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

Reformer at Ninety.
Dr. Wallace on the Workers’ Cause. "Feel Like Fifty."
(S752ac: 1913)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: An anonymous interview printed on page 1 of the Late London Edition of the 9 January 1913 issue of The Daily Citizen (London & Manchester). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S752AC.htm .

     Interviewed by a representative of The Daily Citizen at his residence, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Poole, on his birthday yesterday, Dr. Russel Wallace said, "Yes, I am 90 to-day; but at this moment I feel more like 50. I'm free from pain and discomfort"--and then, with a chuckle, he added, as he spread out his hands towards the brightly burning fire, "I've had a good dinner."

     Seated in an easy chair, surrounded by beloved books and papers, this grand old man of science and Labour emancipator spoke clear as a bell, and behind the voice as he touched on social problems there was the great mind in the meridian of its power and a heart full of sympathy for the toilers.

     He yesterday entered upon the nonagenarian stage of his life journey in no leisured fashion. Downstairs before nine, a very light breakfast, and then came correspondence. "I've had a heavier postbag than usual, and congratulations have come from all parts. One letter is from the Land Nationalisation Society, of which I’ve been president for 30 years."

     Later on telegrams arrived, and among these was one from the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, now meeting at Melbourne. This contained the words: "In full appreciation of your illustrious life and work, we send cordial greetings."

     The American Consul at Southampton wired congratulations "on behalf of many Americans who pay homage to you." Others were from the Association of Public School Science Masters and the Hertford Grammar School, where Dr. Wallace was educated.

     The morning thus passed quickly away; then came dinner and forty winks, after which there were privileged callers, few in number, because Dr. Wallace lives very much in retirement.

     "I have not been out much lately," he remarked, "except in my garden or the conservatory, and I like to spend my days here, quiet but busy. I usually stay up till 10 or even later, as I do not sleep very well and there always seems to be so much to do.

Labour Movement.

     "As you know, I'm greatly interested in the Labour movement, and I should like you to say through The Daily Citizen, which I peruse every day, that I've been very pleased with the fact of such a paper being started for Socialism. I thought at first it could not live very long, but I've much better hopes now and think The Daily Citizen is making itself felt all over the country and is doing exceedingly good work.

     "I allude chiefly to the stand they have taken. For instance, there is the case of the poor hollow-ware girls. I suppose very few people realised that such a horror could exist in England to-day.

     "As to the Labour Party," he continued, "they do not go on half fast enough, nor make their voice sufficiently heard. They should take up some great question and hammer it into Parliament again and again."

     Dr. Wallace recalled the fearful risk run by railway shunters, and with increasing fire in his voice he spoke of the refusal to adopt automatic couplings because it would cost money, and said to me: "This is one of the strongest arguments for nationalisation of railways."

     Most sympathetically Dr. Wallace spoke of the hunger problem, and observed "It is a most disgraceful thing that men, women, and children are starving every day. The Government, with a six million surplus, should use the money for feeding the people, but they dare not do it."

     Thus concluded an all too brief interview with this great heart, and as the sun for a space emerged from cloudland and sent a blaze of light across Poole Harbour and the surrounding heathland, one thought of the light and power Dr. Wallace has been.

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