Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP3281

Sent by:
Walter William Skeat
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
11 October 1909

Sent by Walter William Skeat, Rome Land Cottage, St Alban's, Hertfordshire to Alfred Russel Wallace, [Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset] on 11 October 1909.

Record created:
28 March 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


No summary available at this time.

Record notes

Record contains:

  • enclosure (1)
  • letter (1)

View item:

ENCLOSURE (WCP3281.5746)

An enclosure .

A transliteration of a letter in Malay in Jawi script by Charles Otto Blagden. Wallace had received the letter in 1874 and Blagden had been sent the letter by Skeat to try and attempt to translate. The letter in Malay that Wallace was sent is WCP3284.

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46442 f. 94
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Charles Otto Blagden Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information




Transliteration of Malay letter from Aru


bahuwa alamat ini surat deri ingatang {=ingatan}1 / dahulu kala deripada orang malay/yu nene muawayang {nenek moyang} dapat tana ar(a?) {=tanah aru(?)} sampi <tana {=sampai tanah) wasir(?)> / kompaniya {kumpani} inkaris {Inggris} dabat {dapat} / sama kita orang malayyu <walas> {=Wallace} / yadi {=jadi} tuwan kombaniya {=kumpani} ingkaris {=Inggris} / kasi {kasih} karu {=ka-Aru} <sama> (mana?) nene(k?) muwa {=mahu} diya / bunya {=dia punya} anak susu muwa {=anak chuchu mahu?} anak / susu {=anak chuchu} muwa adanya (writer’s mark) ? kabongwalai(?) / amama ajar marad ada-nya.

The spelling is highly unconventional. Besides the peculiarities shown above the writer has several times put three dots over his s turning it into sh (so in sampi, the first sama, and the second susu). This is pretty common, as the Malay s is not quite identical with the Arabic one in sound. Most of the writer’s eccentricities require no explanation. Sampi is for sampai, dabat is for dapat, yadi for jadi, karu for ka aru, muwa for mahu or mau, bunya for punya, susu for chuchu. The spelling ingkaris is not wrong, as k is often written when g is meant. The words that follow the mark are obscure but the meaning of all the rest seems clear enough. The second sama is written over the line and its position in the sentence is doubtful. Perhaps it may be meant for semua, ‘all’ (??). Mana is a doubtful reading.


1. {} brackets indicate hand-written annotations by Blagden.

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