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Letter 1209




Captn H. C. St. John R.N. [John Hancock’s Hand]



Oct. 5. – 77

Dear Hancock

I am glad to say the Crab is all right — I was afraid he had got adrift — On Monday I shall send the creature on his journey to dear old Newcastle — I do not think he will be a difficult subject to put together — Certainly not if you take it in hand — The only particulars I can give, or in fact that are necessary, is [p.2.] length from Tip to Tip

11 feet – 6 inch. Good — The color [sic] of the back and legs was a mixture of the brightest vermilion and clearest gamboge –These colors [sic] could not be put on too bright — There are two legs short — the natives having made him pay toll en route to me — They could very easily be modelled — It is the 2d. leg one side & I think the third or fourth the other –

I hope you enjoyed your trip to Scotland. Our two months in Wales was pleasant enough considering, it was spent [p.3] at a watering place — The country is particularly barren about there — both in birds & other animals. Everything is shot. Seagulls & Sandpipers included — These poor birds have a time of it for miles in such neighbourhood’s.  The Guillemot Razorbill & Puffin breed not far from Tenby. Their eggs can be got for 6d. each — I have the little dark egg I spoke of in my last — on questioning my boy closely I could not decide certainly — where — as to locality the nest was situated — Unfortunately my eldest boy wants this quality “certainty” a  [1 word illeg.] in everything he does –

[p.4] I am going up to London soon to open my box of dredgings & other subjects.  No chance I suppose of you being again South — don’t let our talked of cruise to the Orkneys entirely slip y[ou]r memory.

With kind regards | Y[ours] sincerely | H. C. St. John [signature]

I shall be anxious to hear of Mr Crab’s safe arrival –

Inachus Kaempferi! I believe I am right –




1.  See Letter NEWHM:1996.H67.1048 for information on the crab specimen Inachus kaempferi (Temminck, 1836) now known as the Japanese Spider Crab Macrocheira kaempferi.


2. Stokefield House, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire.