Letter (WCP2076.1966)

[1]1, 2

My dear Mr Wallace

I thank you very much for your paper on "The origin of human races"3[.]

The argument is quite new to me, & opens up an entirely new field of enquiry. You have thrown quite a new light on the subject of Natural Selection, & on the history of man.

You are no doubt right in your estimate of the strength [2] of Owen's4 position in assigning a subkingdom subclass to man — but you do not say whether you think classification can be based on any but purely morphological considerations, which is the tendency of modern systematics. My suspicion is that for practical purposes morphology must, in the present state of science, be our only [3] safe guide. I do not thereby imply that other considerations may not have more value, but we have no means of estimating the powers of mind of the lower animals though these do differ so materially.

Very sincerely yours | J D Hooker [signature]

Alfred Wallace Esq

The following annotations are written in the top margin "1868" in blue crayon "(1865?)" and "(1864)" in pencil.
The first page of this letter is the front side of mourning paper.
Wallace, A. R. 1864. The origin of human races and the antiquity of man deduced from the theory of "Natural Selection". Journal of the Anthropological Society of London, 2: pp. clviii-clxx.
Owen, Richard (1804-1892). British comparative anatomist and vertebrate palaeontologist. Instrumental in establishing the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington. Outspoken opponent of natural selection.

Please cite as “WCP2076,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 25 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP2076