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Record number: WCP4648

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Charles Grant Blairfindie ("Grant") Allen
4 April 1899

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Corfe View, Parkstone, Dorset to Charles Grant Blairfindie ("Grant") Allen [none given] on 4 April 1899.

Record created:
14 August 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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LETTER (WCP4648.4964)

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

Held by:
Dittrick Medical History Center of Case Western Reserve University
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

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Parkstone, Dorset

April 4th 1899

My dear Grant Allen

When I read Mrs. H.Ward’s "Marcella", a few years back, & saw how thoroughly she had got up the arguments of the Socialists & how in all discussions she made Marcella have the best of it, I said to myself, how at last we shall have a Socialist in a Novel who does something worthy, & does not turn out a fool or a fiasco! But alas! When the opportunity came, Marcella did no more than apply the usual plaisters & palliatives of the parliamentary [[2]] philistine.

Now, I have been reading your "At Market Value" -- which I enjoyed very much as a story, and also admired the character of the self-sacrificing hero -- who I am glad to see you made to recognize that he had not acted heroically at all, but had wickedly thrown away a great opportunity of doing good by his self-sacrifice.

Now why did you (who know so much better) follow the weak example of Mrs. H. [[3]] Ward? Is it impossible that a sensible socialist should inherit wealth, and do something with it worthy of his creed? Surely it would not be difficult to make his struggles & troubles and efforts to do good both successful & interesting. I have been led to write this by reading Craig’s1 "Ralahine" -- perhaps the most interesting & successful experiment in Cooperation & Socialism ever tried, but narrated in such a confused and discursive way as to be [[4]] puzzling to most readers.

Now why do not you write a novel of an enthusiastic Socialist – the outcast of his family -- who yet inherits a great landed estate -- & uses it to teach cooperation, land-nationalisation & socialism? He might try many methods. Lord Carrington’s plan of giving small plats on farms to all who wants them then gradually bringing them to cooperate, or real socialistic cooperation as at Ralahine -- and also one or more of Mr. Howard’s2 "Garden Cities" – in which the Municipality gradually takes over all public work, & then absorbs all private manufacture, resulting in a Socialistic City! I admit it would be difficult to make this generally interesting, but I think you could do it.

With best wishes | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Edward Thomas Craig. He was a socialist who was asked by John Vandeleur at Ralahine to assist and advise him on establishing the commune in County Clare.

2. Mr (later Sir) Ebenezer Howard formed the Garden City movement producing cities such as Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth Garden City

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