RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1967. [Letter to A. R. Wallace, 21 Oct. 1869]. Sotheby & Co. Catalogue of valuable printed books autograph letters and historical documents. July. London.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2023. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here.



[To A. R. Wallace   21 October 1869]

Interesting A.L.s. to the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, 4 pages, 8vo, 9, Devonshire St., Monday [c. February 1872], saying that he has just sent to Wallace his "new Edit, of Origin", and drawing his correspondent's attention to chapter VII, criticising Wallace's estimate of the conclusions of the Russian zoologist Kovalevsky, mentioning his disagreement with much of Herbert Spencer's doctrine (except the theory that "each segment originally contained all organs, excepting mouth"), and (in a postscript) pointing out a recent misunderstanding of the theory of Natural Selection

P.S. How curiously inaccurate the author of article in "The Month" is in some respects. He speaks of similarity of teeth of Thylacinus & Canis as being so great as to bespeak community of descent, & what a profound difference in essential nature in incisors & premolars & molars! ...

* The first sentence of Darwin's postscript is an understatement; in fact the author has entirely failed to understand the doctrine of Natural Selection as proposed by Darwin and Wallace. Thylacinus is the marsupial "wolf" of Australia and the resemblance to Canis, which is indeed striking, is by convergent evolution, and definitely not due to community of descent.

This document has been accessed 77 times

Return to homepage

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

File last updated 4 November, 2023