Patrick Edward Dove was a Scotchman born at Lasswade, near Edinburgh, July 31, 1815. His father was a Lieutenant Dove of the royal navy. The families of both parents had been for generations rich and prominent.
Patrick Edward received a good education in his own country and in France. From the French Academy he was expelled in disgrace for leading his fellow-students in an open insurrection against the tutors. On leaving school he had the intention of going into the navy, but he yielded to his father’s wish that he should a gentleman farmer, and went up to Scotland to learn something og husbandry. He led practically, however, the life of a gentleman of leisure, reading and traveling, making several tours on the continent and residing for some years in France.
In 1840 he came into his property and the next year took the estate called “The Craig!”
He was said to be the most popular landlord in Scotland. But this landlord did not believe in landlords. He maintained that the soil of a nation was the inheritance of all its people. He was never weary of repeating that rent should go to the State for the benefit of all.
Also, he did not believe in the game laws. He had no keeper on his great estate and no poacher was ever interfered with. Another peculiarity was his friendship for Ireland. He stood up stoutly for the Irish peasantry and denounced Britain’s treatment of it.
For seven years he lived thus happily on his estate, but in 1848 an imprudent investment swept away his fortune. Soon after that he married, his bride being penniless like himself. The newly-wedded couple went to live in Darmstadt, where the husband studied and lectured and wrote. They were never unprosperous.
The Theory of Human Progression was the first fruit of this toil. The work appeared anonymously. A limited edition was published in 1850, both in London and Edinburgh.
In brief, the book is the single-tax theory elucidated a generation in advance of Henry George. What Dove did for scholars, George achieved for the masses.
He died April 28, 1873. (so he lived to see the abolition of slavery in the United States)
George made reference to Dove in A Perplexed Philosopher, Part I, Chapter VI:
A similar fate to that which Social Statics met in England befell a very similar book, covering much the same ground—The Theory of Human Progression, by Patrick Edward Dove, published a little before Social Statics, but in the same year, and also asserting the equal right to the use of land. While Dove is not so elaborate as Spencer, he is clearer in distinctly disclaiming the idea of compensation, and in proposing to take ground-rent for public purposes by taxation, abolishing all other taxes. His book must have done some good work on the minds it reached, but it passed out of print and was practically forgotten.