Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP4720

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Matthew B. Slater
8 April 1906

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Matthew B. Slater [none given] on 8 April 1906.

Record created:
24 September 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP4720.5076)

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

Held by:
Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives)
Finding number:
Wallace-Slater Correspondence no. 7
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
26/06/2014 - Benny, Ruth;

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne

April 8th. 1906

Dear Mr. Slater2

Thanks for sending one Spruce's3 Journal apparently (so far), intended for the press. I think I had it once before, from him, but had no time & not much inclination, then, to read it. Now I have begun to read it, & find it full of interest, but it is too small a portion of his whole journey (besides being the best known part of it) to be likely to get a publisher. now. I gather from your letter that you have not yet fully examined & sorted out all Spruce's papers. From letters I have of his, & several [[2]] of which I have printed in "My Life", I feel sure he must have kept some kind of "journal" throughout his travels & also copious notes on the various botanical & other questions & facts that from time to time interested him. I have the French "Precis d'un Voyage &c." from him, and have just been translating the greater part of it for a young friend now in Trinidad, but who thinks of going up the Amazon into Spruce's Country -- it is most interesting. -- but very brief.

My idea is, that from his notes & journals & from the letters to the Journal of Botany &c. a book might be made up of considerable [[3]] interest to Botanists & also to naturalists of every class, and even to all educated persons with scientific tastes. I presume he must have, at least one complete set of all the letters &c. he sent to the J. of Botany, or other periodicals, & probably copies of private letters to Sir William Hooker4 and to Mr. Bentham.5 If you can, first, send me a list of all the papers &c. of the above character, that you have, I shall be able to judge whether it is worth while to apply to Sir J. Hooker6 or others for advice or information. But please do [[4]] not send them to be me till I know approximate what they are, as I am so crowded up with my own mss. papers & letters that I really have no room to deal with a large mass of unsorted papers, large parts of which may be relating to business or of no interest. It is his voyages to the Orinoko & the Andes that have the greatest novelty & interest, & of the former I know nothing, except what he told me himself or mentioned in private letters, but it was full of interest.

Prof. Poulton of Oxford7 is now preparing for publication the Journals of Burchell8 the great traveller & naturalist of the beginning of the last century, -- & I expects Spruce's "Journals" will be quite as interesting.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. The number 7 is written in the top left hand corner of the page, in a hand other than Wallace's.

2. Slater, Matthew B. (1830 - 1918), botanist.

3. Spruce, Richard (1817 - 1893), botanist.

4. Hooker, Sir William Jackson (1785 - 1865), botanist and first full-time Director of Kew Gardens (1841 - 1865).

5. Bentham, George (1800 - 1884), botanist.

6. Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton (1817 - 1911), botanist and Director of Kew Gardens (1865 - 1885). Second son of Sir William Jackson Hooker.

7. Poulton, Sir Edward Bagnall (1856 - 1943), zoologist. Appointed Hope Professor of Zoology at the University of Oxford in 1893.

8. Burchell, William John (1781 - 1863), explorer and naturalist.

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.