Thanks JDH for short sketch of botanical geography of Southern Hemisphere. Comments on his own S. American collections and observations; notes other Galapagos collections.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
I am very much obliged to you for your interesting letter; I have long been very
curious even for as short a sketch, as you have kindly sent me, of the bontanical
geography of the southern hemisphere.— I shall be most curious to see your
results in detail. From my entire ignorance of botany, I am sorry to say, that I cannot
answer any of the questions, which you ask me.— I think I mention in my
Journal that I found my old friend the southern beach (I cannot say positively which
species), on the mountain-top, in southern part of Chiloe & at level of sea in
I saw the Alerce on mountains of Chiloe, (on the mainland it grows to an enormous size
& I always believed the Alerce & Araucaria imbricata to be identical) but I am ashamed to say I absolutely forget all about its
appearance.— I saw some Juniper-like bush in T. del. Fuego, but can
tell you no more about it— I presume that you have seen Capt. King's
collection in Mr Browns possession, provisionally for the Brit.
Mus.— I fear you will be much disappointed in my few plants: an ignorant
person cannot collect; & I, moreover, lost one, the first, & best set of
the Alpine plants.— On the other hand, I hope the
Galapagos plants (judging from Henslows remarks) will turn out more interesting than you
expect.— Pray be careful, to observe, if I ever mark the individual
Isld of the Galapagos islands, for the reasons you will see in my
Journal.— Menzies & Cumming were there
& there are some plants, (I think Mr
Is not the similarity of plants of Kerguelen Land & S. S. America very curious. Is there any instance in the N. Hemisphere of plants being similar at such great distances— With thanks for your letter & for your having undertaken my small collection of plants. Believe me my dear Sir | Yours very truly | C. Darwin
Do remember my prayer & write as well for Botanical ignoramus'es as for great Botanists— There is a paper by Carmichael on Tristan d'Acunha, which from the w<an>t of general remarks & comparisons, I found < > to me dead letter,—I presume you will include this island in your views of the S. Hemisphere.—
P.S. I have been looking at my poor miserable attempt at Botanical-landscape-remarks, & I see that I state that the species of Beech which is least common in T. del Fuego, is common in the forest of central Chiloe. But I will enclose for you this one page of my rough journal.—
- f1 722.f1Journal of researches, p. 342, where CD suggests that San Pedro Island, off the southern end of Chiloé, must be close to the northern limit of the ‘southern’ beech.
- f2 722.f2J. D. Hooker 1844–7, p. 213, used this division.
- f3 722.f3Probably Thomas Bridges. James Anderson was the botanical collector aboard the Adventure during Philip Parker King's voyage.
- f4 722.f4The monkey puzzle tree is different from the alerce.
- f5 722.f5In January 1833 the Beagle was battered by a gale off Tierra del Fuego. ‘I find I have suffered an irreparable loss from yesterday's disaster in my drying paper & plants being wetted with salt water’ ‘Beagle’ Diary, p. 128.
- f6 722.f6Journal of researches, chapter 19, especially pp. 474–5.
- f7 722.f7George Bentham, Honorary Secretary of the Horticultural Society.
- f8 722.f8Archibald Menzies, surgeon aboard the Discovery, visited the islands in 1795 and made the first known collection. Hugh Cuming collected there in 1829. CD knew of Galápagos plants at the British Museum through Robert Brown (see letter to J. S. Henslow, 28 March , where CD informs Henslow of their existence). However, Hooker cites only Cuming's plants (D. M. Porter 1980b; 1985).
- f9 722.f9Carmichael 1818. Bound with CD's copy are lists of Tristan da Cunha plants from the 1850s by CD and Hooker. These make the geographical comparisons and remarks on endemism that CD found wanting in Carmichael (Darwin Pamphlet Collection – CUL).
- f10 722.f10In his zoological notes CD reported: ‘at S. Pedro, (SE point of Chiloe) I first noticed the Antarctic Beech of T del Fuego but at a considerable elevation & very stunted in its form.—’ (DAR 31.2: 313). He later noted: ‘These remarks about the Beech, must be taken with caution; for I see one of the species, least common in T del Fuego is common in central forest of Chiloe’ (DAR 31.2: 313 v.).