A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Pages with text: 4
Transcriber: Hackett, Diana
Transcription date: August 18, 2014
Scrutiny: 18/08/2014 - Benny, Ruth;
Signed off: no
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 [] 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 [] 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 [] 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.
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