Letter (WCP4192.4214)


Thoresby Park,



Have you forgiven our unfortunate game at Cross purposes?3 It only struck me afterwards, that, to make the imbroglio more complete, you probably thought Wallace4 was a friend of mine, & that my vexation was in in the interest of his reputation — whereas I knew nothing whatever of him, but his books on natural history,5 & his6 noble generous conduct regarding Darwin.7

[2] It is an old story now perhaps, but I cannot resist saying how much good I believe your "Discourse"8 at Liverpool has done. I have seen it in many allusions, from the Church Congress (!) downwards. A generous tone on one side induces the same on the other, and you have shown that men of science are not all indiscriminate Iconoclasts, & that the sincere seekers after truth need not be [3] at enmity, even though they should differ as to the roads open for reaching it. I hope you don't mind my saying this? I don't mean to be presumptuous — but it has been so often in my thoughts.

We are living here in a corner of the magnificent new house my brother is building,9 with the poor old home of my childhood all dismantled staring me in the face. But the melancholy [4] recollections of my visit last year reconcile me in some degree to the wrench of leaving it. We go forward hence to London on Monday next, and shall be at home all the evening from 6 o'clock upwards, in case you were inclined to repeat the proposal you made us last time of a visit.

I humbly beg pardon for filling a second sheet, but the post goes early, & I had not time to consider what ought to be left out. What a miserable10

Thoresby Park in Ollerton was the estate of Mary Egerton's brother, Sydney Pierrepont, 3rd Earl Manvers (1826-1900). The previous home, built from 1767-1772, was torn down and rebuilt during the years 1868-1871 and called Thoresby Hall. Mary’s husband Edward Egerton (1816-1869), who served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 6 July 1866-1 December 1868, had died on 27 August 1869, and thus Mary likely left their estate Mountfield Court (in the village of Hurst Green in East Sussex) to live with family at Thoresby Park.
Tyndall, John (1820-1893). Irish physicist and mountaineer. Appointed Professor of natural philosophy at the Royal Institution in 1853, and Superintendent of the Royal Institution from the death of Michael Faraday in 1867 to his retirement in 1887.
Cross purposes is the name of a parlour game.
Wallace, Alfred Russel (1823-1913). British naturalist, scientist, explorer, author, social campaigner and humanitarian.
By this time, ARW had published the following books: Wallace, A. R. 1853. Palm Trees of the Amazon and Their Uses. London, UK: John van Voorst; Wallace, A. R. 1853. A Narrative of Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, With an Account of the Native Tribes, and Observations on the Climate, Geology, and Natural History of the Amazon Valley. London: Reeve & Co.; Wallace, A. R. 1869. The Malay Archipelago: the Land of the Orang-utan and the Bird of Paradise, 2 vols. London, UK: Macmillan; and Wallace, A. R. 1870. Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection. London, UK: Macmillan & Co.
The letter 't' is crossed out before 'his'.
Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882). British naturalist, geologist and author, notably of On the Origin of Species (1859).
In Liverpool on 16 September 1870, Tyndall delivered an evening lecture, 'On the Scientific Use of the Imagination', at the annual meeting of British Association for the Advancement of Science. This was published as Tyndall. J. 1870. On the Scientific Use of the Imagination. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.
See note 1.
Page 4 ends here, letter is incomplete.

Please cite as “WCP4192,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 10 April 2021, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP4192