Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP4721

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Matthew B. Slater
18 May 1906

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Matthew B. Slater [none given] on 18 May 1906.

Record created:
24 September 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • publication (1)

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LETTER (WCP4721.5077)

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. 8
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
26/06/2014 - Benny, Ruth;

Physical description

Transcription information



[[1]]1, 2

Broadstone, Wimborne

May 18 th. 1906

Dear Mr. Slater3

I have written to Sir Joseph Hooker4 & Sir Clements Markham5 and both think Spruces'6 Mss. ought to be published and will give any assistance they can.

The list of papers & Mss. you have sent me must I think be imperfect as it makes no reference whatever to his long journeys (2 -- 3 years I think) up the Rio Negro, Uaupes, Cassiquiare and Orinoko. He was in a country no botanist had visited [[2]] since Humboldt7, & had some adventures of an exciting kind. Surely there must be some journals or note books of this extensive journey & exploration.

I see by his "Precis d'un Voyage --" that this Rio Negro & Orinoko journey occupied 3 years, & he gives a slight sketch of it & its botany, occupying 6 pages -- but mostly referring to the mosses &c. There must therefore be some Mss. relating to this most important & lengthy journey.

You also mention a list [[3]] of his drawings in S[outh]. America but you do not state whether you have the drawings themselves. They might be very interesting.

Before applying to Macmillan to know if they will publish the proposed book, I must of course know exactly what materials exist. In any case it will be a very long and troublesome task to piece together the various Mss. determine what to omit, arrange for illustrations & maps, correct proofs &c. I expect it will occupy me for more than a year of [[4]] continuous work -- probably nearer 2 years from now till the book is finally out of hand & published. I should therefore like to know what are your ideas as to your interest in the materials in your possession; whether you will do any of the work or leave it all to me, & if I succeed in inducing Macmillan (or any other publisher) to publish it & give pay a Royalty what share of it you would think fair to reserve for yourself.

Please write freely on all these points[.]

Yours very truly | Alfred R Wallace [signature]


1. The number 8 is written in the top left hand corner of the page, in a hand other than Wallace's.

2. Written at the top of the first page of the letter, in the lines of and between the address and salutation, is the following:

replied & sent list of sketches and asked W. to come to Malton or would meet him in London latter part of June

This appears to have been written later and in a hand other than Wallace's (perhaps Slater's).

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

4. Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton (1817 - 1911), botanist and Director of Kew Gardens (1865 - 1885).

5. Markham, Sir Clements Robert (1830 - 1916), geographer.

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

7. von Humboldt, Alexander (1769 - 1859), naturalist and explorer. Worked on botanical geography and was the first to make a detailed scientific exploration of Latin America, traveling extensively there between 1799 and 1804.

"http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/276083/Alexander-von-Humboldt/3367/Expedition-to-South-America#" - accessed 4 August 2014.

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