WCP1843

Letter (WCP1843.1733)

[1]

Down

Bromley

Kent

Aug[u]st. 9th. 1859

My dear Mr Wallace

I received your letter & memoir on the 7th & will forward it tomorrow or day after to Linn[ean]. Soc[iet]y.1 But you will be aware that there is no meeting till beginning of November. Your paper seems to me admirable in matter, style & reasoning; & I thank you for allowing me to read it. Had I read it some months ago I sh[oul]d. have profited by it for my forthcoming volume. — But my two chapters on this subject are in type; & though not yet corrected, I am so wearied out & weak in health, that [2] I am fully resolved not to add one word & merely improve style. So you will see my that my views are nearly the same with yours, & 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?2 I was much struck with this & have been in habit of noting all facts on distribution in that [3] Archipelago & elsewhere in this relation. I have been led to conclude that there has been a good deal of naturalisation in the different Malay islands & 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 & marvellous & almost [4] 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 & ill-stocked islands.

[5] Are you aware that annually birds are blown to Madeira, to Azores, (& to Bermuda from America).3 — I wish I had given fuller abstract of my reasons for not believing in Forbes' great continental extensions4; but it is too late, for I will alter nothing. I am worn out & must have rest —

Owen5, I do not doubt, will bitterly oppose us; [one illegible word crossed out] but [6] I regard this very little; as he is a poor reasoner & deeply considers the good opinion of the world, especially the aristocratic world. —

Hooker is publishing a grand Introduction to Flora of Australia6 & goes the whole length. — I have seen proofs of about half. —

With every good wish. | Believe me | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin7 [signature]

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

ARW's letter has not been found. The memoir was read at the Linnean Society meeting of 3 November 1859 and published as Wallace, A. R. 1860. On the zoological geography of the Malay Archipelago. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society: Zoology 4: 172-184.
Earl, George Windsor. 1853. Contributions to the Physical Geography of South-Eastern Asia and Australia. Reprinted with additional notes, from The Journal of the Indian Archipelago, (May 1852). London: H. Bailliere.
"Birds can make way to land when out of course other animals and plants depend only on wind and current" is written in the left margin in pencil in ARW's hand.
Forbes, Edward. 1846. On the connexion between the distribution of the existing fauna and flora of the British Isles, and the geological changes which have affected their area, especially during the epoch of the Northern drift. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and of the Museum of Practical Geology. vol. 1. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans. pp. 336 — 432.
Owen, Richard (1804-1892). British biologist, comparative anatomist and paleontologist.
Hooker, Joseph Dalton 1859. On the flora of Australia, its origin, affinities and distribution; being an introductory essay to the Flora of Tasmania. Reprinted from pt. 3 of The botany of the Antarctic expedition, Flora of Tasmania, vol. 1. London: Lovell Reeve. <https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/60980#/summary > [accessed 19 Sep 2018].
Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882). British naturalist, geologist and author, notably of On the Origin of Species (1859).

Published letter (WCP1843.5926)

[1] [p. 137]

LETTER V

C. DARWIN TO A. R. WALLACE

Down, Bromley, Kent. August 9, 1859.

My dear Mr. "Wallace,— I received your letter and memoir1 on the 7th, and will forwa-rd it to-morrow to the Linnean Society. 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 [2] [p. 138] 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 the 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, 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 a fossil mastodon or elephant's tooth (I forget which) had been found there, which would be a 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 the relation of plants in South-West Australia to the 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 internavigation 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 [3] Forbes's 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 that very little, as he is at poor reasoner and deeply considers the good opinion of the World, especially the aristocratic world.

Hooker is publishing a grand Introduction to the flora of Australia, and goes the whole length. I have seen proofs of about half.— With every good wish, believe me yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

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

A footnote here reads: "This seems to refer to Wallace's paper on "The Zoological Geography of the Malay Archipelago," Journ. Linn. Soc., 1860."

Published letter (WCP1843.6891)

[1] [p. 224]

DOWN, BROMLEY KENT.

Aug. 9, 1859.

MY DEAR MR WALLACE,

I received your letter and memoir on the 7th and will forward it tomorrow to Linnean Society. 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 [or 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 l 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 [2] [p. 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 Timur; it has been asserted that fossil Mastodon or Elephants 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 [the] ocean. I quite agree on little occasional internavigation 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, | C. DARWIN.

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

Please cite as “WCP1843,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 24 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP1843