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Document number: 05361
Date: Thu 23 Aug 1845
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HOOKER William Jackson
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 18th February 2012

Royal Botanic Gardens.
Thus. [sic] August 23rd 1845.

My dear Sir

My Son, Dr Joseph Dalton Hooker, <1> is a Candidate for the Botl Chair of Edinburgh Univy, vacant by the death of Dr Graham. The presentation is with the Lord Provost & Town Council of Edinburgh, & aware of their inability to judge for themselves, they very wisely require testimonials from the most distinguished Scientific men. On this account I take the liberty of asking you for one. I am not sure if you know Dr Hooker personally. He is not however unknown to the public. I may be allowed to say perhaps that he was educated for a Botanist. As soon as he took his M.D. degree he accompanied Captn Ross, <2> as Govt Botanist, to the Antarctic region; – during that voyage, of 4½ years duration, so great & important were his collections, & such the confidence in his competency that the Lords of the Admiralty obtained a grant from the Treasury & required my Son to publish the “Botany of the Antarctic Voyage” <3> in 5 vols 4to with 3 500 plates. The first volume is completed.

In the Spring he was invited to lecture for Dr Graham in the Univy, Edgh (Dr Graham being too ill himself) – & his lectures gave the greatest satisfaction to the Professors & to the students. No one of name has come forward to oppose him. The only Candidates are Dr Balfour <4> (my successor in the Glasgow Chair) a Dr Sellar of Edgh & a Mr Richie[?] of Aberdeen.

Ever Faithfully Yours,
W. J. Hooker.


1. Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911), botanist, traveller; succeeded his father as director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

2. Sir James Clark Ross (1800–1862), FRS, Polar navigator.

3. Joseph Dalton Hooker, The botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H. M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror, in the years 1839–43 under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross (London: Reeve Bros, 1844–1860).

4. Dr John Hutton Balfour (1808–1884), Scottish botanist.