Alfred Russel Wallace OM FRS (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, biologist and illustrator. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection; his paper on the subject was jointly published with some of Charles Darwin’s writings in 1858. This prompted Darwin to publish his own ideas in On the Origin of Species.
Like Darwin, Wallace did extensive fieldwork; first in the Amazon River basin, and then in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the faunal divide now termed the Wallace Line, which separates the Indonesian archipelago into two distinct parts: a western portion in which the animals are largely of Asian origin, and an eastern portion where the fauna reflect Australasia.
He was considered the 19th century’s leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and is sometimes called the “father of biogeography”. Wallace was one of the leading evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century and made many other contributions to the development of evolutionary theory besides being co-discoverer of natural selection. These included the concept of warning colouration in animals, and the Wallace effect, a hypothesis on how natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging the development of barriers against hybridisation. Wallace’s 1904 book Man’s Place in the Universe was the first serious attempt by a biologist to evaluate the likelihood of life on other planets. He was also one of the first scientists to write a serious exploration of the subject of whether there was life on Mars.
Wallace was strongly attracted to unconventional ideas (such as evolution). His advocacy of spiritualism and his belief in a non-material origin for the higher mental faculties of humans strained his relationship with some members of the scientific establishment.
Aside from scientific work, he was a social activist who was critical of what he considered to be an unjust social and economic system (capitalism) in 19th-century Britain. His interest in natural history resulted in his being one of the first prominent scientists to raise concerns over the environmental impact of human activity. He was also a prolific author who wrote on both scientific and social issues; his account of his adventures and observations during his explorations in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, The Malay Archipelago, was both popular and highly regarded. Since its publication in 1869, it has never been out of print.
Wallace had financial difficulties throughout much of his life. His Amazon and Far Eastern trips were supported by the sale of specimens he collected and, after he lost most of the considerable money he made from those sales in unsuccessful investments, he had to support himself mostly from the publications he produced. Unlike some of his contemporaries in the British scientific community, such as Darwin and Charles Lyell, he had no family wealth to fall back on, and he was unsuccessful in finding a long-term salaried position, receiving no regular income until he was awarded a small government pension, through Darwin’s efforts, in 1881.
THE DEATH OF PARSON CALDWELL’S WIFE
recorded, of the wanton barbarity of the soldiers of the King of
England, as they patrolled the defenceless villages of America, was
evinced nowhere more remarkably than in the burnings and massacres
every that, marked the footsteps of the British troops as they from time
to time ravaged the State of New Jersey.
In their late excursion they had trod their deleterious path
through a part of the country called the Connecticut Farms. It is
needless to particularize many instances of their wanton rage and
unprovoked devastation in and near Elizabethtown. The places
dedicated to public worship did not escape their fury; these were
destroyed more from licentious folly than any religious frenzy or
bigotry, to which their nation had at times been liable. Yet
through the barbarous transactions of this summer nothing excited
more general resentment and compassion than the murder of the
amiable and virtuous wife of a Presbyterian clergyman, attended
with too many circumstances of grief on the one side and barbarism
on the other to pass over in silence.
This lady was sitting in her own house with her little
domestic circle around her and her infant in her arms,
unapprehensive of danger, shrouded by the consciousness of her own
innocence and virtue, when a British barbarian pointed his musket
into the window of her room, and instantly shot the her through the
lungs. A hole was dug, the body thrown in, and the house of this
excellent lady set on fire and consumed with all the property it
Mr. Caldwell, her affectionate husband, was absent; nothing
had ever been alleged against his character, even by his enemies,
but his zeal for the rights, and his attachment to his native land.
For this he had been persecuted, and for this he was robbed of all
that he held dear in life, by bloody hands of men in whose
benevolence and politeness he had had much confidence until the
fated day when this mistaken opinion led him to leave his beloved
family, fearless of danger and certain of their security, from
their innocence, virtue, and unoffending amiability.
Mr. Caldwell afterward published the proofs of this cruel
affair, attested on oath before magistrates by sundry persons who
were in the house with Mrs. Caldwell and saw her fall back and
expire immediately after the report of the gun. “This was,” as
observed by Mr. Caldwell, “a violation of tender feeling;
without provocation, deliberately committed in open day; nor was it
ever frowned on by the commander.” The catastrophe of this unhappy
family was completed within two years by the murder of Mr. Caldwell
himself by some ruffian hands.
His conscious integrity of heart had never suffered him to
apprehend any personal danger, and the melancholy that pervaded all
on the tragical death of his lady, who was distinguished for the
excellence and respectability of her character, wrought up the
resentment of that part of the country to so high a pitch that the
most timid were aroused to deeds of desperate heroism. They were
ready to swear, like Hannibal against the Romans, and to bind their
sons to the oath of everlasting enmity to the name of Britain.
JOHN ADAM’S MONARCHICAL IDEAS
partiality for monarchy appeared in your conduct. This fact you
deny, and entreat me to bring forward the evidences which I suppose
will warrant the assertion. The assertion was not founded on vague
rumor, nor was it the result of any scattered and dubious
expressions through your Defence of the American Constitutions that
might warrant such a suspicion, but from my own judgment and
observation soon after your return from Europe in the year 1788.
There certainly was then an observable alteration in your whole
deportment and conversation. Many of your best friends saw, felt,
and regretted it. If time has not weakened your memory you will
recollect many instances of yourself. I will remind you of a few.
Do you not remember an interview at Cambridge soon after your
return from England, when his lady and myself met you walking up to
Mr. Gerry’s? We stopped the carriage, and informed you that Mrs.
Gerry and myself were engaged to take tea with Madam Winthrop. You
returned and took tea with us at the house of that excellent lady.
You will remember that Mr. Gerry’s carriage was sent for me in the
edge of the evening. You took a seat with me, and returned to Mr.
Gerry’s. Do you not recollect, sir, that in the course of
conversation on the way you replied thus to something that I had
observed?-“It does not signify, Mrs. Warren, to talk much of the
virtue of Americans. more We are like all other people, and shall do
like other nations, where all wellregulated governments are
monarchic.” I well remember my own reply, “That a limited monarchy
might be the best government, but that it would be long before
Americans would be reconciled to the idea of a king.” Do you not
recollect that, a very, short time after this, Mr. Warren and
myself made you a visit at Braintree? The previous conversation, in
the evening, I do not so distinctly remember; but in the morning,
at breakfast at Mercy your own table, the conversation on the subject of
monarchy was resumed. Your ideas appeared to be favorable to
monarchy, and to an order of nobility in your own country. Mr.
Warren replied, “I am thankful that I am a plebeian.” You answered:
“No, sir, you are one of the nobles. There has been a national
aristocracy here ever since the country was settled,-your family at
Plymouth, Mrs. Warren’s at Barnstable, and many others in very many
places that have kept up a distinction similar to nobility.” This
conversation subsided by a little mirth. Do you not remember that,
after breakfast, you and Mr. Warren stood up by the window, and
conversed on the situation of the country, on the Southern States,
and some principal characters there? You, with a degree of passion,
exclaimed, “They must have a master; ” and added, by a stamp with
your foot, “By God, they shall have a master.” In the course of the
same evening you observed that you “wished to see a monarchy in
this country and an hereditary one too.” To this you say I replied
as quick as lightning, “And so do I too.” If I did, which I do not
remember, it must have been with some additional stroke which
rendered it a sarcasm. You added with a considerable degree of
emotion that you hated frequent elections, that they were the ruin
of the morals of the people, that when a youth you had seen
iniquity practised at a town meeting for the purpose of electing
officers, than you had ever seen in any of the courts in Europe.
These conversations were not disseminated by me,-we were too
much hurt by the apparent change of sentiment and manner; they were
concealed in our own bosoms until time should develop the result of
such a change in such a man. Is not the above sufficient to warrant
everything that I have said relative to your monarchic opinions ?
Had you recollected the conversations alluded to above, you would
not I have asserted on your faith and honor that every sentiment in
a paragraph you refer to is “totally unfounded.” On your return
from Europe it was generally thought that you looked coldly on your
Republican friends and their families, and that you united yourself
with the party in Congress who were favorers of monarchy; that the
old Tories, denominating themselves Federalists, gathered round
you. And did not your administration while in the presidential
chair evince that you had no aversion to the usages of monarchic
governments? Sedition, stamp, and alien laws, a standing army,
house and land taxes, and loans of money at an enormous interest
were alarming symptoms in the American Republic. Your removal from
the chair by the free suffrages of a majority of the people of the
United States sufficiently evinces that I was not mistaken when I
asserted that “a large portion” of the inhabitants of America from
New Hampshire to Georgia viewed your political opinions in the same
point of light in which I have exhibited them, and considered their
liberties in imminent danger, without an immediate change of the
Chief Magistrate. However, I never supposed that you had a wish to
submit again to the monarchy of Great Britain, or to become
subjugated to any foreign sovereign. An American monarchy with an
American character at its head would, doubtless, have been more
pleasing to yourself. The veracity of an historian is his strongest
base; and I am sure I have recorded nothing but what I thought I
had the highest reason to believe. If I have been mistaken I shall
be forgiven; and, if there are errors, they will be candidly viewed
by liberal-minded and generous readers.
PLYMOUTH, MASS., 28 July, 1807.
WOMAN’S TRIFLING NEEDS
of all she needs Lamira offers here;
Nor does she fear a rigid Cato’s frown
When she lays by the rich embroidered gown,
And modestly compounds for just enough-
Perhaps, some dozens of more flighty stuff;
With lawns and lustrings, blond, and Mechlin laces,
Fringes and jewels, fans and tweezer-cases;
memory Gay cloaks, and hats of every shape and size,
Scarfs, cardinals, and ribbons of all dyes;
With ruffles stamped, and aprons of tambour,
Tippets and handkerchiefs, at least three score;
With finest muslins that fair India boasts,
And the choice herbage from Chinesan coasts;
(But while the fragrant hyson leaf regales,
Who’ll wear the homespun produce of the vales?
For if ‘twould save the nation from the curse
Of standing troops; or-name a plague still worse-
Few can this choice, delicious draught give up,
Though all Medea’s poisons fill the cup.)
Add feathers, furs, rich satins, and ducapes,
And bead-dresses in pyramidial shapes;
Sideboards of plate and porcelain profuse,
With fifty dittos that the ladies use;
If my poor treach’rous has missed,
Ingenious T___l shall complete the list.
So weak Lamira, and her wants so few,
Who can refuse?-they’re but the sex’s due.
In youth, indeed, an antiquated page
Taught us the threatenings of an Hebrew sage
‘Gainst wimples, mantles, curls, and crisping-pins;
But rank not these among our modern sins;
For when our manners are well understood,
What in the scale is stomacher or hood?
‘Tis true, we love the courtly mien and air,
The pride of dress and all the debonair;
Yet Clara quits the more dressed negligee,
And substitutes the careless Polanee;
Until some fair one from Britannia’s court,
Some jaunty dress or newer taste import;
This sweet temptation could not be withstood,
Though for the purchase paid her father’s blood.
Can the stern patriot Clara’s suit deny?
‘Tis Beauty asks, and Reason must comply.