To William Thiselton-Dyer   26 June 1886



Since writing to you, dear Mr Dyer, I received the tropical seeds, which you so kindly despatched to me,1 and for which I express my thankfulness, as all such sendings help to keep up my horticultural intercourse. If I have not on all occasions acknowledged your successive generous sendings of seeds, you must not feel discouraged; but the correspondence grows always over my head, and as I read 30 professional journals in various branches of science, (five medical) and that (if even only skimmingly) at late night-hours, my eyes often get sadly dim from overwork; remember my eyes are not young like yours, and were so much exposed to the glares of sunlight in the desert, bivouak-fires, not to speak of using lenses and microscopes daily since 1840! Yes - I am now the Senior of naturalists and professional scientists (except a few medical Colleagues) in Australia; all others having come only with the flood of the gold-tide and they never knew, what colonizing and exploring ment2 before that time, when the Australian monetary resources were so narrow, roads and bridges and towns hardly anywhere existed, except in a small portion of N. S. W and a few other places.

I cannot express to you, how glad I felt, when you told me, how opportune the Dicksonia-stem came in for the Exhibition there now! I still like to exercise some influence on the cultures of the world; and to maintain cultural relations have made enormous private sacrifices, since I left the garden, beyond what little I could do still with official means for Horticultural purposes. Thus you can understand, why I feel always so joyful, if still occasionally a plant of mine appears in the Bot Magazine, the magazine of centuries for Horticulture. I feel, that at best I shall only have yet a short time to live; hence it is gratifying to me, when my cultural efforts bear any new fruit while I am by Gods grace still among the living!

Yesterday I had to wait on the Governor3 on behalf of our geograph. Society, to invite his Exc. and Lady Loch to honor us with their presense4 at a meeting on Tuesday next, when I shall have to preside. Sir Henry asked very kindly about the welfare of your brother in law,5 and expressed himself glad about his having fairly got on.

In reading your last letter once more over,6 I feel, I ought to say, that it was not on account of any national feelings, that the Papuan ferns (nearly all well known species)7 went to Germany, but simply to redeem a heavy obligation.8 I have spent double the time of my life in the Austral colonies compared to that I spent in Europe, and was previously sometime a Scandinavian.9 Having cast my lot with British colonists, my sentiments are absorbed in their interests.

If you and your Colleagues do not get much for the Kew-Herbarium just now, you must all be consoled meanwhile, as lots of things, sent by me to the Exhibition,10 are sure to come into the possession of Kew, even if a Colonial Museum will be established, as lots of duplicates occur.

I am particularly anxious to learn something about the colossal Todea.

Next year, unless the Adelaide Exhibition gives much to do, there will be more time for making up duplicates of really new or rare plants for Kew, or to arrange about the loan of some from here. If the day would only have 48 hours, I should not get so much behind.



Ferd. von Mueller.


Did you read my last geographic adress?11


I hope that a bound copy of the Myoporinae12 can be sent off by next mail to Kew.




M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 17 February and 6 April 1886.
Sir Henry Loch.
Brian Hooker.
Letter not found.
'nearly all well known species' is a marginal note with intended position indicated by an asterisk after 'ferns'.
See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 22 June 1886.
Schleswig-Holstein, where M lived from the age of 10 until he departed for Australia, aged 22, was Danish territory at that time.
Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London, 1886.

Please cite as “FVM-86-06-26,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 16 October 2021,