WCP366

Letter (WCP366.366)

[1]

Amboyna [Ambon],1

Jan 4th. 18582

My dear Bates3

My delay of six months in answering your very interesting & most acceptable letter4 dated "Tunantins [Tonantins]5 19 Nov./[18]56" has not, I assure you arisen either from laziness or indifference, but really from pressure of business & an unsettled state of mind. I received your letter at Macassar [Makassar] on my return in July last from a seven months voyage & residence in the Arru [Aru] Islands6 close to New Guinea. I found letters from Australia7 from California,8 from you from Spruce,9 from Darwin,10 from home,11 & a lot of interesting Stevensian dispatches.12 I had 6 months collections (mostly in bad condition owing to dreadful dampness & sea air) to examine & pack; about 7 thousand insects having to be gone over individually & many of them thoroughly cleaned; besides an extensive collection of birds. I was thus occupied incessantly for a month, & then immediately left for a new locality in the interior where I staid [sic] 3 months during which time I had most of my correspondence to answer & was besides making some collections so curious & interesting that I did not feel inclined to answer your letter till I could tell you something about them. At the end of October I returned to Macassar [Makassar] packed up my collections & left by steamer for Ternate13 viâ this place where I have staid a month, had some good collecting & it is now on the day of my departure having all my boxes packed & nothing to do, that I commence a letter to you. Your letter has been a source of much pleasure & interest to me. I have read it and reread it at least 20 times. In particular your list of species is most interesting to me, only I wish you had made up a complete list, supplying the Para [Pará; Belém]14 species &c. by conjecture. In your Coleoptera15 the only thing that really astonishes me & for which I was not at all prepared is your vast number of Carabidae. It is the group in which you most decidedly surpass me (not reckoning the Erotyli [Erotylidae] which are almost peculiar to America). In Cicindelae we are about equal, that is comparing my 3½ years coll[ectin]g with the 5 years of which you have given me your statistics. In Cleri [Cleridae] you also decidedly surpass me as I do not think I have much above 50 species. Of Longicorns I have now about 550 species & they will average I think a little larger then yours. Your Prionidae & Cerambycidae will be I think more varied & beautiful than mine; but my Lamiae [sic] [?Lamiinae] are much the most numerous & contain some superb species. My Lamiae [?Lamiinae] in fact form near 4/5 of all my Longicorns & are nearly 3 times my number of Cerambycidae while with you the two groups are not very unequal.

In Rhyncophora again I have now near a thousand species, swarms of minute & obscure things of course, but also a number of very beautiful Anthribidae & Brenthidae. Our Lamellicornes [sic] are nearly equal, but I surpass you in Cetonias & Lucanidae while you have the great superiority in your Copridae. The only handsome group in which I think I shall be decidedly the best off is the Buprestidae of which I have, perhaps 150 species of which 60 are above ½ in[ch] & many very brilliant. [2] In the Elateridae we are about equal; but in the Cyclica you considerably surpass me in your number of species. At Macassar [Makassar] this year I made an extraordinary collection of minute things. Anthici I think about 18 species many Pselaphidae & hosts of minute & obscure Philhydrida & Necrophaga. For the first time too I really collected Staphylinidae getting many species under dung in sand but principally in rotten fruits. As near as I could make out I got 90 species mostly very minute, so that I think it is pretty evident there are plenty of them in the tropics but hitherto no one has had time or inclination to search for them but you, myself & J. C. Bowring16 who in Hongkong has taken also 92 species! The rotten fruit of a large, fleshy Artocarpus (Jack fruit) was wonderfully productive, for besides the staphylinidae I took fine Nitidulae [Nitidulidae] & Sphaeridii in it, about 12 species of Onthophagus, & two Carabidae!! These last however I took most abundantly after the commencement of the rains by beating dead leaves & under decaying leaves on the [1 illegible word crossed out] rocky margins of mountain streams. I got thus hosts of curious Brachinidae & Harpalidae, mostly very small, some indeed are I think the smallest Carabidae known as I have several species under a line. All this time however you must remember I was getting nothing that can be called fine in Coleoptera, — no Longicorns, the minutest of Curculionidae, no Buprestidae or Lucani. In Lepidoptera however I enjoyed the luxury of capturing four species of Ornithoptera, the largest number yet known to exist in one locality. One which I took most abundantly was I believe unique in Europe (O[rnithoptera] haliphron Bois[duval].) I also took sparingly the grandest known swallow tail (Papilio androcles. Bois[duval].) near twice as big as protesilans! I was also making at the same time very fine collections of Hymenoptera & Diptera (270 & 202 species)[.] Of the number of Dip[tera]: you many form some idea by the fact that after having taken 140 species I took 30 new ones in one day! I did of course little else as I had found a fine station for them near my house in the forest; — soon after, I took to the minute Col[eopter]a, & of course neglected the poor dip[tera]s, so you may imagine how numerous the species are here. I think I have now collected 600 species of Eastern diptera & hope to reach 1000 before my return which I expect is about as many as all the Exotic dip[tera] previously known. Here in Amboyna [Ambon] I have had 20 days collecting & have taken 290 species of coleoptera; 58 are Longicorns containing some fine things, & one perhaps the handsomest species I possess, a Monohammus, about 1½ in[ches] long, blue black with broad bands of a dense, pubescent orange buff. I also procured a few of the grand Euchirus longinianus, & a series of most beautiful Buprestidae. [3] The true Priamus I did not see, but the gorgeous Ulysses, the prince of Papilios, is not uncommon & I got several fine specimens. I enjoyed the Society of two Entomologists, the Government doctors, a German Dr Mohnike17 with whom I lived, a schoolfellow of Burmeister18 & Erichson.19 He has been to Japan & made there a nice collection of perhaps 300 — 400 sp[ecies] of coleoptera. He gave me about 50 species of his duplicates. Dr Doleschall20 is a Hungarian who studied a year in the Vienna Museum (the Diptera & Arachnida) which he knows well. He also collects the Lepidop[tera] & Col[eopter]a of Amboyna, and liberally gave me a fine suite for my private coll[ectio]n. He is a delightful young man, but [the] poor fellow’s dying of consumption. He can hardly I fear live a year, yet is enthusiastic in Entomology. He says Hungary is very rich in Coleoptera & contains about a hundred species of true Carabus! Talk of the tropics after that! We conversed always in French, of which I have had to make so much use that I am getting tolerably fluent though fearfully ungrammatical. But we were about equal in that respect & so blundered along gloriously.21

To persons who have not thought much on the subject I fear my Paper "On the Succession of Species"22 will not appear so clear as it does to you. That paper is of course merely the announcement of the theory, not its development. I have prepared the plan & written portions of an extensive work embracing the subject in all it bearings & endeavouring to prove what in the paper I have only indicated. It was the promulgation of "Forbes’ theory"23 which led me to write & publish, for I was annoyed to see such an ideal absurdity put forth when such a simple hypothesis will explain all the facts. I have been much gratified by a letter from Darwin,24 in which he says that he agrees with "almost every word" of my paper. He is now preparing for publication his great work on Species and Varieties,25 for which he has been collecting information 20 years. He may save me the trouble of writing the 2nd. part of my hypothesis, by proving that there is no difference in nature between the origin of species & varieties, or he may give me trouble by arriving at another conclusion, but at all events his facts will be given for me to work upon. Your collections & my own will furnish most valuable materials to illustrate & prove the universal applicability of the hypothesis. The connection between the succession of affinities & the [4] Geographical distribution of a group,26 worked out species by species has never yet been shewn as we shall be able to show it. In this Archipelago there are two distinct Faunas rigidly circumscribed, which differ as much as those of S. Am[erica]. & Africa & more than those of Europe & N. Am[erica]. yet there is nothing on the map or on the face of the islands to mark their limits. The Boundary line often passes between islands closer than others in [1 illegible word crossed out] the same group. I believe the W. part to be a separated portion of continental asia, the Eastern, the fragmentary prolongation of a former Pacific Continent. In Mammalia & birds the distinction is marked by Genera families & even orders confined to one region, — in Insects by a number of genera & little groups of peculiar species, the families of insects having generally a universal distribution.

Ternate.27

Jan. 25th.

I have not done much here yet having been much occupied in getting a house repaired & put in order. This island is a volcano with a sloping spur on which the town is situated. About 10 miles to the E. is the coast of the large island of Gilolo28 perhaps the most perfect Entomological "terra incognita" now to be found. I am not aware that a single insect has ever been collected there, & can not find it given as the locality of any insect in my catalogues or descriptions. In about a week I go for a months[?] collecting there; & then return to prepare for a voyage to N[ew]. Guinea. I think I shall stay in this place 2 or 3 years, as it is the centre of a most interesting & almost unknown region. Every house here was destroyed in 1840 by an earthquake during an eruption of the volcano.29 The Dutch steamer comes here every month & brings letters from England in about 10 weeks which makes the place convenient & there are also plenty of small schooners & native prows by which the surrounding islands can be visited.

What great political events have passed since we left England together! And the most eventful for England & perhaps the most glorious, is the present mutiny in India30 which has proved British courage & pluck as much as did the famed battles of Balaclava31 & Inkermann [sic].32 I believe that both India & England will gain in the end by the fearful ordeal. When do you mean returning for good?33 If you go to the Andes I think you will be disappointed, at least in the number of species, especially of Coleoptera. My experience here is that the low grounds are much the most productive, though the mountains generally produce a few striking & brilliant species. I must now conclude in wishing you a safe return to England[.]

Yours sincerely | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

W. H. [sic] Bates Esq.

I have here just taken my first true Pachyrhyncus, a genus of remarkably restricted range.34

There are many other topics on which I have not space to touch. I trust the day may come when both returned35 home, we may visit each other, compare our collections, and discuss those questions we both find of so much interest. There are many hitherto untouched branches of enquiry in Entomology which our collections & statistics will enable us to develope [sic]. I see occupation for a life of delightful study. May we both live to realise it! ARW.

Amboyna [Ambon], port and main city of Ambon island, in the Moluccas (Maluku) group of islands in Maluku province, Indonesia, of which Ambon (the city) is the capital (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Ambon. Island, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Ambon-island-Indonesia> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
The document is annotated "Jan 1858" in the top right corner of the page in pencil in an unknown hand, perhaps that of ARW.
Bates, Henry Walter (1825-1892). British naturalist, explorer and close friend of ARW.
See: WCP824.996, for a copy of this letter in the hand of ARW.
Tonantins, a small settlement in Amazonas region, northwestern Brazil (Places in the world. N.d. Tonantins, Brazil. South America. Brazil. <http://brazil.places-in-the-world.com/3661894-place-tonantins.html> [accessed 31 December 2018]).
Aru Islands, the easternmost islands in the Moluccas (Maluku) group, Maluku province, Indonesia (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Aru Islands. Islands, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Aru-Islands> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
Letters from Australia, presumably from the family of Thomas Wilson (1787-1863), a solicitor and author, and his wife Martha Wilson (née Greenell) (1790-1858), ARW's uncle and aunt who had emigrated there in 1838.
Letters from California, presumably from either or both of John Wallace (1818-1895), ARW’s brother, an engineer and surveyor, who had emigrated there in 1849, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Podger Wallace (née Webster) (1832-1913), whom he had married in 1855.
Spruce, Richard (1817-1893). British botanist, explorer and collector in the Amazon; lifelong friend of ARW.
Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882). British naturalist, geologist and author, notably of On the Origin of Species (1859).
Letters from home, presumably from all or any of ARW’s mother, Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell) (1792-1868), sister, Frances ("Fanny") Sims (née Wallace) (1812-1893), a teacher and brother-in-law, Thomas Sims (1826-1910), a photographer.
Stevens, Samuel (1817-1899). British entomologist and dealer in natural history specimens; agent of ARW.
Ternate Island, an island in North Maluku province, Indonesia, off the largest island in the Moluccas [Maluku] group, Halmahera island (formerly Djailolo or Jailolo and known to ARW as Gilolo) (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Ternate Island. Island, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Ternate-Island> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
Pará, now known as Belém (commonly called Belém do Pará), capital of Pará state in northern Brazil (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Belém. Brazil. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Belem-Brazil> [accessed 27 June 2018]).
The following section of the letter contains a comparison between the collections of Bates and ARW, mainly of various types of beetle and some butterflies.
Bowring, John Charles (1821-1893). British merchant, partner in Jardine, Matheson & Co, trading in China; also plant collector in Hong Kong and China.
Mohnike, Otto Gottlieb Johann (1814-1887). German medical doctor, entomologist and naturalist.
Burmeister, [Karl] Hermann [Konrad] (1807-1892). German-born Argentine natural scientist.
Erichson, Wilhelm Ferdinand (1809-1848). German medical doctor and entomologist.
Doleschall, Carl Ludwig (1827-1859). Austro-Hungarian physician and entomologist.
This paragraph is separated from the next by a short horizontal line at the left-hand side of the page.
Wallace, A. R. 1858-1859. On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the Original Type. [read 1 July 1858]. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society. Zoology. 3: 53-62."
Perhaps Forbes, E. 1854. On the manifestation of Polarity in the distribution of Organized beings in Time. Notices of the Proceedings at the Meetings of the Members of the Royal Institution.... 1: 428-433 (see: Wyhe, J. van and Rookmaaker, K. (Eds). Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago. [Paperback edition]. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. [p. 147, note 214]).
Darwin complimented ARW on his paper, perhaps Wallace, A. R. 1856. Attempts at a Natural Arrangement of Birds. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, including Zoology, Botany, and Geology. 2nd series. 17: 193-215; for his letter to ARWof 1 May 1857, see: WCP1839.1729.
Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London, UK: John Murray.
ARW's work on biogeography later resulted in the publication of Wallace, A. R. 1876. The Geographical Distribution of Animals With a Study of the Relations of Living and Extinct Faunas as Elucidating the Past Changes of the Earth's Surface, 2 vols. London, UK: Macmillan & Co.
Ternate, an island in North Maluku province, Indonesia, off the largest island in the Moluccas [Maluku] group, Halmahera island, formerly named Djailolo or Jailolo (known to ARW as Gilolo) (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Ternate Island. Island, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Ternate-Island> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
Gilolo [Halmahera], the largest island in the Moluccas [Maluku] group, North Maluku province, Indonesia (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Halmahera. Island, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Halmahera> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
This earthquake occurred between 2 and 15 February 1840, destroying all houses in shocks of 14-15 February, together with a volcanic eruption pouring lava from the volcano's crater into the sea (Balfour, E. 1871. Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southen Asia, 5 vols. Second edition. Madras, India: Printed at the Asylum, The Scottish and Foster Presses. [vol. 2, pp. 257-258]).
Indian Mutiny, a rebellion between 1857 and 1858 against British rule in India, fought with ferocity on both sides, but ultimately put down with severe reprisals by the British (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Indian Mutiny. Indian History. Enclyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Indian-Mutiny> [accessed 31 December 2018]).
The Battle of Balaclava, an engagement, principally remembered for the disastrous loss of British troops in the charge of the Light Brigade, fought on 25 Oct 1854 during the Crimean War, a conflict over the Middle East between the British and other forces, and the Russians, 1853-1856 (Bunting, T. 2018. Battle of Balaklava. Crimean War [1854]. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Balaklava> [accessed 31 December 2018]; The Editors of Enclycopaedia Britannica. 2018. Crimean War. Eurasian History [1853-1856]. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Crimean-War> [accessed 3 August 2018]).
The Battle of Inkermann, an engagement fought on 5 Nov 1854, also during the Crimean War (The Editors of Enclycopaedia Britannica. 2018. Crimean War. Eurasian History [1853-1856]. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Crimean-War> [accessed 3 August 2018]).
Bates left the upper Amazon region in early 1859 and returned to England in the summer of that year, without travelling to the Andes Mountains, as ARW suggests (Dickenson, J. 2004. Bates, Henry Walter (1825-1892). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. <https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/1676> [accessed 14 January 2019]).
This postscript is written in the right-hand margin on the fourth page of the letter, to be read if the page is rotated.
This postscript is written in the left-hand margin of the first page of the letter, to be read if the page is rotated, then continues similarly in the left-hand margin of the second page, then the left-hand margin of the third and fourth pages.

Enclosure (WCP366.3541)

[1]1

Insects of the Eastern Archipelago, collected by A R. Wallace

from May 1. 1854 to January 1st 1858.

Coleoptera

Sing[apor]e & Malac[ca].

6

Months

Borneo

15

months

Macass

ar.

[Makassar]

6

months

Aru Is[lands].

6

months

Amboy

na.

[Ambon]

1

month.

Probable totals.
Geodephaga. 50 70 125 20 16 .....220
Hydrophili... 4 7 28 3 0 .....35
Staphylini... 15 26 90 6 1 .....120

Necrophaga

Hister [sic].2 &c. &c.

25 50 130 20 6 .....180
Lamellicornes3 55 72 70 18 9 .....175
Pectinicornes... 16 37 2 9 4 .....55
Buprestidae... 24 100 30 23 25 .....170
Elateridae... 45 125 38 30 14 .....200
Longicornes... 160 290 38 114 58 .....570
Rhyncophora... 245 570 135 145 85 .....950
Malacoderma... 60 100 21 45 12 .....190
Cleridae... 30 41 13 16 10 .....70
Heteromera... 75 140 70 42 20 .....240
Cyclica... 160 250 92 68 22 .....450
Trimera... 15 50 16 13 8 .....75
979 1928 898 572 290 3700

The above totals are I think, under rather than over the mark.

[2]4

Lepidoptera...

Total no.

of species (Estimate)

Papilionidae...

Pap[ilio].5 50. Ornith[opte]r[a] 7. Lept[ocircini]. 1.

58
Pieridae... 70
Danaidae... 40
Nymphalidae &c... 160
Satyridae... 32
Lycaenidae... 180
Hesperidae... 80
Total Diurni... 620
Other Lepidoptera ab[ou]t. 2000
Hymenoptera... 750
Diptera... 660
Hemiptera... 340
Homoptera... 160
Orthoptera... 160
Neuroptera... 110
Dermap[tera]. Forfic[ulae] &c.... 40
Coleoptera... 3700
Total Species... 8540 of Insects...

[3] The numbers here given are certainly not far from the truth. It appears that in all orders except Coleop[tera]. & Lep[idoptera]. diurnes I surpass you considerably in the number of species. Whether this is owing to your attention being so much absorbed by the hosts of your butterflies as to prevent your attending to the less interesting groups, or whether it shows a real deficiency in S. America to balance its undoubted superiority in Diurni, is a question of much interest. You might partly solve it by resolutely devoting a month to the Hymenop[tera]. Diptera &c. almost exclusively, which, compared with my average months collecting in these groups would furnish data for determining the point.

A R W

This enclosure exists as a single sheet, written on both sides of the paper.
ARW's copy of the enclosure gives "Helocera" here (see: WCP366.3540).
"Lamellicornes" for Lamellicorns.
The second page (i.e., the reverse side of the sheet) is prepared in two sections, split along a vertical axis. The table occupies the left-hand side of the page, whereas Wallace’s written commentary is written on the right-hand side of the page, to be read if the page is rotated.
"Pap.", extended to "Papilio", following ARW's copy (WCP366.3540).

Transcription (WCP366.3540)

[1]1

Copy of an Entomological letter from Wallace to H. W. Bates

Amboyna [Ambon].2

Jany 4th 1858

["]My dear Bates.3

My delay of 6 months in answering your very interesting & most acceptable letter4 dated "Tunantins5 19 Novr/[18]56" has not, I assure you, arisen either from laziness or indifference, but really from pressure of business & an unsettled state of mind. I rec[eive]d your letter at Macassar [Makassar] on my return in July last from a 7 months voyage & residence in the Arru [Aru] Islands6 close to New Guinea. I found letters from Australia,7 California,8 yourself, Spruce,9 Darwin,10 home,11 & a lot of interesting Stevensian dispatches.12

I had 6 months collections (mostly in bad condition owing to dampness & sea air) to examine & pack; ab[ou]t 7000 insects having to be gone over individually & many of them thoroughly cleaned; besides an extensive coll[ection]: of birds. I was thus occupied incessantly for a month, & then [2]13 immediately feft left for a new locality in the interior where I stayed 3 months during wh[ich]: time I had most of my correspondence to answer & was besides making some coll[ection]s so curious & interesting that I did not feel inclined to answer your letter 'till I could tell you something about them.

At the end of Oct[obe]r: I returned to Macassar [Makassar] packed up my collection & left by steamer for Ternate14 viâ this place where I have staid [sic] a month, had some good collecting & it is now, on the day of my departure, having all my boxes packed & nothing to do, that I commence a letter to you.

Your letter has been a source of much pleasure & interest to me. I have read it and re-read it at least 20 times. In particular your list of species is most interesting to me, only I wish you had made up a complete list, supplying the Pará [Belém]15 species &c by conjecture. In your Coleops: [Coleoptera]16 the only thing that really astonishes me & for wh[ich]: I was not at all prepared is your vast no: of Carabidae. It is the group [3]17 in wh[ich]. you most decidedly surpass me (not reckoning the Erotyli [Erotylidae] wh[ich]: are almost peculiar to America). In Cicindelae we are ab[ou]t: equal, that is comparing my 3½ years coll[ectin]g with the 5 years of wh[ich]: you have given me your statistics.

In Cleri [Cleridae] you also decidedly surpass me as I do not think I have much above 50 species. Of Longicorns I have now ab[ou]t: 550 sp[ecies]: & they will average, I think, a little larger then yours. Your Prionidae & Cerambycidae will be, I think, more varied & beautiful than mine; but my Lamiae [sic] [?Lamiinae] are much the most numerous & contain some superb sp[ecies]:. My Lamiae [?Lamiinae]in fact form near 4/5 of all my Longicorns & are nearly 3 times my number of Cerambycidae whilst with you the two groups are not very unequal.

In Rhyncophora again I have now near 1000 sp[ecies]:, swarms of minute & obscure things of course, but also a number of very beautiful Anthribidae & Brenthidae. Our Lamellicornes [sic] are nearly equal, but I surpass you in Cetonias & Lucanidae while [4]18 you have the great superiority in your Copridae. The only handsome group in wh[ich]: I shall, I think, be decidedly the best off is the Buprestidae of wh[ich]: I have, perhaps 150 sp[ecies]: of wh[ich]: 60 are above ½ in[ch] & many very brilliant. In the Elateridae we are ab[ou]t: equal; but in the Cyclica you considerably surpass me in your number of sp[ecies]:. At Macassar [Makassar] this year I made an extraordinary coll[ectio]n of minute things. Anthici I think ab[ou]t: 18 sp[ecies]: many Pselaphidae & hosts of minute & obscure Philhydrida & Necrophaga. For the 1st time too I really collected Staphylinidae getting many species under dung in sand but principally in rotten fruit. As near as I could make out I got 90 sp[ecies]: mostly very minute, so that I think it is pretty evident there are plenty of them in the tropics but hitherto no one has had time or inclination to search for them excepting you, myself & J. C. Bowring19 who in Hongkong has taken also 92 sp[ecies]:! The rotten fruit of a large, fleshy, Artocarpus (Jack fruit) was wonderfully productive, for besides the Staph[ylinidae]: I took [5]20 fine Nitidulae [Nitidulidae] & Sphaeridii in it, about 12 sp[ecies]: of Onthophagus, & two Carabidae!! — These last, however, I took most abundantly after the commencement of the rains by beating dead leaves & under decaying leaves on the rocky margins of mountain streams. I got thus hosts of curious Brachinidae & Harpalidae, mostly very small, some indeed are I think the smallest Carabidae known as I have several sp[ecies]: under a line. All this time however you must remember I was getting nothing that can be called fine in Coleoptera, — no Longicorns, the minutest of Curculionidae, no Buprestidae or Lucani. In Lepidoptera however I enjoyed the luxury of capturing 4 sp[ecies]: of Ornithoptera, the largest number yet known to exist in one locality. One wh[ich]: I took most abundantly was I believe unique in Europe (O[rnithoptera] haliphrons. Boisd[uval]). I also took sparingly the grandest known Swallow tail (Papilio androcles. Boisd[uval]:) near twice as big as protesilans! I was also making at the same time very fine coll[ections]: [6]21 of Hymenoptera & Diptera (270 & 202 sp[ecies]:)[.] Of the number of Dips: [Diptera] you many form some idea by the fact that after having taken 140 sp[ecies]: I took 30 new ones in one day! I did of course little else as I had found a fine station for them near my house in the forest. Soon after, I took to the minute Coleops: [Coleoptera], & of course neglected the poor dips: [diptera], so you may imagine how numerous the sp[ecies]: are here.

I think I have now collected 600 sp[ecies]: of Eastern dips: [diptera] & hope to reach 1000 before my return wh[ich]: I expect is ab[ou]t: as many as all the Exotic dips: [diptera] previously known. Here in Amboyna [Ambon] I have had 20 days collecting & have taken 290 sp[ecies]: of Coleops: [Coleoptera]; 58 are Longicorns containing some fine things, & 1 perhaps the handsomest sp[ecies]: I possess — a Monohammus, ab[ou]t: 1½ in[ches]: long — blue bl[ac]k: with broad bands of a dense, pubescent, orange buff. I also procured a few of the grand Euchirus longinianus, & a series of most beautiful Buprestidae. The true Priamus I did not see; but the gorgeous Ulysses, the prince of Papilios, is not uncommon, [7]22 & I got several fine specimens. I enjoyed the Society of two Entomologists, the Government D[octo]rs, a German Dr: Mohnike23 with whom I lived, a schoolfellow of Burmeister24 & Erichson.25 He has been to Japan & made there a nice coll[ection]: of perhaps 300 or 400 sp[ecies]: of Coleops [Coleoptera]. He gave me ab[ou]t: 50 sp[ecies]: of his duplicates — Dr Doleschall26 is a Hungarian who studied 1 year in the Vienna Museum (the Diptera & Arachnida) wh[ich]: he knows well. He also collects the Lepidops: [Lepidoptera] & Coleops: [Coleoptera] of Amboyna and liberally gave me a fine suite for my private coll[ection]:[.] He is a delightful young man, but [the] poor fellow’s dying of consumption. He can hardly I fear live a year, yet is enthusiastic in Entomology. He says Hungary is very rich in Coleops: [Coleoptera] & contains about 100 sp[ecies]: of true Carabus! Talk of the Tropics after that! We conversed always in French, of wh[ich]: I have had to make so much use that I am getting tolerably fluent tho' fearfully ungrammatical, but we were ab[ou]t equal in that respect & so blundered [8]27 along gloriously.

To persons who have not thought much on the subject I fear my Paper "On the succession of species"28 will not appear so clear as it does to you. That paper is of course merely the announcement of the theory, not its development. I have prepared the plan & written portions of an extensive work embracing the subject in all it bearings & endeavouring to prove what in the paper I have only indicated. It was the promulgation of "Forbes’ theory"29 wh[ich]: led me to write & publish, for I was annoyed to see such an ideal absurdity put forth when such a simple hypothesis will explain all the facts.

I have been much gratified by a letter30 from Darwin, in wh[ich]: he says that he agrees with "almost every word" of my paper. He is now preparing for publication his great work on Species and Varieties,31 for wh[ich]: he has been collecting information [for] 20 years. He may save me the trouble of writing the 2nd: part of my Hypothesis, by proving that there is no difference in nature between the [9]32 origin of species & var[ietie]s:, or he may give me trouble by arriving at another conclusion, but at all events his facts will be given for me to work upon. Your collections & my own will furnish most valuable materials to illustrate & prove the universal applicability of the hypothesis.

The connection between the succession of affinities & the Geographical distribution of a group,33 worked out species by species has never yet been shewn as we shall be able to show it. In this Archipelago there are 2 distinct Faunas rigidly circumscribed, wh[ich]: differ as much as those of S. America & Africa & more than those of Europe & N. America; yet there is nothing on the map or on the face of the Islands to mark their limits. The boundary line often passes between islands closer than others in the same group. I believe the W. part to be a separated portion of Continental Asia, the Eastern, the fragmentary prolongation of a former Pacific Continent — In Mamalia [sic] [10]34 & Birds the distinction is marked by Genera, Families & even Orders confined to one region, — in Insects by a number of Genera & little groups of peculiar species, the families of insects having generally a universal distribution."

Ternate.35

Jan: 25th: 1858

"I have not done much here yet having been much occupied in getting a house repaired & put in order. This island is a Volcano with a sloping spur on wh[ich]: the Town is situated. Ab[ou]t: 10 miles to the E. is the Coast of the large Island of Gilolo [Halmahera]36 perhaps the most perfect Entomological "terra incognita" now to be found. I am not aware that a single insect has ever been collected there, & can not find it given as the locality of any insect in my Catalogues or descriptions. In ab[ou]t: a week I go for a month's collecting there; & then return to prepare for a voyage to N. Guinea. I think I shall stay in this place 2 or 3 years, as it is the centre of a most interesting & almost unknown region — Every house here was [11]37 destroyed in 1840 by an Earthquake38 during an eruption of the Volcanos. The Dutch steamer comes here every month & brings letters from England in ab[ou]t: 10 weeks wh[ich]: makes the place convenient & there are also plenty of small schooners & native Prows by which the surrounding islands can be visited.

What great political events have passed since we left England together! And the most eventful for England & perhaps the most glorious, is the present mutiny in India39 which has proved British courage & pluck as much as did the famed battles of Balaclava40 & Inkermann [sic].41 I believe that both India & England will gain in the end by the fearful ordeal.

When do you mean returning for good?42 If you go to the Andes I think you will be disappointed, at least in the number of species, especially of Coleops: [Coleoptera]. My experience here is that the low grounds are much the most productive, tho' the mountains generally [12]43 produce a few striking & brilliant species. I must now conclude in wishing you a safe return to England.

Yours sincerely | Alfred R Wallace [signature]

I have here just taken my first true Pachyrhyncus, a genus of remarkably restricted range.

There are many other topics on wh[ich]: I have not space to touch. I trust the day may come when both returned home, we may visit each other, compare our collections, and discuss those questions we both find of so much interest. There are many hithertoo [sic] untouched branches of enquiry in Entomology which our collections & statistics will enable us to develope [sic]. I see occupation for a life of delightful study. May we both live to realise it!

A. R. W.

[13]44

Appendix to foregoing letter.45

Insects of the Eastern Archipelago, collected by A. R. Wallace from May 1. 1854 to January 1st 1858.

Coleoptera

Singap[or]e & Malacca

6

Months

Borneo

15

months

Macass

ar [Makassar

6

months

Aru Isl[and]s.

6

months

Amboy

na [Ambon].

1

month.

Probable totals.
Geodephaga. 50 70 125 20 16 .....220
Hydrophili... 4 7 28 3 0 .....35
Staphylini... 15 26 90 6 1 .....120

Necrophaga }

Helocera}...

25 50 1300 20 6 .....180
Lamellicornes46 55 72 70 18 9 .....175
Pectinicornes... 16 37 2 9 4 .....55
Buprestidae... 24 100 30 23 25 .....170
Elateridae... 45 125 38 30 14 .....200
Longicornes... 160 290 38 114 58 .....570
Rhyncophora... 245 570 135 145 85 .....950
Malacoderma... 60 100 21 45 12 .....190
Cleridae... 30 41 13 16 10 .....70
Heteromera... 75 140 70 42 20 .....240
Cyclica... 160 250 92 68 22 .....450
Trimera... 15 50 16 13 8 .....75
979 1928 898 572 290 3700

[14]47

The above totals are I think, under rather than over the mark.

_____________________________________

Lepidoptera...

Total no.

of species (estimate)

Papilionidae...

Papilio 50 — Ornithoptera 7 }

Lept[ocircini]. 1 }

58
Pieridae... 70
Danaidae... 40
Nymphalidae &c... 160
Satyridae... 32
Lycaenidae... 180
Hesperidae [Hesperiidae]... 80
Total Diurni 630
other Lepidoptera ab[ou]t. 2000
Hymenoptera... 750
Diptera... 660
Hemiptera... 340
Homoptera... 160
Orthoptera... 160
Neuroptera... 110
Dermaptera. Forficulae &c. 40
Coleoptera... 3700
Total Species of Insects48 8540

over

[15]49

The numbers given above are certainly not far from the truth. It appears that in all orders except Coleops: [Coleoptera] & Lep[idopter]a Diurnes I surpass you considerably in the no of species. Whether this is owing to your attention being so much absorbed by the hosts of your butterflies as to prevent your attending to the less interesting groups, or whether it shows a real deficiency in S. America to balance its undoubted superiority in Diurni, is a question of much interest. You might partly solve it by resolutely devoting a month to the Hymenops: [Hymenoptera] Dips: [Diptera] &c. almost exclusively, wh[ich]:, compared with my average months collecting in these groups would furnish data for determining the point.

A. R. W.

___________________________________________________________________

This page is numbered "80" in ARW's hand in the top left-hand corner.
Amboyna [Ambon], port and main city of Ambon island, in the Moluccas (Maluku) group of islands in Maluku province, Indonesia, of which Ambon (the city) is the capital (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Ambon. Island, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Ambon-island-Indonesia> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
Bates, Henry Walter (1825-1892). British naturalist, explorer and close friend of ARW.
See: WCP824.996, for a copy of this letter in the hand of ARW.
Tonantins, a small settlement in Amazonas region, northwestern Brazil (Places in the world. N.d. Tonantins, Brazil. South America. Brazil. <http://brazil.places-in-the-world.com/3661894-place-tonantins.html> [accessed 31 December 2018]).
Aru Islands, the easternmost islands in the Moluccas (Maluku) group, Maluku province, Indonesia (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Aru Islands. Islands, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Aru-Islands> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
Letters from Australia, presumably from the family of Thomas Wilson (1787-1863), a solicitor and author, and his wife Martha Wilson (née Greenell) (1790-1858), ARW's uncle and aunt who had emigrated there in 1838.
Letters from California, presumably from either or both of John Wallace (1818-1895), ARW’s brother, an engineer and surveyor, who had emigrated there in 1849, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Podger Wallace (née Webster) (1832-1913), whom he had married in 1855.
Spruce, Richard (1817-1893). British botanist, explorer and collector in the Amazon; lifelong friend of ARW.
Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882). British naturalist, geologist and author, notably of On the Origin of Species (1859).
Letters from home, presumably from all or any of ARW’s mother, Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell) (1792-1868), sister, Frances ("Fanny") Sims (née Wallace) (1812-1893), a teacher and brother-in-law, Thomas Sims (1826-1910), a photographer.
Stevens, Samuel (1817-1899). British entomologist and dealer in natural history specimens; agent of ARW.
This page is numbered "81" in ARW's hand in the top right-hand corner.
Ternate Island, an island in North Maluku province, Indonesia, off the largest island in the Moluccas [Maluku] group, Halmahera island (formerly Djailolo or Jailolo and known to ARW as Gilolo) (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Ternate Island. Island, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Ternate-Island> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
Pará, now known as Belém (commonly called Belém do Pará), capital of Pará state in northern Brazil (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Belém. Brazil. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Belem-Brazil> [accessed 27 June 2018]).
The following section of the letter contains a comparison between the collections of Bates and ARW, mainly of various types of beetle and some butterflies.
This page is numbered "82" in ARW's hand in the top-left hand corner.
This page is numbered "83" in ARW's hand in the top right-hand corner.
Bowring, John Charles (1821-1893). British merchant, partner in Jardine, Matheson & Co, trading in China; also plant collector in Hong Kong and China.
This page is numbered "84" in ARW's hand in the top left-hand corner.
This page is numbered "85" in ARW's hand in the top right-hand corner.
This page is numbered "86" in ARW's hand in the top left-hand corner.
Mohnike, Otto Gottlieb Johann (1814-1887). German medical doctor, entomologist and naturalist.
Burmeister, [Karl] Hermann [Konrad] (1807-1892). German-born Argentine natural scientist.
Erichson, Wilhelm Ferdinand (1809-1848). German medical doctor and entomologist.
Doleschall, Carl Ludwig (1827-1859). Austro-Hungarian physician and entomologist.
This page is numbered "87" in ARW's hand in the top right-hand corner.
Wallace, A. R. 1858-1859. On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the Original Type. [read 1 July 1858]. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society. Zoology. 3: 53-62."
Perhaps Forbes, E. 1854. On the manifestation of Polarity in the distribution of Organized beings in Time. Notices of the Proceedings at the Meetings of the Members of the Royal Institution.... 1: 428-433 (see: Wyhe, J. van and Rookmaaker, K. (Eds). Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters from the Malay Archipelago. [Paperback edition]. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. [p. 147, note 214]).
Darwin complimented ARW on his paper, perhaps Wallace, A. R. 1856. Attempts at a Natural Arrangement of Birds. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, including Zoology, Botany, and Geology. 2nd series. 17: 193-215; for his letter to ARWof 1 May 1857, see: WCP1839.1729.
Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London, UK: John Murray.
This page is numbered "88" in ARW's hand in the top left-hand corner.
ARW's work on biogeography later resulted in the publication of Wallace, A. R. 1876. The Geographical Distribution of Animals With a Study of the Relations of Living and Extinct Faunas as Elucidating the Past Changes of the Earth's Surface, 2 vols. London, UK: Macmillan & Co.
This page is numbered "89" in ARW's hand in the top right-hand corner.
Ternate, an island in North Maluku province, Indonesia, off the largest island in the Moluccas [Maluku] group, Halmahera island, formerly named Djailolo or Jailolo (known to ARW as Gilolo) (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Ternate Island. Island, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Ternate-Island> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
Gilolo [Halmahera], the largest island in the Moluccas [Maluku] group, North Maluku province, Indonesia (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Halmahera. Island, Indonesia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Halmahera> [accessed 30 December 2018]).
This page is numbered "90" in ARW's hand in the top left-hand corner.
This earthquake occurred between 2 and 15 February 1840, destroying all houses in shocks of 14-15 February, together with a volcanic eruption pouring lava from the volcano's crater into the sea (Balfour, E. 1871. Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southen Asia, 5 vols. Second edition. Madras, India: Printed at the Asylum, The Scottish and Foster Presses. [vol. 2, pp. 257-258]).
Indian Mutiny, a rebellion between 1857 and 1858 against British rule in India, fought with ferocity on both sides, but ultimately put down with severe reprisals by the British (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2018. Indian Mutiny. Indian History. Enclyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Indian-Mutiny> [accessed 31 December 2018]).
The Battle of Balaclava, an engagement, principally remembered for the disastrous loss of British troops in the charge of the Light Brigade, fought on 25 Oct 1854 during the Crimean War, a conflict over the Middle East between the British and other forces, and the Russians, 1853-1856 (Bunting, T. 2018. Battle of Balaklava. Crimean War [1854]. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Balaklava> [accessed 31 December 2018]; The Editors of Enclycopaedia Britannica. 2018. Crimean War. Eurasian History [1853-1856]. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Crimean-War> [accessed 3 August 2018]).
The Battle of Inkermann, an engagement fought on 5 Nov 1854, also during the Crimean War (The Editors of Enclycopaedia Britannica. 2018. Crimean War. Eurasian History [1853-1856]. Encyclopaedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Crimean-War> [accessed 3 August 2018]).
Bates left the upper Amazon region in early 1859 and returned to England in the summer of that year, without travelling to the Andes Mountains, as ARW suggests (Dickenson, J. 2004. Bates, Henry Walter (1825-1892). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. <https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/1676> [accessed 14 January 2019]).
This page is numbered "91" in ARW's hand in the top right-hand corner.
This page is numbered "92" in ARW's hand in the top left-hand corner.
This part of the heading is separated from the part below by a short double line.
"Lamellicornes" for "Lamellicorns".
This page is numbered "93" in ARW's hand in the top right-hand corner.
The words "Total species of Insects" are double underlined with the bottom line extending up to and including the total figure, 8540, which is also double underlined, making 8540 triple underlined.
This page is numbered "94" in ARW's hand in the top left-hand corner.

Published letter (WCP366.5912)

[1] [p. 65]

To H. W. BATES

Amboyna. January 4, 1858.

My dear Bates,— My delay of six months in answering your very interesting and "most acceptable" letter dated

[2] [p. 66]

Tunantins, 19th November, 1856, has not, I assure you, arisen either from laziness or indifference, but really from pressure of business and an unsettled state of mind. I received your letter at Macassar on my return in July last from a seven months' voyage and residence in the Aru Islands close to New Guinea. I found letters from Australia, California, yourself, Spruce, Darwin, home, and a lot of interesting Stevensian dispatches. I had six months' collections (mostly in bad condition owing to dampness and sea air) to examine and pack; about 7,000 insects having to be gone over individually and many of them thoroughly cleaned, besides an extensive collection of birds. I was thus occupied incessantly for a month, and then immediately left for a new locality in the interior, where I stayed three months, during which time I had most of my correspondence to answer, and was besides making some collections so curious and interesting that I did not feel inclined to answer your letter till I could tell you something about them.

At the end of October I returned to Macassar, packed up my collection, and left by steamer for Ternate, via this place, where I have stayed a month, had some good collecting, and it is now, on the day of my departure, having all my boxes packed and nothing to do, that I commence a letter to you.

To persons who have not thought much on the subject I fear my paper on the succession of species will not appear so clear as it does to you. That paper is, of course, only the announcement of the theory, not its development. I have prepared the plan and written portions of an extensive work embracing the subject in all its bearings and endeavouring to prove what in the paper I have only indicated. It was the promulgation of Forbes’s theory which led me to write and publish, for I was annoyed to see such

[3] [p. 67]

an ideal absurdity put forth when such a simple hypothesis will explain all the facts.

I have been much gratified by a letter from Darwin, in which he says that he agrees with "almost every word" of my paper. He is now preparing for publication his great work on species and varieties, for which he has been collecting information twenty years. He may save me the trouble of writing the second part of my hypothesis by proving that there is no difference in nature between the origin of species and varieties, or he may give me trouble by arriving at another conclusion, but at all events his facts will be given for me to work upon. Your collections and my own will furnish most valuable material to illustrate and prove the universal applicability of the hypothesis. The connection between the succession of affinities and the geographical distribution of a group, worked out species by species, has never yet been shown as we shall be able to show it. In this Archipelago there are two distinct faunas rigidly circumscribed, which differ as much as those of South America and Africa, and more than those of Europe and North America: yet there is nothing on the map or on the face of the islands to mark their limits. The boundary line often passes between islands closer than others in the same group. I believe the western part to be a separated portion of continental Asia, the eastern the fragmentary prolongation of a former Pacific continent. In mammalia and birds the distinction is marked by genera, families, and even orders confined to one region; in insects by a number of genera and little groups of peculiar species, the families of insects having generally a universal distribution.

[4] [p. 68]

Ternate. January 25, 1858.

I have not done much here yet, having been much occupied in getting a house repaired and put in order. This island is a volcano with a sloping spur on which the town is situated. About ten miles to the east is the coast of the large Island of Gilolo, perhaps the most perfect entomological terra incognita now to be found. I am not aware that a single insect has ever been collected there, and cannot find it given as the locality of any insects in my catalogues or descriptions. In about a week I go for a month collecting there, and then return to prepare for a voyage to New Guinea. I think I shall stay in this place two or three years, as it is the centre of a most interesting and almost unknown region. Every house here was destroyed in 1840 by an earthquake during an eruption of the volcano....

What great political events have passed since we left England together! And the most eventful for England, and perhaps the most glorious, is the present mutiny in India, which has proved British courage and pluck as much as did the famed battles of Balaclava and Inkerman. I believe that both India and England will gain in the end by the fearful ordeal. When do you mean returning for good? If you go to the Andes you will, I think, be disappointed, at least in the number of insects, especially of Coleoptera. My experience here is that the low grounds are much the most productive, though the mountains generally produce a few striking and brilliant species.... — Yours sincerely, | ALFRED R. WALLACE.

Published letter (WCP366.6920)

[1]

Amboyna to Ternate, I wrote— " To persons who have not thought much on the subject I fear my paper on the 'Succession of Species' will not appear so clear as it does to you. That paper is, of course, merely the announcement of the theory, not its development. I have prepared the plan and written portions of a work embracing the whole subject, and have endeavoured to prove in detail what I have as yet only indicated. It was the promulgation of Forbes's theory of 'polarity' which led me to write and publish, for I was annoyed to see such an ideal absurdity put forth, when such a simple hypothesis will explain all the facts. I have been much gratified by a letter from Darwin, in which he says that he agrees with 'almost every word' of my paper. He is now preparing his great work on 'Species and Varieties,' for which he has been collecting materials twenty years. He may save me the trouble of writing more on my hypothesis, by proving that there is no difference in nature between the origin of species and of varieties; or he may give me trouble by arriving at another conclusion ; but, at all events, his facts will be given for me to work upon. Your collections and my own will furnish most valuable material to illustrate and prove the universal applicability of the hypothesis. The connection between the succession of affinities and the geographical distribution of a group, worked out species by species, has never yet been shown as we shall be able to show it.

"In this archipelago there are two distinct faunas rigidly circumscribed, which differ as much as do those of Africa and South America, and more than [2] [p. 185] those of Europe and North America, yet there is nothing on the map or on the face of the islands to mark their limits. The boundary line passes between islands closer together than others belonging to the same group. I believe the western part to be a separated portion of continental Asia, while the eastern is a fragmentary prolongation of a former west Pacific continent. In mammalia and birds the distinction is marked by genera, families, and even orders confined to one region; in insects by a number of genera, and little groups of peculiar species, the families of insects having generally a very wide or universal distribution."

Please cite as “WCP366,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 9 December 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP366