Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP1659

Sent by:
Henry Walter Bates
Sent to:
Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell)
18 October 1851

Sent by Henry Walter Bates, Pará, Brazil to Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell) 21 Queen Street, Neath, Glamorganshire, Wales on 18 October 1851.

Record created:
02 September 2011 by Beccaloni, George
Verified by:
22/08/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline (All except summary checked);


The death of Edward Herbert Wallace and the disposal of his effects, including his insect collections.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP1659.1532)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/3/23
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Henry Walter Bates Literary Estate.
Record scrutiny:
22/08/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Item notes

Physical description

Transcription information





18 October 1851

My Dear Madam

I received a few days ago a letter from Mrs Sims3 in answer to mine which communicated to you the sad intelligence of the death of your son Herbert, as Mrs S[ims] seems to express a wish to hear further from me concerning his last moments & the papers he left behind, I hasten to comply as far as I am able. I believe that I told you that two days before his death I was myself taken ill with the same disease & although it did not take a strong hold on my constitution I was confined to my room ten days. Others of our friends who attended him to the last say that he did not appear conscious that his case was serious until a few hours before his death, when he told Mr Miller that "it was very sad to die so young". He did not mention the name of his brother, or friends, or express any wish before he died. Towards his end he folded his hands as if in prayer & died in strong convulsions. He did [[2]] not that I aware of, bring any money with him down from the interior & while he was well disposed of his gun, carpenters tools &c Mr Miller, as usual; arranged his accounts, paying the medical man, his lodgings &c. His collections were sent home entire by the next vessel addressed to Mr Stevens,4 they contained a great variety of miscellaneous curiosities. I saw no papers -- he told me he did not keep a journal, there is a portfolio with some letters which if not already sent, I will tell the present acting consul to forward with the clothes chest in which they are probably contained. Since the loss of Herbert several other English residents have died, Mr Miller amongst the rest, whether the latter wrote to Alfred or no before his death I cannot ascertain. I think no one knew where he was residing & many months have passed since he wrote to Pará. I have just heard however that he is expected daily at the Barra5 of the rio negro with a very rich collection & I intend to write him by the first canoe that leaves for that place. The present year has been a very fatal one in Pará, the most serious disease being the small pox which has smitten perhaps a third [[3]] of the population. I am much obliged to Mrs Sims for her kind wishes respecting my own health. With great care I have been able to pass through the many fearful epidemics that have visited this unfortunate country, with but little injury. Poor Herbert was much regretted here, being a favourite with all who knew him & I fully sympathise with your grief for so great a loss. With my best respects to yourself, Mrs S & family.

Believe me | Dear Madam | I remain | Yours truly | Henry W. Bates6 [signature]


Paid 18

Mr Sims9

Photographic Portrait Artist

21 Queen Street




1. "[WP1/3/23]" in pencil in an unknown hand in the top right corner of the page.

2. Pará is a state in northern Brazil.

3. Frances Wallace Sims (1812-1893), ARWs sister.

4. Samuel Stevens, ARWs collections agent.

5. "Barra" is Portuguese for "margin".

6. Henry Walter Bates (1825-1892), entomologist.

7. This page was originally folded, forming the envelope of the letter. It bears several imprints in ink of the following stamps:

"SWANSEA JA 10 1852 C" twice

"NEAT<H> [missing]4 [missing]"

"NEAT<H> JA[missing] 18[missing]"


"[illegible symbol]98" over a one penny red postage stamp

"<NE>ATH JA 1O 18[illegible]"

"[missing] JA[missing] 1852 M"

"[missing]H [missing] 5 <18>52"


8. An arch-shaped mark written in ink above the figure 1.

9. A very large figure-8 doodle in ink has been hatched out in ink.

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