From Joseph Hooker   1890

[The Camp.

Sunningdale.]1

 

[…]2 get it printed so as to sell at a reasonably cheap rate is the rub. With a publisher the prices will be prohibitive. There will be at least 3 vols quarto with 1600 pages each & 3 columns on a page, for there are upwards of 60,000 entries! & this only to the year 1885.3 — I am now enquiring whether the Cambridge U. press would undertake it. — C. was Darwin's University,4 & 3 of his sons are settled there, 2 as professors, but I doubt if they could afford it without help, & I am seeing what I could do by touting amongst wealthy patrons of Horticulture. Sr G. MacLeay has given me £300 to begin with. I suppose we must print at least 1500 copies, as the work will be wanted by both Botanists & Horticulturists. It gives the name, first authority, (book & page) & native country for every plant, and synonyms as far as possible — but the work must not be looked on as an authority for synonymy. You will find every published name &c., up to 1885, it professes no more. Of course established synonyms are entered as such & when possible referred to their proper species & this has as you may suppose given [enormous] trouble in the hundreds of cases where there are differences of opinion & where a plant has been referred to several Genera. All such cases are referred to Oliver & myself. In doing the Indian Orchids the work has been invaluable to me, how else could I have found all Reichenbach's species? published (like yours) in an infinity of periodicals.

I shall soon send you a sample page. Do you think you could get us any help towards publication in Australia? Oliver & I have devoted much time to it, of course gratuitously; so did John Ball, whose loss to Kew Herb. is deplorable.5

As for myself I am very well but getting old! I am just finishing the Orchids of Fl. Brit. Ind, a most unsatisfactory job that has cost me upwards of 3 years labor. Reichenbach's work is detestable, he did not codify a single genus, & his descriptions of species are so incomplete that I often have not known in what section of a Genus to put his species. Had not Bentham done the Genera of the Order I do not know where we should be. In doing the Indian I am in admiration of Benthams treatment of the Genera,6 especially seeing what a confused jumble of published materials he had to deal with, & the badness of Herbarium specimens.

As for the rest, the "Fl. Brit Ind."7 & the "Bot. Mag"8 take up all my time, except the Steudel9 — which I am revising after Jackson

Ever my dear Mueller

Sincerely yr

J D Hooker.

editorial addition — The letterhead is on the fragment.
An unknown amount of text missing.
Hooker is discussing the Index Kewensis compiled by B. D. Jackson, the first edition of which was published by Oxford University Press in four volumes, 1893-5.
Darwin had provided the funding that made compilation of the Index Kewensis possible.
Do you think … deplorable has been marked with double lines in the margin. Ball died on 21 October 1889.
In Bentham & Hooker (1862 -83), vol. 3, pp. 460-636.
J. Hooker (1875-97).
Curtis's botanical magazine, which Hooker continued to edit until 1904.
i.e. Index Kewensis, so called because it was seen as a successor to Steudel's Nomenclator (1840).

Please cite as “FVM-90-00-00g,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 23 October 2021, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/vonmueller/letters/90-00-00g