Transcription (WCP4107.4121)


Down, Beckenham, Kent

Dec[ember] 23rd 1875

My dear Wallace

You will have heard that R. Lankester1 has been black-balled at the Linnean Soc[iety]. and I have heard directly from those who b[lack]-b[alle]d him that this was done to show their disapproval of the intention of the Council to remit the fees. They allow that he has high claims of which there can be no doubt. Now if the Soc[iety]. gives power to the C[ouncil]. to remit fees, it seems to me a most cruel and unjustifable act to b[lack]. b[all]. a man on this account, and thus cast a stigma on him for life. It was open to the dissentients to call a special meeting, or to blame the C[ouncil]. at the anniversary or to take away this power. I express no opinion whether the Council was right in remitting the fees, and indeed doubt much whether they were right. But this appears to me to make no difference about the b[lack] b[all]ing; and this is the judgement of many scientific and non-scientific men whom I have consulted. I have therefore most willingly agreed to second Lankester for a second time. I have [2]2 not acted thus on account of any personal friendship, as I have only seen him on one occasion. but I am very anxious to wipe away as far as possible an act of which seems to me a disgrace to the Society. If you agree with me, I hope that you will, if possible, attend at 8.p.m Feb[ruary] 3rd, and give your vote. I intend to be there myself. In any case I feel sure that you will forgive me for writing on the subject.

My dear Wallace | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

Sir Edwin Ray Lankester (1847 — 1929). Invertebrate zoologist and evolutionary biologist. He became the third Director of the Natural History Museum in 1898.
The top of the second page is headed "Wallace 67" followed by the page number, "160".

Please cite as “WCP4107,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 7 June 2023, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP4107