Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP719

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

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 2 August 1904.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Discusses suitable collecting localities in various places.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP719.891)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418603
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne

August 2nd. 1904

My dear Fred

As I know how pleasant it is to receive letters when far away from home I write you a few lines though I have very little to say, except to thank to thank you for your long letter from Caparo. It gave me much relief to find that you had so far escaped fever & that you had left the excessively damp situation of your cottage in the ravine during the wet season. I gather, incidentally, that where you are now the house is in a much more open situation and therefore much healthier now, though not so in the dry season, when the more in the forest the better.

You do not say whether you have tried cutting down a tree on the margin of the forest, and seeing if it will not be productive of beetles even now. Moths [MS burned] a very poor look out alone, as there are few buyers of them and as such b[MS burned]. Also you do not say whether [MS burned] tried your trap[Ms burned] [[2]] There are several things I wish you would be more explicit about in your letters. You have now gone to a new place, but you nowhere give me any indication whatever of where it is. Remember I have no good map of Trinidad. I realised however the positions of Sangre Grande, and if I knew whether you were N. E. S. or W. of that and whether 20 or 100 miles distant from it, and how high (approximately) above the sea level, I could realise your present locality, which now I cannot at all. From something sister quoted in your previous letter to her of which she kindly sent me a very short summary, I gathered that you were now much higher up the mountain, [MS burned] you say no word to imply this <in> your letter to me. Do please [[3]] send me particulars as to this, and at any future move even the very roughest diagram map to show the direction & distance you have moved.

Another thing please remember, that all the names of natural objects used in the W. Indies & Guiana are quite different from those used in Brazil, & convey not the least information to me. The various vegetables & fruits you refer to for instance where not English - such as "tamia," "eddoes," &c. But a few words of description or comparison with some of our vegetables, would make me to understand what they are, as I no doubt know the things but not their W. Ind. names.

Your remarks about the flying fish are very clear and I have little doubt t<hat> you are right. I have [MS burned] [[4]] Kipling’s "Five Nations" though I have his other volume - "The Seven Seas" - much of which I admire greatly.

But Kipling has fallen in any estimation since he upheld the iniquitous Boer War. I am very glad to find you are now among more sympathetic people and you cannot do better than stay there as long as you are in Trinidad, and even return there in the dry season if you do not find the Guanaco county much better. Do not be alarmed at any reports of fever or unhealthiness from outsiders. Get your information only from those who have lived there a year at least - preferably from the manager himself who can have no object in deceiving you. Again, remember, that tropical fevers are almost always a question of diet. A naturally healthy person well-nourished, will hardly ever suffer. That [MS burned] experience almost universally.

[MS burned] very sincerely | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

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