Original Preface


Take, since you bade it should bear,
    These, of the seed of your sowing—
      Blossom or berry or weed.
Sweet though they be not, or fair,
    That the dew of your word kept growing;
      Sweet at least was the seed.
-- Swinburne to Mazzini
August Lewis of New York
Tom L. Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio,
who, of their own motion, and without suggestion or thought of mine, have helped me to the leisure needed to write it, I affectionately dedicate what in this sense is their work.

Introductory Epigraphs

But let none expect any great promotion of the sciences, especially in their effective part, unless natural philosophy be drawn out to particular sciences; and again unless these particular sciences be brought back again to natural philosophy. From this defect it is that astronomy, optics, music, many mechanical arts, and what seems stranger, even moral and civil philosophy and logic, rise but little above their foundations, and only skim over the varieties and surface of things, viz., because after these particular sciences are formed and divided off they are no longer nourished by natural philosophy, which might give them strength and increase; and therefore no wonder if the sciences thrive not when separated from their roots. -- Bacon, Novum Organum
For tho’ the Giant Ages heave the hill
    And break the shore, and evermore

Make and break, and work their will;
    Tho’ world on world in myriad myriads roll

Round us, each with different power
And other forms of life than ours,
    What know we greater than the soul?

Henry George
The Science of Political Economy

Preface from the Original Manuscript / 1894


In Progress and Poverty I recast political economy in what were at the time the points which most needed recasting. Criticism has but shown the soundness of the views there expressed.


But Progress and Poverty did not cover the whole field of political economy, and was necessarily in large measure of a controversial rather than of a constructive nature. To do more than this was at the time beyond the leisure at my command. Nor did I see fully the necessity. For while I realized the greatness of the forces which would throw themselves against the simple truth which I endeavored to make clear, I did think that should Progress and Poverty succeed in commanding anything like wide attention there would be at least some of the professed teachers of political economy who, recognizing the ignored truths which I had endeavored to make clear, would fit them in with what of truth was already understood and taught.


The years which have elapsed since the publication of Progress and Poverty have been on my part devoted to the propagation of the truths taught in Progress and Poverty by books, pamphlets, magazine articles, newspaper work, lectures and speeches, and have been so greatly successful as not only far to exceed what fifteen years ago I could have dared to look forward to in this time, but to have given me reason to feel that of all the men of whom I have ever heard who have attempted anything like so great a work against anything like so great odds, I have been in the result of the endeavor to arouse thought most favored.


Not merely wherever the English tongue is spoken, but in all parts of the world, men are arising who will carry forward to final triumph the great movement which Progress and Poverty began. The great work is not done, but it is commenced, and can never go back.


On the night on which I finished the final chapter of Progress and Poverty I felt that the talent intrusted to me had been accounted for -- felt more fully satisfied, more deeply grateful than if all the kingdoms of the earth had been laid at my feet; and though the years have justified, not dimmed, my faith, there is still left for me something to do.


But this reconstruction of political economy has not been done. So I have thought it the most useful thing I could do to drop as far as I could the work of propaganda and the practical carrying forward of the movement to do this.