Ceram, Nov. 25th. 1859
Allow me to congratulate you <…>on your safe arrival home with all your treasures; a good fortune which i Trust is this time reserved for me. i hope you will write to me & tell Me your projects. Stevens hinted at Your undertaking a "fauna of the Amazon valley". It would be a noble Work,- but one requiring years of labour As of course you would wish to Incorporate all existing materials & Would have to spend months in Berlin vienna & milan & paris to Study the collections of spix, natterer Oscolati castituan & others, as well
As most of the chief private coll[ectio]ns.. of Europe. I hope you may undertake it & bring it to a glorious conclusion. I have long been contemplating such a work for this Archipelago,- but am convinced that the plan must be very limited to be capable of completion. It sh[oul]d. be little more than a synopsis on a uniform scale & plan, - descriptions in Latin only for brevity, but with copious introductions & remarks on families & genera. My idea also is that in such a work, it is the duty of an Entomologist to follow the arrangement of Lacordaire for the Coleoptera,- even when we differ from him,- as we sh[oul]d. thus so much facilitate reference & study, his work being in every ones hands - Excuse these remarks but the subject interests me - I suppose you have now your collection pretty well arranged, & I shall be anxious to hear what is now the total amount of species in the chief families & orders of insects - You can tell me also what you think of any collections as far as you can judge in their packed away & perhaps dirty state. I now keep more duplicates than I first & hope you will reserve for me a set of your spare Longicornis, Bupresti, Cicindelae Cleri & Brenthi & some types of Genera of Carabidae & Curculios - Also in Butterflies, Papilios & Pieridae. To these groups I intend to confine my general collections. I have sent a paper lately to the Linnaean Soc. which gives my views of the principals of Geog.[raphical] Distribution in the Archipelago,- of which I hope some day to work out the details. To judge of any coll[ectio]n. of other orders but Col.[eoptera] & Butt.[erflies] you must see Mr Saunders collections as he possesses my complete series, & the Orthoptera Hymenoptera & Diptera must be now very extensive. Your brother Frederick began a correspond[en]ce.. with me, but does not go on. Please write soon - Remain dear Bates
Yours very sincerely
[signed] Alfred R. Wallace
[to] H.W. Bates Esq.
For enquiries about the Wallace Collection please email the library
View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.