From George Bentham   15 March 1871

March 15 1871

My dear Sir

It is a long while since I have written to you and I have several of your letters to thank you for but I have so very much of writing to get through that I entirely neglect all correspondence when there is nothing particular that I must write about. I now cannot delay another mail acknowledging your letters more especially as your last is written in low spirits[.]1 I am much grieved to hear of your annoyances2 The great services you have rendered to science are fully acknowledged here and we all sincerely trust you will be maintained in a position to carry on your labours with ease and comfort. I am only sorry that at this distance and in ignorance of all details of the matter I am quite unable to do more than send good wishes.

I am not yet able to fix upon the time for resuming the Australian Flora — I must first finish the Compositae for Genera Plantarum3 whilst Oliver is working up specifically the tropical African4 and Baker the Brasilian ones5 and with the enormous number of genera to be examined this is no small work[.] I have pretty well done those of De Candolle's fifth volume and the Gnaphalieae of the sixth.6 As to the Australian ones I have but little of change to make except that I find I overlooked the long fine tails to the anthers of Nablonium which transfer it to the Bupthalmeae and that Moonia merges in Chrysogonum. I limit the tribe of Asteroideae to those with tailless anthers and appendiculate style branches and I united in a tribe of Inuloideae all the Asteroideae with tailed anthers and the Gnaphalieae none of which have appendages to the style branches[.] I suppose that with all reductions there will still be above 800 genera of Compositae.

The war has not made so much havoc with scientific collections as was at first feared — though the library at Strasburg was destroyed[.] I understand the palaeontological collections are safe. Schimper was absent and Fée got away with the Swiss7 — he (Fée) is now disgusted and wants to sell his collections — but the worst of the war is that it has engendered such a bitterness of international hatred as to interfere with all scientific intercommunication and the present prospects of France are most gloomy hurled as she is from the height of prosperity to the lowest depth of misery and too intent upon the gratification of spite and revenge to think of the means of recovering her strength — and yet the natural resources of the country are so great that could she succeed in obtaining a few years of quiet and security all might yet go well again. And I do not think that Germany is safe from internal dessentions when the excitement of victory is over.

I trust that next winter I shall be able to devote exclusively to Flora Australiensis It is quite as well the £100 was not voted this year as it cannot be due to me till this time next year when I presume I shall be printing vol VI.

With every wish that all may turn out to your satisfaction believe me

Ever yours sincerely

George Bentham


Dr Ferd v Mueller


I have now my Anniversary Address8 to prepare which becomes every year more difficult and takes time from my work in systematic Botany and I no longer get through work so quick as I did when younger.










editorial addition. All following [.] have this meaning.
M to G. Bentham, 24 December 1870.
Bentham & Hooker (1862-83), vol. 2, part 1, pp. 163-533, published April 1873. Bentham had effectively completed the Compositae by December 1871, when he resumed work on Flora Australiensis (G. Bentham to M, 25 December 1871).
Oliver & Hiern (1877).
Baker (1873-84).
Candolle (1823-73), vol. 5, pp. 4-706; vol. 6, pp. 1-292.
See M to G. Bentham, 24 December 1870.
Bentham's annual presidential address for the Linnean Society.

Please cite as “FVM-71-03-15,” in Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller, edited by R.W. Home, Thomas A. Darragh, A.M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D.M. Sinkora, J.H. Voigt and Monika Wells accessed on 22 September 2023,