Autograph letter signed to John Latham Jr.: Watson, Hewett Cottrell

Autograph letter signed to John Latham Jr.

Watson, Hewett Cottrell

Published by Ditton March, 1836
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Watson, Hewett Cottrell (1804-81). Autograph letter signed to John Latham Jr. 2 - 1/2 pages; addressee's name on verso of second leaf. Ditton March, February 15, 1836. 186 x 115 mm. Traces of sealing wax on verso of last leaf, but very good. From British botanist and evolutionary theorist Hewett C. Watson, author of Cybele Britannica (1860-72) and other works on British plants, and a recognized authority on British plant species and their distribution. He introduced the system of biological vice-counties, a geographical division of the British Isles used by botanists to this day for biological recording and other scientific data-gathering. Watson supported the concept of species transmutation and corresponded with Darwin on the subject; in the Origin of Species Darwin acknowledged Watson several times as an important contributor of scientific information (see e.g. pages 48 and 53 of the 1859 edition of the Origin). On publication of the Origin, Watson was one of the first to write to Darwin congratulating him on his achievement (see the Darwin Correspondence Project, letter 2540, dated 21 November [1859]). Watson's letter reads in part as follows: "Enclosed you will find some 80 or 100 of your botl. desiderata. Some few more, in all probability, I could supply if time allowed, but your letter came to hand only this day, & tomorrow I have occasion to be in town, & propose taking them in. At a future day, I may hope to send a few others. "The British Aspidiums [a species of fern], as you say, are very troublesome to make out, & as to As. [?acuminatum] I really know it not with any certainty. The snowdrops here, in gardens, are only just coming into bloom; primroses the same, nor have I seen a hedge specimen in flower. The sharp frosts of Dec. & Jan. have made them about a month later this year . . ." Watson's correspondent was most likely either British physician John Latham (1761-1843), who served as president of the Royal College of Physicians and updated their pharmacopeia; or his son John (1787-1853), a magistrate and poet. The senior Latham's father was also named John, so both men could equally be called John Latham Jr. Bookseller Inventory # 42816

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Title: Autograph letter signed to John Latham Jr.

Publisher: Ditton March

Publication Date: 1836

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

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