Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP711

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch
24 March ?1904

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 24 March ?1904.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Is relieved that Birch will not be travelling via Jamaica after all. Discusses collecting equipment and Humboldt's travels.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP711.883)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418522
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Dor<set>

March 24th. 19[MS burned]

My dear Fred

I am rather relieved <to> find that you are not going via Jam<aica> for reasons I have stated before. You will [MS burned] [1 word illeg.] sure be more comfortable in the Congo ship, & £10 is wonderfully che<ap>. I hope you are sure of getting the pas<sage> Mr. Schill must have strange ideas [MS burned] business, if he thinks that it is the r[MS burned] for Commission agents to give no de[MS burned] of their sales. I can see no reason whatever for it but for them to take undirectly more than the agread Commission. If however the excuses as to a real e[MS burned] trouble is a real one, it can easily [be] got over by their agreeing to show books to any representative you [MS burned] appoint once each year if you wish. If he refuses this also it will be clear de[MS burned] he is not an honest agent, but even [then] you need not withdraw but keep him for a year or two, [MS burned] [[2]] to do without him. Perhaps the simplest way will be to say nothing more now, but see what he does & what accounts he sends you.

The zinc trays with perforated, loose tops & lids, I used, to dry all insects in papers; invaluable in the wet season, or at any time, because they can be put safely out in the sun, for an hour or two each day, & closed up at night to keep the damp out. Then, in 2 or 3 days they will be perfectly dry & can be stored away in boxes & pasted up. The size should be the same as your store boxes for convenience of packing.

Will the small & delicate moths & [MS burned]ycinidae relax well after being dried in paper? I think I used to find that [MS burned] could never be got to look so nice [MS burned] set specimens, but if the buyer <is sa>tisfied that is enough.

[[3]] Now as to the snake inoculation, it is one of the vilest and most dangerous of the new medical fads. Are you aware that since the establishment of Pasteur’s Institute in Paris and the treatment of thousands of people annually who have been bitten by dogs, &c. the numbers of deaths from Hydrophobia in France have largely increased? The figures have been published again & again, & have not been denied, but the Pasteurites go on giving records of cures & protection, when in most of the cases there is proof that the dogs that bit were not [MS burned] at all! It is just like them [1 word illeg.] with regard to vaccination. They know nothing of the permanent bad effects of putting snake poison in the blood [and] nothing of the effect on the system of the goat or sheep or donkey disease of the animals they use! It is all medical madness! Among all [MS burned] & [1 word illeg.] collectors [MS burned] [[4]] [MS burned] Humboldt down to today, has any one ever died of snake bite? I do not remember one. And to avoid this remote danger you are blindly to accept an operation which is almost certain to produce bad effects, probably to shorten your life! With moderate [care] you will be in no more danger than from vipers in england & mad dogs! of which latter there are more in the tropics.

As to writing letters for the papers, yes certainly, & the best way will be to write the enclosed syndicate. Tell them I am too busy, & have declined before. Send them a copy of any of your letters or popular articles that have been printed as a specimen (I think you have some) and ask them what <p>ay they offer for an article once a month, or once a quarter. You could cite any number, & add something to your means. State that you only [MS burned] them the Newspaper right, & when <you> send anything tell them whose to [MS burned] copy. I send now photo, which [MS burned] send to Chester.

[MS burned] truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

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