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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Alfred Russel Wallace   14 January [1863]1

5, Westbourne Grove Terrace, W.

January 14th.

My dear Mr. Darwin

I am very sorry indeed to hear you are still in weak health.2 Have you ever tried mountain air. A residence at 2000 or 3000 ft. elevation is very invigorating.

I trust your family are now all in good health, & that you may be spared any anxiety on that score for some time—3 If you come to Town I shall hope to have the pleasure of seeing you—

I am now in much better health but find sudden changes of weather affect me very much bringing on ague & fever fits—4 I am now working a little but having fresh collections still arriving from Correspondents in the E. it is principally the drudgery of cleaning packing & arrangement.5

On the opposite page I give all the information I can about the Timor fossils so that you can send it entire to Dr. Falconer.6

With best wishes for the speedy recovery of your health | I remain | My dear Mr. Darwin | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace

Charles Darwin Esq.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Hugh Falconer, 9 January 1863 (see n. 6, below).
The letter from CD has not been found. In his letter to Hugh Falconer of 5 [and 6] January [1863], CD described himself as having been ‘knocked up of late with extraordinary facility’. See also letter from Hugh Falconer, 3 January [1863], letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 January [1863] and letter to J. D. Dana, 7 January [1863].
Other members of the Darwin family had been ill in 1862, particularly Emma and Leonard, who contracted scarlet fever (see Correspondence vol. 10).
After eight years in the Malay Archipelago, Wallace returned to London in the spring of 1862 in a weak state of health (see Wallace 1905, 1: 386, and Correspondence vol. 10, letters from A. R. Wallace, 7 April 1862 and [after 20 August 1862]).
Upon his return to London in 1862, Wallace unpacked and sorted his collections while also writing papers (Wallace 1905, 1: 385–6).
The enclosure has not been found. In his letter to Hugh Falconer, 5 [and 6] January [1863], CD mentioned that Wallace had informed him of Mastodon remains in Timor. In his letter to CD of 30 November 1861 (Correspondence vol. 9), Wallace had reported an account by Carl Friedrich Adolph Schneider, who claimed to have found teeth of Mastodon on this island of the Malay archipelago (see Schneider 1863). Falconer asked CD to keep him ‘in mind’ for more information the next time he wrote to Wallace (see letter from Hugh Falconer, 9 January 1863 and n. 3).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Schneider, Carl Friedrich Adolph. 1863. Bijdrage tot de geologische kennis van Timor. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 25: 87–107

Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1905. My life: a record of events and opinions. 2 vols. London: Chapman & Hall.



Is sending information about Timor fossils to be forwarded to Hugh Falconer.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Russel Wallace
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Westbourne Grove Terrace, 5
Source of text
DAR 106: B7
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3915,” accessed on 9 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11