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Document number: 745
Date: 09 Feb 1817
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TREVELYAN Walter Calverley
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA17-7
Last updated: 21st February 2012

Many thanks, my dear Talbot,

for your letter of the 29th - I have not Linnĉus' Flora Lapponica but intend getting it. - I bought a short time since at a sale here, Rousseau's Letters on Botany, <1> in French, Qto with 65 very good coloured plates for four Pounds, which I beleive [sic] is about half its what it generally is sold for. - I do not know except by name Brown's Prodromy; <2> Do you know Pursh's <3> Flora Americĉ Septentrionalis? & what do you think of it? -

I hope you will considerably increase the very [illegible deletion] meagre list of Rutlandshire plants, in the Botanist guide. - We have had some very fine weather lately, nearly as fine as any we had during the summer. - The black looking Lichen I sent you was L. Pustulatus, - it is not in fructification, and if I remember right according to Sowerby it has not yet been found so in this country. - I found near Wallington a place where several hundred specimens were growing, but did not see any in fruct: I hope you may be more lucky when you come there

The following extract is from De Luc's Geological travels. <4> 3d Vol. P. 131. -

- "in our way back, passing again by Bother Rock, Mr Hill led me to a part of the foot of that Tor, where there are hollows like small caverns; and in these he shewed me a vegetable phenomenon, which I had never seen but on the granitic mountains separating the country of Bayreuth from Bohemia. The innermost part of these cavities is lined with a very pretty moss, which reflects the light in the same manner as the eyes of a cat. - So little light reaches these remote recesses, that, on looking in from without, they appear quite dark; but, when viewed from a particular point, the part of the rock which is covered with this moss is suddenly seen to shine with a fine emerald green." -

When I was in the same county, Cornwall, I passed by the road side, near Penryn, a small cavern, in which I saw the same appearance; and described then, as, a small moss, which in some particular lights, had a most beautiful Phosphorescent appearance. It was in a soft sand stone, the shape of the fronds (if I remember right) was that of a minute Dicranum taxifolium. - no fructification. - I should say now it was of an emerald green with a phosphorescent brilliancy. -

I suppose you have heard of Sir H. Davy's <5> late extraordinary discovery and improvement in the safety lamps <6> - A piece of Platinum wire heated below redness, & held over Ĉther will in few seconds become of white heat. -

I fear being too late for the post, thus I<7> must conclude with good wishes

& am ever yours sincerely
W. C. Trevelyan

W. H. F. Talbot Esqre
Rev Mr Bonneys


1. Probably Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Lettres élémentaires sur la botanique... (Paris: 1789).

2. Robert Brown (1773-1858), botanist, Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae ci Insulae Van Diemen (London: 1810). This work furthered the general adoption of A. L. de Jussieu's, natural system of plant classification. [See Doc. No: 00754].

3. Frederick Pursh (1774-1829), German botanist.

4. A work by Jean Andre De Luc (1727-1817).

5. Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829), chemist.

6. Miner's safety lamp.

7. Text torn away under seal.

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