Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP317

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Violet Isabel Wallace
20 November 1898

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset, to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 20 November 1898.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.


Re. German books, pedagogy and learning the German language; books; tea from Moore Brothers; Alfred Russel Wallace writing article for "L'Humanite Nouvelle" on socialism, militarism and causes of war, sťances held by Miss Chant and Mrs Comber; Nietzsche; Mr Ackland.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP317.317)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/2/116
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Nov[ember] 20th. 1898

My dear Violet

The enclosed letter from Will came today, and it was 4 days later than ours we opened it to have the last news. He had just got to his log buck[?] where he wrote to us & it has gone to Hurst. I ordered the book for you immediately & it was sent, but what you want to read books on "German Pedagogy" for, when you have the thing itself to study, "all alive and growing", I cannot quite see. I should have thought reading easy[?] book, newspapers, & Magazines (I suppose there are German Mags.) would have been more useful to a beginner. I also ordered the Tea Merchants -- Moore Brothers -- to send you their Foreign List for tea, sent carriage & duty paid, so Frau Rektor will [[2]] be able to order some herself next time. What we have is the best mixed Ceylon and China tea. I have just finished reading -- "The Cross Roads" -- by F. Montreson[?] -- a very interesting and well-- written story, and am now just beginning -- "On the Face of the Waters" -- Some time back the Ed. of a Belgian Paris paper called "LHumanité Nouvelle", sent me 4 questions, as to the causes and evils of War and Militarism, and the best and most effective Remedies -- I have at length found time to write a short article on the subject, and am now copying in it out to send, and I suppose they will translate it as it will be published with a lot of others in French & Italian. I really bring in Socialism indirectly, as [[3]] I maintain that the fundamental cause of war is the existence and almost absolute power of Ruling and Military Classes, to whom War brings profit, power, excitement, and the means of every increasing their power and finding places for their friends & relatives. Then I admit that there is good as well as evil in Militarism, and show that the good arises from the organisation, the training, the cooperation, the brotherly life, and the espirit-de-corps, & point out that all these good effects arise not from the fighting but from the preparation for all the work done by the soldier; and that the same good effects on character would arise from an equally effective industrial organisation, -- whose purpose & ultimate effects would be as completely good as those of war are completely bad! [[4]] I think that is a good & rather new argument for Socialism!

Miss Chaut with Mrs. Coucher[?] & her neice[sic] are having weekly seánces, & have already got the table to tip, and move, and roll about and fall-over, and they are very much astonished. Now they have had words and sentences spelt out by a wineglass on which they put their fingers with the letters of the A.B.C. placed all round it, and it moves towards each letter even when they do not look at them and once when they letters were placed face-downwards!

The Nietsché[sic] number of the E.&J. was not amusing, but interesting as giving us an account of Ne & his own writings. you cant have all plum cake! There has been nothing in the paper lately of interest. When there is I will send one, and a "Clarion" or something. You have not told us a word of what Mr. Ackland is like, what he has pause[?] for &c.&c. Illuminate us!

Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.