William Edward Hartpole Lecky




From a letter by William E. H. Lecky of 20 June 1879 to Herbert Spencer
I am glad to gather from your prospectus that you mean in the ensuing parts to deal with the different groups of classes of virtues separately, describing, no doubt, their genesis, their relations to one another, their limitations and their proportionate value. Most books on moral philosophy seem to me almost worthless because they do not deal sufficiently in the concrete, do not divide or distinguish the different kinds of moral action and show how frequently they conflict with one another, and how trains of circumstances which foster one class of virtues will often inevitably depress another. . . . I think a great deal has still to be written on the filiation of moral qualities, on the history of moral types—the proportionate value which different qualities beat in the ideals of different ages.

(Vol. I, pp. 263-4)

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"During a week at Brighton, in March [1881], he [i.e. Spencer] met the Leckys almost daily,  "

(Vol. I. p. 286)

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"  He moved into 5, Percival Terrace, Brighton, soon after the beginning of 1898, hoping, as he wrote to Mr. Lecky, that his London friends would use his house as an hotel, so that he might see them as often as possible. "  

(Vol. II, p. 130)


From a letter by Herbert Spencer of 25 October 1903 to Mrs. Lecky

The praise of those who are gone very generally contains insincerities, but among the many things which, were I physically able, I might dictate from my sick bed, I can think of none that are not laudatory.

Intellectually clear and judicial, Mr. Lecky was morally sincere in an extreme degree, and his devotion to the setting forth of historic truth has been conspicuous to me as to every one.

(Vol. II, p. 225.)

New York : Appleton 1908


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W. Paul Tabaka
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