Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP4723

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Matthew B. Slater
17 August 1906

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Matthew B. Slater [none given] on 17 August 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 (WCP4723.5079)

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. 14
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
26/06/2014 - Benny, Ruth;

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne.

August 17th. 1906

Dear Mr. Slater2

How can you think that the copies of letters to Mr. Teasdale (evidently made during his Spruce's 3 residence at Welbourn) are the missing "Journal".

The letters themselves are very interesting -- long gossipy letters, most valuable as a supplement to the Journal, and no doubt made copied by Spruce & written on one side the paper, in order to be cut out & interpolated when he came to write his Travels for publication.

In these letters he often refers to the "Journal". At p. 37, he says -- "I had intended to have written out for you my Journal in its entirety, and I think [[2]] it would have interested you, but I must content myself with a few extracts." And on p. 39. he writes -- "The following extract is from my Journal of Dec[ember]. 12 -- written off Sta. Isabel -- and then he quotes about the plague of various flies on the Upper Rio Negro.

This proves that he had the "Journal at Welbourn, or, when copying the letters he would certainly have added a note -- "This "Journal" was unfortunately lost or ...".

That it was not lost is also shown by the fact that in the large Book. I. of his notes on Languages &c. &c. at p. 30 & 31, he has given an Index of of [sic] all non-botanical subjects referred to in the "Journal" and in a "Little Square Book" -- referred to by the letters J. and Sq. -- the references to Journal [[3]] going up to 194 pages, and those to the Little Sq. Book up to 187 pages -- which shows that both are rather thick books -- and this Index as shown by the freshness of the ink, was evidently made in England, in preparation for writing the latter part of the "Notes of a Botanist".

Will you therefore please carry your search further among the "parcels of papers" &c. &c. or in any other places where it may be, as it is quite certain that if it these two books had got accidentally burnt or otherwise destroyed, you would certainly have heard of it.

I see that a good deal of the letters to Teasdale are on English politics -- wars &c. &c. and other subjects having little or no relation to his [[4]] travels.

Until these two important books are found, nothing can be done in regard to making arrangements for publication.

The actual letters in possession of Mr. Teasdale's son, will hardly be wanted, as Spruce evidently had all copied which he thought would be of any use in the proposed book, They had better therefore not be sent me, or the coloured sketches, till the lost volumes have been found.

Is Miss Vance alive? If so it would be well to ask her about the "Journal" &c. & whether he could possibly have lent it to anyone.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. The number 14 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.

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