Feb. 25. 1823
My dear Sir
I have to return you many thanks for your kind letter of the 23d of Decr & for the interesting botanical remarks which it contains. You are probably now engaged in collecting early spring flowers whilst here vegetation seems half destroyed by the snow, which has fallen to a greater degree this winter than has been known for 30 years past. In the country the snow has risen considerably above the houses & the people have literally been dug out. You give such a delightful account of the plants of Nice that I hope you will again visit it before you go into Switzerland. The Thomas, who accompanied me through a very large portion of Switzerland, is Phillipe & I consider him to be an excellent & very honorable fellow, well acquainted with the Botany of the whole country & able to speak the patois of most of the districts. He did reside at Bex, “près des Salines”; but I am not quite sure if he is not removed nearer to Geneva. A letter however directed to Bex will be sure to find him; &, if you give him due notice, I have no doubt but he will meet you wherever you wish. My agreement with him was that he should go where I wished, to point out the rarest plants
fo to me; collect for himself as much as he pleased; whilst I paid the expences of his journey &, at the end of it, gave him 5 Napoleons. He was with me 6 weeks or two months; & laid in a large store of plants for himself, which answered his purpose exceedingly well. You will find the Italian side of the Alps by far the richest in plants & their summits to contain all that the highest summits of the more northern produce. The Mont Cenis itself is full of rarities & there is a mountain between [Suza?] & Nice, whose name I forget, which I have heard is very productive.
Thomas intended visiting
several some islands of the mediterranean. Be so good as to enquire if he has done so & if he has any plants (not Swiss) which he thinks I may wish for. He did, with some good Pyrenean plants, a year or two ago, send me a great many Swiss ones which I had no want of at all, but which I paid him for as if I had.
I am really so ignorant of Italian Botany that I could not say what genera or families require to be most attended to. The Euphorbiæ I am sure you will do well to examine fresh & the orchideous plants. I presume, too, the Grasses are very little known. I wish you could procure me specimens of the Date Palm & the Chamærops humilis; & the Ricinus Africanus.
I shall note down your observations on the localities of plants which will be very useful in my Systema:– but I have much to do & many plants to collect before I can go to press with that work. I must wait too for De Candolle’s Synopsis <1> which will contain much valuable matter for me; & he has promised to send me the sheets as they are printed.
Goldie <2> is returned with many rare and some quite new plants from the interior of Canada; his funds not enabling him to remain longer. I am daily expecting him in Glasgow. Dr Schwaegrichen, <3> the Successor to Hedwig <4> at Leipzig is now with me & we are going through my whole Herbarium of Mosses together, naming the many novelties in that department from Nepaul. Give my best respects to Prof. Raddi <5> if you see him again or write to him;
& believe me to be, my dear Sir, Very faithfully yours
1. Augustin Pyramus (or Pyrame) de Candolle (1778-1841), Swiss botanist, Botanicon gallicum: seu Synopsis plantarum in Flora gallica descriptarum (Paris: Desray, 1828–1830).
3. Christian Friedrich Schwaegrichen (1775–1853), botanist.
5. Joseph (Giuseppe) Raddi (1770–1829), Italian botanist.
6. 31 Sackville Street, London residence of the Feildings, often used as a London base by WHFT.
7. Readdressed in another hand.