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