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Record number: WCP372

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Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Henry Walter Bates
25 November 1859

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Ceram [Seram] to Henry Walter Bates [none given] on 25 November 1859.

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


Re. Bates' safe arrival (in England); hopes Bates will write a Fauna of the Amazon valley; Alfred Russel Wallace's own plans for a similar work on the Malay Archipelago; hopes for exchange of duplicate specimens; paper on principles of Geographical distribution in the archipelago sent to the Linnean Society.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • publication (1)

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LETTER (WCP372.372)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/3/47
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
21/08/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

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Physical description

Transcription information





Nov.[ember] 25th. 1859

Dear Bates

Allow me to congratulate you [1 illegible word deleted] on your safe arrival home with all your treasures; a good fortune which I trust is this time reserved for me.

I hope you will write to me & tell me your projects. Stevens hinted at your undertaking a "Fauna of the Amazon Valley". It would be a noble work, - but one requiring years of labour as of course you would wish to incorporate all existing materials & would have to spend months in Berlin Vienna & Milan & Paris to study the collections of Spix, Natterer Oscolati[?] Castetian[?] & others, as well [[2]] as most of the chief private coll[ectio]ns of Europe. I hope you may undertake it & bring it to a glorious conclusion.

I have long been contemplating such a work for this Archipelago, -- but am convinced that the plan must be very limited to be capable of completion. It sh[oul]d. be little more than a synopsis on a uniform scale & plan, -- descriptions in Latin only for brevity, but with copious introductions & remarks on families & genera. My idea also is that in such a work, it is the duty of an Entomologist to follow the arrangement of Lacordaire for the Coleoptera, -- even [[3]] where we differ from him, -- as we sh[oul]d. thus so much facilitate reference & study, his work being in every ones hands -- Excuse these remarks but the subject interests me -- I suppose you have now your collection pretty well arranged, & I shall be anxious to hear what is now the total amount of species in the chief families & orders of insects -- You can tell me also what you think of any collections as far as you can judge in their packed away & perhaps dirty state. I now keep more duplicates than at first & hope you will reserve for me a set of your spare Longicornis, Bupresti, Cicindelae Cleri & Brenthi & some types of Genera of Carabidae & Curculios -- Also in Butterflies, Papilios [[4]] & Pieridae. To these groups I intend to confine my general collections. I have sent a paper lately to the Linnaean Soc. which gives my views of the principles of Geog.[raphical] Distribution in this Archipelago, -- of which I hope some day to work out the details.

To judge of my coll[ectio]n. of other orders but Col.[eoptera] & Butt.[erflies] you must see Mr Saunders collections as he possesses my complete series, & the Orthoptera Hymenoptera & Diptera must be now very extensive.

Your brother Frederick began a correspond[en]ce.. with me, but does not go on.

Please write soon -- I remain dear Bates │ Yours very sincerely │ Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

H.W. Bates Esq.

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