New York / London: M.L. Holbrook & Co. / L.N. Fowler, 1897. First Edition. Octavo (22.5cm.); publisher's cloth limb cloth boards, upper cover lettered in gilt; viii,200pp.; photographic portrait frontispiece. Boards a bit rubbed with brief cloth peeling, contemporary ownership signature to front free endpaper, else Very Good, internally sound. Printer's slug at bottom of title page: Elmira, NY: Gazette Company.
Memoirs of the individualist land reformer Joshua K. Ingalls (1816-1898), best known for his opposition to Henry George's proposed land reforms, himself believing that government protection of idle land only deprived those of its use "who [are] able and willing to utilize it" (p. [iii]). According to Ingalls, his appetite for social reform was first whetted at the age of five, when his mother, learning from the school teacher that her son was "a very backward child" who could not learn his alphabet, suggested an alternative mode of teaching through the use of words rather than symbols. The teacher resisted at first, but finally relented and "I manifested an immediate interest in identifying the letters...In this manner at the early age of five years, I had practical illustration, that authority and established methods of teaching were subject to question" (p. 4). In a similar fashion, young Ingalls observed the exodus of a number of members of his family's church and thus was "brought face to face with the fact that sectarian profession had little do to with real character and that the best people could widely differ in their religious faith" (p. 7). Ingalls grew up to become a member of the laboring class, though his introduction to land reform in George Henry Evan's periodical the "Young American" led to his eventually becoming a full-time radical propagandizer by his early thirties, publishing his own small newspaper, "The Landmark," which garnered enough attention that he was invited to speak on land reform and abolition alongside Frederick Douglass in 1848, an event covered in detail here (pp. 38-42). Unfortunately for Ingalls, his address was followed by Douglass's rebuttal, after which "the audience 'did not want to hear anything more from Mr. Ingalls'" (cf. Bowman N. Hall, "Joshua K. Ingalls, American Individualist," in "American Journal of Economics and Sociology," Vol. 39, no. 4, Oct., 1980, p. 385). Thereafter, Ingalls turned his attentions to taking down Henry George, spending "the rest of his life trying to capitalize on the attention aroused by 'Progress and Poverty'" (ibid, p. 387).