To William Hooker   25 July 1861

Melbourne bot & zool. Garden,

25 July 61.

Dear Sir William.

I do not wish to send off my semiofficial letter1 without a few additional lines especially expressive of warmest thanks of having through your and Dr Hookers very kind influence been elevated to a seat in the Society, in which Sir Isaac Newton once presided.2 You made me with the joyful and triumphant news inexpressibly happy! It is an enigma to me, how you are able to give with such regularity to the world your magazine, fern publications &c. I hope finally my sendings will furnish some little addition to the vast treasures stored up in bot. Mag.3 I sincerely hope the fine & rare plants sent pr "Koh-i-noor" will live to reach Kew.4 For your Museum I am now indirectly working in piling up timber logs for the exhibition. The day before yesterday I forwarded a large parcel of Algae from Western port5 in a crude state pr "Lincolnshire" to you, and if under Harveys supervision they are prepared & named they may serve for interchanges. I deeply participate in the mournings for Prof. Henslow,6 feeling all the more how deeply affect these losses families — a poor sister of mine being prostrated on her sickbed with tuberculosis, her days being few. She is and was a most affectionate and ingenious lady, leaving two poor little children and a loving husband to mourn her loss.7

Pray give Mr Bentham my best thanks for his kindness of forwarding the "HongKong-flora"8 — I hope he will be satisfied perhaps pleased with my proposals which, if accepted, I will faithfully carry out.9

I enclose a plant perhaps new from N.Z. I owe it to the kindness of Judge Travers, whom, after receiving the flowering specimens, I requested to secure the enclosed fruit. Pray ask Dr Hooker to describe it. I do not wish to work up N.Z. plants, which belong to his botanical territory.10

I enclose 73-80 pag. of my "plants of Victoria"11 Will you kindly direct Dr Hookers attention to the characteristic of Rhytidosporum, a good genus, also to the subgenera of Billardiera for his genera plantarum.12 Are you aware of the existence of the genus Canarium in Australia? It seems Amyrhideae13 were formerly not known in Australia, nor, as I shall early prove, Connaraceae.

Dr Hooker refers to the desirability of furnishing an index of all Australian plants publish here in local journals.14 I have in vol. III transact. phil. Inst. anticipated his wish.15 I think the volume must have been sent to you. It ought to be supplemented by what I published in the pharmaceutical journal,16 which I believe you have also complete.17The Linnaea (as you are aware) published indices. Walpers annales18 collect these notes to some extent, but keeps not pace with discoveries.

For the valuable gifts of Indian plants pray accept my best thanks; they have as yet not arrived.

In the fish tank of the Lincolnshire I placed 5 sp. fish and Azolla, the latter for you.19 I hope it will reach you, an other trial of bringing this curious plant to Europe I will make by the "Anglesey" which leaves in about a week, the physician on board having promised to look after the little plant during the voyage.

The geographical and zoological discoveries of Du Chaillu are quite startling.20 Pity he is not also Botanist, because those Central regions of Africa being full of endemic animals must also produce [new] and probably very striking types of vegetation, such as no other country is likely to aford.21 The Chief Officer of the "Lincolnshire" has taken such spare copies of the wanting Fragmenta as I had22 and which will complete 6 of your incomplete sets I suppose you received the sketch of the Araucaria Rulei, sent by last mail (with diagnosis).23

I enclose notes from Sir Rich. Macdonnell and Sir Henry Barkly respecting the flora.24

Pray give Dr Hooker & Mr Bentham & Prof Harvey my kind greeting and maintain your very kind sentiments towards your ever grateful and sincerely attached admirer

Ferd. Mueller.


Mr Oldfield will probably accompany the naval expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria.25 Poor Becker, who furnished many of the illustrations for my botanical work died of scurvy in the interior.26








Presumably M to W. Hooker, 23 July 1861.
M was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London on 6 June 1861; see Certificate of Proposal, 12 January 1860 (in this edition as M61-01-12). Hooker's letter announcing M's election as FRS has not been found. Since 1858, the fastest contracted mail time from London to Melbourne was 55 days (Lee 2003, chapter 7) which is just time for the news to have reached M before this letter was written.
Hooker (1827-64).
See M to W. Hooker, 25 June 1861. This sentence is marked in the margin with a cross. Many of the plants arrived dead (RBG Kew, Kew inwards book, 1859-1867, pp 122-3, entry 218 dated 31 October).
Western Port Bay, Vic.
J. S. Henslow, father-in-law of Joseph Hooker, died on 15 May 1861.
M's sister Bertha Doughty died on 7 September 1861.
Bentham (1861a).
See M to W. Hooker, 23 July 1861.
Marginal annotation by J. Hooker: 'Corrhea, Cotoneaster, Ranunc &c J.D.H.'
Bentham & Hooker (1862-83). Will you kindly … plantarum is marked in the margin with a cross.
Joseph Hooker complained of the difficulty of keeping track of M's descriptions in a number of letters to M; see, for example, 3 June 1857, 23 August 1858, 26 December 1859.
Quarterly journal and transactions of the Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria, B58.04.01, B59.04.02, B59.07.01, B60.10.01. See also Cohn (1990).
MS marginal annotation by J. Hooker: 'not complete'.
Walpers (1848-71). M had described a number of species in Linnaea: see B53.04.01, B53.14.01, B53.14.02.
Azolla is not listed as received at Kew in 1861 (RBG Kew, Inwards book, 1859–1867).
See Du Chaillu (1861).
Pity he is not … to aford is marked in the margin with a cross.
MS annotation beside this sentence by [W. Hooker]: 'gone to Lindley'.
Rulei is marked with a cross. See M to W. Hooker, 25 June 1861. The sketch with an earlier brief characterization was published in B61.09.01.
R. Macdonnell to M, 17 July 1861; and H. Barkly to M, 24 July 1861 (in this edition as 61-07-24a). See also H. Barkly to W. Hooker, 24 July 1861 (in this edition as M61-07-24).
Part of the search being mounted for Burke and Wills, missing in northern Australia. Oldfield did not accompany the expedition, his place as botanical collector being taken by Diedrich Henne.
Ludwig Becker died at Bulloo, north of Menindie, on 28 April 1861, during the Burke & Wills Exploring Expedition, 1860-1.

Please cite as “FVM-61-07-25a,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 21 September 2021,