Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Singapore to Fanny & Thomas Sims 7 Conduit Street, Regent Street, London on 20 February 1856.
Re. departure from Sarawak, leaving Charles behind; admirable character of Sir James Brooke; slow healing of injured foot; good collection of insects in Borneo; Sims' photography business; Fenton's Crimea photographs; justification of Crimean war.
A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Pages with text: 4
Transcriber: Tew, Alison
Transcription date: July 8, 2006
Scrutiny: 19/03/2012 - Parfitt, Elisabeth; 15/01/2013 - Catchpole, Caroline;
Signed off: no
Feb.[ruary] 20th. 1855.1
My dear Fanny
I have now left Sarawak, where I began to feel quite at home & may perhaps never return to it again but I shall always look back with pleasure to my residence there & to my acquaintance with Sir James Brooke, who is a gentleman & a nobleman in the noblest sense of both words. I have just got yours’ & Thomas’ letters of Nov. 30th. My foot got well at last after keeping me 3 months in the house. Camphor ointment did no good at all. Another time I shall use caustic which is the only thing in ‘this’ country to make bad wounds heal. I am sorry to hear you are not well. I hope you will not work too hard but take a days rest now and then and you should arrange to spend from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning in the country. Why did not my mother get a cottage & not take more rooms in London which I am sure she does not like so well as the country. I wish you would write me some more details of your business what are your highest prices, what is the most you take in a day &c. &c. I suppose Thomas & you have been to see Fenton’s Crimea Photographs -- the first great application of Photography to Life & History. Do the transparent pictures for the gas microscope go on. No sooner do you seem to have got something new than I hear not a word more about it. [] Charles has left me. He has staid [sic] with the Bishop at Sarawak who wants teachers & is going to try to educate him for one. I offered to take him on with me paying him a fair price for all the insects &c. he collected, but he preferred to stay. I hardly know whether to be glad or sorry he has left. It saves me a great deal of trouble & annoyance & I feel it quite a relief to be without him. On the other hand it is a considerable loss for me, as he had just begun to be valuable in collecting. I must now try & teach a China boy to collect & pin insects. My collections in Borneo have been very good, but some of them will I fear be injured by the long voyages of the ships. I have collected upwards of 25,000 insects besides Birds shells quadrupeds & plants. The day I arrived here a vessel sailed for Macassar & I fear I shall not have another chance for two months unless I go a round about way & perhaps not then. So I have hardly made up my mind what to do. The January Mail is expected in daily so I may receive another letter from you before I send this. I have spoken to the Rajah about G. Silk. If matters go on well with the English Government there may be work for him here in a year or two. I shall write to him by this mail. This letter must do for all, as I [] have no time to write separately. I have sent a paper on Borneo & the Dyaks to the Geographical Society. You will hear from G.S. when it is to be read & perhaps would like to go & hear it, as I have endeavoured to make it a little amusing & readable which the papers at the Geog. are not always.
I think this war is a noble and a necessary one & it is only by its being thorough & complete that it can effect its purpose & cause [?] the future peace of Europe. The warlike stores found accumulated at Sebastopol are alone a sufficient justification of the war. What were 4000 cannons for and other stores in proportion, if not to take Constantinople & get a footing in the Mediterranean, & ultimately to subjugate Europe? And why do such tremendous fortresses exist in every part of the frontiers of Russia, if not to render herself invulnerable from attacks which she has determined by her ambitious designs to bring upon herself. Russia is perpetually increasing her means of defence & of aggression; if she had continued unmolested a few years longer, it would have cost still greater sacrifices to subdue her. The war therefore is absolutely necessary as the only means of teaching Russia that Europe will not submit to the indefinite increase of her territory & power, & the constant menace of her thousands of cannons & millions of men. It is the only means of saving Europe from a despotism as much worse than that of Napoleon as the Russian people are behind the French, in civilization.
Kind love to Mother, Thomas, Mr. & Mrs. Sims, Webster & to all friends.
In haste | Your affectionate Brother | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]
[] My dear Mother
I will write to you next time. Kind love from │Your affectionate Son | Alfred R Wallace [signature]
7 Conduit Street
1. ‘56!’ has been added in pencil next to the date, possibly in Alfred Russel Wallace’s hand, and from context 1856 must be the correct year.
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