Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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WALLACE, Alfred Russel, English naturalist, born in Usk, Monmouth, 8 January, 1822. He received his education at the grammar-school of Hertford, was for some time a land-surveyor, and assistant to his elder brother, an architect, engaging afterward in the study of natural sciences. In 1848 he visited South America, explored the basin of Amazon and Rio Negro rivers, and resided for several months in Para. He formed extensive collections in ornithology and botany, and, through a long sojourn among the Indians of the Upper Amazon, obtained valuable information concerning their dialects, habits, and manners. Most of those collections were lost at sea when he returned to England in 1852. From 1854 till 1862 he visited the Malay archipelago, studied the flora and fauna of Molueca, Celebes, and New Guinea, and arrived, independently of Charles R. Darwin's researches, at a theory of natural selection, which he developed in a paper that he sent to Sir Charles Lyell entitled " On the Tendencies of Varieties to depart Indefinitely from the Original Type" (London, 1858). Besides works on his eastern travels and the theory of natural selection, Wallace is the author of "Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, with Remarks on the Vocabularies of the Amazonian Languages " (London, 1853) ; "Palm-Trees of the Amazon and their Uses" (1853);" On the Geographical Distribution of Animals," which was issued simultaneously in English, French, and German (2 vols., 1876); " Island Life" (1880); and "Land Nationalization" (1882).
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