WCP2019

Letter (WCP2019.1909)

[1]

Queens Hotel

Cliftonville

Margate

Aug. 19, 1894

Dear Mr Wallace

I cannot at all agree with you respecting the relative importance of the work you are doing and that which I wanted you to do. Various articles in the papers show that Lord Salisbury’s argument1 is received with triumph; and unless it is disposed of, it will lead to a public reaction against the doctrine of evolution at large, a far more serious [2] evil than any error which you propose to rectify among biologists. Everybody will look to you for a reply, and if you make no reply it will be understood that Lord Salisbury’s objection is valid. As to the non-publication of your letter in The Times, that is absurd, considering that your name & that of Darwin are constantly coupled together.

Truly yours | Herbert Spencer [signature]

Lord Salisbury at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in August 1894, whilst acting as President, questioned that animal life was purely the result of natural selection and argued natural selection alone was insufficient to account for all the facts of biological evolution.

Published letter (WCP2019.6425)

[1] [p. 60]

Queen's Hotel, Cliftonville, Margate.1 Aug. 19, 1894.

Dear Mr. Wallace, — I cannot at all agree with you respecting the relative importance of the work you are doing and that which I wanted you to do. Various articles in the papers show that Lord Salisbury's2 argument is received with triumph, and, unless it is disposed of, it will lead to a public reaction against the doctrine of evolution at large, a far more serious evil than any error which you propose to rectify among biologists. Everybody will look to you for a reply, and if you make no reply it will be understood that Lord Salisbury's objection is valid. As to the non-publication of your letter in the Times,3 that is absurd, considering that your name and that of Darwin4 are constantly coupled together. — Truly yours, | HERBERT SPENCER.

A seaside resort in Kent.
Gascoyne-Cecil, Robert Arthur Talbot (1830-1903). Lord Salisbury. British Conservative politician and Prime Minister three times between 1885 and 1902.
British daily newspaper, published in London since 1788.
Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882). British naturalist, geologist and author, notably of On the Origin of Species (1859).

Please cite as “WCP2019,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 3 March 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP2019