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Letter 4310

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

[29 Sept? 1863]

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    Baffling problems with Melastoma. Appreciates ARW's help with it and the "gorze case".

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    Has read report of ARW's paper [to Newcastle BAAS meeting, "On the geographical distribution of animal life"] in the Reader [2 (1863): 352–3].


Malvern Wells


My dear Mr. Wallace

Your kindness is never failing. I got worse & worse at home & was sick every day for two months; so came here, where I suddenly broke down & could do nothing; but I hope I am now very slowly recovering, but am very weak.—

Sincere thanks about Melastomas: these flowers have baffled me & I have caused several friends much useless labour; though, Heaven knows, I have thrown away time enough on them myself.—

The gorze case is very valuable & I will quote it, as I presume I may.—

I was very glad to see in the Reader, that you have been giving a grand paper, (as I infer from remarks in discussion) on Geographical distribution.

I am very weak, so will say no more | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 4310.f1
    The date is conjectured from the relationship between this letter and the letter from A. R. Wallace, 26 September 1863; the first Tuesday after that date was 29 September.
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    f2 4310.f2
    See letter from A. R. Wallace, 26 September 1863.
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    f3 4310.f3
    CD stayed at Malvern Wells, Worcestershire, from 3 September to 12 or 13 October 1863, in order to undergo treatment at James Smith Ayerst's hydropathic establishment (see Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242) and letter to J. B. Innes, 1 September [1863]).
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    f4 4310.f4
    See letter from A. R. Wallace, 26 September 1863 and n. 2. CD never published his research on the Melastomataceae (see Cross and self fertilisation, p. 298 n., and ML 2: 292--302); his working notes on the subject are in DAR 205.8.
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    f5 4310.f5
    See, for example, letter to Hugh Falconer, 5 [and 6] January [1863] and nn. 22--3, letter from John Scott, 6 January 1863, letter to H. W. Bates, 12 January [1863], letter to Asa Gray, 19 January [1863], and letter to Hermann Cr¨uger, 25 January [1863].
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    f6 4310.f6
    See letter from A. R. Wallace, 26 September 1863. CD discussed the acclimatisation of domesticated varieties in Variation 2: 305--15; however, he did not cite the case supplied by Wallace in Variation, or in any of his subsequent publications.
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    f7 4310.f7
    CD refers to a report in the Reader 2 (1863): 352--3, describing Wallace's paper, `On the geographical distribution of animal life' (Wallace 1863c), which was read on 31 August 1863 at the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The report made no reference to the discussion of Wallace's paper; however, it was followed by a report of Henry Baker Tristram's paper, `On the variation of species as pointing to Western Asia as the centre of the palæarctic area of creation', in which Tristram referred to Wallace's `magnificent epitome of all that science had yet attained in respect to the variations and limits of the different groups'. There are annotated copies of both reports in DAR 205.10: 2.
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