[Darwin's closest friend: Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, botanist and explorer, Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.] Two Autograph Letters Signed to Thomas Lister, regarding seeds and an account of 'negro' handling of poisons.

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911), botanist and explorer, Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and Charles Darwin's closest friend [Thomas Villiers (1832-1902) of the Foreign Office]
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Publication details: 
ONE: 6 June 1877. TWO: 14 November 1878. Both with embossed letterhead of the Royal Gardens, Kew.
SKU: 25623

See his entry in the Oxford DNB. The recipient was the son of the novelist Thomas Henry Lister (1800-1842) and his wife, born Lady Maria Theresa Villiers (1803-1865), and later Lady Theresa Lewis, wife of the Liberal politician Sir George Cornewall Lewis (1806-1863). Thomas Lister became an assistant under-secretary for foreign affairs in 1873 and was made a KCMG in 1885. The two items are in good condition, lightly aged and folded for postage. Both addressed to ‘Dear Mr Lister’ and signed ‘Jos. D. Hooker’. Written in an oddly difficult hand. ONE (6 June 1877): 2pp, 16mo. He thanks him for ‘the seeds, of which I hope to eat as before’. He has ‘put up & sent a basket of bulbs, which will I hope help to decorate your [?]’. Ends ‘When next I get a [?] of [Cape Gladwick?] & [?] I will put aside a part for you’. TWO (14 November 1878): 3pp, 12mo. ‘At last your bulbs go’. He is sorry for the delay, which is ‘from no want of will, but of means - The Curator having been very ill - & we, keeping no stock of these things, must [?] up for the beds wherever they may chance to have been planted & have increased themselves’. He is returning ‘Major Stewarts report (which has not left my drawers [?] here) it is much interesting & ably drawn up. I agree with you that the account of the Negroes skill in timing death by poisons & in resuscitating from apparent death, & in idiotizing for life by [?] is quite apocryphal’. The final third of the letter (‘potency’, ‘the pure negro’) is hard to decipher. Ends: ‘I will call at the F[oreign]. O[ffice]. when next in town’.