To Edward Ramsay   1 September 1874

Melbourne 1/9/74.


This day I received your telegram, dear Mr Ramsay.1 I understand however that the Challenger2 will visit both sides of N. Guinea; so it would be likely, that she returns to Cape York. But even if this was not the case, it would be a matter of earnest consideration, not to let such a rare opportunity for research slip. To the Palmer3 we can get always, not so to N. G., at least not in a war ship, which can afford protection to Naturalists. I believe that the Challenger could easily leave your brother or any other collector like Eaves on one of the Mission-stations. And even if they had to go all the way to China, they could soon come back from there. Do what you can to take the chance offered to you by Capt Nares.4 You might find a cheap passage in the mailsteamer at once to Cape York, as the Companies always promote scientific research. In the worst case so much might be collected even at Somerset5 as well to repay the passage to & fro. I am willing to pay towards it to a moderate extent.

Mr Eaves called to day, and as you had some idea to take him as your companion in the new trip, I suggested to him to call at once on you and to see what arrangements could be made for perhaps he going by the Challenger. The East of N. G. is healthy; the natives are not savage, and of Malai6 Race. The snowy mountains can be reached from the Ship in 2 or 3 days on the N.E side and Capt Nares would likely be eager to send a triangulation party up. The plants for drying could be brought down in baskets fresh. The whole plan is feasible, the chance is an unique one; other collectors will soon be there and then it will be too late. Such a lot of palm seeds &c &c could be collected and easily brought away by the Ship as to pay well part of the expenses. So do what you can. There must be new Paradise birds in the N. G. alps yet and lots of other wonderful treasures.

Regardfully your

Ferd von Mueller


Dr Hooker could get half the dried plants on an understanding that the elaboration of the alpine and Australian forms was left to me.

Telegram not found.
The oceanographical research ship, HMS Challenger .
Palmer River, Qld.
Captain of Challenger .
Administrative centre for Cape York, Qld, until 1877.

Please cite as “FVM-74-09-01,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 20 September 2021,