Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
The Camp, Sunningdale, Berkshire, United Kingdom
JDH/2/16 f.120
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
6 page letter over 2 folios

JDH writes praising Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer's 'Argyle article', referring to the 8th Duke of Argyle [George John Douglas Campbell ] a leader of scholarly opposition to Darwinism. JDH states he has always disagreed with Argyle's attitude to Darwin, evolution & coral reefs which is a shame as Argyle has the skill to be a 'first rate naturalist'. JDH blames 'the obfuscation of Scotch metaphysics' & Argyle's family & upbringing. He describes Argyle's strong willed mother & relative poverty & mentions his upbringing by Scottish divinity students. JDH mentions a lost document regarding the Fredenhsborg [Fredensborg] Garden. JDH is anxious about mismanagement of funds at the Royal Horticultural Society. He asks about a matter regarding West Indian soil which will place demands on [Daniel] Morris's time. JDH mentions the need for a typed revision of Steudel's invaluable NOMENCLATOR BOTANICUS SEU SYNONYMIA PLANTARUM UNIVERSALIS & discusses plans for Francis 'Frank' Darwin & Cambridge Press to publish one. He also notes that Steudel omitted over 1,000 species of Lamarck [Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet] & [Jean Louis Marie] Poiret. JDH sympathises with the eye problems of Harriet [Thiselton-Dyer] & their son 'Georgie' [George Henry Thiselton-Dyer], he wishes he could bequeath them his own, which have withstood many years of orchid dissection. JDH discusses his study of Neottieae. Writes that various members of his family & household have had influenza, JDH has had bronchitis & is taking quinine for it he may also need a change of climate & [Thomas Henry] Huxley has suggested Teneriffe but JDH does not care for it.


Teneriffe[sic] but I have seen the Isl[an]d & do not care about it.
With love to Harriet & the children | Ever your affe[tionate] J D Hooker[signature]
Pray do not think of coming here. This is a hot bed of Influenza.

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J[anuar]y 17th [18]90*2
My dear Dyer*3
I have read every word of your Argyle*4 article & like each & all of them. It is clear & succinct throughout & the illustrations from facts & authors excellent.
I have always regarded the Duke's attitude towards Darwin, whether as regards evolution or coral reefs as pure Celtic cussedness; ineradicable & aggressive. With every gift & quality for a first rate naturalist as an observer especially, this writhing devil in him, spoils all. The obfuscation of Scotch metaphysics have a good deal to do with it. His father was a very weak man, his

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mother a woman of great ability, who cared nothing for King or Name's, more like a cook than a Duchess, was as close fisted as independent. I have heard my Mother say that she trusted no one to feed the fowls! They were dreadfully poor any bow how, for their rank. The Duke was brought up entirely at home, by Scottish divinity students, of whom I knew two intimately -- & very excellent men they were, who cannot be credited with the Duke's feelings.
I am quite puzzled about the Fredenhsborg Garden[?] *5 Can it be found up amongst the Foreign letters?
I am concerned to hear of the Hort[icultural] Soc[iety] defalcation, but am glad that Morris*5a detected it in

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What is the W[east] Indian soil[?] I am sorry to hear of it. You will be ill able to spare Morris.
I am most anxious about Steudel.*6 I have used & revised enough to see that, with all it's imperfections, it will be invaluable: but a careful revision in type will be essential.
I have no final further answer from F[rank] Darwin*7 about the Cambridge Press. I have written to ask if he is home yet. I feel sure that if it Cambridge would consider it, with aided perhaps by a substantial subsidy from private sources, it could be a good thing. Talking at random there will be 600,000 entries. i.e. 3 volumes 4to [quarto] of some 360 pages each, in

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triple columns. We have just found out that Steudel actually has omitted upwards of 1,000 species of Lamarck*8 & Poiret,*9 & that these are taken up nowhere! We had verified all the names in the Eng[lish] class[ification] as taken up by Steudel & others assuming that all had been taken up. This job now just done & revision is the chief work, in which I do all I can. It is tedious work.
I am awfully sorry to hear of Harriet's [Thiselton--Dyer née Hooker] & Georgie's*9a eyes. I wish I could let them have mine when I die! Mine must be wonderful to have stood all this Orchid dissection.
I am at Neottieae -- they are dreadful to analyse. ¼ hour apiece for each flower is nothing. There are most curious matters connected with their pollinia which must be studied in the living plants. I wish I could follow them up.

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The influenza has not spared us, & I have had to put off Fawcett, Schlik & Ward. Joey's*9b pulse was 130: -- & the Governess has been confined to bed for one a week. Dicky*9c has had but little -- Gran is well. One of the little Hannays had it, but is all right again. Lady H[ooker] has had [a] cough. As to self it is no use blinking it. I began with a violent bronchitis catarrh on New Year's Day, which has left a continuous cough & discharge. I am better however than I was, & taking Quinine.*10 My Doctor is in an awful funk lest I take Influenza -- but I do not fear it. I suppose I shall lea have to seek change of air to get rid of it. Huxley*11 wants us to go [to]

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Teneriffe[sic] but I have seen the Isl[an]d & do not care about it.
With love to Harriet & the children | Ever your affe[tionate] J D Hooker[signature]
Pray do not think of coming here. This is a hot bed of Influenza.


1. Joseph Hooker had a residence built in Sunningdale, Berkshire called 'The Camp'. Completed in 1882 he lived there full time, with his second wife Hyacinth and their family, after retiring from RBG Kew in 1885.
2. This letter was also stamped as received at Kew on 18th January 1890.
3. 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 the Royal Horticultural Society. He married Hooker's eldest daughter Harriet in 1877.
4. George John Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyle (1823- 1900). Scottish peer & Liberal politician as well as a writer on science, religion and the politics of the 19th Century. A close associate of Prince Albert, he held various positions in government. He was also a leader in the scholarly opposition against Darwinism. 5. Fredensborg Palace is one of the homes of the Danish Royal Family, situated on the eastern shore of Lake Esrum. The garden is among Denmark's largest historical gardens and Denmark's finest example of a baroque garden.
5a. Sir Daniel Morris (1844--1933). Botanist. Assistant at the Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka 1877--1879 where he studied coffee diseases. Director of Public Gardens, Jamaica 1879--1886. Assistant Director Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1886--1898. Imperial Commissioner of Agriculture, West Indies 1898--1908 then Scientific Advisor in Tropical Agriculture to the Colonial Office until 1913. His substantial output of books and articles on agricultural matters is chiefly concerned with the Caribbean. He became a Vice-President of the Royal Horticultural Society and of the Royal Empire Society.
6. Steudel's Nomenclator botanicus seu Synonymia plantarum universalis is an alphabetical reference list of plants.
7. Sir Francis "Frank" Darwin (1848--1925). Son of the British naturalist and scientist Charles Darwin, he followed his into botany. He was known for his work on phototropism.
8. Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck (1744--1829), often known simply as Lamarck, was a French naturalist.
9. Jean Louis Marie Poiret (1755--1834). French clergyman, botanist and explorer. He joined with Lamarck to compile the Encyclopédique methodique: Botanique 1789--1819 and Tableau encyclopédique des trois règnes de la nature: Botanique 1819--1823.
9a. George 'Georgie' Henry Thiselton-Dyer (1879--1944). Son of Harriet and William Thiselton-Dyer, grandson of Joseph Dalton Hooker.
9b. Joseph Symonds Hooker (1877--1940). Joseph Hooker's first child with his second wife Lady Hyacinth Hooker.
9c. Richard Symonds Hooker (1885--1950). Joseph Hooker's second child with his second wife Lady Hyacinth Hooker.
10. Quinine sulphate is a natural white crystalline alkaloid derived from the bark of the Cinchona tree & used as a medicine. It has antipyretic, antimalarial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and a bitter taste.
11. Thomas Henry Huxley (1825--1895). English biologist (comparative anatomist). His vigorous public support for Charles Darwin's evolutionary naturalism earned him the nickname "Darwin's Bulldog." His organisational efforts, public lectures and writing helped elevate the place of science in modern society.

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