Search: Wallace, Alfred Russel in addressee 
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Spruce, Richard in author 
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Text Online
From:
Richard Spruce
To:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Date:
10 October 1852
Source of text:
Natural History Museum, London: NHM WP1/3/25
Summary:

Describes chaotic political situation in Barra; “the President went away & left no one in charge of the state.” Officials have sucked all the money in the Treasury. Worst season of year; no collecting; living on very meager food. Will stay 12 or 15 months although it’s very difficult and is unhappy “buried in forest.” Disturbed by unsettling news of problems in England received via London papers; voyage by river from San Gabriel to San Jeronimo; collecting specimens of ferns; plans to travel with Agostinho; problems with lazy, incompetent Indian servants; wants news of whether Sir Robt Humbugck [sic: Schomburgk] has published on vegetation of Rio Negro.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
Richard Spruce
To:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Date:
2 July 1853
Source of text:
Natural History Museum, London: NHM WP1/3/26
Summary:

Became worried when hadn’t heard from you (ARW); wondered what “catastrophe” found you, “whether you were shipwrecked, or got married” or overdosed “on plum pudding.” Finally learned of the fire that took your ship and collections; sympathize with your “sufferings and irreparable losses” and admire your stoicism. “I [too] have] looked death in the face.” Local Indians became drunk at a public feast and “threatened to murder all the whites” (all three of us). We were obliged to keep “constant [armed] watch for two days and nights.” Had they attacked, they could have easily killed us “for they were 150 against 3.” Local scoundrel named Chagas, “with a face exactly like the back of a Surinam toad” (ie. hideously pock-marked), has been helpful in arranging river expeditions for plant collecting, but “also took a special delight in cheating me.” Currently we’re preparing for a voyage up the Casiquiare, with the intention of entering the Rio Cunucunuma; next year we’ll explore the sources of the Orinoco.

Contributor:
Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project