From George Bentham   17 November 1874

25, WILTON PLACE. S.W.

Novr 17 /741

My dear Sir

In your last letter2 you seem to be displeased at the announcement that the seventh volume is to complete my Flora Australiensis but I see no reason why it should not comprise the whole of the remaining Monocotyledons and Ferns, for owing to the thinness of the last volume the publisher will allow its extending to 700 pages and I never agreed to do the Cryptogamia which must be by separate hands and therefore form separate works. As to a supplemental volume it is impossible for me to undertake it at my age and with other calls on my time if life should be spared me. Indeed I believe I have frequently mentioned to you that it will be for you to prepare any supplementary work that you may find necessary. For that there would be no need for its being worked up in this country as was the case with the original work for the old synonyms are now cleared up and you have a nearly complete series of authentic types of published species. In any such supplementary work you could introduce all such features of the Australian Flora and of the races which constitute it as can only be observed on the living plants and would therefore be so much better methodised and described by you in the country than by me here. You could also there remodel such genera and species as you disapprove of as given in my arrangement and introduce any other improvements on my work which may suggest themselves to you But all that would be yours and not mine, and although it might be convenient to adapt its form to mine it could not bear my name nor form part of my work. It is true that many of your criticisms are inserted into your Fragmenta, but notwithstanding the valuable data contained in these Fragmenta their desultory form prevents their coming under the notice of botanists in general. Not only are complete copies of your Fragmenta in very few libraries (owing to the price and difficulty of purchasing) but very few persons in these days will be at the trouble of hunting through the several indexes and collecting the notes on any given genus which may be scattered over half a dozen or a dozen different parts of the eight volumes, but will wait till the whole are methodically condensed in some general systematic work whether a local Flora or a general monograph.3 As you have already so large a mass of supplemental matter I should sincerely hope that instead of going on with these fragmenta which are almost lost to the botanical world and for which there is not now the object of forestalling my names, you would seriously work out the methodical supplementary work so as to publish it shortly after the completion of the Flora This would be rendering a lasting service to Australian Botany.

Yours very sincerely

George Bentham

 

Baron v Mueller

MS annotation pencilled at head of letter by M: '[…] Mrs Hooker'.
See M to G. Bentham, 4 September 1874.
M added to the end of vol. 10 of the Fragmenta (B77.13-08, pp 131-45), a consolidated index to Orders and Genera treated in vols 1-10.

Please cite as “FVM-74-11-17,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 28 November 2021, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/vonmueller/letters/74-11-17