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Document number: 6143
Date: 09 May 1848
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: MARTIUS Carl Friedrich Philipp von
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 16th February 2012


I have before me Your two favours d. d. April 7. and 28. and it is with great satisfaction, that Your questions on botanical subjects shall be answered to as well as I can. In these turbulent times the Nature with its everlasting laws and regular returns is my only happiness, because, as I had the honour to say in a former letter; I cannot help to entertain very bad prognostics on our future.

Chamaerops Martiana found by Wallich in Nepal is a very good and particular species which possibly may be raised up and kept in the South of Europe out of doors. It ressembles [sic] little the Ch. humilis, which, as Your Excellency very well observes has some varieties under the name of species. Ch. arborescens Hortorum is perhaps one of them, since it is not made out, that this arborescens should be a north american plant, Gray and [Torrey?] knowing nothing about it. Perhaps the climate on Bristol chanel [sic], where Your estate is, may be convenient not only to the Ch. humilis but also to Martiana, and some other [Sabals?] from the Mississippi, if covered in winter. Under the same predicament may be also some mexican Agaves, Yuccas, Dasyliria and congenial plants brought from tierra [fria?] of Mexico.

Unhappily the travellers in this country are not in exact [sic] in the habitat; but in general I observe, that different Agaves & Yuccas brought in seeds under the common name of Agave or Aloe grow out in some different species nothwithstanding their ressembling to each others very much at first. I must therefore beg You, to keep all Your seed-plants for longer time, till it is decided, to what a species they may belong.

We have a good deal of these fine plants, and many of them, signed x in the list here enclosed are at Your service. The greater part can be send [sic] in smal [sic] plants, but Dasylirion in the hight [sic] of 4 feet. If Your Excellency wishes them for Your estate it would be now the most convenient time for sending them over to Francfort [sic] and thence to England. I expect Your command.

Under the name of Sabbadilla comes the fruit and seed of Veratrum Sabadilla and V. officinale, contra [phthiriasin?], it derives not from an Agave or Yucca.

Some Agave are as hardy as americana; the Fourcayas not. They require tepidarium. Our Agaves from seeds are quite all from the province of Oaxaca, Sierra [Tiemplada?].

The hungarian Helleborus lividus and atrovirens keeps well in our garden; also two vars of niger, foetidus, viridis, but orientalis (from Greece) I could never aquire [sic]. This seems the plant of which Horatius says: J [illegible] [insanabile?] caput, and the helleborismus was [illegible] with its root.

You asked yet before on the pink vars of Chamaebuxus. It is a pity, that we have it not in Bavarian; it seems common only in the Val di Non and other valleys of South Tirol; I could never have in the garden where even the common one prosperates not much.

Opuntia [Salmiacea?] in a small plant is at Your Excellencys services, and if You like it, I beg to put it on Your list.

I have now finished the Catalogue of my Bibliotheca Brasil. Americana, and have the honour of sending here enclosed the two continuations of the copies yet communicated. If Your Excellency can procure me a purchaser I shall be very thankful. To depart with such a collection is always penible, nothwithstanding I would be ready to it and even with a great deduction on the sum, which these books cost to me, chiefly the spanish and portugueses. But in doing so I am making sacrifices to a good cause, that of my own work, which under the present state of things, where I have lost half part of the subscribers, must kept on with new fonds [sic]. I beg Your Excellency to take this for granted, that there is nothing else, which could inspire me such an enthusiasme. The Radcliff [sic] library is without doubt one of the convenient purchasers for the old german and spanish editions, but for Humboldts large work, which is the most precious part of the whole, I am quite sure, that it exist [sic] in the library. Well, I am

I excuse myself for the trouble I cause to Your Excellency. On account of my work I think that there shall not be a complete copy at Francfort, and no bookseller shall be in the position of laying it before one of the rich english travellers who come trough [sic] Francf; but in general I think it would be much more convenient to speak on the subject with such persons as keep rich libraries, as the Duc of Norfolk, the Lord Spencer, Northhampton [sic], Duc of Devonshire etc. and whatever Your Excellency would do in this way, I shall acknowledge with the highest gratitude.

One political aspect in Bavaria is good enough. The people relies [sic] on the governement [sic] of the present king, who is much beloved, but in Austria, Bohemia, the things seems [sic] to grew sic worse. I am no politician at all, but I beliefe [sic] that the freedom of Italy, as it is adspired [sic] there, is not at all in british interests; with such a freedom the Italians should be masters of the mediterranean as the Danish of the baltic, and therefore it is reasonable to ask, where to stop the movement? The german revolution is so complex, that nobody may give a certain predicament to it. I preached longtime [sic] against the northamerican [sic] propaganda the same under which England also is suffering, but we were deaf and dump [sic]!

Allow me to subscribe with the highest regards as Your Excellency much affectionate and grateful friend and servt
C Martius

Munich, 9 May 1848

I dare subjoine [sic] a letter to Wallich.

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