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Record number: WCP4649

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Charles Grant Blairfindie ("Grant") Allen
7 October 1877

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Rose Hill, Dorking to Charles Grant Blairfindie ("Grant") Allen [none given] on 7 October 1877.

Record created:
14 August 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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  • letter (1)
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LETTER (WCP4649.4965)

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

Held by:
Dittrick Medical History Center of Case Western Reserve University
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

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Rosehill, Dorking

Oct[obe]r 7th. 1877

My dear Sir

I have read the passages you marked, as well as a good many other parts of your book with much pleasure. I was particularly pleased with your suggestion (which had not occurred to me) that fruits, in our sense of the word, are more recent developments than flowers because they attract chiefly mammals & birds instead of insects.

There is I admit a partial contradiction between the view that red excites animals on account of its glaring contrast, & that yet the perception of it by man is recent. The latter view must I believe be incorrect, & should be stated I think even more hypothetically that I have put [[2]] it. I have just been reading Mr Gladstone’s interesting paper which is almost wholly on Homer’s colour terms or rather the absence of them. The evidence is most curious, but I think it only goes to show that language was imperfect; and that colour was too infinitely varied & of too little importance to early man, to have received a systematic nomenclature. Flowers & birds & insects were despised, & the colours of more important objects as the sea sky earth, [1 word illeg.], Grass &c. were not only not pure colours (generally) but subject to endless fluctuations.

Yours comments on nuts are very [[3]] good. I quite overlooked that case & shall refer to you when I reprint my paper with others in a volume shortly.

I think all the coloured fruits which are poisonous to man are eatable to some birds &c. They are far too numerous to be accounted for otherwise.

With many thanks | Believe me | Yours faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

[To] Grant Allen Esq.

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