Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
Letter on Singapore and Malacca (S15b: 1855)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Summary of a November 1854 letter Wallace sent from Sarawak to the Royal Geographical Society. The letter was read at their meeting of 26 February 1855, but its text was not recorded in their Proceedings at that time; however, during the meeting of 28 May 1855 the Earl of Ellesmere gave a synopsis of it (as part of his presidential address) and this was printed on page cxv of the Proceedings for session 1854-55. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S015B.htm


    . . . It will be remembered that, on the recommendation of the Council, Mr. Wallace, upon his return from South America, was kindly provided by the Earl of Clarendon with a free passage to the East; and a communication has since arrived announcing his arrival at Singapore. From Singapore he went to Malacca, where he visited several parts of the interior, including Mount Ophir, which he ascended, and, by means of careful observations with Adie's sympiesometer, ascertained to be 3920 feet above the sea. The mountain is isolated; its summit is almost pure quartz, becoming more or less granitic below; while at the base are highly inclined stratified rocks of a crystalline sandstone.

    Adjoining the coast the province of Malacca is flat and swampy, producing rice. Low undulating hills of laterite rise out of these flats, and give an elevated appearance to the country, but they are quite isolated. The general surface becomes more elevated some miles inland, the base of Mount Ophir being, however, only 200 feet above the sea. This central plateau is intersected by wide, flat valleys, gradually contracting towards the interior into narrow winding channels, which seem to connect the low grounds on both coasts of the Peninsula. The charts also indicate the same character in the submarine structure of Malacca Straits. The whole country is a dense jungle.

    Returning to Singapore Mr. Wallace met our medallist, Sir James Brooke, who at once offered him every assistance in his power in exploring the territories under his rule. Mr. Wallace writes from Sarawak, that he was much pleased with the appearance of the country, which seemed to offer good facilities for mapping. . . .


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