From John Scott 22 May 1863
Botanic Gardens [Edinburgh]
May 22d. 1863.
Prof. Balfour has just offered me a situation in India;1 regarding which I would very much like to have your advice. Before stating particulars in regard to this, however, I will now,—from the kind interest you have expressed in my behalf—state that I have not at all a pleasant situation under Mr. Mc.Nab here.2 I formerly used to regard him, as, indeed, a friend, now however, I plainly see that he is doing as much as he rightly can to place obstacles in the way to my advancement. In illustration of this I may state the following. He ought to have allowed me to attend the Botanical Classes this season which he has not. Now; the time it is in, is only an hour daily, and there is not a single thing, in regard to my duties, which he could mention, to prevent my attendance.3 There is this, however, he knows that I am interested in the place; engaged in numerous experiments which will induce me to submit to him, otherwise, I feel assured he would not have treated me thus, simply because I am of service to him, and might put him to a little inconvenience by leaving him. This and other little acts which I could mention if it were worth while, plainly show me his feelings towards me. I would much rather that I had not to mention these; but the kind interest you have manifested towards me has induced me to state a few particulars regarding my present situation. And I sincerely trust you will excuse me for so doing.
In respect to the Indian situation Prof. Balfour has given me the following information. Dr Anderson of Calcutta has written him that a few of his friends are desirous to get an intelligent young man to take charge of a Chinchona nursery, which they intend forming at Darjiling.4 They purpose giving £.100 the first year and £.120 for the three subsequent years—as they wish to have an engagement of 4 years. On finding that, if I accepted it, I should have to leave here in latter end of August or beginning of September, I told Prof. Balfour that being engaged with a variety of very interesting experiments, I really could not think of entering into any such engagement this season: being anxious to get results.5 He, however, remarked that I should think a little more over it before giving up what he thinks is a nice opening: he also said—for I suppose he understands that a number of my experiments have been proposed by you6—that I might be of greater service to you in that respect in the above place, and advised me to write you and mention the offer he had made.
I will therefore be greatly obliged if you will kindly favour me with your advice, for I do not know well what to do. In respect to the place itself, I really think it offers no great encouragement, the engagement is certainly long for the remuneration offered, more especially upon such an important product.7 All things considered, I have certainly a strong inclination to give it up, even though by so doing, I should give a little offence to the Professor. Might I in the event of so doing take advantage of your kind offer in last letter,8 and ask you if you could in anyway aid me in getting some foreign or colonial appointment. I should certainly regard it as a great favour
In the meantime | I remain | Sir | Yours very respectfully | J. Scott
J. H. Balfour has arranged a position for him at a Cinchona nursery. Reluctant to take this position in part because of his experiments for CD.
Asks CD’s advice and solicits his aid in finding a better colonial position. James McNab mistreats him.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4177,” accessed on 27 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4177