RECORD: [Buckley, Arabella.] [1880]. [biographical and bibliographical notes on A. R. Wallace]. CUL-DAR91.91-94 Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, edited by John van Wyhe. (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker 1.2010, corrections by John van Wyhe 3.2010. RN1

NOTE: This document was prepared by Wallace's friend Arabella Buckley as part of the effort to secure a government pension for Wallace. The context and composition of this memorial to gain a Civil List Pension for A. R. Wallace is described in Ralph Colp Jr. 1992. "I Will Gladly Do My Best": How Charles Darwin obtained a Civil List Pension for Alfred Russel Wallace. Isis 83, no. 1 (March): 3-26. See also:

Darwin, C. R. [Memorial of A. R. Wallace for a Civil List Pension]. (1880) Text & image CUL-DAR91.95-98

This item consists of 4 sheets, all 200 x 320 mm, written on recto only, verso blank. The text of 91 and 92 was published in Schwartz, J. S. 1976. Charles Darwin's biographical sketch of Alfred Russel Wallace. Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences 26: 106-107.

Editorial symbols used in the transcription:
[some text] 'some text' is an editorial insertion
[some text] 'some text' is the conjectured reading of an ambiguous word or passage
[some text] 'some text' is a description of a word or passage that cannot be transcribed
< > word(s) destroyed
<some text> 'some text' is a description of a destroyed word or passage
Text in small red font is a hyperlink or notes added by the editors.

Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.


Alfred Russel Wallace

Born Jan 8. 1822 — gave up the profession of land surveyor & architect to travel & find new specimens of animals —

Went to Amazons with Mr Bates in 1848 (I do not know what capital he had. Probably none for he says "I proposed to pay my expenses by making collections in natural History & was enabled to do so.["] he sent specimens home to dealers with whom he & Mr. Bates had made arrangements before starting. — His collections on the proceeds of which he meant to settle down in England were all lost by burning on the ship on the homeward journey — The result was his work of the Amazon & Rio Negro

the loss of his collections caused him to go to the Malay Archipelago in 1854 & he returned in 1862 & published his work on it in 1869 —

Since then he devoted between five & six years to the collection of materials for his great work on the Distribution of Animals a work which though invaluable to naturalists has not been renumerative having cost an immense amount of labour, while yet it is not popular enough but which from its character is not adapted for general readers

He has been living upon the interest of the money obtained by the sale of his collections in the Malay Archipelago, but he once told me that the failure of some investments has greatly reduced this & that he is a poorer man than when he returned from the Malay Archipelago — He applied for the curatorship

91 verso [blank]

92 recto

of the East London Museum in about 1866? (this I think is a great point for he was led to believe he wd certainly have it) when it was first built & through the influence of Sir C. Lyell & others obtained a initial promise from Sir George Grey — the Museum however began with Sir R Wallaces pictures & was not made into a scientific museum & so the plan fell through. He waited some time in hopes of this appointment, & since then has tried for several some other local curatorships but younger men with local influence obtained them —

He has since failed in obtaining the post of Superintendent of Epping Forest, & more lately he wrote to some scientific men as to a post at Josaih Mason's College Birmingham (I think it was this), but he was told that owing to some dividends not accruing immediately they were going to work very economically for some time & should not have an opening —

He has just lately undertaken some a popular science work for Macmillan & has written several review articles to increase his income — he is not at all strong, as his hard life abroad is beginning to tell upon him & constant writing work is very trying to him.

He has often bitterly regretted to me the impossibility of affording a journey to Switzerland which he is very anxious to visit for natural history purposes & one of his great hopes was that by obtaining the appointment to Epping Forest he might accomplish this

It might appear from the fact of his building now a cottage at Godalming that he is better off than he really is, for the cottage is being really built under the Birkbeck Building society which and will enable him to & will cost him less [illeg] annually than his present rent. He has a wife & two children ages 8 & 12, the boy 8 the girl 11.

I have put several facts in this paper only fit for private use as I have learnt them when staying with Mr. & Mrs. Wallace.

92 verso [blank]

93 recto

Titles of works of Alfred Russel Wallace

A Narrative of Travels on the Amazon & Rio Negro with account of the native tribes & observations on the climate, geology & natural history of the Amazon valley. 1853.

The Malay Archipelago 1869 — (containing the arguments as to the causes of distribution of man & animals in the archipelago & surrounding countries)

The Geographical Distribution of Animals

Natural Selection Esaays on.

Tropical Nature

Island Life

Papers in Societies

On Umbrella Bird 1850. 1851. Zool. Proc. & Ann of Nat Hist.
On Monkeys of Amazons 1852 Zool Proc
On insects used for food by Indians of Amazons Entom Soc 1852-3
On habits of Butterflies of Amazon Valley Entom Soc 1852-3
On the Rio Negro. Geog. Soc. 1853 Geog
On habits of Hesperidae 1853 Zoologist
On fishes allied to Gymnotus 1853 Zool Proc.
Letters from Singapore, Borneo, Zoologist
New Species of Ornithoptera Entom Soc. 1854-56
Ornithology of Malacca 1855 Nat His Ann -
Law regulating the introduction of new species Ann Nat hist 1855 —

93 verso [blank]

94 recto

Botany of Malacca 1855 Hooker Journ of Botany
Entomology of Malacca Zoologist
An infant Orang-Outang 1856 Ann. Nat. Hist
Orang-Outang or Mias of Borneo Ann Nat Hist. 1856
Do — 2nd Paper
Attempts at a natutal arrangement of birds 1856 Ann Nat Hist
Observations on Zoology of Borneo 1856 Zoologist
Letter from Aru islands (Coleoptera) Entom Soc 1859
Habits & Transformation of a species of Ornithoptera Entom Soc 1859
On great Bird of Paradise 1858-9 Ann. Nat. hist
Natural History of Aru islands 1858=9 A.N.H.
Journey up the Sadong River Borneo Geogr. Soc. 1857
On Tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type Linn Soc 1859

After this follows a long list of papers making in all 85 including several valuable ones on mimicry, besides numerous descriptions of habits & affinities of butterflies birds etc & some papers on geology & anthropology.

94 verso [blank]

[cover sheet]


(Wallace's Papers)
Government Annuity

Box G

Letters removed Aug 1899

This document has been accessed 4596 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 2 July, 2012