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Record number: WCP385

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Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Thomas Sims
[?February] [1856]

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, [none given] to Thomas Sims [none given] on [?February] [1856].

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


Re. Sims's business, engraving technique; eagerness for departure to the East; sore [foot]; description of Singapore street scene and mixture of nationalities including Kling (Chettiar) tradesmen.

Record notes

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • publication (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP385.385)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/3/61
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
21/08/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Item notes

Physical description

Transcription information




Dear Thomas1

Your note about the Engraving was very interesting. I hope you may make it succeed & keep it secret. You & Fanny talk of my coming back for a trifling sore as if I was within an omnibus ride of Conduit St[reet]. I am now perfectly well, & only waiting to go Eastward. The far East is to me what the far West is to the Americans. They talk much of California [[2]] where I hope to arrive some day. I quite enjoy being a few days at Singapore now. The scene is at once so familiar & strange. The half naked chinese coolies, the neat shop keepers, the clean feet and long tailed merchants, all as busy & full of business as any Londoners. Then the handsome Klings[?] who always ask double what they take & with whom it is most amusing to Bargain. The crowd of boatmen at the Ferry, a [[3]] dozen begging & disputing for a farthing fare, the Americans[,] the Malays & the Portuguese make up a scene doubly interesting to me now that I know something about them & can talk to them in the general language of the place. The streets of Singapore on a fine day are as crowded & busy as Tottenham Court road, & from the variety of nations & occupations far more interesting. I am more convinced than ever that no one can appreciate a new [[4]] country in a short visit. After 2 years in the country I only now begin to understand Singapore & to marvel at the life & bustle[,] the varied occupations & strange population, which on a spot which so short a time ago was an uninhabited jungle. A volume might be written on Singapore without exhausting its singularities -- "The Roving[?] Englishmans" is the pen that should do it.

Yours affectionately | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

T. Sims Esq[uire].


1. The date "[FEB1856]" is written in pencil in an unknown hand

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