V1s3p1 all

Page 1

SIR "WILLIAM JACKSON HOOKER. (See Frontispiece.) THE Royal Gardens, Kew, were the private property of the Royal Family until 1841, when, on the recommendation of a Parliamentary Committee of which Dr. Lindley was a member, they were handed over to the nation, to soon become the headquarters of botanical science, with Sir William Jackson Hooker as Director. When he was appointed, Kew was an illkept garden of some eleven acres with a few tumble-down houses ; when he died, in 1865, he had transformed it into an Imperial botanical establishment of unrivalled interest and value, possessed of a garden and arboretum of about 250 acres, two magnificent glass structures—the Palm and Temperate Houses,—three richly stocked Museums, and a Herbarium and Library of exceptional extent and richness. He had also applied the resources of the establishment to the development of agriculture and horticulture in our Colonies and in India, and he had enriched botanical science by great and varied contributions to its literature. To accomplish all this in twenty-four years, Sir William must have been possessed of extraordinary powers of organization and management. He was fortunate in securing the sympathy and support of the then Duke of Bedford and of his son, Lord John Russell, who had great influence at that period; he had also a zealous competent botanical cultivator as his lieutenant in Mr. John Smith. Sir William was single in purpose, and straightforward in action, enthusiastic in manner, and at the same time prepared to advance by degrees, qualities which soon won for him the confidence of the Government. " Eminently fitted to shine in society, remarkably good-looking, and of the most pleasing address, frank, cordial, and withal of a very genial disposition, he never dissipated his time and energies in the rounds of fashionable life, but ever avoided the social prominence and worldly distinctions which some sedulously seek. None knew him but to love him, nor named him but to praise. He was one of the most admirable of men, a model christian gentleman." (Asa Gray.) Briefly told, Sir William's career was as follows :—He was born in Norwich in 1785, and had means sufficient to enable him to early indulge his taste for natural history, first as an entomologist, afterwards as a botanist. He published various works on Musci and Hepaticse, illustrating them with skilful drawings from his own pencil. I n 1820 he obtained, through Sir Joseph Banks, the professorship of botany in the University of Glasgow. I n 1827 he took over the editorship of the ' Botanical Magazine,' and drew many of the plates which afterwards appeared in that work. He began the ' Icones Plantarum' in 1829, and in 1830 he published his ' British Flora.' He was knighted in 1836 by William IV., and in 1841 he was appointed Director of Kew. He died in harness in August 1865 at the age of eighty, and was succeeded in the Directorship by his only surviving son, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker. The portrait of Sir William is a copy of a drawing made by Sir Daniel Macnee, the famous Scottish portrait painter, and represents him when about 50 years of age. We are indebted to Sir Joseph Hooker for its use here. B2