Edmund Davall to James Edward Smith [unfinished/unsent]

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Ref No GB-110/JES/COR/14/73
Title Edmund Davall to James Edward Smith [unfinished/unsent]
Letter date c.27 Jan 1795
Author(s) Edmund Davall 1763-1798
Number of Pages 12

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GB-110/JES/COR/14/73 from Edmund Davall to James Edward Smith [unfinished/unsent] (27 January 1795)

Metadata for GB-110/JES/COR/14/73 from Edmund Davall to James Edward Smith [unfinished/unsent] (27 January 1795) Close

Item data

Item Type: Document
From: Davall, Edmund
To: Smith, Sir James Edward

[It is probable that this letter was never sent as it bears no date, valediction, signature or address, appears unfinished, and from references in other letters to a long letter started in January but not sent.]
Currently suffering poor physical and mental health after discovering that a large part of his herbarium has been spoiled by damp though his recent acquisitions escaped, including wild specimen of 'Daphne alpina' Haller "Historia stirpium" no.1026. Reminiscences at length on his life, including his first introduction to botany move to Switzerland following father's death, introduction to Smith and increasing passion for the subject, limitations imposed by decreased patrimony, becoming a recluse, and marrying despite intending to remain single; has been unable to botanise in Alps since that time due to becoming a father, also preventing him from publishing his work and legal troubles with his wife's brother. Describes his son and daughter and fears for their future as they are strangers in both the country of their birth and native land of their father and "the desolation of the times in which we live is fit also to inspire melancholy", thinks England is "running headlong into ruin". Disastrous wars have doubled the price of everything and a famine was only narrowly avoided by an abundant potato crop and Turin rice; the armies on the Rhine and a collusion founded on private interest on part of Balsois to supply neighbouring French with grain disrupted the Swiss' usual provision from Suabia.
Responds to Smith's letter of 26 September 1794: would like to know his opinion of the 'Carex' he sent; sent seed of 'Digitalis' and 'Verbascum nigrum'; the 'Biscutella' specimen and seed he sent Smith originally came from seed from Moscow Hort. Demidof.; 'Saxifraga mutata'; plunging temperatures made him fear for his 'Morina'; Rhine armies and cold weather have pushed wolves into areas of human habitation; account of his discovery of 'Cyathea montana' on Mount Suchet for first time in the Jura, hopes this mountain and Davall's stock of books will tempt Smith to visit as well as plants 'Saxifragus hirculus' and 'Carex leporina' Linnaeus, 'Orchis abortiva', and 'Orchis coriophora'.
Reports death of [Jean Baptiste François] Bulliard [(1752-1793)] who did "so much in the Fungi"; an error in his plate 333 'Crataegus oxyacantha' fig A should be 'Prunus spinosa' fig B 'Crataegus monogyna' Jacquin. Still unable to forward Smith's parcel to [Jacques] Dorthes in Montpellier due to total annihilation of commerce at Geneva. Received [James] Dickson's outline for a greenhouse but needs fully detailed plans, there being no similar structures in Switzerland. Enjoying Smith's "Tour" though confesses he has never read any Rousseau, his eyes being weak from the smallpox and having lived in such seclusion has focused on visiting Nature rather than reading; remarks and opinions on page references Smith gave him from "Tour".

Letter date: c.27 Jan 1795
Languages: English
Prev Ref No: 14.196
Additional Information:
Note typeNote
Related MaterialSmith enquires after long letter of January 1795, suggesting this letter was never sent, see his letter 28 October 1795 JES/COR/14/77. Davall summarises this letter in his of 10 November 1795, see JES/COR/14/78. Haller, A v, (1768). "Historia stirpium indigenarum helvetiae inchoata. Tomus primus (-tertia) ..." Berniae: Sumptibus Societatis Typographicae. Smith, J E, (1793). "A sketch of a tour on the Continent in the years 1786 and 1787" London.
Publn NoteSmith, P (ed.), (1832). "Memoir and correspondence of... Sir James Edward Smith" London: Longman, vol 2, pp.3-7.
Finding AidsDawson, W R, (1934). "Catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of The Linnean Society - Part I. The Smith papers: The correspondence and miscellaneous papers of Sir James Edward Smith", London: Linnean Society.