Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Words of Counsel (S593: 1901)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: One of many letters from prominent persons to the Editor of the Morning Leader (London), responding to a general inquiry regarding the turn of the century. Printed on page 3 of the 2 January 1901 issue. To link directly to this page connect with:

Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace.

     The century which has just passed away was characterised by unprecedented progress in the interpretation of Nature and command over its forces and laws, resulting in an increase of wealth and luxury among the ruling classes comparable only with that of Imperial Rome. But our boundless command over these forces has been so misdirected that there is to-day a greater amount of misery and starvation, of stunted lives in crowded cities, of mental and moral degradation, than in the preceding century. Except in a few externals there has been no real improvement in the condition of the workers as a whole, while the many thousands engaged in unhealthy occupations are worse off than ever before. So long as a single willing worker suffers want, or has his life shortened by preventable causes, we cannot truly claim to be a civilised people.

     It is therefore to be hoped that the new century will inaugurate an era of social advance for the whole of our people, and that for this end it will adopt as its guide that fundamental principle of social justice expressed by the term--equality of opportunity. The best and most practicable method of immediately applying this principle is clearly set forth in Mr. John Richardson's admirable little book "How it can be Done." He shows that, with no permanent cost to the community, the whole of our children may receive the best possible education and nurture, and thus become fitted to inaugurate the great work of social regeneration.

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