Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
to Mr. S. Stevens (S48: 1859)
"Here I have been as yet only five days; but from the nature of the country, and what I have already done, I am inclined to think it may prove one of the best localities I have yet visited. Birds are as yet very scarce; but I still hope to get a fine collection, though I believe I have already the finest and most wonderful bird in the island. I had a good mind to keep it a secret, but I cannot resist telling you. I have a new Bird of Paradise! of a new genus!! quite unlike anything yet known, very curious and very handsome!!! When I can get a couple of pairs, I will send them overland, to see what a new Bird of Paradise will really fetch. Had I seen the bird in Ternate, I should never have believed it came from here, so far out of the hitherto supposed region of the Paradiseidæ. I consider it the greatest discovery I have yet made; and it gives me hopes of getting other species in Gilolo and Ceram. There is also here a species of Monkey--much further eastwards than in any other island; so you see this is a most curious locality, combining forms of the East and West of the Archipelago, yet with species peculiar to itself. It also differs from all the other Moluccas in its geological formation, containing iron, coal, copper, and gold, with a glorious forest vegetation and fine large mountain streams: it is a continent in miniature. The Dutch are working the coals; and there is a good road to the mines, which gives one easy access to the interior forests.
"I can do nothing at drawing birds, but send you a horrible sketch of my discovery, that you may not die of curiosity. I am told the wet season here is terrible, and it begins in December; so I shall probably have to leave then."