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SIR WILLIAM HOOKER
this date, and the event which it carried with it, as a nodal point in the history of botany not only in this country, but also in the world at large.
The urgent necessity for such an official centre as Kew now is was patent in the interests of the British Empire. The need of it had already been clearly before the minds of the Parliamentary Commission, appointed a few years before, with Dr Lindley as chairman, to report upon the question of the retaining of the Botanic Gardens at Kew. The report contained the following passage which, while it formulates an ideal then to be aimed at, summarises in great measure the activities of the present establishment at Kew. "The wealthiest and most civilised country in Europe offers the only European example of the want of one of the first proofs of wealth and civilisation. There are many gardens in the British colonies and dependencies, as Calcutta, Bombay, Saharunpore, the Mauritius, Sydney, and Trinidad, costing many thousands a year: their utility is much diminished by the want of some system under which they can be regulated and controlled. There is no unity of purpose among them; their objects are unsettled, and their powers wasted from not receiving a proper direction: they afford no aid to each other, and it is to be feared, but little to the countries where they are established: and yet they are capable of conferring very important benefits on commerce, and of conducing essentially to colonial prosperity. A National Botanic Garden would be the centre around which all these lesser establishments should be arranged: they should all be placed under the control of the chief of that garden, acting with him, and through him with each other, recording constantly their proceedings, explaining their wants, receiving supplies, and aiding the mother country in everything useful in the vegetable kingdom: medicine, commerce, agriculture, horticulture, and many branches of manufacture would derive considerable advantage from the establishment of such a system....From a garden of this kind Government could always obtain authentic and official information upon points connected with the establishment of new Colonies: it would afford the plants required on these occasions, without its being necessary, as now, to apply to the officers of private establish-