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Record number: WCP3241

Sent by:
Edward Willmore
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
10 April 1906

Sent by Edward Willmore, 13 Barwick Road, Forest Gate, E. to Alfred Russel Wallace Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset on 10 April 1906.

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


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LETTER (WCP3241.3209)

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

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46442 ff. 19-20
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Edward Willmore Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information




13 Barwick Road,

Forest Gate, E.

10 Ap[ril]. 1906

To Dr. Alfred R. Wallace,

Dear Sir,

I must thank you for your kind letter of the 4th. instant, in which you recommend me to read Thomas Child’s2 "Root Principles"3. I at once ordered the book & have now got it, & I must say it has surprised me, -- not only by reason of its merits, but also because it sets forth with remarkable clearness many of the truths of which I have long been aware, & in some cases states them almost in the very words which I had been putting together for myself & others. This is to me quite remarkable. I refer particularly to the Threefold Nature of Being, the Symbolical interpretation of things, and God as the true "environment". I have not got through the book yet, but I am not likely to leave it until I have completely studied it. Already I have recommended it to a number of friends. All I will now say in criticism of it is that the theologic conclusion on p[age] 163 does not appear to me to be right: I do not think that an historic basis should be formed for Religion quite in that way. I hold that the Figure to whom the Christian "churches" look would stand in unimpaired majesty, & greater beauty, if not formally apotheosized; and that, in short, in proportion as we "build the tombs of the prophets" we are unjust both to them & to the [[2]] humanity which they came to save; and so tend to lose the eternal significance of their teaching by magnifying its historic setting. But I must not write too much. Certainly Haeckel4 is demolished, & in a way I had often wished to see.

I am really obliged to you for your letter, which I have shown to my wife & sons. It has been, as you see, of real value to me in bringing the book to my notice.

With reference to Sir O. Lodge5, it is curious that he came to Toynbee Hall University Settlement6, in Commercial St[reet]. E[ast]., a year ago, & gave a lecture at one of our discussion meetings there, on "The Reality of the Unseen". The address, considering what we expected from Dr. Lodge, was perhaps a little disappointing, for it dwelt mainly on Natural Selection without any particular reference to the Unseen, except the astronomical Unseen. In the debate that followed I tried to supply the deficiency by referring to divine & spiritual things, & Dr. Lodge in his reply then mentioned your name as that of an exponent of such views -- mentioned it with some approbation, yet (it seemed) without then committing himself to the views. That is what rather set me upon reading your works. There have been many weekly meetings at Toynbee Hall since, & they are still going on, & the "New" views -- but surely they are older than Plato7 -- are turning the agnostic & the Sacerdotal positions alike, & are received with real interest & attention.

Yours faithfully | Edward Willmore8 [signature]9


1. Page numbered 19 in pencil in top RH corner

2. Child, Thomas (1839-1906). Scottish minister brought up in the Free Church of Scotland, who later accepted the doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg and became a preacher of the New Church. His major work was Root Principles in Rational and Spiritual Things (see Endnote 3) prompted by Ernst Haeckel’s treatment of the "World Riddle" (see Endnote 4) and commended by ARW.

3. Child, T. (1905) Root Principles in Rational and Spiritual Things London, H. R. Allenson.

4. Haeckel, Ernst Heinrich Philipp August (1834-1919). German biologist, naturalist and philosopher. He viewed the "World Riddle" as a dual-question of the form, "What is the nature of the physical universe and what is the nature of human thinking?" which he explained would have a single answer since humans and the universe were contained within one system. In his 1895 work Monism as Connecting Religion and Science he saw the neurological problem of consciousness as a special case of the all-comprehending cosmological problem, the question of substance. "If we understood the nature of matter and energy, we should also understand how the substance underlying them can under certain conditions feel, desire, and think."

5. Lodge, Oliver Joseph (1851-1940). British physicist and writer involved in the development of radio, who identified electromagnetic radiation independently of Hertz. He was Principal of the University of Birmingham from 1900-1920.

6. The first university settlement house of the world-wide movement, a reformist social agenda that strove to get the rich and poor to live more closely together in an interdependent community. Founded by Samuel and Henrietta Barnett in 1884 on Commercial Street in the East End of London, it was named in memory of their friend and fellow reformer, Oxford historian Arnold Toynbee, who had died the previous year.

7. Plato (428/427 or 424/423 - 348/347 BCE) philosopher and mathematician in Classical Greece, considered an essential figure in the development of Western philosophy.

8. Willmore, Edward (no dates available) Writer on theological matters, author

(1908) The Bond of Truth - A recast of theology, showing the conditions of an ideal Church London, R. & C. Atkins.

9. The words in parentheses "(Soc & C)" are written in pencil below the signature.

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