GOSSE, Philip Henry, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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GOSSE, Philip Henry (1810-1888). Zoologist and religious writer.
Autograph Letter Signed to W. Lavers, 4 pages 8vo (some soiling and foxing, and an ink endorsement to page 4), Sandhurst, Torquay, 26 February 1877. Evidently to a friend and fellow orchid enthusiast, discussing the possible exchange of specimens, and sending personal news.
'I was well pleased to hear that the Orchid-mania having bitten you, had broken out with so favourable an eruption. Go on & prosper! Thank you for the offer of Sophronitis grandi-flora; I have some nice specimens of it. ... It is a most charming bloomer, & so very compact & neat, & so easy to grow, that it specially suits a small collection. May I venture to commend you to keep what you have.'
 'You ask if I have any thing I would like to get rid of. Yes, I have several; but unfortunately they are of the poor worthless weedy sort, that would be no more worth your growing than of mine. And as for the offer of your ever large & liberal heart, to "give me a plant", surely, surely, my kind friend, it would far better become me to spare you some thing of of my full collection, than to hold out a greedy hand for a gift from your newborn one! Yet the kindness & self-sacrifice of the proffer are not less appreciated. After all, it is just like you!
 'The Orchid-pots & Baskets that we like so well are from John Matthews, Royal Pottery, Weston super Mare. ...'
 'I have had 2 copies sent me of a sale at Stevens's next Friday; ... I inclose the duplicate. I don't want it again. There are some good things in it. ...'
 'I am thankful to say I am now pretty well again. Yesterday I took the work of God at our little chapel, both morning & evening. Will you tell Miss Lavers, with our kind Christian love, that I hope to resume our Scripture readings at our house ...'
Gosse's correspondent is presumably the W. Lavers who had been president of the Torquay District Gardener's Association, who lectured on orchids at the opening of the winter session in 1892.
Philip Henry Gosse was the subject of his son Edmund Gosse's most important book Father and Son (1907). In contrast to the bigotted tyrant depicted in the book, however, he is known to have been a kindly and tolerant man, whose error as a father was to attempt to protect his son from from the world, the flesh and the devil. Never a popular line.
[No: 24121]

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