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Record number: WCP5421

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Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Charles Algernon ("Algernon") Wilson
On:
January 

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Guia, Upper Rio Negro to Charles Algernon ("Algernon") Wilson [none given] on January .

Record created:
12 September 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline

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PUBLICATION (WCP5421.6141)

Wallace, Alfred Russel. (1853). Adelaide Morning Chronicle, 11(132): 253-256. [p. 255]

Copyright owner:
A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

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[[1]] [p.255]

Extract from letter III

Guia, Upper Rio Negro; January

I have now penetrated into the interior seventeen hundred miles from Para, and can assure you that the country is capable of producing ample returns for man’s labour and will supply the industrious with every necessary and luxury of life. Sugar, coffee, tobacco, cotton, rice, Indian corn, madiocas, yams, sweet potatoes, melons, pine-apples, &c., are a few of the articles of prime importance which are produced in the greatest abundance without anything that can be properly called cultivation, for plough and spade are unknown in the country, and manure has, of course, never been heard of. In animals, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry of all kinds breed readily, and the rivers produce abundance of fish of a superior quality.

The aborigines are a race of handsome intelligent people of remarkably mild and peaceable manners, with the exception of a few tribes located in the recesses of the forest; but they have all the apathy of the savage, and cannot be included to work for any but the mere necessaries of life. The axiom that “time is money” is to them utterly incomprehensible.

In a letter just received from California from my brother John, he informs me that people there do as much and earn as much in a month as in any other part of the world in a year. Here it is exactly the reverse; we can only do as much in a year as in any other part of the world would be performed in a month.

The whites here are almost all traders. Trade, on however small a scale, is the mania of the Portuguese, and the consequence is that walking out of the largest town you enter at once into the virgin forest without a sign of cultivation of any kind. The only class of young men likely to get employment in Para, are clerks. A person well acquainted with book-keeping and mercantile transactions, and who had a good character and was free from the vice of drinking would be sure, I think, of employment at a good salary. But I apprehend that the same would be the case in many places much nearer you than Para, such as Manilla, Singapore, any part of the Ports in China, or even at San Francisco, with which you probably have direct communications.

I must now remain, &c. | Alfred R. Wallace

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