Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP552

Sent by:
James Marshall
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
30 December 1911

Sent by James Marshall, Carthew, Poole Park, Dorset to Alfred Russel Wallace [address not recorded] on 30 December 1911.

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


Letter enclosing a MS headed "Daily Mail article (Dec 19th), Extract from leading article on "the irresponsible Cabinet" " on the opposition of Fellows of the Royal Society to the Insurance Bill.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP552.552)

A typical letter  .

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/8/81
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the James Marshall Literary Estate.

Transcription information







Dec[embe]r 30th 1911

My dear Dr. Russel Wallace

As I had lent the "Standard" I have not been able to reply to your request until now. From what you have said, I conclude that the writer of the article, Copy Extract of which I enclose, knowing that you were one of the most honoured Fellows of the Royal Society, assumed that you were at one with the distinguished Members or Fellows with whom he has associated your name,.

Before you [1 word illeg.] with him, may I suggest, in the Spirit of friendliness, that you read carefully, with your critical instinct.

"The National Insurance Bill" | A Paper by | C. S. Loch B. A. LLD. D. C. L | approved by the Council of the | "Charity Organisation Society" | Price 4d. Dundee House, Vauxhall Bridge Road. S. W.

[[2]] and also the last report of the "Bristol Civic League" whose practical beneficial operations, should be the basis of such an "Insurance Bill" as I should like to see, and should like introduced and passed through the House of Parliament.

It is a pleasure to me to se that, the opposition to Mr Lloyd George's scheme which I made on my own initiative, in the letter which I wrote in the Bot "Weekly Times" on July 18; a copy of which I sent you , is shared by such distinguished savants in the Fellows of the Royal Society.

You will see what, Mr Loch has also shown in his paper that the tendency of the Insurance Bill would be to perpetuate the causes of the sin, sickness, idleness, poverty and misery that, by wiser [1 word crossed out illeg.] educational means, we should strive,, in conjunction with a municipal sanitary housing scheme, to banish [[3]] from our cities and towns.

I hope to have the pleasure of having a little talk over it with you and to say something about an alternative scheme of Insurance, and

Wishing you a happy new year | I remain | Yours very sincerely | James Marshall [signature]

PS. In a letter from a staunch life long Liberal, a Barrister, which I have just received, he says: -

"Lloyd George is only a poor radical and humanitarian: a mere imitation of a Liberal-minded man, puffed up by the applause of the vulgar, and a few, so called radical papers. But like a cigar the more he is puffed the smaller he will get, and I only report the liberal cause will suffer also. This Insurance Bill is nothing but a machine to manufacture Tories."

"I agree with all you say about it."

[[4]]1 [[5]]


1. Written on the last two pages of the letter in the hand of Alfred Russel Wallace is the following:

""Daily Mail" Article (Dec[embe]r. 19th)

Extract from leading article in "the irresponsible cabinet" in the "Standard" of Dec[embe]r. 20" 1911.

The Fellows of the Royal Society include the most distinguished men of Science in the country, and there is probably nobody of persons with a higher reputation at home and abroad. One hundred and eighteen of these savants have signed a remonstrance against the Insurance Bill in the first instance, and against Ministerial despotism in the second. "We protect" they say "against the present system of oligarchical government in cabinet, and we urge that steps be at once taken to restore to the Houses of Parliament the power of initiative and criticism which they have undoubtedly lost." Sir William Ramsay, the great chemist, heads the list of signatories, and among the other protesting Fellows are the Astronomer Royal, Sir Norman Lockyer; another great astronomer, Dr Alfred Russel [[5]] Wallace, the colleague and rival of Darwin; Sir Lauder Brunton, the famous physician, and generally the elite of the Scientific world".

"The opinion of these men will carry more weight the public at large than many party politicians. But the public at large are very much of their way of thinking. It has seen cabinet autocracy growing steadily for years past, and it want to know where the power of this secret committee, theoretically 'unknown to the constitution' is going to end."

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