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Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. R. Wallace   7 January [1881]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.)

Jan 7th

My dear Wallace

You know from Miss Buckley that with her assistance I drew up a Memorial to Mr Gladstone with respect to your services to science.2 The memorial was corrected by Huxley, who has aided me in every possible way.3 It was signed by 12 good men, & you wd. have been gratified if you had seen how strongly they expressed themselves on your claims.

The Duke of Argyll, to whom I sent the Memorial, wrote a private note to Mr Gladstone.4 The Memorial was sent in only on Jan 5th & I have just received a note in Mr Gladstones own hand-writing, in which he says “I lose no time in apprising you that although the Fund is moderate & at present poor, I shall recommend Mr Wallace for a pension of 200£ a year.”5 I will keep this note carefully, as if the present Government were to go out, I do not doubt that it would be binding on the next Government.—

I hope that it will give you some satisfaction to see that not only every scientific man to whom I applied, but that also our Government, appreciated your life-long scientific labour.

Believe me, my dear Wallace | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I shd expect that there will be some delay before you receive an official announcement


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. E. Gladstone, 6 January 1881.
Arabella Burton Buckley had provided information on Alfred Russel Wallace’s career and publications to assist CD in preparing a memorial for a civil list pension (see Correspondence vol. 28, letter from A. B. Buckley, 7 November 1880); the memorial was submitted to William Ewart Gladstone (see letter to W. E. Gladstone, [4 January 1881]).
Thomas Henry Huxley had worked with CD on the draft of the memorial and had advised CD on how to present it to Gladstone (see Correspondence vol. 28, letters from T. H. Huxley, 14 November 1880 and 28 December 1880).
CD had asked George Douglas Campbell, eighth duke of Argyll, to write a separate letter of support to Gladstone (see Correspondence vol. 28, letter to G. D. Campbell, [before 27 December 1880] and n. 4). As a member of the government (lord privy seal), Campbell could not sign the memorial.


Informs ARW of favourable reception by Gladstone of memorial respecting ARW’s services to science, and the establishment of a pension for him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent from
Source of text
The British Library (Add MS 46434)
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12985,” accessed on 24 February 2024,