Royal Gardens Kew Ja[nuar]y 8/[18]71

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Royal Gardens Kew
Ja[nuar]y 8/[18]71

My dear [Asa] Gray*1

I seize a "Sunday outing" at a country house to send an instalment of a long arrears of correspondence to you, & at the same time wish you & Mrs Gray all the good wishes that appertain to the season, though how they differ from others my too dull imagination never could see.
Very many thanks for the splendid apples which arrived in very good order on the whole, though as Mr Smith says they would have been perfect if packed in Bran first & rolled in thin paper. Smith knows

[[2]] the Northern Spy*2 intimately & says that though your apple had no doubt that parentage, it is wholly changed in size, is vastly improved in colour, & has a good deal of sugary flavour superadded.

It is softer sweeter than apple we have of like flavour as compared contrasted with our Ribstone Pippen*3 & Nonsuch*4 (what I think our best rating apples) it is, as I reputed, so different a fruit that they are not comparable in any way, I did eat half one of yours & half a Ribstone at lunch, & cannot say which I think best you probably have nothing so good as our Ribstone & we nothing so good as your N. Spy. If you have Ribstones & Nonsuches please send me a few of

[[3]] each next year -- Do you care that I should return the compliment?

I have pretty well settled the Psychotria*5, the "bêtes noires" of Rubiaceae*6 but most unsatisfactorily there are no characteristics for Cephaelis*7, Nonateleiae[?], Rudgea*8 & Palicourea*9 & a very shady one for Chasalia*10 ( the lunate seeds.) Grumilea I of course put into Psychotria the others I keep with a "genres de convenance" [.] I now go on to the Borreroids, & expect to find myself clashing with Hedyotoids*11 .
Bentham*12 is streering through Compositae with his usual skill & moderation, but here & there striking out, right & left, he is now in the agonies of Gnaphalia you know what that means! -- My wife has

[[4]] finished translating one D[ecais]ne & Maout & I revising & abbreviating the introduction to Botany, which strikes me as a very poor affair indeed I cannot fancy that D[ecais]ne had any hand in it -- it appears to me to want all the elements of a good class book. I like neither its matter or manner -- I shall be most curious to hear your opinion of it -- & of my treatment of it as translator; for I found it would have never do to let it go forth "done into English" & have had not only to abbreviate but to paraphrase occasionally the sentences. The tautology, repetition & verbiage of it are to my mind horrid. The substance of the book, which is I suppose wholly Decaisne's is a wholly different affair. Now that we are ready for

[[5]] press the clichés turn out to be in pairs, & I may hope that they might be burnt for fuel! Oliver goes on as usual -- Baker is take up with Monocots -- which I hope he will do well -- but he does not go to the bottom of things as you truly say -- nor avail himself of his opportunities of consulting other people on points they have made a study of. His mere getting of things together will however be most useful – Thomson*13 still holds aloof of all intercourse direct or indirect about "Flora Indica" --it is most strange -- he has never answered my letter written 2 months ago; & I have addressed yet another begging him to take the matter into consideration -- he has kept the last proofs 7 months! & the

[[6]] publisher insists that the work be gone on with or the sheets printed off (120 pages) paid for. I have told T[homson]. that I feel compelled to abandon our partnership -- & offer to pay half the cost. He & Anderson began printing the volume against my urgent remonstrances, -- before I had revised Annonaceae*14 , & there it has stuck -- it took him 7 years to revise so far from old Flora Indica! -- I begged A[nderson]. not to print till the mss of vol I. was out of hand. As it is the form & manner style T[homson]. has adopted will extend the work to 12 vols -- a work utterly unsaleable & useless to Indians, who are always on the move. If T[homson] will only give up, I shall follow Bentham[']s advice with taking up the Editorship of & try to organise a work more on

[[7]] the scale of my students Flora, as your manuals, getting various authors to contribute their ideas & paying as liberally as I can induce the Indian Govt. to pay-- & they offer to do anything in reason. *15P.S. Thomson has given up & I am making arrangements.
My mother has been very ill at Torquay with fever, I went down there a fortnight ago & found her convalescent, but still confined to bed, & she has progressed steadily since. She caught two chills, through carelessness.
A thousand thanks for the Cytinus*16 & Apodanthes*17 which I shall take the best care of[.] Also for your paper on Galax*18 I quite hope that I shall approve of the order. I suppose you will admit that the analogy with Diplandra is strong.
Thanks for your attention to Rubiaceae which I have not yet seen.

[[8]] So I am to put off California*19 for more grey hairs! Well, here is Sir H. Holland aetat 80 (+ I forget what) just returned from a ride up the Blue Mountains in Jamaica!!! Poor Murchison's*20 state is very sad, hemiplegia, & functions kept going with medicines & artificial applications -- he is a fine old fellow, says he has had his "outing" of life, is ready to go & wishes to go; he leaves absolutely no successor -- of equal merit goodness generosity and acquirements -- his bon--hommie was perfect, his failings transparent & what hurt no body -- they say that Sir H. Rawlinson*21 will succeed him at the Geographical [Society], -- not the popular choice, but he has long been on his way to it, & in the way of every other competitor, they cannot afford to quarrel with him.*22

1. Asa Gray (1810-- 888) considered most important 19th century US botanist.
2. The Northern Spy apple (Malus 'Northern Spy'), aka "Northern Spie" or "Northern Pie Apple"- variety of apple native to the Northern East Coast of the United States and parts of Michigan and Ontario.
3. 'Ribston Pippin'. Triploid cultivar apple, aka 'Essex Pippin', 'Beautiful Pippin', 'Formosa', 'Glory of York', 'Ribstone', 'Rockhill's Russet' and 'Travers'. Grown in 1708 from one of three apple pips sent from Normandy to Sir Henry Goodricke of Ribston Hall at Knaresborough, Yorkshire; the original trunk did not die until 1835. It then sent up a new shoot and, on the same root, lived until 1928. The 'Ribston Pippin' is one of the possible parents of 'Cox's Orange Pippin'.
4. Nonsuch  or Nonesuch. Apple held in high regard and at least 350 years old, first mentioned in 1668 and last noted by Bunyard in 1920. Although trees might still exist across the land, no sightings of it have been made in Britain or elsewhere since.
5. Psychotria. One of the largest genera of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family.
6. Rubiaceae. A family of flowering plants, commonly known as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. Consists of terrestrial trees, shrubs, lianas, or herbsEconomic importance includes Coffea, the source of coffee, Cinchona, the source of quinine used to treat malaria, some dye plants (e.g. Rubia), and ornamental cultivars (e.g. Gardenia, Ixora, Pentas).
7. Cephaelis . A South American plant genus of the family Rubiaceae
8. Rudgea is a plant genus in the family Rubiacea.
9. Palicourea is a plant genus in the family Rubiaceae.
10. Chasalia is a plant genus in the family Rubiaceae.
11. Hedyotis is a plant genus in the family Rubiaceae. Many species of this genus such as Hedyotis biflora, H. corymbosa and H. diffusa are well known medicinal plants.
12. George Bentham. Important 19th Century amateur botanist, who worked at Kew for many years, The Handbook of the British flora, begun by Bentham and completed by Hooker, was the standard text for a hundred years. It was always known as 'Bentham & Hooker'.
13. Thomas Thomson (1817--1878). Scottish surgeon before becoming a botanist. A friend of Joseph Dalton Hooker and helped write the first volume of Flora Indica. The son of Thomas Thomson.
14. Annonaceae, the custard apple family, is a family of flowering plants consisting of trees, shrubs, or rarely lianas.
15. Post Script text is written vertically up the right hand side of page 6, indicated insertion where now placed.
16. Cytinus is a genus of parasitic flowering plants. Species in this genus do not produce chlorophyll, but rely fully on the host plant. Cytinus usually parasitizes Cistus and Halimium, two genera of plants in the Cistaceae family.
17. Apodanthes. A genera of the Rafflesiaceae family.
18. Galax (Wandplant, Wandflower, or Beetleweed) -- a genus in the flowering plant family Diapensiaceae, containing a single species, Galax urceolata.
19. His last major botanical expedition, was to be to the Rocky Mountains and California (1877).
20. Sir Roderick Murchison (1792 --1871). President of Geographical Society.
21. Sir Henrz Creswicke Rawlinson, 1st Baronet GCB (1810--1895) President of Geographical Society.
22. Letter appears incomplete. It bears no signature but is written in the hand of Joseph Dalton Hooker.

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