Tuesday, May 18, 2010

J.W. Logan and The Case for Land Nationalisation

Many years ago, in a long-vanished antique shop in Abbey Street, Market Harborough, I came across a thick book: The Case for Land Nationalisation by Joseph Hyder.

That was a promising title for a radical Liberal. Even better was what was pasted inside.

It was a sheet of headed paper from East Langton Grange, Market Harborough. It carried other information: "National Telephone, No, 17, Market Harboro'", "Telegraph Office, East Langton" and "Parcels, East Langton Station, Midland Rly."

On that sheet was the handwritten inscription:
Jan 1st 1914
With best for wishes for a happy new year
John. W. Logan
Yes, the book was a gift from my hero J.W. Logan, then enjoying a second spell as Liberal MP for Harborough.

Below the inscription, still in Logan's handwriting and spilling on to a second page, is the following:

Extract from "Social Statistics" by Herbert Spencer

In our tender regard for the vested interests of the few let us no forget that the right of the many are in abeyance and must continue so as long as the Earth is monopolised by individuals.

It may by and by be perceived that Equity utters dictates to which we have not yet listened; and men may then learn that to deprive others of their rights to the use of the Earth, is to commit a crime inferior only in wickedness to the crime of taking away their lives or personal liberty.

I still have the book and you can read it online yourself or buy a secondhand copy from Amazon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's also a nice PDF of the June 1914 edition at http://www.archive.org/download/caseforlandnatio00hydeiala/caseforlandnatio00hydeiala_bw.pdf - a bit weighty at 12.4 MB, but I find the format an easier read.

I was struck by this passage from p.426):

"Let, therefore, the advantages of education, leisure, and culture, be accessible to all the children of the nation, and every avenue be thrown open for their advancement according to their unfettered capacity, and we should witness such an uplifting of the mental, moral, and physical standard of the race as the world has never yet seen.

"With all the natural resources of the country in collective ownership, and with the public ownership of all monopolies which are fostered by, and inseparable from, private property in land, the State would be so liberally endowed that it could promote the prosperity of the people in a hundred different ways which are now impossible."

Social liberalism meets bloodcurdling bolshevism! Happy days. :)

- Dave