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Record number: WCP1712

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Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Oliver Joseph Lodge
27 October 1913

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Dorset to Oliver Joseph Lodge [none given] on 27 October 1913.

Record created:
21 October 2011 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • publication (1)

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LETTER (WCP1712.1595)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Cambridge University Library
Finding number:
SPR.MS 35/2738
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information



[[1]]1, 2, 3


Old Orchard,



Oct[obe]r. 27th. 1913

Dear Sir Oliver Lodge5

Many thanks for your "Romanes Lecture"6, which owing to my ignorance of modern Electrical theory & experiments is more difficult for me than was your Brit[ish]. Ass[ociatio]n. Address.

I have been very much interested the last month by reading a book sent me from America by Mr. W. L. Webb7 -- being an "Account of the Unparalleled Discoveries of Mr. T. J. J. See"8.

Several of Mr. See's own lectures [[2]] are given, with references to his "Researches on the Evolution of the Stellar Systems" in 2 large volumes.

His theory of "Capture" of suns, planets & satellites seems to me very beautifully worked out under the influence of Gravitation and a resisting medium of Cosmical dust -- which explains the origin & motions of the Moon as well as that of all the planets & satellites far better than in Sir Darwin's9 Expulsion Theory.

I note however that he is quite ignorant that Proctor10 40 years ago, gave full reasons for this "Capture" theory in his "Expanse of Heaven"11 -- and also that the same writer showed [[3]] that the "Milky Way" could not have the enormous lateral extension he gives to it, but that it cannot really be much flattened. He does not even mention the proofs given of this both by Proctor & I think by Herbert Spencer12, while in Mr. Webb's volume (opposite p. 212) is a diagram showing the "Coal Sacks" as a "vacant lane" running quite through & across the successive spiral extensions laterally of the Galaxy, without any reference or a word of explanation; that such features, of which there are many, really demonstrate the untenability of such extension.

An even more original & extremely interesting part of Mr. See's work, is his very satisfactory [[4]] solution of the hitherto unsolved Geological Problem of the origin of all the great mountain ranges of the world, in chapters X., XI, & XII. of Mr. Webb's volume. It seems quite complete except for the beginnings, but I suppose it is a result of the formation of the Earth by accretion & not by Expulsion -- by heating & not by cooling.

I shall be glad to hear if you have studied See's writings on these two great problems, & what you think of him. This is my chief excuse for writing to you again.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Text reads "Ansd" in pencil in another hand, to the left of the date.

2. Text above the date reads "SPR.MS 35/2738" in another hand.

3. Text in the top right hand corner reads "W" in another hand.

4. Stamp below the date reads "SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH".

5. Oliver Joseph Lodge (1851-1940). British Physicist, kinighted 1902.

6. An annual public lecture given in Oxford, England. The series was founded in 1892 by George John Romanes (1848-1894), evoluntionary biologist. A lecture titled "Modern views on matter" was delivered by Sir Oliver Lodge in 1903.

7. Webb, William Larkin (1913). Brief Biography and Popular Account of the Unparalleled Discoveries of T. J. J. See. T. P. Nicols & Son. Lynn, Massachussetts, USA.

8. Thomas Jefferson Jackson See (1866-1962). American astronomer.

9. George Howard Darwin (1845-1912). English mathematician, geophysicist and astronomer, son of Charles Darwin. Knighted 1905.

10. Richard Anthony Proctor (1837-1888). Astronomer.

11. Proctor, Richard A. (1873). The Expanse of Heaven: a series of essays on the wonders of firmament. Henry S. King & Co., London. Longmans, Green & Co. published later editions in London and New York up to 1911.

12. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). English sociologist and philosopher.

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