Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
Chittagong, [Bangladesh],Bangladesh
JDH/1/10 f.317-318
Hooker, Sir William Jackson
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
© Descendants of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Indian Letters 1847-1851
The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Original MS
6 page letter over 2 folios

JDH has been in Chittagong about a week & been welcomed by Mr Sconce, a judge & relation of [Thomas] Thomson [TT], & by the Latours who are civil servants. Sconce grows coffee, tea & pepper & makes bandages from Callicarpa bark. For the museum JDH is sending: articles made of common Mura at the convent, Gurjan oil made from Dipterocarpus, & curious items from Sylhet. En route to Chittagong JDH stopped at Noakolly at the mouth of the Megna & stayed with Dr Baker, a wealthy man on the Government Salt Commission. Baker's wife knows about Suffolk & Halesworth & remembers JDH as a baby. JDH has not received WJH’s letter about Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. TT goes home by the Feb Steamer, JDH may go with him or to Arracan [Arakan, Burma]. Maria told TT's sister WJH had been ill. JDH has declined Colvile's offer to go to Nepal as physician to Lord Grosvenor. JDH is disappointed there is no maritime vegetation in Chittagong, no Mangrove, Avicennias, Rhyzphora [Rhizophora] or even herbaceous salt water plants other than Ipomoea pes Caprae. Inland there is hill & forest vegetation & JDH & TT have collected 300 species in the scrub near the station incl. Linastoma, Memecylon, Rubiaceae, Jasmine & Calamus. Further inland they hope to find palms. The only person in the area interested in plants is Mrs Captain Mathison, formerly Miss Chapman, daughter of a naval officer at Lowestoft. It has been a long time since JDH got any botanical news. Reeve has asked, secretly, for names of people who will subscribe to a lithograph of [William] Tayler's portrait of JDH. There was bad weather on the voyage from Sylhet, some dried Orchideae were damaged but JDH is used to this after Sikkim & is trying to recover them. JDH will write to WJH by the Marseille mail.


your letter & be able to give you my plans.
Best love to my Mother & Bessy | Your ever affection[ate] Son Jos. D. Hooker [signature]

Page 1

Jan[uar]y 1/ [18]50
My dear Father
We arrived here, about a week ago & have received a most hearty welcome from Mr Sconce the Judge who is a relation of Thomson's & his kin the Latours who all hold high appointments in the civil service here-- they are all nice people &, determined to make our stay as profitable as possible. Sconce grows his own Coffee, which is admirable also Tea & pepper, of all which I have samples for you. He makes a bandage from the bark of a small species of Callicarpa, & I have also the fibre & some small articles made at the convent here from the common Musa, -- not textiles. The Gurjan oil is the most curious product.-- made from Dipterocarpus
At Sylhet I got a good many curious articles for the museum which will I think please you.

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On our way hither we stopped at Noakolly, wh[ich]. you will see at the mouth of the Megna & remained two days with a Dr. Baker a wealthy man on the Govt. Salt Commission. His wife knows a good deal of Suffolk & Halesworth & says remembers me a baby -- I forget what her name was but she be is said to be of a good family.
I have not received my letters yet, & so do not know what you say about Ceylon *1 &c. Tom goes home by the Feb[ruar]y steamer & I am of course uncertain whether to do so too or go to Arracan for a fortnight from hence -- One of Toms letters says that Maria told his sister that you had been unwell but better, & there are no particulars I hope you are all right again.

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Colvile writes asking if I would like to accompany L[or]d. Grosvenor who is looking out for a travelling physician -- he goes to Nepal first[.] I have of course unconditionally declined. It would have suited me well enough 6 or 8 years ago.-- but I have Even were opportunities & other engagements put out of the question -- I know nothing of this young Noblemen & though I might wash up enough of Medical lore to pass for his Doctor, such young Gentlemen are apt to exact more than their due from their inferiors. Colvile indeed does not recommend it at all, but thinks he ought to acquaint me with the opportunity.
We are greatly disappointed with not finding any maritime vegetation here -- Mangrove, Avicennia Rhyzphora & even herbaceous salt water plants are wholly wanting

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Except Ipomoea pes Caprae -- On the other hand, there are plenty of hills & a fine forest vegetation with lots of fine plants a few miles inland -- we have already got about 300 species close to the station, where however the vegetation is almost entirely a bush scrub 4 feet high or so with Linostoma, Memecylon, Rubiaceae, Jasmine, Calamus & many good plants. We went for two days to the mouth of the river & got a good many nice things & in two days more we start for the hills of the interior which are heavily timbered & where we hope for a good lot of Palms.
There is no one here fond even of plants except a Mrs Capt Mathison who was a Miss Chapman, dau[ghte]r of a naval officer at Lowestoft. She is a remarkably intelligent & agreeable person. The books you kindly sent to Colvile's care have arrived safe & are on their way to me I believe with my letters.

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it is an age since we have seen an L.J.B. [London Journal of Botany] or had any Botanical news.-- Reeve wrote me as I think I told you asking for names of people who would subscribe to a lithograph of Tayler's pictures of self -- . I do not like at all meddling in such matters -- though & he modestly requests me to do it sub--rosa which is worse & worse. The said picture would be improved greatly putting a note book on my knee & pencil in my hand.
I have nothing to remark on our voyage from Sylhet except some disasters from the elements, & I fear the ruin of a very fine lot of dried Orchideae, which I am now engaged trying to recover. Tom is in despair but he is not accustomed to such wetting as I was in Sikkim.--
I am now very busy & hope to write to you by the Marseilles mail of this month, when I should have received

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your letter & be able to give you my plans.
Best love to my Mother & Bessy | Your ever affection[ate] Son Jos. D. Hooker [signature]


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

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