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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

well, when he does not get the expected sound of a fog-signal, to assume that he may not hear a warning that is faithfully given, and then to heave his lead, and resort to the other means used by the careful navigator to make sure of his position." (Washington: Judd & Detweiler, printers.)

 

Herbert Spencer and the Land Question.—Mr. Herbert Spencer sends to the "St. James's Gazette" (London) the following communication, explanatory of his views on the ownership of land: "During my absence in America, there appeared in the 'St. James's Gazette' (27th of October, 1882) an article entitled 'Mr. Herbert Spencer's Political Theories.' Though, when it was pointed out to me after my return, I felt prompted to say something in explanation of my views, I should probably have let the matter pass had I not found that elsewhere such serious misapprehensions of them are being diffused that rectification seems imperative. Before commenting on the statements of your contributor, I must devote a paragraph to certain more recent statements which have far less justification. In old days among the Persians, the subordination of subject to ruler was so extreme that, even when punished, the subject thanked the ruler for taking notice of him. With like humility I suppose that now, when after I have been publishing books for a third of a century 'the leading critical organ' has recognized my existence, I ought to feel thankful, even though the recognition draws forth nothing save blame. But such elation as I might otherwise be expected to feel is checked by two facts. One is that the 'Edinburgh Review' has not itself discovered me, but has had its attention drawn to me by quotations in the work of Mr. Henry George—a work which I closed after a few minutes on finding how visionary were its ideas. The other is that, though there has been thus made known to the reviewer of a book of mine published thirty-two years ago, which I have withdrawn from circulation in England, and of which I have interdicted translations, he is apparently unconscious that I have written other books, sundry of them political; and especially he seems not to know that the last of them, 1 Political Institutions,' contains passages concerning the question he discusses. Writers in critical journals which have reputations to lose usually seek out the latest version of an author's views; and the more conscientious among them take the trouble to ascertain whether the constructions they put on detached passages are warranted or not by other passages. Bad the Edinburgh reviewer read even the next chapter to the one from which he quotes, he would have seen that, so far from attacking the right of private property, as he represents, my aim is to put that right upon an unquestionable basis, the basis alleged by Locke being unsatisfactory. He would have further seen that, so far from giving any countenance to communistic doctrines, I have devoted four sections of that chapter to the refutation of them. Had he dipped into the latter part of the work, or had he consulted the more recently published 'Study of Sociology' and 'Political Institutions,' he would not have recklessly coupled me with Mr. George as upholding 'the doctrines of communism, fatal alike to the welfare of society and to the moral character of man'; for he would have discovered the fact (familiar to many, though unknown to him) that much current legislation is regarded by me as communistic, and is for this reason condemned as socially injurious and individually degrading. The writer of the article in the 'St. James's Gazette' does not represent the facts correctly when he says that the view concerning ownership of land in 'Social Statics' is again expounded in 'Political Institutions'—'not so fully, but with as much confidence as ever.' In this last work I have said that, 'though industrialism has thus far tended to individualize possession of land, while individualizing all other possession, it may be doubted whether the final stage is at present reached.' Further on I have said that 'at a stage still more advanced, it may be that private ownership of land will disappear'; and that 'it seems possible that the primitive ownership of land by the community. . . will be revived.' And yet again I have said that 'perhaps the right of the community to the land, thus tacitly asserted, will, in time to come, be overtly asserted.' Now it seems to me that the words I have italicized imply no great 'confidence.' Contrariwise, I think they