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Wallace's Ternate Essay by Darwin in ..

Recent publications have set forth theories as to whether Darwin acted legitimately on his reception of Alfred Russel Wallace's 1858 ‘Ternate’ essay on natural selection. I have also commented on this matter, but it seems appropriate at this time to extend these arguments.

“Spice Island” forts, colonial monuments: A photo essay from Ternate Island, Maluku.

In early 1858, when he was in the Moluccas, Wallace drafted an essay to explain evolution by natural selection and posted it to Darwin. For many years it was believed that the Ternate essay left the island in March on the monthly mail steamer, and arrived at Down House on 18 June 1858. Darwin immediately wrote to Lyell, as requested by Wallace, forwarding the essay. This sequence was cast in doubt after the discovery of a letter written by Wallace to Bates leaving on the same steamer with postmarks showing its arrival in Leicester on 3 June 1858. Darwin has been accused of keeping the essay secret for a fortnight, thereby enabling him to revise elements of his theory of evolution. We intend to show that Wallace in fact sent the Ternate essay on the mail steamer of April 1858, for which the postal connections actually indicate the letter to have arrived precisely on 18 June. Darwin is thus vindicated from accusations of deceit. Wallace’s Ternate essay and extracts from Darwin’s theoretical manuscripts were read at a

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(2012), A new theory to explain the receipt of Wallace's Ternate Essay by Darwin in 1858

Recent debates on the mailing date of Alfred Russel Wallace's ‘Ternate essay’ to Charles Darwin in the spring of 1858 have ignored certain details that, once taken into account, alter the matter considerably. Here, a closer look is taken at the critical question of whether Wallace's manuscript-accompanying letter represented a reply to the Darwin letter that arrived in Ternate on 9 March; it is concluded that it very probably did not.

Moreover, this all assumes that Wallace's letter and manuscript went out at Ternate with the mail on 9 March. Davies claims it did, on the same day that Wallace would have received a letter from Darwin stating that others, including Sir Charles Lyell, had taken positive notice of his work, especially the 1855 ‘Sarawak essay’. Van Wyhe counters that evidence suggests Wallace never responded to mail on the same day he received it, and that Wallace must have sent the letter and manuscript out by the next mail, on 5 April 1858. Both writers agree that Wallace's letter and manuscript must have been a reply to Darwin's letter, because before this time he would not have been aware of Lyell's enthusiasm for his work and would not have requested the materials be sent to him if Darwin thought them relevant.

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Wallace's Ternate essay and extracts from Darwin's Write my essay help

Another possible issue concerns the fact that the Ternate essay had a different point to make from either his Sarawak essay or his application of its thoughts in the Aru work. If so, why would he have been so interested in sending it to Lyell? Could one somehow argue that the Ternate essay was specifically ‘aimed at Lyell’, and sent to him for that reason—or conversely argue that because it was not, why did he send it at all? I do not think so, in either case; mainly, it seems to have been constructed through a largely separate thought process dwelling on biological, not biogeographical, considerations. Nevertheless, its application to biogeography would have been apparent immediately to Wallace, as it could be used to understand the fact of analogous adaptations having arisen in different places, a process that Lyell put off on creationism. Wallace first discusses this matter in an aside in Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro in 1853, but he had probably been considering the issue as far back as 1846 and his reading of Meyen's Outlines of the Geography of Plants, which presents a pointed question in this direction. With a transmutation model that could be used to explain these biogeographical particulars, Wallace, right after criticizing Lyell in print, and now with some new ammunition, would probably have been very interested in receiving some feedback from him.

Was Wallace's Ternate essay and letter on natural selection a reply to Darwin's letter
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