Correspondence of Charles Mohr and G. W. Clinton
(Updated August 5, 2003)
The Correspondence of
Charles (Carl) Theodore Mohr (1824‑1901) and
George William Clinton (1807‑1885)
Vol. 9 no. 68 [C 163]
Mobile January 1st 1873 Most esteemed friend!
In connection with my warmest thanks for the valuable contributions to my collection by the receipt of your list package containing the rare and most perfect specimens of Shimperian mosses and extensive collection of fungi,I tender to you my best wishes and congratulations at the begin of a new year. I hope that many more following this will find you in the enjoyment of the best of health and all desired contentment. ‑
In reply to the enquirie mentioned in your last about the epiphyllous Jungermanniaceae I have to state that I can not recollect to have met a single one in the hummocks covering with their every green broad foliage the alluvium of our rivers & creeks. ‑ I am well acqainted with the plants, having found the same in a great variety of forms in the every green [Oack?= Oak?] forests of the warm temperate zone of the mexican Andes. Deeming at the time the difficultis to have these unpretending plants properly determined unsurmountable, I did not go to the trouble to collect the same. And indeed these difficulties are great, my undetermined hepatica collected 16 years ago in Mexico, tell the tale loudly enough. I have sent a set with my musci to Dr. Muller, in the hope to place them in proper hands for their determination, but he says, that his attention is entirely engrossed by the study of the mosses, and that he could not promise to be able to place the same in the care of a [the word "proper" added] botanist for examination. ‑
Did Professor Gray advise you perhaps of the arrival of the lot of Cliftonia seeds I did send to him; I have neglected to write to him myself. I should be very glad to learn that He found the same in good condition and of service to him. ‑ Do me the favor and mention to the Dr., that it will be always a great pleasure to me, if I am able to serve him in botanical matters. ‑
I remain most sincerly
Rec'd Jan. 7.
Vol. 9 no. 166 [C 63]
[embossment: head of woman in profile, perhaps "Liberty"?]
Mobile May 19th 1873. Most esteemed friend!
I thank you sincerely for your kind lines of the 18th ult; I enjoyed to find, that I still a hold a place in your kind remembrance. ‑ I feel depressed and I have rather a sorry time of it, during this delightful season of spring, little calculated to open heart and mind to the beneficial influences of the same. ‑ I feel rather punny [?] in consequence of constant pains, as well as of the uninterrupted confinement during the last 5 months; ‑ Having latly [sic] been fortunate enough to secure the aid of a competent & reliable assistant I hope to be able to seek for recreation and renewed strength in my wonted rambles through our pine hills and Magnolia groves.
The other day I picked up a wayside plant (Verbena), certainly a waif from a more southern latitude, which seems also to be naturalised in Western La.; I did not meet the same in Mexico; and do not find it described in any of the books at my command; Please let me know what you make of it. ‑ If of any intrest to you I will send you some good specimens. ‑
Should you like to get any plants from this region, please look over your list and let me know the species particularly desired; I intend to get my oldest son to employ his hours of recreation in botanising and by that to be able to make up again a nice collection of the Mobile flora.
I have read with great intrest your address and report delivered at the anniversary meeting of your society.
You have certainly made a most wonderful progress during the short period of the existence of the Society and placed the same in the ranks of the best of similar organisations in the land; an opinion which will be fully sustained when the work of its members will be given in its published transactions to the world.
I learned with deep regret from newspapers the death of that Veteran hero of American Botany, Dr. Torrey. ‑ Did you ever hear any thing latly about my mexican Graminea & Cyperacea you did send to him for examination. Would it still be possible to transfer the same now to hands willing to take hold of their determination. ‑
Please give my best respects to Miss Wilson. Hoping that this will find you in the best of health and happiness I remain, ever truly
Chas Mohr Rec'd May 25.
Vol. 9 no. 177 [C 50]
Mobile Ala May 29th 1873 Dear friend!
I am glad that I am able to comply with your request in some degree, as regards sending you some Confoederate Postage stamps for your sick friend. ‑ I had reserved a few of the same amongst other historical reliques of those dolefull times and feel glad to please your friend with. ‑ Local Postage stamps from this place I can not recollect to have ever seen, I doubt very much that every any [sic] such had been issued. ‑
I hope that you have received now my last letter including a specimen of a Verbena I am not able to determine.
The other day making a short excursion upon the first tableland bordering our tide water region about 15 miles from here, I found spendid specimens of the rare & beautiful Stokesia eyana [sp.?] for the first time within the limits of what I consider the Mobile flora. ‑ I prepared some nice specimens for the herb. of our Society. ‑
The death of Mr. Sullivant must surely be a heavy blow for our friend Lesquereux; Who is in the ranks amongst the botanists, to take the prominent place of this munificent chieftain and [illegible word] indefatigable worker in the province of Bryologie. ‑
Since this week we have one thunder storm after the other with perfect deluges of rain; in consequence I suffer much and see myself forced to a state of bodily and mental inactivity which is more torturing to me than all physical pain. ‑
I remain as ever
Chas Mohr Rec'd June 2.
Vol. 9 no. 183 [C 44]
Mobile June 6th 1873 G. W. Clinton Esq.
My dear friend!
To this I examined a collection of Insects made last year at Tampa Bay florida, which the collector wants to sell. The insects contained in 5 good boxes of red Cedarwood are well mounted and in the best state of preservation. I judge from the prospectus of the publications of the Society that a great intrest is taken in entomology is taken [sic], and thought that the acquisition of such a collection from a locality but little explored for the museum might be desirable.
No 1 box contains ca. 130 specimens of nocturnal Lepidoptera.
No. 2. contains c. 75. diurnal Leipidopt.
No. 3. contains 85 to 90 Hymenopt. & Diptera's
No. 4 contains 90 spec'ms of Coleoptera and contains 20 spec'ms. of Heteropteras
No. 5. contains 39‑40 Orthopteras and contains 20. Neuropteras. ‑ with but a few duplicate specimens except to show differences in sea [?] et cet. There might be representants of the smaler [sic] orders amongst them but my smattering of knowledge upon the subject does not permit to be positive on that point. ‑
Should the Society find it to her intrest to add this collection to the museum, then please inform me as soon as convenient of the offer the society is able to make. I of course would try my very best to get it for you at as low a price as possible. ‑
For the determination of the Verbena verosa [sp.?] my best thanks. I shall send you with the pakage of the rarer plants of this region, which I intend to make up for you, some good specimens of it. Begging you to give the esteemed Miss Wilson my best respects I remain as ever
I made a nice discovery the other day in finding the Nuphar sagittata. Rec'd June 10.
Vol. 9 no. 202 [C 22]
Mobile July 3d 1873 Hon. G. W. Clinton.
I have before me your kind letter of June 10th & 2[3d?]. In reply to the first I have to state, that I could not suceed to make a bargain for the Tampa insects; The collector who is purely an amateur without any deeper knowledge of natural science estimates his trouble and time expended in making the collections at a rate which he will never find realised. ‑ During vacation time I will set my boys to collecting insects; likely that they might pick up some things worth the consideration of Mr. Grote, whose excellent adress before your microscopical section at the anniversary meeting of the Society has given me much pleasure. I have till yet not heard or seen anything from Lt. Col. L. Langdon fort Jefferson Tortugas; I need not to tell you that it would give me the greatest pleasure if my advise could be of any service to him. ‑ My wretched health does make a change however short imperative, I find a trip upon the billows of the salty deep most conductive to my invigoration; and have come to the conclusion to take a run down to key west [sic.] ‑ A region I wanted to visit since [many?] years; At the same time I have some bussiness objects in view, which besides the benefits I expect for my health might it make worth ['will' crossed out] to look at the places ‑ Could you furnish me with a litter [sic] of introduction to some business or professional gentlemen or could you procure me one of some of your friends. ‑ If the means of communication would permit and the expense not to great I would like to pay visit to the Lt. Col. at Fort Jefferson. ‑ Excuse the liberty with which I draw upon your kindness; You will do me a great favor by replying to this as soon as your convenience will permitt. ‑
Hoping the hear from you soon I remain very truly
My best thanks for the fine Fissidens ‑ in haste. Rec'd July 8.
[Augustus Grote was elected curator of Entomology by the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences in 1866. He lived and worked initially in New York City, but then later moved to Demopolis, Alabama.]
[Elizabeth Atwater of Chicago, Illinois had travelled and collected in California. She wrote to George Clinton on September 18, 1873: "You can scarcely imagine the delight with which I appropriated the tiny ferns from cavities in the rocks at Nevada Falls, Yo Semite Valley. - In my accustomed ignorance I was not aware that the Allosorus crisus of the old world was to be found with us, and was joyous over its finding as also the others. And now, for a moment allow me to digress. On my return home I found a pleasant letter from Dr. Mohr as I think I have written you, enclosing to me a rare plant, which I immediately acknowledged by letter, enclosing in return sp'ms of these delicate ferns from the Yo S. Valley. Dr. M. responds with three dozen rare ferns &c. and in his letter of yesterday says, "The elegant Cheilanthes seems in most of its points to answer to Grays description of Ch. lanuginosa Nutt. The Allosorus I have not been able to make out, and I will be much obliged if you will have the kindness to send me the name of this exquisite species after you get it determined. These ferns, all, with the graceful Pellaea densa are a most welcome contribution to my herbar &c." He adds, the sadness of the dreadful afffliction which visited "our mutual excellent friend Judge Clinton has moved me deeply. I can explain, now, his long silence".]
Vol. 10 no. 28 [A 311]
Mobile Septbr. 29th [?] 1873 George W. Clinton Esqu.
It is with feelings of deep regret and heartfelt sympathie with your great sorrow, that I pen these lines to you, after having heard through the kindness of Mrs. Atwater of the heavy affliction which has befallen you in the loss of your son; May He the dispenser of all our pleasures and sorrows give you comfort and strength to bear up under such a blow, that your vigor and health might be spared for many many years to come.
You asked me once, if I could lead you in the way to open a correspondence with a botanist in Mexico. Prompted by that wish I did write to my old friend [Pr.?] Botterie in Orizava, who in time of our personal intercourse was a lover of Botany and industrious collector of the plants of Orizava. About a month past I received a reply, which has deeply affected me presenting in a few words the outlines of a live [sic] spent in troubles and bitter disappointments, with the encroachment of the infirmities of old age, which must make his existence as precarious as cheerless. He offers me to send all his botanical collections over to me to dispose of the same, for anything wath [?] they might bring, however little it be, so as to see the same finally disposed of. The collection is large and comprises duplicates of the same species, so that several sets could be made up; Judging from that, what I have seen myself, (it is now moreover 16 years ago) of the collections of my friend they embraced the greater part of the flora of Orisava and the mountain chain of the pi.. to an altitude ca. 7000' with the vascular cryptogams and many mosses. The plants are only partially determined; perhaps 4 to 500 numbers have been examined and named by Dr. Seeman and other German botanists of authority. I should think that the balance could be determined by some working botanist in this country, particularly since the progress of Decandolls Prodromus and B. & H. [= Bentham and Hooker] Genera plantarum. For the sake of my friend I would gladly undertake the task of arranging the sets and distribution of the same. For the mosses, I have a good auxiliary in my own collections determined by Dr. Karl Mueller; This is the same case with the ferns, any thing new we could submitt to Dr. D. Eaton. Mexican plants seem to be poorly represented in the collections of this country; I think that there is a good chance to supply this want at very low rates; by this I could assist a friend and worthy disciple of science in need however smal that assistance might be and save a valuable collection from destruction. Query. I wonder if I we [?] could get the plants forwarded through the Smithsonian Institute and by that save the trouble of custum house transmission and charges for freight; I just trow [sic] this out as a suggestion. Please give me your idea if there is a chance to realize at least something over and above expenses for the plants and with a centurie of it, could probably bring. If averse circumstances, and particularly a spell of sickness, which kept me to bed for the last 7 weeks and incapable for the discharge of my dutys since several months, would not last rather havily upon me at the present time of general business depression, I would have incurred the risk of expenses of freight etc. etc. and written at once to send the whole collection on without delay. ‑
Can you procure for me a printed or manuscript catalogue of the ... shells (particularly marine) of the U.S.A.?? a [correspondent?] my friend in Mexico would like to have one. Hoping to hear from you soon I remain truly your friend Chas. Mohr.
Rec'd Oct. 5.
[There is a Mateo Botteri (1808‑1877) mentioned in the Index Herbariorum "Collectors 'A‑D'" who collected in Mexico together with Adrian Luis Jean Francisco (1828‑1882), Mexico from 1857 to 1860. There is also a Berthold Carl Seemann (1825‑1871) who collected in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Mexico among other areas in tropical America. Professor Daniel Cady Eaton (1834‑1895) of Yale 'College', New Haven, Connecticut was a correspondent of George Clinton's.]