Richard Relhan (1754-1823), Irish botanist and classical scholar [ King's College, Cambridge ]
Cambridge. 25 August 1802.
1p., 4to. In fair condition, aged and worn. Overcome by grief, Relham, a man of the cloth, urges the recipient to tell a lie. The letter reads: 'Dear Sir. | The melancholy event at Pillaw [ i.e. Pillau in East Prussia ] totally overpowered me yesterday: and the only thing to be done is to soften it as much as possible to my poor Wife; who being always averse to the scheme of sending her son to sea will, I am certain, be unable to bear this terrible accident, unless you will have the goodness as soon as you receive this, to write me a few lines to say he died of a fever at Pillaw.
William Carruthers (1830-1922), Scottish botanist, Keeper of the Botanical Department at the Natural History Museum, London
British Museum [ London ]. 5 July 1870.
1p., 12mo. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper. He will have 'much pleasure in breaking our stones o'er again on Thursday', and will 'try & bring some sections with me - several specimens are in the lapidary's hands'. He ends by asking for confirmation of the hour at which he should call on him.
Henry Guillemard [ Francis Henry Hill Guillemard ] (1852-1933), English botanist and traveller
On letterhead of the Old Mill House, Cambridge. 11 August 1933.
4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged and worn. He begins by stating that he has of late found the act of writing almost impossible, but that when he goes into his garden, 'there are various things determined that you should not be forgotten; above all those beautiful white Turks' Cap lilies'. He has not been able to enter his garden, and now realises 'that old Charon is in the offing with that low, flat boat of his, ready to convey me, not entirely unwilling, to the other side.
Sir Dietrich Brandis (1824-1907), German-British botanist [ Sir Henry Trueman Wood (1845-1929), Secretary, Royal Society of Arts; Sir William Schlich (1840-1925), forester ]
All from Capel House, Kew. Three from 1901 and the other undated.
The four letters total 6pp., 12mo. They are in good condition, lightly-aged. The three 1901 letters carry the Royal Society of Art stamp with note by recipient. The undated letter has neither stamp nor annotation. Two of the letters relate to a lecture by 'Mr H. Stone of Kew', whose lecture Brandis is chairing, and which Schlich wishes to attend. Regarding the lecturer Brandis writes: 'Mr H. Stone of Kew I know well, and I have strongly urged him to undertake the important work on which he is at present engaged.'
Guillaume Boichot (1735-1814), French sculptor [ Christian de Launoy and Joseph PItton de Tornefort, botanists ]
'Autun Ce 22 pluviose A. 7'. [ 10 February 1799 ]
1p., 4to. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper. Written in a small hand over 22 lines. He begins by stating that he is writing on behalf of 'lécole Centrale du departement de Saone et Loire séant a Autun', 'particulierement le professeur d'histoire naturelle et moi professeur de dessein en la même école'. The recipient will render them a great service if he will send 'toutes les graines qui sont denommée sur une premiere liste que jai remis'. The rest of the letter asks the recipient, with the help of 'le Ci. l'aunoy' [i.e.
Robert Bentley (1821-1893), English botanist, Professor of Botany at King's College London
King's College, London. 4 February 1873.
1p., 8vo. In fair condition, on aged grey paper, laid down on paper mount, and slighty discoloured by glue used. He apologises for being unable to provide him with the desired order, 'but on any particular day you may require one I shall be glad to assist you as far as I can'. He suggests that they speak 'after lecture'. In a contemporary hand, written at foot of mount: 'Professor Robert Bentley F.L.S. (Professor of Botany) Author | born 1821.'
Pierre André Pourret [L'Abbé Pourret] (1754-1818), French abbot and botanist
Brienne. 14 June 1785.
3pp., 8vo. A long letter in a close hand. Bifolium, with each of the two leaves folded in half vertically to make two columns, with Pourret writing in the right-hand column, and the archbishop giving his responses in the other. In fair condition, lightly aged and ruckled. Docketed on reverse of second leaf 'Mgr. L'arcev. 14. 18. juin. 1785.' The letter begins: 'M. L'abbé jaubert vient de m'addresser une lettre pour votre grandeur que je m'empresse de vous faire parvenir.
Dr Jean Granier (1743-1819) of Nimes [Pierre André Pourret [L'Abbé Pourret] (1754-1818), French abbot and botanist]
Nîmes [France]. 19 May 1792.
2pp., 4to. 36 closely-written lines of text. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged and worn. Addressed, with 'NISMES' postmark, on reverse of second leaf, to 'Monsieur L'abbé Pourret | membre de plusieurs academies | à Narbonne'. The letter begins: 'il est bien tems me direz vous mon cher collegue que je vous donne de mes nouvelles, et surtout des plantes que que j'ai reçues de votre part'. He proceeds to give a detailed report, naming several specimens.
Rev. Dr Theophilus Houlbrooke, FRS (1745-1824) of Shrewsbury and Barnes, Surrey, botanist
'Green Bank' [Greenbank, Liverpool], 22 February 1815.
1p., 12mo. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper, with slight damage to one corner. The letter reads: 'Gentlemen | As I must not now consider myself an Inhabitant of Liverpool, I request your permission to resign the Office of Vice President and to withdraw myself from the Committee of the Liverpool Botanic Garden and hope a more efficient Member will be elected to fill my place in each of these Departments. I am With great respect for you and every good wish for the prosperity of the Institution | Your Obliged Servant | Theophilus Houlbrooke'.
[Early nineteenth-century botanical manuscript; Virgil; Publius Vergilius Maro; Regency natural history; Georgian botany; Linnaeus; G. W. Milne Redhead]
No place or date. On Whatman paper with watermarked date 1822.
4pp., 4to. On four loose leaves. Good, on lightly-aged paper, with the slightest ruckling to the first leaf. Neatly and closely written out. A scholar's working copy, with deletions, emendations, and notes in the margin. As an example, the first page carries 39 entries in ink, with an additional entry in pencil. The third entry reads: 'Acanthus G. IV. 123 [with '3E 45.' added in pencil] Acanthus mollis, Smooth Brank-Ursine'.
Sir Fitzroy Maclean (1911-1996), Scottish soldier and author best-known for 'Eastern Approaches' [R. E. B. Sawyer of the London booksellers Charles J. Sawyer & Co]
On letterhead of Strachur House, Argyll [Scotland]. 25 April 1978.
1p., 12mo. On light-blue paper. In good condition, on lightly aged and creased paper. He thanks Sawyer for his letter and enclosure, found on his return and read 'with the greatest interest'. 'It was extremely kind of you to come and look at my botanical drawings and I am most grateful for the information you have been able to give me. It was marvellous to be able to have the opinion of a real expert.'
Henry Borron Fielding (1805-1851), botanist [Fielding Herbarium, University of Oxford; London Royal Botanical Society; Earl of Burlington; Earl Stanhope; Sir Richard Owen; James De Carl Sowerby]
Bolton Lodge, Lancaster. 6 January 1842.
2pp., 12mo. 29 lines. Good, on lightly-aged paper, with minor traces of previous mounting, and the annotation '13/19' in a contemporary hand. A significant letter relating to an important collection. Fielding bequeathed his herbarium and botanical library to the University of Oxford where, as the Oxford DNB explains, they formed for many years 'one of the key resources for the study of botany'.
Jean Ingelow ['Orris'] (1820-1897), poet and writer [Hannah Oliver (1833-1919), wife of Daniel Oliver (1830-1916), Professor of Botany, University College, London]
On letterhead of 8 Holland Villas Road, Kensington, W.; 'Thursday' [no date].
4pp., 12mo. Good, on lightly-aged paper. Ingelow begins by asking Mrs Oliver to thank 'the Professor' for her. 'I am much interested in his singular reproduction of the curious relics of ornament'. She would like to lunch with the Olivers, but 'We have some cousins coming to stay with us next Monday till the end of the week & I do not see how it can be done as they will like me to go about, with them to the exhibitions &c They live not many miles from Kew [where Professor Oliver was Keeper of the Herbarium and Library] & it would not interest them to go there again'.
John Howard Payne (1791-1852), American actor and playwright, best-known for his song 'Home, Sweet Home'
Place and date not stated.
2 pp, 4to. Text clear and complete. Fair, on lightly-aged paper, with slight wear to extremities. On one leaf, with both sides ruled with red borders. In Payne's neat and distinctive hand, and attributed to him in pencil at head.
D. C. Lowber [originally of New Orleans], Liverpool Merchant [American Blackberries, Kittatinny Variety; botanical ephemera]
[Circa 1875.] D. C. Lowber, 35, Chapel Walks, Liverpool.
12mo, 4 pp. Bifolium. Good, on lightly-aged paper. Attractive engraving of a blackberry cutting. The second page is headed 'THE AMERICAN BLACKBERRY', and begins 'There is scarcely a more wholesome fruit than this, and one that has been more improved by judicious cultivation on the American side of the water.' The text, which continues to the last page and is signed in type by Lowber, contains two quotations from 'Rev. E. P. Roe, one of the most celebrated small fruit culturists on the banks of the Hudson'. In manuscript at foot of third page: '15/- per doz.
John Aikin (1747-1822), English physician and writer, son of John Aikin (1730-1780), Scottish theologian, and brother of Anna Letitia Barbauld (1743-1825) [Richard Pulteney (1730-1801), botanist]
19 January 1776; Warrington.
8vo, 2 pp. Bifolium. Thirty-five lines. Text clear and complete. Good, on lightly-aged paper. Second leaf addressed, with postmarks, to 'Dr. Pultenely | Blandford | Dorset', and docketed by Pulteney. Signed 'John Aikin'. He thanks him for 'the offer of assistance'. He only has 'one of the three books you mentioned, & should be very glad of the perusal of Anthony's apology, & Jones on Buxton baths'. The books willl be 'carefully returned, with my best acknowledgments to the gentleman who favours me with the loand of them'.
John Amory Lowell (1798-1881), American businessman and philanthropist [Edward Rainford, London bookseller]
19 June 1843; Boston.
4to, 1 p. Twenty-one lines of text. Clear and complete. On aged, stained and worn paper, with a couple of small spike holes. Revealing, in the attention to detail which it exhibits. He begins by reporting that 'the Rosabella arrived safe & the books appear to be correct with the following exceptions'. Two paragraphs follow, carefully describing duplicate plates and other faults in the books received (including "Genus Plantarum"). The replacements may be sent 'through Wilmer & Smith, booksellers, Liverpool - or by Harden's express - or through Messrs. John D.
A. E. Foote, editor (natural history bookseller of Philadelphia [geological reports]
October 1884, July 1887 and March 1888. 1223 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa.
Each catalogue 8vo, 32 pp. Stapled and unbound. The text of all three items clear and complete. On aged and spotted paper. Each issue carries an editorial introduction, with that of October 1884 (no. 85) eight pages long, and boasting that it is 'the most complete catalogue of American Official Geological Reports ever published. The previous lists of Prime and Marsh have been consulted, but very many have been added during the period covered by Prime'.
Domingo Antonio de Souza-Coutinho, Conde de Funchal (fl 1803-1833), Portuguese diplomat, Ambassador to England, and botanist [Ambroise Falconet? Jacques Récamier?]
1 March 1816; Florence, Italy. Carrying postmarks and seal in red wax with impression of family crest.
8vo, 2 pp. Twenty-two lines of text. Bifolium. Address, postmark and seal on reverse of otherwise-blank second leaf of bifolium. On aged and lightly creased paper, chipped and foxed. Text clear and entire. Acting on Falconet's advice, the Count has sent 'une Procure en regle à Mr Recamier [husband of the celebrated Madame Récamier?] à fin qu'il puisse retirer l'argenterie des mains de Mr Delamarre à l'expiration des trois mois'. He is grateful for Falconet's assistance in terminating 'cette facheuse affaire'.
Charles Baron Clarke (1832-1906), British botanist [William Ewart Gladstone]
London: Macmillan and Co. 1881.
Octavo: twenty pages. Unbound and stitched. Good, but with outer leaves a little grubby and creased. The word 'rack-rent' on page six has been underlined and three exclamation marks placed beside it in ink. As well as important botanical works, Clarke numbered political economy and education among his interests.
The first, 24 May 1951, on letterhead 'THE OLD COTTAGE, | POOTINGS, | NR. EDENBRIDGE, | KENT.'; the second, 3 January 1952, on letterhead '149, HARLEY STREET, W.1. | (MARYLEBONE ROAD END)'.
English physician specialising in tropical medicine (1881-1966). Both 1 page, 16mo. Both dusty but in good condition. The first on blue paper the second on light green. In the first letter he says he is 'glad to be able to report that my paper has been written & is now being typed out. It has taken me many hours to do so in order to make it interesting & attractive to the non-medical reader. Whether I have succeeded in doing so I must leave to you to decide.' He says the paper 'should be in your hands by Monday next.
The letters, 21 and 31 May and 29 July 1883, all from Isleworth; the card, 20 [month?] 1890, stamped '18, WEST SQUARE | SOUTHWARK, S.E.'
Botanist and Roman Catholic propagandist (1846-1924). All but the second letter, which is addressed 'Gentlemen', are addressed 'Dear Sirs'. The letters are all 12mo, and embossed at the head of the first leaf 'NOX VENIT QUANDO NEMO POTEST OPERARI'. In letter 1 (1 page) he asks that his 'Collecting book of Flowering Plants' be sent to him: he will mention it in his 'Journal of Botany' for June.
5 December ; on letterhead Claremont House, Wimbledon Common.
Botanist and mountaineer (1865-1944). 1 page, 16mo. Grubby and discoloured, with crease in top right-hand corner, and remains of stub adhering to otherwise-blank reverse. The recipient, Sir W. T. Thiselton-Dyer (1843-1928; DNB), was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, 1885-1905, and the letter is stamped 'ROYAL GARDENS | KEW | 6 - DEC. 1904'. Letter reads: 'The Dinner is now definitely fixed for 7.30 at the Monico. It is with very great pleasure that we look forward to welcoming you.' Signed 'J. B. Farmer'.
Prime Minister 1846-1852 and 1865-1866 (1792-1878). Two pages, 8vo, good condition. He "requests the President of the Royal Society to obtain the opinion of some of the members of the Society conversant with the Science of Botany, whether it may be advisable, with a View to extend the knowledge of Botany, that a Charter of Incorporation should be granted to the Royal Botanical Society (Regents Park.