Sir Jos. Banks.
Botan. Garden Jamaica.
March 28th 1793.
I had the honour to acquaint you some time ago, that I had received orders from a Committee of the House of Assembly of this Island, to make a collection of Plants for his Majesty's Gardens at Kew, to be in readiness for Capt. Bligh on his arrival from the South Seas. Captain Bligh having arrived here much sooner than was expected, and the time fixed for his stay in this Island being very short, it has not been in my power to execute the Orders given me in the manner I could have wished; but I have used my best endeavours, in getting as ample and as various a Collection as the time allowed & other circumstances would permit.
I have made the Lists formerly sent me and the Hortus Kervensis, [plant catalogue] my chief Guides in in the business; but there are a great many plants which are neither enumerated in those Lists, or in the H. Kervensis. Some that are I am taught to believe may be nevertheless acceptable. as I understand that losses sometimes happen. of the more choice Plants, I have not been satisfied to send duplicates merely, but several pl. [plants] of the same kind, to guard against the consequence of failing. I have besides another reason. Mr. Forsyth the Superintendant of the Royal Gardens at Kensington, to whom I feel myself under some obligation, has wrote to me, requesting Plants. I hope that some of those of which there are several of the same kind, may be spared to him or any of your other friends; particularly Mr. Molesworth of the Pay Office, whose Sollicitations I should be glad on any occasion to comply with.
The large Plants in the Tubs, were put out to your own particular request, before I had received any Orders respecting the King's Plants; but as the whole collection go to your address, I have not judged it requisite to number them distinctly.
That the purpose of the Legislature, in gratifying his Majesty with an assortment of Jamaica Plants, might be carried into the fullest effect, I have sought every assistance, and particularly recommended to the Committee that Doctor Broughton, a Botanical Gentleman, residing at Kingston might be applied to, for his services. His skill opportunities and exertions which have not been wanting on the occasion, will I hope be found to have supplied any omission on my part. The hurry I have been in on this occasion has prevented me the opportunity of rightly investigating or ascertaining many of the Plants in the Catalogue and it is possible I may have made several mistakes, but as I keep a copy, I shall always be able to send you other specimens if required.
The number of pots being deficient, I am obliged to send many of the Plants in Baskets as formerly, but I have acquainted Mr. Smith, the Gardener, who is to superintend them on the voyage with your direction to plunge them in Earth.