ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE.
The land of the orang-utan, and the bird or paradise.
A narrative of travel, with sketches of man and nature.
To CHARLES DARWIN,
AUTHOR OF "THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES,"
I dedicate this book,
Not only as a token of personal esteem and friendship
To express my deep admiration
His genius and his works.
My readers will naturally ask why I have delayed writing this
book for six years after my return; and I feel bound to give them
full satisfaction on this point.
When I reached England in the spring of 1862, I found myself
surrounded by a room full of packing cases containing the
collections that I had, from time to time, sent home for my
private use. These comprised nearly three thousand birdskins of
about one thousand species, at least twenty thousand beetles and
butterflies of about seven thousand species, and some quadrupeds
and land shells besides. A large proportion of these I had not
seen for years, and in my then weakened state of health, the
unpacking, sorting, and arranging of such a mass of specimens
occupied a long time.
I very soon decided that until I had done something towards
naming and describing the most important groups in my collection,
and had worked out some of the more interesting problems of
variation and geographical distribution (of which I had had
glimpses while collecting them), I would not attempt to publish
my travels. Indeed, I could have printed my notes and journals at
once, leaving all reference to questions of natural history for a
future work; but, I felt that this would be as unsatisfactory to
myself as it would be disappointing to my friends, and
uninstructive to the public.
Since my return, up to this date, I have published eighteen
papers in the "Transactions" or "Proceedings of the Linnean
Zoological and Entomological Societies", describing or
cataloguing portions of my collections, along with twelve others
in various scientific periodicals on more general subjects
connected with them.
Nearly two thousand of my Coleoptera, and many hundreds of my
butterflies, have been already described by various eminent
naturalists, British and foreign; but a much larger number
remains undescribed. Among those to whom science is most indebted
for this laborious work, I must name Mr. F. P. Pascoe, late
President of the Entomological Society of London, who had almost
completed the classification and description of my large
collection of Longicorn beetles (now in his possession),
comprising more than a thousand species, of which at least nine
hundred were previously undescribed and new to European cabinets.
The remaining orders of insects, comprising probably more than
two thousand species, are in the collection of Mr. William Wilson
Saunders, who has caused the larger portion of them to be
described by good entomologists. The Hymenoptera alone amounted
to more than nine hundred species, among which were two hundred
and eighty different kinds of ants, of which two hundred were