Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP725

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

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 22 November 1904.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Has asked E.B. Poulton to give his opinion of Birch's collection, as a wet-season collection. Is anxious to know what Janson thinks of it too.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP725.897)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418626
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne

Nov. 22nd. 1904

My dear Fred

I got your long letter of Nov. 3rd. last week and found it very interesting. It is very annoying having to pay so dear for food. Can you ris[MS burned] make friends with the negro who lives under your home, & get him to buy for you. Cannot you buy whole bunches of plantains &c. cheaper. But I dare say you have tried. I am very glad you did not agree to go with Andre. It is in every way ruinous for a collector & student to go long journeys. Also I now think it quite clear that you ought give up Guanaco altogether. It would only do if the manager were quite sympathetic and there were no trouble with the Govt. - I am also glad you decided to give Trinidad a fair trail during the dry season; and I think it w<ould be> best to work the Northern mount<ains> say for a month, then go to you[MS burned] [[2]] at Capuro for a month, where you will be able to cut down some trees & work Longicorus &c. I would not go quite away to a new place till you had done that.

In the mean time I will make enquiries as to any possible district better than B. Guiana. Thanks for the photos, but is it worth the time and expense to take so many bits which are of no use to an outsider or for any permanent purpose. I would take nothing but a few very good & characteristic views with such a light that the details come out properly & that will bear enlarging. Yours are all too black & white, but you will learn the difficulties of photography in a tropical sun.

[[3]] I have asked Prof. Poulton to go and look at your collection next time he is [in] London & let me know what he thinks of it, as a wet-season collection. I am anxious to hear what Jauson says of it, but you must not mind if he depreciates it somewhat. Your next I hope will make up for it. I do not quite understand why now you are in a house of your own with "bush" all round you, you are not setting our traps and getting small mammals, for skins & skeletons. There must be plenty about. The second-growth woods near you ought to be rich in Lycaenidae now if they are anything like those near Para. There were 50-60 species there, some most superb. Have you any large scale map of the island showing all the roads, paths & settlements. I suppose th[MS burned] [[4]] must be one if only for the guidance of the Government, & it would guide you to places for collecting. Are there no regular wood-cutters in the forest, for it will be little use your going any where where there are no people & no roads. Do not think of it. Have you met any one yet who has been to the top of the range. There is I suppose a Surveyor of the Island; can you not get some information from him. You might also ask the Superintendent of the Botanic Gardens who I should think has been there collecting plants, as to the best places to stay at near it.

When you go to remember to look out for a few small Bromeliads for me, and as soon as the season is at its dryest send them off by parcel post. Any really good ones you have seen in flower you might send several small [MS burned]uts of as a friend of mine wants some. [MS burned] up with quite dry moss if they require it, [MS burned] not paste up the box.

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

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