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Record number: WCP5006

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Trübner & Co.
1 August 1882

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, [address not recorded] to Trübner & Co. [none given] on 1 August 1882.

Record created:
06 February 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Sellar, Thomas. (1883). The Sutherland Evictions of 1814: Former and Recent Statements Respecting them Examined. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.. [p. lxxvi]

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[[1]]1 [p. lxxvi]

The following extract from a letter from Mr. A. R. Wallace to Messrs. Trübner & Co., dated August 1, 1882, is published at the request of Mr. Wallace:--

'It was with much surprise and regret that I learnt from your letter that there were any near living relatives of the Mr. Sellar mentioned in my book, and that some of the statements about him, at all events, were incorrect.

'To me of course he was only a name, and as the events happened sixty-six years ago, and have always been referred to this forty years as matter of history, without apparently any protest from his relatives, it is absurd now to talk about libel.

'Numerous writers have referred again and again to Mr. Sellar, and always in the same terms of strong condemnation; and when I took my facts from Mr. Mackenzie's pamphlet (sent me by himself), and considered his position as editor and historian, living in the very district where the scenes referred to happened, I had every right to think I had the best authority.

'So far then as to the historical correctness of what I have written, even where I have slightly altered Mr. Mackenzie's statements and conclusions, I should be prepared to justify them from collateral facts and testimony; but, now that I know that it becomes a question of personal feeling to living descendants of the individual referred to, I am quite prepared to express my regret, that I should unconsciously have hurt their feelings, and also to do what I can to obviate it for the future.

'It is, however, not easy to decide how this can best be done.'

[Mr. Sellar's Notes]

1. [There was some misconception here. No threat or suggestion of an action for libel against Mr. Wallace was ever made by any member of Mr. Sellar's family. The law of England with respect to libels on dead men was well known to them.--T.S.]

2. [Those 'numerous writers' are not known to Mr. Sellar's family. Reference is made to Chapter III. of this publication.--T.S.]


1. Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: First of six letters from Wallace to Thomas Sellar, concerning Wallace's evaluation of the 1814 Sutherland evictions given in the first edition of Land Nationalisation. All letters originally printed in Sellar's 1883 book The Sutherland Evictions of 1814, all but the first as part of "Appendix VII. Correspondence With Mr. A. R. Wallace." The aggressiveness of Mr. Sellar's pursuit of the issue at hand may be gathered from Wallace's increasingly terse responses.


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/S368B.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.