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velocity, I think you will find that the difference of resistance is nothing like commensurate with the difference of size between the muscles that raise the wings and the muscles that depress them.” The reason of this great difference could not be accurately explained at that time, but a few years later, Marey, by his ingenious experiments and photographs, showed that while the whole upward motion of the wing is very gradual, the downward stroke, though equally gradual at the beginning and the end, is two or three times as rapid in the middle, thus giving the great upward and onward impulse, necessitating the extremely large muscles noted by Spencer. An excellent short account of the whole mechanism of the flight of birds, with many of Marey's diagrams and illustrations, is given in Professor A. Newton's “ Dictionary of Birds,” in the article “ Flight,” and is the clearest exposition of the subject I have yet seen.

In 1872, in my presidential address to the Entomological Society, I endeavoured to expound Herbert Spencer's theory of the origin of insects, on the view that they are fundamentally compound animals, each segment representing one of the original independent organisms. This theory is expounded at some length in the second volume of his “Principles of Biology” (chapter iv., "The Morphological Composition of Animals”), but had apparently been almost unnoticed by English entomologists. On sending him a copy of the address, he wrote to me as follows: “It is gratifying to me to find that your extended knowledge does not lead you to scepticism respecting the speculation of mine which you quote, but rather enables you to cite further facts in justification of it. Possibly your exposition will lead some of those, in whose lines of investigation the question lies, to give deliberate attention to it.”

This communication gave me much pleasure, because the subject was one quite out of my own domain, and though I had taken a good deal of trouble to understand his views and to represent them accurately, and had also adduced a few additional facts in support of it, yet the subject was so novel and so complex that I was rather afraid I might have made

some blunders in my abstract of it. I was much relieved, therefore, to find that my account of his views was satisfactory to him.

In 1874, when writing "The Principles of Sociology,” Herbert Spencer asked me to look over the proofs of the first six chapters, and give him the benefit of my criticisms, "alike as naturalist, anthropologist, and traveller.” I found very little indeed requiring emendation, but I sent him a couple of pages of notes with suggestions on points of detail, which, I believe, were of some use to him.

During the year 1881 I had several letters from him, dealing with subjects of general interest. In consequence of an article I wrote on "How to Nationalize the Land," especially showing how to avoid the supposed insuperable objection of State management, a “Land Nationalization Society” was formed, of which I was chosen president. As I had been induced to study the question by Herbert Spencer's early volume on “Social Statics," I sent him a copy of our programme and asked if he would join us. His reply is very instructive, as showing how nearly he agreed with us at that time, and also how slight were the difficulties he suggested as the most important.

The letter is as follows:

"38, Queen's Gardens, Bayswater, W.,

“April 25, 1881. “DEAR MR. WALLACE,

“ As you may suppose, I fully sympathize in the general aims of your proposed Land Nationalization Society ; but for sundry reasons I hesitate to commit myself, at the present stage of the question, to a programme so definite as that which you send me. It seems to me that before formulating the idea in a specific shape, it is needful to generate a body of public opinion on the general issue, and that it must be some time before there can be produced such recognition of the general principle involved as is needful before definite plans can be set forth to any purpose.

" It seems to me that the thing to be done at present is to arouse public attention to (1) the abstract inequity of the present condition of things ; (2) to show that even now there is in our law a tacit denial of absolute private ownership, since the State reserves the power of resuming possession of land on making compensation; (3) that this tacitly admitted ownership ought to be overtly asserted; (4) and that having been overtly asserted, the landowner should be distinctly placed in the position of a tenant of the State on something like the terms proposed in your scheme : namely, that while the land itself should be regarded as public property, such value as has been given to it should vest in the existing so-called owner.

The question is surrounded with such difficulties that I fear anything like a specific scheme for resumption by the State will tend, by the objections made, to prevent recognition of a general truth which might otherwise be admitted. For example, in definitely making the proposed distinction between 'inherent value as dependent on natural conditions, etc.,' and the 'increased value given by the owner,' there is raised the questions-How are the two to be distinguished ? How far back are we to go in taking account of the labour and money expended in giving fertility? In respect of newly enclosed tracts, some estimation may be made; but in respect of the greater part, long reduced to cultivation, I do not see how the valuations, differing in all cases, are to be made.

“I name this as one point; and there are many others in respect of which I do not see my way. It appears to me that at present we are far off from the time at which action may advantageously be taken.

“Truly yours,


On this I may remark that, during the twenty-five years that has elapsed, the Land Nationalization Society has been continuously at work, doing the very things that our critic seemed to think ought to be done before we formed the society. We have now “generated a body of public opinion”

in our favour, which could hardly have been effected without the work of a society, and we have long since satisfied most thinking men that the special difficulty as to the valuation of the owners' improvements is a purely imaginary one, since it is continually done. But the remarkable thing is, that only ten years later, in his volume on “ Justice," the writer of this letter should have so far changed his opinions as to arrive ultimately at the conclusion thus stated: “A fuller consideration of the matter has led me to the conclusion that individual ownership, subject to State suzerainty, should be maintained.” Those who care to understand what were the supposed facts leading to this most impotent conclusion, will find them stated and exposed in vol. ii., chap. xviii. of my “ Studies.” 1 They were first given in an address to the Land Nationalization Society in 1892.

A few months later he wrote me again on the land question, in reply to my recommendation of Henry George's book “Progress and Poverty," and this letter, as exhibiting his ideas on human progress generally, and also his somewhat hasty judgments on particular writers, seems well worthy of preservation, and I therefore give it verbatim.

“38, Queen's Gardens, Bayswater, July 6, 1881. "DEAR MR. WALLACE,

“I have already seen the work you name—Progress and Poverty ;' having had a copy, or rather two copies, sent me. I gathered, from what little I glanced at, that I should fundamentally disagree with the writer, and have not read more.

"I demur entirely to the supposition, which is implied in the book, that, by any possible social arrangements whatever, the distress which humanity has had to suffer in the course of civilization could have been prevented. The whole process,

· H. Spencer's treatment of the land question in this work is criticized and controverted in great detail by Henry George in “ A Perplexed Philosopher," published in 1893. Neither H. Spencer nor any of his disciples have refuted these destructive criticisms.

with all its horrors and tyrannies, and slaveries and abominations of all kinds, has been an inevitable one accompanying the survival and spread of the strongest, and the consolidation of small tribes into large societies; and among other things, the lapse of land into private ownership has been, like the lapse of individuals into slavery, at one period of the process altogether indispensable. I do not in the least believe that from the primitive system of communistic ownership to a high and finished system of State ownership, such as we may look for in the future, there could be any transition without passing through such stages as we have seen, and which exist now.

“Argument aside, however, I should be disinclined to commit myself to any scheme of immediate action, which, as I have indicated to you, I believe, at present, premature. For myself, I feel that I have to consider not only what I may do on special questions, but also how the action I take on special questions may affect my general influence; and I am disinclined to give more handles against me than are needful. Already, as you will see by the enclosed circular, I am doing in the way of positive action more than may be altogether prudent.

“Sincerely yours,


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I do not remember, and I do not think that Henry George either stated or implied that the course of civilization "might have been different" from what it has been. His whole work was devoted to showing the injustice and the evils of private property in land, just as Herbert Spencer himself had done in “Social Statics;" and both works are alike beneficial, inasmuch as they demonstrate these facts and serve as incentives and guides for our future attempts to remedy them. If Mr. Spencer had not hastily laid aside the book, owing to this prepossession against it, even he might have been benefited by the thorough examination of the whole subject which Mr. George gave, while he could hardly have failed to admire its admirable and forcible exposition of the problem

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