Letter (WCP4404.4670)


Parkstone, Dorset.

May 12th. 1896

My dear Poulton

I return your proofs1. There are a few points I should like modified. On Slip 15. at foot "This is believed to be true" reads as if it was I who believed it to be true whereas I am giving the general belief of the time. "This is usually thought to be true" would I think be better. Again at foot of 16. "Any favourouble var[iation] … is utterly useless" — add "to itself" will make the meaning clearer.

On Slip. 17 — par[agraph] 5 of Chap[ter] XI. does not properly give my views as expressed in the paper. Though I used the [2] term "varieties" as contrasted with "species" in my argument, the whole context shows that I considered individual variations as being quite as important as did Darwin. My "Giraffe" argument, my references to changes of "colour", "hairiness", "shorter legs" of antelope, "less powerful wings" of passenger pigeon, — all show that I considered individ[ua]l variations as agents in the change. I used the term "varieties" because "varieties" were alone recognised at that time, individ[ua]l variability being ignored or thought of no importance. My "varieties" therefore included "individual variations". With [3] this exception I think your summary of my paper very good.

On Slip 18. the quotation from L[or]d Salisbury follows so closely to "Darwin’s real statements on the subject" — that hasty readers may take the passage for Darwin’s. I think you sh[oul]d insert "Lord Salisbury says" — or "Lord Salisbury’s statement is as follows": —

It is awkward too that this quotation is followed immediately by — "The joint papers" — which thus seems to have some connection with L[or]d Salisbury! Would it not be better to put the quotation & [4]2 and the words introducing it in a footnote, — that is from "The following quotation". It will read better & be clearer.

I am just now beginning Ex[aminatio]n Papers for Lockyer & Judd, for a fortnight. I have sent my "Utility of Specific Characters" paper to the Linnean, & it is to be read on June 18th. As it will probably be my last paper & appearance at a Scientific Society I shall try & get up to read it & hear the discussion, & hope you will be able to come & take part in it. I have not had time yet to read your Locust paper.

Yours very truly| Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Of the book Poulton, E. B. 1896. Charles Darwin and the Theory of Natural Selection. London: Cassell & Co.
This is actually the verso of the first sheet of the letter.

Envelope (WCP4404.4671)

Envelope addressed to "Prof. E. B. Poulton F.R.S., Wykeham House, Oxford", with stamps, postmarked "PARKSTONE | D | MY12 | 96". A note is written on front of envelope in Poulton's hand: "May 12 1896 | 18 | A. R. Wallace | Re my 'Life of Darwin' | Passell"; postmark on back. [Envelope (WCP4404.4671)]

Please cite as “WCP4404,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 22 May 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP4404