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Record number: WCP5023

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Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
James Mark Baldwin
17 May 1910

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to James Mark Baldwin [none given] on 17 May 1910.

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06 February 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Baldwin, James Mark. (1926). Between Two Wars, 1861-1921. The Stratford company, Boston, Mass., USA. [p. 247-248]

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[[1]]1 [p. 247]

The Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne,

May 17th, 1910.

Prof. J. M. Baldwin,

Dear Sir,

My friend Prof. E. B. Poulton writes me that I have not acknowledged the receipt of your book "Development and Evolution" [rather "Darwin and the Humanities]1 which you were so good as to send me. I have ever since been under the impression that I did acknowledge its receipt as I always do of books, if not of papers. If I really did not, I sincerely apologize. Sometimes I think I will write when I have had time to read the book, and then the press of work or the book being laid out of sight causes me to forget all about it. It may have been so with yours, which is really too elaborate and metaphysical for my matter-of-fact mind to assimilate. I can hardly ever (of late years) read any book that is "pure reasoning." I require the facts to be clearly stated and demonstrated first, unless already well known to me; but your book assumes a full knowledge of modern physiology and psychology, of which I know nothing except mere outlines at second hand.

If I remember, I met you some years back at South Kensington, and had a conversation, and it was after that that you sent me your book. The subject you wanted me to look at was what you termed "organic selection." This, as I think I told you at the time I did not think of much importance, neither do I now that I have looked at it more carefully, both in your book and in those of my friends Lloyd Morgan and Poulton. In a book that I have been writing for the past year I touch upon this subject and give my reasons for thinking that although it may possibly, in very exceptional cases, have been of use as a supplement to natural selection, yet these cases are I think of very rare occurrence.

The accumulation of books--big books--on every phase of [[2]] [p. 248] evolution is now so great that it is quite impossible for me to do more than look at a few points in them in which I am more especially interested; especially as I have more correspondence than I can keep up with and not the strength for continued work that I had forty years ago.

Yours very truly,

Alfred R. Wallace.

Note (by Baldwin) Appearing in the Original Work

1. Mr. Wallace's letter on the earlier book is given just above. [on p. 247]


1. Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Second of two letters to James Mark Baldwin (concerning evolutionary subjects in two of Baldwin's books), printed in Volume 2 of Baldwin's 1926 reflection Between Two Wars 1861-1921; Being Memories, Opinions and Letters Received.


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/S707C.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.