Letter (WCP3555.3452)


H. M. S. "Frolic"2 Spithead

Friday morning. [3 February 1854]3

Dear Sir4

We are here still at anchor — I received your packet yesterday; please thank Mr Kent5 for me. Day before Yesterday Stop "Annul Sailing" was telegraphed from the Admiralty6 — So we wait further orders — The Captain7 knows nothing about it & is anxious to know whether he is only delayed for a time or countermanded altogether.

You probably saw the paragraph [2] in the "Morning Herald"8 of 2 days aback [sic] about the "Frolic" — If you can learn any [thing] about the Admiralty’s intentions we shall be glad to hear from you.

Capt[ain]. Nolloth & the officers are all very pleasant & I anticipate an agreeable voyage so should not now like to be turned off —

When you see Admiral Beaufort9 please offer my excuses for not having called upon him again as he desired — You know how I was hurried [3] a line from you in return with any thing you know about us will be very acceptable — The admiral10 here inspected the crew yesterday, — no doubt by the orders of the Admiralty —

The wind has been dead up the Channel & blowing hard now it is more favourable.

In haste | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R Wallace [signature]

Dr. Norton Shaw.

The letter is endorsed in another hand, probably that of Norton Shaw, "1854 Mr[?] Wallace Rec[eive]d — Ans[wered] Feb 7".
HMS Frolic, British Royal Navy Sloop, 16 guns, launched 1842 and sold 1864 (Winfield, R. 2014. British Warships in the Age of Sail 1817-1863: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. [p. 263]).
This letter can be dated to 3 February 1854, which fell on a Friday in that year, as it appears to have been written before WCP3556.3453, dated 4 February [1854], also written on board HMS Frolic. It was also written before the date of the reply, given as 7 February [1854]. By 3 February 1854, it was already being reported in the press that HMS Frolic would not sail to Australia (see, for example, Isle of Wight Observer. Saturday, 4 February 1854. Naval Intelligence. Portsmouth. Findmypast. < https://search.findmypast.co.uk>, describing events of Thursday [2 February 1854], then stating that: "it has been since reported that the sailing of the Frolic for the Australian station has been countermanded by the Admiralty.").
Shaw, Henry Norton ( -1868). British Royal Navy Surgeon and Diplomat; Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, London.
Unidentified — but could this possibly be John Kent (1809-1862). Australian explorer and member of the Royal Geographical Society, 1851- (therefore in contact with Dr Norton Shaw?) (McLaren, I. F. 1988-1991. Kent, John (1809-62). Australian Explorers by Sea, Land and Air, 1788-1988, 9 vols. 7: Bibliographical Register: LeichhardtMitchell. Parkville, Vic., Australia: University of Melbourne Library. [p. 148]).
The British government body then in charge of Royal Navy organisation and operation (The National Archives of the UK. N.d. Catalogue description. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies. Reference: ADM. Discovery. The National Archives' catalogue. <http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C4> [accessed 12 July 2018]).
Nolloth, Matthew Stainton (1810-1882). British Royal Navy officer and hydrographer; commander of HMS Frolic, 1853-1856.
The Morning Herald, a British newspaper in existence between 1780 and 1869 (The British Library Board. N.d. Concise History of the British Newspaper in the Eighteenth Century. Concise History of the British Newspaper. <http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/news/concisehistbritnews/britnews18th/index.html> [accessed 11 July 2018]).
Beaufort, Francis (1774-1857). British Royal Navy officer and hydrographer.
Cochrane, Thomas John (1798-1872). British Royal Navy officer; vice-admiral, 1850; commander-in chief at Portsmouth, 1852-1856. Cochrane went on board HMS Frolic on Thursday [2 February 1854] "to muster the crew and exercise them in naval gunnery" (Naval Intelligence. Saturday, 4 February 1854. Portsmouth. Isle of Wight Observer. Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK: George Butler).

Please cite as “WCP3555,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 26 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP3555