Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP1657

Sent by:
Herbert Edward ("Edward") Wallace
Sent to:
Richard Spruce
15 March ?1850

Sent by Herbert Edward ("Edward") Wallace, Barra de Rio Negro, Brazil to Richard Spruce [none given] on 15 March ?1850.

Record created:
01 September 2011 by Beccaloni, George
Verified by:
22/05/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline (All except summary checked);


Letter from Edward Wallace (Herbert Edward) to R Spruce, from Barra, 15 Mar 1850?, re. arrival at and living conditions in Barra, including a doggerel verse.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP1657.1530)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/3/21
Copyright owner:
©Wallace Family
Record scrutiny:
22/05/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Item notes

Physical description

Transcription information





March 15th3

Dear Sir

A Lodge is gained at last - here we are in a Barra!! --

"Here we work with Net and Trigger

By the famous river Nigger" (Watertown)

oer whose mid-night waters never is heard the hum of the sanguinary Barapana [?] --, where "sleep which knits up the ravelled sleeve of care" hath no intruder -- by the by talking of sleep reminds me of "redes"4. All the "redes" in Barra possess a title -- why ? -- Because theyre Barra-nets. This you may think far fetched, well ! -- I will own tis rather distant -- [[2]] perhaps you would like one a little nearer -- good -- As we left "Obydos"5 remarking the woody acclivity on our right the following sublime comparative similitude burst forth spontaneously "Why is this hill, like a dead body running ? -- Because says I -- but no you must really try to guess it; however I will enclose the answer to refer to in case of failure. -- "Necessity is the Mother of Invention" this ancient and philosophical saying was brought to bear one afternoon, it being at tolerable warm day and my coat was off [[3]] being just returned from the chase with the gun upon my shoulder and the bag of shot by my side -- perspiring dreadfully and wringing wet -- it being about 4 bells -- which there was no watermellon [sic] to be had at any price. --

"Ill tax my invention says I

As I opend the Portibelli

Some treacle I poured into a flagon

Added water and found it was --


With best wishes for your health and success, and kind remembrance to Mr King6 and Santarem7 friends,

I remain | Yours Respectfully | Edward Wallace8

[[4]] Because its a copse sloping away

Mr R. Spruce9


1. "[WPI/3/21]" in pencil in an unknown hand in the top right corner of the page.

2. Barra, also known as Bahia, is a municipality in the state of Bahia, Brazil.

3. "1851 ?" in pencil in an unknown hand.

4. "redes" is a Portuguese word meaning "nets.

5. Òbidos is a town in the state of Pará in Brazil.

6. Robert King was Richard Spruces assistant.

7. Santarém is a city in the state of Pará in Brazil.

8. Herbert Edward Wallace (1829-1851), ARWs younger brother.

9. The addressees name is written upside-down in the middle of the page. Richard Spruce (1817-1893) was a botanist.

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.