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Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. R. Wallace   13 November 1859

Down Bromley Kent [Ilkley]

Nov. 13./59/

My dear Sir

I have told Murray to send you by Post (if possible) a copy of my Book & I hope that you will receive it at nearly same time with this note.1 (N.B I have got a bad finger which makes me write extra badly—) If you are so inclined, I shd. very much like to hear your general impression of the Book as you have thought so profoundly on subject & in so nearly same channel with myself. I hope there will be some little new to you, but I fear not much. Remember it is only an abstract & very much condensed. God knows what the public will think. No one has read it, except Lyell, with whom I have had much correspondence. Hooker thinks him a complete convert; but he does not seem so in his letters to me; but he is evidently deeply interested in subject.—2 I do not think your share in the theory will be overlooked by the real judges as Hooker Lyell, Asa Gray &c.—

I have heard from Mr Sclater that your paper on Malay Arch. has been read at Linn. Soc, & that he was extremely much interested by it.3

I have not seen one naturalist for 6 or 9 months owing to the state of my health, & therefore I really have no news to tell you.— I am writing this at Ilkley Wells, where I have been with my family for the last six weeks & shall stay for some few weeks longer. As yet I have profited very little. God knows when I shall have strength for my bigger book.—

I sincerely hope that you keep your health; I suppose that you will be thinking of returning soon with your magnificent collection & still grander mental materials. You will be puzzled how to publish. The Royal Soc. fund will be worth your consideration.4

With every good wish, pray believe me, | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

I think that I told you before that Hooker is a complete convert. If I can convert Huxley I shall be content.—


Wallace received this letter and a copy of Origin while he was on Amboina, in the Moluccas, and acknowledged receipt on 16 February 1860 in a letter, no longer extant, that CD answered on18 May 1860. See Correspondence vol. 8, letter to A. R. Wallace, 18 May 1860.
Charles Lyell and Joseph Dalton Hooker had been instrumental in bringing about the joint publication of CD’s and Wallace’s species theories (Darwin and Wallace 1858). See letters to Charles Lyell, [25 June 1858], and to J. D. Hooker, 13 [July 1858], and letter from A. R. Wallace to J. D. Hooker, 6 October 1858.
Wallace had sent CD a paper on the zoogeography of the Malay Archipelago to be communicated to the Linnean Society (see letter to A. R. Wallace, 9 August 1859). Philip Lutley Sclater, a noted ornithologist, was the secretary of the Zoological Society in 1859. He had recently published a series of papers in which he pointed out the division in the zoological affinities of birds in the eastern archipelago (Sclater 1857).
CD refers to the annual grant of money received by the Royal Society from the government that was awarded to scientists to assist their researches and publications.


A copy of CD’s book [Origin] has been sent to ARW; invites his comments. "God knows what the public will think". Hooker believes Lyell is a convert, but CD does not think so, although he is "deeply interested". If he can convert Huxley, CD will be content.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent from
Ilkley Down letterhead
Source of text
British Library (Add 46434)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2529,” accessed on 26 May 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7