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The result of this would be the formation of a new species.Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work.Thomas Malthus was born near Guildford, Surrey, England in 1766 into a well-off family.
The more I thought over it the more I became convinced that I had at length found the long-sought-for law of nature that solved the problem of the origin of the species.Of far more dramatic significance is the fact that both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace admitted that the food scarcities regarded as being normal by Malthus had been of KEY influence on their seperate development of theories of the evolutionary Origin of Species.To use Charles Darwin's own words from his Autobiography speaking about a time late in 1838 when Malthus ideas were of the utmost importance in guiding the future direction of his own thinking:- I happened to read for amusement Malthus on 'Population', and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed.Then it suddenly flashed upon me that this self-acting process would necessarily improve the race, because in every generation the inferior would inevitably be killed off and the superior would remain - that is, the fittest would survive.Then at once I seemed to see the whole effect of this, that when changes of land and sea, or of climate, or of food-supply, or of enemies occurred - and we know that such changes have always been taking place - and considering the amount of individual variation that my experience as a collector had shown me to exist, then it followed that all the changes necessary for the adaptation of the species to the changing conditions would be brought about; and as great changes in the environment are always slow, there would be ample time for the change to be effected by the survival of the best fitted in every generation.The same evening I did this pretty fully, and on the two succeeding evenings wrote it out carefully in order to send it to Darwin by the next post, which would leave in a day or two.I wrote a letter to him in which I said I hoped the idea would be as new to him as it was to me, and that it would supply the missing factor to explain the origin of the species. And so it was that Wallace sent a memoir about this evolutionary theory to the influential expert naturalist Charles Darwin, arrived in Darwin's hands in June 1858.This theory of the effective inevitability of poverty and distress contradicted the optimistic belief prevailing in the early 19th century, that a society's fertility would lead to economic progress and helped to give Economics, then more frequently known as "Political Economy" the alternative name of "The Dismal Science." Earlier that year the British statesman William Pitt had proposed that poor relief should give special consideration to the encouragement of large families as "those who, after having enriched their country with a number of children, have a claim upon its assistance for their support." In the event Malthus's theory was often used as an argument against efforts to better the condition of the poor.Malthus later went so far as to suggest that, for the lessening of the probability of a miserable existence for the poor, it was advisable to seek to cut the birth rate in society.Words from another Autobiography, this time one by Alfred Russel Wallace, are also available to us as evidence of the massively significant influence of Thomas Malthus Essay on the Principle of Population.It was in 1858 whilst he was laid up with a malarial fever at Ternate, in the Celebes Islands, that a possible solution to the method of evolution flashed into form in Wallace's mind.