WCP2009

Letter (WCP2009.1899)

[1]

37 Queen’s Gardens

Bayswater W.

5th Dec 1867

My Dear Mr Wallace

I did not answer you last letter; being busy in getting out my second edition of First Principles.1

I was quite aware of the alleged additional cause of flight which you name and do not doubt that it is an aid. But I regard it simply as an aid.

If you will move an outstretched wing backwards [2] and forwards with equal velocity, I think you will find that the difference of resistance is nothing like commensurate with the difference of size between the muscles that raise wings and the muscles that depress them.

It seems to me quite out of the question that the principles of flight are fundamentally different in a bat and a bird; which they must be if the Duke of Argyll’s2 interpretation is correct.

I write, however, not so much to reply to your argument as to correct a misapprehension which my expressions seem to have given you. [3] The objections are not made by Tyndall3 or Huxley4; but they are objections made by me, which I stated to them, and in which they agreed— Tyndall expressing the opinion that I ought to make them public. I name this because you may otherwise someday startle Tyndall or Huxley by speaking to them of their objections; and giving me as the authority for so affiliating them.

Very truly yours | Herbert Spencer [signature]

[4]5, 6

Spencer, H. 1867. First Principles. 2nd Ed. London: Williams and Norgate.
Campbell, George John Douglas (1823-1900). Scottish politician and scientist, eighth Duke of Argyll in the peerage of Scotland. Leader in the scholarly opposition against Darwinism
Tyndall, John (1820-1893). British Physicist. Appointed Professor of natural philosophy at the Royal Institution 1853.
Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-1895). British biologist known as "Darwin's Bulldog".
ARW adds an annotation "Read paper on flight in Transactions of Linnean Society." at the top of page 4.
ARW adds an annotation "17 Poland" in the upper left-hand margin of page 4.

Published letter (WCP2009.6277)

[1] [p. 27]

57 Queen's Gardens, Bayswater,1 W. December 5, 1867.

My dear Mr. Wallace, — I did not answer your last letter, being busy in getting out my second edition of "First Principles."2

I was quite aware of the alleged additional cause of flight which you name, and do not doubt that it is an aid. But I regard it simply as an aid. If you will move an outstretched wing backwards and forwards with equal velocity, I think you will find that the difference of resistance is nothing like [2] [p. 28] commensurate with the difference in size between the muscles that raise the wings and the muscles that depress them. It seems to me quite out of the question that the principles of flight are fundamentally different in a bat and a bird, which they must be if the Duke of Argyll's3 interpretation is correct. I write, however, not so much to reply to your argument as to correct a misapprehension which my expressions seem to have given you. The objections are not made by Tyndall4 or Huxley;5 but they are objections made by me, which I stated to them, and in which they agreed —Tyndall expressing the opinion that I ought to make them public. I name this because you may otherwise some day startle Tyndall or Huxley by speaking to them of their objections, and giving me as the authority for so affiliating them. — Very truly yours, | HERBERT SPENCER.

A district in west London.
Spencer, H. (1867) 'First principles' 2nd Edition. London, UK: Williams & Norgate.
Campbell, George John Douglas (1823-1900). Scottish politician and scientist, eighth Duke of Argyll in the peerage of Scotland. Leader in the scholarly opposition against Darwinism.
Tyndall, John (1820-1893). British Physicist. Appointed Professor of natural philosophy at the Royal Institution 1853.
Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-1895). British biologist known as "Darwin's Bulldog".

Please cite as “WCP2009,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 3 March 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP2009