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Record number: WCP4877

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Charles Lyell
25 February 

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, 9 St Mark's Crescent, Regent's Park, London, N.W. to Charles Lyell [none given] on 25 February .

Record created:
16 November 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP4877.5278)

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

Held by:
American Philosophical Society
Finding number:
The Darwin-Lyell Collection
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




1 9, St Mark’s Crescent, N.W.

Feb[ruary]. 25th.

Dear Sir Charles2

I had an interview with Lord De Grey3 on Monday, & he seemed to think that a portion of the Museum might be devoted to Natural History if sufficient specimens could be obtained obtained from the India House Museum or other sources. He seemed rather doubtful however owing to nothing about Nat[ural]. History having been said in the Minute. He seemed to think there was no hurry as the building would not be ready for some months, so I fear nothing will be done till [[2]] late in the year.

Have you seen the curious paper in the Atlantic Monthly for February on the "Birth of the Solar System". It contains a new nebular hypothesis, quite distinct from the old one. The writer maintains that all we know about the formation of the planets I that they are slowly increasing in bulk from the falling in of meteoric bodies. He maintains therefore that this is the origin of all planets and suns -- space being full of cold meteoric dust, heat being produced [[3]] by its agglomeration. Thus all small bodies in space are cold, all large ones hot, -- the world is therefore getting hotter instead of colder, and early geological action was less violent than it is now. Is not that turning the tables on the Convulsionists?

Many of the Authors’ statements are I think unsound, -- but the view of the formation of the solar system by the agglomeration of cold dust instead of hot vapour seems to have some show [[4]] of probability.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Sir Charles Lyell Bar[one]t.


1. Text in unknown hand reads "418" at the top centre of the page

2. Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet (1797 - 1875), British lawyer and geologist

3. Thomas Philip de Grey, 2nd Earl de Grey (1781 - 1859), British Tory politician and statesman

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