Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP487

Sent by:
W. van den Berghe
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
8 January 1913

Sent by W. van den Berghe, London to Alfred Russel Wallace [address not recorded] on 8 January 1913.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.


Begging for money for a passage to South Africa after reading a biographical article about Wallace in the Westminster Gazette including Wallace's reported opinion on the alleviation of poverty; he has been financially ruined by the Boer War and by the loss of restaurant in Leith, Scotland due to strikes.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP487.487)

A typical letter  .

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/8/16
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the W. van den Berghe Literary Estate.

Transcription information





8 Januari[sic] 1913

Dear Gentleman

I have had the pleasure in reading the Westminster Gazette and I was very glad to see your picture and read about your story about ship wrecked and then a[sic] other part is that you are [a] very good man[.] I am of your opinion [that] Government should not give away a single penny of public money to pictur[e] museums as long as a single person in the country dies of starvation of so as the king wrote to me he was very sory[sic] and could not pay my fare [[2]] to South Africa[.] I am a boer and I have lost 1 my property 2 my papers are buried burid[sic] 3 my money is up through the last strike we have had a restourant[sic] in Leith Scotland and now of what my to several office in [1 word illeg.] Victoria Street London but no white house could do nothing I have used up my furniture and so I am living with my poor wife in 91 Vauxhall Bridge Road in a furnished room[.] O Lord Russel Wallace if you could help my[sic] I should be very glad if I had on[sic] moment £15 but nobody wil[sic] help me to come back to east fourtein[sic] natal you should help me very poor man[.] [[3]]

I am very good for a farm my wife can milk cows and I can dres[s] horses and so: but we have nothing and now I hope you could do anything for us[.] I [1 word illeg.] pound money for we are nearly on the street recived[sic] order greating and we hope you will help us[.] Dear Lord your servants from Africa British subjects of your dear Country | W van der Berghe [signature]

91 Vauxhall Bridge Road

SW London


1. Written in the top left of the page in an unidentified hand is "Ans[were]d".

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