PATRICK EDWARD Dove was a Scotchman born
at Lasswade, near Edinburgh, July 31, 1815. His father was a Lieutenant
Dove of the royal navy. The families of both parents had been for generations
rich and prominent.
Patrick Edward received
a good education in his own country and in France. From the French Academy
he was expelled in disgrace for leading his fellow-students in an open
insurrection against the tutors. On leaving school he had the intention
of going into the navy, but he yielded to his father's wish that he should
a gentleman farmer, and went up to Scotland to learn something og husbandry.
He led practically, however, the life of a gentleman of leisure, reading
and traveling, making several tours on the continent and residing for
some years in France.
In 1840 he came into his property and the
next year took the estate called "The Craig!"
He was said to be the most popular landlord
in Scotland. But this landlord did not believe in landlords. He maintained
that the soil of a nation was the inheritance of all its people. He
was never weary of repeating that rent should go to the State for the
benefit of all.
Also, he did not believe in the game laws.
He had no keeper on his great estate and no poacher was ever interfered
with. Another peculiarity was his friendship for Ireland. He stood up
stoutly for the Irish peasantry and denounced Britain's treatment of it.
For seven years he lived thus happily on
his estate, but in 1848 an imprudent investment swept away his fortune.
Soon after that he married, his bride being penniless like himself. The
newly-wedded couple went to live in Darmstadt, where the husband studied
and lectured and wrote. They were never unprosperous.
The Theory of Human Progression was
the first fruit of this toil. The work appeared anonymously. A limited
edition was published in 1850, both in London and Edinburgh.
In brief, the book is the single-tax theory
elucidated a generation in advance of Henry George. What Dove did for
scholars, George achieved for the masses.
He died April 28, 1873. (so he lived to see the abolition of
slavery in the United States)
George made reference to Dove in A Perplexed
Philosopher, Part I, Chapter VI:
A similar fate to that which "Social
Statics" met in England befell a very similar book, covering much the
same ground—"The Theory of Human Progression," by Patrick Edward Dove,
published a little before "Social Statics," but in the same year, and
also asserting the equal right to the use of land. While Dove is not so
elaborate as Spencer, he is clearer in distinctly disclaiming the idea
of compensation, and in proposing to take ground-rent for public purposes
by taxation, abolishing all other taxes. His book must have done some good
work on the minds it reached, but it passed out of print and was practically