To Helen Taylor   23 September 1876




It is with feelings of grateful reverence, that I approach you, to express my best thanks for your generosity of presenting through Dr. Hooker1 a spare portion of your celebrated uncle’s collection of plants to the Museum, which I have created here under the auspices of this colonial Government.

It is under any circumstances pleasing, to see the efforts of our young colony recognized, to share in the progress of scientific research; — but when a gift like that emanating from the great philosopher and philanthropist J. Stuart Mill passes into my hands and my institution, I must regard this as one of the greatest triumphs of my life.

The high political influence exercised by J. Stuart Mill is known to all; so his enormous efforts for the leading literature of the time for a long period; we here like elsewhere have bound to his judgement and enlightened thoughts. It was however not generally known that that great man, amidst the multifarious calls on his time still managed to seek refined recreation in a real study of plants; hence we shall at all times approach also this relic of his eminent labors with veneration, and bear also your generous feelings towards this young country likewise in grateful remembrance.

I am, Madam,

with deep obedience


Ferd von Mueller.

See J. Hooker to M, 16 July 1876. The collection was divided between Asa Gray at Harvard, M, and Kew. Of the specimens sent to Gray about 2,000 were later transferred to The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (Pearce, 2006). Staff at Melbourne estimate that the herbarium holds about 4,000 specimens from Mill's herbarium. In each of Kew, Harvard, Philadelphia and Melbourne the sheets include specimens collected by Mill in England and Europe, and by collecting companions such as George Bentham and Theodor von Heldreich, as well as specimens acquired from other collectors and herbaria. (Pearce, 2006, and electronic catalogues of the herbaria. Note: the electronic catalogues were works in progress in 2014; at that time about 15 percent of the foreign collection in Melbourne had been entered on the data base.)

Please cite as “FVM-76-09-23d,” 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 28 January 2023,