From Joseph Hooker1    17 November 1895

Nov. 17 /95

The Camp.


My dear Baron

Yours of 31/82 has been left too long unanswered & I have no better excuse than the old one, of not taking advantage of the many small intervals in being busy. And now I am reminded of you by a letter from a new (to me) correspondent; Mr Bufton of Tasmania, who writes enthusiastically of your good offices & his own botanical proclivities. It is delightful for me in my old age, to find myself remembered in Tasmania, & I feel very keenly Mr Bufton's kindness in writing to me, & telling me of the progress of Tasmanian Botany & of his aspirations as a naturalist & a Federalist! He tells me he much desires to be a F.R.S. but I do not know if he has done any original work, without which entry is now impossible.

I am very glad to hear of the new (9th!) Edn of Select Plants; it must gratify you to see the work so often cited for practical purposes.

I am sending you herewith a lithograph of what I think is the best portrait of my father,3 being that which recalls him best to my memory. Perhaps you have it already if you have a copy of the "Journal of the Kew Guild" an annual brochure got up by the staff of Gardeners &c at Kew by way of keeping up an "esprit de corps" amongst past & present employées. I do not know whether it is on sale, but if you have it not I will try to get you a copy. The portrait of Brown is from a small oil painting by Pierce, made for Lady Franklin, who had a gallery of such likenesses of her friends. It was given me by Miss Cracroft4 after Lady F's death, & is an admirable likeness of the great man in extreme old age.

I think I sent you the little Wedgewood medallion of my father that I had made at "Etruria" — if not let me know, as I am ordering some more to be struck off.5

The Geographers have good hopes of an Antarctic Expedition with this Govt. I am glad to see that both Germany & Norway are organizing expeditions. There is room enough for all; & danger enough God knows!

The Norwegians were highly favored by the weather, it was an awful time when we were off Cape Adare.6 Ross would have given his ears to have been able to land any where on the coast, & if he could not I am sure that no one else could have at that time. As we experienced, the seasons vary greatly, & if we had had in 1840-1 the weather we had in 1842-3, we should never have discovered Victoria Land, nor perhaps even have approached it. Then too it is quite clear, from Weddell's experience, that the pack moves its position over vast areas. Nevertheless I am inclined to think that the route south via E. coast of Victoria Land may be always more or less open, the currents being strong. As to wintering I extremely doubt the practicability of it, & even if practicable, I cannot conceive any Commander undertaking the responsibility of leaving a party in such a climate of wind fog & snow & on such a coast, any part of which may be blockaded for years by Bergs or Pack, & remain so for an indefinite period. Let Cape Adare be ever so acessable now, a square mile of Pack, or a couple of Icebergs stranded off it, might seal it up in a week for years. Graham's Land is the place to search for winter quarters.

I am still struggling with Grasses for "Flora India". The Andropogons are inextricable & the genera hopelessly bad Hackel has done all that is possible, & excellently well, but his book7 is most difficult of consultation.

I had finished in mss. all the Indian Andropogons (for the Flora)8 in Kew Herb. by it, some years ago, for the "Flora", but I have had to collate vast collections that have since arrived from King Duthie, Woodrow & others with much novelty amongst them, & what is worse introducing so much dislocation of old characters. You would hardly believe how difficult it is to name the species of even a good named Herbarium! You are perpetually tripped up, as by looking for a Pollinia in Andropogon, or in Ischaemum or some other genus, to any or all of which your plant seems really as naturally to belong as to Pollinia. Then the incessant use of the microscope is very trying — much more I find for Grasses than for Musci or Hepaticae. Stapfs' aid has been & is invaluable — I hope he will stick to the whole Order.

Banks' Journal progresses, my 4th son Reginald, who was Asst Secy of the Statistical Society, has aided me greatly in editing. He has now got a Govt. post in the Intelligence Dept. of the Board of Agriculture, having come out at the top of the candidates in the competitive Examn9 for the post. It is an Office in which I hope he may rise. The pay at first, £150 rising by £15 annually to £300 is small for a man of his age 2610 & acquirements, but there is always the chance of promotion & always a pension at 60! He is a hard worker.

I hear that Brian11 has an appt12 for £450 at Coolgardie,13 & I await particulars impatiently. It is very gratifying to me that you keep in communication with his wife — who owes you so much.

Very sincerely your

Jos. D Hooker







MS annotation by M: 'Answ 4/1/96'. Letter not found.
M to J. Hooker, 31 August 1895.
Lithograph not found.
Sophia Cracroft, Sir John Franklin's niece and Lady Franklin's devoted companion for many years.
Hooker had sent M a Wedgwood medallion of his father and M had subsequently given it, along with a number of his medals, to the Industrial Museum; see M to J. Hooker, 6 November 1868, and M to W. Vale, 5 September 1872. The medallion is now at the Melbourne Museum. 'Etruria' was the name of the Wedgwood company's pottery works near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
On 24 January 1895 a party from the Norwegian ship Antarctic made the first landing on the Antarctic mainland, at Cape Adare.
Hackel (1889).
It appears that Hooker inserted (for the Flora) as an afterthought, but then tried to erase it.
Reginald Hooker was in fact 28 years old at this time.
Another son of Hooker, who had settled in Australia.

Please cite as “FVM-95-11-17,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 23 October 2021,