Letter (WCP3556.3453)


H.M.S "Frolic",2 Spithead,

Feb[ruary]. 4th. 1854

Dear Sir3

Thinking there may still be time, I take the liberty of writing to request through you, that the Lords of the Admiralty,4 having kindly granted me a passage to Australia in this Ship, will also be so good as to furnish me with a letter, recommending the Commanders of Ships on the Australian & East Indian Stations to offer me such facilities as may be in their power for exploring any of the little known Islands which they may touch at.

Such a recommendation I feel sure would be of great importance to me, by enabling to me to visit places inaccessible or unsafe for the ordinary [2] traveller.

I have been furnished by Lord Clarendon5 (at the recommendation of the Royal Geographical Society)6 with a general letter of recommendation7 to Her Majesty’s Consuls; and8 I venture to hope that the Lords of the Admiralty, whom I beg leave again to thank for the favours they have already granted me, — may be willing to assist me further in the manner abovementioned.

Any information you may be able to give me as to the probable time of the "Frolic's" sailing would also much oblige,

Your obedient humble servant | Alfred R Wallace [signature]

Capt[ai]n W. A. B. Hamilton R. N.9 Dr Norton Shaw Sec[retary] R[oyal]. G[eographical]. S[ociety]

The document is endorsed "1854 Mr Wallace Re[ceive]d Feb[ruary] 6 5 Ans[were]d.
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]).
Shaw, Henry Norton ( -1868). British Royal Navy Surgeon and Diplomat; Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, London.
The Lords of the Admiralty were commissioned to carry out the powers and functions of the Lord High Admiral, in charge of the Admiralty, the British government body controlling Royal Navy organisation and operation. In February 1854, the Lords of the Admiralty were: Sir James Robert George Graham (First Lord); Hyde Parker; Hon. Maurice Frederick Fitzhardinge. Berkeley; Hon. Richard Saunders Dundas; Alexander Milne and Hon. William Francis Cowper (Sainty, J. C. (Ed.). 1975. Lord High Admiral and Commissioners of the Admiralty 1660-1870. 18-31. In: Sainty, J. C. (Ed.). Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4, Admiralty Officials 1660-1870. London, UK: University of London).
Villiers, George William Frederick (1800-1870). Fourth earl of Clarendon; British diplomat and statesman; Foreign Secretary, 1852-1858.
The Royal Geographical Society, founded as the Geographical Society of London in 1830 for the promotion of the advancement of geographical science, later gained its Royal Charter in 1859 (Royal Geographical Society. N.d. History of the Society. The Royal Geographical Society. <https://www.rgs.org/about/the-society/history-and-future> [accessed 10 July 2018]).
‘Of recommendation’ has been inserted at a later date and is written in pencil.
The word "and" has been struck through at a later date in pencil.
The addressee's name "Captain W. A. B. Hamilton R. N" (has been struck through at a later date and replaced in pencil with the name of "Dr Norton Shaw". The original addressee was William Alexander Baillie Hamilton (1803-1881), British naval commander; Second Secretary of the Admiralty, 1845-1855.

Please cite as “WCP3556,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 26 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP3556