From William Thiselton-Dyer1    20 May 1893

Kew, May 20, 1893.

Dear Sir Ferdinand,

I have your letters of Easter & 9. 4.2 It is of course obvious that you are the person from whom a continuation of the Flora Australiensis would be naturally expected. I cannot imagine that if you definitely express your intention of undertaking the work Mr Bailey would wish in any way to conflict or compete with you. At the same time it seems to me that you cannot expect to keep the field indefinitely unoccupied and that it is a pity you did not obviate the present difficulty by announcing your intentions a good deal earlier.

Mr Bailey appears to me to have a real zeal for Botany and although no doubt one could wish his work to be better, one cannot altogether blame his ambition.

My own opinion is that a difficulty of this kind can be adjusted without unnecessary personal feeling by the judicious intervention of the Colonial Royal Societies. I am very glad to see that the Royal Society of Adelaide has taken up the matter.3

There are so few persons who occupy themselves with Systematic Botany that one would be sorry to stand in the way of anyone who is anxious to do work. I hope therefore that you will not be too hard on Mr Bailey in the matter.

I may remind you that the Australian Governments entered into an arrangement with one of my officers to prepare a Fungus Flora I believe with your approval but without in any way my cognisance.4

Although the work was confessedly based in great measure on the Kew Herbarium I was not in any way consulted about it nor have I to this moment been favoured with a copy of the published work. Although I think the proceeding was under the circumstances irregular I have not troubled myself about it. As long as useful botanical work gets accomplished I for my part am not disposed to stand on my dignity.

Yours sincerely


This document is a typescript draft with minor manual corrections that have been incorporated in the transcription. MS annotation by Thiselton-Dyer: 'Sir J.D.H.'.
M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 2 April 1893 (in this edition as 93-04-02a) and 9 April 1893; see also M to J. Hooker, 28 March 1893. See also Clements (1998).
M reported this in his letter of 9 April 1893.
The officer was Mordecai Cubitt Cooke. See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 1 July 1891; also M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 2 July 1891 (in this edition as 91-07-02a), 20 August 1891 and 30 August 1892.
The initials are typed.

Please cite as “FVM-93-05-20,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 18 September 2021,