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Record number: WCP596

Sent by:
William [not a relative of ARW] Wallace
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
3 December 1912

Sent by William [not a relative of ARW] Wallace, St Joseph's College, Darjeeling, India to Alfred Russel Wallace Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset on 3 December 1912.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.


Re. the connection between modern theories of evolution and the ancient philosophies of the East enclosing 2 folios of TS text titled "The Eastern philosophy of person & nature".; Stamped envelope addressed to Alfred Russel Wallace at Broadstone postmarked Darjeeling 4 Dec 1912 on the front, annotated in Alfred Russel Wallace's hand on the front "From Rev. William Wallace S.J., Darjeeling, About Indian philosophy of Evolution. I Ansd., asked for seeds &c." and annotated in pencil [in William Greenell Wallace's hand] "90th".

Record contains:

  • enclosure (1)
  • letter (1)
  • envelope (1)

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LETTER (WCP596.596)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/8/125(1)
Copyright owner:
©Wallace Family

Physical description

Transcription information






3rd Dec 1912

Dear Professor Wallace,

Though unknown to you I venture to write on the interesting subject of the connection between modern theories of evolution and the ancient philosophies of the East.

When comparing your works with those of Prof. Darwin I noticed that while he held that Evolution accounted for all the phenomena of Nature you seemed to hold that certain phenomena were not so accounted for but demanded influence from some higher order.

[[2]] Studying the philosophies of the East I could not but be struck by the way in which the East seems to anticipate and reconcile both views. It sides with Prof Darwin in teaching that all the phenomena of the universe (both moral, mental, and physical) proceed from the one natural cause (nature) and all (modifications of it) accounted for by its inherent evolutionary power; while it sides with yourself in affirming that beyond this evolving nature there is the power in each that knows her--a power intrinsically dangerous and eternal as being the [[3]] perfect image of the supreme. And this power can and does inflow on nature though not directly as hammer on nail, but by proximity as loadstone[?] on iron.

Hence there is no passage of stuff from the higher order to the lower, no introduction at any point of new natural substance, or quantity, or energy.

All the phenomena, except the power that knows the phenomena and which is not properly a phenomenon, arise from the evolutionary principle--Nature.

Yet evolution itself of nature cannot take place except in union with me of these images of the supreme.

[[4]] I add a short synopsis of the system, which may make the idea dance, but systems, which have taken thousands of years to compact, cannot be fully expressed in a page or learned in an hour.

I have written because the subject is interesting to me and may be so to yourself.

I am | Yours respectfully | Wm Wallace S.J. [signature]

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