Letter (WCP5647.6498)


Down Bromley Kent

18th1 [June 1858]2

My dear Lyell

Some year or so ago, you recommended me to read a paper2 by Wallace in the Annals3, which had interested you & as I was writing to him4, I knew this would please him much, so I told him. He has to day sent me the enclosed5 & asked me to forward it to you. It seems to me well worth reading. Your words have come true with a vengeance that I sh[oul]d be forestalled. You [2] said this when I explained to you here very briefly my views of "Natural Selection" depending on the Struggle for existence6. — I never saw a more striking coincidence. if Wallace had my M.S. sketch written out in 18428 he could not have made a better short abstract! Even his terms now stand as Heads of my Chapters.

Please return me the M.S. which he does not say he [3] wishes me to publish; but I shall of course at once write & offer to send to any Journal. So all my originality, whatever it may amount to, will be smashed. Though my Book, if it will ever have any value, will not be deteriorated; as all the labour consists in the application of the theory.

I hope you will approve of Wallace's sketch, that I may tell him [4] what you say.

My dear Lyell | Yours most truly | C. Darwin [signature]

An annotation in pencil under "18th" reads "June 1858".


Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1855. On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 2nd series, 16: 184–96.
Annals and Magazine of Natural History first published in 1838 under the title Annals of Natural History.
See December 1855 memorandum by Charles Darwin. Darwin Correspondence Project. <https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-1812.xml> [accessed 23 June 2020].
Original manuscript not located. Wallace, A. R. 1858. On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type. Published as part 3 of Darwin, C. & Wallace, A. 1858. On the tendency of species to form varieties; and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural means of selection. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (Zoology). 3(9): pp. 45-62. [p. 53-62]
A visit to Down by Charles Lyell 13-16 April 1856 established by the Darwin Correspondence Project. See <https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2285.xml> [accessed 23 June 2020]

Please cite as “WCP5647,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 3 July 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP5647