WCP1914

Letter (WCP1914.4079)

[1]1

9, St Mark's Crescent N.W.

Jany. 30th. 1869

Dear Darwin

Will you tell me, where are Fleming Jenkyn's [sic]2 arguments on importance of single variations. Because I at present hold most strongly the contrary opinion, that it is the individual differences or general variability of species that enables them to become modified and adapted to new conditions.

Variations or "sports" may be important in modifying an animal in one direction, as in colour for instance, but [2] how it can possibly work in changes requiring coordination of many parts, as in Orchids for example, I cannot conceive[.] And as all the more important structural modifications of animals & plants imply much coordination, it appears to me that the chances are millions to one against individual variations ever coinciding so as to render the required modification possible.

[3] However let me read first what has convinced you.

You may tell Mrs. Darwin3 that I have now a daughter.4

Give my kind regards to her & all your family.

Very truly yours| Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Page 1 is numbered 75 by the repository. Every second subsequent page has a consecutive handwritten number written in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
Jenkin, Henry Charles Fleeming (1833-1885). Scottish-born British engineer. Jenkin reviewed Darwin's The Origin of Species in The North British Review, June 1867, 4: 277-318. See WCP1913.1803, Darwin to ARW Jan. 22 [1869].
Darwin, Emma (née Wedgwood) (1808-1896). Wife and first cousin of Charles Darwin.
Wallace, Violet Isabel (1869-1945).

Transcription (WCP1914.1804)

[1]1

To C.Darwin.) 9, St.Mark's Crescent N.W. Jan'y 30th.1869

Dear Darwin Will I tell me where are Fleming Jenkyn;s arguments on the importance of single variations. Because I at present hold most strongly the contrary opinion, that it is the individual differences or general variability of species that enables them to become modified and adapted to new conditions.

Variations or "sports" may be important in modifying an animal in one direction, as in colour for instance, but how can it possibly work in changes requiring co-ordination of many parts, as in Orchids for example, I cannot conceive. And as all the more important structural modification of animals & plants imply much co-ordination, it appears to me that the chances are millions to one against individual variations ever coinciding so as to render the required modification possible.

However let me read first what has convinced you.;

You may tell Mrs Darwin that I have now a daughter.

Give my kind regards to her & all your family

Very truly yours Alfred R. Wallace.

Page number (1) is typed in the top centre of the page.

Transcription (WCP1914.4504)

[1]

To C.Darwin.) 9,St.Mark’s Crescent N.W. Jan’y 30th.1869

Dear Darwin

Will you tell me where are Fleming Jenkyn1’s arguments2 on the importance of single variations. Because I at present hold most strongly the contrary opinion, that it is the individual differences or general variability of species that enables t them to become modified and adapted to new conditions.

Variations or "sports" may be important in modifying an animal in one direction, as in colour for instance, but how can it possibly work in changes requiring co-ordination of many parts, as in Orchids for example, I cannot conceive. And as all the more important structural modifications of animals & plants imply much co-ordination, it appears to me that the chances are millions to one against individual variations ever coinciding so as to render the required modification possible.

However let me read first what has convinced you.

You may tell Mrs Darwin that I have now a daughter. 3

Give my kind regards to her & all your family | Very truly yours | Alfred R. Wallace. [signature]

Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin (1833 — 1885) Professor of Engineering
Published in North British Review, June 1867
Violet Wallace (1869 — 1945)

Published letter (WCP1914.6001)

[1] [p. 234]

9 St. Mark's Crescent, N.W. January 30, I869.

Dear Darwin, — Will you tell me where are Fleeming Jenkin's arguments on the importance of single variation? Because I at present hold most strongly the contrary opinion, that it is the individual differences or general variability of species that enables them to become modified and adapted to new conditions.

Variations or "sports" may be important in modifying an animal in one direction, as in colour for instance, but how it can possibly work in changes requiring coordination of many parts, as in Orchids for example, I cannot conceive. And as all the more important structural modifications of animals and plants imply much coordination, it appears to me that the chances are millions to one against individual variations ever coinciding so as to render the required modification possible. However, let me read first, what has convinced you.

You may tell Mrs. Darwin that I have now a daughter. Give my kind regards to her and all your family. — Very truly yours, ALFRED R. WALLACE.

Please cite as “WCP1914,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 24 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP1914