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Record number: WCP1721

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Samuel Stevens
16 February 1862

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Galle, Ceylon [Sri Lanka] to Samuel Stevens [none given] on 16 February 1862.

Record created:
27 October 2011 by Catchpole, Caroline


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  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP1721.1604)

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




2nd. Letter

Galle, Ceylon,

Feb[ruary]. 16th. 1862

Dear Stevens

I posted a letter at Singapore with an enclosure to Mr. Sclater informing you of my having purchased 2 living Paradisea papuanas1 in Singapore, & of my not having got a free passage with them.

They have reached here in perfect health, & if they pass the ordeal of the dry atmosphere of the Red Sea & Egypt, I shall have great hopes of success. I go now via Bombay as the steamers by that route are less crowded. The price is the same & I have 3 -- 4 days in Bombay, & can lay in a stock of fruit for the birds.

I am somewhat doubtful about how to bring them home as it will I fear be now stormy -- cold in the channel.

I calculate to reach Malta about March [[2]] & stay there a week as I am informed it is very mild or even warm there at that time. The next steamer would leave Malta about March 25th. which would bring me to Southampton about April 4th. or 5th.

I do not want to delay my return longer than that, & if Mr. Sclater thinks it not safe to bring them home so early I should much prefer his sending one of his keepers to receive them from me either at Malta or in the S[outh]. of France, (say Avignon) as I am informed Marseilles is sometimes very cold & stormy in March.

My plan therefore is as follows:

You will receive my letter about March. 15. I arrive at Malta about March. 17th. [[3]] & immediately Telegraph to Mr. Sclater if the Birds are alive, & I wish him immediately to Telegraph instructions to me, whether to bring them on myself by next steamer to Southampton, -- or whether he will send a man to receive them at Malta or at any place on the Railway line in the S[outh]. of France.

The steamer however remains only 6 hours in Malta, so I must stay there & can not leave again till March. 25th. & reach Marseilles 27th.

Notwithstanding the letter of instructions I have to look after the birds myself & they get neither food water or cleaning regularly. Such things want a servant [[4]] to themselves & I fear that if we have bad weather & I am sick they will suffer.

I much regret not being able to bring the Siamang2 which was a most interesting little creature. It is however going round the cape & if well attended to may live.

Communicate this immediately to Mr. Sclater.

In haste | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Sam[ue]l. Stevens Esq.


1. Bird of Paradise species.

2. Dark tailless gibbon.

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