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Record number: WCP353

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Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell)
On:
30 April 1854

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Singapore to Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell) [none given] on 30 April 1854.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.
Verified by:
21/08/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline (All except summary checked);

Summary

Re. arrival in Singapore; town and population; Bukit Tima (Timah) Mission; butterflies; boxes due on ship Eliza Thornton; broken watch; instructions to Samuel Stevens.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • publication (1)

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LETTER (WCP353.353)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/3/28
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
21/08/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Item notes

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Transcript

[[1]]1

Singapore

April 30th. 1854

My dear Mother

We arrived here safe on the 20th of this month having had very fine weather all the voyage. On shore I was obliged to go to a Hotel which was very expensive so I tried to get out into the country as soon as I could, which however I did not manage in less than a week, when I at last got permission to stay with a French Roman Catholic Missionary who lives about 8 miles out of the Town & close to the jungle. The greater part of the Inhabitants of Singapore are Chinese many of whom are very rich, & all the villages about are almost entirely of Chinese who cultivate pepper & Gambir. Some of the English merchants here have splendid Country houses. I dined with one to whom I brought an introduction -- His house was most elegant & full of magnificent Chinese & Japan furniture. We are now [[2]] at the mission of Bukit Tima. The missionary speaks English Malay & Chinese as well as French and is a very pleasant man. He has built a pretty church here & has about three hundred Chinese converts. Having only been here four days I cannot tell much about my collections yet. Insects however are plentiful. Some sorts more so than at Pará, others less. I have not yet decided what I shall do but I think to stay here a month & then go to Malacca till my boxes arrive by the "Eliza Thornton".

The mail from England will be in tomorrow or next day when I shall expect some letters & papers. I wrote last to George Silk from Aden & told him to show you the letter. Letters addressed to me, care of Messrs. Hamilton Gray & Co. will reach me till further orders. [[3]] Tell Mr. Stevens I will write to him next mail & tell him a little about the Insects &c. I enclose two wings of one of the fine Singapore butterflies.2 I have not seen any tigers yet & do not expect to, for there are not many in this neighbourhood & there has not been a man killed at this place for two years -- Charles gets on pretty well. He is quite well in health & catches a few insects, but he is very untidy which you may imagine by his clothes being all torn to pieces by the time we arrived here. He will no doubt improve & will soon be useful. Singapore is a very curious & interesting place. The Chinese do all this work, they are a most industrious people, & the place could hardly exist without them. The harbour is full of Chinese junks & small native vessels. There are now also 3 English men of war as some [[4]] Russian vessels were expected here.

Malay is the universal language in which all business is carried on. It is easy & I am beginning to pick up a little, but when we go to Malacca shall learn it most, as there they speak nothing else. I am very unfortunate with my watch. I dropped it on board & broke the balance spring & have now sent it home to Mr Matthews to repair as I cannot trust any one here to do it. The bill will be sent to Mr. Stevens who please tell to pay it. There was also a book I left unpaid for 10/6 I think at Williams & Norgate.-- Tell Mr S-[tevens] to pay this also. Every thing for living in the Town of Singapore is very dear except clothing &c. I have had a lot of jackets & trousers made by a Chinese very well at 2s. each for making -- Love to Fanny & Thomas.

I remain your affectionate Son | Alfred R Wallace [signature]

P.S. The climate here is almost that of Para & is very delightful. The forest too looks very much the same. Palms are very abundant -- AW. 3

A.R.Wallace Esqr to the care of Messrs. Hamilton Gray & Co-- Singapore (via Southampton)4

ENDNOTES

1. "2nd letter", "Singapore" and "[WP1/3/28]" are all written at the top of the letter in other hands

2. Written vertically at the left hand side of page 3

3. Written vertically at the left hand side of page 4

4. Written vertically at the left hand side of page 1

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