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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
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The Paper by Dr. Edmunds (S204: 1871)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: The title given to Edmunds' letter to the Editor printed on page 221 of the 15 December 1871 issue of The Spiritualist (London). Edmunds' remarks constitute the main element of the communication (which extends beyond what I have transcribed below), but some comments by Wallace are also included. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S204.htm

    Sir,--Under the above heading, at page 202 of your paper of October 15th, you print a series of offensive and untruthful statements with respect to Mrs. Edmunds and myself. I have long made it a rule never to reply to anonymous writings, but as, in your November issue (page 214), you again misrepresent the facts, I must ask you to give the following reply a place in your next issue.

    1. At page 214 you say:--

    "We stated that Dr. Edmunds had spoken in favour of the Davenports on a public platform and know that up to about the time of going to press with the report, the conduct of Dr. Edmunds was fair enough towards Spiritualism; the rapidity with which he veered round was remarkable."

    In reply to this I have to say--1. That I never spoke in favour of the Davenports on any public platform or elsewhere. In point of fact, I told the audience that "the strange character of the phenomena, and their rapid succession, made it impossible for me to give an explanation of them on the instant after I had seen them for the first time."

    2. That my opinion as to the character and real causes of the phenomena is precisely what it was before the investigation commenced, and that I have never said or done anything to suggest that my opinions had changed. To say that I veered round is, therefore, untrue. From the moment that I became chairman, I kept my own personal opinions entirely in the dark, and I did my best to keep the proceedings clear, and elicit fairly all the evidence that was offered to the committee. That I did not fail egregiously in my duty was attested at the final meeting of the committee, October 31, 1871, when it was moved by H. D. Jencken, Esq., barrister-at-law, and seconded by A. R. Wallace, Esq., F.L.S.--

    "That this committee be now dissolved, and in doing so acknowledges with sincere thanks the great ability, courtesy, and impartiality with which Dr. Edmunds has fulfilled the duties of chairman during the prolonged inquiry."

    At the same meeting Mr. Wallace examined the correspondence, which led to my being present at the Davenport-Guppy séance in Great Marlborough-street, on May 26, 1868, and he wrote me a letter, of which the following is a copy:--

"London, Oct. 31, 1871.

    "Dear Dr. Edmunds,--I have examined the letters from the hon. Mr. ____ and the hon. Mrs. ____ in your possession, and they prove that you did receive a spontaneous invitation from Mr. ____ on May 20, 1868, and a subsequent invitation from Mrs. ____, naming the house of Mr. Guppy as the place on which it was to be held on May 26, 1868. --Believe me, yours very faithfully,

Alfred R. Wallace.

    "James Edmunds, Esq., M.D."

[[Edmunds' remarks then continue]]

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