WCP1986

Letter (WCP1986.4024)

[1]

Pen-y-bryn, St. Peter’s Rd., Croydon.

Jany. 1st. 1881

My dear Darwin

I have been intending to write to you for some weeks to call your attention to what seems to me a striking confirmation (or at all events a support) of my views of the land migration of plants from mountain to mountain. In Nature of Dec[ember] 9 p.126, Mr. Baker of Kew describes a number of the Alpine plants of Madagascar as being identical species with some found on the M[oun]t[ai]ns of Abyssinia, the Cameroons, & other African mountains. Now if there is one thing more clear than another it is that Madagascar has been separated from Africa since the Miocene (probably the Early Miocene) epoch. These plants must therefore have reached the island, either, since then, in which case they [2] certainly must have passed through the air for long distances, — or at the time of the union. But the Miocene and Eocene periods were certainly warm, & these alpine plants could hardly have migrated over tropical forest lands, while it is very improbable that if they had been isolated at so remote a period exposed to such distinct climatal and organic environments as in Madagascar and Abyssinia they would have in both places retained their specific characters unchanged. The presumption is, therefore, that they are comparatively recent immigrants, & if so must have passed across the sea from mountain to mountain, — for the richness & speciality of the Madagascan forest-vegetation renders [3] it certain that no recent glacial epoch has seriously affected that island.

Hoping that you are in good health & wishing you the Compliments of the Season,

I remain | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Charles Darwin F.R.S.

Transcription (WCP1986.1876)

[1]1

To C.Darwin.) Pen-y-bryn, St. Peter's Road, Croydon. Jan.1st.1881

My dear Darwin I have been intending to write to you for some weeks to call your attention to what seems to me a striking confirmation (or at all events a support) of my views of the land migration of plants from mountain to mountain. In Nature of Dec.9th p.126 Mr B Baker of Kew describes a number of the Alpine plants of Madagasca as being identical species with some found on the mountains of Abyssinia, the Cameroons, and other African mountains. Now if there is one thing more clear than another it is that Madagasca has been separated from Africa since the Miocene (probably the early miocene) epoch. These plants must therefore have reached the island, either since then, in which case they certainly must have passed through the air for long distances,— or at the time of the union. But the Miocene and Eocene periods were certainly warm, and these Alpine plants could hardly have migrated over tropical forest lands, while it is very improbable that if they had been isolated at so remote a period exposed to such distinct climatal and organic environments as in Madagasca and Abyssinia they would have in both places retained their specific characters unchanged. The presumption is therefore, that they are comparatively recent immigrants, and if so must have passed across the sea from mountain to mountain,— for the richness and speciality of the Madagasca forest vegetation renders it certain that no recent glacial epoch has seriously affected that island.

Hoping that you are in good health and wishing you the compliments of the season. I remain Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace

The page is numbered (1), and subsequently struck out in pencil.

Transcription (WCP1986.4123)

[1]1

From Alfred R. Wallace to C.Darwin

Pen-y-bryn, St. Peter's Road, Croydon.

Jan. 1st, 1881.

My dear Darwin

I have been intending to write to you for some weeks to call your attention to what seems to me a striking confirmation (or at all events a support) of my views of the land migration of plants from mountain to mountain. In Nature of Dec.9.p.126 Mr Baker of Kew describes a number of the Alpine plants of Madagascar as being identical species with some found on the mountains of Abyssinia, the Cameroons, and other African mountains. Now if there is one thing more clear than another it is that Madagascar has been separated from Africa since the Miocene (probably the early Miocene) epoch. These plants must therefore have reached the island either, since then, in which case they certainly must have passed through the air for long distances,— or at the time of the union. But the Miocene and Eocene periods were certainly warm, and these Alpine plants could hardly have migrated over tropical forest lands, while it is very improbable that if they had been isolated at so remote a period exposed to such distinct climatal and organic environments as in Madagascar and Abyssinia they would have in both places have retained their specific characters unchanged. The presumption is therefore, that they are comparatively recent immigrants, and [2] if so must have passed across the sea from mountain to mountain,— for the richness and speciality of the Madagascar forest vegetation renders it certain that no recent glacial epoch has seriously affected that island.

Hoping that you are in good health and wishing you the compliments of the season.

I remain | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace

Charles Darwin. F.R.S.

The page is numbered (62)

Transcription (WCP1986.4469)

[1]

To C.Darwin.) Pen-y-bryn, St. Peter’s Road, Croydon. Jan. 1st. 1881

My dear Darwin

I have been intending to write to you for some weeks to call your attention to what seems to me a striking confirmation (or at all events a support) of my views of the land migration of plants from mountain to mountain. In Nature of Dec. 9th. P. 125 Mr. Baker of [I word illeg.] describes a number of the Alpine plants of Madagasca [sic] as being identical species with some found on the mountains of Abyssinia, the Cameroons, and other African mountains. Now if there is one thing more clear than another it is that Madagasca has been separated from Africa since the Miocene1 (probably the early miocene epoch. These plants must therefore have reached the island, either since then, in which case they certainly must have passed through the air for long distances,- or at the time of the union. But the Miocene and Socene [Pliocene?]2 periods were certainly warm, and these Alpine plants could hardly have migrated over tropical forest lands, while it is very improbable that if they had been isolated at so remote a period exposed to such distinct climatal and organic environments as in Madagasca and abyssinia they would have in both places retained their specific characters unchanged. The presumption is therefore, that they are comparatively recent immigrants, and if so must have passed across the sea from mountain to mountain,- for the richness and speciality of the Madagasca forest vegetation renders it certain that no recent glacial epoch has seriously affected that island. Hoping that you are in good health and wishing you the compliments of the season.

I remain yours very faithfully | Alfred. R. Wallace. [signature]

Miocene is a geological epoch that was approximately 23.03 to 5.332 million years ago.
Pliocene is a geological epoch that was approximately 5.332 to 2.588 million years ago.

Published letter (WCP1986.6241)

[1] [p. 311]

Pen-y-bryn, St. Peter's Road, Croydon. January 1, 1881.

My dear Darwin, — I have been intending to write to you for some weeks to call your attention to what seems to me a striking confirmation (or at all events a support) of my views of the land migration of plants from mountain to mountain. In Nature of Dec. 9th, p. 126, Mr. Baker1, of Kew, describes a number of the alpine plants of Madagascar as being identical species with some found on the mountains of Abyssinia, the Cameroons, and other African [2] mountains. Now, if there is one thing more clear than another it is that Madagascar has been separated from Africa since the Miocene (probably the early Miocene) epoch. These plants must therefore have reached the island either since then, in which case they certainly must have passed through the air for long distances, or at the time of the union. But the Miocene and Eocene periods were certainly warm, and these alpine plants could hardly have migrated over tropical forest lands, while it is very improbable that if they had been isolated at so remote a period, exposed to such distinct climatal and organic environments as in Madagascar and Abyssinia, they would have in both places retained their specific characters unchanged. The presumption is, therefore, that they are comparatively recent immigrants, and if so must have passed across the sea from mountain to mountain, for the richness and speciality of the Madagascar forest vegetation render it certain that no recent glacial epoch has seriously affected that island.

Hoping that you are in good health, and wishing you the compliments of the season, I remain yours very faithfully, | ALFRED R. WALLACE.

Baker, John Gilbert (1834-1920). British botanist.

Please cite as “WCP1986,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 17 June 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP1986