Letters from Alexander Henry Haliday to Hermann Loew July 24, 1863 and undated
|Letters from Alexander Henry Haliday to Hermann Loew July 24, 1863 and undated|
—Lucca. July 24/63
My dear Dr. Loew, I have put off writing from week to week, since I got back to Lucca in the hope of finding leisure to look up some points touching our Diptera, which might be of some common interest: but as this leisure seems still far off, I must be satisfied with giving you a sketch of my journeys, unentomological as they have been, to explain my occupations since I last wrote to you.The alarming accounts I received of my brother’s illness, just at the end of the last year, were followed so immediately by more reassuring ones, that I followed the physician’s recommendation, to await his further communications, before undertaking the journey to London: and as a removal to a warmer climate was advised for him, as soon as he should be able for the undertaking, I determined on joining him previously to accompany him on the way, taking charge at the same time of another invalid friend, Mr Hogan  ,one of my co-editors of Nat. Hist. Review, who had fallen into bad health, and had been obliged to give up his cure in Dorsetshire, early in the last year, and had since been declining more and more into a settled condition of hopeless hypochondria, for which his medical advisers recommended change of scene and movement. I left this early in February, crossing the Apennines to Bologna, stopping a day at Parma  , to see Rondani  and Passerini  , more particularly for the sake of seeing Rondani’s collection of Dolichopidae, on the unhappy condition of which, I think, I reported to you, by the last note I wrote you preceding this. Another day I spent at Turin, with Bellardi  [&] Ghiliani " then crossed Mount Cenis , about the same time of the year as I had passed it the previous year, but in the inverse direction, and under different circumstances; as the snow lay pretty deep now, and we travelled by sledge which had not been required all the previous winter (1861-2). At Paris, finding that Mr Bigot Sr.[  was absent, I staid [sic] but 24 hours, to see Dr Sichel . When I reached London, I found my brother so far recovering strength, that he had been able to walk out once or twice with the aid of a supporting arm; and as the physicians advice was to leave England as soon as we could, I gave up the idea of a visit to Ireland, or to some friends whom i wished to have seen in the country,—with the exception of one flying visit to Bath ,—and set myself to accomplish as much of the business in a week, as I had designed a fortnight for,—as I could. This left me little time to see acquaintances, or visit the Br. Museum , and finding it a bad preparation for the journey, in which I was to have charge of two invalids, I struck work, andby way of change, to get the reverberations of it out of my head, I started off, a couple of days before my companions (having arranged our re-junction by the way) to make a detour by Brussells —Liège  —Aix la Chapelle  , Lille  & Amiens ,—at each of which places I had friends to see, or other objects; and intending to accomplish these by travelling at night, resting & visiting by day. I found however that I had fatigued myself too much for this, in London, and must take due sleep and other remedies;—so my visits were very short ones,—the longest four hours with Förster  —missing Kaltenbach , by half an hour only,—he having come over too late for the appointment;—and giving up the idea of a digression to Krefeld to meet Winnertz ;—prudently—as he was then at Vienna, or somewhere on the road. A couple of hours, each, with Lacordaire  & Wesmael —and about the same time with Mr Aussac, examining the plorabiles reliquiae of Macquart’s  collection at Lille—Dr Dours  I found in the pangs of gout—and there at Amiens I picked up one of my companions, Dr Hogan, whose father had accompanied him so far;—while my brother had preceded us to Paris. There we remained a little more than a week,—and I had little time for scientific company, though I was fortunate in finding Mr Bigot in town this time,—and also made acquaintance with Mr Goureau  , and looked over the microhymenopterous parts of his collection of insects reared, & their parasites, with much interest. A meeting of the Entomological Society  took place the evg of the day on which we left Paris. I should have liked to have attended, having had no previous opportunity;—but as the invalids were forbidden the land journey (I mean, crossing the Alps) and we had to allow four days between Marseilles & Paris, it was impracticable. On our halts, I saw Messrs Rouget & Farnier at Dijon, & renewed acquaintance at Lyon with my ancient acquaintance E. Mulsant  ;—and saw, with him, the remains of the collection of parasitic Hymenoptera, of Boyer de Fonscolombe  and --
Undated From Marseilles we went direct by sea to Livorno; —but falling in with the tail of a Mediterranean storm, had rather a rough passage of thirty-six hours. About a week’s rest at Lucca prepared us for a further journey—going direct from Livorno to Naples,—at which, with excursion to Salerno— Paestum  —Amalfi—Sorrento—Capri; and the envious of the city, so rich in classic associations & the traces of volcanic action,—we spent 3 weeks. My brother had been regaining strength rapidly, & was able to accomplish on foot the ascent of the cone of Vesuvius, which we reserved for the last day of our time at Naples. I had half coupled a hope of a flight to Sicily, with Dohrn; who, along with Stainton, had preceded us on the road:—but I had only the pleasure (?) of saluting, from a distance, as we sailed into the bay of Naples, the boat which bore them homewards—After all, Dohrn, also had found himself obliged to decline my invitation to await me & visit Messina & in company, on account of a previous engagement to Pirazzoli, to join him in a week’s insect hunting on the other
Lucca My dear Dr Loew Our last letters it seems have crossed each other and there is a certain fitness of things in it as ech conveys a denial which is no matter of surprise to me in either case as there may be conceived very reasonable objections. I am sorry that I am not within 200 chilometers [sic] of Berlin, and at the same side of the Alps, as the visit would doubtless reward me richly—but I could not well transport with me, even if I thought the advantage worth such a journey, the precious things confided to me of the Stockholm and Turin Museums, as well as the several private collections. So I must make out my West of Europe list with the aids I have, and leave the Berlin stores to others; as after these, if eyes health & circumstances serve I have the families of the proper Oxyura (Burmeister, 1829  ) to take up, in succession, and have no prospect of returning to a supplement of the others. I commence these lines in acknowledgement of yours at once, but will keep the letter till I can give you some answer yes/no/or “not knowing can’t say” to your questions. Thanks for your description of the Rossian  species. I don’t seem to be lucky about the g. Scenopinus; as it is evident at least that Tuscany has a species I don’t know (be it Zelleri or not), and I know there is another, like fenestralis, but with the abdomen glossed above with dense silvery or hoary pubescence; but I lost the only two specimens I ever took of it, by damp, I suppose. And now on the Trypeta ; have you my documents to prove rotundiventris, a native of Italy or Sicily . I imagine it hitherto to be transalpine exclusively. It is true that G. O. Costa enumerates it among the Neapolitan species; but then he had only Meigen to go by,— whose rotundiventris is a mixed species—and in the Museum at Naples I found only “femorata” 3 specimens= femoralis and “gagates” = libralis. We have a proverb in England “What is sauce for goose is sauce for gander”, and, not meaning that either Rossi or Meigen is “goose”, I do not see why the same circumstance (a mixture) should set aside Rossi’s name (if otherwise applicable)—and not Meigen’s. I intend to be very busy this week commencing, that I may be able with a safe conscience to sally forth on an excursion of ten days, or a fortnight, in the Maremma, with the two Dohrns, as I hope (C.A. and Anton). Therefore very possibly, I may have to send this letter without any sequel except the oracular responses. I had just sent off by post to your address (begging you to accept it as a token of remembrance) the 1st part of Bulletin of the Italian Ent. Soc. containing Rondani’s “Ortaloidi”. The “Tephritoidi” will not appear for some time, as his materials are considerable. He is sufficiently open to discussion And conviction, and I can be very frank with doubts and objections though [ fragmented ] minutiae satisfy him and so our results often differ. He has I see, complied with my wish as to not giving a particular sp. name to Macquart’s Herina rufipes, which it was necessary to rebaptize on account of Desvoidy’s homonym: and has preferred the Mg. name of his own collection to that which I sent him [for] the 3rd sp. of Tetanops (T. tyrrhenus). He is, I think, a great deal too much disposed to introduce new (especially generic) names, wherever a plausible pretext can be found; while my feeling would be to avoid this wherever a moderate latitude as to rules would allow the old ones to stand. But he sees very clearly that others are too fond of bringing in new names:—and so I suppose it is with us all more or less, judged by others. I shall have very quickly to make up my mind as to how I shall treat a name of Spinola’s Mesitius :—if to be detached at all from Ephyris, the group should bear that name by strict right of priority, while it is a name that has been tacitly forgotten, and there is choice of others e.g. Heterocoelia in a work much better known Dahlbom’s “Genus Chrysis sensu Linnaeano”. There are the older names, unfortunately too close in form to that of Spinola’s,—Mesitis in Botany and Mesites in Coleoptera. What say you to the question? In general, I consider two names as too near uniform, whenever they would yield the same derivatives of family etc—names, by means of the usual affixes of –idea, -ini and the like. Walker wrote to me a few days ago that meeting Westwood, the latter told him he had two unanswered letters of mine in his pocket;—it shows at least he has not forgotten quite,—but leaves it doubtful if his reply to my queries, about the figure of Asthenia fasciata, will be in time to serve the purpose; as I am daily expecting to rescue the Italian text revised by my co -editors for my final perusal, before it goes to press; and I must have my notes ready to follow in order. I doubt if I shall have anything else in the 2nd part of the Bulletin. There is no sign of lack of material, as long as the text is printed in such a loose manner, and I willingly cede the place, reserving my miscellaneous notes to fill up gaps in future possible exigencies;—the autumn parts are usually the ones that requireprovision beforehand to be made, as summer puts vagrant dispositions into many minds, and disinclines one for indoorw ork. I am prepared to find the opening year, as you expect, not a favourable one for the appearance of insects [illegible text] of the autumn and early winter, and the consequent saturation of the soil, being likely to destroy many larvae and pupae. As this letter is otherwise a light one, I will be able, I think, to transmit you a Tipula (Pterelachisus) bertei (Rdn.) - set. As the flowers of Spring are coming out one after another, even though we may expect cold winds, perhaps snow and frost, next month, collecting may soon recommence, but chiefly of Coleoptera at first, in which I have already made one good capture Phaeopterus unicolor Costa, not known as extending beyond the southern provinces of Italy, till I took a single specimen here, in the spring of 1867. Long periods of illness and enforced inactivity I find to act injuriously on the memory; and I now am often obliged to make out species, I have described myself, in the absence of typical examples, from the descriptions, with no more advantages than a stranger would have, except as to the particular terminology and phraseology. Hence you will not wonder if I cannot answer undoubtingly questions, which I might naturally to be best able to satisfy. You ask me about a Tetanocera media cited by Schiner from the Entomological Magazine vol. 1, p. 150 A.D. 1832(-3). [following page?] I find there only a list of names given in the most compressed form, without addition to the specific name, except n.s. to the species afterwards described as new. Among those without addition is a Tetanocera media and as I find no such trivial name in Meigen, I presume it was an error of memory for some other familiar name. T. vittata is described as n. sp. Now in Curtis Guide, 1st edition A.D. 1829 (a mere list of names) there is a T. vittata Curtis, to which no reference is made by me; and in general I adopted the names of The Guide in describing new species. In 1837, Curtis published a second edition of The Guide, in which “T. vittata Curtis” still appears with “T. media Hal” given as its synonym. My belief is (and I can find nothing to shake it in other published papers) that media is a mere name; that vittata Curtis is not intended for the species I described under that name, and which subsequently (in 1838, Am. Nat. Hist.) I proposed to remove to a place under g. Sciomyza, as subgenus Anticheta; but all this is quite immaterial ;the only matter to be defined being that media is a mere catalogue name without characters. I now have Rondani's answer Anthrax canipila is an unpublished name Ever yours A. H. Haliday
Mydear Dr Loew Having received back from the Editors at Florence your Mss. of memoir on Blepharoceridae and the original figures and being myself on the point of setting out for Rome I think it best to send them to you enclosed, although I have not time to write anything further except to ask your directions as to the fifty copies to which you are entitled of the memoirs and which make a considerable bulk as it runs to more than a sheet of text. They can be sent by book post if you wish divided into parcels as the whole exceeds the postal limit. With regard to the figures you will perceive one of yours is wanting.I sent it with the rest to the editors but the lithographer reported it missing—by whose fault I cannot tell and it was too late then to apply to you, so that I was compelled to substitute for it a sketch of my own from a specimen of my collection—an imperfect substitute I know but the only one then practicable except by keeping back the plate for a future number and so displaced from the text. I have to thank you for a very recent present of some separate extracts from the Berlin Ent. Journal in addition to the portion I had previously received of your volume supplemental to Meigen. I was at Florence for above a week but with little effect as to the Society or any scientific objects as I was escorting two ladies- cousins of mine—one of whom I am about to accompany to Rome and as she speaks no Italian and has travelled little abroad and never in this country my services are in constant requisition & I have to resign for the time all other objects. Also Stefonelli was ill, Piccioli occupied by the dangerous illness of his wife & Targioni on the point of setting out for Sardinia so that no conference was possible. I will write to you after my return from Rome (& possibly Naples) till where I content myself with ...