Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
Craigflower, Torryburn, Dunfermline, [Scotland, United Kingdom]
JDH/2/16 f.63
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
8 page letter over 2 folios

JDH writes to Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer about a recent trip to Edinburgh, where he had lunch with [John Hutton] Balfour, Isaac [Bayley Balfour], [Alexander] Dickson & [John] Sadler. He reports that Balfour is as ill as normal & speculates as to whether he will get his pension whilst retaining the Regius keepership of Botany at Edinburgh University. Dickson, his successor as Chair of Botany at the university is pleased to have given responsibility for the Edinburgh Botanic Garden & arboretum to the Curator [John] Sadler. JDH briefly discusses the funding & layout of the new arboretum & praises the condition of the garden. JDH stayed with Isaac Anderson-Henry in his villa. It is well known that [Malcolm] Dunn has ambitions to succeed John Smith as Curator of RBG Kew, JDH does not hear good reports of his character or skills as a gardener. JDH has seen Lord Melville's grounds & garden at Lasswade, which are kept up by a conscientious gardener. At the flower show in Edinburgh JDH met RBG Kew's ex orchid man, Russell & the gardener from Drumlanrig Castle, David Thomson. JDH ignored Dunn & McKinley[?]. The nature of Sir Wyville Thomson's illness is not known, there are no rumours about his resignation or appointing a successorship so JDH deduces that Lankester's actions are not known except to Allman, & in London. JDH hopes it is not too late to draw Montbretia pottsi. He is delighted about River's interest in the Teak & sorry that WTTD has had trouble with the Colonial Office, JDH will write to [Robert Henry] Meade about it. He explains that he could not leave a carriage for Harriet Thiselton-Dyer as their horse was worn out & the state of their job master uncertain. He discusses alterations to the museum building at RBG Kew & mentions the state of door lintels in the orchid houses. Bad weather will prevent JDH going to the Trossachs with his son Reggie [Reginald Hawthorn Hooker].


& what goes with it. He has written over & over again for his retiring allowance as Professor & gets no answer at all, & my idea is, that for so long as he retains the house & Regius keepership, he will get none. So the poor fellow is non-plussed & very miserable. Meanwhile Dickson is pleased enough to be free of the bother of the Garden & the new arboretum, the laying out of which will be a most serious responsibility & cost a vast deal of money. Meanwhile the paths are being made, & the Govt. [Government] will plant the mere outskirting

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Sept[ember]. 11/[18]79
My Dear Dyer*1
I went to Edinbro' [Edinburgh] on Tuesday, & spent the day in the Gardens, lunching with [John Hutton] Balfour*2, who had Issac [Bayley Balfour]*3, [Alexander] Dickson*4 & [John] Sadler*5 to lunch. Old B[alfour]. looks very ill, & is feeble & yellow, but no worse than usual. He has made a miserable mess in going to Inverleith House which is a horrible place & so long as he keeps it (& he has only just purchased it) he will not I expect get his retiring allowance, which is 3/5 of the total income of the chair

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& what goes with it. He has written over & over again for his retiring allowance as Professor & gets no answer at all, & my idea is, that for so long as he retains the house & Regius keepership, he will get none. So the poor fellow is non-plussed & very miserable. Meanwhile Dickson is pleased enough to be free of the bother of the Garden & the new arboretum, the laying out of which will be a most serious responsibility & cost a vast deal of money. Meanwhile the paths are being made, & the Govt. [Government] will plant the mere outskirting

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fence. All the rest will fall on the Regius Keeper, who will have to provide procure large funds from Govt. The Garden itself is in excellent order, out of doors & indoors, & is v[er]y creditable to Sadler.
I dined & slept at I[saac] A[nderson]. Henry's*6 with whom I am greatly pleased: he is a genuine genial old fellow over[?] 80! (of which I had no idea). He inhabits a v[er]y pretty villa residence -- with a small garden & in utterly ramshackle condition but full of nice things. The Balfours & Dickson dined with us, the later played charmingly on the piano.
I find that [Malcolm?] Dunn's*7 designs on Smith's place are well known, but

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in no way to his disadvantage -- for every one knew (so to speak) that Smith*8 was dying, & Dunn's ambition was natural. I hear on all hands that he is a conceited chatter box, a cock of the walk, in the dunghill of gardeners & that he would be a nuisance at Kew. Yesterday Henry drove me to Lasswade to see Lord Melville's grounds & garden, kept by a man of whom he hears well, & thinks most highly, though chiefly from hearsay, a[s?] an able unassuming & most conscientious man of good habits. The place was certainly in first rate order, & considering that Lord M. has never been at the place in his life! Nor any of the family, the keep is most

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conscientiously sustained. Unluckily[?] the man was away at a Flower show in Edinburgh & so I did not see him -- we returned to Edinb[urgh] & to the flower show, where I saw our late man Russell, who had the Orchideae at Kew -- & [David] Thomson of Drumlang[sic] [Drumlanrig Castle] a v[er]y powerful capable looking fellow. Dunn & McKinley[?] were there, but I did not wish to speak to either of them.
Of course I made all the enquiry I could about Sir W[yville]. Thomson*9 -- Dickson & I[saac Bayley]. Balfour were at issue about the nature of his illness, which must be v[er]y obscure. There is no talk of resignation, & arrangements are being made for the performance of his winter course. I asked if anyone was moving or making[?] interest for successorship, t[hey]y both

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said th[e]y had heard of no one, & that if anyone did at this period it would do them harm. So Lankester's*10 steps have not reached Edinburgh, though Allman*11 knows of them -- I shall give A[llman]. a hint not to talk about it -- but I suppose it is pretty well known in London. // I returned here at 7 last night & have three letters to thank you for.
Montbretia pottsi has not been drawn, I hope it is not too late. I am delighted to hear of the Teak, & of Rivers interest being unargued[?]-- I cannot understand the Board at all I never knew so loose a condition of things[.] I am very concerned to find that

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you have been put to so much trouble abou with the C[olonial].O[ffice]. it is really too bad, in the matter of Jamaica they are worse than our Board! I am glad you have not thrown the matter up, as I should have been inclined to do. I must really talk to [Robert Henry] Meade*12 when I return. I have long seen that he was no man of business -- (Had it been otherwise he would have been an undersecy a first under secretary long ago).
I am sorry to hear about Harriett but you must expect these sudden ups & downs. I wish we could have left her our carriage but the horse was past praying for, & we had to send him & the man back & I do not yet know what

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state we are in respecting of our Job master*13.
I am right glad of the museum addition. Are you still against an exit at its bottom wall behind the museum? It would prevent the fearful block at the "stair-foot" on crowded days[.]
Surely the lintels of the doors between the Orchid Houses are not[?] in a good state.
The weather here is miserable & I shall not after all get to the Trossachs with Reggie [Reginald Hawthorn Hooker]. I had a dreadful morning on Tuesday, & afternoon on Wednesday, & this morning it is rainy again!
I return letter to Meade, quite approved.
With much love to Harriet | t[ruly] y[ou]rs aff[ectionate]ly J.D. Hooker[signature]


1. Sir William Turner Thiselton--Dyer (1843--1928). British botanist and third Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (1885--1905). He succeeded Joseph Hooker in the role after serving as his Assistant Director for ten years. He previously held professorships at the Royal Agricultural College Cirencester, Royal College of Science for Ireland and Royal Horticultural Society. He married Hooker's eldest daughter Harriet in 1877.
2. John Hutton Balfour (1808--1884). Scottish botanist. Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow from 1841 to 1845. Professor of Botany and Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh from 1845 until his retirement in 1879. Also held the position of 'Her Majesty's Botanist'.
3. Isaac Bayley Balfour (1853--1922). Scottish botanist, son of botanist John Hutton Balfour. He was Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow from 1879 to 1885, Sherardian Professor of Botany at the University of Oxford from 1884 to 1888. Professor of Botany & Regius Keeper of the Botanic Garden at the University of Edinburgh from 1888 to 1922.
4. Alexander Dickson (1836--1887). Scottish morphological botanist and botanical artist. Chair of Botany at the University of Dublin 1866 to 1868. Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow fro 1868 to 1879. Professor of Botany at the University of Edinburgh and Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 1879 to 1887.
5. John Sadler (1837--1882). Scottish Botanist. Curator of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh from 1879.
6. Isaac Anderson-Henry (1800--1882). Scottish botanist. Bred new varieties of plants in his garden at Hay Lodge. President of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh 1867 to 1868.
7. Probably refers to Malcolm Dunn (1837--1899). Gardener at Powerscourt County Wicklow, 1865 and to the Duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith Palace, 1871.
8. John Smith (1821--1888). Curator or 'head gardener' of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 1864--1886. His predecessor as Curator was also named John Smith.
9. Sir George Wyville Thomson (1830--1882). Scottish natural historian and marine zoologist. Chief scientist on the HMS 'Challenger' Expedition (1872--1876). His work during the expedition revolutionised oceanography. In 1850 he was appointed lecturer of botany, and in 1851 professor of botany, at the University of Aberdeen. In 1853 he became a professor of natural history in Queen's College, Cork, Ireland, succeeding Professor Hincks. A year later he was nominated to the chair of mineralogy and geology at the Queen's University of Belfast, and in 1860 was transferred to the chair of natural history at the same institution. In 1868 he assumed the duties of professor of botany at the Royal College of Science, Dublin, and finally in 1870 he received the natural history chair at the University of Edinburgh.
10. Sir Edwin Ray Lankester (1847--1929). British zoologist who made important contributions to comparative anatomy, anthropology, parasitology and embryology, including evidence in support of the theories of evolution and natural selection. He held chairs at University College London and Oxford University and was the third Director of the Natural History Museum, London.
11. George James Allman (1812--1898). Irish ecologist, botanist and zoologist who served as Emeritus Professor of Natural History at Edinburgh University in Scotland.
12. Robert Henry Meade (1835--1898). British Civil Servant. Assistant Under Secretary in the Colonial Office from 1871 then Head of the Colonial Office from 1892 to 1897.
13. Job master: someone who lets out horses and carriages for hire.

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