[Herbert Spencer advises Bertrand Russell's mother on 'Questions of Education''.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Herbert Spencer') to Lady Amberley, discussing his views on 'Questions of Education'.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), liberal political theorist and scientist, who coined the phrase 'Survival of the Fittest' [Katherine, Lady Amberley (1842-1874), suffragist, Bertrand Russell's mother]
Publication details: 
On letterhead of the Athenaeum Club, London. 30 March 1869.
SKU: 21426

4pp, 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged, with thin strip of stub from mount adhering to one edge. He finds her 'proposal', that he should visit her 'at Rodborough at the beginning of May', 'well adapted, by the deferred date, to my arrangements. Had the time named been nearer, I should have hesitated, for after three months of enforced idleness I am beginning to do a little work, and I could hardly reconcile it to my conscience to take a holiday. But at the beginning of May, I hope to have a quantity of M. S. ready for revision, and may then, without losing time, enjoy the rural pleasures you are so good as to offer me.' He will be 'glad to see something of Mr. Norton, of whom I have already heard through friends in London.' He does not feel she will 'gain much from my counsels on Questions of Education. It should be borne in mind that no quite satisfactory results are at present attainable. A developed method is fully applicable to, and by, a fully-developed humanity. At present, partial benefits can alone be looked for; and there must always be more or less of compromise between what is desirable and what is practicable.' It is worth noting that Russell's 'On Education, Especially in Early Childhood' was published in 1926. From the distinguished autograph collection of Richard Hunter, son of Ida Macalpine, whose collection of 7000 books relating to psychiatry is in Cambridge University Library. Macalpine and Hunter had a particular interest in the illness of King George III, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'.