To Edward Ramsay   26 August 1874

Melbourne,

26/8/74.

 

Altho' I wrote to you only two days ago,1 dear Mr Ramsay, I now once more adress you on the important subject of my last letter. Do not let pass the glorious opportunity for your or your brothers going in the Challenger 2 to the East part of N Guinea! Such a glorious chance for your distinguishing yourself will never reoccur! There can be no difficulty to get to the alps, while the Challenger makes its soundings & effects the dredging. The distance to the snowy mountains is so short in the E. part of N. Guinea and there is no jungle intervening. In Australia and Tasmania we have about 150 truely alpine peculiar plants. In N Guinea must be many more. Whoever gets there first will be the one to discover most of them in a few days. It would be realizing one of the highest aspirations of my life, if it fell to my share to describe them & to compare them with the plants of the Austral Alps. Also the Eucalypts, & other plants of the E. part of N.G. would & could be to no one in the whole world of higher interest than to myself. I am willing to contribute some fund to the enterprise. Natives ought to be sent with baskets on their back up to the Alps to collect every pl. in fl.3 & fruits. Capt Naires4 will also be glad of the opportunity to institute triangulations, and has plenty of men to protect the adscending party. Dr Hooker might get half the plants and those of Indian types might be left to him to elaborate, while I would take those of Alpine & Australian type. Your brother ought to go by the Steamer early in September. That would be in time. If I could get here away safely I would go myself. I should be glad of a telegram from you, when this letter arrives. Let him take plenty of paper (several reams), some pastboards & straps, and the plants should be dried in very narrow sets strings crosswise to keep the loose sets after pressing. Tin lined boxes for the plants after drying are also requisite, then much paper can be emptied out again strings crosswise to keep the loose sets after pressing. Tin lined boxes for the plants after airing are also requisite, then much paper can be emptied out again5 in paper on the sun or fire, to loose no time in shifting. The low-land plants of Indian type are far less important than those of the Alps! You know the East people of N Guinea are friendly & able to work & willing to barter.

Always &c

Ferd von Mueller

 

Eucalyptus

 
Letter not found.
The oceanographical research vessel HMS Challenger was in Australian waters at this time. The ship did not, in the end, visit New Guinea.
plant in flower.
Captain G. S. Nares, commander of Challenger.
strings crosswise … emptied out again is written at the end of the letter with an asterisk indicating its intended position.

Please cite as “FVM-74-08-26,” 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 1 March 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/vonmueller/letters/74-08-26