Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP4886

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Charles Lyell
4 September [1869]

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, 9 St Mark's Crescent, Regent's Park, London, N.W. to Charles Lyell [none given] on 4 September [1869].

Record created:
16 November 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP4886.5286)

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]] 18691

9, St Mark’s Crescent N.W.

Sept[ember]. 4th.

Dear Sir Charles

I only got your letter yesterday f on my return from Devonshire.

I am quite satisfied with whatever you think my services [are] worth to you, and accept the addition as a proof that you think them of some value although my knowledge of geological details is so small.

Before leaving town I had written abstracts of pps 164 - 166 -- on Glaciation of N[orth]. America2 [[2]], a large passage on Glacial origin of lakes, -- and a shorter one on Astronomical Causes affecting Geological Climate, and one on the Arctic Miocene Flora.

I have to write a report of the Brit[ish]. Ass[ociation] Meeting for the Quarterly Journal of Science, after which I shall go on with your work.

I have been exploring Dartmoor & have visited the Bovey Tracey lignite2 beds, but could find no good plants. I have been a few days at Torquay with [[3]] Mr Macmillan who is staying there, and have had the great treat of visiting Kent’s Cavern with Pengelly3. What a wonderful history it reveals, & how important it must it be that every cavern in the country should be thoroughly explored. The find this year, of a worked flint below the oldest stalagmite floor, is a grand addition to the evidence for the extreme antiquity of man.

I am glad you are enjoying your tour so much. I should [[4]] much have liked a good geologist with me on Dartmoor. The Tors are rather puzzling. I saw much of what I thought signs of glacial action, in the distribution of boulders over flat slopes, and the quantity of drift in many places.

Believe me | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. The year has been added, top left, by another hand. It is not Wallace’s hand-writing.

2. The number "47" has been inscribed at the bottom, right-hand, corner of the page.

3. A low grade of coal, often fossiliferous.

4. William Pengelly (1812 - 1894). Geologist and archaeologist. William Pengelly conducted excavations at Kent’s Cavern at Torquay, Devon, that contributed to overturning the Biblical chronology of the earth.

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