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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. R. Wallace   [19 November 1873]1

The Dell, Grays, Essex.

Wednesday morng.

Dear Darwin

Yours just received.2 Pray act exactly as if nothing had been said to me on the subject. I do not particularly wish for the work, as besides being, as you say, tedious work, it involves a considerable amount of responsibility.3 Still I am prepared to do any literary work of the kind, as I told Bates some time ago, & that is the reason he wrote to me about it.4 I certainly think however that it would be in many ways more satisfactory to you if your son did it, & I therefore hope he may undertake it.5

Should he however, for any reasons, be unable, I am at your service as a derniére ressort6

In case my meaning is not quite clear, I will say positively, I will not do it, unless your son has the offer & declines it.

Believe me | Dear Darwin | Yours faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters to A. R. Wallace, [18 November 1873] and 19 November [1873]. In 1873, 19 November was a Wednesday.
Wallace refers to the work needed to produce a second edition of Descent, detailed in the letter to A. R. Wallace, 17 November 1873.
Wallace refers to Henry Walter Bates (see enclosure to letter from H. W. Bates, 15 November 1873).
Wallace refers to George Howard Darwin; see letter to A. R. Wallace, [18 November 1873].
Derniére ressort: last resort (French).


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Thinks CD’s son George would be more satisfactory than ARW for the work on Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Russel Wallace
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 106: B117
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9156,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21