Letter (WCP1454.4022)


Ternate, Moluccas,

Oct. 6. 1858.

My dear Sir

I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of July last,1 sent me by Mr. Darwin2, & informing me of the steps you had taken with reference to a paper3 I had communicated to that gentleman. Allow me in the first place sincerely to thank yourself & Sir Charles Lyell4 for your kind offices on this occasion, & to assure you of the gratification afforded me both by the course you have pursued & the favourable opinions of my essay which you have so kindly expressed. I cannot but consider myself a favoured party in this Matter, because it has hitherto been too much the practice in cases of this sort to impute all the merit to the [2] first discoverer of a new fact or a new theory, & little or none to any other party who may, quite independently, have arrived at the same result a few years or a few hours later.

I also look upon it as a most fortunate circumstance that I had a short time ago commenced a correspondence with Mr. Darwin on the subject of "Varieties",5since it has led to the earlier publication of a portion of his researches6 & has secured to him a claim to priority which an independent publication either by myself or some other party might have injuriously affected; — for it is evident that the time has now arrived when these & similar views must[?] will be promulgated & must be fairly discussed.

It would have caused me much [3] pain & regret had Mr. Darwin's excess of generosity led him to make public my paper unaccompanied by his own much earlier & I doubt not much more complete views on the same subject, & I must again thank you for the course you have adopted, which while strictly just to both parties, is so favourable to myself.

Being on the eve of a fresh journey I can now add no more than to thank you for your kind advice as to a speedy return to England; — but I dare say you well know & feel, that to induce a Naturalist to quit his researches at their most interesting point requires some more cogent argument than the prospective loss of health.

I remain | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

J. D. Hooker, M.D.

[4]7 Jos. D. Hooker, M.D. F.R.S.

Hooker's letter to ARW forwarded by Darwin is presumed lost (see WCP4825.5222).
Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882). British naturalist, geologist and author, notably of On the Origin of Species (1859).
Wallace, A. R. 1858. On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society, Zoology, 3(9): 53-62.
Lyell, Charles (1797-1875). British lawyer and geologist.
See WCP1839.1729, Darwin to ARW, 1 May 1857; WCP4080.4027, ARW to Darwin, [27 September 1857] and WCP1840.1730, Darwin to ARW, 22 December 1857.
Darwin, C. R. & Wallace, A. R. 1858. On the tendency of species to form varieties; and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural means of selection. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology, 3(9): 45-62.
The text on this page is written in the centre of the page, which is otherwise blank. Hooker's name appears here without an address; the letter was forwarded to him by Darwin (see University of Cambridge. 2019. Letter no. 2337. Darwin Correspondence Project. <http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2337> [accessed 10 January 2019]).

Please cite as “WCP1454,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 2 July 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP1454