Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP736

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch
4 June 1905

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Frederick R. ("Fred") Birch [none given] on 4 June 1905.

Record created:
18 March 2011 by NHM


Advises Birch on his dealings with Janson. Birch should continue to do business with Janson at present.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP736.908)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM Catkey-418737
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Broadstone, Wimborne.

May 30th. 1905

June 4th.

My dear Fred

I was curiously expecting the solution of the mystery which stills remains for another fortnight -- missed by one hour. So I have little to say in <fact> really nothing but what I have already said in previous letters.

I can only hope that you did [MS damaged] have already sent off all your collections in hand to Janson.3

His letter is, no doubt, a little [MS damaged] nasty, but if he is honest , (and [MS damaged] we have no proof to the contrary <)> [MS damaged] he might reasonably feel [MS damaged] at your complaints and <demand?> [MS damaged] seeing that he is not at [MS damaged]4 [[2]]5 blamed for not getting more than the market value for your collection.

The best way now to get out of the muddle, is to take no notice whatever of his letter, but send your collections as if nothing had happened. You see he does not refuse to have more, he does not even say he does not want them. So if you do not take any notice (in the way of a lengthy reply) all will go on in the usual course of business.

As I said before you really must keep on with him for the present. You cannot send these collections to anyone else without previous arrangement. [MS damaged] <must> go by ship, involving bills [[3]]6 of lading, Custom House forms, & all kinds of correspondence besides unpacking & repacking &c. You want the money for them, & there is no other way of getting it.

What I should do is, is to write a formal letter of advice of the despatch of the collections, as you have previously done. Then, at the end, say, -- you are <sorry> [MS damaged] you missed seeing him when in London, as that might have <prevented> [MS damaged] the misunderstanding -- that you do not expect him to change his method of business on your <account> [MS damaged] but that you should be glad of <any> [MS damaged] information as to sales that <he?> [MS damaged] can give you. _____ ( [MS damaged] [[4]]7

on that subject)[.] Then, I would ask his advice, on the general position, as to a profitable collecting-ground that can be reached without great expense from Trinidad, -- mentioning those suggested by me & others. Really, no one is so likely to know as he is of the localities that are good and are not over-worked like Trinidad & Guiana. The mere asking for this information will be a kind of olive branch. At the same time it will commit you to nothing. Even if we can [MS damaged] <arrange> for you to send special [MS damaged] <collections> to any particular buyers [MS damaged] <there?> will always be a lot of other [MS damaged] that it may be useful to leave [MS damaged] <and?> <see?> what they will fetch.

[MS damaged] <Yours> sincerely | A. R. Wallace [signature]


1. There is fire damage to the right -hand edge, and to the top and bottom right-hand corners of the page.

2. There is a stamp placed in the top left-hand corner of the page. It reads: Entomology BMNH Library”.

3. Possibly Janson, Oliver Erichson (1850-1925). English entomologist.

4. There is a catalogue number, inscribed in pencil, in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. It reads: 418737.

5. There is fire damage to the left -hand edge and to the bottom left-hand corner of the page.

6. There is fire damage to the right -hand edge, and to the top and bottom right-hand corners of the page.

7. There is fire damage to the left -hand edge, and to the top and bottom left-hand corners of the page.

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.