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Record number: WCP4125

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Henry Walter Bates

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, 5 Westbourne Grove Terrace, London, W. to Henry Walter Bates [none given] on  ?1863.

Record created:
22 March 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Record notes

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • publication (1)

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LETTER (WCP4125.4142)

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

Held by:
Brotherton Library, University of Leeds
Finding number:
Edward Clodd Collection
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




5. Westbourne Terrace. w.


Dear Bates1

Supposing you are still in Leicester, I write a few lines to tell you that I have just finished reading your book from which I have derived very great pleasure. It has recalled to me old & familiar scenes which had almost faded away from memory like a dream. I am therefore perhaps not well fitted to judge of its effect on the public, as for me, it has an altogether peculiar charm; but its so thoroughly well written,-- the style [[2]] is so easy & the matter generally so new and interesting that I am sure most persons who will read it carefully, will be pleased & delighted.

The bits of Natural History are very good, & they too have a charm for me on account of the agreement of our opinions on such topics, which perhaps others may not feel in an equal degree. Your vindication of butterfly study at vol. 2. p. 346 is in particular most admirable.

Your estimate of the characters of the Indian & negro is I [[3]] think very just, & you have dwelt upon it so that I think it will leave a distinct impression upon every reader.

The most interesting part to me is that the latter half of vol. 2 as it is the most novel. To others the whole book will probably be equally delightful.

I see no signs of labour in the style, neither do I detect any of the that flowery exaggeration you had bid me to expect. There is not a line or an epithet on subjects of natural scenery, vegetable & animal life, that I can not fully support & agree with.

On the whole I must [[4]] congratulate you on having produced so extremely pleasant & interesting a book, which I am sure will delight all who know you, & if the general public do not also appreciate it, it will show that they have no taste left for unadulterated and unsensational books of travels.

Be assured that this letter is not complimentary, but my true & honest opinion. I recommend the book to all my acquaintances, & I hope to get some credit by the recommendation. Thanks for the kind manner in which you have mentioned my name.

Hoping to see you soon back in Town

I remain | Dear Bates | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace. [signature]

H. W. Bates Esq!


1. Henry Walter Bates (1825-1892) naturalist entomologist who went on an expedition to the Amazon with ARW in 1848.

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