Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Letter to Edward Poulton on a Supposed Anticipator
of Natural Selection (S702a: 1913)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter to Edward B. Poulton concerning the probable forgery on natural selection once attributed to George W. Sleeper. Read by Poulton as part of his Presidential Address to the Linnean Society on 24 May 1913, and later printed on page 26 of the Society's Proceedings series for 1912-1913. To link directly to this page, connect with:

Old Orchard,
April 2, 1913.

My dear Poulton,

     About two months ago an American sent me the enclosed booklet, which he had been told was very rare and contained an anticipation of Darwinism.

     This it certainly does, but the writer was highly imaginative, and, like all the other anticipators of Darwin, did not perceive the whole scope of his idea.

     His anticipation, however, of diverging lines of descent from a common ancestor and of the transmission of disease germs by means of insects, are perfectly clear and very striking.

     As you yourself made known one of the anticipators of Darwin, whom he himself had overlooked, you are the right person to make this known in any way you think proper. As you have so recently been in America, you might perhaps ascertain from the Librarian of the Public Library in Boston or from some of your biological friends there what is known of the writer and of his subsequent history.

     If the house at Down is ever dedicated to Darwin's memory, it would seem best to preserve this little book there; if not you can dispose of it as you think best.

With best wishes,
Yours very truly,
Alfred R. Wallace.

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