Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
Dear Mr. Hyder.
I am very glad to see by the Report you have sent me, that the Society is doing such good work and is making so much progress all over the country.
I am afraid that any useful legislation in our direction is hopeless, so long as the present Government remains in office; and that the only thing to do is to carry on our educational work with all possible vigour, so as to return a more advanced Parliament at the next General Election.
In the meantime, it would be advisable to consider carefully the next steps in legislation that are possible of attainment, and for the Van party and other members to collect evidence bearing upon the special subject determined on, for the use of such of our representatives in Parliament as would undertake to bring it forward.
My own opinions as to what subjects are of most importance remain unchanged, since I brought them before the Society some years back. These are--1st: The inviolability of the Home, that is, that the tenancy of a house or homestead once entered upon, the tenant should have absolute security so long as he paid the rent; while the Parish and District Councils should have power to pay the rent, in cases where the tenant is in arrears from no fault of his own, and where the breaking up of his home would be his ruin and perhaps make him a pauper for life. This alone, would give independence to every voter, and make the secrecy of the ballot a reality, and I doubt if any other one measure, so simple, and so obviously just, would be such a real boon to all workers, and tend so much towards securing an advanced legislature.
The other vital reform is, the obtaining for all local authorities simple powers for taking land for all public purposes, including the formation of homesteads for all who desire to have them, and for establishing Co-operative Colonies for the unemployed.
My earnest wish is for some success in this direction; and the most strenuous endeavours of the Society for the next few years, should, I think, be directed towards obtaining it.
With my sincere congratulations on work done, and best wishes for the future.--I remain, yours very faithfully,
Alfred R. Wallace.