Plagiarising Science Fraud

Plagiarising Science Fraud
Newly Discovered Facts, Published in Peer Reviewed Science Journals, Mean Charles Darwin is a 100 Per Cent Proven Lying, Plagiarising Science Fraudster by Glory Theft of Patrick Matthew's Prior-Published Conception of the Hypothesis of Macro Evolution by Natural Selection

Saturday 9 January 2016

THE GIANT REDWOOD RACE FOR FAME AND THE VERY START OF THE SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT: Source of the Historic Monumental Matthew Trees and the Consequent Historic Impact of John Lindley's Somewhat Suspicious Involvement in a Failed Claim to Priority

Postscript 23rd January 2016. The Wildlife photographer Peggy Edwards kindly sent an email update from the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh on some the information contained in this blogpost. She writes

'I spent an afternoon at RBGE examining Pinetum Britannicum and other Matthew references.  The Pinetum folio volumes are magnificent with several prints of SEGIs, cones, etc.

What the Gardner's Chronicle lists as 2 at Mayquick Castle by Errol is actually listed in the Pinetum as "2 at Megginch Castle by Errol", which makes whole lot more sense given this statement. Also in Vol 3 of the Pinetum:

"Mr. Matthew, in order to multiply the chances of their success, divided them into three portions, one of which he retained, one was given to Dr John Lyall of Newburgh, and the other to Mr. Duncan, then gardener at Megginch Castle."

NOTE Peggy has detected that that the Gardener's Chronicle almost certainly misspelt Megginch as Mayquick. The only Mayquick castle mentioned in any book anywhere is the single mention that is in the Gardener's Chronicle.(1866).



Readers of my book Nullius (Sutton 2014, 2017) and my prolific blog posts on the story of Patrick Matthew, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace, know the story of how Matthew most probably
influenced Darwin and Wallace via the naturalists, I originally discovered who they and their friends and influencers knew who read and cited Matthew's (1831) book 'On Naval Timber and Arboriculture'  before Darwin and Wallace (1858) and Darwin (1859) replicated Matthew's original ideas on natural selection in it, and then claimed no naturalists had read those ideas before their replications. 

In sum, following my 2014 research discoveries, the newly known fact of the matter is that several influential naturalists, well known to Darwin and Wallace, who influenced and facilitated their work and their influencers work on organic evolution, read and cited Matthew's book, and some even mentioned its original ideas on natural selection, before either Darwin or Wallace so much as put pen to unpublished private letter, notepad or private essay on the same topic. Subsequently, it it has been 100 per cent proven that from 1860 onwards Darwin lied about who read Matthew's book. In doing so, he corrupted the history of discovery of natural selection and committed lying, plagiarising science fraud by glory theft. of Matthew's prior-published ideas and their influence on 19th century naturalists who influenced himself and Wallace.

Today, I wish to share another tale of race for fame and bogus claims to priority.

This story is about the first introduction of giant Californian redwood trees into Britain. The bogus claim for its first introduction and naming as 'Wellingtonia' was made by a naturalist who turns up many times in Nullius. His name is John Lindley. In fact, the men later proven to be genuinely first to introduce the tree to Britain, and who referred to it as Wellingtonia before Lindley, were Patrick Matthew and his son John Matthew.

The Historic, Monumental, Matthew - Giant Redwood -Trees 

The Beautiful and Grand Historic Matthew Trees in Scotland are classed a 'Monumental Trees'.  The largest in the UK are those planted by Matthew in 1853 in the district that is today known as Perth and Kinross.

Giant redwood trees are the largest trees in the world by volume and can live up to 3,200 years.

Interestingly, one of those in Darwin's social circle of naturalists was involved in a bit of a controversy that - had it not been for one letter Matthew sent to the Gardener's Chronicle - might have resulted in he and his family being deprived of another right to full botanical scientific priority.

Lindley believed that he knew he was the first to receive the tree seeds in Britain having received them from the collector John Lobb in 1853, via the nursery owner James Veitch (see Chessell 2011). Having placed himself at the centre of the introduction of the seeds in Britain, whilst simultaneously casting some doubt upon upon the certainty of a written account of the existence of the trees - which the botanist David Douglas had sent to William Hooker - Lindley (1853) claimed priority on behalf of Lobb. So strategically positioning himself, Lindsey ensued that he was the noted botanist best able to name the tree. He proposed 'Wellingtonia gigantea" after the British hero the Duke of Wellington.

In fact, Patrick Matthew's son John had posted him seeds in June-  six months before Lobb's seeds arrived in Britain. The proof was in the letter Patrick Matthew sent to the Gardener's Chronicle (See Simblet 2014, p. 93). Moreover, in that letter, Patrick Matthew provides an account of his sons 1853 letter in which John Matthew referred to big redwood trees as Wellingtonia six months before Lindley is attributed with coining the name for the tree. Alternatively, Matthew sent John's original (July 1853) letter, or a transcribed copy, to the Chronicle - along with his explanation about it - and it was the Chronicle's staff who reproduced John's text from that in their June 1854 edition.

Lobb returned to England, from California, with giant Redwood seeds in December 1853,

On 28th August, 1853, Patrick Matthew received a letter from California from his son John (dated July 1853), a packet of giant redwood seeds, a branch from the tree and a sketch of the tree - along with a letter explaining where they found the trees in California.

 Extracts from John Matthew's July 1853 letter were published the following year in the Gardener's Chronicle in June 1845. The Gardener's Chronicle settled priority in John and Patrick Matthew's favour in 1866.Note:  Images of the original text from the 1866 article are included in an appendix at the end of this blog post.  

 "So much for the actual discovery of the tree; but there is another point, on which general opinion is also at fault, viz, who first introduced it into Europe? The credit of doing so is generally given to Mr Lobb, and his employer, Mr. Veitch, for whom he was collecting. But, if our information be correct, it to Mr. John D Matthew, son of Patrick Matthew Esq of Gourdie Hill near Errol.

Mr. Lobb returned from California in December 1853, bringing his seeds with him, as appears from the following remarks by Dr Lindley in this Journal on December 24 in that year :-

"The other day," says he  we received from Mr. Veitch branches and cones of a most remarkable Coniferous tree, also Californian, seeds and a living specimen, of which have also been brought him by his excellent collector Mr. W. Lobb, who wear happy to say, has returned loaded with fine things." The extraordinary Conifer referred to was the Wellingtonia, and this announcement was the first of several notices by the Doctor regarding it.

Six months before that, however, Mr Matthew's son had written to his father, informing him of the discovery of the giant trees, and forwarding a sketch of some of them, a small branch and some of its seed. His letter was dated 10th July 1853, and was received along with the seeds on the 28th of August following. The letter was published in extenso in this Journal in the following year 10th June. It contains little, but details which then fresh and full of interest, are now old and well-known but it fixes the date of the first envoi of seeds. The seeds all succeeded, and 11 of  them have been traced and details regarding them given in the "Pinetum britannicum" are distributed as follows :-
  • 2 at Gourdie Hill by Errol 
  • 2 at Mayquick Castle by Errol 
  • 2 at Ballendean by Inchture 
  • 1 at Kinnoul Nursery Perth 
  • 1 at Dr Lyall's Newburgh Fife 
  • 1 at Balbirnie Fife 
  • 1 at Inchry House Fife 
  • 1 at Eglinton Castle Ayrshire 

[Note the Gardener's chronicle continues with more general comments about giant redwoods. The full text can be found in pictures taken of the text and included in the Appendix at this end of this blog post].

John Matthew describes the most likely tree from which all the Matthew Trees seeds came

Patrick Matthew's 1854 published letter on page 373, Vol 14 of the Gardener's Chronicle includes excerpts from his son, John Matthew's  July 1853 letter, which includes interesting information about the giant redwoods that supplied the seeds which became the famous Matthew Trees in Britain. Two of Matthew's sons went to California to pan for Gold. They eventually settled in New Zealand.

 In the following account, from a letter sent to Patrick Matthew, by his son John Matthew, - engineer and surveyor -dated 1853, (published in the Gardener's Chronicle in 1854) mentions pockets of quartz, because quartz rock often indicates where gold it to be found. John Matthew refers to the giant Californian redwood as the 'Wellingtonia', the name which was eventually officially dropped - although its unofficial usage continues in some circles to this day. Notably, John describes that he had quite a struggle getting to the tree that provided the seeds for the Matthew Trees in Britain. They found it in a swamp and John calculated it was some 1800 years of age. He describes a fallen tree nearby with a hollow inside that could stable 50 horses. From the size of specimens today, and the general stock of 19th century images provided of these trees, this was no exaggeration.

Most remarkably, John Matthew provides early negative feelings towards the destruction of these ancient monumental trees - a rare sentiment in that 'age of destiny,'  which began in the US press a year earlier. 


Most significantly, it was progressive thinking about conserving thee giant redwoods that kick-started the entire modern conservation movement - and the most recent 'sustainability movement' - over 160 years ago.

Extract from the John Matthew letter, dated July 1853, received by Patrick Matthew in August 1853, published June 1854 in the Gardener's Chronicle.

 The Chronicle (1866) later claimed that the following published Extract of his letter proved John and Patrick Matthew had priority over William Lobb for being the first to introduce giant redwood tree seeds into Britain, thus being first to introduce the species in Britain.

"- Home Correspondence - "

 "Wellangtonia - The following is an extract of a letter from my son, ( mining engineer and surveyor), dated Jamestown Tuolumne county, Alta California, July 10 1853 :- "Last Saturday, I went along with one of my partners to see the "Big Tree," discovered in Calaveras county near the head-waters of the Stanislaus river. We crossed the river near Carson's Hill, where the richest pockets in quartz yet discovered in California, have been found. From Carson's Hill, we went on to Murphy's Camp, where we got horses. and after a three hours ride over a tolerably good trail, ascending pretty rapidly towards the base of the Sierra Nevada, at first through woods chiefly of Oak and Pine (Spruce), and afterwards of immense Pines, Fir, Arbor vitae, and Cedar, we reached a closely wooded-bottom, where the trees were more luxuriant than I have seen in any other region, with a good deal of under- brush, through which we had to force our way, and in this swamp we found the Wellingtonia, whose dimensions are as follows; - Diameter at the ground, 34 feet; diameter about 120 feet up; 20 feet diameter about 120 feet up; 14 feet, height, 290 feet age estimated at nearly 3000 years. I do not think, however, that it is so old, as I find there is on an average about 15 annual rings in the cross-section of its wood near the root to the inch, and taking the tree above the swell of the root at 10 foot to the centre, that is 120 inches, at 15 years to the melt gives only 1800 years. They are now cutting the tree down, and should it be perfectly solid to the centre, the exact age will soon be ascertained. In all climates, which have a decided summer, and winter so as greatly to vary the activity of vegetation the wood deposit of each year, viewed in the cross-section presents a distinct ring. In the same swamp there are many other trees of nearly the same diameter. I stepped round several 30 yards in circumference, while one which had fallen has a hollow inside fit to stable 50 horses. This gigantic Methusalem forest of the olden time seems to have extended back into periods anterior to any but geological record. The whole surface of the ground is strewed with immense trunks, or their remains, in every stage of decay, in many instances covered with vegetation - so as to look like green earthen mounds the mural vestiges ancient camps - and only by cutting into them are they found to be rotten wood. The other trees of the swamp consist of one species of Balsam Fir, two species Pine, from 3 to 7 feet in diameter, and from 250 to 300 feet high; and two species allied to the Cedar, of the same diameter as the Pines, but not so tall. Amongst the underwood are Hazel, Raspberries, Currant, Gooseberry, Dogwood, Poplar and Willow, with a number of others which we do not have in Europe, one of them the Rhus Toxidendron, or poison vine, poisonous to touch. The bark for about 140 feet has been removed from the "Big Tree" for the purpose of  putting it up in its natural figure, at World's Fair, New York, along with a section of both. There has been much talk here of the Goth-like act of cutting down the tree, the largest and oldest in the world, as the Californians boast.  It would have been a pity to do so, were there no others like it; but  many in the same swamp are nearly of the same dimensions, and I see it reported in the Stockton papers that one found on the head waters of the Moquelumnc, in the same county is 40 feet in diameter.  P. Matthew Gourdie Hill Errol NB.''

The Origin of the Matthew Trees in Scotland

Apart from Patrick Matthew, I don't know whether anyone anywhere has seen the whole of John Matthew's letter and whether or not it explains exactly where he got the seeds from that he sent to Patrick in 1853. He does however say that the tree he visited was in Calaveras County. It seems that it is from this information that the quite reasonable assumption has been made in the literature (e.g. here and here in the Gardener's Chronicle 1965) that he got the seeds from the Calaveras Grove - from where we know Lobb obtained his seeds months later. 

In his letter if 1853, John Matthew refers to "The Big Tree". Given the location of his trip being in Calaveras County it seems he was indeed at the Calaveras grove where the "Big Tree" (AKA The Mammoth Tree)  that had its bark stripped, for re-construction of a mock-up giant redwood tree at the World's Fair in New York, was cut down. News reports from 1853 describe that tree as being 285-300 feet high, 92 feet in circumference at the ground and 2,520 years old. 

If I had to bet money,  I'd bet the Matthew seeds came from the Calaveras Grove - simply because it would not otherwise make sense for Matthew to send that letter about his son's a trip to the Calaveras Grove as evidence for his priority for introducing the redwoods into Britain. Perhaps a DNA test between the trees we know for sure to be Matthew Trees in Scotland and those at Calaveras Grove in the USA (including surviving 19th century stumps) will settle the issue. This possibility is currently being explored by the wildlife photographer and campaigner Peggy Edwards and also by Major Howard Minnick (US Army - retired) who is Patrick Matthew's 3rd great grand son. 

There is a fallacy doing the rounds on the Internet (e.g. here) that Matthew beat Lobb to the seed race because he used a fast steam ship, whereas Lobb used a sailing ship. This is palpable nonsense, because it was not a race won by a few days. It was won by at least four months!  

Botanical naming of the giant Californian redwood tree

The name 'Wellingtonia gigantea"was disliked in the USA - from where the trees originated. Debates to name the tree went on for a number of years,  Eventually the tree was officially named  'Sequoiadendron giganteum' to  reflect its  botanical link to the coastal or California redwood, 'Sequoia sempervirens'. 


Note: At the time of writing (10th Jan. 2016) Wikipedia and a host of other websites and books have got one fact wrong. It is disconfirmed by John Matthew's letter as reprinted in the Gardener's Chronicle in 1853. (1) John Matthew did not personally arrive in the UK with the seeds in 1853. He sent them to his father Patrick Matthew - who planted them in the same year. 

Moreover, note the  point of interest that John Matthew called the tree Wellingtonia before Lindley received his seeds. So how could Lindley/Lobb or Lobb's employer  have first named the tree Wellingtonia - as so many 'experts' claim? Did Lindley name it before John Matthew anyway? If so where and when? To date, the earliest known naming by Lindley of the tree is in his December 24th 1853 missive on pages 819-820 the the Gardener's Chronicle. Lindley wrote in that article that the tree may first have been discovered by Douglas - who described it in a letter to William Hooker. Given that the lives of David Douglas and Patrick Matthew were interconnected (Sutton 2016) through the Palace of Scone and their mutual interest in trees, it is mere speculation to wonder if Douglas might have informally named the tree Wellingtonia and conveyed that name to Matthew in person or possible lost correspondence. Lindley asks on page 820: "But what is its name to be?" And answers himself a few sentences later: "

'...we think that no one will differ from us in feeling that the most appropriate name to be proposed for the most gigantic tree which has been revealed to us by modern discovery is that of the greatest modern heroes. WELLINGTON stands as high above his contemporaries as the Californian tree above all the surrounding foresters. Let it then bear henceforward the name of WELLINGTONIA GIGANTEA. Emperors and kings and princes have their plants, and we must not forget to place in the highest rank among them our own great warrior.'

Lindley names Wellingtonia 6 months after
John Matthew called it Wellingtonia - in December 1853. !

The important point to note here is that:

John Matthew's letter was dated July 1853 and was received by Patrick Matthew in August 1853. We do not have the date for when the Chronicle received Matthew's letter. The 1866 Chronicle priority-settlement article makes no mention of that precise point. So all we know is that the Chronicle published Matthew's excerpt of his son's letter the following year (June 1854). And we know that John Matthew's letter was dated 1853.Most notably, in that letter, penned six months before Lindley is meant to have come up with the name himself in the December issue of the Gardener's Chronicle 1853, John Matthew refers to the giant redwood tree as "Wellingtonia".

There was a lapse of 13 years between Lindley (in 1853) writing that Lobb was the first into Britain with the giant redwood seeds and the settling of the priority issue by way of John Matthew's and Patrick Matthew's earlier letters of proof being accepted by the Gardener's Chronicle in 1866 as proof that they were four months earlier than Lobb with introducing the seeds to Britain.

Interestingly, in June 1854, a magazine named 'The Floricultural Cabinet' ran a special feature on the trees (see page 121) fallaciously attributing its introduction to Lobb. Then, in July of the same year (see page 171 of the bound volumes), it is explained that there is a problem with the name 'Wellingtonia Gigantea' among the Americans - who had prior named it 'Sequoia gigantea' - which is close enough to 'Sequoiadendron giganteum' as it is now correctly named. Note: This article says that it was Lindley who suggested the name Wellingtonia. And note that, Lindley has been awarded official taxonomic status for the naming of the tree in 1853 as Wellingtonia (here). Other botanical arguments were made about the suitability of the name 'Wellingtonia gigantea' since there is, in fact, more than one type of the giant redwood.

In absence of disconfirming evidence at the time of writing (10th 1st 2016) the first person to use the term 'Wellingtonia" to name this tree appears to be John Matthew - not John Lindley. But it hardly seems likely he first named the tree Wellingtonia, since John Matthew appears to use the name in his letter as though it is already a commonplace name for the tree. So finding out who first called it Wellingtonia is all a bit of a botanical mystery at this stage.  For now, we have only John Matthew as the candidate.

Gourdihill House, Carse of Gowrie, Scotland.
The building was demolished in 1989 because, before the New Data was discovered in 2014,
 none  knew  - due to Charles Darwin's lies in 1860 - just how important and influential Matthew was 
in the discovery of natural selection.

he Gardener's Chronicle article of 1866 proves, via John Matthew's letter, and information
 supplied by Patrick Matthew, that it is a myth that
John Matthew himself brought the first giant redwood seeds into Britain and planted them.
In reality, he sent them from California by ship to his father in Scotland:
 Patrick Matthew, Laird of Gourdihill and

Originator of the hypothesis of macroevolution by natural selection.

Perhaps a botanist can work it out now that it is newly re-discovered that John Matthew, at least according to the date on the letter he sent his father, used the name Wellingtonia to name the Sequoiadendron giganteum before Lindley received his seeds four months later and before Lindley first proposed that name  in the Gardener's chronicle. Note that the Matthew letter (dated six months before Lindley's article) was not published until six months after Lindley's own article in which Lindley proposed the name Wellingtonia that Matthew had used six months earlier!

Patrick Matthew and Christian Nicol
were married in 1817

Timeline for what we do (currently) know

  • July 1853 - Letter (dated) from John Matthew to his father Patrick Matthew uses the name Wellingtonia for the giant redwood he describes as growing in a swamp in California. This is (at least the time of writing Jan10th 2016) the first known use of the word Wellingtonia to name a giant redwood. We are told that with the letter arrived a packet of giant redwood seeds, which were the first to arrive in Britain. Patrick Matthew planted them. The trees that grew remain today as the Historic, Monumental Matthew Giant Redwood Trees in Scotland.
  • December 1853 - in the Gardener's Chronicle, John Lindley claims, fallaciously, that Lobb was the first person to introduce giant redwood seeds into Britain in December 1853 and that they were delivered personally to him by Lobb's employer, Veitch. Having thereby established his historical position at the centre of things as a noted Botanist, Lindley then proposes the name Wellingtonia for the tree. Lindley cites no prior author in this naming proposal. The impression given is that it is entirely his own novel idea. To date (Jan 2016), the naming has always, fallaciously, been attributed in the literature to John Lindley.
  • June 1854 - An extract of John Matthew's July 1853 letter (accompanied by letter from Patrick Matthew) is published in the Gardener's Chronicle. John Matthew's letter names the giant redwood as "Wellingtonia" six moths before Lindley's naming. Notably, at the time of writing, we don't currently know when the Chronicle actually received the letter from Patrick Matthew with the extract from John Matthew's 1853 letter. It may have been received as early as August 1853 or as late as May/June 1854.
  • December 1866 - (a respectable year to the month after Lindley death in 1855) the Gardener's Chronicle corrected Lindley's fallacy that Lobb had priority for introducing giant redwoods into Britain and admitted that John and Patrick Matthew did so first and that Patrick matthew was first to plant the tree in Britain. No correction is made over the issue of who first named the tree Wellingtonia. Sutton (2016) was apparently the first to note this discrepancy - in the blog post you are currently reading.
Key facts that we, significantly don't know.
  • We do not 100 per cent know that Lindley was ever aware of  "The July 1853 John Matthew 'Wellingtonia' Letter". However, it is likely he would have known, since he was Editor of the Chronicle when the letter was published in 1854. If he did know about the letter what of the seeds? See next bullet point:
  • John Matthew's letter - may have been transcribed  by Patrick Matthew for the Chronicle in whole or in part, or he may have sent them the original full letter. We cannot know. However, it is definitely presented by Matthew as transcribed in part, because he says so when he wrote that he includes an "extract". We have no valid reason to doubt that Patrick was telling the truth about the published portion being merely an extract from a longer letter. The 1854 publication of the extract from John's letter makes no mention in its published form of sending seeds to his father. We do not actually know, therefore, when - or how exactly - Patrick Matthew informed, and proved, to the Chronicle's staff that he had received seeds in August 1853 from John Matthew. Patrick Matthew may have informed the Chronicle before Lindley's article of December 1853. Or else, he may have informed them in June 1854. Or else, he may have informed them any time between August 1853 and June 1854. He may, for all we don't know, have informed them at literally any time between his claimed receipt of the seeds in August 1853 and the 1866 Chronicle priority settling article in his and his son's favour. However, the most likely scenario is that John Matthew's full letter was furnished to the Chronicle at some time between August 1853 and June 1866, which is the proof the Chronicle had that John Matthew did include giant redwood seeds along with that letter, both of which arrived in his father's hands, in Britain, in August 1853.

As "The Gardening Plot Thickens": The focus of suspicion falls upon Lindley
John Lindley

Lindley was the Editor of the Gardener's Chronicle on December 24th 1853  and was also editor on June 10th 1854. Lindley was not editor of the Gardener's Chronicle in 1866, when the Matthew priority matter was settled, because he had died the year before!

Notably, Lindley was not Editor of the Gardener's Chronicle in March 1860, when the correspondence of Matthew and Darwin proves Darwin committed lying plagiarizing science fraud of Matthew's discovery of natural selection

Until the question of  Lindley's possible orchestration of 'plagiarism by glory theft' of John and Patrick Matthew's priority for introducing the giant redwood into Britain is settled, the suspicion that his activities were, in some way, part of a solitary or group endeavour to deny Patrick Matthew's glory for originating the hypothesis of natural selection - or in any other endeavour - cannot be ignored. However, I am not suggesting that there is evidence that we should be suspicious of some kind of conspiracy. Because, there is zero evidence for such a thing. Far more plausible, given the fact Matthew was not a part of the scientific community of gentlemen of science naturalists, and that his book broke all the rules and conventions of the 19th century gentlemen of science by way of hypothesising by deduction, weaving science in with politics, and reaching mocking, heretical and seditions conclusions based upon his observations and ideas (See Sutton 2014 for the full details), is that Lindley's behaviour in this story can be hypothesised as occurring, in sociological theory terms (Cohen 2001), as part of an individual and, micro-cultural 19th-century gentleman of science, 'synchronised state of denial' of the intrinsically obvious and significant facts.

Big questions, in need of further research:

  1. What actually prompted the Gardeners' Chronicle to investigate and settle the Matthew priority claim over Lobb in 1866?
  2.  If he was unaware in 1854 that Matthew had received and planted giant redwood seeds in Britain in 1853, four months before he received his own seed packet, then how did the Gardener's Chronicle know that was the case in 1866?
  3. Did Patrick or John Matthew, or anyone else, lobby the Chronicle at any time from 1853 to 1866 to award priority to the John and Patrick Matthew in this matter?
  4. When did the Chronicle receive Patrick Matthew's letter from his son dated July 1853?  (let's call it: "The July 1853 John Matthew 'Wellingtonia' Letter" ). Did Lindley (the Editor of the Chronicle) ever see the letter? If so, when?
  5.  Did the Chronicle staff  and/or Lindley receive "The July 1853 John Matthew 'Wellingtonia' Letter" before Lindley claimed that Lobb first brought the seeds into the country?
  6.  If he did (and currently there is zero evidence he did), then - if Matthew informed the Chronicle between August 1853 and June 1854 about the seeds - Lindley would (being the Editor) most likely have known by June 1854 at the latest - that Matthew told the Chronicle he had received seeds from his son in August 1853, which is four months before Lindley claimed Lobb first introduced them into the UK and John Matthew used the name Wellingtonia six months before Lindley replicated the same name Wellingtonia that was in John Matthew's letter!
  7.  If it is the case that Lindley acted fraudulently in December 1853 over the Lobb priority and over  his efforts at Wellingtonia naming priority, that would explain why the matter of Matthew's priority was made public only 13 years after Patrick Matthew's published extract of his son's letter proved otherwise, and would explain why the matter of Matthew's priority over Lobb was made public a precise 12 months after Lindley's death. But more research is needed. The question of Lindley's dishonesty in this matter remains suspicious but admittedly only reasonably speculative at the time of writing - based as it is on the currently available evidence.

Conservation/Sustainability Issues

Information from the website of the  Royal Botanic gardens at Kew:

We see in John Matthew's letter of 1853 that he was rather concerned about the destruction of the giant redwoods in california at that time. Other writers were far more outspoken about the destruction of these trees for exhibition display items. Public concern led to the establishment of the highly influential national parks service in the USA, which went on to inspire the world.

Threats and conservation

The giant redwood has been rated as Vulnerable (VU) according to IUCN Red List criteria, populations having been reduced as a result of large-scale logging between 1856 and 1955. Measures taken to prevent bush fires also led to a build-up of undergrowth which may have reduced the growth of seedlings, which need a clearing to thrive. The majority of giant redwoods is now within National Parks (such as Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon); indeed 90% of wild populations are now protected. Land management and tree-planting schemes have been put in place to conserve the species.

We can see below that at early as the time of John Matthew's letter, others were unhappy about the destruction of the giant redwood trees/

From Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room companion (1853):

'To our mind it seems a cruel idea, a perfect desecration, to cut down such a splendid tree. But this has not been done, however, without a vast deal of labor. It was accomplished by first boring holes through the body with long augers, worked by machinery, and afterward sawing from one to the other. Of course, as the sawing drew to a close, the workmen were on the alert to notice the first sign of toppling, but none came; the tree was so straight and evenly balanced on all sides that it retained its upright position after it had been sawed through. Wedges were then forced in, and a breeze happening to spring up, over went the monster with a crash that was heard for miles around. The bark was stripped from it for fifty feet from the base, and is from one to two feet in thickness. It was taken off in sections, so that it can be placed, relatively, in its original position, and thus give the beholder a just idea of the gigantic dimensions of the tree. So placed it will occupy a space of about thirty feet in diameter, or ninety feet in circumference, and fifty feet in height. A piece of the wood will be shown, which has been cut out from the tree across the whole diameter. We are told that this piece of wood shows a vestige of bark near the middle, and that this bark was evidently charred many centuries ago, when the tree was comparatively a sapling. At last accounts, the tree was in Stockton, on the way to San Francisco, where it was to be exhibited previous to its shipment to the Atlantic states. Probably it will not be very long, therefore, before our readers will be able to get a view of this monster of the California woods for a trifling admission fee. In Europe, such a natural production would have been cherished and protected, if necessary, by law; but in this money-making, go-ahead community, thirty or forty thousand dollars are paid for it, and the purchaser chops it down, and ships it off for a shilling show! We hope that no one will conceive the idea of purchasing Niagara Falls with the same purpose! The Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, is comparatively safe, being underground; and then it would be impossible to get it all the way through the limited size of the entrance! So, for the present, at least, we need not except the cave this way. But, seriously, what in the world could have possessed any mortal to embark in such a speculation with this mountain of wood? In its natural condition, rearing its majestic head towards heaven, and waving in all its native vigor, strength and verdure, it was a sight worth a pilgrimage to see; but now, alas! it is only a monument of the cupidity of those who have destroyed all there was of interest connected with it.'

The same bark- stripping process was used for the mock-up of the giant redwood used for exhibition at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham, England  (The National Parks Service):

'The skinning of the tree was utterly deplored by John Muir, who often set the tenor of feeling about such matters. In Muir's words, this was ". . . as sensible a scheme as skinning our great men would be to prove their greatness" (Wolfe 1938). The display at Sydenham was immensely popular, however, and remained so until fire consumed both the Palace and the "Mother's" vestments in 1866. With the tree's removal from its ancient mountain home, hastened by many centuries, its value to mankind came to an untimely end.'

It is notable that John Matthew's letter of 1853 describes a similar bark stripping act to supply a mock-up exhibit for the New York World's Fair. It is even possible that the seeds he collected came from the tree felled in that same area that same summer that sparked  the Conservation movement (The Guardian 2013): 

'On Monday, 27 June, 1853, a giant sequoia – one of the natural world's most awe-inspiring sights - was brought to the ground by a band of gold-rush speculators in Calaveras county, California. It had taken the men three weeks to cut through the base of the 300ft-tall, 1,244-year-old tree, but finally it fell to the forest floor.'

By 1855, the famous Crystal Palace had a specimen of the giant Californian redwood (named now Wellingtonia Gigantea) growing in its gardens. By 1856 Lindley was boasting in an editorial in the Gardener's Chronicle that private viewings could be had to see 20 foot of bark stripped from a giant redwood. In 1858 - the year Darwin and Wallace had their papers read before the Linnean society, and the year before Darwin's Origin of Species was first published, The Crystal Palace company did what the World's Fair in New York had done a few years before - they presented their mocked-up giant redwood using the bark stripped from a giant specimen in California. Matthew's rightful chance for further international recognition as far more than an 'obscure writer on forest trees' - as Darwin (1860) portrayed him - was thwarted as  the imposters Veitch, Lobb and Lindley strutted their stuff instead.

John Lindley is Constantly on the Periphery of the Story of Darwin, Matthew and Wallace and the History of the Discovery of Natural Selection

John Lindley is an interesting character in the story of Matthew, Darwin and Wallace. He was a professor of botany at the University of London and best friend of  William Hooker - who was the father of Darwin's best friend Joseph Hooker (who dishonestly countersigned Darwin's letter to the Gardener's Chronicle in 1860 that contained Darwin's proven lie that no naturalist had read Matthew's original ideas on natural selection before 1860). Lindley co-authored an encyclopedia with the naturalist and polymath John Loudon. In 1832, Loudon reviewed Matthew's book and wrote that it appeared to have something original to say on 'the origin of species'. 

On Sept. 27, 1845 Matthew received a letter of receipt for the letter he sent to the Prime Minster on the Potato Famine in Ireland. On 28th October 1845 the Limerick Reporter published Matthew's letter as open letter from Matthew to the Prime Minster Sir Robert Peel on the potato famine (the letter was then re-published in several other national newspapers). In the  month following receipt of Matthew's letter. the Prime Minister appointed Lindley, via the the famous Lyon Playfair, to join a visiting commission to look at the problem in Ireland and make recommendations. The commission's November 1845 report was criticised heavily.

Lindley went on to write two pieces on the important 19th century economic botany topic of of naval timber - neither of which cited Matthew's book. Moreover, he was employed by the admiralty to advise on the planting of Ascension Island for the purposes of naval timber - no less (ASCENSION ISLAND On the Cultivation of the Island of Ascension By John Lindley 8vo Naval Pamphlets vol 8 1847). 

Lindley was such friends with Loudon that he notably named a plant - Adesmia Loudonia - after him. Lindley. was in fact a secret co-author with Loudon of his Encyclopaedia of plants (Loudon 1829). However, encyclopedia work being to low-brow for Lindley to care  be associated with (see Gloag 1970. pp.36-37), his contribution was paid for but kept secret.  Moreover, both men were interested in organic evolution. According to Millhauser (1959, p. 72): 

"Four academic botanists—E.M. Fries, James E. Smith, J.C Loudon, and John Lindley—subscribed about 1828, to the opinion that certain plant species might, under environmental stimulus, metamorphose into one another."

Surely, therefore, it is unlikely that Loudon would not have shared with his friend what he later  knew about Matthew's original ideas on the same topic?

I wrote in Nullius (Sutton 2014) :

'Moreover, it would be weird for Lindley not to pay attention to a book on naval timber, because he knew full well the importance of the issue of timber for naval purposes and its pertinence for economic botany. We know this because he wrote on the exact same topic as Matthew several times (e.g., Lindley 1839, p. 383 and then in 1853, pp. 228-279). Lindley went on to correspond with Darwin. Besides being a very close friend of William Hooker, he was also a co-author with Loudon, another who we know read NTA because he reviewed it and cited it several times. As Chapter Four revealed, Lindley's name crops up again in the investigation of Darwin's fraud because James Floy, who appears to have been first to second-publish the Matthewism "law manifest in nature," had been corresponding with Lindley and sending him seeds from New York. Darwin (1862) was aware of that correspondence and wrote to Asa Gray seeking information about Floy's "trustworthiness". Presumably Darwin meant Floy's trustworthiness as a botanical information source.

'If Lindley did read NTA, we know that he would have ardently disagreed with Matthew's Chartist politics because he went so far as to organize and drill an armed militia of gardeners to oppose Chartist crowds in 1848 (see Drayton 2009). Lindley, therefore, had double the cause of most other naturalist to despise NTA, which was a book thick with Chartist politics linked inextricably to libertarian Chartist ideals.'

'Politics to one side for a moment, perhaps Professor Lindley, who later was to become a fellow of the Royal Society, was not a curious man. Perhaps he was entirely self-obsessed, and so focused solely on the review of his own book? If so, that might explain why he never noticed, or if he did, why he never followed up in the literature on the subject matter of the origin of species, raised just nine lines of text above his own name by his associate and co-author John Loudon 1832: 

 "One of the subjects discussed in this appendix is the puzzling one, of the origin of species; and varieties (and if the author has hereon originated no original views and of this we are far from certain), he has certainly exhibited his own in an original manner." 

NOTE: The private letters and notebooks of John Lindley ( a member of the Linnean Society, Royal Society and Royal Horticultural society) are, like those of many others in the story of Matthew, Darwin and Wallace, worthy of inspection to see if  - pre 1860 - he makes any mention of Patrick Matthew and his original ideas on natural selection. Furthermore, they my shed some light on when the Gardener's Chronicle actually received the "July 1853 John Matthew 'Wellingtonia' Letter" and whether Lindley saw more than was revealed in the published extract.

My original January 2016 discovery - that John Matthew used the name Wellingtionia to name giant redwoods before Lindley  - was made with the same unique Big Data research method (IDD) described in my book Nullius;  as was my orignal discovery of the incongruity of the dates of the publication of Lindley's, l Lobbs and Veitch's December 1853 priority claim and the date of John Matthew's letter being written earlier in August 1853, but not published until the following year, which was after Lindley's claim was published. Moreover, the same research method revealed the obvious and significant fact that Lindley's fallacy kept hidden Patrick Matthew's right to have been earlier long-celebrated among the public and gentleman naturalists. This is significant because at the time Matthew laid his claim in 1860 to being the originator - and influencer of other naturalists - with his prior publication of the hypothesis of natural selection, Darwin was able to successfully portray him as no more than an obscure writer on forest trees. 

When the correspondence of William and Joseph Hooker is completely digitised and made available by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, for Big Data analysis,  it may assist us to shed further light on this "Wellingtonia matter" as well as the "Darwin and Wallace plagiarism of Matthew matter." Or else, hopefully, someone will - before that time - find something of note and consequence in the physical paper records at Kew.

To necessarily repeat a significant fact on e more time, the economic botanists William Hooker and John Lindley were best friends, and both feature repeatedly - through naturalists they associated with  - in the story of Darwin's and Wallace's plagiarism of Patrick Matthew's prior-publication of the hypothesis of natural selection (Sutton 2014).

Note: If you found this blog post thought provoking, you might be interested to learn that, besides being first to originate and have published the entire hypothesis of natural selection 27 years before Darwin's and Wallace's replications, without citation of Matthew, that Patrick Matthew appears to be first to have coined by the term and modern concept of the US  Peace Corps (here).


I think that the story of John Lindley, Patrick Matthew and the Giant Redwood Tree very likely had an impact on how the scientific community has fallaciously perceived Matthew, to date, as being a relatively unimportant and non-influential figure in the history of discovery of natural selection. 

Let me explain: 

In 1858 Darwin's and Wallace's papers on natural selection were read before the Linnean society. In 1859 Darwin's 'Origin of Species' was first published'. At this point in time, neither Darwin, nor Wallace cited Matthew's prior-publication of the full complex hypothesis of natural selection. 

Earlier, Matthew (1831) originally referred to his concept the 'natural process of selection' and originally used an artificial versus natural selection analogy of differences to explain it. Wallace (1858) and Darwin (1859) not only replicated Matthew's hypothesis, both also replicated his analogy of differences. Darwin (1859) used it in the very opening sentences of the Origin. Darwin went further than that and originally four-word-shuffled Matthew's original term into their only possible grammatically correct equivalent: 'process of natural selection' (see Sutton 2014).  

In 1860, Patrick Matthew confronted Darwin in the Gardener's Chronicle. 

Charles Darwin and Patrick Matthew

Following Matthew's first and second letters of 1860, in the Gardener's Chronicle, Darwin capitulated and admitted that Matthew (1831) had got the whole theory of natural selection first, but he lied that neither he nor any other naturalist, indeed no one at all as he later claimed, at all had read Matthew's original ideas before 1860 (knowing otherwise from the information Matthew had given him in both letters about two naturalists Matthew knew who had read them ), Darwin further lied that Matthew's ideas were written only in the book's obscure appendix, and he went on to start the fallacy, parroted by his Darwinists these past 155 years, that the title of Matthew's book was inappropriate for its subject matter on the the origin of species. To further excuse his failure to cite the one book in the world he most needed to read, because he replicated its original ideas and claimed them as his own independent discovery, Darwin (1861) went on to portray Matthew as ' obscure writer on forest trees..'. 

Had Patrick Matthew been attributed with his role in receiving the first giant redwood seeds into Britain, and with being first to plant any on British soil and raise them successfully, his name would have been better known than it was at the time among the 19th-century gentlemen of science. Most significantly, it is perhaps one of the world's greatest understatements to say he would have been far from obscure in 1860 when it came to the topic of forest trees! 

Significantly,  that means Darwin's so often quoted as as valid 'obscure writer on forest trees' and 'work on naval timber' excuses would have held no water whatsoever - particularity  in light what would have been a Victorian torch most surely shining from 1854 onwards upon the great wealth of fascinating published articles and letters that we have since found written by Matthew before 1859 (visit the Patrick Matthew Project). 

Instead, we live in a world where we now newly know that John Lindley (1853) - whether intentionally or not - had six years before the date when Matthew (1860) confronted Darwin in the Gardener's Chronicle to demand due priority for his prior published conception of natural selection, published the fallacy that Lobb was first to introduce the giant redwood tree to Britain. And that myth persisted for 13 years, until the Gardener's Chronicle (from some as yet unknown precipitating reason) awarded Patrick and John Matthew their priority for the first giant redwood seed introduction into Britain. 

If one uses my Big Data (ID) research method to search on Google Books between the years 1853 and 1860 on the terms "Lobb" "Lindley" "Wellingtonia", a seemingly endless number of publications are brought forth that wonderfully celebrate Lobb and Lindley  for (fallaciously as it turns out) first introducing into Britain, and naming, the giant redwood tree 'Wellingtonia'. By way of just a few among seemingly countless examples:  
  • in 1860, Lobb and Lindley were celebrated in 'Knights Pictorial Gallery of Arts' because a mock-up of a huge Wellingtona was created for the world famous Crystal Palace Exhibition using the entire bark from a specimen (here); 
  • A lengthy, proprietorial and self-celebratory article in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal by Lindley (1860) (here).
  • A lengthy article by Andrew Murray (1858) in the Transactions and Proceedings of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh (here).
 The consequences of Matthew not being hailed a hero, as Lobb and Lindley were in so many publications- between 1853 and 1866 -  particularly when the grand enormity of these trees was brought home to the British via a display of one at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851 -  must have assisted Darwin later (from 1860 onward) in so successfully portraying him to other naturalists as merely an obscure Scottish writer on forest trees. And we know that the myth stuck. 

Was Matthew a victim of repeat victimisation of glory theft?

If there is one thing criminologists know that comes close to a natural law, it is that, where a variety of particular crime types are concerned, whether it be against a person, place or thing, lightning is quite likely to strike a victim at least twice (see: Farrell 1992). In other words: victimization predicts victimisation. Matthew was a repeat victim of glory theft by fallacy coining by Lindley and then by Darwin. Both offenders stole Matthew's glory in order to enhance their own reputations by publishing falsehoods at the expense of Matthew. Both were members of the Royal Society, Linnean Society and the Royal Horticultural Society. Moreover, although several letters between them are missing, Darwin and Lindley were prolific co-correspondents from 1843!

Darwin and Lindley communicated on the theory of Morphological structure in 1843, which Lindley supported and which Darwin knew supported the theory of natural selection because it dis-confirmed the majority view of the time that each species was created perfect and immutable. It may be significant that Darwin and Lindley both knew Veitch well. Veitch supplied Darwin with many orchid seeds.

The multiple victimisation of Matthew - at different times but for the same academic crime of  'significant theft of his glory by fallacy coining' -  by the friends  Darwin and Lindley seems remarkable if it is a mere coincidence. 

We cannot rule out the possibility that Matthew was deliberately and cunningly cheated by the so-called Victorian 'gentlemen of science' seven years before Darwin wrote cunning lies about Matthew's book not being read before he replicated the original ideas in it. It is quite possible that Lindley (the best friend of the father of Darwin's best friend Joseph Hooker) received Matthew's letter at the Gardener's Chronicle in August, September - or even October - and got a message to Lobb via Veitch to go after the seeds and bring a large number back to Britain.  That would explain (1) why Lobb, via Veitch, delivered the seeds to Lindley, (2) Lindley's replication of John Matthew's earlier (indeed the earliest known to date) use of the name Wellingtonia to describe giant redwood trees and (3) why the truth that Matthew was first into Britain with giant redwood seeds was hidden from the public for 13 years following Lindley's fallacious claim, yet revealed only after the deaths of Lobb and Veitch and exactly a year after Lindley's death in the very same journal in which Lindley published it whilst its editor. 

Perhaps Lindley was compelled to publish Patrick Matthew's 'abstract' of his son's letter the year following his claims that Lobb was first to introduce giant redwoods into Britain because Matthew complained? If so, perhaps that semi-compromise  was made to appease Matthew? Whatever the case, I cannot help wondering whether Darwin's ability to dismiss Matthew as being unknown and obscure, and the 155 years of Darwinist parroting of their namesake's lies and fallacies about Matthew and about his book and its readership, as the gospel truth, might not have happened had John and Patrick Matthew received credit and consequent fame for first introducing the famously celebrated giant redwood trees into Britain? As a telling example of just how enamoured the British were with these trees, in the 1860 edition of the Gardener's Chronicle in which Darwin (p.363) admits that Matthew prior-published and first conceived the idea of natural selection, the preceding page mentions Wellingtonia trees three times, and a total of no less than 76 times in the volume.

I think it quite reasonable to suggest that it looks rather like Matthew was fraudulently cheated by another Victorian naturalist six years before Darwin victimized him. Matthew was a repeat victim of glory theft. First by Lindley and then by Darwin. Both offenders were members of the Royal Society, Linnean Society and the Royal Horticultural Society. Moreover, they were prolific correspondents from 1843! And both were close associates of James Veitch (Sr.).

In 1932 the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) of Great Britain was well aware of John and Patrick Matthew's priority and where Patrick planted those giant redwood seed in 1853:

What is curious about the RHS report -  ( Chittenden, F.J. (1932) Conifers in Cultivation: The report of the conifer conference held by the Royal Horticultural Society. Nov. 10-12, 1931) - is that the author writes that John Matthew collected the seeds in August. We know John Matthew wrote to Patrick Matthew in July 1853, and that the letter was received in August 1845. Unless the author of this 1932 article about the Matthew Trees got the month wrong, it seems there may just possibly have been two letters on the topic of the trees from John to Patrick Matthew - the second letter containing the seeds. Alternatively, quite possibly, and perhaps more probably, there was something in John Matthew's letter that reveals he started writing it in July but only went to see the redwood trees and gather the seeds in early August.  Matthew got his letter on August 28th. In 1853 a fast clipper (made - of course - of "naval timber") could make it from the USA to England in around 14 days (the record at the time being held by the Red Jacket Clipper at 13 days). Clearly, more research is need to get to the bottom of this minute detail.

Further reading and additional evidence, on this multiple victimisation issue, is available here.

With apologies to Benjamin Franklin, might it not be appropriate to ask, whether, in light of this latest Big Data discovery, in the history of the discovery of natural selection

For the want of the facts the celebrity was lost,
For the want of celebrity the truth was lost,
For the want of the truth, true history was lost,
For the want of true history true science was lost,
For the want of true science the world was lost,
And all for the want of the facts.



Images above and below: Original text from
Gardeners Chronicle & New Horticulturist, 1866  Volume 26
pp. 1191-1192

Lindley must have had his 'nose put out of joint' by Matthew's letter. The question is, if he was unaware in 1854 that Matthew had received and planted giant redwood seeds in Britain in 1853, four months before he received his own seed packet, then how did the Gardener's Chronicle know that was the case in 1866?

Patrick Matthew's provision of his son's 
'priority proving' John Matthew's 1853 
(by way of mere abstract from letter)
 published in 1854 on page 373, 
Vol 14 of the Gardener's Chronicle

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