The collectors (part 2)

Map of the seat of war in Florida (1839).

DISPLACED to Key West from the home of his boyhood, far from the old centers of culture, power, learning and earning, William A. Whitehead soon found that his new locale itself possessed a particular magnetism. An ideal site for scientific exploration both on its own and adjacent shores, the island attracted an array of “naturalists and others,” who hoped for new discoveries to enrich “the various departments of natural science,” if not themselves as well.1

Probably the most intrepid of these was a young botanist named Edward Frederick Leitner. A relative newcomer to the United States, the Stuttgart-born Leitner had “wandered through a great part of New York and Pennsylvania” improving his English to the point where in Whitehead’s estimation he could speak it “perfectly,”2 until his scientific interests led him to Charleston, where he found a German-American community and a congenial base for his studies at the Medical College of South Carolina. While enrolled there, Leitner gave lessons in classical languages and his native German. Beginning in June 1832, when just 20, he offered a summer course in botany: “15 Gentlemen and 17 Ladies” enrolled in his lectures.3

The Medical College of South Carolina, where E. F. Leitner studied and taught from 1832 to 1837. Courtesy of the Waring Historical Library, MUSC, Charleston, S.C.

That month he also met John James Audubon, newly returned to Charleston from a celebrated cruise along the Florida Reef. While duly impressed by this “greatly talented and excellent man,” Leitner already had a far more ambitious itinerary in mind. His own plans embraced not just the Reef and the Keys but the trackless interior of South Florida, “to lift the veil which now covers that part of the United States.” His projected travels extended to other regions of the South as well, to enlarge his herbarium with the flora of Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas.4

Botany was Leitner’s principal domain, but he solicited the broadest possible patronage, offering to repay subscribers, according to their interests, in plants, seeds, shells, minerals, insects, reptiles or stuffed birds. To the eminent New York scientist John Torrey he vowed that “no exertions shall be spared to add something to the natural history of this country.” Leitner landed on Key West in February 1833, with trunks, vials and collecting boxes ready to receive objects for his sponsors’ study as well as his own.5

Admiring the learning and intelligence of this unusual visitor, Whitehead also remarked on his methods of preserving plant specimens, “their beauty and natural appearance suffering little by the process.” But what he and all Leitner’s acquaintances found most extraordinary was the young man’s unrestrained enthusiasm for his material. Whitehead recalled of his walks with Leitner that, “no matter how earnestly engaged in conversation or interested in topics under discussion, his eye was ever quick to perceive every common flower or blade of grass that might enrich his collection, and at once would he bolt away to secure it.” Whitehead perhaps detected, in this companion just two years his junior, a boyish impetuosity, fed by his pleasure “at the idea of being the first botanist to visit this region.”6 It’s believed that, by dint of such self-assurance, he also became the first white man to succeed in crossing the Everglades.

Leitner’s plan to penetrate the terra incognita of the interior, “and afterwards to be governed by circumstances,” must have seemed to many ill-advised.7 Indeed, for nearly four months, friends in Charleston had no news of him, until word came of his return to Key West at the end of August. Unforgiving heat, relentless insects, a long bout of fever with no medical aid but his own, and the loss in a squall of more than a thousand specimens had not discouraged him. He carried back to Key West an estimated 700 plant specimens, together with shells, insects, birds, animal skins, and even the skeleton of a manatee.8 Among those who excitedly read of his exploits was Audubon, who looked forward to learning about the “50 New Birds” that “Lightner” would bring back to Charleston.9 Whitehead would stay informed about Leitner’s work by reading the Charleston papers, and as editor of the Key West Enquirer gave space to his observations on poisonous plants, a direct outcome of his trek across Florida in 1833.10

South Florida lost none of its allure for Leitner. He came back repeatedly in the following years, aware that in doing so he was traveling into a war zone. Those years, consumed with hostilities between the U.S. Army and the Seminoles, saw a constant ebb and flow of fear and deprivation across the region. But in the eyes of one of Leitner’s contemporaries, they only made more prominent “the singular perseverance and intrepidity which marked his character.”11 Finding no other way to continue his scientific pursuits, Leitner attached himself to not one but two military expeditions, in October 1836 and December 1837, as “surgeon and naturalist.” Between missions he began taking subscriptions for a monumental work on the topography of Florida’s mysterious south, but on the second campaign a violent encounter with Indians put a sudden end to his life at age 26. His specimen box and a 300-page manuscript were lost, leaving few remnants of the labors of this “much lamented student of Nature.”12

Bursera gummifera, a tree of which D. J. Browne noted several examples on Key West.

Daniel Jay Browne, another naturalist whose path entwined with Whitehead’s, traced his origins to New England, and may have survived Florida’s perils thanks to a much more limited degree of contact. Before coming to Key West in early 1833, he studied modern languages and anatomy at Harvard, published an etymological dictionary, edited a periodical devoted to natural science, and authored a compendium on American trees, The Sylva Americana. Whitehead’s memory of Browne was faint and somewhat faulty–he recorded his first name incorrectly as John–even though Browne arrived with a sound reputation for learning, and “bearing letters of introduction that ensured him every attention.”13

How long Browne spent in South Florida and the nature of his collecting are little known. The Keys were part of a more extensive tropical itinerary, of which several weeks were spent studying coffee and sugar plantations on Cuba, a subject about which he and Whitehead may be guessed to have compared notes. Key West is barely mentioned in Browne’s later writings, probably because of the very small amount of cultivation he found there.14

Still, allowing that Browne “made a very favorable impression upon the good people of the island whose acquaintance he made,” Whitehead followed with interest his later career as head of the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office, where he received harsh criticism for a scheme to distribute seeds purchased abroad. Browne’s role in the campaign to diversify antebellum agriculture, including an elaborate plan to introduce tea cultivation to the country, overshadowed his earlier distinction as a scientist.15

The naturalist most nearly associated with Whitehead, albeit usually at a remove of many miles, was Dr. Henry Perrine. A fellow New Jersey native who served as U.S. consul in Campeche, on the Gulf of Mexico, Perrine worked tirelessly to promote the cultivation on American territory of tropical plants, particularly fibrous species like the Agave americana and Agave sisalana or Sisal hemp of Yucatán. He eyed Florida’s isles and its dense wilderness as fields of experimentation rather than exploration, and it became his life’s work to redeem these “slandered soils” by converting them to flourishing fields of non-native species.16

Perrine’s zeal to transform Florida’s ostensibly barren wastelands into nurseries for new plants led to a decade-long crusade marked by extravagant claims, compulsive thinking (he didn’t doubt that at times he was suspected of “monomania”) and the ruination of his already fragile health. His voluminous petitions to the territorial and national governments were swollen with predictions little short of epochal for American agriculture and manufacturing, promising the dawn of “an era … as distinguished as the invention of the cotton-gin,”17 even when a grant of land from Congress, or a tariff to protect his business from cheap foreign imports, seemed a hopeless prospect.18

Perrine could not rest from his exertions, even without expectation of any immediate return: Whitehead, while wishing him success, once admitted, “I doubt if you will be the one to profit by the result.”19 What fueled the project, rather, was a common but no less potent faith in American exceptionalism and white supremacy. Perrine sometimes cloaked his dogmas in the language of natural science: America’s white race represented “the best varieties of the best species of the human genus,” “the most productive species of mankind, under the most favorable form of government on earth.”20 Introduction of new staple crops to the exhausted lands of the old South would, Perrine believed, staunch the flow of Southern white farmers to cheap and more fertile lands in the West and North. It would narrow the gap between sections, “and thus,” he concluded in one of his many alliterative effusions, “preserve and promote the peace, population, prosperity, and permanence of the Union.”21

Perrine rejected the notion of “the equality or sameness of the different species of mankind.”22 His views were hardly uncommon among politicians or men of science; neither was the terror, often underlying them, of an uprising or infiltration by “inferior” races. To leave south Florida uncultivated, unpeopled by “the sturdy yeomanry of the south,” was to abandon it to “fugitive negroes” who were worse than the “savage Seminoles,” perhaps even to surrender it to the Black inhabitants of the West Indies. Its intensive cultivation, on the other hand, would provide security against “fanatical abolition,” and create “a well-garrisoned bulwark against invasion in every shape or shade.”23

Perrine’s opinion of the Mexicans among whom he lived and worked was not much higher. His complaints about their character, “more impenetrable than the covering of their soil,” his private tirades against their “extreme barbarity and duplicity,” were countered, however, by locals who “cursed me for robbing their plants, and the authorities for permitting me to collect and carry them away,” and who through evasion and sabotage made his collecting all the more difficult.24

Notwithstanding these obstacles, Perrine continued to gather and send plants, seeds and animal specimens from Campeche to friends in New York, New Orleans and Florida. As early as 1833, there were temporary nurseries established on the islet of Indian Key and at Cape Florida on Biscayne Bay.25

Interior of a Mexican bee hive, of the kind Henry Perrine sent to Whitehead.

In 1835 Whitehead himself received a delivery from Mexico, the only one known to have reached Key West. It comprised “some plants of the Cochineal Cactus,” a gray rabbit “represented by Dr. Perrine as being of a very productive species,” and seven hollow logs containing hives of the famous stingless honeybees of Yucatán.

The experiment, Whitehead found himself compelled to report, had not been crowned with success. The mate to the rabbit had died in an accident en route, “and the other fell a victim to an ill-judged attempt to obtain its liberty soon after its arrival.” Many of the bees had died or abandoned their hives, those remaining failed to increase in number despite Whitehead’s ministrations, and the little honey they produced was of poor quality. Even the cactus plants proved a disappointment: they “were distributed among those gentlemen who had gardens, but it was thought that the island already possessed the species.”26

Whitehead nevertheless was pleased by news that Perrine was planning a large “acclimating nursery” in southern Florida, a project leading two years later to his permanent removal from Mexico to the Keys. Perrine arrived in June 1837, meeting Whitehead briefly before the latter left to attend to family matters in the North. Realizing that Seminole hostilities rendered a mainland location too dangerous, Perrine decided to locate temporarily in the Keys. He consulted Whitehead about the expense of clearing and enclosing land on Key West; whether from its attendant costs (“the price of labor, living, and every thing,” as Whitehead informed him, “being excessively high”), the jealousy of the island’s commercial establishment, his interest in introducing plants from the Bahamas, or a combination of these factors and others, Perrine moved the focus of his operations eighty miles east to the rival port at Indian Key, with whose advancement “he soon identified himself.”27

After this, the thread between the two men begins to slacken. Whitehead left Key West permanently the following year, settling in New York, but he continued to fight on the island’s behalf against the upstart venture at Indian Key. That contest abruptly ended as the whole Indian Key settlement went up in flames in a Seminole raid in August 1840, and with it the life of Dr. Henry Perrine, aged 43. One tribute, at least, echoed the eulogies of Dr. Leitner: “His voluminous and valued notes have all been lost; and with the martyrdom of Perrine, have also perished his labors.”28

As a record of the lives of Leitner, Browne and Perrine, Whitehead’s testimony is valuable, and sometimes irreplaceable. As a source from which to draw lessons about Whitehead’s own life, its value is less readily apparent. It would seem to consist in the progress of his education: not any increase in scientific knowledge he may have acquired from these men of learning, but a developing consciousness of the impossibility all three faced of pursuing, in a complex and contested world, knowledge of that world purely for its own sake.

Whatever the relative truth or falsehood of Whitehead’s affirmation that these naturalists had “no money making projects in hand,”29 no scientist could explore, collect or describe unfettered from reality–economic, cultural and political. No scientific or scholarly endeavor could proceed untouched by impulses either to pursue power, preserve or subvert it, with all their accompanying prejudices and capacities to cause harm. This was as much the case then as it is today.

Copyright © 2020-2023 Gregory J. Guderian

[1] W. A. Whitehead, Reminiscences of Key West no. 10. Whitehead’s thirteen Reminiscences of Key West are preserved in a letterbook copy at the New Jersey Historical Society as part of Manuscript Group 734; their serial publication in Key of the Gulf (Key West, Fla.) between March and July 1877 formed the basis for the edition by Thelma Peters, “William Adee Whitehead’s Reminiscences of Key West,” Tequesta: the journal of the Historical Association of Southern Florida 1:25 (1965) 3-42. References to Peters’s text appear in parentheses thus: (Peters 30).

[2] Details and most of the documentation of Leitner’s life are gathered in George E. Gifford, Jr., “Edward Frederick Leitner (1812-1838) physician-botanist,” Bulletin of the history of medicine 46:6 (Nov.-Dec. 1972) 568-590. Whitehead’s brief sketch of Leitner is in Reminiscences no. 10 (Peters 31). Leitner mentioned his northern peregrinations in a letter from Charleston, dated 14 July 1832, to Benjamin Silliman, the editor of The American journal of science and arts, where it was published in volume 23:1 (October 1832) 46n. Gifford printed the text of the letter at 573-574, stating that the original is preserved at Yale University.

[3] “Instruction in botany,” The Charleston (S.C.) courier 22 May 1832 3:2, printed at Gifford 570-571. “Lectures in botany,” The Charleston courier 1 June 1832 3:3. E. F. Leitner, Charleston 1 July 1832, to Lewis David von Schweinitz, Bethlehem, Pa., translation from the German printed by Gifford 571-572. “I perceive with pleasure,” Leitner wrote on 12 September 1832 to John Torrey, “that botany is making rapid increases in Charleston, even among the fair sex.” Edward Frederick Leitner and John Torrey correspondence, 1832. John Torrey Papers, New York Botanical Garden, text printed by Gifford 574-575. Notable among testimonials to the botanist’s “zeal and ability” was that of Ann Marsan Talvande, dean of a “Ladies School” for the daughters of upper-class Charlestonians: The Charleston courier 19 September 1832 2:3. Leitner gave a public lecture “comprising a history of the science” later that summer (The Charleston courier 27 August 1832 3:3) and advertised another series of botany lectures in 1834 (The Charleston courier 11 April 1834 3:1).

[4] Leitner to von Schweinitz, translation in Gifford 571. Leitner to Silliman, reprinted in Gifford 573.

[5] Leitner to von Schweinitz, translation in Gifford 571-572; Leitner to Silliman, text in Gifford 573-574; Leitner to Torrey, printed in Gifford 574-575. Whitehead’s manuscript copybook of the Reminiscences clearly shows February as the month of Leitner’s arrival, but this was misread as January in Key of the Gulf (a mistake perpetuated at Peters 31). We know from a newspaper notice that he had reached Key West by 15 February: “Scientific expedition,” The Charleston courier 26 February 1833 2:3. Leitner’s three letters aforementioned show that his departure from Charleston, previously scheduled for 1 March, was moved at least twice to an earlier date.

[6] Reminiscences no. 10 (Peters 31). “Everybody who knows me in this country,” Leitner once wrote, “is convinced of my enthusiasm.” Leitner to von Schweinitz, translation in Gifford 572. Leitner’s achievement figures in a letter to a Congressional committee from Henry Perrine, submitted in support of his own South Florida venture in 1838: “The only white man, in his knowledge, that has made a partial exploration of the southwestern extremity of Florida, was Doctor Leitner, of Charleston, who, on his return to that city, gave a public lecture, and exhibited a transparent map of the country, which the subscriber believes would frighten every person but himself from all desire of spending a single day in the same regions.” Henry Perrine, Washington 3 February 1838, to Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives, printed in 25th Congress, 2d Session, Report 300 [To accompany bill S. No. 241] (12 March 1838) (10-12) 12.

[7] “Scientific expedition,” The Charleston courier 26 February 1833 2:3, text in Gifford 576.

[8] “Mr. Leitner the naturalist,” The Charleston courier 3 September 1833 2:5, text in Gifford 577-578.

[9] John J. Audubon, New York 20 September 1833, to Victor Audubon, London, in Howard Corning, ed. Letters of John James Audubon 1826-1840 (2 vols. Boston 1930) 1:252.

[10] The Charleston courier 15 July 1835 3:1, 24 July 1835 2:3-4; “Poison of the Mancinella,” The enquirer (Key West, Fla.) 5 September 1835 3:3.

[11] Benjamin Alvord, Address before the Dialectic Society of the Corps of Cadets, in commemoration of the gallant conduct of the nine graduates of the military academy, and other officers of the United States Army, who fell in the battles which took place in Florida, on the 28th of December, 1835, and the 25th December, 1837; the former called Dade’s Battle, the latter, the Battle of Okee-cho-bee. Delivered at West Point, N. Y., on the 29th December, 1838 (New York 1839) 58. Already in 1832, Leitner gave thought to the Indian wars and their potential to interfere with his investigations: “The Indians are rather rebellious and if they are not calmed down they might show their mettle. Still the Seminole Indians so far are peaceful, the ones in Georgia and Tennessee also. The only difficulties might develop in the Arkansas Territory. I believe this opportunity shouldn’t be neglected because such an occasion might not repeat itself.” Leitner to von Schweinitz, translation in Gifford 572. Before Leitner returned to South Florida in September 1836, the Charleston naturalist and clergyman John Bachman provided him a gun “and whiskey for specimens,” then wrote to deter Audubon from contemplating a similar venture: “With regard to Florida, nothing will be done by Naturalists for at least two years. Your Indian friends, the cut-throats, have scalped almost every woman and child south of St. Augustine, save those of Key West.” John Bachman, Charleston 14-15 September 1836, to J. J. Audubon, printed in John Bachman D.D., LL.D., Ph.D. the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Charleston (Charleston 1888) 138.

[12] Alvord, Address 59. Leitner lectured on southern Florida before the Charleston Literary and Philosophical Society in July 1837, and in September opened a subscription for his projected work: The Charleston courier 15 July 1837 3:3; 9 September 1837 2:2. For his service on military expeditions, see James Rhette Motte, Journey into wilderness. An army surgeon’s account of life in camp and field during the Creek and Seminole Wars 1836-1838, ed. James F. Sunderman (Gainesville, Fla. 1953) 168, 184. On the death of Leitner and attempts to recover his papers and specimens, see also Medicus, “Climate of South Florida,” Army and Navy chronicle 6 (1838) 108; O., “The death of Doctor Leitner, a German naturalist killed in Florida,” Army and Navy Chronicle 6 (1838) 181 (from the New-York American); J. R. Poinsett, “Papers of the late Dr. Leitner,” Army and Navy Chronicle 10 (1840) 390. More recent efforts to find parts of Leitner’s planned work on South Florida have been equally unsuccessful: see the reprinting of Gifford’s article in Broward legacy 27:1 (Summer 2007) (2-23) 3. Four decades after the events Whitehead wrote, “What became of his manuscripts and specimens the writer never heard.” Reminiscences no. 10 (Peters 31).

[13] Reminiscences no. 10 (Peters 30). The misremembered first name may have resulted from a partial confusion with John James Audubon: in the description of Audubon’s visit, later in the same article, Whitehead stated incorrectly that he came to Key West from Cuba. Audubon never saw Cuba, whereas Browne spent considerable time there. For a more complete sketch of Browne’s career, see Joseph Holt, “Vindication of the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office,” The Washington (D.C.) union 8 June 1858 3:1-2. Cf. “The Agricultural Division of the Patent Office,” Scientific American 13:41 (19 June 1858) 325.

[14] While admitting as much, Whitehead saw great horticultural potential on the island: “In consequence of most of the population heretofore being in some measure but temporarily located, and engrossed with mercantile affairs, no attention has yet been paid to the cultivation of the soil, more than to rear a few of the tropical plants, and a few vegetables, although the soil is admirably adapted to all the tropical productions that have not a tap root, or one requiring a greater depth of earth than three or four feet, and that do not stand in need of clay, as there is none whatever entering into the composition of our soil, which consists entirely of mould formed by decayed vegetation…” Notices of Key West for John Rodman Esq. St. Augustine, written December 1835, 4a-b, manuscript copy in Florida Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, Special Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. The text was printed in Rember W. Patrick, ed. “William Adee Whitehead’s description of Key West,” Tequesta: the journal of the Historical Association of Southern Florida 1:12 (1952) (61-73) 65-66.

[15] Browne considered the use of “coral sand,” abundant in the Florida Keys, as fertilizer to be “a subject, worthy of investigation, and experiments might be tried, on a limited scale, by our agriculturists, both at the north and at the south.” D. J. Browne, The American muck book; treating of the nature, properties, sources, history, and operations of all the principal fertilisers and manures in common use, with specific directions for their preparation, preservation, and application to the soil and to crops; as combined with the leading principles of practical and scientific agriculture; drawn from authentic sources, actual experience, and personal observation (New York 1852) 249-250. For his more revolutionary efforts toward restructuring American farming, see Nelson Klose, America’s crop heritage. The history of foreign plant introduction by the federal government (Ames, Iowa, 1950) 41; Philip J. Pauly, Fruits and plains. The horticultural transformation of America (Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press, 2007) 106-107; Courtney Fullilove, The profit of the earth. The global seeds of American agriculture (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2017) 55-58, 82-83.

[16] Henry Perrine, “Random records and recollections respecting the establishment of the Tropical Plant Co., Indian Key, Fa. [sic],” The magazine of horticulture, botany, and all useful discoveries and improvements in rural affairs 6 (May 1840) (161-170) 162. Cf. eundem, “Random records of tropical Florida,” in the September 1840 number of the same journal, 321-333, reprinted in Tequesta 11 (1951) 51-62. On Perrine generally, see T. Ralph Robinson, “Henry Perrine, pioneer horticulturist of Florida,” Tequesta 2 (1942) 16-24; Nelson Klose, “Dr. Henry Perrine, tropical plant enthusiast,” Florida historical quarterly 27:2 (October 1948) 189-201.

[17] Henry Perrine, Tammany Hall, New York, 18 November 1831, to the Secretary of the Treasury, printed in 22d Congress, 1st Session, “Foreign trees and plants. Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting the information required by a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th ultimo, upon the subject of introducing into the United States foreign trees and plants, &c. &c.,” Doc. 198 (6 April 1832) (8-11) 10; Henry Perrine, New York 8 November 1831, to the Secretary of the Treasury, extract from The globe (Washington, D.C.) 19 November 1831, printed in 25th Congress, 2d Session, “Henry Perrine–tropical plants,” Report 564 [To accompany bill H. R. No. 553] (8 March 1838) (14-15) 15. Cf. ibid. 34. In 1832 Perrine offered a $1000 prize to the inventor of a machine to “separate from the fresh leaves of the Agaves, those fibres which are called Sisal hemp, … which will save as much labor as Whitney’s Gin in separating the seeds from Cotton.” The Genesee farmer 2:43 (27 October 1832) 339; cf. “Henry Perrine–tropical plants” 44. Perrine declared his willingness “to be suspected even of monomania on this subject, provided it will result in a candid trial to ascertain the fact or falsity of the suspicion.” Henry Perrine, Washington 4 January 1838, to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, printed in 25th Congress, 2d Session, Report 300 [To accompany bill S. No. 241] (12 March 1838) (3-5) 5.

[18] In numerous letters and petitions, Perrine detailed the obstacles created by government action or inaction: see, for example, Henry Perrine, U.S. Consulate at Campeche, Memorial of 29 December 1834, printed in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants” 27-34; Perrine, Washington 9 January 1838, to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, printed in 25th Congress, 2d Session, Report 300, 6-9; Perrine, Washington 3 February 1838, to House Committee on Agriculture, printed ibid. 10-12.

[19] W. A. Whitehead, Key West 25 November 1837, to Dr. Henry Perrine, Washington, printed in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants” (61-62) 62.

[20] Henry Perrine, U.S. Consulate at Campeche 1 February 1834, to the Secretary of the Treasury, printed in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants,” Report 564 (47-53) 49, 52; cf. Memorial of 29 December 1834, printed ibid. 32.

[21] Henry Perrine, U.S. Consulate at Campeche 23 November 1834, printed in 25th Congress, 2d Session, Report 300 (23-40) 31. Some in Congress must have wearied of such flourishes, reading how Perrine would “prove that he pre-eminently possesses the passion and power of persisting in his purposes to promote the prosperity of the public by propagating productive, profitable, perennial plants.” Memorial of 29 December 1834, printed in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants” 29.

[22] Perrine referred to such equivalence as an “unphilosophical supposition”: Perrine, 1 February 1834, to the Secretary of the Treasury, printed in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants” 48.

[23] Perrine, 4 January 1838, to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, printed in 25th Congress, 2d Session, Report 300, 5; Henry Perrine, New York 27 November 1837, to Asa W. Gray, Asa Gray correspondence files of the Gray Herbarium, 1838-1892 (inclusive). Botany Libraries, Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, Mass.

[24] Henry Perrine, U.S. Consulate at Campeche 1 January 1830, to the Secretary of the Treasury, printed in 22d Congress, 1st Session, “Foreign trees and plants,” (6-7) 6; Henry Perrine, Tammany Hall, New York, 21 March 1832, to the Secretary of the Treasury, printed ibid. 16-17, and in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants,” Report 564, 39-41; Perrine, 23 November 1834, printed in 25th Congress, 2d Session, Report 300, 35.

[25] Establishment of an Indian Key nursery is dated to August 1833 by a footnote signed “H.P.” in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants,” Report 564, 36, where is reprinted a letter of Henry Perrine, Key West 30 June 1837, to the editor of The Southern agriculturist, and register of rural affairs; adapted to the southern section of the United States. The letter appeared in the August 1837 issue of that journal, 403-404. Mexican plants and seeds were also received at Cape Florida in 1833, according to a letter of John Dubose, Key West 1 November 1837, to Henry Perrine, extracts printed in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants,” Report 564 (59-60) 59.

[26] The enquirer 25 April 1835 3:1; W. A. Whitehead, Key West 25 November 1837, to Henry Perrine, Washington, printed in “Henry Perrine–tropical plants,” Report 564 (61-62) 62; Reminiscences no. 10 (Peters 31-32).

[27] Whitehead to Perrine, 25 November 1837, 62; Reminiscences no. 10 (Peters 32). According to Perrine he landed on Key West on 17 June 1837: Perrine, 30 June 1837, to the editor of The Southern agriculturist (see note 25).

[28] Army and navy chronicle 11:10 (3 September 1840) 155. For Perrine’s life and death on Indian Key, see “Florida war,” Army and navy chronicle 11:9 (27 August 1840) 139-140; “Massacre at Indian Key.” Army and navy chronicle 11:10 (3 September 1840) 153-154; “Massacre at Indian Key, August 7, 1840 and the death of Doctor Henry Perrine (Narrative of Hester Perrine Walker, a survivor),” Florida historical quarterly 5:1 (July 1926) 18-42; Hester Perrine Walker, “The Perrines at Indian Key, Florida, 1838-1840,” Tequesta 7 (1947) 69-78; Whitehead, Reminiscences no. 7 (Peters 20-23); William C. Sturtevant, “Chakaika and the ‘Spanish Indians’: documentary sources compared with Seminole tradition,” Tequesta 13 (1953) 35-73; John K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War 1835-1842 (Gainesville 19671; 19922) 279-280.

[29] Reminiscences no. 10 (Peters 30).

Images: 1) Map of the seat of war in Florida, 1836 [sic]. National Archives and Records Administration. Record Group 77: Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, 1789-1999. Civil Works Map File, 1818-1947. 2) College building. Catalogue of the trustees, faculty and students of the Medical College of the State of South-Carolina: to which are added the charter and by-laws of the college, 1833-1834 (Charleston 1833). Image and citation courtesy of the Waring Historical Library, MUSC, Charleston, S.C. 3) Bursera gummifera. Thomas Nuttall, The North American Sylva; or, a description of the forest trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia, not described in the work of F. Andrew Michaux, and containing all the forest trees discovered in the Rocky Mountains, the territory of Oregon, down to the shores of the Pacific, and into the confines of California, as well as in various parts of the United States (3 vols. Philadelphia 1849) vol. 2, pl. LXXIX.  4) Bee hive. Narrative of a voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait, to co-operate with the polar expeditions: performed in His Majesty’s Ship Blossom, under the command of Captain F. W. Beechey, R.N. F.R.S., F.R.A.S., and F.R.G.S. in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28 (2 vols. London 1831) plate facing 2:614.

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