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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. R. Wallace   [27 September 1857]1

of May last, that my views on the order of succession of species were in accordance with your own, for I had begun to be a little disappointed that my paper had neither excited discussion nor even elicited opposition.2 The mere statement & illustration of the theory in that paper is of course but preliminary to an attempt at a detailed proof of it, the plan of which I have arranged, & in part written, but which of course requires much ⁠⟨⁠research in English⁠⟩⁠ libraries & collections, a labour which I look ⁠⟨⁠missing section of unknown length⁠⟩⁠

With regard to the black Jaguars always breeding inter se,3 it is of course a point not capable of proof, but the black & the spotted animals are generally confined to separate localities, & among the hundreds & thousands of the skins which are articles of commerce I have never heard of a particoloured one having occurred. I think there is a difference of form the black being the more slender & graceful animal.

CD annotations

crossed ink
Bottom of fragment: ‘(Alfred R Wallace. Letter Sept. 1857.)’ ink


The date is established by CD’s annotation and by his reference in the letter to A. R. Wallace, 22 December 1857, to ‘your letter of Sept. 27th.—’.
In his letter to A. R. Wallace, 1 May 1857, CD had praised Wallace’s paper ‘On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species’ (Wallace 1855).
CD had inquired about this point in his letter to A. R. Wallace, 1 May 1857.


Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1855. On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 2d ser. 16: 184–96.


Refers to CD’s letter of "May last". ARW’s views on order of succession of species are in accordance with CD’s.

Disappointed that his paper ["On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species", Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. 2d ser. 16 (1855): 184–96] elicited no discussion; now ARW is trying to prove it. Paper merely states the theory.

On black jaguars breeding inter se: ARW has never heard of a parti-coloured one.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Russel Wallace
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 47: 145
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2145,” accessed on 22 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6