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Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. R. Wallace   20 April [1870]1

Down Beckenham | Kent

Ap 20.

My dear Wallace

I have just received yr book & read the preface. There never has been passed on me, or indeed on any one, a higher eulogium than yours. I wish that I fully deserved it.2 Your modesty and candour are very far from new to me. I hope it is a satisfaction to you to reflect,—& very few things in my life have been more satisfactory to me—that we have never felt any jealousy towards each other, though in one sense rivals. I believe that I can say this of myself with truth, & I am absolutely sure that it is true of you.

You have been a good Christian to give a list of yr additions, for I want much to read them, & I should hardly have had time just at present to have gone thro’ all yr articles. Of course I shall immediately read those that are new or greatly altered, & I will endeavour to be as honest as can reasonably be expected.3 Your book looks remarkably well got up.

Believe me my dear Wallace | to remain | yours very cordially | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Wallace’s Contributions to the theory of natural selection (Wallace 1870a), which was published in 1870.
There is an annotated copy of Wallace 1870a in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 837). On page iv of the preface, Wallace wrote, ‘I have felt all my life, and I still feel, the most sincere satisfaction that Mr. Darwin had been at work long before me, and that it was not left for me to attempt to write “The Origin of Species”.’
In pages v to xi of his preface, Wallace listed the original publication details of each essay in the book, together with a note of the amount of alteration they had received.


Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.


Appreciation of eulogy in preface of ARW’s book [Theory of natural selection].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent from
Source of text
The British Library (Add MS 46434: 202–3)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7167,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18