skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. R. Wallace   27 March [1868]1

4 Chester Place | R. Park. N.W | Until April 1st.

March 27th

My dear Wallace

My son has failed in your problem & says that it is “excessively difficult”: he says you will find something about it in Thompson & Tait Nat Philos (Art. 649).2 He has, however sent the solution, if the plate rested on a square rim, but he supposes this will not answer your purpose; nevertheless I have forwarded it by this same post.— It seems that the rim being round makes the problem much more difficult.—

I enclose my photograph, which I have received from Down.3

I sent your answer to George on his objections to your argument on sterility but have not yet heard from him.—4 I dread beginning to think over this fearful problem, which I believe beats the plate on the circular rim; but I will sometime. I foresee, however, that there are so many doubtful points, that we shall never agree.

As far as a glance serves it seems to me, perhaps falsely, that you sometimes argue that hybrids have an advantage from greater vigour, & sometimes a disadvantage from not being so well fitted to their conditions.— Heaven protect my stomach whenever I attempt following your argument.—

Your’s most sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from A. R. Wallace, 19 March 1868.
CD refers to George Howard Darwin. See letter from G. H. Darwin, [27] March [1868] and n. 4.
See letter to A. R. Wallace 17 [March 1868] and n. 7.
For George’s critique of Wallace’s argument that hybrid sterility could result from natural selection, see the enclosure to the letter to A. R. Wallace, [21 March 1868]. For Wallace’s reply to George’s comments, see the letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 March [1868].


There are so many doubtful points on the problems relating to sterility that they will never agree.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent from
London, Chester Place, 4
Source of text
The British Library (Add MS 46434: 123–4)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6058,” accessed on 16 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16