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Letter from Ternate (S61: 1861)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter from Ternate, dated 7 December 1860, printed in the Ibis issue of April 1861. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S061.htm

     [[p. 211]] Mr. Samuel Stevens has just received a letter from Mr. A. R. Wallace, dated "Ternate, December 7th," in which he writes as follows:-- "I returned to Ternate a few days after the last mail had left here, having had a most hazardous voyage from Ceram and Waigiou. My collections are immense, but very poor, when it is considered that they are the result of nine months' collecting by two persons in East and North Ceram, Mysol, and Waigiou. Ceram is a wretched country; and the Papuan Islands, now that the cream is taken off by Aru and Dorey, are really not worth visiting, except for the Birds of Paradise.

     "My beetles, I am sorry to say, are most miserable--smaller and more obscure species than at Dorey, and only a few of the good ones found there, and none in any quantity.

     "In birds there is absolutely nothing good but the Paradisea rubra, which is the only species that inhabits Waigiou, and is peculiar to that island.

     [[p. 212]] "I have been so busy with my mass of specimens (all wanting sorting and cleaning), and with my numerous letters and books (a whole year), that my mind has been too much unsettled to write. Next mail I shall write to all my entomological and ornithological friends who have been kind enough to send me communications.

     "I do not like the figure of Semioptera wallacii copied in 'The Ibis' from Gould's: the neck-shields are not shown to advantage; and the white plumes should be raised much higher or laid down lower--they are neither one thing nor the other.

     "C. Allen starts in a week or two for N. Guinea--to the true locality for the rarer Birds of Paradise, and I trust he may be successful. The last voyage, with all its dangers and disappointments, has nearly sickened me, and I think in one year I shall return.

     "I seem to have all your letters but one (April 16, 1860)."

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