Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
My dear Tristram
If you should happen to be in Europe I hope you will be able to spare me half an hour to look over the enclosed rough list of genera of SYLVIIDAE and put it a little into a shape.
I am trying at a book on Geog. Distributions of Animals. As it is a large subject, I treat mainly of Families,--& of course I want to know what are the limits of each family, & what genera most naturally go in it. Now taking the following families to be Families, and to be near each other: Turdidae, Sylviidae, Muscicapidae & keeping Motacillidae quite apart, the question arises what are the limits of Sylviidae?, & I believe you can answer this question as well as any man. I therefore turn beseechingly to you.
I have put down on the accompanying paper,--1st. all the genera of Sylviidae in Jerdon's 'Birds of India' (omitting Motacillinae) 2nd. some additional European genera. 3rd. Additional African genera, from Sharpe's Catalogue, 4th. Australian genera said by Jerdon to be probably Sylviidae.
Now you would greatly oblige me by,--1st. crossing out all genera which are not Sylviidae & saying what they are: 2nd. bracketing together [[p. 405]] all names which you think are subgeneric so as to form natural genera. 3rd. adding any Sylviine genera omitted: 4th. arranging the whole into what you consider natural groups, or subfamilies by numbering or otherwise.
As no two writers appear to agree about this family I am hopelessly puzzled, & if you will guide me, I shall implicitly follow you.
With kind remembrances to Mrs. Tristram
Rev. Canon Tristram.
Copyright: Alfred Russel Wallace Literary Estate.