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A RECORD OF EVENTS AND OPINIONS
ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
"MAN'S PLACE IN THE Universe," "the MALAY ARCHIPELAGO,"
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF ANIMALS," "NATURAL
SELECTION AND TROPICAL NATURE," ETC.
WITH FACSIMILE letters, ILLUSTRATIONS
LONDON: CHAPMAN & HALL, LD.
THE present volumes would not have been written had not the representatives of my English and American publishers assured me that they would probably interest a large number of readers.
I had indeed promised to write some account of my early life for the information of my son and daughter, but this would have been of very limited scope, and would probably not have been printed.
Having never kept a diary, except when abroad, nor preserved any of the earlier letters of my friends, I at first thought that I had no materials for any full record of my life and experiences. But when I set to work in earnest to get together whatever scattered memoranda I could find, the numerous letters I possessed from men of considerable eminence, dating from my return home in 1862, together with a few of my own returned to me by some of my correspondents, I began to see that I had a fair amount of material, though I was very doubtful how far it would interest any considerable number of readers.
As several of my friends have assured me that a true record of a life, especially if sufficiently full as to
illustrate development of character so far as that is due to environment, would be extremely interesting, I have kept this in mind, perhaps unduly, though I am not at all sure that my own conclusions on this point are correct.
It is difficult to write such a record as mine (extending to the memories of nearly eighty years) without subjecting one's self to the charge of diffuseness or egotism, and I cannot hope to escape this altogether. But as my experiences have been certainly varied, if not exciting, I trust that the frequent change of scene and of occupation, together with the diversity of my interests and of the persons with whom I have been associated, may render this story of my life less tedious than might have been anticipated.
My thanks are due to those friends who have assisted me with facts or illustrations, and especially to Mrs. Arthur Waugh, who has been so kind as to make the very full Index to my book.
OLD ORCHARD, BROADSTONE,