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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. R. Wallace   29 January 1881

Pen-y-bryn, St. Peter’s Road, | Croydon.

Jany. 29th. 1881

My dear Darwin

Yours just received was very welcome, & the delay in its reaching me is of no importance whatever, as having seen the announcement of the Queen’s approval of the pension of course I felt it was safe.1 The ante-dating of the first payment, is a very liberal & thoughtful act; but I do not think it is any way exceptional, as regards myself. I am informed it is the custom because, as no payment is made after the death of the person, if the first payment were delayed, the proposed recipient might die before the 12 year (a quarter day) & thus receive nothing at all.

I suppose you sent the right address to Mr Seymour.2 I have not yet heard from him, but I dare say I shall during next week.

As I am assured both by Miss Buckley & by Prof. Huxley that it is to you that I owe in the first place this great kindness, & that you have also taken an immense amount of trouble to bring it to so successful issue, I must again return you my best thanks, and assure you that there is no one living to whose kindness in such a matter I could feel myself indebted with so much pleasure & satisfaction.3

Believe me, Dear Darwin, | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace—

Charles Darwin Esq.


Wallace had been awarded a civil list pension of £200 a year (see letter from W. E. Gladstone, 6 January 1881); these were officially granted by the Crown (Queen Victoria), and recommended by the prime minister and first lord of the Treasury, William Ewart Gladstone (see MacLeod 1970).
Arabella Burton Buckley and Thomas Henry Huxley had assisted CD in preparing the memorial for Wallace’s pension (see letter to A. R. Wallace, 7 January 1881 and nn. 1 and 2).


MacLeod, Roy M. 1970. Science and the civil list, 1824–1914. Technology + Society 6: 47–55.


Further information about the pension with particular thanks to CD for his role.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Russel Wallace
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 106: B152–3
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13033,” accessed on 30 March 2023,