British (English) zoologist.
ALS. 3pp. The Walks, Selborne. December 2nd [year 1867 added in another hand]. To "Dear Mr White".
"I should have written before this to thank you for your kindness in sending me your spirited and thoroughly material song [?] - but I hoped to be able to reach the Royal Society on the 30th which unexpected business prevents me from doing. Accept now my best thanks and with Mrs Bell's kind remembrances. Believe me always, yours sincerely, Thomas Bell. Why is it better to marry a widow than a young lady?"
12mo bifolium. Approx 5.25 x 3.5 inches (13 x 9 cms). Slight mounting traces to edge of verso of last leaf. In fine condition.
Thomas Bell was President of the Linnean Society and in 1858 he chaired the meeting at which Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace first presented their papers on the theory of natural selection. He retired to Selborne and was a close friend of Gilbert White, the amateur naturalist and author of 'The Natural History of Selborne'. Thomas Bell published a new edition of White's classic in 1877. However, the "Mr White" to whom this letter is addressed is more probably Walter White, the assistant secretary and librarian of the Royal Society.
Provenance: From the 19th century album compiled by the family of Dr James Copland FRS (1791-1870), the Scottish physician and writer on medicine.