Skip to page content

The Wallace family's financial problems

Full transcription

                             Hertford, August. 12. 1835.
 

I am much concerned my dear friend that the renewal of our correspondence should be answered by a painful occurrence and one so entirely unexpected, - I allude to Mr. Wilson's mis[sic]misfortunes which must I fear involve many others besides himself.

You are doubtless aware that your Father is joint Executor & Trustee with Mr. Wilson to my dear Father's will, the Legacies which were left there into our children though diverted to be invested in the funds have nevertheless remained in Mr. Wilsons hands, and there is still upwards of £300 remaining unpaid of these legacies, - since Mr. Wilson's unfortunate failure we have asked the advice of more than one professional Gentleman on the subject, the opinion is, that the other Trustees become liable to make good the deficiency and that he has his remedy by proving the amount as a debt against Mr. Wilson's estate.  

Considering the weak state which your Father is in we feel very reluctant to harass him with this matter have therefore addressed you that you may mention it where & in what way you find best. As you have been in the habit of corresponding with Martha and Mr. Wilson perhaps you had better learn what he can do! or what probability there is of his being able to make good the money at any period.

I have written twice but nothing satisfactory was returned within time, I feel afraid he will consider it a debt of honour to be paid to my children, but if there is nothing how can it be paid? I hope you will not feel offended at this application on behalf of my poor children, they have but little, and it is hard that little (their all) should be left. It is a delicate matter to know how to act between friends, but in such a matter as this I must act the best for my children by doing everything in my power to recover that which sums lost through the failure of one of the Trustees.

The only remedy left me, is to state the matter to the other (through you) he having equally engaged to seethe will executed agreeably to the wishes of the testator.  My situation is a most painful one we are harassed in every way. The interest upon these Legacies which I have hitherto received of Mr Wilson being all I have had to find myself & younger children in clothes & -is now stopped - which places me in a very awkward dilemma, in fact, this unhappy business of my Mother's will be felt severely by us in many ways. We have been obliged to write for Fanny to return and her remittance is stopped, there is £45 due to her which I fear she will never get, it is a serious loss to a girl who has to get her living by her abilities & who had hoped to have had it in her power to have remained abroad a few months longer for the sake of obtaining a more thorough knowledge of  the language. Dear John to[o] is unpleasantly situated as Mr. Wilson had engaged to pay his board half yearly out of his Legacy which he can no longer do.

All this will I trust excuse me in your eyes for making application to your Father(this being a last forlorn hope) I must now conclued this painful epistle.

[Signed]   [?]

[in Alfred Russel Wallace's hand]
Letter from Mrs. Wallace to Miss Draper (August 1835) about Mr. Wilson's bankruptcy & Mr. Draper's joint Executers under Mr. John Greenell's Will.



Go back

Search this collection
Contact us

For enquiries about the Wallace Collection please email the library

Wallace Letters Online

Letter to Alfred Russel Wallace from the Royal Society, about his Darwin Medal award

View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.

Explore Wallace's correspondence