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Record number: WCP5002

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Samuel Birley ("Parallax") Rowbotham
25 July 1873

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, The Dell, Grays, Essex to Samuel Birley ("Parallax") Rowbotham [none given] on 25 July 1873.

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06 February 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Anon. (1873). The challange: its acceptance, trial, and postponement. The Zetetic and Anti-Theorist: 41-47. [p. 42]

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[[1]]1 [p. 42]

The Dell, Grays, Essex,

July 25, 1873.

To "Parallax."

Sir,--As you propose "taking with you a surveyor" without even giving me his name and address, or any references to prove his capacity and impartiality, or leaving any time for me to ascertain anything about him, I must decline being a party to your experiment.

That is not according to the terms of my letter.

If, however, you are disposed to submit the decision to any professional surveyor or engineer of the locality, say of Lynn or Wisbeach, I will write to Mr. Coulcher to attend on my behalf. At all events I write to Mr. C. to-day, and he will, I am sure, meet you in any fair and open arrangement to carry out the experiment exactly as proposed by you.

If your surveyor can prove that he is a properly qualified professional man in actual practice, I should of course not object to him.

I remain, yours truly,



1. Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Some three years after the Bedford Canal "flat earth" experiment was carried out in 1870, it was proposed that the experiment be repeated, albeit with a certain difference of approach. Wallace was agreeable, but the arrangements became complicated and the effort bogged down. Related correspondence was published as part of a summary of the discussion in the August/September 1873 issue of The Zetetic and Anti-Theorist (a "cosmography" journal edited by one of the chief flat-earth proponents, known as "Parallax"). Some twenty-three letters were printed; following are Wallace's five contributions to the discussion, written over a period of about two weeks in July 1873.


This transcript originates from Charles H. Smith’s The Alfred Russel Wallace Page website (http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/index1.htm): See http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S228A.htm

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.