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Record number: WCP5207

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Samuel Waddington
23 February 1901

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Corfe View, Parkstone, Dorset to Samuel Waddington [none given] on 23 February 1901.

Record created:
11 March 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Waddington, Samuel. (1909). Chapters of My Life: An Autobiography. Chapman & Hall, Limited. [p. 208-209]

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[[1]]1 [p. 208]

To this letter Dr. Wallace kindly sent me the following reply which quite removed any possibility of doubt upon the subject:--

[[2]] [p. 209] 'Parkstone, Dorset,

'February 23, 1901.

'Dear Sir,

'Darwin believed that all living things originated from "a few forms or from one," as stated in the last sentence of his "Origin of Species." But privately, I am sure he believed in the one origin. Of course there is a bare possibility that there were several distinct origins from inorganic matter, but it is extremely improbable, because in that case we should expect to find some difference in the earliest forms of the germs of life. But there is no such difference, the primitive germ-cells of a man, fish, or oyster, being almost indistinguishable, formed of identical matter, and going through identical primitive changes. As to the Humming-bird and Hippopotamus, there is no doubt whatever of a common origin, if Evolution is accepted at all; since both are vertebrates, a very high type of organism whose ancestral forms can be traced back to a simple type much earlier than the common origin of mammals, birds, and reptiles.

'Yours very truly,

'Alfred R. Wallace.

Samuel Waddington, Esq.'


1. Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A 1901 letter to Samuel Waddington, reproduced in Waddington's autobiography Chapters of My Life in 1909.


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/S680A.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.