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Wallace's views on an eight-hour working day

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                                       Parkstone, Dorset.
                                           May 10th . 1891

My dear Violet

You certainly ought to have had some L.N. tracts to sell at the Demonstration. Another time when you are prepared to do so let me know, & I will write to our Sec[retary] To send you some.

I am quite in favour of a legal eight hours day. Over-time need not be forbidden, but every man who works overtime should have a legal claim to double wages for the extra hours. That would make it cheaper for the master to employ two sets of men working each 8 hours when they had long jobs requiring them,

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At What time did you get the letter with your Ex[hibitio]n ticket I sent it special by Train, & it should have reached you before 6. Be sure to tell me.                                                                                  
[signed]        A.R.W.

while for the necessities of finishing contracts &c. they could well afford to pay double for the extra hours. "It would make everything dearer!"  Of course it would! How else can you produce a more equal distribution of wealth than by making the rich & idle pay more & the workers receive more. "The workers would have to pay more too for everything they bought!". - True again, but what they paid more would not equal their extra earnings, because a large portion of the extra pay to the men will be paid by the rich, & only the remainder paid by the men themselves. The eight hours' day & double pay for overtime would not only employ thousands now out of work but would actually raise wages per hour and per day. This is clear, because wages are kept down wholly by the surplus supply of labour in every trade. The moment this surplus is used up, or nearly so, by more men being requires on account of shorter hours, competition among the men becomes less, among the employers, for men, more, - hence necessarily higher wages all round.

As to the bogie of foreign competition it is a bogie only. All political Economists agree, that if wages are raised in all trades it will not in the least affect our power to export goods as profitably as now. Look & see! And secondly, the 8 hours' movement is an international one & will affect all alike in the end. These are some arguments for you! Poor unreasoning infant!!

I saw an advertisement of the Bol. Diagrams & so ordered them to be sent you.   

I am glad you saw the G.O.M. Wasn't that scrumptious? You might tell me who else you saw there. I shall be in London the 25th. but do not know yet if I shall stay As that will be Monday I suppose you will be busy.

The Nelumbium seeds are not doing well. One died, one started, but for a week it has not grown, though in water at 80o. I think they were too old. Do ask your friend to get me some seeds sent as soon as they are ripe, which will probably be in June or July or August. There is just time for her to write about them. I have been working this last week from morning to night at garden, greenhouse letters &c. &c. There is a pretty little girl about next door, Col. Nichols' niece. They are great

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tennis players, & have set up their poles &c. in the ground.
 Your affectionate Papa  
[signed] Alfred R. Wallace



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