Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP3489

Sent by:
Robert Maitland Brereton
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
7 November 1911

Sent by Robert Maitland Brereton, Woodstock, Oregon, USA to Alfred Russel Wallace [none given] on 7 November 1911.

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


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LETTER (WCP3489.2976)

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

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46439 ff. 402-405
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Robert Maitland Brereton Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information




Woodstock -- Oregon -- U.S.A.

Nov[ember] -- 7 -- 1911.

Dr. A. R. Wallace, L.L.D, F.R.S etc--

Dear Sir:

I am an old English Civil Engineer, with 60 years professional experience in railroad and irrigation works in Great Britain, India, South Africa and North America, and one of the many thousands of the readers of your charming books concerning Life in terrestrial Nature. Your latest book I have just read with the greatest interest and with admiration of your wonderful display of psychical & physical powers at your great age. I am a firm believer in Spiritualism, through experience of over 30 years with the use of the Planchette in the hands of my wife, who is an excellent medium.

My object in now writing to you is simply this: I am a Christian in religion, and therefore a believer in the Spiritual Fatherhood of God, and in the Spiritual Brotherhood of Man. Hence, the Christian doctrine of Incarnation is to me a very important one for linking the human spirit with the physical body. [[2]] I am not a Scientist in Biology or in Physiology, and all I know about Bioplasm and Protoplasm is derived from Huxley2, Spencer3 and other experts.

In trying to follow out the maxim of the old Greek Philosopher -- "Man know thyself", -- I have studied the physical evidence of my bodily being in the union of the living male spermatozoon with the inert but fertilizable female ovule, which forms the physical and unspecific embryo, in which "I am", or my personality is not in evidence. Then I turn to the doctrine of incarnation and in this I see that at a certain period my spirit became grafted on the unspecific embryo, and transformed it into the specific foetus, the nucleus of my physical babehood and individualism.

In your most interesting "Darwinism", p.p. 448,9, you quote Huxley on the Embryonic Development of Man into the womb -and show the remarkable differentiation from the unspecific into the specific human form. You do not touch on the incarnation theory at this vital period.

[[3]] Christianity is based on the fact of the incarnation of the human spirit; which reveals the pre-existence of the human soul, and makes intelligible the Fatherhood of God, and the paternal relation of man to man. Those relationships are purely spiritual, as, also, is the Christian doctrine of the "At-one-ment" . The triangle a c b represents the fraternal relationship which meet at the apex C, which is the indwelling Divine Spirit.

The remarkable features of personality or individualism, so conspicuously revealed in the incarnate babe in the womb and in its physical existence, show the chemical and mechanical ability of the mind and will of the indwelling soul in forming the body. The mind and will of the mother cannot control the sex of the babe, or the uniqueness of the personal scent of its body. The spirit life of the babe in the womb is not dependent upon the oxygen of the air through the lung action. This incarnation theory may serve to explain the appearance of a "black sheep" in a civilized family; if the spirit world of humanity contains low and high grades of spirits awaiting incarnation.

[[4]] The incarnation doctrine should teach the Christian Churches, and the Educators of home, civil and National hygienic sciences, the evils of man-made disasters, such as syphilis & alcoholism, and promote more active measures for their eradication and prevention.

If the human spirit is destined to become incarnate on this terrestrial sphere, it ought not to be handicapped with a diseased embryo, and hereditary poison blood in building its body of flesh.

Kindly pardon me for troubling you with this communication.

Yours very truly | R.M. Brereton [signature]

M. Inch[?] C. E. (London).

P.S: Is it not noteworthy that the law of sexual relations and motherhood does not apply to the Spirit World?


1. Text in the margin written in the hand of Alfred Russel Wallace in the top left corner of the page.

"Interesting Letter


Dec[ember]. 5th 1911"

2. Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-1895). English biologist and comparative anatomist.

3. Spencer, Herbert (1820-1903). English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist and sociologist.

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