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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. R. Wallace   4 December [1869]1

9, St. Mark’s Crescent N.W.

December 4th

Dear Darwin

Dr. Adolf Bernhard Meyer who translated my book into German has written to me for permission to translate my original paper in the Linnæan Proc. with yours,—and wants to put my photograph & yours in it.2 If you have given him permission to translate the papers (which I suppose he can do without permission if he pleases) I write to ask which of your photographs you would wish to represent you in Germany,—the last, or the previous one by Ernest Edwards, which I think much the best, as if you like I will undertake to order them and save you any more trouble about it.3 It is of course out of the question our meeting to be photographed together, as Mr. Meyer coolly proposes.

Hoping you are well, believe me yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace

P.S. I have written a paper on Geological Time, which will appear in “Nature”,—& I think I have hit upon a solution of our greatest difficulties in that matter.4

A. R. W.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from A. B. Meyer, 16 November 1869 (see n. 2, below).
Meyer translated Wallace’s Malay Archipelago (Wallace 1869a; the translation is Wallace 1869c). Meyer had also asked CD for permission to translate CD’s and Wallace’s papers in the 1858 Proceedings of the Linnean Society (C. Darwin and Wallace 1858; see letter from A. B. Meyer, 16 November 1869). Meyer requested CD’s photograph in his letter of 24 November 1869.
CD agreed to Meyer’s translation of C. Darwin and Wallace 1858 in a letter that has not been found; see letter from A. B. Meyer, 24 November 1869. The most recent photograph of CD by Ernest Edwards was taken in 1866; see Correspondence vol. 14, plate facing page 88. The previous photograph by Ernest Edwards was taken in 1865; see Correspondence vol. 13, frontispiece, and letter from E. A. Darwin to Emma Darwin, 25 [November 1865] and nn. 2 and 3.
‘The measurement of geological time’ was published in the 17 February and 3 March 1870 issues of Nature (Wallace 1870). A copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.


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


Inquires about arrangements for the German translation and publication of their original Linnean Society papers [Collected papers 2: 3–19].

ARW thinks he has hit upon a solution to problem of geological time.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Russel Wallace
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, St Mark’s Crescent, 9
Source of text
DAR 106: B88–9
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7019,” accessed on 1 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17