Letters from Francis Walker to Alexander Henry Haliday

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

October 1827 Arnos Grove Letter mentions Mr. Vigors [1] , Mr. Dale [2], Mr Stephens [3], Mr Curtis [4] and the Rev. Lansdowne Guilding [5] at the Linnean Society [6] also mentions Belfast Natural History Society [7] and dispatch of specimens from Arnos Grove.

1828 recommends "M. Boitard's Manuel du naturaliste préparateur"

1830 [Metz Museum][Paris] The Flora of the environs of Metz is arranged according to the natural system ; each specimen attached by narrow slips of paper to the third page of a folio leaf; the class, order, family, tribe, name, locality, &c., being inserted on the first page, under printed heads or titles, the last of which is General Remarks ……The whole of this museum is in excellent order. Among the quadrupeds and birds there is no appearance of moths, and at the same time no smell of camphor, or other preservative ingredients. On enquiring of M. Vinet what means he used to preserve in such excellent condition the objects under his care, he answered,"Nothing more than frequently inspecting them, airing them, gently brushing them over, or wiping off any thing extraneous,and keeping the cases perfectly clean”. ......The naturalists and other scientific men of Paris have great advantages over those of London. The French government devotes a large sum annually to the support of scientific and literary institutions in the metropolis.Public lectures on every subject may be attended gratis ; the most complete museums and libraries are of the easiest access. The social meetings at the houses of distinguished individuals, or of public bodies, such, for example, as those of the Baron Cuvier, the Baron F^russac, the Institute, the Athenaeum, &c., are frequent ; and the intercourse at such meetings is of real use to literary men, because difference of worldly circumstances enters into them for little or nothing. It is not to be wondered,therefore, that with superior native vivacity and acuteness, and all these opportunities, the French philosophers should be the first in the world. To profit from this state of things, a stranger should reside in Paris at least two years.....

April 3 1832 Highgate refers to Chalicidites received from M. Laporte [8]

January 27 [1833/4] "were elected [Council Entomological Society] Mr Bell [9] , Mr. Children [10] , the Rev. Hope [11] , Mr. Newman [12], Mr Shuckard [13] , Mr.Spence [14] , Mr. Stephens [15] , Colonel Sykes [16], Mr. Westwood [17], Mr Waterhouse [18] as Curator, Mr. Yarrell [19] [and Francis Walker]

February 1833 Arnos Grove Reflects on rift between Curtis and Stephens

October 1833 concerns Walkers's Monographia Chalciditum and other entomological studies, specimens exchanged and examined.

December [1833] "the Society [20] meeting in November at rooms engaged at 17, Old Bond Street suitably furnished and equipped, was the more agreeable for the number of ladies present several already enrolled as members... and all welcomed most warmly by Mr. Children [21]... also the Rev. Mr. Kirby [22] and Mr. Spence....[23]"

February 15 1834 "Mr. Ingall ["This beautiful variety was taken many years back at Peckham near London by Mr. Ingall" British Entomology] and Mr. Raddon [William Raddon (active 1817-1862)] for the engravure" [of Monographia Chalciditum [24].

May 12 1834 Letter thanks AHH for his generosity and apologies for "lack of an earlier reply my having but lately returned from Paris ....kindly received by Mr. Lefebvre [25] , the Secretary of the French Entomological Society. Includes manuscript description of Chalcidoidea manuscript notes relating to Chalcidoidea Manuscript notes and extracts from works by Jurine, Fabricius, Fonscolombe, Dalman Geoffroy, Jurine, Latreille and Spinola copied in France.

20 November, 1836 Bedford Square F.W. to A.H.H. refers to books rec’d by Entomological Society and letter from Mr. Schomburgk [26] [27] , Esq. of GeorgeTown, Demerara, concerning despatch of a collection of insects made in the interior of British Guiana for the Society.

10 December, 1836 Bedford Square F.W. to A.H.H. thanks Haliday for drawings, requests news of Mr. Templeton [Robert Templeton] and the Belfast Natural History Society


….."the want of a fixed principle in regulating the assumption of an old generic name for some one or other of the types into which the researches of recent naturalists have rendered it necessary to partition many old and extensive genera…….The drawings have all been taken from - original specimens in the Royal Museum Berlin and, though but few of the species can be said to be entirely new, yet many of them have been hitherto but slightly known, or imperfectly described".

Arnos Grove [28], Southgate 8 March 1837 ... Mr Darwin [29](grandson of the celebrated doctor Darwin) who has been travelling for the few past years through the E and W coasts of South America and the Pacific Isles and N. Holland and has made numerous interesting discoveries in geology and zoology—has lately returned to England with his collections—He has entrusted the insects to Waterhouse [30] who will describe the Coleoptera. I was so interested in the chalcidites [[31] that I have acceded to W's request that I should describe them. He is at a loss what to do with the Muscidae, Ichneum adscits, Thrips (of which there are some titans half an inch long) etc—and wishes me to offer them to you to describe in whatever Ent work you please, he would like to have an answer soon. I think you will find them very interesting and we can easily send them to you. Francis Walker to Haliday

27 May 1837 Arnos Grove My Dear Haliday, I have delayed writing to you till I could procure some of Darwin's insects to accompany my package. Waterhouse has been very busy so he requested me to pick out and mount some. Having done this I sent you a few near a fortnight ago per Belfast steamer, with the other insects that I promised, also one parcel from Mr Curtis [32] and two from Mr Rudd [33]. Waterhouse requests that you will keep the No. attached to each lot as Darwin has MSS notes attached to some. He will I believe make an application to government to patronize the publication of his travels, if he succeeds all these specific descriptions will of course be included therein------------ I do not remember any recent works on Hymenoptera or Diptera of the regions where Darwin has travelled. There may be a few in the 10th Vol of the Encycl. Method. [Encyclopédie Méthodique . . . Paris & Liege, 1789–1828][34]. and in Fabr [[35] Syst Piezat Fabricius, J.C., Systema Piezatorum. . ., Brunsvigae, 1804. which I will send to you if you have them not. [Later in this letter Walker arranges to take specimens to the Liverpool meeting, in September, of the British Association for the Advancement of Science [36] of which they were both Life Members].

February 1836 Bedford Square F.W. to A.H.H. sends The Rev Hope’s thanks and his own for gift [by AHH to Entomological Society of specimens of 69 Species of Hymenopterous and Dipterous Insects described in the Entomological Magazine]

October 2nd, 1837 49 Bedford Square Draws Haliday's attention to Directions for collecting Zoological, Botanical, and Geological Specimens by Mr. Children, Esq.and his own election as an Ordinary Member of the Society. Encourages AHH to seek election.

49 Bedford Square 19 December 1837 “I have told Darwin and Waterhouse about the Diptera and they have looked out some more for you and will have them ready in a few days and I will send them to you before a month hence, also a parcel which Curtis tells me he has ready for you” Francis Walker to Haliday.[Letter shows Walker and Haliday met in Liverpool] ……..I now have a lot of MSS waiting to be published in the Ent. Mag.[37], and I must send the description of Darwin's Chalcidites to the Linn. Society or elsewhere……. I will write to you again when Darwin's insects are ready and will send the parcel to the Belfast steamer office directed to Mr Gordon for you.

1838 {Paris] It is true, they have no Linnaean Society, no Zoological Society, no Ornithological Society. They have, however, the Jardin des Plantes, where are combined in one locality the zoological and horticultural gardens, and the national museum, of our own country, and where gratuitous admission cannot but extend a much wider desire for a knowledge of the objects oberved in such establishments, than is diffused by exhibitions to which the public at large have not access.

February 4 1838 Bedford Square Francis Walker to A.H.H. in RIA refers to Walker becoming a Council Member [he was also made a Vice president] of the Entomological Society in January and to the societies growing insect collections and to Spinola’s Essay [Essai sur les Genres d'Insectes appartenants a I'Ordre des Hemipteres et a la Section des Heteropteres. 1 vol. 8vo. Genoa. 1837]

17 February post-marked 1838 I have hitherto delayed replying to your letter of December last that I might obtain as many as possible of Darwin's Diptera etc to form part of the parcel that I have just forwarded to you.' [letter discusses some of the insects which are in the parcel] …. In the box also are all Darwin's Diptera yet unpacked. He has plenty more but they are in little boxes mixed with other insects and he is about to have them all mounted and then sorted. Those from the Galapagos [[38] are all the Diptera I have found among the insects yet mounted. The man employed unfortunately put them into water but he will know better in future. Though the Galapagos are situate under the line yet the insects found therein are very like those of the temperate climes and so it is with other little isles that are far from the mainland……….. I have placed a few of Darwin's chalcids in the box for your examination. Figures of some of them would be very interesting excepting No. 1 they all appear to belong to the family Eucharidae of which I have seen no European specimens. In the structure of the head, antennae and abdomen they much resemble Figites[39] etc……. The steamer with the box will leave London tomorrow. Have you determined where you will publish Darwin's insects? I have got ready enough MSS in British Chalcid [40] to last the Ent. Mag. for a couple of years and I wish to publish Darwin's Chalcids somewhere else.

29 July 1839 "yet it is a duty I owe to the public that my writings should be wound up and revised and clearly systematized. I am well aware that the time which you are able to set aside for entomology is already fully occupied yet I cannot refrain from requesting your assistance. My descriptions of Darwins Chalcides are printed and will be published immediately. I have all the specimens in my possession and I will forward them to you together with all my own collection and they will be speedily followed by the few remnants that I have left. you are quite welcome to retain mine as long as you feel inclined and what I ask of you is in plain words that you will point out my errors, supply my omissions, reunite the species that I have cut up and divide into groups the overpopulous and disordered genera. Your drawings of the genera would be most suitably accompanied by such an essay . . . . I have about half a dozen more of Darwins insects for you. Francis Walker [The drawings referred to subsequently appeared in The Entomologist [[41] Walker, 1840–42].

15 July 1837 Arnos Grove Southgate

“My Dear Haliday, I have received your kind letter announcing the safe arrival of the insects etc. I am sorry to hear that your health has suffered and I fear that this is partly occasioned by working too closely at the minute Hymenoptera which I have inflicted upon you. I well remember to have seen a figure of Dicera and to have been stuck with its singularity, but I did not recognise it among Darwins insects of these U have a few more Diptera etc. for you which I had set before I received your letter. Darwin still has multitudes of them, and if I can procure them from Waterhouse before I leave I will bring them in pill boxes as you advise ………… Almost all I have seen of Darwins Diptera are as minute as those that you have. Chalcidites are also generally remarkable for their identity with the British forms. And the same may be said of the Coleoptera among which the species of Scymnus are very numerous. On a recent coral isle [St. Pauls [[42]] the only insects were bird parasites and a few Coprophagi such as a Staphylinus (Philonthus or Quedius) etc. Another isle the only species of insect was a small ant.

Date? I have now a lot of Mss. waiting to be published in the Ent. Mag. And I must send the description of Darwin’s Chalcidites to the Linn. Soc. Or elsewhere ” Francis Walker to Haliday Royal Entomological Society of London library.

“I have placed a few of Darwin’s chalcids in the box for your examination. Figures of some of them would be very interesting excepting No. 1 they all appear to belong to the family Eucharidae of which I have seen no European specimens. In the structure of the head, antennae and abdomen they much resemble Figites etc.” Francis Walker to Haliday Royal Entomological Society of London library.

I thought you might possibly not be aware of the existence of a book published this year by Nees von Esenbeck [43] on the Ichneumones Adscits. Many species of Aphidius, Microgaster, Bracon and Alysia are therein described. If you have this book and wish to possess it and you will indicate unto me how to transmit it I shall be happy to procure it and forward it to you” – letter FW to AHH. Nov 5 1834. “I saw Mr Curtis today – he requested me to be remembered to you and to mention that he had forwarded a microscope for you” – Ibid. “The editor of the Entomological Magazine will be glad to learn whether it is your intention to favour him with an article for the January No. – Ibid.

Your promise of an essay on the genus Leiophron induced me to write to you to offer to transmit my species of that genus to you … I have lately placed my minute Ichneumones in boxes and I request permission to send them for your inspection – I cannot think of troubling you with them unless you will promise to keep them as many years as is convenient to you and to take all the species that are not already in your collection. If you will undertake this examination they shall be immediately forwarded to you – they are all arranged in species though not in genera but few I am sorry to say are named. I hope soon to have the pleasure of sending a set of the insects I collected ....[Material from Walker’s trip to the North Cape and Alteen in the schooner Harriet from which he returned through Sweden and Denmark]to you and another to the Belfast Museum” (Walker to Haliday Jan 13 1837).

having determined to publish descriptions of the British species of Platygaster sometime in next month (Feb) and recollecting that you kindly offered me your assistance in this task. I write to opine you that I shall gratefully acknowledge any information respecting them” FW to AHH letter dated Jan 12 1835

“I ought to be very grateful for the trouble you have taken to illustrate my monograph and in accepting your services I hold myself to be under great obligation to you. I am much pleased with your plate – it illustrates all the most remarkable forms of Platygaster and I agree with you that typical species and those which recede furthest from them make the most useful figures …. I will have your plate engraved very shortly for I wish to publish the Platygaster before the end of July”. FW to AHH letter May 20, 1835 [In the remarks introducing this paper Walker writes “In the first volume of the Entomological Magazine there is an excellent methodical arrangement of these and together minute Hymenoptera by Mr Haliday who by the loan of his Mss and collection contributed much to the following descriptions.” ]]

“In the past few years I have felt my incompetency to form a good general systematic arrangement of the Chalcidae and I am the more convinced of this whenever I describe a new species and my other pursuits will not suffer me to give undivided time or attention to these creatures and the remarks in your last letter and the Mss which you sent me have fully shown me how much greater your knowledge of the general and comparative groups of Chalcidae and of the relations which they bear to the other groups of Hymenoptera is that mine …… yet it is a duty I owe to the public that my writings should be wound up and revised and clearly systematized. I am well aware that the time which you are able to set aside for entomology is already fully occupied yet I cannot refrain from requesting your assistance. My descriptions of Darwin’s Chalcides are printed and will be published immediately. I have all the specimens in my possession and I will forward them to you together with all my own collection and they will be speedily followed by all the remnants I have left. You are quite welcome to retain mine as long as you feel inclined and what I ask of you is in plain words that you will point out my errors, supply my omissions, reunite the species that I have cut up and divide into groups the over-populous and disordered genera. Your drawings of the genera would be most suitably accompanied by such an Essay” letter Walker to Haliday July 29 1839).

June 4th, 1838 Arnos Grove Notes Mr. Stephens [James Francis Stephens President] was in the Chair for a meeting of the and announced that the Society had purchased Curtis's British Entomology. Also busts of Reaumur and Latreille, purchased by the Society, and lately arrived from Paris were placed as ornaments in the meeting room.

April 20 1839 Arnos Grove refers to election of Mr. Templeton [Robert Templeton] as a Corresponding Member [[of the Entomological Society and his residence in Ceylon [elected April 1 1839]

undated c 1845 conveys Mr Newport's [George Newport] thanks for A.H.H. 's donation of specimens of Pseudopsis sulcatus - Arpedium subpubescens-Pelophila Borealis and box of various minute Diptera and Hymenoptera conveys best thanks also of William Wing.

14 December 1840 Arnos Grove ‘I attended the last meeting of the Ent. Society. Schomburgh (who is about to start again for S. America) was there, & a communication from him was read on the flights of emigrating butterflies sometimes seen in S. America, he calculated that upwards of fifty thousand million past him on one day, they all pursued the same course over the tree tops, & when they came to a stream they invariably descended to its surface & rose again having crossed it. Their caterpillars mixed with cassavas or turtle’s eggs form part of the food of the natives. It was said also that in some parts of N. Holland after the rainy season immense herds of caterpillars appear & destroy all vegetation before them, they also are the food of the natives of two birds, a hawk & an ibis. This was observed by Gould who has lately returned from N. Holl. & has brought with him some new Kangaroos & many new birds, & has just commenced publishing figures & descriptions of them.’

Sent [1842] Handwritten copy of On the Linneean Species of Staphylinus, a Genus of Coleopterous Insects. By J. O. Westwood, F.L.S. &c. [1840 March, 1841]

Sent 7 November 1845 insects from Mexico for Dublin University accompanying letter refers to the Rev Hopes gift [ To Entomological Society] of a portrait of Bonelli, two glazed book cases, a large rolling map of the World, fixed in the Meeting Room of the Society and also a glazed and framed Portrait of Linnaeus, placed over the President's Chair in the Meeting Room. January 1850 letter refers to events in Europe hindering travel attached receipt for Transactions [of Entomological Society] [at Members price] dispatched to Genoa. Printed

Vol. I. Part I. 1834, with seven plates 5s. 6d. Vol. I. Part II. 1835, with six plates 5s. 6d. Vol. I. Part III. 1836, with eleven plates 8s. Vol. II. Part I. 1837, with eight plates 6s. Vol. II. Part II. 1838, with four plates 3s. 6d. Vol. II. Part III. 1839, with five plates 3s. 6d. Vol. II. Part IV. 1840, with five plates 4s. 6d Vol. HI. Part I. 1841, with six plates 4s. Vol. III. Part II. 1842, with two plates 3s. 6d. Vol. III. Part III. 1842, with four plates 3s. 6d. Vol. IIL Part IV. 1843, with four plates 5s. Vol. IV. Part I. 1845 4s. 6d. Vol. IV. Part II. 1845 3s. Vol. IV. Part III. 1846 with four plates 3s. Vol. IV. Part IV. 1847, with six plates 3s. 6d. Vol. IV. Part V. 1847, with four plates 2s. 6d.

September 19 1849 Highgate Thanks Haliday profusely for his Ms additions to List of the specimens of homopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum and sends AHH proofs of the text.[Note Order III. PHYSAPODA.(Compiled [entirely] from Mr. Haliday's MSS.)]

April 24 1852 Letter head Walker, Francis, Esq., F.L.S, Rectory House, Angel Row,Highgate. Letter concerns progress on List of the specimens of homopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum and mentions Mr Gray [John Edward, Gray]].

  • June 1852 Arnos Grove Notes on the Saunder's [44] Collection

10th December 1853 Arnos Grove Mr. Curtis exhibited some Hymenoptera and Diptera received from M. Dufour [45]and Signor Passerini[46], as typical specimens of species described in the " Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France." In the box, also, was Tryphon nigriceps, Grav., a species new to this country…..Tryphon rufulus of Stephens is the male of T. rufus. These species, from the form of the petiole, belong decidedly to the genus Mesoleptus, which Gravenhorst hints at in his work ; but the multitude of exceptions to the characters of the genera proposed in the systematic tables, show how imperfect the tables are........ Mr. Wallace[47] read the concluding portion of "Notes on the Habits of the Butterflies of the Amazonian Valley." and , as an aside, touched on his Narrative[A Narrative of Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, with an Account of the Native Tribes] by way of it’s advertisement.

January 1854 It is to be hoped that Mr Forster’s Mngrph. [[Hymenopterologische Studien. II . Chalcidiae und Prototrupii. Aachen] will not remain in [his/the?] German alone… Appended list of "Desiderata" -Dyschirius ohscurus;Carabus arvensis;Leistus montanus;Nebria complanata;N. borealis;Chlaenius holosericeus;Pterostichus aterrimus;P. gracilis;Amara brunnea;Bradycellus cognatus;Bembidium bruxellense;B.pallidipenne

January 3 1855 Urges AHH to undertake and implement organisation of a synonymy quoting in full The Entomological Society of Paris has ordered a book to belaid on their table, with a request that any one will correct the generic and specific names of insects, and show which ought to be the established name. This appears to me to be so judicious and useful, that I trust the same plan may be adopted by our Society,for I am convinced that questions which appear too trifling to be brought before the Society may thus be speedily, fairly and satisfactorily disposed of to the great advantage of science. If my suggestion should be acted upon, it will be necessary at certain periods for a committee to review the entries made in the book,and to print the names which it may appear just and right to them to be adopted, copies of which should be forwarded to the Paris and other principal Societies with which the Entomological Societynof London is in correspondence, in order that they may have an opportunity of giving their opinions ; and thus we might obtain what is most essential,—a nomenclature universally adopted [Curtis, J. 1854. Descriptions of two species of the genus Hemerobius of Linnaeus, new to this country, with remarks on the nomenclature of Coniopteryx, and on Orthotaenia buoliana, etc. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. 3:56-60] also asks for Paris addresses

Proof of Article—British Entomology. Nos. 111 -116 , By John Curtis, F. L. S. We never recollect addressing ourselves to a task which we so heartily wished to avoid, as that on which we are now about to enter ; nothing but the call of imperative duty could induce us to undertake it. We have been angry, but we shall not commit ourselves ; the first burst of indignation has passedaway, and in sorrow, in deep sorrow, do we ascend the tribunal which we are compelled to occupy, and judge between the offender and the offended.Most of our readers are already aware of the painful subjectto which we allude ; it is one of those unwarrantable attacks of one author on another which, for years past, have occasionally disgraced the paths of science, and, in this instance,it appears under the peculiarly aggravated circumstances of being unfounded in truth, and perpetrated at a time when misfortune had entitled the subject of the attack to universal sympathy.Mr. Curtis has thought proper to publish, as an appendageto a description of Cercopis *, merely, as he says, because" there is space for an observation or two," a charge against Mr. Stephens, that, in the second edition of the Nomenclature,he has " copied column after column from the Guide," adopted the plan of the Guide," and made the Nomenclature" rather a second edition of the Guide than of the Nomenclature: " than the first and last of these charges, we nevermet with more gratuitous or untenable assertions : we pronounce this after having compared the two works word for word. With regard to the plan, i. e. in the addition of consecutive numbers to the genera and species, and the adoption of the mode of printing, Mr. Stephens has, we are aware,imitated ; he could not have done otherwise ; but in what manner this is an injury to Mr. Curtis, we defy human ingenuityto point out. Is it not the every-day custom to adopt any new mode or fashion in the getting up of a book ? The only portions of the two works which bear any similarity are those in which the Ichneumonidae occur, and the cause of the similarity here is, not that either has copied from the other, but that both have copied from another work, " Gravenhorst's Ichneumonologia," [to which Stephens,Curtis, Haliday, Walker and Hope were all subscribers] [48] and this surely can be no just cause of complaint ; the right of copying a foreign work cannot be confined to a single individual.The cruel allusion to the affair with Rennie,—an affair which we consider reflects any thing but credit on the laws of this country, is the most unfeeling of all, and betrays a spirit of deep-rooted animosity and revenge which lowers our opinion of our kind. We presumed that the circumstances under which Mr. Stephens was placed had rendered him an objectof kindly feeling with all scientific men ; we imagined that self-respect would have prevented a Briton from striking another in distress ; we supposed British honour would have ourselves,—we have been leaning on a reed.How strenuously, how enthusiastically, have we laboured to eradicate the base and injurious party-spirit which has so long pervaded the paths of science ;—and is this the fruit ? is this the brotherly spirit we invoked ? is this the endeavour, of which we urged the necessity, to forgive the past and to avoid offence for the future ?We see no termination to the mischief now a-foot : we seethat a fresh question may now, in self-defence, be agitated:we see that Mr. Curtis's title to the copyright of this List maybe examined ; this attack is a fair challenge to the inquiry.We fear that Mr. Curtis will find that he had better, far better,have committed the whole copy of that tainted number to the flames, than have ventured to risk it on the excited wave ofpublic opinion.

  • As there is space for an observation or two, I wish in justice to myself to state, that I am preparing a second edition of my Guide [49], which cannot fail to resemble Mr. Stephens's Nomenclature, for this palpable reason,—that he has not contented himself with correcting it from my Guide, andcopying column after column from it, but he has actually adopted the style and plan of my work : so that his book now hears the exact resemblance of mine, and is rather a second edition of my Guide than of his Nomenclature ;—a very modest act for one who has brought an action against another for the same trespass! [50]I may add, that when I began my Guide, Mr. Stephens, I believe, had no idea of printing a Nomenclature; I therefore could have no intention of interfering with his undertaking ; and in truth my little Guide could not affect the sale of his ponderous Catalogue, and that was not published when the first sheet of the Guide appeared. From the assistance promised me by some of our ablest entomologists,I hope to make the second edition of my Guide much better than that parasite which has been grafted upon it, and to render it by far the most useful and complete Catalogue of British bisects that has ever appeared.