Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
JHC76
Choongtam, Sikkim, India
JDH/1/10 f.194-196
Hooker, Sir William Jackson
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
6-8-1849
© Descendants of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Indian Letters 1847-1851
The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
English
Original MS
10 page letter over 3 folios
 

JDH is en route to Lachoong [Lachung] Pass but must first dry & send his plants to Darjeeling. He has many from the Lachen valley & wanted to stay longer despite the Rajah. [Archibald] Campbell [AC] writes of a lot of fever between there & Darjeeling but the Lachung road is safer. He wants Astragali, Cruciferae etc. from the Tibetan slopes or the table-land of Lachen. JDH took a Tartar pony up to 17000ft. He is now at 6000ft & describes the varied vegetation. He thinks the dangers are exaggerated, despite the discomfort of leeches. WJH’s letter arrived with PS from Lord Carlisle. He is glad the government has given up the Borneo grant. The Indian troops say Borneo is worse than Hindustan. [James] Brookes defends it only as a Naval depot. JDH is annoyed with AC’s politeness towards the Rajah; he had to rely on the Soubah’s help. JDH & AC also disagree about the location of the Tibet frontier at Neenla[?]. JDH will send seeds & roots of Jatamansi for the museum. Thomson is still at Simla [Shimla]. JDH will not take magnetic observations for the R.H.[Royal Horticultural?] Society unless Sabine sends the insgtruments. He dismisses the aneroid & would rather Newman send another small barometer. Muller has bought the instruments last sent; Hodgson also wants some as does Mr Middlesmiss[?] who cultivates tea at Khersiong. He congratulates WJH on Thwaites appointment & will write to him at Ceylon [Sri Lanka] about the importance of systematic botany & the 'Flora Zeylanica'. He is glad WJH has written to Jenkins & that Stevens does well. The seeds in Wallich’s letter were for WJH. He discusses the oaks & chestnuts there, his opinions on Spruce, Rhododendron formosum & the Palaeontographical Society. He will write to Bentham. JDH complains of Reeves, who has neglected sending copies of JDH's works. All India loves RHODODENDRONS OF THE SIKKIM-HIMLAYA. WJH should beware of Pentland who takes credit for Humboldt’s discovery.

Transcript

I congratulate you most hearliy[heartily] on Thwaites success -- I knew his whole small family of brothers & sisters were dependent on himself & that his mother was so in part too. I am sure you have made the best choice, firmly believing as I do that he will make systematic Botany his main study, as is his duty. Indeed he was always fond of it & wanted especially to study grasses, but the want of books prevented him. I will meet him at Ceylon *1 with a letter, urging in the paramount importance of what you do, & making my visit to Ceylon so far dependent on it that it is to be with the view of forwarding the publication or preparation of the Flora Zeylanica & with that express object, for my part I have not the least fear but that Thwaites will give great satisfaction, for his principles are excellent & he has no crotchets, he is fond of gardening too, a good collector & very neat handed; in manners modest & quiet -- writes a good hand & expresses himself quite well too. He is out of all sight better than the pick of the 3 first choices for him or for any body else.
I am very glad you have written to Jenkins, -- also that Stevens gets on well, I hope he will not prove such an "angui in herba" as Citoyen[.] As to the spending [of] my £400 I never though of account., but can easily furnish one. I never see my own money. what is not paid by cheques my serv[an]t pays, he keeps account, which I never have time to look at, & Babbage's machine would not unravel the multifarious items of fifths of farthings, overcharged undercharged matched & deducted, readded[sic] &c &c.
The seeds in Wallich's letter were of course all meant for you. I took for granted I need not say so. I am very sorry the little Aroid was dead I wrote you about it, the smallest little plant

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Choongtam
August 6 1849
My dear Father
I am back here at last, & en route for Lachong pass, but I must stay here some days first, to get my plants dried, as I cannot send them to Darjeeling, everything rots on the road & I have to pay the most sedulous attention to them myself, to the drying as well as the dried. My collection from the Lachen valley is very extensive & the specimens generally in good order, I should much like to have staid[sic] there some weeks, in spite of the Rajah's uncivil haste for me to be gone, but getting the coolies back ward & forward at this season was all but impossible -- & Campbell tells me that every soul who went to & fro Darjeeling has had fever some twice & thrice -- The Lachong road is said to be better & in good order, but whether it will prove as rich in plants is another affair very rich it no doubt is, but what I so much want are the Astragali Crucifera of the northern or Thibetan [Tibetan] slopes & accessable[sic] ground, such as the table lands of Lachen, which present Thibetan facitilies for locomotion & Himal variety & richness of Botany. -- there I galloped a tartan Pony up to nearly 17000 ft whereas in no part of the Himal passes could we

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ride above 8000 -- excessive ruggedness is the feature of all above that or at least above 11000, throughout Sikkim, except at this Lachen--river where Thibet & Sikkim are blended.
Now I am at 6000ft or below it, & in a widely different vegetation indeed every days march has been most instructive, for hosts of plants are now in flower which were not on my way up & seed time has already begun -- The road down was literally in a terrible state, with floods & landslips, jungle & "impossible" places. Still there is no real danger of any kind, & when you remember that laden coolies go with the white man in all his wanderings throughout the Himal: you will I think agree with me that the dangers of travelling are much exaggerated: putting fever on one side, I know of none to a man with ordinarily steady head -- Of discomforts there are many, at this season especially. I think Leeches are the worst; my legs are I assure you daily clotted with blood & I pull my stockings off quite full of leeches, they get into the hair & over all the body -- I cannot walk 10 yards from my tent without dozens getting on my legs. They produce no pain but itching & the bleeding is troublesome poor Kinchin he can hardly walk for weakness he is blinded by the number hanging on his eyelids & his nostrils are

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quite full. The Tics are away I am glad to say, much worse I think them than Leeches.
Your welcome letters of May 19th & June 3rd reached me the other day with the PS. note of Lord Carlisles. You have managed capitally & I am well pleased with the result -- I thought that the chance of getting off the Borneo grant would be irresistible to Gov[ernmen]t, but did not expect the Treasury would have made the money over so easily for another purpose. I am extremely grateful for your exertions in this matter, for I am well convinced that Borneo is no country for a collecting naturalist, who wants to use his head as well as his heels & hands. All the accounts of the climate which reach India are very bad indeed, & the Indian officers & troops sent there say it is worse than the worst part of Hindustan -- Brookes too has given it up as a colony, & defends it as a naval depot only. It may do to expend a drunken collector upon, but to be in a rich field for exertion & unable to use my books microscope & instruments would never do for me. Nor can I leave my plants to others to dry I am fidgetty[sic] if I do not ticket every one myself & put it into paper. The quantity of little things your Servts lose & overlook is incredible. It literally rains every day throughout the year at Labuan & Botryomycetes (or some such name (ask Berkeley) is the prevailing natural order I have so much to do here

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that I do not think of leaving, though the Rajah is all worry. Campbell is the most amiable careless dog alive -- After the Rajah has in vain tried for 3 months to bully me away, he now turns to Campbell, who immediately promises that I will hasten back without delay as soon as I have seen Lachong pass -- never consulting me on the subject -- I have written a remonstrance, & in short I won't return except for an order; how he can be such a fool as to take it all, & still more assent to the terms of such a piece of insolence on the Rajah's part, passes my comprehension, but as I have hinted to you before, Cs. politics are watched & our position in Sikkim disgraceful to the British name. -- As far as getting to these passes C. has no more forwarded me than you have, he has been most kind, & without his constant aid & help I could not hold out ten days in Sikkim; but, during my last detention -- when I told the authorities I should not go back a step until I heard from the Political agent at Darjeeling as to what was & what was not the frontier, & that whatever he ordered I would obey, & sat myself down for 20 or 30 days hardship in prospect. -- I told C. at once what I had made positively out was the Pass, & what which tallied with information he received, & I implored him to berate[?] the Rajah rather than give in. Meanwhile Providence gave the Soubah the gripe & he knocked under in 10 days, found me the better man & took

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me where I had indicated -- 15 days afterwards I got Campbells letter answer, ordering me to accept the Soubah's word for what was or was not the pass! Ordering me not to be so distrustful & suspicious of impediments & deceit! & to make a very particular chart of Neenla, as the frontier, for his information -- Neenla I must tell you being 40 miles South of the frontier. i.e. 6 good long marches! Campbell I know wants to screen the Rajah, who I have proved over & over again is at the bottom of all my troubles & to whose insults I will not tamely submit without an appeal to Lord D[alhousie] -- Now Campbell's policy is so gross in Sikkim that it is notorious throughout Bengal. I have his confidence & know his reasons, they are partly a weakness, partly fright at a wigging he got from Sir H. Maddock when he was in the right, but bothered gov[ernmen]t too much, a partly a fear that in case of a rupture with the S. R. [Sikkim Rajah] his future prospects may be hurt -- All these motives are wholly unworthy [of] a political functionary, & as I often hinted to himself can find no favor with Lord D[alhousie]; but C is timorous & has a family. Hence you see my reasons for begging you to suppress in publications all allusions to the Sikkim Rajah & my obstacles. Campbell has put up with all manner of indecencies & indignities from the S.R. [Sikkim Rajah] such as even I, a helpless stranger rebuts with indignation; & he would have me stoop to any amount of insolence & overbearance[sic], & this I will not; I shall not lose my temper -- I shall have no rows -- I have never quarrelled with a single

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man of the Rajah's, or parted in aught but civility with those who have been busy for 3 months in injuring me -- but I will speak my mind & register all, & all shall go to the Governor General -- not that I care a nut whether the S.R. [Sikkim Rajah] is punished or no, but because I should be a poltroon to take such insolence quietly when there is a court of appeal, where the case will be registered, -- whether attended to or no, I care not.
I am very glad that something has arrived in England from me at last, & that you are pleased -- did any of the seed sent home in 1848 come up? The Rubi[aceae] &c. I have found 2 new Balanophori on the Lachen & splendid specimens of Griffiths Phaeocordylis.
Thank Mr Phillipps & Lord Carlisle very much for their kindness about the Borneo matters. I will send a power of Attorney as soon as I get back to Darjeeling.
Jatamansi seeds shall go as soon as ripe I collected an immense bag of roots for the museum the other day. I have two species, quite distinct, but very like each other. I am getting specimens of wood & have sent 40 to Darjeeling already. Also roots of both Rhubarbs, Gentians & other economicals. No Charae of any kind here seen yet. No news from Thomson, still at Simlah [Shimla] I never heard of the The R. Society donation funds, you may tell Sabine & I will not take

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magnetical observations except the instruments are sent me. If you have bought me another Actinometer it is no matter, as I can sell the other to profit, as I always can Barometers & thermometers.
I have a chance of being rich, Cambell has most kindly applied to Govt to defray the coolie & food expenses of all this expedition, which will not cost less than £100 -- Hodgson will supply me with every grain of food for myself.
Never mind the Aneroid, if it will not do for above 4000 ft, it is useless to me. There is no trouble carrying Barometers up to 8 & 10,000 ft, above that they are troublesome like every thing else. I would far rather Newman sent me another small Barometer reading from 20 to 14 inches, price £7., they are less troublesome to carry than an Aneroid. & do not go out of order easily. I am offered a profit on the one I have, but cannot part with it till I get another, though I want to, as then comparative observations could be made at Dorjiling [Darjeeling][.] Muller takes the instruments last sent off my hands, paying carriage &c, Hodgson wants some & a Mr Middlesmiss[?] an ingenious gentleman who has retired & is taking to cult[ivating]: Tea at Khersiong -- My name is warrant for instruments -- I have no other commission, but for that Barometer; which had better come overland at once it is quite a small thing.

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I congratulate you most hearliy[heartily] on Thwaites success -- I knew his whole small family of brothers & sisters were dependent on himself & that his mother was so in part too. I am sure you have made the best choice, firmly believing as I do that he will make systematic Botany his main study, as is his duty. Indeed he was always fond of it & wanted especially to study grasses, but the want of books prevented him. I will meet him at Ceylon *1 with a letter, urging in the paramount importance of what you do, & making my visit to Ceylon so far dependent on it that it is to be with the view of forwarding the publication or preparation of the Flora Zeylanica & with that express object, for my part I have not the least fear but that Thwaites will give great satisfaction, for his principles are excellent & he has no crotchets, he is fond of gardening too, a good collector & very neat handed; in manners modest & quiet -- writes a good hand & expresses himself quite well too. He is out of all sight better than the pick of the 3 first choices for him or for any body else.
I am very glad you have written to Jenkins, -- also that Stevens gets on well, I hope he will not prove such an "angui in herba" as Citoyen[.] As to the spending [of] my £400 I never though of account., but can easily furnish one. I never see my own money. what is not paid by cheques my serv[an]t pays, he keeps account, which I never have time to look at, & Babbage's machine would not unravel the multifarious items of fifths of farthings, overcharged undercharged matched & deducted, readded[sic] &c &c.
The seeds in Wallich's letter were of course all meant for you. I took for granted I need not say so. I am very sorry the little Aroid was dead I wrote you about it, the smallest little plant

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in Sikkim. I will in Autumn send you a few Oak & chestnut seeds, dipped in wax. I thought the Chestnut was one so but I don't know the technical differences between Oaks & Chestnuts here, one is eatable the other not good -- I have sent you whole fruits of all.
Have you sent me a copy of Admiralty instructions?
Spruce is very clever & all that sort of thing but one wants hard heads & useful men now a days & gov[ernmen]t. pay should be doled out according to the amount of national profit, pleasure or advantage provided by the science to the public in general & not physiologists in particular or philosophers .-- You need not apply this to me. -- I offer no excuse for myself & court no favor.
I know nought about Rhod[odendron]. formosum, not having DC. [De Candolle] with me, but as none of the Khasya reach 9000 ft it is probably not one of mine. I will send you my drawings anon, specimens not half dried yet.
Bother the Paloeontographical Soc[iety]. ! but I must pay it now, I suppose it was one year advance & always a year advance, which will account for the 3 years -- it is a "publishing book club" & not a Society -- who will employ me on some fossil plants & pay me I hope.
I am writing to Bentham, but letter is not finished yet, it will give you all my Botany. I am glad you are pleased about Reeves, if you are I ought to be, but neither Falconer nor I have received copies, did they come OL [overland?] in the big box? not yet received two came to Falconer's address which he forwarded to me & I gave to Campbell & Hodgson, all the Indian world is in love with you, it & me -- what I must complain of

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Reeves is that he neglects me wholly. why should he not send me overland the annalls[sic] of Kew,? instead of bothering you, & a copy of my Journal: & some of the little books he publishes as a token of respect to the "Lord Byron of his early career" as he once called me. However if you are pleased I am content. he is better than Baillieu, a sad knave. I am very sorry he has left you in the lurch about the Icenes[.]
I cannot write to my mother or Bessy or Frances [Henslow] at present. I am extremely busy with my traps & plants. I am getting a good collection of insects.
Beware of Pentland, his letter you forwarded me betrays great ignorances in a professed meteorologist & if I mistake not great presumption. The Barometer tides he boasts the discovery of at great elevations, was Humboldt's long before him; & he has not been honest about his elevations of Colombian Peaks.
You may depend on my best exertions for seeds :&c --
Ever your most affectionate son | Jos D Hooker. [signature]
Big box not come to my hands yet

ENDNOTES


1. The country formerly known as Ceylon is now called Sri Lanka.

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