The German Network around the Danish Botanist and Superintendent of the Botanical Garden in Calcutta, Nathaniel Wallich (1786–1854)

A botanical drawing of the species Phaseolus fuscus from Wallich's book Plantae Asiaticae Rariores

Table of Con­tents: Ger­mans in the Colo­nies | The Ger­man-spea­king World | Archi­ves and Hol­dings | Publis­hed Sources | Secon­da­ry Literature

This is a trans­la­ted ver­si­on of the 2019 MIDA Archi­val Refle­xi­con ent­ry “Das deut­sche Netz­werk rund um den dӓni­schen Bota­ni­ker und Super­in­ten­den­ten des Bota­ni­schen Gar­tens von Kal­kut­ta Natha­ni­el Wal­lich (1786–1854)”. The text was trans­la­ted by Rekha Rajan.

A lithography displaying a seated Nathaniel Wallich

Natha­ni­el Wal­lich came from a Ger­man-Jewish fami­ly and stu­di­ed medi­ci­ne and bota­ny in Copen­ha­gen. In 1807, he left for Seram­po­re near Cal­cut­ta in order to work as a doc­tor for the Danish tra­ding com­pa­ny. When, the Danish town of Seram­po­re was occu­p­ied by the Bri­tish short­ly the­re­af­ter during the Napo­leo­nic Wars, Wal­lich was at first impr­i­son­ed. As a doc­tor, howe­ver, he was in demand in the colo­nies, espe­cial­ly among the Euro­peans, and he quick­ly estab­lis­hed con­ta­ct with influ­en­ti­al peop­le like the mem­bers of the Asia­tic Socie­ty, the Bri­tish Bap­tist mis­sio­na­ries Wil­liam Carey and Wil­liam Ward in Seram­po­re, or the direc­tor of the Bota­ni­cal Gar­den in Cal­cut­ta, Wil­liam Rox­burgh. His strong inte­rest in bota­ny was also hel­pful in estab­li­shing the­se con­ta­cts. Final­ly, it was both the­se aspects which hel­ped to make him super­in­ten­dent of the Bota­ni­cal Gar­den in Cal­cut­ta in 1817. Over the fol­lowing deca­des Wal­lich orga­nis­ed several rese­arch and recrea­tio­nal jour­neys, for examp­le to Nepal and Assam, to Sin­g­a­po­re, to the Cape Colo­ny and to Mau­ri­ti­us. Mean­while, his cor­re­spon­dence net­work beca­me incre­a­singly glo­bal, spo­ra­di­cal­ly exten­ding to the USA, Bra­zil and Aus­tra­lia (Krie­ger 2014, 2017a, Har­ri­son 2011, Arnold 2008).

From 1828 to 1832 Wal­lich stay­ed in Euro­pe and, with the per­mis­si­on of his employ­er the EIC, he dis­tri­bu­t­ed the plant collec­tions and dupli­ca­tes he had brought from India for eva­lua­ti­on by inter­na­tio­nal experts for each of the rele­vant fami­lies of plants. He coor­di­na­ted this work while stay­ing in Lon­don. Time cons­traints alo­ne made it impos­si­ble for him to sin­gle-han­ded­ly under­ta­ke an ana­ly­sis of the mate­ri­al gathe­red. The­re­fo­re, he now invol­ved renow­ned bota­nists from all over Euro­pe (Krie­ger 2017a, Har­ri­son 2011, Wal­lich 1830). Along with famous Bri­tish names like Geor­ge Bent­ham, Wil­liam Jack­son Hoo­ker, Robert Brown or Robert Gre­vil­le, one also finds in his cor­re­spon­dence names from Den­mark, Fran­ce, Switz­er­land and an ent­i­re list of rese­ar­chers from the wider Ger­man-spea­king world or Ger­mans working abroad.

Wal­lich hims­elf sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly cata­logued his exten­si­ve cor­re­spon­dence which is now kept in the Cen­tral Natio­nal Her­ba­ri­um in the Bota­ni­cal Gar­den of Cal­cut­ta in the form of a chro­no­lo­gi­cal index. This index also con­tains infor­ma­ti­on about let­ters that are no lon­ger trace­ab­le as well as addi­tio­nal bio­gra­phi­cal infor­ma­ti­on about spe­ci­fic indi­vi­du­als that the bota­nist some­ti­mes added. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, the index ends in 1831 and is, the­re­fo­re, incom­ple­te. The let­ters them­sel­ves, which in most cases were addres­sed to Wal­lich, have also been bound chro­no­lo­gi­cal­ly in annu­al volu­mes (some volu­mes encom­pass several years). In many cases, the date of rece­i­pt and even the date of reply are noted on the let­ters. Howe­ver, the paper is some­ti­mes eit­her in a poor or in a very poor con­di­ti­on. Some let­ters have come loo­se from the bin­ding, are no lon­ger in their ori­gi­nal volu­me and are, the­re­fo­re, dif­fi­cult to date today if no date is men­tio­ned, or if the date can­not be ascer­tai­ned from the contents.

This makes it all the more important to con­sult other archi­ves, which can be used to sup­ple­ment the collec­tion of let­ters in Cal­cut­ta. Bes­i­des the per­ti­nent Bri­tish and Danish archi­ves, i.e. the hol­dings of their East India Com­pa­nies, the various sci­en­ti­fic socie­ties, the Bota­ni­cal Gar­dens in Kew (and else­whe­re in Gre­at Bri­tain) as well as in Copen­ha­gen, Ger­man archi­ves, espe­cial­ly the papers in the esta­tes of indi­vi­du­al bota­nists, are use­ful. Occa­sio­nal­ly they con­tain let­ters from Wal­lich hims­elf, which are some­ti­mes only avail­ab­le as a copy or a draft in Cal­cut­ta. Parts of the cor­re­spon­dence that are no lon­ger avail­ab­le the­re, or are dama­ged, can also be found here. In addi­ti­on, one finds dis­cus­sions among the bota­nists about Wal­lich and India and about the world­wi­de exchan­ge, so that hol­dings in Syd­ney or Cape Town, for examp­le, also beco­me rele­vant. With the help of the­se sources one can exami­ne the prac­ti­ce and the actu­al pro­cess of bota­ni­cal rese­arch and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on on India and bey­ond and the role of glo­bal net­works, but also care­er stra­te­gies and struc­tures of patro­na­ge of indi­vi­du­al prot­ago­nists and insti­tu­ti­ons. The over­ar­ching ques­ti­on in all this con­cerns the par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on of Ger­mans in the impe­ri­al pene­tra­ti­on of India. After all, even at this point of time Ger­man-spea­king bota­nists par­ti­ci­pa­ted in the empi­re of know­ledge, pro­fi­ted from its collec­tions and from inter­na­tio­nal exchan­ge and con­tri­bu­t­ed to it with their own arti­cles. With their sci­en­ti­fic exper­ti­se they thus crea­ted or sup­por­ted, con­scious­ly or uncon­scious­ly, the colo­ni­al manage­ment of eco-sys­tems and, in end effect, also their explo­ita­ti­on. Bota­ny was often clo­se­ly intert­wi­ned with poli­ti­cal and bureau­cra­tic struc­tures and both sides were depen­dent on each other.

Germans in the Colonies

A botanical drawing of the species Plantae Asiaticae Rariores from Wallich's book Plantae Asiaticae Rariores (Volume 1, 1830)

In Wallich’s scho­l­ar­ly net­work, which was not just limi­ted to peop­le who only stu­di­ed plants, but also inclu­ded natu­ra­lists in gene­ral as also phi­lo­lo­gists and his­to­ri­ans, Ger­man-spea­king rese­ar­chers occu­py a con­si­derable space. Howe­ver, a dis­tinc­tion must be made bet­ween tho­se on the spot, i.e. tho­se who were qua­si in the field as collec­tors in India or in other colo­nies and tho­se who only shared mate­ri­al and cor­re­spon­ded with Wal­lich from stu­dy-rooms at home. The lat­ter group main­ly con­sists of uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sors or peop­le in char­ge of bota­ni­cal gar­dens, while tho­se in the for­mer group could often also be ama­teur bota­nists who, along with their main job, for examp­le as mis­sio­na­ries, as ship cap­tains, as phar­macists or in the mili­ta­ry, collec­ted flo­ra and fau­na. The tran­si­ti­ons were flu­id. Wal­lich hims­elf had been a doc­tor befo­re he took over the Bota­ni­cal Gar­den. A major com­po­nent of his trai­ning, howe­ver, had also been bota­ny (Krie­ger 2014). The same is also true for phar­macists who emi­gra­ted in lar­ge num­bers to the colo­nies in the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry due to the lack of pro­spects in Euro­pe. In addi­ti­on to the cor­re­spondents alrea­dy named, the­re were also Ger­mans who did not them­sel­ves bota­ni­se, but who offe­red help, for examp­le, by pro­vi­ding infra­st­ruc­tu­re and logistics, or by faci­li­ta­ting valu­able con­ta­cts. For instance, in 1843 Wal­lich par­ti­ci­pa­ted in a sur­vey­ing expe­di­ti­on in South Afri­ca, which he wan­ted to use for bota­ni­cal excur­si­ons in the Ceder­berg moun­tains (Krie­ger 2017a). Ships often docked in the Cape Colo­ny as a sto­po­ver sta­ti­on to and from India in order also to pick up pro­vi­si­ons. Some Ger­man bota­nists and ama­teur explo­rers, like Adel­bert von Cha­mis­so, in 1818, also used this halt for smal­ler excur­si­ons and the­re­fo­re sought con­ta­ct with the many Ger­mans living in Cape Town (Cha­mis­so 1836), who were con­spi­cuous­ly recrui­ted from the phar­maceu­ti­cal indus­try and often also bota­nis­ed. For his sur­vey­ing expe­di­ti­on, howe­ver, Wal­lich con­ta­c­ted the Rhe­nish Mis­si­on at the South Afri­can Wup­per­thal mis­si­on sta­ti­on, named after the Ger­man town. From the­re local por­ters, ox-wagons and food sup­plies were orga­nis­ed. Often the mis­sio­na­ries were alrea­dy in regi­ons which the Euro­peans had not yet deve­lo­ped, or which were com­ple­te­ly unknown. Thus, they could offer a base and local know­ledge. In Wallich’s cor­re­spon­dence the­re is a map of the Cape Colo­ny given to him by the Rhe­nish Mis­si­on in which the various sta­ti­ons of the dif­fe­rent mis­si­on socie­ties were mar­ked. Con­ver­se­ly, the bota­nist and doc­tor hel­ped the mis­sio­na­ries with medi­cal pro­blems sin­ce doc­tors were rare, par­ti­cu­lar­ly in rural regions.

Long befo­re Wallich’s sojourn in South Afri­ca, various Ger­man bota­nists had writ­ten to him from the­re, one of them being the well-known phar­macist Carl Fer­di­nand Hein­rich von Lud­wig, known as Baron Lud­wig.  This man from Würt­tem­berg had acqui­red con­si­derable eco­no­mic and poli­ti­cal influ­ence in the colo­ni­al socie­ty of Cape Town. His real pas­si­on, howe­ver, was to bota­ni­se, which led, among other things, to set­ting up a bota­ni­cal gar­den that an incre­a­sing num­ber of Euro­pean guests came to visit (Brad­low 1965). He was con­stant­ly on the loo­kout for plants from all parts of the world for his gar­den, and he had also con­ta­c­ted Wal­lich in Cal­cut­ta in this con­text. Wal­lich was also con­ta­c­ted by Ger­man bota­nists Carl Wil­helm Lud­wig Pap­pe, a doc­tor, as well as Karl Lud­wig Phil­ipp Zey­her and Chris­ti­an Fried­rich Eck­lon, both phar­macists, living in Cape Town. In the lat­ter cases, two ship’s cap­tains had paved the way as per­so­nal con­nec­ting links so to speak on the rou­te bet­ween Cape Town and Cal­cut­ta. In exchan­ge for South Asi­an plants, the Ger­man bota­nists offe­red Wal­lich plants from South Afri­ca. Wal­lich later visi­ted all of them during his stay in Cape Town, and a brisk exchan­ge took place with plants being redis­tri­bu­t­ed, for examp­le, to India, Eng­land, or Ger­ma­ny. Cape Town ser­ved as the nodal point for communication.

It is noti­ce­ab­le that in his cor­re­spon­dence with mis­sio­na­ries of the Cape Colo­ny, Wal­lich does not deal with any bota­ni­cal ques­ti­ons. This is in mar­ked con­trast to the cor­re­spon­dence with mis­sio­na­ries in South Asia who were acti­ve as collec­tors and part­ly also as sci­en­tists and who, for this rea­son alo­ne, sought con­ta­ct with Wal­lich and other natu­ra­lists. The Mora­vi­an Ben­ja­min Hey­ne is one of them, as are Bern­hard Schmid and others. Bes­i­des the­se, one would also have to name some Ger­man mis­sio­na­ries of the Danish-Eng­lish-Hal­le mis­si­on which had been working sin­ce 1706 in and around Tran­que­bar. The­se mis­sio­na­ries were Chris­toph Samu­el John, Johann Gott­fried Klein, and Johann Peter Rott­ler, who had known Wallich’s pre­de­ces­sor, Wil­liam Rox­burgh, in Cal­cut­ta (Robin­son 2008). Later, in Euro­pe, Wal­lich also gave away parts of their India collec­tions to Ger­man bota­nists for fur­ther stu­dy. By far the most important, howe­ver, were the Bri­tish Bap­tist mis­sio­na­ries in Seram­po­re who, unli­ke the mis­sio­na­ries in South India, were even geo­gra­phi­cal­ly clo­ser to Wal­lich and his fami­ly. The long-stan­ding Danish-Eng­lish-Hal­le mis­si­on was alrea­dy in a peri­od of decli­ne, the Mora­vi­an Brethren had alrea­dy left Ben­gal when Wal­lich arri­ved the­re and soon after they even left India. For the mis­sio­na­ries left in India, who lived in rather pre­ca­rious cir­cum­s­tan­ces, collec­ting and sel­ling plants was some­ti­mes a busi­ness model with good pro­spects. This was true, for examp­le, of Schmid who, after the Church Mis­si­on Socie­ty could no lon­ger sup­port him in 1845, inten­ded to set up his own bota­ni­cal gar­den in the Nil­gi­ri moun­tains and to sell plants from all over the world to Eng­land. The mis­si­on direc­tors in Euro­pe did not always appro­ve of such acti­vi­ties. Des­pi­te this, a rela­tively lar­ge num­ber of mis­sio­na­ries took part in the stu­dy of natu­re. They inclu­ded, along with the groups alrea­dy men­tio­ned, also the mis­sio­na­ries of the Basel mission.

Mili­ta­ry per­son­nel in con­ta­ct with Wal­lich were most­ly from the Bri­tish army. India-tra­vel­lers who had a mili­ta­ry ori­en­ta­ti­on like Leo­pold von Orlich or Wer­ner Fried­rich Hoff­meis­ter, who accom­pa­nied Prince Wal­de­mar of Prus­sia on his jour­ney through India, also brief­ly men­ti­on the Bota­ni­cal Gar­den in Cal­cut­ta, the muse­um the­re, or even Wal­lich in their publis­hed tra­ve­lo­gues (Orlich 1845, Hoff­meis­ter 1847, Orio­la 1853). Howe­ver, Wallich’s cor­re­spon­dence does not con­tain any let­ters from them. Von Orlich is only men­tio­ned indi­rect­ly. They were often con­cer­ned with eco­no­mic topics such as opi­um cul­ti­va­ti­on in Pat­na. Hoff­meis­ter and von Orlich were also in con­ta­ct with Alex­an­der von Hum­boldt. Hoff­meis­ter wro­te trea­ti­ses on plants collec­ted in India and on vege­ta­ti­on zones, and he also under­took his own mea­su­re­ments. He sent his Indian her­ba­ri­um for eva­lua­ti­on to Johann Fried­rich Klotzsch, cus­to­di­an of the Bota­ni­cal Gar­den in Ber­lin (Hoff­meis­ter 1846, Garcke 1862).

Ger­man sci­en­ti­fic explo­rers were far more signi­fi­cant, but they sel­dom recei­ved per­mis­si­on from the EIC to work in India. Rival­ries cer­tain­ly play­ed a role in this, alt­hough many bota­nists deman­ded that the Ger­mans be inclu­ded to a far grea­ter extent. It was more by chan­ce that Wal­lich met Carl Theo­dor Phil­ip­pi from Ber­lin, nephew of the bota­nist Rudolf Aman­dus Phil­ip­pi. During his own South East Asi­an jour­ney, C. T. Phil­ip­pi tem­pora­ri­ly took part in the Danish Gala­thea expe­di­ti­on which cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ted the world bet­ween 1845 and 1847, under­took some explo­ra­ti­ons on the Nico­bar Islands and, among other pla­ces, also visi­ted Cal­cut­ta. C. T. Phil­ip­pi collec­ted some mol­luscs that were later descri­bed by his uncle (Kabat, Coan 2017). In Cal­cut­ta, Wal­lich also gave the for­mer some seeds and plants, which he sent on to Ber­lin whe­re Alex­an­der von Hum­boldt and some poli­ti­ci­ans, among others, dis­tri­bu­t­ed them to various bota­nists (Krie­ger 2017b). The­re is also some indi­ca­ti­on of Prus­si­an colo­ni­al inte­rests becau­se Phil­ip­pi even sent sam­ples of dif­fe­rent pre­cious metals to Ber­lin. In Philippi’s opi­ni­on, the cap­tain of the Gala­thea, Steen Bil­le, was also inte­res­ted in a pos­si­ble “cul­ti­va­ti­on” of the Nico­bar Islands by the Danes (Bil­le 1852, 169). Wallich’s con­ta­ct with the Bohemi­ans Johann Wil­helm Hel­fer and his wife Pau­li­ne was far more inten­si­ve. Among other things, Hel­fer had taken part in Colo­nel Chesney’s Euphra­tes-expe­di­ti­on in 1836 and had then tra­vel­led on to India whe­re he tried to obtain rese­arch com­mis­si­ons by high­ligh­t­ing spe­ci­fic the­mes in lec­tures. Osten­si­b­ly he was empha­si­zing – as the EIC wan­ted – mercan­ti­le inte­rests, but his real moti­ves also had to do with the stu­dy of natu­re (Nos­tiz 2004). Wal­lich was instru­men­tal in paving the way for an expe­di­ti­on to Ten­as­se­rim finan­ced by the EIC, for which Hel­fer recei­ved let­ters of recom­men­da­ti­on and inst­ruc­tions from the bota­nist. In return, the explo­rer wro­te to Wal­lich about the dif­fi­cul­ties and the results of his jour­ney, but he tried to be fair to all his spon­sors by empha­si­zing his bota­ni­cal inte­rests to Wal­lich in par­ti­cu­lar, but by also working on ques­ti­ons of the search for raw mate­ri­als (wood, mine­ral coal etc.) for Britain.

The German-speaking World

An engraved portrait of Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius

Wallich’s cor­re­spon­dence with peop­le in the Ger­man-spea­king world took place main­ly during his sojourn in Euro­pe bet­ween 1828 and 1832 and rela­ted to the generous dis­tri­bu­ti­on of the Indian plants he had taken with him. Befo­re this peri­od, the­re are only few such direct con­ta­cts, but after this some con­ti­nued and deve­lo­ped into friendships. The bota­nist Johann Georg Chris­ti­an Leh­mann, pro­fes­sor for natu­ral histo­ry and foun­der of the Ham­burg Bota­ni­cal Gar­den, and the pro­fes­sor of bota­ny in Ber­lin, Karl Sigis­mund Kunth, even visi­ted Wal­lich in Lon­don in order to get a first-hand impres­si­on of the Indian plants and also met his fami­ly in the pro­cess. Other bota­nists like Chris­ti­an Gott­fried Dani­el Nees von Esen­beck of Bonn and Bres­lau (Wro­claw), direc­tor of the Leo­pol­di­na from 1818 till 1858, or Carl Fried­rich Phil­ipp von Mar­ti­us of Munich reg­ret­ted not having done this, but they remai­ned in acti­ve con­ta­ct with Wal­lich even after he had retur­ned to India. Accord­in­gly, the cor­re­spon­dence that is acces­si­ble deals not only with spe­cia­list topics, but also tou­ches upon, for examp­le, fami­ly, health, or even poli­ti­cal issu­es. Ques­ti­ons of com­pe­ti­ti­on and care­er were also signi­fi­cant aspects of the cor­re­spon­dence. Alle­ged­ly unju­s­ti­fied appoint­ments, rival­ries and other scan­dals in the uni­ver­si­ties and bota­ni­cal gar­dens were men­tio­ned, or attempts were made to place one’s own stu­dents or other acquain­tan­ces with Wal­lich in India. The con­nec­tions were also based on the princip­le of reci­pro­cal bene­fits. The­se inclu­ded expec­ta­ti­ons of reci­pro­cal cita­ti­ons, of plant exch­an­ges and fore­words, of trans­la­ti­ons, sub­scrip­ti­ons and of the naming of plants after sci­en­tists. Lob­by­ing in each other’s coun­tries was also part of this sin­ce the 1830s was a peri­od when the­re was gro­wing pres­su­re on Bri­tish bota­nists to attu­ne their work more to the inte­rests of the eco­no­my and to the princip­le of use­ful­ness (Dray­ton 2000).

The insti­tu­tio­nal dimen­si­on, the­re­fo­re, was not only a ques­ti­on of mem­bers­hip in sci­en­ti­fic aca­de­mies, but also let­ters of thanks from or to sta­te insti­tu­ti­ons. Acting upon Wallich’s advice and for­war­ded by him, von Mar­ti­us sent the direc­tors of the EIC a thank-you let­ter and his writ­ten works for the EIC libra­ry at the Cal­cut­ta Bota­ni­cal Gar­den. At the mee­ting of Ger­man natu­ra­lists and doc­tors in 1830 in Ham­burg, the bota­ni­cal sec­tion resol­ved to fol­low Lehmann’s wis­hes and to send, as a mark of their gra­ti­tu­de, a joint let­ter each to the EIC, to Wal­lich and to the King of Eng­land. The let­ters were also accom­pa­nied by the request to allow Wal­lich to stay lon­ger in Euro­pe to bet­ter orga­ni­se the publi­ca­ti­on of his works. Other offi­cial insti­tu­ti­ons were also invol­ved in the sci­en­ti­fic exchan­ge. Through the direc­tor Hein­rich Fried­rich Link, the poet and natu­ra­list Adel­bert von Cha­mis­so and the cus­to­di­an Johann Fried­rich Klotzsch the Prus­si­an Minis­ter of Cul­tu­re, Karl vom Stein zum Alten­stein expres­sed his thanks in 1837 to Wal­lich in Cal­cut­ta and Robert Wight in Madras for the collec­tions pla­ced at the dis­po­sal of the Neu-Schӧ­ne­berg Herbarium.

Indi­rect con­nec­tions to indi­vi­du­al bota­nists were also estab­lis­hed. When, for examp­le, Bern­hard Schmid retur­ned from India, he visi­ted Jona­than Carl Zen­ker, pro­fes­sor of bota­ny in Jena, and han­ded over the plants he had collec­ted in India so that they could be descri­bed and drawn. Zen­ker had also estab­lis­hed an India-sec­tion in the Bota­ni­cal Gar­den in Jena. Schmid wro­te a detail­ed let­ter to Wal­lich about this mee­ting. Bota­nists also often sought the help of their col­leagues to for­ward a par­cel when it was a ques­ti­on of using the fas­test and most favoura­ble rou­te for sen­ding plants or lite­ra­tu­re. Nees von Esen­beck asked Wal­lich to send him texts to Bres­lau (Wro­claw) through Leh­mann in Ham­burg. Wal­lich also had to for­ward plants to Bri­tish col­leagues, or Leh­mann would faci­li­ta­te trans­port to or from South Afri­ca and from the­re to India. In this way one also shared infor­ma­ti­on about bota­nist col­leagues, regard­less of whe­ther one knew them per­so­nal­ly or not.

Archives and Holdings

The Depart­ment for the Histo­ry of Nort­hern Euro­pe at the Chris­ti­an Albrechts Uni­ver­si­ty in Kiel offers an open access data­ba­se with infor­ma­ti­on about rough­ly 5000 let­ters of various pro­ven­an­ces from and to Wal­lich. Data added inclu­des aut­hor, addres­see, place and date, whe­re­ver avail­ab­le, bio­gra­phi­cal data for the most important peop­le, as well as the rele­vant archi­ves. In addi­ti­on to the Wal­lich docu­ments, it is worthwhile to look at litera­ry esta­tes and auto­graph-collec­tions of other Ger­man archi­ves. Much of the mate­ri­al is acces­si­ble online in the Kal­lio­pe Uni­on Cata­log. As far as the Ber­lin hol­dings of Adel­bert von Cha­mis­so or Alex­an­der von Hum­boldt are con­cer­ned, most of the docu­ments can even be acces­sed online. Hum­boldt hims­elf rare­ly appears in the Wal­lich hol­dings, but he seems to have often recei­ved bota­ni­cal mate­ri­al and infor­ma­ti­on from Wal­lich. Hum­boldt was, in gene­ral, extre­me­ly inte­res­ted in India, and this resul­ted in his sup­port for various India-tra­vel­lers such as von Orlich and the Schlag­int­weit bro­thers. He hims­elf could not tra­vel to India due to oppo­si­ti­on from the EIC.

Also inte­res­ting are the hol­dings of the Zoo­lo­gi­cal Muse­um in what is today cal­led the Muse­um für Natur­kun­de (Natu­ral Histo­ry Muse­um) in Ber­lin (His­to­ri­cal Depart­ment). Alt­hough the hol­dings that are orga­nis­ed by name (Zool. Mus.) do not con­tain any let­ter from Wal­lich, they do have some archi­val docu­ments about Johann Wil­helm Helfer’s expe­di­ti­on to Ten­as­se­rim and the role play­ed by Alex­an­der von Hum­boldt in it. The same is true for Leo­pold von Orlich and his later attempts to ser­ve as the inter­me­di­a­ry for the natu­ral histo­ry exchan­ge bet­ween Ber­lin and India, or for the natu­ral histo­ry spe­ci­mens brought by Wer­ner Hoff­meis­ter. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, most of the docu­ments in the Ber­li­ner Bota­ni­schen Gar­ten (Ber­lin Bota­ni­cal Gar­den) were lost during the Second World War. The­re­fo­re, the­re is not­hing to be found the­re on Wallich.

Rudolph Ben­no von Rӧmer’s exten­si­ve collec­tion in Leip­zig is of spe­cial inte­rest. He was friends with the pro­fes­sor of bota­ny Gus­tav Kun­ze, inte­res­ted in bota­ny after stu­dy­ing under Kun­ze and a famous collec­tor. He left all his books on bota­ny as well as his exten­si­ve her­ba­ri­um to the Uni­ver­si­täts­bi­blio­thek Leip­zig (Leip­zig Uni­ver­si­ty libra­ry) whe­re the hol­dings can be acces­sed today (UB Leip­zig, Slg. Rӧmer/NL 133). Kunze’s litera­ry esta­te is also avail­ab­le the­re (UB Leip­zig, Nach­lass Gus­tav Kun­ze Ms.0352) and, apart from some let­ters about Wallich’s India collec­tion, it also con­tains cor­re­spon­dence with the bota­nists of the Cape Colo­ny, some of whom had been Kunze’s stu­dents, with pro­fes­so­ri­al col­leagues and with Bern­hard Schmid. The let­ters have been lis­ted in Kal­lio­pe. The same holds true for the exten­si­ve cor­re­spon­dence of the bota­nist von Mar­ti­us in Munich, which is kept in the Baye­ri­sche Staats­bi­blio­thek (Bava­ri­an Sta­te Libra­ry) in Munich (BSB Mar­ti­usa­na II A) and, com­pa­red to that of other Ger­man pro­fes­sors, con­tains the lar­gest amount of source mate­ri­al on Wal­lich and India.

An over­view of the hol­dings of the Ham­burg bota­nist Leh­mann are on the web­site of the Staats- und Uni­ver­si­täts­bi­blio­thek Ham­burg (Sta­te- and Uni­ver­si­ty Libra­ry Ham­burg) (‌sammlung‌/‌na‌c‌h‌laesse-und-autographen-von-a‑z.html#c6563), which is sto­ring parts of the esta­te (Nach­lass Johann Georg Chris­ti­an Leh­mann, 1 Archiv­kas­ten, 1 Bd. NL Leh­mann, Brie­fe an Leh­mann (Thes. ep.: 4o : 65) und Diplo­me (Bd.); Adres­sat Brie­fe NJGL: B; Ver­fas­ser Brief LA (Lite­ra­tur­ar­chiv): Leh­mann, Johann Georg Chris­ti­an). Bes­i­des his Wal­lich-let­ters his cor­re­spon­dence with South Afri­ca and his work as an inter­me­di­a­ry are of gre­at interest.

The let­ters of the India mis­sio­na­ry Bern­hard Schmid, on the other hand, are dis­tri­bu­t­ed across various archi­ves and libra­ries. They can be found online in the well-cata­logued Mis­si­ons­ar­chiv der Francke­schen Stif­tun­gen zu Hal­le (mis­si­on archi­ves of the Francke Foun­da­ti­ons at Hal­le) (AFSt/M), whe­re other mis­sio­na­ries like John, Klein, or Rott­ler can also be found, as also in the Uni­ver­si­täts­bi­blio­thek Hei­del­berg (Hei­del­berg uni­ver­si­ty libra­ry) and scat­te­red in Nur­em­berg or Dres­den or in Kunze’s esta­te in Leip­zig. The mis­sio­na­ries par­ti­cu­lar­ly pro­vi­de good insights into the con­cre­te prac­ti­ce of collec­ting plants on site in India, the dif­fi­cul­ties that aro­se the­r­ein, and the paths and dis­tri­bu­ti­on of the collec­tions. Also of inte­rest are the hol­dings of the Leo­pol­di­na in Hal­le rela­ted to its pre­si­dent Nees von Esen­beck, who was in clo­se con­ta­ct with Wal­lich and other botanists.

Published Sources

Bil­le, Steen, Bericht über die Rei­se der Cor­vet­te Gala­thea um die Welt in den Jah­ren 1845, 46 und 47. Aus dem Däni­schen über­setzt, und theil­wei­se bear­bei­tet von W. v. Rosen, 1. Bd. Kopen­ha­gen, Leip­zig: 1852.

Cha­mis­so, Adel­bert von, Rei­se um die Welt. 2 Bde. Leip­zig: 1836.

Hoff­meis­ter, Adolph (Hg.), Brie­fe aus Indi­en, von W. Hoff­meis­ter, Arzt im Gefol­ge Sr. Königl. Hoheit des Prin­zen Wal­de­mar von Preus­sen; nach des­sen nach­ge­las­se­nen Brie­fen u. Tage­bü­chern. Mit einer Vor­re­de von C. Rit­ter und sie­ben topo­gra­phi­schen Kar­ten. Braun­schweig: 1847.

Hoff­meis­ter, Wer­ner, “Ueber die Ver­brei­tung der Coni­fe­ren am Hima­la­yah, aus einem Schrei­ben des Dr. W. Hoff­meis­ter an Hrn. v. Hum­boldt”. Bota­ni­sche Zei­tung 4 (1846), S. 177–185.

Klotzsch, Fried­rich und August Garcke, Die bota­ni­schen Ergeb­nis­se der Rei­se sei­ner König­li­chen Hoheit des Prin­zen Wal­de­mar von Preu­ßen in den Jah­ren 1845 und 1846 durch Wer­ner Hoff­meis­ter auf Cey­lon, dem Hima­la­ya und an den Gren­zen von Tibet gesam­mel­te Pflan­zen. 2 Bde. Ber­lin: 1862.

Nos­tiz, Grä­fin Pau­li­ne, Johann Wil­helm Helfer’s Rei­sen in Vor­der­asi­en und Indi­en. Ber­lin: 2004 (zuerst Leip­zig: 1873).

Orio­la, Edu­ard von, Hein­rich Mahl­mann, Zur Erin­ne­rung an die Rei­se des Prin­zen Wal­de­mar von Preu­ßen nach Indi­en in den Jah­ren 1844–1846. Die Illus­tra­tio­nen aus­ge­führt nach Rei­se­skiz­zen des Prin­zen von Fer­di­nand Bel­ler­mann und Her­mann Kretz­schmer. 2 Bde. Ber­lin: 1853.

Orlich, Leo­pold von, Rei­se in Ost­in­di­en, in Brie­fen an Alex­an­der von Hum­boldt und Carl Rit­ter. 2 Bde. Leip­zig: 1845.

Wal­lich, Natha­ni­el, Plan­tae Asia­ti­cae rario­res, or, Descrip­ti­ons and figu­res of a select num­ber of unpu­blis­hed East Indian plants. 3 Vols. Lon­don: 1830–32.

Secondary Literature

Arnold, David, “Plant Capi­ta­lism and Com­pa­ny Sci­ence. The Indian Care­er of Natha­ni­el Wal­lich”. Modern Asi­an Stu­dies 42, 5 (2008): pp. 899–928.

Brad­low, Frank R., Baron von Lud­wig and the Ludwig’s‑Burg Gar­den. A Chro­ni­cle of the Cape from 1806 to 1848. Cape Town: 1965.

Dray­ton, Richard, Nature’s Government. Sci­ence, Impe­ri­al Bri­tain, and the ‚Impro­ve­ment‘ of the World. New Haven: 2000.

Har­ri­son, Mark, “The Cal­cut­ta Bota­nic Gar­den and the Wider World, 1817–46”. In: Uma Das Gupta (ed.) Sci­ence and Modern India: An Insti­tu­tio­nal Histo­ry, c.1784–1947. Delhi: 2011, pp. 235–255.

Kabat, Alan R. und Euge­ne Vic­tor Coan, “The Life and Work of Rudolph Aman­dus Phil­ip­pi (1808–1904)”. Mal­a­co­lo­gia 60, 1–2 (2017): pp. 1–30.

Krie­ger, Mar­tin, Natha­ni­el Wal­lich. Ein Bota­ni­ker zwi­schen Kopen­ha­gen und Kal­kut­ta. Ham­burg-Kiel: 2017.

——–, „Die ‚Gala­thea‘ in Kal­kut­ta. Natur­for­schung und kolo­nia­le Macht“. In: Oli­ver Auge, Mar­tin Göll­nitz (Hg.) Mit For­scher­drang und Aben­teu­er­lust. Expe­di­tio­nen und For­schungs­rei­sen Kie­ler Wis­sen­schaft­le­rin­nen und Wis­sen­schaft­ler. Frank­furt am Main: 2017, S. 23–36.

——–, “Natha­ni­el Wal­lichs kar­rie­re i Seram­po­re og Cal­cut­ta 1808–1815”. Per­so­nal­his­to­risk Tidsskrift 2014, pp. 69–86.

Robin­son, Tim, Wil­liam Rox­burgh. The Foun­ding Father of Indian Bota­ny. Chi­ches­ter: 2008.

Tobi­as Delfs, IAAW, Hum­boldt-Uni­ver­si­tät zu Berlin