From J. D. Hooker [23–7 May 1863]1
I have written on enclosed my notions about Scotts plan which, if you think proper you can send to him.2 I must add one or two lines in explanation
1) as to the plan, it is offered by a private company, & Cinchona is at present a pure untried speculation.3
2) Balfour is rather notorious for making bad appointments,4 & I do not doubt that Anderson is in a fix—5 he is not authorized to offer enough to get a good man from England, & so he goes to Scotland—whence men are to be had cheaper—
3) I do not like Scotts quarrelling with McNab, of whom I never heard complaints as a bad master—6 but I do know from sad experience that nothing is more difficult than to give good men good opportunities for improving themselves in their own way in public establishments.— Of all men in the world Gardeners (especially intelligent ones) are the most troublesome to deal with— give one the smallest advantage, or let it be seen that you think more of him than the others, & the “struggle for life” begins,—give them an inch for their own experiments, & they take an ell, & all sorts of jealousies spring up.
McNab at Edinburgh has to get his fair days work out of his men for fair days wages & lectures & experimenting are terrible excuses for all sorts of very unexpected & inexpedient delinquencies— As to a head propagator being away an hour daily, & that a fixed hour, I do not doubt it is most inexpedient—considering the enormous temptations to pilfer in that department: & that if one attends the lectures why should not all—& all their successors too.7
Then too much depends on the personal tact &c of the experimenter & his chief; experiments kill plants, as well as promote science!: in fact there are 2000 ways in which it interferes grievously with a public establishment except it is conducted under the personal superintendence of the head of the gardens.
Encloses his notions [missing] on John Scott’s offer; some points in explanation.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4134,” accessed on 20 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4134