I have not read Davies' book, but there is a lot of detail in this interview with Alex Tsakiris, excerpted here:
"And of course, Wallace’s whole instinct was how on earth does life change in each generation? How do the generations change inside a particular species? And it was he who actually found all this and put it together. And then because he had corresponded with Darwin, first of all he sent Darwin the letter, Darwin replied saying to him, ‘Well, we thought much alike.’ In fact, it was only when Lyell went to see him that they had not thought much alike, and yet Darwin had convinced Wallace that they thought much alike. Wallace had his own suspicions that they hadn’t but then he sends another letter back to Darwin. Then Darwin replies and the last letter of the five of them was the one where Wallace actually says to him, ‘Look, I have come up with the theory of evolution. Would you have a look at it? And if you think it’s good enough would you show it to Charles Lyell?’ And that’s where the story kind of gets bogged down in the whole question of what was in that letter because it doesn’t exist anymore.If Davies is right, Darwin committed an intellectual crime, and leveraged his own name into history at the expense of the actual discoverer.
Charles Darwin made sure that the letters don’t exist anymore, not only to Wallace but to all the significant characters who might have offered some kind of criticism to what he was doing, particularly people like Asa Gray. None of Gray’s letter to Darwin stayed alive, or are exist at this moment, but Darwin’s letters to Gray are and in those letters he gives the game away. So basically we know for a fact that there is something seriously wrong with this story. I mean, people who love Darwin and are Darwinists keep on saying, ‘But you can’t prove it, you can’t prove it.’ And that’s partly because Darwin destroyed the evidence which might have been able to bring him down. But that isn’t the only evidence we have got. We have got a lot of evidence, mostly that Wallace’s ideas were first of all rubbished by Darwin and then taken and made into his own.
Alex Tsakiris: Right, and we should mention as long as you’re talking about it what letters meant during this time period. Because now we send off an email and we throw it in our trash and we don’t think anything of it. Letters, letters of this kind, to be lost – to be thrown away, is virtually unheard of for a scientist like Darwin, right?
Roy Davies: Indeed. And Darwin keeps all the letters, like from his son going to the university or the Ashmolean Museum or whatever. He keeps those letters, but the significant ones are not there. The letters themselves, you see, and this is the most important part – everything hinges in this story and this is the difficult bit of getting across to people. Everything in the story hinges essentially on two things. One is the mail service between Singapore an home. When it happened, how it happened, which ships took the mail, which ships were meant to take the mail, and which ships actually carried the mail. The second part of it is the whole idea of letters themselves and their significance in the middle of the 19th century. The whole idea of letters coming from an area of the world where the British were in China in trouble with the Chinese uprising against their attempt to sort of keep hold of bits of China, which they shouldn’t have done. The second part was the whole Indian mutiny which had begun in 1857, which had been boiling since 1856. And those two things made the mail from Singapore to home the most important channel of information for anybody to do with governing the British, in India or in China.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so let’s put an exclamation point on that. Mail service is the internet, the railroad, the highway system, all wrapped together for the British empire. It’s the way the whole thing runs back then.
Roy Davies: Absolutely.
Alex Tsakiris: And most importantly what you reveal in this book and through your research is that there is really no way that Darwin could have gotten the letter on the day when he said he did. It really doesn’t make any sense. And as a matter of fact, even your critics agree that it would be a highly-unusual set of circumstances for it to arrive on that day. And the reason for that is because, as you just said, the mail at this point in history is a regularly-scheduled event. And when it comes from the other side of the world we can trace down when that happened. Why do you think it is so unlikely that Charles Darwin received that letter on the date that he said he did?
Roy Davies: Okay, there is no likelihood at all. One of my critics is John van Whye, who is now in Singapore who is a Darwin enthusiast. Now, the point that John van Whye is making is that John , because he needs it to happen in the middle of the month, gets the first boat to pick up the mail and take it to Singapore, totally without precedent.
Alex Tsakiris: Well we can jump in there and I can shut that down – I mean, if there is a better example of apologetics I don’t know where it is. If there is a better example of Dr. John van Whye starting with the conclusion that he wants and then working backwards to try and make it fit the circumstances that we know, it’s just absurd. If you could spend a minute, tell us why he is jumping through all these hoops because as I understand it the reason he is jumping through all these hoops is that the regularly-scheduled mail, the mail that gets reported in the newspaper around the world would not put the letter there at the time that Darwin claims that it is there, right?
Roy Davies: Let me come the other way around. The mail coming back from the far east, from Singapore, there were two deliveries a month from Singapore to Britain. There had only been in ’56, one a month. But the British, because of the connection with India and China, were in desperate need of having a more regular service to find out exactly what was happening. They didn’t know what the Army was doing, they didn’t know what was happening in the Indian Revolution and the mutiny. Nobody had any idea until the mail came in. So that made the biggest thing on the headlines in the Times of London every two weeks was the mail has arrived. It was the most amazing piece of news and it always led the papers on that day. Now then, the mail that came from Malay Archipelago, where Wallace was at the time he discovered the theory, always came from the Archipelago to Britain and arrived on the second day or the third day of every month. The second delivery always ended up in the middle of the month. So that middle of the month mail never included mail from the Archipelago. Now, John van Whye insists that the mail from the Archipelago arrived on June the 18th and I am saying that because of what I know of the schedule of boats in the far east at that time, that letter posted on the 9th of March 1958 arrived on June the 2nd in London, on June the 3rd in Darwin’s home. And it was for that reason that for the next two weeks Darwin had the chance to introduce into his natural selection manuscript the 66 pages of new information that he had taken from Wallace’s own theory.
That is why he was able to say to Lyell in his letters, ‘Look, this is appalling. I have worked on this for years and here I get letters from Wallace saying exactly the same things. His ideas could stand as headlines to my chapters.’ Or words to that effect."
There is much more information contained in the interview.
I failed to credit the link to JBsptfn; Thanks!