Letters from Alexander Henry Haliday to Hermann Loew 5th March 1867; July 13th 1867; 15 February 1869

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Letters from Alexander Henry Haliday to Hermann Loew 5th March 1867; July 13th 1867; 15 February 1869

I have just got your Monograph of Trypetidae, as an addition to my little stock of Entomological books, and as this makes an epoch (bibliographically speaking) I take occasion, of an unfilled letter to Berlin, to enclose a line to you, not having material to compose a letter. I believe, I mentioned to you a Tephritis on Xanthium stramarium [1]. I have assured myself it is Oxyna tenera [Trypeta tenera Loew, 1850: 58] . I should probably have recognised it sooner, but that the volume of the Stettin Entom Journal [2], I have, wants plate 1, which should contain the illustrations of Rhaphium and Tephritis. My evidence as to the habitat is not the best, but to me abundantly convincing.On a mound adjoining the ricefields on the coast near Ravenna, in the beginning of last by sweeping with the net the plants of Xanthium in seed, with which exclusively it was overgrown, I obtained, in half an hour above thirty specimens of the fly, and not a single one occurred in any other situation,though I swept the neighbourhood diligently for some hours. I possess two males of Aciura tibialis , taken this summer; one with a - in the Maremma [3] , in May, the other near this place, later in the year. In both the three guttae of the disk of the wing remain. In one male of A. femoralis (= Musca coryli, Rossi[4], Mantissa,) but which name, through the earliest, can hardly be restored, as conveying a false suggestion, now that the history of the species is known, there is but a single gutta.I perceive you retain the novice flava, Geoffroy[5], for miliaria Schranck: this, I suppose, is a mere oversight, as I have had occasion to acknowledge the correctness and strict application of your principles of nomenclature in other instances in correction of my own errors, as well as others. I find no such specific name in Geoffroy’s works. The description, which appears to apply,commences with the word “flava” indeed; but Geoffroy himself has given the specific name trimaculata to the insect (Entom. Proc. ii) . I am returned not long from a visit to the forest school installed newly in the convent of Vallombrosa [6] [The first forestry school to exist in Italy was the Istituto Forestale di Vallombrosa founded August 15, 1869] . It may seem an odd time to go there, and I had intended deferring it to the spring; but finding afterwards that the school would be closed this month, and not reopen till September, I did not wish to wait so long to acquaint myself with the course, the library etc. I spent two days very agreeably up there, in the midst of the snow*, knee deep but dry & spotless. The double windows, the ample fireplaces (quite in old English Hall style)—firewood without stint etc.made it very snug within doors:—and though the labyrinth of long galleries was cold, they afforded famous play-ground to the boys, two of Dr Berenger’s and four of Viglietta’s; and the ringing laugh ofchildhood, an unwonted sound there, gave it cheerfulness. Dr Berenger once pursued Entomology practically, has some of the best books—Ratzeburg [7], Forstinsekten Audouin [8] Pyrale de la vigne etc: and he has agreed to join as one of the Prometron, the nascent Entomological Society I hunted for Chionea, in vain, about springs and rivulets in the snowy region.

Lucca (Italia) 5th March 1867

My dear Dr Loew On a former occasion, when our correspondence underwent an interruption of some years, you warned me that another interruption might be the last, referring to the complaint, under which you suffered. It was therefore with some anxiety that I waited to gather tidings of you, when an improvement in my own health (after an interval of about two and a half years, during which I was kept off from study and letter writing) allowed me to look abroad again. Had it not been that two of my friends, among the men of science, F. Walker [9] and E.P. Wright [10], continued throughout to write to me from time to time, though their letters were of necessity unanswered, (sometimes unread for months) I should not have known who was alive, who deceased, among the rest. It was only last summer, that I began to go out of doors again,and by the end of October I accomplished a drive in carriage as far as Lucca [11] (3 Italian miles), where I hadn’t been for a year and half. Finding the improvement continue, I had hopes revived of receiving study correspondence, and more active exercise in the coming summer, though as yet I have accomplished no farther journey than that to Lucca; and in that town we (i.e. my cousin Mme Pisani), her husband, and three nieces, with myself) have been housed since the beginning of the year, with the intention at first of making a stay of three months in town. Now however it is doubtful if we shall not be obliged to prolong the period, in consequence of an accident that befel [sic] Mme. P., a fracture of one leg; the consequence of which has been to devolve upon me so much of bulletin- and letter-writing to her many friends and kindred in England, and indeed elsewhere, that the correspondence which I was endeavouring by degrees to resume with my own friends, as had to be laid aside in great part, after I had ascertained, by preliminary inquiries, the continued existence and wellbeing of several, to whom I wished to write. I began with those near at hand, and as I got intelligence from them, I was gradually widening my circle,though I had not arrived so far as to Germany, when this mishap occurred to occupy me otherwise. I was able to gather, by that time, from the annual reports which I could procure, that you are in continued scientific activity; and therefore I trust that the complaint, painful as it is, from which you have long been suffering, has not made the progress you at one time apprehended. I considered, at that time, that you leisure time might be taken up by political engagement; the momentous period calling for the co-operation of all who are interested in the future of the Fatherland, its union, independence and free institutions[12]. I hope however that having the assurance that I am still existent, though after a long period of almost suspended animation, you will be able to indulge me again with your news and friendly interchange of scientific discussions. I have written some time ago to Bellardi [13], to whom I owed specially an early explanation of letters previously unanswered and requests not fulfilled; but have not heard from him in reply;except in the way of one page conveyed to me in a letter from Ghiliani [14], excusing his overwhelming engagements. I believe they have left him no time to ripen for publication any further Dipterological studies.During the last three years, I was not able to give any attention to the preservation of my collections here; which had to undergo two removals of domicile, without my giving any superintendence to the packing and transport; and I find they have suffered largely, by mould and Anthreni. I had made a selection of the best, that remained, at the end of 1863, to carry with me to England,—the type of several new genera of Chalcididae & other Hymenoptera, with some Diptera. But the business which occupied me in Dublin, for months, consequent on my mother’s death, left me no time to make use of these there, and I brought them back to Italy, April 1864, in good condition. Unfortunately the loss subsequently fell upon these in especial, the boxes that I had left unarranged having been less severely visited by the enemiesnamed. Consequently, I have lost many of my generic types, which I shall be lucky if I succeed in replacing hereafter, supposing I am able to follow the chase again:— while some that remain have been published in other quarters in the interval, which was a blank for me. It is curious how often attention in different quarters is turned in the same direction simultaneously, without any apparent cause to determine it. An example in the apterous genus Japyse (Thysanura), which I described in 1864 (the only thing entomological I had time for then); and in same year Philippi [Philippi, Friedrich Heinrich Eunom or Philippi, Federico (1838-1910)] described a species, apparently of the same genus, from Chili. I might still find some things new among my Diptera of the first two years collecting in Italy; but have some hesitation in publishing them detached, while Rondani [15] is working at the Dipterous Fauna of Italy generally; and his latest volume is, to my mind, on a very cursory glance, a decided improvement upon the previous ones; as is his avowed conviction now was many of the new genera, we proposed at first, are inadmissible and his growing disinclination to multiply genera. How much there is to be done, in the way of new species, in Italy, may be acquired from a list which Piccioli [16] sent me a few days ago, of the Pselaphidae, that he & Von

Brandt [17] together took, in eight days time, at the Baths of Lucca, I sent to Saulcy [18] who is at work on this family, already not indifferently studied. I think nearly two thirds of the whole are considered new species by that authority. I don’t imagine that the range of Diptera is so limited locally, or that anything like such a proportion of novelties is to be looked forin that order, even extending the search to the South of Italy, now beginning to come within reach by railways, though not within the security of civilization unhappily. The now pending elections will doubtless be, in this event, of great importance to the picture of Italy. If instead of setting to steadily in the work of developing the natural riches of the country, & awaking industry, association etc to meet the financial difficulties, that press like a milstone [sic]; her public men are to indulge magnificent schemes of political aggrandizement, influence in the councils of Europe etc etc I see little hope for the country, so favoured by nature, and lately so much by concurrent circumstances[19]. I have written more than I almost hoped to have time for, and am called away to their affairs now; so adieu, in the hope of a reply. Yours very truly Alex Henry Haliday

Lucca July 13th 1867

My dear Dr Loew

I have again to thank you for some of your Dipterological papers, received through the post, viz. on species of Empis etc extracted from the last part of the Berlin Entom. Zeitschr. which I have got since.I have delayed acknowledging this, and your kind letter, in the expectation of being able, at the same time, to thank you more particularly for that which you sent me long since, as I believe, through Prof.Bellardi. I wrote specially to him, a good while since, telling him that I was going to write to you, and was desirous to acknowledge any such, as he might have in charge, to which he had referred in a note, I had from him, I think, in the spring of 1865,—when I was not well enough to write. As time has been passing without any reply to this note, I must conclude that he has been too busy to attend to it; which apology he had made before for not answering more than one previous note of mine. Indeed I can imagine that the lamented death of De Filippi [20], to whom Bellardi was subordinate in the Geological Museum of the Reale Academy of Turin[21], may have given him yet more work, in addition to the actuall [sic] occupations to which he referred. C. Rondani also has been too much occupied, for much correspondence topass between us. He has been making however some excursions into other departments of entomology, viz. the Hymenoptera Parasites of certain species of insects noxious to the garden etc. But this study being so new to him, naturally the descriptions of figures—(both those published, & the draftings he sent me) are somewhat deficient in precision; and I cannot arrive at any satisfactory judgement on the place of the species, which I have had no opportunity of seeing in nature. Possibly I may see himself and his collection again this year; as I am desirous to do, on account of his wish to sell his Dipterological Collection, as he has done with each part, to provide for the cost of publication of his work: in the publication of which he has made latterly some new arrangement, since it comes out in the Atti della Società Italiana di Scienzi Naturali; of which society I have become an ordinary member myself, and may make it the medium of publication for some my Italian insects. The last winter, by its extraordinary mildness,was rather favourable to the subsequent multiplication of noxious insects; and it is a season well adapted for making observations on such. Not having regained quite, as yet, my powers of locomotion, I have not stirred much from home, while the remove into a new unfinished house, where I have not yet convenient room to get out my books, or open my insect boxes, rather drives me to despair of such occupations. I made the short excursion (a week barely) into the Tuscan Maremma , towards the end of May, after which month the air becomes too dangerous; (even the government iron works at Follonica [22] the farthest point to which I penetrated) being closed from May to December. Unfortunately the weather was unfavourable enough, indeed, to prevent my going out after insects, but broken by a storm,which swelled the rivers, previously dwindled to mere chains of pools, and overflowed the low grounds, and on the Apennines came down in snow, (very unusual in the month of May); while the rest of the time it blew constantly and hard from the North west, making insects shy of coming out, emptying the sweeping net as fast as it was filled, and making the walking on the open coast (which I chiefly frequented) laborious. I was disappointed also in finding the localities, to which I had been particularly directed, changed within the few last years much; the ancient woods, with their mouldering oak tunnels, having given way to extended cultivation of the olive etc or been converted into piles of charcoal for the use of the iron smelting furnaces etc. This was especially the case at Campiglia [23], whither I went in search of [letter ends abruptly] Lucca 15 Febr 1869

My dear Dr Loew I have just received a reply from H. Lucas, to whom I applied, as a private friend, in respect to the possibility of satisfying your desire as to the list of Meigen’s species in the Museum of the garden of plants[24]. He let some time pass, which I imagine was occupied in consulting the higher authorities, or the reply comes in official form …Comme il n’est pas dans les usages au Musèum de Paris de communiquer des catalogues inediti, je vous adresse les quelques règle pour vous aviser qu’il ne sera donnée suite a la demande prete par vous, dans ma lettre en date le Janvier dernier, relative a la communication d’un catalogue de Diptera de la Collection Meigen.bSo you see, you will have to content yourself with finding out by eyesight what there is and what not. I took no list—indeed had not time to do so—except of Dolichopidae, which I,—and Helomyzae, which you at the time—were particularly interested in. I have heard from C.A Dohrn [25], a couple of days since, and I find our possibility of trip together to the South—Sicily or elsewhere—is not to be. He has accepted an invitation which will leave him only about a fortnight free, to give to me. So when he is tired of our hills, I think we will make a run into the Tuscan Maremma. If too early for flowers and insects —(in April it is a garden; miles on miles of Asphodel meadows etc)—we have the ancient Tuscan city-sites—the Cyclopian [26] walls,—Necropolae [27] etc to occupy us. Different things have occurred to make this change not disagreeable to me; —chiefly that my cousin Mme Pisani , whom we are expecting soon, and the Cardinal Viccenzo, will not be going to England till July; so that we shall be at home all the spring, and I not left alone. Also the next number of the Italian Ent. Soc. journal—of which I believe the 1st part is out today will be the better of some contribution of mine, as I am told. The version I made of your Blepharoceridae memoir is now passing under the correction of two Station Scholars, and I am to send the drawings up immediately to the Engraver. Lastly I have just had a letter from Dr Stål [28], informing me that the loan of the specimens of Bethylidae and Drynidae of the Stockholm Museum is granted and that he has sent them to Berlin to Friedlander & Son (Booksellers) to forward to me. This makes me naturally desirous to obtain the loan of those of the Berlin Museum also;—and I await the intimation from you—to make the application in form; or else renounce it. They are not however, I fancy, of the same importance to my object, as the types of Dalman’s [29] & Thomson's[30] species, now on their way to me. I think it is since I wrote to you last that I had a letter from Osten-Sacken [31] accompanied, in his intention, with a copy of his memoir on Tipulidae. Curiously I had my pen in hand when the letter came, writing to a friend, who some time previously had told me of the proximate publication of this memoir,to get more particular information, that I might obtain it, as soon as it was out. However the book has not reached me, though the letter.has. My parasites - (3 pupae) continue to sleep, & have rather a shrunken aspect; so perhaps I shall fail in obtaining the fly on this occasion. The Bibio globulipes passed away very quickly this year; —after the first of February, I did not meet more than half a dozen males,and not one female;—while in other winters, I certainly have met with the Bibio throughout this month, and I think, on well into March.I suppose the intense frost, we had, cut the generation short. It killed down the myrtles over large tracts, and they look very dismal, but will , I expect , spring up again from the roots.Though so widely diffused, it is probably no more indigenous than the chesnut [sic], the sughera , the vine, or the olive, all of which grow wild in Central Italy. Spring flowers are coming out, fresh violets, starry anemonies, celandine, daffodils in abundance; the almond tree sheeted with white blossoms, and the peach trees beginning to be rosy. But there was hoar frost at sunrise today over the low grounds, and the tree heath which has long been ready seems conscious of lingering winter in the air as it has not yet opened its bells. Its general flowering gives an appearance to the stony hills as if a white lace veil were drawn over them and is to me the settled symptom of the entomologists’ season beginning.Very truly yours A.H. Haliday