Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP709

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch
28 February 1904

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 28 February 1904.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Discusses terms of a proposed collecting contract with Mr. Janson, bird collections at Tring, and spiritualism.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP709.881)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418503
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Dor<set>

Feb. 28th. 1904

My dear Fred

I return you Jauson’s letter. It is difficult to say why he purposefully avoided saying anything about giving names of buyers. [MS burned] [in margin] I think not [end marginal note] suppose you have a copy of your letter to him. I think I should write accepting his terms, but adding, that it is on the understanding that he gives you in the accounts the names of each purchaser with the amount of their purchase as it is of importance for you to know to whose collections your insects &c. have gone - & keep a copy of this letter.

I would also copy Jauson’s letter to take with you, lest the original with your [MS burned] [[2]] I hope to hear soon that you have got your passage arranged for. I think it very likely that they Jausons have had no collections from Trinidad except a few odd butterflies, & may think it as poor as the other smaller W. Indian Islands. Any how it is better to go there till the real dry season begins in B. Guiana in June or July.

I m glad you like the book: I sometimes think I was impelled to write it by [MS burned] spirit friends. About 8 years ago when I was not doing so well in health as I [MS burned] (my bronchitis is quite [MS burned] sitting at home [[3]] with a trance medication, and [an] old Scotch doctor - one of her gu[MS burned] gave me one some very good [MS burned] about my general health, & said, in reply to source rather g[MS burned] observation of mine - "D’ont[sic] you [MS burned] afraid: you are not coming [MS burned] us for a good while yet."

And the other guide, a little Indian girl, told me I should soon leave that house. I told her she was wrong, & that we were fixed there. "No," she said "I am sure you will leave this house - "you have got more [MS burned] to do, and you will be more [MS burned] in the world than you have been lately." I thought [MS burned] time she meant being [MS burned] London & seeing [MS burned] [[4]] [MS burned] meaning being talked about [MS burned] written about, it has come wonderfully true.

I hope your passage will be soon arranged. Let me know [MS burned] directly it is.

I feel sure Mr. Kaye never was [MS burned] <in> a good collecting locality in B. Guiana [MS burned] that probably Suddie will be better than anywhere he has been. I feel more than ever sure that old settlements afford the best collecting localities. I also believe Trinidad will be very good, & for beetles & other orders perhaps much better than for butterflies. I long to hear of your first collection there.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

[MS burned] just had a batch of American [MS burned] book. Many very good, only one [MS burned] no reasons!

A.R.W. [signature]

[[5]] P.S. Just before posting this I had a letter from Mr. Ernst Hartert for Tring in which he says: - " I believe that a thorough ornithological exploration of the "Hinterland" of Bolivia[?] would be very interesting! There are a number of species only known from single trade [MS burned] as they used to send to Europe for millinery purposes from Bolivia[?], and believe that a really good collection has never been made there. x x x He should look out specially for Hummingbirds inland of Bolivia[?]... I should like Mr. Birch to send me 4 or 5 of [MS burned] bird skins by parcel post so that I may see if they are good, and perhaps <I> might criticise them and give him [Ms burned] hints." He then says if you go he [MS burned] send you a quantity of labels like [MS burned] enclosed, as they like all labelled [MS burned] spot. This seems to me very [MS burned] as to be in a place where birds [MS burned] collecting [MS burned] [[6]] [MS burned] up time when insects are scarce, & [MS burned]an also buy birds from native shooters at perhaps 1/2d each & even teach some of them to skin & buy skins at a few half-pence each.

If you have any bird-skins yet, you may as well send him a few, especially any you think are rare - to the local collectors.

A.R.W. [signature]

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