Letter (WCP4249.4320)


Old Orchard, Broadstone, Dorset.

January 25th 1914

Dear Mr Cockerell2,

I have delayed writing until I heard from Mr Marchant3but he is so busy clearing off work so as to be free to commence our book, besides being rather poorly, that he has not found time to write to me for the last week.

We all think it was exceedingly kind of you to give up your own article in favour of our book. I hated having to hint at such a thing and I was greatly relieved and delighted at the generous attitude you took. Very many thanks for the copies of the letters and for the reminiscences so kindly sent by Mrs Cockerell4

I mentioned to Mr Marchant your suggestion that you should review the book when it is published. He thought it an excellent idea and a very kind one.

We like your "Science" article very much. I wonder if you ever received one of my father’s joking letters, I have not been through those you sent yet. I have a letter written to myself in which he refers to you as follows: — — "The illustrious Slugophilite is appointed slug-catcher to her Majesty in her Majesty’s island of Jamaica.....In that far-off Isle the snails groan & the slugs tremble! Besides slug-hunting he has a museum to look after "in his lei- [2]5 sure moments["?] — but slugicide will be the serious business of his life".

The last sentence is a paraphrase of a favourite passage from Mark Twain’s "Life on the Mississippi". He used often to refer to the excursions we made with you and the enthusiasm you showed for slugs. He seldom wrote such facetious letters and then only to those with whom he was very familiar, but in his own family he was very fond of jokes of that kind but always about people he had kindly feelings for.

The suggestion you made in your last letter was a most valuable one and we should much like to have a complete a list as possible, of all the new species my father discovered and also those named after him. Such list would give, in quite a fresh way, some idea of the work he did for natural history, and about which most people, even his scientific friends, probably know very little.

I have attempted to make a complete chronological list of his writings, and even that I found very difficult as some of the earlier and less important ones were not kept, but I have a fairly complete list.

If you could help us towards compiling such lists as you suggest, we should be very grateful, but will it not involve a tremendous amount of labour and take too much of your time? We no longer have the early vol[ume]s of The "Ibis"6, but we have the Proceedings of the Entomological Society from [3] 1862 to 1878. But I am So [sic] ignorant of the subject that I doubt if I could do much.

I am sorry to say that the memorial fund is progressing very slowly and I doubt it will be possible to do more than the Abbey medallion, and even that will cost £300. The Abbey fee, for permission only, is £200 and the sculptor’s fee, greatly reduced in this case, is £100. It seems that fame without money has not much chance of recognition in this democratic country.

Of course we have nothing to do with this but our very good friends who are interesting themselves in the matter are leaving no stone unturned to accomplish their object.

There is no fear that the statue will [be] disappointing as there is no chance of it being done, at present.

Can you tell me whether the Flying Frog described in the "Malay Archipelago" has ever been discovered again?

With kindest regards from us all to you and to Mrs Cockerell,

Yours sincerely | W.G.Wallace [signature]

The letter is typed.
Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell (1866 — 1948). American zoologist.
James Marchant, editor of Letters and Reminiscences, published in two volumes by Cassell, 1916.
Wilmatte Porter Cockerell 1871 — 1957). Botanist
William Greenell Wallace enumerates the top of this and each subsequent page with the respective page number.
Ibis, sub-titled "The International Journal of Avian Science." The scientific journal of the British Ornithologists’ Union, first published in 1859.

Please cite as “WCP4249,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 3 July 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP4249