Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
Camp, Atlas Mountains, South of Marocco [Marrakesh, Morocco],Morocco
JDH/1/9 f.602-603
Hooker (nee Henslow), Frances Harriet
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
© Descendants of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Moroccan Letters
The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Original MS
8 page letter over 2 folios

to Willy by next.
I am very glad that you could pay so much attention to the Peters.
We are now traveling in Arab costume. Turbans & jellabyas[sic djellaba] or long white cloaks with hoods but we throw both off at every opportunity.
I have loads of silk the natives of this region (Shlóo[?]) are a very poor but industrious race, miserably diseased.
Jellabya with hood on [A pencil drawing of two figures, depicted in profile, wearing native attire follows this text]

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Camp Atlas Mts May 19 [18]71
Dearest F*1
I have two letters to thank you for, the first received three days ago on our way up to the snowy range was that dated April 26 from Malvern Wells & was accompanied by one from Willy*2, Mr. Smith*3 & Prof[essor] Oliver*4. The second received today, is that of April 13; which is accompanied by one from my mother*5 -- who pray, thank, & was sent by courier overland from Tangiers to Mogador*6 & thence to Marocco*7 & so on here. Then the April 13th letter made a long voyage of it. The April 26th a very quick one indeed, especially considering the round it came from Mogador.
You will be glad to hear that we have been to the top of the crest of the Atlas nearly due S[outh] of Marocco*8 at last, though not to the highest point after a hard climb

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in a heavy snow storm. I do not think we should have got up at all except I had found a mule track leading to pass into the trans Atlas Sus valley, for we were vehemently opposed by our guides who we had to bribe to persist to go on, & who, poor wretches, were bare legged & two of them barefooted! The top of the pass the track to top which followed a stream & a gully was about 11500 feet, the upper 3000 feet of which was very steep indeed; with a good deal of snow in the gully, & was very rocky & stony and after all, neither Ball*9 or I got to the very top! We had lagged little behind, botanizing, but Maw*10 went ahead, just managed to reach the top in a hurricane of Snow, & temp. 24°.-- he returned at once & meeting us dissu joined the remonstrances of our guides in dissuading us from

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doing the last 2-300 feet. Out guides feet were badly cut by the stones & I greatly feared frost-bite for them -- It was well we descended for the storm raged furiously, & for 1000 feet of descent the sleet & hail beat furiously against us. Of course we saw nothing from the upper regions & I do not suppose that there was much to see but rugged rocks cliffs & peaks & slopes like those we had on each side as we ascended, almost bare of vegetation -- The Flora of this upper region is excessively poor, we did not find a single truly Alpine plant & few species of any kind[.] no Gentians, Primroses, Anemones, Ranunculus, or other type of a alpine Flora. With regard to the actual summits of this chain, they consist of little rugged points, amongst which it is impossible to say from a distance, or without careful measurement

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which is the highest, probably none are above 12500 feet, but this is mere guess work. -- nor do I suppose that these contain many if any alpine plants, or we should have found some traces of them ascending, especially along the watercourses. The rocks were chiefly a very hard porphyry, red & black & gray with granite here & there & beds of limestone -- all hard & obnoxious to plants. Moreover these steep upper cliffs of the atlas are alternately roasted by a blazing sun or parched by a Sahara Sirocco or swept by moist N.W. Atlantic gales which bring such heavy snow storms as we experienced, probably throughout the year. I cannot say that I expected much alpine flora, from the look of the range & so am not disappointed; The Flora of the Atlas up to 7000 ft again[?] is exceedingly rich varied &

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beautiful & I think our collection will prove of very great interest and considerable extent.
We slept two nights in a miserable hovel at the highest village (Arroond) [Aroumd?] in the valley, alt 6500 ft -- whence we made the ascent on the same night it snowed down to 7000 feet. On the following day (yesterday 18) we descended to our camp, amidst hail & snow, for the first hour or so & then drenching rain. I found the camp in a miserable plight, my tent badly pitched (by Crump*11) leaking like a sieve & soaking my papers -- it twice fell in on me in the night! owing to the rain softening the soil & loosening the pegs & what with the wet & mud we were all in a pretty pickle. This morning the Mts are all white with snow, & we moved on westward some 10 miles to the place where I now write, a village about 4500 ft elv. on the long flat & sloping lower ranges of the atlas; our further movements are rather uncertain[.]

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Maw goes home & takes this with him. Ball & I are most anxious to examine the Flora of a more western part of the chain the upper regions of which may be more productive, & shall try to get again to the snow in the group of Mountains west of that we have visited. We shall be back at Mogador in the beginning of June so as to catch the "Verité", the best boat on the 6th or 7th & so home..[sic] We had intended visiting the provinces of Imtuga & Ha Ha which intervene between this & the sea, but war has broken out in these provinces which prevents us..[sic] I shall under any circumstances have obtained by the next fortnight a good general idea of the Atlas Flora & a very

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large Herbarium & many live plants.
I am now writing a little account of our doings to Murchison*12 & shall ask him to send you the letter, & if he thinks any of it of a sufficient interest for the Geographical Society, you will please copy it send part & return it to him with the letter.
We are all perfectly well, but are most anxious to get home, if only to relieve Smith. This is the last expedition of the kind I shall ever undertake. at my age one has had too much experience, sees too well how much he leaves undone -- to enjoy such feats as of yore.
Love to the children &c | your Ever Affectionate | JD Hooker [Signature]
I hope that Smith sees these letters. I wrote to Smith & Caruthers[sic?]*13 according to promise by this opportunity & shall

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to Willy by next.
I am very glad that you could pay so much attention to the Peters.
We are now traveling in Arab costume. Turbans & jellabyas[sic djellaba] or long white cloaks with hoods but we throw both off at every opportunity.
I have loads of silk the natives of this region (Shlóo[?]) are a very poor but industrious race, miserably diseased.
Jellabya with hood on [A pencil drawing of two figures, depicted in profile, wearing native attire follows this text]


1. Frances Hooker, née Henslow (1825--1874). First wife of Joseph Dalton Hooker.
2. William Henslow Hooker (1853--1942). Eldest son of Joseph Dalton Hooker
3. John Smith (1798--1888). Botanist and first Curator or 'head gardener' of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, appointed in 1841.
4. Daniel Oliver (1830-1916). Botanist. He made botanical studies in northern Britain and in Ireland, becoming a fellow of the Edinburgh Botanical Society In 1851 and of the Linnaean Society in 1853. In 1858 at the invitation of Sir William Hooker he began work as an assistant in the Herbarium. In 1859, he initiated lectures in Botany for Kew's trainee gardeners which led to his appointment as Professor of Botany at University College London in 1861, a post he held until 1888. From 1864 to 1890 he was also Keeper of the Herbarium and Library at Kew. He was elected member of the Royal Society in 1863 and published a number of works including Lessons in Elementary Botany,1864 and Flora of Tropical Africa 1868--1877. From 1890 until 1895 he held the editorship of Icones Plantarum.
5. Maria Hooker, née Turner (1797--1872). Mother of Joseph Dalton Hooker.
6. The city of Mogadar is now known as Essaouira.
7. Marocco was a name applied to the city of Marrakesh by travelers outside of Morocco although the city was also known as Marrakesh at the time of Hooker's travels. Morocco itself was known as the "Kingdom of Marrakesh" until the early 20th century.
8. Text appears along lower left margin of first page.
9. John Ball (1818--1889). Irish politician, naturalist and Alpine traveler.
10. George Maw (1832--1912). Tile manufacturer, geologist, botanist, and antiquarian. Partner with his younger brother Arthur in the encaustic tile company Maw & Co. of Brosley, Shropshire. Established a well-known garden at his residence at Benthall Hall, Shropshire; an expert on crocuses. Wrote on the geology of western England and North Wales. Travelled to Morocco and Algeria with Joseph Dalton Hooker in 1871 and independently in 1873, writing on the geology of these countries.
11. Edward Crump (d.1927/8). Gardener at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1871. Accompanied Joseph Hooker, George Maw and John Ball on a botanical expedition to the Atlas Mountains, Morocco in 1871. Later became a market gardener at Whitnash near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
12. Roderick Impey Murchison, 1st Baronet (1792--1871). Scottish geologist who first described and investigated the Silurian system, one of the founders of the Royal Geographical Society.
13. Probably William Carruthers (1830--1922). Assistant in and then Keeper of the Department of Botany at the British Museum from 1859 until his retirement in 1895. His tenure of office was marked by a great development of the department. The removal of the natural history collections to the new Natural History Museum in the Cromwell Road in 1881 afforded a unique opportunity for improvement and expansion.

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