Letter (WCP2896.2786)




Jan[uar]y 12 1908.

My dear Wallace

Ever since the receipt of yours of 4th 2 I have been endeavouring to recall any experience I may have had of Spruce's3 collections. All I can remember is the arrival of one consignment to Bentham4 at Kew, & marvelling at the extraordinarily fine condition of the specimens, their completeness for description, & the great fullness & value of the information regarding them inscribed on the tickets.5 The fact is that the whole care for & distribution of the specimens was undertaken by Bentham, assisted I think by Professor Oliver,6 who may be able to [2] give you more definite information.

Of his published articles those on the "Cinchona forests"7& "On certain Andean Mosses"8 are very full of good matter.9 As to his work on Amazonia[n] Palms, it is full of suggestions, some of which have been taken up by later authors but the Amazonia[n] region is so poor in Palms compared with others, [one or two illeg. words or numbers interlined] that it would require a very long & patient study of the American[?] plants; the better[?] to [one or more illeg. words] what its merits in detail.

Were not Spruce's earlier collections sent to Bentham when a resident in Pontrilas?10 Or before that in London.

Congratulating you heartily on [3]11 the conclusion of your labour & regretting that I can be of so little use12

Believe me | Sincerely y[ou]r | Jos. D Hooker.13 [signature]

No doubt his monumental work in the Hepatiae14 is his enduring[?] one &[?] will ever live.

Annotated in ink in ARW's hand in the top left corner "Answd | Jan. 14th"; it is annotated in pencil in an unknown hand in the top right corner "270".
See WCP3914.
Spruce, Richard (1817 -1893). British botanist and explorer.
Bentham, George (1800 — 1884). British botanist. In 1854 he donated his herbarium and library to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and worked there until his death.
"& marvelling... tickets" is underlined in blue pencil, and the passage is marked by a vertical line in blue pencil in the left margin.
Oliver, Daniel (1830 -1916). British botanist. Librarian and later Keeper of the Herbarium, Royal Gardens, Kew, 1860-1890.
Spruce, Richard. (1860). Notes of a Visit to the Cinchona Forests on the western slope of the Quitenian Andes. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London. Botany. Vol. 4, No. 16, pp.176-192.
Possibly Spruce, Richard. (1860). Mosses of the Amazon and Andes. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London. Botany. Vol. 5, No. 17, pp.45-51.
"are very full of good matter" is underlined in blue pencil.
Bentham lived in Pontrilas, Herefordshire, from 1842 — c. 1854.
Annotated in pencil in an unknown hand in the top right corner "271".
The "labour" Hooker refers to is Wallace, Alfred Russel (ed.) (1908). Richard Spruce. Notes of a botanist on the Amazon and Andes. Macmillan & Co. London.
Hooker, Joseph Dalton (1817 — 1911) British botanist and explorer. Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1865 -1885, in succession to his father, William Jackson Hooker.
Spruce, Richard. (1884) Hepaticae Amazonicae et Andinae. Transactions and proceedings of the Botanical Society. v.15. Reissued as a book (1885) The Hepaticae of the Amazon and the Andes of Peru and Ecuador. Trübner & Co. London.

Please cite as “WCP2896,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 25 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP2896