3 MARCH 1939, Page 22


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR] SIR,—Mr. P. Morley Horder's letter does not suggest that he has ever seen the " dull " house which has just been demolished ; but for thirty-five years I have enjoyed looking at the house with its pretty little garden and conservatory. It reflected a Victorian sense of beauty associated with comfort which still pleases some old fogeys like myself. I never pre- sumed to hope that the house would be preserved merely because it was associated with Herbert Spencer ; I merely referred to the melancholy fact of its disappearance.

Philosophers may differ about Herbert Spencer's philo- sophy ; but he formulated the Darwinian theory in his essay on Evolution in 1852, and there were, and are, competent philosophers and even humbler men on my side. As a Balliol scholar of 1896 I am quite aware that it was the Hegelian fashion in Oxford to sneer at him ; but I cannot imagine why Jowett should be quoted as a competent critic of any philo- sopher, for he openly derided any kind of metaphysic. Admirers of Herbert Spencer may like to remember that on receiving the news of his death the Italian Parliament adjourned for the day as a mark of respect for a great Englishman. I should like to think that Signor Mussolini might one day be converted to The Data of Ethics!—Yours, &c.,