An Autobiography: Herbert Spencer - Vol. 2

By Herbert Spencer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
IMPENDING CESSATION. 1806. ÆT. 46.

OF the various occurrences occupying the hiatus indicated towards the close of the last chapter, the first in order of time was a crisis in my career which happened at the beginning of 1866.

During the preceding year, my attention was decisively drawn to the fact that my expenditure, though modest in amount, continually outran my income, and forced me to draw upon capital more frequently or more seriously. A letter recalls the fact that early in 1863, the subscribers to my serial, originally 430 in number, had fallen to 350: the ending of First Principles having, I presume, been an occasion for the withdrawals of many, and perusal of the early part of the Biology, uninteresting to the majority, having caused further withdrawals. Moreover, among the remaining names not a few had to be crossed out after futile efforts made by the publishers to obtain payments of subscriptions in arrear.

The difficulty was becoming otherwise complicated. My father was now 75; and though he maintained his erect carriage and preserved tolerable health, his energies, bodily and mental, were of course flagging. As a consequence, while his professional engagements fell off, those which remained occasionally proved too much for

-154-

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