EB has had his pension disallowed; is coming to England.
My dear Sir,
I suppose you have heard that Sir C. Wood has disallowed my pension, although
so strongly and flatteringly recommended by the Viceroy in Council— But it matters not. I will win it yet.
Nobody has told me of it, nor do I require to be told that the Earl of E. and
K. (the representative of the old Scottish kingly family of Bruce) is piqued and nettled
at being thus coolly snubbed by the Yorkshire Baronet. Ld
Elgin held a grand levee on the 10
Yours ever Sincerely, Ed. Blyth—
- f1 3821.f1Charles Wood was the secretary of state for India; the viceroy and governor-general of India was James Bruce, earl of Elgin and Kincardine (DNB). Blyth had been curator of the museum of the Asiatic Society of Bengal since 1841, and in 1855, had applied to the society's Court of Directors for a pension to be awarded to him after a certain number of years' service; his memorial was forwarded to the British government in 1856, but met with no success. In July 1861, following the deterioration of Blyth's health, the society sent a second memorial to the government (Blyth 1875, pp. ix--xi). The earl of Elgin argued that Blyth's application had claims to consideration as a `special case' (the pension had been refused on the grounds that grants from public revenues were limited to those in the `direct service of the government'), and he stated (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 31 (1862): 430):
It is the case … of a man of science, who has devoted himself for a very small salary in duties in connexion with the Asiatic Society, a body aided by and closely identified with the Government of India from which the public have derived great advantage. Mr. Blyth may truly be said to have been, in a great measure, the creator of the Natural History Museum, which has hitherto supplied the place of a Public Museum in the metropolis of India … [I]f, under such circumstances, Mr. Blyth should after twenty years' service, be compelled to retire from ill-health, it would not be creditable to the Government that he should be allowed to leave without any retiring pension
- f2 3821.f2A pension of £150 was granted to Blyth in 1863 (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Edward Blyth, 21 September 1863, and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 33 (1864): 73).
- f3 3821.f3Bruce was the eighth earl of Elgin and the twelfth earl of Kincardine. Wood, who was the member of parliament for Halifax, Yorkshire, was a baronet (DNB).
- f4 3821.f4Blyth's departure was precipitated by his ill health. In the circumstances, the council of the society agreed to give him a year's leave with full pay (Blyth 1875, p. xii, and Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 32 (1863): 32).
- f5 3821.f5The reference is to the zoological gardens in Regent's Park, London, run by the Zoological Society of London, of which Blyth was a fellow.
- f6 3821.f6Blyth reportedly owed his pension mainly to `the untiring efforts made in London' by Hugh Falconer and Proby Thomas Cautley (Blyth 1875, p. xii).
- f7 3821.f7During the 1850s, Blyth became one of CD's most important correspondents, providing him with a vast amount of information on the plants and animals of India (see Correspondence vols. 5--7).
- f8 3821.f8Blyth refers to Samuel Laing, financial minister in India, on the council of the governor-general (DNB).
- f9 3821.f9Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, was the prime minister.
- f10 3821.f10Cape Negrais is on the south coast of Burma.
- f11 3821.f11Blyth's letter has not been found; however, CD and Blyth had apparently discussed the occurrence of amphibians in the Andaman Islands. In Origin, pp. 392--3, CD had written:
With respect to the absence of whole orders on oceanic islands, Bory St. Vincent long ago remarked that Batrachians (frogs, toads, newts) have never been found on any of the many islands with which the great oceans are studded. I have taken pains to verify this assertion, and I have found it strictly true.In the fourth edition, published in 1866, CD repeated the above passage (Origin 4th ed., pp. 467--8), but continued: with the exception of New Zealand, New Caledonia, the Andaman Islands, and perhaps the Salomon Islands and the Seychelles. But I have already remarked that it is doubtful whether New Zealand ought to be classed as an oceanic island; and this is still more doubtful with respect to the Andaman and Salomon groups.
- f12 3821.f12This is the number of CD's portfolio of notes on the means of dispersal of plants and animals.