Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
JHC91
Tumlong, Sikkim Durbar, India
JDH/1/10 f.226-227
Hooker, Sir William Jackson
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
4-12-1849
© Descendants of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Indian Letters 1847-1851
The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
English
Original MS
8 page letter over 2 folios
 

JDH & Brian [Houghton Hodgson] [BHH] have both written to WJH about his situation. He explains the reason for [Archibald's] Campbell’s [AC] imprisonment: the Tartars & Bhothias believed that by capturing an authority they can bend him to their will. When this did not work, they invented offences in order to hold AC, but the Government have now intervened. The accusations are now of trespassing on the Thibet [Tibet] frontier. JDH & AC went there with the assent of the Chinese Lepchas & the Lachen Peppin who is the Sikkim authority. JDH’s Sirdars are in chains & his party disbanded, only Hopenar[?] remains. He discusses his seed collections & botanical matters, including Balanophora polyandra. The Nepal Terai is impassable until 15 Nov due to malaria & JDH will not travel to Calcutta [Kolkata] or Bombay [Mumbai] any earlier. [Nathaniel] Wallich will verify this. Lord Dalhousie will assist JDH & [Thomas] Thomson [TT] in applying to the Nepal Durbar. BHH is looking out for TT who has not yet arrived. JDH is glad Lindley liked his letter & thinks Klotzsch will make a mess of the collections of Prince Vladmier [Vladimir?]. With Wallich, Don & Hamilton working at cross-purposes, the whole Himalayan Flora is in the hands of JDH & TT. It can only be elucidated with Bogden & Wallich’s herbaria. JDH is sorry to hear of the Bishop of Norwich’s death & suggests Owen, if Brown will not take the position. Lord Derby was useless in the role. Bentham will offer sound advice. JDH discusses the wisdom of the Geological & Geographical Society in selecting men such as Hamilton, Lyle & Murchison.

Transcript

folly for me, in & from Nepal worse than folly -- The Sikkim Terai is as I have often told you permeable at all seasons, without much risk, but I presume you would not wish me to try another cruize in Sikkim! & what's more I am bent on doing wonders in Nepal. Lord Dalhousie has promised me his assistance & to apply to the Nepal Durbar & also to include Thomson in the application. He Thomson was to have arrived at D[arjeeling]. on the 20th. but has not not up to the 29th. -- he will be rather adrift at first, fr[o]m not hearing from me. The Rajah did me the honor of burning a whole packet of my letters for for people in India & England before he seized us. Hodgson is however on the look out for Thomson. I am very glad that Lindley liked my writing to him as I was very grateful for the handsome manner in which he noticed me. No doubt Klotzsch will make a mess of Prince Vladmiers[sic] collections, (or rather poor Hoffmeisters) & this with the mess

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Sikkim Durbar Decr. 4/ [18]49 My dear Father I wrote to you about ten days ago concerning my condition & Brian has also communicated with you more fully than I could -- I have also just written to my mother, so I need not trouble you with details of small moment. Nothing satisfactory can be known of the reasons for our imprisonment till we get back to Darjeeling for here we are told one set of lies & in Darjeeling a totally different story is detailed. The plan for Campbells seizure was we now know, all prepared for his leaving Darjeeling -- it is the nature of these Tartars & Bhothias to catch an authority who they want to come round to their views, & even a prince if they can; & to oblige him to write from dictation & bend himself to their views. The profound ignorance of these people led them to suppose that such a course was as applicable to a British authority as to a feudal

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chief of their own mountains, & acted accordingly.-- This failing, they were utterly dismayed, having committed a gross outrage upon Campbells & my persons, from which no imaginable good could come.-- The only course remaining was of course to trump up a new story, & to detain us as hostages for no ill befalling Thence pending the Govts. taking active steps for our release. Unluckily they are were so simple as to let out all their secrets to me, when trying to gain information from me by all manner of means, & over & over again gave me the Rajah's assurance that no fault whatever had been or could be laid at my door & that Campbells offences were wholly political. Now C[ampbell]. having Govt. Sanction & approval for all his supposed offences, they do not know what to do, & urge our tresspass[sic] on the Thibet [Tibet] frontier in the hopes that Govt. will commit itself & take up

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that grievance against us, whilst we are imprisoned & forbidden to write to our own Govt story. That this narrative must fall too, when we get liberty to give our version of the story, is clear enough, for I, a particeps of the Thibetan story aggression am voluntarily acquitted.-- & the long & short of the Thibetan matter is, that we went with the assent (I cannot say consent of the Chinese Separ, who afterward voluntarily escorted us & lent us their Yaks. We further had the consent of the Lachen Peppon who is the Sikkim authority -- & putting all that on one side -- Thibet & England have no relations whatever, nor Sikkim any power to interfere between the two, even on her own border. This breaking up of my whole Botanical Establishment is grievous, my Sirdars are in prison, some in chains & some in stocks absolutely starving & my boys after being kept 7 days without one morsel of food in jail are distributed all over the country. I have thus not one man but Hopenar, my plants are destroyed, instruments broken

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& sundry things stolen. -- I cannot tell you how sorry I am about my fine troop of boys, who have followed me so long & so bravely through hot cold & hunger, without one murmur, & who now are sacrificed to the feeling out of pure spite at against me, because I would not answer questions relating to Campbell & the Ind[ian]: Gov[ernmen]t. .-- what I am to say to you about Rhodod[endron]. seeds I know not & really hardly know how to plead an apology, my disappointment being equal to yours -- I will send what I have by Post as soon as it is safe to do so, you will find seeds of the best in capital order, but very little of these & none of many. I did, I solemnly assure you, my very best to get seeds of all that were ripe, up to the very hour of my seizure -- it was no fault of mine that the rains are not yet over! & the season so backward. I have done all I can to give satisfaction & if not all that you desired I am as sorry for it as ever you can be -- It is one thing to explore & find species, & another to get these in all seasons of their growth under every obstacle that a difficult country & it's ruler can throw in my way.

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Trichosanthes I have always believed Dioecious, have looked in vain for ♀ flowers on ♂ plants but not so carefully for ♂ on the ♀ plant. -- Still it may be monoecious at times, for I actually found a monoecious plant of Balanoph[ora] polyandra the other day -- one in a thousand -- I sent you a large packet of its seeds long ago, but will get more. I put the native name on the packet "Saphien pot" if I recollect. The wood of the stem is very curious, but I have examined it very hastily. The Genera is certainly related to Telfairia really & truly, & not to Cucurb[itaceae]. proper. As to my coming home I intend to do so as soon as ever I get out of Nepal, next autumn -- but to be home in November is impossible, without running greater risk than you are aware of or would approve, for the Nepal Terai is impassable till November 15th; from malaria, & I do not court a journey over the plains to Calcutta *1 or Bombay *2 one week earlier than that at any season, with the chance of damaging a hitherto Excellent Liver & stomach or getting an attack of Diarrhoea[.] Ask Wallich if I am right or no -- To leave the hills before Novr. would be sheer

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folly for me, in & from Nepal worse than folly -- The Sikkim Terai is as I have often told you permeable at all seasons, without much risk, but I presume you would not wish me to try another cruize in Sikkim! & what's more I am bent on doing wonders in Nepal. Lord Dalhousie has promised me his assistance & to apply to the Nepal Durbar & also to include Thomson in the application. He Thomson was to have arrived at D[arjeeling]. on the 20th. but has not not up to the 29th. -- he will be rather adrift at first, fr[o]m not hearing from me. The Rajah did me the honor of burning a whole packet of my letters for for people in India & England before he seized us. Hodgson is however on the look out for Thomson. I am very glad that Lindley liked my writing to him as I was very grateful for the handsome manner in which he noticed me. No doubt Klotzsch will make a mess of Prince Vladmiers[sic] collections, (or rather poor Hoffmeisters) & this with the mess

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already made by Wallich, Don & Hamilton working to cross--purposes throws the whole Himal[ayan]: Flora into Tom's & my hands, for it can only be elucidated by a resident in London with access to Royles & Wallichs Herbaria. I have not seen the Rhod[odendron]: book yet! but am satiated with the accounts of it & have received such mountains of compliments & flattery as a sight of the book cannot enhance. However I do long to see it & hope too before long. Just now I am in great perturbation lest this capricious little King should seize my manuscripts, & have but one consolation, -- that it would be more unsafe to send them in to D[arjeeling]: than to keep them by me. I am sorry to hear of the Bishop of Norwich's death & cannot conceive who you should pitch upon for successor, try Owen if Brown will not take it, & as to Brown he must be a mere pis aller *3, for he is a dead incubus[?] to any improvements & one requires something or somebody to give the Society a fillip hence I least of all approve of noblemen

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being sought let one be taken if he be really ready & willing to do his duty. but such a man as Lord Derby who never went near the rooms was worse than useless.-- the members get (rather deservedly) called tuft--hunters & no one object is served. Bentham is by far the safest & soundest advice in all these matters, & I would throw in my ball with him blindfold -- On the other hand it is of great importance to have a man who will entertain & that is most effectively done by such of the middle classes who have means & are in good society themselves. Hence the wisdom of the Geological & Geograph[ical] Soc[ietie]s. in selecting such men as Homer, Hamilton, Lyle, Murchison, &c who opened their houses every fortnight during the season & with whom you met the best people in the whole round of Literary & Scientific Society & all the foreigners that were worth seeing. But every dog has its day, as I have just said of myself & the Linnean had one Banks. -- the Geographical is gradually collapsing & the Geological will one day follow. The Zoological has had its day & so have the Medico--Botanical & Jack Frost. Best love to all Ever yr. most affectionate Son | Jos D Hooker [signature] Campbell sends his love to you. *4 ENDNOTES 1. The city formerly known as Calcutta is now called Kolkata. 2. The city formerly known as Bombay is now called Mumbai. 3. Pis aller is French, meaning 'the last resort'. 4. This text is written vertically in the margin of page 1. Please note that work on this transcript is ongoing. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document where possible.

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