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Record number: WCP3154

Sent by:
Matilda Wilson (née King)
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
16 June 1894

Sent by Matilda Wilson (née King), [illegible] Kensington to Alfred Russel Wallace [none given] on 16 June 1894.

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


No summary available at this time.

Record notes

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP3154.3122)

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

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46441 ff. 139-140
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Matilda Wilson (née King) Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information




Cwm Isir,


[Adelaide, South Australia]

June 16th. [18]942

Dear Mr Wallace

We were all delighted to hear from you again[.] I can't understand about your not getting[?] our letter[?] & a photo too of your cousin Algernon3 but I might have forgotten, as there were so many to write to just then -- but yours would be one of the first as my dear husband4 always thought so much of you & [1 word illeg.] so interested all your doings. We have just seen a short review of "Australasia"5 & would much like to read it[.]

Algernon3 your eldest cousin sends with this a likeness of himself (it is a splendid likeness) with his best wishes. I am glad to say he [[2]] is getting on well[.] He has a partner F. P. Moncley[?]6 L.L.B. who is a clever steady young fellow. They have nice offices in Perse Chambers Pirie St[reet]. Adelaide[.] Algernon is engaged to a very nice young lady, & [al]tho'[ugh] they can't be married for a year at least I think he has every chance of happiness -- My dear daughters7 are both with me, & as I am such a terrible cripple from rheumatism, il [sic] is very comforting to have them[.] They both paint[.] I must send you a picture some time, & I think I might get you some bulbs of our archi[?]. I suppose they should be sent in earth, & in tins, & collected after flowering. I am sending in this some seeds of the "Clianthus Dampieri" [sic] or Sturts Pea -- it is a brilliant flower red & black & there are others lilac & black & white -- I still hear from E. L. [[3]]8 Layard9 . He is living in Otterbourne Budleigh Salterton, South Devon -- & amuses himself with fishing[.] He was very ill when he left Noumea & was threatened with cancer in the cheek but I think he is tolerably well[.] he has only one son10 who is I fear a "duffer" [.] Geo[rge] Burningham11 has had a stroke of paralysis. He is 92 -- so I should not wonder if it is the beginning of the end -- Ernest12 my youngest son is studying Medicine[.] While spending the long vacation he secured a native skeleton[;] the man died of measles & was buried some 30 years ago. He had his axe, knife, & tinder box all by him -- Ernest has such kind friends in the Darling N[ew]. S[outh]. W[ales]. [1 word illeg.] He also got some native weapons which are now very scarce as the race is dwindling away fast poor things.

[[4]] You must miss your daughter13 & I hope your son14 will do well[.] What a delight your garden must be to you[.] I have a photo[?] of your brother John15[.] I am glad he has done so well in America[.] Send us likenesses of your daughter, & sons, & I will forward you others of ourselves[.] There are several kindergarten schools here -- an enterprising & wealthy colonist W. A. Horn16 has fitted out an expedition to the McDonnell17 [sic] ranges, I will send you the accounts when they return[.] They are to be away some months & Dr Stirling18 & Professor Tate19 from our University have both gone beside other scientists from Melbourne & Sydney -- Now dear cousin I must say goodbye[.] I hope the photo will reach you safely[.]

With kind regards from all | I remain -- faithfully yours | [no signature]20


1. Page numbered 139 in pencil in top RH corner. The letter bears no signature, as there is insufficient space on the last page, but "Matilda Wilson" is written in ink diagonally across the page from the bottom LH corner, in the hand of the author.

2. Year deduced from death date of author.

3. Wilson, Algernon Theodore King ("Ally/Alley") (1863-1925). One of the five children of ARW's cousin Charles Algernon Wilson (see Endnote 4) and Matilda King Wilson (d. 1909) (author of the letter). (Referred to by the author as ARW's cousin, but in fact is the son of his cousin, also Algernon).

4. Wilson, Charles Algernon ("Ally") (1818-1884). ARW's cousin, a son of Martha (née Greenell) (1790-1858), the sister of ARW's mother Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell) (1792-1868).

5. Wallace, A. R. (1893) Australasia. Vol.1 Australia and New Zealand. Stanford's Compendium of Geography and Travel (New Issue): Edward Stanford, London. (A complete revision of one-half of: Wallace, A. R. (Edited and extended by, with Ethnological Appendix by A. H. Keane) (1883) Australasia. Third Edition. (other half revised by another author)).

6. Not identified.

7. Ella Dorothy Martha Wilson (1867-1907) and Emily Annie Layard Wilson (1865-1953). Daughters of ARW's cousin Charles Algernon Wilson (see Endnote 4) and Matilda King Wilson (d. 1909) (author of the letter).

8. Page numbered 140 in pencil in top RH corner.

9. Layard, Edgar Leopold (1824-1900). British diplomat and a naturalist mainly interested in ornithology. He administered the government of Fiji 1874-1875 and was Honorary British Consul at Noumea, New Caledonia, from 1876, from where, with his son Leopold, he built a bird collection of scientific importance.

10. Layard, Edgar Leopold Calthrop (E.L.C. Layard or Leopold Layard to differentiate him from his father – see Endnote 8) (no dates available). With his father, an active collector of bird specimens in the New Caledonia region.

11. Burningham, George (no dates available). Husband of ARW's cousin Dorothea Greenell Wilson (1813-?), a sister of his cousin Charles Algernon Wilson (see Endnote 4).

12. Wilson, Charles Ernest Cameron ("Ernest") (1875-1951). Youngest son of ARW's cousin Charles Algernon Wilson (see Endnote 4) and Matilda King Wilson (d. 1909) (author of the letter).

13. Wallace, Violet Isabel (1869-1945). ARW's daughter.

14. Wallace, William Greenell (1871-1951). ARW's younger son. (His elder son, Herbert Spencer Wallace, died in 1874 aged 6 years).

15. Wallace, John (1818-1895). ARW's brother.

16. Horn, William Austin (1841-1922). Australian mining magnate, pastoralist and politician. He funded the Horn Expedition, a joint project of the three existing Australian Universities Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to investigate in detail the MacDonnell Ranges and surrounding area of Central Australia. The Universities supplied scientific personnel to cover a broad spectrum of academic interests. The expedition set out from Oodnadatta in May of 1894, on twenty-five camels. The expedition lasted only three months, but its findings in all fields of study were widely acclaimed and greatly increased knowledge about Central Australia.

17. The MacDonnell Ranges are a 644 km long series of mountain ranges located in the Northern Territory of Australia, consisting of parallel ridges running to the East and West of Alice Springs.

18. Stirling, Edward Charles (1848-1919). Australian anthropologist and the first professor of physiology at the University of Adelaide. He was the ethnologist in charge of anthropological work in the Horn Expedition (see Endnote 16)

19. Tate, Ralph (1840-1901). British-born botanist and geologist, Elder Professor of Natural Science at the University of Adelaide. He was the leader of the Horn Expedition (see Endnote 16), writing the palaeontology report in collaboration with J. A. Watt, and the general geology and botany reports with Joseph Maiden.

20. Wilson, Matilda (née King) (?-1909). Wife of Charles Algernon Wilson, a cousin of ARW (see Endnote 4). They had 5 children: Ella Dorothy Martha (1867-1907) (see Endnote 7); Algernon Theodore King (1863-1925); Emily Annie Layard (1865-1953) (see Endnote 7); Percy Major Graham (1868-1931); and Charles Ernest Cameron (1875-1951) (see Endnote 12).

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