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Document number: 31
Date: Mon 1833
Dating: 1833, before 21 Jun (see note)
Watermark: 1833
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HAWORTH Adrian Hardy
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number: Acc 31930
Last updated: 17th June 2011

[The dating of this letter is restricted by the bookends of the 1833 watermark and Haworth's death on 24 August of that year. It is narrowed further by the fact that WHFT left England in mid-June for an extended trip on the Continent with his new wife Constance (confirmed by Doc. No: 02714). It was on this trip that the idea of photography occured to him at Bellagio, on Lake Como, in early October.]

Monday Noon.
Chelsea

My Dear Sir.

Your 2 Mesemba <1> have just arrived. A 4 o Clock the post should have them again. The yellow one is M. glaucum & as nearly as I can say by such a specimen, in such a group, the other is very near quite my M Aroflexum[?] (Nat. Revis. 139)[?]<2> but I would not publish it without further examination. I am highly obliged, & gratified by the bulbs last monday of your Garden, & apologize much for forgetting to sign the book. But I shall be there again in a few days (with more plants for you) & will then sign,<3>

till when believe me very truly yrs
A. H. Haworth.


Notes:

1. The genus of succulent plants, Mesembryanthemum. The very first book by Haworth, a prolific author, was Observations on the Genus Mesembryanthemum, in two parts; Containing Scientific Descriptions of above one hundred and thirty species, about fifty of which are new; Directions for their management; New arrangements of the species; References to authors; and a Great Variety of Critical, Philosophical, and Explanatory Remarks (London: Printed and Sold for the Author, 1794). He added to this in subsequent publictions. Mesembryanthema are native to South Africa, so it might be tempting to think that WHFT had received these from his friend, Sir John Herschel, who was just starting a prolonged stay at the Cape of Good Hope and they had discussed the exchange of botanical specimens (see Doc. No: 02632). However, it was a little too early for specimens to have made their way back on the four-month ocean passage, and in any case WHFT had been interested in Mesembryanthema since at least the age of 17 (see Doc. No: 00777). He had exchanged them over the years with his uncle, William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways.

2. The paper is damaged in this area, making the reading uncertain.

3. Possibly a visitor's book for Lacock Abbey, which has not been traced, or possibly a planned dedication for one of Haworth's own books. A subsequent visit has not been confirmed. WHFT was mostly in London the first half of 1833, so Haworth's mention of WHFT's garden and that he would "be there again" almost certainly further restricts the possible dates of the letter.