Catalogue number: WP1/3/4
Letter from Wallace's mother, Mary Anne Wallace, to her friend Miss Draper concerning her financial misfortune following the bankruptcy of an executor of her father's will, dated August 1835.
Wallace's mother Mrs Mary Anne Wallace writes to her friend Miss Draper. Wallace himself was just 12 years old in 1835. This letter shows the start of the Wallace family's financial problems through bad luck.
Miss Draper's father was joint executor and trustee of Mary Wallace's father's will. The second executor was Mrs Wallace's brother-in-law, Mr Wilson who went bankrupt. The legacy was badly invested by Mr Wilson, losing Mrs Wallace over £300. She pleaded with Miss Draper to encourage her father to honour the losses. Mrs Wallace was very worried about her family's finances. 'My situation is a most painful one and we are harassed in every way', she complains. She goes on to say that the interest on the money 'being all I had to find myself and younger children in clothes...is now stopped'. Fanny, Wallace's sister, was asked to return home from abroad. Brother John could no longer pay his board, which Mr. Wilson had previously paid from the legacy.
The Wallace family originally had the legacy when Mary Anne Wallace's stepmother died in 1826. It took many years to get any money back. Financial constraints were to become a constant feature of Wallace's life.
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View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.