Letter (WCP3536.3429)


Parkstone, Dorset, England

August 16th. 1892

My dear Mr. Deane2

Looking over the names of members of Linnean Society living abroad I came across yours, and had recalled to my mind the many pleasant evenings I spent with your father & mother at Clapham Common in the days long past. I think I have heard that your sister is living with you, and she will I am sure remember me, and pray give her my kind remembrances.

My special object in writing is connected with my favourite occupation gardening. It is my delight to try to cultivate as many curious & beautiful plants as I can, and [2] I have something fresh always to look forward to. I am especially fond of orchids, but as I cannot afford & have not the means of growing the epiphytal tropical species, I am trying to get some of the curious & beautiful terrestrial orchids so abundant in Australia and South Africa, but very few of which are yet available in England.

In order to induce persons residing in favourable localities to collect and send these, I propose to act as their agent, disposing of the tubers to amateur horticulturists; and it occurred to me that you are sure to know persons living in the wilder districts of New South Wales who might be willing to earn a trifle by this easy [3] and agreeable occupation. If you know of any ladies fond of botany or of any branch of natural history and residing in suitable localities they might be pleased to have a little definite employment of this kind, and even the small amount of profit might be in some cases an inducement.

With this view I have written out a few instructions suggested by some experience in the matter, and shall be obliged if you will hand this — or a copy of it — to any persons known to you who are willing to undertake the work.

[4] I hope you are succeeding well in your profession. My only son3, now nearly 21, has been through a course of 3 years study of Electrical Engineering at the Finsbury Technical College, and will shortly have to go to some firm to obtain the requisite practical experience. There is, I presume, a great future for Electricity in all parts of the world and in many yet undiscovered applications.

With best wishes | Believe Me | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace. [signature]

Henry Deane Esq.

"610/19/399" is written in a hand that does not belong to Wallace.
Henry Deane Walsh, engineer, lived 1853 — 1921.
William Greenell Wallace, lived 1871 — 1951.

Enclosure (WCP3536.3432)


Instructions for packing and sending

Terrestrial Orchids for cultivation.

1. The tuberous roots should be dug up as soon as the flowers and leaves begin to turn brown & die off: Care will be taken not to break or cut the roots.

2. Each root should be enclosed in a small quantity of dry moss, tied up tightly with thread so as to force a firm ball. The roots of each kind should be put together with more moss and tied so as to form a compact ball or parcel to which a name or number should be attached several of these miay[sic] be packed together with more moss, or any dry material, and the whole done up in Calico or paper, glazed paper preferable, and sent by parcel-post, with an address label attached. No box is necessary; so that a large number of roots may be sent at a moderate cost.

3. Mr. Wallace will act as agent for [2] the sender, disposing of the roots, if in good order to his horticultural friends, and rewritting[sic] to the sender 45 per cent of the net proceeds, after postage, to purchasers and perhaps one advertisement is deducted.

4. Of course very small and inconspicuous species should not be sent, but only the more beautiful or curious species, of which there are a large number in most parts of Australia.

5. About 20 roots of each kind may be sent first, but it is anticipated that there will be a constant demand year after year, as many persons can grow these who cannot grow the more expensive tropical orchids.

Parcels should be addressed —

A.R. Wallace Esq.




Parkstone Aug. 16th. 1892

Notes of soil, climate, height above sea &c. would be acceptable.1

This line of text is written vertically up the left margin of the second page of the manuscript.

Please cite as “WCP3536,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 15 July 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP3536