WCP1867

Letter (WCP1867.4059)

[1]

9, St. Marks Crescent, Regent’s Park,

Oct 2nd. 1865

Dear Darwin

I was just leaving Town for a few days when I received your letter or should have replied at once.

The "Reader"1 has no doubt changed hands, & I am inclined to think for the better. It is purchased I believe by a gentleman who is a fellow of the Anthropolog[ical]. Society2 but I see no signs of its being made a special organ of that Soc[iety].

The Editor (& (I believe Prop[rieto]r.) is a Mr. Bendyshe3 the most talented man in the Society, & judging from his speaking, which I have [2] often heard, I should say the articles on "Simeon & Simony", "Metropolitan Sewage" and "France & Mexico" are his,4 & these are in my opinion superior to anything that has been in the "Reader" for a long time; they have the point & brilliancy which are wanted to make leading articles readable & popular. The articles on Mill’s Pol[itical]. Economy & on Mazzini,5 are also first rate. He has introduced also the plan of having two & now three important articles in each number,— one Political or Social, one literary & one Scientific. Under the old regime they never had an editor above mediocrity, except [3] Masson6; there was a want of unity among the Prop[rie]t[o]rs. as to the aims & objects of the Journal; & there was a want of capital to secure the services of good writers. This seems to me to be now all changed for the better, & I only hope the rumour of that bète noir the Anthropological Soc[iety]., having any thing to do with it, may not cause our best men of science to withdraw their support & contributions.

I have read Tyler [Tylor]7 & am reading Lecky8. I found the former somewhat disconnected, & unsatisfactory from the absence of any definite result being or [4] any decided opinion on most of the matters treated of.

Lecky I like much, though he is rather tedious & obscure at times. Most of what he says has been said so much more forcibly by Buckle9 whose work I have read for the second time with increased admiration although with a clear view of some of his errors. Nevertheless his is I think unapproachably the grandest work of the present century, & the one most likely to liberalise opinion.

Lubbock’s book10 is very good, but his concluding chapter very weak. Why are men of science so dreadfully afraid to say what they think & believe?

[5] In reply to your kind enquiries about myself, I can only say that I am ashamed of my own laziness. I have done nothing lately but write a paper on Pigeons for the "Ibis",11 & am drawing up a Catalogue of my Collection of Birds.12

As to my "Travels" I cannot bring myself to undertake them yet, & perhaps never shall, unless I should be fortunate enough to get a wife who would incite me thereto & assist me therein,— which is not likely.

I am glad to hear that the "Origin"13 is still working [6] its revolutionary way, on the Continent. Will Mueller’s book on it,14 be translated?

I am glad to hear you are a little better. My poor friend Spruce15 is still worse than you are, & I fear now will not recover. He wants to write a book if he gets well enough.

With best wishes Believe me | Dear Darwin | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

C. Darwin Esq.

The Reader: A Review of Literature, Science and the Arts, was a British weekly paper published from January 1863 until 1867 and edited by David Masson. During the first year of its publication, the editorial board was dominated by Christian Socialists, thereafter control shifted to the 'Young Guard' of science including Huxley, Spencer, Tyndall and Lubbock. (Byrne, John F. 1964 The Reader: A Review of Literature Science and the Arts, 1863-1867. Northwestern University: Unpublished doctoral dissertation).
The Anthropological Society of London was founded in 1863 by Richard F. Burton and James Hunt. The society broke away from the older Ethnological Society of London and opposed its monogenist stance and political liberalism. Members of the Anthropological Society tended to support polygenism and were skeptical of Darwinism. In 1871 the Anthropological Society merged with the British Association for the Advancement of Science to form the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. (Spencer. F. (Ed.) 1997. History of Physical Anthropology. 2 vols. London: Garland Publishing. Vol 2. pp.506-507.)
Bendyshe, Thomas (1827-1886). British barrister, anthropologist and editor of the Reader 1865-7.
ARW refers to three unsigned leading articles in The Reader. See Anonymous. 1865. Simeon and Simony.The Reader: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Art. (9 September 1865). 279-280.; Anonymous. 1865. Metropolitan Sewage. The Reader: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Art. (16 September 1865). 307-308.; Anonymous. 1865. France and Mexico. The Reader: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Art. (30 September 1865). 363-364.
Anonymous. 1865. Political Economy for the Million. The Reader: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Art. (23 September 1865). 346.; Anonymous. 1865. Guiseppe Mazzini.The Reader: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Art. (23 September 1865). 335-336.
Masson, David (1822-1907). Scottish bibliographer, literary scholar and Editor-in-chief of the Reader, 1863.
Tylor, E. B. 1865. Researches into the Early History of Mankind and the Development of Civilization. London: John Murray.
Lecky, W. E. H. 1865. A History of the Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe. 2 vols. London: Longmans.
Buckle, Henry Thomas (1821-1862). British historian and author of the History of Civilization in England.
Lubbock J. 1865. Pre-Historic Times, as Illustrated by Ancient Remains, and the Manners and Customs of Modern Savages. London, UK: Williams & Norgate.
Wallace, A. R. 1865. On the Pigeons of the Malay Archipelago. Ibis. London: J. van Voorst, 365-400.
ARW's catalogue of birds was published in the Ibis in January 1868. See Wallace, A. R. 1868 On the Raptorial Birds of the Malay Archipelago. Ibis 4. no. 13. (n.s.): 1-27.
Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London, UK: John Murray.
Müller, F. 1864. Für Darwin. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.
Spruce, Richard (1782-1851). British schoolmaster at Ganthorpe, afterwards at Welburn, North Yorkshire; father of Richard Spruce (1817-1893), British botanist and explorer.

Transcription (WCP1867.1757)

[1]1

9, St. Mark’s Crescent,

Regent’s Park

Oct 2nd 1865

Dear Darwin

I was just leaving Town for a few days when I received your letter or should have replied at once.

The "Reader" has no doubt changed hands, & I am inclined to think for the better. It is purchased I believe by a gentleman who is a fellow of the Anthropolog. Society but I see no signs of it being made a special organ of that Soc. The Editor (& I believe prop[rieto]r) is a Mr Bendyshe the most talented man in the Society, & judging from his speaking, which I have often heard, I should say the articles on "Simeon & Simony", "Metropolitan Sewage" and "France & Mexico" are his, & these are in my opinion superior to anything that has been in the "Reader" for a long time, they have the point & brilliancy which are wanted to make leading articles readable & popular. The articles on Mill’s Pol. Economy & on Mazzini, are also first rate. He has introduced also the plan of having two & now three important articles in each number, — one Political or Social, one literary & one Scientific. Under the old regime they never had an editor above mediocrity, except Masson; (?Musson) there was a want of unity amont the Prop’trs, as to the aims & objects of the Journal; & there was a want of capital to secure the services of good writers. This seems to me to be now all changed for the better, & I only hope the rumour of that bète noir the Anthropological Soc., having anything to do with it, may not cause our best men of science to withdraw their support & contributions.

I have read Tyler & am reading Lecky. I found the former somewhat disconnected & unsatisfactory from the absence of any definite result or any decided opinion on most of the matters treated of.

Lecky I like much, though he is rather tedious & obscure at times. Most of what he says has been said so much more forcibly by Buckle whose work I have read for the second time with increased admiration although with a clear view of some of his errors. Nevertheless his is I think unapproachably the grandest work of the present century, & the one most likely to liberalise opinion. [2]2

Lubbock’s book is very good, but his concluding chapter is very weak. Why are men of science so dreadfully afraid to say what they think & believe?

(Continuation on separate sheet, undated)

In reply to your kind enquiries about myself, I can only say that I am ashamed of my laziness. I have done nothing lately but write a paper on Pigeons for the "Ibis", & am drawing up a Catalogue of my Collection of Birds.

As to my "Travels" I cannot bring myself to undertake them yet, & perhaps never shall, unless I should be fortunate enough to get a wife who would incite me thereto & assist me therein,- which is not likely.

I am glad to hear that the "Origin" is still working its revolutionary way, on the Continent. Will Huller’s (?) book on it be translated?

I am glad to hear you are a little better. My poor friend Spruce is still worse than you are, & I fear now he will not recover. He wants to write a book if he gets well enough.

With best wishes | Believe me | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace

Typewritten transcript.
New page annotated with: "(To C. Darwin. Oct. 2nd 1865)"

Transcription (WCP1867.4525)

[1]

To C. Darwin.) | 9, St. Mark’s Crescent, Regent’s Park

Oct[ober] 2nd 1865

Dear Darwin

I was just leaving Town for a few days when I received your letter or should have replied at once.

The "Reader" has no doubt changed hands, & I am inclined to think for the better1. It is purchased I believe by a gentleman who is a fellow of the Anthropology. Society2 but I see no signs of its being made a special organ of that Society Soc. The Editor (& I believe prop[pe]r) is a Mr Bendyshe3 the most talented man in the Society, & judging from his from his speaking, which I have often heard, I should say the articles4 on "Simeon & Simony", "Metropolitan Sewage" and "France & Mexico" are his, & these are in my opinion superior to anything that has been in the "Reader" for a long time; they have the point & brilliancy which are wanted to make leading articles readable & popular. The articles on Mill’s Pol. Economy & on Mazzini5, are also first rate. He has introduced also the plan of having two & now three important articles in each number,- one on Political or Social, one literary & one Scientific. Under the old regime they never had an editor above mediocrity, except Masson6; there was a want of unity among the Prop[rie]t[o]rs, as to the aims & objects of the Journal; & there was a want of capital to secure the services of good writers. This seems to me to be now all changed for the better, & I only hope t the rumour of that bète noir the Anthropological Soc[iety], having any thing to do with it, may not cause our best men of science to withdraw their support & contribution.

I have read Tyler & am reading Lecky7. I found the former somewhat disconnected & unsatisfactory from the absence of any definite result or any decided opinion on most of the matters treated of.

Lecky I like much, though he is rather tedious & obscure at times. Most of what he says has been said so much more forcibly by Buckle whose work I have read for the second time with increased admiration although with a clear view of some of his errors. Nevertheless his is I think unapproachably the grandest work of the present century, & the most likely to liberalise opinion.

[2] Lubbock8’s book is very good, but his concluding chapter very weak. Why are men of science so dreadfully afraid to say what they think & believe?

(Continuation on separate sheet, undated)

In reply to your kind enquiries about myself, I can only say that I am ashamed of my laziness. I have done nothing lately but write a paper on Pigeons for the "Ibis9", & am drawing up a Catalogue of my Collection of Birds.

As to my "Travels" I cannot bring myself to undertake them yet, & perhaps never shall, unless I should be fortunate enough to get a wife who would incite me thereto & assist me therein,- which is not likely.

I am glad to hear that the "Origin" is still working its revolutionary way, on the Continent. Will Mueller’s book on it, be translated?

I am glad to hear you are a little better. My poor friend Spruce10 is still worse than you are, & I fear now will not recover. He wants to write a book if he gets well enough.

With best wishes | Believe me | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

The "Reader" had been sold to members of the Anthropological Society of London.
Anthropological Society of London, "a scholarly association dedicated to anthropology in all its many fields and applications." Dr. Hunt was the founder and president at its inception.
Thomas Bendyshe (1827 — Unknown).
Three articles published in the "Reader" during the month of September 1865.
Both articles published in the "Reader" on September 23, 1865.
Davis Masson, editor-and-chief of the reader from April until the summer of 1863.
Two books recommended to Wallace by Darwin.
John Lubbock (1834-1913) a close friend of Darwin.
"On the pigeons of the Malay Archipelago" published in the "Ibis" October 1865. "Ibis" is the BOU’s international journal of avian science.
Richard Spruce (1817-1893), English botanist.

Published letter (WCP1867.5949)

[1] [p. 165]

9 St. Mark's Crescent, Regent's Park

October 2, 1865

Dear Darwin,—I was just leaving town for a few days when I received your letter, or should have replied at once.

The Reader has no doubt changed hands, and I am inclined to think for the better. It is purchased, I believe, by a gentleman who is a Fellow of the Anthropological Society, but I see no signs of its being made a special organ of that Society. The Editor (and, I believe proprietor) is a Mr. Bendyshe1, the most talented man in the Society, and, judging from his speaking, which I have often heard, I should say the articles on "Simeon and Simony," "Metropolitan Sewage," and "France and Mexico," are his, and these are in my opinion superior to anything that has been in the Reader for a long time; they have the point and brilliancy which are wanted to make leading articles readable and popular. The articles on Mill's2 Political Economy and on Mazzini are also first-rate. He has introduced also the plan of having two, and now three, important articles in each number—one political, or social, one literary, and one scientific. Under the old regime they never had an editor above mediocrity, except Masson3 (? Musson); there was a want of unity among the proprietor as to the aims and objects of the journal; and there was a want of capital to secure the services of good writers. This seems to me to be now all changed for the better, and I only hope the rumour of that bete noire, the Anthropological Society, having anything to do with it may not cause our best men of science to withdraw their support and contributions.

I have read Tylor4, and am reading Lecky5. I found the former somewhat disconnected and unsatisfactory from the absence of any definite result or any decided opinion on most of the matters treated of.

Lecky I like much, though he is rather tedious and [2] [p. 166] obscure at times. Most of what he says has been said so much more forcibly by Buckle6, whose work I have read for the second time with increased admiration, although with a clear view of some of his errors. Nevertheless, his is I think unapproachably the grandest work of the present century, and the one most likely to liberalise opinion. Lubbock's7 book is very good, but his concluding chapter very weak. Why are men of science so dreadfully afraid to say what they think and believe?

In reply to your kind inquiries about myself, I can only say that I am ashamed of my Laziness. I have done nothing lately but write a paper on Pidgeons for the Ibis, and am drawing up a Catalogue of my Collection of Birds.

As to my "Travels," I cannot bring myself to undertake them yet, and perhaps never shall, unless I should be fortunate enough to get a wife who would incite me thereto and assist me therein—which is not likely.

I am glad to hear that the "Origin" is still working its revolutionary way on the Continent. Will Muller's8 book on it be translated?

I am glad to hear you are a little better. My poor friend Spruce9 is still worse than you are, and I fear now will not recover. He wants to write a book if he gets well enough.—With best wishes, believe me yours very faithfully,

Alfred R. Wallace

Bendyshe, Thomas (1827-1886). British barrister, anthropologist and editor of the Reader 1865-7.
Mill, John Stuart (1806-1873). British philosopher, political economist and civil servant.
Masson, David Mather (1822-1907). Scottish bibliographer, literary scholar and Editor-in-chief of the Reader, 1863.
Tylor, Edward Burnett (1832-1917). British anthropologist and the founder of cultural anthropology.
Lecky, William Edward Hartpole (1838-1903). Irish historian.
Buckle, Henry Thomas (1821-1862). British historian and author of the History of Civilization in England.
Lubbock, John (1834-1913). British archaeologist, politician, philanthropist and polymath.
Müller, Johann Friedrich Theodor ("Fritz") (1821-1897). German biologist in Brazil and an early advocate of Darwinism.
Spruce, Richard (1817-1893). British botanist, explorer and collector in the Amazon; lifelong friend of ARW.

Please cite as “WCP1867,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 3 July 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP1867