Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
Alderley Grange, Wotton Under Edge, [Gloucestershire, United Kingdom]
JDH/2/16 f.37
Thiselton-Dyer, Sir William Turner
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
© Descendants of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Letters to Thiselton-Dyer
The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Original MS
10 page letter over 3 folios

JDH describes his impressions of Sir W. Stirling Maxwell's home at Keir near Stirling, [Scotland], including the interiors of the house, the library & art collections, & garden design & management. JDH is grateful to learn from Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer that the Hevea [rubber] matter is settled. He is uncertain what to do about Prestoe's affairs. JDH thanks WTTD for signing cheques for his daughter [Harriet Hooker later Thiselton-Dyer]. JDH approves of WTTD going to the Hereford Fungus Show to maintain RBG Kew's profile. Mentions a Mr Phillips & the British Museum buying Nylander's collection of herbarium specimens. RBG Kew, through Daniel Oliver, should co-ordinate the fungi they are buying with Berkeley so they do not duplicate. Discusses replacing Gammie & Hartog, the latter [as Assistant Director of Peradeniya Botanic Garden] possibly with Traill, thought JDH does not think that [George Henry Kendrick] Thwaites will be happy with anyone as his deputy. JDH is scathing of Edgeworth's work published in the Linnean Society Transactions, calling his species 'Chimaeras…seen in wood-cuts of SCIENCE GOSSIP' but advises WTTD to maintain silent contempt rather than denounce Edgeworth. JDH blames Curry & Allman [as officers of the Linnean Society] & W. Smith for not giving his opinion in writing to the Linnean Society Council. JDH notes that he is considering making his Royal Society address about fossil botany, with allusions to Williamson's papers & Hector's discoveries in New Zealand, Sapoteas & the question of temperate forests in arctic regions. He would also like to caution against introducing subjects such as spiritualism to scientific meetings.


and intended us such to instruct the public as to the limits of scientific research.
We leave this on Tuesday for Arley Cottage, & shall return to Kew on Thursday I hope & believe without fail.
Ever most sincerely yours | Jos D. Hooker.[signature]

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Alderley Grange
Oct. 1/[18]76
My dear Dyer*1,
Thanks for your capital letter. We arrived here yesterday afternoon after a long night journey from Stirling which we left at 9 on the previous evening. The most interesting thing I have seen since I last wrote is Sir. Mr. Stirling Maxwell's house at Keir near Stirling -- he was not at home but the house keeper took me us over & I was amazed at the wealth of articles of historic interest & beauty, pictures, portraits, engravings, glass, china, gold -- silver -- & stone work, furniture, fittings &c &c &c & all arranged with

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an eye to artistic effect. There was not a door handle or door plate, a stud, stool, bolt, nail, or piece of fitting however insignificant that was not an object of study -- none of the rooms x*2but one that was furnished by his predecessor, were large or gorgeous, nothing was far from the eye or hand. The innumerable mottos & sentences in the beams transverse[?] &c, & inscriptions in the portraits etc. were all in subdued colour & yet clear & legible, & the library inscriptions were in English, Scottish, Latin, Greek, Italian & Spanish; always short pithy & to the purpose. Another great beauty of the whole thing was, that perfect as it was, it all

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bore in every part the evidence of growth -- & this was the great contrast to most of the gorgeous well arranged modern houses -- which are evidently made to hold & fit the furniture & decorative objects, whether of art or use. This on the contrary is an old house, the various parts of which were adjusted & utilised for the instructive display of art collections & fitted up[,] coloured &c with reference to the contents. The great draw back is the too apple pie order ! One could understand the proprietor who created it all working in it, & being a man incapable of working elsewhere; but you would be sorry to have to work in it yourself. The glory of the house is the Library of Spanish Literature & art the backs of whose books, all classified & bound for use, (& not

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for treasury[?] or show) was all we could see of this.
The garden & grounds in the Italian style are good in original design but utterly destroyed by the owners evident want of any leading idea, of knowledge, & of taste too! possibly also by his complete indifference. They are superintended by a drunken head gardener & 18 assistants! & are in disgraceful keeping: these are open to the public in a week but the house is never shown.
I have been thinking a great over all the matters is your letter. Thank God the Hevea matter is settled. I must do something about Prestoe's affairs but am puzzled what to do. The

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C[olonial]. O[ffice]. cannot act except upon definite information; & what is to be done by Kew should be sharp, short & decisive. I think that Prestoe should with the counsel of some cautious official, write strong remonstrance to the Governor, & send me a copy of it to lay before the C.O.
Many thanks for the filling up[?] the cheques for my daughter, Smith should have reminded me of the want of signed cheques. I thought I had left enough for 2 months.
I am glad that you went to Hereford Fungus Show -- it is of the utmost importance that Kew keeps before the world. That Mr Phillips appeared to me to be a good man. I had not heard of The B[ritish]. M[useum]. buying

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Nylander's collection. Nor did I suppose that it was a very extensive one: he used to profess to care little for any Herb[arium]. of his own if I remember aright. I have still to get from Oliver a list of the collections he does buy to let Berkeley know, as if I understood B. aright we are both (Kew & Berkeley) buying the same things.
Gammie I suppose can be easily replaced, not so Hartog, -- that is to say not so by a better, the pay is so small -- what do you say to Traill? I doubt however anyone's satisfying Thwaites now, -- I hope that Hartog

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will be early informed by Thwaites -- if it's better that he should leave at once than hang on if he is not to succeed. I am aghast at the Linnean proceeding. I feel persuaded that Edgeworth's work was worthless & it is his brain that is wrong. & that probably not one of his drawings is truly accurate, whilst no inconsiderable number are simple chimaeras -- having nothing in the remotest degree resembling them except amongst diatoms, Radiolarians & God knows what organisms that he may have seen in wood-cuts of Science gossip, subsequently dreamt of, & had on the brain when his eye was vacantly gazing at a pollen cell under the microsscope. In fact they are

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clearly products of a deceived imagination. but my dear fellow you must not take up draw the sword ;-- you have quite just extinguished Balfour, & it will not do for you to establish yourself in the position of Censor General, especially in a case like this, which is so bad, that every one knows it, & it is best passed over in silent contempt. The plates damn themselves -- I will speak to Bentham when I return -- but I did so as strongly as possible before the paper went in; & again when you & I heard of the publication. It is Curry & Allman who are most to blame, as is W. Smith in not putting his opinion in writing for the council. On to the R[oyal]. S[ociety]. address, I fancy

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that after all the number of subjects that have come under the societies councils deliberations & which must be dealt with for the information of the fellows will provide matter enough & I can throw in a few scientific observations bearing upon them. I thought of alluding to Williamson's papers on Fossil Botany & two or three remarkable points, as Hector's discoveries in N[ew]. Z[ealand]., Sapotas & the general question of temperate forests in arctic regions in order to introduce some cautions.
I should like to say a very few words in reference to the introducing [of] discussions on such a subject as spiritualism into scientific discussions at meetings held ostensibly for scientific purposes

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and intended us such to instruct the public as to the limits of scientific research.
We leave this on Tuesday for Arley Cottage, & shall return to Kew on Thursday I hope & believe without fail.
Ever most sincerely yours | Jos D. Hooker.[signature]


1. Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer (1843--1928). Appointed Assistant Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew under Joseph Hooker in 1875. Succeeded Hooker as Director Nov 1885--1905. Earlier in his career he was a Professor at The Royal Agriculture College Cirencester, Royal College of Science for Ireland in Dublin and the Royal Horticultural Society. Notable published works include editions of the Flora Capensis and the Flora of Tropical Africa. He married Joseph Hooker’s daughter Harriet Anne Hooker in 1877.
2. The following text "but one that was furnished by his predecessor" has been written vertically in the left hand margin of page 2 and a cross indicates it is to be inserted in the text at this point.

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