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Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. R. Wallace   5 December [1869]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Dec. 5

My dear Wallace

I wrote to Dr. Meyer that the Photograph in England wd. cost much, & that they did not seem to me worth the cost to him, but that I of course had no sort of objection.—2 I shd. be greatly obliged if you wd kindly take the trouble to order any one which you think best:3 possibly it would be best to wait, unless you feel sure, till you hear again from Dr. M.

I sent him a copy of our joint paper.—4 He has kindly sent me the translation of your book, which is splendidly got up & which I thought I could not better use than by sending it to Fritz Müller in Brazil, who will appreciate it.—5

I liked your Reviews on Mr Murphy very much; they are capitally written like every thing which is turned out of your workshop.— I was specially glad about the Eye.—6 If you agree with me take some opportunity of bringing forward case of perfected greyhound or race-horse, as proofs of possibility of the selection of many correlated variations. I have remarks on this head in my last book.7 If you throw light on the want of geological time, may honour, eternal glory & blessings crowd thick on your head.8

Yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I forgot to say that I wrote to Dr M. to say that I shd. not soon be in London, & that of all things in the world I hate most, the bother of sitting for photograph, so I declined with many apologies.—9 I have recently refused several applications.— Dear Mr Wallace

I enclose a diminished photo, from Mrs Camerons but it looks heavy & unclear.10 I like best the profile of Ernest Edwards, or a 34 face vignette which Messrs Elliot & Fry (Baker St) & which is a strong likeness & pleasing are now making some copies of for us,11 but I cannot send you one, or one of Mr Edwards’.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from A. R. Wallace, 4 December [1869].
CD refers to Adolf Bernhard Meyer. See letter to A. B. Meyer, 27 November [1869].
For the photographs Wallace suggested, see the letter from A. R. Wallace, 4 December [1869] and n. 3.
See letter to A. B. Meyer, 27 November [1869] and n. 2. CD refers to C. Darwin and Wallace 1858.
See letter to Fritz Müller, 1 December [1869]. CD refers to Meyer’s German translation of Wallace’s Malay Archipelago (Wallace 1869a; the translation is Wallace 1869c).
Wallace reviewed Joseph John Murphy’s Habit and intelligence, in their connection with the laws of matter and force in Nature, 25 November and 2 December 1869 (Wallace 1869d, Murphy 1869); see also letter from A. R. Wallace, 20 October 1869. Wallace argued against Murphy that spontaneous variations could have produced all the ‘delicate adjustments’ of the eye (Wallace 1869d, pp. 106–7). CD quoted part of Wallace’s discussion of the eye in Origin 6th ed., p. 145.
In Variation 2: 221–2, CD had offered the example of the development of the greyhound breed through the gradual alteration of separate characteristics to support his contention, against Murphy, that the eye could have developed through natural selection. See Murphy 1869, 1: 326, 345–7, and Wallace 1869d, p. 106. On correlated variation, see Variation 2: 319–38.
Emma Darwin’s note refers to one of Julia Margaret Cameron’s 1868 photographs of CD. See Correspondence vol. 16, letter from J. D. Hooker, 30 August 1868 and n. 12, and plate facing p. 630.
See Correspondence vol. 14, plate facing p. 88, for the profile by Ernest Edwards, probably taken in 1866. On the photograph by Elliott & Fry, see the letter to A. B. Meyer, 27 November [1869] and n. 6. Meyer’s translation of C. Darwin and Wallace 1858 (in Meyer 1870) did not include photographs.


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

Meyer, Adolf Bernhard. 1870. Charles Darwin und Alfred Russel Wallace. Ihre Ersten Publicationen über die ‘Entstehung der Arten’ nebst einer Skizze Ihres Lebens und einem Verzeichniss Ihrer Schriften. Erlangen: Eduard Besold.

Murphy, Joseph John. 1869. Habit and intelligence in their connexion with the laws of matter and force: a series of scientific essays. 2 vols. London: Macmillan and Co.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

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


Further comments on arrangements for German translation of their joint paper.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent from
Source of text
The British Library (Add MS 46434: 194–5)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7020,” accessed on 24 January 2021,

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