Oct: 28th 1816.
Notwithstanding the great authority of Hedwig, <1> Dear Sir, I still fancy that Dicranum rigidulum will not prove a good species: – and as to Gymnost: obtusum, I have it twice under Hooker’s <2> hand, & once under that of Turner, <3> that it is only G: Heimii. Gymn: truncalutum[?] & intermedium are one & the same – it being very subject to variation in the sporangium. You must not put the slightest confidence in Smith. <4> Eng: Boty paid well, & this is all he appears to have cared for. Hooker, after much trouble, has procured for me a work by Weber & Mohr <5> – which has confirmed so many conjectures of my own, that I will not incur the suspicion of vanity by enumerating them. We must wait with all the patience we can muster for the joint work of Dr Taylor & Hooker, <6> wh will, one may speak confidently, be the best muscology in existence, as far as it goes. I am abt to send him a little moss, which has always appeard to me the
Dicr: Fissidens sub-basileris[?] of Hedwig – differing from his figure only in the inclination of the capsule. His is represented & described as erect: – so is mine in a young state. If you have not Hedwig’s Speces Muscor: <7> I cannot refer you to a figure. What tends greatly to confirm me in my opinion is his fig. of Fiss: taxifolius which is very bad – the capsule being different, toto cælo[?] from the real plant. This blunder leads me to suspect another, & that he has never seen my plant when young: – after the separation of the operculum, the capsule droops – but, I suspect, not ’till that time.
I never gathered [Antinm?] orontium. Specimens were sent to me out of Sussex. Weber & Mohr confirm my suspicions of Cyathea regia[?] & fragilis being one & the same. The Botanical season is now drawing towards a conclusion. Fortunately Mosses are always to be had in all weathers – & are never too old for investigation.
This country is, of all others I ever witnessed, the most unfavorable to our pursuit. I have resided in it 3 years, & have, in my rambles, seen nothing worth notice. Such as it is, I shall be glad to shew it to you, whenever you can favor me with yr company. My Duplicates may be of some use, & you shall use them as you like.
Dear Sir, very truly yours
W. H F. Talbot Esqre
1. Johann Hedwig (1730–1799), German botanist.
2. Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785–1865), Prof & botanist.
3. Dawson Turner (1775–1858), botanist, author & banker.
4. Sir James Edward Smith, Introduction to Physiological & Systematic Botany (London: Longman, Hurst, Reese, Orme, and White, 1807).
5. Friedrich Weber and Daniel Matthias Heinrich Mohr (1780–1808), Index musci plantarum cryptogamarum (Kiel: 1803).
6. Thomas Taylor (d. 1848), MD, and William Jackson Hooker, Muscologia Britannica: containing the mosses of Great Britain and Ireland… (London: Longman, Hurst etc, 1818).
7. Johann Hedwig, Species Muscorum Frondosorum descriptæ et tabulis … coloratis illustratæ. Opus posthumum (Weinheim, H.R. Engelmann, 1801)