From Charles French   28 October 1878

Botanic Garden

28/10/78

My Dear Baron.

I beg to enclose a few particulars connected with my collection of Longicorns and other families, in the hope that you may be able to assist me in disposing of them to the British Museum authorities.1 The collection has been formed with the greatest care, and has cost me far more than ever I could ask for it. Of course you are aware of the heavy loss which I sustained some time since in my Queensland Nat History undertaking, a loss which I have not yet recovered,2 [so] that I am desirous of disposing of all, or part of my Australian collection, to the best advantage. (I intend to keep my Foreign collection if possible.) I have it on the authority of several well known Scientific Gentlemen both in England, France, and here, that my collection of Australian Longicorns is in point of rarity of sp. and also in numbers, the finest in the whole world.

Trusting that your health is improving

I remain

Yours sincerely

Chas French

 

Baron F. von Mueller C.M.G FRS &c &c3

f. 379c in the letter book is in French's hand and is titled 'Particulars of Australian Longicorns'. There are 700 species, 890 specimens, many named, arranged in ten drawers of a cabinet. Many un-named probably new, especially those collected in Northern Territory, Port Essington and on Overland Telegraph lines, N.W Australia &c. The genera, with numbers of different species, are listed.

French reports that Mr. Macleay of Sydney has praised the collection. French would prefer the collection, with which circumstances force him to part, to go to the British Museum and offers his collection of Longicorn beetles, in which he had specialized, buying in specimens for as much as £1.5.0, for £150. The remainder of the Australian collection (listed) was offered for £200 without cabinet.

French and Wiliam Petterd had undertaken a collecting trip to Queensland in 1875 but 'were unfortunate enough to lose nearly the whole of their splendid collection of birds, insects, &c., through the vessel in which the cases were shipped being wrecked on the passage to Melbourne '(Argus, 11 March 1876, p, 4).
See also M to R. Owen, 30 October 1878.

Please cite as “FVM-78-10-28,” 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 9 August 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/vonmueller/letters/78-10-28