Novr 25th 1823
My dear Sir
I am afraid you will think me ungrateful that I have not acknowledged to you the receipt of your two kind & welcome letters <1> from Italy, & of the parcel of plants, which contained several things that I was particularly glad to see. The fact was that very numerous occupations, much illness in my family, 2 journeys to England, & others to the Highlands of Scotland, so completely occupied my time that when I had the opportunity to write I knew not where to direct to you, with the probability of the letter’s finding you; as you seemed to have no fixed residence on the continent. Be assured that I feel very sensibly your kindness in thinking of me as you did, during your travels: & you have given me much information relative to plants which you met with in a fresh state, that I shall profit of in my publications.
I returned from London only 3 weeks ago; but most certainly without any idea of your being there, or I should have been delighted to have seen you. I have written to Tenori <2>. If you are in correspondence with Moretti <3> I wish you could procure me a copy of his Flora Italica, which I long much to see. Any plants, too, that you can send me from that country will be more acceptable than ever. My “System of Plants” <4> is going to press almost immediately & the more specimens I have to examine, myself, from all countries, the more perfect my work will be. Your hints respecting the colours of flowers I shall not forget & shall notice them under every species when they form a distinguishing mark; but there is a rule against their being employed in the specific character.
Can you give me M. Gay’s <5> exact address in Paris? Could I, through him, do you suppose, subscribe to Professor Salzmann’s Fasciculi of Tangiers Plants?
I am still delaying the publication of the 2d edition of my Muscologia Britannica: <6> but this will be all for its advantage. There are no less than 5 new species added to it during this last summer in Scotland. Pray let me know if you are still partial to the Mosses & would like to complete your collection. I shall have great pleasure in sending you any species.
I am, my dear Sir, Very truly & faithfully Yours,
W. J. Hooker.
W. H. Talbot Esqre
31. Sackville street
1. Letters not located.
2. Michel Tenore (1780–1861), Italian botanist & traveller.
3. Giuseppe Moretti (1782–1853), botanist; his ‘Flora Italica’ is evidently Il botanico italiano… (Pavia: Stamperia Fusi, 1826).
4. Possibly Exotic flora: containing figures and descriptions of new, rare or otherwise interesting exotic plants, especially of such as are deserving of being cultivated in our gardens: together with remarks upon their generic and specific characters, natural orders, history, culture, time of flowering (Edinburgh, London: printed for W. Blackwood and T. Cadell, 1823).
5. Jacques Étienne Gay (1768–1864), French botanist.
6. William Jackson Hooker and Thomas Taylor, Muscologia Britannica: containing the mosses of Great Britain and Ireland… (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green, 2nd edition 1827). The first edition was published 1818.