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

Professor T. J. J. See’s Biography Is Issued
(S707bd: 1914)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: An anonymous article including a personal letter ('Letter from Dr. Wallace') from Wallace to W. L. Webb concerning Webb's friend Dr. T. J. J. See. Printed on page 46 of the 1 February 1914 issue of the San Francisco Examiner. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S707BD.htm

     Dr. Alfred R. Wallace, the renowned English naturalist who shared in the evolutionary discoveries of Charles Darwin, wrote a short time before his recent death the following letter to Mr. Webb in discussion of the See theories:

Old Orchard, Broadstone, Dorset, October 28, 1913.

     W. L. Webb, Esq.--Dear Sir: I beg to thank you for sending me your book about your friend, Dr. T. J. J. See, and his splendid work both in cosmogony and geology. His views and his explanations of them have intensely interested me, as they are connected with my own work and studies during the last twenty years. Broadly speaking, I think his theories are wholly correct, though there are a few important errors in details owing to his not having an acquaintance with the works of English writers. I also consider that some of his purely hypothetical conclusions are quite erroneous, partly owing to his not having read my own work on "Man's Place in the Universe," published ten years ago. In that work I have shown that the conditions essential for the development of life on a planet are so definite and so numerous that they do not exist in any other planets of our system.

     Also that differences of the conditions of the various stars, and the large and ever-increasing number of double-stars, and the multiple stars, is so great (as are also star-clusters)--that the probability seems to be, that notwithstanding the enormous numbers of stars, few if any are likely to have planets which possess all the conditions necessary for the production as well as the maintenance of organic life. Mr. See ignores all these facts and maintains that all stars have planets and all planets have developed intelligent life!

     As my book is now published in a cheap edition I hope you may be able to call Dr. See's attention to my discussion of this whole subject.

     Dr. See does not seem to know that the late R. A. Proctor in his "Expanse of Heaven," 1874, set forth the arguments for the theory of "capture" in the formation of the solar system with great logical force. He was as great a student and admirer of Sir William Herschel as is Dr. See, and he shows that in his very latest writings Herschel gave up the idea of the enormous extension of the Milky Way into space in the shape of a flat or comparatively thin ring, which is disproved by the numerous black lines and patches in it. This shows, as Proctor, H. Spencer and many other writers have explained, that the Galaxy must be a ring nearly the same thickness in both directions though very irregular in form.

Yours very truly,
Alfred R. Wallace.

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