May 26 1848
My dear Father
I wrote to you just before leaving this intending to catch the mail but as no ultimatum was served here & irregularities are going on I am not sure of it having been on time. Now the intimation is given of this being the last day & I am of course much hurried. Still I know you will be anxious to hear of my getting back, safe, well & with a most glorious collection. Unfortunately I had to leave a great many things & almost all the roots, all the wood &c behind, 5 men out of 15 being ill through the cold & exposure, indeed it was all I could do to bring back my drying plants. The rain fell in torrents the whole time from the height of 5000 ft to the top of the Mt, 10,200. My Hindoo [Hindu] collectors took sick & sulky on leaving &
[] neither collected or dried a single plant root or seed. I took one into my tent but the other was too sulky to come in. I bought 4 sheep for the men but prejudice of caste or a row, kept them from touching it & boiled rice was all they would
touch eat , of clothes they took none but those they wore in the plains. My Christian Servant Clamanze was active & useful, & the Lepchas of whom I have now 4 in pay, & had 6 others as coolies, behaved extremely well. Three took ill but never complained & throughout were active willing & good--natured. Two carried my plants, in bundles weighing 150 & 160 lbs each sodden with water. One took the tent which in the rain weighed upwards of 200 lbs: carried it 14 miles up & down steep, slippery paths &c[.] Poor wretches hardy as they are they cannot stand wet & cold together which is not to be wondered
[] at when I tell you that one cloth is all they wear, they go down to the burning hot valleys below this with no hat & ascend the Mts equally unprotected, sleep under a few leaves at night drenched with rain & eat fern tops, maize rice & whatever else they can get.
The top of Tonglo is rather flat & has a superb Botany, the additional 1000 ft above what I had hitherto searched presenting a total change in the flora. The ground was rather swampy, covered with: Iris, Unciniae 2 Arums, 2 dwarf Panax, Anagallis, Rannunculus, Aconite, Rhubarb, Thalictrum, Convallaria, above them the dwarf Bamboo forming a little jungle, Rosa, Lonicera?, Holboellea, beautiful Vacciniae, Arbutus, Currant, Rubus the creeping & an erect species, Daphne. The trees are all scattered & consist of 4 superb Rhododendrons three of them new to me, one a pale scarlet 50--60 ft high with branches
[] spreading from the base forming a hemispherical head or coma 120 yards round & some of the trees in flame of blossom. Tell Mr Nightingale of this. A second new species has immense heads of pedicullate white flowers & foliage of the most magnificent description beautiful green leaves a foot long half as broad of a fine rusty yellow beneath. A third still new to me has pale lilac red flower & glossy leaves, -- I think I have now 10 species, of all which I will send you tolerable drawings. I fear that the two sp[ecies] of this place (Darjeeling) which I sent to Calcutta *1 must be killed as the heats of the plains this year are beyond what have ever been known. In the rains I will send another large batch, with the few small roots of the new species I procured at Tonglo. In October I go there again, when the weather will be cool & dry & send down
[] a famous lot. If I can only succeed in getting these glorious things to Kew how happy I shall be. Of Coniferae I got a Yew, like, but much less dense in foliage than the English. I carried very small roots down -- of other plants are a scarlet Crategus very beautiful of which, [& of] Rosa & Pyrus (like the apple but a long calyx) I took cuttings in Potato. Also there was Prunus like padus, Pyrus like Aria, (the largest tree there) & Pyrus like aucuparia -- 3 Berberis, one like Cape Horn microphylla, no grasses up yet -- few Ferns some Lichens & mosses but all these Crypt[ogam]s are very inferior to Cape Horn, V[an]. D[iemen's] L[and]. N[ew] Zealand or Auckland I[s]l[an]ds. My plants in drying form a pile 6 feet high, half in the largest sized brown paper, the other half in bibulons 18x21 inches. Such collections I never had. One (new to me) Magnoliaceae I found, Wallich's Kadsura grandiflora, but I got only the fallen flowers, the tree was so lofty & trunk so slippery that no native would attempt it. The purple Magnol[ia]. (quite new) was abundant below the summit, I got leaves new formed & young fruit. I think I told you of a glorious new species from a lower level than any, 5000 to 6000 ft, I found it on Tonglo at the same elevation. The buds equal to a Turkey's egg, but on opening all tumble to pieces, scent delicious, leaves very large like Anacardium, it is quite new (fi[gure]d Wallich's Tentamen *2) as are 34 other Magnoliaceae, including the two purple & two white. Somehow I cannot manage young plants of any of these, & if not must send seeds in autumn. I did not get a single seed on Tonglo, last winter having delayed all, naturally in October I will get plenty. One most lovely orchid ascended 10,000 ft it was very scarce, an epiphyte,
[] of which I have the roots. If you write to Lindley tell him I have a great many subterranean temperatures for him, ahead of radiation from grass & plants at night *3. I was much disappointed at not getting a days march into Nepaul [Nepal], but prudence forbade the attempt & indeed as it was we were drenched the whole time & my collections are all in pulp rather than paper. On the descent I stopped one night at a Lama village, the High Priest receiving a good account of our party, from my head Lepcha, gave up his temple to me for the night, performed his worship that night & the following morning, with cymbals, bells, holy water, incense of junipers, a trumpet made of the thigh bone of a previous Lama, & many other curious ceremonys[sic] including turning the wheel & counting beads. I cuddled in my blanket & took notes of every thing he did, also a sketch of his Reverence in scarlet gown & of the room & all the implements, all by the grey light of 5 & 6 am. He has Pinus webbiana (I think) from the snow with the lilac Rhododendron. He, his house, & 2 attendants on whose boards I had the pleasure of sleeping, were most abominably dirty & really scratching the head was as important a looking part of the ceremony as snapping the fingers, which he largely indulged in. Before going he sent me a present of a large bowl of platted Bamboo full of fermented barley, which my head men ate: the bowl I had to return to my disgust but my head man is getting me one made. Every thing is of Bamboo here, I have three species in flower, from three different elevations, by the leaf they are not to be distinguished. I also am getting for you or have got made of Bamboo -- Baskets; Hat, 2 kinds; Bow, arrow, quiver, Flute & bowl all used by the peoples[.] Yesterday I bought you 2 fine pieces of cloth made & used by these Thibetans, white with stripes colored with Mungeet, (Rubia), blue with wild Indigo & black with a Elaeocarpus I suspect.
[] My men returned from beyond the snow during my absence bringing the collection all rotten, still some very good things amongst them: a few small roots of a Fritillaria will I think live, but it is too late to send them down by this mail also a Primrose different from any Tonglo one. I shall send the men off again or if I cannot get leave to visit the snow myself, which recent affairs in China render very doubtful, I shall not be able to get any information otherwise. I am astonished at the difference of species between this & Nepaul, though so close -- Hodgson & Campbell both formerly Pol[itical[ Resid[ent]s at Cattmandu [Kathmandu), assure me of this as does Wallich's Tantamen, which Falconer kindly sent me; he is most attentive to all my little wants. I had another very kind letter from L[or]d D[alhousie]. assuring me that if there was any possibility of doing so, he would get me to the snow. The worst of it is, that we have, through our most mistaken feeling, lost our hold on, & influence with these border powers, who mistake our lenience for weakness & the exactions of China for power. Elliott the F[oreign]. Sec[retary] is fairly enlisted in my favour, by my excellent friend Colvile, & I hear that Falconer has been working to the same end. I have only one more excursion in view before the rains, to a place 2000 ft below this, on the high road to the plains, where is an excellent Bungalow & first rate Botanizing to be close to the door. I have now several fine Carices for Boott & 2 boxes of Fungi to draw for Berkeley from 8 -- 10,000 ft. My drawings are becoming numerous now. Your letter of April 6[?] is just arrived. I deserve all your displeasure about the Niger Flora, of which, as I promised, the continuation
[] shall go by next mail. I did see very small specimens of Rose of Jericho crossing the Desert. I will do all I can for the museum, it is my first object but the people here are so poor that I have to get every thing made for me. I think I shall please you. Hurrah for your news about the Tussack grasss. I have some very valuable observations for Humboldt but till the rains set in I cannot attend to anything but Botany, then I will send you notes for the Journal. I have a full journal of my Tonglo expedition *4 & remarks on the Rhododendrons, Oaks, Magnolias &c which will please you, with the drawings, just see how the dampness has spoiled my paper. My sketchbook is sodden & the weather was so atrocious that my clerical friends house was all I could get a sketch of & that of the interiors only. Best love to everyone[.] I am quite well & very happy. I will write to my mother next. your most affectionate son Jos D Hooker. [signature]
*5 I wish Delabeche had sent you my letter to him. Don't forget Bentham, Harvey &c. The general features of Him[alayan]. Bot[any]. are in travelling N[orth]. you come upon genus replacing genus & Nat[ural]. ord[er]. replacing Nat[ural]. ord[er]. In travelling E[ast]. or W[est]. (i.e. N[orth]. W[est]. or S[outh]. E[ast]. along the ridge) you find species replacing species -- & this whether of animals or plants.
*6 P.S. I found Balanophora!! on descent from Tonglo about 5000 ft just peeping above ground. Don't forget to send this to Darwin; Down, Bromley, Kent
1. The current name of the city Calcutta is Kolkata
2. Nathaniel Wallich's Tentamen Flora Nepalensis Illustratae (1824-26)
3. The preceding sentence is written along the side of page 6
4. The address of the recipient appears here as the letter would originally have been folded in such a way that it formed its own 'envelope'. The address is as follows: "via Southampton | Sir W. Hooker | Kew | London". Noted as: "received Monday | July 31st"
5. The following text is written along the side of the page, at ninety degrees to the rest of the letter text.
6. The remainder of the text has been written in spaces on page 1.
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