Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
7 Terrace Row, Buxton, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
JDH/2/22/1/1 f.20-21
Gray, Asa
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
© Descendants of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Asa Gray Correspondence
The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Original MS
8 page letter over 2 folios

JDH tells Asa Gray about the death of his father William Jackson Hooker, at age 80. A few days before his death WJH had given Queen Emma of the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii] a tour of RBG Kew, walked in the gardens with [Thomas] Thomson & [Miles Joseph] Berkeley & went with JDH to see the subtropical plants in Battersea Park. JDH's mother [Lady Maria Hooker] returned from Yarmouth to be by her husband's side. There is an epidemic of throat infections in Kew. JDH himself got sick with Rheumatic fever, possibly as a result of keeping vigil over his father. He went to stay with [Archibald] Campbell in Notting Hill to recuperate. He mentions some of the treatments he had & some lingering symptoms. [William Francis] Cowper [Temple] wrote offering JDH the Directorship of RBG Kew & proposing some changes to the Gardens. JDH wants proper scientific help & another assistant such as [Daniel] Oliver to help handle correspondence & work on Ferns. Discusses what assets his father leaves & the inheritance that his children will get, incl. herbarium & library which are left to JDH with instruction to offer them to the nation at a reasonable rate. JDH has heard that [Charles Robert] Darwin's health is improving under Dr [Henry] Bence Jones. JDH gives a report on the whereabouts of his children: William Henslow Hooker, Charles Paget Hooker, Harriet Anne Hooker, Brian Harvey Hodgson Hooker. Adds that his Mother and his sister Mrs [Elizabeth] Lombe are in Yarmouth & Norfolk respectively & will winter at Torquay. The only mourners at WJH's funeral were JDH's sister Maria [McGilvray], his brother in law Thomas Robert Evans Lombe, his uncle Thomas Brightwen & some old RBG Kew foremen including the old & new John Smiths.


a few old foreman were the only mourners.
Ever y[ou] affec[tionate] | J D Hooker. [signature]

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7 Terrace Road. Buxton
Sept[ember] 29th 1865
Dear [Asa] Gray
My wife lost a post in writing to you from Kew, which partly accounts for the delay in you receiving the news of our deep sorrow -- you should indeed have heard still earlier but owing to the Epidemic at Kew, I did not allow my wife to come to me (from Yarmouth where she was with the children) for the first fortnight of my illness.
My dear father[']s illness was short & almost painless. On Monday he escorted Queen Emma of Sandwich Islands over the garden. & party. I never knew him more lively & active. On Tuesday I had to go to examine candidates for Ass[istan]t surgons[sic] at Chelsea

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& asked him to come with me to Battersea Park en route to see the subtropical plants put out there. We had a good walk of some 2 hours, & I saw him off in plenty of time to catch [the] train. but he saw people hurrying, hurried himself & then had long to wait yet he got home to early dinner & (as his serv[an]t] informs me) ate well. In [the] afternoon Thomson*1 & Berkely[sic]*2 called & he went all over garden &c with them -- far too much after his morning[']s exercise-- however he made a good Tea & only complained of [an] slight cold. At 4am on Wednesday he awoke with [an] inflamed throat & inability to swallow saliva. He was then alone in his home I alone in mine. The Doctor told me he had 36 cases of this in Kew, & that all depended on his

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holding out till he could take food. At 80 this was ominous -- active remedies were applied to throat, a London Doctor got down, nutritive enemas & every expedient resorted to in vain. He was cheerful. & mind often wandering, on Sat[urday] he was insensible & died at 4 pm without a struggle -- He never realised his danger & altogether his illness & end were unspeakably peaceful & happy for himself & those around him. For the first 2 days his faithful serv[an]t & I missed him. My mother returned from Yarmouth (by Telegraph) on Thursday & was with him (I of course in bed, immoveable arms & legs) [.]
On Wednesday it was very hot, & I aired his room by a dressing room, in which I laid down to sleep on the ground, as I slept the wind got up, & I awoke with pain & stiffness all over -- I held out over Thursday but on Friday fainted or all but on

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attempting to leave my bed. Rheumatic fever came on apace & I suffered severely for 3 weeks. My old friend Campbell*3 of Darjiling [Darjeeling] called & insisted on having a London Doctor who ordered me out of Kew to Notting--Hill where Campbell had me to his house. There I improved (after a few relapses) greatly & was ordered hither where the fine air has done wonders (the baths & waters nothing perceptibly[)]. I gradually gain flesh & can walk 4 or 5 miles slowly, but the Rheumatism will not leave my upper limbs & all the joints of my hands are affected (whence the scrawl). I eat voraciously but am still awfully thin & suffer much from night sweats. I have had loads of medicines, but none have done me any good but Morphine & (in consequence) seidlitz -- powders, nor have they done me any harm. Mr Cowper *4 (First Comm[issione]r. of Works &c)

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our immediate master under the wrote the other day most handsomely & kindly a private letter offering me the Directorship without an Ass[istan]t Director[,] & proposing sundry changes in the gardens, most of them good & which I had myself proposed to the Board through my father. I accepted provided I found I could when changes were matured & provided they gave me some able scientific assistance. I have no answer from Mr Cowper and did not expect one till I am well, but one of the Sec[retarie]s who alone knows the working of Kew, to whom I wrote at [the] same time, assures me there will be no difficulty. I want another Oliver *5 to take up Ferns, do my trifling correspondence & help me with answers to endless questions now directed to us, & keeping correspondence in order.

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My doctors give insist on my absence from Kew till [the] 20th. October to get well, then I shall return to Kew, arrange my Father[']s home, & begin life afresh with a sad energy. Since my father came to live at Kew he has improved his income greatly, partly the by increase to salary & quiet living, & partly by the great rise in all investments. 8 years ago I was saddled with a debt by his will (of some £2000) after payment of my marriage settlements (£3000) -- now each of his children has £5000 clear & my mother £700 a year. Herb[ariu]m & Library are left to me, with instructions to offer them to [the] nation at a moderate valuation to be determined by 3 valuers on my side & as many on theirs. Smith *6 the Curator undertakes my current duties during my absence.
I heard from Darwin *7 to day, he is better again under Dr Bence

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Jones, & attributes it to rigid diet. still he cannot read without ringing[?] in [his] head.
I must answer your letters another time as writing makes my hand ache. My wife is with me & sends kindest regards to you & yours. Children all well. Willy [William Henslow Hooker] at Weybridge ".semper idem" -- Charlie [Charles Paget Hooker] & Harriett [Harriet Anne Hooker] at schools at Brighton. Brian [Brian Harvey Hodgson Hooker] with a friend of my wife's in Cambridgeshire. My mother in Yarmouth[,] Mrs Lombe *8 in Norfolk, will winter at Torquay. & my mother probably with her. Maria all well in Aberdeen, she alone could come to [the] funeral. T. Brightwen *9, T. Lombe *10, Thomson, Bentham *11, & old & young new Smith &

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a few old foreman were the only mourners.
Ever y[ou] affec[tionate] | J D Hooker. [signature]


1. Probably Thomas Thompson (1817--1878). Botanist and surgeon with the British East India Company.
2. Miles Joseph Berkeley (1803--1889). Botanist.
3. Dr Archibald Campbell or Dr Arthur Campbell (1805--1874) was the first superintendent of Darjeeling, India, an East India Company representative and a great friend of Joseph Hooker. His first name has been subject to debate.
4. William Francis Cowper--Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple Privy Council of the United Kingdom (1811--1888). British Liberal Party politician, statesman and President of the Board of Health.
5. Daniel Oliver (1864--1890). Assistant under Joseph Hooker at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and later Keeper of the Herbarium.
6. John Smith (1798--1888). Botanist and first curator at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
7. Charles Darwin (1809 --1882). Naturalist, Geologist and author of The Origin of Species (1859). A great friend of Joseph Hooker.
8. Probably the wife of Thomas Robert Evans Lombe, Joseph Hooker's sister: Elizabeth Evans Lombe neé Hooker.
9. Thomas Brightwen. Joseph Hooker's uncle.
10. Thomas Robert Evans Lombe. Joseph Hooker's brother in law.
11. George Bentham (1800--1884). Botanist, Fellow of the Royal Society and President of the Linnean Society of London (1861--1874).

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