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Record number: WCP1720

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Philip Lutley Sclater
7 February 1862

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Singapore to Philip Lutley Sclater [none given] on 7 February 1862.

Record created:
27 October 2011 by Catchpole, Caroline


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LETTER (WCP1720.1603)

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

Held by:
Zoological Society of London
Finding number:
GB 0814 BADW
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information





Feb. 7th. 1862

To P.L. Sclater Esq. Secretary to the Zoological Society of London

Dear Sir

About 2 months back I received information, when in the interior of Sumatra, that there were two live Paradise Birds in Singapore. I immediately determined to come & enquire about them & accordingly proceeded to this place a full month earlier than I had intended. They were in the hands of a European merchant who was well aware of their value & asked an exorbitant price. As however they seemed in excellent health, had [[2]] been in Singapore 3 months & in possession a Bugis trader a year before that, I determined if possible to obtain them.

After protracted negotiations I have purchased them for $400 (nearly £100), & tomorrow I take them on board the steamer for Europe.

I was afraid to let it be known that a free passage had been offered me with them, as the demands would then have risen proportionally. I therefore obtained a promise to sell before applying to the manager of the P&O Company, when I was much surprised & disappointed to find that no order for a free passage had been sent out, but merely instructions to take care of the Birds if sent on board.

Under these circumstances I was at first inclined to give up any idea of completing the purchase, but on mature consideration [[3]] I thought that you would certainly blame me for want of confidence in the offers made me by yourself, & the promise of a free passage repeatedly made me through Mr. Sam Stevens. I have had no official notice of my terms having been accepted by the Zool[ogical] Soc[iety] except that in one of your letters you say "I suppose Stevens has told you that the Zoological Society has accepted your terms for Birds of Paradise"; but I presume from this that a resolution to that effect exists on the Books of the Society.

My intention is to stay at Malta & send a Telegram asking instructions, but post this letter here, to show that the Birds are purchased for [[4]] the Zoological Society.

I remain Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

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