow of our waiting 
and tasting Mr. Veitch's tea. The owner very naturally 
praises his tea, as equal to the true Chinese herb. Mr. Muir 
informed us that it was execrable, and pronounced so by eveiy 
one that had tasted it.' On the other hand Lieutenant Bird 
testified to its excellence, while Captain Crozier, commander 

of the Terror, reconciled these opposite views, ' tells me he 

has often drunk Mr. Veitch's tea, and that formerly it used to 
be so bad that bare civility could hardly tempt him to swallow 
it and not do the other thing, but that which he tasted this time 
was very fair tea indeed.'. 

The lonely waste, where hardly any animal life was to be 
seen, was tenanted by strange human beings. 

After leaving the Jardirie we continued ascending through 
the forest, the trees gradually dwindled away and nothing 
remained but a short herbage with numerous bushes of a 
Cytisus with which the hillsides seemed spotted. On 
emerging at the top of the valley, about 3500 feet, we were 
suddenly attacked by a party of pseudo Highlanders male 
and female, chiefly children, ragged, dirty Portuguese, 
each armed with a long pole, iron shodded (sic) for climbing, 
with which they assailed our ponies, causing them to spring 
over the rough ground at a rate which nearly rendered my 
seat untenable. This was done apparently for effect, for 
we came suddenly upon one of the most slpendid views I 
ever beheld. We stood upon the brink of a tremendous 
precipice which formed one side of a gully about 2000 feet 
deep and f of a mile across. On looking over nothing was 
seen but the tops of a few projecting trees, and at the bottom 
a small stream that dashed along and was all but invisible. 
The opposite precipice was steeper and more bare than 
that on which we stood. 


The whole scene very much reminded me of a view among 
the Grampians of Forfarshire, where you come suddenly 
upon the Glen of the Dale ; Glen Dhu stretches away on 
one hand, and on the other you look down into the broad 
valley of Clova ; the present, however, was infinitely grander, 
and the numerous laurel trees gave it a different aspect. 
The river dashing at the bottom, which looked like a mere 
burn, brought Scotland forcibly to my mind ; it foamed 
away with a murmur which from the distance we could 
scarcely catch. 

The ragged Highlanders, for I can call them by no other 
name, were most troublesome, begging and offering us 
their climbing poles. ... On seeing me scrambling among 
the rocks they paid me particular attention. 

. . . On reascending I found my companions seated among 
some rocks, surrounded by a brood of the most extraordinary 
ragged urchins I ever beheld, of all ages from five to twelve, 
dressed in tatters with high peaked carabooshes, their long 
hair streaming over their faces, which were of a most deter- 
mined Portuguese cast. They excited our compassion by 
kneeling round us and begging by holding up their hands 
with the palms together like Catholics invoking the Virgin. 
Some of them were really pretty, though [with] very coarse 
features ; among them was a very old woman whose husband 
had been lost among the cliffs or rather killed. They had 
large black eyes and seemed remarkably healthy, though 
they live in the most wretched holes and feed upon chest- 
nuts, scarcely ever touching other foods. Even the little 
babies were sucking chestnuts. A few dogs were spectral 

... On a grass bank, where we had left our horses, 
there was spread for us a famous cold luncheon prepared 
for us by Mr. Muir. 'Dr. Lippold * had joined us just before 
reaching the Jardine, and he certainly amused us not a 
little during dinner. The young half savages clustered 
around us whilst eating, forming a ring, which gradually 
approached and hemmed us in. Now the little German 
abhors the Portuguese beyond any other nation, and he 
could not brook these unfortunate urchins drawing near 

1 Dr. Lippold had been sent to Madeira to collect plants and seeds, partly 
for Kew, partly for the Duke of Bedford. 


us. He used accordingly, every now and then, to start up, 
take his stick, shout, hooroosh, shake his coat-tails at and 
scare the poor little snips out of their senses, who would 
run up the hills with amazing agility, their scanty clothing 
tripping and causing them to tumble over and over as they 
scrambled along on all fours, almost to our table-cloth. 

An unfortunate result of this excursion was a sharp attack 
of rheumatic fever, caused by lying on the damp grass at 
lunch when overheated. Hooker was laid up in the ship for 
a week, and could scarcely go ashore to make his farewells. 
The report of this from friends in Madeira made his parents 
very anxious, for it was many months before they received 
his letters reporting himself perfectly well. In later life, it 
is true, his heart was not strong ; but through all the follow- 
ing years of strenuous travel and unceasing work, the minor 
troubles which persisted indicated no serious weakness. 

At Teneriffe there was no time to travel the twenty-eight 
miles to Orotava in order to see the famous Dragon's-blood 
tree. The brief afternoon ashore gave opportunity of very 
little collecting. Nor was Hooker able, much as he wished, 
to see the two English Jacks taken when Nelson made his 
unsuccessful attack on Sta. Cruz. The church where they 
hung high out of reach, since an English middy had audaciously 
carried off the third, was too far away. However, ' I was much 
amused by the little urchins grinning and repeating the words 
" English flag " when asked where the Parochia was.' So 
in the town itself ' the only remarkable thing I saw was the 
camel used as a beast of burden.' 

Their next point was the Cape Verde Islands, ' not that 
we knew we were going there, for everything regarding our 
destinations has been kept a profound secret until we cast 
anchor in the harbours ! ' It strikes an old-time note indeed 
to be told that : 

On our arrival (November 11) a slaving schooner was 
lying in the Bay, and I understood that a more cautious one 
had made sail on discovering us heaving in sight. The 
present one remained some days, and when taking her 
departure her drunken skipper saluted us, and mocking, 


told us he was going nigger hunting to the Coast. We had 
no commission to catch slavers or to do mischief further 
than resenting personal injuries. 

If Madeira afforded the first vision of real tropical verdure, 
the Cape de Verdes intensified it with the unimagined grace 
and beauty of a cocoanut grove, the one redeeming feature 
of the prevailing Saharan desolation near the coast. The 
fertile interior was twelve miles away from Porto Praya ; still, 
in a week here, during the bad season, Hooker managed to 
collect 110 species in a tolerable state and saw perhaps 100 
more in a useless state a very fair proportion of the 300 
brought home by a previous collector. Of the famous Baobab 
tree he remarks that neither to himself nor to Captain Eoss 
did it give the impression of being such a slow growing and 
ancient tree as was reported by those who had seen one cut 

Distance was not the only obstacle confronting the botanist. 
Eeturning from their first day's outing they found that * the 
Consul had very thoughtfully left word for us to prepare our- 
selves for the coast fever (or yellow fever), which was certain 
to lay hold of all Europeans who should expose themselves 
as we had done.' Nevertheless they went not once again, but 
twice, further afield to the beautiful valley of St. Domingo in 
the interior, the first time entirely, the second half way, on foot. 

The Consul persuaded us to ride, assuring us that a walk 
of twelve miles there and twelve back would assuredly be 
followed by fever. We therefore hired two ponies, the 
only two we could procure, and the very worst I ever saw, 
and a Jackass for which we drew lots. Mr. McCormick 
and I soon relinquished our beasts, and sent them back 
before leaving the Town, and .the Jackass, having performed 
the feat of unassing Mr. Hallett and running through the 
Town with our poor purser hanging to his neck, we deter- 
mined to walk. 

After the Saharan desolation of the lower country, where 
under the tropical sun the soil of black volcanic slag and ashes 
scorched the feet in walking, the picture changed suddenly. 


So enchanting is the scenery of these glens, and so sud- 
denly do they start up beneath the feet, that one almost 
feels persuaded that the author of ' Easselas ' was there 
before him, or that the scenes of the Arabian Nights were 
not all laid in the East. 

Evening fell cool and refreshing as they descended this 
valley, and ' one little bird sang so like a robin that we all 
exclaimed at once we were in England.' 

To give his father a notion of the fantastic peaks and 
pinnacles of the surrounding mountains, he employs his 
frequent method of reference to their common knowledge of the 
literature of travel. ' They reminded me of the Organ Moun- 
tains of Eio de Janeiro, only these were much sharper.' 

Hospitality was freely offered by a Portuguese of some 
position in, Porto Praya, but educated in France. In this 
remote valley he lived with his wife and several little slaves ; 
his property surrounding his house being cultivated with 
tropical fruits and plants. 

. During dinner our hostess arranged three little slaves 
round the table ; they were very clean and neatly dressed, 
quite young and jet black. After dinner they each received 
an embrace from their mistress and came to us for the same 
(which I assure you [he tells his sisters] was not withheld 
because of the swarthiness of their complexions, and was 
accompanied with a donation of fruit). Our host said he 
treated them as his children, and would not part with one 
for anything. On taking our departure we gave our kind 
host all our shot and I my powder flask, as the only recom- 
pense he would take. 

So delightful had the excursion been, that on the Monday 
(17th) he repeated it, in company with Wilmot 1 and Lefroy. 
This time they left early, and managed to ride across the 
first six uninteresting miles, when ' Mr. Wilmot was the first to 
find out how to make a Porto Praya pony gallop (if it ever can). 

1 Lieutenant Eardley Wilmot was an engineer officer. A close friend of 
Lefroy (see ii. 343) he had joined in his effort to improve the training of officers 
at Woolwich. With Lefroy also he was selected for magnetic work on Ross's 
expedition, his destination being the Cape Observatory. 


It is accomplished by exaggerating the motion of galloping 
yourself on the saddle, kicking your heels into the animal's 
flanks, and personifying a flying postboy.' 

This day there was time to botanise ; and after dinner 
with the friendly Frenchman they ascended a peak imme- 
diately behind his house, shaped like a steep cone with a 
pinnacle on the top of it, amid prophecies that they would 
break their necks. 

The ascent culminated in an arduous climb, and a descent 
which seemingly could not be worse and was at least fresh, 
on the further side. Swinging down from ledge to ledge, while 
an agitated group of little niggers far below shouted and 
gesticulated unintelligibly, 

I was well rewarded by finding, when about half way 
down, a lovely fern with beautiful soft green foliage growing 
like our Cystopteris out of the crevices of the rocks ; it grew 
with lots of the Campanula and Umbellifer (found on the 
way up) which so put me in mind of old Scottish forms of 
plants, that I only wanted a companion who had botanised 
over Ben Lawers to share my \ joys with me. [Before re- 
turning,] I emptied my pockets into my travelling port- 
folio, which I may mention here is the only good way of 
preserving plants in the tropics, and were it not for the 
weight, ought to be looked upon as an indispensable addition 
to the vasculum. The poor withered herbs that I gathered 
on my previous excursions used on my return to be more 
crumpled still from the fiery heat of the sun beating on 
the vasculum, and sorry specimens they have made, though 
invariably put into paper immediately on my return. 

No time was left for geologising, though the relation of 
the limestone and the volcanic rocks was an inviting problem. 
But the whole scene left a deep impression, and the Journal 
records : 

Man always looks back with pleasure to such spots as 
this, where disinterested kindness has been shown him ; 
when to this is added a new country and the charms of a 
scenery half tropical and half what is dearer still to me 
Scottish, both as to scenery and general features of a scanty 


vegetation, his happiness to whom the works of Nature 
have charms, is, for the time, complete. 

Three more Oceanic islands were visited before the Cape, 
the unusual course west to St. Paul's Eocks, then south to 
Trinidad off the Brazilian coast, then east to St. Helena, 
being followed in order to fix certain magnetic determinants. 

On the eight or ten detached rocks of St. Paul, some sixty 
feet high, ' a wretched cluster about as big as all the houses in 
the Crescent put together/ Hooker did not set foot. Landing 
in the tremendous surf was so dangerous that Captain Koss 
gave up the second visit, on which he had intended to take 
Hooker. Botanically, however, this was little loss. Not even 
a lichen grew on the rocks, and his shipmates brought him 
back specimens of the only seaweed which grew there, serving 
to make a rude rest for the Noddy, interwoven with a few 

Trinidad was a shade less inhospitable, its valleys possessing 
a little vegetation. Among its mountain crags 

we easily pictured to ourselves the figures of gigantic Turks, 
bishops, &c., on the summits : there was no wood but a 
very remarkable tree on the top of the highest hills (2000 
feet ?) it struck me that it was a tree fern. All over the 
coast there are remains of barked white trees lying on their 
sides, but no live ones. They lay in different directions, 
and except the introduction of goats has, by eating up all 
the young trees and leaving the old ones to perish, destroyed 
the vegetation, as was the case at St. Helena (see Darwin), 
I am at a loss to conceive how they have so universally 

The one accessible beach on the lee side, where a landing was 
effected in the morning, was stony and barren and hemmed in 
by precipices ; in the afternoon the surf on the windward 
side seemed hopeless. However : 

When about to give up the attempt one of the 

party espied a small cove to the N. of the Nine Pin rock, 

and there we landed with great difficulty. A narrow plat- 

, form of rock afforded us a footing. When within 100 yards 


of the shore, a grapnel was dropped and the boat was 
then backed to the rocks, a bowman carefully paying out 
the rope ; then taking advantage of a lull another sea- 
man with a lead line jumped ashore and made it fast ; a 
third was stationed at this line in the boat, then, as the 
surf rose, the grapnel line was held tight and the lead line 
paid out, thus preventing the boat from being cast ashore ; 
when the reflux came the contrary was done. In the 
intervals we jumped ashore and the instruments were 
handed out after us. To gain the beach from this we 
had to walk along a ledge of rock up to our middles in 
water, carrying the instruments by turns, both men and 
officers. . . . 

After ascending about 600 feet of a shelving debris we 
found ourselves at the foot of a continuous precipice, that 
shut us in completely. The rocks were in most places 
perpendicular and smooth, without a sign of vegetation 
but a few lichens ; in other places the rocks were broken 
up into quadrangular blocks, which when moved came 
tumbling down and bringing others with them, which con- 
tinued their course till they reached the Captain's instru- 
ments on the beach where he was conducting his [magnetic] 
experiments. These were materially affected by the iron in 
the rocks. 

As bearing on the problem of distribution, the population 
of this lonely island is carefully noted. Besides the sea-birds, 
Noddy and Tern, whose eggs were sought by the Grapsus 
crab, ' of insects I saw a Hemerobius, a small fly, cockroaches 
from the wreck of a vessel, common house-fly, and some 
spiders.' The land crab was as much in evidence then as to 
more recent visitors to the island ' a very short, strong, 
thick-set animal,' with * an enormous mouth and large savage 
black eyes. When threatened he takes up his post under a 
stone, and commences opening his claws, and putting them 
to his mouth in a menacing attitude, evidently expressing a 
'desire to eat you, opening his formidable mandibles at the 
same time.' 

Arrival at St. Helena was the more welcome because of 
the slowness of the voyage. 


The Terror has been a sad drawback to us, having every 
now and then to shorten sail for her. I cannot tell you how 
delighted we were to get here (St. Helena), having been 
upon salt Junk for 74 days, with hard biscuit for vege- 
tables. . . . The weather has been during the voyage very 
fine indeed, though very hot at times, so much so that 
sleeping upon deck is quite delightful. . . . 

St. Helena as a colonised island was very different from 
the others. Appealed to as a fount of botanical culture he 
pokes fun at himself as a practical gardener. Strawberries 
and similar European plants refused to fruit in the absence of 
a regular summer and winter season. He suggested on theo- 
retical grounds two alternative methods of checking their ' run- 
ning to leaf ' ; ' between these two methods I hope I have 
hit a gardener's plan, or what will look like one ; if the more 
orthodox plan succeeds my suggestion will, I hope, be looked 
upon as the invention of a fertile brain instead of the 
guess of an ignoramus.* 

But * the plant that pleased him more than any other ' 
was a fine Araucaria (monkey puzzle). Few specimens then 
existed in Britain, and this, as a new species from Brazil, 
is described in full detail. The fruit, it was asserted, never 
ripened ; but his keen eye noted several seedlings which the 
owner of the garden had never observed. He has a boyish 
delight in climbing the spiny tree and knocking off some cones, 
because travellers declared the tree unscalable, and at sea he 
writes, ' even now I look at the cones slung up in my cabin by 
a true lover's knot with great satisfaction.' 

, But here also he is confronted by his favourite problems of 
geographical distribution, of the interaction of imported animals 
and plants on the old flora. The climate differs on the wet 
side of Diana's Peak ; so do the plants. He perceives a striking 
phase of what was afterwards to be called the ' struggle for 
existence ' bluntly revealed in the action of animals on plants, 
plants on each other, and plants again on animals, owing to 
the introduction of new forms of life into the island. 

So, he writes in his Journal from his passing notes time 
forbidding fuller observations : 


At that particular elevation (about 700 feet, 1000 feet 
being the average elevation of the interior of the island) 
there is hardly a trace of the original plants in the soil, they 
having been completely destroyed by tne introduction of 
pigs and goats into the Island, which eat up all the young 
trees, leaving the old ones, which are invariably succulent 
Compositae, to perish, or else tearing off their bark which 
is soft and loose. In addition, the soil and climate is so well 
adapted to the growth of forest trees, which when once they 
have formed a shelter sow themselves, that there remains 
no opportunity for the native trees to recover the soil, which 
is now dry and not adapted to their habits, the rich vegetable 
mould which they formed being swept by torrents into the 
valleys subsequent to their destruction. On the northern 
slope of Diana's Peak I have seen a broad belting of trees 
put a stop to the descent of the Cabbage trees (a name given 
to the six or eight species of native arborescent compositae) 
which cannot exist along with any other vegetation that 
overtops them, nor can they grow singly. Another tree 
is said to be completely extirpated the Ebony. Large 
masses of the wood are still found in some of the valleys, 
though I was unable to procure any specimens. 

Though the introduced trees have adapted themselves 
to this soil and climate, the Animal Kingdom and other 
indigenous vegetation are not to be found under their shelter. 
The insects and birds which I observed among the native 
trees were not to be found in these plantations ; of the 
birds in particular I observed this. It is also the case with 
the Lichens and Insects, two species of Usnea and another 
Lichen being found on the firs and oaks only, whilst only 
one species of plant, Rubus pinnatus (an indigenous species), 
grows indifferently on open banks and in the wood never 
in native wood. 

Longwood, with its associations of fallen grandeur, was 
less to him than the wonders of nature ; nevertheless, he 
writes in his Journal on February 6 : 

So very much is talked about Napoleon's tomb, that 

though I felt very little interest in seeing it, I was deter- 

[ mined to be no more called a Goth, which name I had 

earned from my previous indifference, and to go to this 


more hackneyed spot than Eichmond or Kensington 

His fears were justified when he reached the tomb. 

It is situated at the head of this valley, guarded by a 
sentinel who duns you about the mighty dead, and gives you 
water that the Emperor drank ; on turning your heel upon 
him, numerous children assail you with flowers, Geraniums, 
that the Emperor was fond of. On turning into a .pretty 
cottage to get some ale at 25. a bottle, the cork was no 
sooner drawn than out came the Emperor with it ; it was 
the Emperor this, that, and the other thing ; our hostess's 
daughter came in with the Emperor on her lips ; his ubiquity 
certainly astonished me. As a last resource I commenced 
gathering Lichens ; surely the hero of Marengo could have 
nothing to do with Lichens on a stone wall, when another 
disinterested stranger came to inform me that the Emperor 
had from it marked out the position of his tomb, and that 
the Emperor was fond of the wild plants I had in my hand. 
I fairly took to my heels, heartily wishing that for my own 
sake as well as for the good cause of humanity, the Emperor 
had had his wish of living and dying in some remote corner 
of Britain. 

The Cape was reached on March 17, and left on April 6, 
1840. There is little to note during this brief stay. Hooker's 
impressions of the Cape date from his second and longer visit. 
This time he collected, as has been said, some 300 species of 
Cape plants to study on the voyage. A long five weeks of 
sailing brought the ships to Kerguelen's Land, where Eoss's 
prolonged magnetic observations kept them from May 12 
to July 20. 

Though this lodestone of Hooker's childish imaginations 
deserved all too well its other name of Desolation Island, 
its fascination for him was reinforced, as we have seen, by a 
still stronger spell, the charm of discoveries leading on to 
luminous generalisations. The letter to his father from 
Hobart (August 16, 1840) describing the place deserves fairly 
full quotation. 1 

1 The passages enclosed in square brackets are from the Journal. 


We proceeded to Kerguelen's Land, and after twice 
being blown off in a gale we at last, on May 12, anchored 
in Christmas Harbour. During the passage there were 
few sea-animals, so I studied Cape plants with Harvey, 
Endlicher, 1 and De Candolle. 2 

From a distance the Island looks like terraces of black 
rocks ; on which the snow lies, causing it to look striped 
in horizontal bands. On the melting of the snow, the flats 
appear covered with green grass and the hills with brown 
and yellow tufts of vegetation. The shores are almost 
everywhere bounded by high, steep precipices, some of 
frightful height, above which the land rises in ledges to the 
tops of the hills. The varied colour in the vegetation gave 
me hopes that the country might be rich in mosses, &c. 
[nor could anything the ingenious Mr. Anderson in ' Cook's 
Voyages ' said persuade me to the contrary. . . . Surely, 
I thought, this cannot be such a land of desolation as Cook 
has painted it, containing only eighteen species of plants]. 

Christmas Harbour is well described and figured by 
Cook, indeed the accuracy with which he made a running 
survey of the coast is quite marvellous, and shows how 
talented a man he was. I cannot say so much of his 
Surgeon and Botanist, ' The ingenious Mr. Anderson/ as 
our copy calls him. Had Cook been here in winter he would 
have found it a different place to lie in from what it is in 
summer ; the winds blow into it from the N. W. with the most 
incredible fury, preventing sometimes for days any inter- 
course with the shore. We have the chain cables of a 28 
gun-ship, and yet we drove with 3 anchors and 150 fathoms 
of chain on the best-bower, 60 on the small, and a third 
anchor under foot, the Sheet. Such a thing was never heard 
of before ! 

1 Stephen Ladislas Endlicher (1804-49), a Hungarian, Professor of Botany 
in Vienna from 1840, and author of a Genera Plantarum. 

2 Augustin Pyrame De Candolle (1778-1841), a Genevese whose most 
important work was done in France between 1796 and 1816, when he returned 
to Geneva. He used his immense knowledge of botany to become the leading 
systematist of his period. (For the adoption of his system by Bentham and 
Hooker in the Gen. PL, see ii. 19 seq., 22, 415. ) Beginning to work out his great 
system on.too large a scale (1818-21) he continued it in the more manageable 
Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetdbilis, in seventeen volumes, 1824-73, 
ten of which were the work of his son and successor, Alphonse. The latter, like 
Hooker, was strongly interested in distribution and economic botany, writing 
a Geographic Botanique in 1855 and Origine des Pktntes Cultivees in 1883. 


During our stay I devoted all my time to collect every- 
thing in the botanical way, and I hope you will not be dis- 
appointed with the fruits of my poor exertions. You say 
you hope I shall double the Flora and I have done so. 1 I 
was much surprised at finding the plants in a good state of 
flower and fruit (all but two). 

My time was my own to leave the ship when I liked, for 
the Captain took off all restrictions to my going where I 
liked. My rambles were generally solitary, through the 
wildest country I ever saw. The hill tops are always covered 
with snow and frost, and many of my best little -Lktonsi were 
gathered by hammering out the tufts or sitting on : them till 
they thawed. The days were so short arid tl>e;coaiit),y,ao 
high, snowy, and bad that I never could ' get iar- from the 
harbour, though I several times tried by starting before light. 
As far as I went the vegetation did not differ from that of 
the bays. .' . . 

I went several boating excursions in the neighbourhood, 
and in one was dismasted and nearly swamped. So Captain 
Boss would send no more, and I am promised to be of a longer 
and better party on the next opportunity. Two Lycopodia, 
one splendid one, and a Fern were all Mr. McCormick added 
to my collection. He brought numerous splendid quartz 
crystals and zeolites, &c., together with lots of coal and fossil 
wood. The latter we had long before found, and I first 
detected it lying in immense trunks in the solid basaltic 
rock ; its existence here is wonderful in the extreme ; I 
have plenty of specimens. 

[In the absence of trees, the coloured patches of Lichens 
on the hillsides, the heaving belt of seaweed girdling the 
shores, took the place of forest green or autumnal tints.] 

The Lichens appear here to form a greater comparative 
portion of the vegetable world than in any other portion of 
the globe, especially when it is considered that from the want 
of large trees there can be no parasitical species. The rocks 
from the water's edge to the summit of the hills are appar- 
ently painted with them, their fronds adhering so closely to 
the stone that they are with difficulty detached ; in other 

1 Sir William had written : ' I wish I could have a day's botanising with 
you in Kerguelen's Land. I think we could at least double the Flora. Look 
well to the Cryptogamia and see how far south the Algae extend and what are 
the species.' 



cases they seem to form part of the rock which, from its exces- 
sive toughness and hardness, almost defies any attempt to 
procure specimens that can be satisfactory. But it is at the 
tops of the hills that they assume the appearance of a minia- 
ture forest on the flat rocks, and nothing can be prettier than 
the large species with broad black apothecia that covers all 
the stones at an elevation of from 1000-1500 feet. A smaller 
species like a little oak-tree grows in spreading tufts also 
upon stones, and is of a delicate lilac color. Near the sea 
they are generally more coriaceous, especially a yellow one 
that then- .forms bright yellow patches on the cliffs. In the 
ca'ves, also near the sea, a light red one is so abundant as to 
tinge 'such situations with that color, and many other dpecies 
inhabit the rocks and their crevices. 

Seaweeds are in immense profusion, especially two large 
species, the Macrocystis pyrifera 1 and the Laminaria radiata?; 
the former of these forms a broad green belt to the whole 
Island (as far as seen) of 8-20 yds. across within 20 feet or 
so from the shore. Here its branches are so entangled that 
it is sometimes impossible to pull a boat through it, and 
should any accident occur outside of it, its presence would 
prove an insurmountable obstacle to the best swimmers 
reaching land. On the beach the effect of the surf beating 
it up and down is very pretty, but not so striking as the view 
from a little elevation, of a bay, with this olive green band 
running round it. The sea birds, etc., when on the water, 
always fly over or dive under to reappear on its other side. 
The Laminaria hangs down from every rock within reach of 
the tide, perpetually in motion from the lashing of the surf, 
and yet from its shininess and strength always unhurt. I 
think I may safely affirm that no other species in the vegetable 
kingdom has so secure a rooting as this seaweed has on the 
bare rock. I have often sat upon the cliff overhanging the 
sea at the N.W. bay during a gale of wind, and watched the 
surf break with terrific violence on the rocks, which are often 
themselves detached and alternately brought backwards and 
forwards by the swell and reflux with a deafening roar ; 
still the coriaceous fronds of this weed are with impunity 

1 This ' is the only strictly Antarctic plant of the island, which floats alive 
in the water and increases there like the Sargasso weed : hundreds of miles 
from any land 64 South is the highest latitude in which I have seen it.' (To 
Bentham, April 27, 1842.) 


washed backwards and forwards, then form attachments 
defying the power of the sea. . . . [The only use in Nature 
I can assign to it is the shelter it affords to a species of Patella 
from the attacks of the gulls, which prowl about during low 
water and secure as their prey any other unfortunate shell- 
fish which is exposed. The weight of the fronds of the 
Law-warm hanging down over the dry rocks forms an in- 
surmountable obstacle to the birds.} 

The birds, unused to man, were devoid of fear. In the 
shallow bay next to the Arch Point, were myriads of the 
beautiful Sheathbill as the sailors called it (a Chionis), so 
tame that it allows you to come quite close to it. It was 
something like a pigeon, black legs (not webbed), beak and 
eyes ; it ran with great agility among the rocks [like ptar- 
migan, helping itself by the first joint of the wings, which is 
provided with two callous extremities admirably adapted for 
this purpose] and came close to examine me ; its plumage is 
of a spotless white, with a slight pink tinge on the primaries 
of the wings ; the bill was a sheath common to the^two 
nostrils. On one occasion I thoughtfully sat down on a stone 
and commenced whistling a tune when, on turning my head, 
I found I had unwittingly been performing an Orpheus's 
part, for upwards of twenty of these beautiful birds had 
gathered about me, and were gradually approaching, declin- 
ing their heads and narrowly watching my motions, and 
would even perch on my foot, rocking their heads on one side 
in the most interesting manner. Among them were some 
penguins, peering over the rocks ... so tame that they 
allowed me to take them by the beaks. 

Among the stones were feathers in amazing quantities 

many skeletons, especially Penquins', which are, I suspect, 
destroyed by a very large gull, whose bill is like that of a 
hawk, and its webbed feet terminated by hooked claws of 
great strength. The penguins' food is, I suspect, fish, at least 
the stomach of a common one was full of such matter ; and 
the white birds are omnivorous, eating flesh, seaweeds, and 
insects. One that we kept on board used to run about the 
decks after the sailors, and at their dinner used to help itself 
from their dishes, eating meat boiled or raw, raisins, rice, 


salt meat, and would drink water, limejuice, and grog ! Its 
tameness and gentleness rendered it a general favourite, but 
its spotless plumage soon turned gray, and then black. 

So too the common Jack penguins were easily tamed. 

At first we had about a dozen on board, running wild 
over the decks following a leader ; they cannot climb over 
any obstacle two or three inches high, so we thought them 
safe, until one day, the leader finding the hawse hole empty, 
immediately made his exit, and was followed by the rest, 
each giving a valedictory croak as he made his escape. 

[As food, the sheathbills] are tolerable eating, rather 
tough though, and they have a rank flavour and smell when 
newly killed, and require soaking before cooking, when they 
eat well in pies and mulligatawny. 

[The penguins'] flesh is black and very rich, and was much 
relished at first for stews, pies, curries, etc. ; after a day or 
two we found it too rich, with a disagreeable flavour, whence 
partly from prejudice I believe', they were dropped, except in 
the shape of soup, which is certainly the richest I ever ate, 
much more so than hare soup, which it much resembles. 

Certain annotations in the presentation copy of Boss's 
Voyage deserve passing mention. They unmask two pieces 
of unconscious humour on the part of Dr. McCormick, one a 
mistake, the other the fruit of a well-laid practical joke. In 
the scientific appendices, McCormick (II. 409) describes the 
Kiwi or Apteryx, that wingless bird, as seeking ' larvae and 
seeds of a rush (Astelia Banksii), its favourite food.' On the 
margin is pencilled ' grows on high trees only.' And on p. 414 
he describes the nest of the albatross, which ' only lays one egg. 
In one instance only I found two eggs in the same nest (both 
of the full size, and one of them unusually elongated in its 
longest diameter), although I must have examined at least 
a hundred nests.' Indeed a puzzle, anxiously detailed ; but 
we smile at the accusing pencil, ' placed there by Oakeley,' 
the mate of the Erebus. 



FROM August 16 to November 12 they stayed at Tasmania. 
The dominant person in the island was the Governor, Sir John 
Franklin, 1 who, seconded by Lady Franklin, gave all aid and 
welcome with the enthusiasm of an old Arctic explorer, indeed 
volunteering to take a share himself in the long term day 
observations, which reminded him, he declared, of old times 
in the North. 2 Nor, later, did he forget Hooker. Lieutenant 

1 Sir John Franklin (1786-1847). Though he fought at Copenhagen and 
Trafalgar, it was as an explorer that Franklin won chief distinction and became 
the friend of the elder Hooker. From 1800 he had spent three years with 
Flinders in the Investigator surveying the coasts of Australia. In 1818 he first 
joined in the search for the North-West Passage, for the discovery of which 
he ultimately paid with his life. Sailing eastwards from Spitsbergen, the 
expedition had to turn back ; but Franklin, commanding the Trent, under 
Buchan in the Dorothea, revealed himself as a great commander and a scientific 
investigator and was elected F.R.S. in 1822. In 1819-23 he led an exploring 
party along the Saskatchewan and the Coppermine rivers and eastward along 
the coast ; in 1825-7 he descended the Mackenzie river and followed the 
coast west, trying to meet Beechey, who was pushing east from ^ehring Strait. 
From 1837-43 he was Lieutenant-Go vernor of Tasmania, where, as will be 
seen, he welcomed Joseph Hooker ; in 1845 he set out on his last voyage in 
the Erebus and Terror, Ross's ships in the Antarctic, accompanied by Ross's 
second in command, Captain Crozier, and was heard of no more. Bet\veen 
1847 and 1857 no less than thirty-nine search-parties were sent out from 
England and America. Piece by piece the mystery was solved. Franklin 
was one of those who died while the ships were hopelessly beset by ice for 
eighteen months ; Captain Crozier and the rest, 105 in number, perished 
as they tried to march homewards. 

2 Ross's ' devotion to his beloved pendulum ' was the dominant note. In 
the primitive room whose floor was Mother Earth, for lack of timber, ' the 
officers relieve one another in regular watches, and I never met with such 
devotees to science. You would be delighted to see Captain R.'s little hammock 
swinging close to his darling Pendulum, and a large hole in his thin partition, 
that he may see it at any moment, and Captain Crozier 's hammock is close 
alongside of it.' 




Dayman, who was left in charge of the magnetic observatory, 
writes, ' Sir J. Franklin expressed his regret that he had not 
seen more of you while you were here.' Others had occupied 
his attention. 

Lady Franklin had established a Natural History Society, 
or rather Soirees, that met every fortnight, on Monday evenings 
at Government House, and Hooker was elected an honorary 
member. Lady Franklin herself was, it seems, somewhat 
imperious, and to the young man incomprehensible in her 
autocratic ways. Hence he writes (November 9, 1840) : 

Lady Franklin . . . would like to show me every kind- 
ness, but does not understand how, and I hate dancing 
attendance at Government House. I have dined there five 
or six times. . . . She very kindly invited me to go to Port 
Arthur in their yacht, to botanise ; we were three days 
away, two of them at sea, and the third, a Sunday, it 
rained furiously. I got about 500 specimens on Monday, 
and a few after service on Sunday, though Lady F. did not 
like it, and very properly, but I thought it excusable as 
being my only chance of gathering Anopterus glandulosus. 
Do not think this is my habit. Captain Koss is too strict, 
were there no other reasons. 

His own disinclination to spend his time in meaningless 
amusements can be gathered from letters of the period. Herein 
he was fortified by a letter from his Glasgow friend, the botanist 
Arnott, who warns him to collect, not to dance or amuse him- 
self : ' H.M. does not pay for this.' He quotes the example 
of Lacy and Collie, who were not employed to play the fiddle 
on Beechey's voyage, yet that seemed the principal part of 
their occupation ! 

His main concern from April to July 1841 was botanising 
work that afterwards bore fruit in his ' Flora of Tasmania.' He 
has an eye, however, for human affairs. Among the trees 
charred by the natives' bush-fires from ancient times, he 
marks some few hollowed out by fire to form their houses : 
a meagre record of the thousands of native Tasmanians, for 
of them all ' only three remain, all males, and they consist of an 
old and a middle-aged man and child. They are very savage, 

TASMANIA IN 1840 107 

but seldom seen only once lately, and then near the lakes 
in the interior/ 

As to the better society in Tasmania, the last of the Convict 
settlements and acquainted with bushrangers, it ' is perfectly 
English/ a commendation bestowed on the most comfortable 
houses he enters in any Colony, and 

there is a marked line drawn between the children of 
convicts or ex-convicts and those of honester, even if less 
capable, folk. Wealth is accumulating fast : and the banks 
allow 10 per cent, on deposits. 

Literature, however, is at a low ebb, and except a few 
English families, there are none who take the better 
periodicals, or would comprehend them if they did. 

There are lots of splendid Pianos and Harps, and few 
who can use them. Three hundred copies of Gould's most 
extravagant book * are purchased by these colonists, solely 
for the pleasure of seeing the show of it on- their tables. 

Looking back after a couple of months' absence he exclaims, 
' altogether Van Diemen's Land was quite a home to us and a 
most attractive place/ His remembrance is of his personal 
entertainers, and the best is of those who could provide him 
with the music he loved : 

There is really so much good society, wealth, and splen- 
dour in the private houses : music is much cultivated, and 
all the new operas, &c., are procured as soon as published. 
Many of those pretty Strauss Waltzes you used to play I have 
heard here. At Government House there is always excellent 
music, and the military band is one of the best in the lines. 

So little had he gone into society at Hobart that on the eve 
of departure he winds up : 

You would hardly believe it, but Mr. and Mrs. Gunn 2 are 

1 Either the Synopsis of the Birds of Australia and the Adjacent Islands, 
1837-8, 72 plates, or the first of the seven folio volumes of The Birds of Australia, 
1840-8, 601 plates. 

2 Ronald Campbell Gunn (1808-81) emigrated to Tasmania in 1839, becoming 
superintendent of convict prisons and a police magistrate. A keen naturalist, 
he opened a correspondence with Sir W. Hooker and Lindley, exchanging 
plants for books and scientific apparatus, and sending zoological collections to 
J. E. Gray at the British Museum. [The D.N.B. wrongly names him Robert.] 


the only persons I have had to take leave of in Hobart Town. 
Except the officers of the 51st I know no other persons 
here, and they appreciate me much more than if I had been 
gay, they are a set of excellent fellows, the best regiment 
I ever saw. 

In the same letter comes a reference to one Jorgen Jorgen- 
sen, about whom Sir William had bidden him make enquiry. 
Jorgensen's special connection with the Hookers began with the 
fact that on the way back from a famous journey to Iceland, 
an account of which is given later, he had saved Sir William 
from perishing on a burning ship. 

Jorgen Jorgensen had nearly slipped my mind. I have 
seen him once or twice, but he is quite incorrigible ; his 
drunken wife has died and left a more drunken widower ; 
he was always in that state when I saw him, and used 
to cry about you. I have consulted several persons, who 
have shown him kindness, about him, and have offered 
money and everything, but he is irreclaimable ; telling the 
truth with him is quite an effort. When once openly 
employed by his friends against some bush-rangers, he was 
at the same time betraying his employers. He wrote to 
me asking me to lend him your ' Tour in Iceland ' ; Mr. 
Gunn was luckily present and told me that he had had a 
copy lent him many months ago and still not returned. 
He lives entirely at the Tap, where he picks up a liveli- 
hood by practising as a sort of Hedge lawyer, drawing out 
petitions, etc. 

It would be unpardonable to withhold an account of this 
meteoric personage, which is to be found in Appendix A. 

All were sorry to leave Hobart Town, where, as Hooker 
tells his cousin, Mrs. Fleming (Jane Palgrave), 

we were treated with the utmost kindness by the inhabitants, 
who received us like brothers and gave us balls and parties 
innumerable ; indeed nothing could exceed the attentions 
paid to us ; they rivalled one another in loading us with 
their favours. The Governor's house was open to us, and 
he gave all the ship's company vegetables from his garden 
every day, with fruit for the officers. ... All this was, 


however, too good to last, and when the time came to leave, 
there were many bitter regrets, especially ..when we thought 
that the Yankees and French had made fine discoveries to 
the Southward a few months before, and that we were looked 
up to as about to eclipse all other nations, and that 
it remained to be proved whether we deserved their kind 
treatment or not ; this was, however, a spur to us all, 
and we sailed down the Derwent bent upon doing our 

The first voyage lasted, as has been said, from November 12, 
1840, to April 6, 1841. The three weeks from November 20 
to December 12 were spent on the Lord Auckland Islands, 
where the long term-day magnetic observations were made 
and Hooker reaped a rich botanical harvest, as also at Campbell 
Islands, December 13-17, while New Year's Day brought the 
first sight of the ice. This time they got through the pack ice, 
a stretch of 200 miles, in four days, more fortunate than in the 
next season further to the east, when the pack stretched 800 
miles and held them forty-seven days. As a rule, the great 
expanse of ice quieted the waves, and Hooker welcomed 
these periods of comparative calm for his microscopic work 
or drawing ; but a hurricane in the pack, hurling the masses 
of ice about like huge missiles, such as lasted for three days 
on the second voyage, smashed bowsprits and rudders and 
would have sent any other ships to the bottom. The weather 
was nearly always bad ; the reader of Boss's voyage counts 
eleven storms punctuating the incessant chronicle of thick 
weather, fog, snow squalls, high winds and seas, after two 
months of which February 18 brings the grateful record of 
the first night on which stars were visible. 

Of this journey he writes to his father after returning to 
Tasmania, on April 8, and August 24, 1841. 

Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land : April 8, 1841. 

MY DEAR FATHER, Yesterday at 4 P.M. we anchored 
at our old station opposite the Paddock, and accordingly 
I hasten to have this letter ready to send you by the first 
opportunity, which will be in a few days. We have indeed 
had a most glorious and successful cruise to the southward, 


and seen many wonders hitherto quite unexpected, though 
it has been very unprolific. We reached 78 3' S. Latitude 
and approached as near to the S. Magnetic Pole as was 
possible, within 150 miles, having laid down its position 
with perfect accuracy from observations made to the N.W. 
and S.W. of its position. We have run along and roughly 
surveyed an enormous tract of land extending from 72 
to 79 S. Latitude ; every part of it further south than 
any hitherto discovered land, and our progress was finally 
arrested by a stupendous barrier of ice running 300 miles 
E. and W. I shall, however, give you a list of our positions 
every day at noon since leaving V.D. Land, last, that Maria 
may lay it down in your S. Polar chart and I shall add a 
small chart of the coast we have seen. (P.S. I have too much 
to say to leave room.) 

And now as regards the object of the expedition, it is 
certainly a failure, our intention having been to have made 
observations on the actual site of the S. Magnetic Pole, and 
also to have wintered within the Antarctic Circle, that we 
might have made a series of experiments with such instru- 
ments as must be used on land from the first object we 
were deterred by the Pole's lying inland, among a stupendous 
range of mountains covered from their tops to the sea beach 
with everlasting snow and ice. Nor can we anywhere 
approach the mainland as the sea is covered with streams 
of ice and sometimes extending in one continued line for 
many miles. In approaching such a coast the danger 
arises from the chances of a shift of wind, or a gale which 
would prevent our working off, when all the ice would set 
down on us and jam us ; or, what is quite as bad, we might 
be becalmed and frozen in, for the sun here has no power 
to melt the ice even in the height of summer ; wintering 
in such a Latitude Captain Eoss pronounced as totally 
impracticable, as we should be frozen in, and only get out 
when a current should take the pack, which would imbed 
us, north, and melt it in warmer water. 1 

1 As he further explains to his father (Nov. 25, 1842) who had been told 
by the Admiralty that they were then to winter in the ice, perhaps in order 
to keep some term days in the South Shetlands : ' We cannot remain in the 
pack except under sail, for the S.W. wind would gradually blow us out of it, 
. . . and it is idle to suppose that an accessible harbour could be found where 
the ice and snow are perennial. There is no great winter cold to shut us in 
safely, in a few days, or summer's heat to thaw it.' 


All the polar voyagers were astonished beyond measure 
at the stupendous masses of ice, and their singularly regular 
figure ; they are all square or oblong squares generally about 
60 to 100 feet out of the water, and of course seven times 
that below, its J being always under water, they are all 
formed along the coast and drifted north from it, 84 have 
at one time been counted from the mast head, of all sizes, 
from J mile .to 6 miles long ; this was in about 70 South. 
The whole of the land surveyed from 72 to 79 presented 
the appearance of range upon range of peaked mountains, 
covered everywhere with snow, except where the precipices 
were too perpendicular for it to lie, and these are exposed 
to constant disintegration from the masses of snow rolling 
from above down their faces, and sweeping huge masses on 
to the Icebergs below, which when they are removed from 
the coast by a gale, transport these erratic boulders. All 
the coast of one of the Islands we landed on, is lined with 
masses of ice covered more or less with sand, stones and 
rocks. In such situations it is impossible for plants to grow, 
and I add that during the whole time that we were within 
the Circle, the Thermometer never rose above 82 and very 
rarely so high, you will not be surprised at this ; on board 
the ship its average range was 18-24, never lower than 
12, of course ashore it must be much colder. The sun is 
very powerless here ; at 75 North the sun in summer raises 
the mercury in a black bulb Therm, to 100 and upwards, 
but here only to 42. The sea is equally unproductive, 
its temperature 29, and 28 is the freezing point of sea 
water. When near the shore, I have always been looking 
for some trace of vegetation in the sea, but now I am perfectly 
convinced that in this longitude vegetation does not enter 
the Circle. Emerald Island, off which we passed some 
seaweed, is probably the Southern limit. 

The success of the Expedition in Geographical discovery 
is really wonderful, and only shows what a little perseverance 
will do, for we have been in no dangerous predicaments, 
and have suffered no hardships whatever ; there has been 
a sort of freemasonry among Polar voyagers to keep up the 
credit they have acquired as having done wonders, and 
accordingly, such of us as were new to the Ice, made up our 
minds for frost bites, and attached a most undue importance 


to the simple operation of boring packs, &c., which have 
now vanished, though I am not going to tell everybody 
so ; I do not here refer to travellers who do indeed undergo 
unheard of hardships, but to voyagers who have a snug ship, 
a little knowledge of the Ice, and due caution is all that is 
required. At one time we thought we were really going 
on to the true South Pole, when we were brought up by the 
land turning from S. to E., where there was a fine Volcano 
spouting fire and smoke in 79 S., covered all over with 
eternal snow, except just round the crater where the heat 
had melted it off. I can give you no idea of the glorious 
views we have here, they are stupendous and imposing, 
especially when there was any fine weather, with the sun 
never setting, among huge bergs, the water and sky both as 
blue, or rather more intensely blue than I have ever seen 
it in the Tropics, and all the coast one mass of beautiful 
peaks of snow, and when the sun gets low they reflect the 
most brilliant tints of gold and yellow and scarlet, and 
then to see the dark cloud of smoke tinged with flame rising 
from the Volcano in one column, one side jet black and the 
other reflecting the colors of the sun, turning off at a right 
angle by some current of wind and extending many miles 
to leeward ; it is a sight far exceeding anything I could 
imagine and which is very much heightened by the idea that 
we have penetrated far farther than was once thought 
practicable, and there is a sort of awe that steals over us 
all in considering our own total insignificance and helpless- 
ness. Everything beyond what we see is enveloped in a 
mystery reserved for future voyagers to fathom. 

But you are all this time wondering what are the fruits 
of this Expedition to me especially. During our stay at 
Lord Auckland's group I made a collection of plants with 
which I hope you will be pleased, among them were two tree 
ferns, and many new species. I have accompanied them 
with as full notes as I could, especially relating to geographical 
position ; there are some most remarkable new genera, and 
I think a new Nat. Ord. among them. . . . 

All my time when we have had fine weather to the 
S. has been taken up in examining them, and I fully 
think that Mr. Brown will be much pleased with the notes 
and drawings, which are numerous ; they must, however, 


be judged very leniently. I have endeavoured to be care- 
ful, and when the motion of the ship is such that my things 
have to be lashed to the table and I have to balance myself 
to examine anything under the microscope I fear many 
errors have crept in. ... 

To Us Father 

August 24, 1841. 

Much do I wish that I had opportunity to devote myself 
entirely to collecting plants and studying them, but I want 
you to know how I am situated, that we are comparatively 
seldom off the sea, and then in the most unpropitious seasons 
for travelling or collecting. This is my main reason for 
devoting my time to the Crustaceae, &c., a study to which 
I am not attached, and which I have no intention of sticking 
to. My other reasons are that there is no one else to study 
what there will be no other opportunity in all probability 
of seeing alive, and the ready use of the pencil is indispensable 
to the subject. Again, the discoveries we have hitherto 
made are not only beautiful but most wonderful, curious 
and novel. The collection is almost all of my own making 
and Capt. Boss's (altogether indeed). No other vessel or 
collector can ever enjoy the opportunities of constant 
sounding and dredging and the use of the Towiag-net that 
we do, nor is it probable that any future collector will have 
a Captain so devoted to the cause of Marine zoology, and 
so constantly on the alert to snatch the most trifling oppor- 
tunities of adding to the collection, and lastly, it is my 
only means of improving the expedition much to my own 
advantage (as far as fame goes) or to the public, for whom 
I am bound to use my best endeavours. I again repeat 
that I have no intention of prosecuting the study further 
than I think myself in duty bound. In harbour I only 
collect them with Seaweeds, and never draw or do anything 
but stow them away ; and as for [when I am] at sea, I hope 
the notes and drawings I sent home will show that I do not 
neglect Botany, nay, that I have spent as much time, as 
the heavy seas and bad weather of 70 S., would allow me 
to plants and mosses. All this renders me most anxious 
to see the termination of the voyage, -J. or I have no wish but 
to continue at Plants. Not that I am anything but extremely 


comfortable here both in my mess, the cabin and the ship. 
My only regret is that the necessarily altered course and 
prospects of the voyage stand so much in the way of Botany. 
The utter desolation of 70 South could never have been 
expected, and Capt. Koss as fully expected to winter, and 
collect plants in spring and leave the ice for good and all 
as I did, as also that we should be able anywhere to land 
and collect as in the North. It cannot be helped now, we 
must again return to the Southward, and I shall be again 
employed alternately collecting sea animals, examining 
plants and sketching coast views. I shall, however, never 
regret having gone the voyage, for I doubt not we shall enjoy 
the thanks and praise of our countrymen for what we have 
done. No pains has been spared to render the voyage 
serviceable, we have done our best, and Capt. Boss's 
perseverance has been put to the most severe test in pene- 
trating as far as he has, and for my own part I am willing 
to work night and day, as I have done, to make accurate 
sketches of the products of our labors. To me it will be 
always a satisfaction to know that I have done according 
to my poor abilities, and if I cannot please Botanists I am 
not therefore to be idle when I may do some good to zoology. 
Could I with honor leave the expedition here, I would at 
once and send home my plants for sale as I collected them, 
but now my hope and earnest wish is to be able on my 
return home to devote my time solely to Botany and to 
that end the sooner we get back the better for me. My 
habits are not expensive, but should I not be able to live 
at home with you, I would have no objection to follow 
Gardner's x steps and gain an honorable livelihood by the 
sale of specimens. 

It is well worth setting down another and quite unlooked 
for impression of these scenes, for some of the most curiously 

1 George Gardner (1812-49) was a Glasgow man who studied under Sir 
W. J. Hooker. His botanical journey to Brazil in 1836 was made possible 
through Sir William, who helped him to secure a number of subscribers, 
including the Duke of Bedford, for the plants he might collect. He returned 
in 1841 with a vast collection, an enumeration of which he published, as well 
as accounts of new species, and a paper on the connection of Climate and 
Vegetation. His full account of his travels appeared in 1846. In 1844 he 
was appointed Superintendent of the Ceylon Botanical Garden, where his active 
career was cut short by apoplexy, March 10, 1849. The vacant post was 
offered to Hooker, but refused by him. 


effective descriptions of moving incidents come from simple, 
unlettered souls. They do not reflect upon the nice choice of 
words. The occasion makes the artist. They feel strongly 
if they feel at all, and their feeling bursts out in the first natural 
expressions of a forcible if limited and ungrammatical voca- 
bulary. Such an * inglorious Milton ' was the blacksmith of 
the Erebus, a lively Irishman named Cornelius Sullivan. He 
first wrote down an account of their joint adventures on the 
second voyage from the dictation of his friend, James Savage, 
a seaman who had joined the ship at Tasmania. But this half 
story was obviously inadequate. He was moved to add the 
wonders of the first voyage. 

My friend James [his exordium runs], before i begin to 
give you anything Like a correct acct. of our dangers and 
discoveries, it is but justice to this My first voyage to the 
South, to give you an acct. of our Discoveries, before you 
joined the Expedition this is the most Sublime but not 
the most dangerous. 

With a sailor's eye on the weather and a poet's eye on its 
pictorial effects he tells us : 

Janry the llth at two oclock on Monday Morning, we 
discoverd Victoria Land the Morning was beautiful and 
clear, at 7 oclock in the afternoon we were under the Lee of 
the land, sounded in 250 fathoms of water not a cloud to 
be seen in the firmament, but what lingered on the mountains 
Large floating Islands of ice in all directions. Hills vallies 
and Low Land all covered with snow. The snow topd. 
mountains Majestically Eising above the Clouds. The 
pinguins Gamboling in the water the reflection of the Sun 
and the Brilliancy of the firmament Made the Bare Sight 
an interesting view. 

That night we Stood out from the land, we did not Loose 
sight of it for the Sun was high above the Horizon at mid- 
night as it would be in England on a Christmas day. 

While we were in these distant Regions we had no night 
I mean dark. 

12th Do. Captn. Boss went on Shore he took possession 
of the Land without opposition In the name of Queen 


Victoria hoisted the British Colours Gave the Boats Crew 
an allowance of Grog with three hearty cheers for Old 

The set phrase for taking possession is delightful where the 
only opposition could have come from the curious crowds of 
penguins, martial in looks but mild in behaviour, for : 

The Species of Penguins amphibious Little Creatures 
were so thick the Captn. Could not enumerate them, But the 
beach was Literally cover d. with them. 

At 12 oclock the Captain Come on Board we made all 
Sail Eunning by the Land to the Eastward Blowing very 
hard and Still Keeping out to Sea to avoid Danger. 

On the 13th we made Mount Sabrina [a poetic lapse for 
Mt. Sabine. Doubtless he had no more acquaintance with 
' Comus ' than with the learned and gallant Secretary of the 
Eoyal Society, but at all events the shipping list gave him 
the name, for the Sabrina was one of Weddell's little boats 
when he made the previous record for ' farthest South '] 
here is a Phenomena. This splendid mountain Eising 
Gradually from the Sea Shore to the Enormous height of 
Sixteen thousand Eight hundred and ninety feet high. I 
Could compare it to nothing Else but the Speir of a church 
drawn out to a regular taper point. Protruding through the 
Clouds. But beyond this as far as the Eyes Could Carry the 
object Seemed more Interesting. 

' My friend if i could only view and Study the Sublimety 
of nature But Lo i had to pull the brails. 

The prose of life has a most unhappy way of obtruding itself, 
especially on board a sailing-ship in dangerous waters. But 
though his interrupted musings could never be wholly satisfied, 
he picked up scraps of knowledge as he went along and moreover 
added reflections of his own- 

This noble battery of Ice which fortifyd. the Land two 
hundred feet high. And floating islands in all directions this 
Strange Scenery was Kemarkably Striking and Grand. The 
bold masses of Ice that walld. in the Land, the romantic gulf 
of the mountains as they glitter in the Sun Eendered this 
Scene Quite Enchanting, this Mountain is most perpendicular 


mountain in the world we have Seen it at night a hundred 
and fifty miles Distant. 

We shapd. our Coarce a Long the land to the South East 
a Distance of two hundred miles farther. On the 28th we 
discoverd. Mount Erebus this splendid Burning Mountain 
Was truly an imposing Sight. 

The height of this mountain Six thousand feet hight 
with a gradual ascent from the Sea Shore. From the Sum- 
mit of this mountain issues Continually Vast Clouds of Smoke 
when Scatterd. about with the wind forms a Cloudy Surface 
of Smoke a long the Surface of the mountain. 

At the west End of Mount Erebus it plainly appears there 
has been a Desperate Eruption from the Craggy appearance 
it is Sufficient to Convince an accute observer. 

The south side of this Splendid mountain was Lost to our 
view, Land and Ice obstructed the Scene. We did not land 
here nor did we deem it Safe to Land neither ; we could not 
see fire nor matter, the Sun Shone so brilliant on the Ice and 
Snow it completely Dazzled our Eyes. Yet it is my firm belief 
that this must be an imposing sight in the dark of winter. 

As to the Barrier, * or as I should call it nature's handiwork,' 
what could be more impressive than the artless record of how 
the plain sailors were struck dumb by the wonderful sight, 
and, if we read between the lines,- felfc that they need not be 
ashamed of their emotion when their experienced Captain 
himself was equally touched ? Thinking from the masthead 
view that they would ' run down ' the barrier by midnight, 
they set sail in the evening. 

But as far and as fast as we run the Barrier apperd. the 
Same Shape and form as it did when we left the mountain. 
We pursued a South Easterly Cource for the distance of 
three hundred miles But the Barrier appeard. the Same as 
when we Left the Land. On the first of Febry. we stood 
away from the Barrier For five or six days and came up to it 
again farther East, on the morning of the eight Do. we found 
our Selves Enclosed in a beautiful bay of the barrier. 

All hands when they Came on Deck to view this the most 
rare and magnificent Sight that Ever the human eye wit- 
nessed Since the world was created actually Stood Motion- 



less for Several Seconds before he Could Speak to the man 
next to him. 

Beholding with Silent Surprize the great and wonderful 
works of nature in this position we had an .opportunity to 
discern the barrier in its Splendid position. Then i wishd. 
i was an artist or a draughtsman instead of a blacksmith 
and Armourer We Set a Side all thoughts of mount Erebus 
And Victoria's Land to bear in mind the more Imaginative 
thoughts of this rare phenomena that was lost to human 

In Gone by Ages. 

When Captn. Eoss Came on deck he was Equally Sur- 
prizd. to See the Beautiful Sight Though being in the north 
Arctic Kegions one half of his life he never see any ice in 
Arctic Seas to be Compard. to the Barrier. So that the 
South Pole must be degrees colder than the North pole is 
evident from the Enormous thickness of the ice. An Ice 
island floats on the water with J under water, consequently 
the ice islands we have Seen two hundred feet hight above 
the Surface of the water must be Sixteen hundred feet high. 
That is exactly four times than the Cross of St. Paul's 
Cathedral in London. To view an iceberg when the Sun 
shines clear on it for any time is very injurious to the Eyes 
for the Avalanches in the Ice presents a deep blue and 
greenish hue. From a concussion of air that generally 
casts a dimness on the Sight and leaves the object the greatest 
Source of wonder and admiration. It would take a man 
of Talents to describe this unequal Sight For no imagi- 
native Power can convey an adequate idea of the 
Eesplendant Sublimity of the Antarctic Ice wall. It is 
quite Certain and out of Doubt that from the seventy eight 
Degree to pole must be one Solid continent of Ice and Snow. 
The Fragments as i call the floating Islands though Large 
Enough to build London on their Summit must through a 
Long Succession of years have parted from the Barrier they 
could never accumulate to such Enormous hight otherwise. 
Some bergs from one mile Sqre to ten miles and Some Larger 
but i could not ascertain the sqre of them. 

A lighter scene emerges on the return to Hobart Town, 
April 7 to July 7, 1841. While the ships were cleaned and 


refitted, all the officers' time was not devoted to science. Hobart 
redoubled its welcome to the successful explorers ; ' our arrival 
was hailed with delight by the inhabitants. Invitations of 
all sorts were poured in upon us for riding, hunting, and shoot- 
ing. The Theatre invented a Melodrama, and a Panorama 
showed us all off on the ice.' 

In return June 1 saw a grand ball given on board. The 
Erebus and Terror were lashed together, the decks roofed in, 
a covered way run to the shore over a bridge of boats to meet 
a direct road cut through the woods for 300 yards by Sir John 
Franklin, decorations and supper on a lavish scale, the whole 
paid for and it cost a pretty pennyby a contribution of so 
many days' pay by each officer. Mrs. Fleming, in a letter written 
a few months later, receives some description of the frolics, 
which were kept up till 8 next morning, when the hosts were 

left to the misery of seeing the broken supper, the lamps 
taken down, and the horrid contrast which twelve hours 
always produces on such scenes. 

The lower deck was shut up and the Captain's cabin 
fitted with mirrors, brushes, and combs, &c., &c., and all 
the little nick-nacks you ladies use at toilet, and maid 
servants from Govt. House to match. Parties of us were 
stationed at the gangways to show the ladies below, and 
it was great fun to wait for a lady and gentleman coming 
along the passage and the moment she emerged into the 
blaze of light, offer an arm which she of course accepts, and 
lead her to where the maid servants are, through the crowd, 
while her poor husband, brother or father stared about him 
and asks for his partner. 

. . . We were lionized beyond anything, and the glorious 
First of June is to be noted hereafter in the Van Diemen's 
Land Almanacks as the day on which the most splendid 
entertainment the Tasmanians ever witnessed was given. 

It may be imagined that, as a consequence, many hearts 
were lost to the ladies of Hobart ; indeed, ' two of our officers 
are engaged in the colony and shall return thither, as soon 
as we are paid off, to fulfil the contract, or as we tell them, 
victimise themselves. (Don't you look black now.) ' 


And Lieutenant Dayman, who remained here to mamge 
the magnetic observatory, writes Hooker at Sydney a good 
deal of chaff about their shipmates, who had had the field to 
themselves before H.M.S. Favourite arrived : ' The Favourites 
say, if they speak to a girl, they are told she is engaged to one 
of the " diskivery officers." But he has no shaft to let fly 
at his friend ; he cannot recall any ' particular admiration ' 
of his to give news of ; * I suppose you are something like 
myself, a general admirer of the fair sex.' 

From Tasmania a short visit was paid to Sydney in connection 
with the magnetic observatory, lasting from July 7 to August 5, 
1841. Sydney in those days, only one year since the importa- 
tion of convicts had ceased, could boast no shops finer than 
the Hobart Town ones ; round the beautiful harbour stood 
a few fine houses, in particular the new Government House, 
still uninhabited, built in the Elizabethan style, the new 
Custom House and Mr. McLeay's house with its garden full of 
interesting plants. 

The town itself lay in a hollow ; its long streets ending at 
The Cove in dirty wharves where Hooker was nearly drowned 
in the pitchy darkness one night. It showed some fine buildings 
of a reddish sandstone ; but more were dirty and insignificant, 
public-houses predominating. George Street was disfigured 
by the dead wall round the large, barracks ; the architecture 
of the churches displayed a sad lack of taste. The streets were 
lighted by gas and patrolled by abundance of constables 
at night to keep the peace ; but though broad they were ill 
paved and muddy in the rain. Between the actual town and 
a wildness as of the far west there were hardly any houses ; 
not even a public-house, such as abounded within ; it was a 
city without suburbs. A few gentlemen's houses were scattered 
up and down the bay, but no snug cottagers' or farmers' 
dwellings were to be seen, nor smiling cornfields. An ill- 
kept Irish hovel on the north shore had no parallel in 

Colonial unconventionality is measured by the use of 
tobacco : ' smoking along the street seems very much practised, 
to such an extent that notices are often to be seen prohibiting 


the practice in places where no one in England would think of 
using the weed.' 

The newly arrived emigrants had visionary ideas of their 
future, as Hooker had occasion to learn when returning one 
day from a botanising walk. 

About half past five it began to pour with rain, and 
with a load of plants we were glad to take refuge in the 
New York tavern, the parlour of which was filled with lady 
emigrants (from the ship Queen Victoria). While drinking 
our beer we were much amused listening to their conver- 
sation. They were apparently of the middle class of English 
farmers, Yorkshire from their speech. In their delight at 
being emancipated from the ship, they dreamed of nothing 
but comforts to await them up the country, and seemed 
to think that their hardships were over ; one talked of 
having a nice house, with a verandah, on a hill near the 
water, with a garden, &c. ; and really her husband must 
provide her such a one. Little did she think that she will 
perhaps have to spend two years in a mud hovel, with a 
marsh before the door and the bush for a verandah. Another 
congratulated herself on the prospect of making herself 
useful by knitting mosquito nets for her father ; if in 
three months' time she is making onion nets, or seines for 
a neighbouring lagoon, it will be perhaps the highest part 
of her daily toil. Generally speaking, the young men were 
smoking cigars and drinking hot or cold grog ; one talked 
of going to a billiard table and another of the theatre, after 
having spent the day going about to milliners' shops with 
their consorts. What this colony holds out for a settler 
I do not know, but to me these seemed a most mistaken set 
of people in their ideas of future comfort or happiness. . . . 

It soon ceased raining and we started off through the 
town and government domain for the ships, splashing through 
the mud at every step, while the little urchins compared 
us carrying our grass trees to Moses among the bulrushes. 

The Mr. McLeay here mentioned had lately been Colonial 
Secretary and was soon afterwards knighted (see p. 9) ; and 
his son William (already referred to, p. 84) was a naturalist 
of some mark. To them Hooker had an introduction from his 


father, and received a warm welcome. Twice the naturalist 
came on board the Erebus and spent all day looking over the 
Southern collections. ' He is delighted,' Hooker writes to his 
father on July 18, ' with my drawings of sea animals, of which 
many are entirely new ; I must, however, redouble my efforts 
on that head, little as I care about them, as I hear that the 
Americans have done much during their voyage to them, and 
that, McLeay says, is the only thing they have done.' 

On the way to Sydney ' the tow-net produced some new 
and good things for the pencil, and we actually brought up 
several live animals from a depth of 400 fathoms ! Lat. 38 32' 
and long. 167 40', but no trace of vegetable life.' 

The presence of living corals at such great depths was 
pronounced very remarkable. 1 Some of the shells Captain 
King recognised as South American, especially the small yellow 
bivalve from the Macrocystis (the seaweed found floating far 
to the south, thousands of miles from the American coast). 

Among the Auckland Island sea animals, he marked * a 
Galathea very like an Arctic one,' while ' a curious animal 
from Kerguelen's Land approaches more nearly to the fossil 
Trilobites than any hitherto discovered, the antennae being 
apparently wanting, and the eyes are as in the fossil 

McLeay was full of stories of Dr. Buckland and his blue 
bag ; but only one is recorded in the Journal. ' Dr. Buckland 
could tell the age of a skull by the taste, which he proved by 
producing that of an old woman buried a few years before, 
which tasted greasy, &c. &c.' 

A long visit to McLeay's garden proved it to be a botanist's 
paradise. ' My surprise was unbounded at the natural beauties 
of the spot, the inimitable taste with which the grounds were 
laid out, and the number and rarity of the plants which were 
collected together.' 

1 On Sept. 1, 1845, Hooker writes to Ross : * I read in the Ann. Nat. Hist. 
a notice of Goodsir's labours with Sir J. Franklin. He seems to be doing 
remarkably well, as the notice said that 300 fms. was greater dredgings 
than had ever been obtained before. I wrote an answer to the Editor, saying 
we had repeatedly dredged at that and at greater depths, giving a few general 
remarks as proofs.' 


The interior of the house, a striking specimen of Colonial 
architecture, the individual trees and creepers, flowers and 
shrubs, the revival of nature when the rain ceased and ' a few 
insects came out, the Diamond birds flitted from tree to tree 
and the large Sea Eagle or Osprey left his lonely lair and 
commenced wheeling over ,the calm waters of the bay,' and 
beyond the bay ' a rocky precipice christened Sunium, on 
which it is the intention to build a temple ' all this is fully 
set forth in the Journal with one very homely touch as to 
' Mr. William's workshop ' : 

The smell of camphor and specimens, so well known to 
me at home, reminded me strongly of olden times, especially 
as I found everything in the inimitable mixture of con- 
fusion and order in which Mr. Brown's shop at the Museum 
and his rooms in Deane Street are wont to be. 

(To his Father, August 25, 1842.) McLeay has promised 
to collect for me in New Holland, and knowing him as 
we do, when one thinks that hardly a dozen mosses have 
been described from that vast country, there can be no 
bounds to the novelties he may fall in with. He was 
quite delighted when I showed him the Scloiheimia Brownii 
growing on rocks near his house, and the Dawsonia amongst 
some roots he had brought from the forests of the interior. 
He seemed rather cautious about broaching his Quinary 
system, and I was rather anxious to hear how he thought it 
would apply to the higher orders of plants. The circular 
system no doubt holds among the Cryptogamiae, Fries 
having proved it with regard to Fungi, and Berkeley seems 
to incline the same way. 1 

The record of the visit ends with the entry for August 5 : 
'At 11 A. M. sailing down Port Jackson along the cold-looking 
sandstone cliffs, leaving Sydney with few regrets but leaving 
Mr. McLeay's fine establishment where there was much to see.' 

1 ' As to McLeay's theory, I fairly worked myself out of that error by the 
mosses, which I first arranged to please McLeay himself.' (To Harvey, 
June 8, 1845. Cp, p. 84.) 



IN ten days they made the Three Kings' Islands, and on 
August 16 entered the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Here the 
ships stayed till November 17. New Zealand was still regarded 
by many who had spent years there as hopeless for colonisation. 
* Colonists,' wrote Dr. Sinclair sweepingly, ' had nothing to 
do except they put themselves on a par with the natives and 
breed pigs, cultivate potatoes on the sides of hills and perhaps 
turn savages.' To a botanist, however, it was fascinating. 
Hooker, under the guidance of Mr. Colenso, 1 the printer to the 
missionary establishment, and himself a keen botanist, made 
a number of excursions into the country, though it was all 
too swampy to go far, collecting many specimens, especially 
of the Cryptogams, for the Bay of Islands was otherwise a 
comparatively well-known centre. 

From New Zealand, on November 23, 1841, the ships set 
out for their second voyage to the South, sailing on a more 
easterly meridian in order to reach the Great Ice Barrier at 
the point where they had been compelled to turn back the 

1 William Colenso (1811-99). He was born at Penzance, and was a 
cousin to the late Bishop Colenso of Natal. As a youth he was apprenticed 
to a printer of Penzance, and later was employed by the British and Foreign 
Bible Society in the same capacity. The Society sent him to New Zealand in 
1834 with the first printing press established there. In 1844 he became a 
missionary, and after training at St. John's Coll., Auckland, was ordained to 
a church in Napier, where he lived till his death. His botanical writings, though 
numerous, are fragmentary and are chiefly contributions to the Tasmanian 
Journal of Natural Science and of the New Zealand Institute, &c. For sixty 
years he collected information regarding the language, customs, songs, &c. of 
the Maori. F.L.S. 1865 and F.R.S. in 1886. Sir Joseph named the genus 
Colensoa after him. 



previous season. Turning south at long. 146 W., where 
little ice had been met by previous navigators, they found 
the line followed by Cook in 1774 and entered the pack on 
December 18. But the experience of one year is not that of 
another. The pack ice extended 800 miles. For forty-six 
days they struggled with the ice before getting clear of it. 
The weather was much worse than on the former voyage. On 
January 19 a terrific storm dashed them about in the ice for 
twenty-eight hours. Huge waves hurled masses of ice against 
the ships like battering-rams. The Erebus's rudder was 
damaged. But so well were the ships strengthened against 
the ice, so closely were their holds stowed, making the hulls 
a solid mass from side to side, that to Eoss's delight and sur- 
prise they suffered no further damage. Eepairs were difficult, 
the workers being drenched for hours by the icy water ; but 
within four days the crippled ships were repaired, Captain 
Eoss permitting this work of necessity to be performed on 
the Sabbath clay, as indeed he did again after the collision 
in the following March. 

Escape from the pack was as perilous as remaining in it. 
On the evening of February 1, clear sea came in sight, but the 
long westerly swell raised ' a fearful line of foaming breakers ' 
on the pack edge, menacing them through the gathering 
darkness, an equal danger whether the wind fell or increased to 
a storm as it threatened to do. The only course was to take 
the immediate hazard. Two hours' battling with the waves, 
shotted, as it were, with blocks of ice, brought them into 
safety, with the loss of part of the Erebus's stem. It was 
worse on board the Terror, for there fire had broken out, some 
blocks of wood having been left too near the hot air stove, 
and it was only extinguished by flooding the hold two feet 

After these dangers, the troubles arising from the looser 
floating ice were of less account, until, more than a fortnight 
later, the floes were dispersed by a couple of storms. Then 
on February 23 the Great Barrier was reached, six miles 
further south and ten further east than the previous year. 
From this point it trended N.E. as they followed it for 


twenty-four hours, till compelled by the approach of winter 
to turn north and then east again, through the endless floes, 
making for the Falkland Islands, which lie to the east of 
Cape Horn. 

But this was not the last of their adventures. They had 
recrossed the Antarctic Circle and hoped to have got clear of 
ice, when at midday on March 12, 1842, in the midst of a fierce 
storm, a great berg appeared ahead, and in trying to weather 
it the Terror collided with the Erebus, carrying away her 
bowsprit and foretop-mast. For nearly ten minutes the two 
ships lay interlocked, drifting down upon the berg and the 
breakers, each ship, as it rose on the great waves, threatening 
to send the other to the bottom. Breaking at last from this 
disastrous embrace, the Terror was seen to run before the wind 
and disappear beyond the lee end of the berg. The Erebus, 
disabled by fallen spars, was drifted down on the berg. For 
three-quarters of an hour she lay among the breakers, striking 
her masts against the berg as she rolled, and lashed by the 
spray falling back from the ice cliffs. But perfect discipline 
was maintained. At last the hamper was cleared, the main- 
sails were loosed, and the ship slowly crept from her perilous 
position by the desperate expedient of a ' sternboard,' i.e. sail- 
ing stern foremost down wind, her yardarms scraping along 
the berg, from which she was only held off by the strength 
of the undertow. Clearing the berg, they found themselves 
running upon another, the passage between being but thrice 
the ship's breadth. It took all the Captain's skill and all 
the crew's steadiness to get the ship's head round into the 
channel. Once through, however, they were safe in smooth 
water under the lee of the berg, and there, to the great relief 
of all, found the Terror awaiting them in anxious suspense. 

Next morning, viewing the long line of bergs that showed 
this sole passage of escape, Captain Koss was inclined to re- 
gard the collision as a blessing of Providence, albeit somewhat 
rudely administered. It had turned them sharply off their 
original course, which would have spelt worse disaster, to the 
only practicable place of escape. The sailors were indefatigable. 
In three days, as they ran before the wind, repairs were effected, 


and the Falklands, between 2000 and 3000 miles away, were 
reached on April 6, 1842, 'the first land of any description 
that has greeted our eyes now for 135 days/ the more grateful 
because here at length they were told * that our late success (the 
first visit to the ice) caused an immense sensation of triumph 
in England ! These are the first flattering words we have 
received from home ; nor can you conceive how welcome is 
the news, having penetrated beyond even our former Ultima 
Thule of Latitude.' 

His own views as to the nature of the Barrier, and of the 
pack ice of the Antarctic, especially as bearing on the pros- 
pects of the third voyage to the South, appear in a letter to 
his father, dated November 25, 1842. 

All the Ice in the Antarctic Ocean is formed by the 
gradual accumulation of Snow, on small pieces of Ice which 
only dissolve by being drifted to warmer latitudes. The 
Icebergs are probably the accumulation of centuries. These 
bergs are stranded all along the coast. The Barrier is 
probably only a large solid pack filling up a broad shallow 
bight, like that of Benin or S. Australia. Some unusual 
severe winter, ages ago, first filled it with a sheet of Ice, and 
as the snow fell it sunk deeper and deeper every year till 
it stranded ; the sun has no power on it now, and so every 
snow shower must add to its height. What atmospheric 
changes the revolutions of centuries may produce we cannot 
know ; but whilst the climate of the South is so equable 
and the removal of the ice by drifting probably proportioned 
to its slow drifting accumulation to the South of the Packs, 
these vast phenomena must remain comparatively un- 
changed. The Barrier, the bergs several hundred feet high 
and 1-6 miles long, and the Mts. of the great Antarctic 
continent, are too grand to be imagined, and almost 
too stupendous to be carried in the memory. With regard 
to the prospects of this coming cruise, I am anything but 
sanguine of great success. The past winter has been a very 
bad one indeed, and further we know that though the sea 
was clear of ice when Weddell went down, there was ice 
when the two French and the Yankee expeditions attempted 
this Longitude ; whether they tried to get through it boldly 


or no is not to the purpose ; there is no doubt it existed. 
My opinion is that the Packs shift slowly, and that a place 
open for one season may be shut for many successive ones. 
I have heard that an English Lieut, called Kea, or Wray, 
went down in a sealer, and met the Pack in 60. Now, 
though I sincerely hope to make the Pack and get through 
it, rather even than meet no ice, still we twice have been 
entirely successful, and it is humanly possible that ships 
can always penetrate at whatever point they take the pack. 
A little more ice last year would infallibly have stopped us 
had it detained us a few weeks more. I would give up all 
my pay to be sure of gaining 78 again, for the French and 
Yankees will surely laugh if we are foiled in any one attempt. 
Should we find much ice we shall be a long time in it doing 
our endeavours to get South : they are fine times for me, as 
the smooth water sailing is quite delightful, and it is a great 
comfort to know that, if we cannot get on, we can always 
go back with the S.W. winds and the drift of the ice. Should 
we fail we shall all feel it deeply and almost wish to be 
allowed to try again. It shall not, however, be our faults 
if we do fail, it may be our misfortune and a very sad one. 
None of us despair of success in beating the French and 
Yankees ; but it is ourselves we want to beat, and thus 
we are our own enemies. 

At the Falklands they stayed five months (April 6 to 
September 8) and later another month, November 13 to 
December 17, before the third and last trip to the ice, the 
intervening two months being spent in a visit to Hermifce 
Island, to the west of Cape Horn. 

A long series of magnetic observations was carried out ; 
for Hooker, exploration, hunting, arrangement of collections 
and letter writing filled up the time. Delighted though he 
was to * be fast by the nose again ' at Port Louis in the wet 
and mist of a storm that rose just too late to prevent their 
entrance into the Sound, first impressions of the Falklands 
were dismal. ' Kerguelen's Land is a paradise to it. Desola- 
tion stares in our faces, except a few houses at the settlement 
where there are about sixty souls, including His Excellency 


the Governor (a Lieut, of Engineers) and some Sappers and 

The purser went ashore after nightfall in search of fresh 
provisions. Eager to bring Hooker some new botanical 
specimens, he grappled in the dark with some wayside plant ; 
it turned out to be Shepherd's Purse ! ' To-morrow I shall do 
something better,' is the sanguine comment. 

Beef there was in plenty, and horse-flesh at need, for cattle 
and horses ran wild on the island, for hunting which the 
Governor offered the use of horses and dogs, and there 
were wild geese and ducks and rabits for the shooting ; 
but no flour was to be had, nor any green thing but some 

Lieutenant Moody appears to have been somewhat auto- 
cratic and not always wise as an administrator ; but with 
natural good sense, Hooker remained on good terms with him, 
and avoided being drawn into other people's disputes. Moody 
was greatly pleased with his report on the Tussock grass, the 
one product of the island with commercial possibilities in it, 
and sent it to England as a paper to be read before the Geo- 
graphical Society (November 1842). So that Sir William 
writes gaily of the interest in the Expedition, 

excited by some little matter which Col. Moody and I 
laid before the Geo. Soc. from our sons, relating to the 
Falkland Islands. You are considered (how correctly I 
won't say) the fortunate discoverer of the most wonderful 
Grass in the Falkland Islands, that is to make the fortune 
of all Highland or Irish Lairds who have bogs, for bogs 
* pates ' [peats] they will have it, are the proper soil for 
the plant. And said Bogs for hundreds of miles, where 
nothing has yet grown, will be clothed with such luxuriant 
grass as all the cattle in the world cannot keep down. You 
have no idea of the quantity of letters I have from strangers 
in all quarters, from the South coast of Kent to John o' 
Groat's, and from the East of Fife to the West coast of 
Connaught, humbly begging me, the happy Father of so 
renowned a son, to give them but the tythe of a fibre 


of the root, or one seed ; or in default of them a piece of a 
leaf ! l 

But the disagreement of Captain and Governor had other 
consequences at last, as told in a letter to Sir W. Hooker 
(April 29, 1843) : 

The Governor of the Falklands was very kind indeed 
to me and we were great chums ; but he and our Koss 
quarrelled most grievously, so that I was often unpleasantly 
situated ; but told them both, that I had nothing to do with 
their affairs. The worst of it was that Moody let us go to 
sea for the South without fresh beef, so Smith and I went 
and shot a bull calf and a horse, which were very good 
eating ; we caught another horse, having run it down with 
the dogs, quite a little thing, and tried to keep it as a pet 
on board ; but the little thing, which was quite fond of me, 
died before we got to the ice. However, keep all this to 
yourself, for I am going to have nothing to do with their 

1 The wonderful Tussock grass, when at last raised, ' has thriven marvellously 
both in the Orkneys and Hebrides, having seeded abundantly and sown itself 
(1847),' but did not practically fulfil these glowing anticipations in the Northern 
hemisphere. Moreover, the first sowings of seed sent home by the Expedition 
baffled the botanists. This is the key to Hooker's belated satisfaction when 
writing to Ross in November 1844 : 

' I am delighted to hear that some of the old Tussac vegetated, as everyone 
has said that our Expedition seed all failed : it is quite a triumph to me, I assure 
you, as now the Expedition was the first to introduce the grass. I have eleven 
plants in my bedroom, growing very slowly, and there are a great many in 
the Garden.' 

Even then it was not all plain sailing, as a subsequent note to Ross (Sept. 1, 
1845) records : 

* Your excellent brother's plant of Tussac flowered with us, and turned 
out the British Dactylis glomerata, to our shame and confusion at Kew, for we 
were sufficiently positive of its being the right thing. The fact is that we have 
only lately procured young plants and raised seeds of the true Tussac, many 
other things flowered before with various people but none the right. It grows 
exceedingly slowly and is a rigid wiry grass in its young state and will not 
(apparently) flower for a long time yet. Pray do not laugh immoderately at 
us for all this bungling, for all kinds of people, botanists, gardeners, and agri- 
culturists have been deceived with what springs up in the pots. What we now 
have young plants of and raised seeds of, is not like what I should have expected 
Tussac to be, but as ten plants were watched sprouting from the seeds them- 
selves and it totally differs from all other grasses, resembling the young plants 
received from the Falklands, we are pretty sure it will become the true Tussac. 
Enclosed are seeds which will surely germinate, but they must be watched, as 
lots of other things spring up in the pots. I can give you a young plant if 
you will tell me where to leave it in Town.' 


From the botanist's point of view, the Falklands turned 
out better than was expected. The mosses took first place 
for interest ; then the monocotyledons, of which he had about 
forty species, and he found a good many plants undescribed 
in De Candolle after the publication of D'Urville's lists. 

He was grateful for having the run of the Governor's 

I often spend a day there and afterwards take on 
board with me any of his books that please me. Those 
I have been lately reading are Pope's Homer's Iliad, 
Mrs. Hemans' Poems, Daniell's Chemical Philosophy and 
Pugin's Christian Architecture, a very miscellaneous selec- 
tion, but even from the last; with all his faults and 
bigoted Eoman Catholicism, I have gained much good. 
Keith's Evidence (of Prophecy) and Pollock's Course of 
Time I had read long before without appreciating them 
as I do now, Stephens's Travels in the East pleased me 
much and Milner's Church History, what I have seen of 
it, for it is too much for me to get through here. (To Lady 
Hooker, August 24, 1842.) 

As regards botanical books, however, he tells his father 
(August 25, 1842) : 

It was very foolish in me to have brought so few books 
on Cryptogamic plants, having nothing but London's 1 
Encyclopaedia and the miserable Sprengel 2 to help me. 
From knowing something of the mosses before, I can get on 
with them and examine them very minutely, but with the 
Algae and Lichens I am sadly puzzled. Your parcel to 
me, when it comes ! will be a great catch, if it is only for 
the Journal, to which Berkeley no doubt still contributes. 

It was better when a packet arrived from Sir William : 

1 John Claudius London (1783-1843) was a famous traveller, landscape 

ardener, agriculturist, and horticultural writer ; Fellow of the Linnean 
ociety, 1806. His energy, despite ill health, is illustrated by the fact that 
at one time he was editing five monthly periodicals, from the Gardeners' 
Magazine to the Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum. 

2 Kurt Sprengel (1766-1833) was Professor of Medicine and later of Botany 
at Halle. His investigations greatly stimulated the microscopic anatomy of 
plants, though his own results, owing to inadequate means of investigation, 
were not always trustworthy. 


Falklands : November 25, 1842. 

The books you send out are capital. Lindley's 
Elements seems a most valuable work to me and the 
very one I wanted, for I have a very high opinion of him 
as a Nat. Order man though he makes too many it 
is impossible not to admire the thorough knowledge he 
has of the subject ; and now that a linear arrangement 
will never do, and Fries 's Motto ' omnis ord. nat. circulum 
per se clausum exhibet ' is daily gaining proof, Lindley's 
groups and alliances of plants which, like sects, are more 
like one another than anything else, must be invaluable. 
; _ I am no judge of the goodness of this arrangement of the 
groups, but it is the throwing the Nat. Orders into groups 
and showing the dependence of one group on another which 
impresses me ; his theory of the mosses is an eyesore to me 
and shows the folly of theory without practice. . . . 

As to his occupations on the treeless, wind-swept island, 
he tells his father (May 3, 1842) : 

On this Island my time has been entirely devoted to 
Botany. . . . Every day adds something new to my col- 
lection, especially among the lower tribes. During my 
late excursion, I found the Ballia Brunonii, which I have 
now gathered all round the world. . . . Altogether this 
place is better for Botany than I expected, and but for 
Lichens, &c., it beats Kerguelen's Land, [though] collect- 
ing here is no sinecure, for the days are very short and the 
nights long. 

Later he tells his mother (August 28, 1842) : 

The weather and state of the country, now swamped, 
prevents my making any excursions to a distance, though 
I enjoy the short walks about the bay very much and seldom 
go out without picking up some novelty. At present my 
time ashore is wholly taken up with seaweeds and marine 
animals, for which purpose I wander along the beach at 
low water with long boots on, collecting ; but the wind is 
so cutting and the water so cold, that I often wonder whether 
my hands spend most of the time in the water or my pockets, 
whither they are wont to stray, as in days of yore. 


As spring approached, even the Falklands put on a brighter 
face. The forthcoming visit to Hermite Island offered an 
attractive prospect, despite the fact that, with the equinoctial 
gales coming on, a long and uncomfortable passage might be 
expected. There is at least this consolation : ' We know from 
now long experience, that no sea can hurt such vessels as ours, 
which rise like tubs on the water and tumble about in the 

Already he is beginning to think of the Fuegian Fagi, &c., 
as described in his father's * Journal of Botany ' ; and correct- 
ing Webster's confusions in his account of Captain Foster's * 
voyage : 

It is, however, among the Mosses and other Cryptogams 
that I shall hope for novelty in the S. extremity of the 
American Continent. . . . You will not wonder that after 
spending so long a time in the Antarctic regions, I should 
be most anxious to complete the Botany of this desolate 
part of the world, by going even to the Horn, and that any 
new Moss or Lichen from such latitudes appears of infinitely 
more value to me than a new Palm or Bafflesia would to 
you, nor can you well conceive my delight on finding the 
three curious Halorageous, Portulaceous, and Crassulaceous 
weeds of Kerguelen's Land at the Aucklands, then Camp- 
bell's Island, and again on the Falklands three curious 
forms of small Natural Orders, as strictly Antarctic as 
Parrya or Sieversia is Arctic. 

Amongst the lower orders I find it takes all my eyes to 
get up a tolerably complete collection, for in such dreary 

1 Henry Foster (1796-1831), navigator and surveyor. His most important 
voyages were with Captain Clavering and Sabine in the Griper, to the coasts 
of Greenland and Norway, after which he was elected to the Royal Society ; 
as astronomer with Parry in his Polar expeditions of 1824-5 and 1827, when 
his astronomical and magnetic observations won him the Cople}' medal ; and 
from 1828, when he was sent out in command of the Chanticleer to the South 
Seas to determine the ellipticity of the earth by pendulum experiments at 
various places, as well as to make magnetic and other observations. His 
work took him to the South Shetlands, and thence to St. Martin's Cove, behind 
Cape Horn, a spot afterwards visited by Hooker. Here he met Captain King 
in the Adventure, who was surveying the neighbouring islands. He was 
accidentally drowned in the Chagres River just after he had at last succeeded 
in measuring the difference in longitude across the Isthmus of Panama by 
means of rockets. The account of the voyage was written from the journal 
of Webster, surgeon of the Chanticleer. 



climates, where vegetation itself is scarce, I find that every- 
thing, in however bad a state, must be taken at once and 
looked for, in fruit or flower, afterwards. Indeed I often 
wonder what can be done with the barren specimens I am 
forced to be content with. [From a letter to his Father, 
August 25, 1842.] 

To Ms Mother 

December 6, 1842. 

September 8th we weighed and made sail down the Sound 
as I was writing a letter to Bessy. On the following day 
we were greeted as we expected by a stout S.W. gale, which 
blew almost without intermission until the 16th, during all 
of which time we were hove to and battened down, most 
delightful as you may suppose after four months in harbor. 
On the 16th we were eighty miles to leeward of the Falk- 

: lands ! when, after a short calm, Easterly wind sprang up, 
and as the sea went down, we ran on rapidly to the Horn. 
Fair winds took us on to the land ; on the 19th we made it 
early in the morning, consisting of ranges of snowy peaks, 
and soon after saw the far-famed Horn. The day was 
beautiful and so we passed in the afternoon right under the 
cliff, which is quite a fine one, very steep and precipitous 
to the Southward. Jagged and peaked at the top, covered 
with very stunted brushwood of the crumpled or deciduous 
leaved beech, which was brown as the leaves were not ex- 
panded yet. The cliff is of a black color and about 600 ft. 

. high with plenty of Albatross, Cape pigeons, and other sea 
birds wheeling about it, indeed we were so close that we 
could see them sitting on the face of it. A little cairn of 
stones raised by the officers of the Beagle is on the top of all. 
After rounding (or doubling) the Cape, the Bay of St. 
Francis opens out and the view is very fine. This bay was 
supposed to be in Hermite Island until that Island was 
found to be made up of many enclosing this sheet of water. 
Horn Island is the most Westerly and, as its name owns, 
boasts of the Cape. Hermite Island is the Easternmost 
and Cape Spencer, its most Southern point, is very similar 
to and abreast of Cape Horn (some two or three miles further 
North). We beat up the Bay and at night anchored in very 
deep water under a bluff precipice off the mouth of the 
Cove. When it came on dark, it was a very curious place, 


for we were under high black-looking mountains rising at 
once from the water, and we could just see their white tops 
glimmering through the darkness. 

When the moon got up the view was beautiful, and a 
more extraordinary anchorage for wildness and sublimity 
we never lay at. In the morning the quietness of the spot 
and the green woods, which we had not cast eyes upon for 
twelve good months, was most refreshing. The little cove 
was so foreshortened lying amongst hills so high all round 
that we could hardly suppose it would afford shelter, which 
it did however, when we were warped about If miles up 
towards its head, opposite a few wigwams of the natives. 
The island is so narrow that we could always hear the hollow 
roar of the surf on its weather shores, and after one of the 
hard gales which were common there would be a slight swell 
in the cove, whose beaches were so steep as sometimes 
to prevent landing. All along the JJ. side of the Bay the 
Mts. are quite precipitous, with a great deal of snow on their 
ridges. On the South side they rise at an angle of 45 degrees 
up from the water, with a few cliffs here and there so straight 
that though the cove is very narrow the top of Kater's Peak, 
1700 ft. high, is seen from the ships when in the centre. The 
head of the cove runs up in a broad densely wooded valley 
to another ridge of hills which complete the amphitheatre of 
mountains. Altogether the place reminded me very much of 
the Trossachs or the head of Loch Long contracted. 1 

The foliage being much like that of the Birch, and the 
steep mountain torrents keeping up a continual roar which 
often put me in mind of many a night spent in the Highlands. 
Nothing is so soothing as the sound of rushing water, and 
it was very delightful to lie at night in bed with the door 
and hatch open and hear the little cataracts roaring, how- 
ever, I soon found sleep much more delightful and forgot the 
romance, finally its effects were quite mesmeric (Is that 
the new name ?). The weather for the first few days was 
most beautiful, and we began to think the Horn a sadly 
abused and traduced place. Spring came on rapidly, the 

1 * In grandeur, perhaps, St. Martin's Cove was little behind that favourite 
spot. Many things were, however, wanted to complete the picture as Scotch ; 
perhaps, like Glen Croe, it was wild without being really beautiful, and only 
assumed the latter appearance to us because for eleven months we had not seen 
a tree.' (To Rev. James Hamilton, November 28, 1842.) 


Berberry flowered with bright golden blossoms, the tufts 
of Misodendrons on the beeches grew quite brilliant, and the 
crumply leaved beech burst at every twig, emitting a delicious 
resinous smell. Nature was evidently taking every advan- 
tage of the fine days, and I began to think that seed-time 
and harvest would all be over together in one month, and 
could not conceive what the poor plants were to have to do 
during all the summer if spring was so fine. My Father's class 
song of Spring, all I remember of which is, ' The Larch hangs 
all its tassels forth,' was nothing to this. I certainly never 
saw anything like the sudden bound vegetation took in ten 
or twelve days. We arrived in winter and it was summer 
already. A few days more, however, changed the face of 
nature, and after all the Snow had disappeared, two or three 
hours covered everything with a white mantle and the 
weather continued very changeable during our whole stay. 
Clouds and fogs, rain and snow justified all Darwin's 
accurate descriptions of a dreary Fuegian summer. In- 
deed all Darwin's remarks are so true and so graphic 
wherever we go that Mr. Lyell's kind present is not only 
indispensable but a delightful companion and guide. 

The Westerly winds which prevail seldom affect the 
waters of the cove, but when they are strong and gales 
set in with drifting clouds, snow and rain, the whole land 
appears savage to a degree. The force of the wind and its 
effects are not to be compared to Kerguelen's Land, where 
the steady torrents of wind came rushing down in one 
impetuous stream through the valley at the head of 
Christmas Harbour ; here they dash down from the narrow 
gorges of the mountains^ deflected from their course, and 
burst on the ship with a clap like thunder, tear the water 
up and are gone in an instant ; two will sometimes meet 
from opposite quarters, and unfelt a few yards off, whisk 
up a cloud of spray and continue struggling down the Cove 
until, perhaps, they split and run along in two divaricating 
lines of foam, as far as the eye can trace them. The gusts 
were in no instance stronger than at Kerguelen's Land, and 
from their short duration do not bring d strain on the cable 
or cause us to drift from our moorings, but from their sudden- 
ness they were more remarkable. It was very interesting 
to walk the deck with hat tied on and watch these freaks 


of ^Eolus, or to see a squall or Williewaw, as they are called, 
strike the Terror, heel her over for a minute, and rush on 
till it met the steady gale outside, of which we felt nothing. 
On the hills its effects were also very remarkable, especially 
high up near the Gorges, where the trees which met it in its 
first burst would be all shattered, and lay in every direction 
for an acre perhaps ; these, too, are sturdy, tough, stag- headed 
little obstinate trees whose splintered trunks, though only a 
few inches (8-14) in diameter, show that their mettle is good. 
The poor Fuegians of course attracted our attention 
before anything else, and surely they are the most degraded 
savages that I ever set eyes upon. They are considered 
as the lowest in the stage of civilisation of all nations under 
the sun, the Tasmanians, now banished from that Island, 
alone excepted. They inhabit various scattered parts of the 
coast in separate tribes, said to be at war with one another. 
Those we saw amount to about twenty and are said to be 
confined to Hermite Island. They have wigwams made 
of nothing but a few branches arranged in the form of a 
beehive in the woods close to the sea, there are two or three 
of them in almost every bay of the Islands, and they wander 
either across the hills or in their canoes from one to another. 
These canoes are the most useful articles they possess, though 
very clumsily made of the Bark of trees sewn together 
over a framework. The bottom is plastered with white 
clay, of which a supply is always kept on board to stop a 
leak they take great care of their boats, and whenever they 
haul them up, which is the women's duty, they make a sort 
of road of smooth pebbles up the beach, and then cut 
quantities of seaweed over which they drag the boat up high 
and dry. Little baskets made of rushes woven together, 
and a drinking cup cut out of the root of a Laminaria, are 
the only domestic utensils, wood ashes and clay used as 
a pigment and a few shells strung on seal sinews their only 
ornament, whilst their only weapons are a long sling and 
a very long spear of wood with a bone head so fitted on to 
the shaft that on striking a seal or penguin the shaft falls 
out and remains attached to the head by a piece of sinew, 
and thus encumbers the animal by floating. These Fuegians 
wear no clothing whatever either in Winter or Summer 
except such as are given them by us, more apparently for 


ornament than comfort. The men do little or nothing except 
a seal or such like comes in their way, whilst the women are 
employed collecting limpets and mussels, which are eaten 
raw or half-cooked and form the largest proportion of their 
food ; to do this the poor things have to go every day often 
up to their middles in water, snow falling heavily at times, 
and with a young child slung to their backs. Their manners 
are little above the brutes, filthy and squalid to a degree, 
and they will eat anything but salt meat that we offered 
them. They are all great thieves and excellent imitators 
both of language and action, though they have never im- 
proved themselves permanently from their intercourse with 
Europeans. Their language is a most horrible, guttural 
concatenation of sounds and unlike the New Zealanders, 
whose tongue is harmonious and beautiful to the ear, 
they, as I said before, imitate a sentence of any language 
readily, whilst few of the N. Zealanders can pronounce 
I of the English words. 

Our walks were of course confined to the Island, and 
there was not much of general interest to attract attention. 
Beginning a walk was the worst part, as one must tear 
through the dense wood and force a passage up the hills, 
the ridges are generally bare of wood and easily walked 
over to some distance, but whenever the valley comes wood 
is sure to be packed into it. Of Mosses, Lichens, &c., there 
are a profusion, and the collecting them kept me constantly 
at work. Above the wood, however, the rocks are very 
bare, from the frequent heavy snow storms, which often 
overtook us on the hills and made the walk back very un- 
pleasant, the wind clogging it on our persons. Nothing, 
however, but personal weakness, or too sudden a change, 
would have made Sir J. Banks feel their effects so much, 
for we thought nothing of it, and were it necessary, even 
without a fire, a shelter might be made, which with the 
warmth of two or three persons close together, might have 
defied death by cold. 

Writing to Mrs. Boott, November 28, 1842, he insists further 
on this point. 

This part of the world (Fuegia) has always borne the 
character of being eminently rigorous and inhospitable, 


very much because poor Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander, 
after being accustomed to tropical -heat and that hottest 
of harbors, Kio Janeiro, were rather suddenly cooled down 
here in the height of summer. The climate in winter is, 
however, as mild in proportion as the summers are chilly ; 
the annual temperature is assuredly low, but the averages 
of that of each season are remarkably close. 

Sir William was delighted with the living plants sent home 
from Hermit e Island, and writes on March 14, 1843 : 

So valuable a consignment has not been received at the 
Garden since we came here. The two new kinds of Beech, 
and these the most Southern trees in the world, are invaluable, 
and the Winter's Bark Tree (of the latter only one specimen 
was in the kingdom before) are growing beautifully. 

Of the third voyage to the South Hooker wrote later to 
his father (March 7, 1843) : 

Now that the voyage is over we are very proud of it 
(pride in poverty, you will remark), for we have got nothing 
easily. This cruise was not so hazardous as the last, being 
less in Bergy seas, nor have we been in any so extreme 
danger, but then as the ships cannot last for ever it becomes 
daily more uncomfortable on the philosophical principle 
of the * Pitcher going 99 times to the well.' 

Leaving the Falklands on December 17 ' without one regret/ 
they preceded south on the meridian of 55 W., seeking for 
a continuation of Louis Philippe Land to the south-east. 
They met the pack on Christmas Day, and three days later 
sighted Joinville Land in the South Shetlands. Extended 
exploration was made and various islands discovered, while 
the ships were nearly wrecked on Darwin Islet. On New 
Year's Day, 1843, Mount Haddington was discovered ; on 
January 5, Cockburn Island, in 64 12' S., of which formal 
possession was taken. Boss's ' Voyage ' contains Hooker's 
special report, five pages long, of its rare vegetation. 

Landing on the * very singular crater-shaped, conical 
Island,' he writes, ' I procured the ghosts of eighteen Crypto- 


gamic plants, but no Phenogamic, all very scarce indeed but 
one or two Lichens.' Among his finds he mentions : 

Ulva crispa ! also I see found in Eoss Islet, according to 
your list of Parry's plants, [and here are pencilled in the 
words] apparently exactly that of Europe, &c., so that unless 
the Bed Snow of Forster should prove the real plant of 
Antarctic regions, this is the only plant common to both 
extremities of this globe, and it would be interesting to 
ascertain which intermediate positions it inhabited. It is 
probably found in Europe generally. 

This voyage was like to have had an untoward interruption, 
if not termination, for the ships were nearly frozen in between 
the islands, and only escaped after six days' struggle with the 
ice. Another fortnight was spent in trying to pierce the main 
pack, when again they were nearly frozen in ; but once clear 
of the pack, on February 4, they made for Weddell's track 
in long. 40 W., where earlier in the century he had found clear 
water as far as 74 S. But now this line was blocked by 
a dense pack, while the weather was unpropitious. Crossing 
the Antarctic Circle on March 1, next day they saw the sun 
unclouded, the first time for six weeks, and on the 5th turned 
back at 71 J S., long. 14 15' W., only to be overtaken by a 
fierce gale lasting three days, during which they were repeatedly 
in danger of shipwreck in the ice or of collision. On the 
llth they recrossed the Antarctic Circle, as all devoutly hoped 
for the last time, and bore up for the Cape, which was reached 
on April 4, 1843. 

Officers and men alike were growing weary of the prolonged 
voyage, and the threatened addition of a fifth year was as 
unwelcome as it was unusual. The fatigues and monotony 
of the South outweighed the solid allurements of double pay. 
Koss, with his keen interest in the magnetic work and his 
ambitions as an explorer, and Hooker, with new fields of science 
opening before him and his heart in his work, were, as the 
latter confesses, the only two who could have both pleasure 
and gain in a fifth year or even longer voyage. ' It is nothing 
to me if they keep us out six, except the want of seeing my 


friends, for I am always improving myself, and it will give me a 
greater claim on the scientific world.' The unscientific officers, 
though doing their arduous work devotedly, were buoyed up 
by no scientific enthusiasms, and with no chance of withdraw- 
ing honourably from the task, felt it a hardship to be kept 
in harness so long, having only calculated on a three years' 
cruise. They were being outstripped by others on active 
service, and the promotions that came to them in the guise of 
special reward were already due for length of service, while 
the * Terrors ' especially were nettled that when the Geo- 
graphical Society gave Captain Boss their Gold Medal, no 
word was uttered in recognition of the officers and crews by 
whose labour and loyalty he had been able to push his explora- 
tions so far. And Hooker writes home of a rumour that they 
had wintered in the lonely Falkland Islands lest at any other 
port the seamen might desert rather than face another expedi- 
tion to the ice. All were delighted when they learned at the 
Cape that they were to make their way slowly homeward by 
St. Helena, Ascension, and Rio. 

The Admiralty rule that all collections, journals, and charts 
made on the voyage should be handed over to the Department, 
and Ross's keen desire that his account of the voyage should 
not be forestalled by any public leakage of news, geographical 
or scientific, hedged private letters round with difficulties. 
It was expected that finally both Hooker's Journals and his 
botanical collections would come back to him. Before leaving 
England he had written to thank his grandfather, Dawson 
Turner, for offering to help in getting his Journals ready for 
the press when he returned, and added, * My Journal will be, 
I hope, very full if not very good, and I shall send home extracts 
to all my friends in the shape of letters to my father and grand- 
father. These Journals on my return are to be given up to the 
Admiralty, who will, I hope, send them to my Father, since 
Capt. Ross has promised that he will use his endeavours 
that the Botanical collections shall be sent to him.' Meantime 
Hooker had urged his parents to keep his letters strictly within 
the family circle. Even the sending home of an occasional 
sketch to illustrate his travels, or of a pretty shell for his 


sister, ' allowing brotherly affection to outweigh patriotism/ 
was strictly speaking a contravention of rules, which, if it 
reached official ears, might get him into hot water with his 
commander. The young officers, securing spare specimens 
for themselves sub rosa, were occasionally hard put to it to 
escape detection. 

The Captain [he writes to his father on November 25, 
1842] has a noble collection of Birds in casks, a most noble 
one. I do not let him know that I skin any at all, for he 
is a capital specimen himself of a Naturalist, no more do 
Smith or Oakeley, and you would laugh to see us playing 
bopeep along the deck as he comes along, for he has an eye 
like a hawk, and the moment he suspects, the sooner you 
give up with a good grace the better. I had a narrow 
escape the other day with a noble Maccaroni Penguin with 
gold feathers and crest, by jumping down the main hatch 
as he came up the after one. 

The spare sets of specimens for his father had to pass 
officially through the hands of the Admiralty and the British 
Museum ; but at the Museum, Eobert Brown was ' better 
than the regulations,' and facilitated Sir William's examination 
of the plants. 

Hence, accordingly, the urgent tone of the following passages 
from a letter to Sir William (December 5, 1842),though lightened 
by a reference to Boss's epistolary anxieties which, .as will be 
seen later, very nearly chanced on the explanation. 

There is another subject which annoys me exceedingly, 
and is the only one in the course of the Expedition which 
does : it is the following passage in a letter from my mother 
dated August 1 : 

' . . . Your drawings (you need not tell Captain Boss, 
unless he would like to hear it) are known far and wide.' 

I thought in my letters I explained my wishes on that sub- 
ject fully to you all, so much so that I feared to trouble you 
too often by positive desire that they should be known but 
to few, and as to * unless Captain Boss would like to hear it,' 
I surely have said often enough, or at least given it fully to 
be understood, that I had no business whatever to send 


them home at all; and that did it come to his ears I should 
not so soon hear the end of it. Nothing but affection for 
you all prompted me to make them, it was a pleasure to me 
to do so, although my conscience told me that I was not 
acting properly to an Expedition whose orders I have often 
told you are ' all journals, charts, drawings, &c.' to be given 
up. That it will now come to Captain Boss's ears there 
can be no doubt, I have difficulty enough in weathering him 
who know him well, I must however blame myself for send; 
ing them at all. If you have made Davis's drawing of the 
ships in the Pack also to be known ' far and wide ' you will 
run every chance of doing him a serious injury who is 
dependent on the service. Again, a midshipman from the 
Philomel, a youngster of the name of Fox, comes up to me 
on a cricket ground where I was enjoying a little exercise 
with the Philomels after the General Halkett sailed and tells 
me he has heard my letters read in Dublin by his Aunt 
and Mrs. Butler, some relations of some one of the name of 
' Innes.' Who these Foxes, Butlers, and Innes are I do not 
know nor care, but my letters were never written to be made 
so public or to leave the house further than Yarmouth or 
Hampstead, nor do I choose to be the gossip of half the 
friends' friends who may like to see them. My own wishes 
with regard to them have been expressed often enough, and 
surely I am old enough to know my own mind on such 
matters ; they were written for my near relations alone, 
and contain such messages to others as are requisite for them 
to know ; my repugnance to any such notoriety is so strong 
that if these wishes cannot be complied with I must give 
up writing anything but simple statements. You may 
remember that I was always very averse to any society but 
that of persons whose pursuits were similar to mine, and 
more particularly to that of four-fifths of our Glasgow and 
other friends with whom my parents, brother and sisters 
were on terms of intimacy ; this may be owing to a peculiar 
temperament of mine or more probably to a fault ; still 
I cannot help it, and care to be known by few but Botanists 
and men of Science. With them my own industry must 
introduce me, and what other real friends I have I can write 
to. Do not be angry with me for writing the above'; as 
a duty to myself it was in my opinion necessary for me to 


state that I fear my letters and drawings are given far more 
publicity to than I warranted, and I cannot help speaking 
firmly, perhaps too strongly, on the subject. You are 
doubtless surrounded by many and very kind friends at 
Kew, and no one can be more grateful to God than I am ; 
you are calculated to shine in their society and have an 
open heart to receive their friendship, it is however totally 
different with me a few friends are all my narrow mind 
has room for, and I often think they are kept better on that 
very account. My ambition to rise in one branch of science 
will soon cause them to think themselves neglected if I 
should make their acquaintance and not keep it up. I 
should have mentioned this subject in my mother's letter 
but shall not ; we are men and may talk to one another 
without feeling that annoyance which women often will, 
and I am sure you know my feelings well on the subject, 
though my dear Mother's love may have prompted her to 
make me the subject of all conversation everywhere. Do 
remember then that I do extremely dislike having my letters 
shown to those I do not know, and that with regard to 
the drawings it is not fair to me to make them known far 
and wide, inasmuch as I have defrauded the Expedition 
of them. 

However, all's well that ends well. The publicity, such 
as it was, arose from a command visit to Buckingham Palace. 
Sir William was bidden bring his news of the Expedition to 
Prince Albert, who listened with extreme attention, repeating 
the main points accurately to a visitor who came later, and 
taking to the Queen Fitch's drawing from Davis's sketch of the 
ships in the pack. This put a very different complexion on 
the affair. The unfeigned interest of the Queen and the 
Prince Consort in the doings of the Expedition made up for 
seeming neglect elsewhere, and could not be objected to by 
Captain Koss, himself a correspondent of the Prince by royal 
command. Sir William's explanation cleared the air, and had 
answer (April 20 and March 7, 1843) : 

You have now quite explained the mystery about my 
drawings which hung over yours and my Mother's Falkland 
Island letters. Of course the honour is quite too flattering 


to allow me to be angry, even had I cause. I often speak 
testily when I do not mean it, as you know ; and hope I 
said nothing in my letter that gave offence, but I must say 
I was then annoyed to hear that ' my drawings and letters 
were known far and wide.' We did take possession of the 
land (landing on the little island) in the name of Her M.G.M.Q. 
Victoria, and so we did last January, and on another little 
island. I wish His E.H. much joy of Her Majesty's acquisi- 
tions, nothing but Her wish will get me near them again, 
for I suppose if the Queen tells you, go you must nolens 
volens. Their Majesties' interest and attention is most 
flattering to a poor Asst. Surgeon, beyond everything 
flattering. * 

Capt. Koss wrote Prince Albert a long letter from the 
Falklands which caused him many hours' deep study and 
the purser many candles. ... If he should show any more 
interest in the Expedition he may like to hear the particulars 
of the cruise, all of which I leave to your judgement, only 
premising that I do not at all like my letters to be sent about 
whole. Use your discretion about any parts you like, but 
you must see that I may say many things intended only 
for the four walls of West Park. Had I my own way I 
would forward occasional notices of the cruise to the 
' Athenaeum,' but I feel sure Capt. Koss would not like it, 
nor do I wish to be the mouthpiece for both ships, trumpeting 
our own fame. 

It seemed likely that Boss's calculated economy of news 
might defeat its own ends. 

Capt. Eoss told me the other day that ' the " Athenaeum " 
was never friendly to him and took no notice of our pro- 
ceedings.' I thought the latter part very true but did 
not tell him, telling him instead that the papers had no 
means of getting news about us ; he did not, or would not, 
take the hint. He seems to wish all the news to come home 
with him, to astonish the world like a thunder clap ; but 
will find himself much mistaken I fear ; ' out of sight, out 
of mind,' and if the knowledge of our proceedings be stifled 
it will beget indifference, instead of pent-up curiosity, ready 
to burst out on our firing one gun at Spithead. I do not 
believe he tells Sabine too much, or his own father. 


Indeed, his lifelong friend, Archibald Smith, 1 writing on 
August 3, 1842, tells Hooker that the public have less 
interest in the expedition than should be if they understood 
its aims. ' But,' he adds, * Eoss will deserve a peerage if he 
gets to the pole, and I have got a motto from Virgil ready 
for him " Polo dimoverat umbram." And Dr. Sinclair, 
returning from New Zealand, found himself greatly in demand. 
He had seen the half fabulous Discoverers with his own eyes. 

People read so much fiction nowadays [he writes from 
Edinburgh in January 1843], and your labours have had 
sufficient of it to make a similar impression, that they 
were glad to hear a living man and not a book express his 
readiness to swear he saw you going on a-discovering as daily 

Moreover, when in March 1843 Sir William Hooker obtained 
the Admiralty's permission to draw up for his ' Journal of 
Botany ' a general account of what Joseph had done, he found 
that already in Paris they had begun to publish the Botany 
of D'Urville's last voyage, including some of Joseph's best and 
newest plants, though without any text so far, while a specimen 
of the white Chionis, sent home by some member of the Expedi- 
tion, was bought by a German and described in Germany. 
Clearly there should have been a Committee, as in France, to 
issue a preliminary report, reserving full descriptions till the 
return of the Expedition. 

Sir William's article, when it appeared, pleased Captain 
Koss and the officers generally, excepting Captain Crozier, 
who was much offended so sailors love their ships by the 
description of the Terror as a ' heavy sailer.' 

For the sake of contrast with to-day, an impression of 
Capetown in the forties may be recorded at some length, 

1 Archibald Smith (1813-72) was the only son of * Smith of Jordan Hill.' 
He was Senior Wrangler in 1836, and entering Lincoln's Inn, became a dis- 
tinguished real property lawyer. His most living interest, however, remained 
in mathematics, both pure and applied, and his working out of the practical 
formulae for the correction of observations on board ship and especially for 
determining the effect of the iron in a ship on the compass, incorporated in an 
Admiralty Manual of 1862, were of the highest value. In 1865 he was awarded 
a gold medal by the Royal Society, of which he had been a Fellow since 1856. 


where, on the first visit in March 1840, he tells his cousin, 
Mrs. Fleming : 

We went to Simon's Bay near to Cape Town, where. the 
Naval dockyard and stores are ; as we lay there for upwards 
of a fortnight, many excursions were made to Cape Town, 
distant twenty-one miles, and as we always went on horse- 
back or in a gig, we had our full proportion of accidents ; 
little damage was however done, except to the horses and 
vehicles, for though some say that sailors are bad drivers, 
I am quite of the contrary opinion, for landsmen generally 
break their heads or limbs and the horse gets off, while you 
never almost hear of a sailor riding or driving without an 
accident ; that accident never affects him further than his 
pocket, an instance of sagacity in the members of the Naval 
profession too often overlooked, while their modesty is so 
great that they never own to meeting with an adventure 
of the sort, which" would infer that they had the address to 
rescue themselves when their animals are killed and vehicles 

On the second visit he writes more fully to his mother 
(April 9, 1843) : 

The cliffs of the Mountain are here the grandest for effect^ 
I ever saw, at least I always thought so ; perhaps from 
coming off the sea, they quite frown down on the road 
though 3000 ft. overhead ; the worst of them is that they 
are essentially sterile, and there is a something in the look 
of the empty and silent water courses which the verdure 
and beauty of the slope below will not make up for. I 
quite felt that I should have heard the murmur of the many 
distant cataracts, which ought to have poured down each 
little gully. One of the first houses on the road is called 
Feldhausen and was of great interest to us, as there Sir John 
Herschel 1 lived and set up the telescope with which he 
catalogued the stars of the Southern Hemisphere. It is 
a very nice white house with a long avenue of dark Fir trees, 
which give it anything but an inviting appearance ; near 

1 Sir John Herschel (1792-1871) continued and expanded the astronomical 
work of his father, Sir William. From the beginning of 1834 he spent four 
years at the Cape mapping the southern heavens as h^e, had the northern. 


it is a little monument erected on the position of the Tele- 
scope. One could not help looking at the place where 
England's greatest Philosopher lived ; the man too who 
paid us the compliment of calling ' our Expedition ' the 
Forlorn Hope of Science,' perhaps though that was 
because it was a forlorn hope to expect any good out of 
such a set as we are, whether it was intended to flatter, 
frighten, or stimulate us, we take it as the greatest 
compliment ever received. 

A little further on and Cape Town bursts at once into 
full view, and a most wretched view it is ; the slope of the 
road is bare of trees, the town lies, not nestled but dabbed 
on a gradual slope at the foot of the opposite side of Table 
Mt. to what I described above ; the great bay is before 
it, Lion's Mt. to the right, the high inaccessible (except 
in one narrow gorge) cliffs at the back, and Devil's Mt. on 
the left ; not a tree anywhere, either on the road, town, 
or hills. The houses look mean, are square, generally low, 
arranged in squares, glaringly white-washed, with blue or 
red tiles. You enter by some dirty hovels and mud walls 
on a road covered with an impalpable red dust, which covers 
and paints three or four wretched fir trees, which are bent 
at an angle of 45 by the S.E. winds ; approaching, it does 
not improve, a short turn of the road almost brings horse 
and gig up against the castle ramparts, which are of a lively 
gray color, abutting on the road, with a foss all round dug 
out of red clay earth, and some dirty hamlets scattered 
without order all round. To avoid this you turn your 
head to the left and meet a glaring white-washed house 
with a red roof, which in such weather at once puts one in 
mind of a red heat and white heat, and further on the sterile 
cliffs of the mountain. Entering the town is, as I have 
described, most unpromising, and as to itself I cannot say 
much more for it. There is a large open space of red clay, 
surrounded with a low wall and ditch, having walks inside 
under stunted Oaks and the vile Firs. This gives shade 
and that is all ; grass will not grow ; and to make it 
attractive, to Ladies I suppose who are naturally fond of 
shopping, there are dirty women sitting on the walk sides 
selling gingerbread, stale fruit, and lollypops. A little 
further on is a large building which, with Ludwig's Gardens, 


is the saving clause of Cape Town. This building contains 
a fine reading room with every good paper in proper order 
and at hand ; one wing, prettily planted round with rose 
briars and climbing convolvuluses, contains a Library of 
30,000 volumes, all in most excellent order, with the tables 
covered with magazines. . . . 

I found the streets all narrow, ill-paved, hot and dusty, the 
houses generally mean and irregular, some of the shops good 
but little shade anywhere : most of the houses have a long 
narrow terrace just before the door, with a seat for smoking 
at each end and an ugly fir tree or stunted acacia planted 
over each settee. Now these terraces cannot be walked 
over, and as they take up all the room where the pavement 
should be, there is walking straight on, but in the middle 
of the street ; and then the poor advantage of the shady 
side is lost, without you hug the wall and double every 
terrace, crossing and recrossing the zigzag gutter, most 
ingeniously contrived to go the shortest distance by the 
longest way. The Natives are of mixed breed. Hottentots 
are scarcely seen anywhere, Malays are very common, 
both men and women, generally with a red Bandana hand- 
kerchief round the head ; they have a separate meeting 
house and burying place. Next are the Dutch breed, often 
round built, especially the ladies, and inclined to be swarthy. 
They roll handsomely along the streets, are plump and 
often well looking, sometimes very handsome, the men 
are as often thin and smoke many cigars. All Dutch born 
in the colony are called Africandoes as the colonial 
Australians are called Currency and the St. Helenas Yam 
stocks. Except the shopkeepers the English are not much 
seen ; they compose the upper classes, generally live out 
of town, and drive in to shop, etc. The Governor, though 
viceroy of the Colony, keeps a very poor table and only 
gives one ball a year ; the society is quite divided between 
the Dutch and English ; they do not mingle much, though 
I suspect much of the former class to be far superior to 
the latter. Amongst the strangers and occasional visitors 
none are so conspicuous as the Indians [i.e. officers of the 
Indian army] ; they saunter about slowly with white jackets, 
straw hats, and whips in their hands, though ten to one they 
belong to foot regiments ; they may be descried at once by 



having long yellow hatchet faces, curious noses of sorts, 
yellow whites to their eyes, and are said to have no livers, 
whence I suppose the bile is deposited elsewhere, in the 
face, eyes, etc., and even so much as to affect their tempers, 
for some are hypochondriac and others highly irritable ; 
they are gregarious, and frequently live in boarding houses. 
. . . Baron Ludwig 1 received me with the greatest kindness 
and wished me to stay at his house, which I declined, not 
seeing any occasion to trouble him, and having a great deal 
of shopping to do, which I wished to effect in the cool of 
the evening, when he would expect me to sit at home. I 
breakfasted and lunched there, however. His house is one 
of the best in Cape Town, with a noble drawing-room, 
handsomely furnished with two busts of his noble self, one 
of the late Baroness and one of the poet Schiller. My 
Father's picture used to hang there before, but was not now, 
and of course I did not ask for it. He, my Father, has given 
way to William of Wiirtemberg, who so graciously showered 
down the crosses and snuff-box on him of Cape Town, which 
emblems you may remember in the Crescent. I found 
* Peter Schlemihl ' in his Library and could not help reading 
part of it for old acquaintance sake ; it was the very copy 
my Grandfather gave him ; tell this to the dear old man 
and how many associations and thoughts of him it brought 
up ; his own handwriting ascribing it to Chamisso was on 
the title page. I think I was more pleased to have found 
that book of my dear Grandfather's than with anything 
else in Cape Town ; I had a great mind to steal it. 

It has struck me very forcibly during both my visits 
to the Cape, that there is in the Colony a most remarkable 
want of _, a love for flowers, which I always thought so 
peculiarly a Dutch taste, but so it is. Look here, the only 
Eucalypti and Casuarinas I have anywhere seen, are in 
i Ludwig's garden ; but though they are planted by him for 

1 Baron C. F. H. von Ludwig (ca. 1784-1847), Ph.D., chemist and botanist, 
left his native Wiirtemberg in 1804 for the Cape, where he founded a Botanic 
Garden, Ludwigsburg, and became Vice-President of the South African 
Literary and Scientific Institute, and a member of the Cape Association for 
Exploring Central Africa. He was a correspondent of Sir William Hooker, 
who, in dedicating to him the 62nd vol. of the Botanical Magazine in 1835, 
made special mention of the rare and beautiful plants with which he had 
enriched Europe, and called him the Friend and Patron of Botany. He 
visited Great Britain in 1836-7. 


the purpose, and are the best trees possible to break the 
violence of the S.E. winds, still on the outside of the town 
the road is sometimes (where anything is) planted with 
pudding-headed Pines, which are blown at angles of 45 
with the ground, beastly black in color above, and covered 
with the red fine dust of the sand below. 

Except Ludwig's garden I enjoyed nothing in Cape 
Town, for you would not care to hear how the days were 
sultry without a breath of wind, the streets full of a fine 
red dust, so light as to be always floating, or how often I 
had to go to the same shop to get things changed, etc. It 
was my intention to go up Table Mountain, but Ludwig 
has no one who could take me up, and the heat was so 
scorching that all my enthusiasm fairly oozed out of my 
finger ends, and except for catering for Kew in cool large 
rooms, Botany was at a standstill. 



THE voyage left its mark on the young naturalist. His 
physique was strengthened : the long spells of isolation, 
though depriving him of much that he longed for, helped to 
fix the lines of his thought and character and aims. 1 

The cruize [he writes to his mother, Juno 29, 1841] has 
proved me quite hardy. Except a slight cold and its con- 
comitant discomfort, I have had nothing to complain of, 
and that has been since my arriving here (Tasmania). 
During all the time I was in the Southward I did not know 
an hour's illness of any kind whatever : the cold is healthy 
in the extreme, and an occasional ducking of sea- water proves 
rather beneficial. I always accustom myself to taking 
moderate exercise in hauling the ropes, setting sails, putting 
the ship about, &c. Thus my chest expands, my arms 
get hard, and the former rings almost when struck. 

And when he reached the Cape in 1843 he tells her that, as 
they felt the weather stifling and hot, ' to dine on board the 
Flagship the other day I had to borrow garments ; not one 
of my 3 dozen white trousers will go on : so much for my 
rude health.' 

1 Mrs. Richardson, Franklin's niece, writing to Hooker on August 3, 1842, 
remarks that she would never have recommended the Navy to him as a career 
and that it might even be unsatisfactory as a means of travel and experience 
when a cautious reserve is wisest : adding sagely, ' As a piece of mental training 
I cannot think lightly of that retirement into oneself which is the natural 
consequence of not entirely liking our associates, and not agreeing with their 
views or notions. Mrs. Barbauld calls this sort of thing the "Education of 
circumstances," and notices how it contributes to form the character.' 



So far as science went, the lengthening chain of months 
enlarged his powers and strengthened his professional position. 
Without counting the inevitable separation from friends, the 
chief thing he found lacking on the voyage was music, though 
he could not profess to be a musician any more than an artist. 
He tells his sister Elizabeth (May 12, 1843) : 

On board this ship I want music more than anything, 
and am always ready to break my leave for the sake of 
hearing it. I often wish I understood it, and perhaps 
oftener still (am glad ?) that I do not ; since, as matters 
now are, I cannot perceive those faults that would grate 
upon the ear of a musician. 

He does not care for * modern ballad music ' but likes the 
older English and Scotch airs, e.g. * Where the bee sucks,' 
good sacred music, such as Handel, ' Israel in Egypt,' and 
Haydn's ' Creation' ; and some operatic music of which he 
is kept in mind by the nav^l and military bands, and is 
delighted that the girls and his mother are practising his 
favourite songs and glees against his return. 

Thus it may be imagined what a double disappointment 
awaited him at Eio on the homeward voyage. 

To his Sisters 

Rio de Janeiro : June 20, 1843. 

The Americans have an immense fifty-gun ship as Com- 
modore ship stationed quite close to us, and would you believe 
it ? the Goths have no band on board but some huge drums 
and squeaking fifes, which they make a terrible din upon 
every night, and beat off with Yankee Doodle at 8 P.M. 
Not only is the noise horrible, but at that time a tolerable 
band plays on board the Brazilian flagship, whose music 
is consequently drowned before it reaches us. 

A letter of November 28, 1842, to his old friend, Mrs. Boott, 
gives the fullest account of his artistic tastes and education. 

I often regret that I never saw any pictures that can be 
called good. A relish for this branch of the Fine Arts has 
not yet extended to the Colonies, whose children cannot 


be expected to exercise taste, when the parents have no 
models to show them. My own taste on such subjects was 
never formed ; though, like most persons, I knew what 
pleased me, and was much soothed when I was told (on 
regretting the circumstance) that Sir Joshua Eeynolds never 
could appreciate any part of a painting till he had seen it 
several times. Sir Walter Scott, I think, in * Paul's Letters 
to his Kinsfolk,' says, when speaking of the Louvre in its 
palmy days, that the beauties of the finest pictures do not 
strike him at once. Without comparing myself to either 
of these great men, I must say that next to the want of 
Society, the want of music and painting is one of the most 
irksome which a sea Voyager is bound to endure. When 
I have been weary of work, even a tinkling musical-box has 
sounded most charming ; but all the boxes have, at last, 
been either broken or given away, and my sole consolation 
remains in whistling those tunes which most recall pleasant 
scenes to my memory, though this is sorely to the annoy- 
ance of my neighbours, whg growl, like free-born Britons, 
at the noise I make. 

Letters already quoted point to the smallness of his intimate 
circle. It embraced his nearest relations, and beyond these 
but a few who could really be called friends. This inner 
circle was grievously broken during his absence. First his 
brother William died suddenly of yellow fever in Jamaica. 
Then his two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary Harriette, at school 
in Kensington at Little Campden House, were threatened 
with consumption and taken away for special treatment at 
Leamington, afterwards wintering in Jersey. Elizabeth, the 
first to give anxiety, gradually recovered ; Mary Harriette, 
who fell ill later, faded away all too swiftly. Joseph had 
expected to hear of his grandfather Hooker's death before 
long ; but the octogenarian, with the vitality which he handed 
on to his male descendants who passed much of their youth 
in the open air, lived on and was happily moved from Glasgow 
to Kew, a heavy journey in those days. 

The first bad news caught him cruelly at a moment of joyful 
expectation. Save for a letter sent to Madeira, which had 
overtaken him at the Cape, his first budget of news met him 


at Tasmania, in August 1840, eleven months after he had left 
home. The black- edged letter beginning, * My dear and only 
son,' turned all his delight into mourning. He was devoted 
to his brother William, ' so warm-hearted a fellow that he would 
cut his right hand off to help even a stranger.' The brother 
who had been ' hourly in his thoughts ' these many days had 
been dead since the first day of the year. From the Cape he 
had written to his mother : 

So poor William has gone to Jamaica ; if you but knew 
how often I think and dream of him you would not be sur- 
prized at the sorrow I felt that he should have parted from 
you, though it is doubtless for the best. Poor Isabella 1 
is left behind. ... I feel sure it will be a delight especially 
to my sisters to take charge of the child till my return when 
I shall consider it my own should it be better to leave it 
behind than take it to a foreign country, or should any other 
circumstances demand another father for it. [He knew 
William was out of health, though he did not believe, as some 
did, that he was threatened with consumption.] I wish 
very much that I had received that letter before, as I had 
intended to send my brother a check which I can well spare ; 
it is now too late and I am sure money must be wanted ; 
he need not look upon it as a gift, at any rate it would be 
but a poor recompense for all the kindness I have received 
from the poor fellow's hands. The child I do hope to 
bring up, and you must tell that to my future housekeeper 
Maria, to whom I send my best love. 

It was to this favourite sister that he unbosomed himself ; 
the poignant contrast of exchanging the hardships of ' the most 
tempestuous latitude in the worst season of the year ' for the 
calm beauty of the Derwent with Hobart set in tall trees under 
a snow-capped hill, only to find in his envied package of fifteen 
or sixteen letters the news that should make him the one 
sorrowful man in the ship : * now he is gone, and there will 
be none of my childhood's playmates when I return to talk 
over bygone times with, for he was at school my only 

1 He married Isabella Smith, April 22, 1839. 


The characteristic note of his early religious training appears 
in his words : 

Mr. Nelson and Susan have now, I trust, met with him, 
and little as worldly affairs have to do with the state above, 
I can never divest myself of the idea, that one, though a 
small share of the pleasures that attend the good, is the 
meeting of those whom our God and duty have sanctioned 
our loving. ... Do not think I repine at this dispensation, 
nor at the additional and not less felt one of my Grandpapa's 
illness. I have far too much to be thankful for both for 
myself and for those who are left, and if there is one thing 
that cheers my thoughts of home, it is having a faithful 
sister of my own age. You perhaps do not know how 
responsible your situation at home is, and it is my great 
happiness to think that when sorrow weighs down my parents 
they can feel full confidence in you. Were I not sure that 
this is the case, it would make me miserable indeed. 

To his father, who had also warned him of his sister's illness, 
he writes (July 6, 1841) : 

For my part I can hardly bear to think upon the probability 
that I shall return to the house I left so lively and merry, 
and not hear a single gladsome voice, no music and none of 
the attractions that used to welcome me home every winter 
night from college. My affection for those who remain 
will indeed be greater, but of how much sadder a nature 
will their welcome be than what my vivid fancy has been 
accustomed to paint when thoughts of home were my only 

As to the prospect of his father leaving Glasgow for Kew : 

I sincerely hope he may for his own sake ; for my own 
I am quite indifferent ; except Jas. Mitchell, I have no 
friends that I care about except Adamson now that Thomson 
and the Steuarts are gone. I shall, however, always look 
upon the dirty Town as the only place connected with old 
associations, and whatever attractions other places may have 
for me, none can have localities so endeared to me as that 
Town which is the same as my birthplace. It is true I 
have no friends there, but equally I have none elsewhere ; 


wherever he and you all live, should circumstances favour 
my living at home on my return, there I shall be happy to 
find you, though now no spot is dearer to me than Invereck ; 
two sketches of it hang in my cabin. 

The best anodyne, however, was hard work and busy occu- 
pation : so that he writes to his father on September 7th: 

Still I have been very happy here, and never before could 
I have so deeply felt how much the study of our mutual 
pursuit tends to alleviate our distress. 

The uncertainty made him ' afraid to mention names of 
those so far off and in such precarious health.' But warned 
of Mary's decline, and eagerly following the successive hopes 
and fears for so dear a life, he schooled himself to meet the 
inevitable, and the pathetic accounts of the child's last 
months found him prepared as much as might be to accept 
his own irremediable loss with the resignation to the will of 
an inscrutable Providence that was an integral part of his 
parents' faith. Still, resignation involved a sharp struggle 
with feeling, and as he drew near the Falklands after the second 
voyage to the ice, he wrote to his father (April 5, 1842 ; the 
words are quoted from a copy only) : 

Much as I long for tidings of you all, I cannot but feel 
sure that they must be woeful ; and to own the truth, one 
of my reasons for beginning this letter before we cast anchor 
is that I may be able to communicate to you some of the 
cheerfulness I now feel, and that my letter shall not be 
tinged with that sorrow and moroseness which I fear may 
have characterised some of my former epistles : these were 
written on the spur of the moment, when to my shame 
present griefs obliterated the recollection of past mercies, 
and whilst pining over what had occurred, I had forgotten 
how much I of all others had to be thankful for, and how 
little it was my duty to trouble you with such complaints. 
Whatever the tidings may prove to be, I have too long 
suffered from hope delayed and been kindly by you all too 
well prepared, ever to feel again the poignant anguish with 
which I received the first letters that awaited me at Van 
Diemen's Land. 


The movements of the exploring ships, the irregularity of 
the post* carried by sailing vessels, the occasional vagaries of 
the Admiralty letter-bags going from one naval station to 
another, made the receipt of news from home spasmodic. For 
instance, he tells his sister on May 26, 1842, ' My latest news 
from home is March 29, 1841, and that is in answer to a nearly 
two year old one of mine from Hobarton." Such news was 
often anticipated by the English newspapers found at ports of 
call ; the ' Athenaeum ' in particular giving news of persons and 
events in scientific circles. To this he owed his first intimation 
of ' the first and last piece of good tidings that has greeted me 
about our own family/ This was the appointment of Sir 
William to Kew at Lady Day, 1841. He found a copy of the 
journal for March 23 with the news when he was at Sydney 
early in August. His father's letter about the appointment, 
written six clays later, reached him at the Bay of Islands on 
November 23. On the strength of it he persuaded Captain 
Eoss to relax the strict rule of the Expedition and let him 
send Sir William a box of plants he had collected. 

Hope deferred was at length satisfied ; a month before 
hearing the news he had written : 

What to think about Kew I do not know ; the ministers 
have put you off so very often that they may do so longer. 
Next to my poor little Mary, that subject lies nearest my 
heart, and most sincerely do I hope you may not be after all 
disappointed. To live near your friends is now your chief 
aim and must be essential to your comfort ; and to be able 
to raise Kew to the rank of a tolerably good national estab- 
lishment would be the most honourable service a Botanist 
could render his country, besides being the most pleasant 
one you could set your mind to. 

Kew, he had felt strongly from the moment of his father's 
appointment as Director, must eventually become a National 
establishment. He is amused to find from a newspaper of 1842 
that Lord Lincoln, head of the official department that ruled 
Kew, opposed Sir William's scheme of opening of the gardens 
to the public on the ground that they were ' the only gardens 
near town to which Her Majesty could repair for exercise,' 


seeing that Kew had never been so used since Kew Palace was 
given up. Futile pretext for obstructing public progress. 
A liberal policy must prevail, the Upper House being won over 
by reason of ' our noblemen and statesmen being so fond of 
trees and their gardens ' and finding that Kew disseminates 
new plants ; all the more successfully because it has secured 
the new palm stove. Already (March 7, 1843) his ideal is to 
see the gardens on an equal footing with the British Museum, 
and under a body of Directors chosen one half of Botanists 
at least. 

My mother tells that Invereck [their cottage on the 
Clyde] is sold, and I. much fear that the great expense your 
family now puts you to is in some measure your reason for 
parting with it. Everything seems to have gone wrong 
from the very day on which I first left Glasgow, and believe 
me that could I with honour give up the Expedition it would 
not be long before I should be at your side to take my share 
of your labors ; as it is, even were I uncomfortable in the 
ship, I could not give it up without it being said I was afraid 
to go on, and further I hope ere this will reach you, you will 
be snugly ensconced not ten miles from Aunt Palgrave's. 

Now he could expand affectionately over his father's 
advancement in the sphere of their ' mutual interest.' He 
discusses plans for the future ; caters for his new command by 
making Colenso and Konald Gunn 1 promise to send interesting 
plants to Kew from New Zealand and Tasmania ; looks forward 
eagerly to the day when he will himself share in his father's 
labours. * My father always works too hard ' he agrees 
with Dr. Boott, the old friend of the family (November 29, 

Now that his employment means more exercise out of 
doors, he will grow stronger. ' Walking, in particular, always 
agreed with him, and good walkers invariably enjoy good 
health ; who ever saw a sick two-penny postman ? or Police- 
runner ? ' 

And to his father he writes (April 20, 1843) : 

1 See pp. 107 and 124. 


You must not work too hard at your plants and Library ; 
rather get on in the gardens, which is more healthy, and in 
which I shall not at first be the slightest assistance to you, 
from downright ignorance ; I will get up as much back 
work as you like in the books and Herbarium. 

The double link of affection and common intellectual 
interest runs through all the letters to his father, and may be 
noted even in money matters. He has no use for his double 
pay on the voyage ; and his father's valuable publications, the 
* Icones Plantarum ' and the ' Journal of Botany,' are entirely 
unremunerative. Let him use the money for these ; popularise 
the Journal by portraits of living botanists. If he will not let 
Joseph pay for the books sent out to him, at least he must 
accept something for the keep of his pet dog. 

You must not refuse to make use of my bills for all such 
purposes [e.g. looking after dog ' Skye,' which was not allowed 
to accompany its master to the Antarctic. The Erebus, 
he tells his sister, only carried some fowls for colonising 
purposes and two cats. Therefore ' Love me, love my 
dog '], the money is no use to me. I have enough to spend 
and to waste, for one cannot help wasting when port is so 
seldom seen ; as sure as a bill is cashed it all goes, and they 
are sent home instead to be made use of and not buried in 
a bank. You may be sure I should not scruple to draw on 
your liberality were I to be extravagant or foolish, and my 
outfit cost you a great deal more than it should have done 
had I been judicious or in any place but Chatham, and you 
should not therefore scruple to use the bills, especially in 
any way of forwarding your works. You have too many 
calls on your purse to attend to many things which strike 
others ; for instance, I would far rather pay for a new 
plate than see such a rotten lithograph of Richard l after 
the excellent ones of Cunningham and Swartz. 

Do not let the Journal die for want of funds so long as 
I have a bill to send home. I have no work that pleases 
me so much. 

1 Achille Richard (1794-1859), doctor and botanist, Professor in the Medical 
School of Paris from 1831. Besides various monographs and studies in medical 
botany, he wrote Nouveaux Elements de botanigue et de physiologic, 1819, and 
with Lesson described the botany of D'Urville's voyage. 


He had wished to send a present to his brother, but it was 
too late ; or to other relations, if his mother were still obsti- 
nate about making use of what he did not want ; and to her 
he writes (December 6, 1842) : 

I wish you would not lay aside the few pounds I sent 
home for me, for I shall not want it ; if I can only get enough 
to keep me respectably I shall be content to live from hand 
to mouth, and I would not give a penny for a fortune which 
is sure to prove a curse to most men and a breeder of idle- 
ness ; however, it is all very well to talk so when there is 
no chance of getting one, but I should much prefer that 
the bills were used, indeed had I not thought they would 
be, I should have put them into a V.D.L. bank, or invested 
it there in land and sheep ; however, it is all the same to me. 

The years of service in one of His Majesty's ships gave 
Hooker, as it gave both Darwin and Huxley, 1 an invaluable 
acquaintance with the realities of things, and there was ' a 
masonic bond ' between these friends * in being well salted in 
early life.' But the voyage did not alter his career as it altered 
the career of the other two. He was already a naturalist 
enlisted in the ranks of pure science ; a rising botanist when 
he set out, a botanist of higher repute when he returned. 
From Sir William's point of view, the only serious danger was 
that he might desert botany for zoology. Hence, as has been 
said, his delight to receive early assurance that Joseph cared 
most for botany and intended to devote himself to it when he 
came home. Here he could best help on his son, with the 
added satisfaction of knowing that his collections and library 

1 Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95) studied at Charing Cross Hospital and 
entered the Navy as Assistant Surgeon. Through Sir John Richardson at 
Haslar, who had noticed his scientific ability, he was appointed to the expedition 
under Captain Owen Stanley in the Rattlesnake frigate, which was to survey 
the east coast of Australia and the islands as far as New Guinea (1846-50). His 
work on the Oceanic Hydrozoa won him the F.R.S. at the age of twenty -seven, 
and the Royal Medal the following year. In 1854 he obtained a professorship 
at the Royal School of Mines, whence sprang the Royal College of Science at 
S. Kensington, where he was Professor of Biology and afterwards Dean. 
President of the British Association 1870 ; of the Royal Society 1883-5 ; Privy 
Councillor 1892. As Darwin's most vigorous upholder and expositor, as an 
educational reformer and a brilliant and forceful essayist and speaker, he was 
one of the chief factors in breaking the shackles imposed on thought and opinion. 


would be inherited by some one who could make a good use 
of them. 

Plans for the future are first outlined in a letter of February 
3, 1840, written from St. Helena. 

One of your last questions to me on leaving Chatham 
was : ' What do you think of doing on your return ? ' 
To this, if I remember right, I gave an indirect answer from 
not knowing the service I was bound for. As I know, from 
your affection to me, you would like a good reply, now that 
I can form an opinion, I shall give it honestly. The Naval 
Service generally is very bad for a Naturalist ; the par- 
ticular branch, however, in which I serve, is very good. 
Though there is not such a scope for the Botanist as I could 
desire, there is a splendid opportunity of improving myself 
as a general Naturalist. I am very fond of the lower orders, 
though farther than studying them here, and perhaps aiding 
in their future publication, I never intend to follow them 
up nor any other branch but botany. 

Gaiety of any kind has still less charms than ever for 
me. Even at sea, I am quite happy drawing Mollusca in 
the Captain's cabin, and I only wish that I had more books 
and were drawing plants. If ever on my return I am enabled 
to follow up botany ashore, I shall live the life of a hermit, 
as far as society is concerned ; like Brown perhaps, with- 
out his genius. 1 If I have to serve again on board ship, it 
will be in a service like this, congenial to my taste and 
pursuits, and not in the regular King's Service. The sea 
agrees with me, and I am very happy on it, as long as I can 
work. I am never sick, nor have been so since leaving 
Chatham. This hot weather is my only and bitter enemy, 
and from it I suffer very much, in several ways. 

What I said of my life and prospects, my dear father, 
is, of course, strictly private. I am quite happy where I 

1 To this comparison his father replied : * I am neither surprized nor sorry 
that you have no taste for the gaieties of life ; but neither do I wish you to 
turn " hermit." If you are no more of a hermit than Brown, indeed, I shall 
not complain. That is, whether you know it or not, he is really fond of Society 
and calculated to shine in it : and to my certain knowledge, never so happy as 
when he is in it. But he has unfortunately sceptical notions on religion, which 
often make life itself a burden to him : and which bring him no comfort in the 
prospect of eternity. I really wish that he were now in this house that he 
might see what is the death-bed of a Christian ' (the elder Hooker). 


am, and see my way clearly before me till we return, after 
which no foresight can tell what will become of me. I can 
always fall back on the service as a livelihood. I shall 
never regret having joined this expedition. We must, along 
with Captain Boss, fail completely so as never to try again, 
or succeed. No future Botanist will probably ever visit 
the countries whither I am going, and that is a great 

For a time, however, in 1841, his plans were sorely shaken 
by the barrenness of the first Antarctic cruise and the shortness 
of the stay in Tasmania, which seemed fatal to his project of 
writing a Flora of the island. The rest of the cruise threatened 
to waste two good years of a botanist's time. At this juncture 
his Tasmanian friends conceived the plan that he should be 
invalided and left in Tasmania, where he could continue his 
botanical work. His health had suffered, in sober fact, from 
brooding over his brother's death and the other bad news from 
home. His friend Eonald Gunn, a botanist himself and 
officially private secretary to Sir John Franklin, suggested, 
in the spirit of Midshipman Easy, that he should work up a 
cough and hoarseness, symptoms of impending consumption, 
for the benefit of that keen-eyed disciplinarian, Captain Eoss. 
He pointed out the obvious drawbacks to going so far as to 
quit the service, and the burden it would be on his father if 
Hooker could not live on his half pay while publishing his 
collections ; but he was ready and able to help him in fifty 
ways in taking this short cut to botanical fame. 

Happily the plan was dropped on reflection ; the considera- 
tions contra were very strong, and there was the further chance 
that as he recovered his scientific holiday might be % cut short 
by an order to join some other vessel. Moreover, Sir William's 
next letter urged him not to leave the service till he was fairly 
home and could see at least what could be done about publish- 
ing the collections, and though this only reached him later, it 
confirmed his new resolutions to go on with the expedition 
which he could not honourably leave. His gleanings in less 
abundant fields were richer in scientific results than the harvest 
he looked for as a collector. 


Such regrets as he felt appear in a letter to George Bentham, 
the botanist (Falkland Islands, November 27, 1842) : 

It does sometimes make me sigh, to hear of and to see 
the rapid strides which Botany is taking both at home and 
abroad, and to contrast it with my present narrow sphere 
of exertion ; nor can I forget how young De Candolle asked 
me at your house ' why I was going .to such a barren country 
as the Antarctic regions.' I am far from regretting that I 
joined this expedition, and I shall always look back on its 
progress with infinite pleasure ; still, the few plants I have 
obtained are dearly won, and unless my friends will kindly 
help me by allowing all the Antarctic plants already in 
England to be added, the results will be meagre enough in 
Phaenogamic Botany. Of the Cryptogamia I do not despair, 
but this tribe is sadly neglected and finds small favor in the 
eyes of most Botanists. 

By the end of the voyage the practical issues before him 
take shape in a letter to his father, written from St. Helena 
on his way home (May 18, 1843), when his eager desire to travel 
again but for a shorter time and in a less barren botanical 
area is balanced against the necessity of staying at home 
to publish results. 

St. Helena Roads. 

I have a long yarn to spin you about my future prospects, 
Capt. Boss having been sounding me. He wants me to 
remain in the service, to serve only for Scientific Expeditions ; 
and has, or is going to write home, about my promotion. 
He told me that he must write for Lyall's 1 and mine at once ; 
and had delayed it, expecting me to have spoken of the 
subject to him, which I of course never dreamed of doing, 
it being out of my place. As he said, it was a piece of injustice 
to delay writing for Lyall ; and that he could not do that 
without doing so for me also and stating my superior claims, 
provided I remained in the service : he desired an answer. 
I told him that I did not intend remaining, provided I 
could get any good or decent shore employment ; but that 
I had no idea of giving up the Navy till I felt my way on 
land, which I could not do before arriving in England. 

1 Assistant Surgeon on the Terror. 


Unlikely as it is, there is a possibility of your not being able 
to help me five months hence, and how foolish I should be 
to have thrown away the certainty of promotion for the 
uncertainty of anything else ! I also told him that I had 
no idea of being applied for, until our arrival in England ; 
but as he was good enough to do so before, I should take 
advantage of his offer, provided that he would not be offended 
at my throwing away that offer on my arrival, adding, that 
I believed and expected I should be worth being employed 
by you for my living ; that nothing but absolute necessity 
should make me enter the ordinary service ; and that it 
was highly improbable that I should ever feel myself at 
liberty to enter any Government Expedition, which would 
employ me more than ten or twelve months. I have no 
wish to be a drag on the service by remaining in it and not 
serving ; and when I explained this to him, he answered, 
* it would be a piece of great injustice in the Navy to employ 
me in any way but Natl. Hist.,' and said a great many 
flattering things which I divided by two, and appropriated 
one half (perhaps the better). He also told me that he 
would apply for a sum of money to defray the publica- 
tion of the Natl. Hist., the Botany of which should be 
recommended to me ; and that I ought to be employed 
still on pay (perhaps half -pay), in the service, till they were 
done, as very inadequate compensation for my trouble ; 
to this, of course, I had no objections, except on the grounds 
of passing the boards. On this head I am told the regulations 
are altered, and that having a diploma from Edinbro'. I 
am not required to pass anywhere but before Sir William 
Burnett ; such was not the case when we sailed, but I am 
told is now ; a matter of very great consequence, as I have 
no notion of working up to pass Edinbro' again, which would 
cost three to five months' study in classes. 

The long and short of the matter "being that Capt. 
Boss must either apply for my promotion, or write home 
and state that I would not take it if offered me, I of course 
(having no competency of my own) took the promotion 
offer, being at liberty to decline it on my arrival in England, 
without giving him offence for having put him to trouble 
for nothing. I took two days to think over the matter 
before giving him a final answer, and hope you will approve 
of what I have done. I weighed the question in all its 



bearings, and my only objection is that I should like to 
leave the service, as I entered it, for the Expedition, and 
not for any benefit the service would give me in return. 
However, as you know, I am not independent, and must 
not be too proud ; if I cannot be a Naturalist with a fortune, 
I must not be too vain to take honourable compensation for 
my trouble. 

You, to whom I owe everything, and on whom I am 
entirely dependent out of the service, are the best judge 
as to whether I should accept the commission and the half- 
p ay of 5s. a day ; at any rate, until the plants be published. 
Were an Expedition to go (like Parry's last) for eight or nine 
months to the North ; or the more especially any land one, 
for about the same time, and offer to take me as Naturalist, 
it is my present expectation to avail myself of it. It 
must be something very good which would put me off 
doing so. 

You have above a full, true, and particular account of 
my Navy prospects, and have nothing to add on the subject 
but the hope that you will not have any reason to find fault 
with the course I have taken. 

This letter is endorsed by Lady Hooker : 

I do hope I am thankful for Joseph's good sense and 
modest appreciation of himself, even more than for his 
Captain's praise, or than the sweet prospect of his preference 
of his father's roof and employment at home (July 1, 1843). 

These plans met Sir William's full approval. Two years' 
leave on half-pay must surely be granted him for bringing 
out his scientific results. 

' Were I still in Glasgow,' he writes, ' and Professor of 
Botany, I might* have had the means of securing for you my 
Chair or of resigning it in your favour ere long. But I am of 
opinion you would not like the drudgery of lecturing.' But 
* Merit is generally sure to secure interest,' and the alternative 
suggestion is to come to Kew, to help in the Herbarium, and 
by dint of his publications and botanical studies establish in 
course of time a claim to succeed to the post of Director. 

Such work would be congenial and would bring him into 


contact with men of science ; moreover, its scope was elastic, 
and could easily admit the schemes for further travel which 
he had formed. 

You wish [he writes to Bentham * in a letter of 
November 27, 1842] that I should see a little of Tropical 
Vegetation after my Antarctic herborizations, and I am 
much obliged to you for your kind desire, which I doubt 
not is good ; but, please Sir, I would rather go home, and 
have no notion of jumping from cold to hot, and cracking 
like a glass tumbler. Have not you Botanists killed col- 
lectors a-plenty in the Tropics ? And I have payed dear 
enough for the little I have got in a healthy climate. 

On my return to England I shall have plenty to do, 
working in my father's herbarium, and when I can get 
enough money I should like to visit the capital continents 
and especially N. America. If entirely my own master, I 
would not object to embark once more for a distant climate 
for the purpose of Botany, and to explore the Islands of the 
South Seas, especially the Society and Sandwich groups. 
I might prefer the Himalaya regions ; but these ought to 
be investigated and are in progress, by the officers of the 
Hon. E. India Company : besides the expense of travelling 
there is dreadful. The only circumstance which has dis- 
appointed me is the not having visited the S. Seas. 
Poor Western Africa remains still unknown, and the Niger 
Expedition worse than a total failure. 

1 George Bentham (1800-84) was the youngest son of Sir Samuel Bentham, 
the naval architect and engineer, and nephew of Jeremy Bentham, the writer 
on jurisprudence. His facility in learning languages was stimulated by early 
residence in Russia, Sweden, and France (1814-27), and in later life he was 
able to read botanical works in fourteen modern languages, as well as Latin. 
His pursuit of natural history, especially scientific botany, took second place 
to his work in philosophy, logic and law, until set free from other ties by the 
death of his father and uncle (1831-2). Then he devoted himself to botany, 
becoming, with his legal and philosophic mind, one of our greatest systematists. 
It will be seen later in this volume how in 1854, when certain difficulties 
made him contemplate retirement from his work, the Hookers and Lindley 
saved him for botany. He was given the run of Kew, and co-operated in the 
newly started Colonial Floras, undertaking those of Hongkong and Australia, 
and later projected and wrote with Joseph Hooker the monumental Genera 
Plantarum. He was President of the Linnean Society 1861-74. 



THE ships reached Woolwich on September 7 and were paid 
off on the 23rd, after a commission of four years and five months. 
Captain Koss had landed at Folkestone and hurried to London. 
For some days the Hookers had to be content with his news 
that all was well ; Joseph, as a junior officer, could not get 
away from his ship, and it was not till the evening of the 9th 
that he reached home on a week's leave ' in high health and 
spirits.' ' He is not stouter,' writes Sir William to Dawson 
Turner, * than when he left us, and very unaltered more 
manly broader in the shoulder. He is badly off for clothes, 
and we had to assist him from my wardrobe to enable him to 
go to church yesterday.' 

Soon he settled down to a six months' spell of hard work, 
enjoying everything at home and about Kew, and working at 
his father's side on his plants, ' when not impeded by frequent 
calls to London and numerous engagements ' ; working, as 
his mother puts it, ' like a dragon, like a grandson of my dear 
Father's, and always happy when so employed.' 

First came the Antarctic Flora. But though Koss had 
made formal application for a grant towards publication, the 
official wheels moved with discouraging slowness. 

I have no heart [he exclaims to Bentham, February 10, 
1844] to do much at my Antarctic plants, having been 
five years more or less working at them, and my prospects 
of publishing in a nice form are waning very fast indeed. 
I most heartily wish that I had at first published a rough 



short synopsis of all the new species with terse diagnoses 
and nothing more, it would have been printed in the Journal 
and no one would have known of it at the Admiralty ; while 
it would secure the priority of discovery. It is not having 
my name at the tail of a specific one that I care about, 
but I do want our Expedition and country to have the 

Next is the Species Filicum, in which he was helping his 
father, working ' as the man does who blows the Organist's 
bellows, at the rougher part,' a work among the lesser studied 
plants profitable to the student, though one of the most difficult 
and laborious that could be picked out in all Botany. 

Then came a task suggested by Darwin ; he continues to 
Bentham : 

I am also working up very slowly a paper on Galapagos 
Island plants, from Mr. Darwin's and Macrae's collections. 
I find it a very slow job indeed, as there are very few species 
of a genus or Nat. Ord. and so dissecting one plant is no 
help to another. There are more new species than I expected, 
but then I have begun at the small orders and Cryptogamia ; 
I have done the Ferns, twenty-eight in number, and am now 
amongst the grasses, which are terrible. Fancy two new 
Panicums ; I cannot make them agree with any others, 
and yet every one will say I only made them new species 
to save the trouble of finding out their proper names then 
there is a vile Eragrostis Poa identical with an Afghanistan 
one ! but undescribed, and another group of the genus 
Eutriana whose spikelets vary in a most instructive manner, 
some abortive, some ?, some <J, some , some with two 
flowers, some with more, and altogether the most unsatis- 
factory thing possible to describe. 

Finally the long accumulations of his father's Herbarium 
were clamouring to be set in order, ' probably by arranging 
together all the loose bundles, thus making a grand total 
of all the Herbarium, and then going through the whole, 
taking each Nat. Ord. by itself, taking from it what is wanted 
for the Herbarium, and putting the rest aside as duplicates. 
Would not this be a grand work ? ' 


It is already October when he 'reports to Dr. Harvey, who 
had earlier shared in some of the sorting, a quasi-final descent 
upon the ' Augean stables ' of the Indian and Australian 
collections, 'stable occupation,' as he calls it next spring 
when picking out duplicates for his Paris friends, in continuation 
of the same familiar jest, for in default of proper accommodation 
these things were housed above the stable at West Park, 1 where 
* Elizabeth's pony makes Jenkins sweetly damp ' (i.e. Colonel 
Jenkins' Assam collection), and their favourite ' little Catty ! 
Catty ! Meaw ! * sometimes ' kicked dreadful bobbery among 
the things,' until, pleasant reminder though she was of Harvey's 
visit, she was convicted of ' eating hens and chickens without 
salt, wherefore she is to be expelled the domains. Will you 
have your old darling ? ' 

By March 1844 the official wheels had revolved, and the 
sum of 1000 was promised for publishing the Botany of the 
Antarctic voyage. This money was to be spent upon making 
500 plates of illustrations, * which there are ample materials 
for in the Floras of V. D. Land, N. Zealand, Fuegia, and other 
Antarctic Latitudes.' For his support whilst he was working 
at the book, Sir William would have liked him to continue 
receiving the double pay of 250 a year which had been allowed 
on the expedition ; Joseph himself, who did not even wish 
to be passed for full surgeon and draw the higher pay attached 
to a rank in which he never meant to serve, was content to 
ask for the ordinary pay of assistant surgeon, 118. This 
was more than granted, with an appointment to one of the 
Queen's yachts, without duty ; the pay was about 136, 10s., 
without living allowance. Through Lord Minto, however, 
who was warmly interested as having been First Lord of the 
Admiralty when the Expedition was sent out, Sir William urged 
the precedent of the allowance to Eobert Brown ; there were 
further precedents in the case of Naval surveyors who received 
a small allowance for living on shore while they worked out 
their results. Thus the pay finally allowed was raised to 
200 a year. 

1 West Park was Sir William Hooker's house, until in 1852 he was given 
an official residence in the Gardens. 


To find a publisher for the book was a matter, Sir William 
confesses to Dawson Turner, of very great difficulty. But at 
last a young publisher in King William Street, named Lovell 
Eeeve, undertook it on condition of receiving all the material 
of drawings, plates, and text without further payment, and 
that not one copy should be given away to a person likely to 
buy it. 

Coupled with this news of the book Sir William gave another 
piece of news scarcely less interesting to Dawson Turner. On 
the following day, April 2, 1844, Joseph was to be received 
into the Linnean Society, to which he had been elected during his 
absence from England. His grandfather had been a member 
since 1797. 

A fortnight later : ' Joseph is very hard at work on his 
Flora and three or four plates are prepared. But I do not 
think he is yet aware of the great labour in store for him eight 
plates a month and two sheets of letterpress.' No one was 
more aware of this than Sir William, with his long experience 
of botanical books and journals ; and Dawson Turner, to whom 
he submitted the proofs for notes and suggestions, knew some- 
thing of it also. 

The work was to appear in three parts : the first, or Antarctic 
portion, to be dedicated to Koss ; the second (Flora of New 
Zealand) to Prince Albert, and the third (Flora of Van Diemen's 
Land) either to Sir Eobert Peel or to Eobert Brown. Sir 
William asked Dawson Turner to draw up the dedication to 
Eoss. The publication of the first instalment early in June 
calls forth congratulations from Mr. Lyell of Kinnordy on 
Joseph's debut as an author. 

At the same time he furnished Eoss with various material 
for his account of the Antarctic Voyage. On the one hand 
were short botanical sketches of such places as Eoss desired, 
with the full identifications of plants now possible. Thus ' the 
liliaceous plant' mentioned in his first account of the Auckland 
and Campbell Islands (he trounces the French botanists for 
calling it a Veratrum in the account of D'Urville's voyage) is 
now individualised as Chrysobactron Eossii. These islands he 
found to be 'the richest spots we visited anywhere for new 


and beautiful plants, and the number of species I collected, 
on examination far exceeds my most sanguine expectations 
330 in all ' (September 1844). Sending his notes to Koss in 
November 1844 he writes : 

These have been drawn up in the rough for some time, 
but the most important parts, concerning the proportional 
amount of the different orders, present such curious results, 
that I was anxious to go over all the figuring again, which 
is (as you may perhaps remember) to me very laborious 
and slow work. As it is I do not know whether they are 
too short, but the vegetation was so very remarkable and 
so unlike any other flora to compare with it, that I feared 
making so prosy a thing longer. On the other hand they 
may be too long, but I did not know how to say less. All 
I can do is to repeat my hopes that you will use your 
discretion with it. My Father has looked it over and 
approved it, but says with me that the Flora is too novel 
to say less of ; and by being so, too unintelligible to 
most to render much more readable. So I hope I have 
steered a middle course. Certainly no spot on the globe 
has, so large a proportion of new plants and far less of 
such beauties. 

The last of these botanical sketches asked for by Eoss 
was that of Cockburn Island. This took some time, for 
(December 15, 1845) he had to compare the species with the 
Polar ones before venturing to write anything definite upon 

As the book went through the press he saw proofs of the 
earlier part, and to his horror found that Eoss had reproduced 
his account of the Fossil Tree which had appeared without 
his wish or knowledge in the Tasmanian Journal. It had not 
been written for publication, and with Eonald Gunn's con- 
jectural emendations, was in places unintelligible. The great 
Eobert Brown on seeing this had dubbed it ' a very careless 
production.' He at once begged Eoss (January 30, 1847) 
to correct the unintelligible words, offering as an alternative 
to rewrite the whole thing. 

On the other hand, he helped Eoss materially by lending 


him his Journal, writing an account of the cattle-hunting 
in the Falklands at John Murray the publisher's suggestion 
the subject being only scantily referred to in the Journal 
and supplying a number of illustrations (see p. 86). These 
were vignetted for wood-cutting from Hooker's original 
sketches by Walter Fitch, the Kew draughtsman. Fitch was 
accuracy itself when drawing plants ; but in landscape Hooker 
found that he * refined upon Mount Sabine without improving 
it,' and soberly pencilled above it a more faithful outline of 
the mountain. 

Of the specialists who lent their aid in working out certain 
sections of the Cryptogams, Dr. Harvey was the most valued 
helper as well as intimate friend, to whom he could write with 
entire freedom. One of his other helpers indeed ' describes 
by steam, and all I can say is, I hope I shall not have so many 
remarks upon yours as his ; remarks is an uncommon modest 
word here I assure you.' In fact, Hooker had to do that work 
all over again. But as to Harvey, no one should touch the 
many seaweeds until he had a fair chance. ' I send,' writes 
Hooker (May 21, 1844), ' everything on which I can lay my 
hands because you must see whole suites of things to judge 
of them.' His intention was to keep the Antarctic Algae 
from Cape Horn, Falkland Islands, Southern Ocean, and 
Kerguelen's Land ' distinct from the Auckland and Campbell 
Isld. ones, as the phenogamic Floras of those regions are 
very distinct.' 

... I think the sets of Macrocystis will prove that too 
many species have been made of the genus but I should 
like all the forms, made by Bory l into species, to be acknow- 
ledged under some form or other, as my great anxiety 
throughout will be by my book to show that the English 
have done as much for Crypt. Bot. as the French [apropos 
of Montagne's brochure on the subject], and I wish par- 
ticularly always to state who was the first discoverer of 
a species. ... I am also particularly anxious that the 

1 Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint Vincent (1780-1846), naturalist, soldier, and 
geographer. He sailed in 1800 with Baudius, the geographer and naturalist, 
to explore the Australian coasts. Owing to illness he was left at Bourbon, 
and proceeded to study its natural history. 


Geog. district of the species should be mentioned under 
each. I am sure you can give me vast help in this. 
My Father thinks they should be published under our joint 
names, but I expect your kindness will lead you to do so 
much before I can begin that I scarce see how I shall be 
entitled to further credit than as a collector ; should you 
not think my name too presuming, I beg you to under- 
stand, that I am quite ready to swear to anything you say, 
to stand Godfather to any names you may insert, and to 
believe anything except that the French have made better 
collections than the English. 

As to the question of making new species, he remarks : 

Generally speaking the plants (Jungermanniae) are very 
distinct from the European ones, though externally, like 
all creeping Crypts., they look like them. The fact is that 
all those who now have continued the study of Hepaticae 
for many years, find that besides the Europ; species 
having wide ranges, there are plenty more with as wide 
elsewhere and others that are local too. Taylor has dis- 
criminated well, but not compared well with other dis- 


I am proving all or most of the Lycopod: to be the same. 
As to mere changes of nomenclature : 

I am not the least frightened at your changes of names. 
I always liked to call you a slicked algologist, but that is 
only in comparison with myself. The changes being for 
the better are signs of your improving ! The greatest men 
'change their minds oftenest, e.g. Brougham, Stanley, 
Graham, 1 and your own dear Don, 2 who is a trump in my 

1 Graham, the Home Secretary of 1845 (see p. 204), was a lesser political 
luminary than Lord Brougham and Stanley, ' the Rupert of Debate.' 

2 David Don (1800-41), botanist, son of George Don, for some time 
Curator of the Edinburgh Botanical Garden. Through Robert Brown he was 
employed at the Apothecaries' Garden, Chelsea, where he became Librarian, 
and in 1822 succeeded Brown as Librarian at the Linnean Society. In 1836 
he was appointed Professor of Botany at King's College, London. 


But excessive or ignorant species-making is to be dealt 
with relentlessly, especially when made at second-hand, as in 
a given case by Montagne, resting himself upon the supposed 
infallibility of a certain observer. And he adds : 

My dear friend, I want no enlightenment or refresh- 
ment about Ballia Hombroniana ; I examined them native 
hundreds of times ; it is one of the most common southern 
Algae, and I often tried if that state was a different species ; 
Brown would not make me believe it a good one. 

I shall give Montagne a rap over the knuckles if he does 
not look out ; we are not all fools because he is so double- 
barrelled knowing ; it is childish of him to insist against the 
testimony we have and which he has no grounds whatever 
to disprove ; it is silly of him to adduce as an argument 
that an unbotanical man pronounced them distinct. 1 

Against Montagne there was another score to be chalked 
up. He was bringing out a book on the Algae himself, and 
Hooker had sent him a copy of his best plate of Alga drawings. 
With this Montagne was so much delighted that he promptly 
incorporated it in his book, a most undesirable form of com- 
pliment. To Harvey, who was much upset by the incident, 
Hooker writes : 

With regard to your cher confrere, I have had a hearty 
laugh at your distress. I am wholly to blame for being so 
weak as to send him it ; feeling as I did at the time how 
dangerous a thing I was doing. . . . However, I try to 
laugh off my disappointment at being chiselled so dirtily 
out of my pet plate amongst the Algae. Confound his 

1 A little later, the same point is amusingly exemplified in the description 
of Planchon, the Kew assistant, given to Bentham, September 25, 1846 : 

* Planchon thrives, i.e. grows leaner and looks yellower and hungrier. He 
is getting up his geography with a vengeance, and now no two plants can be 
the same, if gathered two miles apart : he is hammering away at the Compositae 
splendidly, and after having abused D. C. for making infinitely too many 
species on other genera he now wants to make more of Senecio ! even of the 
S. American, all except the Antarctic of which he says I have made too 
many. There never was such a compound of contradictions. I benefited 
enormously by his views and " 9a tourhe's " on genera and orders, but on 
species he fairly drives me mad. We are capital friends, however, only bicker 
a bit. He is now trying to get some friend's picture of a water-lily exhibited 
at the R.A. next year ; I tell him he might as well try to get himself into the 
Book of Beauty.' Cp. p. 344. 


impudence to ask for Hepat. etc. in the same letter as he 
so coolly boasts his guilt and shame. I have promised, 
however, and shall send them, ' sans lettre ' however. I shall 
drop cher confrere quietly, as our friend Berkeley has H.; and 
place him * inter eos maxime vitandos.' . . . 

One of these Southern Algae, contributed by Darwin, was 
difficult to identify, and called forth the following to Harvey, 
November 11, 1844. 

Do not bother about Darwin's Alga till I tell you ; such 
a chap as that will, after all, require some of the double- 
barrelled powers here in London to solve it, and after I get 
your verdict I shall ask Berkeley. I shall be amused to 
know how many genera I can get it put in by a good many 
observers. When you have done with it I will have a crack 
at it myself, and after I get all verdicts separately, I will 
acquaint you. I shall let no one know that another has 
examined it. 

Meantime Sir William was keeping a prudent eye on the 
possibilities of any permanent post that might suit Joseph, 
whose own views on the subject are shown in a letter to Dr. 
Harvey (March 10, 1844), when, speaking of Harvey's candida- 
ture for the Dublin chair, he says : 

For my own part I should have preferred the Curatorship 
with half the salary, to the Professorship, which would 
have obliged me to give two courses of Botany, besides 
having the fear of being obliged to take Medical duties 
(i.e. Clinical lectures), for which I am neither competent nor 
inclined. I could not be a good Botanist and Medical man 

For a moment there seemed a chance of the Curatorship of 
the Dublin Herbarium, left vacant by the death of Dr. Coulter, 
till it was resolved that this be attached to the professorship 
of Botany, which would be given elsewhere. Kobert Brown's 
health was failing, but succession to his important post at 
the British Museum was out of the question. ' We must never 
think of Brown's situation for Joseph ' (writes Sir William 


on December 14, 1843), for ' Bennett 1 [his assistant] would in 
all human probability outlive and succeed him.' In November 
1844 came news of a vacant Curatorship of the Botanical 
Gardens at Sydney, but this would hardly suit his views, even 
even if the salary were better. In the course of the winter 
came the proposal to lecture for Professor Graham at Edinburgh, 
with a fair prospect of succeeding him in the Botanical chair. 
The story of this is told in the next chapter. 

In the meanwhile, Hooker proceeded to fulfil his intention 
of seeing the chief Continental botanists, and comparing their 
Gardens and collections with those of Kew. He hoped also to 
effect exchanges of specimens and living plants. 

Midwinter certainly was not the ideal season for such a visit, 
but Schomburgk, 2 another distinguished traveller, was going to 
Germany, and promised to act as his ' chaperon ' there ; more- 
over, any permanent appointment at home might interfere 
for a long time with further travel, which in itself was one 
passport to good society in such a place as Edinburgh. And 
at this moment it would involve no delay in his book ; the next 
two monthly parts were ready for press. He planned an 
extensive journey, including a visit to ' a man of the name of 
Alexander Braun, who has written on the development of 
leaves and branches in a spiral direction, and who has developed 
the laws of their development and future directions on the plant. 
Mr. Brown thinks Braun a very first rate man, though a little 
known one, and considers him as well worth my seeing as any 
man abroad.' (To D. Turner, January 26, 1845. Cf. p. 425rc). 

But Sir William warned him that all the time at his dis- 
posal would be taken up with seeing what was to be seen at 

1 John Joseph Bennett (1801-76), botanist, was Robert Brown's assistant 
in charge of the Banksian Herbarium and Library on its transfer to the 
British Museum in 1827, succeeding him as keeper in 1858. He was secre- 
tary to the Linnean Society, 1840-60; F.R.S. 1841 ; and published various 
botanical papers. 

1 Probably Sir Robert Schomburgk (1804-65), discoverer of the Victoria 
Regia lily, who was knighted at the end of 1844 on his return from his three 
years' travel delimiting the frontiers of British Guiana. His brother Richard, 
who had accompanied him as botanist, had returned to Germany in 1842. 
After the political troubles of 1848, he fled to Australia, where he cultivated the 
vine with great success, and in 1866 became director of the botanical gardens 
at Adelaide. He survived till 1890. 


Paris and Berlin, and he gave up the idea of a longer journey. 
Finally, time growing short, he contented himself with Brussels 
and the Dutch towns instead of Berlin. 

He reached Paris on January 30, travelling by way of 
Southampton and Havre. 

This route takes me through Eouen, which I should hope 
to be able to see a little of, though the object of my journey 
is so entirely to see men more than things, that I cannot 
afford to delay much. 

His promised fellow-travellers did not make their appear- 
ance ; but he scraped acquaintance with other travellers, 
including one Eeimers from St. Domingo, whose brother he 
had met at Eio, and a Frenchman from Eio, who could not 
speak a word of English ; ' a very shrewd fellow and liked 
everything English but Sundays, which were quite insupport- 
able, there being no innocent amusements in which he could 
take part on that day.' Leaving at 2.30, they reached Havre 
at 1.30 A.M., when 

we were immediately roused out of our beds, no one, 
according to Customs Laws, being allowed to remain on 
board after arrival. . . . Havre is very dirty, the houses 
very narrow and tall ; those along the quays are composed 
of sundry bits of all the (rotten ?) vessels that ever were 
stranded ; the air of the whole place was that of Greenock, 
though not quite so noisome. 

The Customs next morning had troubles of their own. 

My things were overhauled in a house and turned out 
for me to repack in the street. . . . They charged for Brown's 
Eafflesia books, against my earnest remonstrances, I 
showed them the names of the illustrious Bobby himself, of 
Humboldt, Ehrenberg, &c., &c., written in one or other, but 
they were inexorable ; it was the plates they charged for, 
and if I had told them that I deserved a premium for im- 
porting the works of Bauer, they would not, I expect, have 
regarded it. 

[On the diligence to Eouen.] The stages are about three 
leagues long on an average, and a new driver to every one. 


The same guard goes throughout dressed in a magnificent 
silver-lace uniform, covered with a blue blouse. Altogether 
he was an ill-conditioned dog, and fitted his garments like 
a hog in armour. The drag is curious, being a sort of com- 
pressor, worked by this guard who sits in this Phaeton with 
me and others, turning a thing like a coffee-mill handle, 
which produces a pressure on the axle of one wheel, aiding 
the diligence in turning and taking the pressure off the 
horses in descent. 

By dark they reached Kouen ; thence by rail to Paris ; 
' 100 miles for 16 francs, 14 stoppages, 4 hours in passage, 
3 tunnels, one 3 miles long.' 

Thanks to Baron Delessert, a wealthy amateur, to whose 
collection alone Sir William's took second place, he was able 
to move from his first hotel, where * last night I had some of 
my Erebus friends in bed,' for clean rooms at the Hotel de 
Londres in the Kue des Petits Augustins, ' but and ben with 
Baron Humboldt.' One or two impressions of Paris in 1845 
may be quoted from a letter to his mother (February 2). 

My way led through the Champs Elysees, which are 
very dirty indeed, and I soon got terribly splashed with 
mud. I do not think these town avenues at all in good 
keeping ; they are half rural and that is all ; the broad 
nagged pavements and macadamised roads, covered with 
carts and coaches, do not suit the noble trees at all, so that 
I could not in any way compare the Champs Elysees with 
the avenue at Bushey Park or at Inverary the trees look 
much more to advantage in our parks, where we have not 
rows of shops at their backs and restaurateurs under their 
shade. [Apart from the individual beauties of such build- 
ings as the Louvre] there is here nothing so good as Eegent 
Street, though a little bit of the rue Eivoli and the rue 
Eoyale are better than any equal portion taken out of that 
London thoroughfare. [Going to the rue St. Honore to 
call upon Lord Howden] the street is very narrow, so 
that two can scarcely walk abreast upon the pavement, 
and the stoppages of carriages and carts are ten times 
worse and more numerpus than (i the) Strand at Temple 


His first meeting with the famous Humboldt is thus 
described : . 

On putting up here I sent in my card with Mr. Brown's 
books to Baron Humboldt ; he was not at home, but 
sent his flunkey (Scotice Footman) to my bedroom at 
8 o'clock yesterday morning to say his master wished to 
see me at 9. Ten minutes after his Lord had grown 
impatient and sent to say he was all ready, so I went in 
and saw to my horror a punchy little German, instead of a 
Humboldt. There was no mistaking his head, however, which 
is exceedingly like all the portraits, though now powdered 
with white. I expected to see a fine fellow 6 feet without 
his boots, who would make as few steps to get up Chimborazo 
as thoughts to solve a problem. I cannot now at all fancy 
his trotting along the Cordillera as I once supposed he 
would have stalked. However, he received me most kindly 
and made a great many enquiries about all at Kew and in 
England, particularly about Mr. Brown and my father. 

In a letter of the same date to his sister Maria he draws 
a keenly etched picture of several distinguished botanists then 
in Paris, a companion picture to his careful comparison of 
the Jardin des Plantes, the libraries, collections, and glass 
houses with the establishment at Kew. 

I have seen a great many men here, but they are so 
swallowed up, in general, with self-conceit that the only 
way to make oneself agreeable is to hold your own tongue 
and allow them to rattle away ; each begins by telling you 
literally of the magnitude of their works, whilst of those 
of their neighbours they seem to know very little indeed. 
To this there are exceptions, of course. There are truly 
a large concourse of Botanists here, but they do not appear 
to me such sterling men as we have by any means. There 
are six Botanists at the Jardin des Plantes, three heads 
and three subs of the heads. Only one loves Botany for 
its own sake, who is M. Mirbel, 1 who was out when I 

1 Charles Francois Brisseau de Mirbel (1776-1854), artist and botanist, 
deserted science for ten years in favour of civil administration, but returned 
in 1827 to a professorship at the Paris Museum of Natural History. He was 
one of the pioneers in microscopic anatomy and vegetable physiology. Of the 
friends Sir William had made among the French botanists when he visited Paris 
in 1814, Mirbel and Bory were the only survivors. 


called. M. de Jussieu, son of the mighty Jussieu, 1 does 
not really love Botany, but wears his father's shoes 
though they pinch him. Being clever, all that he does 
is good, but that is not much ; he is extremely kind and 
amiable, but close, and buys no books. He took me for 
five hours round the garden in the kindest manner, but 
never once opened his lips to ask about Botany in English 
gardens or plants ; he is the teacher of Botany. M. Brong- 
niart, a clever youngish man (he looks twenty-eight and 
is forty-eight), is the second head, and his department is 
to name the garden plants ; he is considered hardly a 
Botanist at all, but is fond of fossils though there he has 
done nothing lately. Mirbel is the third head, who cultivates 
, the plants, and a pretty mess he makes of it, I assure you, 
for worse grown things I never saw ; in their best houses 
they look like our smoke stoves exactly. 

Now the great aim of every French man of Science is 
to become a member of the Institute, of whom there are but 
very few, and only added to by the death of one of the 
original members ; all having one aim and that being 
ambition, they quarrel like cat and dog, and excepting 
Brongniart and Jussieu there is not one who has not many 
enemies, as it is said these two would have did they study 
Botany and were they not members already, very much 
because they were their fathers' sons. 

To his Father 

February 13, 1845. 

I have been very busy since I wrote last, chiefly in 
the Herbarium of the Jardin des Plantes, which grows in 
magnitude under my eyes [' though it must be confessed, 
he adds four days later, 'that the want of space and pro- 
portion of paper are enormous '] ; its riches are very great, 
and the persons connected with it are all so extremely kind 
to me that I can hardly thank them enough ; they have 
given me 300 species of New Zealand plants, chiefly from 
the Middle Island, and where they have duplicates of 

1 Adrien de Jussieu (1797-1853) succeeded his father as Professor of 
Botany at the Paris Botanical Garden in 1826. In addition to several 
important botanical memoirs, he wrote a very successful Cours Elementaire 
de Botanique, while many botanists of all nations were trained by him. 
His father, Antoine, Sir William's friend, wrote the Genera Plantarum, the 
principles of which were adopted and enlarged by Be Candolle. 

VOL. i N 


other things are quite willing to send the first set to your 

I spent a whole day with Deca-isne [the third aide] over > 
his drawings, &c. ; they are most beautiful, masterly, and 
truly botanical ; he is too a most amiable and excellent 
fellow, is modest and well informed, by far the best Botanist 
here on all points. He sent to Normandy on purpose for 
Seaweed to show me his marvellous discovery of the animal- 
cules in the organs of Fuci ; I suppose it is the most curious 
of recent discoveries and opens the widest field for discovery. 
I am quite astonished with what he has shown me. He has 
arranged the Fuci of the Herbarium most beautifully. . . . 
His whole pay is 62 per annum, and yet he takes my book ; 
but every one here considers him a model of generosity. 

The question of buying Lenormand's collection of Algae 
when so small a proportion were new, prompts the reluctant 
advice to his father to * give up purchasing for the present 
wholly. We have far more plants than we know how to keep 
in order, far more expenses, which are annually increasing, 
than we have the means to cover,' not to mention the growing 
expense of books, for ' plants without books are useless.' His 
fortune was not, as the Paris botanists fondly imagined, equal 
to that of Delessert, his only rival in purchasing in Europe, 
and ' I do feel quite sure that you cannot on your own means 
support a Herbarium which is, as you wish, to keep pace with 
the progress of Botany.' 

The following passages from a long letter to Harvey towards 
the end of his stay in Paris deserve quotation as illustrating 
not only the kindness of his hosts and their respect for his 
father, but his own readiness to readjust his personal pre- 

February 25th, or thereabouts. 

I ought to have written to you before, from this great 
mother of Babylons, but have been too busy enjoying 
myself selfishly, to think much of my neighbours. This is 
indeed a wonderful place, and the natives are most uncommon 
polite, not only in word but in deed, for they pour upon 
me such loads of pamphlets and little presents as obliges 


me to make up a parcel for England, to go without me, to 
the land of my Fathers. . . . (All thanks to my father's name, 
for I have done nothing to please the French ; but his name 
carries me everywhere.) 

My great allies here are Montagne and Decaisne, both 
of whom are extremely kind to me, and very remarkable 
persons in their way ; they have both fairly gammoned me 
into liking them, by force of good words and good offices, 
and the latter particularly I find to be an exceedingly good 
fellow, of whom I had formed a very wrong notion. My 
Hotel being close by Montagne, I see him every day for 
an hour ; he is a clever, active, little old man, who took up 
Cryptog. Bot. when nearly 50 years old, and has continued 
it ever since ; his knowledge of species is very great, and 
his collections kept in beautiful order ; of structural Botany 
he knows nothing, and is much too old to learn at 6l (as 
he calls himself). I have had sad work with the Antarctic 
Algae ; you never saw such specimens. Montagne very fairly 
says that he does not hope that his work is at all to be 
depended upon ! 

You know well how apt I am to form uncharitable 
opinions of people ; I hope I may prove as ready to make 
the amende honorable as I know them better, for now I 
must confess Decaisne to be the most remarkable Botanist 
for his age I have ever seen. In structural, anatomical, and 
physiological Botany, better judges than I say he is deep, 
nay profound, and his descriptive knowledge is very great, 
as is that of the Nat. Ords., and that of both live and dead 
plants specifically. His drawings are also very talented, 
and every one likes him but Montagne. The latter I have 
always found a most excellent and warm friend, truly 
anxious and willing to go to any trouble to serve me, never 
tired of showing me his beautifully kept and named speci- 
mens and atrociously vile drawings ; he is always pleasant 
and agreeable, but has the character of a tricky temper, 
with 100 a year as retired army surgeon, in which capacity 
he served with Napoleon in Egypt ; he keeps both house, 
library, and collection up, and subscribes to sundry concerts, 
the delight of his old age, for he is passionately fond of 
music ; he is also very generous and kind, a warm friend 
and generous. 


Happily Hooker was able to maintain friendship with both 
these men, though they were of opposite temperaments and 
at personal variance with one another. 

The fact is that poor Montagne does make awful mistakes 
from neglecting structural Botany, and is very obstinate 
too ; Decaisne, on the contrary, owns a fault on the spot, 
and is both frank and generous ; his indifference to Montagne 
certainly does not mend matters. The latter is infinitely 
the most careful observer, though the more ignorant, his 
faults arise from giving over value to trivial characters and 
from misunderstanding the relation and structures of plants ; 
the faults of the other are owing to carelessness. Montagne 
works slowly, steadily, carefully, and by a fixed method, 
examining a plant piece by piece, never making any great 
discovery, and but few remarks characterised by originality. 
Decaisne works like a horse, till his strength is exhausted 
and he is fairly ill, for he works himself to death ; takes 
wide general views of things, appreciates an organic change, 
and comprehends it in all its bearings at once, but instead 
of thinking upon his discovery, jumps at a conclusion right 
or wrong. 

Thus, returning to the question of the animalcules in the 
antheridia, which Decaisne showed him in the specimens of 
seaweed specially brought up from Normandy, he adds : 

They were all perfectly simple and easy to be seen. The 
vegetable origin of these, which have hitherto been con- 
sidered animalcules, is very positive, though it may still 
be doubted whether they are a sex of the plant, which the 
dioecious, monoecious, or hermaphrodite nature of the several 
species would argue, as also their analogy to the so-called 
sexes of mosses on the other hand, they may have more 
analogy to the motive spores of Vaucheria and of Protococcus ; 
be that as it may, Decaisne not only believes them sexes, 
but forthwith cuts old Fucus up into three genera, depending 
on the monoecious, dioecious, or hermaph. state of the 
species ! ! You will no doubt agree with me that this is 
heinous and needs no proof of absurdity to any reasoning 
mind, and how so talented a man as Decaisne can behave so 
is a puzzle to me, for I know no Botanist but Brown so skilled 


as he is in all that concerns Botany. I think I have reasoned 
him out of this or shall have before long, for he is both modest 
and open to reason. 

His drawings of the genera of Algae are wonderfully 
numerous and beautiful ; I often thought how numerous 
your exclamations of come bella would have been, had you 
seen them. 

The Botanists here have not ceased being kind to me, and 
such a three weeks of being lionised I never at all expected. 
I am quite aware that this is owing to my bearing your name, 
but so far out of sight as you are, it was very unexpected. 
Were it not that the style of living (or rather killing one- 
self) here is very prejudicial, I should wish you to come here 
one spring, but I am sure you would be made ill, as I have 
been, and only recovered by dint of sticking to Seine water 
and letting vin ordinaire alone. This was a fortnight ago, 
and my poisoner was M. Gay, who eternally complained of 
the badness of his dinner, and made Webb 1 and me eat and 
especially drink more than we liked by dint of a similar 
pressing to what you underwent in Ireland. The poor man 
evidently thought us great guests, and that we were too 
proud for his table perhaps. . . . 

(February 27.) . . . Humboldt I saw very often, some- 
times three times a day, for he was never tired of coming to 
ask me questions about my voyage ; he certainly is still a 
most wonderful man, with a sagacity and memory and 
capability for generalising that are quite marvellous. I 
gave him my book, which delighted him much ; he read 
through the first three numbers, and I suppose noted down 
thirty or forty things which he asked me particulars about. 
I left him at the third number, and as he paid me two visits 
whilst I was out on the morning I left, he has doubtless not 
digested it all. I bade him three goodbyes the day before 

1 Philip Barker Webb (1793-1854) of Milford House, Surrey, early came into 
a fortune which enabled him to travel and pursue his studies in geology and 
botany. His observations on the Troad and his Iter Hispaniense were followed 
by his work on Madeira and the Canaries, where he spent 1828-30 with Berthe- 
lot, a young Frenchman who had already been eight years studying the islands. 
In 1833 they established themselves in Paris, where their great work, Histoire 
naturelle des lies Canaries took fourteen years to produce (1836-50). The 
years 1848-50 he spent botanising in Italy, as a sequel to which he left his large 
collections and herbarium to the museum at Florence, then under his friend 


and the next day ; he, as I said before, came twice for me in 
my absence. He talked in the warmest manner of Mr. Brown, 
Murchison, 1 and yourself, also of Darwin and Herschell. . . . 

His plan was now to visit the botanists at Brussels, and 
to bring back the plants that Blume and Siebold 2 had promised 
his father by taking Leyden and The Hague on his way home 
(with a digression, if possible, to Haarlem to hear the organ, 
and to Amsterdam to see Linnaeus' Lapland dress), and he adds 
later, * I have seen such fine things lately from Blume and 
especially from Siebold that my regret is not so great at missing 
sight of Germany as it was a week ago.' 

But one or two difficulties loom ahead on this Netherland 
visit, though the kindly French botanists gave him no less than 
twenty-six letters of introduction. Siebold and Blume, to 
whom he wishes one of the four remaining copies of the ' Genera 
Filicum ' to be given as a return for gifts of plants, ' are on 
dreadful terms ; I must manage between them.' More per- 
sonal to himself is the result of an outspoken review in the 
' London Journal of Botany.' 

Hombron is in very bad odour ; I want to see him, but 
Decaisne and Jussieu say he is boiling with rage at us, and 
that I must not go or there will be a row. I find that that 
critique was well received here by those whose opinions are 
best worth having. At the Jardin the critique is considered 
quite fair as his work is a disgrace to France indeed, and that 
it is well to scold bad books as that gives a character to the 
Journal, and the latter is very well thought of here, especially 
the review part. 

1 Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871) took up the study of geology 
after his marriage and retirement from the army. His chief studies lay among 
the ancient rocks of Wales and the Highlands of Scandinavia and Russia, where 
he assisted in the geological survey. His fame was sedured by the establish- 
ment of the Silurian system. As President of the Geological Society twice, 
and of the Geographical for fifteen years, and director of the Geological Survey 
from 1855, he possessed large influence, enhanced by his wealth and social 

2 Philip Franz Siebold (1796-1866) spent six years from 1823 in Japan as 
doctor to a Dutch embassy, and became an authority on Japanese language, 
literature, and natural history. Then till 1859 he lived in Holland ; revisited 
Japan 1859-62, arid thereafter settled in his native city, Wurzburg. Besides 
introducing many Japanese plants into Europe, he introduced the tea plant 
into Java. 


However, Hooker's natural tact brought him safely through. 

The formalities of travel on the Continent in the forties 
were exasperating, his passport having to be signed by the 
Belgian and English Ambassadors in Paris and twice counter- 
signed by the Prefect of Police. Ten days were filled with 
fruitless errands, and to crown matters, diligence and train 
failed to make connection at Valenciennes. 

Brussels, where he stayed a second day to make acquaint- 
ance with Quetelet, 1 at a meeting of the Brussels Academy, 
is summed up as ' a very interesting city, but not strong in 
Botanists,' though in the Garden ' the collection of Palms was 
excellent ; ... of other things they have no great store/ 

At Ghent, where he did not fail to see the Kubens pictures, 
he went over Van Houtte's nursery gardens, ' most extra- 
ordinary, both for the number of species of Botanical plants 
and of Camellias and other such.' After arranging for exchanges 
of plants, he was invited to dinner by Van Houtte, who was 
as hospitable as he was liberal. One point especially in his 
botanical interests struck his visitor : ' he takes the Magazine 
and is going to have the Journal and the Flora Antarctica.' 

Meantime the discomforts and difficulties of travel in such 
an Arctic winter are worth recording. March 4 saw delay 
of trains, the missing of diligence connexions, and consequent 
midnight journeys. ' I began to think,' he writes, * that I 
should never get to Holland at all.' March 5 was worse than 
ever ; 

the roads and rivers were so bad that several passengers were 
frightened and went round by some place South. Such a 
cruise I never had by land : the cold was intense, the thermo- 
meter at 7 with a keen wind. We crossed three rivers, one 
all frozen and covered with Hummocks and piles of ice, the 
second, the Maes, 1 \ miles broad v , loaded with huge masses of 
Pack and Berg ice, rushing down to the sea ; the navigation 

1 Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet (1796-1874), a Belgian statistician 
and astronomer, Director of the Brussels Observatory 1828, and Professor of 
Astronomy 1836, and from 1834 Perpetual Secretary of the Belgian Royal 
Academy. Apart from mathematical treatises, his most important work was 
the book Sur Vhomme et le developpement de ses facultes (1835), and later he 
turned his mathematical mind to the study of anthropometry. 


was very bad and performed in boats, which were shot 
down from a bank on to the stream and pulled up and down 
the river, working many diagonals, at times fixed in the Pack 
and at others free again. In about 1J hours we were across 
in safety, but wet and cold enough. As, however, all the little 
Cabarets have hot coffee, the cold did not much matter. 
The third river was half fixed Ice with great holes of water, 
and the boats were dragged or pushed or rowed according to 
circumstances. We arrived late at Eotterdam. 

On the way home, a week later, all this had to be 
traversed again, it being impracticable to pick up the mail 
boat in the Eotterdam direction. 

I went the first thing next morning (March 6) to Miquel, 
an intelligent and agreeable man, full of Botany, and who 
will prove an acquisition to us. I spent the day with him. . . . 

Ley den, March 7. Blume received me most warmly, 
and has shown me such wonders in the Museum and at his 
house as are almost incredible ; he has all the Japan things. 
Blume promises me much, but he says I must take them 
myself, as he has no aid and no time to make selections. 

. . . You have no idea of the richness of this place, 
such beautiful drawings, as good as Fitch's or very nearly ; 
they beat the Paris ones, as Decaisne acknowledges. The 
Bird collection is superb, specimens, stuffing and attitudes. 
Here is a Penguin perfect, such a specimen I never saw alive ; 
it is a truly wonderful place. 

The Jardin des Plantes and this place are truly two 
epochs in my life. I must work very hard when I get home. 
I do not fear the lectures, but I am backward in British 

Next day, the 8th, he writes : 

Of all the Botanists I have seen, except Decaisne, Miquel 
is the one I like best and think the most promising ; he has 
an excellent and rare knowledge of structure and of exotic 
genera and species, and his respect for you is very great. . . . 
Next to yourself and Mr. Brown I think I am asked more 
for Darwin than anyone ; his book * has made him so many 

1 The Voyage of the ' Beagle.' 


friends where he is not personally known. Beinwardt is 
in raptures with it. 

Once back in England, he was busily engaged throughout 
the spring in sorting out plants as return gifts to his French 
hosts, in preparing for his Edinburgh lectures, in working 
at his Flora Antarctica and at the Niger Flora, based on the 
specimens brought back by the Expedition of 1841 under 
Captain A. D. Trotter. All these things, and especially the 
progress of the Flora, and detestation of mere species-mongering, 
are reflected in frequent letters to Harvey a correspondence 
continued all through his stay at Edinburgh, for Harvey, 
who had recently stayed at Kew and worked there before 
being elected to the Dublin chair, was busily working out the 
Antarctic Algae, both Hooker's and D'Urville's from Paris, and 
was moreover a friend to whom he could scribble with the 
careless freedom of intimacy, now chaffing his friend, now 
poking fun at his own efforts as a lecturer, when lecturing 
turned out to be a less terrible ordeal than he had expected ; for, 
as his mother said, * Joseph is not a sanguine or hopeful person : 
but he becomes attached to his work : thus we trust he will 
take interest in lecturing and warm towards it, as he proceeds.' 

The book suffered many vicissitudes ; Harvey took up 
lithography and drew his own plates ; occasionally carefully 
drawn plates were spoiled by the engraver or colourist, and a 
monthly part was delayed ; so that the disheartened author 
exclaims, ' Never will I undertake such a work again. The 
Icones is the only model for what a Botanical work should be. 
I wish they would have let me publish in that form, and yet 
I sighed for glory too' (April 29, 1845). Then for a time 
Hooker, lacking the necessary books of reference at Edinburgh, 
resolved to end the publication with Part X. But the work 
was approved by those whose approval was worth having. 
His Edinburgh lectures over, he took it up again, and in 
October, being rejected for the Edinburgh chair, he was left 
free to complete it on the original scale, taking care that 
Smith's, Davis', Lyall's, Crozier's and Boss's names should 
be attached to five of the fine Algae that required figuring. 


Such scrubs as that Pol[ysiphonia] [he declares to Harvey] 
are rather infra dig. for an ' officer and a gentleman.' Cannot 
you spare some of those dandy Delesseria, or some showy 
things that will require a whole red plate ? I do hate too 
much of this sort of thing, but I think they ought to come 
in. (April 14, 1845.) 

Harvey carried out his wishes, for not only is there a 
Polysiphonia Davisii, but two Delesserias are named D. 
Davisii and D. Lyallii. 

Meantime details are scrutinised ; carelessness about species 
ruthlessly exposed. D'Urville's collection assigns a certain 
Alga to Lord Auckland's Island, where it was inconceivable 
that Hooker and Lyall should have overlooked it. He reminds 
Harvey how he proved in Paris that specimens were wrongly 
ticketed, and as for the so-called species itself (Ehodomenia 
ornata), which Brown enters as Ballia Hombroniana, ' I am 
convinced,' he writes, ' of its being no species at all, and long 
to restore the name callitricha, but " am not game " ! ' 
Similarly, in an undated letter of 1845 : 

I am now hammer and tongs at my Lichens, which are 
an Augean stable. The British species are humbugged by 
the introduction of varieties ; if ever I publish an Ed. of 
Eng. Bot. I shall not hesitate to cut down Usnea and 
Kamalina to one species, all the intermediate forms of every- 
day occurrence. 



ON October 17, 1844, appears the first reference to the 
Edinburgh Professorship of Botany, 1 which takes definite 
shape by Christmas Eve. Dr. Graham's health was very 
precarious ; he was likely to resign his Chair soon, and as 
a first step, perhaps, require a substitute to deliver a course 
of lectures in the following spring. This substitute, if he 
did well, would be a strong candidate for the Chair with the 
backing of the retiring Professor. The Professor of Botany 
generally united two appointments in his single person, 
the College professorship, in the gift of the Town Council, 
and the less lucrative but more important Kegius professor- 
ship attached to the Curatorship of the Botanical Gardens. 
This latter, being a Crown appointment, was in the gift of 
Sir James Graham, then Home Secretary, with whom Sir 
William's official friends would naturally have considerable 
influence. Acceptable as the prospect of 100 for the course 
of lectures would be to the young botanist, to interrupt his 
more serious work on the Flora without aiming at the permanent 
post would be against his best interests. * It is indeed not easy 

1 J. D. H. to W. H. Harvey. October 17, 1844. 

' I am not much nearer my fortune now than when you were here, and am 
getting very anxious to be doing something that will pay me on dit that poor 
Dr. Graham of Edinbro' is on his last legs, and my friends want me, should he 
go off the hooks (which I from my heart say heaven forefend), to stand for the 
chair of Botany there (don't laugh). I suppose you like my impudence. 
I should not be sanguine, as the opposition would be very strong, and if Forbes 
stands he will be by far the most eligible : I have no great notion of lecturing, 
but I must pick up a livelihood somehow. How I shall quaque at my first 
lecture. You must not say anything about this, at present, visionary subject.' 



for a Botanist to obtain a situation altogether agreeable to him, 
and that will afford him means of support.' Sir William 
might have said this with equal truth of any branch of science, 
and not at that time only. 

At the same time Hooker fully realised the importance of 
completing his magnum opus. The arrangements for its pub- 
lication in parts, month after month, rendered it impossible 
to carry out the scheme anywhere but at Kew. * The value 
of my library and Herbarium/ writes Sir William, ' was never 
more fully evinced than in his preparation for his work. The 
British Museum, though invaluable in some respects, does not 
afford him a tythe of the information that my collections 
do.' With his usual generosity, Sir William hoped to make 
over the Herbarium to his son once he was established in 
Edinburgh, when it could be kept either at the Garden or in 
the College. 

As it soon appeared, there was no question of payment for 
this course of lectures. Professor Graham had just suffered 
severe money losses, and was fatally ill. Indeed his increasing 
weakness prevented him from helping at all in the lecturing 
as he first hoped ; and although he offered rooms at his own 
house, the good prospect of the succession to the professorship 
was regarded by the Hookers as sufficient material reward. To 
undertake the temporary course was both to make a trial of 
lecturing and to do his old friend a service, ' and I think,' writes 
his father, ' that alone will go a great way with Joseph.' 

After Professor Graham's death, however, when his affairs 
had been wound up, Mrs. Graham wrote begging him to accept 
100 for his great services. Hooker writes to Dawson Turner 
(April 25, 1846) : 

She says it was only a portion of what her husband would 
have done, and entreats me to accept it if only to gratify 
her and all the rest of it, in such a strain as you can well 
understand without my repeating. I believe that no one 
could be more grateful for real services on my part than Mrs. 
Graham is for supposed ones. But if she would not add 
these testimonies of the sincerity of her regard, I should be 
much better pleased. To have felt as I did, that I had the 


confidence of all the family under circumstances very trying 
to both parties, was reward in full for me. However, after 
due pondering on the affair and casting up the pros and cons, 
I determined to write and accept it, gratefully, for to accept 
it as if I really did not want money, would have been implying 
a falsehood on my part, and appearing proud to her. After 
all her feelings ought more to be regarded than mine, much 
tried as she has been, poor thing, and it will be a gratifica- 
tion to her to suppose that she has repaid me in part at 
any rate. 

The matter was set in train ; Eobert Brown gave him 
a strong recommendation, and Professor Graham privately 
invited his help for the forthcoming course of lectures, with 
promise of support for the succession to the chair. The invita- 
tion was forwarded to him, for he was then in Paris, on February 
3. It seemed the first and sure step to the professorship. 
' The " Golden Durham " of Botany,' exclaims Lady Hooker 
to her father, ' the object for twenty years of his father's 
aspirations, is now, without Joseph's seeking, apparently 
put within his reach.' It would be very hard work to lecture 
for three months in addition to writing at the Antarctic Flora, 
but * he loves labour,' she adds, ' and can turn off much work, 
and really takes such a pleasure in strenuous exertion, as a 
descendant of yours ought to do ; to say nothing of his dear 
father and of my beloved mother's share in his parentage.' 
The Admiralty letter granting a month's leave of absence for 
travel abroad enjoined him ' not to enter the service of any 
foreign Power : this will not apply, 'tis to be hoped, to the 
service of Professor of Botany in Edinburgh ! ' 

At the advice of his father and Eobert Brown, and especially 
of his grandfather, he accepted the proposal, albeit lecturing 
was not to his taste, though he might 'like it better upon trial.' 
He was by no means inclined to become a botanical or any 
other professor, and but for Dawson Turner's advice would 
have declined the Edinburgh chair if it came his way. There 
was more in this reluctance than mere dislike : and he took 
his grandfather into his confidence before resolving to proceed 
and overcome it as best he might. 


To Dawson Turner 

January 16, 1845. 

As to lecturing in London, there is at present no opening 
for it, nor should I like it except it was surely profitable. 
You do not know, nor do I like to tell my Parents, how wholly 
unfitted I am to be a Lecturer, constitutionally in particular. 
I am really nervous to a degree, and though I joined debating 
societies on purpose and studied speeches and stood up too 
to deliver them, I never could get two sentences on I have 
earnestly endeavoured to conquer this, but without avail. 
I have consulted medical men, who tell me I have irritability 
in the action of the heart, which some have pronounced a 
slight disease of that organ ; and this I know well, that I 
could never even stand up before my fellow scholars to say 
my lesson at school or college without violent palpitation. 
Yon know me too well to think me a coward, or, still less, 
to accuse me of affectation, but this I do certainly think, 
that I am naturally unfitted for any situation calling for a 
public exhibition of myself. My case is not as if I never 
had to parse or construe before a body of fellow mortals, for 
surely if this feeling was ever to be overcome, it would have 
been in eight years of college-life and with my efforts at 
debating, where I have always had to sit down in shame 
and confusion, however carefully I had conned my speech. 
This, and this alone, has led me always to hope that I should 
pick up some situation where hard work and good manners 
were all that should be required of me, though in leaving 
the public path I should not so soon rise into notoriety. 

Of course I should forego all this dislike, or, as I believe,- 
physical incapacity for lecturing, were anything so tempting 
as Edinbro' offered, and even then one's own students would 
form a more private body than the miscellaneous assembly 
of a London institution. Do not think that I am frightening 
myself with any such bugbear as a Heartdisease, for I assure 
you I give no thought to the matter, though I cannot help 
feeling, from the frequency and pain of my palpitations, that 
I have a nervous affection there. I have no idea of its 
calling me away, early, though I shall probably not live to 
your age in the ordinary course of things, but even if I did, 
I should not alter my opinion or be alarmed, knowing by 
experience that I could, though ill-prepared, face my end 


with more calmness than I should a miscellaneous assembly 
of students. . . . 

MY DEAR GRANDFATHER, Your kindness has tempted 
me to lay my heart open in a way I have done to no other 
person. What I say here is not the result of a month's or 
a year's opinion, but of the experience of the greater part 
of my lifetime I would not for the world that my Father 
or Mother knew that I had ever been to a Medical man 
about myself, which I have done both before my voyage 
and after my return, and received a very similar verdict 
which, though it contained nothing to alarm me, was 
sufficient to prove that I need not expect ever to attain a 
freedom in public delivery. 

Pray do not hint on this subject in your letter here, it 
would only vex and do no good. I think my father rather 
inclines to keep me here, and though 1 do not want to be a 
burthen to him, I hope I am not altogether useless. My 
aim is not, however, to live always in this house, if I could 
only get some situation elsewhere. That some opening 
will come I cannot doubt, in the meantime my income is 
not much under 300 a year as long as this work lasts. 

Hotel de Londres, 

Rue des petits Augustins, Paris : 
February 5, 1845. 

MY DEAR GRANDFATHER, I cannot let this post go with- 
out a letter, however short, to tell you that I have accepted 
the office of Lecturer for Graham, unconditionally for 
itself and its consequences. Though it is an expensive 
procedure, I would prefer commencing as assistant without 
the onus of being the Professor ; as being more advantageous 
towards so young a lecturer and one so unfitted for lecturing 
as I shall at first be. I shall hope to get over my nervous- 
ness in time. There appears no doubt of my future success, 
when a candidate for the chair, in the meantime I only do 
a kind office for my poor friend, without emolument and 
indeed with great expense to some one or other, for he says 
that he has nothing whatever to give to the assistant. I 
hope he will not ask me to live in his house, which I should 
most decidedly refuse to do. 

However little suited to my taste and my habits a Scotch 
Professorship is, and however much I shall regret giving up 


my book (the aim of the last twelve years of my life), all 
that shall not interfere with my determination, in whatever 
situation in life God may place me, therein to excel. I 
shall not only use every exertion to be Graham's best 
assistant, but also to raise the Botanical chair to Botanical 
excellence, and to have it a useful appendage to the College ; 
and no longer a burthen to students' pockets, without 
Museum or any advantages for making men Botanists ; I 
should also like to raise the standard of that lowest of all 
classes of students, the medical ; but that shall be a secondary 

I do feel a deep regret in having to desert my book, 
which I have lived so long for. Money, time, and labour, all 
my preliminary education, all my holidays from the first 
day I entered college, were devoted to laying myself out for 
making a voyage and publishing the results. Except, that 
this chair allows me to continue a Botanist, I would just 
as soon turn to the law or to business as anything else that 
took me off the travail of so many years. I shall, however, 
hope for better times, and though the Government will 
take (and properly take) my pay and perhaps grant away, I 
shall live one day to finish my book. If I do get the chair, 
I shall commence laying up money to enable me to house 
my father's plants, whenever they may come to me, for I 
am determined no one but myself shall have them. 

Here is Humboldt often speaking of you ; he wants 
me to write the distribution of Plants for his grand work 
' Cosmos ' ; pray say nothing of this to anyone. I can but 
live and hope, but Humboldt is so old that it may never 

Of the impending lectures, he writes to Harvey (April 2, 
1845) : 

Graham tells me he has not a single lecture written out ! 
and that I must dwell much on physiology, chemistry, and 
morphology, in which my Father's lectures are particularly 
poor. This is no joke to me ; what with Cryptog., Paris 
duplicates, and these lectures my hands are full indeed. 
Graham's lectures are always considered useless by and to 
his students, and so I am in a regular fix, nor have I cheek 
enough for an audience. I would rather go to the S. Pole 


again by far than to Edinbro', but it is no use growling. . . . 
[And later] I am in a stew already, but must trust to provi- 
dence and my middling good fates. 

Harvey, who on the 9th had written, * My letters come 
as quickly as events in the life of Solomon Grundy," replied 
on the 10th with good advice : 

I pity you the mess you are in about Edinburgh, knowing 
well what a fuss I should be in, in your case but I expect 
you will wriggle out of it bravely. Be provided with written 
lectures for the parts you are not glib in, and skeletons for 
the rest plenty of pictures and talk much about these. 
Hand about specimens, and 'twill all get on right well. 
Here we had Allman x last year taking half a dozen lectures 
to describe the cellular and vascular tissue alone ! and by 
the time he got to the end of the structure and physiology 
the course was expended, and he had to sum up arrangement 
&c., in a few words. Very convenient for him, but query, 
what for his Class ? 

Hooker's response on April 14 asks : 

Who is Solomon Grundy ? but I am very behindhand 
in polite literature ; how do you find time to read what a 
gentleman should know? I have given up all hopes and 
intentions of being accomplished, 

and proceeds to set forth the difficulties of the situation, which 
left him sometimes, as he told his father in June, ' in a pretty 
fix between my own mind, my master, and my men.' 

Graham has not one lecture written out and he has given 
me a syllabus of the course ; you never saw such a thing ; he 
goes through with no order, introduces his subjects higgledy 
piggledy every day, and does not give one really instructive 
lesson throughout the course. I have no idea what I am 
to do, I heartily wish he would leave it all in my hands or 
write me lectures ; I sincerely say that no human being 
could lecture for him as he desires, certainly no student 

1 George James Allman (1812-98), was Professor of Botany at Dublin 1844- 
54, and of Natural History at Edinburgh 1854-70, and President of the Linnean 
Society 1874-83. His special branch of science was marine zoology. 

VOL. i o 


could follow him through such a medley of subjects, intro- 
duced wholly without method and order, and with no relation 
to one another, he follows neither -a book nor his subject. 
He says he finds the students will not follow a regular course. 
I am in a deplorable state of uncertainty : nor can I write 
out a lecture to include, as each and all his seventy do, a 
little of all branches of Botanical Science, including the 
original production of species ! in some. 

He also presses me, disagreeably hard, to take up my 
quarters with him, which I have fifty reasons for not doing 
and not wishing to do. I never more heartily wished a 
man well in my life. 

To this Harvey replied on April 17 : 

I pity your lot about Graham to me it seems absolutely 
impossible to follow the course of such a Sun and there- 
fore I would cut out a new line for myself were I you 
digest my subject into seventy discourses (if there be that 
fearful number) and write out at least the heads with a 
grand oratorical first lecture in which you should talk 
of matters and things in general and, like a friend of 
mine on a similar occasion, mention ' Oscillatoria trembling 
on the borders of animal and vegetable life,' or like the old 
gentleman formerly, looking two ways at once. 
The Professor of polite literature sends you the following : 

Solomon Grundy was born on Monday, 

Was christened on Tuesday 

Was married on Wednesday ' 

Took sick upon Thursday 

Died upon Friday 

And waked on Saturday 

And buried on Sunday 

And this was the life of Solomon Grundy. 

By the beginning of May he was settled in lodgings in 
Edinburgh at 20 Abercromby Place. For personal reasons, 
and wishing above all to be quite independent in his movements, 
he declined Professor Graham's urgent invitation to be his 
guest, though painfully conscious that he might be accounted 
churlish in thus refusing the only form of return which, as 
has been said, was possible on the part of his old friend. 


As regards the lectures, the arrangement was that he should 
deliver Professor Graham's own course. As has already ap- 
peared, he early felt some doubt of their complete sufficiency, 
and even while still in France he contemplated using some 
of his father's Glasgow Jectures, as well as writing others 
of his own. But the event outran expectation ; Graham's 
syllabus was unsuitable. Some even of the most recent dis- 
courses were on budding and grafting, composed at a period 
when the appointment of a Professor of Horticulture was 
threatened. Thus he was compelled at the shortest notice 
to write new ones of his own in the scanty hours left by a 
multiplicity of occupations. He was slowly at work with 
little progress for want of time and special books on the Mora 
Antarctica ; was following a course of lectures on Organic 
Chemistry ; straightening out Professor Graham's affairs, pre- 
paring the campaign for the election to the chair of Botany. 
If the professors, for the most part, seemed to take little trouble 
to seek him out, Edinburgh society overwhelmed him with 
attentions. Some account of these things is taken from letters 
of the day, beginning with the first lecture on May 5, and 
Graham's extraordinary effort in presenting him to the students. 

MY DEAR FATHER, The weather being fine there was 
a tolerable attendance at the class this morning of about 
120 people, who came with itching ears to see a reed shaken 
by the wind. I plucked up courage enough to get through 
without any outward or visible signs of my own want of 
confidence in the treat I had prepared for them. 

It was my own composition, and I read it so fast that 
no one could follow me and find out the mistakes. 

And on the following day he continues the story to 
Harvey : 

I am lecturing away like a house on fire. I was not 
in the funk I expected, though I had every reason to be 
in a far greater one. 

On my arrival here I found Graham very bad in bed, he 
had not been out of his room for weeks and did not expect 
ever to be again. The day before my 1st he took the deter- 
mination of going down to introduce me to the students, 


though no better and wholly unfit for the task. We all 
opposed it most strongly but unavailingly. A Fly was 
hired and Mrs. G. went too and sat in the back room. On 
the road we passed Principal Faith going down to hear me 
go off, and him Dr. Graham enlisted too. At the door we fell 
foul of Arnott, and he and his brother also were impressed. 
We all went into the class-room together, myself like a 
candidate amongst his constituents. Graham first intro- 
duced me, he could hardly stand but did not faint ; the 
Principal did the same, myself looking like a fool and mutter- 
ing angry words to myself. After which I read them a 
screed on the influence of vegetation on creation, wholly 
opposed to Graham's teaching and doctrines, for he holds 
that plants and animals are in all functions precisely the 
same, and I that they are diametrically opposite. Altogether 
the being shown up as I was, and having Brown's far too 
flattering testimonial of my attainments and moral character 
read by the Principal, was hateful to me. 

The class is small apparently ; the room, holds 160, 
but has never yet been full. I do not expect there will be 
much over 100 altogether. All hands are very friendly to 
me, and I suppose that I stand a good chance of being 
booked for exactly half my life in Edinburgh, for I shall 
never stay here more than half of each year if I can help it. 

Forbes 1 does not think of the chair ; he told me so the 
other day voluntarily, but that he would like that of Nat. Hist. 
Jameson's 2 who has long been in most precarious health. 

1 Edward Forbes (1815-54) was a brilliant worker in botany, geology, 
marine zoology, and palaeontology, who travelled widely in Europe as well as 
in Syria and Algeria, and was naturalist on board tho Beacon in 1841. After 
holding the chair of Botany at King's College, London, from 1842, he was 
appointed Palaeontologist to the Geological Survey in 1844, leaving this for 
the chair of Natural History at Edinburgh in 1854. In 1853 he became Presi- 
dent of the Geological Society at the unprecedentedly early age of thirty-eight. 
His important paper ' On the Connection between the Distribution of the 
existing Fauna and Flora of the British Isles and the Geological Changes 
which have affected their Area ' (1846) dealt with a subject in which both 
Darwin and Hooker were then at work. Forbes was 'not only a witty writer 
and the genial founder of the Red Lion Club, but a personality equally beloved 
and admired. 

2 Robert Jameson (1774-1854) was appointed Regius Professor of Natural 
History and Keeper of the University Museum at Edinburgh in 1804. His 
main work was in mineralogy, but he also wrote on geography, ornithology, 
and travel. With Sir David Brewster he was the joint founder in 1819 of the 
Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, and for the last twenty-five years of his life 
sole editor. 


May 9, 1845. 

MY DEAB HAEVEY, 999,999 congratulations on Van 
Voorst's happy appreciation of your algological properties : x 
10,000 I reserve for myself alone, some day : when I have 
as much reason to be as thankful as I sometimes tried to 
be for mercies vouchsafed in the old Erebus. I have 
positively nothing to say but to congratulate you. For 
my own part you may also extend to me a little gratulation 
on my beginning to feel the truest and most heartfelt pleasure 
in having come here, and in having come with no selfish 
object in view ; and in having overcome my modesty, i.e. 
metamorphosed it into modest assurance. ... I never 
felt so happy in being able to be useful, for Graham is as 
nearly helpless as possible, and though surrounded by friends, 
there are none who can help him in his class, garden business, 
examinations, and many other little things. 

To the Same 

May 30, 1845. 

As to lecturing, that now comes perfectly easy and 
natural to me, and I can spout an hour of gas, without notes 
even, by dint of desperate cramming : the fact is I found 
that human nature, i.e. my nature, could not stand the 
drudgery of writing out an hour's reading from day to day, 
so I took to the extempore preaching, and find that it answers 
to the students even better than to myself : they do seem 
here to delight in generalities however false, if attractively 
delivered [i.e. without being read], and by dint of never 
losing an opportunity of comparing the vital phenomena 
of animals with those of vegetables (right or wrong) I can 
rivet their attention au merveille. I often think how I 
should blush to see what I speak in print. I often think 
how you would laugh to see and hear me gull the multitude, 
for they are like all other crowds. 

... I have picked up acquaintance here with a funny 
old fish who devotes himself to fossil Botany and has splendid 
specimens marvellously cut for the microscope, Nicoll, the 
great fossil cutter, who has a splendid cabinet of specimens 
of wood etc. I am really anxious to form a fossil Herb., it suits 
my generalities about the floras of byegone ages, so pray do* 

1 I.e. in undertaking publication of his book. 


not lose sight of any you can beg, buy, borrow or steal 
for me. 

I am always up at 6 and go to the garden at 7. At 9| 
I go up to Graham's and breakfast and then down to the 
garden again, where his Herb. is. I work at it the rest of 
the day or when able go to Gregory's 1 lectures on Organic 
Chemistry from 3-4 ; then return and dress for dinner and 
call to see how Graham is. (I am rather heavily ironed 
with Society here, and have not paid for one dinner since 
my arrival even with a headache.) I generally get home 
about 11 and cram for lectures like a dragon till 1 or 2 you 
see I must dine out for two reasons, first because the good 
people must know me before they elect me (do not say the 
safest plan would be to stay at home !), and secondly because 
I hear a great deal of excellent music in this town which is 
irresistible. Balfour 2 is exerting himself to the utmost 
with the townspeople and I should not wonder to see 
him carry the chair : I assure you I shall be quite con- 
tent to go back without the Professorship if I could only 
see these unfortunate Grahams safe through their sea of 

No wonder that by the end of June he says : 

I get very tired of it towards the end of the week. 
Wednesday is my favourite day, as three lectures or the half 
is over ; Thursday I get weary in, but the knowledge of 
Friday being the last lifts me through that hour. 

1 William Gregory (1803-58) was the fifth in lineal descent of his family 
to hold a professorship at Edinburgh, the first of mathematics, three of medicine, 
William himself of chemistry. He was a pupil of Liebig, whose works he 
edited in English, as well as publishing successful handbooks of his own on 
Organic and Inorganic Chemistry. 

a John Hutton Balfour (1808-84) gradually gave up a successful medical 
practice in Edinburgh in favour of botany, to which he had been devoted 
since his student days under Graham, helping in 1836 to found the Edinburgh 
Botanical Society, whose library and herbarium were eventually acquired by 
the Crown as the basis of the collections at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. 
In 1842 he succeeded Sir W. Hooker at Glasgow, and three years later was 
elected to the Edinburgh chair on the death of Graham, defeating J. D. Hooker. 
This chair he held till 1879, writing successful text-books, developing the 
Gardens and the museum, and proving himself an inspiring teacher. He not 
only extended the field work already established, but was the pioneer in 
Edinburgh of practical laboratory work with the microscope. But though 
stimulating his pupils to consider the wider problems of botany, his religious 
views led to his opposing the Darwinian movement. 


A letter of June 27 to his cousin, Francis Turner Palgrave, 1 
whose inherited interest in art and art- criticism had displayed 
itself very early, deserves passing reference as showing Hooker's 
sustained interest in pictures as well as music. The letter is 
too long to quote save for a few personal passages. Palgrave, 
the younger by seven years, had won a scholarship at Balliol 
in 1842. Now * the reappearance of some quondam Scotch- 
men, who return hitherward with good Scotch seriously 
damaged through long continued unsuccessful attempts to 
speak English,' reminds him that Francis is to be congratulated 
on the beginning of the summer vacation ; but it was Francis 
who had the credit of ' breaking the ice that has frozen up the 
current (ever sluggish) of correspondence that runs (creeps) 
between us.' 

I heartily wish that you would come down to this place 
before I go. You would I am sure enjoy it extremely, for 
it is a most liveable place, with plenty to see and admire 
in the neighbourhood. The only exhibition that I have 
seen was one of Scotch artists, open, or rather which shut 
on the day of my arrival ; it was very bad as far as Scotch 
performances were concerned ; some Stanfields, Turners, 
Landseers, and young Phillip's ' Borrow ' were far the 
best things in the room. 

Next he speaks of ten of the prize cartoons for the decoration 
of the Houses of Parliament, which had been shown two years 
before in Westminster Hall. These were now exhibited in 
Edinburgh in connection with a proposed book of lithographs. 
He criticises then} as if Francis remembered all about them, 
which very likely is not the case ; noting the relation of the 
best among them to the Hampton Court cartoons, of which no 
one in Edinburgh knew anything ; and quoting the story of 
the best picture if the least original, Caractacus led through 
Eome, namely, that the artist studied a lion's head to pourtray 
the British Captive's from. 

Of Old Masters he could show his cousin the collection at 
Dalkeith, where ' the place is very badly kept, but the scenery 

1 See family pedigree; p: 18. 


% is exquisitely beautiful.' And so of the recent adornments 
of Edinburgh : 

Certainly these modern Athenians have not improved 
their Athens lately ; the much-vaunted ' Scott Monument ' 
is, to my mind, vile, bad in composition, situation, and in 
all other particulars, saving the handycraft. It is very like 
the top of the steeple of a Belgian Hotel de Ville, taken 
down and placed on the side of a road. Here it is thought 
perfection, and Scott is conceived to be unspeakably honored, 
both in the design and execution. 

I do wish you would come here and let me talk you into 
my likings and dislikes. Have you seen Cennini's book 
on old Fresco paintings ? I think you would care to look 
at it, as you were once addicted to frescoing stables and 
outhouses ; there are also some few graceful little outlines 
in it. I often think that a nice book of lithographed 
outlines of good pictures would sell well. I am sure 
that you and I, who could not afford better, would buy 
such things. . . . 

To return to the Botanical Professorship canvassing for 
which he found ' detestable work:' 

As has been explained, the Crown appointed to the less 
valuable Eegius Professorship and the Botanic Garden, the 
Town to the valuable College Professorship. The Town Council 
felt aggrieved that, without consulting them, Sir James Graham, 
the Home Secretary, had decided on Hooker as the Crown 
nominee ; and indeed gratuitously aggrieved, as there was a 
large majority for him at their first meeting, the Edinburgh 
candidate, Balfour, having refused to stand if the two appoint- 
ments were separated. 

The Provost cannily tried to better the situation by pro- 
posing a bargain. The Natural History chair was under the 
same dual control, the Crown appointing to the Museum, the 
Town to the chair. Let the Crown take over the whole of 
the former and relinquish the latter entirely to the Town, 
who would on this occasion bestow it on the Crown nominee, 
Hooker. The Crown, however, could hardly look on such a 
proposal with favour, having spent full 20,000 on the Garden 


and more on the Professorship, while the Town had done 
nothing for either. 

At this juncture Balfour revoked his refusal to take the 
Chair without the Garden. The Town Council were put on 
their mettle to show the Crown that they had a power, and 
as they truly said, they wanted a lecturer rather than a 
botanist pure and simple, however overwhelming his testimo- 
nials might be. 

Tactically, had Hooker wished to push his claims, this move 
would have left him in a strong, if rather absurd position. 
Suppose the two chairs separated ; it was the Eegius Professor 
with his 150 a year whose ticket must be accepted by all the 
faculties for the University degree, and the College professor 
would be * dished.' But for all reasons, including Government 
goodwill, it was preferable to conciliate the Town Council, and 
far preferable indeed, were it only possible, to have the Garden 
alone with 300 a year than a Professorship at twice the salary 
and College troubles and Town Council odium. 

One councillor, unaware of the great difference in attractive- 
ness between the two posts, proposed that the Edinburgh 
man should stay in Edinburgh, while Hooker received the 
Glasgow chair, thus keeping both in Scotland. Hooker un- 
deceived him ; this consummation was only possible by electing 
him to Edinburgh. 

Finally the election became wholly a matter of politics, 
even with the Provost, and local interests prevailed. 



EDINBURGH failing, Sir J. Graham offered Hooker the Glasgow 

Sir William felt it his unwilling duty to point out such 
advantages as attached to this offer ; he was unfeignedly 
glad when Joseph's own decision kept him at Kew. Father 
and son were equally attached and equally generous one to 
the other ; this time it is Joseph who, from a chance word 
dropped about finances, is suspected of ' having paid something 
to my account ' for his share in Fitch's artistic services. 
Sir William protests ; after all he is paying Fitch no more than 
before ; no wonder Joseph has little or nothing in the bank if 
he makes such a use of his money ! 

His hopes that some opening might be found for Joseph 
at Kew itself were revived when in November Bentham told 
him that having just made his will, he had appointed Joseph 
one of his executors and had left his fine Herbarium to the 
Boyal Gardens, if proper accommodation were provided for it. 
The Kew establishment even now was being enlarged, and here 
was the prospect of further material for the projected Museum. 
If the Commissioners were not likely to require more than one 
Director, at least an assistant would be wanted, and, so far as 
qualifications go, he confidently asserts, ' if his life be spared, 
there are few men that will rank higher as a Botanist than 

Through the winter Joseph Hooker continued at work on 
the Niger Flora as well as the Antarctic Flora, remarking of 
the former to Harvey (December 30, 1845) : 



I am doing my utmost to the Niger Flora and 
hope to succeed, but it is a terrible task from the badness 
of the specimens, the worseness of the published descrip- 
tions, and the necessity of comparing everything with both 
American and Asiatic species ; you will be surprised at the 
quantity of species in common these countries possess. 

But in February a post was found for him. Sir Henry de la 
Beche, 1 head of the Geological Survey, was in search of a botanist 
to work out the British Flora, extant and fossil, in relation to 
Geology, and consulted Sir William. After brief consideration, 
the latter proposed the name of his son, who was instantly 
accepted. The salary was 150 with travelling allowances for 
the local research to be carried out from time to time ; the 
work, much of which could be done at home, would not prevent 
him from continuing the Antarctic Flora with its contingent 
allowances from the Admiralty, while not only would fossil 
research widen his botanical outlook, but with such an intimate 
local knowledge as he could acquire of Great Britain and 
Ireland, he would be able to carry on his father's book on 
the British Flora. Nor did his father forget that the Survey 
was under the same Department, the Woods and Forests, 
as Kew, and the official connexion might well help to bring 
him as assistant to Kew when the projected extensions were 
carried and the Museum established, possibly within a year. 

The work was agreeable, moreover, it threw him very much 
into a new world and class of society in London, such as the 
Lyells, Owen, 2 and Horner, as well as brought him into touch 

1 Sir Henry Thomas De La Beche (1796-1835), the geologist whose enter- 
prise in making the new ordnance survey the basis of a geological map of each 
county led to the establishment of the Geological Survey in 1832, under his 
directorship. To him also were due the Jermyn Street Museum of Geology 
and the School of Mines (1851). 

2 Sir Richard Owen (1804-92), the famous anatomist. He was assistant 
to Clift at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons from 1827, 
succeeding him as conservator in 1842 till 1856, when he was appointed 
superintendent of the natural history departments of the British Museum, 
retiring in 1883. Unrivalled though be was in the amount and general value 
of his work in comparative anatomy and palaeontology, it was different when 
he came to speculative theory. His doctrine of the Archetype was founded un- 
stably on Oken's transcendentalism, and his proposed division of the mammalia 
into four sub-classes, according to the difference of their brains, was unsatis- 
factory, while very little of the classification in his great work, The Anatomy 


with Eobert Hunt, Keeper of Mining Piecords ; Lyon Playfair, 
the chemist (afterwards Lord Playfair) ; John Phillips, Professor 
of Geology at Trinity College, Dublin ; and Edward Forbes, 
the naturalist, his colleagues in the Geological Survey. 

The new appointment and its relation to his outstanding 
work are discussed in the following : 

To Sir James Ross 

The object [of the Geological Survey] is to have the con- 
nection between the plants and the geological formation 
they occupy investigated, and the Fossil plants arranged 
as they are collected. The first object will require my 
visiting the ground they are surveying once or twice a year, 
probably with Sir H. De la Beche and Prof. Forbes (who 
are the Geologist and Palaeontologist to the Survey), and the 
arrangement of my observations for publication, as well as 
the directing what vegetables should be gathered for analysis. 
The duties will leave me more than enough of time to carry 
on my Flora as fast as the plates can possibly appear, but 
I do not know what the Admiralty will say to my taking the 
duty. My work has in many ways cost me already nearly 
100, and I believe I have never made 6d. by it and never 
shall. If the new duty were to interfere with my Flora, 
or were my salary so good as to make me independent 
of the Admiralty, I should not think about drawing any 
further Admiralty pay, but as that is not the case and as 
I have never made a farthing by my Botany work, I think 
of making a push for the continuance of my pay when I 
enter upon my new duties. I should feel very much obliged 
for your opinion of how their Lordships are likely to regard 
my views. As the new appointment is a most honorable 
one, and one worth to me twice the income it offers, I have 
made up my mind to accept it at all hazards, even if it 
should entail the leaving the Service. Had I gained the 
Edinburgh Chair I would have gone on with my Flora on 
my own resources and have given up the Admiralty pay 
without waiting to be asked, as a point of honor. And 

and Physiology of the Vertebrates, 1866-8, was accepted by other zoologists. His 
bitterness against any possible scientific rival and his disingenuous attitude 
towards Darwin and his \vork ended by leaving him isolated in the scientific 


were my expected pay sufficient to justify me in carrying 
on so expensive a publication on my own resources, I should 
equally be now ready to act in the same manner. Nor need 
I conceal from yourself that the Flora Antarctica portion 
shall be carried on as hitherto whether my request is granted 
or not, though I should not think it very generous of their 
Lordships to expect me to continue the work without some 
reward, even did it cost me nothing. 

[He explains that publishing at the extreme limit of eight 
plates a month, the work would last another four years, and 
adduces precedents for Naval pay being continued till it was 

I am quite sorry to trouble you about this, but should not 
wish to act without your sanction, and feel it a duty at any 
rate to lay before you my prospects. My hope is that, before 
my present work is over, other national voyages may have 
brought home stores worthy of publication, and that as long 
as I can be usefully employed and busily too on works of 
that sort, I may also draw pay for it, but no longer. 
With respectful compliments to Lady Eoss, 
Believe me ever, 

Yours most respectfully and truly, 

Jos. D. HOOKER. 

The two sets of work fitted in well together : * Happily 
my duties at the Geol. Survey,' he tells Eoss in an undated 
letter, probably 1846, * are (like the pay) very light ; they 
employ me first of all to draw up a catalogue of the known 
British fossil plants previous to my arranging those of the 
Geolog. Survey Museum, and corresponding for more. My 
work never went on so fast, having appeared unremittingly 
for five months and will for two more ; but then the struggle 
must cease for one month, to get up the Cryptogamia plates, 
which are very heavy work.' 

Kew at this time was two hours' distant from London 
by omnibus, for the railway had not yet reached it, and riding 
presented itself as a speedier alternative, especially as his 
delicate sister Elizabeth could also use the horse for the exercise 
prescribed by the doctors. In the winter he found it convenient 


to take rooms for some time at 8 Great Byder Street, near the 
temporary quarters of the Survey, and Jermyn Street, where 
the Museum of Practical Geology was being built for its 

Of his occupations at this time he writes to Dawson Turner 
(April 31, 1846) : 

At present I am worked rather hard, having to go into 
town every day to study fossil Botany, until the proposed 
Museum is built in Piccadilly. The apartments now filling 
up are thus only temporary, and are granted by the Dean 
of Westminster in the shape of servants' rooms over his 
stable. Though small, they are neat and quite suitable, 
looking into Dean's Yard and entering by a respectable 
little doorway on the courtyard. The Dean is very civil 
and busy in his improvements of the badly dilapidated 
yard ; he is giving us a fine lamp opposite our door and 
otherwise takes a great interest in all that is going on. 

The great difference between my father's and all other 
Government employments* evidently .consists in his not 
being supplied with tools, as I am in my humble capacity, 
and as Brown and all other public officers whose real income 
is thus apparently not so good as my father's ; but it is 
apparently only, for if they had to purchase their books 
and plants they would all be ruined. 

In May and June his work took him into South Wales, to 
examine the coal-beds for fossil plants in situ ; in August and 
September to the Bristol coalfield. In South Wales, where 
' De la Beche appears very pleased with what I have done,' 
his headquarters were near Swansea, with his grandfather's 
old friends the Dillwyns, 1 whom he delighted by discovering 
the Lesser Wintergreen (Pyrola minor), which had not been 
found in the neighbourhood before. Their son, Lewis Dillwyn, 

1 Lewis Weston Dillwyn (1778-1855), botanist, conchologist, and potter, 
was born at Ipswich, within touch of the Turner-Hooker circle. It was not 
till 1803 that he moved to Swansea to take charge of the pottery bought by 
his father. He had already begun his Natural History of British Confervae, 
and collaborated with Dawson Turner in the Botanist's Guide through England 
and Wales, 1805. At Swansea he wrote on the local flora and fauna and the 
history of the city, as well as sharing in civic affairs. He was M.P. from 


who * worked the old family pottery in Swansea/ had married 
De la Beche's daughter. He was Hooker's special companion, 
being a good ornithologist and fond of Natural History in 
general. Another good companion was Mr. Dillwyn's son- 
in-law, Moggridge, whose hobby was British Botany. An 
additional attraction of the house, which appeals to Dawson 
Turner, is the collection of pictures, and specially Cuyp's 
Burgomaster of Haarlem. 

Lecturing was still a trial to him, but wishing to make some 
return for the great kindness with which he had been received 
in Swansea, he offered to give a lecture on the Antarctic Voyage. 
This was duly delivered with great success at the Koyal Institu- 
tion of South Wales on June 17. The advertisement of the 
lecture makes the interesting announcement that in addition 
to members of the Institution and affiliated societies, who 
were admitted free, * Thirty free admissions to the back seats 
will be distributed by the Council to persons of the working class 
not connected with the above Societies.' 

He writes to his grandfather, June 21, 1846 : 

You will be surprised to hear of my lecturing here, but I 
not only could not get off the task, but hating it as I do, I 
felt a real pleasure in gratifying my many friends in Swansea. 
The lecture has added seven new subscribers to the Swansea 
Institution, and I have had thanks and innumerable requests 
for another, which however I cannot comply with. You 
can have no idea how easily these people are pleased with 
my compliance with their wishes in lecturing, nor how good- 
naturedly attentive they were to the lecture itself. 

I have been travelling about a great deal in South Wales, 
visiting the Collieries, collecting fossil plants, and gaining 
information on all subjects connected with the ancient 
Botany of our globe. The subject is a deeply interesting 
one, and though it decidedly interferes with the progress of 
my studies in recent Botany, it will, I hope, in the long run, 
turn to good account. The work is very hard in this hot 
weather, especially when the coal-dust and other annoyances 
attendant on my investigations in these dirty districts are 
almost insupportable. Still I like the work and my master, 
and hope to get on with this accessory o my pursuits. 


His visit to the Forest of Dean, in company with the brother 
of his old friend Thomas Thomson, whom he picked up at 
Bath, invalided from India, precluded a pleasant ' touch at 
recent botany in W. Ireland ' with Harvey and Ward, who 
had been making various * finds ' ; and he writes to the former 
(August 7, 1846) : 

I do long intensely to go to the field with you and 
especially to take the water. Well done, Ward, but I 
won't knock under, having youth on my side and better 
eyes. I look forward to no greater pleasure in British 
Botany than to see the Delesserias growing in Ireland as 
they did at Cape Horn, and under such perfectly similar 
conditions. I want to see how the Antarctic seaweeds are 
replaced on the British coast ; and no one can do it to my 
satisfaction but myself. (Pretty well that for a Tyro.) 

However, a future visit to Dublin seemed possible if an 
Irish collector should have to be appointed in connexion with 
the Geological Survey scheme to form a complete British 
Herbarium with special reference to the distribution of species. 

I have persuaded Sir H. that no results can be obtained 
as to dependence of plants on soil,, till a good many complete 
floras of counties with different formations are formed ; 
he and I draw well [together], by reason of his profound 
ignorance of Botany. He has an idea that the difference 
of the vegetations of the sandstone and limestone is some- 
thing more marked than between Lat. and Lat. 90 or the 
top of Ben Nevis and low water at Eoundstone. 

To Mr. Bentham he writes (September 13-25) of his re- 
searches in fossil botany, the interest of which grew 

as the impossibility of relating all but the Ferns of the coal 
strata to any existing Nat. Ord. becomes more evident. 
Hitherto the collections formed are not large, as such are 
only to be obtained to any extent by employing men about 
the pits, but I have been grounding myself underground 
in the elements of the study by noting the conditions of 
their preservation and their association, so as to know 
what of the various broken pieces belong to the same genus 


or species, for the majority of the genera of some of the 
tribes of coal plants are merely names applied to individual 
plants, sometimes of the same plant ; thus Calamites are 
all stems, Lepidodendron all branches, Lepidostrobus all 

[After this] I took to recent Botany, crossing and re- 
crossing from the village to the heart of the forest, to observe 
what difference in the native vegetation may occur in 
progressing from New to Old red sandstone, then Mt. Lime- 
stone, and lastly the sandstone of the coal ; all these rocks 
lie here in parallel stripes as it were. The scenery was 
most beautiful, and from some of the hills I caught sights 
of the Sugar Loaf, Garway, Graig 1 and the long back of 
the Black Mountains. 

One enjoys so much the sight of familiar objects in the 
new aspect they wear when viewed from other points than 
those we have been accustomed to. Another year I hope 
to take your part of the country, though I do not expect 
there are many rare plants there, still as my Master wants 
the Botanical features of each soil, I will condescend to 
accommodate him when my other interests suit my duties. 
This will appear possibly a curious way of doing duty, but 
Forbes and I try to drum into Sir H. the dogma, that all 
scientific work is duty, whether he may be able to appreciate 
the immediate bearing of its results on the Geol. Survey 
or no. 

But this British Botany had to give way to the Fossil 
Botany at the Geological Survey ; it was impossible to deal 
with both. However, the latter had the greater attraction 
in the novelty and interest of the field, and the need for per- 
fecting a knowledge of anatomy and physiology. Still there 
was plenty to be done in British Botany, and later he fulfilled 
Bentham's word that the work ought to be done, despite the 
opposition which might be expected from those who already 
occupied the field. 

The winter and early spring of 1846-7 are filled up in part 
with arranging the autumn's collection of fossils and preparing 

1 These hills, familiar points in the landscape around Pontrilas, called up 
many recollections of the Benthams. 

VOL. I * P 


three essays on the Coal plants, which involved both the draw- 
ing of woodcuts and personal superintendence of slicing and 
polishing fossils. These essays were printed in the * Memoirs ' 
of the Geological Survey for 1848 ; two dealt with the structure 
of Stigmaria and Lepidostrobus ; the third drew a general 
comparison between the plants of the Coal and of the present 
day. Here microscopic examination of these sections of 
* coal-balls ' was made fruitful by his great knowledge of living 
forms ; he was able to demonstrate the actual structure of the 
fossils, and as Professor W. W. Watts remarks in his Anniversary 
Address to the Geological Society, 1912, * these memoirs differ 
from all others on the subject published at the time or, indeed, 
long afterwards in receiving unstinted praise alike from 
geologists and from botanists.' 

Except for a return in the eighties to the * enigmatic ' 
Pachytheca, on which he first published in 1853, Hooker's short 
but brilliant work on fossil botany ended with his explanation 
of Trigonocarpon, a fossil fruit of the Coal measures (in 1854-5). 
India and Kew absorbed his energies, though his early interest 
was not quenched. True that for many years the rashness of 
geological identifications led him to dub Fossil Botany * the 
most unreliable of sciences ' ; ' but,' adds Professor Watts, 
' when, in recent years, the study of Carboniferous, Jurassic, 
and Cretaceous plants yielded such new and startling results 
to investigators in this country, France, Germany, and the 
United States, all his old enthusiasm returned.' 

The other part of his winter occupations in 1846-7 included 
completion of the Antarctic Flora and the Niger Flora, which 
had grown too bulky for printing more than the opening part 
in the * Journal of Botany.' * I have had,' he complains, * to 
write something rather " Flowery, Bowery " for a Botanist, 
to please the " Emancipators," but it is not very much, happily.' 
The Galapagos Florula was to appear in the Linnean Society 
Transactions, and to be followed with notes on the botanical 
distribution of the flora. Another task was the naming of 
all his own and K. Gunn's Tasmanian Compositae and Coni- 
ferae, with publication of diagnoses of the many new species 
in the Journal, for the prospects of bringing out the Tasmanian 


Flora were for the moment visionary. Indeed, it did not appear 
until 1859. 

During the autumn of 1846 Sir William made another effort 
to secure his son's future. The Woods and Forests Depart- 
ment being unwilling to take over the cost of housing and 
increasing the Herbarium, the notable addition brought to 
Kew by the elder Hooker, on the ground that his plants could 
not be marked, as were his books in the Library, to keep them 
distinct from later additions, Sir William offered to present 
the Herbarium to the nation, on condition that Joseph should 
be appointed his assistant and successor at 800 a year. Lord 
Morpeth was friendly, but would not guarantee the succes- 
sion with the salary proposed. Future arrangements were 

Kew was still too much a mere object of aristocratic patron- 
age. Joseph Hooker was too proud to press his claims on 
any but scientific grounds. He was revolted by the sugges- 
tion that he should make friends with the Mammon of Society, 
by helping his father to pay the required attentions to aristo- 
cratic sight-seers. It was all very well to meet old friends or 
officials or scientific persons, high or low ; but when his father 
would introduce him to these others, he knew himself to be 
in a false position, to which he could not submit, officiously 
thrust forward and wasting his valuable time to boot. His 
father was used to making use of patronage in the days when 
patronage was the road to progress ; but even so, Hooker 
writes bitterly to his grandfather (July 25, 1847) : 

My Mother and Sister will tell you that of the hundreds 
of aristocrats who detain my father at the Garden for hours 
waiting their arrival, and then drag him through every 
house and acre, there are not half a dozen whom he could 
ask to back even an application for himself or for me, 01* 
who have shown him the smallest politeness in return. 

Meantime Hooker himself was growing more and more 
eager for another Botanical journey, this time to the mountains 
of the tropics, either the Andes or the Himalayas. His father 
would have been content for him to stay in England, filling 
up the time till some satisfactory post offered with his botanical 


publications and a big travel book in two volumes, ' Journals 
of a Naturalist on the Erebus and Terror, 1 which the John 
Murray of that day, meeting Sir William at dinner, declared 
his readiness to publish as a companion to Darwin's famous 
1 Voyage of the Beagle.' But a year botanising abroad was 
worth five of study at home. The Admiralty were planning 
a scientific voyage to Borneo, and might appoint him as 
naturalist ; again, ' If I could only get the W. and F. to pay 
expenses and Admiralty to give leave, I would go to India and 
collect fruits, woods, and seeds, &c. &c. The E.I.C. superin- 
tendent of W. and F., Dr. Gibson, 1 in the Indian Peninsula 
offers me a cruise with him to province of Cannar (S. of Goa) 
at a very cheap rate, and I have a huge yearning that way ; 
his is only a four or five months' trip or tour of inspection. 
I wish I had a private fortune.' Again, in July, he writes 
to his grandfather : 

I shall be ready to make any sacrifice to get to the tropics 
for a year, so convinced am I that it will give me the lift 
I want, in acquiring a knowledge of exotic Botany. My 
friend, Falconer, goes out on December 20, to the charge 
of Calcutta Bot. Gard., and I hope to be ready to share 
his cabin. I shall then spend some months at Calcutta 
and the neighbourhood (Gurney, 2 &c., &c.), get up to the 
Himalaya betimes, and return the following winter via 

He had strong hope of joining the Tibet mission, which 
'was to go from Ladak to Yarkand and Kashgar over wholly 
unexplored country north of the Himalaya, and in September 
1847 was in active correspondence about this. The work 
already in hand would not suffer, for as he wrote to Boss : 

Kew : September 7, 1847. 

MY DEAR CAPT. Boss, I have delayed answering your 
letter till I should know something more definite regard- 

1 Alexander Gibson (1800-67), went to India in the medical service of the 
Company, and became superintendent of the Botanical Garden of Dapuri in 
1838, and Conservator of Forests in Bombay 1847-60. 

* Gurney Turner, his cousin, in the medical service of the E.I.C. 


ing my plans. TJjie Woods and Forests seem very desirous 
of sending me out, and as I do not see any other prospect 
of my doing better, and being extremely anxious to under- 
take any exploratory expedition, I need hardly say that 
I do hope they will employ me. 

The last J sheet of the Flora Ant. is in the press, and 
it contains a vast amount more matter than I had ever con- 
templated bringing in ; it has cost me out of pocket upwards 
of 100, and Lord Auckland has not yet had his copy, which 
will cost me 8 10s. I feel it to be now quite time that I 
were looking out for a livelihood, and as my future hopes 
and prospects all will be with the Woods and Forests I feel 
that in justice to myself I ought not to throw away the 
present opportunity of improving myself, and the science 
to which I am attached, and of establishing a claim upon 
them in the proper quarter. 

Neither the Flora of New Zealand nor of Van Diemen's 
Land will suffer by the delay, as Mr. Gunn and Colenso are 
still employed in making collections in all parts of these 
islands and are paid by my Father and self for doing so, 
from our private pockets. Under any circumstances I 
did not think of beginning the publication of either Flora 
before some months, when their latest collections shall have 

Failing anything else, he was even ready to go out and 
report on the nature of the Island of Ascension, a barren rock, 
in connexion with the Admiralty plan of improving the vege- 
tation there. Unexpected encouragement of the Indian plan 
came from De la Beche, who desired to retain him on the 
Survey staff, while taking the fossils he might collect for the 
Geological Museum, and letting the plants go to Kew. 

The first point then was to secure a Government grant for 
the Indian expedition, and the support of the East India Com- 
pany. The latter was easier to win than the former, finance 
at the moment being unpropitious. The Admiralty, moreover, 
to whom Hooker owed allegiance, thought India out of their 
proper sphere, and suggested that if he wanted botanical travel 
he should join the official expedition to the Malay Islands, 
planned for 1848, though this would not be a very well paid 


post. Difficulties, however, evaporated in personal discussion, 
when at the beginning of October Hooker met Lord Auckland, 
then First Lord of the Admiralty, during a visit in the Isle 
of Man to his brother the Bishop. Then it was arranged that 
if he went to India first, he should go on to join the frigate 
Mceander at Borneo during the healthier season and prepare 
a botanical report on the British possessions there, keeping his 
half pay till he arrived and then being put on full pay, with 
botanical allowances of 300 during his term of service. 1 This 
paved the way for an appeal to the Treasury for a grant of 
400 a year for two years on behalf of the Gardens to cover 
their botanist's expenses in collecting. 

The Eastern Himalayas were practically unknown. Lord 
Auckland and Dr. Falconer 2 alike proposed that he should 
explore the Sikkim valley up to the snows on the Tibetan 
frontier. It was under our protectorate, and Hooker, on his 
official mission, would be accredited to the British Eesident. 

Keinforced by a striking letter from the veteran Humboldt 

pointing out to Hooker what could be done by him in the 

Himalaya for science, Lord Morpeth, of the Woods and Forests, 

prevailed on the Treasury at the eleventh hour to give the 

grant. On October 20 came an official intimation that the 

Chancellor of the Exchequer had given his hearty consent 

to the Indian Mission, and the Admiralty proposed that a free 

passage should be granted as far as Alexandria at least in the 

Sidon, which was to sail on November 9, conveying Lord 

Dalhousie, the new Governor- General, to India. This proposal 

was made subject to Lord Dalhousie 's consent. Sir William 

immediately called upon him, when so far from raising 

objections, he insisted that Joseph should continue the whole 

journey with him to India, thus overcoming the various 

difficulties raised by the East India Company in regard to the 

journey from Aden to Calcutta. Indeed, he enjoyed Hooker's 

1 When the Borneo expedition was abandoned, the 300 was allotted to 
a third year in India. 

2 Hugh Falconer (1808-65), Palaeontologist and Botanist; M.A. Aberdeen 
1826, M.B. Edinburgh 1829. Assistant Surgeon on the East India Co.'s estab- 
lishment 1830, and Superintendent of the Saharanpur Botanical Gardens 1832. 
Superintended the manufacture of the first Indian tea 1834 ; Professor of 
Botany at Calcutta Medical College ; Vice-President of the Royal Society. 


society so much that on reaching Suez he took him into his 

With this another early ambition was realised. It has 
already been told how Cook's Voyages, with the picture of 
Kerguelen's Land, was one of his earliest recollections in reading. 
The other was Turner's * Travels in Tibet.' Here his imagina- 
tion was gripped by the description of Lama worship and the 
great mountain Chumalari. There he notes, 'It is singular 
that K. Land should have been the first strange country I 
ever visited, and that in the first King's ship which has touched 
there since Cook's voyage/ and that later * I have been nearly 
the first European who has approached Chumalari since Turner's 
embassy ' (in 1783). 

The disappointment at Edinburgh, despite the fatigue and 
momentary sense of failure, had never gone very deep.. The 
years of steady work since returning from the Antarctic, 
though not bringing him an important appointment, had done 
more by preparing him for the new venture, which had un- 
expectedly created the long-desired link between his scientific 
work and official Kew. Now his second great scientific ambition 
was fulfilled, following but a few months after a more intimate 
felicity. No wonder that during these last days in England 
his father could write, * I think I never saw him so cheerful 
and happy.' For in the beginning of July he became engaged 
to Frances Henslow, eldest daughter of the Cambridge Professor 
of Botany, so widely beloved for his personal qualities, who is 
still remembered outside the circle of specialists as the man 
who first made nature study a living pursuit among the school 
children of his village, and the man who greatly helped to 
turn Charles Darwin to a scientific career. Frances was a 
close friend of his sister Elizabeth ; and now matters came 
to a head during the * week's holiday and idleness/ as he 
called it, at Oxford during the meeting of the British Associa- 
tion, to the great joy of Elizabeth. 

It is characteristic of the strict family regime of the Hookers 
that in his announcement of this happy event to Dawson 
Turner * no flowers ' were permissible no approach even to 
' flowers/ Joseph opines that, * as an affectionate grandfather 


(and man of business), you may be glad to hear the reasons for 
my preference ' and to the man of business rather than to 
the affectionate grandfather sets forth their mutual suitability, 
her industry, energy, education, good principles and scientific 
sympathies, her literary helpfulness, for ' she is much cleverer 
than I am.' But enough of * reasons ' ; there was another 
and more personal side to all this, and if he should not speak 
of it, the sister friend might perhaps speak more warmly, so 
* for the rest I must refer you to my sister Elizabeth.' 

The high-stepping Johnsonese chosen by Sir William 
for discussing ' Joseph's attachment and his prospects ' with 
Dawson Turner is irresistible. ' I believe,' he writes, * Miss 
Henslow to be an amiable and well-educated person of most 
respectable, though not high connections, and from all that I 
have Seen of her, well suited to Joseph's habits and pursuits. 
He himself seems well pleased with his choice.' Formal 
propriety could go no further in concealing a warm heart. 

The work already mentioned on the Antarctic and Niger 
Floras and travel on Survey business alternately occupy the 
rest of 1846 and most of the next year. March saw him in 
Ireland. From South Wales, his mother notes, he returns 
brown and well, carrying out his grandfather's dictum that 
six hours' sleep is enough for any healthy man. In August he 
was away again ; ' busy and happy he seems.' For most of 
the first three months of 1847 his father was ill ; * Joseph,' 
writes Lady Hooker, ' is most helpful to me with his father ; 
always glad to assist, calm and quiet. He knows too what is fit 
to be done and is very handy.' He would not, however, take 
the opportunity of his father's temporary absence from work 
to ' put himself forward at the Garden,' as his mother inwardly 
wished, with a view to the future. 

On April 17 he went to Cambridge for a fortnight to see a 
collection of coral plants from Australia ; then after a few 
days with Berkeley 1 the mycologist at Oundle, proceeded on 

1 The Rev. Miles Joseph Berkeley (1803-89) as a botanist devoted himself 
to the Cryptogams. He wrote the volume on Fungi in Smith's English Flora, 
1836, Outlines of British Fungology, 1860, and a Handbook of British Mosses, 
1863, besides an Introduction to Cryptogamic Botany, 1860. The collections of 
fungi made by Darwin and other travellers came to him for description. His 


Survey work to Wolverhampton, Manchester, Leeds, Barnsley, 
and Birmingham, stealing a few days off his Survey duty 
to spend at pure Botany at Warrington with Wilson the 
botanist, who had been working at the mosses in his Flora 
Antarctica. ' We are now pulling my Tasmanian specimens 
of Dawsonia to pieces, and can hardly make out whether it be 
a new species or variety ' (May 20). 

On April 21 of this year he was elected to the Koyal Society, 
as Wallich 1 described it, * by a vast majority, ... a majority 
much greater than any among the eight candidates that were 
successful. He had ninety-five votes, nor was any one can- 
didate's certificate so amply and gloriously filled up as his ! ' 

Of this scientific success he writes with his usual diffidence 
in his own powers to his grandfather, to whom he owed so 
much scientific encouragment. 

St. John's College, Cambridge : April 26, 1847. 

MY DEAR GRANDFATHER, I thank you very much for 
the kind congratulations you have sent me on my election 
to the E.S. You I can thank with more ease than any one, 
for you are one of the very few who can see to the full how 
entirely I am indebted to those who have gone before and 
stood by me, for what superiority in position over my con- 
temporaries their good offices have obtained for me. My 
advantages in Boss's voyage ; the procuring of the after 
grant ; the launching of my book into the world in the 
form it boasts and the continuation of that work in a credit- 
able state up to the present day ; my testimonials for 
Edinburgh ; my appointment to the Government Survey 
(small though it be) are all advantages for which I am 
indebted to the position my father has gained for himself 
and which has enabled him to lay my little merits before 

special knowledge was of great value to the Commission on potato disease, 
1845. On his retirement in 1879 he presented his herbanium of fungi and his 
books to Kew. He was elected F.L.S. 1836, F.KS. 1879, receiving the Royal 
Medal in 1863. 

1 Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854) was a Danish surgeon at Serampore who, 
when the place fell into English hands in 1813, entered the service of the E.I.C., 
and in 1815 was made superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Garden, a post 
he held till 1850. He returned finally to England in 1847, having done immense 
work as a botanical explorer, and brought back vast collections, the final 
distribution of which was completed by Hooker. 


the world under the most advantageous conditions. I 
know myself to be deficient in education and I can feel my 
abilities to be only second-rate, and so can only feel truly 
thankful that I have light enough to see to whom I owe the 
appreciation of my works by the public. 

I have done a good deal here both with marsh and fossil 
plants. From one of your letters to my Father I think you 
possibly mistake the nature of my studies as connected with 
the Survey. I am no Geologist : my work is fossil botany ; 
as legitimately a branch of Botany as is Muscology ; fossil 
plants, though imperfect, are still pure plants ; and, though 
dead as species, they form and show links between existing 
forms, upon which they throw a marvellous light. 

Here also must be noted the beginnings of the close friend- 
ship with Charles Darwin which was to be lifelong. They 
had already been in close touch over botanical matters ; 
Hooker had been working out Darwin's plants from the Gala- 
pagos Islands ; now on October 10 he has gone to stay with 
Darwin in Kent for three days, and on January 14, 1847, again 
he goes for a visit of a week or ten days. 



THE Sidon left England on November 11, 1847, calling at 
Lisbon, Gibraltar, and Malta on the way to Alexandria. As 
a matter of course, the voyagers made the fourteen mile excur- 
sion from Lisbon to Cintra. Most of the party, mounted on 
jackasses, visited the Convent of Our Lady of the Kock ; 
Hooker climbed a rocky hill hard by, and believed he had 
the best of it, for outstretched before him were typical groves 
of fruit and timber trees, and many miles of vast, grassy 
undulating plains of Portugal, conspicuous upon them the 
lines of Torres Vedras and many another place of note in the 
Peninsular War, ' for which see Napier (a book I never could 
and never shall get through).' 

The botanist sees at once in ' the multitude of Lichens, 
which coated the granite rocks as completely (though not 
with such fine species) as in the Antarctic plains,' a proof of 
the prevalent dampness of the atmosphere. The traveller; 
marvelling that a nation of discoverers should have fallen so 
low, reflects that it was gold alone that stirred them from 
indolence, and exclaims sadly : 

What is to become of them it is hard to say. The land is 
rich and productive ; the climate delicious ; and they are 
neither warlike nor romantic people, such as the Spaniards, 
whose temperament keeps them in hot water. I have now 
seen them in Madeira, the Cape Verdes, Brazil, and at home : 
and they are the same all over the world. I hope never to 
see them again. 



As a world-voyager himself his one regret for taking a new 
way back into Lisbon was not 

to have looked once more at Belem Church, where Columbus 
dreamed that an Angel directed him to the discovery of 
the New World, if I remember aright ; and where especially 
Vasco da Gama and his successors offered up, some their 
prayers, and others their thanksgivings (to St. Nicholas, 
by the way) on the occasion of their several voyages to the 
Eastern Indies, or return therefrom. 

Still the quarter of Lisbon by which they returned was 
magnificent by night, albeit the high and handsome squares 
were perhaps whited sepulchres. Night also offered another 
advantage : ' After the heat of the day is over the many smells 
are in a great measure dissipated ; the dogs gone to kennel ; 
and little else but drunken seamen to disturb one's reveries.' 

The fortified rock of Malta provokes agreeable comparison 
with St. Helena and Gibraltar : for here the heat that is fervid 
on the black soil of St. Helena and scorches at Gibraltar is tem- 
pered by the yellow stone, which neither attracts like the one 
nor reflects like the other the powerful rays of the sun. There 
is a thumbnail sketch of the town with its magnificent entrance 
to the harbour, its ' church and convent bell-towers innumer- 
able, ringing all day long, many with good voices, some with 
bad,' its rocks bare of any green save the Caper plant, and 
its picturesque streets, which 

form a sort of square telescope, with busy people along the 
bottom, handsome yellow carved stone balconies projecting 
on either side, bright blue sky above, and the sea like a 
perfect jewel at the further end. 

Apropos of the carved stone work everywhere (of which 
he bought some for the Geological Museum) : 

Stone cutting and carving is indeed the besetting employ- 
ment of the Maltese ; and the facility afforded by the lime- 
stone has the same effect on this, their hereditary disposition, 
that a soft deal bench has on a schoolboy. 

At Citta Vecchia, he tells Miss Henslow, 


everything is attributed to St. Paul, and your father would 
have laughed had he had presented to him for sale (as I had) 
some fossil sharks' teeth, 3 inches long, as the teeth of the 
Apostle himself ! 

At this distance of time it is curious to recapture the im- 
pression made on an old naval man by the ' terrible-looking ' 
steamers among the white-sailed ships of all nations, the noble 
line-of-battle ships, and the smart frigates ; and the same 
epithet is repeated soon after when it is recorded that the 
passage to Alexandria was long, ' owing to contrary winds and 
a head-sea, which though slight, were sufficient to retard the 
Sidon, which despite her size and terribly grand look, is a very 
poor steamer or sailer, after all.' 

The Alexandria of 1847 was a ' ruinous city of dirty white 
houses straggling round a broad bay ' with ' outskirts horrible 
to a degree,' consisting of clusters of huts, or rather mud hovels 
not four feet high, grouped in squares about ten feet each way, 
with a hole for the door and another to serve as a window. 
Pompey's Pillar and the slave market were the two extremes 
of interest for the sightseer. 

But he found the Pillar, ' like all such attempts at effect, 
a failure, as the mind does not perceive at once the gigantic 
labour which the erection of such a single stone must have cost/ 
The sight of it added nothing to the impression gathered from 
books. The slave market was 

a small court about 30 feet square, surrounded with cells 
of about 12 feet, devoted to the slaves of each nation. These 
were dark and dirty, full of vermin, in spite of the smoke 
of a fire in the middle of the earthen floor, which all but 
suffocated the poor inmates. I saw only the Abyssinians, 
two or three squalid wretches, in the most abject state of 
dirt, disease, and suffering, from the smoke which inflamed 
their poor eyes. They said nothing, but crouched behind 
the door and up in the corner on my entering. 

The most agreeable episode connected with quitting the 
Sidon at Alexandria was Lord Dalhousie's expression of the 
friendship he had formed on the voyage for Hooker. ' On 


our arrival/ writes the latter, ' he took me on one side and 
invited me to belong to his suite for the future, in the most 
kind and handsome manner.' Hooker accordingly travelled 
freely in the Governor- General's launch to Cairo, accompanied 
him to Mehemet Ali's reception, and from Suez sailed not on 
the ordinary packet-boat but on the East India Company's 
frigate sent to convey the Governor. This smoothed away 
many of the minor difficulties of travel, especially the refusal 
of the India Board in London to give him a passage, because 
the Company's naval officers disliked the ships being employed 
as passage-boats. 

The journey to Cairo was effected by water. A ' pretty 
little steamer of the size and shape of a Woolwich boat/ be- 
longing to the transit company, took the party eighty miles 
to the Nile, along the Mamudieh Canal, Mehemet Ali's vast 
work carried out by the forced labour of the corvee, which 
drew all the unhappy fellahin from the fields unpaid and 
unfed, and was followed by a disastrous famine. ' It reminded 
me ' he draws a homely comparison for his father ' of the 
canal through the Bog of Allan, if you can suppose that wholly 
bare of any vegetation except around the very scattered 
Egyptian or Turks' houses.' From this point Mehemet's own 
steamer, the size of a Greenwich boat, took them another 
twenty hours' journey to Cairo. 

Cairo he found ' a most interesting place for everything but 
its botany/ standing as it did ' half in the desert and half 
on the alluvial deposit, so that you enter it amongst gardens, 
avenues, and richly cultivated fields, and step from the gates 
on the other side into utter sterility/ 

As for the Ehoda Gardens, originally laid out by Ali Pasha 
with the oriental desire of getting shade and refreshing masses 
of green, he frankly confesses to disappointment in them, 

from not previously appreciating the many obstacles Egypt 
presents to the formation of a real garden of Exotics. It 
must be near the Nile for water ; and then it must be flooded 
at one season, and burnt up the next ; a state of things to 
which few plants will subject themselves, and whence it is 
that on the fertile banks of the Nile there is little or no native 


vegetation beyond annuals, and the majority of these are 

Still it was ' really and truly the Dropmore of Egypt,' ' a noble 
project ' struggling against adverse conditions. 

Everywhere you turn you are greeted by some English 
or well-known exotic, struggling to accommodate itself to 
Egyptian bondage, or rebelliously resenting all poor Mr. 
Traill's kind attentions, and doing the worst a slave can do, 
dying on the spot, and breaking his master's heart. (To 
W. J. H., December 24, 1847.) 

Far more interesting was a trip into the Desert to the Fossil 

Though few plants were to be had, I was anxious to make 
a few observations on the temperature of the soil and dry- 
ness of the desert, so that I might know how near the starving 
and burning point vegetation would exist, as supplementary 
to our many observations in the Ant. Expedition of how 
much cold they could bear. 

Completing these a few days later by other experiments at the 
halfway house to Suez, he found that 

even in the winter time the sun's rays give a heat of 100 
to the soil, so that the poor plants have to undergo in winter 
a change of 56 every day. Here the only water they get 
is by the dew forming during the night. Unhappy plants ! 
if their feelings are like ours, who like to drink best when 
most heated. 

The waste of rolled pebbles and fragments with here and 
there huge trunks, heaped together in the greatest confusion, 
all chalcedony and coarse agate, reddish brown against the 
white of the desert sand, inspires a long disquisition on its 
geological origin and a smile at Mehemet Ali, for 

At this place the Pasha had sunk a pit for coal : sapiently 
concluding that so much fossil wood above ground indicated 
no less below : he, however, did not get through the limestone 
rock, which is subjacent to the formation to which I presume 
the fossil wood to belong. 


As to the city of Cairo itself, 

the charms of these Eastern houses are all in the abstract 
and idea ; to live in they are truly odious. [Seeking a 
Turkish bath], we wound through many nasty lanes and 
streets of shops, which are called Bazaars, but which I should 
rather y-clep Vennels, if you remember those Glasgow 
holes. After all, a Cairo Bazaar is very like a Greenock 
street, without the windows. 

The visit to Mehemet Ali in the cortege of Lord Dalhousie 
smacked of the 'Arabian Nights/ He writes to his sister 
Elizabeth : 

The road was long, through narrow streets and very 
crowded ones ; we were preceded by two attendants, running, 
with long whips, which they laid about them right and left, 
to clear the way, utterly regardless of man or beast, who 
scurry out of the way or cower under their Bernouse cloaks 
to fend off the blows. I saw an unfortunate Egyptian, whose 
cart stuck across the street, get a terrible whipping, to 
which he offered not the least resistance. We were rather 
late, and arrived just after the Governor [Lord Dalhousie], as 
the guns were pealing forth a Koyal Salute. Passing under 
the gates, through a most splendid new and half finished 
alabaster Mosque (see Panorama of Cairo) [i.e. that shown 
in Leicester Square], we arrived at the Quadrangle, where 
the Governor was getting out of a splendid six-horse coach, 
like the Lord Mayor's, with Egyptian Lancers as outriders : 
the band played a sort of ' God save the Queen ' to him, and 
I know not what to the second carriage, with Fane and 
Courtenay ; 1 but I got the Bohemian Polka for my share 
of reception outside. The gateway was crowded with tame- 
looking, fiercely armed Egyptian officers, with gorgeous 
sashes, diamond-hilted scymitars, and the like. Behind 
were plainly dressed attendants on a dais, each with a 
gold badge at his breast (the Turkish crescent and star), 
who passed us on through gorgeously furnished apart- 

1 Members of Lord Dalhousie's suite. Francis Fane, who succeeded to the 
Earldom of Westmorland in 1851, was his A.D.G., and F. F. Courtenay, his 
private secretary since 1843 at the Board of Trade, was retained in that 


ments, sofa'd all "round the walls, and covered with rich 
Turkey carpets, to the private audience-chamber. This 
was splendid, surrounded by looking-glasses ; the walls 
above pale satin, with worked crimson and gold flowers, 
the windows some 15 feet high, with transparent blinds, 
worked also with most superb groups of flowers, exquisitely 
imitated. All round were sofas and cushions of satin, 
worked with carnations, fuchsias, and roses. Mehemet, an 
old cunning-looking man, in a plain, olive-green braided 
coat, sat in the right hand corner near the window, and 
received us standing. He conversed with Lord D. by means 
of a Dragoman interpreter, we all being ranged round and 
forming a gorgeous cortege. Behind were several other 
gentlemen, who came, but took no part, including his son 
and son-in-law, and many plainly attired domestics. In a 
few minutes each, Lady Dalhousie included, was furnished 
with a pipe 6 feet long, having amber mouthpieces full of 
brilliants, the mouthpieces as thick as my arm almost, and 
8 inches long. The bowl was placed in a silver dish on the 
ground ; and we all whiffed away. The servants then 
brought coffee in little egg cups, set in gold filagree holders, 
blazing with diamonds. . . . The same attendants removed 
pipes and coffee cups ; and we all retired much pleased with 
all we saw. 

The troubles of the old Overland route, even under 
the gilding of the Viceregal segis, merit description. The 
journey to Suez took nineteen hours. Hooker himself barely 
escaped the hideous discomfort of doing this on a dromedary's 
back. By some mistake, the disembarkation of the ordinary 
Indian passengers at Alexandria had not been telegraphed 
through by signal till after he had set off to visit the Pyramids. 
It would have been highly inconvenient for both parties to 
travel together across the desert ; accordingly the Governor- 
General prepared for early departure, and when Hooker re- 
turned he found all the luggage had gone on ; and he was in 
consternation, having only two hours to pack, get his fossils 
sent home, and go to the Consul's, whence they were to start. 
* We were prohibited taking anything but a tiny carpet bag ; 
so I hired a fleet Dromedary for my baggage (my very heavy 



things had gone on to the Palace on arriving and went on 
with Lord Dalhousie).' 

All's well that ends well, however ; thanks to Lady Dal- 
housie, who also had a baggage dromedary, and the members 
of the Suite, who bullied the Transit officers into providing an 
extra two-wheeled car, the baggage was safely taken. ' I never 
was so glad in all my life,' he exclaims, * as when I got my things 
all stowed away, though at the expense of relinquishing my 
scanty collection, and all but a few sheets of small-sized paper, 
for the Desert and Aden.' 

Night had fallen, for it was 8 o'clock, and ' our departure 
by cresset and torch light was very pretty, surrounded as we 
were by Orientals in all costumes.' As for the vehicles, the 
Dalhousies ' mounted a beautiful barouche, as good as ever 
the Park saw, with six Arab horses and two outriders, and 
dashed off at full speed, the cressets and torches scampering 
on before, through the narrow streets, whipping everybody 
and everything in the way.' The four-horse vans in which 
the rest followed were exactly like short omnibuses, to hold 
four each, but had only two wheels with broad tires ; ' a cad 
stands on the step behind ; an Egyptian drives at a furious 
gallop, with a red fez and long whip.' In the first were Dr. 
Bell, an old Indian, bundled up in all imaginable clothes, 
European and Oriental, to keep off the cold, and Hooker, with 
a plaid for the night, and slung round his neck his two precious 
barometers to save them from the breakage declared to be 
inevitable in the terrible jolting of the Overland route. The 
road was worst at the beginning ; in many places it became 
really good, where the flats of pebbles were broad and long ; 
but the Arab tribes who were heavily bribed to keep it in some 
sort of order, cared little for the Pasha. So long as they were 
paid, they removed the large stones from the track ; as soon 
as the money stopped, they would replace all the big pieces, 
and so render the track impassable. 

The smooth-seeming, uninterrupted slope of eight miles 
from the highest level down to the Bed Sea was indeed a 
howling wilderness, and the Desert of Sinai opposite looked no 
better. Amid the pebbles and rounded lumps of rock as big 


as one's head the Colocynth was the only plant visible, and that 
sparingly, so like the soil it straggled over, that the great yellow 
apples alone betrayed its position. At Suez, 

as the position of the transit of the Children of Israel, one 
could not help looking about, and trying to grasp one natural 
feature that should afterwards vividly recall the spot ; but 
there was none ; looking N., an arm of the sea wound up to 
where a canal in the more glorious days of Egypt connected 
the Nile and the Eed Sea. 

A score of years were still to elapse before de Lesseps 
renewed that glory of the ancient empire, and incidentally 
swept away these wearinesses of the old Overland route. 

The Governor- General's party were comfortably installed 
in the hotel long before the ordinary passengers began to arrive, 
130 in all, in detachments oi six or eight vans every four hours 
through the night. Next day they embarked on the Moozuffer. 
This was ' a noble ship,' as large as the Sidon, but although 
the captain gave up everything to Lord and Lady Dalhousie, 
the Indian Government had made no proper accommodation 
for the large party : 

the rest of us have to pig it out in the ship's armoury, a dirty 
place, next to the engine, intolerably hot and smothered 
with coal-dust. We lie on mattresses on the deck, and it 
is all we can do to turn out tidy for meals in the cabin. 

In consequence, as he writes later from Madras, 

I have lost nearly all my collections (particularly that made 
at Aden) from the salt water in our wretched dormitory on 
board this ship. Not only were much of my collections 
destroyed, but my spare paper ; so that at Point de Galle 
I could not collect a single thing. 

Aden itself was ' the ugliest, blackest, most desolate and 
most dislocated piece of land of its size that ever I set eyes 
upon, and I have seen a good many ugly places.' Unsatis- 
factory also was the Indian Ocean, * the most uninteresting 
sea I ever crossed ; without birds or any fish but flying fish 
to relieve the monotony of the cruise.' 


Lord Dalhousie's friendship, which was built up on the 
voyage, and in India showed itself in unstinted support to 
Hooker and to any friend he recommended, was a personal 
appreciation of the man rather than of the scientific investi- 
gator. Hooker, who was no less attached to him, as a man, 
during the too few years that he still had to live, wrote very 
frankly of his lack of scientific interests. 

I find Lord Dalhousie an extremely agreeable and 
intelligent man in everything but Natural History and 
Science, of which he has a lamentably low opinion, I fear. 
He is a perfect specimen of the miserable system of education 
pursued at Oxford, and as ignorant of the origin and working 
of our most common manufacturing products and arts as he 
is well informed on all matters of finance, policy, &c. I very 
carefully drop a little knowledge into him now and then ; 
but I cannot awaken an interest or any sympathy in my 
pursuits : he is much pleased at my being busy, and especially 
with my carrying on my Meteorological register three times 
a day. Lady Dalhousie shares her husband's apathy, but 
is otherwise a kind-hearted creature. In the Desert I brought 
them the Gum Arabic Acacia, which I thought must interest 
the late president of the Board of Trade ; but he chucked 
it out of the carriage window : and the Kose of Jericho, 
with an interest about it of a totally different character, met 
no better fate. 

The thought arises that ' he has so much Scotch caution 
that he does not like to broach a subject he cannot talk upon ' ; 
however this might be, the efforts to interest him in the veget- 
able products of the East seemed to bear fruit, and later : 

The Governor-General hints to me that he would like 
reports on the Tea district of India ; so that I shall hope 
to be made useful by him and to have an opportunity of 
returning all his kindness. I need not say that I shall lay 
myself out to attend to his wishes in India. Assam, how- 
ever, did not enter into my calculations. 

And at Point de Galle he took care to present to the 
Governor- General his friend Gardner, Sir William's protege, 


the representative of Botany in Ceylon. Science was likely 
to benefit by official acquaintance with men of science. 

Madras revealed the splendours of Oriental pageantry in 
the official reception of the Governor- General. The military 
display, the brilliant colour of the crowds who poured out of 
the city, amply compensated for the waste of half a day on 
board ship while arrangements were being completed ashore. 

This was India itself ; authentic information was to be 
gleaned, practical arrangements made for forthcoming travel. 
An old acquaintance turned up in Major Garsten, bluff and 
burly, whom he remembered as a threadpaper of a lad in 
Edinburgh. He heard tall stories of the Mysore summer ; when 
wineglasses snap off at the stem, untouched, and tables of teak 
split across the grain. Through Gideon Thomson, the brother 
of his Glasgow friend, he had hopes of securing a good plant 
collector. Five servants were needed for his travels, besides 
collectors ; and Madras servants were reputed better and more 
faithful than Bengalis. More lessons in Hindustani were re- 
quired ; ' my progress in the lingo,' he laments, ' is very slow. 
I have no head for languages, especially such a cacophonous 
one as this.' He spent most of his time in the Horticultural 
Society Gardens, and seeing Mr. Elliott's collections of birds and 
animals. But even so, when he began travelling in Bengal he 
found the plants, presumably common Bengal species, new to 
him, * and without books I cannot give even the generic names, 
so ignorant do I find myself.' 

In Calcutta, where he arrived on January 12, he first 
stayed with an old friend of his father, Sir Lawrence Peel ; 1 
afterwards at Government House, for 

neither the Governor- General nor Lady Dalhousie will allow 
me to take up my quarters anywhere but with them. [And 
a little later] : Both show great friendship to me. He 
is a very fine fellow, who always means what he says ; and 

1 Sir Lawrence Peel (1799-1884) was a cousin of the statesman, Sir Robert. 
He was knighted in 1842 when promoted from Advocate-General to Chief Justice 
of the Supreme Court at Calcutta. Returning to England in 1855, he became 
Indian Assessor to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The love of his 
beautiful place at Calcutta was recorded in the name of his house at Ventnor, 
Garden Reach. 


I really believe he would be not only mortified, but hurt, if 
I resided elsewhere than under his roof while I am at Calcutta. 
On one occasion he turned out of his own chamber to give 
it to me, because I returned from Sir Lawrence Peel's house 
a day earlier than was expected. 

The only drawback to their great kindness was that, though 
he had entire freedom to follow his own pursuits, Government 
House was five miles away from his work at the Botanic Gardens, 
' and to walk there in this part of Bengal is quite out of the 

Sir Lawrence Peel's house on Garden Reach was the Chats- 
worth of India, with its unrivalled gardens just across the river 
from the Botanic Garden, classical ground to the naturalist, 
where Hooker spent most of his time with McLelland, the 
indefatigable locum tenens for Hugh Falconer, then on his 
way to succeed Griffith, 1 a botanist distinguished alike as 
draughtsman and collector. 

As we see more of one another he opens out ; and I think 
it not difficult to understand him. He is a persevering 
Scotchman, without much ability, or powers of perception ; 
blinded by Griffith's extraordinary ability, and impressed 
with the belief that it is better to fail in following Griffith's 
views and course, than to succeed in any other more suited 
to his own powers. He has, he considers, a pious duty to 
perform, imposed on him at Griffith's dying hour, to publish 
his MSS. and drawings. This he has been doing with great 
zeal and perseverance, on a wretched salary of 500 a year at 

1 William Griffith (1810-45), a pupil of fLindley, entered the medical 
service of the East India Company, and in 1835 was employed to report on the 
suitability of Assam for tea planting. His botanical travels took him through 
Assam and Burmah and the Khasia mountains : as surgeon he accompanied 
an embassy to Bhutan, and the army which invaded Afghanistan in 1838 and 
the following years. Appointed to Malacca, he was recalled to Calcutta 
(1842-4) to take charge of the Botanical Gardens and lecture to the medical 
students during Wallich's absence : on his return to Malacca he fell ill and 

In making his collections he aimed not at species hunting but at giving a 
general account of the Indian flora on a geographical basis : in his botanical 
studies he was more of a morphologist than a systematist, and as an accurate 
and penetrating investigator of plant life, and especially of the problems of re- 
production, he was expected by competent judges to have taken the highest 
place as a botanist had he not been cub off at the age of thirty-five. 


the Gardens, out of which he will be turned in a day or two, 
to return to Europe (his service time having expired) or take 
military duties, which are disagreeable to a man of his age 
and long civil servitude. The expenses of the publications 
are defrayed by the E.I.C. taking 250 copies ; the proceeds 
of the sale of the remainder he generously puts by, as a fund 
for the orphan boy : this is very noble ; and every one 
says so.' 

Of the actual MSS. and drawings on which he was at work 
Hooker, who lent his help, writes more enthusiastically : * I 
am perfectly amazed at Griffith's powers. His exertions were 
all but superhuman and he was a far better artist than I had 
supposed.' The misfortune was that they were being given to 
the world as they stood, the drawings beautifully lithographed, 
but with many flaws in the descriptions and unelucidated by 
proper notes which the pious editor could have added. 

A full description of the Garden goes to Sir William. 
McLelland had improved it by clearance of jungle, road cut- 
ting, and rearrangement ; but without system and judgment, 
sacrificing noble trees and a thousand fine features without 
satisfactory result. He failed in his endeavour to turn the 
Garden into a botanical class book. Though scientifically 
brilliant, Griffith before him had not the eye of a landscape 
gardener nor the education of a horticulturist, and the whole 
establishment had been suffered to get out of order for the 
last dozen years. ' The Library is in dreadful confusion, just 
as Wallich left it, and the Herbarium worse.' Still, ' Falconer 
has, after all, a much easier job than you had at Kew.' 

Later he tells how he had written to his friend Falconer 
giving his notion of what the Garden should be, and wonder- 
ing how he took it, as it amounted to the annihilation of all 
Griffith and McLelland had done. 

This included the laying out of a good river front, the 
re-plotting of the systematically arranged garden, with pro- 
vision of shade and shelter from the fierce sun for plants and 
visitors alike, above all in the thirty acres outside the house, 
consisting of dried up grass and red gravel paths all askew, 
where to go out of the house is going out of the frying-pan 


on to the gridiron ; * I used to hop along like a bear on hot 
bricks till I reached the remains of the mahogany grove, some 
200 yards off or more." He winds up to his father with some 
fun on the blending of the popular and the scientific. 

Lastly, there is room (and to spare) around the garden 
for a good arboretum and pleasure ground. McLelland 
encourages Music, Dancers, fish bones, and orange peel, so 
that the place looks at times more like Alger's booth at 
Greenwich Fair, the Cremorne Gardens, or Baron Nathan's 
Elysium at Gravesend, than a place for profit and instruction. 
I am sure, if good Lord Morpeth saw what I have, it would 
be a profitable sight. I declared to McLelland, he ought 
either to confine this to a pleasure ground or lead the first 
hops and hob and nob on gin and water himself with chocolate- 
colored damsels in boots and large ankles, that ogle himself 
and myself on our scientific vocations. As it is, he is often 
asked to join, and bring Mrs. McLelland to the picnic and 
Polka. Whatever you do, never let the Pleasure ground open 
into the garden. 

The rest of his time was divided between trying to finish 
off the Niger Flora in time to be sent home by the February 
mail, together with instructions as to the remaining illus- 
trations to be drawn for the Niger Flora, 1 and preparations 
for his first botanical expedition. 

1 These instructions are characteristic of his outlook on Distribution. 
Certain orders had been assigned to Planchon, the Kew assistant, to prepare for 
publication. Hooker writes : ' Please see that he r.lludes to species in too bad 
a state to describe, at the end of the genus : or if the genus be unknown, of the 
order to which they belong ; this is essential for Botanical Geography, and 
he won't do it if not told.' 



TRAVEL to the Himalaya was still impossible for a couple of 
months ; the interval was employed in a botanical excursion 
to the little explored hills of south-west Bengal, which culminate 
in the Vindhya range further west, and to the valley of the 
Soane, a southern tributary of the Ganges some 300 miles 
from Calcutta. This is reached by the Grand Trunk Road 
to Benares, seventy miles further on, which passes on its way 
from Calcutta the Burdwan coal-field and the sacred mountain 

Another coal-field was reported higher up the Soane river ; 
Mr. Williams, of the Geological Survey, was proceeding from 
Burdwan to investigate it. Hooker arranged to join his 
travelling camp on January 28, after a sixty hours' journey in a 
wearisome palkee, and from the upper Soane valley traverse 
the Kymore or Bind Hills to Mirzapore, above Benares 
(March 8-15), then to take boat down the Ganges to Bhagulpore 
(April 5-8), and finally by palkee from Caragola Ghat, some 
thirty miles further down the river, to Darjiling, some 140 
miles, which was reached on April 16. 

On the way he collected everything that the dry season 
produced in an elevated district which surprised him by its 
signs of constant dryness. Even when sailing down the 
Ganges he experienced a gale and blinding dust-storm, swept 
up from the boundless alluvial plains of the river valley. 

So dry is the wind that drops of water vanish like magic. 
What Cryptogamiae could stand the transition from parching 



like this to the three months' flood of Midsummer, when 
the country for miles will be under water ? 

The specimens he so arranged as to present a good illus- 
trative Flora of the whole Road, gaining finally * a knowledge 
of the look of whole botanical regions which, however poor in 
species, are highly instructive in other points.' From before 
daylight every day, he was hard at work ; but the fatiguing 
lack of a collector had its compensations. 

My specimens are well dried ; this is no difficulty, with a 
little trouble, at this season : three changings drying the 
majority : the difficulty is to prevent their drying too fast, 
yet, would you believe it ? Wallich's and Griffith's plant 
driers were in the habit of pressing once in paper, and then 
spreading all out in the sun : no wonder their specimens are 
so contortuplicate. 

Detailed letters home were deferred, but he kept a full journal, 
corresponded with the Governor-General and Mr. Colvile, 1 
President of the Asiatic Society, to which his meteorological 
observations were communicated. Of these the most remark- 
able was on the night of February 14, 

when, on going out at 9 P.M., I saw the finest Aurora, on 
the whole, that I ever witnessed, either N. or S. This is 
a phenomenon supposed to be so rare in or near the 
Tropics, that it kept me up till past midnight observing and 

This account met with a good deal of incredulity ; the sceptics 
ascribed it to forest fires, the appearance of which would be 
very different to an observer so long accustomed to the Aurora. 
Grievously as he grudged the time, he wrote an immediate 

1 Sir James William Colvile (1810-80), an Indian law} T er and sociologist, 
who, like Sir L. Peel, was knighted on being raised to the Bench in 1848 he 
was Chief Justice of Bengal from 1855 and on his return to England was 
appointed Indian Assessor to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He 
was distinguished for his knowledge of Indian systems of law and of scientific 
and economic questions affecting India, and was President of the Asiatic Society 
of Bengal. 


account of the Aurora to Wheatstone. 1 Eef erring to this the 
following year he tells his father : 

I thought I had said enough of the Aurora, and was only 
afraid of troubling you with too much unbotanical matter 
for the Journal ; besides I did not consider that phenomenon 
to be so very wonderful as to cause surprise much less 
argument. The sceptics may content themselves with 
* tant pis pour le fait ' ; it required no witchcraft to pro- 
nounce upon the display which I beheld ; and, in such a 
country as India, where every Englishman eats a heavy 
dinner at 8 and goes to bed at 10, it is not astonishing that 
these spectacles have been hitherto unobserved. I suppose 
I should be snubbed for averring that I have seen others 
since, and in the daytime. 

Meantime he is able to assure his parents ' I am in perfect 
health and enjoying myself exceedingly.* He spared them the 
anxiety of knowing what he told Darwin (p. 246) that he 
still felt the results of his rheumatic fever at Madeira nearly 
nine years before. 

His examination of the Burdwan coal fossils threw no 
material light on the question of their age, a question which, 
he tells Darwin, is no less perplexing there than at home. 
Others boldly assigned most of them to the Lower Oolitic epoch 
of England, from the prevalence of certain species, also found 
in Sind and Australia. In his cautious judgment the evidence 
was insufficient ; the form of the fronds alone, especially in 
fossil fragments, supplied frail characters for specific identifi- 
cation ; considering that * the botanical evidences which 
geologists too often accept as proofs of specific identities are 
such as no botanist would attach any importance to in the 
investigation of existing plants.' Eecent ferns were so widely 
distributed that inspection generally gave no clue to their 
place of origin, and considering the wide difference in latitude 
and longitude of Yorkshire, India, and Australia, the natural 
conclusion is that they could not have supported a similar 

1 Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-75), the famous discoverer and inventor 
in the fields of acoustics, optics, and electricity, to whom we owe the practical 
foundations of telegraphy. 


vegetation at the same epoch. And he cites the Cycads especi- 
ally (Himalayan Journals, i. 8) in support of the statement that, 

finding similar fossil plants at places widely different in lati- 
tude, and hence in climate, is, in the present state of our 
knowledge, rather an argument against than for their having 
existed contemporaneously. 

Later (p. 44) he insists on the point again, contrasting his own 
difficulty in identifying the impressions of living leaves in 
the lime- deposits of a spring, with the fact that geologists, 
unskilled in botany, see no difficulty in referring equally 
imperfect remains of extinct vegetables to existing genera. 

The ascent of Parasnath, the sacred mountain of the Jains, 
was of vivid interest : 

We went thither on two elephants with a blanket cart and 
some provisions ; but the jungle was so dense, the elephants 
having to break away the branches of the trees with their 
trunks, that we did not arrive till 2 P.M. I got many plants 
on the route, the elephant getting several inaccessible species 
for me. You will hardly believe that a well- wooded mountain 
of (reputed) 7000 feet (but I expect only 5000) could rise out 
of India all but within the Tropics, and present neither Palm, 
Tree-Fern, Lycopodium, Scitamineous, Aroid, Piperaceous 
plant or Orchid-epiphyte of any consequence. No moss or 
Hepatica below 4000 feet, on trunk or rock, no foliaceous 
Lichen below that, and scarcely above, and not one fleshy 
Fungus. Such, however, is the parching effect of the N.W. 
dry winds, that the soil throughout is crumbly and the 
Cryptogs. at top, consisting of a few crust-Lichens and mosses 
(no Hepaticae seen), are withered and brown and covered 
with a Selaginella equally dead. 

There are six tops to Paras-nath, rising from a curved 
ridge, all very steep and rocky, and each crowned with a 
platform and little white Temple, of the size of your Temple 
of Victory. There is, besides, a large temple, a little below 
the ridge on the N. face, sunk in a hollow, very picturesque, 
square with a large dome and four spires at the angles. All 
are neatly covered with white lime. In the little apical ones 
I was surprised to find a slab of stone with the feet of Boodh 
engraved in relief, whilst the larger had many marble slabs, 


each with multitudes of little cross-legged Boodhs. My mind 
was at once carried back to Adam's Peak in Ceylon, and the 
high places of the N. of India, where Boodhism and not 
Hinduism prevails, where the less impure form of Heathen 
worship has taken refuge. Idol worship as it is, it was 
gratifying to find it taking possession of this lovely spot, to 
the exclusion of the abominations of Brahminism, which 
shock the eye as much as the senses. 

The three weeks' leisurely sail down the river had a double ad- 
vantage. He could stop where he would to see things of interest, 
such as the manufacture of rose-water at Ghazipore or the opium 
works at Patna ; and he had time, most grievously needed, 
to write up his notes, journal, and correspondence, though 
the boat, externally very like a floating haystack or thatched 
cottage, internally became too much of a Noah's Ark for his 
liking, what with rats that mounted the table and stared him 
in the face, cockroaches of indomitable courage which ' take 
the crumbs off the side of my plate with the familiarity of Eobin 
Kedbreast, withdrawing but not retreating on my remon- 
strating,' and insects in swarms from mosquitos to the flying 
bug, which is no better than a winged skunk in petto, not to 
mention centipedes and monstrous spiders, a hand's spread 
across, darting about as if they had seven-leagued boots on 
each of their eight legs. 

For the Kew Museum he was indefatigable in collecting 
vegetable products used in the arts, notably a pair of smelting 
bellows made entirely of leaves, and all the gums and drugs 
procurable, with the Hindu name transliterated, whenever 
possible, in English and Persian characters. With 250 of 
these already in hand he exclaims : 

The number of things still to be got at every market is 
infinite : and I shall go on amassing ; but I have been only 
two months here now, and cannot bargain properly it also 
takes a great deal of time. 

This was not merely the passion for collecting ; it had a 
very practical bearing, and the view of Hooker's work is incom- 
plete without remembering that the practical applications of 
his science were as interesting to him as pure research. And 



even the forthcoming expedition to the rich botanical fields 
of Sikkim included the hope of discovering a trade route to 
Tibet if the result of war with China were to be the opening 
up of direct relations with the Forbidden Land, still under 
Chinese suzerainty. 

At the same time the personal friendship with Lord Dal- 
housie enabled him to send in a memorial regarding the ex- 
cessive cost of postage and travel, the destruction of timber, 
and the need of drawing up a good Indian Materia Medica. 

Further extracts from letters to his aunt Ellen (Mrs. 
Jacobson), and to his sister Elizabeth, give some lively impres- 
sions of Oriental travel. 

To Mrs. Jacobson 

I often think of my cousins, little Willie and Mary, when 
perched on the top of my elephant ; or when I am struck by 
the peculiarities of this far foreign land. Many things are 
interesting, through their novelty : others are of a deeply 
melancholy nature, too much so to be pleasing. The elephant 
is always an agreeable animal ; he is so docile and gentle, 
when properly tamed ; and though to ride on a pad on his 
back is somewhat akin to being tossed in a blanket, one soon 
becomes accustomed to the motion. Every morning, after 
he has breakfasted heartily on a stone and a half, or two 
stone, of boiled rice, relished with large boughs of Fig-trees, 
the elephant is led to my tent to be mounted. A little active 
Mohammedan driver sits on his broad neck, and directs his 
movements by poking his own toes behind either ear, accord- 
ing to the way he desires to turn the beast. He carries a 
goad, a short spear of iron, which he sticks into the poor 
elephant's head, if lazy, or inflicts a pat with it which would 
lay Willy's skull open. When the order is issued to * butt, 1 
elephant drops on his knees ; and I climb up, by getting on a 
hoof and holding by the tail, or with ropes. Or I accom- 
plish the ascent by stepping upon a tusk and gripping at the 
broad ear. At the word of command, he rises, and walks 
off, at the rate of 6-8 miles an hour, his broad hoofs crushing 
the soft soil as he boldly tramps along. If the road be 
stony, he picks his way with great care, placing the hind 
hooHn the exact place from which he has lifted the fore one : 
he is^a tender -footed beast, and cannot travel far or fast upon 


rocky ground. As the heat of the day increases, he drinks 
at every stream ; drawing up the water in his trunk and then 
putting his long proboscis down his throat, he deposits the 
fluid in a bag near the stomach, which it takes ten minutes 
to fill. When this natural water bottle is replenished, the 
elephant walks on, every quarter of an hour or thereabouts, 
poking his trunk down his throat, drawing it out and squirting 
its contents all over his body to cool himself, for the hot sun 
beats strongly on his black carcase. Of course I come in 
for an ample share of his shower-bath, which, as it sprinkles 
my spectacles, is not desirable. So much for the elephant's 
fashion of cooling himself by day, and he is not a whit less 
clever at expedients for retaining his warmth during the 
' chill dewy night ' : he scrapes up, with this view, all the dust 
he can collect with his foot and trunk, and aided by the 
curious crozier-like coil at the end of the latter, he dexterously 
jerks the earth all over himself, so preventing the evaporation 
from his skin which would make him too cold at night. When 
crossing rivers, he pulls some carts across and pushes others 
through the deep sand with his broad forehead. After one 
morning's work my poor beast had a lump on his brow, as large 
as a child's head, raw and bloody at top ; but all of us had to 
work so hard that we could not excuse him, and it was 
touching to see the docile creature lay his expansive brow 
obliquely to the back of the waggon, first by one temple 
then by the other, stoop and try with his soft trunk to move 
the load and avoid the sore place till, finding all was useless, 
he gallantly planted the sore bump, and with a short cry of 
pain, he thrust on, and persevered till all the waggons were 
fairly over, though aware that every time he lifted his head 
and set it to the work again, the same suffering must be 
endured. So, when he has to remove a thorny tree from the 
path, if he cannot find a smooth part of the trunk, he boldly 
grasps it, thorns and all, tears it up and lays it on one side. 
If I drop anything, hat or book, he picks it up with his trunk 
and adroitly tosses it over his head into my lap. The other 
day I went to a fair, in the heart of a remote district, and dis- 
mounting, went through the whole show. Ifc was just like 
Glasgow or Greenwich Fair, except that, as in all Eastern 
and some Western countries, the trades were drawn together 
in lines. There were children, with trumpets and squeaks, 
merry-go-rounds and rocking-chairs. The little girls were 


decking themselves with trinkets and patches of gold leaf 
for the forehead and pieces of bone thrust through the ear, 
the greedy boys were twitching their mothers to the lollipop 
sellers, and the bigger ones eyeing the ponies on the outskirts. 
Old men were chaffering for graven gods, and the sick folks 
were waiting round the doctors' stalls. I was looking on, 
followed by an immense trail of people whom my presence 
had diverted from their traffic, when I suddenly heard a 
fearful yell, which proceeded from the direction of the spot 
where I had left my elephant, and casting my eyes thither, 
I saw all about him in an uproar. The men were swearing 
and flourishing their sticks, the women and children were in 
full flight, the driver on his neck was banging him with the 
goad till his skull rang again, or digging it into his forehead 
till the blood sprang. As to Elephas himself, he would not 
stir from the place, but kept laying about him with his 
trunk, bellowing through mouth and nose, retreating or 
advancing a step or two with fearful violence and continu- 
ally darting his proboscis at some object, what I knew not, 
in the crowd. You may guess my terror : I felt sure he was 
enraged and wreaking his violence on some of the poor 
creatures from whom proceeded the dismal shrieks which I 
heard ! I rushed through the throng, overturning some of 
the stalls in my hurry to reach the place, when I found 
what do you think, Willy ! now, guess, Mary ! why my 
elephant was clearing out a sweetmeat booth : he was eating 
barley sugar by the pound, and comfits by the peck. I had 
another anecdote for my cousins about a crocodile which I 
saw caught, just as he had devoured a poor woman's child 
who was standing by and looking at the odious brute ; but 
my time is up and I must break off. 

Meantime, his scientific and personal standing in India 
was greatly enhanced by the publication of Ross's account of 
the Antarctic Voyage. 

You have no idea how many people in this country have 
been reading Boss's work ; I am better received in India 
for having accompanied that voyage, than ever I was on 
that account in England. Every individual with whom 
I have stayed, on my way up and down the Ganges, has 
read it ! and knows me through it ! ... On this table in 
this house [of Dr. Grant of Bhagulpore] lies the N. British 


Review, containing an article on Eoss's Voyage, written, I 
suspect, by Sir D. Brewster. There is the most flaming 
flattery in it of my share in the book especially the chapter 
on Cattle Hunting. Pray tell my mother of this : (I suspect 
I must be a sort of humbug after all). My Journal shall be 
copied and sent, as soon as I can get settled : for I know you 
want it. You may easily suppose that, surrounded with 
plants to dry, information of every kind to secure, &c., a 
Griffin, like myself, has his hands sufficiently full of occupa- 
tion. I try hard to understand everything as I go on, 
but I am sorry to find the attempt is hopeless ! 

But people were not to be persuaded that an Indian hill 
storm which he describes to his sister Elizabeth could be inferior 
to an Antarctic storm. 

Though more tremendous looking from the thunder and 
lightning, it was not so strong as many S. Polar squalls 
I have felt. People won't believe that here, and so I say 
nothing about it. 

A double letter to Darwin (February 20, and March 4 and 16, 
1848) which opens with the words, ' Though our correspondence 
has not ebbed so low for full four years, you have been so 
constantly in my thoughts that it appears far from strange to 
be writing to you,' and ends with * love to the children/ is too 
long to quote in full. It answers many questions on which 
Darwin had asked him to obtain information ; e.g. on the habits 
of the Cheetah and the way in which it is used in hunting and 
its curious refusal to hunt more than one season ; on the exten- 
sion of different species, where he finds an apparently undefined 
rule ; the Soane, for instance, in the case of the antelopes and 
the gaur, in providing a line of demarcation, like the Obi in 
Siberia, which Humboldt, when Hooker visited him in 1845, 
adduced as * dividing two Botanical regions, and (being) one 
of the strong arguments against the migration of plants, as 
large rivers do not in other cases prevent what is considered 
migration.' So of elephants, dogs, cattle, squirrels, swallows, 
saurians ; the desiccation by destruction of forests ; local 
geology : in short, ' I am perfectly bewildered by the facts 
hourly thrown before me, whose importance I can scarce 
appreciate from my ignorance of Indian natural history ; 

VOL. i . R 


all I can do now is to attempt to collect those relating to the 
larger or more common animals.' 

As in other parts > of the world, so here, almost all the 
animals of the plains will descend ; this is a common observa- 
tion, but it never struck me before coming to India, that in 
this respect height is not analogous to Latitude ; for most of 
the animals and man himself accommodate themselves rather 
to an increase of temperature than a diminution. Thus the 
Englishman, horse, dog, sheep, &c. &c., all thrive in India ; 
but the monkey, man, Bhil, and all the other common 
tropical animals, are incapable of supporting colder climate, 
dependent on latitude. 

I will give you but one botanical fact, and that is re- 
garding the vegetation of heights. You have often asked 
if Mts., especially isolated ones, in the tropical and S. 
lat., had closely allied representations of Asiatic or N. 
temperate forms ; now I have been up but one eminence, 
and that of no more than some 5000 feet, and there I found 
a Barberry in abundance, and one not unlike our English 
and (I may say) one smaller Cape Horn species ; but one 
more fact of a different value do you remember the allusion 
to Vallisneria in your grandfather's ' Bot. Gard.' ? I have 
found what I take to be a second or new species of the genus 
in the waters of the Soane, with the same wonderful habits : 
without books, however, and a limited memory, I rather 
talk at random about new species. 

With regard to my health, it is exactly the same : I am 
still troubled at times with those bothering pains on the left 
side and palpitations, aching in the axilla and occasionally 
down the arm. The motions of the heart are on these 
occasions very irregular, but I have no ringing in the ears, 
shortness of breath, or any symptoms that alarmed me. 
Hot or cold days make no difference, and indeed I had a 
long cessation of all pains for three weeks after my arrival, 
that I thought the hot weather had cured me. Whatever 
it is I am none the worse of being here, otherwise I never had 
better health, am thinking of getting fat, and hardly know 
what a headache is. Please do not show this part of my 
letter, as this refers to a subject of which my friends know 



IT was a weary journey by palki from the Ganges to Darjiling. 
Whole days were wasted in trying to secure bearers. Fre- 
quently none were ready though arranged for with the Post, 
and those who had already come a stage were obdurate to 
' praying, promising, and protesting, bribing and bullying.' 
Once Hooker had to walk while the men carried the empty 
palki till they met certain return bearers of a previous party. 
' People may say what they like/ he exclaims feelingly to Miss 
Henslow (April 9, 1848), ' about the " mild Hindoo " and all 
that sort of thing ; they have their good points, but being led 
by kindness or generous treatment is not amongst them ; they 
never thank you and, overpay as much as you like, they growl. 
Highlanders cannot be worse.' 

At Darjiling began a new phase of life in India, and with it 
a deep and lifelong friendship with a very remarkable character. 
Brian Hodgson, administrator and scholar, had won equal fame 
as Eesident at the court of Nepal and as a student of Oriental 
lore. Known to English science as the best Indian zoologist 
and the donor of the Hodgson natural history collection at the 
British Museum, he was yet ' far better known as an Oriental 
linguist, Ethnologist, and Geographer/ Dismissed from his 
responsible post against the wish alike of the Nepalese and the 
Government officials by the petulance of Lord Ellenborough, 1 

x The Earl of Ellenborough (1790-1871) was Governor- General of India 
1842-44, in succession to Lord Auckland, after twice being President of the 
Board of Control. By the irony of fate, his purpose being ' to restore peace 
to Asia,' he spent his time waging wars of punishment against China and 
Afghanistan and of annexation against Scinde. His unpopularity with all 
classes except the army was due to his vast self-sufficiency and disregard for 
others' feelings and interests. 



' in one of that nobleman's absurd fits of determination 
to undo everything, good or bad, which Lord Auckland 
had done,' he had retired in bad health to this lonely eyrie 
on the edge of the mountain world he knew so well, in close 
touch with the Asiatic travellers from the Buddhist cities of 

In Hooker he found a kindred spirit, a personality that 
inspired confidence, and he placed himself under Hooker's 
medical care as well as admitting him to his intimacy. From 
June 1848 Hodgson's house was his home. It stood a good 
800 feet above Hooker's first residence, Mr. Barnes' house, 
' and like Olympian Jove, I am daily surrounded with the 
clouds,' for the rains had * fairly set in, and it sometimes pours 
for eight, ten, and, I am assured it will, for fifty or sixty hours 
consecutively.' 1 He enjoyed its retirement, the opportunities 
for uninterrupted scientific work, the personal charm of his 
host, and the mine of information on all things Indian ever at 
his disposal. 

We are working together every evening [he tells his 
mother on June 23] at Himalayan and Thibetan Geography 
and Nat. Hist., and though I say it myself, it is true that 
I ought in a month or two to have a better knowledge 
of these aspects of India than any man, having every 
advantage that an excellent library and tutor can afford. 
We are now arranging a sketch by which to divide the 
range into natural sections [i.e. divided into districts by the 
watersheds from the Monster peaks], each of which will bear 
some illustrations from personal experience and books, and 
this ground plan will do for others to work upon. ... I am 
determined I will not leave off working till I have gained a 
thorough knowledge of the subject. [And again] : Hodgson 
' is a capital helper,' and this stay with him ' the very best 
chance for me that could have occurred.' 

1 ' Hodgson's house is on a hill and amongst many other hills all heavily 
timbered, with plants through the wood and lots of new plants close to the 
door. It is a one-storied house with a broad verandah all round, facing North 
and the Snowy Mountains. I have two good rooms besides the run of the 
dining-room and parlour. There are lots of servants to go and come as I 
please to call or send, cats innumerable, and more " Bishop Barnabees " than at 
Kew, and exactly like them. (To his sister Elizabeth, August 9, 1848.) 


Experience of such friendship inspires him to write home 
of * Hodgson, who shows me all the attachment and affection 
of a brother, and whom I shall always regard as one of my 
dearest friends on earth,' and later, hoping that his friend 
would leave Darjiling, which did not agree with him, and 
go to England in the autumn of 1849, exclaims, * I am 
so anxious you should all know him.' He allows that 
Hodgson was too proud and haughty, but never towards 
himself. He had lived too long with the power of a prince 
in his hand not to acquire something of a prince's out- 
look. The sensitiveness of ill-health, added to absorption 
in keen intellectual interests, helped to render him impa- 
tient of the chatter of a small station, and thus he was not 
disposed to suffer pettinesses gladly. 

He is said to quarrel with every one, and in truth is as 
proud a man as I ever met, but we have always got on 
comfortably, and as we live like brothers our quarrelling 
would be absurd. We have a tiff now and then, but very 
rarely. [And July 19 ]: He and I live like hermits, and 
hardly ever see anybody but Mr. and Mrs. Campbell and the 
Miiller brothers. 1 

But he opened out at once to a kindred spirit, forestalling 
every wish before it could be uttered, and what is more, seeing 
to it that every promised arrangement should be carried out, 
to Hooker's great relief, during the privations of his journey in 
Sikkim. Like a prince he gave ; with a prince's pride he shrank 
from any appearance of a return for friendship's favours. In 
this mood indeed at first he even declined to let Hooker name 
after him the finest of the new rhododendrons discovered in 

If the friendship with Lord Dalhousie provided the key that 
opened official barriers and made Hooker's journeyings possible, 
the friendship with Hodgson more than anything else made them 
a practical success. 

i These bachelor brothers were here for their health ; one being the head of 
the opium factory at Patna, and both interested in science. They gave Hooker 
every help in their power, and in particular reduced all his meteorological 
observations for him. 


The other friendship here cemented was with Dr. Campbell, 
the Political Agent to Sikkim. 

He is well versed in all Tibetan and Frontier affairs ; 
he has given me much information on these subjects, and 
on the vegetations of the countries beyond the snow, which 
he has learned from the Thibetans who came hither through 
the snowy passes (April 28). 

Warm, hearty, and helpful as he was, he was not the grand 
seigneur or professed scholar like Hodgson, nor did he equally 
possess that fine imagination which would outrun an ordinary 
welcome, or ensure perfect diplomatic goodwill in the Sikkimese 
representatives with whom he had to deal. Moreover in his 
official dealings he had had many small rubs from the Calcutta 
Government, so that he was at first shy of pushing Hooker's 
wishes as he for his own part would willingly have done. Thus 
friendship with him took longer to establish, but was drawn 
close long before their joint experience of travel and captivity 
in Sikkim. 

The charm of his home at Darjiling was completed by Mrs. 
Campbell and ' her beautiful children ; for the little creatures 
have taken a vast fancy for " Hooker doctor," who gives them 
sweetmeats, and who rides " the naughty pony." To them 
Hooker was devoted, and to Josephine, born while he and Dr. 
Campbell were still prisoners in Sikkim, he stood godfather. 
This friendship also was lifelong, and is prettily illustrated 
in a letter to Sir William Hooker dated July 19, 1848 : 

I wrote and told him this morning that I would ask you 
to confirm the name of a Khododendron on his wife, a little 
compliment that has touched him to the quick ; he is very 
much attached to his wife, and I really never saw a man so 
heartily appreciate a trifling favor. Now pray don't forget 
to attach the name to one of the species sent if the one I 
have given it to be not new. With regard to all the names, 
pray alter them as you please or name the plants yourself 
altogether. I have no ambition that way now, and would 
indeed rather see your initial at their tails than my own, 
but, I beseech you, don't forget this MacCallum Morae [for 
Mrs. Campbell]. 


The supreme objective of the Himalayan journey was to 
reach the snows. Between these and the deep, humid valleys 
of the lower Sikkim lay a whole botanical world, with a range 
equal to that from the tropics to the pole. There also lay the 
secret of the Himalayan geography. It was still generally 
believed that the vast line of snow peaks on the northern 
horizon formed a continuous ridge, the axis of the chain and 
the water-parting between India and the Tibetan plateau, in- 
stead of being but bastions at the southern end of cross ridges 
projecting from the true dividing range. From one of the 
icy passes in this region traversed by the traders from Lhassa 
there would be the possibility perhaps of entering, at least of 
surveying, the forbidden land and determining in this quarter 
the elevation of the great central plateau. 

Travel itself would not be easy. The rude paths, alter- 
nately plunging into deep valleys and scaling precipitous moun- 
tain spurs 5000 feet or more, only to descend again, were con- 
stantly liable to destruction by torrential rains and mile-long 
landslides ; rushing streams had to be forded or crossed on 
frail bridges of swinging bamboo. Forests where a way had 
to be pushed or hacked through dense vegetation pestilent 
with leeches and noxious insects, would be exchanged for 
bare rocky denies at breathless altitudes where only a few 
poverty-stricken herdsmen lived and where the Indian carriers 
suffered from the fierce winds and freezing nights. But the 
greatest difficulty arose from the political situation. No place 
could be better than Darjiling for acquiring information from 
native travellers, but as regards permission for a European 
to travel, he writes on April 28 : 

I fear that even Lord Dalhousie's influence will not enable 
me to accomplish my wish of visiting the snows. I have 
written to him, however, on the subject. 

The much involved situation is set forth in a letter to Lady 
Hooker, June 10, 1848 : 

My prospects of visiting the snow are somewhat faint. 
The Sikkim Eajah, whose territories were once the prey of 
the Nepalese, was replaced on his throne by us, who thus 


kept the warlike Ghurkas from over-running Bhotan ; 
unluckily we did not demand even a nominal tribute from 
the Eajah, who at once fell under the influence of China, 
whose policy it is to rule the Councils and hearts, but not the 
people, of these three Border powers ; and by teaching them 
a wholesome dread of the English, they exclude the latter 
from these several States and prevent our interfering with 
the Chinese Trade from the East into Thibet. Darjeeling 
is a narrow slip of land, running north into the heart of 
Sikkim, about halfway to the snow. It was bought from the 
Eajah to be a Sanatorium for sick Europeans (as Simla, 
Mussoorie, Nainee-Tal, Almorah, &c. &c.). We paid 3000 
rupees for the freehold, stipulating also that merchants 
should have a right to trade to Sikkim, but made no agree- 
ment of the sort for travellers, surveyors, or any other class 
of people, whom the saucy Eajah excludes from his kingdom. 
Had we acted with any vigour in our policy, we might still 
have retained our power over the Eajah ; but I look upon 
the conduct of the local Government of Calcutta and the 
Political Eesident here as weak to a degree and prejudicial 
to the interest of the country. The Eajah, who has not a 
soldier to his name, refused to allow the Survey or- General 
(a man whose Indian power and appointments would astonish 
an Englishman) to visit a mountain twenty miles from 
hence, and not only the Survey or- General J3ut the Govern- 
ment who applied for him, 6nly granting it when Col. Waugh, 1 
disgusted with both the Eajah and Government, went (as 
I did a few days ago) without* the permission of either. 
I have explained all this to Lord Dalhousie and asked 
him to send me to the snow, whether the Eajah likes it or 
not ; offering to be the means of making any overtures to 
that Prince, which may render my mission less unacceptable 
than the appearance of any Eeringhi must be. Dr. Campbell, 
the Political Eesident, recommended that the Eajah should 
be asked, knowing as well as I and Lord D. do that, though 
the Eajah dares not refuse, he does dare to withhold an 

i Sir Andrew Scott Waugh (1810-78), knighted 1861, reached India in 1829 
as a lieutenant in the Bengal Engineers, and in 1832 joined the great trigono- 
metrical survey, in which he distinguished himself so much that the surveyor- 
general, Everest, when he retired in 1843, obtained his nomination as successor 
to that important office, though still only a subaltern. Waugh gave the name 
of his old chief to the Himalayan peak Devidanga, which proved to be the 
highest in the world. 


answer, and thus place our Government in the quandary of 
putting up with an insult or sending me with an armed 
force. Such is the Eajah's dread of 'the English, that he 
declined receiving an Ambassador, laden with English 
presents ; and when the hot-headed Colonel Lloyd (who 
bargained for Darjeeling) hunted him like a hare to strike 
the bargain in person, he would only meet him with a river 
between. In pushing my own way there is nothing to 
apprehend but the lack of provisions ; the Eajah is too weak 
even to put a traveller in confinement as China does, and 
too much afraid of England ; but he can withhold supplies 
and frighten your servants. Hence all my wanderings have 
been hitherto only so far distances as I could carry provender 
for myself and the men, and through the least inhabited 
parts of the country. Towards the snow the country is 
more populous, the convents, nunneries, and villages are 
numerous (though small), and the people (Bhoteas) are a 
disagreeable and morose race, immigrants from the East 
into Sikkim. What Lord Dalhousie may do I know not. 
Elliot, 1 the Secretary to Government, proposes the using 
* douce violence ' with the Eajah, and insisting that he 
shall behave like a friendly power, but this view cannot be 
supported in Council. My own conviction is that, if the 
Eajah allowed me to visit the snowy Passes, China would 
punish him, not ostensibly but indirectly, and the only 
profitable part of his revenue is derived from Darjeeling 
(which did not yield him 200 rupees when we bought it), 
and a property called Chumbi in Thibet, which he rents 
from China, and which is a fruitful place yielding turnips, 
radishes, and Pine-wood ! To proceed with Oriental crooked 
policy, Sir Herbert Haddock, Governor of Bengal during 
Lord Hardinge's 2 absence, in a fit of spleen assumed that 
the rent which the Eajah received for Darjeeling, 3000 

1 Sir Henry Miers Elliot (1808-53) entered the E.I.C. service in 1826, 
and became Secretary to the Governor-General in Council for Foreign Affairs in 
1847. With Lord Dalhousie, after the Sikh War, he negotiated the treaty with 
the Sikh chiefs for the settlement of the Punjaub and Gujerat, receiving the 
K.C.B. (1849). His valuable historical work dealt especially with India in 
Mohammedan times. 

2 Sir Henry Hardinge (1785-1856) was the Peninsular veteran and later 
Secretary at War, so highly esteemed by Wellington, and was Governor- 
General of India between ElleDborough and Dalhousie (1844-8). At the 
conclusion of the First Sikh War, he was created Viscount Hardinge of 


rupees, was too little. He attacked Dr. Campbell, the 
Political . Resident, for allowing the poor Prince to be so 
shabbily" treated by England, voted the 3000 to be doubled, 
without any sufficient reason, and did this without even 
stipulating that the Rajah shall behave more civilly to 
Europeans. Campbell, who ought to have flung the repri- 
mand back in the Governor's teeth and complained of the 
unjust treatment to the Board, took it all quietly, doubled 
the Rajah's revenue, and thus threw away a fulcrum which 
would have moved the Himalayan to within our reach. 
The Rajah is consequently more persuaded than ever of our 
foolishness and desire to take over his valued kingdom (of 
which we would not accept the gift). Is it not incredible 
that a man can be so weak as to fear the very power which 
placed him on his throne and to this day maintains him 
thereon from the being trisected, as Poland was, by the 
Goorkhas, Bhotanese, and Thibetans, any one of which would 
swallow him up in an hour ? Lord D. has plenty of time now 
to think "of the affair as I cannot go till October, the 
rains;; and the unhealthiness of the intervening valleys both 
precluding the attempt. 

Six months passed before Sikkirn, after repeated refusals, 
conceded a reluctant assent to the direct demands of the 
Governor- General. The chief expedition through Sikkim 
took place in the following year, albeit hampered by the 
obstructive devices of the Rajah's Dewan, which were suc- 
cessively overcome by Hooker's good-humoured firmness and 
amusing bluff. 

But the partial permission for the autumn of 1848, followed 
by efforts to take away with the left hand what had been 
granted by the right, brought indirectly a still greater triumph. 
Thanks to the goodwill of the famous Jung Bahadur, Nepaul 
opened her eastern valleys to the traveller, and the Ghurka 
escort, disgusted by the petty machinations of the Sikkimese 
to prevent Hooker from ever reaching the northerly point at 
which he was to enter Nepaul, undertook to lead him the whole 
way through their own territory to the Tibetan Passes on 
the west of the Kinchinjunga group, through country never 
before and never since traversed by any European. 


In the meantime Hooker was busy in other directions. 
' If it were not for the Greenock-like climate/ he writes on 
April 28, ' this would be a very fine place, and I enjoy it much, 
for the vegetation is truly superb.' His new occupations were 
at first hindered by the necessity of completing the piece of 
unfinished work for his father, which he had brought with him 
from England. 

This was the Niger Flora, of which he sent home the first 
part on May 18, the remainder on July 19. This was the only 
piece of work outstanding in regard to which he felt a personal 
claim ; the rest could fairly be completed after his return, 
and so, when the way seemed clear for his journey to the 
Himalayan snows, he writes (September 12) with perfect 
unconcern : 

I saw that Lindley gave me a touch for travelling on my 
own pleasure while my Flora Antarctica is unfinished ; to 
which I can say Pooh ! 

Indeed, to the end of his stay in India; he had no 
thought of writing a book of travels or working out his non- 
botanical observations. This he repeats to Wallich in 1850 
as he had written to his father in February 1849, when 
sending him the Ehododendron notes and specimens he had 
brought back from the Sikkim-Nepal expedition. The future 
decided otherwise. 

Of them and of all my plants; MSS., and drawings, I 
beg you to make whatever use you think proper. The 
Flora Antarctica nearly broke my back ; and except the 
Floras of New Zealand and Van Diemen's Land, I do not 
contemplate any other such great work. My present 
notion is to publish in the form of Icones, confining any 
large and costly illustrations to a few Natural Orders or 
Genera. 1 

In May, however, he took such opportunities as offered 
during the early part of the rains for botanical excursions 
near Darjilirig. Without awaiting formal leave, he made 

1 For the success of the Rhododendron book, especially in India, see p. 326. 


' a very favourite and interesting trip ' by way of the cane 
bridge over the Great Rungeet, eleven miles away, into a 
deep, steamy valley admirably illustrating the successive 
zones of vegetation from temperate to tropical, that clothed 
the steep hillsides. The bridge itself was the British boundary ; 
beyond lay Sikkim proper, where the Rajah somewhat ineffec- 
tively threatened punishment to any who guided a European, 
and where later Hooker's collectors going alone were maltreated 
by the Dewan's orders. But the inhabitants and even the 
Lamas, whose hostility had been represented as certain, were 
in reality most friendly. Indeed, on his second trip seven 
months later, the people brought supplies in embarrassing 

In this direction Hooker went as far as the junction of the 
Rungeet with the Teesta, and saw the mountains of Bhotan 
towering up over against him. 

The journey was, though not distant, a very difficult one, 
from the impracticable nature of the country, and had been 
accomplished by but one individual before ; which is, how- 
ever, mainly owing to the laziness and want of curiosity of 
the people, and the fact of the Rajah of Sikkim forbidding all 
crossing the narrow bounds of Darjiling. [Among his spoils 
were] three Bhododendrons, one scarlet, one white with superb 
foliage, and one, the most lovely thing you can imagine ; a 
parasite on gigantic trees, three yards high, with whorls of 
branches, and 3-6 immense white, deliciously sweet-scented 
flowers, at the apex of each branch. It is the most splendid 
thing of the kind I have ever seen, and more delicate than 
the others. 

... I draw as many things as I possibly can, and send 
them to Falconer for transmission to you : the three first 
Magnolias, he tells me, are all new : two others I have not 
sent down : the 3 Rhododendrons are all drawn, and about 
40 other plants, somewhat rudely ; but they may give you 
some idea of the plants. 

As to his various collectors : 

The Lepchas or mountaineers of Sikkim I like extremely. 
I have two men who collect fairly and climb trees a merveille, 


and to-day have added two boys of 8 and 14 or thereabouts ; 
one a very fine little fellow. Falconer has sent me up every- 
thing I asked for, including 3 Bengal collectors, regular Hay- 
makers. I dislike the Bengalees very much ; and these are 
lazy dogs, as all are. I shall astonish them to-morrow, when 
they will have to travel some 15 miles through these woods. 
One actually objected to carry the vasculum 6 miles, whilst a 
Lepcha carries 80-100 Ibs. 16 miles on a stretch, and laughs 
all day long. 

In the same month, May 19, he went further afield with his 
friend Mr. Barnes on what he considered the most interesting 
trip to be made from Darjiling. This was to Tonglo, a mountain 
10,000 feet high, in the long subsidiary range dividing Sikkim 
from Nepaul, that runs south from Kinchin junga, the then 
loftiest known peak in the world. Tonglo fronts Darjiling 
on the west, a dozen miles away as the crow flies, thirty by 
the path. The district was full of botanical treasures, the 
extra 1000 feet ascended presenting a total change in the Mora, 
but in the valley of the Little Kungeet the glories of the scarlet 
vaccinium parasitic on the trees, of the great white rhododendron 
named later after Lady Dalhousie, and of the tall magnolia 
with shining foliage that was to bear Hodgson's name, were 
sadly .dimmed by the swarms of the large tick from the bamboos 
' a more hateful insect I have never encountered ' and 
the persistent leeches such as had already been met with 
on the way up. 

Unfortunately the bulkier things collected had to be left 
behind. Owing to the ceaseless torrents of rain, five of his 
fifteen men fell sick. Even the hardy Lepchas could not stand 
wet and cold together, especially on their poor fare of fern- 
tops, maize, rice, and whatever else they could get, from leaves 
of Solanum and nettles to fungi, * which would give Klotzsch 
or Berkeley * the stomach-ache ' : in fact ' a vegetable must 
be very bad to be acknowledged poisonous by .these people, 
who may come under Sambo's definition of the genus Homo, 
" an omnivorous tripod who [devours] all he can get." * 

Still, what remained was ' a glorious collection,' making 

1 These were both distinguished mycologists. 


a pile six feet high in the drying papers. ' If I can only suc- 
ceed/ he cries, ' in getting these glorious things to Kew, how 
happy I shall be/ 

As to the^distribution of plants, these Himalayan valleys 
presented a striking parallel to the Antarctic. In the humid 
and equable climate of the latter, botanical orders which only 
reached lat. 30 or 40 in the northern hemisphere, reached 
Tasmania and New Zealand and even Cape Horn in 55 S. 
So in Sikkim, where it was not dry enough for the Skimmia 
in its native home to ripen the scarlet berries which light up our 
English gardens, some tropical genera pushed abundantly into 
the temperate zone, fostered by the damp and equable climate. 

The general features of Himalayan botany he sums up 
as follows (May 18, 1848) : 

In travelling N. you come upon genus replacing genus, 
Natural Order replacing Natural Order. In travelling E. 
or W. (i.e. N.W. or S.E. along the ridges) you find species 
replacing species, and this whether of animals or plants. 
Don't forget to send this to Darwin. 

On July 24 (the extracts being given in brackets) and 
August 9 he writes : 

The rapidity with which the flowering season is advancing 
is quite wonderful, and I have accordingly doubled my estab- 
lishment of collectors. I pay very liberally, often for trash, 
and they all like to bring me things. They are capricious and 
apt to run away if offended, but mine like me and I them, 
and such fellows will do anything for a master. I have 
always a horde of them in pay, at 8s. to 16s. a month. I 
have 18 at this present moment, for the plants are flowering 
and dying so rapidly that it takes all my energy to keep a good 
collection up. The papers too have all to be changed daily 
and dried individually over the fire the rooms are so damp 
that hanging up to dry is no use. Everything moulds which 
is not kept at the fire. All my plants are on a circle of chairs 
immediately round the fender, inside which two Lepchas 
squat and dry papers all day long, in two rooms. [I am 
dreadfully badly off for paper, having used all that Falconer 
sent me up and all the newspapers (do you remember the 


Bengal Hurkarus 1 in which Mrs. Mack's collections came ?) 
I can lay my hands on. This last fortnight I have got 
a glorious lot of things, such fine Cyrtandreae especially, 
and a good gale of wind helped me to many of the 
trees. Campbell too is as active as ever he can be, and 
I generally get two instalments, sometimes four, daily. I 
cannot possibly draw all I ought though I do my best to, and 
the poor Fungi are gone to the wall altogether. I cannot go 
100 yards from the door without getting new things, to-day 
a new Balanophora 2 close behind the house, actually within 
a stone's-throw. 

August 30 : The rain it raineth every day, and the 
whole country between the foot of the hills and the Ganges 
is under water. . . . Such lots of rain was never seen nearer 
than the West of Scotland. Plants seem to enjoy it, for 
they are coming out and flowering faster than ever. 

Besides the strictly geographical map already mentioned, 
a local chart was under preparation to show geographically 
the distribution of plants, ' a Carte Geognostique of the vegetation 
of this place from the plains to 10,000 feet (like Humboldt's 
of Chimborazo).' Notes on the agriculture of the Himalaya 
were being made for Professor Henslow. Loads of living 
plants for despatch to Kew were being sent down to Calcutta, 
where Dr. Falconer forwarded correspondence and repacked 
plants for the voyage. Many of these plants perished .in the 
plains before reaching Calcutta ; the safety of the rest was 
threatened by the severe illness of Falconer at this juncture. 
But the supply was endless. ' The richness of this Flora is 
most remarkable and new things are brought to me every 
day. I dissect and sketch roughly the most important, 
including all the Orchideae.' 

A great drawback during the first months was the absence 
of books of reference. In July, Falconer, in despair of an 
opportunity of forwarding them, took to sending them in 
small packages by post. 

1 A Calcutta newspaper. 

2 A curious root parasite of simple structure, without leaves or petals, 
related to the mistletoe, formerly thought to be allied to the Fungi. Hooker's 
paper on this order appeared in the Linn. Soc. Trans, for 1856. 

A better opportunity, however, came before long (August 9) : 

Falconer has kindly sent me four cases of books, soldered 
in tin, by 'Post free I This is the only way of getting them 
safely now. They are De Candolle, Walpers, Kunth, and 
Koyle. This week of books and plants has been perfect 
revelry. I find that my Khododendrons are nearly all 
(perhaps they all are) new. 

' My life here,' he tells his sister (September 28), ' is suffi- 
ciently monotonous to hear of, but far from so to me, my 
collections increasing very fast indeed, and never having a 
moment to spare/ Except for recording barometer, ther- 
mometer, wind and weather every hour, all the daylight 
hours were spent in writing and drawing and arranging plants. 
The plants generally came in at eight or nine in large baskets 
on men's backs. These Hooker always ticketed himself with 
the native name and any known quality or use, laying aside 
those he wished to draw and examine, and giving the rest 
over to be dried and the roots to be packed in moss. The 
perpetual wet forbade much going out. A recorded rainfall of 
twenty-one inches in July was perhaps nothing much for India, 

but it is like the difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh 
which I could never make Papa believe, that Edinburgh has 
more rain than Glasgow, though in the latter it is expended 
in a constant drizzle, in the former in a few downright showers. 

Yet his health was perfect, ' living so regular a life in so 
salubrious a vile climate, far worse than Glasgow,' and ' here, 
in this dear delightful double- distilled Greenock fog, we know 
not what a headache is.' 

Scottish recollections happily fill in the picture of Sunday 
morning at Darjiling which he draws for his sister Elizabeth 
(August 9, 1848): 

There is a church here but out of repair and the Parson, 
who is a visitor, gives service in a large room. This reminds 
me of Helensburgh, the majority of the congregation being 
made up of salt water looking people with faded bonnets 
and thick shoes ; very few people attend, including a school 


of five children who really behave very well. What puts 
me most in mind of Helensburgh is the open doors and 
windows, the universality of fine weather on Sundays, the 
insects humming through the room, the stray bird, the 
leaves waving across the windows, and the irresistible 
attraction I feel to look out on the open valleys with huge 
mountains all round, the clouds chasing one another across 
the forest, and sunbeams dancing on the heavy masses of 
mist that keep floating along some thousand feet below 
us. The wind sighs the same sigh through the leaves that 
it used through the Limes at Kow and these rustle in the 
same note. I see ripe blackberries too and small children 
gathering them, but don't see the Gare Loch and its boats, 
or smell the sea-weeds, no nor the tansy and peppermint, 
nor peat smoke of the new washed mutches and red cloaks 
and above all, the Eev. Mr. Winchester, though a sober man 
enough, is far from a powerful preacher, indeed he may be 
called a powerless one, for you can't hear him three benches 
off, and his sermons, though better than Mr. Byam's, cannot 
keep my mind off the new trees and new weeds that grow 
up to the very doorstep. 

In the same vein he wishes that Miss Henslow had ever 
been in Scotland so as to realise at a word that this rainy season 
was just like the climate of Dreepdaily, * except that all the 
features are infinitely grander, the rains last longer, the mists 
are thicker, the fogs are more choking and the damp is more 
provocative of colds.' He gets up at six, but hates it, and 
equally hates going to bed at nights. 

I have resumed my kitchen plan at Kew, of warming my 
back at the fire when writing and my feet when reading, 
during ' the sma' hours, ilka night.' Mr. Hodgson, who is 
in poor health, often sits up and reads with me, wrapped 
in a fur Koquelaure ; now he is perusing Darwin's Journal, 
which I procured for him, and ever and anon he leaves off 
and battles with me upon some of the dogmas in Lyell's 
Geology, anent which we pooh-pooh one another's opinions 
very freely. Then we get to disputing on the course of a 
river, may be in High Thibet, and fight it out with old 
Chinese Charts and notes from various bad authorities. As 
VOL. i s 


the countries and rivers are utterly unknown to Europeans, 
it little signifies whether the latter debouche in the Arctic 
Ocean or the Bay of Bengal. Hodgson is a particularly 
gentlemanly and agreeable person, but he looks sickly ; he 
is handsome, with a grand forehead and delicate, finely-cut 
features ; when arrayed in his furs and wearing the Scotch 
bonnet and eagle feather with which it is his pleasure to 
adorn himself, he would make a striking picture. He is 
a clever person and can be wickedly sarcastic ; he called 
Lord Ellenborough (the haughtiest nobleman in all India) 
a ' knave and coxcomb ' to his face (true enough, though 
not exactly a fact to be told with impunity), and then squibbed 
his lordship ; you must know that Lord E. had previously 
applied to Hodgson the sobriquet of an Ornithological Hum- 
bug, and had turned him out of his Eesidentship at Nepaul, 
because he had (by Lord Auckland's desire) clapped the 
Eajah into confinement. In short, Lord Ellenborough and 
Mr. Hodgson kept up a running fire, till his Lordship left 
the country. Happily, Hodgson lost no friends ; but he 
lost by it his salary of 7000 a year, his Palace to live in, 
and the Insignia of the British Eesident in the proudest 
court in India, and then withdrew to these Hills, on 1000, 
as a Eetired Civil Servant. 

It will be remembered how, in the early days of the Antarctic 
Expedition, botanists of the strictest school, like Sir William 
Hooker and Dawson Turner and Eobert Brown, looked askance 
at divagations into other branches of science. Joseph Hooker 
not only possessed an energetic curiosity which overflowed by 
its very abundance into every branch of Natural History, but 
was convinced that the botanist as well as the traveller was in- 
complete without being also something of a geologist, a geog- 
rapher, a meteorologist, and a map-maker. With a journey 
in utterly uncharted regions before him, he took pains to become 
a competent surveyor. Yet even then, after warmly thanking 
his father for ever generous help, he half apologises for spending 
part of his time on anything but pure botany. 

October 1, 1848. 

My solace is that you will not find that Botany has suffered 
by my fondness for other pursuits, without which no traveller 


of this exacting age is thought accomplished. I have 
gained great, though undeserved, credit here and no little 
help, by measuring the heights of the mountains and keeping 
up a good meteorological register. The Surveyor- General, 
who spent last season here, would tell no one what he was 
after; and the poor people who had shown him much kind- 
ness are very much disgusted. I keep no secrets, and if I 
cannot (and do not wish to) measure with the accuracy of 
a Survej^or, I do so sufficiently accurately for all practical 
purposes and at a very little outlay of time. With a pocket 
sextant and compass, lent me by the Deputy Surveyor- 
General (Capt. Thuillier, a most excellent fellow), I worked 
out in two hours the height of Kinchin from this place and 
made it 28,000 feet. Sinchul I have worked barometrically 
with no trouble at all, and make it 8653. Tonglo Mr. 
Miiller and I have just worked out from the observations 
I took in May, and it is 10,009 feet. 

So also a little earlier : 

I have only seen the sun thrice this month so as to get 
observations. The time here was f of an hour out, and my 
watch which you gave me before I went with Ross is the only 
good time-keeper here, so that all sorts of people send to me 
for the time. I spent one day furbishing up my surveying 
lore, so as to be ready for the Terrae incognitae, but I am 
wretchedly off for instruments. 

Thus the rainy summer months wore away in busy employ- 
ment, with alternate hopes and fears about the great journey 
to the snows in October. His plan, if this were permitted, 
was to spend a month there, and then, if at all successful, 
return again in May, 

for I am sure [he writes on August 80] it will be better to work 
one part of the Himalaya well, from the Terai up to the 
Snow, than to proceed north-west towards the passes west 
of Nepaul, now so much better known [accepting the invita- 
tion of Major Thoresby, the Nepaulese Resident]. This, too, 
is the middle of the range, it contains the highest mountain, 
and so evidently differs in the Geographical Distribution of 
its Vegetation, from what lies East and West, that it presents 


the most advantageous point for research. The field is 
quite untrodden, and I hope to have 2000 species before I 
leave this year. 

Were this impossible, his alternative was to take the journey 
to Assam and the Khasia Hills, which he actually carried out 
in 1850, visiting the tea plantations and looking out for a 
station adapted to the cultivation of guttapercha in Assam, and 
pushing northwards to solve the geographical riddle as to 
whether the Bramaputra was the same stream as the Tsanpo 
of Tibet. 

As a last resort he managed to obtain a route to take him 
in five and a half days 7 journey to a village on the flanks of 
Kinchinjunga, and at first resolved 

to attempt it with or without permission, in the latter case 
with very small hopes of success, but every inch is botanising 
ground, and one direction is as good as another. ... I 
have no hopes of penetrating into Thibet whatever, but no 
European has ever visited the snow E. of Kumaon and to 
do so here will be a feather in my cap. 

Again and again he reiterates his intention, afterwards 
modified, of trying to reach the snows, even without per- 
mission, though this would sadly hamper his travelling, for 
his Lepchas would be kidnapped or fined or sold as slaves, 
for showing the way. ' My only requirements,' he reflects, ' are 
mountaineer servants, who have no property in Sikkim to lose.' 

Should all these efforts fail, there was still a chance of 
reaching the snows in Upper Assam the following year, if he 
could time himself to be there in October. 

The general political situation has already been sketched 
out in the letter of June 10, 1848. The present difficulty 
was in putting the right amount of pressure on the dependent 
Eajah who played at independence. Thus (July 19) : 

Campbell and the Govt. are both anxious to forward me 
on ; the Govt. won't order Campbell to send me without the 
Kajah's consent for fear of a war with China ; Campbell 
won't run the risk of committing himself without an order ! 


He had already burned his fingers with the Government. 
But after a personal appeal from Hooker, Lord Dalhousie sent 
him ' an explicit statement from the Colonial Office of what 
it is conceived our relations with Sikkim ought to be.' In Dr. 
Campbell's hands this was a useful guide for negotiations 
finally Lord Dalhousie in September addressed a letter to the 
Eajah with peremptory orders 

to give me full leave to travel to the Snowy Passes and to 
grant me every assistance. No one expected that his Lord- 
ship would do this ; and considering how ambiguous are our 
relations with that crusty imbecile, and how much caution 
the carrying out of the object requires, it is the very strongest 
proof Lord Dalhousie could give of his true interest in my 

To make the Government bestir themselves ' has cost me 
a world of pen, ink, and paper and the backing of very powerful 
friends.' Prudence, however, bids him add : 

Pray say little of these projects of mine ; there are so 
many slips 'twixt cup and lip, and the objects to be attained 
do so fully jump with even my most sanguine expectations 
that I cannot venture to hope for perfect success. 

Further he reassures his mother : 

No danger whatever will attend the excursion ; a little 
plague and difficulty must be anticipated from the Kajah's 
innumerable petty headmen, and I am quite prepared to 
receive a great deal of insolence, to put up with every- 
thing short of direct opposition. 

No answer had come from the Kajah by October 1, but 
all was ready for a start by the end of the week, to Jongri at 
least (the village on the spurs of Kinchin already mentioned) 
if direct opposition were offered to the route east of the moun- 
tain and the Sikkimese passes into Tibet, on the manifestly 
untrue ground that Kinchin was a holy mountain, never visited 
by anyone, and that the Lhassa authorities must be consulted. 
It seemed certain that he must go alone, for illness or accident 
had laid up the only friends whom he could trust as travelling 


companions .on such ticklish ground Hodgson and Miiller, 
Barnes and Campbell. Moreover, had the latter been un- 
injured, Lord Dalhousie forbade his going, lest, being an official, 
he should give a political aspect to the expedition. Dr. Hooker, 
he said, should act on his own responsibility alone. 

, To his Mother 

October 13, 1848. 

Everybody is solicitous to go with me ; but I have refused 
all others, because I do not know them well enough to trust 
them ; and having to bear all the onus myself, I should 
think it imprudent to risk taking any companion who might 
not be good-humoured and kind to the Natives, or willing 
to put up with insolence from the Rajah's people, should we 
chance to meet with them. Lord Dalhousie places great 
confidence in me, and the Rajah of Nepaul no less by granting 
me the first permission that any Englishman has ever received. 
Under all these circumstances, I shall do nothing in the 
peremptory way ; for if anything disagreeable arose, I should 
be involving Lord Dalhousie in the necessity of vindicating 
me and avenging my wrongs, with fifty other troubles from 
which I should reap no advantage. I shall not therefore 
enter Sikkim, unless the Rajah consents. He has already 
committed himself ; and my interference would do no good 
but harm. 

To Us Father 

Darjeeling : October 20, 1848. 

I wish you could have been with me this morning and seen 
the motley group of natives arranging with Campbell and 
myself the preliminaries towards my trip to the Snows, of 
various tribes, colors, and callings, such as one rarely sees any 
of, and still more rarely all together. I must, however, begin 
at the beginning and tell you that Campbell has at last 
wrenched a reluctant assent from the Rajah of Sikkim to my 
visiting his snowy mountains. In my last I informed you 
of his having returned a rude and flat refusal to Lord D.'s 
request in my behalf, as also of his having stationed 80 men 
at one pass and 25 at two others to intercept my exit from 
our territories into his, where his instructions were to capture 
my servants but lay no hands on myself ; these Campbell 


insisted on being withdrawn, under penalty of dismissing the 
Kajah's representative (giving the Ambassador his letters, 
in short), and they were so. Campbell also gave the Kajah 
eight days to change his mind or have his conduct reported 
to headquarters with recommendations for condign punish- 
ment [i.e. by stopping the lease-money of Darjiling and 
annexing the Kajah's property at the foot of the Hills]. 

Ten days past and no word, when the Eajah's Agent, or 
Minister if you will (Vakeel is the technical term), was told 
that should no message arrive before the evening post hour, 
the letter to Lord D. should be sent. The answer was that 
advices had arrived to the effect that permission was given, 
provided Dr. C. would pledge his word that this should be 
my only visit and that a similar request should never be 
made hereafter. Such conditions were peremptorily rejected 
as not only derogatory in the highest degree but ensuring me 
the worst reception. They were again dismissed in disgrace 
to read their advices again, which they did and returned this 
morning with unconditional permission. This was followed 
by a long lecture on the impropriety of their conduct, the 
danger they had run in offending our Government, and 
wound up with a comparison of their conduct with that of an 
independent power, the Kajah of Nepaul, who had sent to 
Darjeeling an officer and guard to escort me to Nepaul, with 
instructions to provide me with carriage for my traps and 
food for my people. 

All this was a curtain affair of course, as it would not have 
done to let the Goorkhas or others witness our scurvy treat- 
ment by the Sikkim Kajah's emissaries. The latter no doubt 
had their instructions from the first to deliver the rude 
refusal and if that answered the purpose well and good, if not 
to propose the other alternatives seriatim, and if defeated in 
all to give in with as bad a grace as might be. 

This hard and disagreeable work over, we all met in the 
verandah and Salaams passed between myself and the 
characters to whom I should have liked to introduce you. 
First there was the Kajah's Vakeel, a portly, tall, and muscu- 
lar Thibetan, clothed in a long red robe like a Cardinal's, 
looped across down the middle, and round his neck and down 
his shoulders hung a rosary. His face was not strongly 
Chinese at all, stern, grave, and stolid, thoroughly obstinate 


and impracticable ; thin lips, a good chin, thin arched nose 
and narrow nostrils, high cheek bones and forehead, cold 
grey eyes and handsome brows ; no beard or moustache, and 
a nut brown, but not bronzed complexion. His years must 
be above 60 and his hair was scant and grizzled. A stiff, 
black, small cap, with high brim standing up all round, rather 
set off the repelling look he maintained. Taken to pieces, 
he might be described as a funny mixture of the old woman, 
from his beardless face, the Lama priest from his dress and 
rosary, and a burly, well-to-do Landamman, deputed from 
some Swiss Canton to resist to the uttermost the demands 
of a dangerous neighbour power, unflinching under opposi- 
tion and unscrupulous in makeshifts, always the bear, often 
the bully, and ever the sturdiest opponent of the overtures 
of his antagonist, even when designed for his own good. 
These qualities, together with an unblushing effrontery and 
consummate skill in fabrication and a large interest in the 
monopoly of Sikkim trade, rendered him a fit tool for the 
Bajah. Beaten at all points he has to give in, and there 
he stands, showing neither sulks nor smiles, just respectful 
enough to avoid censure and no more. 

A real character stands at his elbow, a little old withered 
Thibetan, leaning on his long bamboo bow, simply clothed 
in a woollen robe, his grey hair floating in the wind, bowed 
with age, of mild expression, and stone blind. He is a Sene- 
schal to the party, devoted to his country, and the Companion 
of the Baj ah's deputations to the Political Agent of the power- 
ful Government whose advances his master rejects. When he 
speaks, and this is very seldom (and as it is always in his own 
half Chinese tongue no Englishman can interpret it), the 
burthen of his story passes from tongue to tongue ; he is 
evidently the oracle of the party ; his placid looks and grey 
hair would lead me to confide in him and address him as 
Father, but I have a grim suspicion that his views narrow as 
his years go on, that he was bereaved of his best and brightest 
sense before our power showed itself in these hills, and that 
his crafty companions have taken advantage of this and 
done more than leave him in the dark as to our real power 
to punish, but wish to reward and encourage. 

The attendants upon these, the Baj ah's representatives 
(and their own, for, being a large ^sharer in the monopoly of 


the Sikkim trade, the Vakeel has more interest than his 
master in excluding strangers), were short, stout, thick-set 
Bhoteas, clad in purple worsted dressing growns, fastened 
round the middle by a belt, bare headed and footed, very 
dirty and ill-favoured withal. 

Next conspicuous to these are my Nepaul guards, just 
arrived to accompany me to the Nepaul frontier and conduct 
me from thence ; the Havildar (Corporal, I believe) is a 
small, fine-boned man, with little hands and small limbs 
and ankles, well-knit and active, of the Kawass tribe, who 
boast descent from the Rajpoots and are generally in Nepaul 
the slaves of the Rajah's body, sometimes soldiers and, more 
rarely, rise to the rank of gentlemen. He looks business- 
like and trusty, is very handsome, swarthy, with small 
moustache, broad forehead, bright open eye, good nose, 
handsome mouth, and small prominent chin. A pretty little 
turban sits nattily on his head, of black, woven with silver 
thread, and the number of his corps worked in silver in 
front, right over a red mark on his forehead which bespeaks 
his caste amongst the Hindus. His coat is a loose rover-like 
jacket of purple with silk braid in front, over a white under 
garment of cotton, open down the right breast and exposing 
his chest and long neck. A checked cummerbund is folded 
many times round his middle and over his nether garments, 
which are short, loose, and broad. What with his jaunty 
dress, careless air, and roving eye, he would pass for a sea 
free-booter (out of Cooper's novels for instance, but less 
mannered and theatrical and more real than the tricked 
out coxcombs of that author, who are the prototypes of 
Mr. T. P. Cooke, 1 rather than real fire-eaters). 

The Goorkha Sepoys are immense fellows, stout and 
brawny, of curious cast of feature, heavy jowled and rather 
small eyed ; they wear small linen skull caps over long care- 
fully combed and jet black hair which hangs in heavy folds 
down the side of the head ; they wear too scarlet loose 
jackets, very bright and gaudy, with a kookry stuck in the 
cummerbund and heavy iron sword at their side. 

i Thomas Potter Cooke (1786-1864) served in the navy till the peace of 
1802, and then took to the stage, being, as Christopher North put it, ' the best 
sailor out of all sight and hearing that ever trod the stage.' His greatest 
success was in the part of William in Douglas Jerrold's ' Black-Eyed Susan.' 
Another famous part of his was in * Frankenstein.' 


It would take pages to describe the various groups of 
bystanders : mild Lepchas in striped cotton, long naked 
limbed Goorkhas of model muscle and saucy air, Bhoteas 
of all shades of Chinese feature ; Bhotanese, or subjects of 
the Dhurma Kajah, vieing with one another in rags, dirt, 
hideous ugliness and quaint ornaments, some deeply scarred 
with smallpox and the pits such receptacles of blackness 
that their visages looked as if peppered with duck-shot. 
Most have turned up eyes, very prominent cheek bones, 
projecting baboon mouth and large teeth ; nearly all are 
of villainous countenance, of singularly low forehead and 
bad cut of head ; the predominance of the animal propensities 
(fid. the phrenologists) being well displayed from the custom 
of clipping close the hair. 

The Cis-Himalayan Bhoteas, whether of Sikkim or, worse 
still, of Bhotan, are as uncouth a race (short of savages 
like the Australian or Fuegian) as I ever beheld. A little 
sprinkling of Hindus and Mussulmen, chiefly our servants, 
with the above comprises the oriental population. Amongst 
them all were Mrs. Campbell's beautiful children, holding 
by our hands and as indifferent to the wild races about them 
as an English child is scared by the sight of an English 

And now I daresay you will be ready to ask, what con- 
fidence I can expect to repose with remarkable prudence in 
such a gang and this is easily answered. I take no money, 
and my plant papers and instruments are poor plunder. 
The people, though so averse to foreigners, do neither rob 
nor injure ; were they inclined to, the Eajah's power over 
his people and his mortal dread of us would be a sufficient 
protection. Further I have the Nepalese guard before 
whom, for very shame, they must be polite and attentive, 
and in whom, as acting under the orders of their Govern- 
ment, the most implicit reliance may be reposed, for the 
Goorkha, when under orders and in confidential employ, 
is the soul of honor and of politesse too. Lastly, as they 
will not get a rap of pay till they bring me back safe and 
what they will receive then will be a fortune to each, they 
will consult their own interests as well as mine. So I expect 
devoted service from my guard, for it is their pride to devote 
themselves under such orders and auspices, companionship 


from what Lepchas I may take, passive obedience 
from such of the Eajah's men as may accompany me, 
perhaps a little obstinacyTand presumptuous interference 
at first] and insolence which I can better check with 
ridicule and exposure before the Goorkhas than by any 
other means. The Bhotea porters will keep one eye on 
me and the other on the Eajah's men and serve both 
masters if they can. 

My great aim is so to conduct this attempt that it may 
be followed by another and to avoid suspicion. This will 
be difficult in Sikkim, and for the first few marches I shall 
make few or no observations, excepting of the barometer 
&c. in my tent, the only explanation a Bhotea can harbor 
of which is my desire to take the country. In Nepaul I 
may do as I like, the Goorkha having no orders to stop my 
observing ; but in Sikkim I cannot knock a stone or pull a 
plant without disturbing the Gods, in other words exciting 
suspicion. I go, however, ostensibly as a botanist, and I 
will warrant that before two days are over every man jack 
of them will be collecting for me. I have always found 
frankness and kindness good policy with any nation, es- 
pecially if combined with a reasonable amount of personal 
vanity, which I abundantly possess, and assumption of 
superiority and, above all, a liberally flattering opinion of 
the people openly expressed. 1 

The Eajah's people first offered carriers and porters, 
then withdrew the offer, which I am glad of, as the latter 
will be more my own people and have a double interest in 
behaving well ; they, after some hesitation, give me a guide ; 
he looks a good man enough and Campbell has seen him 
repeatedly. He is to accompany me to Nepaul too if I 
like, but this will depend on what sort of servant I find him. 

1 In the end the personal imjpression left on the Sikkimese by Hooker was 
remarkable. Twenty- two years later the country was again visited by a Euro- 
pean, the botanist and traveller, Mr. H. J. Elwes, F.R.S. Even then, Mr. Elwes 
tells me, the Lepchas almost worshipped him. The learned Hakim, so friendly 
to his men and to the villagers, hale or sick, was remembered as an incarnation 
of high wisdom and kindly strength ; and in 1908, after fifty-nine years, he was 
still a living memory (see the illustration which follows). As an observer, also, 
a high tribute is paid him by Mr. Elwes. Of all the countries in which the 
latter travelled, here only, whatever he saw, he saw with his predecessor's eyes. 
Hooker had noted everything that he himself found of interest : nothing was 
missed ; places and objects all clearly described and promptly recognised. (See 
ii. 125.) 


I have no fear of managing one and all when the Eajah's 
own myrmidons are out of sight, for the natives like us and 
profit by our advance. 

The present plan was to go five marches due north, to 
Jongri, then strike westwards over the spurs of Kinchinjunga, 
and thence north-west to the Nepaulese passes into Tibet. 

I cannot tell you how comfortable I feel at the prospect 
of realizing the fondest dream I ever harbored as a traveller 
and botanist after all my toils with Lord D., tickling Camp- 
bell, bullying the Eajah. I have been pooh-poohed by one 
party, looked on as a visionary by another, and a very useful 
tool by a third, who say, you have not a ghost of a chance 
yourself of getting Government or the Eajah's permission, 
but you will prepare the way for a future. Lord Auckland, 
Campbell, Falconer, Hodgson, worst of all Sir Herbert 
Haddock whom Hodgson tried all his friendship (and they 
are most intimate) to move, all looked on with no hope and 
some of them giving me the comfortable assurance that 
my efforts would do good, though not to myself. Sir H. 
Haddock luckily went to Ceylon ; had he got Lord D.'s 
ear it would have been all up ; he has now returned to be 
President in Council in Lord D.'s absence. 

Campbell has certainly wrought the battle well, with 
great forbearance and firmness, and is now as thoroughly 
devoted to me as it is possible to be. Hrs. Campbell is 
rummaging her larder and store-room for my comfort, 
making a veil for my face, providing me with fleecy hosiery, 
&c. Certainly Campbell has fought behind the Ajacian 
shield of the Governor- General, the tone of whose letters 
shows as kind an interest in me as determination to forward 
my aims, and C. has also had a heavy rowel in the shape 
of your teasing son himself. However I take your good 
motto and ' never look the gift horse in the mouth.' 

Now I have written a famously egotistical letter ; we 
bargained for unreserved correspondence and you see I 
fulfil my promise. I only beg that you will make no public 
use of this which holds out such bright prospects of success 
towards the snow in which, if I am disappointed, much 
chagrin will accompany my reverting to the contents of 
this same letter. 


"There was an old man there who remembers you extremely well, an<i even 
where you camped. He is still very hardy and active, and I send you a snapshot I 
took of him. He also sends you his best salaams. His name he pronounces ' And 
Thee.' " (From Mr. Charles E. Simmonds, June 12, 1908.) 

i. 272] 


I never mention Bent ham, Harvey, Berkeley, &c., in 
my letters, nor have written to them ; I still intend to, 
but know that you freely communicate all such intelligence 
as this is, and as from me. Also please send this to Darwin 
whom, as not being a botanist, you may forget. Best love 
to all. 

Your most affectionate Son, Jos. D. HOOKER. 

P.S. The Sikkim authorities object to the Goorkha 
guard and are silenced by being told that they are my men 
and that I won't leave them in the lurch. This shows what I 
expected, that the presence of the Goorkhas is a grand check. 

Hooker did not mean to be deprived of this lever against 
passive obstruction. Though more evasions followed, the 
sequel appears in a letter to Miss Henslow, October 26, 1848. 

Whatever the Kajah's reasons may be for objecting to 
let these Ghoorkas enter Sikkim (and his fear may have 
some good foundation), he has acted with bad faith towards 
me ; and he probably did so because he was aware that he 
could throw no insurmountable obstacles in my way, so 'long 
as I had a party of these Hill People in my interest. It is 
highly likely that the myrmidons of his Sikkim Highness 
had received orders to take me two or three days' marches 
by a wrong road, perhaps to where the rivers were impass- 
able ; then they would have shrugged their shoulders and 
said, * We are as sorry as you can be, Sir, but what can 
we do ? ' And the consequent delays would cost me the 
season, etc. Meanwhile the Nepalese Guard came forward, 
offering to undertake the responsibility of conducting me 
to the Thibet Passes through their own country, if I chose ; 
after which I might return by Sikkim, or by the way I went, 
according to my pleasure. 

This offer was so handsome, and any intention of going 
through Sikkim (even if it were desirable or feasible) without 
this Nepalese Guard (which had been so promptly sent for 
me) would have been to put such a slight upon them that I 
instantly closed with the proposition, and am now all ready 
for the journey. I go due West from hence to and across 
the frontier of Nepaul, and then North to the Western shoulder 
of Kinchinjunga, and the Thibetan Passes. By following 
this course I shall occupy some days longer, and (what is of 


more importance to me) I shall lose the familiar landmarks 
of mountains etc. by which I should easily map my route, 
had I gone through Sikkim. I carry, however, a good time- 
keeper of my own and another chronometer lent me by Major 
Crommelin, by which I shall be able to take Longitudes 
with accuracy sufficient to determine my position approxi- 
mately. As the day closes at 6 P.M. there is plenty of time to 
observe the stars, during the clear nights which I hope are 
coming ; I say ' hope,' for October is called ' Darjeeling's 
Heavenly Month ' ; though it has been so rainy and cloudy 
up to the present time that I could not have started for the 
mountains, if permission had been granted, 4 weeks ago. 
Indeed the rains are not yet over : they are singularly late 
this year, which would have caused me heavy disappoint- 
ment if I had been allowed sooner to travel Northward. The 
double evils of want of earlier permission, and of earlier 
fine weather, thus mitigate one another, on the principle, 
I suppose, that two Blacks do make a White, a neutral tint, 
at any rate. 

On October 27 the party set out, fifty-six strong, including 
body-servant, collectors, shooter, stuffer, boys to climb trees 
and change the plant papers, and coolies, with Nimbo, the 
sturdy headman, and a Havildar in command of the escort, 
who carried additional weight of authority as being also tax- 
gatherer of the district through which they were to pass ; 
returning to Darjeeling on January 19. It is interesting to 
note that the cost to Hooker was about 100. His friends 
pressed every assistance upon him. Campbell superintended 
the supplies for the men ; there were personal stores from 
Hodgson, warm things from the Campbells ; while 

My friends, the Miillers, have rated my timekeepers, 
overhauled all my Instruments, furnished me with some 
capital tin boxes, and done more useful and necessary jobs 
for me than I can remember. They have also kindly 
promised to work out all my observations of Longitudes, 
Latitude and elevations, as I shall send them to Darjeeling. 
So you see I am admirably cared for, and have only the more 
to dread failure when so much kindness and trouble have 
been expended upon me. 


In fact, until the positions of the chief places and heights 
were worked out so as to construct a map, he had but an 
imperfect idea of where he had been. 

During the greater part of my journey [he tells his father] 
I saw not a single known object, and had to observe with 
the sextant. No map contains the name of a single place 
which I have visited ! That I was poking in and out over 
the western base of Kinchin is all I can affirm. 

The line of route for ninety days finally showed the average 
daily distance covered to be eight miles one mile per hour ! 
Yet they walked full three miles every hour, so that two- 
thirds was wasted in the ups and downs and bends. 

This and the similar chart made in eastern Sikkim, whence 
the passes led to Phari in Tibet, formed the basis of the care- 
fully drawn map a copy of which appears in the ' Journals ' : 
a unique map of such value to the British officers of the 
Sikkim-Tibet Boundary Commission of 1903 that they tele- 
graphed their congratulations from the front to the maker 
of it, who at the age of eighty-six was touched to receive this 
tribute to the work he had accomplished over half a century 
before. 1 

The first part of the journey was to follow the Tambur 
river northwards and proceed in turn up its w r est and east 
forks to the passes at the head of either valley, one thirty 
the other twenty miles to the west of Kinchinjunga. This 
great mountain, rising to 28,000 feet and continued in sub- 
sidiary crests all over 20,000, presented an impassable barrier 
of snowy peaks about sixty-four miles long, stretching between 
the western passes at the head of the Tambur, and the eastern 
passes at the head of the Lachen (Teesta), explored by Hooker 
in his second expedition. It was already late in the season, 

1 Khambajong, Thibet : ' Major Prain, Colonel Younghusband and officers 
Thibet Mission desire to send you their felicitations by telegraph from Kham- 
bajong and express their high admiration of that zeal displayed by you fifty- 
five years ago, which has enabled them to follow in your steps and has inspired 
them to emulate your devotion to science and to your country.' (See ii. 457.) 

Major (afterwards Sir David) Prain, C.M.G., C.I.E., of the Indian Medical 
Service, was then Director of the Calcutta Gardens, and in 1905 succeeded 
Sir W. Thiselton-Dyer as Director of Kew. 


for in the higher valleys the snow began to fall in October, 
and by the beginning of December, when Hooker approached 
the Wallanchoon pass, the snow lay deep on the last four miles 
of the track above the 15,000 foot level. Nevertheless he 
succeeded in reaching the divide, and from the col, more than 
1000 feet higher than Mont Blanc, looked down into the for- 
bidden land of Tibet. The still loftier sister pass of Kang- 
lachem to the east, however, was more heavily snowed up, and 
there the party did not ascend beyond 16,000 feet. 

The next part of his plan was to return almost to the 
fork of the Tambur, and strike east, still through Nepal, towards 
the Kinchin group and eventually Sikkim. This involved 
crossing the huge ridges and profound valleys that successively 
stretch south-west and south from the Himalayan crest. But 
the pass over the third of these ridges, the Kanglanamo, was 
closed, and the inhabitants of the village at its foot had with- 
drawn lower down the valley. Thus he had to turn south 
forty or fifty miles till the alpine regions were left, and a snow- 
less pass eastward into Sikkim presented itself, whence he 
could turn north again to the extreme flank of Kinchinjunga. 

At this middle point of the journey, before turning north 
again, his solitude was most agreeably interrupted. Dr. 
Campbell, putting the final touch to his long-drawn diplomatic 
negotiations, was on his way to a personal interview with the 
Sikkim Eajah. After the complicated falsehoods that had 
been concocted to impede Dr. Campbell's progress, the friends 
were greatly tickled by the droll conduct of the Rajah and 
his court, who had found themselves compelled, after all, 
to go forth to meet him on the river, as the sole means of 
preventing his finally reaching the capital of Sikkim. On 
December 23 Hooker joined him at Bhomsong, on the banks 
of the Teesta, and shared in the formal interviews both with 
the crafty Dewari and finally, despite the Dewan's many sub- 
terfuges to delay or prevent this, with the Eajah himself, a 
faineant devotee, half oblivious of mundane matters. Arrange- 
ments were made for Hooker's trip through Sikkim the following 
summer. The Dewan, indeed, as will appear later, organised 
secret obstruction to this ; but the chief immediate result of 


the interview was the open friendship displayed by the Lamas 
and people of Sikkim. 

This man [the Dewan] and Campbell had become great 
friends, and he also became intimate with me. He was 
educated at Lhassa, and has very agreeable manners and 
personal address, but is the very most consummate liar and 
scoundrel in all political matters that you can imagine, and 
the coolest withal. He took me for a brother spy and rogue, 
and probably does so still. Next day we had an audience of 
the Eajah. He is a little, old, black man, of quick manners 
and eye, thoroughly Chinese in every thought and action, 
and very sorry indeed to see us so far into his country. We 
crossed the river on a bamboo raft ; I wore a shooting-coat 
lent me by Campbell, my travelling cap and plaid ; Camp- 
bell more respectable. We were received in a shed, fitted 
up so as to show off the Kajah to immense advantage, accord- 
ing to the taste of his poor self and people. The shed was 
hung with faded China silk ; there was no furniture ; we 
brought, at the Kajah's request, our own chairs ; the leg of 
mine poked through the bamboo floor, and kept up a squeak- 
ing in a very high key. At the upper end of the little room 
was a high stage 6 feet ! also covered with tattered silk, and 
over it a shabby canopy, under which the Kajah squatted, 
cross-legs, a little body swathed in yellow silk, with a pink, 
broad-brimmed and low-crowned hat on. Such an attempt 
at display was really humiliating ! He never returned our 
salutes, but looked wistfully at us, and then at his courtiers, 
some dozen of very dirty fellows in silks (Kajis), ranged 
against the wall as mutes. The conversation was brief and 
trifling ; it related chiefly to Campbell's insisting on having 
a responsible authority from the Kajah at Darjeeling. In 
the middle presents were brought, and white scarfs thrown 
round our necks, as a signal to depart, but we stuck to our 
seats in spite of all hints, and told him of my intention to visit 
again in spring the Snowy Passes to the east of Kinchin, 
and of how dissatisfied I was with the permission coming so 
late. He made no reply to all this. 

After the interview the two friends travelled together till 
January 2, when Campbell was recalled by business. After 
two months' travel without a European companion, this ten 



days' comradeship with so good a friend stood out as a golden 
time in Hooker's journeyings. On January 2, 1849, he records : 

Here I bade adieu to Dr. Campbell, and toiled up the hill, 
feeling very lonely. The zest with which he had entered 
into all my pursuits, and the aid he had afforded me, to- 
gether with the charm that always attends companionship 
with one who enjoys every incident of travel, has so attracted 
me to him that I found it difficult to recover my spirits. It 
is quite impossible for any one who cannot from experience 
realise the solitary wandering life I had been leading for 
months, to appreciate the desolate feeling that follows the 
parting from one who has heightened every enjoyment, and 
taken far more than his share of every annoyance and dis- 
comfort : the few days we had spent together appeared then, 
and still, as months. (Himalayan Journals, i. 332.) 

1 After parting from Campbell, he turned north again to 
Jongri. This was a deserted yak post, never before visited in 
winter, consisting of two rude stone huts for summer travellers 
at an altitude of 13,000 feet on the great spur that runs south 
from the Kinchinjunga massif and divides Sikkim from, Nepaul. 
Here he was on the veritable Kinchin, some fifteen miles as 
the crow flies from the actual summit * whose grand snows 
rise on all sides on rugged granite precipices which have pierced 
the Gneiss and Mica- slate rocks, carrying them up in shattered 
peaks and cliffs to 20,000 feet.' Nearer along the massif stood 
the lesser giants, Kubra and Gubroo, the saddleback with a 
25,000 feet peak at either end, and to the north-east the sharp 
cone of Pundeim dropping five or six thousand feet in a sheer 
precipice to the sea of glaciers below : the cliff, too steep to 
carry snow, showing a face of burnt red stratified rocks, so 
twisted and contorted as to appear like shot silk, permeated 
with broad white grains of the granite which caps the whole. 
Here, till driven out by a prolonged snowstorm, he stayed 
three cold January days in his gipsy-like shelter, a blanket 
stretched for tent from the roof of his followers' hut, with a 
little stone dyke at the sides and a fireplace in front. The 
ground was frozen sixteen inches deep ; to dig holes for the 
ground thermometers was a work of hours. Many of the 


mosses and lichens Hooker had last seen on the wild moun- 
tains of Cape Horn and the rocks of the Antarctic islands, and 
as on the Antarctic voyage, glacial terraces and erratic blocks 
suggested similar problems of ice action. Marching through 
snow from two to four feet deep among bushes was very difficult; 
as on his second, but not his third visit to high altitudes, Hooker 
was affected by mountain sickness as well as his men. 

The temperature fell to zero and it was bitterly cold. 
My Lepchas, several of whom had never been in the snow 
before, behaved admirably and not one uttered a complaint. 
At this elevation a few steps under any circumstances is 
fatiguing, and the glare of the new fallen snow in so rarefied 
an atmosphere gives soreness at once to unprotected eyes. 
I cut the veils Mrs. Campbell made me into little pieces for 
some of the party, others hung Yaks' tails over their eyes 
or pieces of paper, or unloosed their queues and combed the 
long hair over the forehead. 

But the natives ascribed mountain sickness to another 
cause ; namely, the Dwarf Ehododendrons : 

The scent (of resinous leaves) was overpowering ; the Bhoteas 
attribute the headaches of these regions to them and not 
to the rarefied air. I think I can feel my head throb still 
every time I smell the plants in my collection. 

Discomforts apart, the journey to Jongri was a great 
success. There was a rich botanical harvest on the way up, 
above the pines, ten species of Ehododendrons, one or two of 
them new ; and lower down, forty-six species of ferns. Geo- 
logically it equalled in interest the Yangma valley, a remarkable 
glaciated valley on the west of Kinchin. * I quite believe,' 
he exclaims, ' no two such spots have ever been explored in the 
whole Himalayan range.' 

The trip wound up with a quaint episode. The homeward 
way led Hooker again to the Changachelling convents near 
Pemiongchi, the Lamas of which he knew from his visit on 
the outward march. 

They are re-ornamenting their temple very beautifully ; 
the workmen come from Lhassa and the colors from Pekin. 


To my amazement, I found myself on the walls, in a flowered 
coat and pantaloons, hat, spectacles, beard and moustache, 
drawing in a note-book, an Angel on one side offering me 
flowers and a devil on the other doing homage ! I never 
laughed so much in my life, and the Lamas' artists were 
pleased beyond measure that I recognised the likeness. 1 

So, with the warm hospitality of the Lamas and four 
drenching days' march to Darjiling, 

ended [he writes] my journey, without slip, accident, or the 
loss or hurt of a single man of my sometimes very numerous 
party. In Sikkim I have not spent an unquiet hour, except 
on the coolies' account, in the snow. I carried neither gun 
nor pistols, arms nor keys, and lost nothing whatever. From 
the simple people, Bhoteas and Lepchas, I have met every 
attention and kindness, and very pleased they will be to 
see me again, though, should the Bajah oppose, fear may 
deter them from coming near me ; that I do not anticipate, 
however. A more interesting country for tourist, artist, 
naturalist, and antiquarian can scarce be found, and it was 
untrodden in any walk previous to my visit, and I have 
but flitted over the surface. 

The only untoward incident at the outset of this march had 
been the unruliness of the fourteen Bhotea coolies, who plun- 
dered the stores, resisted their Sirdar and the Ghurkas, and 
finally made off on the seventh day of the journey, from the 
summit of Tonglo, their place being taken, after some delay, 
by a few well-behaved Ghurkas from the Nepalese villages. 
Then everything that could be dispensed with was sent back 
to Darjiling, and the reduced party went' on its way. 

This was troublesome for the moment, but not serious, and 
the note of satisfaction re-appears in the words : 

I have not lost or broken a single instrument during my 
journey, though I have had 8 thermometers in daily use, 
2 barometers, 2 chronometers, 3 compasses, a sextant, and 
Artificial Horizon. I consider this quite a feat always 
remembering the roads to be of the worst, and that 50 men 
were bustling about me all day long. 

1 These drawings, unfortunately, are no longer extant (sec ii. 471). 


A few passages from the Himalayan Journals may be cited 
as bringing out personal impressions of the journey and the 
spirit of the traveller. Mountain scenery below the snow line 
is compared, as ever, to the perfection of our Scottish High- 
lands. In the Tambur valley is an old lake-bed, outspread 
under lofty hills. Through it 

meandered the rippling stream, fringed with alder. It was 
a beautiful spot, the clear, cool, murmuring river, with its 
rapids and shallows, forcibly reminding me of trout-streams 
in the highlands of Scotland. 

Elsewhere the mountains rising out of the sea of valley 
mists are like the mountains by Norwegian fiords or Scotch 
salt-water lochs. A little lake, a rarity in these valleys, recalls 
the tarn at the entrance of Glencoe. We realise instantly the 
charm of the pool set in shining meadow greenery against the 
dark precipices beyond. It was a home-like delight to espy 
abundance of a common Scotch fern, Cryptogramma crispa, 
growing in the clefts of a rocky moraine under the Choonjerma 
pass, at 13,000 feet. High on the Wallanchoon pass, again, 
the same lichens coloured the rocks as in Scotland, and the 
dwarf rhododendrons and masses of a little Andromeda imitated 
a heathery hill side. Here, also, the magic of the familiar in 
the remote wilderness stirs the imagination : 

Along the narrow path I found the two commonest of 
all British weeds, a grass (Poa annua), and the shepherd's 
purse ! They had evidently been imported by man and 
yaks, and as they do not occur in India, I could not but 
regard these little wanderers from the north with the deepest 
interest. Such incidents as these give rise to trains of 
reflection in the mind of the naturalist traveller ; and the 
farther he may be from home and friends, the more wild 
and desolate the country he is exploring, the greater the 
difficulties and dangers under which he encounters these 
subjects of his earliest studies in science, so much keener 
is the delight with which he recognises them, and the more 
lasting is the impression which they leave. At this moment 
these common weeds more vividly recall to me that wild 
scene than does all my journal, and remind me how I went 


on my way, taxing my memory for all it ever knew of 
the geographical distribution of the shepherd's purse, and 
musing on the probability of the plant having found its 
way thither over all Central Asia, and the ages that may 
have been occupied in its march. (Him. J., i. 221.) 

Nor was ' imagination only stirred by Nature. It was 
equally moved by the diverse expressions of human aspiration. 

The temple of Wallanchoon stood close by the convent, 
and had a broad low architrave : the walls sloped inwards, 
as did the lintels : the doors were black, and almost covered 
with a gigantic and disproportioned painting of a head, 
with bloody . cheeks and huge teeth ; it was surrounded by 
myriads of goggle eyes, which seemed to follow one about 
everywhere ; and though in every respect rude, the effect 
was somewhat imposing. The similarly proportioned gloomy 
portals of Egyptian fanes naturally invite comparison ; 
but the Thibetan temples lack the sublimity of these ; and 
the^uncomf or table creeping sensation produced by the many 
sleepless eyes of Boodh's numerous incarnations is very 
different from the awe with which we contemplate the 
outspread wings of the Egyptian symbol, and feel as in 
the presence of the God who says : ' I am Osiris the Great : 
no man hath dared to lift my veil ' (i. 228). 

It is interesting to note the traveller's full and careful 
method of observing on his march, and his scrupulous pains 
to avoid partial generalisations or the errors of the ' personal 
equation.' This method of recording observations, which left 
nothing to chance or the uncertainties of memory, is set forth 
almost parenthetically in the description of his descent from a 
Himalayan pass 16,000 feet high, when in the magical light of 
a young moon everything was bathed in beauty and imagina- 
tive suggestion, but all pleasure was lost in the headache and 
giddiness and bodily lassitude brought on by exertion in that 
thin air. 

Happily [he writes], I had noted everything on my way 
up, and left nothing intentionally to be done on returning. 
In making such excursions as this, it is above all things 
desirable to seize and book every object worth noticing on 


the way out : I always carried my note-book and pencil 
tied to my jacket pocket, and generally walked with them in 
my hand. It is impossible to begin observing too soon, or 
to observe too much : if the excursion is long, little is ever 
done on the way home ; the bodily powers being mechani- 
cally exerted, the mind seeks repose, and being fevered 
through over-exertion, it can endure no train of thought, or 
be brought to bear on a subject. (H. J., i. 247.) 

As to overhasty generalisation : 

The plants gathered near the top of Wallanchoon pass 
were species of Compositae, grass, and Arenaria ; the most 
curious was Saussurea gossypina, which forms great clubs 
of the softest white wool, six inches to a foot high, its flowers 
and leaves seeming uniformly clothed with the warmest 
fur that nature can devise. Generally speaking, the alpine 
plants of the Himalaya are quite unprovided with any special 
protection of this kind ; it is the prevalence and conspicuous 
nature of the exceptions that mislead, and induce the care- 
less observer to generalise hastily from solitary instances ; 
for the prevailing alpine genera of the Himalaya, Arenarias, 
primroses, saxifrages, fumitories, Ranunculi, gentians, grasses, 
sedges, &c., have almost uniformly naked foliage. (H. J., i. 

As in other matters, so he sought for accuracy in drawing 
mountain scenery, with a deliberate endeavour 

to overcome that tendency to exaggerate heights and in- 
crease the angle of slopes, which is, I believe, the besetting 
sin, not of amateurs only, but of our most accomplished 

Confessing that, as he did not use instruments to project the 
outlines, he could not pretend to have wholly avoided this 
snare (while the lithographer, alas, was not always content 
to a' bide by his plain copy), he is often careful to mention the 
angle subtended by lofty peaks in the distance, and the true 
slope on their sides. For, as he remarks (H. J., i. 347), 

the vagueness with which all terms are usually applied to the 
apparent altitude and steepness of mountains and precipices, 


is apt to give false impressions. It is essential to attend to 
such points where scenery of real interest and importance is 
to be described. It is customary to speak of peaks as tower- 
ing into the air, which yet subtend an angle of very few de- 
grees ; of almost precipitous ascents, which, when measured, 
are found to be slopes of 18 or 20 ; and of cliffs as steep 
and stupendous, which are inclined at a very moderate 



IT was now too late to proceed to the Hills -of Assam, where 
the healthy winter season would soon be over. This was small 
disappointment. The other mountains south of the Ganges, 
which had so charmed him the previous April, had lost all their 
attraction now that he had seen the veritable Himalayas. 
Moreover Hodgson laid stress on the simple fact that it was 
better to explore one district thoroughly than to wander. He 
resolved therefore to stay at Darjiling, where Hodgson's society 
and library, Muller's scientific aid, and Campbell's zealous 
interest, were strong inducements to a man who aimed at 
being something beyond a collector and tourist, and to follow 
up his success on the west of Kinchinjunga by an expedition 
to the east of it the next summer, completing the botany and 
sending home young plants and especially seeds, of which he 
writes to Sir William, 

I have done my best to give satisfaction. I stayed at 
13,000 feet very much on purpose to collect those of the 
Ehododendrons, and with cold fingers it is not easy at the 
ripening season, December, to collect those from the scattered 
twigs, generally out of reach. (March 27, 1849.) 

As to getting the seed of E. Dalhousiae, there was a further 

for you cannot see the plant on the limbs of the lofty oaks 
it inhabits, except it be in flower, and groping at random 
in the woods is really like digging for daylight. . . . You 
must remember it is no light work to be the pioneer of these 



fine things (April 2). I have obtained, however, plenty of 
young plants, and will send a tin case, direct, on my return 
to Darjiling (April 11). 

$ he cold weather gave opportunity of a trip with Hodgson 
to the Terai in order to complete the botanical chain from the 
plains to the snows. Six weeks were spent in sorting and 
packing the botanical spoil from Nepaul ; eighty coolie loads 
were sent down to Calcutta. 

The most notable event of these intermediate weeks was 

what I might call an AngeVs visit from Mr. William Tayler, 1 
the Postmaster-General for India, brother to Frederick 
Tayler the artist ... a highly accomplished man and a 
splendid sketcher ; and we became friends in a very few 
hours. . . . 

The botanist among the mountains suggested an admirable 
subject for his brush. 

He is pleased to desire my sitting in the foreground 
surrounded by my Lepchas and the romantic-looking Ghorka 
guard, inspecting the contents of a vasculum full of plants, 
which I have collected during the supposed day's march. 
My Lepcha Sirdar (which means Great man's Head man) 
is kneeling before me on the ground, taking the plants out of 
the box, that in his hand being a splendid bunch of Dendro- 
Uum noUk. He is picturesquely attired in costume, with a 
large pigtail. Another is behind me ; the Ghorka Havildar 
and Lepchas, in their picturesque uniforms, are looking on, 
and my big Bhotea dog lies at my feet. On one side two 
Lepchas are making my blanket tent house, cutting Bamboos, 
&c. I am in a forest, sitting on the stump of a tree, with the 
Snowy mountains in the background ; and a great mass of 

1 William Tayler (1808-92) was an Indian civilian who about this time was 
Postmaster-General of Bengal. His skill in portrait painting made him many 
friends ; his caricatures some enemies. In 1855 he became Commissioner of 
Patna. His policy during the Mutiny had provoked great controversy, pro- 
longed for many years, and an open quarrel with the Lieuter ant-Governor led 
to his resignation, when he practised as a lawyer in Bengal till his return to 
England in 1867. 

Kis brother Frederick (1802-89) wasa water-colourist and etcher who en joyed 
lifelong popularity in England, especially for his sporting and pastoral scenes. 
He was President of the Old Water-colour Society, 1858-71, 


Ferns and Rhododendrons, brought in by another man, are 
on the ground close to me. 

My dress was the puzzle, but it was finally agreed I should 
be as I was when in my best, a Thibetan in the main, with 
just so much of English peeping out as should proclaim me 
no Bhotea, and as much of the latter as should vouchsafe my 
being a person of rank in the character. So I have on a 
large, loose, worsted Bhotea cloak, with very loose sleeves ; 
it is all stripes of blue, green, white, and red, and lined with 
scarlet. Enough is thrown back to show English pantaloons, 
and my lower extremities cased in Bhotea boots. My shirt 
collar is romantically loose and open, with a blue neckerchief, 
which and my projecting shirt wrists, show the Englishman. 
My cap is also Thibetan, and only to be described thus : 
it is of pale gray felt, the upturned border stiff and bound 
with thin, black silk ribbon. On the top is a silver-mounted 
pebble, and a peacock's feather floats down my back. The 
latter are marks of rank. (April 25, 1849.) 

The sketch, begun in February and finished during April 
on Tayler's later visit to Darjiling, was sent to England that 
Fitch might make a copy for Sir William. The copyist's prac- 
tised hand improved to some extent on the workmanship ; but 
in the interests of accuracy Hooker was constrained to write 
home (January 30, 1850) : ' The stream of water and fruits 
of Hodgsonia which Fitch has brought into the foreground are 
doubtless improvements, though the latter are anachronisms 
when coupled with Ehododendron flowers, the one being the 
offspring of May and the other of September.' Later, a 
third version of the scene, more successful both in composition 
and in technique, was made from Fitch's water-colour by Mr. 
Frank Stone. From the former, which is in the possession 
of Dr. Charles Hooker, of Cirencester, the accompanying 
illustration has been reproduced. 1 

The big dog introduced into the picture was Hooker's faithful 
companion during his second journey to the snows till the 
unhappy day when, owing to his incorrigible habit of running 
on to the slippery bamboo bridges, he fell into a torrent and 

1 Mr. Stone's version belongs to Lady Hooker, Fitch's copy to Capt. J. S. 


was swept away. Kinchin, as he was named, is first referred 
to in a letter at the end of the Nepaul expedition : 

I have brought from the Snows a .most grand Bhotea 
dog, about which I must write to dear Bessy, and a droll 
puppy of a breed which I hope will live in the Plains. The 
former is a huge and savage creature, but a faithful watch ; 
he does not bite me, but has already so served three of 
my servants, chiefly at night. If you know a book called 
* Youatt on the Dog,' and can refer to it, you will find 
a splendid wood-cut of this ' the Thibet Mastiff.' 

The results of the Nepaul expedition being completed, from 
February 27 to March 24 he \vas in the plains. Happily the 
Sikkim Terai was free from the malaria, so deadly elsewhere, 
and he was able to reassure his parents, who would naturally 
be alarmed by the sudden death not only of his late companions, 
Mr. Williams 1 and his assistant on the Survey, who had im- 
prudently camped in a most unhealthy jungle, but of his uncle 
and almost contemporary, Gurney Turner, who had entered 
the medical service of the E.I.C. 

A reasonably good collection, as he modestly calls it, was the 
result, though in the densely wooded Terai ' the only safe way 
of botanising is by pushing through the jungle on elephants ; 
an uncomfortable method, for the quantities of ants and 
insects which drop from the foliage above, and from the risk 
of disturbing pendulous bees' and ants' nests.' Geological 
research in dense tropical forests was exhausting, but he made 
many notes, including traces of inversion of the strata, as at 
the foot of other great mountain ranges, such as the Alleghanies 
and the Alps. By the Mechi river, the western boundary of 

1 The following is characteristic : ' If , as I fear is the case, the widow of 
Williams (of the Geological Survey) is left destitute (she has six children) 
there ought to be a small sum raised for her by the officers of the Geological 
Survey. I have written to Reeks about it, and requested that, if this be done, 
he would apply to jou for 10 in my name ; for during the two months I spent 
with poor Williams, he wo old not allow me to spend a shilling for board or 
travelling expenses. Reeks will only set down my name for 2 2s., and give 
the rest under a fictitious signature ; for neither could some of my brother 
officers afford so much, nor are they called upon to give it by obligations to the 
deceased.' (To his mother, Feb. 1, 1849. Trenham Reeks, who died in 1879, 
was Registrar of the School of Mines, and Curator and Librarian of the Museum 
of Practical Geology.) 


Sikkim, were * reported Iron Hills ' ; inspection, however, 
showed that ' the Iron is, I believe, only Manganese, which will 
disappoint Mr. Campbell ; but I have found a small (useless) 
seam of coal and vestiges of coal fossils.' Other observers 
had seen in the alluvial plains of the Ganges and the flat-topped 
terraces of gravel along the foothills the sure sign of a deep 
sea that in geologically recent times had washed the base of 
the mountains as they were gradually upheaved ; Hooker 
himself confesses that he could never look at the Sikkim 
Himalayas from the plain without seeing in them the weather- 
beaten front of a mountainous coast, while the deep valleys 
he explored seemed essentially long fiords with terraced pebble 
beds and transported blocks such as could be seen on the 
raised beaches of our Scotch sea lochs exposed by the rising 
of the land. 

For the rest, other picturesque episodes of the trip may 
be read in the ' Journals ' ; the elephant fair at Titalya, 
where Dr. Campbell joined them, on business as a buyer for 
the Government ; the coolness of shooting the rapids of the 
Teesta after the heat and haze of the plains ; the carnival 
at theyoungEajahof Jeelpigoree's Durbar, with its battle, not 
of confetti, but of small paper bombs of red powder ; the 
weariness of riding elephants, and the fierce storm of hail as 
they returned which cut to pieces Dr. Campbell's experimental 
tea garden and lay unmelted there for four days. 

Now began preparations for the second and longer Hima- 
layan journey, through eastern Sikkim. The plan was parallel 
to that of the former trip. As formerly they had ascended 
the Tambur river, so now the party was to follow the river 
Teesta to its head-waters ; then ascend either fork to the pass 
at its head leading into Tibet. The western fork was the 
Lachen, its pass the Kongra Lama ; the eastern the Lachoong, 
leading to the Donkia pass, under the great mountain of that 
name. These passes were far to the northward of the passes 
visited in 1848, for the barrier chain trends north-east from 
Kinchinjunga, and the line now taken was some fifty miles to 
the eastward. Thus it was expected that the direct route 
would take no less than twenty-five to thirty marches. 


The journey produced wonderful results, but ended in 
a very unpleasant adventure. In the latter part of it, Dr. 
Campbell joined Hooker, and on their return both were seized 
and held as hostages for nearly two months while the Dewan 
tried to extort better terms in the treaty between Sikkim and 
India. The party had set out on May 3 for a three months' 
trip, but it was six months before the explorations were com- 
pleted, and eight before the travellers returned to Darjiling 
on Christmas Day, 184.9. 

Hooker, travelling alone, would certainly not have been 
thus molested ; but the chance of seizing the Political Agent 
was irresistible to the crafty Oriental, one of whose chief 
henchmen, moreover, had a personal score to settle with the 
Eesident, who had caused him to be punished for the abduction 
of two Brahmin girls from Nepaul. For Hooker at first was 
reserved merely passive obstruction, triumphantly overcome by 
good-humour and patience, and the exhibition of the Rajah's 
formal permit and promise of assistance on the way to the 
snowy passes. The latter he was careful to obtain, despite the 
renewed shuffling of the Dewan, which would have left him 
with the poor alternative of a second visit to Jongri. 

As there are many rapid rivers to be crossed, and I 
must have relays of food, I cannot well venture without 
his permission. Though he cannot stop me, he may detain 
my coolies, and to remove the bridges is only the matter 
of ten minutes. Lord Dalhousie has again proffered his 
best services, and I write to him on the subject without 

Accordingly Campbell wrote a third letter to the Rajah, giving 
him ten days in which to make up his mind, and send formal 
permission and a guide. 

This was effectual. By May 2 permission had come to 
visit the Lachen and Lachoong passes, and a guide, the same 
Meepo who had served on the former expedition, was to meet 
him a few marches ahead. It was a disappointment that, 
owing to a stringent order from the Court of Directors as to 
leave, Lord Dalhousie, however willing, was unable to grant 


immediate leave to Dr. Thomas Thomson, Hooker's old friend 
and fellow- student, the explorer of the North-western Hima- 
layas, to join in this Sikkim expedition. He had, indeed, 
three months' sick leave which he was about to take at Simla, 
but his regular six months' leave was not due till the autumn. 
This he planned to claim immediately after rejoining his 
regiment in the Punjaub, and so share the final trip to Assam 
and the Khasia Hills. 

A start was made on May 3, with a larger travelling camp 
than originally expected. 

They are 42 in all ; 10 are soldiers, 5 are Hodgson's 
shooters, &c., 10 are Lepchas of my own, the rest Sikkim 
Bhoteas. Only two or three have ever beenf to the Snows, 
but all seem active, willing, and cheerful. 

From his second camp he writes further : 

Everything promises happily for the success of this 
my present expedition, thanks to Hodgson and Campbell, 
whose kindness exceeds all I can describe. How far I may 
be able to proceed is very problematical, for the best 
collection of charts and routes will not reveal to me whither 
I am going. The soldiers inspire confidence in my people, 
and that is all I want. My own followers appear excellent 
fellows. To-day they accompanied me in a march which 
t,ired even my unloaded self, and though the weather is 
terribly hot, they uttered not a murmur. 

The villagers everywhere showed themselves kind and civil. 

I have just been accosted by an enormously fat Lama, 
with a grand present of eggs, &c. The kindness of these 
simple mountaineers is very grateful, and their civil speeches 
quite graceful. They hope you will not fall ill, are sorry 
their roads are so indifferent, apologise for not bringing 
fowls (the priests say this) ' because they must not take 
life ' say they will hear of your progress in safety with 
pleasure, and hope to see you en route home again, to stay 
with them. A small joke convulses them with laughter, 
and the expected * backsheesh ' is always received with many 


But official obstruction began with the first functionary 
encountered, to be answered, as always, with patience and 
firmness, seasoned with good-humoured contempt. The fellow 
declared he had no orders ; the party must wait two days 
until word could be received from the Kajah. Confronted 
with the necessary permit, he apologised, but must mend 
the roads, and that would take two days. 

So [exclaims Hooker] these trumpery functionaries lie, 
cheat, and obstruct, and nothing but patience and cool 
contempt put them down. The moment I gather the con- 
tents of their long speeches from the preface, I cut them 
short with an answer which does not suit Bhotean idioms 
and fashions. 

The personal difficulties on the journey may be measured 
by the fact that whereas to the snows was reckoned a matter 
of twenty-five, or for a heavily laden party, thirty marches, 
in the event it took eighty-three days, from May 3 to July 24, 
to reach the Kongra Lama pass. On May 5, the next hint of 
obstruction on the part of a friend of the hostile Lassoo Kajee 
melted away after the arrival of the Tchebu Lama on his way 
to Darjiling, though the latter, who was to prove himself a 
faithful friend, was formally commissioned to say that the 
Eajah had wished the expedition to be postponed on account 
of his son's death. 

Now [comments Hooker] as the Kajah had not spoken 
to his son for sixteen years, I doubt his sorrow. The period 
qf mourning is over, anyhow, afid, as I told the Lama, it 
was all one to me, if Kajah, son, and family were to die 
together that was no reason why I should not travel 
through his country. He promptly apologised for his 
Master, and wrote an order (of what use it is the sequel 
will show) that I was to pass on unmolested, till I met a 
guide from the Rajah. 

Five days later obstruction was renewed, but the tables 
were neatly turned on the obstructor. The Lama of Gorh, 
another underling of the Dewan's, having obstructed the roads 
and bridges overnight, officiously came forward as a guide, 


offering the choice of two roads. Hooker, all politeness, asked 
for the coolest, and at every obstruction, assured him that as 
he had volunteered to show the road, it was clear he meant to 
removal all obstacles, ' and accordingly I put him to all the 
trouble I possibly could, which he took with a very indifferent 
grace,' until fully discomfited by the arrival of the faithful 
Meepo with the Eajah's authority to proceed. Unfortunately 
the latter had never travelled the road, so that they were at 
the mercy of the guide he had brought with him, who was but 
a spy on both. 

At Singtam, where he reduced his party by sending back 
the escort, he was delayed a day by the Soubah or governor, of 
whom he was to have much experience later, on the pretext 
of collecting food, which never arrived, and at Choongtam, 
where the Lachen and Lachoong join to form the Teesta, a 
full week. The motive was clear. 

The Kajah hopes, by throwing his Guide and party 
upon my resources, that he shall starve me into going away, 
and he has also followed up this scheme by sending a foolish 
old official to frighten my people ; but the poor man cannot 
bear any degree of ridicule, and between laughing at his 
menaces and treating him with all kindness, I have fairly 
won his heart. I pay most liberally for everything I 
get; I give large presents to the Authorities and to the 
Convents ; every day I heal the sick who come to me for 
advice and medicine ; 'and nobody has received even a 
hard word from me, except in reply to the insolence of the 

It was more serious that the convoys bringing the promised 
supplies from Darjiling for the men, who required no less 
than 80 Ibs, of rice per diem, were very late in coming, and 
when they arrived, brought only enough for eight days. That 
Campbell should not have fulfilled his promise of sending 
supplies regularly seemed at first incomprehensible, but it 
turned out that after the rains had begun on the 10th, the 
Dewan had taken care to leave the roads unrepaired ; the 
journey was lengthened and the carriers had to consume part 
of Hooker's supplies as well as their own. Here, then, he stayed 



till May 25. His itinerary gave him six marches further 
to the snows, but two months were to pass before he reached 
the Kongra Lama. 

It is worth recording, as an instance of his consideration for 
the people he was among, that he now resolved to forgo one 
of the most attractive parts of his programme, in the belief, 
afterwards dispelled, that the Sikkimese might suffer if he 
crossed the passes. Accordingly he tells his mother (May 24, 

It is my intention to proceed to the top of both of the 
Passes, without crossing, which the Kajah has forbidden ; 
and though I dispute his authority to give such a prohibition, 
I cannot act in defiance of it and cross the Passes in secret. 
Thibet is the Headquarters of the Sikkim people's Church, 
and, if through any act of mine the Passes were to be closed, 
I should inflict upon the natives what they would consider 
a serious injury namely, the shutting of their Church Door. 
It is most reluctantly that I give up the intention of crossing, 
especially as the Eajah's own order and other circumstances 
convince me that I could do so if I chose, and that no one 
has power to hinder me, for the first Chinese village is distant 
two days' marches on the other side of the Border. How- 
ever, I have plenty to do on this side, and if by crossing I 
should throw any effectual impediment in the way of my 
Sikkim investigations, I should be a great loser by it. 

At Choongtam he was forced to divide his party again, 
leaving there all but fifteen. Three marches further, at 
Lamteng, there was another week's delay and very short com- 
mons, meagre supplies taking twenty days to come from Dar- 
jiling over the bad roads. On June 23 came news that a large 
convoy had been driven back by landslips, but there was promise 
of another coming, so that on the next day he did not hesitate 
to move forward one march to Zemu Samdong, the bridge 
of the Zemu, a large tributary on the west bank of the Lachen. 
Here his guide, the local headman, or Lachen Phipun, alleged 
the Tibetan frontier to be. Not knowing which of these 
streams was the real Lachen, and having no crossing of a river 
marked here on his route, Hooker resolved to wait at least 


till sufficient supplies arrived, though both wet and hungry, 
learning the difference between a fowl and a chicken ' of the 
latter I eat bones and all, of the former I cannot.' Hunger, 
he also declared, made it a special martyrdom to science when; 
instead of eating a curious fruit called Gundroon, a polite 
present from the Kani, he put some aside to be sent to Kew. 1 
Four weeks were spent up the Zemu, trying vainly to reach the 
head of the valley and the clearer Tibetan skies ahead, for the 
report of a pass in that direction was probably a deliberate 
blind. Large collections were made, for the grassy hills 
swarmed with rare plants, and were sent down the valley to 
be dried. Even so, the persistent wet destroyed much, and 
he laments to his father : 

Alas, one of my finest collections of Ehododendrons sent 
to Darjeeling got ruined by the coolies falling ill and being 
detained on the road, so I have to collect the troublesome 
things afresh. If your shins were as bruised as mine tearing 
through the interminable Khododendron scrub of 10-13,000 
feet you would be as sick of the sight of these glories as 
I am. 

It was a rough time, but produced no ill effects, though 

a hole in the rock or a shed of leaves is very often my 
residence for days, and my fare is just rice and a fowl, or 
kid, eggs, or what I can lay my hands on no beer or 

The great encouragement was that no other explorer had 
seen so much of the unknown Himalaya, or with results to 
be compared with his. 

On the 28th and 29th came the Phipun's attempt to hustle 
him off with a rabble of threatening followers, which Hooker, 
supported only by his dog, Kinchin, entirely disconcerted by 
a show of unconcern, backed with plain speaking. 

At the first alarm the coolie headman, Nimbo, Hooker's 
one courageous follower, took three lads with him down the 

1 Dispyros Kaki, Linn. The note by Hooker with the specimens in the 
Kew Museum is as follows : * Fruit called Gundroon by the Bhotheas. Good 
eating dried in this state. Imported to Sikkim from Lhassa.' 



valley to the drying sheds and rescued the plants from the 
marauders. Next morning, he tells Sir William (July 5) : 

Sure enough, as I was sitting drawing on my bed, with 
a cup of tea on one side, it was * Jenny Lass wha's coming ! ' 
and all the ' wild Macraws ' were wending up the glen. 
, Twenty of the most uncouth barbarians you ever set eyes 
on gathered at the mouth of my tent, dressed in scanty, 
tattered blanket kirtles, with long knives, long brass pipes, 
and long matted hair, bare-legged and bare-headed ; they 
reminded me most forcibly of Scott's tales. I scarcely 
deigned to lift my head and look at them, but let them 
gather as they pleased, and then sent to ask what they 
wanted here. * To speak to the Sahib.' I said they must 
report to me who they individually were, which they refused 
to do yesterday, and only gave insolence to my Sirdars. 
It turned out that every man was a Sikkim Bhotea and the 
Thibetans had all run away the previous night ! I then 
sent word to the head man, that he must send every one 
of his rag-tag and bobtail away, or I would not speak to 
him either. This he did with some trouble, as a few were 
contumacious, and when he came to my tent I took him 
roundly to task for frightening my people, detaining my * 
things, and giving insolence. Having rated him soundly, 
and taken all his answers down on a big sheet of paper, I 
sent him about his business, and have seen no more of the 
Bhoteas since ! Can you fancy such fools ! If you give 
in an inch it is all up ; if you get the upper hand an inch, 
you may bully and swagger and knock them down like 

Intimidation having failed, dilatory tactics were renewed. 
On the return to the bridge at Zemu Sandong on July 1 
letters arrived from Campbell and from the Tchebu Lama; 
conveying the Kajah's orders to the Phipun that he should 
aid the party. Three days later the Singtam Soubah arrived 
as conductor, with more commendatory letters and presents 
for Hooker from the Eajah. His secret business, however, 
was to starve the white man out, and though, after certain 
supplies arrived on the llth, he led Hooker the following 
day one more march up the Lachen to the village of Tallum, 


he lingered there till the 23rd, alleging anew that this was 
the last point of Sikkim, and that Tungu,- the next village, 
was in Tibet. All the villagers; down to the little children, 
were instructed to tell the same story. Talium was the 
scene of the famous game of bluff, which convinced the 
Soubah that it was he, and not Hooker, who was being 
starved out. 

Now the Singtam Soubah's instructions I also saw were 
to be most civil and draw me away ; he represented the 
Eajah's affection for me as boundless ; should I be but in 
a stream or come to hurt, nothing short of a Chait at Lhassa 
and annual worship could be thought of. The Eajah's 
anxiety on my behalf alone induced him to pray my return 
to Darjeeling> &c. &c. The more civil he was the more so 
was I, but I felt bound to assure him that my instruc- 
tions were explicit, that I should wait where I was for 
orders from Campbell, which could not be before twenty 
days. He, knowing how short of food we were, grinned 
acquiescence, fancying he would soon starve me out. I 
in turn knew that the greedy old Kajah, by way of 
insuring his getting on with his duty, had allowed him 
and his coolies (sent to repair the road back) only six days' 

Being camped at 11,500 feet, I had plenty to do, lots of 
new plants, and was as busy as possible every day and all 
day for nine or ten days. The Soubah visited me every 
morning and we had long chats ; he is a fine fellow and has 
been in Lhassa, Digarchi, &c., and told frankly and freely 
all he knew, giving me most curious information. Talking 
one morning of the mountain chains, I asked him for a rude 
sketch of those bounding Sikkim ; he called for a great 
sheet of paper and charcoal and wanted to make his 
mountains of sand ; I ordered rice, of which we had sore 
little, and scattered it about wastefully ; it had its effect, 
he stared at my wealth and, after bidding him good-bye 
(the custom always is you have to send your visitor away), 
I saw no more of my rice, which was ominous for his granary. 
Not long afterwards he volunteered to take me a ride to 
Tungu, which all swore was across the border. I agreed if 
the tent should go ; he dare not let me. Why ? It was in 


' Cheen ' (Thibet). Then I said I had given my promise 
not to go into Cheen, and would wait till my orders from 
Darjeeling came ; he was nonplussed again. 

Well, on the 10th day it pleased Providence to afflict 
the Soubah of Singtam with a sore colic so that he could 
not pay me his morning visit, and as I did not ask for him 
he took for granted that I was angry and dare not ask for 
medicine. This was owing to the quantity of wild stuff 
the poor soul had eked out his fare with. A servant came 
at night to tell me how bad his master was ' like to die/ 
he said, twisting his fingers together and laying them across 
the pit of his stomach to indicate the commotions of the 
Soubah's inside. I gave him a great dose at once and he 
was on his legs next morning looking woefully. He told me 
he had heard of ' Kongra Lama,' and would take me there 
if I promised not to stay more than one night at Tungu. 
I gave the same answer. Oh, he said, Tungu is not in 
Cheen. Is it in Sikkim then ? Yes ! Very well, we will all 
go to-morrow morning and I will stay as long as I please. 
There was no help for it, so he laughed acquiescence. 

There is a triumphant ring in the first announcement of 
his success. 

I have carried my point and stood on the Table-land of 
Thibet, beyond the Sikkim frontier, at the back of all the 
snowy mountains, alt. 15,500 feet. 

He had not only defeated, but won over his old opponent. 

We went to the Pass and into Thibet yesterday, the 
Soubah of Lachen, my arch enemy, the guide. He has 
made 100 rude apologies : the Chinese had threatened 
to cut his head off, &c., &c. I answer that an Englishman 
always carries his point, and that days, weeks, and months 
are all the same to me. He vows he will tell no more lies, 
not so much as that, hiding all but the very tip of his little 
finger. That now we are friends he will show me everything, 
and I must visit his wife in his black tent on the frontier. 
Now the tables are turned and the Bhoteas are as civil as 
they were before hostile and impracticable. 

July 24, 1849, was the day of triumph. The day before 


they had mounted to the high alp of Tungu, where friendly 
Tibetans from across the frontier were camped for the summer 
in their black horsehair tents, pasturing yaks. The journey 
to the pass and back was the best part of thirty miles. The 
ground was level enough for riding on the hardy Tartar ponies, 
stubborn, intractable, unshod, which never missed a foot among 
the sharp rocks, deep stony torrents and slippery paths, even 
in the pitch darkness of the final way back. Sorry-looking 
beasts, nothing could tire them, not even the sixteen stone 
burden 01 the Soubah. Hooker himself walked some thirteen 
miles of the way, botanising ; but ' at dusk,' he confesses, ' I 
took horse, for alas ! I am quite blind in the dark.' 

Peppin, the Soubah, was as good as his word ; going and 
coming they were most graciously received by his squaw and 

The whole party squatted in a ring inside the tent, the 
Soubah and myself seated at the head, on a beautiful Chinese 
mat. Queen Peppin then made tea (with salt and butter), 
we each produced our Bhotea cup, which was always kept 
full. Curd, parched rice, and beaten maize were handed 
liberally round, and we fared sumptuously, for I am very 
fond both of Brick Tea and curds. 

Nature reserved an impressive setting for the last act of the 
serio-comedy. As they sat round Peppin's hospitable fire, a 
tremendous peal like thunder echoed down the glen. The 
men started to their feet and cried to Hooker to be off, for the 
mountains were falling and a violent storm was at hand. So 
for five or six miles they pursued their way up the river bed, 
shrouded in fog and deafened by the unseen avalanches that 
thundered down unceasingly from the great mountains on 
either side. Only the low hills which flanked the river fended 
off the falling rocks. Gradually, as they ascended, the valley 
widened ; at 15,000 feet they emerged on a broad, flat table- 
land, and 500 feet higher reached a long flat ridge, where 
stood the boundary mark a Cairn ! This was their goal. 
The storm lifted its curtains. Beyond showed the blue and 
rainless skies of Tibet ; behind, were revealed the two snow 


peaks of Chomiomo and Kinehinjhow, so named from its 
' beard ' of icicles, and between them the funnel-mouthed head 
of the valley up which they had come. 

Here [he exclaims], after three months of obstacles, I 
was at last at the back of the whole Himalaya range at its 
most northern trend in the central Himalaya, for this is far 
North of Kinchin-junga and Chumalari or the Nepal Passes 
I visited last winter, and opens on to the Thibetan Plateau 
without crossing a snowy ridge to be followed by other 
and other snowed spurs, as Kanglachem and Wallanchoon 
do. Here too I solved another great problem. There was 
not a particle of snow anywhere en route, right or left, or 
on the great mountains for 1500 feet above my position. 
The snow line in Sikkim lies on the Indian face of the 
Himalaya range at below 15,000 feet, on the Thibetan at 
above 16,000. I felt very pleased and made a rude panorama 
sketch on four folio sheets, very rude you may suppose, for 
the keen wind blew a gale and we were quite wet ; above 
15,000 feet too, I am a ' gone coon,' my head rings with 
acute headache and feels as if bound in a vice, my temples 
throb at every step and I retch with sea-sickness. 

An hour and a half was spent on the Tibetan side, making 
observations. The letter tells how, in spite of the fire they 
made, ' my shivering Lepchas were numb and I gave them 
my cloak, going always well clad myself.' 

Much as Hooker would have liked to stay for some time 
in the high alpine region of Tungu, the question of supplies 
forbade. The post took twenty days from Darjiling. Still, 
he stayed the rest of the week, exploring the high yak pastures 
and the glaciers, before setting out on the week's march back 
to Choongtam and plenty, 7000 feet lower, a weary march 
over roads in a terrible state with floods, landslips, jungle, 
and impassable places, and warmth attended with tropical 

I think leeches are the worst ; my legs are, I assure you, 
daily clotted with blood, and I pull my stockings off quite 
full of leeches ; they get into the hair and all over the body. 
I cannot walk ten yards without having dozens on my legs ; 


they produce no pain but the itching and bleeding are 
troublesome ; poor Kinchin can hardly walk from weakness, 
and he is blinded by the number hanging on to his eyelids, 
and his nostrils are quite full. (To W. J. H., Aug. 6, 1869.) 

At Choongtam he rested ten days ; then proceeded to 
complete his programme by starting afresh up the eastern 
stream, the Lachoong, to the disgust of the Singtam Soubah, 
who was still charged to accompany him, and longed to be 
back amid the comforts and the native beer of his own home. 
The unhappy man was also very lame from insect bites, and 
at the village of Lachoong (August 16) remained on the sick 
list, while Hooker, in unwonted freedom, made an eastward 
excursion to the unknown pass of the Tunkra-la, afterwards 
used by the British expedition to Lhassa. Of this cold, un- 
sheltered spot and his botanical results so far he writes in a 
continuation of the letter to his father dated August 24th. 

I think the botanical results of my little Thibetan cruise 
(which you may talk of) will astonish you, for number ; not 
that they would have been increased by going further North ; 
but I found what I so many years have only dreamed of, 
the remarkable change in vegetation that only occurs at 
the boundary of the mountains and plains, that prevalence 
of species and paucity of specimens which marks that 
curious zone where the perpetual snow rises 2000 feet [i.e. 
the snow-line is 2000 feet higher than on the southern side] 
on mountain faces opposed to the most sterile country in 
the inhabited globe. I am indeed more gratified with my 
Lachen journey than I can express to you, so long have all 
my friends here and at home thought the probability of 
reaching the Thibetan Plateau in this direction visionary. 
Campbell's and Hodgson's congratulations are extravagant. 
I am very pleased too to think that any one may now go, 
the egg-shell is broken ; the intricate route once known and 
the nature of the impediments, it is easy to forestall the 
one and follow the other. Of the importance of its botanical 
results as to the Sikkim Flora you have yet no idea, nor had 
I till two days ago, when I returned from a long visit to 
another Pass of which nor I nor Campbell were aware and 
which took me to within ten miles of Phari and the Holy 


Mountain Chumalari. I was four days away ; it is amongst 
the main ranges East of Sikkim and leads to Choombi from 
this ; though only of the same height as Kongra Lama, 
this, the Kankola, was heavily snowed, and indeed from 
14,700-15,000 feet we were on snow the whole way. It 
took two days from hence to reach Tunkra ; headache and 
fatigue prevented my botanizing much on the travelling 
days, therefore I camped at 15,000 feet and made a full 
Flora at 14-16,000 feet, wholly different from the Kongra 
Lama Flora at the same altitude. 

Immediately above 15,000 feet there is far more rock 
and snow with vast piles of debris than anything else. 
This road is very rarely travelled, and then only by an 
occasional courier from the Eajah, when at Choombi, to the 
N.E. quarter of Sikkim. 

Having no tent we slept on the ground, a great precipice 
our only shelter from the rain and snow. It was curious 
to waken in the morning and see the broad snowy faces of 
lofty mountains staring at you, the bright sunbeams dancing 
on their rosy peaks, and all within a few yards of you. 
Unfortunately the weather was extremely bad and always 
is so on this range. At sunrise it was invariably brilliant 
and clear, and I then hastily sallied out to a high place to 
take views, angles, and bearings. From such heights the 
prospect of the whole Kinchin group was superb beyond 
all powers of description ; there was an exuberance of snow, 
and as the clouds of night rise and reveal peak after peak, 
with cliffs, domes, and tables of snow, it really conveyed the 
idea of a forest of mountains. At 8 o'clock clouds form, 
and before 9 A.M. every object far or near, is wrapped in 
thick fog, and you are fortunate if you can gain a glimpse 
of the sun with the sextant to make out your time and 
position. At 10 A.M. rain always commenced, and lasted 
with sleet or snow till sunrise of the following morning. 
Our camping ground was of course very cold, and the little 
sticks of firewood, for which we had to send down 2000 feet, 
were so wet, that with this, and the diminished oxygen of 
the air, it was very difficult to keep up a fire. I often 
think on these occasions of passages in your lectures, with 
keen appreciation of your tact and power in riveting the 
student's attention ; how often do I remember your Life 


of Linnaeus, and of what you have not realised for many a 
year, that it is 

The sweetest of pleasures under the sun 
To sit hy the fire till the ' praties ' are done. 

Kesuming his course up the precipitous valley of the 
Lachoong, he left Lachoong village on August 29, and in two 
marches mounted 6000 feet to Yeumtong, where a week was 
spent among the mountains. Here his long patience was 
further rewarded. On September 7 a new friend arrived in 
the person of his old opponent, the Lachen Phipun, who, having 
now, as he said, ascertained that the Tibetans were entirely 
indifferent, offered to act as guide still northward up the valley 
to Momay and the Donkiah Pass. Momay, at 15,362 feet, 
with its great yak pastures, the highest in Sikkim, proved to be 
an ideal place for observations of all kinds, and eking out two- 
third rations with what could be obtained in the village, the 
party stayed here till September 30. On the 9th they went to 
the Donkiah pass, 18,466 feet, and in order to obtain a still 
wider view over Tibet, Hooker scrambled up the mountain side 
another 1000 feet, an ascent made a second time -when he 
revisited Donkiah later with Dr. Campbell. The climb eclipsed 
in altitude Humboldt's famous climb on Chimborazo, and this 
record of over 19,000 feet, as well as three peaks or passes of 
18,500, held the field till the brothers Schlagintweit in 1856 
reached the height of 22,230 feet on Kamet. 

This stage of the expedition is well described in the following 
letter : 

Lachoong River, Thibet Frontier (i.e. Momay) : September 13, 1848. 

From the top of the Donkiah Pass I had a most splendid 
view for 60 miles north into Thibet first of extensive plains, 
dunes, and low rocky hills utterly barren and red from the 
quantity of quartz, tinged with oxide of iron, which form 
the hills north of Kongra-Lama ; beyond that again, and 
as far as the eye could scan, were ranges of rocky mountains 
sprinkled with snow and of comparatively moderate eleva- 
tion. From Kongra-Lama at 16,000 feet the view was 
wretched enough, but from hence, no language can convey 
an idea of the horrible desolation and sterility of the scene ! 


' A howling wilderness ' is the only meet term ; there was 
neither grandeur in the mountains nor beauty in the valleys 
to invite the traveller ; in colouring, form of the land and 
mountains, and their composition and stratification, it 
strangely reminded me of the Egyptian desert. The rocks 
were disposed in horizontal strata, cropping out on the 
mountain faces and broken into low crags along their tops ; 
not even lending fantastic shapes to relieve the eye. Eange 
after range was like its fellows until, in the far distance, 
one range loftier than the rest, black, rugged, and heavily 
snowed in some places, shut out any more distant horizon. 
The whole landscape sloped N.W. and the ranges were East 
and West, so that I do not doubt the truth of the unanimous 
assertion of the people, that all the waters from north of 
my position and west of the Paniomchoo are feeders of the 
Arun which enters Nepaul far west of Kinchin- junga. 

Very different from this dreary Tibetan landscape was the 
fantastic grandeur of the mountains hard by. There was a 
great amphitheatre of rock and snow under Kinchinjhow, walled 
in with precipices and an ice face of 4000 feet, * a great blue 
curtain reaching from heaven to earth/ only fretted where 
* icicles fifty feet long run along in lines like organ pipes ' ; 
its floor, two miles each way, ' a maze of cones of snow laden 
with masses of rock rising fifty or eighty feet comparable 
to nothing but the crater of a stupendous volcano, where little 
enclosed cones of fire have been suddenly turned to ice.' 

. . . What keeps me here is the very curious Flora, though 
not so rich as that of Kongra-Lama and the Thibetan plains. 
I have a set of most curious new plants from between 17 
and 19,000 feet Woolly Lactuceae and Senecioneae like 
Cukitium, Gentians, Chrysanthemums, Saxifrages of course, 
Cyananthi, and some very odd things. They are extremely 
scarce and require close hunting. Sometimes I get but one 
or two specimens of a kind, and poking with a headache 
is very disagreeable. 

To-day I went up the flanks of Donkiah to 19,300 feet, 
amongst the knot of snowy peaks west of Chumulari, and 
such gulfs, craters, plains, and mountains of snow are surely 
nowhere else to be found without the Polar circles. Of 


course I have seen nothing to compare for mass and con- 
tinuity with Victoria Land, but the mountains, especially 
Kinchin-jhow, are beyond all description beautiful ; from 
whichever side you view this latter mountain, it is a castle 
of pure blue glacier ice, 4000 feet high and 6 or 8 miles long. 
I do wish I were not the only person who has ever seen it 
or dwelt among its wonders. Now I have been N., S., E., 
and W. of it, up it, down it, to 16,000, 17,000, and 18,000 
feet ; and every view enchants rne more than another. 

. . . I was greatly pleased with finding my most Antarctic 
plant, Lecanora miniata, at the top of the Pass, and to-day 
I saw stony hills at 19,000 feet stained wholly orange- red 
with it, exactly as the rocks of Cockburn Island were in 
64 South 1 ; is not this most curious and interesting ? To 
find the identical plant forming the only vegetation at the 
two extreme limits of vegetable life is always interesting ; 
but to find it absolutely in both instances painting a land- 
scape, so as to render its colour conspicuous in each case 
five* miles off, is wonderful. 

1 See Himalayan Journals, ii. 130 and 165. 



DUBING the last weeks at Momay, as has been said, Hooker 
had again been happily relieved of the presence of the Singtam 
Soubah. Finding the situation unendurable, . the wretched 
fellow withdrew to lower altitudes, uttering the gloomiest warn- 
ings against cold and famine and Tibetan interference. But 
on September 28 he returned to ask formal leave to go home, 
and brought the welcome news that Campbell, accompanied 
by the friendly Tchebu Lama, was on his way north through 
Sikkim, having been sent by the Government to seek a per- 
sonal interview with the Rajah. His object was to cultivate 
better relations with the Sikkim officials, and to enquire into 
the breach of good faith displayed in the discourtesy and 
hindrances offered to Hooker. His authority to enter Sikkim, 
moreover, gave him the opportunity of learning something 
about the country which the treaty bound us to protect, yet 
from which we were so jealously excluded. 

Leaving Momay, therefore, on the last day of September, 
Hooker hurried down to Choongtam at the junction of the 
rivers, and was joined by Campbell on the morning of October 4. 
Then, starting together on the 6th, they repeated and enlarged 
Hooker's previous trips, first up the Lachen to the Kongra 
Lama pass, then actually bluffing an entrance into Tibet, 
and following the upper Lachen round its eastern bend to its 
source in the Cholamo lake. This brought them to the Tibetan 
face of the Donkiah pass, which they crossed (October 19), 
and so completed the round by descending the Lachoong to 
their starting point at Choongtam, October 27. 



Two letters to Sir William describe the happenings of this 

Choongtam : October 3, 1849. 

I arrived here late last night, having made three flying 
marches down from Momay Samdong to meet Campbell, 
who will be here to-morrow en route to Kongra Lama, as 
he tells me you are (ere the receipt of this) aware. I have 
been months stimulating him to the journey and with success 
at last. It is now six months since I have had any one to 
talk to, and now that the route is known and he has the 
Eajah under his thumb, I do not anticipate any difficulty. 
He had a most narrow escape for his life on the second day 
after leaving Darjiling : his pony slipped its foot in a most 
dangerous part of the road ; feeling it do so he wisely jerked 
himself off, and the animal, rolling down the precipice, was 
killed on the spot ! 

I had hoped to make a very fine collection of seeds on 
the road down here, but it sleeted and snowed all the first 
day, and rained tremendously all the other two, which sadly 
impeded my proceedings. However, I did my utmost, and 
have ripe and good seeds of many very fine things, of which 
I send a few samples. I am now collecting seeds as fast and 
hard as I well can, and losing no opportunity. 

The tardy advance of the whole flora is most remarkable, 
and many plants actually ripening their seeds, and uniformly 
past flower at 15-16,000 feet are still in full flower at 7-10,000. 
The reason plainly is, the further north you go the more sun- 
shine there is. ... 

On the way down I passed an uncut maize field at 7000 
feet very high for the culture of that plant and I stole 
several hermaphrodite heads. The villagers made an outcry 
at first, as they appear to know the value of the male panicle, 
but a sick woman turning up whom I doctored, gave me 
the run of the field as fee, and a pocketful of small, hard, 
tasteless peaches. . . . 

I brought down three loads of 80 Ibs. each of plants whose 
sodden state now keeps me hard at work. It is a very fine 
collection after all, with heaps of new and curious things 
from the Passes. The roads, mere tracks at best, were in 
a horrid state from landslips and deep mire, and I do wonder 
how my coolies made it out in three days, but they are all 


the best and most patient coolies you can conceive, never 
complaining. . . . 

I have just had the big tin vasculum up from Calcutta, 
at which you shook your head so gravely. The Lepchas are 
charmed with it, and there will be a competition as to who 
is to carry it. You have not an idea how bulky the undried 
plants of these climates are ; the otherwise wry large vasculum 
I use does not hold half, hardly one-third morning's collec- 
tion. As to drying paper, you know I stow well, yet that 
ream of Bentall's paper does not suffice to lay in one day's 
collection, nor near it, if you take woody with other things. 
You may well wonder how I get on ; it is only by changing 
and drying papers every day. Bentall's is not nearly so 
good as the sugar refining paper I bought at Calcutta, and 
of which my stock cost 15. But after all good English 
brown paper is the best for all plants, as Mr. Brown always 
said. . . . 

You will be glad to hear that I quite got over my head- 
aches at great elevations and most of my other distressing 
symptoms, and I would not hesitate going to 20,000 feet if 
the mountains were but accessible so high. Still the lassitude 
is trying, and a sort of weight, like a pound of lead, dragging 
down the stomach, probably caused by over-action of the 
lungs straining the diaphragm, or diminished atmospheric 
pressure actually relaxing that organ and causing the ab- 
dominal viscera to drag heavily downwards. It is a horrid 

Boiling point is a perfect nuisance at these elevations, 
and the Barometer is the only useful, accurate, or simple 
method. You must have a man to carry the wood and 
often the water too ; blowing the fire gives intolerable head- 
aches, without blowing the best wood will not burn owing 
to the deficiency of Oxygen (i.e. rarity of the air) ; and if 
there be any wind (as there is sure to be) the temperature 
never comes up to the true B.P. 

I have just had dinner (for which and all other mercies 
including the safety of poor Campbell's neck, who writes 
affect ingly on the subject and says he is spared a little longer 
to love me as a brother). To return to the dinner, it was 
a fine grouse tasting strong of Juniper tops, followed by 
the peaches, all I can say of which is, that if Loti were no 


better Plato (I think it was Plato ?) might have let his pupils 
eat their fill. A very large leech presented himself as the 
bell rang, to whom I did not refuse the rites of oriental 
hospitality, laying salt before him with alacrity. 

The servant I left here has caught some beautiful butter- 
flies and splendid beetles. I have rewarded him with fifteen 
shillings to buy a garnet-colored Bhothea cloak which is his 
[heart ]-eating envy, and in which, with his long hair parted 
down the middle and beardless face, he looks like an auld 
wife at Kilmun Kirk. . . . 

You will I fear think this a very childish letter, but 
really I have little news and can think of nothing but ' the 
Campbells are coming.' My little finger too is hurt and I 
cannot write much. 

Lachoong (village) : October 25, 1849. 

What do you think we spent four days in Thibet ! 
in spite of Chinese guards, Dingpuns, Phipuns, Soubahs, 
and Sepas. It was a serious undertaking and required a 
combination of most favourable accidents, together with 
my previous acquaintance with the country, and a most 
indomitable share of resolution and boldness. Campbell 
has behaved splendidly, and diverted me by throwing all 
the sage precepts he sent me to the winds. He has frankly 
told me that he did not, could not, believe the real nature of 
the opposition and ill-treatment I had received ; he had 
not been two days with me before he was storming and 
bullying right and left. The unfortunate Singtam Soubah, 
with whom at C.'s intercession I had kept such good friends, 
he gave no peace to, blackened his face, and sent him to the 
Durbar in disgrace. 

On arriving at Tungu an hour after C. I found him at a 
drawn battle with the Phipun, my arch-enemy, and quite 
astonished that the ruffian cared no more for himself than 
he did for me, or the Eajah, or anybody else under the sun. 

After fully weighing the possible consequences of 
breaking through the border and perhaps exposing the 
Eajah to menaces from China, &c., we determined to do 
it if possible, and we told the Border Chief that if he dared 
to oppose we would send a guard of Sepas from Darjiling 
to close the Pass. This threat, and promise of a present 
if we succeeded, got the man over, the Singtam Soubah 



(lord of all the district) being conveniently packed off in 
disgrace two days before. Our great ally was the Tchebu 
Lama, the Eajah's representative at Campbell's court, a 
man of intelligence and vigour, who had been dreadfully 
misused in Sikkim by the enemies of the English who sur- 
round the Bajah's park. This man we absolved from all 
participation and consequences, offering him an asylum 
and provision at Darjiling should the worst come to pass. 

On the Border we were met by two Thibetan Sepas, 
who made a terrible row and endeavoured to stop us, with- 
out laying hands however on our bridles. They met us in 
Sikkim, swore that it was Bhota (Thibet alias Cheen), a 
lie of which we took advantage when really across the 
border. Then a terrible row was kicked up and the Cheen 
camp came out running after us with boots, matchlocks, &c. 
The Lama and Phipun both got frightened and implored 
us to stop for a conference, to which Campbell properly 
acceded, and I put spurs to my pony and galloped ahead on 
to the sandy plains of Thibet, determined to stay away all 
day and see what I could, for there was no good I could do 
by waiting with C., who could make no retrograde motion 
whilst I was ahead. Two Sepas started in pursuit of me, 
but Campbell kept them back with his stick till I was out 
of sight and of catchable distance. The elevation, 17,000 
feet, was such that my pony was soon knocked up and I 
pursued my way on foot up the Lachen, at the back of 
Kmchin-jhow, over dry sandy stony dunes, with Carex, a 
little grass, tufts of nettles, Ephedra and a thirsty looking 
Lonicera ? a few inches high. Proceeding N.E. from 
Kongra Lama I had long, stony, rolling mountains on the 
North and East, and to the South the stupendous snowy 
mass of Kinchin-jhow rose plumb perpendicularly from the 
sandy plains. Finding the country so traversable I thought 
it the best thing I could do to follow the Lachen to its source 
near the Donkiah Pass, as that would be our route out if 
Campbell should succeed in getting the coolies and himself 
past the guard, and because I had difficulty in making C. 
believe that I could and would guide him through the waste 
with compass and sextant if he only could and would break 
the frontier. Later in the day I arrived at Cholamo lakes, 
within sight of the Donkiah Pass, but my pony was so 

IN TIBET? 311 

knocked up that I had great difficulty in dragging him after 
me. At the lakes I refreshed him with some tufts of green 
Carex and led him back, suffering much from headache 
as the sun was intensely hot, and a little exertion brings on 
headache at these elevations (nearly 18,000 feet). 

Late in the evening I met Campbell's party, viz. the 
Lama and Phipun, looking for me ; they told me that 
Campbell had gallantly pushed through thirty Sepas armed 
with matchlocks, that no hands were laid on him, but on 
our coolies (we had no Sepas nor arms), who of course were 
much frightened ; that Campbell having shot ahead and 
I too being gone, he, the Lama, took on himself to point 
out to the Chinese officer that if either of us died for want 
of our tents, &c., it would be a terrible affair for the officer 
above all, who should have taken us alive rather than stop 
our men. The coolies were then allowed to pass on too, 
and came up at night suffering terribly from the dry heat, 
sun and dust and elevation. The Lama then went to find 
Campbell, who had mistaken the way towards Donkiah, 
and soon came in full of spirits and gave me a most ludicrous 
account of the mixture of fright and obstinacy and force 
the Chinese Sepas displayed. 

In the evening the Chinese followed us, the Dingpun, 
or Lieutenant, riding on the top of a black Yak ! surrounded 
by pots, pans, bags and bamboo bottles of buttermilk, a 
tent, blankets, &c., all bundled about his Yak, and he on 
the top of all like a gipsy on a laden donkey. He was a 
small withered man, in a green coat, with a gilt button on his 
Tartar cap ; behind came the Sepas, enormous ruffianly 
looking men, dressed in blanketing, each armed with a 
pipe, a long knife, and a long rude matchlock lashed across 
his stern. These matchlocks are slung at right angles across 
the hip ; they are very rude, long, with a pronged support 
or rest ; the latter folds up with a hinge and projects like 
antelopes' horns beyond the muzzle. Such ungainly imple- 
ments across their stern parts were comical enough looking. 
They marched in orderly, took no notice of us, and camped 
close by. We tented in a low cattle enclosure on the bare 
plain, burning Yaks' dung for fuel. The cold was intense 
and wind violent and dusty, sky brilliantly clear. 

We determined to stay a day or two where we were, at 


all hazards, and sent word to the Dingpun that we would 
condescend to receive him if he would visit us ! next morning. 
This he did promptly, and we explained to him that it might 
be all very right and proper for him to obey the orders 
of the Lhassa Govt. and prevent (or try to) Englishmen 
passing from one Sikkim Pass round through Cheen to 
another, but that it was all stuff and we did not feel our- 
selves bound to respect their prejudices. Also we added 
that . . . 

(Here the letter ends abruptly, the only addition is) 
Singtam, Nov. 1, Eipe Abies Webbiana, 3 packets sent. 

The return to Choongtam prefaced the long planned 
treachery of the Sikkim Dewan. 

Meepo, the guide, met them here, with orders to take them 
to the Chola and Yak-la passes in East Sikkim, a way leading 
over the same ridge (the Chola range) as the Tunkra pass already 
explored, across Chumbi, a wedge of Tibet running between 
Sikkim and Bhutan. 

The road passed the Eajah's residence at Tumloong, and 
here Campbell desired an official audience of the prince. But 
although they were welcomed by the principal people and the 
Lamas as well as the populace, the meeting was prevented by 
the Amlah or Council, one and all relations or adherents of the 
Dewan, who directed them from Chumbi, where he was trying 
to stir up strife in Tibet. 

On November 4 they left Tumloong for the Chola pass. This 
they ascended on the 7th, but were turned back by a Tibetan 
frontier guard on the plea of ' no road.' This guard was not only 
polite, but protected the travellers from the sudden insolence 
of a number of Sikkim sepoys who unexpectedly came up. 
No less unexpected was the re- appearance, lower down the 
road, of the troublesome Singtam Soubah, who had quitted 
them three weeks before, short of the Kongra Lama pass, 
obviously ill at ease, and demanding a conference with Campbell, 
a conference naturally deferred till the evening's camp. Here 
was waiting a great party of Bhoteas, the rough, intractable 
element of Sikkim. They did not wait long. The night was 
very cold ; the people crowded into the hut where Hooker and 


Campbell were waiting. The latter went out to see to the 
pitching of the tents. 

He had scarcely left, when I heard him calling loudly to 
me, * Hooker ! Hooker ! the savages are murdering me ! ' 
I rushed to the door, and caught sight of him striking out 
with his fists, and struggling violently ; being tall and 
powerful, he had already prostrated a few, but a host of 
men bore him down, and appeared to be trampling on him ; 
at the same moment I was myself seized by eight men, 
who forced me back into the hut, and down on the log, 
where they held me in a sitting posture, pressing me against 
the wall ; here I spent a few moments of agony, as I heard 
my friend's stifled cries grow fainter and fainter. I struggled 
but little, and that only at first, for at least five-and-twenty 
men crowded round and laid their hands upon me, rendering 
any effort to move useless ; they were, however, neither 
angry nor violent, and signed to me to keep quiet. I retained 
my presence of mind, and felt comfort in remembering that 
I saw no knives used by the party who fell on Campbell, 
and that if their intentions had been murderous, an arrow 
would have been the more sure and less troublesome weapon. 
It was evident that the whole animus was directed against 
Campbell, and though at first alarmed on my own account, 
all the inferences which, with the rapidity of lightning, my 
mind involuntarily drew, were favourable. 

Soon the Singtam Soubah returned, ' pale, trembling like 
a leaf, and with great drops of sweat trickling from his greasy 
brow,' with the Tchebu Lama under arrest. He explained the 
seizure of Campbell as a political hostage, to be kept till the 
supreme government at Calcutta should confirm articles to 
which he should be compelled to subscribe. How would 
Campbell behave ? What steps should Sikkim take to secure 
their end ? Hooker refused to answer till informed why he 
himself was made a prisoner, whereupon the Soubah went away. 
Campbell was knocked about and tortured by twisting of the 
cords that bound him, especially by the scoundrel already 
mentioned who bore him a grudge ; but he disconcerted the 
Soubah by declaring that whatever he might say or do under 
compulsion, the Government would not confirm it. The 


Soubah's followers slunk away, and the Soubah himself left 
Campbell, who was then taken, much bruised, to his tent. ' It 
is Tartar fashion to catch and coerce a great man when they 
can,' and the Dewan had arranged for Campbell's seizure from 
the day he crossed into the country, three months before. But 
his tools were too timid, Hooker's popularity too great for 
arrest in the capital itself, where they were to be quietly de- 
tained unknown to the Kajah, till the Dewan returned from 
Chumbi. Here he had failed in his attempt to involve the 
Tibetan guard in his aggression, an attempt which drew down 
upon himself the anger of the Tibetan authorities when they 
investigated the affair next summer ; while at the Chola pass 
the personal animus of his henchmen, delighted to outrun the 
letter of their instructions, created an impasse for which they 
were speedily disgraced by their master. 

The plan failing, they were utterly dismayed, having 
committed a gross outrage on Campbell's and my persons 
from which no imaginable good could come. The only 
course remaining was of course to trump up a new story 
and to detain us as hostages for no ill befalling them 
pending the Government's taking active steps for our 

Unfortunately they were so simple as to let out all their 
secrets to me, when trying to gain information from me by 
all manner of means, and over and over again gave me the 
Rajah's assurance that no fault whatever had been or could 
be laid at my door and that Campbell's offences were wholly 
political. Now, C. having Govt. sanction and approval 
for all his supposed offences, they do not know what to do, 
and urge our trespass on the Thibet frontier in the hopes 
that Govt. will commit itself and take up that grievance 
against us. 

This Dewan [writes Hooker, December 28, 1849] is an 
alien and universally detested ; powerless except through 
his gang of Bhotean ruffians, who are runaways from their 
own land, and whom he protects, and who protect him. 
He is a man of some energy, and finds it easy to ride rough- 
shod over the simple and indolent Lepchas. He rules the 
old chiefs with an iron rod, monopolises trade, and is the 


bitter foe of the English. All the summer he spent in 
Thibet, vainly trying to incite the Chinese to make common 
cause with him and drive me out of Sikkim and back to 
Darjeeling. This was the origin of his conduct to me at 
the Zemu river in May, June, and July. The Eajah is an 
old, timorous, and inoffensive being. The priests are all 
friendly, and hold Campbell and the British name in high 
respect ; and the Lepchas are fond of us to a man, and 
would gladly transfer their allegiance to us if we would only 
protect them. 

Force had first been used against Hooker to prevent him 
from giving help to Campbell ; he was offered good treatment 
and presents, but refused such marks of respect so long as his 
friend was ill treated, and warned the Soubah of the conse- 
quences that must follow. 

Writing in the first days of his captivity (November 12 : 
the letter was not despatched till considerably later)/ in the 
forlorn hope that this letter may reach England,' he tried to 
reassure his father : 

My bonds are not very heavy, and I am under no appre- 
hension either on my own or Campbell's account. I was 
seized in the hope of extracting information from me (by 
intimidation and otherwise) as to what course these stupid 
people should pursue. In this, I am happy to say, they 
have utterly failed ; and I think they are so nonplussed, 
that they will not detain me much longer. Campbell is 
very strictly guarded. I am much better off; and have 
so very many friends among these poor people (to an evil 
faction among whose rulers this is attributable) that I hope 
and believe I can be useful. ... I am altogether prohibited 
from approaching or communicating with Campbell, but 
he and I keep up a capital correspondence. My hand 
is so fatigued with copying out his Despatches to Govt., 
for I dare not send the originals by this opportunity, 
and sending a copy of my Journal for Hodgson to forward 
to you, that I can write no more. The said Journal H. 
will send you a copy of at once. I also so very much doubt 
this reaching you that I do not care to write much hereby. 
My old friend Meepo sticks well to me, and will I hope get 


this on to Darjeeling, where a demonstration from the 
military will effect our release at once. The Kajah has not 
fifty stand of arms, nor fifty men to handle them. 

I have now to beg and implore you not to make a stir 
about this. I have never deceived you nor my Mother and 
entreat you to remark that all I say on the score of my position 
not exciting any apprehension of my safety, is strictly true, 
and to make it otherwise is mere romancing. I am allowed 
the free use of my instruments, plants, and books, and am 
busy and well occupied all day long. 

I have heaps of letters written and writing, Bentham, 
Berkeley, Darwin, &c., but send only this by this chance. 

After an interview with the Amlah, or council, on Nov- 
ember 13, however, he was allowed, to his great satisfaction, 
to join Campbell, though they were both ill fed, and later 
horribly overcrowded, as unsuspecting messengers arriving 
from Darjiling were thrust into their narrow quarters ; while 
their own coolies were starved or arrested. 

The Dewan at last arriving from Chumbi on the 20th to 
find that his stroke had miscarried, professed anger and surprise. 
In sober fact, he had no conception how seriously the Indian 
Government would regard what he persisted in calling a 
mere mistake, which should be overlooked by both parties ; 
Campbell's vigorous representations had their effect, and speedy 
release was promised ; but a communication couched in mild 
terms arriving from Darjiling, where thereal facts w r ere unknown, 
complications with distant Tibet were feared, and an immediate 
incursion expected to the great amusement of Sikkim spies 
the Dewan was seized with a diplomatic illness, and nothing 
was done. Peremptory orders from Calcutta for their release 
were disregarded as not bearing the Governor-General's great 
seal, for Lord Dalhousie was in Bombay ; and captivity, as 
shown by the following letter (received February 3), became 
more trying. 

To Miss Henslow 

December 2, 1849. 

I am in great anxiety till I hear whether the report of 
Campbell's and my death has reached England ; for we 


know that the Eajah purposely circulated the tale of his 
having compassed our destruction, and that it was believed 
in India. Now, we have, happily, no cause for apprehension, 
but every reason to hope that our captivity is drawing to 
a close. 

My durance here has been somewhat of the vilest. 
Certainly the Sikkimites have left no way untried of making 
Campbell and me as wretched as possible. We are not allowed 
to stray ten yards from this miserable hovel in which we 
are immured, and we are debarred all correspondence and 
the power of laying our complaints before our own Govern- 
ment, or even before the Eajah. These people actually 
converse in lies, they think in lies and I verily believe 
that any appeal they may make to their own consciences 
is answered by a lie. Their utter mental degradation and 
distortion are inconceivable. I speak of the Bhotea authori- 
ties. The Lepcha population are a better set ; they sym- 
pathise with us and show us many a little kindness by 
stealth. The Lamas, too, who are somewhat more enlightened 
than their rulers, are coming forward to a man, and repre- 
senting to the Eajah the peace and comfort in which they 
lived under Campbell's sway ; also that the Eajah is literally 
breaking his own head, for that when this outrageous conduct 
is answered, (as it must be and resented) by an appeal to 
arms, these people will assuredly come off second best. They 
have no muskets, their bows they handle very awkwardly, 
their long knives will be useless against Artillery. These 
warnings have already alarmed the Eajah, especially as 
we echo the same tale ; he would be thankful now to be 
rid of us, but how to do so is the question ! He has com- 
mitted himself fatally by the violence used towards our 
persons ; and as to the complaints he alleges against Camp- 
bell's public acts, the Superintendent, already appointed 
at Darjeeling, pursues, and will pursue, the same line of 
conduct, nor could Campbell alter if he would. 

You would have been highly diverted by our schemes, 
especially for corresponding with one another ; for Campbell 
and I were confined separately and debarred all commu- 
nication. My Lepcha boys were so clever that we never 
failed to get little wisps of paper conveyed to and fro between 
us. Now that we are together we get on much better, and, 


although guarded, and closely watched by an ever-present 
spy, we never make ourselves unhappy. 

Our only communication with the Durbar (Court) is 
through our spy, a truly odious being. He is perfectly made 
up of malevolence and falsehood, to practise which is his 
main occupation. He is a filthy squinting Bhotea, who drives 
away every one who comes near us, and causes our poor 
coolies to be flogged, when they approach the door to beg 
a little food from our small stock. We are, of course, more 
than civil, nay, we are kind to him, but he is equally un- 
touched by our kind deeds and our remonstrances. Many 
a base scurvy trick he has played us and misrepresented our 
conduct to the Eajah, who treated us ill enough and starved 
both Campbell and me for the first fortnight ; as he does 
our poor followers to this very hour. I suppose the evil 
animus this vile fellow (who rejoices in the name of Toba 
Singh) exhibits against us constitutes his recommendation 
in the Eajah's eyes. Happily neither he, nor any one here, 
can speak English, so my friend and I talk with perfect 
freedom, only using conventional names for persons. We 
call the Rajah Prince, the Dewan Butcher, Toba Singh Evil 
Eye, and so on. 

Hodgson is our good angel now. Though his health 
almost imperatively requires him to go to the Plains, he 
stays at Darjeeling, in order to serve us by communicating 
with Government, threatening the Eajah, looking to the 
defences of Darjeeling, and comforting poor Mrs. Campbell 
and the few inhabitants who yet remain at the Station. The 

ostensible manager there is the brother of ; he thinks 

, (and is allowed by Hodgson to think) that he does everything, 
but he is a wholly inefficient person, and quite incompetent 
to stir a peg without the impulse, counsel, and correction of 

From the middle of November, however, permission had 
been given to write to their friends, though even before their 
arrest, a whole packet of letters had been destroyed. Hooker 
accordingly sent a private account of all that had happened 
to Lord Dalhousie, then at Bombay, with instant effect. Troops 
were hurried up to Darjiling ; an ultimatum despatched to 
the Eajah. Military force was a message the Dewan could not 


pretend to misunderstand ; his vague promises of relief, his 
alternate boasts of the glories of Lhassa and peddling offers 
to sell them ponies cheap took on another tone. Propitiatory 
messages and gifts arrived from the Kajah and Eani, and the 
prisoners set out for Darjiling on December 8 under the charge 
of the Dewan, ' as slowly as he could contrive to crawl.' Mes- 
sengers bearing Lord Dalhousie's despatch met them on the 
13th, but still the Dewan, with his ponies and his merchandise, 
with which he yet hoped to do a roaring trade at Darjiling, 
loitered and talked and chaffered and allowed his bodyguard 
to make a parade of threatening the lives of his captives, 
till on the 22nd he halted in a state of hopeless vacillation 
within sight of Darjiling and its new barracks, twenty miles 
away, and shaken by the knowledge that the Eajah's peace 
offerings had been rejected. There was one last alarm. Nimbo, 
Hooker's sturdy Bhotea Sirdar, the special object of the Dewan's 
anger, had broken from prison, and with his chain still hanging 
to his ankle, had managed to reach Darjiling, and now threatened 
to lead a party to the rescue. Their attack would have been 
the signal for the murder of the prisoners. 

Christmas Eve brought opportunity for a final stroke of 
diplomacy ; the morrow was the great and only ' Poojah ' of 
Englishmen, when they all met ; it would be well to let Camp- 
bell join his relations and appease the exasperated soldiery. 
The Dewan, equally afraid to lose his hostages and to keep 
them, at last, with extreme reluctance and bad grace, consented. 
By 4 o'clock they were at the frontier, the bridge over the 
Great Eungeet, and by 8 safe in Darjiling, where, in addition 
to the rest, Hooker found his old friend and new travelling 
companion, Thomas Thomson, already awaiting him. 



PUNITIVE measures against the Kajah were not very ad- 
mirably carried out. Instead of the friendly chiefs being 
invited to Darjiling, the Kajah was bidden to come in and 
surrender, bringing the guilty parties with him, on pain of 
invasion. But when he failed to comply, and indeed to 
bring in the guilty was beyond his power, the threat was not 
carried out. 

The army camped for some weeks on the north bank of 
the Great Eungeet, the Dewan with his handful of followers 
being on the hill not three hours away, and finally with- 
drew, while for penalty the fertile Terai lands, the British 
gift to the Kajah, were resumed, his pension withdrawn, 
and Southern Sikkim annexed. The fidelity of the Tchebu 
Lama was happily rewarded with money and a grant of land 
at Darjiling. 

From his intimate knowledge of the country, Hooker was 
in a position to give sound counsel when asked, and to perceive, 
if he could not always correct, various false steps taken by 
the temporary administration ; but he intervened as little as 
might be in matters which were not his proper concern, and 
his chief satisfaction lay in the eventual release of one of his 
men who was reported to have been murdered, and in the fact 
that thanks to his clear account of the affair, Lord Dalhousie 
acquitted Campbell of blame, and re-appointed him with wider 
powers than before. 

For a short time the military preparations threatened to 



upset Hooker's plans ; his brief share in the abortive campaign 
appears in the following letter to his mother, dated January 
31, 1850 : 

Before the time of the General and staff coming up here 
I was asked repeatedly whether I would go into Sikkim 
with the troops ; I always say I did not wish to nor want 
to, but that if the General showed good cause for desiring 
it I would think upon it. Volunteer I could not and would 
not, being in another service and receiving pay from my 
own Govt. for very different work. Tom and I both 
went away from the station when the General was coming, 
but he had not arrived a day before he wanted me and 
sent the most urgent message through Campbell. I there- 
fore returned about ten days ago, and found the old gentle- 
man, Genl. Young, all in the clouds, as to carrying out 
his orders of occupying Sikkim with a military force. Mean- 
while 14,000 men, Sepoys and Europeans, had come up 
with headquarters of one Eegt., guns, a whole staff of 
officers, and nothing but the ' horrid din of arms ' was to 
be heard. 

Genl. Young is a very nice old gentleman and greatly 
obliged to me for my counsel, maps, and information, which 
settled him to march as soon as possible and take the Eungeet 
bridge. Both he and Mr. Lushington (the special Com- 
missioner) begged me to conduct the troops which I refused 
except they sent me a written request specifying the urgency 
of the occasion, which I should forward to H.M. [Com- 
missioners of] Woods, &c., and meanwhile take upon me the 
responsibility of acting with heart and good will under 
the General's orders. I objected on Thomson's account 
who had corne so far to see me, and he was immediately 
put into orders for medical duty in the detachment (advance 
guard) with myself. This is a capital arrangement, for it 
gives him time of service in India instead of leave which he 
is now upon, and every hour taken off the time he will have 
to spend in India on his return after furlough is so much 
added to his life. 

I went down with the troops the other day and took 
possession of the bridge over the Great Eungeet and camped 
some 500 men in Sikkim. As no further advance was to be 


made at once I returned to my plants at Darjiling, but 
expect to be summoned down very soon again now. No 
opposition of any kind was made to us, and I doubt if there 
will be any, so you need be under no alarm on my account. 
Under any circumstances it appeared to me so clearly my 
duty to undertake the service that I did so without any 
hesitation and have no fear for the result. Except Campbell 
and myself no one knows anything of the country, and hence 
the marching of the troops without good guidance would 
be most unadvisable. Campbell is so much the aggrieved 
party that he could not with propriety go to attack the 
Kajah's country ; I, on the other hand, have no ill-will (nor 
has C. for that matter), the people, I know, are friendly to 
and fully trust me, they would far rather make overtures to 
me than to soldiers with guns in their hands, and with the 
heartiest desire and determination to bring things to a peace- 
ful issue if possible, I do hope my presence may be useful. 

The orders at present are to march to Tumlong and 
occupy the capital, for the Eajah refuses to give himself up 
or to offer any adequate concessions for his conduct. Many 
of the people I know from private sources are all ready and 
willing to come over to Darjfling, and only want our assurance 
that they will not be molested to grant a peaceful march 
to our soldiers. This they now have and appreciate. The 
Dewan has only thirty men to oppose us with and they 
will not help him, the Eajah has no army nor is he trying to 
raise one, so that he will probably flee at our approach. 

It is said that the Eajah has sought succour from Thibet, 
and has received for answer that he has only got his deserts. 1 

1 The expedition was abandoned, because the general, from his experience of 
the Nepaul campaign, reported the country as 'impracticable for British troops.' 

In 1861 another punitive expedition was organised against the same Rajah 
for acts of violence and aggression on our territory. A staff officer engaged 
on this campaign wrote afterwards to the Standard (August 13, 1862) apropos 
of Hooker's military services : 

' In 1859-60, on iny way between Calcutta and Darjeeling, I studied Dr. 
Hooker's most interesting and valuable work, Himalayan Journals, which I 
found to be a most perfect staff officer's report, containing accurate informa- 
tion on every point that could be useful to the commander of an expedition, 
regarding hills, valleys, elevations, distances, rocks, soil, trees, vegetation, roads, 
rivers, bridges, productions, inhabitants, their character, climate, seasons, &c., 
and accompanied moreover by an excellent sketch map, which the government 
copied and furnished for our use. 

' For the time that the force was in the field the work was as hard as has 
ever been performed by any force ; but the rapidity of its movements and the 


Dangers and troubles once over were characteristically 
treated as of small account, and in December 28 he writes to 
his mother : 

You see, by the above date, that I have, as usual, lighted 
on my legs and am safely escaped from the Kajah's clutches. 
Not that I think my own personal danger was ever very 
imminent ; but the man who could commit one such rash 
and mad act (as the seizing and maltreating us), might be 
capable of doing what is really far more unlikely. 

The whole affair has been naturally exaggerated at 
Darjeeling, and so, into the Indian newspapers. My kind 
friend, Mr. Hodgson, especially, was possessed with the 
most dreadful alarm due, I am well aware, to his intense 
solicitude on my behalf. He imagined all sorts of horrors, 
and attributed our capture to the Chinese authorities, whom 
he supposed to resent our having crossed into Thibet. He 
verily believed we should be carried into' Lhassa perhaps 
to Pekin, in a wooden cage in short, he conjured up all 
sorts of chimerse which, happily, did not enter our heads. - 

He concludes with a very light touch : 

I am dreadfully busy, as I need hardly tell you ; and T. 
Thomson is an invaluable help. Hodgson says I am fat, 
and that my looks are a disgrace to the Eajah's prison house ! 
Campbell is robust and rosy. The new baby is to be named 
Josephine. 1 It is very small and much the colour of blotting- 
paper, like all the little babies I ever saw ; but some mothers' 
eyes have a property of neutralising that tint, as yours must 
have done, for you say I was a fair and white infant ! 

Similarly, to his uncle T. Brightwen, whom he thanks for 
a timely gift of new razors, ' now first used upon our truly 

complete success of the expedition, which elicited the warm thanks and highest 
expressions of approval of the Governor- General in Council and of Lord Strath- 
nairn, who was then Commander-in-Chief, were owing in a very large degree 
to the perfect information regarding the people and country afforded by Dr. 
Hooker's work, and which was not obtainable from any official source. 

f I am, sir, your obedient servant, 

See also ii. p. 183. ' G.' 

1 He writes to his mother, April 27, 1850 : ' Josephine was christened the 
other day, I answering all the responses I could in conscience, which does not 
include all the Church of England formulae.' 


patriarchal countenances,' he adds, * though a close prison 
and heavy threats are not pleasant, still I fancy such books as 
Gonfalonieri's and Andryale's are indebted to a doleful imagina- 
tion for much of their interest/ 

Though for some months he confessed to being ' over- 
whelmed with Sikkim politics/ a return to his own pursuits 
was made all the pleasanter by the knowledge that his action 
was approved by Lord Dalhousie, who wrote him * the kindest 
letter that ever gentleman penned,' and that, while the news- 
papers reflected on the conduct of all others concerned, he 
' alone came off with high credit.' 

For nearly three months he and Thomson were hard at . 
work ' for hard work it really is ' preparing the collections 
to go home, filling up gaps where specimens had been lost, 
and completing the Sikkim flora by a visit to the foot of 
the hills. Thomson, fresh from exploration and botanising 
in the North-west Himalayas, was astonished by the magni- 
tude of the collections, which by March ' form a huge mass, 
some 100 men's loads, and I am sure you will be pleased with 

Altogether my collections are very handsome, though 
what with the Eajah's tricks and the horrible climate I 
have lost a great many of my large things, as Palm 
plants and fruits, &c., which were to have been dried 
whole for Museum specimens ; these I am replacing as 
fast as I can, and Thomson being in the jungles, get on 
v very well. 

The latter was with the military, surveying the new boundary 
and choosing healthy positions for outposts. The forests 
continued to supply new plants. One budget contained seeds 
of 1000 species ; others equally large followed. There were 
100 kinds of woods, including all the Pines and most of the 

My specimens of Palms were each twelve feet long, and 
the new ones I am getting are as large, but the old ones 
almost all rotted though kept in a room with a constant fire 
during last rains. 


There were also 

whole specimens of Rhododendron nivak from 18,000 feet, 
the loftiest of all shrubs, and hitherto of any known plant, 1 
but I have several species of plants from above that, curious 
half spherical balls of an Alsinea 2 growing in Thibet at 18,000 
feet, like our old friend Bolax. 3 

Indeed the Himalayan heights were full of new marvels. 

Donkiah is a wonderful place ; 19,200 feet is the altitude 
of the Pass, and plants to 200 feet of top, Lichens to all 
but 20,000 feet. Wait till you see my colored sketch of 
Thibet. Jorgensen's works are moonshine to mine. 

1 This plant is described as follows in Hooker's Rhododendron Book : 

Snow Rhododendron. 

The hard woody branches of this curious little species, as thick as a goose- 
quill, straggle along the ground for a foot or two, presenting brown tufts of 
vegetation where not half a dozen other plants can exist. The branches are 
densely interwoven, very harsh and woody, wholly depressed; whence the 
shrub, spreading horizontally, and barely raised two inches above the soil, 
becomes eminently typical of the arid stern climate it inhabits. The latest- to 
bloom and earliest to mature its seeds, by far the smallest in foliage, and pro- 
portionately largest in flower, most lepidote in vesture, humble in stature, rigid 
in texture, deformed in habit, yet the most odoriferous, it may be recognised, 
even in the herbarium, as the production of the loftiest elevation of the surface 
of the globe, of the most excessive climate, of the joint influences of a scorch 
ing sun by day, and the keenest frost at night, of the greatest drought followed 
in a few hours by a saturated atmosphere, of the balmiest calm alternating 
with the whirlwind of the Alps. During genial weather, when the sun heat.s 
the soil to 150, its perfumed foliage scents the air ; whilst to snow-storm and 
frost it is insensible, blooming through all, expanding its little purple flowers to 
the day, and only closing them to wither after fertilization has taken place. 
As the life of a moth may be indefinitely prolonged whilst its duties are unful- 
filled, so the flower of this little mountaineer will remain open through days of 
fog and sleet, till a mild day facilitates the detachment of the pollen and fecun- 
dation of the ovarium. This process is almost wholly the effect of the winds ; 
for though humble-bees and the ' Blues ' and ' Fritillaries ' (Polyommatus and 
Argynnis) amongst butterflies do exist at the same prodigious elevation, they 
are too few in number to influence the operations of vegetable life. 

The odour of the plant much resembles that of ' Eau de Cologne.' Lepidote 
scales generally rather a bright ferruginous-brown, wholly concealing the 
ramuli, foliage, &c. Leaves one-eighth to one-sixth of an inch long, pale green. 
Corolla, one-third of an inch across the lobes. The nearest allies of this species 
are R. setosum and R. Lapponicum, from which latter it differs in its smaller 
stature and solitary sessile flowers. 

This singular little plant attains a loftier elevation, I believe, than any other 
shrub in the world. 

1 Arenaria rupifraga, Fenzl. 

3 Bolax glebaria, the Tussock grass of the Falklands. 
VOL. i y 


The Khododendrons by themselves claimed separate notice. 
The first part of the new book, 1 drawn up by his father from 
material sent home by him, had just arrived, following the 
eulogistic reviews, so eulogistic that they aroused Hooker's 
mistrust as well as his curiosity. 

To return to our Rhododendrons : I have further com- 
pleted and copied out all the descriptions ! together with a 
catalogue raisonne of the Indian ones known to me. It took 
me fifteen days' hard work, which I did most grievously 
grudge, and thought worse than my captivity, and assure 
you it needed all the stimulus of seeing, for the first time, 
the Book itself, to keep me on to the weary hackneyed 
Ehododendrons. As to the said book, it is above all notice 
from the like of me. The plate of E. argenteum likes me 
best ; and that is not I think to be surpassed for drawing, 
perspective, colouring and portraiture, by Bauer's Banksia. 
It is a far grander and better book that even I expected, 
after all its panegyrics ; and I am most heartily obliged to 
you for giving me the lion's share of the honors, which should 
by rights be as much your own as is the Victoria book. 2 

And he tells his mother of an appreciation from ' perfect 
strangers ' which he confessed was very gratifying. 

All the Indian world is in love with my Ehododendron 
book, and extracts from my Tonglo journal, which I sent 
to the Asiatic Society Journal, have been praised in all the 
public papers. (August 8, 1849.) 

The map of his travels was another labour to complete. 

I am so busy with my plants that I grudge working at 
the Map, and yet it must be done, whilst the materials and 
references to my note-books are fresh in my mind. 

January 23. 

Hodgson had got a map partly ready to send by this 
mail, but it is so very foul that both Thomson and myself 

1 The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya. (Edited by W. J. Hooker.) 
1849-51, 14 x 7, pp. 30, pi. with descriptive text. Fol. 

2 Description of ' Victoria Regia,' LindL, or Great Water Lily, by Sir Wm. 
Hooker, 1837. M. D'Orbigny claims that he was the first to gather specimens 
in 1828 in the Province of Corrientes, in a tributary of the Rio de la Plata. 
Poeppig called it Euryak Amazonia, 1832. 


think it better to retain it at present, and I will do my best 
to get one ready for February post, but really these are works 
of no ordinary labour, and I do dislike doing things in an 
inferior manner to what I can do them. 

By the 30th, however, 

I had just finished for you an excellent large map of my 
wanderings, but have thought it proper to give it to Genl. 
Young, who was all abroad as to how to dispose of the 
troops now marching into Sikkim. 

July 18. 

My map of Sikkim has been copied at the Surveyor 
General's office. Thuillier is greatly pleased with it. I have 
given it to the Govt. as they wished it, but Thuillier sends 
you overland either the original or a facsimile. Lord D. sent 
for it and expressed himself most kindly and flatteringly ; 
it is the first and last of my performances in that line. As 
a topographical map I hope it will do me credit, it is as 
full as I could make it with accuracy, and I have the materials 
for working the elevations of 5 or 600 places over the surface, 
as also full ones for making it geological, botanical, and 
meteorological from the plains to 19,000 feet of elevation 
in one direction, and to 16,000 along the Northern, N.E. and 
N.W. frontiers. 

After all this was not the last of the Indian map-making ; 
in November he made a map of the Khasia Hills, which he 
visited during the autumn, and this 

I finished this morning (Nov. 26, 1850) ; a very poor affair 
it looks. Thuillier will send it you with a copy, after he 
has copied it for insertion into the General Atlas of India. 
That finishes my survey work, I am glad to say. The work 
has cost me great time and labour, but I do not admit that 
it was so much time taken from Natural History, for I have 
had plenty of that too, as much as I could well put up 

His experiences, shown graphically in the map, revolution- 
ised current theories about the geography of the Himalayas, 
in which the veteran Humboldt was so deeply interested. 


I no longer regard the Himalaya as a continuous snowy 
chain of mountains ; but as the snowed spurs of far higher 
unsnowed land behind, which higher land is protected from 
the snow by the Peaks on the spurs, which run South 
from it. 

It is singular that Thomson and I have, independently, 
arrived at precisely the same novel conclusions as to the 
great features of the Himalayan Eange its Glaciers, Geo- 
logical structure and Epochs, Snow Line, &c. 

For the rest of his travels in India, there were to be no more 
long months of solitary journeying. ' T. Thomson is with me 
at last/ he cries joyfully on returning from captivity. Thomson, 
like himself, was the son of a Glasgow professor ; they had 
been fellow students. He too had travelled in Tibet, and had 
been a prisoner amongst Asiatics one of the Ghazni prisoners 
in 1842. ' He parted from me in 1839, when we quitted England 
respectively for India and the Antarctic Ocean, and he was the 
first to greet me on my arrival in Darjiling.' He had fallen 
ill on his way to join his friend, for six weeks, but now, by the 
end of January, 

he has so wonderfully recovered that we walked together 
from Khasing to Darjiling, 25 miles, in 6 hours, uphill 3000 
feet. Still he looks thin, grey and very old. ... I cannot 
return the compliment when he assures me that I look 
fatter and younger than I did ten or eleven years ago 
(in 1839) ; for he is grown extremely like his father, and 
has literally quite as many white as black hairs upon his 

Hooker's praises of him as ' a most pleasant companion, very- 
clever, (he always was,) and generous too, devotedly fond of 
Botany and a famously hard worker, a regular Planchon for 
acuteness, but with twice the steadiness of character and none 
of the little Frenchman's crotchets,' culminate in the description 
* the most valuable friend, certainly, I ever formed.' Their 
vast collections they proposed to work out together, when 
they returned to England ; but even thus early a more 
ambitious scheme 'floated before them, and Hooker urges his 
father to engage a certain well-trained assistant for them, 


* especially if you project a Flora Indica, at which Tom pricks 
up his ears with a will.' 

To Hooker it was a great relief that the Borneo project had 
fallen through, after the death of Lord Auckland, who had 
arranged it. Apart from escaping that very unhealthy climate, 
there was a great advantage in having opportunity to complete 
a knowledge of Indian botany, albeit with emptier pockets. 
Thomson, however, to join in the expedition, had to sacrifice 
a year of his long-looked-for furlough ; certain departmental 
friction was too strong to be overcome, and neither his recent 
illness, nor his scientific work, past or prospective, availed to 
let him count this period as Indian service. 

The trouble in Sikkim at the first blush seemed fatal to the 
prospect of future travel so near as Nepaul. But good feeling 
was undisturbed. * The Nepalese are so fond of Campbell 
and me that they even offered to come and rescue us from the 
Sikkimites ' (January 2), and Lord Dalhousie continued to 
think the expedition feasible and did his utmost to bring it 
about. Jung Bahadur was passing through Calcutta on his 
way to pay an official visit to England. A meeting was arranged, 
and in the middle of March Hooker joined him and the Governor- 
General in hopes of receiving permission to start as soon as 
the weather served, in April. But though very friendly, Jung 
Bahadur was unwilling that Europeans should travel in 
Nepaul whilst he was absent and unable to protect them. 
Next year, certainly, on his return, but not this. Hooker, 
however, was unwilling for various reasons to stay out another 
year, though 

Lord Dalhousie entreated me, the last thing before we 
separated, not to give up the project . . . even offered me 
a companion, but I refused, saying that I would not choose 
to go with any one of whom I knew less than of Thomson. 

Accordingly the alternative was adopted, of a journey to 
Assam and the Khasia Hills. As to Bhotan, ' I would not go 
there for the world, without 500 men in front of me and as many 
in the rear.' ... As between Nepaul and the Khasia Hills, 
the botany of the former could not be very different from that 


of Sikkim, its chief interest being in its botanical geography 
and the eclat attending the traveller who traversed it from 
end to end ; as to the latter, ' doubtless its vegetation is richer, 
though not so novel as that of Nepaul,' for it had been visited 
several times. (March 18, 1850.) 

But the balance is finally struck with fair contentment 
(April 27) when a new actinometer and telescope had arrived 
and been tried. 

I could wish they were going with me to Nepaul instead 
of the Khasia Mountains ! Still I really believe the latter 
country is the best in a botanical point of view both for my 
companion and myself, and it is certainly far the most 

And the journey justified itself. He writes on August 8th : 

I have here the means of making extraordinary collec- 
tions : had I remained in Sikkim, the same expedition would 
have procured no more plants. 

Accordingly in mid-April he returned the weary five-days' 
journey from Calcutta to Darjiling, to make ready for the 
start, having 

been so much out and about Calcutta that I am very sick 
and weary of it. Greater kindness no man could receive 
than I have, but it is a killing sort of kindness that requires 
the compression into fourteen days of the good feeling of all 

of which he says in a ' sadly idle gossiping letter ' of April 6 
to his mother : 

On the whole the society is more entirely agreeable than 
any I have ever mixed in. There is very little personal 
feeling shown, and there is much more real friendliness and 
kindness amongst the people than in your starched circles 
at Kew, where one feels far more patronized than shown 
attention to for your own sake, or from any desire of 
cultivating an acquaintance. Hospitality is here literally 
a ruling passion, and I am sure that I know twenty houses 


in Calcutta, into which I should go unasked and be sure of 
a hearty welcome ; indeed I may say I have been asked to 
be the guest of more than that number of families. 

A few thumbnail sketches of character, mostly Indian, may 
be added from the letters of these days ; the last, with its note 
of self-reproach for too easy condemnation of unobservant 
stupidity, is especially noteworthy. 

I see by the newspapers that was married. I 

sincerely congratulate his family upon it ; he is now provided 
for, and he had not talents for a profession, interest for a 
sinecure, nor industry enough for anything. I pitied him 
for his circumstances as much as I liked his really amiable 

Mr. X. was a civilian and known as * Jemmy Blague,' the 
greatest liar in all India. His brother, Col. X., inherits the 
title, and says of himself that he killed so many Beloochees 
at Meanee, that Sir C. Napier had to stop him and took 
away his sword, when the gallant Colonel doubled his heroic 
exploits with the scabbard ! 

I have begun to like Capt. Y. in spite of his want of 
sense. He is a truly kind-hearted fellow and neither captious 
nor vain. When walking with me the other day, he men- 
tioned that during three years of his childhood he had been 
stone blind. I was very much struck with this, and I felt 
ashamed of the harshness with which I had spoken of him. 
True I never dreamed that what I said would ever come to 
his ears ; perhaps, too, if he had enjoyed the use of four 
eyes all that time he might not have profited by them ; 
still, we really know very little of what we are doing when 
we pass harsh judgments upon others and condemn their 
conduct, and I felt tacitly rebuked for my want of charity. 



THIS, the fourth and concluding expedition, lasted nine months. 
A start was made on May 1, 1850. A six weeks' boat journey 
took them down the (northern) Mahanuddy, an affluent of 
the Ganges, across the great delta at the head of the Bay of 
Bengal, then past Dacca, and by the course of the Ganges, the 
Bramahputra, and the Soormah to Chattuc and Punduah at 
the foot of the Khasia Hills. From this point first elephants 
and then an army of 110 coolies conveyed the travellers and 
their belongings to Churra, on the mountain tableland, on 
June 12. On September 13 they left for the eastern part of 
the plateau, and on November 17, having made an exhaustive 
collection, including 2500 species of plants and 300 kinds of 
woods, descended to Cachar, beyond Silhet. Lack of time and 
tribal warfare prevented entrance into the botanically unex- 
plored valley of Manipur. 

Cachar was left on December 2 for Silhet, where four days 
were spent, and Chattuc, whence on the 9th a fortnight of 
boat brought them to Chittagong. Here a botanical excursion 
was made to the north, and plants were collected apparently 
unknown since Eoxburgh's time. But the higher hills were 
inaccessible, for the head-hunters were very active, and had 
taken thirty heads from one Bengali village the week before. 
Setting out again by boat on January 16 they reached Calcutta 
on the 28th, and leaving on February 7, arrived once more in 
England on March 25, 1851. 

The first part of this eastward journey, what with the bad- 
ness of the boats and excessive indolence of the crews, a ther- 


DACCA 333 

mometer. ranging between 95 and 106, and scenery destitute 
of all interest, was ' miserably slow and very uncomfortable 
to boot.' 

We have been alternately winding through narrow 
channels, tossing in vast river beds, bumping on sandbanks, 
or lying, moored to cliffs of sand and mud, waiting for fair 
weather or calms. Scarcely a tree has been visible for days, 
and then came wretched cottages, accompanied by clumps 
of Mango and ghostly Palms. . . . The desertion of our 
crew compelled us to put into Pubnah for a few hours. You 
will scarcely believe it, but these people are so lazy and 
capricious, that our Headman and the crew actually ran 
away from their own boat, (a large covered luggage craft, 
80 feet long) leaving it to be the property of nobody, (i.e. 
our property if we chose) ; so we had to hire other men at 
Pubnah, and brought it on to Dacca. 

A fresh picture appears with the city of Dacca. 

The dwellings of the English residents are truly mag- 
nificent, as much so as at Calcutta, with richer gardens 
and more beautiful prospects. The streets are open and 
clean, and this is literally the first Indian town I have seen 
where you can drive along the public ways without grievous 
offence to the nose. [The narrow-fronted native cottages of 
mud or plaited matting, running back fifty feet from the 
street, with their eaves dipping nearly to the ground at the 
corners, looked all roof.] In these hovels the famous Dacca 
muslins used , to be worked : they were wonderful fabrics, 
of which they say that you could not see them when out- 
stretched on the dewy grass, nor distinguish them from 
gossamer, when floating in the air. Aurungzebe reprimanded 
his daughter for appearing en deshabille, when she was really 
wreathed from chin to toes in one hundred yards of muslin. 
The manufacture has long been given up, or nearly so, but 
now there is a fitful revival, owing to the order given for 
the Grand Exhibition of 1851. For this, Dr. Wise 1 is collect- 
ing the article, materials and implements : the latter are 

1 Thomas Alexander Wise (d. 1889), appointed Assistant Surgeon in Bengal 
1827, founded Hugli College and was its first Principal, doubling the work with 
the Civil Surgeoncy of Hugli 1836-9. Appointed Secretary to the Council of 
Education, afterwards Principal of Dakka College, retiring in 1851. 


so simple that he justly remarks that it would require two 
natives to accompany them, in order that they should afford 
any degree of instruction to the public. 

Dacca, which now has been restored to the position of a 
provincial capital, in 1850 presented ' the aspect of a tolerably 
well preserved and most extensive ruin,' still richly adorned, 

all the houses are, or were, white- washed and stuccoed, 
much decorated, even the humblest ; columns, friezes and 
arabesqued pediments, often extremely pretty, are every- 
where seen ; their ornaments strangely recalling what 
upholsterers and architects term Byzantine at home. I 
took for granted that this style was introduced by the Mussul- 
man conquerors from the West ; for Dacca rose to glory 
under Aurungzebe ; but I am afraid that it is all borrowed 
from the ancient Hindoo Capital of Eastern Bengal, of which 
but a single street remains, twelve miles distant, and now 
buried in jungle. Certainly, I have neither met nor read 
of anything like it in India, for here there are none of the 
ugly variously constructed pillars, nor those of bulging form, 
or twisted like a rope yarn, which to my untrained eyes, 
'seem typical of Hindu architecture. Nor are you offended 
with the gaudy colours, Peacocks, Elephants and vile defor- 
mities which appear on the friezes, capitals and every part 
of the Hindu temples. Grotesque figures are rare, and the 
running patterns and scrolls are elegant and quite similar 
in general character (so far as I can judge) to the Greek. 
The ruins of the more strictly Mohammedan buildings 
Mosques and Tombs are picturesque, and the damper climate 
does not accelerate their falling to dust, as in Western Bengal. 
Grass and climbers quickly bind and conceal the heaps of 
rubbish ; while shrubs and Ferns spring from the shattered 

The Khasia mountains presented a great contrast to the 
Himalayas in other respects as well as in their small elevation 
of some 6000 feet. The long table-topped ranges were very 
precipitous, with roaring cataracts pouring over their scarped 
flanks, which rose from the plains like walls, the valleys receding 
in amphitheatres of cliffs. On the ascent from Punduah, 


the scenery was splendid, far more beautiful than any part 
of the Himalaya, and much more Brazilian in character ; 
with groves of Areca Palm, fine rocks and a better mixture 
of brushwood and large trees than the complete forest of 
the Sikkim Himalaya presents. The vegetation was quite 
different, everything new to us. 

The outstanding features were the heaviness of the rainfall 
and the abundance of plant life. At the very start they filled 
nearly a ream with the plants collected on their walk from 
Punduah before breakfast. 

To Us Father 

June 21, 1850. 

Scattered Pandani and the wonderful Stonehenge-like 
tombs of the natives are the arresting objects of the view ; 
the former quite out of the places with which we associate 
their presence ; the latter singularly in harmony with the 
moorland scene, whether as recalling the Druidical remains, 
or the erratic boulders of our own bleak open counties in 
England and Scotland, they are wild uncouth objects. 

Of the weather ' most horrible ' is the term, I believe, 
for all the time between May and October ; we are con- 
sidered to be singularly fortunate in getting out to any 
distance for seven days out of ten for the first three it 
rained a deluge ; and then the said clearance commenced, 
which is unprecedented in the memory of the oldest inhabi- 

Thick fog and torrents are the prevailing character, 
the rainfall equalling often in forty-eight hours the whole 
annual English fall. The statements are incredible, and I 
have set up my rain-gauges to see for myself ; it is windy too, 
which is bad for me, as the rain gets on my spectacles and 
stops work ; the damp is of course ruinous. 

With half a dozen collectors at work and three good coal- 
fires burning in the drying bungalow, it was very hard work 
for Hoffman (his servant) and six men to get the plants 
changed and papers dried daily. 

I had no idea [he continues] of the richness and variety 
of the Flora, nor can you ever have of the bulk of tropical 


plants, which, as I always say, puts the ordinary vasculum 
hors de combat in an hour ; as to your notions of drying 
paper 80 Ibs. is not a great collection for one day, and one 
and a half ream of paper to put them in (Tom adds * at the 
very least '). Compared to the 4500 feet of Sikkim Himalaya 
(to which these mountains botanically answer), the latter is 
literally a poor botanising country ; but again we have 
here no region like the 5-10,000 feet of Sikkim, nor of the 
Arctic of 10-17,000 feet. 

Our collections, including those of this morning, amount 
to 1176 species, gathered since leaving Dacca ; of which 
800 were gathered since we quitted Punduah this excludes 
all the species we found in these hills which we had gathered 
in the plains, and a great mass of un-numbered things out 
of flower. I am safe in saying that 1000 species might be 
gathered within five miles of Churra in a week. 

Hodgsonia is in fruit and quite a different plant from 
the Sikkim one ; so it is well you have stopped its premature 
debut, as the confusion of plants and plates of ^Roxburgh's 
and mine would have been a terrible business. I have a 
fine fruit in spirits for you ; it is not ribbed, and differently 

Despite the rains and the limitation of local supplies, both 
friends kept well and hearty. 

July 20, 1850. 

Tommy Thomson and I get on capitally together and 
pray tell Aunt Harriet, with my love, that he can still ' eat 
through anything ' as well as your well-appetised son. We 
are getting on very comfortably here. Mrs. Inglis, of Churra, 
sends us every day, by the post which goes on to Assam, a 
tin with a fresh loaf of bread, pat of butter, and a muffin ! 
We get plenty of fowls and eggs, and occasionally vegetables, 
but little or no milk : for these savages, the * Khassya ' 
people, though they keep cows, haVe a prejudice (not religions) 
against milk ! I think this is almost a unique feature in the 
human race. We are extremely busy, as you may suppose, 
more so than we ever were before, and are making enormous 
collections of plants, but have much less time than we could 
desire for the microscope and examination, still less for 
drawing and none for other pursuits. The climate is cool 


and excellent ; the thermometer is hardly ever up to 80, 
or falls below 68, at midsummer. 

Darjeeling cannot compare with Churra 500 inches and 
more (i.e. upwards of 40 feet) of rain fell last year at Churra. 
I do not doubt that it is the rainiest climate in the world. 

Nunklow : July 11, 1850. 

Here Tom and I have arrived at our furthest North from 
Churra, all beyond this being very unhealthy. It is very 
tantalising to be stuck up here, literally within one day's 
horse ride of Jenkins, 1 whose dwelling at Gowhatty we can 
almost see ; but the intervening Terai is deadly at this season. 
I have written to ask if he can send me an Assam native of 
tolerable cunning who will get me the Palms and Bamboos 
from the Terai. I have already thirteen species of Bamboo 
from Churra and ten from Sikkim : I believe those of the 
two countries to be perfectly different. Unfortunately 
they never flower, and I am determined with Tom's help, 
and by obtaining gigantic specimens, to describe them by 
habit, leaf, etc. 

August 23, 1850. 

What with Jenkins' and Simon's collectors here, twenty 
or thirty of Falconer's, Lobb's, 2 my friends Kaban and Cave 
and Inglis' friends, the roads here are becoming stripped 
like the Penang jungles, and I assure you for miles it some- 
times looks as if a gale had strewed the road with rotten 
branches and Orchideae. Falconer's men sent down 1000 
baskets the other day, and assuming 150 at the outside as 
the number of species worth cultivating, it stands to reason 
that your stoves in England will still be stocked. The only 
chance of novelty is in the deadly jungles of Assam, Jyntea, 
and the Garrows. I am therefore not spending my money 
on Orchideae collecting but rather on Palms, Scitamineae, 
&c., which are more difficult to procure and not sought 
after by these plunderers. Oaks I will attend to, but they 
are most troublesome, as not one in a thousand is worth 

1 Col. F. Jenkins (ft. 1833, d. before 1884) became Major-Gen. H.E.I.C.S. 
and Commissioner of Assam, the botany of which he investigated. He sent 
large collections of Assam plants to the Natural History Society of Cornwall. 
Jenkinsia Acrostichum was named after him. 

2 Thomas Lobb (ft. 1847) was a botanical collector for Veitch in India and 
Malaya. The genus Lobbia Planch, was named after him. 


The vast extent of the collections and the amount of labour 
to be expended upon them at home appears from the following : 

Thomson's collections went home in April by the * Welling- 
ton ' in 28 boxes, directed to the India House. One box 
contains his books ; he gave the whole collection to the 
' India House,' being unable to pay the carriage of his own 
private ones, formed previous to the Thibet mission, to 
Calcutta. If Government do not do something, nothing 
can come of either Tom's or my collections ; they cannot 
even be housed without. The collection you will receive (I 
hope have received) per ' Queen ' will form at the outside 
one quarter of the bulk of what I shall have, and we are now 
packing in much larger paper layer over layer of plants to 
suffocation. How Bentham would storm, I often think, 
but we can neither afford paper, nor room, nor carriage. 
Luckily they are beautifully dried and all large specimens, 
but the separation will require great space, time, and un- 
remitted labor. 

We left the hills on the 10th, and I had the pleasure of 
seeing all stowed safe away in a large boat hired to send all 
to Falconer's from Punduah. The dried plants in 70 bales 
are camphored and put up like bales of cotton in gunny 1 
tight and dry. I could get no boxes. The woods, Palms, 
Bamboos, &c., are similarly put up, but, being very large, 
some 10 feet, they got a ducking going down the hill on 
men's backs. I hope none are injured and they had all 
dried when I followed them. Seven Ward's cases are full 
of Palms, Pines, a few Oaks and Larch, Nepenthes, &c. 
The Palms look splendidly ; amongst them a new species 
of Wallichia, 20 feet high. There are also boxes with smaller 
things and bottles with fruits and flowers of more than 
800 species of plants in spirits. 

As to the Calami and Bamboos, I ticketed them, wrapping 
the tickets up in folds of paper, but I doubt their surviving ; 
and I do not see how they can be made available for the 
museum, except by Thomson or myself. The same may be 
said of the woods, tree-ferns, &c., which can only be worked 
up with the herbarium, and that will be a work of great 
time and trouble. I wish very much that the Government 

1 A coarse material used for sacking, made from jute fibre. 


would give me a house at Kew for the collections, and 
a small salary to engage my working them up for the 
museum and public, and leave me to get a publisher who 
would illustrate, and over whom I should have some hold 
by having the offer of my Journal. I should greatly prefer 
this to having a grant} for publication made to me. I shall 
never write well for profit, and would willingly give all 
my materials, scientific and popular, to the publisher, 
seeking no profit, but exercising a control over the amount 
of ' illustration ' to be given to both Natural History and 

Friends at home were more than ever eager that the vast 
results of the Indian labours should not be thrown away. 
Dr. Wallich offered his help if Hooker and Thomson should 
take up a Flora of India, joining with them as a preliminary 
in revising the Indian Herbarium at the Linnean. Hooker, 
in reply (June 12, 1850), tells of the hard measure meted out 
by the E.I.C. to Thomson, though he had lost all his splendid 
outfit and collections in the Cabul campaign, and of his own 
slender prospects from the Admiralty and the Geological Survey, 
the latter ' involving work he will not undertake again for the 
price,' though he hoped for some readjustment for the sake of 
a position he much liked. 

To Dr. Wallich 

June 12, 1850. 

Other expectations I have none but a wife to maintain, 
and expensive appearances to keep up. 

As to writing a book of travels, or working up my 
Geology, Physical Geography, or Meteorology I have no 
thoughts of it. 

Wealth I do not seek ; but it is absolutely necessary 
that I be placed in unembarrassed circumstances to carry 
out the Fl. Ant. and Flora Indica ; it were not expedient 
that I should have even the Geological Survey Work. 

Eeputation is a very fine thing, and Botany a very 
charming science, but neither will keep the pot boiling in 
that land of constraint and restraint England where my 
prospects are distraint for window-tax and poor-rates, if 
the Woods and Forests will not give me a barn at Kew. 


My 400 here is, with prudence, equal to 800 in 
England, it has been more than that to me, but this year 
my expenses will be very great, nearly tripled. Had I 
my life to live over again, it should be in India that, 
however, is not the question. I am homeward bound this 
cold weather to slap my empty pockets up and down 
Piccadilly, and sponge upon my friends at the Oriental 
for a dinner, since you inhospites, Athenaeum, will not lay 
a plate for a stranger. 

So here, my dear Wallich, is a good growl for you, after 
which I feel better, but not the less of a mule. 

Thomson is the most good-tempered and -humoured 
fellow you can imagine, and no one can be more full of zeal 
and love of Botany, nor more willing to work ; but the 
Flora Indica may go to Shaitan before we tax ourselves with 
such a responsibility under such wretched prospects. 

To his Father, 

It is easy to talk of a Flora Indica, and Thomson and 
I do talk of it, to imbecility ! But suppose that we even 
adopted the size, quality of paper, brevity of description, 
&c., which characterise De Candolle's Prodromus, and we 
should, even under these conditions, fill twelve such volumes, 
at least ; though excluding any word of English or not 
upon distribution, particular habitats, Remarks on structure 
or aught else. About eighteen years of fair work would 
be needed, for I should not approve of any portion being 
so slightly executed as Decaisne's Asclepiadeae, Choisy's 
Convolvulaceae, and Alphonse De Candolle's various orders ; 
and I further think that the plan of distribution is carried 
to excess. Our friend, Mr. Bentham, is truly the only 
first-rate Monographer of the present day. If therefore 
Thomson and I are to write a Flora Indica, we ought, 
I think, to be considered competent to do it all, or 
nearly all, except the Cryptogamia. That the East India 
Company will not come forward with money to aid the 
publication, you may rest perfectly k assured. It may give 
Thomson military allowance, and he will be well content 
with that. It may also take copies, and by so doing, first 
raise up a Publisher, and then ruin him by distributing 
gratis copies to those who would, otherwise, be purchasers. 

i. 340] 

From a Sketch by William Tayler, 1849. 


Our Government may assist by granting me a small salary, 
or connecting me with Kew, so that I may have leisure 
to work, and thus it may stop my clamorous mouth ; but 
neither our Government nor the E. India Company will 
give a sum, in any way proportioned to the work. What 
would a thousand pounds be, for a job, the labour of which 
must stretch over fifteen years ? And I trow they will 
never award loth a salary to me, and money for the work. 

The question may be simplified by merely asking what 
is to become of my materials, MSS., and collections, on 
my return ? I cannot undertake their arrangement, much 
less their publication, unless I am settled. If it be at all 
practicable, I desire to push for a house and small salary, 
attached to the Garden, and at once, because (firstly) Mr. 
Aiton's is now vacant, and (secondly) because the magnitude 
of my collections requires to be considered and accom- 
modated. (Thirdly) because the money might now be 
granted as the continuance of an allowance hitherto enjoyed 
by a man, already in the service of the Government, and 
who has done his utmost to please his employers. They 
surely could never cast me wholly off, on my return ? 
(Still, there seems on other grounds an evident leaning 
that way) But it must be surely remembered that I have 
hitherto received nothing in the shape of salary, and that 
every shilling has been spent in collecting and on travelling 
expenses. I do not much relish the idea of a Government 
Grant towards the cost of publication. It might only leave 
us in the lurch, as was the case with the Flora Antarctica. 
And supposing that Fitch's services should be no longer 
available what sort of a predicament should I be in then ? 

The Admiralty, as you are aware, give me a salary and 
a grant, and the Woods and Forests, or whatever body may 
employ me, cannot (I should hope) do less. A salary would 
be far better for me than a grant as enabling me to work up 
my Journals ; they cannot otherwise be given to the world. 
For such books as the work on Rhododendrons and its con- 
tinuation, I shall grudge neither the plates nor the little 
trouble requisite to draw up the descriptions. But when 
such work is involved as the laborious publication of my 
Journals, of a systematic botanical work, or of the scientific 
results of various kinds, arising from my travels, I must 



find myself placed, at least, in independence, before I can 
even begin. I already feel something of the Burchell l spirit, 
and nobody need be surprised if (the necessary and just 
stimulus being withheld) I should lapse into such a condition 
as his so far as my collections and materials for publication 
are concerned. 

1 William John Burchell (1782-1863), the great explorer in S. Africa 
(1810-15) and Brazil (1826-9), published only a part of his S. African results. 
On his return with yet richer material from Brazil, the Prussian Government, 
it is said, offered him a handsome pension if he would settle with his collections 
in Berlin. This he refused, but his hopes of getting them published in England 
were bitterly disappointed. 



THE end of the Indian journey brought up the same problem 
as had arisen at the end of the Antarctic journey. What was 
the next step to be, and what arrangements could be made 
for the publication of the scientific results by the Government 
who had sent out the expedition ? Government help, he 
held, might be given to working out research, but not to the 
endowment of researchers as such. As he puts it to his mother 
(August 8, 1849) : 

Mr. S. is very clever, but one wants hard-headed, working 
men now-a-days, and Government pay should be doled out 
according to the amount of national profit, pleasure or 
advantage yielded by the science to the Public in general, 
and not to physiologists in particular, or philosophers. You 
need not apply this to me. I offer no excuse for myself 
and court no favour. 

Hooker had always thought it proper to complete in India, 
apart from the voyage out or home, the three years for which 
his grants were allowed. That the last year was to be spent 
in India instead of in Borneo was in every respect good for 
him save as regards finance. If he was left to pay for his 
passage home the arrangement did not err on the side of 
liberality. He still received 300 from the Woods and Forests 
instead of the 400 for the two preceding years, but lost his 
full naval pay (200), time of service and naval allowances, 
together with the free passage home which, under the Borneo 



scheme, would have been his with the rank of surgeon on 
board the Maeander. 

Peeling that he could manage on his allowance, he had 
refused while in Sikkim to apply to the Indian Government 
for any grant in aid of his costly and laborious expedition to 
the snows, or to allow Hodgson to appeal on his behalf ; but 
Campbell, before a similar disclaimer could reach him, had 
made representations to the Government, who generously 
granted him 100 to cover the cost of feeding his coolies, subject 
to the approval of the East India Company. However un- 
willing to ask, he was much gratified in accepting the proffered 
grant, and was free to spend the more on his collections and 
on scientific instruments. His total expenditure was 2,200 ; 
the official allowances were 1,200 : the remainder was con- 
tributed from his own and his father's purse. 

As for a permanency in the future, he had no wish to take 
up such a post as the directorship of the Botanical Gardens 
in Ceylon, offered to him on the death of his friend Gardner 
in 1849. Indeed his constant wish was to be settled at Kew. 
His father was short-handed. His former curator, Dr. J. E. 
Planchon, 1 had left him suddenly : ' Citoyen Planchon ' or 
simply ' the Citoyen ' as he was playfully nicknamed, Planchon 
of whom Hooker writes home amid the Kevolutionary breezes 
of 1848 : 

I hope Planchon won't be going to Paris now ! He will 
be drawn (for a soldier) and quartered (not in Barracks), if 
he does not take better care. I doubt if the Eepublicans 
are so civil as were Napoleon's soldiers, who, at the battle 
of the Pyramids, gave the word, ' au milieu, les femmes, 
les anes, et les savants.' 

The little man, to whom the Hookers were much attached, 
was a paragon of botanical acumen, winning a second nick- 
name from the ' a touche ' with which he invariably clinched 
a botanical argument ; it was the highest praise to call T. 

1 He afterwards attained great eminence as Professor of Botany in Mont- 
pellier, where in his researches on the Phylloxera he discovered the only cure 
for this pest namely, the grafting of the ordinary vine on the nearly immune 
stocks of American species. 


Thomson * a regular Planchon for acuteness.' But, with all 
his cleverness, he was, it seems, flighty and unstable, and he 
had unaccountably broken with Kew and the friends to whom 
he had expressed such gratitude and devotion. 

An assistant [writes Hooker to his father on Feb. 1, 1849] 
is now your chief requisite, and I wish I were at home to 
help you in this and other matters. It is the only draw- 
back to ray thorough enjoyment during my journeyings, 
that you should miss me in some cases where two pairs 
of eyes and hands, nay two whole heads and bodies are 

And he urges his father to engage at once a man who seems 
suitable, using his Navy half-pay to secure him rather than 
lose the chance of an honest, careful, industrious man. 

Soon after his return to England a long standing anomaly 
in Sir William's position at Kew was remedied. Though 
Director he had had no official residence in the grounds ; the 
great herbarium, which was one of the scientific mainstays 
of the Gardens, was his private property. He had brought 
it with him from Glasgow ; it was the one valuable inheritance 
he could leave to his son, and at his death was liable to be 
removed or dispersed if that son had not the means of main- 
taining it at Kew or elsewhere. Until 1853, for all its public 
utility, it was housed and maintained at his private expense 
in the * three-storied, many -roomed ' house at West Park, 
two-thirds of a mile from the Gardens, 1 ' a very pretty, genteel 
and comfortable residence ' (in Dawson Turner's Johnsonian 
phrase), which, exclaims Hooker, ' has always been an incubus 
to me, so large in itself, while still your collections and Her- 
barium are outgrowing it ! ' These, with the study and 
artist's room, occupied thirteen rooms, while Sir William's 
expenses all along far exceeded his official salary. 

At length, however, a change came about. First, the 
house in the Gardens belonging to Aiton, the late super- 
intendent, fell vacant at his death in October 1849. It now 

1 The grounds of West Park, 7 acres ia extent, are now occupied by the 
Kew and Richmond Sewage Works. 


was offered as the semi-official residence of Sir William, the 
thrifty Government, however, proposing to charge him 100 
per annum as interest on the capital cost of the new Herbarium 

All my Indian friends lift up their hands with amazement 
at it. . . . But it is an immense advantage that the Govern- 
ment can have it to declare that you put them to no expense, 
but that, on the contrary, you give them what interest they 
choose on their money. 

For some reasons [he writes home to his father, February 
28, 1850] I shall regret West Park, a very pretty and nice 
place ; and most of all I shall regret leaving it on poor 
Mamma's account, who will lose her pets of cows, poultry 
and pigs. Bessy will miss the garden, and I the wall fruit 
and the long gravel walk, which I have always cherished 
the memory of, for dear old grandpapa Hooker's sake. But 
really I never could endure the big house, without servants 
enough to answer the bells punctually, and in the rooms 
of which it was impossible that a dozen persons could be 
collected together with comfort. ... I must add to the 
catalogue, the difficulty of getting to town from West Park, 
of sending to hire a Fly, or that perpetual trial to my temper, 
the waiting an hour for an omnibus, or the missing it (perhaps 
both), and iii the rain, may be ! The weary walk from our 
house to church, all in the mud, for Mamma, the want of any 
neighbour who can come and spend an evening hour with 
my sister, and my own midnight trudges from the omnibus, 
perhaps from Hammersmith, in case of my own staying at 
all late in town. 

The plan dropped, till in 1855 another Crown house fell 
vacant by the death of Sir George Quentin, Riding-master 
to the family of George III. This became the official residence 
of the Director. It faced the Green and had its back in the 
Gardens. But it could not accommodate Library or Herbarium. 
Fortunately another large house close by was now available. 

This was a house which had been purchased by George III. 
in 1818, at Banks' suggestion, to provide for a Herbarium 
and Library to be attached to the Royal Botanic Gardens. 
One of the rooms was already shelved for books. But the 


death of both in the same year cut short the project, and in 
1823 George IV. sold house and grounds to the nation. In 
1830 William IV. granted it to the Duchess of Cumberland 
for her life. From 1837, when the Duke succeeded to the 
Throne of Hanover, it was known as ' The King of Hanover's 

Now it reverted to Banks' purpose. Herbarium and 
library were placed here, and formally made accessible to 
botanists, while the Government assumed the cost of main- 
tenance and provided a scientific curator. 

True that from Sir William's first days at Glasgow, his 
botanical treasures ' had been open to botanists, as was its 
owner's hospitable table to visitors from a distance.' Neverthe- 
less to the condition first proposed that the Herbarium should 
be thrown open to the public, while its owner paid for its up- 
keep and a curator, the younger Hooker demurred ; Sir William 
had already halved his income by leaving Glasgow for Kew, 
and such a step meant surrendering to the Crown all private 
rights in this valuable property without adequate return. 
Possession of it, moreover, was an excellent lever to use in 
the gradual reorganisation of Kew from a semi-private to a 
wholly national establishment, the official home of botany 
with scientific and popular interests fairly adjusted, the centre 
to which lesser botanical centres should be correlated with 
due subordination. This transition clearly could only be 
effected through the Hookers, father and son, who owned 
so much of the material and were ready to enlist their un- 
rivalled powers under the Government in the service of science 
and the nation. 

Two important pieces of work under Government auspices 
now lay immediately before Hooker. One was to complete 
the botany of Boss's Voyage for the Admiralty. So far he 
had only published the Flora Antarctica in two quarto volumes 
(1847), with 200 plates out of the 500 for which an official grant 
of 2 each was made to cover the printer's bill. There remained 
the Floras of New Zealand, Australia, and Tasmania, and he 
made the usual application for his half-pay as Naval Surgeon 
to support him'^while completing this Admiralty work. This 


was granted for three years. Thus a great part of his labour 
was unremunerative. Nearly ten years later, however, he 
was agreeably surprised by a grant of 500 from the Admiralty 
in recognition of his l zeal, perseverance, and scientific ability 
in his botanical services ' ; quite a new feature in his relations 
with My Lords Commissioners. His account of this appears 
in a letter to Huxley (I860), who responds : * The Admiralty 
affair pleases me very much. It is only right and just, but still 
I think you may well be gratified. Justice does not always 
come in so pleasant a form.' 

To T. H. Huxley. 

DEAB^H. My vanity will not stand the holding this 
back from you. I must confess to being amazingly Itickled 
after twenty-two years' service of sorts, at receiving a hand- 
some and spontaneous expression of unqualified approbation 
from my Lords of the Foul Anchor. I had made the applica- 
tion in due form for the small arrears (of three years' pay) 
that was due (for nine years' work) ; and just by way of 
not throwing a chance away, in spite of my wife's laughs, 
I sent a crackling cartridge of foolscap with a statement 
of the length and breadth of my works and pay. I said 
nothing of quality, the Navy being the only service in which 
I never saw a fellow do good by praising himself. I made 
no grievance. I used no influence of any kind or sort or 
description, nor did my Father. Washington 1 immediately 
took the matter up and sent me a dozen queries from my 
Lords ; I answered all categorically, some three months 
ago and lo the result ! 

His second great task was to work out his Indian collections. 
They had been made for Kew under the auspices of the Woods 
and Forests Department, which governed Kew, and unless 
worked out, arranged, and housed, were, like his Zoological 
collections on the Erebus, just so much labour thrown away. 
To this end he desired application to be made to the Depart- 

1 John/Washington (1800-63), Rear-Admiral, entered the navy in 1812 and 
travelled much between 1822 and 1853 : Secretary of the Royal Geographical 
Society 1836-41. He was engaged on the East Coast Survey 1841-7, and 
became F.R.S. 1845, Assistant Hydrographer and Hydrographer 1855-62. 
He was Hooker's companion on his Syrian exploration. 


ment through his father for a continuance of the 400 a year 
originally granted him in India, and the tenancy, at whatever 
rent was usually asked, of one of the Crown 'houses hard by, 
unoccupied at the moment, where he could live and keep his 
collections, in close touch with all the materials for reference 
at Kew. It was surely the duty of the Department, whose 
commissioned officer he had been, to see that the work com- 
missioned should be adequately completed. 

This view of the case, however, his father was at first 
unwilling to adopt. However great Joseph's services had 
been, however deserving of later furtherance, the Department, 
he thought, had entirely fulfilled its duty by the simple grant 
of the sum originally asked for the Indian expedition. Any- 
thing more must be a matter of favour, not of due. Was 
the Department in arrears for the amount of its last year's 
grant ? He offered his own purse instead ; and prepared 
to make an appeal ad misericordiam, much to his son's mis- 

All this [the latter writes to Bentham, April 2, 1851] 
is due to his excess of modesty ; it is equally certain that 
he looks on his own Crown salary as mere kindness on 
the part of Govt. to himself, and that the fact of his 
liking his work and being willing or able to hold his post 
at half pay, would justify the Crown in cutting it down so 
much, should they wish to be just rather than liberal as they 
are in his opinion to himself. 

Indeed it was rather a question of himself wanting aid, 
what with his broken health, the often trying Garden duty, 
and the extension of the Herbarium and Museum beyond his 
powers, while he saw ' the great accumulation of scientific 
objects which are gradually being consigned to oblivion in 
favour of showy articles.' But this was a subject which his 
son could not broach to him ; it must be left to older friends 
like Bentham or Henslow. 

But Sir William consented to delay making the application 
till he had consulted with these old friends ; and meanwhile 
the presidents of the various learned Societies spontaneously 


deputed Lord Rosse, 1 President of the Royal Society, Robert 
Brown, the botanist, representing the British Museum, and 
William Hopkins, 2 President of the Geological Society, to 
press the Government on a matter of so much importance to 
science. By the following spring, just a year after his return, 
these representations produced their effect. The Department 
authorised the grant for three years, to the end of 1854. 

Meantime in September he was in the act of moving into 
Aiton's old house in the Gardens when very onerous conditions 
were sprung upon him by the authorities. Refusing to be 
saddled with such a burden while his footing was still un- 
certain, he broke off at once. Furniture and all were taken 
away again. 

My collections [he tells Harvey a couple of months later] 
were turned out neck and crop of course the dried plants 
into the Temple of the Sun, and the rest into the back shed 
of the Orangery ! where they are going the way of all paren- 
chyma and pleurenchyma ! 

He finally settled in a house, now No. 350 Kew Road, 
belonging to Mr. Bryan, the Vicar, where the Curator, John 
Smith the elder, had spent his last years. Here he brought his 
wife, for at the beginning of August he had married Frances 
Henslow. Their engagement had been a long one, but this 
price had been paid deliberately. His position in the botani- 
cal world had to be assured by his great travels in India. 
Perfect confidence and rare strength of mind were needed to 
resolve upon a three years' separation within a few months 
of their engagement. But by birth and training she was able 
to help in his work, to share, his aims, and appreciate the 
worth of their joint sacrifice. 

Still, even after such sacrifice and achievement, his chosen 

1 The third Earl of Rosse (1800-67), whose laborious experiments for the 
improvement of the reflecting telescope culminated in the great telescope at 
Parsonstown, first used in 1845. 

2 William Hopkins (1793-1866), mathematician and geologist, nicknamed 
while tutor at Peterhouse ' the Senior-wrangler maker ' : a teacher of Stokes 
and Kelvin, Tait and Clerk-Maxwell. He applied mathematical and astro- 
nomical tests to geological reasoning. Was elected President of the Geological 
Society 1851, and of the British Association 1853. 


career was jeopardised for a time by this same lack of pros- 
pects. If he would exchange botany for mineralogy there was a 
vacancy at the British Museum to apply for, with salary and 
house : a firm establishment and tempting at such a juncture. 
Friends urged him to this prudential course. * Shall I give 
up Botany and stand for Koenig's x place at B.Mus.? ' he asks 
Bentham (September 3, 1851), adding ironically: 

To be sure I know nothing of Crystallography, Mineralogy, 
Chemistry, &c., but the Trustees are above such prejudice 
against a man who could wear a white neckcloth with ease, 
and take his fair share of their abuses with equanimity, 
which would be an all-powerful testimonial. I hate the 
idea of giving up Botany, but I am advised to try for it by 
Gray particularly and my Father proposes it. 

The wiser counsel of waiting was, as has been seen, rewarded. 
Nevertheless in 1854, as the period of the departmental grant 
for arranging the Indian collections was drawing to an end, 
the same perplexities revived. Writing to Asa Gray 2 on 
March 24, 1854, he says, ' I sometimes think seriously of 
giving up Kew and living in London and writing for the press.' 
His family was increasing (his first child was born Jan. 1853, 
the second June 1854) ; his special work engrossing and 
costly ; his only advantages, his father's Herbarium and 
Library, ' which are private and for which I am in no way 
indebted to the Crown.' Still : 

Pray don't think I am grumbling. I have had a long 
spell of pleasure as a purely scientific botanist, and it is time 
I felt some of the ills of my position. It does make me 

1 Charles Dietrich Eberhard Koenig (1774-1851) came to England in 
1800 to arrange the collections of Queen Charlotte, afterwards becoming 
assistant to Banks' librarian, Dryander. In 1807 he became Assistant Keeper, 
and six years later, Keeper of the Natural History Department in the British 
Museum, finally taking charge of the Mineralogical Department. This was 
the post left vacant by his sudden death. 

2 Asa Gray (1810-88), relinquishing medicine for botany, became Professor 
of Natural History at Harvard 1842-73, and succeeded Agassiz as Regent of the 
Smithsonian Institution 1874. He was the first in America, in conjunction 
with Dr. John Torrey, Professor of Botany at Princeton, to arrange species on 
a system of natural affinity, whence he became a strong supporter of evolution 
as set forth by Darwin. His association with Hooker was not only that of 
scientific affinity, but of close and enduring friendship. 


very anxious though, and were it not that my Father would 
feel my leaving the place, I would hang no more on in this 

And in August he writes sympathetically to Bentham, 
who was suffering from similar qualms : 

If I thought you would be a happier man I would advise 
you to give up Botany ; but you would not be so, and evil 
as our days are, whether they mended or worsed, it would 
be all the worse to you to have given up what is at least a 
wholesome and constant mental resource. I sometimes 
despond too, but as I was once told, * I am limed to the twig/ 
and so are you ! Besides, you have a year's work for Cam- 
bridge Herb., 1 and it would be dull work for you to drag 
through that as a termination to your Bot. career. 

Sir William now made definite application for Joseph's 
appointment as assistant to himself at the Gardens, a very 
needful addition to the staff carried into effect in May 1855. 
In the preceding December, after his failure to obtain one 
of the Crown houses, Joseph Hooker had moved to a more 
roomy house at the top of Richmond Hill, No. 3 Montague 
Villas ; the new appointment brought him back to a house 
near the gates of the Gardens lately occupied by Mr. Phillipps. 
His wife, he tells Bentham (July 3, 1855), 

is not best pleased about it ; but I tell her she may spend 
the difference in fly-hire. As for me I am blazed or blase (or 
whatever you call it in French) of change, and feel curiously 
indifferent it is all out of one's lifetime ; 

an attitude of mind parallel to that in which he had undertaken 
the previous move, proposing to take the house 

at or about the last moment, but being at present under a 
bad attack of Phytomania I am rather indifferent to all 
things in general, and my prospects in particular ; it is well 
I should be sometimes, for I am sure I feel worried enough 
when it does fall on my spleen. 


1 See p. 384. 


Thus at length his own and his father's highest hopes were 
realised. Till Sir William's death ten years later, leaving his 
son and assistant obviously marked out as successor to the 
Directorship, father and son were settled together at the Mecca 
of botany they had created, united by strong affection as well 
as by a common work. 

The culminating point of Hooker's scientific work during 
the decade is the Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania, 
* which in itself would have made Hooker famous,' writes 
Professor Bower. 1 This was published in 1859, just before 
the ' Origin of Species ' appeared. Six years earlier he had 
published the corresponding Introductory Essay to the Flora 
of New Zealand. The difference between the guiding con- 
ceptions of these Essays, one in the middle, the other at the 
end of his first great period of systematic work, is a measure 
of the writer's advance in scientific theory, his long-standing 
dissatisfaction with the older view of fixity of species finding 
appeasement in the practical utility of the theory that species 
originate in variation. 

He had long been the confidant of Darwin's views ; had 
discussed and debated them with his old friend, providing 
botanical information, offering criticisms, citing instances 
and pointing out difficulties, suggesting his own solutions to 
problems which had vexed him ever more insistently as he 
more fully realised the fluidity of species, and the difficulty 
of establishing ' specific types,' those abstract definitions, to 
which individual specimens should be referred, being as hopeless 
as the bed of Procrustes. On the main lines, at least, he was 
approaching conviction. The new theory, privately discussed, 
threw light on his own work if he was not yet, in the earlier 
fifties, persuaded of all its details ; and he felt bound to avow 
publicly the change of view brought about by his later in- 
vestigations. But Darwin's views had not yet been concen- 
trated and expressed as a whole. A summary of them was 
given to the world in the * Origin.' The sledge-hammer effect 
of this was still to be experienced. 

1 The present Professor of Botany at Glasgow. 


Darwin and Wallace's 1 joint communication on Natural 
Selection was read before the Linnean Society in July 
1858 ; the ' Origin ' was not published till November 1859. 
The Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania, appear- 
ing between the two, did not thus early proclaim Natural 
Selection as a proven theory and philosophic principle, what- 
ever effect on his trend of thought Hooker confessed the 
publication of the ' Origin ' might produce. He frankly 
employed the theory as a working hypothesis to see whether 
it did not explain the perplexing questions of botanical affinity 
and distribution better than its predecessor, which, he had 
still accepted as the working hypothesis for the New Zealand 
Essay. Applied to the vast material over which his mind 
had ranged, the hypothesis * worked ' in striking fashion. 
So far as plant life was concerned, the Tasmanian Essay 
offered in advance a strong buttress for the ' Origin/ which 
dealt with life in both animals and plants. 

Discussion of this progress in scientific views is most 
profitably postponed to a Darwinian chapter. For the present 
it is enough to bear in mind that the species question was 
constantly before him ; and that while working on the ordinarily 
accepted lines until he could see more clearly, he was ready, when 
fuller conviction came, to avow openly his change of attitude. 

With the publication of the Flora of Australia and Tasmania 
(1855-60) the Botany of Eoss's Voyage was completed, the 
New Zealand Flora having been published between 1853- 
55. The next important work of this decade was the beginning 
of his magnum opus, the Flora Indica. The first year after 
his return in March 1851, * slightly fatter, three years younger, 
and much stronger than when I left England in '47, ' was mainly 

1 Alfred Russel Wallace (1822-1913), the joint discoverer of the principle 
of Natural Selection, gave up his profession as land-surveyor and architect 
to travel and study nature, visiting the Amazon with Bates, 1848-52, and the 
Malay Archipelago, 1854-62. It was from here that he sent Darwin in 1858 
the paper which was read at the Linnean with Darwin's own, and led to the 
speedy publication of the Origin. Besides his two great books of travel, his 
most important scientific books are those on Geographical Distribution of 
Animals, Tropical Nature, Island Life, and Darwinism. He received the 
Royal Medal of the R.S. in 1868. Keenly interested in social reform, he wrote 
a volume on Land Nationalisation. He wrote also against compulsory vac- 
cination and became a strong supporter of spiritualism. 


devoted to getting ready the materials for the New Zealand 
Flora, so as to clear the field in part at least for the Indian 
work. Though the last boxes of his collections arrived in 
September and * astonished ' his father, to be followed im- 
mediately by Thomas Thomson and his 'collection, numbering 
twenty-five chests, it was not till March 20, 1852, that he wrote 
to Bentham : 

I have broken bulk with the Indian collections, done all 
the woods (about 500), Palms, Bamboos, and big things, 
and am all ready to plunge into the Haystacks, working in 
the rooms at Kew. 

Some of his Indian results had already been published 
by the Asiatic Society of Bengal whilst he was in India. One 
folio volume with fine illustrations of the Sikkim Ehododen- 
drons, edited by Sir William from his son's notes, drawings, 
and materials, appeared in successive parts between 1849 
and 1851. i Another folio, a volume of illustrations of Hima- 
layan plants from near Darjiling, chiefly collected by him 
on behalf of an Indian friend, Mr. Cathcart, was edited, with 
descriptions by Hooker himself, in 1855. 

But now Dr. Thomson settled hard by and spent a great 
part of the next three years at Kew, completing his ' Travels in 
Western Himalaya and Tibet,' published in 1852, and working 
side by side with his friend at their common task. His masters, 
the East India Company, encouraged him to work with promises 
of reward if the work were satisfactory, but gave no imme- 
diate help. Nor was assistance forthcoming from the British 
Association. The nebulous hope of bringing out a whole 
Flora of India, however, took solid shape when, on the death 
of his father in 1852, Thomson came into a little money. This 
he promptly devoted to science, paying for the huge volume 
of 581 pages which he and Hooker brought out in 1855, and 
hazarding repayment from ' John Company.' The detail of 
this, the first and only volume of their Flora Indica, was so 
full that if the work had been completed on the same scale, 
it would have reached nearly 12,000 pages. 

1 See ante, p. 326. 


Part of the plan was to find trustworthy specialists to 
deal with certain Orders. Thus Hooker writes in July 1852 
to Munro, 1 the soldier-botanist, the * wonderful grass-man/ 
who had been arranging the grasses in the Kew Herbarium, 
and who was keen enough to send home a collection of plants 
from the Crimea in the intervals of fighting : 

Bentham has already taken to preparing the Legumi- 
nosae Indicae. We shall ourselves commence with Ranun- 
culaceae as soon as the collections are arranged, and beat 
about for assistance amongst good and true friends, print- 
ing for them at once, offering them copies for their labour, 
and selections from the complete collections in order of 
the extent and value of their contributions. What do 
you say to a Graminologia Indica with short, terse generic 
and specific characters, synonyms and a summary of the 
Geog. distrib. of the species, to be printed, published, and 
distributed gratis, to a certain extent, by ourselves as 
' Munro's Gram. Ind.,' giving you 50 copies, and after dis- 
tributing to all. deserving public and private establishments, 
putting the remainder into a publisher's hands to sell ? 
Such is our present idea of proceeding. Will you kindly 
think the subject over and offer any suggestions, not so much 
with reference to your doing the Grasses, as to the general 
principle? Great progress might thus be made towards a 
Flora Indica, by the serial publication of large Nat. Ords. 
and groups of small do. complete in themselves. We shall 
be very careful how we trust the materials to authors we 
have not satisfactory experience of. 

But its completion was a task beyond even such energetic 
men. Time and opportunity were too scanty. Hooker was 
deep in other work. Thomson was bound to return to India. 
Enthusiasm did its best, and he had plunged eagerly into 
work, lightly proposing as a side occupation to index the 
Kew Herbarium, to Hooker's grim amusement. He was 
wholly in sympathy with the views of his fellow- worker. 

1 William Munro (1818-80) saw active service in the Sikh war and the 
Crimea, and held the West Indian command from 1870 to 1876. During the 
many years his regiment was in India he studied botany, becoming the chief 
authority on the Grasses. He did not live to complete his general monograph 
of the whole order of Gramineae undertaken after his retirement. 


Thomson and I [writes Hooker to Bentham, October 10, 
1852] are not at all likely to quarrel about the limits of the 
species, which I hold that we should do if we were improper 
lumpers quite as much as if we were hair-splitters. 

But the spade work was very heavy. By November, 

we have done a vast deal to the Malayan Flora, but not 
nearly got through the Khassya bundles. Thomson finds 
the arrangement of his own N.W. parts, which is not yet in 
Nat. Ords ! a much heavier task than he dreamt of. We are 
working steadily on, however. 

But Thomson was constantly being called away by the 
claims of ailing relations ; his powers of persevering concen- 
tration had been sapped by much illness in India, and at the 
turn of the year 1853-4, Hooker writes in despondent mood 
to Bentham : 

He cannot work except under the very strongest stimulus, 
and every advantage being put under his nose, it was so 
in India, there was no inducing him to study a plant though 
so keen and admirable a collector. ... As to Flora Indica, 
I have no idea when Part I will be out, and between Thom- 
son's excessive scrupulosity, his natural slowness, and his 
matchless procrastination, I see very little chance of fits 
appearance under x months. The consequences of working 
by fits and starts tell very heavily, for it requires the same 
work to be gone over again and again. An immense intro- 
duction is nearly written, but also so by fits and starts that 
Mrs. Hooker has to go it all over, and it sometimes takes an 
hour to unravel a page of the MS. I have taken "up the 
distribution of my own plants in earnest, and dropped Flora 
Indica altogether as hopeless under present circumstances. 

Nevertheless the book, as has been said, appeared in 1855. 
It is described in a letter to Munro, November 8, 1855 : 

The first volume of Flora Indica is finished and consists 
of 2 parts, 280 pages of introductory matter, and as much of 
description, extending from Eanunculaceae to Fumariaceae ; 
it cost Thomson and me the best part of two years' hard 
labour and will, I hope, prove. useful. We have a copy for 

VOL. I 2 A 


you, and I ain half inclined to send it to the Crimea [Munro 
was then a Major and on active service], as if you are obliged 
or inclined to throw it away we can give you another. 
Thomson paid all the expenses of printing, publishing, and 
distributing, and I have offered the E.I.C. to continue and 
conclude it, if they will only pay at the rate of 200 for 
every 1000 species described, and I offer to get it printed 
and published free of all further expense to them and of 
any remuneration to the authors, also I would engage 
myself to stick to it for ten years at that rate. Hitherto 
they have given Thomson no reimbursement for any of his 
expenses, though he spent a year beyond his furlough at it 
upon no pay at all. 

The financial fate of the book was very disappointing. 
It is recorded in another letter to Munro, December 21, 1856. 

I am so disheartened about Flora Indica and the knavish 
conduct of the Court of Directors, that I have done nothing 
more to it ; as soon, however, as I get Fl. Tasman. off my 
hands I shall return to it with zest ; and devise some dodge 
to give John Company a Koland for his Oliver. You are 
aware, I think, that after paying all the expenses of the 
1st vol. we put a merely nominal price on the 130 copies 
we put out for sale (after giving away 120), and that John 
Company, after refusing to subscribe for copies, or promote 
the work, or repay the authors, on hearing how cheap it 
was, bought up 100 copies unknown to us, which threw the 
work out of print, and left us 200 out of pocket, and our 
object defeated ! I never was so sold in my life. I have 
begged and implored in vain that they give back the copies, 
and I have offered back not only the money but to give 
them gratis 100 copies of the Introductory Essay. As to 
poor Thomson, they will not give him Is. for time or labour 
' or expenses. Have not we a good growl ? 

The political sequel of 1857 of course precluded any scheme 
of tit for tat. Hooker enjoyed the grim suggestion that the 
dissolution of the East India Company was a retribution for 
this meanness as well as other more serious shortcomings. 

After Thomson's return to India the two friends continued 
to work together, and from 1858-61 published in the Journal 


of the Linnean Society the ' Praecursores ad Floram Indicam : 
being sketches of the natural families of Indian plants, with 
remarks on their distribution, structure, and affinities.' But 
with Thomson's departure and Hooker's appointment as 
Assistant Director at Kew, the greater work was inevitably 
laid aside, and remained on the shelf for fifteen years, during 
which his only Indian work of importance was a considerable 
share in preparing Thwaites' 1 Enumeration of Ceylon plants 
(1858-64). But in 1870, the India Council was moved to 
take an interest in the matter, mainly through Mr. (afterwards 
Sir) Mountstuart Grant Dun , 2 with whom Hooker had some 
correspondence the previous year on Indian Forestry and 
Botany. The Duke of Argyll 3 also, Secretary for India, had 
scientific interests. Thus Hooker obtained support when he 
pointed out that the Indian Government had sanctioned the 
much needed Flora in 1863, but workers were wanted. The 
matter had slipped so entirely from official ken that the India 
Office could not even find the record of this official letter written 
six years before, and had to ask Hooker for a copy of it. 

T. Thomson, the natural continuator of the work, was 
out of health, and in any case was bent on discussing details 
at impracticable length. There was no help for it ; Hooker 
met the renewed interest of the India Council by assuming 
the responsible editorship, and with the help of a staff of 
collaborators made a new start. Twenty-seven years of further 

1 George Henry Kendrick Thwaites (1811-82), beginning life as an account- 
ant, devoted himself to entomology and botany, especially the cryptogams, 
wherein his microscopic discoveries were ahead of his time. Most important 
was his determination of the algal nature of diatoms. For thirty years (1849- 
79) he was in charge of the Ceylon botanical gardens at Peradenyia, publishing 
an ' Enumeratic Plantarum Zeylaniae ' (1859-64) which won him his F.R.S. 
He was also responsible for the successful cultivation of cinchona and other 
economic plants in Ceylon from 1860 onwards. 

2 Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff (1827-1906) was Under Secretary 
of State for India 1868-74, and for the Colonies 1880-1, when he was appointed 
Governor of Madras 1881-6. His series of Diaries contain many literary, 
personal,- and political reminiscences. 

3 The eighth Duke of Argyll (1823-1900) was a vigorous Liberal politician 
and capable administrator who ultimately broke with his party over the Irish 
question. Between 1868 and 1874 he was Secretary of State for India. From 
his earliest days he was interested in science, especially geology, in which he 
did some original work ; but his chief activity was as a polemical upholder of 
ideas left stranded by the progress of science. 


labour saw the completion of the Flora of British India. This, 
he notes with regret, was conceived on a more restricted scale. 
It ran to seven volumes, published between 1872-97, contain- 
ing but 6000 pages of letterpress dealing with 16,000 species. 
In the preface Hooker describes it as a pioneer work, and 
necessarily incomplete. But he hopes it may 

help the phytographer~,to discuss problems of distribution 
of plants from the point of view of what is perhaps the 
richest, and is certainly the most varied botanical area on 
the surface of the globe. 

To complete the history of his systematic work on Indian 
Botany, let me quote from Professor Bower. 

Scarcely was this great work ended when Dr. Trimen 
died. He left the Ceylon Flora, on which he had been 
engaged, incomplete. Three volumes were already pub- 
lished, but the fourth was far from finished, and the fifth 
hardly touched. The Ceylon Government applied to 
Hooker, and though he was now eighty years of age, he 
responded to the call. The completing volumes were issued 
in 1898 and 1900. This was no mere raking over afresh the 
materials worked already into the Indian Flora. For Ceylon 
includes a strong Malayan element in its vegetation. It 
has, moreover, a very large number of endemic species, and 
even genera. This last floristic work of Sir Joseph may be 
held fitly to round off his treatment of the Indian Peninsula. 
His last contribution to its botany was in the form of a 
' Sketch of the Vegetation of the Indian Empire,' including 
Ceylon, Burma, and the Malay Peninsula. It was written 
for the Imperial Gazetteer, at the request of the Government 
of India. No one could have been so well qualified for this 
as the veteran who had spent more than half a century in 
preparation for it. It was published in 1904, and forms 
the natural close to the most remarkable study of a vast 
and varied Flora that has ever been carried through by one 
ruling mind. 

Such was the main channel of the enterprise ; but the 
work overflowed into many subsidiary channels. Witness 
Hooker's numerous contributions on Indian subjects at this 


period to the ' Icones Plant arum ' (Sir William's series of 
illustrations of remarkable and interesting plants), the ' Kew 
Journal of Botany,' the Gardeners' Chronicle, and the * Pro- 
ceedings of the Linnean Society,' two of these monographs 
being written in collaboration with Thomson. 1 

The work finally involved the arranging and identification 
of their vast number of specimens so that the duplicates might 
be distributed among other public and private collections. 
The heavy burden of this task finds a constant echo in the 
letters of these years, the more so as it was suddenly doubled. 
For, to quote the obituary in the Kew Bulletin : 

Before this work had been completed the Indian collec- 
tions of Falconer, Griffith, and Heifer, made over to Kew 
from the cellars of the East India House, had to be dealt 
with in the same manner. The latter task had not been 
completed when Thomson departed, but another smaller 
though very important one was successfully accomplished. 
Besides the three collections mentioned, the residuum of the 
Indian Herbarium distributed by Wallich on behalf of the 
Honourable East India Company was also entrusted to Kew. 
The distribution of this great collection took place between 
1828 and 1832 ; there was consequently no set of its plants 
at Kew. In this Kew did not stand alone ; the herbarium 
attached to the Eoyal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, at whose 
cost and for whose benefit the collection had been brought 
together, was in like case. By a happy chance the friends 
were thus enabled to fill more or less satisfactorily a great 
hiatus in the herbaria of both gardens ; a set, fairly complete, 
so far at least as the plants collected by Wallich himself are 
concerned, was made up and laid into the herbarium at Kew, 
while a similar set was taken to Calcutta by Thomson (who 
now succeeded to the Superintendentship there). 

Thus in April 1857 Bentham is told, 

I am still struggling on with the general arrangement of 
the Herb. Ind. roughly into species and have only got down 
to Monopetalae. The number of sheets and specimens is 
frightful. I toil on and to little effect. 

1 See list of works, Appendix B. 


In May 1858 he complains to Harvey of being appallingly 
behindhand with his work, and in June adds : 

I am working now extremely hard at these Indian collec- 
tions, of which I am utterly sick. I expect another year will 
see them all arranged and incorporated in Herb. and then 
comes describing. 

In August, three weeks' enforced absence from the work had 
been such a gnawing anxiety that he could not think of pro- 
longing it, since, there being no means of warming the distri- 
buting room, it was imperative to make an end before winter, 
lest it should drag on and cumber all the next year. By 
mid-November he came to the end of all he could do that 
year, namely 160,000 ticketed species. * As for myself,' he 
tells Bentham, * I am in statu quo, but considerably thinner, 
I am told.' 

This was one heavy item. Then there was the Tasmanian 
Flora. ' I find it tremendous work,' and again (Aug. 8, 1859), 

this luckless Essay of mine has broken my back. I had no 
idea of the mass of material I had accumulated for it, or the 
time it would take to digest it ; it is not half printed, and if 
I leave it in the present state for 2 months, it will take me 
many days to begin again, if indeed I ever could work 
myself up to completing it after such a break. I am daily 
working every spare moment at it, and have still several 
sheets to print and some to rewrite from the rough. 

Then he was planning out the Genera Plantarum with 
Bentham, ' which I am deeply pondering.' His father's 
illness and prolonged absence in the summer of 1859 threw 
on his shoulders an accumulation of correspondence and all 
the work in the Garden, with the added responsibilities of 
looking after the erection of the large new Conservatory. Yet 
when his father did return for a few days there was no relief, 

he now likes to consult me about everything he does, so that 
when he was here I had literally more to do than when he 
was away ! 


As a last touch, he was out of his old house and not yet in his 
new one, where the workmen were in possession. Much of this 
labour he had foreseen, but he had not foreseen its cumulative 
effect. Accordingly (August 8, 1859) : 

I write till my 'fingers ache, tramp the Gardens and grounds 
till I am foot-sore, and go to bed at night to ruminate on the 
little I have done in the day. My wife presses me to go and 
join you, but with such a prospect before me I feel it would be 
folly or something worse, and the ' Genera,' which I am 
anxious to begin as soon as the V.D.L. Flora is off hands, 
would then be indefinitely postponed. 

Staying alone all the summer at his father's house, for he 
had sent his wife and children to the Henslows', he reluctantly 
gave up the holiday he had planned to take with Bentham. 

Meantime the ' Himalayan Journals ; or, Notes of a 
Naturalist in Bengal, the Sikkim and Nepal Himalayas, the 
Khasia Mountains, &c.,' were published in 1854. These two 
volumes, containing together more than 900 pages of incident 
and adventure, as well as picturesque description and the 
most varied scientific notes, were * dedicated to Charles Darwin 
by his affectionate friend, Joseph Dalton Hooker.' 

The first edition met with instant success. A second, 
slightly abridged, followed in the next year with less good 
fortune. In 1891 a one volume edition was brought out in 
the Minerva Library, and was reissued in 1905. 

The Journals ensured their author the highest reputation 
as a scientific traveller. The permanent results drawn from 
observations in so many branches of science have already 
been noted. His own view of it appears from a letter of thanks 
to Berkeley. 

I am greatly delighted with your hearty praise of my 
book. I did really take so much pains with it, and have for 
so many years looked forward to the publication of such a 
book, that I keenly appreciate the favourable notice taken of 
it by my friends and the public. To write a book of the 
sort, after travels of the sort, has been the pole-star of my 
life from earliest childhood, and now that it is really all over 


and out I feel the great climacteric passed, and look back 
upon life after the fashion that people are described as doing 
after marriage, or the birth of their first child at latest,but as I 
do not after either of these occasions. I am greatly pleased 
for my wife's sake too, who took infinite pains with it, and 
but for whom it would have been a very differently rated 
book I fear. 

Nevertheless, working out results in so many other directions 
proved a heavy distraction from his prime task in Botany, 
and he exclaims to Bentham : 

Catch me at Quizzical Geography, Geology, and Meteorology 
again if you can ; they have afforded me much amusement 
and instruction and wonderful pleasure ; for I have always 
felt a keen pleasure in practical philosophy, tools and tables 
of logarithms, and now that I have said my say and added 
my quota to the heap, I think the wisest thing I can do is 
to leave it for work that is more expected of me. 1 

The one fly in the ointment was the extreme parsimony 
of the East India Company : 

I have had a fight with them [he tells Bentham in August 
1855] about discount upon the Himalayan book ; which 
would have left me out of pocket 30 by the copies they did 
me the honour of subscribing for, and I pitched them a letter 
that they could not say no to, telling them that they did not 
behave so in another case to which they were subscribing 
(Gould), and they were the only subscribers I had, public 
or private, who asked for 15 per cent, discount on their 
subscription. So much for my growls. 

A variety of other occupations helped to fill up these years. 
Preparations for the Great Exhibition of 1851 were well afoot 
by the time of his return to England. His services were 
immediately secured as a Juror in the Botanical section and 

1 For this practical turn compare his description (to Berkeley the micro- 
scopist, 1854) of the Microscopical Society Soiree, ' where nothing short of a 
double-barrelled, revolving, etc., etc., instrument is thought worth notice. 
I saw some astonishingly pretty things, but the whole view is too kaleidoscopic 
for me. I never feel satisfied as to what I see if I have not poked at it pre- 
viously with my own fingers.' 


as editor of the reports, to see the whole series through the 
press, ' which is a great bore in some cases and very easy in 
others ; there will be 1600 pages of it.* 

This employment involved the tedious journey from Kew to 
town three or four times a week. His ' Report on Substances 
used as Pood ' was duly printed among the other reports that 
year ; it was followed next year by his and Lindley's ' Report 
of an Enquiry into the best mode of detecting Vegetable Sub- 
stances mixed with Coffee for the purposes of Adulteration.' 

His own work as a Juror was honorary ; for his work as 
editor of the reports he received remuneration, a grateful 
increase to his precarious income, albeit the time expended 
on the work ran to eight months instead of three, as proposed. 
As he writes to Bentham in July 1852, apropos of * working 
very hard now at New Zealand Flora, the Garden and my 
Indian Journal ! ' 

Chicory versus Coffee report is gone in Parsnips, Mangel 
wurzel, Beans, Acorns, Tan ! etc., come next. I like the 
work, but that is the worst of me, I like anything for a change, 
and believe I should take to any pursuit with avidity (except 
drink and Wordsworth) that was put on me. 



HOOKER had long been conscious that something was wrong 
with the state of botanical science, in England especially. 
Physiology applied to plant life, as to animal life, was making 
fruitful discoveries. But systematic botany had almost ex- 
hausted the Linnsean and post-Linnaean impulse. The more 
nearly the Natural System of Classification initiated by De 
Jussieu and elaborated by De Candolle completed the catalogu- 
ing and classifying work along established lines, which seemed 
to be its sole remaining function, the more nearly it reached 
a sterile completeness. Schleiden in 1842 saw that Botany 
as an Inductive science must rest upon research into develop- 
ment and embryology. But these morphological studies 
with their comparison of structures which pointed to living 
lines of natural affinity, stood apart from systematic botany 
as a separate discipline. Though material was thus being 
laid up for a theory of descent, the doctrine of origins was 
still bound up with the traditional cosmogony. Eesearch was 
cramped by the heavy hand of fundamental theory. It led 
seemingly to no promised land of science ; no new vivifying 
principle which should reveal the clue to those perplexing 
problems in the affinities and distribution of plants, to which 
no rational and satisfactory answer was forthcoming on the 
old lines. 

The search for novelties loomed too large ; in the absence 
of good organisation between botanists, mere species-mongering 
had led to unspeakable confusion and overlapping. Observers 



had given different names to the same plant in different regions ; 
their unco-ordinated observations tended to obscurity rather 
than light. 

What is to become of specific Botany I cannot think. I 
have only last week found out that the little Ehododendron 
anthopogon described by Don, Wallich, Eoyle, Lindley, 
Hooker and three times by Hooker-fil. is the very old 
Osmanthus pallidus absolutely identical not a variety 
even ! I also took up the Indian Vaccinia and found that 
out of 16 species figured in Wight's 1 Icones no less than 9 
were bad and old ! 

Man had not found what nature indeed had denied, a 
common standard for differentiation between species, varieties, 
transitional forms ; nor an independent basis for that ab- 
straction, the specific type, so useful as a label, so dangerous 
as a determinant. The very name conjures up the ancient 
logical battle between Nominalists and Realists ; and the 
latter day Eealists, perhaps unconscious of their intellectual 
affinities, were in the ascendant, upholding the existence of 
such types, the living approximations to which constituted 

Full realisation of this state of things could only come 
through knowledge at once profound and far reaching such 
as Hooker's/ uniting as it did the close personal study of 
entire floras and of the literature that dealt with them, repre- 
senting every kind of region from the Poles to the tropics 
the Antarctic, New Zealand, Australia, India, the Galapagos 
Islands, Aden, and the Niger, besides the botany of certain 
Arctic voyages, and much of Ceylon and the Cape. Only 
such intimate knowledge, ranging over the widest areas, could 

1 Robert Wight (1796-1872), M.D., of Edinburgh, entered the E.I.C. 
service and became a leading Indian botanist. He was early in touch with 
Sir W. Hooker, in whose botanical periodicals he began to publish his material 
when on furlough after 1831. At the same time he published with Arnott one 
vol. of his Prodromus Florae Peninsulae Indiae Orientalis. His later work in 
India included inquiry into the cultivation of useful plants and the charge of 
an experimental cotton farm, while at considerable loss to himself he published 
his Illustrations of Indian Botany with coloured, and Icones Plantarum Indiae 
Orientalis with uncoloured plates, numbering over 2000. 


absorb and transcend the results of observation over lesser 
areas, with their comparatively clear demarcation of species. 
From such broad surveys came the gradual conviction that 
systematic b6tany was at once too artificial and too sectional to 
represent truly its professed ideal of natural grouping, being 
rigid and definite where nature proved to be plastic and variable. 
Only after dealing with thousands of specimens in the collec- 
tions which passed under his scrutiny could he exclaim * more 
specimens always break down characters/ i.e. destroy the 
rigidity of botanical definition and extend the fringe of in- 
dividual variability. It began to grow clear that over a 
sufficiently large range every variety might exist between 
two allied species, and that where these intermediate forms 
had not chanced to be exterminated so as to leave the extreme 
forms in isolated contrast, it was impossible to lay down where 
the one ' species ' ended and the other began. 

But this upset the doctrines everywhere taught. Hooker, 
realising as no other botanist the difficulties involved and their 
reaction upon his science, divined in them one secret of the 
ineffectiveness he deplored in systematic botany. System, 
he saw, broke down at its widest extension. Unknown to 
its expositors, it had become formalised and abstract ; it 
awaited a new interpretation to revive its powers. 

Meantime, the same abstract formalism had invaded the 
lecture-rooms. All that could* be done for the regeneration 
of botany was to improve the teaching of it, first, as has been 
seen, by setting examination papers which demanded a training 
not in simple memory, but in thought and observation ; then 
by aiding in the preparation of the right kind of books for 
students and the right kind of lectures, in new organisation 
at the Universities and in the publications of the learned 
societies. His hopes take shape in a letter written to Huxley 
in the earlier part of 1856 : 

My own impression is that we shall make no great advance 
in teaching Nat. Science in this country, except by some 
joint effort of Botanists and Zoologists who should pave the 
way by propounding a strictly scientific elementary system, 
were this once effected we have sufficient command 


over the public, as examiners in London, and as confi- 
dential advisers of examiners and professors elsewhere, to 
ensure the cordial reception of such a system. What with 
Henslow's Botanical School diagrams now in progress and 
Museum Types we have made a fair start, and if you do 
not occupy the field in Zoology some pitiful botcher or 
other will. 

I am very glad that we shall meet at Darwin's. I wish 
that we could there discuss some plan that would bring 
about more unity in our efforts to advance Science. As I 
get more and more engrossed at Kew I feel the want of 
association with my brother Naturalists, especially of such 
men as yourself, Busk, 1 Henfrey, 2 Carpenter, 3 and Darwin, 
we never meet except by pure accident and seldom then as 
Naturalists, and if we want to introduce a mutual friend 
it is only by a cut and thrust into one another's business 
hours it is the same thing with our publications ; they 
are sown broadcast over the barren acres of Journals and 
other periodicals which none of us can afford to buy and 
then weed : if either the Linnean or Koyal could be made 
to stand in the same relation to Nat. Historians that the 
Geological does to Geologists [&c.] great good would accrue, 

1 George Busk (1807-86) studied at the College of Surgeons and entered 
the naval medical service in 1832, leaving it in 1855 for purely scientific pur- 
suits, chiefly microscopic work on the Bryozoa, and later, palseontological 
osteology. He became F.R.C.S. in 1843 and President in 1871, as well as 
serving on its board of examiners. For twenty-five years also he was examiner 
in physiology and anatomy for the Indian army and navy medical services. 
He did much public work as Treasurer of the Royal Institution, Hunterian 
Professor and Trustee, and Fellow of the Linnean, Koyal, Geological, and Zoo- 
logical Societies, receiving the Royal and Wollaston Medals, and was President 
of the Microscopical and Anthropological Societies, and edited various scientific 
journals. A close personal friend of both Hooker and Huxley, he was one of 
the nine friends who made up the X Club. 

* Arthur Henfrey (1819-59) succeeded Edward Forbes in the botanical 
chair at King's College in 1853. His original writings, translations and 
editorial work did much for education and physiological botany. 

3 William Benjamin Carpenter (1813-85) was ' one of the last examples 
of an almost universal naturalist,' especially in the direction of marine zoology 
and deep sea exploration. His most notable work was in Physiology, his 
Principles of General and Comparative Physiology (1839) being the first English 
book containing adequate conceptions of a science of biology. His Principles 
of Mental Physiology takes first place among his researches into the relations 
between mind and body, including suggestion and the unconscious activity of 
the brain. He came to London in 1844, when he was elected F.R.S. and held 
various chairs of Physiology, and was Examiner in Physiology and Comparative 
Anatomy at the University of London, until elected Registrar, 1856-79. 


but without some recognised place of resort that will fulfil 
the conditions of being a rendezvous for ourselves, an in- 
citement to our friends to take an interest in Nat. Hist., 
and at the same time a profitable intellectual resort, we 
shall be always ignorant of one another's whereabouts and 
writings. (The above is not English grammar but never 
mind that.) 

The convivial plan was tried in the Bed Lions * and has 
signally failed, as will any other that has no other aim but 
personal gratification of a kind that can but be got by 
dropping Science altogether, and admitting the rag-tag and 
bobtail of Literature and the Arts together with the dregs 
of Scientific Society. We want some place where we never 
should be disappointed of finding something worth going 
out for. A good Society well stocked with periodicals etc. 
answers these conditions and I wish we had one. 
i: Ever your bore, 

Jos. D. HOOKER. 

From the moment of his return from India the outlook 
was depressing. ' Botany/ he exclaims to Bentham early 
in 1852, 

Botany is going down rapidly it appears to me ; the 
Botanists die and take their mantles with them. Eeeve 
[the publisher] talks seriously, almost positively, of giving 
up Bot. Magazine and Journal (Icones of course) ; 2 he hangs 
fire with my New Zealand Flora. I don't find one single 
Botanist started up since I went abroad ; many are dead. 
Something it appears to me may be done by a combined 
movement in the Universities ; is it a time ? 

It was little better in December 1856, when he writes to 
Harvey apropos of his reluctance to apply to the Eoyal Society 
for part of the Government grant in order to publish his re- 
searches, for being his own lithographer he would appear to 
seek pay for his own handiwork : 

1 The Red Lion Club, presumably taking its name from Red Lion Court, 
the depot of the British Association, was a dining club founded in 1839 which 
met during the British Association Meetings. A frequently schoolboyish jollity 
with no further aim or result made no appeal to Hooker. 

* Sir W. J. Hooker's periodicals. 


Botany is all going dogward through the desultory doings 
of its votaries. I have been for four years past much mixed 
up with Physical Science men, and have found much to 
admire in their way of doing business. They let no oppor- 
tunity slip of getting all they can for the furtherance of 
their publications and observations, whilst Botanists stand 
by and depreciate their own efforts and studies. I wish I 
could get you here for six weeks and join in a general effort 
to lift Botany up in the scale of appreciated sciences. 

And a month later he meets Harvey's reluctance to pub- 
lish preliminary sketches in advance of the magnum opus 
on which he was engaged Precursores to the first Orders 
of the Cape Flora, like 'Hooker's Precursores ad Floram 
Indicam : 

We differ (you and I) toto coelo as to what we think 
good and bad. I suppose from your calling such diagnostic 
Praecursores of Cape Genera as I proposed your publishing 
' fushionless stuff,' I am to take that as your verdict on the 
Praecursores ad Floram Indicam ! ! Now I daresay you 
are right as to the way in which the Praecursores are done, 
but I hold that such work, if properly done, is about the most 
valuable that can be contributed to Bot. Science. What 
the deuce do you call useful work, if accurate descriptions 
of the genera and species of very little known large tracts 
of the Earth's surface are not so ? So * fire away, Flanagan/ 
as your illustrious countryman Lever has it. 

January 10, 1857. 

DEAR HARVEY, I assure you I was only in joke in 
pretending that you intended to snub the Praecursores, 
though I do assure you that they are not so good as you 
take them for : the complication of systematic Botany is 
so great that I make many important omissions, and I must 
say I am heartily glad that I am prefacing the Flora Indica 
(if it is ever to appear) with these less assuming attempts. 
Plenty of people point out omissions in such contributions 
who fear to plunge into a detailed work, or if they do to 
criticise its assumed learning. 

On the other hand do you not undervalue t|ie amount 
and kind of systematic Botany that you have to dispense ? 


You think that Praecursores of the first Orders of the Cape 
Flora would not be valuable, because of the little novelty, 
but I think you have the old error of preferring novelty to 
anything else. Where for instance can I go for a tolerably 
accurate notion of Cape species of Banunculaceae ? It will 
be a greater novelty to me to find in your Flora 3 Anemones 
reduced to 2, than to find them raised to 4, and in my idea 
it is a far more valuable fact, for reducing a bad species is 
far better than making a new. What I regret is to see so 
much good sound common Bot. information carried to the 
grave by the holders, because being insensibly acquired its 
real value is overlooked by them. I had the same difficulty 
in getting Thomson to supply sketches of the Tibetan and 
N.W. Floras for an Intro d. Essay he could quite see the 
value of my doing it for the Sikkim Flora ! So it is with 
the distribution of Southern Algae, and I do believe that I 
should do more good to Science by inducing you to give us 
a good unlabored essay on this subject than by attempting 
higher things myself or urging you to do so. Botany goes 
to the dogs from the prevalence of this mauvaise honte 
and false pride. 

You are certainly far too hard worked, and I do long to 
see the end of some of your great labors. You should never 
work beyond 11 J P.M., and you should not poison yourself I l 
The expense of that would be well reimbursed in otherwise 
employing your time. I think you should still lay out for 
gluer, and catalogue yourself, as these are very improving 
operations and easy ones on the whole, not demanding too 
much brain work or sedentary employment. With Wife's 
love, Ever your affect. 


Excuse this scrawl. Tim [the pet cat] bothered me most 
of the time. 

In short, as he adds on October 23 : 

The besetting sin of the Botanists of the day is the 
craving for perfect materials ; forgetful that these Sciences 
are all progressive, and our efforts but steps in the pro- 


1 I.e. himself apply insect-destroyer to his herbarium. 


Another letter to Harvey (February 3, 1857) strongly 
repeats this appeal against the natural depreciation of his 
own familiar store of knowledge, and insists on man's duty 
of giving his formed ideas to the world. 

I am quite prepared for what you say of your work, it 
was always my case on first venturing, nevertheless you 
have done a great deal already and will soon fall into the 
way of it. A few steady weeks at Systematic Botany in 
the Herb, wondrously renovates and reinvigorates one I 
find, and when weary of desultory head work, I find the 
Herb, a great relief. 

As to your publications I would urge you to think now 
of putting together some of your ideas and facts on wider 
branches than purely descriptive. I think that this becomes 
a duty after a certain time of life with those who keep 
such subjects before them too much of -our dear bought 
experience dies with us, and the pursuit of careful descriptive 
Botany rather renders us too timid about striking out into 
generalities that are the product of years of insensibly gained 
ideas. I express myself abominably and write as I think, 
but I am myself urged on all hands to treat some branches 
of Botany in a larger manner, and as soon as I have completed 
my rough lists of Indian and of Australian plants I intend 
to make them the data on which to establish some attempts 
to estimate accurately the relations of numbers of genera 
and species in given areas with climate and elevation, the 
relations numerical of genera to orders, of number of species 
in globe, etc., etc., in short to bring to book upon absolute 
data (tolerable as far as they go) certain principles now 
vaguely enunciated on no fixed data at all. This you could 
do for Southern Algae and connect their migration with 
ocean currents and temp, of Ocean, not in detail, nor upon 
exact data, but upon fair data, and be they good or bad you 
are the only one capable of doing it, and it will take any other 
man many years to come up to your capability and oppor- 
tunity. Heaven knows I dread my. subject and feel enough 
my own incompetence, but the work wants doing, nobody 
else has the opportunity, and it is in my position of life as 
clearly my duty as any moral obligation can well be. Others 
can and will work up species, and I have no right to withhold 

VOL. I 2B 


the result of my personal experience in generalising on these 
subjects and in handling them so long as I think myself 
and am assured by my fellow Botanists that the attempt 
on my part is called for. These, however, are not matters 
for a week or a month ; but shape a course towards them 
and you will find a wonderful mental relief follow, when 
distracted with * choses a faire.' 

Thus amid the fluctuations and discouragements of the 
outlook for pure Botany, Hooker found that to take stock 
of his ideas and marshal them in the Introductory Essays to 
the Flora of New Zealand and the Flora Indica was a re- 
invigorating process. The synthesis meant new force, new 
interest. To Bentham, who was in Paris for the Exhibition, 
he writes in July 1855 : 

The Flora Indica Introd. Essay is going ahead. Henfrey 
is shot and proposes altering his whole system of Botanical 
instruction at King's College ! my chers confreres the 
geologists shrug their shoulders and do not half like it, and 
H. Watson is going to review it in the Phytologist. 

I shall be amused to hear what they say of the Introd. 
Essay in Paris, mind you tell me. I have frightened them 
here out of their wits, and some of them thank me for the 
presentation copy with a frigidity that delights me. Hither- 
to Botany has been dull work to me, little pay ; no quarrels ; 
an utter disbelief in the stability of my own genera and 
species ; no startling discoveries ; no grand principles 
evolved, and so I have a sort of wicked satisfaction in seeing 
the fuse burn that is I hope to spring a mine under the feet of 
my chers confreres, and though I expect a precious kick from 
the recoil and to get my face blackened too, I cannot help 
finding my little pleasure in the meanwhile. 

Before long, however, a better era for Botany seemed at 
hand ; a more cheerful strain is apparent in a note to Henslow 
(January 6, 1856) apropos of his son George's career : 

Keep him to Botany if you can, but not to the exclusion 
of other scientific pursuits, drawing, &c. I am well sure 
that there will be openings and good ones for accomplished 
Botanists ere long, and I cannot fancy a more agreeable, 


fairly profitable and useful life than that of a scientific man 
who is really attached to his pursuits. 

The same note is sounded in correspondence with Harvey, 
who, a month before (October 1856), had returned from his 
three years' cruise in the Indian Ocean and Australia, and 
had been elected to the chair of Botany in Dublin l : 

[Nov. 1856.] You know that I am not a sanguine man, 
and yet I can see that you have in yourself, with an unem- 
barrassed life, abundant resources for a fair income, and I 
am sure that you have resources in your collections and 
previous career for continuing the life of a pure man of 
science, with honor and profit to yourself and to the lasting 
benefit of science. I would much rather see you the Curator 
of Trin. Coll. Herb, on 100 and free of all Lectureships 
whatever than hampered with even the Botanical. 

The serious matter was that to the Botanical chair at 
Dublin various duties had Jbeen attached, seemingly ' pluralities 
without sinecures,' as Hooker defined them, and especially 
the duty of lecturing on Natural History at large, for was not 
Botany a part of Natural History ? Hooker, backed by his 
father, strongly urged the inexpediency of taking up a Zoo- 
logical Professorship in any shape at all, joint or disjoint : 

[Nov. 25, 1856.] I cannot say that I at all stomach your 
Zoological lectures and duties, not from any aversion to 
Zoology or to your joint Professorship, so much as because 
it will involve all sorts of other minor and major zoological 
inroads upon your time. You talk of lecturing on Inverte- 
brata as if they were nothing ; do just read Huxley's lectures 
in the Medical Times ; they are admirable, though in saying 
so I feel like the old Scotch wife who said, ' Ae, it was a grand 
discourse, I couldna understand the ane half of it.' By 
Jove, the whole science seems to be so changed to what I 
learned, and the literature of any one such small Order as 
Annelida or Bhizopod or Cestoid worm ! so overwhelming, 
and the new facts so revolutionary, that I cannot fancy any 

1 See p. 400. 


but adepts mastering the Invert ebrata. Of course you can 
give an elementary course on these things such as they were, 
but so much science and philosophy is now expected from a 
professor, that I would rather you could confine yourself to 

Embodying his friend's arguments in a letter to the 
authorities Harvey obtained relief from this anomaly, and 
was able, as Hooker put it, to settle down to a quiet Botani- 
philus' life. The letter of November 25 continues : 

You ought now to take the highest position in Bot. Science 
and regard the aspiration thereto as your destiny. You 
are loaded with honey and your calling is science, and you 
and I should have no thought but to make ourselves useful 
to Science, without fear of personal failure. The less we think 
of ourselves the better so long as we are no burthens to our 
neighbours. Bentham's unselfish love of science always 
charms me, he has never a thought of personal aggrandise- 
ment in money or honor ; but indeed we have both of us 
lived under the highest examples and happiest influences in 
these respects. My Father, Bentham, and Thomson are such 
a trio as we shall never see again. Except Faraday and 
Darwin I know of no others in the walks of science so pure 
and disinterested, except perhaps Asa Gray in America. I 
am getting prosy, however. 

More than once during this period the necessity of lecturing 
nearly fell upon Hooker. In 1851 it was proposed to appoint 
a Professor of Botany to Kew, to lecture in London, and Prince 
Albert suggested him for the post. But such a proposal did 
not fit with the real position of Kew or of its Director. Hooker, 
being * pumped,' answered frankly that work on his Indian 
and Southern collections would put lecturing out of the question 
for himself ; that making such an appointment to an estab- 
lishment having neither Library, Herbarium, Secretary, nor 
Museum-keeper was putting the cart before the horse ; and 
indeed, so long as his father was supporting the establishment 
in these points out of his private purse or energy, appearances 
must be deceptive. Bather call in the services of good outside 


In 1855 a fresh lecturing scheme was suggested in con- 
nection with Hooker's appointment as Assistant at Kew. 
Kew ought to justify its scientific endowment by giving the 
public of its science as well as its pleasure walks. At the 
cost of his personal inclinations, Hooker was ready to help 
the development of Kew by focussing public opinion on its 
national character ; but the official world would have none 
of it. 

Similarly he tells Bentham (January 1854) : 

The Royal Institution are pressing me very hard indeed to 
lecture for them. I refused on the grounds that it was wholly 
incompatible with my duty to Govt., whereupon Faraday 
writes offering to go to Ld. J. Russell 1 and get me the Govt. 
sanction. I have refused definitely again, and added that 
were any application made to Lord J. it would be to appoint 
an assistant to my Father. The offers were most kind and 
flattering and too pressing it is always excessively disagree- 
able to refuse such invitations, however little inclined one 
may be to accept. 

It was at least the fact that if lecturing in London exacted 
too heavy a toll from the Director's working time at Kew, 
Kew was too far from town for a London audience. The only 
stimulus to public interest that followed was the opening of 
the Gardens in 1857 on Sunday afternoons as well as week- 
days. He tells Bentham on June 1 : 

My Father remonstrated and my Mother is in a sad way 
about it, as you may suppose. For my own part I had no 
wish for it and on private grounds oppose it, as probably 
disturbing the only quiet day I get in the week ; but on the 
other hand I consider it a wise and beneficial measure in a 
public point of view, and therefore feel that I have no right 
to complain. 

The consolidation of the scientific side of the Gardens took 
a long step in advance when Bentham in 1854 presented to 
the nation his great herbarium and library, valued in cash 

1 At that time President of the Council. 


at 6000. * Bentham, moreover, left Pontrilas and settled 
first at Kew and later in London ; saw to the final arrange- 
ments of his herbarium, and continued his own botanical 
work, more especially the monumental Genera Plantarum 
in collaboration with Hooker. 

This accession both weighted the scales in favour of Kew 
as against the other and in many ways less suitable centre 
of botany at the British Museum, and offered a new factor in 
the problem of the ultimate destination of the Hooker collec- 
tion. As to the status of the Herbarium he tells Harvey 
(January 21, 1857) : 

We have no funds for buying plants ; my Father pays 
himself for all appertaining to the Herbm. as of yore, and 
calls it his own. We should hardly dare to ask for money to 
buy Cryptogams, as the Herbm. is upheld ostensibly for the 
naming of the Garden plants, and we are not yet in a con- 
dition to throw down the gauntlet to the British Museum. 
We have just drawn up the Garden Report and pitched it 
very strong about the uses of the Herbarium as a scientific 
adjunct to the Gardens. 

With the death of Robert Brown in 1858 the question 
came to a head. Ten years before, the Parliamentary Com- 
mission had determined that on Brown's death they would 
abolish the Botanical Department ; and, Hooker confesses, 
' every reason for doing so then is redoubled in force since, 

1 In the Memoir of his father, p. Ixxx, J. D. H. writes : * This was second 
to my father's alone in England in extent, methodical arrangement, and 
nomenclature, and was placed in the same building. Its formation was begun 
in 1816, in France, where and in the Pyrenees Mr. Bentham collected diligently ; 
but its great expansion by the inclusion of exotic plants dated from his intro- 
duction to my father in Glasgow in 1823, when the friendship between the 
two commenced which remained undisturbed for forty-two years. From 
that date the two botanists may be said to have hunted in couples for the 
aggrandisement of their libraries end collections, sharing their duplicates, 
Mr. Bentham giving my father the preference in all cases of purchase, &c. 
The one great difference between their aims was, that the former confined his 
herbarium to flowering plants, whilst my father's rapidly grew to be the 
richest in the world in both flowering and flowerless plants. The offer of 
this gift was prearranged with my father, who with his wonted disinterestedness 
put aside the obvious fact, that its acceptance would greatly diminish the 
value of his own herbarium and library, should the Government ever con- 
template its purchase.' 


and endless others added.' The Hookers were summoned 
to meet the Trustees of the British Museum on the subject 
of the Botanical collections coming to Kew. 

Brown [he writes to Harvey] leaves everything to Bennett 
except the fossils, which he gives to Brit. Mus. if they will 
keep them with the plants ; if not they are to go to 
Edinburgh. The Trustees will put Bennett in Brown's 
place and keep their collections at B. M., but whether Govt. 
will not insist on the Brit. Mus. N. Hist, collections being 
turned out of the building is quite another question. My 
idea is, that eventually all the Nat. Hist, will go to Kensington 
Gore but the plants, which will come here. 

That the collections should be moved from the dust and 
grime of their cramped quarters at the British Museum was 
certainly an excellent thing ; the zoologists wished the zoo- 
logical specimens to go to a new museum in Eegent's Park, 
close to the living animals in the Zoological Gardens ; the 
botanists were agreed that the botanical collections should 
be merged in the greater Kew collections, instead of main- 
taining an independent existence. But Natural History 
carried little weight in the House of Commons, and was very 
slightly represented among the British Museum Trustees, 
Geologists and Physicists especially having been appointed to 
this body owing to official interest in the Jermyn Street Museum. 
Thus in the eyes of working men of science there was great 
danger ahead lest the collections should be handed over to the 
charge of the non-scientific Science and Art Department, and 
that at South Kensington science and the interests of research 
should be subordinate to exhibition as a popular show. 1 

1 The surplus from the Great Exhibition of 1851, amounting to 213,000, 
was invested by the Commissioners in land at South Kensington. Here a 
Museum of Art was established, the nucleus of which consisted of exhibits 
purchased by the Government. To these others were gradually added, such 
as the collections from Marlborough House, the Sheepshanks collection, and 
so forth. Tn natural sequence proposals followed for the transfer bodily to 
the same centre of other institutions and museums that received Government 
support, especially those connected with scientific instruction. For in 1853 
the Science and Art Department was detached from the Board of Trade by 
the amalgamation of several minor establishments with the School of Design, 
under the Secretary of the latter and the indefatigable Henry Cole (afterwards 
K.C.B.), himself the chief organiser of the Great Exhibition, and reorganisation 


We know to-day how amply science, in the persons of the 
late Sir William Flower and his successors, has fulfilled the 
scientific mission of the Natural History collections at South 
Kensington. The germ of this success lay in the movement 
set afoot by Hooker and Huxley to amend and strengthen 
the influentially signed memorial that laid the case for science 
before the Prince Consort as head of the Kensington Committee. 

The two friends joined forces on what Huxley called their 
' permanent Committee of Public Safety ' to watch over what 
, was being done. Huxley, who professed himself ' thoroughly 
roused,' eagerly enlisted the support of the progressive 
among the scientific and the scientifically inclined among 
public men and editors of the Eeviews, and as for the atti- 
tude of the Laodiceans in science he writes with cheery 
defiance : 

I don't think it is necessary to trouble one's head about 
such opposition. It may be annoying and troublesome, 
but if we are beaten by it we deserve to be. We shall have 
to wade through oceans of trouble and abuse, but so long 
as we gain our end I care not a whistle whether the sweet 
voices of the scientific mob are for or against me. 

A few passages from Hooker's letters may be quoted : 

To T. H. Huxley, 1858 

My present impression is that a compromise may prove 
to be the best thing anything to keep out of the K. Gore 
people's clutches and that if we could only satisfy our- 
selves that the Nat. Hist, would certainly be moved we 
should without delay apply for a building in the Eegent's 
Park, near the Zoolog. Gardens, so arranged that vast 
sufficient Galleries should be filled with enough Birds and 
Beasts for the public to gape at daily, with parallel private 
side galleries where Naturalists could daily work (and where 

was the order of the day. Finally the Government ended its partnership 
with the Exhibition commissioners, ?nd became sole owners of the Kensington 

A familar nickname for South Kensington and all its works sprang from 
an interim iron building erected in 1855, unjustly supposed to be from Cole's 
designs ; it was popularly known as the Bromptou Boilers, or shortly ' The 


the public were never admitted) and where the specimens 
would be arranged for work and not for show. . . . Prox- 
imity to the Zoological Gardens and its live beasts and 
birds is however, I fear, the only pretext that could be offered 
for not accepting the K. Gore offer. 

The real secret of our anxiety is, not that the separation 
from Art at Gt. Eussell Street would be injurious, but that 
we would lack support as a National Museum of Nat. Hist, 
except we huddled our collections under the wing of art. 
This gives our cause a bad look. 

I do truly say that we at Kew do not want the Brit. 
Mus. Herbarium here at any price ; it is no use to us, and 
if it be the means of breaking up the Brit. Mus. Nat. Hist, 
collections, or withdrawing support from them, I shall deeply 
regret its coming here ; but as an honest man I must say 
(with every working Botanist) that it is for the interests of 
Botanical Science it should come here ; it would take 22 
years and as many thousand pounds to make the B. M. 
Herbarium anything like ours here, and there are no men 
to do it. Besides which, a working herbarium cannot be 
kept clean enough to work with in London ; it must, if 
worked with, be exposed for hours daily to dust by great 
portions at a time. 

So far as the Bot. Department is concerned the Trustees 
are in an awful fix, and my opinion being clearly that they 
should clean, poison, and stop adding to the Banksian Herb, 
and the Govt. should take my Father's as the National Herb., 
keep the plants at Kew and increase it so as to keep it as 
far ahead of all others as it now is, I am far too deeply 
personally interested in the matter to take any prominent 
part with decorum. 

I am further for having at the British Museum a Botanical 
collection, illustrating Plant life such as Henslow could best 
plan and develop, and for which perhaps our friend Lindley 
or Henfrey would be a highly qualified keeper. It should 
be as popular as Bentham suggests in every respect, but 
also as scientific in its details and completeness as the most 
profound vegetable Physiologist and Anatomist could wish. 
This would cost little, be very instructive to the Public, and 
useful to men of Science. It would be unique, there would 
be nothing like it in the world. I had often planned such 


a thing for Kew, but we are still young, and have far too 
much to do to complete what we have on hand. 

Were a Herbm. not necessary to Kew, I would say at 
once let my Father's go to the B. M., but it is impossible 
to work scientifically a garden of 20,000 to 30,000 species, 
and name the hundreds of things sent to us to name, with- 
out a first-rate Herbarium and Library here, as good as ever 
the B. M. ought to be made. ' The seeds sent are often to be 
known only by the accompanying dried specimens which 
go into the Herbarium, and the latter becomes in a thousand 
ways an indispensable adjunct to the Garden and reciprocally 
(by being the depository of the plants once cultivated in 
the Garden) an integral part of the establishment, and a 
record of its progress and efforts, its successes and failures 
as a horticultural establishment, all quite apart from its 
scientific uses. 

The offer of other botanical collections to Oxford and 
Cambridge, neither of which was enthusiastic, had already 
given opportunity for pushing the cause of science in the 
older Universities, where it was still of small account. The 
Fielding and Lemann collections were on offer, but there 
were difficulties to be overcome. Thus * The Fielding Her- 
barium,' 1 he writes to Harvey in January 1852, * is to be 
offered to Oxford upon conditions of good keep, accessibility 
and extension : terms which I think Oxford won't agree to.' 
Moreover the question of extra-mural Trustees and their duty 
after the collections had been accepted was a thorny one, 
alike to Sir W. Hooker, who had been nominated, and to the 
University as legatee. 

I cannot help thinking [he writes to Bentham, Feb. 5, 1852] 
that these Legacies may be the means of instilling new life 
into the Universities; the conditions being reasonable. A 
proper representation backed perhaps by P. A. [Prince Albert] 
as Chancellor, with the offer of such a Herb, as Fielding's 
or Lemann's, should do wonders, especially as, in future, a 

1 Henry Borron Fielding, a country gentleman whose health prevented 
him from taking any active share in scientific life, devoted himself to botany. 
He purchased Dr. Steudel's herbarium in 1836 and the Prescott collection in 
1837, bequeathing his entire herbarium and many books to Oxford on his 
death in 1851. 


Botanical Fellowship or two might be insisted upon, from 
whom the Professors should be chosen. Booms and 50 
a year should do a great deal for a Herbarium, supposing 
it to have the superintendence and zealous curatorship of 
a working Professor, such as Henslow would have made 
before he got his Father's living, or as Berkeley might now. 

Though there was at first no very reassuring answer from 
friends in either University, affairs straightened themselves 
out. By March 16 Henslow is told that 

Oxford is inclined to behave much more handsomely than 
we anticipated, offers 1000 for a building, 50 and a good 
suite of rooms for a keeper, and 25 for annual increase 
constant accessibility to the public without a Master of Arts 
or any other drawback. 

On Bentham's advice Mrs. Fielding withdrew some of 
her conditions ; the gift was accepted, and before long a 
curator was found in the person of Maxwell Masters, 1 of whom 
Hooker wrote to Harvey : 

We are hunting for a curator for Hb. Fielding. I hope 
young Masters will get it, a fine lad setat. 20 who has just 
finished a most distinguished medical education at King's 
College and took medals galore is son of Masters, nursery- 
man at Canterbury, and early passionately attached to 
&c., &c., &c., &c., &c., &c. It is only 50 and two rooms 
at present and worth no one's having but a scrub's, or a 
man who will take zealously to science and trust to provi- 
dence for a future competence as a Botanist. I have a great 
idea that a good Botanist and good Herb, would advance 
science greatly in the Univs. Daddy cannot see it somehow, 
but I had Masters out to dinner yesterday and the old Gent, 
takes to him a mere scrub or half educated man would 
lower the position of Botanical Science in the eyes of ignorant 
bigoted Oxford (I hope I do not offend your High Church ears), 

1 Maxwell Tylden Masters (1833-1907) was a pupil of Edward Forbes 
and of Lindley at Bang's College, and Sub-Curator of the Fielding Herbarium. 
After standing unsuccessfully against Henfrey for the Chair of Botany at King's 
College in 1854, he took up general practice, but lectured on Botany at St. 
George's Hospital and edited the Gardeners' Chronicle after Lindley's death 
in 1865, besides writing many botanical monographs. 


a well educated and passable Botanist would be tolerated for 
his own sake, but a really zealous ditto, well educated else- 
where, and commanding the v respect and esteem of men 
of science in general, must I should say force a proper 
appreciation of Botany in the University. 

Similarly a personal conference between Hooker, Henslow, 
Lemann 1 (who was preparing to break up his collections and 
distribute the fragments where most wanted), and the Cam- 
bridge authorities, established the other collection at the sister 
University. As he tells Bentham, who arranged the Herbarium : 

Henslow scouting the idea of valuing the species or 
specimens because they were uniques has told well, and 
proved to the Dons that such collections have other and a 
higher value than old china. I must say they express them- 
selves liberally and well. 

1 Charles Morgan Lemann (1806-52), M.D. Camb. 1833, F.L.S. 1831, 
F.R.C.P. 1836, collected in Madeira 1837-8 and at Gibraltar 1840-1, and pre- 
sented his Herbarium of 30,000 specimens to Cambridge University. He wrote, 
but did not publish, a Flora of Madeira. The genus Carlemannia was named 
after him by Bentham. 



THOUGH neither lecturing nor teaching in person, Hooker 
found a useful educational lever put into his hand by his 
twelve years' examinership. In the autumn of 1854, thanks, 
he presumed, to the influence of Sir James Clark, 1 he was 
appointed to examine in botany the candidates for the medical 
service under E.I.C. He was already examiner to the Apothe- 
caries Company, and writes of the special standard in the 
papers set by him in a letter to Huxley. 

I should certainly give a very different examination to the 
E.I.C. candidates to that for Apothecaries' Company Medal. 
The latter, you see, is competed for on Bot. grounds solely^ by 
* all England,' and should be a right good tough affair in my 
opinion, and very different from a Pass, or Matriculation Ex- 
amination. It was not to be expected that you should have 
answered half the questions. I did not expect one candidate to 
answer 2/3 of them, but just see. There was only one question 
that no one answered and that because misunderstood : and 
three answered nearly all. I had 6 men, and by far the very 
best men I ever tackled ; there was not one bad paper, and 
the first three were excellent the worst answered 2/3 of 
the questions (better or worse). You may remark that I 
did not put one catch-question, or one that did not involve 
general principles. There was not a man amongst them 

1 Sir James Clark (1788-1870) began as a naval surgeon, and after suc- 
cessful private practice abroad and at home, became Physician in Ordinary to 
Queen Victoria on her accession. He served on various Royal Commissions, 
on the Senate of the London University and the General Medical Council. 
Without adding much to science, he possessed considerable official influence. 



that had not studied plants for himself. I had also 
another object in my paper, which was the leading men 
to study plants rather than books. Every one but Henslow 
thinks my questions dreadful because nobody thinks of 
them. You must also remember that they had 8 hours ; 
and that my object was to give questions requiring 
thought rather than memory. What does Busk say to 

Continuing the subject, he writes on September 12 : 

Sir C. Wood l has written me a powerfully flattering letter, 
asking me to accept the Examinership ! This is rather good 
after my name has been battledored and shuttlecocked in 
the medical papers for the best part of the month as I am 
told, for I have not read them yet. 

God knows there was no jobbery in my election. Of 
course I graciously accept ; and of course I get thanks for 
the same, from this pink of politeness who seems a regular 
official Mantalini with his ' demnition sweetness.' What are 
Busk's ideas on the subject of the examinations ? I have 
long held that the Army, Navy, and E.I.C. examining good 
passed men of the Koyal Colleges is a piece of the most con- 
founded impertinence. As to the Navy Examination we 
know what that was and I suppose is ; it has always appeared 
to me that the said services should seek from the Colleges 
men proved by them to be first-class in their profession, and 
then let the Examiners of the services examine for accomplish- 
ments and qualifications essential to shed lustre on the service 
and improve it. I am going to talk over this subject with 
Paget 2 to-morrow, but of course shall take no initiative and 
am rather groping my way in utter ignorance than anything 
else. The success of my Apoth. Co. examination has put new 
ideas into my head, and convinces me that even in Botany 
men at the examinations are rather to be expected to exert 
their reasoning faculties than their powers of memory. If 
we only reflect we shall see that the Oxford and Cambridge 
honours papers, and even high class examination and pass 

1 Sir Charles Wood (1800-85), created Viscount Halifax on his retirement 
from public life in 1866, had been Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord 
John Russell from 1846-52, and in 1854 was President of the Board of Control 
and from 1859 Secretary of State for India. 

2 (Sir) James Paget. See ante, p. 25. 


papers, are of their kind far better tests of the intellect 
expended in the attainment of the subject than our Medical 
Examinations are. 

The outcome of his ideas on these examinations is summed 
up in a subsequent letter to Sir C. Lyell : 

October 26, 1869. 

I was one of the four who, at the request of Sir C. Wood, 
originated the system of competitive examinations for the 
Medical Officers of the Indian Army, which produced most 
extensive and important reforms- in the Medical Schools 
(after they had abused us well for our pains !) ; the system 
was extended thereafter to the British Army, and now to 
the Navy, for twelve years I examined twice a year, in all 
branches of Science ! I did not retire till I was appointed 
Director here, when the fees of the Examiners were imme- 
diately doubled ! post hoc I cannot say propter hoc. 

It was a very arduous and poorly paid duty. Paget, 
Busk, and Parkes 1 were my coadjutors. 

For the next six years the letters contain constant refer- 
ences to these examinations. They meant a bout of hard work 
in January and July, with, say, 600 foolscap sheets to 
look through as a first step. Experience showed the frequent 
lack of good preliminary teaching and of any single system 
of teaching. In 1855 we read of twenty-eight candidates for 
thirty places, of whom six were ploughed, ' they were ex^ 
cessively badly taught, in Botany especially ' ; in 1857, forty- 
three men for twenty-two places, again showing much ignor- 
ance, while in 1858 the men are on the whole better. But he 
was sometimes in despair over the answers given, and writes 
to Harvey at Dublin, July 14, 1859 : 

I am examining at India House and ask a man what the 
value of Duramen is in contrast to Alburnum, and he answers 
that Policemen's batons are made of it ! Guess his country. 

1 Edmund Alexander Parkes (1819-76) was the first organiser of the 
Army Medical School, and the founder of the science of modern hygiene, 
especially military hygiene. As an army surgeon he served in India for three 
years, returning to London in 1845, and became Professor of Clinical Medicine 
at University College in 1849. In teaching and in physiological research 
he was equally distinguished. 


If I had asked him the economic value of Eosaceae he would 
have quoted Shillelaghs ! Another told me that the freezing 
point of water was 50 below zero, and another that the 
boiling point was fixed by filling a thermometer tube with 
boiling mercury ! What are your Colleges of Surgeons about ? 
Some of their licentiates are consummate ignoramuses. 

Nevertheless he was convinced of the value of Botany in 
medical education, writing to Henslow in 1855 : 

I wish very much you could afford half an hour to think 
over the subject of ' Botany as a branch of education and 
a means of mental culture specially adapted to the early 
education of Medical men,' and send me a few notions on 
the subject. I am preparing a notice of the mode of con- 
ducting the Botanical Examinations for the E.I.C., and 
want to drive it into the heads of Medical men and students ; 
that it is not with the hope that the Botanical knowledge 
obtained will ever be of the slightest direct advantage to 
the man in practice that it should be taught, but because 
a right elementary knowledge is necessary to the right 
understanding of the Pharmacopoeia, Hygiene, therapeutics, 
Mat. Med., etc., and especially because the mental training 
of a good elementary Botanical or Nat. Hist, course is the 
best means of becoming skilful in diagnosis of diseases and 
of developing his ideas. I am, however, a bad hand at 
expressing my ideas in mental philosophy and 'yet would 
like to do it properly. 

Thus he was the more bent upon establishing good scientific 
teaching and reasonable examinations. He is consulted by 
Henslow in 1855 as to the papers the latter is setting in the 
Tripos at Cambridge, and later by Harvey on the corresponding 
papers set at Dublin. In querying various points he says 
to Henslow (March 15) : * I am no scholar, but sometimes 
do instinctively sniff out a clumsy expression, and in this case 
certainly did not know a good one.' In another case, criticising 
the wording of a sentence, ' I do not doubt you mean right, 
but it appeared very wrong on the paper.' He also urges 
Henslow not to use a descriptive term which had already 
failed to win general acceptance among botanists. 


The following undated letter to Henslow further illustrates 
his difficulties : 

Better not recommend books except perhaps to advise 
the study of such a thing as Lindley's Is. pamphlet on 
descriptive Botany, which is quite unique, and I think the 
men should be told that it is best to work upon the Candollean 
system of Orders. I should not recommend any other of 
Lindley's works, or indeed any works as works : and the Is. 
pamphlet only as indicating a method of working that will 
certainly meet the exigencies of the Examiners. 

I find yearly the difficulty of having to do with men 
who have never been taught on any system, or all on different 
systems. I feel the difficulty of recommending books, but I 
see in the present condition of the Science and its Professors, 
the necessity of indicating a method both of working and of 
arranging the Nat. Ords. To make the book work depend 
on the coaching up a particular author's work, as Babington 1 
proposes to do by Lindley's Elements, would be fatal to any 
good examination. 

The proper method of examination is further dealt with 
in a letter to Harvey, who had just been appointed Moderator 
in the College examinations at Dublin. 

[March 24/1857.] What is a Moderator-ship ? Steam or 
sail ? I like your programme of it, but do, I beg, insist on their 
demonstrating characters both on dried and living specimens 
of Brit, polypet [alae] and see that their knowledge is founded 
on sound Morphological laws, as studied by themselves on 
the plants. Henslow has just issued an admirable dried plant 
Examination Scheme, write and ask him. You are quite 
right to stick to elementary knowledge of British plants, 
and however much you change - your subject never lose 
sight of the principle of keeping within the limit of what 

1 Charles Cardale Babington (1808-95), botanist and archaeologist, who 
succeeded Henslow as Professor of Botany at Cambridge in 1861, was especially 
enthusiastic as a field botanist, and his Manual of British Botany in successive 
editions from 1843 onwards brought the subject from the Linnean stage into 
harmony with continental progress in systematic and descriptive botany. 
His lectures, however, did not expand with the new developments of botanic 
teaching in histology and physiology, and his detailed descriptive work, such 
as the Synopsis of British Rubi, ran to an extreme of analysis in basing new 
species in minute differences. 

VOL. i 2 c 


they ought to know practically and well, and of so conducting 
the examination in Physiology (when you take that as a 
change) that it shall include Morphology and the Natural 
Orders. Do stick to the motive that Botany is a knowledge 
of plants and do not budge one inch from that. I am quite 
convinced that one of the greatest evils done to science is 
the fashion of making men learn solely or chiefly matters 
of which they can have no practical knowledge : their 
education is thus a forced one, the honors they get are not 
for the kind or amount of knowledge which enables them 
to make their way on afterwards, and they have been thus 
led to form a low estimate of the only useful branches, and 
they do not like to hark back upon these afterwards ; and are 
deterred from going on with the science for ever after. The 
whole subject of education in Science is being better appre- 
ciated now that the German school is falling into disrepute. 1 

The writing of good handbooks was as essential to the 
progress of Botany as the elaboration of a satisfactory system 
of lecturing. 

Bentham's ' Handbook to the Flora of the British Isles ' 
(published 1858) was a great step in advance, and a letter 
to the author while still at work upon it strikes a confident 
note (February 16, 1854) : 

I am rejoiced at the progress of the British Flora, and 
regard its appearance as a new era to British Botany. The 
public are really prepared for a change radical and complete. 
Your Flora must appear as a Precursor. I shall keep your 
letter in the hope that you will work out such remarks as 
you embody in it for a good sound introduction to the book. 
After all it is doing far more good to publish a Flora that will 
set people on the right way to know plants for themselves 
than one which aims to tell them everything about them. 
I would announce boldly my aim as the desire to put people 
on the right track and not to supply them with what they 
ought to find out for themselves. 

Next came Henslow's work in elementary teaching of 
botany. John Stevens Henslow, who was born in 1796, 
and was therefore eleven years junior to Sir William Hooker, 

1 Compare the reference to Heer's lectures; p. 402. 


had been Professor of Botany at Cambridge since 1827. His 
chief interest was not in systematic botany, but in the life 
history and geographical distribution of plants ; his great 
distinction to have been the pioneer of practical teaching in 
England and the inspiration of those who came under him. 
As a keen observer, he knew the value of learning through 
one's own observations and discoveries. The average lecturer 
taught the students in the Medical Schools to learn botanical 
facts by memory ; Henslow led his students to discover their 
facts by their own dissections of plants, and demonstrations 
from living specimens. Teaching by things, not words only, 
he made his subject alive, and on the same principle, arranged 
the public galleries of the Ipswich museum to be a connected 
demonstration of types, not a * raree show ' of curiosities. 

I am extremely glad [Hooker writes to him, May 10, 
1856] to hear such good news about your class-men, and 
hope that you will turn out a Botanist or two amongst 
them. Pitch into the Dons and bigwigs. 

The enthusiasm he awakened among his University students 
was renewed among the village children of Hitcham, to the 
living of which he was presented in 1838. Here, every Monday 
after school hours, he gave them lessons in botany, simple, 
accurate, intensely interesting, combined with systematic 
dissection of specimens and the making of local collections 
and observations. These village lessons were the source and 
pattern of the excellent nature-teaching now so widely diffused. 
The enthusiasm of the children, the lasting effect in interest, 
attention, character-building, were most remarkable. 

He was gradually putting together the MS. for a projected 
book of Village Botany, which was left unfinished at his death 
in 1861, but formed the basis of Professor D. Oliver's x 

1 Daniel Oliver (1830) came to Kew at the invitation of Sir Wm. Hooker, 
and while working at the Herbarium found time to prepare and deliver, without 
fee, lectures to the foremen and gardeners of the establishment, 1859-74. In 
1864 he was appointed Keeper of the Herbarium and Library, a post he held 
until 1890. He succeeded Lindley as Professor of Botany at London Univer- 
sity (1861-88) and received the Royal Medal 1884, and the gold medal of the 
Linnean 1893. He was editor of the first three volumes of the Flora of Tropical 
Africa, one of the great Colonial Floras projected by Sir W. Hooker. Oliver 
was both right-hand man and close friend of J. D. H., with whom his 
' omniscience ' was proverbial. 


* Elementary Lessons ' (1863). He also designed a series of 
botanical diagrams, with explanations, for use in the National 
Schools, then under the branch of the Board of Trade known 
later as the Science and Art Department. These diagrams 
were prepared at Kew, and Hooker writes of them to Asa Gray 
(March 29, 1857) : 

Fitch has just completed a most magnificent set of 9 
Elephant-folio plates with illustrations and analysis of 
about 50 Nat. Ords. and genera designed by Henslow, and 
superintended by your humble servant. It is done for 
National Schools under Board of Trade. 

These met with skilled appreciation in wider circles also. 
1 1 find your diagrams/ he tells Henslow, ' greatly admired in 
Dublin. Harvey was copying them out in grand, and they 
had a very good effect ' ; while another letter remarks, * I like 
your little explanatory book ; it will, I hope, do great execution 
at the schools.' 

In 1858 also : 

I met a Eev. J. T. Graves Vat Dublin, a Fellow of Trinity 
Coll. Dublin, Mathematician, a man of renown in these parts 
who has been employed by Govt. in enquiring on Endowed 
schools and other Educational matters. He is immensely 
strong on your point of teaching the science of Observation 
to all men, especially to the young of all classes, and he has 
reported the same to Govt. in perhaps the very words you 
would have used. 

In formulating this scheme of teaching and condensing 
it from his naturally more diffuse oral style, Henslow gladly 
sought the help and keen criticism of his son-in-law. The 
following letters illustrate Hooker's own sympathy with such 
a plan, his insistence on the need for the pupil's perfect under- 
standing of the ' hard words ' and definitions which form the 

1 John Thomas Graves (1806-70), a great mathematician, whose corres- 
pondence gave stimulus and suggestion to his friend Sir William Rowan 
Hamilton in his discovery of quaternions. Called to the English as well as 
the Irish Bar, he became Professor of Jurisprudence at University College, 
London, in 1839, and from 1846 was a Poor-law Inspector for England and 
Wales under the new Poor-law Act. 


indispensable tools for scientific teaching, and for accuracy 
in the use of them, and striking personal note the happy 
freedom with which two friends could speak their minds to 
each other. 

Many thanks for the perusal of the enclosed, which 1 
like very much indeed I have made a few pencil suggestions. 

The term systematic Botany is a bad one, but there is 
no better in ordinary use ; it hence wants a little amplifying 
upon to show that that branch is more than classification. 
Morphological is the right, in contradistinction to Physio- 
logical, but not adapted to your purpose. Few people 
appreciate the fact that Syst. Bot. is the exposition of the 
laws upon which plants are formed as well as classified 
naturally somehow they do not. 

Have you read Huxley on Methods in Nat. Hist. ? l 
How do you like it ? I very much. 

My pencil remarks on your sheets are only suggestions. 
I like the whole thing very much. 

December 12, 1854. 

MY DEAR HENSLOW, The enclosed seems very explicit 
and clear ; I have no suggestions to offer but a very few verbal 
ones. Would it not be as well to put all the technical 
terms in italics, it seems to give them weight ? Under 
Flowers, I have put a pencil through ' through arrest of 
development ' as I think it is rather questionable and at 
any rate will be canvassed. Can we say that the Papa- 
veraceae, having 4 petals and only 2 sepals, is through an 
arrest ? this order being formed on a binary plan quite 
as normally as other Dicots are on a quinary. If we hold 
this to be an arrest of development, we must also consider 
the Monocots to be ternary through arrest or reason in 
a circle. The fact is we call 5 the normal number, simply 
because it is prevalent : and by the same token 5 being 
prevalent in phaenogams as a whole, the Monocots which 
are in the minority are as much entitled to be considered 
arrests, as are Papaveraceae. 

Under Gymnosperms, * an unfolded scale ' is very am- 
biguous, the said scale never was folded ; but if you say 

1 On the Educational Value of the Natural History Sciences. An address 
delivered on July 12, 1854. 


that hypothetically it was so, then you had better say * an 
unfolded leaf.' I have suggested ' flat or concave ' with 
' unfolded ' in brackets. 

I do not at all agree with the terms Milkworts, Tutsans, 
etc., as English equivalents for natural orders, seeing that 
the same name more often applies to the genus only and 
most properly. Mallows are Mallows, and their family or 
order, the Mallow family or Mallow order. Mallow-worts 
means nothing wort not being a recognised equivalent of 
any value, generic or ordinal. I think that by introducing 
such terms you lose all the little point English names have 
and gain nothing whatever. What is a wort ? in English 
surely not a tree, to justify Mast-worts, more especially as 
mast is an equivalent to wort, in one sense. Wort I believe 
means weed or herb. I am still all for Crowfoot family (or 
order), Mallow family, etc., etc. 

You will have a little difficulty to adapt a good name 
for all, but any genus contained in this family will be right, 
whereas the introduction of wort is wrong in grammar and 
more wrong in science. Let one of your pupils ask you to 
explain why you say an Oak belongs to the Beech family, 
or Nut family, or Hornbeam family, or any other contained 
genus you may adopt, and you can explain at once, rationally, 
and shew that the name conveys definite information but 
what conceivable excuse have you for calling a nut a mast- 
wort ! wrong in sense, in English, in sound, and in science. 
I think such terms are a retrograde step in the progress 
of sound elementary education. ' There then/ as Willy * 
says. It would be further exceedingly important to desig- 
nate the Nat. Ord. in English, by the samp genus or term 
as the Latin ordinal name is derived from thus ' Cruci- 
ferae,' and ' Cupuliferae ' = ' family of cupped fruits/ and 
' Primulaceae ' = ' family of Primrose.' You could thus 
explain both the Latin mode of giving ordinal names ; 
together, and save much complexity and loss of time and of 
no little confusion too to young ideas, the only explanation 
needed being that there is no English inflexion that answers 
to the Latin ' Primulaceae ' in English it must be expressed 
by the word order or family affixed or postfixed. Better 
than all this would it be to tell them that they can no more 

1 His small son, now aged two. 


dispense with the word Eanunculaceous than with perigynous 
if they are going to progress in Botany, but if they are going 
to learn only a little, they had better take the English generic 
name and add ' Family of ' to it. It appears to me essential 
that you should not throw a word or termination away. 1 

[February 1855.] I have gone over the accompanying 
very carefully, but fear it will hardly answer the purpose. 
It appears to me (but I may very well be wrong) far too 
laboured ; too much is attempted to be taught by each 
sentence, they are hence too long and involved ; there is 
a constant wandering from particulars to general Laws ; and 
a great many too many words just a little too difficult for 
beginners. To be so philosophical it should be in aphorisms, 
for you cannot be clear, concise, and learned too, in a con- 
versational form. My own impression is. that it would be 
better to make the demonstration of the Bean first, simple, 
clear and to the point, giving no words except the simplest. 
I object to * axis,' ' relative,' ' modification,' etc., when super- 
added to the necessary and unavoidable technicalities ; each 
of these, though familiar to us, being a subject of thought, 
to the * village school,' before understood. 

Having demonstrated the Bean, etc., you might then go 
over it again and another dissimilar plant along with it, and 
explain how the buds form, and the leaf buds give place to 
flower buds and how the leaves become floral whorls, how 
simple leaves become compound, how petals unite, etc., etc., 
but I am sure no pupil can learn all these things at once. 

You are so much accustomed to teach with specimens 
and pictures, illustrating every point and making everything 
clear, that you perhaps forget how much of these advantages 
you lose in a book ; and how necessary it is to be extremely 
simple in diction and in separating your kinds of information. 
In short I doubt if you will succeed in teaching the uninitiated 
young structure and morphology at once, which you here 
attempt. I further doubt your being able to do a book of 
this kind piecemeal. It is a most difficult task the writing 
down to the capacity of ignorance. I know it by experi- 
ence ; you must weigh every word and prune and clip every 

1 'This is a rooted objection, repeated emphatically in a letter to Harvey, 
July 1858 : ' I hate the whole system of English names. Why is not 
Myosotis and Epilobium better than Mouse-ear (of which there are two), or 
Willow Herb, to which there is as good an objection ? ' 


sentence to the shortest, consistent with perfect lucidity. 
It requires a short severe study and some little regular 

Fanny has been looking over parts of it, and quite agrees 
with me that the words underlined in pencil will be so many 
stumbling-blocks to village school children and even higher 
class ones. In short the whole is not only too scientific but 
in too scientific language. 

[March 3, 1855.] I am extremely glad to find that you have 
not taken umbrage at my severe criticism on your little book 
MS. I am always severe and often unreasonably so, though I 
do not think I was so in that case. I have often thought that 
it is impossible for a really highly educated man to write a 
good book for the ignorant, except he be checked by another ; 
to write down to a low capacity, or low standard, is of all 
things the most difficult. Your present plan is excellent and 
will, I should say, answer perfectly if you will rigidly resist 
all temptation to digression, long sentences and giving more 
than one idea, or fact, to be mastered at a time. I made 
large allowances in your MS. for Leonard's copying, and am 
fully aware that the lesson was to be learnt by the develop- 
ing plants, and therein lay another difficulty, it would be 
impossible to arrive at a general accurate idea of ' the 
plant ' by such protracted means, and it is by giving such a 
general idea of all the main parts and their relations, as 
rapidly as possible, that we must begin. In your MS. 
there is far too much to be learnt of each organ to allow an 
ordinary intellect to grasp the whole at the end of the first 
lesson. You talk of a return to collect ' scattered ideas ' ; 
now these said scattered ideas are what of all things I would 
avoid the possibility of the pupils acquiring. The first 
acquired knowledge should be systematic and definite. 
[An analysis of eight Lessons follows.] 

I doubt your doing with less than these viii Lessons, 
but I do not doubt your doing with far fewer words than 
you imagine. Fanny says that your diffuseness is your 
snare ; I say it is of all clergymen, and of all those who are 
much in the habit of writing for the public, with no mentor 
or critic to check them, and whose time is their own in the 
rostrum. I never read or heard a sermon that I could not 
weed of half its words to the greatest advantage of the 



reader, mind you, I do not say to the hearer, though I think 
I could almost add that too. To write well and concisely 
is a rare acquirement, and the pulpit being beyond criticism, 
clergymen almost invariably become diffuse and verbose. 
In too many cases words are thrown in to fill up the time 
allotted to the discourse, partly because the clergyman has 
other more important duties and* in many cases because 
he has often nothing new to say on his subject. Be all 
that as it may, I would avoid in the book the diffuse style 
that is so well adapted to lecturing and demonstrating, and 
be as sparing of words and concise as is consistent with an 
easy style. The aphoristic will hardly do for a school book, 
I fear. In lecturing on specimens you cannot so well cloud 
your meaning by words, or weary by repetition, because 
the fact demonstrated is visible and tangible ; repetition 
impresses it on the mind, verbiage gives time to the audience 
but in a school book it is quite different ; here the fact 
is not visible or prominent ; you have to impress an idea 
or image and repetitions and verbiage take the mind away 
from it. Contrast Faraday's x lectures and his writings, and 
they are models for each, but no styles can be more dis- 
similar. Your MS. was more a lecture in writing and this 
is a lecture on writing but I really am interested in the 
book and feel my own incompetence to such a task so keenly, 
that I cannot forbear doing everything I can to put you on 
your mettle. You were an admirably clear writer ; perhaps 
15 years of a country living has not tended to develop the 
faculty. You have all too much your own way in lectures 
and the pulpit ; and write your weekly allowance for the 
pulpit with nobody to pull it to pieces. Do not fear bothering 
me with questions. I like them from you. 

I return your MS. with some suggestions. I like its 
plan very much, the only apparent defects (and which would 
probably be much reduced if read in print) are the attempt 
to explain too much as you go along. Facts are one thing, 
the rationale of them is another ; and I doubt if you help 
the bona fide beginner much by mixing causes with effects. 
The beginner must learn by heart a certain number of 

1 Michael Faraday (1791-1867), who, starting as Sir Humphry Davy's 
assistant, became the greatest discoverer in pure experimental science, was 
proverbial for the personal magic of his lectures, especially to the young. 


definitions, and those you do not put before him categorically. 
Many men have many minds and my mind always revolted 
at having to read up a long yarn about a word, whose meaning 
alone in a tangible form I wanted at the time. My own plan 
would have been to have left much of what you say in the 
first part to a chapter on Morphology. I think too that by 
using too many words and attempting too much simplicity, 
you involve the sentences and mask their meaning. I did 
honestly try hard, and for the life of me could not understand 
your definitions of Hypogynous, perigynous, etc. 

A similar letter to Asa Gray on the appearance of his 
excellent * Elements of Botany ' (March 30, 1857) re-enforces 
these points of view. Some loose definitions are criticised, 
but the chief one desideratum was an Introductory Chapter 
'written in the same lucid, simple, and still accurate and 
sober style/ introducing the beginner to some of the more 
leading ideas in a practical study of plans telling him 
what to look out for, and giving examples of them. He 
must insist also on certain definitions being ' absolutely and 
unalterably impressed on every pupil's mind and at their 
fingers' ends.' A glossary at the end is not enough. 

It is true that ' Organs,' ' Morphology/ and most of these 
terms, not all, are defined in the Glossary, but ten to one the 
pupil will go through and through the work and be unable 
to define ' Anatomy,' ' Organs/ ' function/ ' type/ at the 
end of it ! 

The definition of Physiology is rather loose, is it not ? 

' The Science of the Forces that determine the j of 

functions.' Your term ' the way it grows ' (act of growth) 
is development, which is not physiology but a branch of 
morphology. Physiology is Physics -f- Chemistry. It is true 
that bad Botanical definers class ovule, growth, and such 
things under Physiology, but if so then aestivation, verna- 
tion, and every other phase of development comes under 

A little might be said on the great advantage of Systematic 
Botany as a means of schooling the mind (as good as Mathe- 
matics) to habits of close observation, accurate defining, and 


diagnosis. Some of our greatest lawyers and medical men 
have pronounced Systematic Nat. Hist, as an admirable 
training for medical and legal enquiry, in sifting evidence and 
disease, etc. etc. Also Syst. Bot., i.e. the Nat. Ord., should 
be the prominent goal for the beginner, as they are the ex- 
pressions of the Morphology, Structure and all other attributes 
of plants. Classifying plants is further an exercise of the 
reasoning faculties, always bringing memory and judgment 
into play, and we all know * Memoria augetur excolendo.' 
.An Introductory Chapter of this kind would invite many 
thoughtful pupils to think for themselves, and give a dignity 
to the study that teachers would appreciate. These hints, 
if worth anything, may help you to a new feature for a reprint. 
Another thing must be impressed at the present day, 
that Botany is a knowledge of plants that Physiology, 
Anatomy, etc. etc., are one thing, but Physiological, etc., 
Botany quite another. Also that in examining in Botany the 
teacher should never go beyond what the pupil has a practical 
knowledge of. Botany is a Science of Observation, and the 
present plan of examining pupils in what they have coached 
or crammed up is ruinous. They are disgusted at finding that 
after taking an honor in Botany, when they want to progress 
in the Science, they have to go back to the Elements. If 
teachers understood this, they would themselves see the 
necessity of learning. Tell them that a child with a butter- 
cup could make out whether Torrey 1 or Gray knew most of 
Botany, but that neither Torrey nor Gray could tell which 
of two children knew most of plants by examining them 
on what they had only read. Beading without observation 
on the Sciences of Observation is most destructive. The 
difference between the modes of teaching required for the 
Natural Sciences and Moral Sciences, etc., has never yet been 
properly put, and until it is, all hopes of getting the Nat. 
Sciences introduced into Elementary Education are illusory. 

Allowing for the difference of aim between a handbook and 
a course of lectures, there is a close parallel between these 

1 John Torrey, M.D., LL.D. (1796-1873), was born in New York, and became a 
pupil of Amos Eaton, pioneer of Natural Science. In 1818 he took his medical 
degree and practised as a doctor, but devoted his leisure to botany and mineralogy. 
He published a Flora of the North and Middle Sections of the U.S.A., 1824, and 
a Flora of New York, completed 1843, &c., &c. Professor of Botany in the 
Medical College, and at Princeton College, and was also State Botanist. 


criticisms and the advice given in a letter dated February 3, 
1857, to Harvey, who in November 1856, being newly appointed 
to the Botanical chair at Dublin, consulted him as to the 
best scheme of lecturing. 

The essence of this advice, based on experience as examiner, 
is to give the students a moderate amount of matter, very 
thoroughly ; teaching through mind and eye and hand, first 
by clear explanation of fundamentals with three or four 
examples of each, and exact definition of essential terms ; 
next by big diagrams keeping these chosen examples and exact 
definitions always before the men's eyes, then by teaching 
the men to dissect and draw, examining them with specimens, 
as Sir William Hooker used to do, in the second half of each 
lecturing hour. 

If ever I lectured on Botany to Medical students and 
others, I would not give half the matter others do. 

Whatever you do, strive to be under the mark in amount 
of what you teach, and over it in well illustrating what you 

Never forget that the men have had no elementary 
training, and come to you absolutely unfit to take up the 
study of Botany, and keep the elements always in view. 

Use as few terms as you possibly can, never using one in 
two senses, or two for one purpose. I never get a man who 
can give me a straightforward answer as to what a seed, a 
fruit, or an ovule is. [The answer is given in a] sort of un- 
systematic, illogical fashion, showing that those who know 
what a seed is have no precise notion of it. 

As to the ever repeated insistence on the men knowing 
perfectly the definition of terms employed, such as analogy, 
affinity, homology, species, 

if any one objects, tell those who know them that they 
need not look at them, but that in a recent London Exam., 
out of 45 members of the 3 Colleges of Surgeons examined, 
not 5 could give a logical, accurate definition of any 5 or 
more of these terms, and many of none ! and that without 
them a right knowledge of any branch of Nat. Hist, is 


Explain that the philosophy of [the great divisions of 
plants] can only be understood when they know what a 
seed and its germination is, an axis and the arrangement of 
its parts, an ovule and its ovarium. 

The course being for medical students : 

Illustrate as many Nat. Orders as possible by Medical 
plants, showing the drug but alluding only to its preparation 
and uses. 

Finally, the less preparation you personally make, except 
in the way of diagrams, &c., the better ; be certain that 
he who has read up for an elementary course is either unfit 
to give one, or will fly over the heads of students. 

Of existing handbooks, he remarks that Lindley's, dating 
from 1830, ' are capital as guides, but antiquated,' and * Hen- 
frey's rudiments not bad,' but the work of another popular 

the worst I know, containing every fault elementary books 
can have, loose, inaccurate illogical, bad English, without 
distinction of what is useful and useless to the beginner. . . . 
Impress on the men the folly of attempting to go beyond 
[these] elementary books except with specimens in their 
hands ; and in conclusion din for ever into their ears that 
the principal Nat. Ords., properly studied and rightly under- 
stood, are the exponents of all branches of Botany, embrace 
a knowledge of all, are the application of the results of 
all to practice, and are. synonymous with ' Botany ' in its 
highest signification. 

Finally : 

I have been talking a good deal about lecturing, since I 
wrote to you, with Huxley, who has come to absolutely iden- 
tical conclusions, and is going to alter his course accordingly 
at the Govt. School of Mines ; this entre nous at present. 
He and I have often talked over the subject, and he is quite 
of my opinion that the present mode of teaching is worse 
than useless. 

The contrast between the old style Botanist and the new 
was forcibly brought home to him when in July 1862 he paid 


a visit to Oswald Heer l at Zurich and heard him lecture to 
his pupils. 

All I can say [he tells Bentham] is that if he is a type of 
the old school of German Bot. teachers, I do not wonder at 
the Physiologico-Microscopists, Okeno-Schleidenists, carry- 
ing the day ; for any more dull and dreary exposition of 
Genera and species I never heard, with no specimens in 
students' hands, none in the lecturer's, no diagrams, no 
pictures, no nothing. It opened my eyes to the real facts 
of the great battle between the systematists and Physio- 

The great change in English botanical teaching, when it 
came at last, took shape under Huxley's inspiration. He it 
was who revolutionised biological teaching in 1872, making 
his students study the chief types of animal life not merely 
through lectures and books and specimens prepared by other 
hands, but from their own observation and dissection of 
the actual objects, under the guidance of himself and his 
enthusiastic lieutenants, Michael Foster 2 and Kutherford and 
Eay Lankester. From animal to vegetable biology was but 
a step. While Huxley was away ill in 1873, a similar course 
in botany was instituted with equal enthusiasm by another 

1 Oswald Heer (1809-83), Swiss investigator of fossil plants and insects. 
Educated at the University of Halle, ordained minister 1831. He went to 
Zurich in 1 832 and lived all his life there. He studied medicine, but soon devoted 
himself to botany and entomology. In 1834 he became Privat-docent and 
was the first Professor of Botany at Zurich 1852, and in 1855 the Polytechnicum 
there. His first publications were on fossil entomology, 1847 and 1853; and his 
first paleo-botanical paper in 1851. He passed the winter of 1854-5 in Madeira. 
His Urwdt der Schweiz was published in 1865 and his Flora Fossilis Helvetiae 
in 1877. 

2 Sir Michael Foster, M.D. (1836-1907), the physiologist, after a brilliant 
career at London University, was for some years in practice with his father at 
Huntingdon. His career as a teacher of physiology began in 1867 as prelector, 
1869, professor at University College, London, and Fullerian professor at the 
Royal Institution. In 1870, after acting as Huxley's assistant, he migrated to 
Cambridge, first as prelector at Trinity College, then 1883-1903 as professor in 
the chair founded for him by the university. He became F.R.S. 1872, and 
biological secretary U.S. 1881-1903 ; President of the British Association and 
K.C.B. 1899 ; M.P. for London University 1900-6. A close friend of Huxley, 
he carried forward his method of teaching, and edited his Scientific Memoirs, 
1901. His chief works were a Textbook of Physiology and his Lectures on the 
History of Physiology. He was the joint author of Elements of Physiology and 
of Embryology. 


of his lieutenants, Professor Thiselton-Dyer, afterwards 
Assistant and successor to Hooker at Kew, himself a student 
of the physiological botany which had made such strides in 
Germany, as well as ' knowing plants ' after the fashion of 
the older botanists. 

Hooker's own excursions into botanical physiology enabled 
him to realise the vast importance of this, as an educational 
influence, as technical training, and as a guide to the true 
relations of plants as determined by descent and kinship. 
But to his mind, with its encyclopaedic knowledge of specimens, 
there was one drawback to this insistence on the study of 
structure and function. ' You young men,' he once exclaimed 
to Professor Bower, ' do not know your plants.' l 

His appreciation of the change which ten years had brought 
about is well shown by his advice to a botanist, then working 
abroad, who had been trained in the old school, not to stand 
for a botanical chair then vacant in England (1884) : 

My impression is, that it would not suit you, without 
indeed you have kept up a knowledge and practice of 
Physiology, minute anatomy, and chemico-phytology, and 
indeed physico-phytology, which now form the staple of the 
Botanical teaching, and above all of Botanical examinations 
in this country. Botany is no longer a knowledge of plants, 
but how parts of plants ' come about ' and what they do ! 
you begin with yeast, moulds, &c., and the higher you go the 
less you know of the whole plants and the more of their 
' inwards.' There is no question of the high scientific value 
and interest of all this, but the outcome of years of it may 
leave a man in utter ignorance of any plant bigger than the 
Torula and Mucor he began with. Botany of this sort is 
the study of the laws of life, the highest of any : but to pursue 
it requires a special education ; and to teach it, a special 
practice ; and I do not know if you have had either. I have 
not. It is most necessary for the modern physician arid 
surgeon ; it is the gate through which he enters the study of 

1 Apropos of the knowledge of plants and their uses possessed by the old 
field botanists, Mr. Elwes tells a story of how he and Hooker and Berkeley the 
mycologist were lunching together, when some new pickles from the West Indies 
were placed on the table. Berkeley alone, with his knowledge of Materia 
Medica, was able to identify the ingredients. 


his profession ; this sort of botany, in this respect, plays the 
same part in modern medical teaching, that the botanical 
course which taught the Natural Orders, &c. did of old. 

The botanical teaching of my day was the Student's 
first schooling in diagnosis, and it taught him medical botany, 
and the origin and history of drugs. Now, diagnosis is 
taught clinically, in a way it was not in my time, and a 
knowledge of drugs and their origin is left to the druggist ; 
and botany is made the introduction to organic chemistry 
and physiology in the application to the problems of life in 
health and disease. 

Our careers are very different from this, and you are 
making your mark in yours ; would it not be better to 
stick to it ? or only to leave it for something in the same 



THOUGH the organisation of Science at the Universities and 
other centres of education was important, more important still 
was its organisation through the learned societies, partly as 
meeting places for scientific workers, partly as providing the 
means of making scientific results easily accessible through 
their publications. Where these were inadequate to the 
necessities of the case, established journals of literary repute 
might be taken into alliance, publishing a scientific column 
regularly, or, in the last resort, a Eeview entirely devoted to 
Science might be set afoot. How heavy a burden such non- 
original and administrative work imposed on very busy men 
was to be learned from experience. 

One conclusion to which it pointed appears from a letter 
to Huxley in the spring of 1861, when Bentham, who with 
characteristic modesty never claimed to be more than an 
amateur in botany, was proposed as President of the Linnean, 
a post he held from 1861 to 1874. 

Kew : Wednesday. 

You know my prejudice against professional Scientifics 
being Presidents of these heterogeneous bodies : and in 
favour of independent men who make a bond of union between 
Science as represented by the Society and the outer world 
and who if really Scientific, are so as amateurs. Bentham 
is one such, and for the life of me I cannot find another at 
all eligible on the whole list. 

On the other hand the methods of the societies which 
combined Science with * Society ' and lionised travellers before 

VOL. I 405 2 D 


making very sure of the value of their reports, were as re- 
pugnant to Hooker as they were to his friend Huxley. The 
present generation can remember the laughable explosion of 
the de Eougemont boom which took place at a meeting of the 
British Association : a much more notable personage with a 
tale of tropical exploration and hunting and discoveries in 
natural history provoked a furore in 1861, followed by a 
storm of criticism which has never been definitely settled, the 
most balanced opinion being that very probably what he said 
was substantially true, but that no less probably his so-called 
experiences, which were not borne out by subsequent reports 
from local collectors, had merely been gathered from hunters 
on the coast. 

The man [writes Hooker to Dr. Anderson, 1 July 7, 1861] 
is a victim of Murchison's lionizing system : an unscientific 
bad observer is raised to a first-rate scientific geographical 
lion, and after that has to write a book to justify all the fuss 
made about him. The poor man is honest enough in pur- 
pose, but is dizzy with all that has been done to him and 
unable at any time to write he exposes himself awfully of 
course. 2 

But this Leonine Heresy was not without a medicinal 

1 Thomas Anderson (1832-70), botanist, M.D. Edin. 1853, entered Bengal 
medical service in 1854. Director of the Calcutta Botanical Garden, organised 
and superintended the Bengal Forest Department 1864; left an incomplete 
work on the Indian Flora. 

2 In November 1862 Hooker received a letter from Gustav Mann, the Kew 
collector at Fernando Po, saying that he had been across the country described 
by this traveller, and that his accounts were all unreal. Mann himself suffered 
under another 'lion' of the Geographical Society. This was Sir Richard 
Burton, Orientalist and traveller, who, Hooker tells Darwin, ' has in a public 
despatch, filched away all poor Mann's credit for the ascent of the Cameroons, 
calls it his expedition, planned and carried out by him, and calls Mann his 
volunteer associate. I never read anything so gross in my life. Poor Mann 
had set his heart on the thing for 2 years, had failed the first time, and was 
actually leaving Fernando Po for the ascent, when Burton arrived at F. Po 
as Consul, did leave and had ascended the Mt. several weeks before Burton, 
following him, was at its foot ; having prepared the way and provided guides 
and everything. I am quite disgusted, but hardly know how to act. I dislike 
and despise the Geogr. Soc. way of going on so much, that I do not like to 
bring the matter forward there, and a.s to having a quarrel with Burton, we all 
know what it is to touch pitch.' 


I rather like [he writes on June 2] to keep the Geog. Soc. 
as a sort of seton upon science : it draws all odium for 
scientific lion-hunting, toadying and tuft -hunting away 
from the Linnean, Koyal and Geological only that the 
latter are too fond of following in wake ! For my part I 
eschew them all now, and intend to keep them and their 
society at arm's length. 

And somewhat later, rejoicing that he was not on the 
Committee of the Geological, he remarks to Huxley : ' I am 
quite accustomed to seeing things done " more Geologico " 
in fact the Geolog. Soc. and its attributes have been worth 
their price to me in the valuable introduction it has proved to 
Helter Skelter science and business.' 

Through the earlier years of this decade Hooker was specially 
concerned with the reorganisation of the Linnean Society. 
His object was to see the Linnean take the same position with 
regard to Natural History as the Eoyal Society with Physics. 
He had been elected a Fellow in 1842, and was chosen a member 
of the Council in 1853, serving in this capacity for twenty-four 
years, during fifteen of these as Vice-President. Once on the 
Council, he endeavoured to carry out much-needed reforms. 
The famous Linnean collection had fallen into a bad state ; 
Hooker's offer to help rearrange it the year before, when he and 
Thomson were sometimes meeting at the Linnean, had not 
been taken up : doubtless owing to Kobert Brown's opposition 
to any change. The printed reports of proceedings presented 
their subjects in confused order, so that specialists had difficulty 
in finding what they wanted. It was most desirable to separate 
the reports, according to their kind and weight, into Proceedings 
and Transactions (a reform in which the Linnean was antici- 
pated by the Koyal Society, thanks to the efforts of ' the 
small band of us yclept the Philosophical club '), and to divide 
botany from zoology. Experience in other countries had 
shown this to be absolutely essential, for the sake of the 
botanical and zoological public alike, who were now forced to 
buy reports in which they had no interest ; and for the sake 
of simplifying the already complex bibliography. Moreover, 
' though you and I,' he assures Huxley, ' as joint editors may 


work well on a mixed Journal, the chances are that others 
would not/ among 'the hundreds of details that belong to 
both, i.e. to neither.' 

[References to the subject appear in the letters from 
November 1853. The Linnean had just elected a new president 
in Thomas Bell, 1 who held that office for the next eight years. 
Great things were hoped from his known administrative 
ability and his keen desire to resuscitate the Society. Hooker 
could recall one meeting in the old rooms in Soho Square when 
only five members were present to support the President and 
Secretary. The list of contributions from British botanists 
during the last ten years compared unfavourably with those 
made to other journals. The Secretary was chronically hard 
up for papers ; not unnaturally, since ' for such advantages 
can the Botanists be expected to sail in such a coal barge, 
where zoology is little better than rats and cockroaches ? ' 
The meetings therefore offered small attraction. ' If some- 
thing is not done the Society will certainly fall to pieces.' But 
* I see no prospect of anything being done till you come up, 
and Lindley gets on the Council ! ' (To Bentham, November 

However, one after another the essential reforms were 
carried, despite temporary half-measures interposed by the 
President in order to meet Brown's uncompromising opposi- 
tion to every point of principle and detail, whereupon Hooker 
exclaims, * Save me from a vacillating man of all others,' but 
confesses afterwards, 'He is so good-natured and anxious 
that everything should go square that it is impossible to 
quarrel with him.' At the crucial moment, however, the 
President backed up the reformers, pacified Brown, and finally, 
with a rich man's liberality, guaranteed that the free distribu- 
tion of the new Journal to all Fellows should have a fair trial, 

1 Thomas Bell (1792-1860) was distinguished as a dental surgeon and a 
zoologist. At Guy's Hospital he was for long the only good surgeon who 
applied scientific surgery to diseases of the teeth. He was most widely known 
for his popular Histories of British Quadrupeds, of British Reptiles, and British 
Stalk-eyed Grustaceae, as well as his edition of White's Selborne, a place where 
he spent his old age, having bought White's house, The Wakes. As Secretary 
of the Royal Society (1848-53), and as President of the Linnean Society 
(1853-61) he did excellent administrative work. 


while to meet the ensuing expenses of reform, whether in 
publications or keep of library, MSS., and collections, 1000 
was promptly raised among the Fellows, which * showed the 
vitality there was in the old trunk.' 

The position of the Society was still further improved 
in 1856. A great stir had been made * to get Govt. to 
give us Burlington House as a site for the five chartered 
Societies who promote abstract Science.' Now the Treasury 
granted the Linnean apartments in Burlington House, whither 
the Koyal and the Chemical went also, while the Geological 
and Astronomical refused to move from Somerset House. 

Now that the Linnean was placed in juxtaposition with 
the Eoyal and on an equal footing as regards position and all 
other outward matters, it only needed a little active aid from 
its members to raise it to its former position, and Hooker 
was indefatigable in stirring up his fellow botanists to contri- 
bute papers. As he wrote to Harvey (November 1856) : 

I have always considered that the service it rendered to 
science between 1790 and 1830, by purchasing the Linnaean 
collections at its own cost (for 3000), and by publishing 
gratis to its fellows 20 quarto illustrated volumes of important 
matter that could never else have seen light, were claims 
enough upon every man of science to support it. 

But the resuscitation of the Linnean Society was only a 
step towards a larger scientific object. This was to induce 
Naturalists to concentrate their publications into well-estab- 
lished periodicals and if possible to check the indiscriminate 
scattering of their papers in numerous journals, many of 
which were virtually locked to science. It was a most serious 
evil, and he adds roundly, * The number of badly edited and 
badly supported journals is quite incredible, and the present 
practice of cramming Zoological and Botanical researches 
into one periodical increases the evil many-fold.' Not that 
the reformers had any intention of interfering with the pro- 
vincial societies or Natural History journals, albeit true of 
some that vehement exertions whip them into a spirited 
beginning, only to fall away soon and remain burthens upon 


science. Their immediate purpose was to establish the Linnean 
on a sound basis, and cultivate a catholic spirit amongst 
naturalists. * The crying evil,' in Hooker's words, * is that 
Naturalists are profoundly indifferent to one another's wants, 
and so long as each is regardless of whether it is reasonable 
to suppose that his fellow Naturalists will get access to his 
publications, science must drift into confusion.' Let the 
Linnean then provide the means of rapidly publishing abstract 
researches with the certainty that they would soon be in the 
reach of all European and American Naturalists. Then 
the time would come when all the best papers on such 
subjects would as certainly be sent to the Linnean as the 
French ones to the Paris Academy. In the same way, if 
circumstances compelled the dropping of the Kew Journal 
of Botany, the best of its material would be absorbed in 
the Linnean, with its wider circulation, to the advantage 
of science. 

Another valuable piece of centralisation planned was 
a compte rcndu from Burlington House, with a classified 
index of all important papers contributed to the various 
societies in the United Kingdom. In all these ways the 
minor societies might be brought together, while the highest 
flight of hope saw the Eoyal and Linnean publications issued 

During the years of reconstruction, Hooker was unflagging 
in his support of the Linnean Journal, calling on his fellow 
workers to help, and receiving many promises. Even so it 
was difficult to keep all up to concert pitch, as appears from 
an urgent appeal to Henslow, apparently written in 1859. 

I now therefore beg and entreat you not to leave us in 
the lurch any longer ; it is of greatest importance that 
authors of repute should contribute to the first volume of 
the Journal, and of all those who promised me two years 
ago to contribute, and who spurred me on to get up the 
Journal, scarcely one has kept his word. The responsibility 
of the thing very much lies upon my shoulders, and I am 
now calling upon those who induced me to take it, to keep 
their words : but some of the best are dead ! and as to 


others, these are promises which they do not see the moral 
obligation of keeping, or at any rate act as if they did 
not. None can so well help me out of the difficulty as you, 
for you could without trouble give us both Zoological and 
Botanical scraps ; and it is scraps we want as much as 

Another undated appeal (probably in 1861) reiterated his 
own responsibility for the progress of the Journal. 

DEAR HUXLEY, I find that we are really hard up for 
zoological matter for our Linnean Journal, which is now 
arrived at its critical period ; so my dear fellow do not 
desert us and give us a yarn on the Crab's inwards without 
fail it'is almost a sin to press you to write, but I must be 
whipper in. We have plenty of good botanical matter and 
Lindley has rallied round us, but if zoological matter is not 
forthcoming, the present plan of the Linnean Journal will 
fall through and my shoulders will have to ache for it, as the 
onus of the undertaking rests so much with me. 

I like your Museum thing 1 extremely, it is the only really 
sound elementary introduction to understanding Geological evi- 
dence that I have seen. I shall bring it with me on Tuesday. 

Ever yours, 


Thus the Linnean Journal came to fulfil its function as a 
record of the natural history sciences for workers in science, 
so far as focussed by the Society. As he wrote later, ' It is 
a gallant Society that struggles on amongst proverbially poor 
naturalists, spending its whole income on publications and 
Library and giving all its publications to its members.' 2 
The Journal was the more needed on the botanical side, as the 
Kew Journal of Botany had for some time been going downhill. 
The best botanists had become chary of contributing, for Sir 
William Hooker, though unremittingly busy in his old age, had 
grown careless and uncritical in his editing, and his son had no 

1 ' Preliminary Essay upon the Systematic Arrangement of the Fishes of 
the?Devonian Epoch,' Mem. Geol. Surv. of U.K., 1861. 
Nk a To Mr. Bolus, Feb. 4, 1873, who sought election to the Linnean (see 
ii. 4). 


time to revise his editorial work. Indeed, he saw clearly that 
the Kew Journal could not advantageously continue, and with 
the help of old and trusted friends like Bentham and Harvey 
and Asa Gray, persuaded his father to give it up. 

But the Linnean Journal was restricted to working men 
of science. To reach a wider public, to spread the general com- 
prehension of scientific ideas, seemed very important to the 
advanced wing. To this end a scheme was organised, mainly 
through Huxley, whose energy was in touch with the literary 
as well as the scientific world in London. From 1858 onwards 
a fortnightly scientific column was arranged for in the Saturday 
Review, 1 to which Hooker was too busy to contribute, replying 
to Huxley's invitation as follows : 

Kew: Wednesday, 1858. 

I have long been under an engagement of honor to 
Lindley's Gardeners 1 Chronicle, a paper that has acted most 
liberally by me, and for which I have not written a line for 
9 months, and have no present prospect of doing anything 
for, though I really ought and should. Now I cannot bring 
myself to the scratch to do articles (and however simple 
I am well paid even for notices of Botanical Events and 
translations of short foreign announcements) ; how can I 
expect to screw myself up to write pregnant columns (for 
they must be bellyfulls) for the Sat. Review ? 

Besides all this, as my non-original- work- duties increase 
here, I proportionately crave to be at original work. I want 
to get up good papers on obscure and difficult Natural Orders, 
and such work is quite inconsistent with reviewing. 

I quite feel the want of such a class of articles as you 
propose and feel my own selfishness in withdrawing ; but I 
doubt if the good effects would be at all commensurate with 
the time and labor that we should expend, and I am quite 
sure that both you and I would be much happier without 
such trammels. Further I am confident that the articles 
would in our cases be contributed at the expense of original 
work, and we should thus ' seek in certain ill, uncertain 

1 It is amusing to find the Saturday, for all its excellence on the literary 
side, condemned as ' dreadfully sententious and priggish * and amateurish in its 
politics, whence its sobriquet of Pall Mall Gazette. 


In 1860 a wider opening offered. Three years before that, 
the Natural History Review had been] established in Dublin, 
its moving spirit and chief owner being Dr. Wright, whilst 
amongst others interested in it was Harvey, to whom Hooker 
wrote in candid condemnation of the first number and in par- 
ticular of a careless survey of Hooker's views on Natural Orders. 

I beg that you will read what I have said, and tell me 
if you are not wholly mistaken in your suppositions. If that 
is the way you are to review Botanists' labours for Dublin 
Review I think we had better keep up the Kew Journal in 
self defence. 

Indifferent success attended the Journal in its Dublin 
home. After nearly three years Dr. Wright proposed to trans- 
fer it to London, and to associate Huxley in the editorship, with 
practical control of the scientific side in his hands. Though 
the latter saw in the new scheme nothing but extra work for 
himself, it promised much for the interests of science, * con- 
sidering the state of the times and the low condition of natural 
history publications (always excepting Quarterly Mic. Journ.).' 
For three years he continued at this post, till overwhelmed 
by ever increasing work ; then, paid editors being appointed, he 
handed over to them the responsibility of the ' commissariat ' 
of the Review, which ran for two years more. 

To limit the amount of this extra work, however, he had to 
get co-editors. Writing to Hooker a full account of what had 
been done, he remarks : 

Now up to this point you have been in a horrid state of 
disgust, because you thought I was going to ask you next. 
But I am not, for rejoiced as I should be to have you, I know 
you have heaps of better work to do, and hate journalism. 
But can you tell me of any plastic young botanist who 
would come in all for glory and no pay, though I think pay 
may be got if the concern is properly worked. How about 
Oliver ? And though you can't and won't be an editor 
yourself, won't you help us and pat us on the back ? 

To the new Natural History Review Hooker, however, both 
contributed and offered criticism. 

To T. H. Huxley 

January 4, 1861. 

My only fault with the * Keview ' is its brevity as I told 
Currie to-day I am extremely pleased with it and shall 
have some mild review for next number I hope if you have 
space. I still think there will occur a few cases where 
you must translate the German title at least the German 
Botanists do often invent titles that are unintelligible except 
the book be read ! It is the most useful Eeview I ever saw. 
Your article is very exhausting of all you propose, clear as 
to argument and extremely well put ; the first three pages 
are also very happy, especially the prop, relative to man's 
duty. It will be a balsam to many short-witted and honest 
but timid enquirers. 

Another point in which the organising spirit made itself felt 
was that of charitable funds for science. For such there was 
only the Civil List to fall back upon, and the demands made 
on it were ill regulated. The Treasury would be puzzled by 
receiving four applications at once for Natural History pensions 
all the claimants being described as ' distinguished men.' 
Under such conditions it was useless to bring forward another 
who had not claims for Government aid. 

Now a very deserving case occurred in the end of 1858, 
of a microscopist who had done excellent work, but had not 
achieved public distinction. To Hooker this hardly seemed 
a case for a Government pension, if it had been possible to 
obtain one. It was, however, a case for personal help from 
scientific men. A strong appeal was made on general grounds 
for 500 to buy an annuity, with the result that the amount 
was more than subscribed twice over. Instead then of sinking 
the whole sum in an annuity much larger than was proposed, 
a wider scheme was put forward namely, to invest the capital, 
pay the annuity originally proposed to the beneficiary during 
his life, and in the end secure the capital as nucleus of a general 
scientific charitable fund, to be increased by voluntary sub- 
scriptions. Subscribers were given an option as to the destina- 
tion of their own gift. With hardly an exception all agreed on 
the larger plan. 

The following passages illustrate his point of view. 

To the Bev. M. J. Berkeley 

January 9, 1859. 

I am quite sick and ashamed too of this constantly 
begging Govt. for pensions for persons whose claims can in 
no way be called national. Science suffers by the refusals 
we get, and really national claims suffer too. We should 
do much better to have a private fund for such unfortunate 
men as A., B., etc. whose most meritorious labors are neither 
sufficient to raise themselves to scientific hero-worship nor 
are directly beneficial to the Arts or otherwise. I do not 
think it fair to apply to the nation except in cases of great 
eminence or services of great practical value. It is the duty 
of Govt. to encourage and stimulate the first and to reward 
the second, but if the Govt. pensions such men as A. and 
B., they must also pension no end of literary characters with 
equivalent claims and less chance of private help. Few 
people look at this in a sensible manner, they regard pensions 
as State Vails to be scrambled for in the most undignified 

To W. H. Harvey 

I see too, what I specially dislike, a sectarian view of the 
case arising it is the Microscope versus all science ; or 
Nat. Hist, versus all other branches. I strongly object 
on all grounds of policy and fairness too, to the establish- 
ment of a * Naturalists' ' fund, except indeed the Physicists 
prefer to have a separate one when I shall gladly join the 
Naturalists ; though even then I should feel myself in 
honour bound to join a Physical Science one too. Any 
attempt to segregate Nat. Hist, will do it great harm : it 
cannot stand alone, it owes the Microscope to Phys. Science, 
and all Physiolog. Botany too. Their narrow-minded views 
are the bane of science. 

As to the particular encouragements to Science that con- 
sisted in the bestowal of medals for distinguished work accom- 
plished, he came to find the whole thing unsatisfactory, after 
it had fallen to him both to receive and to allot these. The 
great difficulty lay in holding the balance between individual 


distinction and the claim of each branch of science for recogni- 
tion in its turn, between rewarding the man who had arrived 
and encouraging the man who was working his way up. 

Official recognition of this kind was very different from 
a worker's acknowledgment of his predecessors' labours ; 
that was a proper recognition to receive, and indeed mere 
honesty to give. Personally, he was quite unconcerned if he 
found, on occasion, that certain continental botanists ignored 
the prior work of himself or his English friends, though he 
condemned such lack of frankness. ' I always feel,' he tells 
Asa Gray (March 29, 1857), * that we must so often unintention- 
ally ignore one another's observations, that we can ill afford 
to make the least of .those we do know of.' The only thing 
that struck fire from him was neglect of his father's merits 
or the discourtesy of failing to acknowledge his abundant 

The first of the letters that follow on the award of a Koyal 
medal is in reply to a letter from Huxley, which is given in 
the ' Life of T. H. Huxley,' vol. i, chap. 8, under date of 
November 6, together with a response as generous as Hooker's 
from Edward Forbes. Huxley, who was on the Eoyal Society 
Council, explained to each of them, his close friends, why he 
could not vote for one to the exclusion of the other, and there- 
fore voted for both ! 

November 7, 1854. 

MY DEAR HUXLEY, I am very much obliged for your 
kind note although quite uncalled for either as apologetic 
or explanatory, for I fully appreciated and approved your 
springs of action. I quite enjoyed having a competition 
and should have been very sorry for the sake of science 
and my own that no one else had been proposed. Of course 
I do not in any way look upon my claims and Forbes's as 
coming into competition, but do upon the claims of Botany 
and my etceteras and Palaeontology and Forbes's etceteras 
as having come into direct competition. There has been 
but one honour given to Botany by the K.S., that is the 
Copley medal to Brown, whereas Zoologists, Palaeontologists 
and Geologists galore have been honoured over and over 
again. I have always thought and still think that both 


Lindley and Bentham in this country deserve a medal, 
infinitely before myself in Botany men who are famous 
abroad but thought comparatively little of in this country 
from various motives. I should have been better pleased 
still if you or some other naturalist had proposed Forbes, 
for Grove 1 has no more real appreciation of Forbes's or of my 
claims than Graham 2 or De la Eue 3 have, and acted simply 
out of a vague sense of Geology being something more physical 
than Botany. In an abstract point of view I think Forbes's 
claims far superior to mine : but the E.S. should not look 
solely to abstract claims, but seek to distribute their rewards 
judiciously over all classes of science and the different 
branches of the classes, e.g. taking a hypothetical case a 
man who (like you) works out a point of abstract science 
during the difficulties and discouragements of a voyage, has 
in my opinion an equal claim at least with a man who works 
the same in his easy chair ; even though the latter works 
it better. 

Bell told me of all the proceedings after I left Council 
on Thursday and spoke with undisguised satisfaction and 
pleasure of the parts you had taken. 

Ever, dear Huxley, yours, 


Anything in the nature of sectionalism in making these 
awards was very repugnant to him ; and he was doubtless 

1 Sir William Robert Grove (1811-96), a man of science and judge, waa 
educated at Brazenose College, Oxford, subsequently receiving the D.C.L. in 
1875, and the Cambridge LL.D. in 1879. Ill-health, which checked his early 
career at the bar, gave him time to follow his scientific bent. He became a 
member (1835) and subsequently Vice-President of the Royal Institution, and 
Professor of Experimental Philosophy in the London Institution. His invention 
of the gas voltaic battery in 1839 brought him election to the Royal Society the 
next year and a Royal Medal in 1847. His most important work on the Correla- 
tion of Physical Forces (1846) anticipated Helmholtz's essay on the same 
subject. Later, his scientific eminence brought him much legal work in patent 
cases. He was raised to the bench in 1871, retiring in 1887. 

8 Thomas Graham (1805-69), chemist ; M.A. Glasgow 1824 ; Professor of 
Chemistry, Glasgow, 1830, at Univ. Coll., London, 1837-58 ; Master of the Mint, 
Keith prizeman and Gold Medallist of the Royal Society, first president of the 
Chemical and Cavendish Societies; F.R.S. 1836, and twice vice-president; 
Bakerian Lecturer 1850 and 1854; D.C.L. Oxford 1853. 

8 Warren De la Rue (1815-89) was one of those successful men of business 
with whom science came first. He was the author of various successful in- 
ventions, both for commercial purposes and for scientific research, and was 
especially distinguished for his work in celestial photography. 


prompted by memories of this kind when, after privately 
naming certain botanists as worthy of a medal, he wrote to 
Henfrey in 1859 : 

I may tell you that I am opposed to the whole system of 
medalising, as being quite beneath the dignity of real science 
and of the Koyal Society ; but if it is to go on, I shall hope 
to see it well carried out. 

Beyond the question of scientific recognition of science 
work, lay the other matter of public recognition by knighthoods 
and the like. This concerned him later; but to summarise 
his opinion, services, not scientific eminence as such, should 
be ' rewarded ' by distinctions. 

Several letters illustrate his eagerness that due honour be 
paid to his father ; the first is one to Bentham on his receipt 
of the Eoyal Medal (November 20, 1859). 

The first matter is the E.S. medal ; I, and all other 
Botanists, are equally indignant with yourself, at my Father's 
merits being overlooked in the distribution of [the] Copley 
medal, the only one they could offer him this is wholly 
Brown's fault, and will I fear never now be mended, greatly 
as it has been desired and tried for. The Copley is the only 
medal that could be offered him, and that medal is theoretically 
all but exclusively confined to great discoveries, or great 
generalizations of proved value to future investigators. I 
have long fought for its being given to general scientific 
merit of half a century or upwards hitherto in vain. 
Happily the 2 Koyal medals are in so different a category 
that they do not clash with the Copley, and they are further 
confined to our countrymen ; but for this, your and my and 
Lindley's having a Eoyal medal would have been more than 
invidious. With regard to the claims of your line of research, 
it is true that in Botany they have (thanks to Brown) been 
altogether put aside, but those of a parallel character and 
value have always been acknowledged in Zoology and 
every branch of Physics ; and ' better late than never,' 
is all I can say to the E.S. in your case no medal was 
ever more richly deserved and it was I am told given 


To the Rev. M. J. Berkeley 


I do not know whether I ever told you that there has 
been for years a hitch about electing my Father into the 
Academy at Paris, a matter now regularly jobbed. They 
have long felt that they ought to do so, but time has crept 
on and they have only cared to toady their own people. 
As it is, Wallich's place is not yet filled up ! ! because one 
party want my Father, another me, and a third (God help 
the mark) Parlatore III 1 I have written privately to 
Decaisne (who is most honorable) to tell him that I must 
not be thought of by any one, for that it would be both an 
injustice and personal grievance to put me before'^my Father. 
I could not of course allude to the matter myself to any 
one but Decaisne (whom I knew from Brown and personal 
knowledge that I could trust), but it may be possible for 
you if you have occasion to write to Montagne to hint to 
him how astonished people are that my Father's claims are 
overlooked so long by the French Botanists. They are 
very welcome to stultify themselves by putting Parlatore 
before Bentham, Thomson, yourself, Harvey and half a 
dozen other men I could mention without including myself, 
but I cannot stomach this treatment of my Father. Please 
keep this matter private, and 

Believe me, 
Ever affectionately yours, 

Jos. D. HOOKER. 

To Dr. Anderson 

July 2, 1860. 

Excuse my mentioning that any allusion to my Father 
in acknowledging your obligation to the Kew Herbarium 
(in Aden Florula) would gratify him very much. It is 
sometimes forgotten that he is its author and owner, 
and I know he has on such occasions felt hurt at the 

1 Filippo Parlatore (1816-77) was born at Palermo ; Director of the Royal 
Museum of Natural History at Florence and Professor of Botany. He is best 
known in England for his monograph on conifers and his unfinished Flora 
Italiana. He was President of the Royal Tuscan Horticultural Society and of 
the Botanical Congress in Florence, 1874. 


Similarly to Harvey, July 1859, on the publication of his 
' Thesaurus ' : 

I do not know on what principle you put Herb. Hook, 
to MacKaya bella, not to any other species, implying that 
that alone was in Hb. Hook., indeed I think that Hb. Hook, 
should be put to all those plants that were sent originally 
to it, and of which Herb. T.C.D. 1 received duplicates, 
especially seeing how indefatigable my Father has been in 
getting up correspondents for your books. ... I would not 
mention this were it not that such trifles are made bones of 
contention and that my Father has himself diverted the 
current of Cape contributions to T.C.D. to a considerable 

1 Trinity College, Dublin. 



SEVERAL letters bear on his methods of work and illustrate 
his tendency to bring anomalies under established principles 
instead of inventing new principles to suit the exception ; 
his passion to verify things for himself ; his critical frankness 
in dealing with ill-founded ideas combined with readiness 
to accept well-founded criticism. Others are of personal 

Kew : Wednesday, Sept. 20, 1854. 

DEAR BENTHAM, I have just been examining a mon- 
strous Stachys sylvatica with a long 4-lobed ovary consist- 
ing of 2 fore and aft carpels, i.e. one carpel with its back 
to axis and 4 parietal ovules in pairs at the sutures, thus 

I think this reduces your Labiatae to the ordinary type 
of carpellary structure. Was it not you ? who once quoted 
Labiatae to me as opposed to Brown's marginal carpellary 
theory of origin of ovules ? 

I am a far better Tory than you are and like laws. I 
on principle object to nature having one law for carpellary 
produced ovules and another for free central ones. I would 
rather go the whole hog and call all placentation axial and 
all ovules produced on the axis, or adnate portions of it, 
or branched adnate portions of it, running along edges of 
carpellary leaves, than to hold to one law for the majority 
of plants and take another for the exceptions. In Botany 
there are no end to the * morphological differentiations ' 
(as Von Baer calls them in Zoology) which result in the 
most complete congenital obliteration of all traces of original 

VOL. I 421 2 E 

422 MISCELLANEOUS, 1850-1860 

design in the construction of compound organs. I had a 
talk with Lindley the other day about axial placentation, 
and he immediately knocked me down with Schleiden's 
argument derived from the ovule of Taxus being absolutely 
solitary and terminating a branch this vexed my soul ; 
for I confess to the most perfect distrust of Schleiden, which 
leads me to forget his writings, and I did, when reminded 
of it, remember his dwelling on that very point. After two 
days I modestly ventured to examine Taxus myself and 
behold, I found two ovules in every one of the first 3 
buds I opened, and neither terminal, and when only one 
occurred it was lateral. Each had a rudimentary scale 
like ovarium. So much for that argument. On the other 
hand I can quite understand such a congenital arrest of 
organs in Taxus as should result in an apparent terminal 
ovule, without making a special law in the Vegetable King- 
dom to account for it. I have also a monstrous Primula 
with parietal placenta and ovules ; the Pink or Carnation 
is another common case in point and so on, all new facts 
tend to reduce the exceptions to the carpellary theory and 
none cut the other way. 

I have commenced the V.D.L. Flora, and find it my fate 
to destroy species as I go on, and the more carefully I examine 
the more to fell ; on the other hand I am extremely gratified 
with the multitude of good, new and undescribed species 
in the Australian Flora. 

Passages may be quoted from two letters to Henslow 
which are too long to give in full. Henslow, struck by 
an anomalous structure in Nelumbium and several curious 
points new to him, and unaware of the light thrown upon 
these points by many observers, had founded an explana- 
tion of them on the structure as it was before him, and 
had assigned not only Nelumbium, but Nymphaea, to the 
Monocotyledons. ^ Hooker had lately examined the germina- 
tion of all the genera, and his lively criticism was directed, 
not against the facts observed, anomalous though they 
were, but against the reasoning, where there was so much 
evidence, direct and indirect, to be reckoned with on the 
other side. 


3 Montague Villas, Richmond : January 24, 1855. 

DEAR HENSLOW, Thomson and I are aghast, and 
horrified, and thunderstruck, and doubled up at your con- 
clusions about Nelumbiaceae. Here have we just printed 
off the result of the most long and patient study, of all the 
characters of all the genera, from the embryo, germination, 
rhizome, etc., etc., and come to a definite conclusion, that 
all these are in all respects dicots ; and here you come 
in, and examining dried seeds of Nelumbium alone, knock 
all our results on the head, ruthlessly, remorselessly, 
wickedly and wantonly, perhaps with malice prepense ! 
Only fancy, I have just printed 8 pages of arguments 
to prove that all are Dicots, root, stock (root-stock), 
and branch, leaf, flower and fruit ! This is a blow to 
Flora Indica. Alas for Flora Indica, we shall go into 

Joking apart, do you know that the point you have 
settled (?) is the most difficult and most disputed in all 
Systematic Botany, that it has occupied the attention of 
observers from Malpighi to Trecul, Hook. fil. & Thomson ; 
that D. C., Kichard, Planchon, Gertner, Asa Gray, Lindley, 
Henfrey, several Jussieus, and others have made a special 
study of it, and that within this very few months Trecul 
has published long essays on the subject ? Like every 
other subject of. the kind it cannot be settled by an exami- 
nation of one organ or series of organs, but requires a very 
careful consideration of an immense number of facts in 
the comparative anatomy of plants. . . . Whether right or 
wrong in your supposition, you have, I assure you, good 
2 months' reading and study before you would be justified 
in publishing on the subject ; except indeed you have 
discovered some very novel fact. Thomson's and my belief 
is, that the resemblances to Monocots are pure analogies 
and nothing more ; you must remember too that upon 
whatever individual point you may be inclined to ground 
your arguments in favour of Monocots, you have an enormous 
mass of evidence in favour of Dicots to subvert, besides 
the direct affinities with Papaveraceae, Berberidaceae, and 
Banunculaceae, which I do not see how you are to get over. 
This one fact should engender caution, that Nymphs, have 
direct relations with these Orders, and none with any Orders 

424 MISCELLANEOUS, 1850-1860 

of Monocots whatever. . . . Even Trecul, who considers 
the rhizome of Nymphaea as exogenous, agrees that the 
embryo is strictly dicotyledonous ! I have examined all 
the genera in germination, Euryale, Victoria, Nymphaea, 
and Nelumbium, and these are all germinal, exorhizal, and 
dicot. in the process, besides the reticulated leaves and a host 
of other characters that you must find some explanation of, 
under your hypothesis. 

. . . You may console yourself with the fact that there 
is no snare so great as an anomaly of this kind, in the way 
of a correct appreciation of the affinities of families. Of 
all branches of Botany the Systematic requires the most 
extensive knowledge of structure, and the most careful 
consideration of the relative (far more than the positive) 
characters afforded by the organs. Just look at Lindley's 
heterodoxies with all his knowledge, all arising from seeing 
only one side of the question. The older I grow and the more 
I study the affinities of plants, the more ignorant I feel, 
for it is a most comprehensive study. This is my homily 
on Nymphaeaceae. 

Richmond : Saturday, 1855. 

DEAK HEN SLOW, Many thanks for your exposition of 
Nelumbium. I think you have got hold of as pretty a 
paradox as ever graced the pages of Schleiden ; however I 
will not prejudice your observation till I examine again. 
My great objection was however not against your making 
Nelumbium Monocots, which I always thought beyond 
assault, and which has never been assailed but by yourself, 
but Nymphaea, the structure of whose embryo and plumule 
is so totally different from your analysis of Nelumbium, 
that if your theory holds good then Trecul's paradox will be 
exactly reversed by you and Nelumb. will go to Monocots, 
and Nymph, remain in Dicots ! ! ! I think however that 
your genius and originality have here led you deep into the 
slough of Paradox and that your emersion when it comes, 
will be with a rapidity directly proportioned to the buoyancy 
of your good understanding and the density of the said 
medium + the resilience resulting from the rapidity with 
which you descended. ... I might have turned Buddhist, 
Eomanist, Hindu or Mahomedan on half the evidence during 
the course of my travels. 


A slightly condensed translation of Braun's 1 ' Rejuven- 
escence of Plants ' appeared in 1854. 

To T. H. Huxley 

September 12, 1854. 

I have been groaning over ' Rejuvenescence ' que Diable ! 
When is this German rubbish to end ? Do read the first 20 
pages and tell me your candid opinion as a scientific man : 
I confess to a want of poetic feeling or at least of that turn 
of it that appreciates aesthetics in its modern application to 
spiders and toadstools, or also (and really in this case to my 
sorrow) of power to grasp metaphysical subjects, and what 
some think high-class imagery too, and so I really would feel 
it a personal favour if you would tell me whether I ought 
to understand, or admire, or see any depth in, or at least see 
nothing that should convince me that there was no depth in, 
the first 20 pages of that blessed production, Braun's Re- 
juvenescence. Mind you, I am a personal friend of Braun's 
and like his real scientific work extremely, I cannot applaud it 
too much, but there appears to me a wide difference between 
exact studies upon the physiology and structure of crypto- 
gamic plants, in which he excels, and upon the laws that 
regulate the development of organs, in which he is also good 
(though often fanciful), and these wild vagaries on the con- 
nection of life, soul, porridge, mouse-traps, and the divine 
essence. Braun's forte is mathematical precision and, like 
many other men of like mind, he cannot (at least so I think) 
distinguish between truth and nonsense when he takes up 
speculative subjects ; after all perhaps I am fighting with a 
shadow and I have a notion that after the 20th time of 
reading Henfrey's execrable parody of the original, and after 
[Black ?] (who is in Scotland) comes home, if I get him to en- 
lighten me on the German, I shall find that Braun's mountain 
will sink into a mole-hill and that I shall find he is only 
clothing very old ideas in very cumbrous and far-fetched 
garments. I am far from condemning the Ray Club for 

1 Alexander Braun (1805-77) was born at Regensburg and educated privately 
till 1815, when he was sent to Carlsruhe. He contributed to botany while still 
a schoolboy. After study at Heidelberg (1824); Munich (1827) and Paris, he 
became Professor (1832) and Director of the Natural History Museum at 
Carlsruhe and later at Berlin. He wrote many papers ; his most famous work 
is Das Individuum der Pflanze, Species, Generations, <&c., 1853. 

426 MISCELLANEOUS, 1850-1860 

translating these things, but I do condemn several of the 
translations as utterly unworthy of the Club and of England 
and as giving us the worst repute throughout Europe for our 
knowledge, or rather ignorance, of the spirit and language 
of Germany, and I protest boldly against such work as Oken, 
Braun, Schleiden, Meyer, and others, being given to the 
British public, without one word of explanation and without 
a sound preliminary essay on the subject, pointing out what 
can be understood from what cannot be, by 99/100 of the 
readers, let these be ever so clever or all (like me) ever so 
stupid ! It would surely be much better to offer a little of 
the money spent on the laborious translation and printing 
of the worthless parts (the repetitions and verbiage and tru- 
isms and trash with which all these works abound) to a good 
preliminary essay and good notes. Good God ! are these 
authors such Oracles that we must translate every syllable 
and render letter for letter, lest we lose a drop of their saliva, 
or a whiff of their flatulence ? Darwin says he does not 
pretend to comprehend it ! I have been reading Braun's 
Prize Essay on ' The Individual* in Plants,' and like all other 
Prize Essays, you can see it is written for a Prize, only over- 
does and mystifies what, in the only sense we can grasp it, is 
a very simple subject. 

Braun reminds me of a kitten playing with its own tail. 
I could not help taking a dose of your Individuality Lecture 
after it as a curative. 1 

The following undated note, written while wife and family 
were away in the summer of 1856, is the echo of a contro- 
versy then proceeding in the Annals and Magazine of Natural 
History. Huxley, in his Eoyal Institution lecture * On Natural 
History as Knowledge, Discipline, and Power,' delivered on 
February 15, 1856, had shown by various examples the 
inadequacy of Cuvier's doctrine, passed on by uncritical 
compilers, of a necessary physiological correlation of organs 
which acts as an infallible guide in the restoration of fossils. 
Given a tooth, then follows the shape of the jaw, the shoulder 
blade, the forearms, the claws ; the diet and habit of the animal. 

1 ' Upon Animal Individuality.' A Friday evening discourse delivered at 
the Royal Institution, April 30, 1852. See T. H. Huxley : Scientific Memoirs, 
vol. i. 


What then, says the critic, of the sloth ? What structural 
distinction between herbivorous and carnivorous bears ? The 
principle, 'valuable enough in physiology, is utterly insuf- 
ficient as an instrument of morphological research.' Falconer 
attacked him in the June number. Huxley replied in July. 

[June ?], 1856. 

DEAR HUXLEY, I have been dissipating the disconsola- 
tion of my solitude (rather fine that) by reading old Quarter- 
lies as I nutrify and assimilate (better still) and find in xli. 
313 a passage that will amuse you and rile Falconer ' Under 
the influence of this delusion " the necessary conditions of 
existence " the deservedly celebrated Cuvier is found asserting 
that any one who observes only the prints of a cloven hoof, 
etc., etc. it is worth your reading. 

Ever yours, 


In the letters next given, a masculine view of housewife 
philosophy blends with consideration for a * kitchen revolu- 
tion ' which postponed a visit to the Huxleys. Mrs. Huxley, 
be it remembered, was for a long time something of an invalid. 

Kew : Sunday [Nov. 1859]. 

DEAR HUXLEY, My wife and I are going to arrange with 
Mrs. Huxley about our going to you on Wednesday week, 
anent which we abjure the dinner. It is all very well for us 
(you and I) to think and say what we please about it, but 
even the most modified dinners are sources of disquiets in- 
numerable to ladies who are not well known to one another. 
I know from experience how it worritted my wife when she 
was in poor health, to have to provide for only one or two 
people whom she did not know ; it generally knocked her up 
for the next day and she often knocked up before the evening 
was over. They will be anxious about matters that we care 
nothing about, let them go ever so far wrong ; and about 
matters that cannot go wrong except by miracle, but then 
you see they do believe in more miracles than we do and 
that's the philosophy of it. 

Now, as Hooker merely dated his letters * Kew ' or ' Kew 
Gardens,' Mrs. Huxley had no address at which to write to 

428 MISCELLANEOUS, 1850-1860 

Mrs. Hooker. Being constrained to send his wife's second 
letter, as he had sent her first, under cover to Hooker himself, 
the Professor, while roundly asserting that * the first lieu- 
tenant scorns the idea of being " worritted " about anything,' 
took occasion to poke fun at his friend : * The obstinate manner 
in which Mrs. Hooker and you go on refusing to give any 
address leads us to believe that you are dwelling peripatetically 
in a " Wan " with green door and brass knocker somewhere on 
Wormwood Scrubbs, and that " Kew " is only a blind.' (See 
* Life of T. H. H.,' i. ch. 17, under the erroneous date of 1861.) 

Kew Gardens : Saturday, November 19, 1859. 

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, When you are wanted you 
will find out where I am. Very soon I shall have a half 
sheet of probabilities for you to calculate for me (in which 
you may find that x = 0). 

I have elected to dwell in obscurity for past 3 months 
and should like to continue to do so for the future, and shall 
try to. I have neither house, wife; nor children, 1 and were I 
not as uxorious as a guinea-pig, and philoprogenitive to a 
fault, I should not sigh for change. I am living with my 
ancestors who take their turns of taking to bed it being 
now the Mater who is prostrate, with a bad leg. As to 
going to town, I have not the smallest idea of doing so till 
my wife comes to wake me up, which will be when the house 
is ready for her and she for it, and Henslow ready to part 
with her, he being absolutely lone now but for her. 

I have avoided suicide by working extremely hard with 
my head, hands; and legs, have finished 2 papers for 
Linn. Trans.; 2 for Linn.- Journal, the Tasmanian Essay 
which has run to 130 pages, and the Flora of that ilk in 700. 
Except a week in Norfolk where I geologised 3 days with 
Lyell and Gunn, I have been nowhere but for an occasional 
Sabbath (I forget how to spell it, but know when it comes) 
to Hitcham. 2 

1 Mrs. Hooker and the children were staying with Professor Henslow at 
Hitcham, while the house into which they were moving was being painted. 

2 A little later he tells Huxley how, besides his own ordinary duties and 
works, he had in one week * revised proofs for five different authors' works, 
contributed stuff for two lectures [by non-botanical friends] and precious stuff 
too ! and read three authors' MSS., and reported on a long fossil paper.' 

Amid ' all this mental rumpus ' without apparent end which made him 


I read the history of the unctuous meeting of Philos. 
at Aberdeen and have read the severe remarks of barbarians 
on the toadying and tuft-hunting and buttering. Judging 
from titles of papers only, I should say there was never 
so much good matter in science brought to a head at once. 
Whilst you were sporting your science I was for 6 hours 
a day engaged in the philosophical pursuit of distributing 
86,000 duplicate named Indian plants. I liked it passably 
well ! I could think all the time and to some supposed 
purpose too. A good daily allowance of purely (or almost 
purely) manual work upon scientific materials is a most 
wholesome thing. I have thought my best thoughts when 
collecting and arranging, and now that I do not intend to 
collect or arrange any more, I find myself a fool for having 
snubbed these mechanical exercises that have secured the 
opportunities of opening up so many trains of ideas, that 
would otherwise never have* fructified. , , , 

Huxley had asked for specimens of some insect pests from 
the hot-houses of Kew. 

I send a brood or two of common mealbug, a piece of 
old cactus with Cochineal Cocci, and a few leaflets of a fern 
with .' Scale insect ' on it. 

Fortunately we cannot supply you abundantly by this 
post, as my Father and I have had such rows with the 
foreman and gardeners about the prevalence of these beasts, 
that they are nowhere very abundant in our houses just 
at present. Asking us for Cocci is like asking a decent 
Boarding School Lady for a few crabs and other Pediculi 
from her pupils ! However for Science's sake we will for- 
give you. 

Unnecessary questions are a trial. He writes to Professor 
Henslow : 

January 20, 1855. 

Many thanks for your letter ; I have been bothered 
out of my life with enquiries about Gynerium argenteum, 
and of all the vvs she is the most troublesome. If 

altogether dizzy with his own and his neighbours' affairs, there was a grain of 
comfort : ' I have but one grim abiding source of satisfaction I don't lecture 
and I never will.' 

430 MISCELLANEOUS, 1850-1860 

Sir J. K. would only read the Gardeners' Chronicle, he will 
find out all about the plant and that the male is not now to 
be had at Kew any more than apple flowers are at Xmas. 
I like your account of Sir J. K., he promises well, but these 
people are always promising well, and they make me as 
snappish as a turtle by asking questions that are answered 
a hundred times over in the weekly periodicals. Some 
other people bother me in like manner about Bhododendrons; 
and 1 am tempted to say * read my book and you will find 
out all about them ' ; it is hard to have to write books and 
read them to the public afterwards ! 

A similar case occurs years afterwards. 
To T. H. Huxley 

December 2, 1869. 

A. is a good soul, but is cursed with a Microscope. 

I proposed a tax on microscopes some years ago, exempt- 
ing Professors only: Eecommend to him a mild course of 
study to be followed by a reperusal of your lecture, after 
which you may tell him safely that he may write again ! 

The following touches on the sense of home. In 1854 
Bentham had just decided to give his valuable herbarium to 
the nation and leave his beautiful but remote home in Hereford 
for Kew. With characteristic self -depreciation he had even 
contemplated giving up botany altogether, but the Hookers 
urged him to join them at Kew, where he could have the run 
of their own herbarium and library, and help to bring out the 
Colonial Floras projected by Sir William. Hooker had sug- 
gested this already, writing in 1853 : 

Do you know we often speculate on your coming to live 
in Kew, with plenty of botanical society for yourself and 
of friends for Mrs. Bentham ; how glad we should be of you. 
You are suffering from a common calamity in the country : 
the migration of neighbours, and one you cannot guard 
against and which will grow with your years. If I saw any 
prospect of an advantageous settlement of your collection 
at Kew I would urge your cutting Pontrilas and having a 
small establishment here. I think you could live here com- 
fortably for 600 including as much fly-hire as you pleased. 


Then, were your Herb, at the K. of Hanover's and your 
Library with yourself, you might get on very comfortably. 
This will be my resting place no doubt, and I do not think we 
should quarrel, and I am sure our better halves would hail 
the event. If you should think of such a change (and it 
strikes me that feeling as you must, the comparative solitude 
of your present position, you may do so) I need not say how 
happy I should be that you put it into execution. 1 

To George Beniham 

February 16, 1854. 

MY DEAR BENTHAM, I am heartily glad that your mind 
is made up now, as I cannot but in my humble judgment 
think that it is so for the wisest and best in every point of 
view. I have turned the matter over in every possible way, 
as I have been going through the daily dull routine of 
distributing tickets and specimens for ' Herb. New Zealand ' 
and ' Herb. Ind.' or ' Hook. fil. and Thorn.' I do not wonder 
at your regret in leaving Pontrilas, seeing that I have always 
felt leaving a home, however bad, and even for a better. In 
your case, so far as the change is concerned of house, yours 
will not be for the better, as you certainly will not get so 
good, large and airy a one here, and I fear nothing so much 
as your feeling the change. Still as I have always become 
attached to a home however bad, I quite expect that you 
will warm to a small abode here. It is very odd, but I left 
my detestable cabin on board the Erebus with real regret, 
and no less my wretched tent in the Himalaya : not from a 
maudlin romantic regard, but because I felt I had been happy 
and comfortable (after a sort) under their respective shelters 
and fulfilled so much of my destiny under them as was 
appointed to me without wishing or caring for better. 

Whenever it was possible, during this period, a summer 
trip to Switzerland, then a more primitive playground than in 
these days, was planned. The Hookers enjoyed making up 
a small party of intimate friends, travelling in cheerful com- 
panionship and with the economy that attends on numbers. 
One such group which set out in 1852 became immortalised 

1 In 1855 Bentham moved to London, taking a flat in Victoria Road, 
whence he visited Kew daily. 

432 MISCELLANEOUS, 1850-1860 

in their inner correspondence as Brown, Jones, and Eobinson 
after Doyle's delightful Tourists. Brown was Harvey ; Jones, 
Hooker ; and Eobinson, Thomson, then established at Kew with 
the Hookers. In the autumn after their return the first 
letter to Harvey (November 4) opens : 

MY DEAR BROWN, Your letter greeted us well and we 
were greatly delighted to receive it. Eobinson says ' he 
would not like to insure your scrag in Tipperary ' ; Jones 
says he would, petikularly Mrs. Jones says so. 

And a few days later : 

Mrs. Jones begs to report that all at Kew are flourishing ; 
Mr. Eobinson especially is in high feather, and evidently 
much the better for his Swiss trip. Has Mr. Brown heard 
that Auguste Balmat is expected in London next month ? 
The Miss Martineaus informed Jones of the fact, hoping he 
might be able to assist in finding some employment for him 
during his stay in England a difficult affair. 

A thick yellow fog necessitates the writing of these lines 
by .candle light ! Finally Mrs. Jones begs her kind regards, 
and will be very glad to see Mr. Brown at Kew again some 

Afterwards the nicknames were regularly kept up in per- 
sonal messages about ' Mrs. Jones ' and * the little Joneses,' or 
in planning future trips, as in 1858, when Mrs. Hooker, after 
drawing up a plan of campaign, adds : 

Now do, Mr. Brown, join your faithful friends the Joneses 
on this beautiful little tour, which looks so charmingly 
tempting on paper ; it would add so much to our pleasure 
to have you with us. We don't mean to be away more than 
a month, and I shall set to work soon to lay it out in days, 
so as to get it all in comfortably and I'll keep all the 
accounts, and you shall have no bother at all, but just 
enjoy yourself, and I am sure it will do you a great deal of 
good. Don't say no all in a hurry, but take time to con- 
sider. Joe sends his love. 

It was a year when, owing to press of work, Hooker confessed 
he grudged the very time for a holiday, and suggested as a 


variant to stay * two or three quiet weeks at some cheap, out 
of the way place (Tyrol or Pyrenees) and work up some of my 
florating materials, and afterwards go on to Sardinia or not.' 

My pleasure [he writes to Harvey, July 20, 1858] would 
be to go to only 2 or 3 places and spend a week at least at 
each as one week at the Distel-Alp or elsewhere in Saas 
valley one in valley of Ansasca, a day off, and one some- 
where else, hard by, doing some work at each and enjoying 
some very moderate walks at each. I have no love of climb- 
ing any more, or of cleaving glaciers, but I should like 
wandering for an hour or two in a day about such places 
out of the way of tourists or tripping excursionists. 

But alternative plans had to be made nearer home, for 
Mrs. Hooker could not go far away from Bath, where her 
aunt, Miss Jenyns, was lying seriously ill. 

Thus a few days later : 

We proposed the Cornish tour because my wife would be 
as near Bath there as here. I am charmed with your Kilkee 
plans, not so Mrs. Jones who has an aversion to the sea, no 
taste for that seanery and besides Flea rhymes with Kilkee. 
The great objection is however that it is as far from Bath 
as Switzerland. There is also the Hewmeedity of W- Ireland, 
and 16 days' wind and rain out of a fortnight, plus colds 
and neuralgia, is no joke on a holiday tour. 

' But whatever be decided,' he adds, * I am like you, I 
bargain for the sea or the snow all else is dull, flat, tame, 
stale and unprofitable.' 

So again botanising is a leading attraction in the unfulfilled 
holiday plan for 1859, and he declares to Harvey : 

I would ten times rather go to Cadiz than to top of Mt. 
Eosa for a month ; specially as there is something to be got 
and much to be seen in Spain, and especially if the trip 
brought in the contrasted regions of the Atlantic and Medi- 
terranean coasts, followed by the crossing of the Pyrenean 
pass to the Biscayan coast, so as to secure comparative 
results beyond the mere numbers of species. 

434 MISCELLANEOUS, 1850-1860 

In 1855 the Great Exhibition in Paris, rival of its English 
prototype of four years before, drew everyone to France. 
' When are you going to Paris ? ' he asks Henslow on June 1. 
* The Benthams have taken lodgings there for 6 weeks. I am 
all in uncertainty whether I go at all or no. I am desperately 
busy.' After the fashion of such shows, it was not half com- 
pleted by the end of the month ; still ' I hear that it is really 
a very fine sight indeed already, and that the public are 
grumbling unreasonably and unnecessarily.' 

On July 3 he writes to Bentham in Paris that he has * partly 
plotted a trip to Germany with Nat. (Lindley) * about the 
middle of August,' adding : 

I really do not know what to say about going to Paris ; I 
can't speak French you know, and am indomitably repugnant 
to exert myself in conversation. I am pretty ashamed of 
my ignorance, and hate myself quite sufficiently for my in- 
dolence and mauvaise honte not to wish to expose myself to 
my own reproaches. You that wrote a book on Logic may 
unravel this if you can. Then too I do not care to go without 
Fanny ; altogether, in short, I am in a muddle. I did half 
promise to go with Henslow, but he is disgusted with his wax 
models having collapsed. I do not feel happy at the thought 
of going anywhere with this huge Indian collection on hand. 

Eventually he joined Henslow at the end of September, 
on his way back from a visit to Germany, for the Queen was 
going to Paris for a week in mid August, and the place would 
be impossible for lesser folk. 

From this trip he returned on October 3 * via Paris, from 
Vienna, Tyrol, Como, Mt. Eosa, Alps, Oberland, &c. (in inverse 
order).' The journey is described in the following letter by 
Lord Lindley : 

The Lodge, East Carleton, near Norwich : June 19, 1912. 

DEAR LADY HOOKER, Many thanks for your kind 
letter and the Photograph of Sir Joseph which I am very 
pleased to have. 

1 Nathaniel Lindley, son of Dr. John Lindley, Ph.D., F.R.S., the Professor 
of Botany at University College, London ; LL.D., D.C.L., Fellow Royal Society 
and British Academy ; called to the Bar 1850 ; Master of the Rolls 1897-1900 ; 
Baron 1900. 


I have no notes of my trip with Sir Joseph in 1855, but 
I have a lively recollection of its main incidents. The cholera 
was raging and we were fumigated on the frontier of Italy on 
the Stelvio Pass. Milan was stinking with Chloride of lime ; 
Venice was deserted, and the Scientific meeting at Vienna 
which Sir Jos. was to attend was put off. We saw the 
caves at Laibach and went to Breslau to see Goppert's 
celebrated collection of Amber containing seeds, insects, &c., 
which Hooker was very desirous of seeing. We wound up 
our trip by staying a week inTParis to see the Great Exhibition 
there and got home penniless. 

Our trip cost us 50 apiece ; and we often saved hotel 
bills by travelling at night when passing through unin- 
teresting country. I could talk French and German well 
then I wish I could now ! Hooker had introductions to 
Scientific men, but I cannot recall their names Humboldt 
and Koch, I think, at Berlin ; a Botanist at Vienna, Goppert 
at Breslau, and several in Paris. I think there was some 
one in Dresden and another in Munich ; and we went and 
spent a night with a friend at a house on a lovely lake not 
far from Munich, but I forget the name of the Man and the 
place. Von Martius may have been the man, but I am not 
by any means sure. 

I wish I could help you further. We met Henslow and, 
I think, a daughter of his when in Paris, and stayed at the 
same Hotel. 



IN one of his letters Darwin makes special mention of pre- 
serving his friend's letters. The answers to scientific questions 
are detached and placed among the memoranda of that subject ; 
the other parts are put among his general correspondence, so 
that it would only be a matter of half an hour to rearrange 
them in case of need. In spite of his care, however, a large 
number of the earlier letters from Hooker have disappeared 
wholly or in part. From the remainder I give a selection to 
illustrate their correspondence before the appearance of the 
' Origin.' 

Darwin's first letter to Hooker (December 1843) is printed 
in the ' Life of Charles Darwin,' ii. 21. He had then sent his 
Galapagos collections to Hooker through Henslow, who had 
had them in keeping (see ' More Letters of Charles Darwin,' 
i. 400) ; the next in sequence, which answers the following 
of Hooker's, is given in 'More Letters of Charles Darwin,' 
i. 39. 

J. D. Hooker to C. Darwin 

December 1843. 

The Galapagos plants are far more extensive in number 
of species than I could have supposed, and are the foundation 
of an excellent Flora of that group : Mr. Henslow has sent 
with them those of Macrae which hardly differ from yours. 
I was quite prepared to see the extraordinary difference 
between the plants of the separate Islands from your 
Journal, a most strange fact, and one which quite overturns 
all our preconceived notions of species radiating from a 



centre and migrating to any extent from one focus of greater 

I do not think there is in the North any instance of the 
floras of two such remote spots as Kerg. Land and Cape 
Horn being identical. Two Floras appear in the Northern 
Hemisphere, the American and the European. The former 
is confined to the American Arctic shores and islands, the 
latter to all Arctic Europe, Asia and Greenland : Western 
Arctic American to the W. of the great chain of the Kocky 
Mountains, and North of the Oregon Biver may also belong 
to the European Flora and is likely to, but I have not 
compared, having no materials in the Erebus. The abrupt 
line of demarkation is most remarkable in Baffin's Bay and 
Davis Straits, the most common European Heathers and 
some other plants being found abundantly along the Eastern 
shores and islands of those waters, but never on the Western. 
Of course a multitude of plants are common to both Hemi- 
spheres, which makes it in one sense the more remarkable 
that two or three of the types of Northern European Botany 
should not cross to the Westward of Longitude 60 W. 

I have been progressing with the Antarctic plants, using 
yours, King's and my own at once, and each according 
to the Nat. Ords., beginning with Banunculaceae, where 
the value of every scrap tells better than it is possible to 
suppose. The little Cardamine or Cress I prove, by com- 
parison with about 50 states of it running through the whole 
continent of S. America, to be the same as the most common 
European weed, C. hirsuta. This is not wonderful, but it 
is, that Winter's Bark, Drimys Winteri, should extend 
through the whole continent of S. America and Mexico, from 
25 N. to 56 S. It is true that the extreme states vary, 
and apparently specifically, but take the regular series of 
specimens, beginning with my own Cape Horn ones, your 
and King's Fuegian, Bertero's and Bridge's and Cuming's 
Chilian, the Brazilian ones of many collectors ; Peruvian 
and Bolivian States from others ; and finally, end the list 
with the Mexican, and no one (not even the most determined 
species-monger) can make them specifically distinct. It 
is further proved by the later Brazilian Botanical authors 
considering their species the Chilian, and contemporaneous 
Mexican writers, not aware of this last re-union, uniting 

VOL. I 2 F 

438 LETTEKS TO DARWIN, 1843-1859 

theirs to the Brazilian. I do not suppose that there is 
another plant of so great a size having one third as great 
a range in Latitude. 

The Govt. have not as yet granted anything towards 
my publication, but I hope they will ere long. Not being 
a good arranger of extended views . I rather fear the Geo- 
graphical distribution, which I shall not attempt till I have 
worked out all the species, especially as I hope that more 
facts of as great importance as the range of the Winter's 
Bark may turn up. With many happy returns of this 

Believe me, my dear Sir, 

Your most truly and obliged, 

Jos. D. HOOKER. 

We have just had a pretty little Barberry of your Chiloean 
collection \Berberis Darwinii] engraved for the Icones Plan- 
tarum, as it will not come into the Antarctic Flora, save in 
a note. 

Early April 1845. 

I do not doubt the Flora of the Sandwich Islands being 
very peculiar, but the difficulty is to settle what amount 
of new species or of new genera produces peculiarity. One 
species will sometimes render a whole vegetation peculiar 
in the eyes of some. In some instances, which I mentioned 
to you before, and which Hinds l has wholly overlooked, the 
Flora of the Sandwich group is quite singular, in the pre- 
ponderance chiefly of Lobeliaceae and Scaevoleae (if I 
remember) ; they are not however likely to strike a casual 
observer or to give a feature to the vegetation. Wilkes is 
probably indebted to his Botanist for the observation, which 
is just : no missionary book, nor does Cook (I think) nor any 
other unpractised observer, particularize the group as having 
any peculiarities of vegetation, but the contrary. I have 
not read Wilkes yet. Our ideas of peculiarity are most 
loose, we have no standard ; in the first instance we must 
know the absolute numerical amount of peculiar species ; 
this must ever be the primary point, the leading fact ; all 

1 Richard Brinsley Hinds (d. before 1861) was surgeon to H.M.S. Sulphur, 
and made the first collection of Hongkong plants which reached England. He 
Wiis author of The Regions of Vegetation, 1843, and edited the botany of H.M.S. 
Sulphur's voyage, andcontributed several papers on shells to various publications. 


other causes of peculiarity, as a preponderance of species, 
genus or higher group, or insulation of individuals, &c., 
&c., must be secondary considerations. Except Brown and 
Humboldt, no one has attempted this, all seem to dread the 
making Bot. Geog. too exact a science ; they find it far 
easier to speculate than to employ the inductive process. 
The first steps to tracing the progress of the creation of 
vegetation is to know the proportion in which the groups 
appear in different localities, and more particularly the 
relation which exists between the floras of the localities, a 
relation which must be expressed in numbers to be at all 

Edinburgh : July 1845. 1 

Bother variation, development and all such subjects ! 
it is reasoning in a circle I believe after all. As a Botanist 
I must be content to take species as they appear to be, not 
as they are, and still less as they were or ought to be. You 
see I am annoyed at my own incapacity to fathom or follow 
the subject to any good purpose (open confession is good 
for the soul). 

I think I can give you plenty of instances of peculiar 
genera with several good species in very small islands. [A 
list follows.] 

I have always felt opposed to Bory's (who is a great 
Gascon ! but not to be despised) views of the variableness 
of insular species. I certainly have no good evidence in 
favour of the loose statement I made and which corresponded 
with a vague idea I held, of insects being scarce on islands ; 
yet 13 species is surely very few for Keeling if size is to be 
regarded ; how often may you not find 13 on your own 
window ? Kerguelen Land has only 3. New Zealand and 
V.D.L. are certainly poor in Trinidad (of Brazils) I saw 
only 3, I think, a Hemerobius and the House flies and Cock- 
roach, introduced from a wreck : Canaries and Madeira are 
poor, I think ; Cape de Verds are too dependent on the W. 
coast of Africa to judge from. Nothing struck me as so 
marvellous as the appearance of 4 Insecta and many Arach- 
nida you mention as on St. Paul's rocks. Still I agree with 
you on the main point that such few as there are would be 
enough for impregnation if they only went to work about it. 

1 For Darwin's answer, see More Letters, i. 51. 

440 LETTERS TO 'DARWIN, 1843-1859 

I cannot prove that there is much hybridising l in nature, 
but do not see why there should not be, as we do not doubt 
that species require the pollen of other individuals, exactly 
as in the higher animals you must not ' breed in ' (I think the 
term is). 

I cannot hook my Kerguelen trees or climate on to the 
vacillating temperature of S. America : many thanks for 
the information though. Do you connect the union of the 
Conchogeographic districts at the Galapagos with the 
currents ? 

Every young Irish Yew bears berries ; there is a sort of 
Irish Yew in Ayrshire which I believe, like the Goddess 
Diana of the Ephesians, dropped down from Heaven, and 
picked itself up in a garden ; when I hear whether it bears 
berries I will tell you if she be equally chaste. If the Yew 
had been Italian and bows made it would have been dedi- 
cated to Diana. 

And now to bother you for the last time. The re-appear- 
ance of plants in certain situations is a curious phenomenon 
of which instances are multiplying daily in this neighbour- 
hood : there are doubtless series of seeds in some grounds 
lying dormant but not dead : what a curious principle life 
must be and what an uncomfortable abode it must often have. 
Cutting open railways causes a change of vegetation in two 
ways, by turning up buried live seeds and by affording space 
and protection for the growth of transported seeds : so that 
it is often very difficult to determine to which cause the 
appearance or superabundance of a plant is attributable. 
The Dutch Clover case is constantly quoted, but the Stirling 
Castle one is more curious. The King's Park was dug up in 
about 1650 ? during the 1st rebellion ; wherever the cuts were 
made for encampments, the Broom appeared, but in a year 
or two disappeared. In the rebellion of 1745, it was again 
encamped upon and again Broom came up and disappeared : 
it was afterwards ploughed and immediately became covered 
with Broom, which has all, for the third time, vanished. 

To conclude (I have been reading Scotch Sermons !) 
how curious that water plants should be so widely dif- 
fused. Water must have been a mighty agent in dissemina- 
tion ; not only though are these diffused but are diffusable. 

1 The word is used in the sense of the later ' cross-fertilisation.' 


Aponogeton, a Cape plant, not native of cold regions, bears 
a freezing every winter in our ponds : no one would have 
dreamt of it. 

Edinburgh : July 1845. 

I am exceedingly glad that 1'Espece [by Godron] has 
interested you, and will try and get you a copy from Mon- 
tagne, through whom my father received this. I am not 
inclined to take much for granted from any one who treats 
the subject in his way and who does not know what it is to 
be a specific Naturalist himself. Those who have had most 
species pass under their hands, as Bentham, Brown, Linnaeus, 
Decaisne, and Miquel, all I believe argue for the validity of 
species in nature ; they all direct attention to the cases where 
salient characters are unimportant, though taken advantage 
of by the narrow-minded studiers of overwrought local floras, 
and these facts, thus noticed as cautions to others, are taken 
up by such men as Gerard, who have no idea what thousands 
of good species there are in the world. Nature may have 
both made and muddled species ; we shall never know what 
are species in some genera and what are not. Generally 
cultivation will prove the validity of a species ; Gerard says 
that ' varieties of apples, &c. are more distinct than many 
species,' but how soon all revert to crabs ; again, the wheat 
is always adduced as a permanent variety of some unknown 
plant and it ought on that account to rank as a species, but I 
do not think so because it will never run wild ; it is to me 
very marvellous that the wheat seed is destroyed by being 
left in the ground of our country and that we see so little 
next year on a field that has supported millions of ears during 
the present.. 

Gerard evidently is no Botanist, he talks of having 
found both Prunus spinosa and Eubus rusticans without 
spines. Now spines are only abortive branches, and their 
absence or presence is never, of itself, a botanical character ; 
as a spine is not an organ per se : and again, no Eubus ever 
had or ever will have spines ; the prickles of Eubus are mere 
appendages of the cuticle and have no organic connection 
like spines with the pith and wood of the plant : species vary 
in the prickliness, just as they do in hairiness, according to 
the amount of spines or hair produced ; but they vary in 
spininess according to the number of branches that are 

442 LETTEES TO DARWIN, 1843-1859 

checked in growth which is much affected by want of 

moisture. You are right then to query that bit about the 

plants developing spines in bad soil ; for they only lose the 

power of nourishing the new leaf buds sufficiently and do 

not develop a new organ. (Hence hairiness is of more 

importance than spininess in distrib.). The Persicaria 

becoming hairy when removed from moist places is natural : 

hairs are believed to be provided as hygrometric appendages, 

to modify respiration and transpiration, water plants don't 

want them. It is facts such as the Irish Yew presents that 

afford fair ground for argument on such a topic. Noting 

instances by tens or hundreds of variation in individual 

species is nothing new ; few have an idea of the labour 

required to establish or destroy a species of a mundane genus. 

You have a Senebiera from Tres Montes, its capsules are 

much larger than the common S. pinnatifida, but that is so 

universally diffused a plant and so variable in the size of 

its leaves that at first sight no one would be inclined to 

grant specific dignity to the Tres Montes plant from the 

capsules. It struck me to put this subject to a Geographical 

test, the result is, that the S. pinnatifida is probably a native 

of the Plate alone, whence it has spread by ships all over 

East and West America, all West Europe near the coast, 

in fact both shores of the Atlantic, from Britain to the Cape 

and from Patagonia to Canada, wherever ships touch and 

cultivation ensues, and on W. from Valparaiso to California, 

wherever ships go, but through many hundreds of specimens 

there is no variation whatever in the size of the pods, and I 

therefore conclude that the Tres Montes plant is the W. 

coast representative of the E. coast plant. Now though 

De Candolle had hinted that S. pinn. was an American 

plant, he did not define its limits and retained two or three 

identical plants as different species which came from out 

of the way localities : to define its limits I had not only to 

consult all floras where it was described, but all where it 

was not, for such a mundane plant creeps into every flora. 

My troubles did not end here, for I had no Valparaiso 

Senebiera, and Bertero has an undescribed one from that 

port, which is alluded to as S. diffusa, Bert. MSS. I naturally 

concluded yours was this, but thought I would write to 

Brit. Mus. to confirm it, for fear of accident, but Bertero's 


was genuine pinnatifida, he gave it a new name taking for 
granted it was a new species. So as 8. pinnat. does not at 
Valparaiso vary into big pods I am more persuaded that 
yours is a representative species of W. coast of N. America. 
That neutral territory of representative species you ask 
about is just what I want to work out, but it needs great 

Ever yours most truly, 


The following comes between Darwin's letters given in 
M.L. i. 411 and 414, of which the latter is dated April 10, 1846. 

One of the great objects I had in view in my notion 
above alluded to [of the distrib. of Galapagos plants] was 
to group the plants according to their derivation, and I have 
a class in reserve for ' apparently peculiar species, possibly the 
altered forms of introduced plants.' It is quite true that in 
most islands there is a lot of very dubious species, by no 
means to be confounded with their countrymen, and not 
polymorphous in the said island, but wofully near certain 
continental congeners. Thus I would divide the Galapagos 
plants into 4 groups : 1. Ubiquitous, e.g. Avicennia. 
2. Of nearest continent, as Baccharis. 3. Possibly altered 
state [illegible]. 4. Original creations, as Pleuropetalum 
or Scalesia. The third group may not be a large one in the 
Galapagos (according to my notions) but its acknowledged 
existence is a matter of some importance. In the cases of 
Madeira, the Canaries and Azores, said group 3 must be very 
considerable. Such however is the difference of opinion 
amongst Botanists as to what should or should not be a 
species, that the question in any shape will be a troublesome 
one, though not on that account to be dismissed unconsidered. 

I stumbled on a splendid fact the other day, that the 
Lycopodium cernuum is only found in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of the hot springs in the Azores. When alluding 
to its distribution at p. 114 of my Flora I dared not mention 
that it was not known to be an inhabitant of Madeira or the 
Canaries, as I thought it must turn up there ; now however 
I do not expect it and feel sure that the presence of this 
torrid plant in the Azores is due to the hot springs. What 
I am most pleased at is the apparent proof of the universal 

444 LETTEES TO DAKWIN, 1843-1859 

suspension of the sporules of this genus in the air and the 
consequent strengthening of my hypothesis, that the genus 
should be decimated sparing only every tenth ! Of course 
it is a strong fact for migration, and for the existence of the 
impalpable spawn of Fungi, &c., in all air. 

I have been more coolly analysing the bearings of the 
Forbes Botanical question l lately, and with the distressing 
result, that I fear I must haul out of all participation with 
him. You will think me unstable as water, and I must 
blame myself for speaking too much without thinking. It 
is not from a reconsideration of his facts and arguments 
that my faith is weakened, but from an independent exami- 
nation of the Flora of the N. Atlantic Isles and W. U. 
Kingdom, which shows that there are plants in those regions 
which have been more put to in getting there than the 
Asturias ones need have been. Such are the American 
plants, Eriocaulon septangulare in the Hebrides and W. 
Ireland, American Neottia in S. Ireland, and Trichomanes 
brevisetum in W. Ireland and Madeira, all of them American 
plants not found further E. on continents of Europe or 
Africa. Also the Gymnogramma Totta, a fern of the Cape 
only in Madeira and Azores, and Myrsine africana, which 
positively skips from the Cape across all intermediate 
Africa on one side to Abyssinia and on the other to the 
Azores ! I hope to be allowed a conversation with Forbes 
on the subject, for really with his Sargassum weed, &c., he 
is going too far. 

It is very easy to explain on what sort of ground Botanists 
make one class of plants higher, and as easy to prove them 
futile by their results. I do not however think your objection 
valid, urged on the grounds of Owen's observations on 
organs which are developed in the animal kingdom, 2 but 
which organs are valueless for systematic purposes, if present 
even, in the vegetable. It is upon the modifications of the 

1 Viz., that several Spanish plants in Ireland could not have been trans- 
ported by any known agencies ; hence they supported the argument for a 
Miocene continental extension between Ireland and Spain, and from Spain to 
the N. Atlantic Islands. 

2 A. St. Hilaire used a multiplicity of parts e.g. several circles of stamens, 
as evidence of the highness of the Ranunculaceae : Owen conversely used the 
same argument to show the lowness of some animals, urging that the fewer 
the number of any organ by which the same end is gained, the higher the animal. 

The subject of ' high ' and ' low ' is touched upon further, pp. 460, 463. 


sexual organs and their accessories that all the Nat. Orders 
are denned. The organs of locomotion afford the Botanist 
no characters, those of digestion next to none : and the 
mode after which the various component parts of a com- 
pound body (a plant) are arranged is valuable only for the 
3 highest groups, Monocot, Dicot, and Acot, and not absolute 
even amongst these. Generally speaking, in Botany highness 
and lowness are synonymous with complexity and simplicity 
of structure. I can hardly conceive either simplicity or 
complexity of one particular organ indicating the rank of 
a being in the scale of creation. 

November 1851. 

Coprosma is almost peculiar to N. Zealand, and for the 
life of me I do not know how to draw the line between there 
being only one species or 28 ! it covers the country in 
every form of herb, bush and tree, from sea to mountain 
top, but it is no worse than Eubus, Willow or Kosa are 
in Gt. Britain, and on the whole I ignore Bory's theory. 1 
Generally speaking, the N. Zealand species are as well or 
better marked than the European, or the Australian, where 
Eucalyptus and various other genera are not to be surpassed 
in Protean dispositions. For the rest, recent discoveries 
rather tend to ally the N. Zeald. Flora with the Australian 
though there is enough affinity with extratropical S. 
America to be very remarkable and far more than can b& 
accounted for by any known laws of migration. I am 
becoming slowly more convinced of the probability of the 
Southern Flora being a fragmentary one all that remains 
of a great Southern continent. A second species of the 
otherwise strictly great S. American genus Calceolaria has 
turned up in N. Zealand, and of the two only genera of N. 
Zeald. Leguminosae, one, a tree (Edwardsia), is common to 
Chili and N. Zealand and to no other countries the other 
is confined to N.Z. and allied to nothing. Several of the 
truly wild grasses are European I think, and yet not found 
in Australia ! 

Hitcham: June 1854. 

Will you oblige me with your ideas of what constitutes 
highness and lowness in the Animal Kingdom ? e.g. in 

1 See p. 439. 

446 LETTEES TO DAKWIN, 1843-1859 

plants I should say that a high development in the scale is 
indicated by special adaptations of organs to the discharge 
of functions, great deviations in those organs from the type 
upon which they are constructed. Thus Eanunculaceae 
are low in the scale because the floral organs are apt to run 
into one another and revert to the type (a leaf) on which 
they are constructed because calyx and corolla are so 
often alike stamens often reverting and the follicles present 
little deviation from a leaf folded on itself. Hence Mono- 
petalous flowers are higher than polypetalous, inferior 
ovaries a higher type than superior, Dicotyledons than 
Monocot, Exogens than Endogens, &c., &c. 

Darwin's answer is given in ' More Letters/ i. 76 : the 
distinction he draws lies in the amount of morphological 
differentiation and the division of physiological labour. (See 
below, p. 463, letter of December 26, 1858.) 

Darwin had been making out various Grasses from book 
descriptions, and sent one that baffled him for identification. 

Richmond, Sunday. 

MY DEAR DARWIN, Your grass appears to me to be 
Festuca pratensis, and agrees as ill with the descriptions as 
most plants appear to do. How on earth you have made 
out 30 grasses rightly is a mystery to me. You must have 
a marvellous tact for appreciating diagnoses. I am sure 
that I could not have done it. I very much rejoice at your 
feats, as it will afford us many subjects of interest in common 
when we meet again. I think that some structural points 
would interest you as that of the inflorescence of Grasses. 
Amongst facts of interest which will one day be licked into 
shape pro or con species and migration, is that of the South 
Coast of Australia. I have just made a resume of the 
Australian Leguminosae, about 900 species. Of these some 
450 inhabit the South West Corner, Swan Kiver, &c., and 
about 300 the South East (New South Wales, &c.), but there 
are not 10 species common to both ! Now what can migra- 
tion be about, trans-water or trans-land ? and what a 
busy time of it Dame Nature has had in making so many 
species, whether by creation or variation. 

I am busy at Indian Compositae. There are two very 
common English Thistles, a small one, Carduus acanthoides, 


and a big one, C. nutans. I never heard of their being 
supposed to be varieties by any one, and they differ in many 
points ; but the Himal. specimens are all of an intermediate 
form its small states identical with acanthoides, its large 
with small nutans. These facts shake species to their 
foundation but according to my view of species, as con- 
trasted with other systematists, there are sore few of them. 
In fact if there were a possibility of bringing your and my 
opinions to book, it might prove that we were not so far 
divided. The more I study the more vague my conception 
of a species grows, and I have given up caring whether 
they are all pups of one generic type or not that the main 
forms remain so long distinct; that we may through their 
characters trace their distribution, is certainly all we can 
expect to prove in our day ; and the laws of that distribution 
more than we shall establish in our life-time. 

I have a glorious fact for you. A tropical species of 
Cyperus (polystachys) and a tropical Fern, Pteris longifolia, 
grow in the hot soil of the Volcano of Ischia and nowhere 
else in Europe or the Mediterranean : see Hooker's Journ. 
Bot. for Nov. 1854, p. 351 (it is on Athenaeum table). Now 
I can wriggle out of the Fern case by allowing ubiquitous 
meteoric dispersion of Fern spores, but the Cyperus is a dis- 
gusting and detestable fact that disgusts my soul within m