Flushing, New York to Edinburg, Scotland: 1846. Envelope or Cover. This stampless folded invoice-letter was prepared on January 20, 1846. It was privately carried on the Ship Gondola to the Scottish port at Greenock, and it bears a scarce “Greenock / Ship Letter” receiving hand stamp and a May 10th receiving mark. There is an 8d rate marking probably made when the letter arrived at Greenock. The letter is in nice shape. In this invoice-letter Prince informs Henderson that this shipment will be the last of the year: “We consign to you for sale or for your own use . . . at such prices as can be obtained – Seeds are so very scarce this year that we cant send anymore and since these were shipped we have orders for several of these kinds which we had none left to supply. . ..” The shipment includes: four barrels of Scarlet Oak, one and a half barrels of Red Oak, one barrel of Mossy Cape Oak, and assorted bushels and quarts of Virginia Juniper, White Birch, Hibiscus, Balsam, and many more varieties. Very good. Item #009386
The Linnaean Botanic Garden and Nurseries—the first large-scale commercial nursery in North America—was started by Robert Prince in Flushing sometime around 1730. William Prince was Robert’s son, and the nursery remained in family hands for 130 years and the next five generations. During the Revolution, the nursery was protected by British and Hessian soldiers, many of whom sent specimens home to Great Britain and Germany. President Washington visited the garden by barge from Manhattan and purchased a plum tree for Mount Vernon. (See the on-line article “Discovering history at Flushing’s Botanical Gardens” and “The Princes’ nursery and estate in Flushing” on-line at the Queen’s Chronicle website.) Alexander Henderson of Press was an early and important Scottish nurseryman and seed merchant who also served as the first Chairman of the National Bank of Scotland and Lord Provost of Edinburgh. His seed shop was known as Eagle & Henderson. After Alexander died in 1826, the firm continued to operate, and Wikipedia suggests that Eagle was Alexander’s son. (See Wikipedia for more information.) A unique first-hand piece horticultural history sent by packet mail between the most important 19th century nurseries in Scotland and the United States.