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Letter 1425F

Darwin, C. R. to Seymour, E. A. S.

May 1851

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    Testimonial on behalf of J. D. Hooker, addressed to Lord Seymour as Chief Commissioner of Her Majesty's Woods and Forests, signed by CD and many other scientists.

Transcription

[London]

[Testimonial on behalf of Dr. Joseph Dalton Hooker … praising Hooker's achievements `during his voyage to the Antarctic Regions under Captain Sir James Clarke Ross, and again during a three years' expedition made on behalf of the Royal Gardens at Kew to the North-Eastern districts of India', his botanical knowledge, his researches into Geology, Zoology and Meteorology, and hoping to secure `to Her Majesty's Botanical Establishment at Kew his future services in the following up the investigations so ably commenced'.]

[…] the accuracy of observation and high scientific views shown in the publication of the results of his first voyage have secured to him an European reputation. We therefore gladly avail ourselves of the occasion of his return from his second Expedition to represent to your Lordship the claims we conceive he has acquired on the Country to which he is an honor […]

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1425f.f1
    According to the sale catalogue, the testimonial was sent to Seymour in his capacity as Chief Commissioner of Her Majesty's Woods and Forests (see n. 5, below).
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    f2 1425f.f2
    The date is given by the sale catalogue.
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    f3 1425f.f3
    Joseph Dalton Hooker served as assistant surgeon and botanist on board HMS Erebus, commanded by James Clark Ross, on the Antarctic expedition of 1839 to 1843, following which he published Flora Antarctica (Hooker 1844--7); see also Correspondence vol. 2.
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    f4 1425f.f4
    Hooker collected plants for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in India and the Indian and Tibetan Himalayas, between 1848 and 1850, returning to Britain in March 1851 (Allan 1967, p. 177; see also Correspondence vol. 4).
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    f5 1425f.f5
    The testimonial was submitted to Seymour in support of an attempt by Hooker's father, William Jackson Hooker, to obtain a government salary for his son to continue to work on specimens brought back from India (see R. Desmond 1999, pp. 200--1). Seymour, as first commissioner of woods and works (sometimes known as the commissioner of woods and forests), controlled the government department that had contributed funds to the Indian expedition (History of the king's works 6: 242; Allan 1967, p. 180). Representations were also made on Hooker's behalf by the British Association for the Advancement of Science (R. Desmond 1999, p. 183; Report of the twenty-first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Ipswich in July 1851, p. xxx). In 1852, the Treasury awarded Hooker an annuity of £400 a year for three years in order to produce aflora of India (Hooker and Thomson 1855; see also Allan 1967, p. 181).
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    f6 1425f.f6
    Besides CD, the signatories named in the catalogue entry include Robert Brown, Charles Giles Bridle Daubeny, John Stevens Henslow, John Lindley, John Forbes Royle, Edward Forbes, Nathaniel Wallich, George Bentham, William Hopkins, Charles Lyell, Roderick Impey Murchison, William John Hamilton, Leonard Horner, Frederick McCoy, Adam Sedgwick, Philip de Malpas Grey-Egerton, Edward Sabine, Thomas Hill, and Henry Thomas de la Beche. Thomas Hill has not been further identified.
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    f7 1425f.f7
    The original memorial is complete and is described in the sale catalogue as being four pages long.
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