Published letter (WCP5125.5632)

[1] [p. 9]

Baltimore, Jan. 31.—Mr. Alfred Russell Wallace, the distinguished English naturalist, in a letter recently written to Prof. R. F. Ely of Johns Hopkins University, called forth by reading the latter's "Political Economy," said:

"I am much pleased with it, especially with your fair and sympathetic treatment of Socialism. Some of your illustrations of the weakness of Socialism would have satisfied me a year ago, but it seems to me they are all well answered in Bellamy's 'Looking Backward.'

"From boyhood, when I was an ardent admirer of Robert Owen, I have been interested in Socialism, but reluctantly came to the conclusion that it was impracticable, and also, to some extent, repugnant to my ideas of individual liberty and home privacy. But Mr. Bellamy has completely altered my views in this matter. He seems to me to have shown that real, not merely delusive, liberty, together with full scope for individualism and complete human privacy, is compatible with the most thorough Socialism, and henceforth I am heart and soul with him.

"It is, however, a long way to such a goal, and your book will, I think, help men to a knowledge of the evils that have immediately to be remedied. I cannot see how the greatest evils of our present system, involuntary idleness and consequent pauperism, can ever be got rid of under the system of unrestricted competition and capitalism with labor as a marketable commodity."

Please cite as “WCP5125,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 29 June 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP5125