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Darwin Correspondence Project


From A. R. Wallace   31 January [1865]1

5, Westbourne Grove Terrace | W.

Jan. 31st.

Dear Darwin

Many thanks for your kind letter.2 I send you now a few more papers. One on “Man” is not much in your line.3 The other 3 are Bird lists, but in the introductory remarks are a few facts of Distribution that may be of use to you, & as you have them already in the Zool. Proc. you can cut these up if you want “extracts.”4

I hope you do not very much want the Aru pig to be a domestic animal run wild,—because I have no doubt myself it was the species peculiar to the New Guinea fauna (Sus papuensis. Less.) a very distinct form.5 I have no doubt it is this species though I did not get it myself there, because I was told that on a small island near called there “Pulo babi” (pig Is.) was a race of pigs (different from & larger than those of the large islands) which had originated from the wreck of a large ship near a century ago— The productions of the Aru Islands closely resemble those of New Guinea,—more than half the species of birds being identical, as well as about half of the few known mammals.

I am beginning to work at some semi-mechanical work, drawing up catalogues of parts of my collection for publication.6

I enclose my “carte”.7 Have you a photograph of yourself of any kind you can send me? When you come to Town next may I beg the honour of a sitting for my brother-in-law Mr. Sims, 76, Westbourne Grove.8

Yours very sincerely | Alfred R. Wallace

C. Darwin Esq.

P.S. Your paper on Lythrum salicaria, is most beautiful.9 What a wonderful plant it is! I long to hear your paper on Thursday on Tendrils & hear what you have got out of them.10 My old friend Spruce a good botanist & close observer could probably supply you with some facts on that or other botanical subjects if you would write to him.11 He is now at Kew but almost as ill as yourself.



The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to A. R. Wallace, 29 January [1865].
Letter to A. R. Wallace, 29 January [1865].
Wallace refers to his ethnographic essay ‘On the varieties of man in the Malay Archipelago’ (Wallace 1864c). Wallace had sent CD a copy of his other recent paper on man (Wallace 1864a) in May 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, letters from A. R. Wallace, 10 May 1864 and 29 May [1864], and letter to A. R. Wallace, 28 [May 1864]).
Wallace 1862, 1863a, and 1863c. Annotated copies of these articles are in the collection of unbound journals, Darwin Library–CUL. CD sometimes cut sections from articles and letters that were relevant to his research and placed these with other material on the same subject (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 12, letter from Hermann Crüger, 21 January 1864, n. 6, and letter from Asa Gray, 11 July 1864, n. 14).
See letter to A. R. Wallace, 29 January [1865] and nn. 7 and 8. Wallace refers to the New Guinea Sus papuensis. It is described in Blainville 1841–55, 2: 130–1 as a distinct animal introduced to New Guinea, and resembling the pigs of Malabar. CD was apparently not convinced by Wallace’s account of the Aru pig. In Variation 1: 67, CD relied on Hermann Engelhard von Nathusius’s opinion that the Aru pig was probably Sus indicus; the pigs had been introduced and then become feral. See also letter to A. R. Wallace, 1 February [1865].
Wallace 1865. A copy of the paper is in the collection of unbound journals, Darwin Library–CUL.
The photograph has not been found.
The photographer Thomas Sims made several portraits of Wallace (see Wallace 1905, 1: 324, 385).
‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’. Wallace’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for the paper (see Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix III).
Wallace refers to ‘Climbing plants’. An abstract of the paper was read at the Linnean Society on 2 February 1865.
Richard Spruce had travelled with Wallace in the Amazon basin from 1848 to 1850. Spruce continued to collect plants in South America until his return to England at the end of May 1864 (Wallace 1905, 1: 276–9; Spruce 1908, 1: xxxiv–xxxv, xlvi; DNB). CD had written to Spruce for botanical information in 1863, although this letter has not been found (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from A. R. Wallace, 2 January 1864; see also letter from Richard Spruce to J. D. Hooker, 29 July 1864).


Sends papers with comments. Convinced that the Aru pig is a species peculiar to New Guinea fauna, not a domestic animal that ran wild.

Admires CD’s paper ["Three forms of Lythrum", Collected papers 2: 106–31].

Letter details

Letter no.
Wallace, A. R.
Darwin, C. R.
Sent from
London, Westbourne Grove Terrace, 5
Source of text
DAR 106: B22–3
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4759,” accessed on 27 July 2016,