Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer - Vol. 1

Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer - Vol. 1

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Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer - Vol. 1

Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer - Vol. 1

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Excerpt

A word or two seems necessary by way of explanation of the publication of a biography of Mr. Herbert Spencer, within a few years of the publication of his voluminous Autobiography. Twenty-eight years ago, while I was at home on furlough, Mr. Spencer obtained from me a promise to write his Life. In subsequent years, partly owing to his fears that his own life might not be prolonged, and partly because he thought that my absence in India would render it difficult, if not impossible, for me to fulfil my promise, he made other arrangements. These other arrangements, however, fell through. Hence the question, in a letter to me, dated 10 May, 1893: "Does the assent which you gave years ago still hold, and is it likely to hold?" On receiving an affirmative answer, Mr. Spencer had the following paragraph in- serted in his Will:--"I request that the said David Duncan will write a Biography in one volume of moderate size, in which shall be incorporated such biographical materials as I have thought it best not to use myself, together with such selected correspondence and such unpublished papers as may seem of value, and shall include the frontispiece portrait and the profile portraits, and shall add to it a brief account of the part of my life which has passed since the date at which the Autobiography concludes. . . ."

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