Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
Sir,--I beg to protest against the gross mis-statements which appear in your first number, and to which attention is specially called as being "a carefully prepared statement of facts" about the Scientific Wager.
It is not true, as therein stated, that it was "at the suggestion of Mr. Wallace" that the Bedford Canal was chosen as the place of experiment. I suggested Bala Lake, as may be seen in my first letter published by Mr. Hampden. He then suggested the Bedford Canal, in a letter still in my possession, and I accepted that suggestion.
Again it is stated that Mr. Wallace expressed his opinion that "a good signal at each end, and one the same height in the centre, would answer every purpose." This is put in inverted commas as a quotation, but it is a quotation not from me, but from Mr. Carpenter's "Water not Convex," p. 10; yet this "carefully prepared statements of facts" neither gives the source of this quotation, nor adds that the proposal was "agreed to unanimously"--which is to be found in the very next line!
Still worse than this, is the assertion that Mr. Walsh decided that "taking into consideration the theory of the Earth's rotundity," Mr. Wallace was entitled to the stakes. What is this a quotation from? It represents Mr. Walsh as expressing a foregone conclusion founded on theory, not a decision founded on evidence. It is a gross misstatement and a libel, and unless you unreservedly withdraw this "statement" in your next issue as an erroneous and unfair statement of facts, and give in its place a strictly accurate one, with no sham quotations, but with references to authorities, and Mr. Walsh's decision in his own words, I must decline to make any further communication to what, will, in that case, be stamped as an unfair and prejudiced periodical.
ALFRED R. WALLACE.
[The fact of the proposed discussion being now finally abandoned to a certain extent removes any necessity for comment upon the foregoing epistle. But for the satisfaction of Mr. Wallace, and for that of our readers, we shall offer a reply, which, from want of space, we are compelled to defer, in the next issue of our "unfair and prejudiced periodical." --Ed. Zetetic.]