To William Thiselton-Dyer   20 August 1891



Somehow, dear Mr Dyer, I feel very tired from an accumulation of extra-work. I have initiated and sustained an effort, to carry rural culture into the Austral. Alps, to which railways have now approached closely, so that fruit and vegetables may be obtained from elevations of 4000' and above when in the lowlands they are out of season. Then the governments2 new “College of Horticulture” gives me also some new work.

I am quite surprised to learn from your letter of the 8th July,3 that Dr Cooke belongs to your regular staff[.]4 I was under the impression until now, that he was engaged only to a very limited extent at Kew; your letters never said anything about his holding at Kew a position, similar to Mr Baker’s, Mr Hemsley’s, Mr Rolfes Mr Brown’s5; - nor did I ever see any note in the Gardeners-Chronicle, which gives always new botanic and horticultural appointments, that he had become fully attached to your establishment. His extensive publications, such as the Grevillea, the British Fungs &c must induce in any one, who lives far away, the persuasion, that he keeps up a large private literary establishment of his own.6 The arrangement for the volume on Australian fungs was not made in my Department, but by the four Agriculture-Departments of QL., NSW., V. & S.A., altho’ I had formerly with Dr Cooke some correspondence on the subject, and was consulted in this instance also. You will give me credit, that I have supported Kew whenever and wherever I could so far as local responsibilities allowed me;7 indeed I have done so for 40 years, and ever since, - except when I was out on extensive explorations, - I hardly ever missed a mail to write to Kew or to send something. - As this mycologic affair now stands, all I would ask is, that my Department gets due credit for what came from it directly or through Berkely8 or through Cooke to Kew As regards my sending odd numbers of the S. Science Record, such as I had in duplo, if I rightly recollect, you asked for this periodical. But more, I induced the publisher, to get together yet a set for Kew. To do this, he had to make time-taking special efforts after so long a time, and this set, purchased by me at a premium, followed the fragmentary one to Kew.9 I hardly thought, that you required this periodical, as I always sent an extraprint of the descriptions of plants elucidated therein10 to Kew. I am thankful for your allowing Faradaya to appear in the Bot. Mag.11 Unfortunately, not having fruits at first, I placed it in a wrong order.12 But RBr was equally unfortunate in refering Diplanthera (also in the absens13 of fruits) into a wrong genus, an error first corrected by me.14 So I did with Leucocarpon, Tarrietia &c.15 The spathaceous calyx of Faradaya proved to me very deceptive. Let me hope, that your health is now quite restored.

Always regardfully your

Ferd von Mueller


The 8th Edit. of the Select plants is now almost through the press, much enlarged.16 So I can now devote again a share of my time to Papuan plants.

I have never written in all these years a letter to any regular Assistant of Kew, unless some few exceptional cases of botanic importance, and then such letters went open to the Kew-Director.

I hoped, to hear from you, that you had pleasurable news from Halle. So I must write again to Prof. Kirchoff with whom I am much in geographic communication.17






The front of each folio is stamped Royal Gardens Kew 28.Sep. 91.The front of f. 12 is annotated in ink by J. BakerJGB 28/9/9, and in pencil by Thiselton-DyerAnd 10/10/91 (letter not found).

governments interlined abovenew and“College. Since there was no change of government in 1891, the reading given here is probably what M intended.

When the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria encountered financial difficulties in 1891, the Victorian Government, through its Department of Agriculture, took control of the Society’s Gardens at Burnley and began teaching horticulture on the site. The new college advertised for students in April 1891 (Aitken & Looker [2002], p. 116, and Victoria Government Gazette, 1 May 1891, p. 1817, col. a).

Letter not found.
editorial addition.
N. E. Brown.
Cooke had been listed as a Mycologist on the staff at Kew from the time that annual ‘Lists of the Staffs of the Royal Gardens, Kew, …’ were published in the Bulletin of miscellaneous information, 1889, p. 122. Numerous letters show that M received the Bulletin.Cooke’s position at Kew was not listed on the title pages of Grevilleaor the various volumes of Illustrations of British Fungipublished subsequently to his appointment at Kew. Cooke had told M that his contract with Kew was due to expire at the end of 1889; see M. Cooke to M, 1 September 1889.
so far as local responsibilities allowed me is a note in the central margin on the front of the second folio of the MS (f. 13),its position in the text indicated by asterisks.

S. Science, set and at a premium are underlined in blue pencil in the MS.

The Library at Kew holds volumes 1 – 2, and some parts of volume 3 of Southern Science Record.Volume 2 is date stamped ‘Royal Gardens Kew, 22. JUN. 91.’

elucidated therein is interlined in the MS.
Curtis’s botanical magazine, vol. 117, 1891, tab. 7187.
M originally placed Faradayain the Bignoniaceae (B65.04.01, p. 21); he transferred it to Verbenaceae in B68.03.04, p. 153.
B89.13.12, p. 167.
For priority reasons M synonymized Denhamiawith Leucocarpon in B68.12.01, p. 203; as Leucocarpon was no longer used for a bryophyte, he suppressed Denhamiawhich was erected four years later. M erected Argyrodendron ( A. trifoliate ) in B58.03.01, but later transferred it to Tarrietia in B75.05.05, p. 43.
Kirchhoff? M had been trying to obtain ‘some honors from Germany’ for Thiselton-Dyer, who was elected to the Academia Caesarea Leopoldino-Carolina Naturae Curiosorum in 1887 (List of members, but M was unaware of the election; see M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 28 June 1887, 18 July 1890 (in this edition as 90-07-18a) and 19 July 1891. Thiselton-Dyer was awarded an honorary PhD by the "Leopoldinisch Karolinisch German Academy of Natural History" 'in recognition of the great services rendered by him to botany" ( Morning post, 30 September 1891, p. 5. See also M to Thiselton Dyer , 20 December 1892.

Please cite as “FVM-91-08-20,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 25 January 2022,