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consideration I thought I could do so, and terms were arranged for the book before the article itself was published. This enabled me to get together all the necessary materials and to begin work at once, and after six months of the stiffest reading and study I ever undertook, the book was completed in September, and published in November of the same year. In November of 1904 a cheaper edition was published, with an additional chapter in an Appendix. This chapter contained an entirely new argument, founded on the theory of organic evolution, which I had not time to introduce into the first edition. This argument is itself so powerful that, when compounded with the arguments founded on astronomical, physical, and physiological phenomena, it renders the improbability of there having been two independent developments of organic life culminating in man, so great as to be absolutely inconceivable.
The success of this volume, and the entirely new circle of readers it brought me, caused my publishers to urge me to prepare the present work, which I should otherwise have not written at all, or only on a very much smaller scale for the information of my family as to my early life.
Now it seems to me a very suggestive fact that my literary work during the last ten years should have been so completely determined by two circumstances which must be considered, in the ordinary sense of the term, and in relation to my own volition, matters of chance. If Dr. Lunn had not invited me to Davos, and if he had suggested “Darwinism” or any other of my special subjects instead of the “Science of the Nineteenth Century," I should not have written my “Wonderful Century ;" I should not have had my attention so specially directed to great astronomical problems; I should not, when asked for an article, have chosen the subject of our sun's central position; and I should certainly never have undertaken such a piece of work as my book on “Man's Place in the Universe," or the present autobiography. And further, without the accident of a perfect stranger calling upon me for reasons of his own, and that stranger happening to be a man who had been so marvellously cured by Dr.
Salisbury as to induce me to adopt the same treatment, with similar results, I should never have had the energy required to undertake the two later and more important works. Of course, it may be that these are only examples of those “happy chances " which are not uncommon in men's lives ; but, on the other hand, it may be true that, “there's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them as we will ; and those who have reason to know that spiritual beings can and do influence our thoughts and actions, will see in such directive incidents as these examples of such influence.
Although I have now brought the narrative of my literary and home life up to the time of writing this Autobiography, there are a number of special subjects, which, for the sake of clearness, I have either wholly omitted, or only just mentioned, but which have either formed important episodes in my life, or have brought me into communication or friendly intercourse with a number of interesting people, and which therefore require to be narrated consecutively in separate chapters. These will now follow, and will, I think, be not the least interesting or instructive portions of my work.
The ADDENDUM at the end of this volume should have followed here, and had better be read before the remaining chapters.-A. R. W.
LAND NATIONALIZATION TO SOCIALISM, AND THE FRIENDS
THEY BROUGHT ME
Soon after I returned from the Amazon (about 1853), I read Herbert Spencer's “ Social Statics,” a work for which I had a great admiration, and which seemed to me so important in relation to political and social reform, that I thought of inviting a few friends to read and discuss it at weekly meetings. This fell through for want of support, but the whole work, and more especially the chapter on “The Right to the Use of the Earth," made a permanent impression on me, and ultimately led to my becoming, almost against my will, President of the Land Nationalization Society, which has now been just a quarter of a century in existence. In connection with this movement, I have made the acquaintance of a considerable number of persons of more or less eminence, and my relations with some of these will form the subject of the present chapter.
The publication of my “Malay Archipelago " in 1869, procured me the acquaintance of John Stuart Mill, who on reading the concluding pages, in which I condemn our “ civilization" as but a form of "barbarism," and refer, among other examples, to our permitting private property in land, wrote to me from Avignon on May 19, 1870, enclosing the programme of his proposed Land Tenure Reform Association, and asking me to become a member of the General Committee. Its object was to claim the future "unearned increment” of land values for the State, to which purpose it was to be strictly limited. I accepted the offer, but
proposed a new clause, giving the State power of resuming possession of any land on payment of its net value at the time, because, as I pointed out, the greatest evil was the monopoly of land, not the money lost by the community. This he himself supported, but suggested giving not the current value only, but something additional as compensation; and I think this was done. Later I proposed another addition to the programme, which he also agreed to, as shown by the following extract from a letter I received from him in July, referring to a general meeting of the Association at the Freemason's Tavern:
"I hope that you will be able to attend, and that you will propose, as an addition to the programme, the important point which you suggested in your letter to me, viz., the right of the State to take possession (with a view to their preservation of all natural objects or artificial constructions which are of historical or artistic interest. If you will propose this I will support it, and I think there will be no difficulty in getting it put into the programme, where undoubtedly I think it ought to be.”
He then asked me to dine with him at Blackheath Park on the following Sunday at five o'clock, which I of course accepted. The only other persons present were his stepdaughter Miss Helen Taylor, Mr. George Grote the historian, and the Hon. Auberon Herbert. We had a very pleasant dinner and some very interesting and instructive conversation afterwards, only one portion of which I recollect, as it referred to a subject on which I differed from Mill, and thought his views, for such an undoubtedly great and clear thinker, somewhat hasty and ill-considered. The conversation turned somehow upon the existence and nature of God. Mr. Grote seemed inclined to accept the ordinary idea of an eternal omniscient and benevolent existence, because anything else was almost unthinkable. To which Mill replied, that whoever considered the folly, misery, and badness of the bulk of mankind, such a belief was unthinkable, because it would imply that God could have made man good and happy, have abolished evil, and has not done so. I ventured to suggest
that what we call evil may be essential to the ultimate development of the highest good for all; but he would not listen to it or argue the question at all, but repeated, dogmatically, that an omnipotent God might have made man wise, good, and happy, and as He had not chosen to do so it was absurd for us to believe in such a being and call Him almighty and good. He then turned the conversation as if he did not wish to discuss the matter further.
There is one point in connection with this problem which I do not think has ever been much considered or discussed. It is, the undoubted benefit to all the members of a society of the greatest possible diversity of character, as a means both towards the greatest enjoyment and interest of association, and to the highest ultimate development of the race. If we are to suppose that man might have been created or developed with none of those extremes of character which now often result in what we call wickedness, vice, or crime, there would certainly have been a greater monotony in human nature which would, perhaps, have led to less beneficial results than the variety which actually exists may lead to. We are more and more getting to see that very much, perhaps all, the vice, crime, and misery that exists in the world is the result, not of the wickedness of individuals, but of the entire absence of sympathetic training from infancy onwards. So far as I have heard, the only example of the effects of such a training on a large scale, was that initiated by Robert Owen at New Lanark, which, with most unpromising materials, produced such marvellous results on the character and conduct of the children, as to seem almost incredible to the numerous persons who came to see and often critically to examine them. There must have been all kinds of characters in his schools, yet none were found to be incorrigible, none beyond control, none who did not respond to the love and sympathetic instruction of their teachers. It is therefore quite possible that all the evil in the world is directly due to man, not to God, and that when we once realize this to its full extent we shall be able, not only to eliminate almost completely what we now term evil, but