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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Alfred Russel Wallace   7 February 1868

10, Duchess St. W.

Feb. 7th. 1868

Dear Darwin

I have to thank you for signing the Memorial as to the East London Museum,1—and also for your kindness in sending me a copy of your great book, which I have only just received.2 I shall take it down in the country with me next week, and enjoy every line at my leisure.

Allow me also to congratulate you on the splendid position obtained by your second son at Cambridge.3

You will perhaps be glad to hear that I have been for some time hammering away at my travels,—but I fear I shall make a mess of it.4 I shall leave most of the Natural History generalizations &c for another work, as if I wait to incorporate all I may wait for years.

Hoping you are quite well   Believe me | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace—


The memorial possibly concerned a proposed museum in Bethnal Green, London, to combine art and natural history; Wallace later campaigned for a position at the museum (see A. R. Wallace 1905, 1: 415, and Raby 2001, pp. 199, 206, 211).
The reference is to Variation; Wallace’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for the book (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix IV).
George Howard Darwin was second in the final examination for the mathematical tripos at Cambridge (Cambridge University calendar 1868).
Wallace had first stated his intention of writing a narrative of his travels in Malaysia in 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from A. R. Wallace, 29 May [1864]). CD had encouraged him to complete the work (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to A. R. Wallace, 22 September [1865]). The travels were eventually published as A. R. Wallace 1869.


Cambridge University calendar: The Cambridge University calendar. Cambridge: W. Page [and others]. 1796–1950.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Raby, Peter. 2001. Alfred Russel Wallace: a life. London: Chatto & Windus.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

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


Thanks for Variation.

Reports work on his travel book [The Malay Archipelago (1869)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Russel Wallace
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Duchess St, 10
Source of text
DAR 106: B48
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5848,” accessed on 29 May 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16