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The Life of Henry George



Henry George



•a



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^ARD COLLEGE
LIBRARY



THEODORE ROOSEVELT
COLLECTION

PRESENTED BY THE

ROOSEVELT MEMORIAL

ASSOCIATION

1943



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C3 ^a \



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THE LIFE
OP HENRY GEORGE



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OTHER BOOKS BY
HENRY GEORGE



The Sdaoca of Political Bconomy, z vol.»

8vo, $3.50.

A Porplexed Philosoplier. x amo, cloth, $z .00;
paper, 25 cents.

Social Probloma. xamo, cloth, $x.oo; paper,
35 cents.

ProtecUon or Preo Tnulo? xamo, cloth,
$1.00; paper, 35 cents.

The Land Question. Paper, ao cents.

Property In Land. A Controversy with the
Duke of Argyll. Paper, 30 cents.

The Condition off Ijihor. An Open Letter to
Pope Leo XIII. xamo, cloth, 75 cents;
paper, 30 cents.

Properj^ In Land, The Condition of Labor
and The Land Questlont bound together
in one volume, xamo, cloth, $1.00.

Our Land and Land Policy. With Basays and
Speeches, i vol., cloth, gilt top, $2.50.

Unlfform Library Edition of all these works,
including The Liffe off Henry Oeorge by his

son, 10 vols., i2mo, green buckram, gilt top,
•17.00.

The UU off Henry Qeorge, by Henry George,
Jr. I vol., cloth, 8 illustrations, $1.00.



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THE LIFE OF
HENRY GEORGE

BY HIS SON

HENRY GEORGE, JR.



TWBNTr.PlPTH ANN1VBR8ART EDITION

WITH MEDALLION PORTRAIT OP HENRY GEORGE

BT HIS SON, RICHARD P. GEORGE




NEW YORK: DOUBLEDAY
PAGE & COMPANY ^ 1905



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Oopyiigbt, 1900, by
HsMBT Oboboi, Jb.



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\
I

^



^:.



TO ALL WHO BTBIVE FOB
THE BEIGH OF JUSTIOB



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Oopyrifl^t, 1900, by
HsMBT Qboboi, Jb.



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o



»

^



TO ALL WHO BTBIVE FOB
THE BEIOH OF JUSTIOB



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His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. — Hamlet,

Now I saw in my dream that they went on, and
Greatheart before them.

Bunyan'a ** Pilgrim' a Proffreaa.**



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INTRODUCTORY

IT was Henry George^s purpose after he ehotild have
finished work on *' The Sciwice of Political Economy *'
and written a brief "Primer of Political Economy/* to
write the story of his own life. He did not intend this
from any sense of vanity, bnt from the proper feeling that
if such a story is worth telling, it can best be told by the
subject, who of necessity has the fullest knowledge of
essential facts.

The relation of the events of his life Henry George felt
to be worth while. His book, " Progress and Poverty,'' had
been, as he wrote in "The Science of Political Economy,''
" the most successful economic work ever published." Its
reasoning, he observed, had never been successfully assailed,
and on three continents it had given birth to movements
whose practical success is only a question of time. In the
preface of " The Science of Political Economy " he said :

Tbe years that have elapsed since the publication of
'* Progress and Poverty " have been on my part devoted to the
propagation of the truths taught in ** Progress and Poverty"
by books, pamphlets, magazine articles, newspaper work,
lectures, and speeches, and have been so greatly successful as
not only far to exceed what fifteen years ago I could have
dared to look forward to in this time, but to have given me
reason to feel that of all the men of whom I have ever heard
who have attempted anything like so groat a work against
anything like so great odds, I have been, in the result of the
endeavor to arouse thought, most favored. Not meroly
wherever the English tongue is spoken, but in all parts of the



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viii INTRODUCTORY

world, men are arising who will carry forward to final triumph
the great movement which "Progress and Poverty" began.
The great work is not done, but it is commenced, and never
can go back.

Havings as he believed^ recast the teaching of political
economy in face of all the schools^ and put that teaching
on its natural lines, and having inspired a world-wide
movement to carry those doctrines into practical affairs, he
felt that there would quite properly be inquiry concerning
the man who had done these things. He felt also that
better than another he could tell what was to be told. He
therefore intended toward the close of his life to write his
autobiography, and in the work to have his elder son and
namesake help him. But the sudden death of his elder
daughter in the spring of 1897, and signs of his own physi-
cal wearing out from years of extraordinary labor, made him
conscious that his end might be nearer than would be com-
patible with such a plan. He therefore quietly sorted out
and put in order his more important papers, to such as
needed them attaching dates and notes. He also broke the
modest reserve of years, and in the family circle and to
immediate friends related incidents out of the abundance
of his experiwice. In some respects more important than
these things, he wrote for " The Science of Political Econ-
omy,'' on which he was then at work, a chapter enti-
tled: "Breakdown of Scholastic Political Economy —
Showing the Eeasori, the Reception and Effect on Poliiical
Economy of * Progress and Poverty.' '' This chapter of
something more than nine pages gave briefly his view of
the genesis of his writing and the progress and standing
of his ideas.

Hard upon this Henry George entered the New York



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INTRODUCTORY ix

Mayoralty campaign, in the last days of wluch he suffered
a fatal stroke of apople:!^.

. The task of writing the life story of Henry George thus
devolved upon the elder son. How well or ill that task
has been performed the following pages will show. If
Henry George's name shall live, if his work shall have last-
ing effect, other biographies of him will come to be written
when time, allaying heats and removing warp from judg-
ment, shall make it possible to observe things in their true
perspective. (Jeneral opinion would scarcely be prepared
to think it possible for a son, as biographer, to project him-
self to such removed ground, and would not accept xmchal-
lenged the judgment of one so closely united by ties of
blood.

In these circumstances the only kind of a biography for
the son to offer was one that should avoid analysis and crit-
ical comparison, and should plainly, simply, and directly
narrate the essential facts of the life and the work, giving
so nearly as possible the intimate view of the man as his
close companions knew him.

Fortunately there was an abundance of materials in cor-
respondence, journals, notebooks, and in the memories of
those who at the various periods had been more or less im-
portant actors in the drama, and could bear personal wit-
ness to notable events. It is true that the notebook entries
were of the most scant and casual nature; the diaries much
broken and scarc^y more than skeletons. Nevertheless
they fixed dates, furnished clews, and in places threw clear,
strong light on incidents which but for this indisputable
testimony could be set forth only with hesitation.

The person who furnished the largest share of informa-
tion used in this biography was the wife who finds a most



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X INTRODUCTORY

important place in it Qniet^ simple, nnpretentions^ she
had a clearness of judgment, strength of character, hope-
fnhdess of temperament, and loyalty of heart that made her
a fitting companion for a man who, coming from nothing
and armed with nothing but a flaming idea, challenged the
want and sin of the world, and pointed to what he be-
lieved to be the way to a civilization which, abolishing in-
voluntary poverty, will bring a reign of peace and plenty
for mankind. United in life to him by deep mutual trust
and affection, she has now joined him in death. Together
fhey'lie on the crest of Ocean Hill, in Greenwood.

Henby Osobgb, Jb.
New York, Janmry 24, 1906.



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FiBST Pbbiod.

FOEMATION OP THE CHAEACTEB.

Ssooin) Pebiod.

FOEMULATION OP THE PHILOSOPHY.

Thibd Pebiod.

PEOPAGATION OP THE PHILOSOPHY.



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*'.... the Lord called Samael: tnd he answered,
Heie am L

And he ran nnto Eli, and said, Here am I ; for thou
calledst me. And he said, I called not, lie down again.
And he went and lay down.

And the Lord called yet again, SamaeL And Samael
arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I ; for thoa
didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son ;
lie down again.

Kow Samael did not yet know the Lord, neither was
the word of the Lord yet revealed anto him.

And the Lord called Samael again the third time.
And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I ; for
thoa didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord
had called the child.

Therefore Eli said anto Samael, Go, lie down : and it
shall he, if he call thee, that thoa shalt say. Speak,
Lord ; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and
lay down in his place.

And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other
times, Samael, SamaeL Then Samael answered, Speak ;
for thy servant heareth.

And the Lord said to Samael, Behold, I will do a
thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that
haarath it shall tin^"

^f^ Book cfSammL



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CONTENTS.

FIRST PERIOD.

CHAPTBB I.
BntTH AKD Eablt Tbainino (1839-1855) 1

CHAPTEB 11.
Bsroia thb Mast (1855-1856) 19

CHAPTEB III.
LbabKS to Sbt Ttpb (1856-1857) 40

CHAPTEB IV.
WoBxs His Passage to Cauiobnia (1858) 68

CHAPTEB V.
At thb Frazbb Biveb Qold Fields (1858) 69

CHAPTER VI.
Tossed About bt Fobtunb (1858-1869) 88



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CONTENTS

CHAPTEB VII.
Six Pbintebs Ain> a Nbwspapxb (1860-1861) 99

CHAPTEB VIII.

COUBTSHIP AND BUNAWAY MABBIAaB (1861) 131

CHAPTEB IX.
SUITBBS EXTRBICB Pbitation (1861-1865) 135

CHAPTEB X.
Bboiks Wbitino and Talking (1865-1866) 154

CHAPTEB XI.
Manaoinq Editob and Cobbbspondent (1866-1869) 173



«



SECOND PERIOD.

CHAPTEB I.
CoiucBNOBS THB Obeat Inqcibt (1869) 191

CHAPTEB II.
Stbifb and THB Natubal Obdeb (1869-1871) 304

CHAPTEB III.

ANSWBBS THB BiDDLB OF THB SpHINX (1871) 219-



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CONTENTS

CHAPTEB rV.
Thb "Sak Fbaitoisoo Eysiniro Posi" (1871-1876) . 236

CHAPTEB V.
DOMBSTIO LWB (1878-1876) 260

CHAPTEB VI.
FiBST Set Politicai. Speech (1876-1877) 262

CHAPTEB VII.
Lbottbe at thb Uniybbsitt of Calitobnu (1877) 274

CHAPTEB Vin.
A FouBTH 07 JvhX Obation (1877) 282

CHAPTEB IX.
"Pboobbss and Povbbtt" Begun (1877-1878) 289

CHAPTEB X.
'Tboobess and Povbbtt" Finished (1878-1879) ... 801



«



THIRD PERIOD.



CHAPTEB I.
Tboobbss and Povbbtt" Publishbo (1879-1880) . 816



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CX>NTENTS

CHAPTEB 11.
CoiacENCiKO THE Nsw YoBE Cabbeb (1880-1881) . 336

CHAPTEB III.
T&B Irish liAin) Leagite Movement (1881-1882) . . 358

CHAPTER IV.
Stabtino the BETOLTrrioK IN Qbeat Britain
(1882) 378

CHAPTEB V.
Ejndunq the Fire at Houb (1882-1883) 400

CHAPTEB VI.
British Lecture Campaign (1884) 419

CHAPTEB VII.
'Tbotbction or Free Trade?" (1884-1886) 442

CHAPTEB VIII.
Candidate tor Mayor of New York (1886) 459

CHAPTEB IX.

"The Standard" and the Anti-Povertt Society
(1886-1887) 482

CHAPTEB X.
Progress Thbovoh Dissensions (1887-1889) 504



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CONTENTS

CHAPTEB XI.
Australia and Abound thb World (1890) 522

CHAPTEB XII.
Personal and Domestic Matters (1891-1897) 543

CHAPTER XIII.
The Last Books (1891-1896) 663

CHAPTEB XIV.
Thb Last Campaign (1897) 584

Index 613



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PIEST PERIOD
FORMATION OF THE CHARACTER



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For it is not for knowledge to enlighten a aool that is
dark of itself ; nor to make a blind man to see. Her
bnaineae ia not to find a man eyes, but to goide, govern
and direct his steps, provided he have sound feet, and
straight legs to go upon. Knowledge is an excellent
drug, bat no drag has virtue enough to preserve itself
from corruption and decay, if the vessel be tainted and
impaie wherein it is put to keep.

MofUaigne.



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



PAOB



Henry George at about five. From daquiirrbo*
type taken in philadelphia. 6

From daguerreotype taken about the time that
Henry George, less than fourteen, left school
and went to work 12

From daguerreotype taken Maroh 31, 1865, jubt
before going to sea 24

Henry George when learning to set type in
Philadelphia. From daguerreotype, 1857.... 42

From daguerreotype taken in 1865, showing Mr.
George at 26, just after job printing office
experience 106

From photograph taken in San Francisco
shortly after writing ^Trogrbss and Povbrty^^ 302

Mrs. George. From photograph taken in 1898. . 514

Last photograph taken, October, 1897 602



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Reduced facsimile of page of original manuaeript of
<' Progress and Poverty/^ Book II, Chap. IIL



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CHAPTER I.

BIETH AND EARLY TRAIinNG.

1839-1855. To thb 16th Ybar,

HENRY GEORGE was born on September 2, 1839,*
in a little two story and attic brick house, yet stand-
ing in a good state of preservation, in Philadelphia, Pa.,
on Tenth Street, south of Pine, not half a mile from the
old State House where the Declaration of Independence
was signed.

His father's blood was English, with a tradition of
Welsh; his mother's blood English and Scottish. In
the main he came of middle-class stock. The only persons
among his ancestors who achieved any distinction were his
grandfathers; on his mother's side, John Vallance, a na-
tive of Glasgow, Scotland, who became an engraver of
repute in this country in the early days of the republic
and whose name may be seen on some of the commissions
signed by President Washington ; and on his father's side,
Richard George, bom in Yorkshire, England, who was one
of the well-known shipmasters of Philadelphia when that
city was the commercial metropolis of the new world.

Captain George married Mary Reid, of Philadelphia,
and to them were bom three children, the youngest of

1 John Stoart Mill was then in his thirty-fourth year and
Adam Smith had been forty-nine years dead.



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2 LIFE OF HENBY GEOBGE [1889-1866

whom, Eichard Samuel Henry, in New Brunswick, New
Jersey, in 1798. This Bichard Samuel Henry George
became the father of Henry George, the subject of the
present volume. In 1873, on the day preceding his sev-
enty-fifth natal anniversary, he wrote his son Henry a
letter of reminiscences, of which the following serves to
show the man and the early conditions in Philadelphia:

"I have seen all the Presidents, from Washington down
to the present. Grant — ^that is, I cannot say I saw Wash-
ington, who died in December, 1799, but I think, al-
though an infant, that I saw his sham funeral. . . .

"I go back to 1810, during Jefferson's long embargo.
Then Front Street, Philadelphia, was what Chestnut
Street is now — ^the fashionable thoroughfare of the city.
All the principal merchants lived on Front Street and
on Water Street above South. Below South lived mostly
sea captains, all handy to business.

^TTour grandfather had two ships, the Medora and
Burdo Pachety and during the embargo and the war with
England they were housed in; and from the navy yard
down to the Point House, now called Greenwich, all the
principal ships in port were housed in and hauled up on
the mud, with noses touching the bank.

^^Although times were hard, I did not feel them. I
had a pleasant, happy home, let me tell you. The first
thing to be done was to provide for winter. Wood was
burned for cooking and heating. Your grandfather
would purchase a sloop-load of wood, so that I had a
good time helping to throw it down cellar. We would
have enough to last all winter and late into the spring.
Then there was a supply of beef to com and two or three
hogs to cut up. That was a grand time! We had a
smokehouse at one comer of the yard, and when father
had cut up the hogs we would have a number of hams to
smoke and cure. I do not taste such now, nor ever will
again. At hog time mother made all sorts of good things
— scrapel, sausage and all that hog could do for man.
And didn't I go in for it all with the rest of the boys,



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'VoKMhyear] HENBT GEOBaiTS FATHER 8

for father had four 'prenticed boys and two girls in the
kitchen, all in good tune and happy. We had all sorts
of songs and wonderftd stories, both of the sea and of
the land.

*^t was at this time (I am sorry I have no dates) that
my father arrived at Almond Street wharf from France,
to which he had gone with a flag of truce, carrying out
a lot of passengers and bringing back a lot. Well, it was
Sunday morning, about light, when I was waked up by
mother. I asked what was the matter. She said that
pop had arrived and that he had on board of the ship
General Moreau and family from France;^ and she
wanted to get some fresh provisions for their breakfast.
So I took on board lots of things — nice fresh milk and
cream, butter, nice bread, chickens, etc. — for the general
and his family. I tell you it was hard work getting on
board, the crowd was so dense. On Almond Street from
Second clear down to the wharf was a line of private car-
riages with invitations of hospitality. The boys crowded
me hard, and one or two fellows I had to fight before I
could pass.

"Going so often to the ship, I found I was as much
noticed as the general himself. It gave me a big lift
among the downtown-gang. I was made captain of a
company and had to fight the Mead Alley and Catherine
Street boys every Saturday afternoon. Many bricks I
got on the head while leading my men (or boys) into
battle. ...

"One fight I had built me right up, and afterwards I
was A No. 1 among the boys, and cock of the walk. I
went on the principle of do nothing that you are ashamed
of and let no living man impose on you,

'In my youth I could swim like a duck and skate well.
And I was considered a good sailor. I could handle a
boat equal to anybody. I got a good amount of praise,
both on the Delaware and the Mississippi, for my sea-

IJean Victor Moreaa, the Republican French general, made famona
by th^ extraordinary retreat through the Black Forest and the brilliant
Battle of Hohenlinden, and afterwards exiled by Napoleon's jealousy.



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4 lilFE OF HENBT GEORGE (im-isss

manship. I could go aloft as quick and as handy as any
seaman. Qoing to New Orleans, I often lent a hand on
topsails, and coidd do as well as most of them/'

B. S. H. George made this trip to New Orleans when a
young man, and there engaged in the dry goods business.
Returning to Philadelphia, he settled down and married
Miss Louisa Lewis, by whom he had two children, one of
whom died while an infant, and the other, Richard, while
at boarding school in his twelfth year.* Within four or
five years after marriage this wife died, and several years
later B. S. H. George married another Philadelphia lady,
Catherine Pratt Vallance. As has been said, her father
was John Vallance, the engraver, bom in Glasgow, Scot-
land. Her mother was Margaret Pratt, bom in Philadel-
phia, but of English extraction. John Vallance died in
1823 leaving his widow, seven daughters and one son in
modest means, which Henry Pratt, a wealthy merchant
of Philadelphia and first cousin of the widow's father, im-
proved by giving to each of the seven girls a small brick
house. These girls received a good boarding school edu-
cation, and Catherine and Mary were conducting a small
private school when Catherine was married to R. S. H.
George, who then had a book publishing business.

Mr. George had for several years occupied a good cler-
ical position in the Philadelphia Custom House, and left
it in 1831 to enter a book publishing partnership with
Thomas Latimer, who had married Rebecca, the eldest of
the Vallance girls. The business was confined to the pub-
lication and sale of Protestant Episcopal Church and Sun-
day School books, and for a time became the depository of
the General Episcopal Sunday School Union, the Bible

^ There wai alio «n adopted child, Harriet, who, growing i^
maiiiBd J. H. Evans.



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Tol«(h7Mr] GHUBGH BOOK PUHUBHEB 6

and Prayer Book Society and the Tract Society. After
two and a half years Thomas Latimer withdrew and others
were associated successively in the business, which for sev-
enteen years Richard George carried on, the store for a
time being at the north-west comer of Chestnut and Fifth
Streets. A contemporary in the business was George S.
Appleton, who afterwards went to New York and merged
with his brother in a general book publishing and book
selling business, under the firm name of D. Appleton &
Co. — ^the same D. Appleton & Co. who, several decades
later, were to be the first publishers of ^Trogress and
Poverty.^*^ By 1848 the business of the general book
houses had encroached so much on denominational business
that the latter became unprofitable, and Mr. George with-
drew and went back to the Custom House, obtaining the
position of Ascertaining Clerk, which he thereafter held for
nearly fourteen years.

To the union of R. S. H. George and Catharine Pratt
Vallance ten children were bom, six girls — Caroline, Jane,
Catharine, Chloe, Mary and Rebecca, the last two of whom



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