Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP5519

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
[not recorded]
18 February 1847

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Neath, Glamorganshire, Wales to [addressee not recorded] [address not recorded] on 18 February 1847.

Record created:
09 April 2014 by Benny, Ruth


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Wallace, Alfred Russel. (1848). Emigration [lttE concerning the desirability of emigration to the southern U.S.]. The Annals of Progress. [p. 3]

Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

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Transcription information



[[1]] [p. 3]1

We are pleased to give insertion to the following letters upon the important subject of emigration. The one from America, written by a labouring man, in a free and lucid style, will be read with interest by working men of this country, and will come home the more closely to their hearts, because it is written by one of their own order. We were about to pass our pen through the brief allusions to family matters, as "I have named my little son," and "My wife is named Jane," &c., but we subsequentlu thought that by doing so we should be striking out the colours which give warmth to the picture: --

"Sir, -- I send you the enclosed letter, which I obtained from one of the workmen on the railway here, whose brother is the writer. You may, perhaps, think it worth publishing. It appears to me very important that the working me of this country should be made acquainted with the advantages and capabilities of the southern states of America, as a place for emigration. Thousands of emigrants pour into New York, a part of America which approaches nearer in density of population to our own country than any other, and , of course every kind of labout being overstocked, many are unable to find employment, or to obtian the means of reaching more thinly populated districts.

A relation of mine2 has just reurned from Georgia and Alambama, and gives a delightful account of the plenty of food and land, and the healthiness of the climate. The southern states are scarcely ever alluded to in our works on emigration, and many of our working-men scarcely know of their existence. The reason of this is, that they are slave states; but this is no reason they should not be eligible for emigrants. The example of free labour, and what it can do, before their eyes, would do more for the abolition of slavery, by appealing to the pockets of the planters, than can all the writings of the abolitionists, which only excite ill feelings, and may perhaps tend to prolong the evil through a spirit of opposition.

If half a dozen of our working-men would go and settle in a southern state, they would be sure to obtain a good living with little labour: and I think all will see that they would be doing much more for the poor slaves than they would effect in any more direct way.

Should these remarks be of any service, you are at liberty to publish them. I remain yours, &c.

Alfred P.[sic] Wallace.

Neath, Galmorganshire."


1.Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter printed on page 3 of "The Annals of Progress," a separately paginated serial supplement attached weekly to The People's Journal (London), in this case to the second issue (probably early January 1848) of its volume 5, part 2. In the magazine the letter is signed "Alfred P. Wallace," but this is a transcription error in the original (several lines of conclusive evidence point to this being "our" Wallace). The editorial introduction is included below, but nor the letter reffered to (itself dated 18 February 1847), written by William Nethey to his brother George, an acquaintance of Wallace's.

2 .Wallace is here referring to his sister Fanny. According to his autobiography My Life Fanny had returned to England in September 1847 after a three-year teaching stint in private schools in Georgia and Alabama.


This transcript originates from Charles H. Smith's The Alfred Russel Walalce Page website (http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/index1.htm): See http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S002A.htm

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