Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP1677

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Editor of "The Outlook"
[not recorded]

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, N/A to Editor of "The Outlook" [address not recorded] on  .

Record created:
02 September 2011 by Beccaloni, George


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Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP1677.1554)

An author's draft handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP7/100(1)
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




To the Editor of the Outlook.

Sir - As you have been so good as to call my attention to your correspondent Eves letter, as being "a very shrewd attack" not only upon men in general but upon myself in particular, I presume you will not object to my making a few observations thereon.

"Eve", may be shrewd, in beginning opening her attack by such the definite statements as, the assertion of my seeing that I can see "no difference between Cetewayo1 and Charles Gordon2"; but I cannot see consider their honest it to be fair fighting to begin with such a blow "below the belt", which nothing in my article justified. Again, it may be a sufficient proof of her a sense of humour (which she seems very anxious to claim for her sex) to ridicule my an important portion of my argument without taking the trouble to referring to my original and fuller statement of it, as she does when she implies that I ignore altogether "the foolish sentiment we call love" - but it to do so is certainly [[2]] 2) neither wise intelligent nor honest. But I suppose however that the name "Eve" is meant to represent the imply that your correspondent speaks for the primitive woman, who was, according to modern anthropology, a very degraded undeveloped creature. If however she had taken the trouble to read the article to which I referred my readers she would have found, among much other important matter, the following sentence -- "It would probably come to be considered a degradation for any woman to marry a man she could not both love and esteem," and this feeling would supply ample reasons for either abstaining from marriage altogether or delaying it till a worthy and sympathetic partner was encountered".

But "Eve" seems to be a little archaic in her suggestion as to the "foolish sentiment" being now the a main factor in determining marriage. Surely such influences as rank, wealth, position, [[3]] 3) desire for independence, dread of want, and numerous other causes dependent on our very present imperfect social economy, drive a large number of women into matrimony either without, or in direct opposition to, the attractions of love.

Equally unwise beside the point is Eves humorous suggestion (for it is not mine) that love of children can only be "tested by competitive examination". I am indeed sorry to be obliged to differ so totally from a lady who poses as one of [illegible word crossed out] my maternal ancestors, but I [illegible crossing out] am glad to be able to say that there is one statement in her letter with which I can heartily agree and that is that in discussing so vast and important a subject as the future well-being of humanity I have never had "the least idea of being funny".

Yours &c... | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Cetewayo (1826 - 1884), Zulu king.

2. Charles G. Gordon (1833-1885), soldier.

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