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

Letter to J. R. Collins (S712c: 2009)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A 1903 letter from Wallace to J. R. Collins is reproduced in the article "Alfred Russel Wallace and the RASC" by R. A Rosenfeld that appeared in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Scans of the letter itself appear on page 166, with a transcription given on page 167 (the transcription below is taken directly from the scans). To link directly to this page, connect with:

Broadstone, Dorset.
June 2nd, 1903
J.R. Collins Esq.

Dear Sir

    Many thanks for your very interesting letter & the paper & photos. of the Nova Persei Neb.

    The astronomical criticisms of my article are, as you say, very weak,-- while the French ones are even weaker, & both, (in this month's Knowledge) quote me as claiming our system to be in the exact centre of the Milky Way--a word I have carefully avoided using. The one real difficulty I feel is, that I cannot show evidence for the stable position of our sun during the epoch required for the development of Life. The observed & calculated motion of sun and stars is nothing, as all may be moving in orbits small or large, but the difficulty is to find or suggest any probable centre of attraction for part or the whole of the Stellar universe.

    I have nearly finished a book on the subject, & the part on the earth being the only inhabited planet in the Solar System comes out very clear, & I think will satisfy most people.

    If you have anywhere met with even a suggestion of a possible orbital motion for our system within the orbit of the Milky Way, I shall be very glad if you will refer me to it at once as I shall begin printing next month.

Believe me
Yours very truly
Alfred R. Wallace

*                 *                 *                 *                 *

Copyright: Alfred Russel Wallace Literary Estate.
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share-Alike 2.0 England and Wales.

Return to Home