RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1909. [Two letters to A. R. Wallace, 1859 & 1867]. Darwin Centenary Number. Christ's College Magazine. XXIII, Easter Term, pp. 224-225.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned by John van Wyhe, transcribed (single key) by AEL Data, corrections by van Wyhe 8.2009; edited by van Wyhe 4.2022. RN1

NOTE: The entire issue of this magazine is available in Darwin Online as A36.

[page] 214


[The thanks of the Editors are due to Dr Wallace for kindly placing these letters at their disposal. They are also greatly indebted to Mr Francis Darwin for the correction of the proofs and for the notes. The fifth and eighth letters are now published for the first time.]


[page] 224

[See this letter in Correspondence vol. 7, p. 323-24.]

Aug. 9, 1859


I received your letter and memoir on the 7th and will forward it tomorrow to Linnean Society1. But you will be aware that there is no meeting till beginning of November. Your paper seems to me admirable in matter, style and reasoning; and I thank you for allowing me to read it. Had I read it some months ago I should have profited by it for my forthcoming volume. But my two chapters on this subject are in type; and though not yet corrected, I am so wearied out and weak in health, that I am fully resolved not to add one word, and merely improve style. So you will see that my views are nearly the same with yours, and you may rely on it that not one word shall be altered owing to my having read your ideas. Are you aware that Mr W. Earl published several years ago the view of distribution of animals in Malay Archipelago in relation to the depth of the sea between the islands? I was much struck with this and have been in habit of noting all facts on distribution in the Archipelago and elsewhere in this relation. I have been led to conclude that there has been a good deal of naturalisation in the different Malay islands

1 "On the Zoological Geography of the Malay Archipelago." Linn. Soc. Journal IV, 1860 (Zoology).

[page] 225

and which I have thought to certain extent would account for anomalies. Timor has been my greatest puzzle. What do you say to the peculiar Felis there? I wish that you had visited Timor: it has been asserted that fossil Mastodon or Elephant's tooth (I forget which) has been found there, which would be grand fact. I was aware that Celebes was very peculiar; but the relation to Africa is quite new to me and marvellous and almost passes belief. It is as anomalous as relation of plants in S. W. Australia to Cape of Good Hope. I differ wholly from you on colonisation of oceanic islands, but you will have EVERYONE else on your side. I quite agree with respect to all islands not situated far in ocean. I quite agree on little occasional intermigration between lands when once pretty well stocked with inhabitants, but think this does not apply to rising and ill-stocked islands.

Are you aware that annually birds are blown to Madeira, to Azores (and to Bermuda from America). I wish I had given fuller abstract of my reasons for not believing in Forbes' great continental extensions; but it is too late, for I will alter nothing; I am worn out and must have rest. Owen, I do not doubt, will bitterly oppose us; but I regard this very little; as he is a poor reasoner and deeply considers the good opinion of the world, especially the aristocratic world. Hooker is publishing a grand Introduction to Flora of Australia and goes the whole length. I have seen proofs of about half. With every good wish,

Believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

Excuse this brief note, but I am far from well.

[page] 230

[See this letter in Correspondence vol. 15, pp. 132-33.]

Mar. 7. [1867?]


The addresses which you have sent me are capital, especially that to the Rajah; and I have despatched two sets of queries1. I now enclose a copy to you and should be very glad of any answers; you must not suppose the P.S. about memory has lately been inserted; please return these queries as it is my standard copy. The subject is a curious one, I fancy I shall make a rather interesting appendix to my Essay on Man.

I fully admit the probability of "protective adaptation" having come into play with female butterflies as well as

1 The "queries" consisted of a number of questions on the expression of the emotions which Darwin sent out to missionaries and others having opportunities of studying savage or primitive peoples. The following is No. 1: "Is astonishment expressed by the eyes and mouth being opened wide, and by the eyebrows being raised?" The complete set is published in The Expression of the Emotions, p. 15.

The essay on man (mentioned a few lines below) was afterwards known as the Descent of Man, while the appendix grew into the Expression of the Emotions.

[page] 231

with female birds. I have a good many facts which make me believe in sexual selection as applied to man, but whether I shall convince any one else is very doubtful.

Dear Wallace,

Yours very sincerely,


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