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

The Late Dr. Russel Wallace. Scientist, Explorer, Reformer.
(S705b: 1913)

Editor Charles H. Smith’s Note: Excerpt from a long note including an 1892 letter from Wallace declining an invitation. Printed on page eight of the 15 November 1913 issue of the Hertfordshire Mercury and County Press. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S705B.htm

     “…Twenty years ago, when the Hertford Literary and Debating Society was in its palmy days, numbering amongst its lecturers the then Master of Balliol and the late Earl Cowper, it was suggested that an attempt should made to secure the services of the most famous of Hertfordians, and I was deputed to write to Alfred Russel Wallace, and to ask him to lecture to its members. It was a bold thing to do, but in those days the committee attempted venturous flights, and not infrequently succeeded. The answer eagerly awaited came just after Christmas, and the letter--one of the most prized letters I have--is now before me. It was follows:

    'Dear Sir,--Although I should like to see Hertford again I am now living so far away that it is not probable I shall do so. I rarely go to London more than once a year, and then only on business and leave it as soon as I can. I am afraid, therefore, I must decline the invitation of your Society.

    Believe me, yours very faithfully, Alfred R. Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset. December 26, 1892.’

     Though Russel Wallace was unable to come to Hertford, the invitation re-opened his connection with the town in which he had spent his school days. On the completion of the assembly hall at the Grammar School he sent his portrait to adorn the walls; and at the special meeting of the Linnaean Society to celebrate the jubilee of the discoveries of Darwin and Wallace, the head master was asked to meet the famous naturalist. [I hope Mr. Kinman will give some particulars of this interview in the columns of the 'Hertfordshire Mercury'.] And when the veteran attained his 90th birthday, a few months ago, hearty greetings were sent on behalf of the Grammar School and the Town Council…"

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