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Letter 2529

Darwin, C. R. to Wallace, A. R.

13 Nov 1859

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    A copy of CD's book [Origin] has been sent to ARW; invites his comments. "God knows what the public will think". Hooker believes Lyell is a convert, but CD does not think so, although he is "deeply interested". If he can convert Huxley, CD will be content.


Down Bromley Kent [Ilkley]

Nov. 13./59/

My dear Sir

I have told Murray to send you by Post (if possible) a copy of my Book & I hope that you will receive it at nearly same time with this note. (N.B I have got a bad finger which makes me write extra badly—) If you are so inclined, I shd very much like to hear your general impression of the Book as you have thought so profoundly on subject & in so nearly same channel with myself. I hope there will be some little new to you, but I fear not much. Remember it is only an abstract & very much condensed. God knows what the public will think. No one has read it, except Lyell, with whom I have had much correspondence. Hooker thinks him a complete convert; but he does not seem so in his letters to me; but he is evidently deeply interested in subject.— I do not think your share in the theory will be overlooked by the real judges as Hooker Lyell, Asa Gray &c.—

I have heard from Mr Sclater that your paper on Malay Arch. has been read at Linn. Soc, & that he was extremely much interested by it.

I have not seen one naturalist for 6 or 9 months owing to the state of my health, & therefore I really have no news to tell you.— I am writing this at Ilkley Wells, where I have been with my family for the last six weeks & shall stay for some few weeks longer. As yet I have profited very little. God knows when I shall have strength for my bigger book.—

I sincerely hope that you keep your health; I suppose that you will be thinking of returning soon with your magnificent collection & still grander mental materials. You will be puzzled how to publish. The Royal Soc. fund will be worth your consideration.

With every good wish, pray believe me, | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

I think that I told you before that Hooker is a complete convert. If I can convert Huxley I shall be content.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2529.f1
    Wallace received this letter and a copy of Origin while he was on Amboina, in the Moluccas, and acknowledged receipt on 16 February 1860 in a letter, no longer extant, that CD answered on18 May 1860. See Correspondence vol. 8, letter to A. R. Wallace, 18 May 1860.
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    f2 2529.f2
    Charles Lyell and Joseph Dalton Hooker had been instrumental in bringing about the joint publication of CD's and Wallace's species theories (Darwin and Wallace 1858). See letters to Charles Lyell, [25 June 1858], and to J. D. Hooker, 13 [July 1858], and letter from A. R. Wallace to J. D. Hooker, 6 October 1858.
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    f3 2529.f3
    Wallace had sent CD a paper on the zoogeography of the Malay Archipelago to be communicated to the Linnean Society (see letter to A. R. Wallace, 9 August 1859). Philip Lutley Sclater, a noted ornithologist, was the secretary of the Zoological Society in 1859. He had recently published a series of papers in which he pointed out the division in the zoological affinities of birds in the eastern archipelago (Sclater 1857).
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    f4 2529.f4
    CD refers to the annual grant of money received by the Royal Society from the government that was awarded to scientists to assist their researches and publications.
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