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Record number: WCP1821

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Richard Baron
4 October 1894

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset, to Richard Baron [none given] on 4 October 1894.

Record created:
24 November 2011 by Catchpole, Caroline


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LETTER (WCP1821.1710)

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

Held by:
SOAS Library, Archives and Special Collections
Finding number:
PP MS 79: Papers of Richard Baron
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Oct.[obe]r 4th. 1894

Rev[eran]d R. Baron1

Dear Sir

Thanks for your letter of Aug. 31st. just received.. No doubt as you say animals are sometimes brought together by saline springs, as in the salt-licks of N. America, but these are several other causes of the accumulation of fossils. Such are, extensive soft bogs in which year by years animals are destroyed, - lakes frozen over in winter leading to many being drowned by the breaking of the ice when great herds are passing over, - and also by frozen rivers which often break up suddenly during the rise of water in early summer and [one word illeg.] [[2]] great numbers of animals which may be crossing over during the time. This happens even more[?] every year in the great Siberian rivers.2 But the statement that the earth, at some former periods, contained more species than now, does not rest on these accumulations only but on the fact that, at certain geological horizons, there are found fossil many more species than near exist in the same regions. Thus, in the later Pliocene3 there were more species of deer in England than now exist in all Europe ; and the three species of Elephants in Malta; - the six horses, & 4 Elephants and numerous camels bisons & deer, in Post Pliocene North America! all [[3]] show this greater riches[?] in species, & the same thing occurs in S. America & Australia.

After writing the first part of this letter I had an attack of inflammation of the eyes which prevented me from finishing it till now (Now. 9th).

Should you have the opportunity of obtaining any bulbs, or tubers of orchids, from the temperate parts of Madagascar I should be much pleased to receive a few, as I amuse myself by cultivating a considerable number of curious & ornamental species both in garden & greenhouse. Tubers of terrestrial orchids are best packed in charcoal dust, in small boxes nearly airtight. I have [[4]] received them in good order both from the Cape & Australia when thus packed.

I have read your papers on the botany of Madagascar4 with great interest & have utilised them in the new Ed. of my Island Life. I have not seen your Geological papers as I am not a fellow of the Geological Society, but I will endeavour to see your last paper shortly.

Believe me | Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature] -


1. Richard Baron (1847 - 1907), Missionary and naturalist.

2. Nov. (number illeg.)th is written and underlined between and slightly above the two sentences.

3. A period in the geologic timescale from 5.3 million to 2.5 million years ago.

4. Baron, Richard. The flora of Madagascar. London: 1889.

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