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Title: Bygones Worth Remembering, Vol. 1 (of 2)
Author: Holyoake, George Jacob
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bygones Worth Remembering, Vol. 1 (of 2)" ***

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By George Jacob Holyoake

"The best prophet of the future is the past."

Lord Byron

Volume I.

New York E. P. Dutton And Company

31 West Twenty-Third Street 1905

[Illustration: Holyoake]


If the preface of a book be a plea to the reader, its force must lie in
the aims of the author. In the following pages his main aim has been
to be of service to somebody. That is a principle, which, amid the
ravelment, perplexity, and entanglements of the world, always finds a
pathway open. Such a principle is as an All-Seeing Eye, to which he who
acknowledges it, is amenable, since it makes plain to him the devious,
time-serving byways he should avoid.

The writer has no interest, no taste, no trust, save in definite,
verifiable ideas. His aim has been to keep clear of the Sin of
Pretension, which consists in declaring, or assuming to be true, that
which the writer or speaker does not know to be true. What errors
negligence of this rule has bred! What misdirection it has perpetuated!
Into how many labyrinths, where truth was not to be found, has it led
men! What can be more useful, or holier, than inciting the reader to
beware of pretension in speech, in morals, in politics, and in piety?
To keep as clear as possible of this universal sin may serve many and
mislead none.

Professor Jowett has told us that "where Inquiry is denied at the door,
Doubt gets in at the window." This is the way it came to the writer
of this preface, and accounts for a certain liberty of expression the
reader may meet with, if he ventures further into these pages.

A sentence of Mr. Allen Upward will sufficiently describe the spirit
of this book: "Let us try to tolerate each other instead of trying to
convert each other." The author disclaims belonging to that class who
have "great expectations," which are as vain in literature as in life.
The utmost the author looks forward to is that semi-friendly applause
which is accorded to a platform speaker, not so much for any merit in
his oration as for his unexpected consideration for the audience by



It was a saying of Dryden that "Anything, though ever so little, which
a man speaks of himself, in my opinion, is still too much." This depends
upon what a writer says. No man is required to give an opinion of
himself. Others will do that much better, if he will wait But if a
man may not speak of himself at all--reports of adventure, of personal
endeavour, or of service, will be largely impossible. To relate is not
to praise. The two things are quite distinct. Othello's imperishable
narrative of his love of Desdemona contained no eulogy of himself. A
story of observation, of experience, or of effort, or estimate of men
or of opinions, I may venture upon--is written for the reader alone. The
writer will be an entirely negligible quantity.

Lord Rosebery, who can make proverbs as well as cite them, lately
recalled one which has had great vogue in its day, namely, "Let bygones
be bygones." Life would be impossible or very unpleasant if every one
persisted in remembering what had better be forgotten. Proverbs are like
plants: they have a soil and climate under which alone they flourish.
Noble maxims have their limitations. Few have universal applicability.
If, for instance, the advice to "let bygones be bygones" be taken as
universally true, strange questions arise. Are mistakes never more to
teach us what to avoid? Are the errors of others no more to be a warning
to us? Is the Book of Experience to be closed? Is no more history to be
written? If so philosophy could no longer teach wisdom by examples, for
there would no longer be any examples to go upon. If all the mistakes
of mankind and all the miscalculations of circumstance be forgotten, the
warnings of the sages will die with them.

He who has debts, or loans not repaid, or promises not kept, or
contracts unfulfilled in his memory, had better keep them there until
he has made what reparation he can. The Bygone proverb does not apply to
him. There are other derelictions of greater gravity than fall under the
head of intellectual petty larceny, such as the conscious abandonment
of principle, or desertion of a just cause, which had better be kept in
mind for rectification.

If an admiral wrecked his ships, or a general lost his army, or a
statesman ruined his country, by flagrant want of judgment--ever so
conscientiously--it is well such things should be borne in mind by those
who may renew, by fresh appointment, these opportunities of calamity.
It would be to encourage incapacity were such bygones consigned to
oblivion. It may be useless to dwell upon "spilt milk," but further
employment of the spiller may not be prudent.

Slaves of the saying, "Let bygones perish," would construct mere
political man-traps, which never act when depredators are about. In
human affairs bygones have occurred worth remembering as guides for the

It is said that "greatness is thrust upon a man"--what is meant is a
position of greatness. Greatness lies in the quality of the individual,
and cannot be "thrust" on any man. It is true that intrinsic greatness
is often left unrecognised. It would be a crime against progress were
these cases, when known, consigned to forgetfulness. Noble thoughts as
well as noble acts are worth bearing in mind, however long ago they may
have occurred.

My friend Joseph Cowen, who from his youth had regarded me as a
chartered disturber of the unreasoning torpidity of the public
conscience, described me as an agitator. All the while I never was a
Pedlar of Opinions. I never asked people to adopt mine, but to reason
out their own. I merely explained the nature of what I took to be
erroneous in theological and public affairs. Neither did I find fault
with prevailing ideas, save where I could, or thought I could, suggest
other principles of action more conducive to the welfare of all who
dwell in cottages or lodgings--for whom I mainly care. I was for
equal opportunities for all men, guaranteed by law, and for equitable
participation in profit among all who, by toil of hand or brain,
contributed to the wealth of the State.

Yet, though I never obtruded my convictions, neither did I conceal them.
No public questioner ever went empty away,--if his inquiry was relevant
and I had the knowledge he sought Sometimes, as at Cheltenham (in 1842),
when an inquiry was malicious and the reply penal, the questioner got
his answer. My maxim was that of Professor Blackie:--

     "Wear thy heart not on thy sleeve,
     But on just occasion
     Let men know what you believe,
     With breezy ventilation."

Thus, without intending it, I came to be counted an "agitator."

As to the matter of the following pages, they relate, as all
autobiographical reminiscences do, to events that are past. But whether
they relate to acts, or events, or opinions, to tragedy or gaiety, they
are all meant to fulfil one condition--that of having instruction or
guidance of some kind in them--which bring them within the class of
"bygones worth remembering."

One day as I was walking briskly along Fleet Street, a person in greater
haste than myself running down Johnson's Court collided with me, and
both of us fell to the ground. On rising, I said, "If you knocked me
down, never mind; if I knocked you down, I beg your pardon." He did
not reciprocate my forgiveness, thinking I had run against him
intentionally. Nevertheless, I say to any resenting reader who does
me mischief, "never mind." If I have done him any harm it has been
unwittingly, and I tender him real apologies.


These pages being autobiographic in their nature, something must be said
under this head. I was born April 13, 1817, which readers complained I
omitted to state in a former work* of a similar kind to this, probably
thinking it a "Bygone" of no importance.

     * "Sixty Years 01 an Agitator's Life," afterwards referred
     to as "Sixty Years."


It was in 1817 that Robert Owen informed mankind that "all the religions
in the world were in error," which was taken to mean that they were
wrong throughout; whereas all the "Prophet of the City of London Tavern"
sought to prove was that all faiths were in error so far as they rested
on the dogma that men can believe if they will--irrespective of evidence
whatever may be the force of it before them. Mr. Owen's now truistical
statement set the dry sticks of every church aflame for seventy years.
In many places the ashes smoulder still. By blending Theology with
Sociology, the Churches mixed two things better kept apart Confusion
raged for years on a thousand platforms and pulpits. I mention this
matter because it was destined to colour and occupy a large portion of
my life.


The habit of my thoughts is to run into speeches, as the thoughts of a
poet run into verse; but if there be a more intrinsic characteristic of
my mind it is accurately described in the words of Coleridge:--

"I am by the law of my nature a Reasoner. A person who should suppose
I meant by that word, an arguer, would not only not understand me, but
would understand the contrary of my meaning. I can take no interest
whatever in hearing or saying anything merely as a fact--merely as
having happened. I must refer to something within me before I can regard
it with any curiosity or care. I require in everything a reason why the
thing _is_ at all, and why it is _there_ or _then_ rather than elsewhere
or at another time."

This may be why I entitled the first periodical edited in my name, _The


My firstborn child, Madeline, perished while I was in Gloucester
Prison.* There is no other word which described what happened in 1842.

     * See "Last Trial for Atheism."

In 1895 (as I had always intended), I had a brass tablet cast bearing
the simple inscription--

                                    "Near this spot was buried


                          Daughter of George Jacob and Eleanor Holyoake,

                                           WHO  PERISHED

                                          October! 1842."

This tablet I had placed on the wall over the grave where the poor
child lay. The grave is close to the wall. The cemetery authorities
had objections to the word "Perished." When I explained to them the
circumstances of Madeline's death, they permitted its erection, on my
paying a cemetery fee of two guineas. The tablet will endure as long
as the cemetery wall lasts. The tablet is on the left side of the main
entrance to the cemetery, somewhat obscured by trees now.


Dr. Samuel Smiles published a book on Self-Help in 1859. In 1857, two
years earlier, I had used the same title "Self-Help by the People." In a
later work, "Self-Help, a Hundred Years Ago," the title was continued. I
had introduced it into Co-operation, where it became a watchword. I have
wondered whether Dr. Smiles borrowed the name from me. He knew me
in 1841, when he was editing the Leeds _Times_ to which I was a
contributor. He must have seen in Mill's "Principles of Political
Economy," "Self-Help by the People--History of Co-operation in
Rochdale," quoted in Mill's book (book iv. chap. viii.).


The phrase "Science is the Providence of Life" was an expression I had
used in drawing up a statement of Secular Principles twenty-four years
before I found it in the poem of Akenside's.


Two things of the past I may name as they indicate the age of opinions,
by many supposed to be recent. Co-operators are considered as intending
the abolition of competition, but as what we call nature--human,
animal, and insect--is founded upon competition, nobody has the means of
abolishing it. In the first number of the _Reasoner_, June 3, 1846, in
the first article, I stated that Mr. Owen and his friends proclaimed
co-operation as the "Corrector of the excesses of competition in social
life"--a much more modest undertaking than superseding it.


The second thing I name that I wrote in the same number of the
_Reasoner_ is a short paper on "Moral Mathematics," setting forth that
there is a mathematics of morality as well as of lines and angles. There
are problems in morality, the right solution of which contributes as
much to mental discipline as any to be found in Euclid. These I thus set

Problem 1. Given--an angry man to answer without being angry yourself.

Problem 2. Given--an opponent full of bitterness and unjust insinuations
to reply to without asperity or stooping to counter insinuations.

Problem 3. Given--your own favourite truths to state without dogmatism,
and to praise without pride, adducing with fairness the objections to
them without disparaging the judgment of those who hold the objections.

Problem 4. Given--an inconsistent and abusive opponent. It is required
to reply to him by argument, convincing rather than retorting. All
opportunities of "thrashing" him are to be passed by, all pain to be
saved him as far as possible, and no word set down whose object is not
the opponent's improvement.

Problem 5. Given--the error of an adversary to annihilate with the same
vigour with which you could annihilate him.

Problem 6. Required--out of the usual materials to construct a public
body, who shall tolerate just censure and despise extravagant praise.


One day I found a piece of twisted paper which I picked up thinking I
had dropped it myself. I found in it a gold ring with a snake's head. It
was so modest and curious that I wore it. Four years after, on a visit
to Mr. W. H. Duignan, at Rushall Hall, on the border of Cannock Chase,
I lost it. Four days later I arrived by train at Rugby Station with five
heavy-footed countrymen. I went to the refreshment room. On my return
only one man was in the carriage. The sun was shining brightly on
the carriage floor, and there in the middle, lay, all glittering and
conspicuous, my lost ring unseen and untrodden. I picked it up with
incredulity and astonishment. How it came there or could come there, or
being there, how it could escape the heavy feet of the passengers
who went out, or the eyes of the one remaining, I cannot to this day
conceive. After I had lost it, I had walked through Kidderminster,
Dudley Castle, and Birmingham, and searched for it several times. I
had dressed and undressed four times. I lost it finally during Lord
Beaconsfield's last Government, at the great Drill Hall meeting at
Blackheath,* in a Jingo crush made to prevent Mr. Gladstone entering to
speak there on the Eastern policy of that day. In future times should
the ground be excavated, the spot where I stood will be marked with
gold--the only place so marked by me in this world.

     * November 30, 1878.


It is probably vanity--though I disguise it under the name of
pride--that induces me to insert here certain incidents. Nevertheless
pride is the major motive. When I have been near unto death, and have
asked myself what has been the consolation of this life, I found it in
cherished memories of illustrious persons of thought and action,
whose friendship I had shared. There are other incidents--as Harriet
Martineau's Letter to Lloyd Garrison, Tyndall's testimony, elsewhere
quoted--which will never pass from my memory.


The first dedication to me was that of a poem by Allen Davenport,
1843--an ardent Whitechapel artisan. The tribute had value in my eyes,
coming from one of the toiling class--and being a recognition on the
part of working men of London, that I was one of their way of thinking
and could be trusted to defend the interests of industry.


The next came from the theological world--a quite unexpected incident in
those days. The Rev. Henry Crosskey dedicated his "Defence of Religion"
to me. He was of the priestly profession, but had a secular heart, and
on questions of freedom at home and abroad he could be counted upon,
as though he was merely human. The dedication brought Mr. Crosskey into
trouble with Dr. Martineau. Unitarians were personally courteous to
heretics in private, but they made no secret that they were disinclined
to recognise them in public. Dr. Martineau shared that reservation.

Letter from Dr. James Martineau to Rev. W. H. Crosskey:--

"It is very difficult to say precisely how far our respect for honest
conviction, and indignation at a persecuting temper, should carry us in
our demonstrations towards men unjustly denounced. I do confess that,
while I would stoutly resist any ill-usage of such a man as Holyoake, or
any attempt to gag him, I could hardly dedicate a book to him: this act
seeming to imply a special sympathy and admiration directed upon that
which distinctively characterises the man. Negative defence from injury
is very different from positive homage. After all, Holyoake's principles
are undeniably more subversive of the greatest truths and genuine basis
of human life than the most unrelenting orthodoxy. However, it is a
generous impulse to appear as the advocate of a man whom intolerance
unjustly reviles."*

     * From "Life of W. H. Crosskey," p. 90.

Thus he gave the young minister to understand--that while there was
nothing wrong in his having respect for me, he need not have made it
public. At that time it was chivalry in Mr. Crosskey to do what he did,
for which I respected him all his days.


A third dedication I thought more of, and still value, came from the
political world, and was the first literary testimony of my interest
in it. It came from "Mark Rutherford" (William Hale White), who knew
everything I knew, and a good deal more. He inscribed to me, 1866, a
remarkable "Argument for the Extension of the Franchise," which had all
the characteristics of statement, which have brought him renown in later
years. He said in his prefatory letter to me: "If my argument does any
service for Reform, Reformers will have to thank you for it, as they
have to thank you for a good many other things." They were words to


Recently a letter came from Professor Goldwin Smith, who was Cobden's
admiration and envy, as he once told me, for the power of expressing an
argument or a career in a sentence. His letter to me was as follows:--

"You and I have lived together through many eventful and changeful
years. The world in these years has, I hope and believe, grown better
than it was when we came into it. In respect of freedom of opinion and
industrial justice, the two objects to which your life has been most
devoted, real progress has certainly been made."

The main objects of my life are here distinguished and expressed in six


Reviewers of the autobiographic volumes preceding these, complained
that they contained too little about myself. If they read the last four
paragraphs given here they will be of opinion that I have said enough


At the Co-operative Congress held in Gloucester, 1879, a number of
delegates went down to see the gaol. When they arrived before it, Mr.
Abraham Greenwood, of Rochdale, exclaimed, "Take off your hats, lads!
That's where Holyoake was imprisoned." They did so. That incident--when
it was related to me--impressed me more than anything else connected
with Co-operation. I did not suppose those tragical six months in that
gaol were in the minds of co-operators, or that any one had respect for


The chapter, "Things which went as they Would," shows that serving
co-operators had its inconveniences, but there were compensatory
incidents which I recount with pleasure. One was their contribution to
the Annuity of 1876, which Mr. Hughes himself commended to them at
the London Congress. It was owing to Major Evans Bell and Mr. Walter
Morrison that the project was successful.


The other occurred at the Doncaster Congress, 1903. In my absence a
resolution had been passed thanking me for services I had rendered
in Ten Letters in Defence of Co-operation. When I rose to make
acknowledgment, all the large audience stood up. It was the first time
I had ever been so received anywhere, showing that services which seemed
un-noted at the time, lived in remembrance.


Here I may cite a letter from Wendell Phillips. Of the great American
Abolitionists, Phillips, with his fine presence and intrepid eloquence,
was regarded as the "noblest Roman of them all." Theodore Parker, he
described to me as the Jupiter of the pulpit; and Russell Lowell has
drawn Lloyd Garrison, in the famous verse--

     "In a dark room, unfriended and unseen,
     Toiled o'er his types, a poor unlearn'd young man.
     The place was low, unfurnitured and mean,
     But there the freedom of a race began."

I corresponded with them in their heroic days. It is one of the letters
of Phillips to me I quote here:--


"July 22, 1874.

"My dear Sir,--I ought long ago to have thanked you for sending
me copies of your pamphlets on John Stuart Mill and the Rochdale
Pioneers--and with so kind and partial a recognition of my co-operation
with you in your great cause.

"That on Mill was due certainly to a just estimate of him, but how sad
that human jackals should make it necessary. That on Co-operation I read
and read again, welcoming the light you throw on it, for it is one of
my most hopeful stepping-stones to a higher future. Thank you for
the lesson--it cleared one or two dark places--not the first by any
means--for I've read everything of yours I could lay my hands on. There
was one small volume on Rhetoric--'Public Speaking and Debate,' methods
of address, hints towards effective speech, etc.--which I studied
faithfully, until some one to whom I had praised and lent it, acting
probably on something like Coleridge's rule, that books belong to those
who most need them--never returned me my well-thumbed essay, to my keen
regret. Probably you never knew that we had printed your book. This was
an American reprint--wholly exhausted--proof that it did good service.
We reprinted, some ten years ago, one of your wisest tracts, the
'Difficulties that obstruct Co-operation.' It did us yeoman service. But
enough, I shall beg you to accept a volume of old speeches printed long
ago, because it includes my only attempt to criticise you--which you
probably never saw. In it I will put, when I mail it, the last and best
photograph of Sumner, and if you'll exchange, I'll add one of

"Yours faithfully, and ever,

"Wendell Phillips.

"Mr. G.J. Holyoake."


With Mr. Charles Bradlaugh I had personal relations all his life. I took
the chair for him at the first public lecture he delivered. I gave
him ready applause and support. At the time of what was called his
"Parliamentary struggle," I was entirely with him and ready to help him.
It was with great reluctance and only in defence of principle, to which
I had long been committed, that I appeared as opposed to him. He claimed
to represent Free Thought, with which I had been identified long before
his day. My conviction was that a Free Thinker should have as much
courage, consistency, and self-respect as any Apostle, or Jew, or
Catholic, or Quaker. All had in turn refused to make a profession of
opinion they did not hold, at the peril of death, or, as in the case of
O'Connell and the Jews, at the certainty of exclusion from Parliament.
They had only to take an oath, to the terms of which they could not
honestly subscribe. Mr. Bradlaugh had no scruple about doing this. In
the House of Commons he openly kissed the Bible, in which he did not
believe--a token of reverence he did not feel. He even administered to
himself the oath, which was contrary to his professed convictions. This
seemed to be a reflection upon the honour of Free Thought. Had I not
dissented from it, I should have been a sharer in the scandal, and Free
Thought--so far as I represented it--would have been regarded as below
the Christian or Pagan level.

The key to Mr. Bradlaugh's character, which unlocks the treasure-house
of his excellences and defects, and enables the reader to estimate him
justly, is the perception that his one over-riding motive and ceaseless
aim was the ascendancy of the right _through him_. It was this passion
which inspired his best efforts, and also led to certain aberration of
action. But what we have to remember now, and permanently, is that it
was ascendancy of the _right_ in political and theological affairs that
he mainly sought for, fought for, and vindicated. It is this which will
long cause his memory to be cherished.

At the time of his death I wrote honouring notices of his career in
the _Bradford Observer_ and elsewhere, which were reproduced in other
papers. Otherwise, I found opportunity on platforms of showing my
estimate of his character and public services. I had never forgotten
an act of kindness he had, in an interval of goodwill, done me. When
disablement and blindness came in 1876, he collected from the readers
of his journal £170 towards a proposed annuity for me. It was a great
pleasure to me to repay that kindness by devising means (which others
neither thought of nor believed in) of adding thrice that sum to the
provision being made for his survivors. It was a merit in him that
devotion to pursuits of public usefulness did not, in his opinion,
absolve him from keeping a financial promise, as I knew, and have
heard friends who aided him testify--a virtue not universal among
propagandists. No wonder the coarse environments of his early life lent
imperiousness to his manners. In later years, when he was in the society
of equals, where masterfulness was less possible and less necessary,
he acquired courtesy and a certain dignity--the attribute of conscious
power. He was the greatest agitator, within the limits of law, who
appeared in my time among the working people. Of his own initiative he
incurred no legal danger, and those who followed him were not led into
it. He was a daring defender of public right, and not without genius
in discovering methods for its attainment. One form of genius lies in
discovering developments of a principle which no one else sees. Had he
lived in the first French Revolution, he had ranked with Mirabeau and
Danton. Had he been with Paine in America, he had spoken "Common Sense"
on platforms. He died before being able to show in Parliament the
best that was in him. Though he had no College training like Professor
Fawcett, Indian lawyers found that Mr. Bradlaugh had a quicker and
greater grasp of Indian questions than the Professor. It was no mean
distinction--it was, indeed, a distinction any man might be proud to
have won--that John Stuart Mill should have left on record, in one of
his latest works, his testimony to Mr. Bradlaugh's capacity, which he
discerned when others did not. Like Cobbett, the soldiers' barracks
did not repress Bradlaugh's invincible passion for the distinction of a
political career. In the House of Commons he took, both in argument and
debate, a high rank, and surpassed compeers there of a thousand times
his advantages of birth and education. That from so low a station he
should have risen so high, and, after reaching the very platform of
his splendid ambition, he should die in the hour of his opportunity
of triumph, was one of the tragedies of public life, which touched the
heart of the nation, in whose eyes Mr. Bradlaugh had become a commanding


It was in connection with the controversy concerning the Oath that I
received a letter from John Stuart Mill, which when published in the
_Daily News_, excited much surprise. Mr. Mill was of opinion, that the
oath, being made the condition of obtaining justice, ordinary persons
might take it. But one who was known to disbelieve the terms of it, and
had for years publicly written and spoken to that effect, had better
not take it. This was the well-known Utilitarian doctrine that the
consequences of an act are the justification of it. Francis Place
had explained to me that Bentham's doctrine was that the sacrifice
of liberty or life was justifiable only on the ground that the public
gained by it. A disciple should have very strong convictions who differs
from his master, and I differ with diffidence from Mr. Mill as to
the propriety of carrying the Utilitarian doctrine into the domain of
morals. Truth is higher than utility, and goes before it. Truth is a
measure of utility, and not utility the measure of truth. Conscience is
higher than consequence. We are bound first to consider what is right.
There may be in some cases, reasons which justify departure from the
right. But these are exceptions. The general rule is--Truth has the
first claim upon us.

To take an oath when you do not believe in an avenging Deity who will
enforce it, is to lie and know that you lie. This surely requires
exceptional justification. It is nothing to the purpose to allege that
the oath is binding upon you. The security of that are the terms of the
oath. The law knows no other. To admit the terms to be unnecessary is to
abolish the oath.


When a youth, attending lectures at the Mechanics' Institution, I soon
discerned that the more eminent speakers were the clearer. They knew
their subjects, were masters of the outlines, which by making bold and
plain, we were instructed. Outline is the beginning of art and the charm
of knowledge. Remembering this, I found no difficulty in teaching very
little children to write in a week.

It is a great advantage to children to take care that their first
notions are true. The primary element of truth is simplicity--with
children it is their first fascination. I had only to show them that the
alphabet meant no more than a line and a circle. A little child can make
a "straight stroke" "and a round O."

The alphabet is made up of fifteen straight line and dozen curved line
letters. The root of the fifteen straight line letters is J placed in
various ways. The root of the eleven curved line letters is O or parts
of O and I joined together.

A is made by two straight lines leaning against each other at the top,
and a line across the middle.

H is made of two upright lines with a straight line between them.

V is made of two straight lines meeting at the bottom. If two upright
lines are added to the V it becomes M.

Two V's put together make W. The letters L and T and X and Z make
themselves, so easy is it to place the straight lines which compose

O makes itself. A short line makes it into Q. If the side of O be left
open it is a C. If two half O's are joined together they make S. Half O
and an upright line make D. An upright line and a half O make P. Another
half added and B is made.

After a second or third time a child will understand the whole alphabet.

Such is the innate faculty of imitation and construction in children
that they will put the letters together themselves when the method is
made plain to them, and within a week will compose their own name and
their mother's. At the same time they learn to read as well as to
write. What they are told they are apt to forget, what they write they

Reason is the faculty of seeing what follows as a consequence from what
is, but to define distinction well is a divine gift. My one aim was to
make things clear.


One of my suggestions to the young preachers, who had two sermons on
Sunday to prepare, was that they should give all their strength to the
evening discourse and arrange with their congregation to deliver the
other from one of the old divines of English or Continental renown,
which would inform as well as delight hearers. It would be an attraction
to the outside public. Few congregations know anything of the eloquence,
the happy and splendid illustrations and passages of thought to be found
in the fathers of the Church of every denomination. Professor Francis
William Newman, whose wide knowledge and fertility of thought had few
equals in his day, told me that he should shrink from the responsibility
of having to deliver a proficient and worthy discourse fifty-two times
a year. Anyhow, for the average preacher, better one bright ruddy
discourse, than two pale-faced sermons every Sunday.


Those who remained true to Chartism till the end of it are recorded
in the following paragraph under the title of the "National Charter
Association," which appeared in _Reynolds's Newspaper_, January 4,

"On Wednesday evening last, the scrutineers appointed by the
metropolitan localities attended at the office, 14, Southampton Street,
Strand, and having inspected the votes received, gave the following as
the result, in favour of the following nine:--

"Ernest Jones (who received 900 votes), Feargus O'Connor, John Arnott,
T. M. Wheeler, James Grassby, John Shaw, W. J. Linton, J. J. Bezer, G.
J. Holyoake.

"Messrs. J. B. O'Brien, Gerald Massey, and Arthur Trevelyan having
declined to serve, the votes received on their behalf have not been

"We, the undersigned, hereby declare the nine persons first named to be
duly elected to form the Executive Committee for the ensuing year.

"John Washington, City Locality.

"Edwd. John Loomes, Finsbury Locality.

"December 31, 1851."


After I became an octogenarian, I was asked whether my years might be
ascribed to my habits. I could only explain what my habits were. In the
first half of my life I ate whatever came to hand, and as not enough
came I easily observed moderation. But then I was disposed to be
moderate on principle, having read in the _Penny Magazine_, about
1830, that Dr. Abernethy told a lady "she might eat anything eatable
in moderation." In the second and later half of my life I gave heed to
Carnaro, and sought to limit each meal to the least quantity necessary
for health. The limitation of quantity included liquids as well as
solids, decreasing the amount of both "in relation to age and activity,"
as Sir Henry Thompson advised. Not thinking much of meat, I limited that
to a small amount, and cereals to those that grow above ground. A tepid
bath for the eye (on the recommendation of the Rev. Dr. Molesworth, of
Rochdale) and a soap bath for the body every morning ends the catalogue
of my habits.

My general mode of mind has been to avoid excess in food, in pleasure,
in work, and in expectation. By not expecting much, I have been saved
from worry if nothing came. When anything desirable did arrive, I had
the double delight of satisfaction and surprise. Shakespeare's counsel--

     "Be not troubled with the tide which bears
     O'er thy contents its strong necessities,
     But let determined things to destiny
     Hold, unbewailed their way"--

ought to be part of every code of health.

The conduciveness of my habits to longevity may be seen in this. More
than forty of my colleagues, all far more likely to live than myself,
have long been dead. Had I been as strong as they, I also should have
died as they did. Lacking their power of hastening to the end, I have
lingered behind.


For the rest--

     "From my window is a glimpse of sea
          Enough for me,
     And every evening through the window bars
          Peer in the friendly stars."

The principles and aims of earlier years are confirmed by experience at
88. Principles are like plants and flowers. They suit only those whom
they nourish. Nothing is adapted to everybody.


Goethe said: "When I was a youth I planted a cherry-tree, and watched
its growth with delight. Spring frost killed the blossoms, and I had
to wait another year before the cherries were ripe--then the birds ate
them--another year the caterpillars ate them--another year a
greedy neighbour stole them--another year the blight withered them.
Nevertheless, when I have a garden again, I shall plant another
cherry-tree." My years now are "dwindling to their shortest span "; if
I should have my days over again, I shall plant my trees again--certain
that if they do grow they will yield verdure and fruit in some of the
barren places of this world.


My first public discussion in London was with Mr. Passmore
Edwards--personally, the handsomest adversary I ever met. A mass of wavy
black hair and pleasant expression made him picturesque. He was slim,
alert, and fervid. The subject of debate was the famous delineation of
the Bottle, by George Cruikshank, which I regarded as a libel on the
wholesome virtue of Temperance. Exaggerations which inform and do not
deceive, as American humour, or Swift's Lilliputians, Aztecs, and
giants of Brobdingnag, have instruction and amusement. The exaggeration
intended to deride and intimidate those who observe moderation is a
hurtful and misleading extreme. Mr. Edwards took the opposite view.
Cruikshank could not be moderate, and he did right to adopt the rule of
absolute abstinence. It was his only salvation. To every man or woman of
the Cruikshank tendency I would preach the same doctrine. To all others
I, as fervently, commend the habit of use without abuse. Without that
power no man would live a month. Had Mr. Edwards been of this way of
thinking, there had been no debate between us.

Mr. Edwards had much reason on his side. Mankind are historically
regarded as possessing insufficiency of brains, and it is bad economics
to put an incorrigible thief into their mouths to steal away what brains
they have.

I had respect for Mr. Edwards' side of the argument. For when a man
makes a fool of himself, or fails to keep an engagement, or departs, in
his behaviour from his best manner--through drink--he should take the
next train to the safe and serene land of Abstinence.

The first person who mentioned to me the idea of a halfpenny newspaper
was Mr. Passmore Edwards. One night as we were walking down Fleet Street
from Temple Bar, when the Bar stood where the Griffin now stands,
Mr. Edwards asked me, as I had had experience in the publishing trade
whether I thought a halfpenny newspaper would pay, which evidently had
for some time occupied his mind. The chief difficulty I foresaw was,
would newsagents give it a chance? It afterwards cost the house of
Cassells'--the first to make the experiment--many thousands. The
_Workman_, in which I had a department, was intended, I was told, to be
a forerunner of the halfpenny paper. But that title would never do, as I
ventured to predict. Workmen, as a rule with no partnership in
profits, had enough of work without buying a paper about it. Tradesmen,
middle-class and others, did not want to be taken for workmen, and the
_Workman_ was discontinued. But, strange to say, the same paper issued
under the title of _Work_ became successful Everybody was interested in
work but not in being workmen. Such are the subtleties of titles! Their
right choice--is it art or instinct? The _Echo_ was the name fixed
upon for the first halfpenny paper. Echo of what? was not indicated. It
excluded expectations of originality. Probably curiosity was the charm.
It committed no one to any side. There were always more noises about
than any one could listen to, and many were glad to hear the most
articulate. I wrote articles in the earliest numbers under the
editorship of Sir Arthur Arnold.


The House of Allsop, as known to the world of progress in the last
century, is ended. The first who gave it public interest was Thomas
AIlsop, who assisted Robert Owen in 1832 in the Gray's Inn Lane Labour
Exchanges. He was a watchful assistant of those who contributed to the
public service without expecting or receiving requital. His admiration
of genius always took the form of a gift--a rare but encouraging form
of applause. Serjeant Talfourd somewhere bears testimony to the generous
assistance Mr. AIlsop rendered to Hazlitt, Lamb, and Coleridge. To Lamb,
he continually sent gifts, and Coleridge dined at his table every Sunday
for nineteen years. Landor, who had always nobility of character, and
was an impulsive writer--represented Mr. Allsop's interest in European
freedom as proceeding from "vanity," forgetful of his own letter to
Jessie Meriton White, offering £100 to any assassin of Napoleon III.;
and John Forster preserves Landor's remark upon Mr. Allsop, but does
not, so far as I remember, give Landor's Assassin Letter. The fact was,
no man less sought publicity or disliked it more than Mr. Allsop. When
Feargus O'Connor was elected member for Nottingham, Mr. Allsop qualified
him by conferring upon him lands bringing an income of £300. He divided
his Lincoln estate into allotments for working men, but he never
mentioned these things himself. His son Robert held his father's
intellectual views. His eldest son Thomas, who was class-mate with Mr.
Dixon Galpin at Queenwood, a considerable landowner in British Columbia,
was the philosopher of the family, and like Archbishop Whately, had a
power of stating them with ever apt and ready illustrations.

They were like Mr. Owen, Conservative in politics; but in social and
mental matters they were intrepid in welcoming new truth. It was at
Thomas's suggestion that I omitted his father's name altogether in my
chapter, "Mr. Secretary Walpole and the Jacobin's Friend."* Landor was
quite wrong, there was no "vanity" in the Allsop family. Were Thomas
Allsop the younger now living I should not write these paragraphs. As it
is, I may say that I owed to his generosity an annuity of £100. He
commenced it by a subscription of £200, and by Mr. Robert Applegarth's
friendly secretaryship, which had devotion and inspiration in it, a
committee to which the Rev. Dr. Joseph Parker, with his intrepid
tolerance, gave his name, was formed, and an annuity of £100 was
purchased for me.

     * "Sixty Years," chap. lxx. p. 72.

[Illustration: Parker]


When the Taxes on Knowledge were repealed, Mr. Collet and I attempted
to procure the repeal of the Passenger Tax on Railways. For forty years
after the imposition of the tax of Lord Halford, 1832, the workman was
taxed who went in search of an employer. When a poor sailor, arriving in
London after a long voyage, desired to visit his poor mother in Glasgow,
the Government added to his fare a tax of three shillings, to encourage
him in filial affection. In the interests of locomotion and trade, two
or three associations had attempted to get this pernicious tax repealed,
without success. It was remarked in Parliament in 1877 that no
committee representing the working class asked for the repeal of this
discreditable impost, which most concerned them. This was the reason of
the formation of the Travelling Tax Abolition Committee, of which Mr.
Collet became secretary and I the chairman. We were assisted by an
influential committee of civic and industrial leaders. After six years'
agitation we were mainly instrumental (that was in Mr. Gladstone's
days) in obtaining the repeal of the penny a mile tax on all third-class
fares, effected by Mr. Childers in 1883, which ever since has put into
the pocket of working-class travellers £400,000 a year, besides the
improved carriages and improved service the repeal has enabled railway
companies to give. We continued the committee many years longer in the
hope of freeing the railways wholly from taxation, which still hampers
the directors and is obstructive of commerce. I was chairman for
twenty-four years, during which time twenty-two of the committee died.
Our memorials, interviews with ministers, correspondence with officials,
petitions to Parliament, public meetings and various publications,
involved a large and incessant amount of work without payment of any
kind. Subsequently a committee of publicists, journalists and members of
Parliament, for whom Mr. Applegarth was the secretary, caused £80 to be
given to me, in recognition of my services. Though it represented less
than £4 a year as the salary of the chairman, it was valuable in my
eyes from the persons who gave it, as they were not the persons much
benefited by the work done, and who really taxed themselves on behalf
of others. A subscription of a halfpenny each from the working-class
travellers who had profited by the repeal would have amounted to a
handsome acknowledgment. But from them it was impossible to collect
it. Testimonials, I believe, are often given by persons who generously
subscribe for others upon whom the obligation of making it more properly


It would seem insensibility or ingratitude not to record, that on
my eightieth birthday--now eight years ago--I was entertained at a
numerously attended dinner party in the National Liberal Club, at which
to my gratification, Mr. Walter Morrison presided. The speakers, and
distinction of many in the assembly, were a surprise, transcending all
I had foreseen. The words of Mr. Morrison's speech, to use Tennyson's
words, were like

     That on the stretch'd forefinger of all time
     Sparkle forever"

in my memory.

On my eighty-sixth birthday a reception was given me by the Ethical
Society of South Place Chapel, Finsbury--the oldest Free Thought temple
in London, where the _duty_ of free inquiry was first proclaimed by W.
J. Fox. The place was filled with faces familiar and unfamiliar, from
near and far, of artists, poets, publicists, journalists, philosophers,
as at the National Liberal Club, but in greater numbers. Lady Florence
Dixie purchased a large and costly oil painting,* and sent it for me to
present to the Library of the Rationalist Press Association. Among the
letters sent was one, the last sent to a public meeting, by Herbert
Spencer. The reader will pardon the pride I have in quoting it.

     * By my nephew, Roland Holyoake.

Writing from 5, Percival Terrace, Brighton, March 28, 1903, Mr. Spencer
said: "I have not been out of doors since last August, and as Mr.
Holyoake knows, it is impossible for me to join in the Reception to
be given to him on the occasion of his eighty-sixth birthday. I can do
nothing more than express my warm feeling of concurrence. Not dwelling
upon his intellectual capacity, which is high, I would emphasise my
appreciation of his courage, sincerity, truthfulness, philanthropy, and
unwearied perseverance. Such a combination of these qualities, it will,
I think, be difficult to find."


For a period I had the opportunity accorded me of editing a daily
newspaper--_The Sun_. The Rev. Dr. Joseph Parker had been my
predecessor. I was left at liberty to say whatever I pleased, and I did.
In one week I wrote twenty-nine articles.

But opulent opportunity of working was afforded me. As I was paid ten
times as much as I had received before, I thought myself in a paradise
of journalism.


In the correspondence of Robert Owen, now in possession of the
Co-operative Union Memorial Committee, Manchester, is the following
letter from his customary legal adviser, who then resided at Hornsey.

     "6,  Old Jewry,  London,

     "February 17, 1853. "R. Owen, Esq.,

     "Dear Sir,--I am glad to see your handwriting upon an
     envelope conveying to me a pamphlet of yours.

     "Holyoake I expect will breakfast with me on Sunday morning.
     He comes down by the railway to Hornsey, which leaves London
     at nine o'clock precisely.

     "I am afraid it is too cold for you, and that the walk from
     the railway to our house, which is three quarters of a mile,
     may not be agreeable.

     "Yours truly,

     "W. H. Ashurst.

     "H. will return about 12 or 1."

After breakfast Mr. Owen walked briskly with me into town. He was then
eighty-two. On his way he explained to me that, when walking as
often had done from Birmingham to Worcester, or from Huddersfield to
Sheffield--to lecture, I should find it an advantage to use the horse
road, as on the footpath there is more unevenness and necessity of
deviation to allow persons to pass, which increases the fatigue of a day
on foot. So thoughtful and practical was the reputed visionary.


Of letters on public affairs I confine myself to three instances.
When the South Kensington Exhibitions were in force, more than twenty
thousand visitors a day thronged the Exhibition Road. Mothers with their
children had to cross the wide Museum Road, where policemen, stationed
to protect the passengers, had enough to do to keep their own toes on
their feet, in the undivided traffic of cabs. I wrote to the _Times_
suggesting that a lamp should be erected in the middle of the wide road
serving as a light, a retreat, and a division of traffic. All the cabmen
who could write protested against the danger, or the necessity, and
possibility of the proposal. But it was done, to the great joy of
mothers and advantage to the public.


After the fall of the French Assassin at Sedan when Marshal Bazaine
was hanging about Europe in obscurity and ignominy, Mr. Arthur Arnold
proposed that he should be invited to a banquet in London. Seeing that
the citizens of Paris went out at night in bands of twenty or thirty
heroically to help to raise the siege--on what ground could we offer to
honour Bazaine, who with 192,000 soldiers under his command, was afraid
to attempt it? I asked the question in the Press, and the proposal,
which had a sentiment of chivalry in it to a fallen general, and was
commanding some concurrence--went out--like the Marshal--into outer
darkness. *****

When public opinion was in the balance respecting the South American
War, Mr. Reverdy Johnson and a Copperhead colleague arrived in London
and began to do a respectable business in public mystification. From
information supplied to me I wrote letters explaining the real nature
of that sinister mission, in consequence of which the two emissaries of
slavery made tracks for New York.

But of instances, as of other things, there must be an end.


Surely environment is the sister of heredity? Mr. Gladstone once said to
me that "The longer he lived the more he thought of heredity." Next to
heredity is environment--the moulder of mankind. My first passion was to
be a prize-fighter. Nature, however, had not made me that way. I had
no animosity of mind, and that form of contest was not to my taste. But
prize-fighting was part of the miasma the Napoleonic war had diffused in
England. It was in the air; it was the talk of the street "Hammer" Lane,
so called from the iron blow he could deliver, was the local hero of the
Ring in the Midlands in my youth. He was a courtier of my eldest sister,
and created in me a craving for fistic prowess. I fought one small
battle, but found that a lame wrist, which has remained permanent, cut
me off from any prospect of renown in that pursuit Next, to be a circus
jester seemed to me the very king of careers. My idea was to leap into
the arena exclaiming:--

"Well, I never! Did you ever? I never did."

"Never did what?" the clown was to ask me, when my reply was to be:--

"I could only disclose that before a Royal Commission"--alluding to a
political artifice then coming into vogue in Parliament When a Minister
did not know what to say to a popular demand, or found it inconvenient
to say it if he did know, he would suggest a Commission to inquire into
it, as is done to this day.

Then the clown would demand, "What is the good of a Royal Commission?"
when the answer would be: "Every good in the world to a Ministry, for
before the Commission agreed as to the answer to be given, the public
would forget what the question was." Under this diversion of the
audience, no one noticed that no answer was given to the original
question put to the jester. Whether I could have succeeded in this
walk was never decided. It was found that I lacked the loud, radiant,
explosive voice necessary for circus effects, and I ceased to dream of
distinction there.

I suppose, like many others who could not well write anything, I thought
poetry might be my latent--very latent--faculty. So I began. For all I
knew, my genius, if I had any, might lie that way. To "body forth things
unknown," which I was told poets did, must be delightful. To "build
castles in the air"--as my means did not enable me to pay ground
rent--was at least an economical project. So I began with a question, as
new Members of Parliament do, until they discover something to say. My
first production, which I hoped would be mistaken for a poem, was in the
form of a "Question to a Pedestrian":--

     "Saw you my Lilian pass this way?
     You would know her by the ray
     Of light which doth attend her.

     Her eye such fire of passion hath,
     That none who meet her ever pass,
     But they some message send her."

The critics said to me, as they said to Keats, to whom I bore no other
resemblance, "This sort of thing will never do. It is an imitation
of Shenstone, or of one of the Shepherd and Shepherdess School of the
Elizabethan era"--of whom I knew nothing. So I was lost to the Muses,
who, however, never missed me.

But my career was not ended. I was told there might be an opening for me
in criticism, especially of poetry, as there were many persons great in
the critical line, who could not write a verse themselves--and yet lived
to become a terror to all who could. My first effort in this direction
was upon the book of a young poet whom I knew personally. Not venturing
upon longer pieces at first, I selected two sonnets--as the author,
Emslie Duncan, called them. The opening was very striking, and was thus

     "Great God: What is it that I see?
     A figure shrimping in the sea."

How natural is the exclamation, I began. The poet invokes the Deity on
the threshold of a great surprise. Luther did the same in his famous
hymn beginning--

     "Great God! What do mine eyes behold!"

Our sonneteer may be said to have borrowed the exclamation from Luther.*
But we have no doubt the exclamation of our poet is purely original.
He next demands an interpretation of his vision. It is early morning,
though the poet does not mention it (great poets are suggestive, and
stoop not to detail). An evasive grey mist spreads everywhere, like the
new fiscal policy of the Bentinckian type (then in the air), obscuring
the landmarks of long-time safety. Still there is one object visible.
The poet's eye in "fine frenzy rolling" sees something. He is not sure
of the personality that confronts him, and with agnostic precaution
worthy of Huxley, he declines to say what it is--until he knows--and so
contents himself with telling the reader it is a "figure" out shrimping.
The scene is most impressive. As amateurs say, when they do not
understand a picture they are praising, "It grows upon you." So this
marvellous sonnet grows upon the

     * The opening of Luther's fine hymn:--

          "Great God! What do mine eyes behold!
          The end of things created"--

     which long imposed on my imagination and does so still.

reader. If there be not imagination and profundity here, we do not know
where to look for it.

Next our poet returns to town, and in White-chapel meets with the statue
of a lady attired only in a blouse. Notwithstanding his astonishment he
varies his abjuration, and exclaims--

     "Judge ye gods, of my surprise,
     A lady naked in her chemise!"

This is unquestionably very fine. True, there is some contradiction in
nudity and attire; but splendid contradiction is an eternal element of
poetry. What would Milton's "Paradise Lost" be without it? The reader
cannot tell whether the surprise of the poet is at the lady or her
drapery. There is no use in asking a great poet what he meant in writing
his brilliant lines. If as candid as Browning, he would answer as
Browning did, that "he had not the slightest idea what he meant."
Nothing remains for us but to congratulate the public on the advent of a
new poet who is equally great on subjects of land or sea.

There is a good deal of reviewing done on this principle, and
reputations made by this sort of writing as fully without foundation,
and I looked forward to further employment.

The editor to whom I sent these primal specimens of my new vocation
seemed undecided what to do with them--throw them into his waste-paper
basket or submit them to his readers. I assured him I had seen a number
of criticisms less restrained than mine, on performances quite as
slender as the sonnets I had described. With kindly consideration, lest
he might be repressing a rising genius in me, he asked me to give my
opinion upon a charming little poem by Longfellow--to commend, as he
hoped I could, as a new edition in which he was interested was about to
be published.

The object of the poet, I found, was to awaken certain young ladies,
whose only fault consisted in getting up late in the morning. The lines
addressed to them, if I rightly remember, began thus:--

     "Awake! Arise! and greet the day.
     Angels are knocking at the door.
     They are in haste and may not stay,
     And once departed come no more."

This verse reminds the readers of Omar Khayyam. Two ideas in it are his,
and the terms used are his; but I resisted this temptation to imitate
those popular critics, whose aim is not to discover the graces of a new
poet, but his plagiarisms, and to show that everybody reproduces the
ideas of everybody else, and prove that--

     "Nothing is, and all things seem
     And we the shadows of a dream"--

and of old, antediluvian dreams. Disdaining this royal road to critical
renown, I commenced by praising the enchanting invocation of the poet,
who when the ladies heard it would leap out of bed and dress. I observed
that to the reader who did not look below the surface--did not "read
between the lines," is the favourite phrase--the poem presented some
mysteries of diction. Instead of appearing as the angel in Leigh Hunt's
"Abou Ben Adhem" did, who diffused himself in the room like a vision,
these peripatetic visitants presented themselves like celestial postmen
"knocking at the door." Then why were they out so early themselves?
Had they more calls to make than they could well accomplish in the time
allowed them? Why were they "in haste"? No wonder mankind lack repose
if angels are in a hurry. The Kingdom of the Blest is supposed to be
the land of rest Manifestly these morning angels had to be back by a
stipulated time, and like a tax-collector could make no second call.
Apparently Longfellow's angels are like Mr. Stead's favourite spirit
Julia. They are harassed with appointments, commissions, and cares.
It is of no use being a spirit if you cannot move about with regal
leisureliness, such as was displayed by the first Shah of Persia who
visited us. The writer has seen nothing like it in any European monarch.
While in the lines now in question supernatural misgivings of angelic
perturbation are awakened. But as an example of poetry, irrespective of
its meaning and suggestions, every reader will covet a new edition of
the American poet, and no library could be complete without a copy upon
its shelves.

I had visited the poet at his Cambridge home, and was proud of the
opportunity of adding ever so small an addition to the pyramid of regard
raised to his memory.

The editor looked dubious on reading this review, and said the higher
criticism might be entertaining in theology, but the higher criticism
of poetry, which dealt with its meaning, was a different thing and
might not be well taken. In vain I suggested that a poet ought to mean
something, as Byron did, whose fascination is still real, and there was
pathos and beauty, tragedy, tenderness and courtesy enough in the
world to employ more poets than we have on hand. I received no more
commissions in the way of criticisms, and had to think of some other

Some of the happiest evenings of younger days were spent in the rooms of
university students. It was pleasant to be near persons who dwelt in the
kingdom of knowledge, who could wander at will on the mountain tops
of science and literature, and have glimpses of unknown lands of light
which I might never see. Who has seen London under the reign of the sun,
after a sullen, fitful season, knows how wondrous is the transformation.
Like the sheen of the gods the glittering rays descend, dispelling and
absorbing the sombre clouds. A radiance rests on turret and roof. Then
hidden creatures that crawl or fly come forth and put on golden tints.
The cheerless poor emerge from their fireless chambers with the grateful
emotions of sun worshippers.

How like is all this to the change which comes over the realm of
ignorance! Light does not change vegetation more than the light of
knowledge changes the realm of the mind. The thirsty crevices of thought
drink in, as it were, the refreshing beams. Once conscious of the
liberty and power which comes of knowing--ignorance itself becomes
eager, impatient--covetous of information. Faculties unsuspected
disclose themselves. Qualities undreamed-of appear. So it came to be my
choice to enter the field of instruction. It seemed to me a great
thing to endow any, however few, in any way, however humble, with the
cheeriness and strength of ideas. True, I began to teach what I did not
know--or knew but partially--yet not without personal advantage, since
no one knows anything well until he has tried to teach it to another.
The dullest pupil will make his master sensible of defects in his own
explanation. Formerly, the dulness of a learner was supposed to discover
the necessity of a cane, whereas all it proved was incapacity or
unwillingness to take trouble--on the part of the teacher. The result
was that I wrote several elementary books of instruction. All owed their
existence, or whatever success attended them, to the experience of the

All things have an end, as many observant people know, and before long
I turned my attention to journalism. I had read somewhere a saying of
Aristotle--"Now I mean to speak conformably to the truth." That seems
every man's duty--if he speaks at all. Anyhow, Aristotle's words
appeared to constitute a good rule for a journalist I had never heard or
never heeded the injunction of Byron:--

     "Let him who speaks beware
     Of whom, of what, and when, and where."

The Aristotelian rule I had adopted soon brought me into difficulties,
probably from want of skill in applying it. It was in propagandist
journalism that I had ventured, which I mention for the purpose of
saying that it is not, as many suppose, a profitable profession. It is
excellent discipline, but it is not thought much of by your banker. Its
securities are never saleable on the Stock Exchange. Nevertheless, the
Press has its undying attraction. It is the fame-maker. Without it noble
words, as well as noble deeds, would die. Day by day there descend from
the Press ideas in fertilising showers, falling on the parched and
arid plains of life, which in due season become verdant and variegated.
Difficulties try men's souls, but true ideas expand them. And they have
done so. Literature is a much brighter thing than it was when I first
began to meddle or "muddle" in it, as Lord Salisbury would say.

Nothing was thought classical then that was not dull No definition of
importance was found to be utterly unintelligible until a University man
had explained it. All is different now--let us hope.

Instances of the progress of literary opinion are perhaps more
instructive and better worth remembering. In 1850, when George Henry
Lewes and Thornton Hunt included my name in their published list of
contributors to the _Leader_, it cost the proprietors, I had reason to
know, £2,000. It set the Rev. Dr. Jelf, of King's College, on fire,
and caused an orthodox spasm of a serious kind in Charles Kingsley and
Professor Maurice, as witness their letters of that day.

One journal projected by me in 1850 is still v issued--_Public Opinion_.
Mr. W. H. Ashurst asked me to devise a paper I thought the most needed.
As Peel had said, "England was governed by opinion," I suggested that
this opinion should be collected. I wrote the prospectus of the new
journal, specifying that each article quoted should be prefixed by a
few words, within brackets, setting forth what principles, party, or
interest it represented--whether English or foreign. Mr. Ashurst put the
prospectus into the hands of Robert Buchanan, father of the late Robert
Buchanan, and the earlier issues followed the plan I had defined. The
object was to collect intelligent and responsible opinion.

In 1866 the _Contemporary Review_ announced that it would "represent
the best minds of the time on all contemporary questions, free from
narrowness, bigotry, and sectarianism." It professed "to represent those
who are not afraid of modern thought, in its varied aspects and demands,
and scorn to defend their faith by mere reticence, or by the artifices
commonly acquiesced in." This manifesto of 1866 far surpassed in
liberality any profession then known in the evangelical world. It was at
the time a bold pronouncement. When it is considered that Samuel Morley
was the most influential of the supporters of the _Contemporary_,
it shows that intellectual Nonconformity was abreast of the age--as
Nonconformity never was before.

In 1877 I was taken by Thomas Woolner, the sculptor, to dine at Mr.
Alfred Tennyson's (Lord Tennyson later). I believe my invitation was
owing to Mrs. Tennyson's desire to make inquiries of me concerning
the advantages of Co-operation in rural districts, in which, like the
Countess of Warwick, she was interested. The Poet Laureate gave me a
glass of sack, the royal beverage of poets, of more exquisite flavour
than I had tasted before. I did not wonder that it was conducive to
noble verse--where the faculty of it was present Mr. Knowles, now Sir
James, founder of the _Nineteenth Century and After_, was of the party,
and the new review--then projected--being mentioned, it came to pass
that my name was put down among possible contributors. The _Nineteenth
Century_ proposed to go further, and include a still wider range
of subjects, with free discussion on personal responsibility. Its
prospectus said "it would go on lines absolutely impartial and
unsectarian." The Prefatory Poem, written by Tennyson twenty-seven
years ago, which may not be in the memory of many now, was this:--

     "Those that of late had fleeted far and fast,
     To touch all shores, now leaving to the skill
     Of others their old craft, seaworthy still,
     Have chartered this; where, mindful of the past,
     Our true co-mates regather round the mast;
     Of diverse tongues, but with a common will,
     Here in this roaming moor of daffodil
     And crocus, to put forth and brave the blast.
     For some, descending from the sacred peak
     Of hoar, high-templed Faith, have leagued again
     Their lot with ours to rove the world about,
     And some are wilder comrades, sworn to seek
     If any golden harbour be for men
     In seas of Death and sunless gulfs of Doubt."

Tennyson, with all his genius, never quite emerged from the theologic
caves of the conventicle. The sea of pure reason he took to be "the sea
of Death." Doubt was a "sunless gulf." He did not know that "Doubt" is
a translucent valley, where the light of Truth first reveals the
deformities of error--hidden by theological mists. The line containing
the words "wilder comrades" was understood to include me. Out of the
"One Hundred Contributors," whose names were published in the
_Athenæum_ (February 10, 1877), there were only-six:--Professor Huxley,
Professor Tyndall, Professor Clifford, George Henry Lewes, myself,
and possibly Frederic Harrison, to whom the phrase could apply. If the
remaining ninety-four had any insurgency of opinion in them, it was
not then apparent to the public, who are prone to prefer a vacuum to
an insurgent idea. New ideas of moment have always been on hand in the
_Nineteenth_ if not of the "wilder" kind.

After issuing fifty volumes of the _Nineteenth Century Review_, the
editor published a list of all his contributors, with the titles of
the articles written by them, introduced by these brief but memorable

"More than a quarter of a century's experience has sufficiently tested
the practical efficacy of the principle upon which the _Nineteenth
Century_ was founded, of free public discussion by writers invariably
signing their own names.

"The success which has attended and continues to attend the faithful
adherence to this principle, proves that it is not only right but
acceptable, and warrants the hope that it may extend its influence
over periodical literature, until unsigned contributions become quite

"No man can make an anonymous speech with his tongue, and no brave man
should desire to make one with his pen, but, having the courage of his
opinions, should be ready to face personally all the consequences of all
his utterances. Anonymous letters are everywhere justly discredited in
private life, and the tone of public life would be raised in proportion
to the disappearance of their equivalent--anonymous articles--from
public controversy."

Than the foregoing, I know of no more admirable argument against
anonymity in literature. There is nothing more unfair in controversy
than permitting writers, wearing a mask, to attack or make replies to
those who give their names--being thereby enabled to be accusative or
imputative without responsibility. There is, of course another side to
this question. Persons of superior and relevant information, unwilling
to appear personally, are thereby excluded from a hearing--which is so
far a public loss.

But this evil is small compared with the vividness and care which would
be exercised if every writer felt that his reputation went with the
work which bore his name. Besides, how much slovenly thinking, which is
slovenly expressed--vexing the public ear and depraving the taste and
understanding of the reader--would never appear if the writer had to
append his signature to his production? Of course, there is good writing
done anonymously, but power and originality, if present, are never
rewarded by fame, and no one knows who to thank for the light and
pleasure nameless writers have given. The example of the _Nineteenth
Century and After_ is a public advantage.


[Illustration: Lewes]

More than acquaintanceship, I had affectionate regard for George Henry
Lewes and George Eliot. Lewes included me in the public list of writers
and contributors to the _Leader_--the first recognition of the kind I
received, and being accorded when I had only an outcast name, both in
law and literature, I have never ceased to prize it.

George Eliot's friendship, on other grounds I have had reason to value,
and when I found a vacant place at the head of their graves which lie
side by side, I bought it, that my ashes should repose there, should I
die in England.

On occasions which arose, I had vindicated both, as I knew well
the personal circumstances of their lives. When in America I found
statements made concerning them which no editor of honour should have
published without knowledge of the facts upon which they purported to be
founded, nor should he have given publicity to dishonouring statements
without the signature of a known and responsible person. On the first
opportunity I spoke with Lewes's eldest son, and asked authority to
contradict them. He thought the calumnies beneath contempt, that they
sprang up in theological soil and that they would wither of themselves,
if not fertilised by disturbance. I know of no instance of purity and
generosity greater than that displayed by George Eliot in her relation
with Mr. Lewes. Edgar Allan Poe was subject to graver defamation, widely
believed for years, which was afterwards shown to be entirely devoid of
truth. George Eliot's personal reputation will hereafter be seen to be
just and luminous.

For myself, I never could see what conventional opinion had to do with a
personal union founded in affection, by which nobody was wronged, nobody
distressed, and in which protection was accorded and generous provision
made for the present and future interest of every one concerned.
Conventional opinion, not even in its ethical aspects, could establish
higher relations than existed in their case. There are thousands of
marriages tolerated conventionally and ecclesiastically approved, in
every way less estimable and less honourable than the distinguished
union, upon which society without justification affected to frown.

Interest in social and political liberty was an abiding feature in
George Eliot's mind. When Garibaldi was at the Crystal Palace, she asked
me to sit by her and elucidate incidents which arose.

On the publication of my first volume of the History of Co-operation, I
received the following letter from Mr. Lewes:--

     "The Elms, Rickmansworth,

     "Aug. 15, 1875.

     "My   dear   Holyoake,--Mrs.   Lewes   wishes me to thank
     you for sending her your book, which she is reading aloud to
     me every evening, much to our pleasure and profit.    The
     light firm touch and quiet   epigram   would   make   the
     dullest  subject readable; and this subject is _not_ dull.
     We only regret   that   you  did   not   enter more fully
     into working details.    Perhaps they will come in the next

     "Ever yours truly,

     "G. H. Lewes."

The second volume of the work mentioned supplied to her the details she

In 1877 I visited New Lanark and saw the stately rooms built by Robert
Owen, of which I sent an account to the Times. The most complete
appliances of instruction known in Europe down to 1820 are all there,
as in Mr. Owen's days. A description of them may be read in the second
volume of the "History of Co-operation" referred to. When George Eliot
saw the letter she said, "the thought of the Ruins of Education there
described filled her with sadness." I made an offer to buy the neglected
and decaying relics, which was declined. I wrote to Lord Playfair, whose
influence might procure the purchase. I endeavoured to induce the
South Kensington Museum authorities to secure them for the benefit of
educationists, but they had no funds to use for that purpose.

Some women, not distinguished for personal beauty when young, become
handsome and queenly later in life. This was so with Harriet Martineau.
George Eliot did not come up to Herbert Spencer's conception of personal
charm. One day when she was living at Godstone, she drove to the station
to meet Mr. Lewes. He and I were travelling together at the time, and he
caused the train to be delayed a few minutes that I might go down into
the valley to meet his wife. I had not seen George Eliot for some years,
and was astonished at the stately grace she had acquired.

One who knew how to state a principle describes the characteristic
conviction of George Eliot, from which she never departed, and which had
abiding interest for me.

"She held as a solemn conviction--the result of a lifetime of
observation--that in proportion as the thoughts of men and women are
removed from the earth on which they live, are diverted from their
own mutual relations and responsibilities, of which they alone know
anything, to an invisible world, which can alone be apprehended by
belief, they are led to neglect their duty to each other, to squander
their strength in vain speculations, which can result in no profit to
themselves or their fellow-creatures, which diminish their capacity for
strenuous and worthy action during a span of life, brief, indeed, but
whose consequences will extend to remote posterity."*

     * _Congregationalist_ April, 1881, p. 297.
       Bray's Autobiography.


When Birmingham was a town it had a national reputation for Liberalism.
At present I prefer to call myself a "townsman" rather than a "citizen."
The old pride of owning to being a Birmingham man is merged into the
admission of being born in Warwickshire. Some of the political scenes in
its town days may be instructive to its present-day citizens.

The famous Birmingham Political Union of 1832 was "hung up like a clean
gun" on G. F. Muntz's suggestion and never taken down. Many years later
a new Union was projected. Mr. Joseph Chamberlain was in the chair. I
was on the platform, and the only person present who was a member of the
former Union. I had no opportunity of speaking--nor indeed had anybody,
save movers and seconders of motions. There was nothing radical
about the proceedings. Nobody's opinion was asked. No opportunity of
discussion was given. The meeting was a mere instrument for registering
the business of the chair. The impression that afternoon made upon me
has never left me. Nothing afterwards surprised me in the performances
of the "quick-change artiste" of the Parliamentary music-hall.

Mr. John Morley wrote an article in the _Fortnightly_ on Mr.
Chamberlain, which first gave him a position before the public. Not even
in Birmingham could any one see adequate justification for it. But Mr.
Morley proved right, and had discerned a capacity which had not then
unfolded itself.

About that time Mr. Chamberlain made some remark on Mr. Disraeli in the
Birmingham Town Council, which did not amount to much. Mr. Disraeli did
the municipal speaker the honour to call him to account. Had any one in
like case called Mr. Disraeli to account he would have said in his airy
and evasive way: "Every public speaker is liable to the misconstruction
of unheeding and ill-hearing reporters, and he could not be expected to
answer for them." Mr. Chamberlain gave no sign of any such adroitness
which was ready to his hand, but wrote what read like an abject apology.
He did not dare to say to Mr. Disraeli "What I have said I have said."

Mr. Jesse Collings was one of the minor merchants of Birmingham. He came
originally from Exeter, and was held in great respect for his earnest
Liberalism, and for promoting the education of the people--though he was
himself a sectarian pure and simple, with little, if any, secularity
in him. When he came to be Mayor, the Tories of Birmingham--who had not
then and never had any man of mark or genius among them--were capable of
outrage. It was the only art they knew. When Mr. Collings presided one
day at a public meeting in the town hall, they drew an ass's head on a
large sheet of pasteboard, and hung it over the clock in front of the
chair labelled--the "Portrait of the Mayor." For two hours they made all
business impossible by shouting "Mr. Mayor, look at your portrait." At
length the Mayor took courage and ordered the Chief Constable--Major
Bond--to remove the picture placard and the ringleader of the
disturbance. This was construed as an insult, which Mr. Kynersley, the
principal Tory magistrate, supported. I was one who urged Mr. Collings
to apply to the bench for a case, that it might be determined in the
higher courts whether a mayor had legal power to preserve order at a
public meeting. The case was refused by Mr. Kynersley. This was the
treatment of the Right Honourable Jesse Collings for being a Liberal. Is
there a stranger sight in England than seeing this Liberal mayor dressed
in Tory livery, fetching and carrying in Parliament for the intolerant
party which treated him with such ostentatious indignity? What must be
his sense of humiliation under his new convictions? Equally tragic and
unforeseen must be the humiliation of the Tory party in Parliament who
used to boast of their pride, their dignity, and self-respect at having
to accept as a leader the great "caucus-monger," as they called Mr.
Chamberlain, who was the object of their epithets and hatred during so
many sessions. The tragedy of political convictions can no further go.
Far be it from me to deny that Mr. Collings and Mr. Chamberlain have not
honest reasons for their strange professions, though I do not
understand them. Like gravitation, I admit the fact, though its cause
is inscrutable. In politics motives are as though they were not. They
cannot be taken into account. If alleged, they admit of no proof.
Resentment rages among the partisans of the accused and the tendency
of their principles, which it is alone instructive to discuss, is lost
sight of. It is common for partisans to disparage those who have left
their ranks--forgetting that conviction depends upon evidence. Those who
leave a party may be as honest as those who remain. Whoever has rendered
aid to liberty and gone over to the other side should be honoured
for what he has done. He who has once stood upon the side of humanity
deserves more respectful treatment than he who never took the part of
the right. Mr. Collings and Mr. Chamberlain rendered important service
to the cause of public progress, and their abandonment of it was a loss.
For the rest, the career of Joseph Chamberlain, like that of Joseph
Cowen, has its explanation in the passion for paramountcy.


It is not easy to determine which of many historic incidents of interest
should take precedence. The 10th of April, known as the day of Chartist
Terror--still spoken of in hysterical accents--will do, as it shows the
wild way with which sober, staid men can write history. I was out that
day with the Chartists, and well know how different the facts were from
what is believed to be the peril of the metropolis on that day. I have
long regarded it as one of the "bygones" having instruction in them.

The French have their 9th Thermidor (July 27, 1794), when the Reign
of Terror ended, and their 18th Brumaire (November 9, 1799), when the
Napoleonic Terror began, and the English have their 10th of April, 1848,
when a million special constables were out staff in hand, to prevent a
National Petition of the people being presented to the House of Commons.
Yet no conspiracy existed--nor even had the police fabricated a plot (as
they often did in those days)--no disorder had been threatened, not a
man was armed; the only imaginable enemy was the Chartist Convention
of less than two hundred persons. The most distinguished of the Special
Constables was Louis Napoleon, who four years later became known as the
assassin of French liberty, and whose career is one of the infamies of

The 10th of April, 1848, has for more than half a century held a place
in public memory. The extraordinary hallucination concerning it has
become historic, and passes as authentic. Canon Charles Kingsley was the
chief illusionist in this matter. He wrote: "On the 10th of April,
the Government _had_ to fill London with troops, and put the Duke of
Wellington in command, who barricaded the bridges and Downing Street,
and other public buildings."* Nobody "had" to do what Kings-ley relates.
Nine years had elapsed since any one had taken the field against the
Government, and that was in a Welsh town 147 miles away. John Frost and
his tiny band of followers were the insurgents. All were put down
in twenty minutes by a few soldiers. Frost came to London in 1839 to
consult James Watson, Henry Hetherington, Richard Moore, William Lovett,
and other responsible Chartists, whom he most trusted. They besought
Frost to abandon his idea of an attack upon Newport, as no one would
support him. There were no arms in London on April, 1848, no persons
were drilled, no war organisation existed, and no intention of rising
anywhere. The Government knew it, for they had spies everywhere. They
knew it as well or better in 1848 than in 1839. For nine years John
Frost had then been in penal servitude, and no one had attempted to
imitate him. Nor had he any followers in London in 1848. At his trial
no noblemen, no aristocratic ladies, crowded the court to cheer him by
their sympathy, or mitigate his sentence by their influence--as they did
when Dr. Jameson and others were on trial for their wanton and murderous
raid on the Government of South Africa. Such is the difference between
the insurgency of poverty seeking redress, and the insurgency of wealthy
insolence seeking its further aggrandisement There was absolutely
nothing in the field against the Duke of Wellington in London but a
waggon, on which a monster petition was piled.

     * Introduction to "Alton Locke," by Thomas Hughes.

Politically speaking, London has seen no tamer day than the 10th of
April, 1848. There was less ground for alarm than when a Lord Mayor s
procession passes through the city. The procession of actual Chartists,
able to leave their work to join it, could never have amounted to four
thousand. There was not a single weapon among them, nor any intention of
using it had they possessed it. There was only one weapon known to be in
London, in the hands of the Chartists, and that was a Colonel Macerone's
spear, fabricated in 1830, to assist in carrying the first Reform Bill.
That was hidden up a chimney in 3, Queen's Head Passage, Paternoster
Row. It came into my possession, and I have often shown it to members of
the Government to convince them what risks Society ran in Wellington's
days--and are exposed to still.

The Chartists had held a Convention in London the week before the 10th,
and were unable to obtain any place of meeting except a small social
institution in John Street, Tottenham Court Road, which could not seat
150 persons at the Convention table. The hall was lent to them by the
most pacific body of politicians in London--the followers of Robert
Owen. Yet Mr. Thomas Hughes adopted and authenticated Kingsley's
incredible belief, that the country was in danger of these earnest but
entirely impotent Chartist petitioners; and Mr. Hughes actually quotes
believingly in his introduction to "Alton Locke" a statement that: "The
Duke of Wellington declared in the House of Lords that no great society
had ever suffered as London had during the proceeding, while the Home
Secretary telegraphed to all the chief magistrates of the kingdom the
joyful news that the peace had been kept in London."*

     * Prefatory Memoir of Kingsley's Works, by Thomas Hughes,
       p. 13.

Never did the craziest despotic Government in Europe engage in such a
political imposture. It was pitiable that the Duke of Wellington should
have had no more self-respect than to compromise his great career
by fortifying London against an imaginary enemy. The Government had
plentiful information and must have known the truth--the contrary of
what they alleged.

It may be said in extenuation of these affected Ministerial terrors,
that the Parisian revolution of that year had communicated unrest to
the people of England. It had inspired them with pleasure, but not with
insurgency, for which they were as uninclined as they were unprepared,
and none knew this better than the Duke of Wellington. The Parisian
population had seen military service. They understood the use of arms,
had them, and knew how to settle their differences at the barricade.
London had never seen a barricade. The people were all unused to arms,
and were without the means or the knowledge to storm a police station.
Yet, according to Canon Kingsley, Wellington told the Government "that
no capital had gone through such days as England had on the 10th of
April," when no man was struck--no man was killed--no riot took
place anywhere. It would seem that ignorance, rashness, wildness, and
irresponsible language are by no means peculiar to the working classes.
We must cease to wonder at the Duke of Wellington when an accredited
publicist like Judge Thomas Hughes, who was educated at Rugby, could
tell the world himself that "It is only by an effort that one can
realise the strain to which the nation was subjected."

On that awful day, nobody was reported as found looking into a shop
window with a predatory glare in his eyes, and no account came up from
the provinces that a single Chartist was observed to peep over a hedge
in a menacing manner.

I was out on the 10th of April. On Sunday, the night before, I was the
lecturer at John Street The audience was composed largely of delegates
to the dreadful Convention that so perturbed the "Iron Duke."

My advice to them, published at the time, was to "Beware of the police,"
and not to strike again if they were struck. Many of them, I knew, were
willing to die for their country, if that would save it. They would
serve it much better by dying without resistance, than dying with it. If
any were killed whilst walking in the procession their comrades should
move quietly on. Nothing would tell more strongly on public opinion than
such heroic observance of order. Hetherington, one of the bravest who
walked in the ranks, told me he would do it. The Government, by their
ostentatious provocation, in garrisoning the Bank with soldiers,
crowding Somerset House with them, parading troops on Clerkenwell Green,
had brought, it is computed, more than two millions of persons into the
streets. The conclusion to which the Chartist leaders came, was that
the Government wanted to create a conflict, shoot down a number of the
people, and then proclaim to Europe that they had "saved Society,"
by murder, as one of their chief special constables did soon after in

As I had been personally associated with all the chief Chartists, in
prison and out, from the beginning of the movement, I can speak with
some knowledge of them on that day.

On the morning of the 10th of April, Mr. C. D. Collet, the well-informed
Secretary of the People's Charter Union, myself, Richard Moore, and
others, organised a band of forty persons, who were to distribute
themselves over London, note-book and pencil in hand, in the character
of reporters. The police took kindly to us, and gave us good positions
of advantage, where we could see everything that took place thereabouts,
and even protected us from being incommoded. We were there to watch the
police, not the people, as the disorder, if there were any, would come
from them. My station was in Bridge Street, Blackfriars, where a row
of constables was drawn up. I found a coarse, plethoric alderman, going
from man to man, saying only three words: "Strike hard to-day."

The people behaved admirably. Not a blow was struck which gave a
colourable ground for outrage on the part of the police. In justice to
the police, it ought to be said, neither did they incite disorder.

At night the Home Secretary spent the money of the State, in
telegraphing to all the mayors in the land "the day had passed off
quietly," thus creating a false terror everywhere that London had been
in danger--danger of the Government's creating.

The Bull Ring Riots in Birmingham in 1839, when I was resident there,
were created entirely by the magistrates, who introduced a hundred
London policemen into the town, which led to the loss of life and

I and others on the deputation to Mr. Walpole told him at the time, when
the railings were broken down in Hyde Park, that if he made a show of
soldiers and policemen, people were sure to be killed. At the peril
of his own reputation, he kept them out of sight, and no disorder took
place, though violent members of the Government tried to destroy
Mr. Walpole for his wise and noble forbearance. Dean Stubbs, in his
interesting book on Charles Kingsley, says (p. 97): "On the 10th
of April, 1848, a revolution was threatened in England. One hundred
thousand _armed men_ were to meet on Kennington Common and thence
to march on Westminster, and there to compel, by physical force, if
necessary, the acceptance of the People's Charter by the Houses of
Parliament." Could such a lunatical statement be written by any one,
and his friends not procure a magistrate's order for his removal to the
nearest asylum? How were the "hundred thousand" to get the arms into
London--if they had them. Whence were they to procure them? Where could
they store them, seeing that at that time there was not a single place
of Chartist meeting that was not known to be in debt, unless its rent
was paid by the charity of some well-to-do sympathiser? What were
muskets or pikes to do against the stone walls of the Houses of
Parliament or the Bank? How were cannon to be drawn from the centre
of London to Kennington Common with ample service of powder and shot?
Marvellous is the history which Churchmen can write!

The utterly groundless and incredible representations of the "10th
April," which Charles Kingsley and Thomas Hughes published, as we have
seen, were to my amazement resuscitated as late as 1902 for the historic
instruction of the students of the Working Mens College in Great Ormond
Street, London, by Mr. R. P. Lichfield, vice-principal of the college,
who for forty-seven years has rendered it important service, for which
all friends of education for workmen are grateful. Yet in his address to
the students (October 1, 1902), he tells them that in 1848 "the wave
of democracy which swept over Europe gave fresh impetus to the Chartist
agitation. On the memorable 10th of April it looked as if we were to
have a revolutionary outbreak on the Parisian pattern. This we were
saved from, partly by an army of volunteers, special constables, partly
by the Duke of Wellington's discreet placing of his troops.... The
attempt to overawe Parliament by a 'physical force' demonstration was a
fiasco." The world knows a good deal of historians who draw upon their
imagination for their facts, but here is a responsible teacher, drawing
upon his terrors of fifty years ago, for statements which nobody
believes now or believed then, who knew the facts. The Duke of
Wellington's great name in war imposed upon amateur politicians. The
Duke--contrary to his reputation for military veracity--readily lent
himself to the Government of that day, that they might figure before the
country as the deliverers of England, from the nation-shaking assault
of a miscellaneous crowd of penniless and unarmed combatants, who had
neither cannon nor commissariat. Everybody was aware that the knowledge
of the Iron Duke, outside war, was very limited, and his political
credulity was unbounded. At the end of the Peninsular War he wrote to
the Government of that day, informing them "the bankers of Paris were
furnishing large sums to Revolutionists in England." Only old residents
in Bedlam would believe that. There were no leaders of Revolutionists in
England, to whom the money could be assigned or consigned, and bankers
were the last persons in the world to subscribe money for a wild,
speculative, and uncertain enterprise. No spy of Pitt, or Sid-mouth,
would have sent home so insane a report, from fear of instant dismissal
from their sinister employment.

This is but a sample of the airy, false, and fictionary foundation on
which the Legend of the Tenth of April was built. These incidents of
historic perversion, though bygones of half a century ago, are worth


The Chartists have made as much noise in the world as they knew how--yet
to the generation of to-day they are ambiguous. They have had no
historian. Carlyle went to look at them in prison, and defamed them with
that bitterness and contempt he had for partisans who lacked the sense
of submission to the dictates of those superior persons who knew what
was best for everybody, of whose aspirations they knew nothing, and for
whose needs they had no sympathy. Chartism, however, has won conspicuous
treatment in fiction. What it was in fact, is a very different thing.
There is the Church Chartist by Canon Kingsley, and the Positivist
Chartist by George Eliot, drawn by two famous artists. The pictures are
hung upon the line in the great gallery of literature. So brilliant
is the work of Kingsley that it has imposed on so accomplished a
connoisseur as Dean Stubbs, who, in his life of the fervid Rector of
Eversley, has taken it for a painting from real life. I present the
Church Chartist first.

In my time I have seen much good done by Christians with a view to
extend their faith. Some few, like Samuel Morley, who excelled all
lay Dissenters I have known in the manly sense of the dignity and
independence of Nonconformity, would do generous things from the
humaneness of their own minds alone. Some Quakers and Unitarians have
had this quality. Others, Churchmen, Roman Catholics, and orthodox
Christians, I have known to mitigate privation for the "Lord's sake,"
not for humanity's sake. This was to some extent the case of the Rev.
Frederick Denison Maurice, Canon Kingsley, and their noble colleagues,
Edward Vansittart Neale, Judge Thomas Hughes, and J. M. Ludlow.
They became Christian Socialists not so much because they cared for
Socialism, as Maurice owned his "object was not to Socialise society,
but to Christianise Socialism." Startled by the dislike and even
resentment against Christianity expressed by men of poverty and
intelligence at being asked to adopt a belief which brought them no
relief, Maurice, Kingsley, and their associates concluded that privation
was the cause of alienation from the Church. In like manner Dissenters
thought that it was the bad condition of industrial life which
kept working people from chapel. None realised that alienation from
Christianity had its seat in the understanding--in intellectual
dissatisfaction with the tenets of Theology. The absentees from church
and chapel alleged that no relief came of belief, and never had since
the days when manna fell in the Jewish wilderness, and loaves and fishes
were miraculously plentiful on the hills of Galilee. There was no sense
or profit in adopting a faith which had been unproductive for nearly
2,000 years. It had taken the slave, the serf, and the hired worker
a long time to see this. But at last experience had told upon the
thoughtful. But the theologians neither in the dominant, nor dominated
camps perceived it.

Very generous is Kingsley's sympathy, in "Alton Locke," with the lot of
working people, but he believed that when the rebellious shoemaker fully
realises that good priests would mitigate the lot of those who labour
in workshops or in fields and mines, he will become reconciled to the
Thirty-nine Articles. Alton Locke is a Church Chartist--not one of the
Chartists of real life whom I knew, who were current in Kingsley's days,
who signed the famous document which Place drew and Roebuck revised.
They had principles. They did not seek paternal government of friendly
Churchmen, nor of Positivists, nor that nobly organised kind of
passive competence which Mr. Ruskin meditated for the people. The real
Chartists--like the Co-operators--sought self-government for the people
by the people. The alienation of the people from church and chapel was
not founded on lack of spiritual patronage, or thirst for it, but from
intellectual dissatisfaction with theological tenets.

Christians, from the Vatican to the Primitive Methodist conventicle,
are all so persuaded of the infallibility of their interpretation of the
Scriptures, and are so convinced of the perfect sufficiency of their
tenets for the needs of all the world, that they regard difference of
opinion as springing from wilful misunderstanding, or from the "evil
heart at enmity with God"--a mad doctrine beneath the notice of the
average lunatic. Natural variety of intellect, the infinite hosts of
personal views, and the infinitude of individual experience--which
silently create new convictions--are not taken into account, and
conscientious dissent seems to the antediluvian theologian an
impossibility. Even the most liberal of eminent Unitarians in England,
W. J. Fox, regarded, what we now know as the Agnostic--hesitation to
declare as true that which the declarer does not know to be so--as a
species of mental disease.

That Kingsley lived in a refracting medium, in which the straightest
facts appeared bent when placed in it, was evident when he wrote:
"Heaven defend us from the Manchester School, for of all narrow,
conceited, hypocritical, and atheistic schemes of the universe the
Cobden and Bright one is exactly the worst." There was no reason why
Kingsley should be a Chartist, since he had all he wanted secured, and
had contempt in his heart for Chartist tenets. He wrote: "The Bible
gives the dawn of the glorious future, such as no universal suffrage,
free trade, communism, organisation of labour, or any other Morrison
pill measure can give." He exulted in the existence of the forces which
made against the people. He exclaimed: "As long as the Throne, the House
of Lords, and the Press are what I thank God they are!" he was grateful.
The state of things which existed, it was the object of Chartism to

These rampant ideas of Kingsley were far from being Chartist sentiments.
At a meeting in Castle Street, London, the Rev. Charles Kingsley and Mr.
Thomas Hughes were present, working men comprising the audience, an old
grey-headed Chartist, of a Republican way of thinking, whose experience
of monarchy was limited to his share of taxation for its support,
hissed at the introduction of the Queen's name. Mr. Hughes, then a young
athlete, turned upon the old Six Points politician and said: "Any one
who hissed at the Queen's name would have to reckon with him"--meaning
that he would knock him down, or put him out of the meeting. If, at a
Chartist meeting, one athletic leader had similarly threatened an old
grey-headed Royalist who hissed some Republican name, it would have been
described, in all respectable papers, as "a ruffianly proceeding." The
Hughes incident showed Christian Socialist sympathy with Chartism was
not of an enthusiastic character. At other times Mr. Hughes had nobler
moods, but he, like Kingsley, had few qualifications for delineating

Judge Hughes, like Canon Kingsley and his Christian Socialist
colleagues, saw everything in the light of Theology. He saw nothing else
by itself. He relates "the appearance of a little grey, shrivelled man
at the grave of Mr. Maurice at the cemetery at Hampstead, one of the
staff of the leading Chartist newspaper," as a proof of his conversion.
This was gratitude, not conversion. Had I not been at the Bolton
Co-operative Congress at the time, I should have been at the same grave.
When the news came of Maurice's death, it did not occur to his friend,
Mr. Neale, that the Congress would pass a resolution in honour of
Maurice. I suggested it to him, and he said to me, "You had better draw
up the resolution," which I did, and moved it. It was unanimously and
gratefully passed. Though I was foremost to express the respect of
working men, and the sense of obligation they were under, for Maurice's
great services to Co-operation, and his establishment of the Working
Men's College, it did not imply that I had come to accept the
Thirty-nine Articles. Relevant appreciation, real gratitude, and
admiration, do not imply coincidence of opinion on other and alien

How little the creator of Alton Locke was a Chartist, or a sympathiser
with Chartism, was seen when he described "Mr. Julian Harney and Feargus
O'Connor and the rest of the smoke of the pit." Kingsley said "his only
quarrel with the Charter was that it did not go far enough." All his
meaning was that it should have comprised social, instead of political
reform, which was what all who were opposed to political freedom said.
This only meant that he wanted Chartists to take up social, and drop
political reform. This appears in the passage in which he said, "The
Charter disappointed me bitterly when I read it. It seemed a harmless
cry enough, but a poor, bald, constitution-mongering cry as ever I
heard. The French cry of organisation of labour is worth a thousand of
it."* Organisation of labour is a great thing, but it is not political
equality or liberty. Kingsley's Chartist had no political soul.

There is noble sympathy with labour, and there are passages which should
always be read with honour in "Alton Locke." But the book is written in
derision of Chartism and Liberal politics. Alton Locke himself was like
his creator. Kingsley's acts were the acts of a friend, his arguments
the arguments of an enemy; and Alton Locke, despite the noble personal
qualities with which he is endowed, was a confused political traitor,
who bartered the Kingdom of Man for the Kingdom of Heaven, when he might
have stood by both.

     * Prefatory Memoir, by T. Hughes, p. 16.

So much for the Church Chartist. Now turn to the Positivist Chartist,
and see whether there be any backbone of political emancipation in
him, or whether his vertebra is of jelly, like Alton Locke's. To the
Positivist Chartist is given the stronger name of "Radical."

One of the remarkable volumes George Eliot gave to the world bears the
name of "Felix Holt, the Radical." But when she comes to delineate the
Radical, he turns out to be a Positivist--of good quality of his kind,
but still not a Radical.

As Canon Kingsley drew the Church Chartist, so George Eliot drew the
Positivist Radical. Neither drew the selected hero as he was, but as
each thought he ought to be.

A Radical is one who goes to the root of things. He deals with evils
having a political origin, which he intends to remove by political
means. Radicals were far older than the Chartists. Radicalism was a
force in reform before Chartism began. The Radical more or less evolves
his creed by observation of the condition of things surrounding him; the
Chartist had his creed ready made for him. The Chartist may be said to
begin with political effects, the Radical with political causes. Anyhow,
the Radical was always supposed to know what he was, and why he was
what he was. Felix Holt was not built that way. George Eliot had greater
power of penetrating into character than Kingsley, but she made the same
mistake in Felix Holt that Kingsley made in Alton Locke. Felix Holt is
a revolutionist from indignation. His social insurgency is based on
resentment at injustice. Very noble is that form of dissatisfaction,
but political independence is not his inspiration. Freedom, equality
of public rights, are not in his mind. His disquiet is not owing to
the political inability of his fellows to control their own fortunes.
Content comes to Felix when the compassion of others ameliorates or
extinguishes the social evils from which his fellows suffer. He is
the Chartist of Positivism without a throb of indignation at political
subjection. That may be Positivism, but it is not Radicalism.

Felix Holt discloses his character in his remark that "the Radical
question was how to give every man a man's share in life. But I think
that is to expect voting to do more towards it than I do."

"A man's share in life" was the Baboeuf doctrine of Communism, which
English Radicals never had. Holt's depreciation of the power of voting
was the argument of the benevolent but beguiling Tory. It was part
of the Carlylean contempt of a ten-thousandth part of a voice in the
"national palava." This meant distrust, not only of the suffrage, but of
Parliament itself. When both are gone, despotism becomes supreme. When
Felix Holt talked so, he had ceased to be a Radical--if he ever was one.

The power of voting has changed the status and dignity of working
men--not much yet, but more will come. Hampered and incomplete as the
suffrage is, it has put the workers on the way to obtain what they want,
though they are a little puzzled which turning to take now they are on
the road.

Felix Holt continues: "I want the working men to have power.... and I
can see plainly enough that our all having power will do little towards
it at present.... If we have false expectations about men's characters,
we are very much like the idiot who thinks he can carry milk in a can
without a bottom. In my opinion the notions about what mere voting will
do, are very much that sort" Felix declares that all the "scheme about
voting and districts and annual parliaments [all points of the Charter]
will not give working men what they want."*

     * See "Felix Holt, the Radical," vol i. pp. 265-266,
     Blackwood's edition of George Eliot

Felix has much more to say in disparagement of political aspiration
which is like reading one of Lord Salisbury's speeches when he was Lord
Cranborne, but without the bitterness and contempt by which we knew the
genuine Salisbury mind. The Eliot spirit is better--the argument more
sympathetic, but the purport is the same. It means: "Leave politics
alone. You will find all the redress that is good for you elsewhere."

This, if true, is not Radicalism which sought to help itself, and not
rise by compassion. Radicals may have expected too much from political
reform--they may have thought political power to be an end instead of a
means whereby better public conditions can be obtained, by which social
effort could better be compassed, and its projects carried out. It
is true that social condition can be improved by men of purpose and
character under despotism, but this does not prove that despotism is
desirable, since it can make itself at will an effectual obstacle
to progress, and as a rule does so. The policy of seeking the best
political condition in which social progress can be made, is Radicalism.
The policy of contentment with things as they are, seeking social
condition apart from politics, is Socialism, as it has been understood
in England. "Felix Holt," like "Alton Locke," abounds in noble
sentiments, exalts the character of working men, vindicates their social
claims with eloquence. But Felix Holt was no more a Radical than Alton
Locke was a Chartist. Alton Locke is against Chartism. Felix Holt is
against Radicalism. Sir Leslie Stephen has written the most fascinating
estimate of the writings and genius of George Eliot that has been
produced. He has interesting things to say of Felix Holt, but it does
not occur to him to say what he was so well able to say, whether he
was a Radical or not--or if one, of what species. Therefore it has been
necessary to place before the reader the evidence which will enable him
to decide the question for himself.

In reference to this chapter, Mr. J. M. Ludlow wrote to me, saying:

["That you above all men should find fault with Kingsley or any one else
for setting social above political reform, I own, amazes me. But it is
not true in any sense of the words that Kingsley wanted Chartists to
'take up social and drop political reform.' In his first letter to
Thomas Cooper (Life, vol. i. p. 182), he expressly says: 'I would shed
the last drop of my blood for the social and _political_ emancipation
of the people.' [The italics are mine.] Again, you misquote General
Maurice's (not Mr. Maurice's) words, when you say that 'Maurice owned
that his object was not to socialise society, but to Christianise
Socialism.' General Maurice's words are: 'Beyond all doubt he dreaded
becoming the head of a _party_ of Christian Socialists. His great wish
was to Christianise Socialism, not to Christian-socialise the universe'
(Life, vol. ii. p. 47).

"Your story about the 'old grey-headed Chartist' and T. Hughes does not
tally altogether with the statement in Mr. Maurice's Life (vol. ii. p.
13), but as I do not recollect being present (nor, I believe, were you)
on the occasion, I cannot say which is right. I should have thought that
an 'old greyheaded Chartist' would have had more courtesy as well as
more sense than to hiss the Queen."

Mr. Ludlow's letter throws a flood of light on the mistakes of Canon
Kingsley and his colleagues. Mr. Ludlow "is amazed that I above all men
should blame any man for setting social above political reform." It is
now some fifty years since Mr. Ludlow first did me the honour to notice
what I wrote or said. Yet I think he never knew me to subordinate
political to social reform. I always thought it base to teach men to
barter political freedom for social benefits. The leaders of early
co-operation in the days before Mr. Ludlow knew it--being like Robert
Owen, mostly of a Tory way of thinking--deprecated political reform,
and thought its pursuit unnecessary, as their social remedy would do
everything for the people. I always dissented from this doctrine and
resented it, as the politician, if you do not watch him, will come some
day and throw the savings of a century into a sea of imperial blood. Mr.
Ludlow quotes a letter from Kingsley to Thomas Cooper, in which he says
he "would shed the last drop of his blood for the social and political
emancipation of the people." What! for the "smoke of the pit"? as he
described the agitation for the Charter. What! "shed his blood" for a
"Morrison pill measure"--shed the last drop of his blood" for a poor,
bald, constitution-mongering cry as ever he heard"? I agree that this is
extraordinary political enthusiasm. Still it was no proof that Kingsley
was a Chartist, and that was my point. General Maurice's version of his
father's saying that "his object was not to socialise society," shows
that Maurice cared no more for Socialism (which at that time meant
co-operative communism) than Kingsley cared for Chartism. Both meant
well to the people in a theological--not a political way. The old
grey-headed Chartist hissed the Queen's office, not herself. Republicans
ever made that distinction.]


Besides Church Chartists and Positivist Chartists, there were Tory
Chartists, of whom I add an account, and a list of those among them who
were paid in the days of their hired activity. But the business of this
chapter is with the Old Postillion, the founder of the real Chartists,
who taught them and who knew them all.

Of course I mean Francis Place, who was always ready to mount and drive
the coach of the leaders of the people. Though he took that modest and
useful position, it was he who determined the route, made the map of
the country, and fixed the destination of the journey. Joseph Parkes
himself, known as "The People's Attorney-General," first addressed Place
as the "Old Postillion."* James Watson, a working-class politician (whom
Place could always trust), wrote of him at his death as the "English
Franklin,"** a very good title, having regard to the strength of the
common-sense characteristics of Place.

     *Wallas's "Life of Place," p. 346. Longmans, Green & Co., 1898.

     **Reasoner, No. 409, vol. xvi., March 28 1854.

One advantage (there were not many) of my imprisonment which I have
never ceased to value, was that it led to my acquaintance with Place.
From him I learned many things of great use to me in after life.
One thing he said to me was: "A man who is always running after his
character seldom has a character worth the chase." Some far-seeing
qualification was generally present in what he said. For a man who is
"always" vindicating himself becomes tiresome and ineffectual. Yet
now and then, sooner or later, and often better later then sooner, a
personal explanation may be useful. Printed actionable imputations
were made against Cobbett of which no notice was taken--so far as I
knew--which created in many minds an ineffaceable personal prejudice
against him.

Once imputations were published concerning me which justified
contradiction. It came to pass that they were certified as true by
a person of mark. Then I proposed to show that the allegations were
untrue. Whereupon I was assured it would be to my disadvantage with
many with whom I stood well, which meant that should I prove I was not
a rascal I should lose many of my best friends, which shows the curious
perplexities of personal explanation. Nevertheless, I made it.* Mr.
Place told me that in the course of his career as defender of the
people, "he had been charged with every crime known to the Newgate
Calendar save wilful murder." A needless reservation, for that would
have been believed. He let them pass, merely keeping a record of the
accusations to see if their variety included any originality. There was
one charge brought against him which to this day prejudices many against
him. The one thought to be most overwhelming was that he was a "tailor"
at Charing Cross. After that, argument against the principles he
maintained was deemed superfluous; as though following a trade of
utility disqualified a man's opinions on public affairs; while one who
did nothing, and whose life and ideas were useless to mankind, might be
listened to with deference.

     *"Warpath of Opinion."

In 1849 _Chambers's Journal_ published an article on the "Reaction of
Philanthropy," against which I made vehement objection in an article in
the _Spirit of the Age_, of which _Chambers's Journal_ took, for them,
the unusual course of replying. The _Spirit of the Age_ coming under
Place's notice, he sent me the following letter, which I cite exactly as
it was expressed, in his quaint, vigorous and candid way:--

"Brompton Square,

"March 3, 1849.

"Master Holyoake,--I have read your paper of observations on a paper
written by Chambers, and dislike it very much. You assume an evil
disposition in Chambers, and have laid yourself open to the same
imputation. This dispute now consists of three of us, you and I and
Chambers--all three of us, in vulgar parlance, being philanthropists. I
have not read Chambers, but expect to find, from what you have said and
quoted, that he, like yourself, has been led by his feelings, and not by
his understanding, and has therefore written a mischievous paper. I will
read this paper and decide for myself. Knowledge is not wisdom. The most
conspicuous proof of this is the conduct of Lord Brougham. He knows
many things, more, indeed, than most men, but is altogether incapable
of combining all that relates to any one case, i.e., understanding it
thoroughly, and he therefore never exhausts any subject, as a man of a
more enlarged understanding would do. This, too, is your case. I think I
may say that not any one of your reasonings is as perfect as it ought to
be, and if I were in a condition to do so, I would make this quite plain
to you by carrying out your defective _notions_--reasonings, if you like
the term better.

"It will, I am sure, be admitted, at least as far as your thinking can
go, that neither yourself, nor Chambers, nor myself, would intentionally
write a word for the purpose of misleading, much less injuring the
working people; yet your paper must, as far as it may be known to them,
not only have that tendency, but a much worse one; that of depraving
them, by teaching them, in their public capacity, to seek revenge, to
an extent which, could it pervade the whole mass, must lead to slaughter
among the human race--the beasts of prey called mankind; for such they
have ever been since they have had existence, and such as they must
remain for an indefinite time, if not for ever. Their ever being
anything else is with me a forlorn hope, while yet, as I can do no
better, I continue in my course of life to act as if I really had a
strong hope of immense improvement for the good of all.--Yours, really
and truly,

"Francis Place."

There was value in Mr. Place's friendship. He was able to measure the
minds of those with whom he came in contact, and for those for whom he
cared he would do the service of showing to them the limits within which
they were working. It was thus he took trouble to be useful to those who
could never requite him, by putting strong, wise thoughts before them.

Elsewhere* I have related how Place on one occasion--when all London was
excited, and the Duke of Wellington indignant and repellant--went on a
deputation to him, and was dismissed with the ominous words:

    *"Sixty Years," vol. i. chap. 40.

"You seem to have heads on your shoulders; take care you keep them
there." The courage of seeking this interview, at which Place was the
chief speaker, is well shown in the experience of George Petrie, who
was known to Place. Petrie was an intelligent soldier, who served
under Wellington in the Peninsular War, and was wounded in several
engagements. It often happened that the commissary was in arrears to the
troops with their rations, but when the supply arrived the arrears were
faithfully served out to the soldiers. On one of these occasions, when
some days' rations were due, Corporal Petrie was absent on duty when the
rations were served out, and on his return he found himself without his
arrears. To a half-starved soldier this was a serious disappointment,
and Petrie applied to the quartermaster, to the adjutant, and to the
captain of his company, but without effect, until he arrived at the
commanding officer of his regiment Being as unsuccessful as he had been
with the other officers, and becoming hungrier by delay, he requested
permission to make his complaint to the Commander-in-Chief (Lord
Wellington), which was granted. Upon being introduced he found his
lordship seated at a table perusing some documents. "Well," said the
Commander, without raising his eyes from the papers before him, "what
does this man want?" "He is come to appeal to your lordship about
his rations," replied the officer in attendance; whereupon the
Commander-in-Chief, without asking or permitting a single word of
explanation from the injured soldier, without discovering (as he ought
in common justice to have done) whether the soldier had a real grievance
for the redress of which he had sought the protection of the head of the
army, Wellington hurriedly exclaimed, "Take the fellow away and give him
a d----d good flogging!" Petrie, naturally indignant and a determined
man, lay in wait two nights to shoot Wellington, who escaped by taking
one night a different route, and on another being closely accompanied by
his staff. The facts were published in 1836. Petrie's appeal shows
that the Duke was not a pleasant person for Mr. Place to call upon. No
biography or book about Wellington has anything to say of his sympathy
with men who died in making his fame. He took the same care of his men,
and no more, that he did of his muskets, which it must be owned is more
than many employers do, who take more care of their machinery than of
the workers. Wellington kept his men dry, but he had no more feeling for
them than he had for their carbines. Petrie's story will be instructive
to men who shout for war without knowing what the soldier's fate is.
They were told by Tennyson "not to ask the reason why." Their business
is to die without inquiring whether they are murderers or patriots, or
what treatment will befall them in the ranks. If they do they may expect
some form of the Petrie treatment.

To Place, the experience of social reformers was as valuable as that
of politicians. Social life gives its character to public life, and the
politician is most to be valued whose measures tend to exalt the
daily life of the people. Near the end of his days Place addressed
the following (his last) letter to Robert Owen, with whom he had been
acquainted since 1813:--

"21, Brompton Square,

"March 26, 1847.

"Dear Owen,--It is some years since you and I had a conversation, and it
is time we had one. Will you call upon me, or shall I call upon you? I
go out but little, having an asthmatic complaint, which at times treats
me sadly, and from which I am never wholly free. Worst of all, I have
an affection of the brain, which will not permit me either to read or
write, and when these two complaints co-operate I am something worse
than good for nothing. You are, I conclude, in a much better state than
I am, although you are not much younger, yet the doctors tell me that
after having lived through seventy years without illness, I have
nothing to complain of in the usual circumstances of old age now that I
approximate to eighty.--

"Yours truly,

"Francis Place."

From a condition of absolute penuriousness, he raised himself to the
position of master tailor, from which, at the age of forty-five, he
was able to retire upon an income of £1,1000. Shrewd, hard-headed,
painstaking, vigilant and prudent as he was, he found, when more than
sixty, that £650 of his income was irrevocably lost He had put a large
part of his capital into house property, and left the investment of
it to an incompetent or dishonest solicitor.* The fate befel him which
afterwards befel Cobden, Thomas Bayley Potter, and some others.

Why did Place let his prudence sleep? Why, in his walks with Jeremy
Bentham,** did he not turn his steps to the sites of his investments,
and judge for himself their value? His absorbed interest in public
affairs is the only explanation. Yet he had often warned others that
such engrossment, however honourable, should be limited, and not
suffered to endanger necessary personal security.

On the death of Place in 1854, at the age of eighty-two, the _Spectator_
and the _Reasoner_ expressed a hope that a life of Place would be
written as one of supreme utility to the great class which he had served
so conspicuously.

Happily this was done, forty-four years after, in 1898,*** by Mr. Graham
Wallas. When he mentioned to me his intention of writing a biography
of Place, I told him where, in the Manuscript Department of the British
Museum, he would find virgin material in Place's own compact and
clear hand. By research there and elsewhere, Mr. Wallas has produced
a valuable and remarkable book, of which there is no similar one so
instructive to a working-class politician.

     * See Wallas's "Life of Place," p. 329.

     ** See "Sixty Years," vol. i. p. 215.

     *** "Life of Francis Place," by Graham Wallas, M.A.
     Longmans, Green & Co.

The most notable of all the insurgent publicists Place inspired and
counselled, Richard Carlile, an impassable defender of a Free Press,
whom pitiless power in the darkest days of its supremacy could not
subdue, thus wrote of Place: "Though by circumstances (meaning those of
nine years' imprisonment) separated from the immediate acquaintance of
Mr. Place for several years past, I can, by experience of eighteen
and the well-founded report of forty years, pronounce him a prodigy
of useful, resolute, consistent political exertion and indefatigable
labour, which evidently continues unabated to this day.... Francis
Place, by his assistant labours and advice given to the members of the
House of Commons, has produced more effect in that House than any man
who was ever a member."*

     * See article on the "Real Nobility of the Human Character,"
     by A. P. (i.e., Richard Carlile) in the _Monthly Magazine_,
     May 1835. p. 454.

This testimony from one who bore the heat and burden of the day with
Place, agrees with all recorded of him. Carlile wrote in 1835, and the
public work Place was engaged in then he continued until his death in
1854, at which time he was chairman of the Committee for Repealing Taxes
on Knowledge. The Old Postillion was on the saddle to the last.


The enfranchisement of the working class, for which Place worked
so unceasingly, could not come--in the ordinary course of things
English--until the middle class had succeeded in their contest with
their feudal masters. By the possession of the vote in 1832, the middle
class became a rival power to the aristocracy; and that power would be
greatly augmented if the middle class should favour the extension of the
franchise to the working class, as many of them were naturally inclined
to do. The Tory policy then was to sow animosity between the middle and
the working classes, which might prevent them acting together. Their
method was to suggest that the middle class, having obtained what they
wanted, cared nothing for the people, notwithstanding that Hume, Leader,
Roebuck, Grote, Mill, Cobden, and Bright, were the great champions of
the franchise for the people, who incurred labour, peril, and obloquy
for them.

Temple Leader said: "Do not be too sure workmen will not turn against
you, do what you may for them. If sheep had votes they would give them
all to the butcher"--as we have seen them do in this generation. The
Tories had spite against the Whigs, who gave the people the first Reform
Bill. Disraeli began to denounce the Whigs, and he soon found ostensible
leaders of the people to help. Chartist speakers were bribed to take up
the cry. The Irish in England, who thought their chances lay in English
difficulty, willingly preached distrust of the middle class, and their
eloquent tongues gave them ascendency among the Chartists, many of
whom honestly believed that spite was a mode of progress, and under the
impression that passion was patriotism, they took money to express it.
The Liberal portion of the middle class had long contributed to the
support of workmen's political societies. But when they found their own
meetings broken up by Chartists, and their Tory adversaries aided at
elections, their subscriptions decreased, and a new charge of hostility
to the working class was founded on that.

This chapter is a statement, not a plea. Considering the superior
information and means of the middle class, they have not shown
themselves so solicitous for the political claims of Labour as they
ought--having regard to their own interests alone. Nor have the Labour
class shown that regard for the rights of the middle class, by which
Labour could have furthered its own advantages. Friendliness between
them is the interest of both.

Who would have thought that if you scratched a Chartist you would find
a Tory agent under his skin? Yet so it proved with many of them. George
Julian Harney was a Republican. In early Chartist days he wore on
Winlaton platforms a Red Cap of Liberty, after the manner of Marat,
and called himself "L'Ami du Peuple," after Marat's famous "Journal of
Blood." Yet he was not the Friend of the People, in the sense we all
thought. He went to America with the reputation of a fiery patriot. It
procured for him a welcome from the Liberals of Boston, and he was given
a clerkship in the State House soon after his arrival. He might have
grown grey in England before a place would have been given him in any
Government department here.* To my astonishment Harney soon began to
write home disparagements of the American people and their Government,
such as we were familiar with from aristocratic pens. When the Bulgarian
massacres were stirring the indignation of English Liberals, he sent
me a pamphlet he had written, in the spirit of Disraeli's "Coffee House
Babble" speech. I wrote to him, saying "it read like the production of
a full-blown Tory." He resented the imputation--when all the time it was
true. He had cast off his Liberal garments, and was naked, and ashamed.
Afterwards he cast off the shame. When I was in Boston, in 1879,
American Liberals expressed to me their disappointment that Mr. Harney
neither associated with them nor lent them any assistance in their
societies, such as they had expected when they welcomed him to their
shores. Yet to the end of his days I remained his personal friend, in
consideration of services in agitations in which we had worked together.
I had helped him when he issued _The Republic_ and had written words in
honour of his first wife, a Mauchline beauty of the Amazon type, whose
heroism was notable. In times of danger she would say to her husband,
"Do what you think to be your duty, and never mind me."

     * Sam Bamford, who wrote the "Pass of Death," when Canning
     died, was old before we accorded him a seat in a cellar in
     Somerset House, copying papers at a few shillings a week. It
     was all his Parliamentary friends could procure for him.

I first knew Harney at the time of the Bull Ring Riots in Birmingham in
1839. He was "wanted" by the authorities. I alone knew where he lodged.
He knew he was safe in my hands, and we never ceased to trust each
other. I never change my friendship for a colleague because he changes
his opinions; but I never carry my friendship so far as to change my
convictions for his.

Happily it is now thought a scandal to say that Chartist politicians
took money from Tories to break up Liberal meetings. This shows there
is a feeling against it. But they did take it Thomas Cooper, as well
as Ernest Jones, the two poets of Chartism, were themselves in this
disastrous business.

When Thomas Cooper came to London he went, as most Chartists of note
did, to see Francis Place. After some conversation Place asked, "Why
did you take money to prevent Liberal meetings being held?" Cooper
vehemently denied it. Place then showed him a cheque which Sir Thomas
Easthope, the banker, had cashed for him. Place said, "You had £109,
so much in gold, so much in silver, and so much in copper, for the
convenience of paying minor patriots." Years after Cooper in his Life
expressed regret that he had denied receiving Tory money.

Mr. Bright, in the House of Commons, June 5th, 1846, told the honourable
member, Mr. Thomas Slingsby Duncombe, that those parties with whom he
was found at public meetings out of doors had been the greatest enemies
of the repeal of the Corn Laws. (Cries of "Name!")

In answer to the cries of "Name" (says a leading article of the _League_
newspaper), we will mention a few only of the most prominent and active
of these:--Feargus O'Connor, Leach, McDowall, Pitkeithly, Nightingale,
O'Brien, Marsden, Bairstow, Cooper, Harney--some of whom, to our
knowledge, and as we are ready to prove, were well paid for their
opposition to the Free Traders. Nor would it be difficult to show
where the money came from. Let one fact suffice. In June, 1841, on
the occasion of a great open-air Anti-Corn Law meeting being held in
Stevenson Square, Manchester (in answer to the taunt of the Duke of
Richmond that no public meeting could be held against the Corn Laws),
the monopolists made a great effort to upset the meeting. Every Chartist
leader of any notoriety was brought to Manchester from places as distant
as Leicester and Sunderland. The most prominent leader and fugleman of
the opposition was Mr. Charles Wilkins, Dr. Sleigh and he moving and
seconding the amendment to the Free Trade resolution. On that very
morning Mr. Wilkins cashed a cheque for £150, drawn by the Duke of
Buckingham at Jones and Lloyd's Bank. At that meeting of 10,000 working
men the Chartists were driven off the ground. Blows being exchanged
and blood spilt in the fray, the aim of the Chartist party to create
confusion was so far gained; and the moral effect of the demonstration
was effectually marred. For more than three years at the beginning
of the agitation every public meeting called by the Free Traders was
subjected to outrages of a similar kind by the followers of O'Connor.*

     * The _League_ newspaper, No. 142, vol. iii. p. 625.

A short time ago Mr. Chamberlain made a point of declaring that the
working classes were against Free Trade in Cobden's days. The only
portion of the working class known to oppose Free Trade were the
Chartists. Why they did so, Mr. Chamberlain ought to know. If he does
not, he may learn the reason in these pages. The list of the payments
made to them was published, when it could have been contradicted if
untrue. But no disproof was ever attempted. Even "Honest Tom Duncombe,"
as the Chartists affectionately called him, was known to be in the pay
of the French Emperor, of sinister renown, as documents found in the
Tuileries showed. The Chartists, who became the hired agents of Tory
hostility, did more to delay and discredit the Charter and to create
distrust of the cause of Labour than all outside enemies put together.

Those who censure the middle class for indifference to the Parliamentary
claims of Labour, should bear in mind the provocation they received.
Their meetings were frustrated for years after the Anti-Corn Law
agitation was ended.

In the light of what we know it seems hypocrisy in the Tories to speak
of Chartists with the horror and disdain which they displayed, when all
the while the Chartists were doing their work. It seems also ingratitude
that when questions were raised in Parliament of mitigating the
condition of Chartist prisoners, the Tories never raised a single voice
in their favour.

We know there were Tory Chartists, because they took money from the
Tories to promote their interests. We know it also by the sign that
while they denounced the Whigs they were always silent about the Tories.
Now the Whigs are practically dropped and Liberals are denounced, there
is the same tell-tale silence as to the Tories. Now we see a party
arise so virtuous, philosophic and impartial that no party suits their
fastidious taste, and they will have nothing to do with Liberals or
Tories. When they speak, Liberals are referred to as very unsatisfactory
persons, but no objections are made to Tories. The reticence is still

So be it. In art, every man to his taste; in politics, every man
according to his conscience. I only describe species. There is a science
of political horticulture, and it is only by knowing the nature of the
plant that any one can tell what flower or fruit to expect. Yet
there are politicians who go mooning about looking for nectarines on
crab-apple trees. The Old Postillion made no such mistake.



References are continually made in the Press to certain events recorded
in this chapter founded upon statements made by myself, but lacking
details and without the official substantiating documents. The original
summonses and other legal instruments were preserved, and copies of
them are given herein. Reports only would be incredible to the new
generation, and it is necessary to publish them to give authenticity to
the narrative of what really took place.

It seems better to say "Trouble with Her Majesty" than Trouble with
the Queen, "Majesty" being more official than personal. The three
indictments to be recorded in this narrative all took place in the
Victorian reign. It seems a disadvantage of the monarchical system that
the name of the head of the reigning House should be attached to all
proceedings, great or petty, noble or mean, honourable or infamous. It
assumes the personal cognisance and interference in everything by the
occupant of the Throne. It is the same in the theological system, where
the Deity is assumed to personally cause or permit whatever takes place
in this inexplicable universe. If the glory of the mountain be his, the
devastation of the inhabitants of the valley by a volcano is also his
act. The Church is beginning, not too soon, to discourage this theory.
The curate rescued from a wreck who reported to Archbishop Whately that
he had been "providentially" saved, was asked by the logical prelate,
"Do you intend to say that the lost have been 'providentially' drowned?"
Thus blasphemy is made one of the wings of religion--just as sedition
becomes a wing of loyalty, when discreditable incidents are represented
as the personal acts of the Crown. Lawyers know that the King or
Queen is not directly answerable, but by acute legal fiction, odious
responsibility is transferred to others. But the people always think
that he or she, in whose name a thing is done, is answerable for it,
and theologians all teach that everything, even rascality, occurs by the
will of God.

References to my indebtedness to the Exchequer of £600,000 of fines
incurred by publishing unstamped newspapers, seem to readers of to-day a
factless tradition. This is not so, as will appear from the warrants and
notices of prosecution which follow, copied from the original documents
in my possession, which have never until now been published.

Early in 1855, I received the following message from Her Majesty, in the
18th year of her reign:--

"Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, to George Jacob Holyoake,
greeting. We command and strictly injoin you that (all excuses apart)
you appear before the Barons of our Exchequer at Westminster, on the
thirty-first day of January instant, To answer us concerning certain
Articles then and there on our behalf to be objected against you. And
this in no wise omit under the penalty of One Hundred Pounds, which we
shall cause to be levied to our use upon your Goods and Chattels, Lands
and Tenements, if you neglect this our present command. Witness, Sir
Frederick Pollock, Knight, at Westminster, the eleventh day of January,
in the eighteenth Year of our Reign.

"By the Barons.

"H. W. Vincent, Q.R."

Mr. George Jacob Holyoake,--You are served with this Process to the
intent that you may by your Attorney, according to the practice of the
Court, appear in Her Majesty's Court of Exchequer, at the return thereof
in order to your defence in this prosecution.

"Mr. George Jacob Holyoake.

"At the suit of Her Majesty's Attorney-General,

"By Information.

"Folio 9--1855.

"Joseph Timm," Solicitor of the Inland Revenue,

"Somerset House, London.

"Folio 9--55-

"Inland Revenue, Somerset House.

"Solicitors' Department.

"The Attorney-General against George Jacob Holyoake.

"The penalties sought to be recovered by this prosecution are several of
£20 each, which the defendant has incurred by publishing certain
newspapers called _War Chronicle_ and _The War Fly Sheet_ on unstamped

As I had published 30,000 copies, the penalties incurred were £600,000.

These alarming documents were accompanied by intimation as to the
question at issue, and the penalties to be recovered. My solicitors,
Messrs. Ashurst, Waller and Morris, No. 6, Old Jewry, put in an
appearance for me, but on the repeal of the duty shortly after,
a hearing was never entered upon, and the penalties have not been
collected. How they came to be incurred in respect of the _War
Chronicles_ the reader may see in "Sixty Years," vol. i. p. 287.

No intimation was ever given to me--there is no courtesy, I believe, in
law--that these intimidating summonses were withdrawn. I had no defence
against the charge. I could not deny, nor did I intend to deny, that I
had knowingly and wilfully published the said papers. In justification
I could only allege that I had acted, as I believed, in the public
interest, which, I was told, was no legal answer. The law, which ought
to be clear and plain, was, I knew, full of quirks and surprises; and,
for all I knew, or know to this day, the payment of the fines incurred
might be demanded of me. It was communicated to the then Chancellor of
the Exchequer (Mr. Gladstone) that in case of the full demand being made
upon me, I should be under the necessity of asking him to take it in
weekly instalments, as I had not the whole amount by me.

The position of an "unstamped" debtor was not, in those days, a light
one. My house in Fleet Street could be entered by officers of the Inland
Revenue; every person in it, printers, assistants in the shop, and any
one found upon the premises could be arrested. The stock of books could
be seized, and blacksmiths set to break up all presses and destroy all
type, as was done to Henry Hetherington; and for many weeks I made
daily preparations for arrest.

The _St. James's Gazette_ (April 13, 1901) referred to the fines of
£600,000 incurred by me. What I really owed was a much larger sum,
had the Government been exacting. Previously to the _War Chronicle_
liability, I had published the _Reasoner_ twelve years, of which the
average number issued may have exceeded 2,000 weekly, or 104,000 a
year--every copy of which, containing news and being unstamped, rendered
me liable to a fine of £20 each copy. Now 104,000 x 12 x £20 exceeded
more millions of indebtedness than I like to set down. Any arithmetical
reader can ascertain the amount for himself. A friend in the Inland
Revenue Office first made the calculation for me, which astonished me
very much, as it did him. Had the whole sum been recoverable it might
have saved the Budget of a Chancellor of the Exchequer struggling with a

The Government were frequently asked to prosecute me. It was not from
any tenderness to me that they did not. It was their reluctance to give
publicity to the _Reasoner_ that caused them to refrain. It was the
advocacy of unusual opinion which gave me this immunity.

The _St. James's Gazette_ asked me: "Is it justifiable for a good
citizen to break a law because he believes it to be wrong?" I answered
"No! unless the public good seems to require it, and that he who breaks
the law is prepared to take the consequences." I never evaded the
consequences, nor complained of them when they came.

If every one who breaks a law first satisfies himself that public
interest justifies it, and he is ready to meet the penalty, only bad
laws would be broken. It is also the duty of a citizen to find out
whether there is any practical way open for procuring the repeal of
a bad law before breaking it. Respect for law, under representative
government, in which the law-breaker has a share, is a cardinal duty of
a citizen.

On my violation of the law in the matter of the _War Chronicles_ Mr.
Gladstone (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) said to a deputation, that
he knew "my object was not to break the law, but to try the law."

The impulsive and the ambitious of repute may overlook this
consideration, but as I sought neither distinction nor martyrdom, I
acted as I did because no other course was open, and no other person
would take this.


In the year following the prosecution in the Court of Exchequer, Her
Majesty gave me further trouble in discharge of the odious duty imposed
upon her as collector of debts for the Church. As few know to-day how
hateful this impost was, it will be informing to see how the clerical
case was officially stated to me. It began as follows:--

"Mr. George Jacob Holyoake,--Take Notice that in and by certain Rates or
Assessments made by virtue of and for the purposes mentioned in the Act
of Parliament passed in the 4th Year of the Reign of her late Majesty
Queen Ann, Cap. 27, intituled, 'An Act for settling the Impropriate
Tythes of the Parish of Saint Bridgett, alias Bride's, London,' You are
assessed in respect of the Houses, Shops, Warehouses, Cellars, Stables,
Tofts, Grounds, or other Tenements or Hereditaments, within the said
Parish occupied by you, in four several Sums amounting to One pound four
shillings and eightpence for four several Quarters of a Year commencing
at the Feast of The Birth of our Lord Christ, 1854, and ending at the
same Feast in the Year 1855, and that such assessments are made on a
Rental of £74. Dated this 22nd day of May, 1856.

"John William Thomas,

"Collector of the said Rates."

These ecclesiastical cormorants took a hungry survey of every place
containing property on which they could lay hands. After the Rathcormac
massacre, where two sons of the widow Ryan were shot by the soldiers,
employed by the Church in collecting its rates--how appropriate and
consoling it must be to a bereaved mother to read that the rates
commenced to be due at "The Feast of the Birth of our Lord Christ!" Yet
there are people who go about promoting prosecutions for blasphemy, and
with a holy partiality leave untouched outrages like these. The summons
sent to me speaks of the "late Queen Ann," who had been dead 140 years.
Her name being spelt "Ann" shows that she had been dead long enough to
lose the final "e" of her name. The rent of the Fleet Street house was
£74, £400 having been paid for the lease. Each time there came on
the scene the local agent of the Church, who delivered an interesting
intimation as follows:--

"Mr. George Jacob Holyoake,--I do hereby demand payment of One pound
four shillings and eightpence, due from you for Rates made in pursuance
of the Act of Parliament passed in the 4th Year of the Reign of her
late Majesty Queen Ann, Cap. 17, intituled, 'An Act for settling the
Impropriate Tythes of the Parish of Saint Bridgett, alias Brides,
London.' And take notice that unless the same be paid to me within Four
Days next after the demand thereof hereby made, I shall Distrain your
Goods and Chattels, and sell and dispose thereof, and out of the Monies
arising thereby pay the said Sum of Money, and the Costs allowed by the
Acts of Parliament in that case made and provided.

"Dated this 22nd day of May, 1856.

"John William Thomas,

"Collector of the said Rates."

The predatory Vicar of St. Bride's, for whose advantage the contemplated
seizure was being made, remained in the background, praying for my soul
while he picked my pocket, as I regarded his action.

After two or three seizures of property, I sent to the vicar payment
"in kind"--the form in which the payment of tithe was originally
contributed. The chief produce of my farm in Fleet Street consisted
in volumes of the _Reasoner_. I sent the vicar three volumes, which
exceeded in value his demand. He troubled me no more.

The last citation relates to a trial in which Lord Chief Justice
Coleridge was concerned, and Henry Thomas Buckle made a splendid defence
of a poor well-sinker who was afraid of killing the world.


In a Cornish village in 1857 small patch advertisements broke out like
small-pox, of which the following is a copy:--


"Any person who has seen a man writing Blasphemous sentences
on Gates or other places in the neighbourhood of Liskeard, is requested
to communicate immediately with Messrs. Pedler and Grylls, Liskeard, or
with the Rev. R. Hobhouse, St. Ive Rectory."

Whether the perturbed Rector of St Ive found out anything, or whether
ashamed, as he might well be, at being mixed up in so miserable a
business, he retired from it, and the Rev. Paul Bush appeared in his
place as a spiritual detective on the pounce, and a poor, eccentric
well-sinker, one Thomas Pooley, was accused of writing in chalk
incoherent words in a hand only intelligible to the all-construing eyes
of the policeman of the Church, who caused to be issued the following
ponderous summons in her Majesty's name:--

"To Thomas Pooley, of the Borough of Liskeard in the County of Cornwall,

"Cornwall to wit, Whereas Information and Complaint (a) hath this day
been laid before the undersigned, one of Her Majesty's Justices of the
Peace in and (b) for the said County of Cornwall by The Reverend Paul
Bush of the Parish of Duloe, in the said County, for that you the said
Thomas Pooley on the twenty-second of May last at the Parish of Duloe,
in the said County, did unlawfully and wilfully compose, write and
publish a certain scandalous, impious, blasphemous and profane Libel of
and concerning the Holy Scriptures and the Christian Religion, and for
having blasphemously spoken against God and profanely scoffed at the
Holy Scripture, and exposed it to contempt and ridicule, and also for
having spoken against Christianity and the established religion.

"These are therefore to command you in Her Majesty's name, to be
and appear on Wednesday the 1st day of July next at 10 o'clock in the
Forenoon, at Treean Gate in the Parish of Lanewath in the said County,
before such said Justices of the Peace for the County as may then
be there, to answer to the said Information and Complaint, and to be
further dealt with according to Law.

"Given under my hand and Seal this 27th day of June, in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven, at Liskeard in the
County aforesaid.

"James Glencross."

Notes on the summons were:--"(a) If upon Oath insert 'On Oath.' (b)
Erase the words in italic when summons is issued by Justice acting out
of jurisdiction in which he resides."

There is more untruth and holy malevolence in this summons than Pooley
was ever known to be guilty of in all his life. Mr. Bush charges Mr.
Pooley with "wilfully composing" the words complained of. Everybody
in the parish knew that he had not the mental coherence to "compose"
anything. He had neither spoken against God--for he was a believer in
Him--nor was he a preacher either in pulpit or on street corner. Nor
did he "speak" about God, except when he was being stripped in gaol. His
"scoffing against the Holy Scriptures" merely meant that he was incensed
against priests. The charge that he had published a "scandalous,
impious, blasphemous, and profane libel" was simply the reckless,
false, professional language of the clergyman and lawyer who drew up
the summons, which would be counted unscrupulous and venomous in other
persons. In this summons we have the same profanation of the Queen's
name as we have already seen. How can a monarch expect his office or
character to be held in esteem who permits his or her name to be cited
for the purposes of any bigot who has spite in his heart and falsehood
on his lips? People cease to respect a monarch who has no respect for

There was more of the evil spirit of untruth in the charges in the
summons than in all Mr. Pooley's vague and honest anger. I went down to
Duloe to see Mr. Bush, and found him residing in a spacious house, with
a pleasant outlook of roads and fields before it, while poor Pooley
lived in wells. Why should one so well-placed as the Rev. Paul Bush
conspire to procure twenty-one months' imprisonment for this friendless,
half-demented parishioner? Very likely Mr. Bush was by nature a
kind-hearted clergyman in whom theology generated--

"Words, Which turned the milk of kindness into curds."

At the trial Pooley, who was entirely undefended received a sentence
of twenty-one months' imprisonment. The son of the judge, Sir John Duke
Coleridge, who prosecuted, said, "It was not the prosecution of
opinion in any sense, but society was to be protected from outrage and
indecency." If so, six weeks' imprisonment was more than sufficient in a
case in which there was no wantonness and only half-insane conviction in
it Mr. Thomas Henry Buckle, the famous historian of Civilisation, wrote
in _Fraser_ an indignant and generous denunciation of the sentence, and
those concerned in it. It was the last great letter of a philosopher in
defence of the mental liberty of a poor man, and no equal to it appeared
in the century. I published an account of Pooley's case, which Buckle
saw. Sir John Duke (who afterwards became Lord Chief Justice Coleridge)
had behaved, as prosecuting counsel, better than I knew, as I
admitted when I did know it. Still, the sentence (twenty-one months'
imprisonment) will always stand on record as atrocious, apart from the
irresponsible condition of the offender. The words said to be "spoken,"
and which were made a count in his indictment, were mere exclamations,
provoked by the irritation of gaolers, which the prisoner had neither
means nor intent of publishing. A barrister in court was struck by the
signs of insanity in Pooley, unnoticed by the preoccupied eyes of the
judge and his son.

Pooley, as we have said, was a well-sinker, a tall, strongly-built man
of honest aspect and of good courage and fidelity, who had descended
into a deep well and rescued his master from death. Though not a
philosopher, Pooley, like some who were, was a wild sort of Pantheist.
He thought this world to be an organism, and believed it to be alive;
and such was the tenderness and reverence of his devotion that nothing
could persuade him to dig a well beyond a certain depth, lest he should
wound the heart of the world.

Some years later Lord Coleridge informed me that he did not press the
case against Pooley, and that he had no idea he was of uncertain mind,
nor did his father suspect it. I thought it was impossible they could be
unaware of it, as it was well known to all Liskeard. In justice to Lord
Coleridge's father, I ought to say, that when he subsequently became
aware of Pooley's condition of mind, he at once consented to his
liberation, and Pooley was taken home, after four months' imprisonment,
in the carriage of the governor of the gaol, who had sympathy for him.
Sir William Molesworth and Sir Erskine Perry were, after Mr. Buckle,
the chief instruments of his liberation. The facts I have related of the
Coleridges were not known to me when I first saw Mr. Buckle, who wrote
upon the information I gave him. Pooley was a resolute man, who had
self-respect and would not wear the prison dress. When it was put upon
him he tore it to shreds, and he was left naked in the dark cell in
which he was confined. He would have been made quite mad had he not been
released when he was.


The last case in which I supply documentary evidence is that concerning
the limelight placed on the Clock Tower at Westminster. No member of
Parliament had thought of it, nor should I, had I not needed it for my
own convenience. I was then secretary to Mr. (afterwards Sir) Joseph
Cowen. When he wished to take part in a division he would ask me to
ascertain whether the House was sitting. In those days there were two
lamp-posts in Palace Yard with three lights each, which were kept in
while the "House was sitting," but when the "House was up" two of the
lights were extinguished. There was no other sign, and I had often
to ride from Redcliffe Square, Brompton, to Palace Yard before the
signal-light could be seen. The limelight had just been perfected, and
it occurred to me that if an effective light was placed on the
Clock Tower it would be conspicuous for miles around, and members of
Parliament, dining in the suburbs, could learn by that sign when the
House was sitting and its absence would indicate that the House was
up. I wrote to Lord John Manners, giving reasons of Parliamentary
convenience for the institution of such a light Lord John was then First
Commissioner of Works. The following is a copy of the letter directed to
be sent to me:--

"Office of Works, 12, Whitehall Place, S.W." It is requested that any
answer to this letter may be directed to The Private Secretary to the
First Commissioner of H.M. Works.


"Sir,--I am desired by Lord John Manners to acknowledge with
thanks the receipt of your letter, and suggestions.

"Your faithful servant,

"H. Stuart Wortlev.

"G. J. Holyoake, Esq."

Nothing was done during Lord John Manners' reign as Commissioner of
Works, but when Mr. A. S. Ayrton became Commissioner of the Board,
he found the letter in the archives of the office, and had the light



Without noticing unexpected qualities now and then, and remembering
them, many are needlessly discouraged in purposes of improvement. The
two Bramwells, the judge and his brother Frederick, were both men of
great parts. This narrative relates to the Judge, who could do mischief
at will--and did it. It was Baron Bramwell who protected the bribers of
Berwick. It is to judges of his political proclivities, to whom bribers
look still for countenance. Young men of to-day enjoy advantages unknown
to their forefathers, and the new generation are mostly ignorant how
their good fortune, which Liberalism brought them, came to them--and
they make no inquiry. Not only have they no pride in sustaining the
political traditions of their family, but their base ambition is to give
the influence of the position they have attained to that party who
put every impediment in the way of their ever emerging from social and
industrial obscurity--a condition from which they did not deserve to be

Political reformers used to complain of bribery at elections, by which a
few wealthy political adventurers tempted the baser sort of citizens to
sell the liberties of the nation to them. Tories, by the law of their
being, seek authority by which the majority of them intend the control
of public affairs for their own advantage. They supply money for
corruption, intending to refund themselves by place and profit when the
resources of the State come under their manipulation. Even judges
of their party accord them legal security in their political

When the Liberals of Newcastle-on-Tyne claimed that Parliament should
terminate electoral bribery, Lord John Russell said the law was already
against it, and that the Newcastle applicants to the House of Commons
should put bribery down at their own door, meaning in Berwick-on-Tweed,
notorious for it Lord John had never tried to do this, or he would not
have advised the attempt His counsel at the time seemed reasonable, and
what came of it was shown in a petition from the Northern Reform Union,
sent to Parliament (1859), which set forth as follows:--

That the petitioners were members of a society named "The Northern
Reform Union," which was instituted for the purpose of obtaining a
further Reform of the Representation of the People of these Realms in
Parliament, and for the purpose of vindicating that purity and freedom
of election which is essential to a true representative system. Amongst
other steps with a view to these purposes, the said petitioners were
induced to institute inquiries into certain corrupt practices, alleged
to have taken place in the election of a member for the town of

The result of these inquiries was, that the petitioners were induced,
as a matter of public duty, to prosecute certain electors of the town
of Berwick-upon-Tweed for the offence of offering bribes at the election
aforesaid. The prosecution was instituted under the provision of the Act
of 1854, known as "The Corrupt Practices Prevention Act," when one or
more of the persons upon whom writs were served in accordance with the
provisions of the Act, made affidavit that to the best of their belief,
Mr. Richard Bagnall Reed, the secretary of the Northern Reform Union
and the nominal prosecutor in these cases, was not of ability to pay the
costs of suit in case of nonsuit, and applied through their counsel
to Sir G. W. Bramwell, one of the Barons of Her Majesty's Court of
Exchequer, to make order that security should be lodged for payment
of the costs in these actions if proceeded with. A report of the
particulars of this application was published in a newspaper printed at
Newcasde under the title of the _Northern Daily Express_, which report
is verbatim, as follows:--

"London, _December_ 16, 1859.

"Actions have been commenced, at the suit of Mr. R. B. Reed, the
secretary of the Northern Reform Union, against several persons
suspected of bribery at the last Berwick election. The actions are
founded on the 5th Section of 'The Corrupt Practices Prevention Act,
1854,' which provides that 'any one who shall be guilty of using any
undue influence at any Parliamentary election shall not only be guilty
of a misdemeanour, but shall also be liable to forfeit the sum of fifty
pounds to any person who shall sue for the same, together with full
costs of suit.'

"An application was made at chambers before the Hon. Mr. Baron B ram
well, on the part of the defendants in the above actions, for an order
that the plaintiff should give security for costs.

"Mr. Chitty appeared in support of the application.

"Mr. Rutherford appeared on behalf of the secretary of the Northern
Reform Union to oppose the granting of the order.

"Mr. Chitty founded his application on an affidavit, which stated
that Mr. Reed was not the real plaintiff in the action; he was only
instigated by the Northern Reform Union, who were the real plaintiffs.
A copy of the _Northern Daily Express_ was annexed as an exhibit to the
affidavit, and a passage was read from it relating to the proceedings of
the Northern Reform Union. Mr. Chitty cited cases to prove that where a
plaintiff in an action was for the benefit of third parties, he is bound
to give security for costs; and he endeavoured to show that in the event
of the action being decided in the defendant's favour, it would be in
vain to look to the plaintiff for costs.

"Mr. Baron Bramwell hereupon made the following extraordinary remark:
'This Northern Reform Union is a purity society. It consists of
patriots, and surely these gentlemen will only be too eager to give
any security that may be desired, if it were merely to show their
high-mindedness and integrity.'

"Mr. Rutherford said that his Lordship, on looking into the case, would
find that the application now made was a vexatious proceeding to throw
obstacles in the way of the plaintiff. Mr. Reed was the secretary of the
Union, and the proper person to sue. The Union must sue in the name of
some one, and who so proper as their secretary? The authorities that
had been cited on the other side did not touch the case, because the
plaintiff was suing for penalties, which, if recovered, would be for his
own benefit. It mattered not at whose instigation he was suing. He was
suing for a penalty, which the Act of Parliament gave him the right to
sue for.

"Mr. Baron Bramwell: 'What is the plaintiffs position? Is he a man of

"Mr. Rutherford: 'He is, I am told, a gentleman of a respectable
position. But that is not the question; it appears clearly from the
authorities that in penal actions the courts have refused to order
security, even in cases where the common informer was a person of great
poverty. In one case Mr. Justice Bayley says, "Many _qui tam_ actions
have been brought by men who were worth nothing, but there is no
instance of their being compelled to give security for costs. It might
happen that the penalties had been incurred, but their recovery would be
defeated by requiring such a security."'

"Mr. Baron Bramwell here observed: 'There is great force in that Men of
property are not likely to trouble themselves about such things. I think
I cannot make the order. Cannot some agreement be come to between the
parties? Mr. Chitty, will you name any other member of the Union to
be substituted as plaintiff instead of Mr. Reed? Some one must be
plaintiff; and the same argument you have used against Mr. Reed would
apply to any one else.'

"A long discussion here ensued.

"Mr. Rutherford said he could not, without the consent of his clients,
agree to substitute another person as plaintiff. The Act would become a
dead letter if the judges allowed obstacles to be thrown in the way of
carrying it out. There was no ground at all for this application, and
if his Lordship granted it, it was impossible to conceive under what
circumstances a similar application would be refused.

"Mr. Chitty insisted that his clients would not be able to recover their
costs if the action were decided in their favour. It was a very hard
thing to be compelled to defend an action at the suit of invisible
personages. His Lordship had said that 'purity principles were all very

"Mr. Baron Bramwell: 'No doubt they are. It is very easy to go about
professing integrity. To commence actions against people for penalties
when the plaintiff cannot pay the costs, is a cheap way of becoming
a patriot--cheap and, I think, nasty. I find that the Act gives me
a discretion. The affidavits made by the defendants have not been
answered. I shall make the order.'

"The order was made accordingly.

"The petitioners were informed and believed that the report quoted was
substantially and literally correct. It was reprinted and commented upon
by various other journals, and no attempt to question its accuracy was
made, either on the part of the learned judge or of any other person.

"The petitioners were persuaded that the language asserted to have been
used by the learned judge on this occasion cannot be deemed by, nor
appear to Parliament either befitting the station of him who used it,
or just towards the suitors in this prosecution, who were taking legal
steps, under a sense of public duty, to put a stop to practices which
tend to corrupt the source of all law.

"The petitioners submitted that the order made on this occasion is
contrary to all precedent, and inconsistent with the intention and
enactments of the said Corrupt Practices Act, which by Section 13
expressly limits the obligation on the plaintiff to find security for
costs to those cases only where he may seek to recover, by order of the
judge, the costs of prosecution for offences against the Act.

"The petitioners urged that they did not deserve to have their motives
and characters thus questioned and sneered away, nor did they think that
such language as that imputed to Baron Bramwell can tend to add to that
respect for the law and those who administer it which the petitioners
trusted may never be lost amongst Englishmen.

"On the contrary, such language appeared to the petitioners calculated
to cause the people to believe that a complicity with such practices
exists amongst the administrators of the law; subversive at once of
justice and of the representative portion of the Legislature.

"The petitioners, therefore, prayed the honourable House of Commons to
take such steps as might appear to it most fitting, to bring the matter
under the notice of Her Majesty and her advisers in such a mode as may
prevent a repetition of the same."

This remarkable petition, which may be read in the records of the House,
bore the signatures of the following persons:--

     Thomas Doubleday,
     James Eadie,
     James Watson,
     James Hay,
     Jos. Cowen, jun.,
     Robert Sutherland,
     Thomas Gregson,
     Thomas Allen,
     Jos. Barlow,
     Thomas Spotswood, jun.,
     John Emerson,
     Robert Ramsay,
     William Douglas,
     James Reed, and thirty-three others.

The character of Baron Bramwells remarks--the impediments he must
well know he was putting in the way of any prosecution for bribery in
Berwick; the words by which he sought to intimidate the prosecutors
by holding them up to public ridicule--the language of the petition
appropriately characterised. Baron Bramwell could not be ignorant of
the great expense which had been incurred in taking legal proceedings
against the persons accused of bribery and in collecting evidence long
after the time when the acts of bribery occurred. Such evidence is
expensive to collect at the time, and much costlier at a later stage.
After obtaining witnesses it was necessary to protect them from being
spirited away at the time of the trial--no uncommon occurrence in these
cases. Many hundreds of pounds must have been spent before the case
reached the stage when Baron Bramwell was appealed to by the accused to
put obstacles in the way of the charges against them being tried. The
penalties recoverable under the Act would not have covered a tenth part
of these costs. Those who appealed to Baron Bramwell for protection knew
perfectly well, as all Durham and Northumberland knew, that any costs
they might be able to claim against Mr. Reed would be met. Baron
Bramwell, by the remarks he uttered and the order he made, aided and
abetted the bribery, and protected those who committed it. The Baron's
observation that "men of property would not be likely to trouble
themselves" to put the Act in force against electoral corruption, was
true and significant. The "men of property" were they who profited
by it; and if any man of property had justice and patriotic spirit
sufficient to prosecute bribers, he was certain to incur annoyance and
loss, and subject himself to offensive comments such as Baron Bramwell
made. It was the duty of a judge, to whom the Act gave discretion, to
use it in favour of public purity, and not to favour public corruption.
Though no other judge behaved so flagrantly ill as Baron Bramwell, there
were few who could be trusted to render justice to Reformers.

The Tory judge, Baron Bramwell, sneered away all chance of a just
verdict, and Mr. Joseph Cowens noble effort to vindicate electoral
purity cost him £2,000 and whatever obloquy and derision the venomous
tongue of the judge could heap upon him.

Let men beware of principles which render corruption congenial--and let
them honour the memory of those who made heroic sacrifices for electoral


It is happily exceptional when political partisanship perverts the sense
of justice in a judge. Sometimes the sense of truth, characteristic of
Liberalism (for it is not worth while being a Liberal unless it implies
the ascendency of truth) is perverted by political exigency or obscured
by excitement. An instance of this occurred where it was little


Mr. J. Humffreys Parry drew up the legal part of my defence at
Gloucester in 1842. He was then a young law student, living in lodgings
at (what was then) No. 5, Gray's Inn Road, near Theobalds' Road. His
grandfather was editor of the Cambro-Briton, and one of the founders, in
1820, of the Cymmrodorion Society. But we knew nothing of this. We only
knew young Humffreys as a stalwart, energetic platform speaker. Radical,
bold, and impetuous, but so manifestly sincere, that it atoned for
his somewhat gaseous style of speaking. Like O'Connell, he acquired
eventually two styles. Parry's legal style became Demosthenic in
its terseness. For the research and care he took to prepare my legal
defences, he ought, even at that stage of his career, to have received
twenty guineas, but for it he received nothing, nor asked for anything.
When he became Mr. Serjeant Parry he abandoned his platform style
altogether, for one of uncoloured vigour, which gave him ascendency
at the Bar. Had he lived a few years longer than he did he would have
become one of our judges. His son--known as Judge Parry--was shot by a
suitor, while presiding at a Manchester court, but not shot fatally. He
is still known with distinction as a judge, as an author, and dramatic
critic. Thus three generations of Parrys have been notable.

Years ago propagandists of new opinion were often assisted by Mr. Robert
Mackay, author of a powerful work on the "Progress of the Intellect." A
silent, unobtrusive man, Mr. Mackay would be seen at times at meetings
or lectures, but never taking any public part He seemed to shrink back
when addressed, and was as reserved as an affrighted man. In his quiet
way, of his own initiative, he took much trouble to promote the opening
of the National Gallery on Sundays, and went personally to men of note
in law, science, and art, to solicit their signatures to a memorial in
favour of opening public treasures on Sundays for the refinement of the
poor, that being the only day when they had a leisure hour to see them.
Among others, Mr. Mackay called on Mr. Serjeant Parry, who signed the
memorial. Later the Serjeant was a Parliamentary candidate for Finsbury.
Some super-fervid free Sunday advocate went to electoral meetings,
asking Mr. Parry whether he would vote for the opening of the National
Gallery. There are always "fool-friends" of progress, who are ever ready
to ruin it by their Pauline zeal of doing things in season and out of
season. It was well known to all concerned that he would vote for an
"Open Door" of art. But if the constituency knew it, it would cost him
the votes of most of the Puritan portion of the electors. Forgetful,
at the moment, of the incident that he had signed the memorial, the
candidate denied that he had. One morning when due in court, he had
hurriedly signed his name to some documents brought before him,
among them the memorial sent in by Mr. Mackay. Whereupon this modest,
retiring, shrinking, impalpable gentleman went into turbulent meetings,
vindictively parading the actual memorial to confront the candidate.
This proceeding cost Mr. Parry his election. It was a warning to
public men against signing a liberal document which might be needlessly
obtruded against them at a critical conjuncture. Thus the Sunday League
lost a Parliamentary defender, who, from persuasion of the righteousness
and rightfulness of its objects, would have stood by it The word of Mr.
Mackay would have been quite sufficient to vindicate the honour of the
League, had he waited till the election was over. But the unexpected
thing was to see Mr. Mackay--who had never spoken at a meeting
before--appearing at crowded and tumultuous assemblies, where a strong
and resolute man might have hesitated to present himself.

The answer of Mr. Serjeant Parry in question was given without
premeditation; it was evident to the audience that it was made under the
inspiration of an after-dinner speech, when robust barristers, in
those days, were liable to airiness or eccentricity of statement.
Being pursued vindictively, he became too indignant to give the obvious
explanation of the inadvertency of his denial of his signature.


There are saints of the Church and saints of humanity; Lord Shaftesbury
was a saint of both churches. There are two kinds of Conservatives, as I
have elsewhere said.* One class seek power for personal aggrandisement;
another, and better class, covet it as a means of doing good. Lord
Shaftesbury belonged to this class. Through not making this distinction,
the whole Conservative body are made answerable for the actions of a
part Discrimination is as just in politics as in morals.

     * "Life of Joseph Rayner Stephens, Preacher and Political

Lord Shaftesbury was a nobleman of two natures. In politics he would
withhold power from workmen. In humanity he would withhold nothing
from them which could do them good. In theology he knew no measure. Of
Professor Seeley's book, "Ecce Homo," he said it was "vomited from the
mouth of hell." Surely something ought to be pardoned to a writer who
made Satan sick. At an earlier day such language had handed the luckless
Professor over to Torquemada. Yet Lord Shaftesbury was so courteous,
tender, and friendly to Nonconformists, that he laid more foundation
stones of Dissenting chapels than any other peer or patron. Should
England one day be counted among extinct civilisations, and some
explorers arrive to excavate its ruins, they will come upon so many
stones deposited by Lord Shaftesbury and bearing his name, that report
will be made of the discovery of the king of the last dynasty. Whatever
contradictions biographers may have to record of the character of Lord
Shaftesbury, everything will be forgiven him in consideration of his
noble exertions on behalf of factory children. He sought to improve the
condition of women in mines and collieries. Public health,
emigration, ragged-schools, penny banks, drinking-fountains, and
model lodging-houses were subjects of his generous solicitude. Lord
Shaftesbury was one of the earliest of slum visitors. He was essentially
and exclusively a social reformer. He took no part in political
amelioration. He believed that working people only clamoured for
political enfranchisement because they were ill-used and uncomfortable.
He saw no further. Their desire for independence never occurred to
him. His sympathy with co-operators was on moral grounds. It was quite
unforeseen by any, and had little acceptance in his day, that he should
advise, that the agencies for planting Christianity among heathen
nations should include the secular missionary, who must precede the
Christian teacher to prepare the soil of the soul by social amelioration
before the seeds of Christianity could take root Like Faraday, Lord
Shaftesbury had a dual mind. Faraday reasoned like a Sandemanian on
questions of faith and like a philosopher on questions of science.
In like manner Lord Shaftesbury was a sectarian in piety and a
latitudinarian in humanity.


[Illustration: Cobden]

There never was a "Manchester School," though a volume has been
published upon it. It never had professor nor special tenets. Manchester
stands for Free Trade and nothing more. Its three great leaders--Thomas
Thomasson, Richard Cobden, and John Bright--were also for Peace,
Retrenchment, and Reform, for the extension of the suffrage, and the
repeal of the taxes upon knowledge, because they were essential to the
popularity and maintenance of Free Trade. But Manchester took no special
interest, save in Free Trade, which was a local manufacturing necessity,
as well as a national one.

Mr. John Morley uses the term "Manchester School," as embodying the
personal convictions of the great Free Trade leaders. Manchester did
a great thing in adopting, adhering to, and enforcing Free Trade. That
itself is a noble distinction.

The advocacy of Thomasson, Cobden, and Bright included principles
loftier and wider than Manchester. The "Manchester School" is but a term
of courtesy used for convenience of reference, far less definite than
the "School of Bentham." The "School of Cobden" is intelligible, as
covering a larger area of thought than Manchester. As to Cobden, no
one can presume to give any new estimate of him, after John Morley has
written his Life. Therefore I confine myself to such personal incidents
as came under my own observation.

Once, when I had the pleasure to be a guest of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain
at Highbury, Mr. John Morley was present Conversation in the library
turning upon Cobden, I remarked that he had introduced more immorality
into politics than any other public man in my time. "How?" asked
Mr. Morley, with a quick, questioning look. I answered, "By advising
electors to vote for any candidate, irrespective of his politics, who
would vote for the repeal of the Corn Laws." This was in effect saying,
"Vote for the devil, provided the devil will vote for you," who, even
if he keeps faith with you, is a dangerous ally to put in power. In
a speech to the council of the Anti-Corn Law League in Manchester in
September, 1842, Mr. Cobden said: "We are no political body. We have
refused to be bought by the Tories;* we have kept aloof from the Whigs,
and we will not join partnership with either Radicals or Chartists;**
but we hold out our hand, ready to give it to all who are ready to
advocate the total repeal of the Corn and Provision Laws."

     * Would the Tories have bought them? What could they have
     done with them?

     * Neither Radicals nor Chartists asked them. Both parties
     conditionally opposed the Corn Law Repealers. Thomasson held
     that the repeal of the Corn Laws could precede the Charter.
     The Chartists contended that the Corn Laws could not be
     repealed until the people had universal suffrage. Thomasson
     was right.

This doctrine, sanctioned by Cobden's illustrious name, has demoralised
politics and placed every Prime Minister at the mercy of every
conscientious party strong enough to defeat him by an unscrupulous
conspiracy in Caves, or at the poll. The Independent Labour Party
founded their Ishmaelitish policy (of _more_ than aloofness) upon this
contagious Manchester speech--leaving out the friendly condition of
"readiness to give their hands" to any who advocate the interests of
Labour, which is their professed reason of being. Women who seek the
political emancipation of their sex adopt the policy of voting for
Tories, and Mr. Woodall, in their name, risked the wrecking of a Liberal
Government if it did not accede to their claim. Mr. Cobden, in inviting
electors to vote for Conservatives who were against the Corn Laws,
would have established Tory ascendancy in the land. Considering that
the stricken condition of the people was through their food being taxed,
Toryism might be a lesser evil than the denial of Free Trade. Cobden
might reasonably be of opinion that no party can do so much harm as
starvation, and therefore felt justified in possibly destroying the
Liberal party to save the people. But he should have qualified his
policy by restricting it to extreme cases, where the arrest of a
progressive Government is a lesser peril than refusing a particular
and paramount claim. Without such qualification Cobden's precedent
proclaimed a policy of selfishness which fights for its own hand against
the general interest of the State. This is the charge which Liberals
bring against the aristocracy. It is the policy of Self which makes the
multiplication of parties a public danger. Such unqualified advocacy
of reforms carries with it an element of national hostility. Justifying
himself by the example of Cobden, we have seen the publican going for
the bung, and the teetotaler for the teapot The anti-vaccinator will
risk poisoning the nation by Toryism in order to arrest the lancet; as
certain workmen will destroy Liberalism in the interest of Labour. Thus,
generally speaking, every party is for its own hand and none for the

The great French Revolution, which promised the emancipation of
Europe, was destroyed by the determination of each party to obtain the
ascendancy of its own theories, at the peril of the Republic.

The Society for Repealing the Taxes upon Knowledge met in many places.
When Francis Place was chairman we met in Essex Street. At one time
we met in the rooms of the secretary, Mr. C. D. Collet, in Great Coram
Street, within a door or two of the house where a girl was killed, for
which a Dutch clergyman was arrested, and falsely and ignominiously
imprisoned for a time. Bright and Cobden attended committee meetings in
Great Coram Street.

One day when Cobden came, he walked to the House of Commons after the
meeting, through falling snow, in the quiet, meditative way peculiar
to him. As I had some duties in the House of Commons in those days, I
followed him, curious to see what streets he would go through, wondering
as I went along, at the disinterested and unnoted services so great a
man, of European fame, rendered to the interests of the working people.
Mistaken Chartists were denouncing Cobden, Bright, and Milner-Gibson
as Whigs--as mere middle-class advocates--these libelled leaders were
generously and disinterestedly labouring to confer upon the working
class the enfranchisement of the Press--although they knew full well
it would put larger means of assailing them into the hands of their
defamers. Why should Mr. Cobden walk through the snow to put new power
in their hands--save from nobleness of nature, which helped others,
irrespective of any advantage to himself--irrespective even of their
goodwill? He not only personally attended committees, as Bright and
Gibson also did, but often sent us letters explaining principle or
policy which implied constant thought upon the movement as well as
labour for it.

The "pale-faced manufacturer" was a champion of the industrial classes,
which he foresaw would come into the field, which were thought then good
enough for paying taxes, but who were to be kept out of the pale of the
governing classes.

Thus I conceived and retained a personal affection for Cobden,
notwithstanding his aversion for some views he supposed me to hold.

When it was advised that I should appear at the London Tavern to oppose
Mr. Peter Borthwick's design of setting up a separate society for the
repeal of the paper duty, which would divide the forces for the repeal
of the whole of the taxes upon knowledge, Bright hesitated as to the
propriety of sending me on that mission. "What I am thinking of," said
Bright, "is whether we shall not be taken as seeking the repeal of the
Thirty-nine Articles instead of the taxes on knowledge." Cobden was more
fearless in things intellectual. I was deputed to speak at the Borthwick

Though Cobden's mind was engrossed in public affairs, public affairs
were never master of him. He always possessed himself.

Sir Alexander Burne's despatches were long withheld, and when produced,
at Mr. Blight's instigation, they were found to be so mutilated
that they were spoken of as the "forged" despatches. It was of that
transaction that Cobden said, "Palmerston was so impartial, that he
had no bias, not even towards the truth," showing that he could speak
epigrams that cut into a reputation.

One night Mr. Cobden brought to me in the Bill Room of the House of
Commons a blind young man, whom he said he wished to introduce to me. It
was Mr. Henry Fawcett, of whom he said great things might be expected
in the future. Mr. Cobden had procured for Mr. Fawcett an order for the
Speaker's Gallery. He was waiting for admission, as the doorkeeper told
him there was no room. Amid all the chatter and bustle of the Lobby, Mr.
Fawcett's ears were up that staircase, and he said, "I hear footsteps
coming down," which meant there was a vacant seat, and Mr. Fawcett was
admitted. No one else had heard the descending feet. It was that night
that Mr. Cobden told me, in answer to a question put to him, that he
"believed, had it not been for the occurrence of the Irish famine, all
the vast educative efforts of the Anti-Corn Law League would not have
effected the repeal of the Corn Laws at that time." Nevertheless,
the great propagandist activity of the League was the main element of
success. The Anti-Corn Law agitation of the League was a triumph of
argument aided by calamity. Subsequendy Mr. Fawcett became a professor,
and an authority on political economy. At Social Science meetings,
wherever or whenever I asked him to aid the Co-operative question of
Co-partnership--by defining it in debate, as public ideas were confused
about it--he would always find or make occasion to do so.

In order that Co-operation should be represented at his funeral, I
travelled across country through the early morning fog, from Leicester
to Trumpington, where he was buried. I found in the churchyard my
early friend, Sir Michael Foster, who had like regard for the dead
Postmaster-General. I was the only person known to be connected with the
Co-operative movement who was present at his grave that day.

How well Cobden could take care of himself appeared in a matter in which
my friend, Thornton Hunt, to my great regret, was in the wrong. The
_Times_ had published defamatory imputations on Mr. Cobden, who took
the editor, Mr. Delane, by the throat and held him with a grasp of such
vigour that when he died the marks of Cobdens fingers were upon the neck
of his reputation. The _Daily Telegraph_, of which Mr. Thornton Hunt
was consulting editor, published comments in defence of the _Times_ on
Cobdens letter to Delane, but refused to insert Cobden's letter of self
defence. Mr. Hunt, who had real regard for Cobden, wrote to assure him
of it, and gave as the reason for declining to insert his letter, his
fear lest it should damage his reputation. It was the same as saying to
Cobden, "Our readers have a great regard for you, but if you should
prove you are not a knave, you will sink in their estimation." The
ineffable meanness and audacity of this inspired Mr. Cobden with a
contemptuous indignation, and he told Mr. Hunt there was only one favour
he could do him, and that was not to take his reputation under his
repellent patronage.

Apart from instances such as the perfidy to Cobden, Mr. Delane was a
great editor, determining the fluctuating policy of the _Times_ (the
policy of the ascendancy of prevailing opinion, right or wrong),
selecting leading articles and defining the lines to be taken by the
writers. Robert Lowe (afterwards Lord Sherbrooke) received directions
which might themselves be printed as leaders in brief. As it was Mr.
Lowe's custom to throw Mr. Delane's letters into his paper basket, they
came into the hands of his butterman, who, having practical curiosity,
took them to Mr. James Beal, who, upon the advice of Mr. Bright, sent
them back to Mr. Lowe. All who saw the letters were surprised at the
fidelity of the articles as they appeared in the _Times_ to Mr. Delane's
preconceived comprehensive, explicit, and well-defined tenor.

It was a favourite story told against Cobden by his adversaries, that
when he visited the Central Illinois Railway, the company gave free
tickets to residents near each station, that the seeming crowd of
travellers might impose on Cobden to report well on its prospects.

It is what sharp business Americans might be supposed to do. But it did
not impose on the popular traveller, whom many naturally strove to see.
The chief of the company was candid to him* Mr. Morley has made clear
that what did influence Cobden was the prospect of advancing the welfare
of emigrants abroad.

At the Great Exhibition of 1851 a belief arose that international
commerce would increase. A friend of mine, Mr. Allsop, like Cobden, lost
a large fortune by premature enthusiasm. Mr. Cobden's was a like error,
but a generous one.

On the night of Cobden's last speech in Rochdale, I was one of the
audience in the great Mill Room in which he spoke. He sent to me a note
from the platform. It was the last I received from him. I was that night
more conscious than ever before of his wonderful self-possession in
speaking. He held up as it were, in the air, a chief sentence as he
spoke it, and supplied, before he left it, the qualification he saw it
needed, or the amplification he saw it required, so that malignity could
not pervert it, nor ignorance misunderstand it. After making the longest
speech of his life to the largest audience he had ever met in one room,
he was taken to the house of a friend, where he was kept standing on
the cold marble hearth in a fireless room, while his friends greeted
him until late that November night. To a man of Cobden's temperament
standing is painful after mental exhaustion. A cold followed the
fireless reception. I knew in Birmingham a speaker of great promise,
Mr. J. H. Chamberlain (unrelated to Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) who was
surrounded by his friends after a long and brilliant lecture, and when
at last he sat down, he died.

I was in Lavington Churchyard when Cobden was buried. On our walk from
the station there, Mr. Gladstone, who was before me, turned round to
shake hands with a friend. I saw at once that he was a Lancashire man,
which had never struck me before. He shook hands from the shoulder,
which I had observed Lancashire men did. In the churchyard I lingered
behind, and stood within a clump of trees overlooking the grave. When
Mr. Bright, who had left the other mourners, came there himself, I
moved noiselessly away. He remained alone, looking down on the last
resting-place of his star-bright colleague in counsel and in fight.

Cobden excelled among politicians of the people in enthusiasm of the
intellect. He regarded strong, lucid argument as the omnipotent force of
progress. When one morning the news came, "_Cobden is dead_" it was felt
in every workshop in the land that a great power for peace and industry
was lost to the nation. His disciples have grown with succeeding years,
and if he be regarded as the founder of a school, no nobler one exists
among politicians. He laid the foundations of Free Trade, not only
for Manchester, but for the world. As Mr. Morley tells us in his great
"Life," Mr. Gladstone "ranked the introduction of cheap postage for
letters, documents, patterns, and printed matter, and the abolition
of all taxes on printed matter as in the catalogue of Free Trade
legislation." "These great measures," says Mr. Morley, "may well take
their place beside the abolition of prohibitions and protective duties,
the simplifying of revenue laws, and the repeal of the Navigation Act"
These were all Cobden's ideals. Most of them he called into being, and
he was the principal enchanter who gave them a local habitation and a

As with the "Manchester School," so with the term "Manchester men," it
is used with a geographical indefiniteness; as when we speak of any one
belonging to a shire instead of a town. Hence Cobden, who was a
Midhurst man, and Bright, who was a Rochdale man, are taken as typical
"Manchester men." As few readers have any definite idea of what a
"Manchester man" of the nobler sort individually is, I give a brief
biography of one of the most influential of them, who might be regarded
as the founder of the Cobden School.

Thomas Thomasson [1808-1876], manufacturer and political economist,
born at Turton, near Bolton, December 6, 1808, came of a Quaker family
settled in Westmoreland (1672). His grandfather came from Edgeworth,
near Bolton, about the middle of the seventeenth century, where he owned
a small landed estate, and built a house known as "Thomasson's Fold."
He gave the site for the Friends' Meeting House and burial ground
at Edgeworth. Mr. Thomasson's father, John, was born in 1776. He was
manager of the Old Mill, Eagley Bridge, Bolton, having also a share
in the business, and subsequently became a cotton spinner on his own
account. His son, Thomas Thomasson, the subject of this notice, erected
No. 1 Mill in Bolton in 1841, at a time of great depression in trade,
and great distress in the town--a fact which was mentioned by the Prime
Minister (Sir R. Peel) in the House of Commons as evidence that persons
did not hesitate to employ their capital in the further extension of the
cotton trade, notwithstanding its condition. Thomas Thomasson married
a daughter of John Pennington, of Hindley, a Liverpool merchant. Though
brought up a member of the Society of Friends, Thomasson attended the
Bolton Parish Church, his wife being a Churchwoman. But in 1855 he
heard the clergyman preach on the propriety of the Crimean War, which
he thought so un-Christian that he never went to church again. By
his vigorous speeches he gave the impression that he knew more of the
political economy of trade and commerce than any other manufacturer of
his time. Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden may be said to have learned from
him. When Mr. Bright went out to deliver his first speech at a public
meeting, he went to Mr. Thomasson on his way to take his opinion upon
what he had in his mind to say. At Thomasson's decease Mr. Bright bore
testimony to his remarkable capacity as a man of business, saying, "He
will be greatly missed by many who have been accustomed to apply to him
for advice and help." He was not merely an eminent manufacturer, he was
distinguished for his interest in public affairs. He assisted by money,
counsel, and personal exertions in securing the incorporation of Bolton.
He consented to join the first Council and was at the head of the poll,
considering it his duty to take part in promoting the improvements he
had advocated. He remained a member of the Council over eighteen years.
Under the old government it was usual to call out armed police, or the
military, for comparatively trifling disturbances, which greatly excited
Thomasson's indignation. He was a vigorous advocate for the town being
supplied with cheap gas and cheap water, which involved watchfulness and
advocacy extending over several years. He was foremost in insisting on
the sanitary improvements of the town, and that the inspector should
proceed against those who suffered nuisances on their premises. He gave
the instance of "a family living in a cellar, outside of which there was
a cesspool, the contents of which oozed through the walls and collected
under the bed." £300 being left towards the formation of an industrial
school, Thomasson gave £200 more that it might be put into operation. On
one occasion, when he was much opposed to the views of the Council,
he resigned rather than frustrate a compromise in which he could not
concur, but which others thought beneficial. He promoted petitions in
favour of Decimal Coinage, and refused to join in a petition against
the Income Tax, deeming direct taxation the best. For some time he was a
member of the Board of Guardians, but resigned because he "could not
sit and see men slaughtered by a stroke of the pen," alluding to what
he considered the illiberal manner in which relief was dispensed.
He promoted the establishment of a library and museum, and gave £100
towards establishing a school on the plan of the British and Foreign
Bible Society. When new premises were required for a Mechanics'
Institution, he gave £500 towards that project. He subscribed fifty
guineas towards a memorial statue of Crompton, the inventor, and
proposed that something should be given to his descendants, saying: "If
Crompton had been a great general and had killed thousands of people,
the Government would have provided him with a small county, and given
him a peerage; but as he had given livelihood to thousands of mule
spinners, it was left to the people to provide for his distressed
descendants." The town would have given Thomasson any office in
its power, but he would neither be Alderman, Mayor, nor Member of
Parliament. He declined testimonials or statue. He sought no distinction
for himself and accepted none; he cared alone for the welfare of the
nation and the town, and the working people in it.

At a time when the votes of workpeople were generally regarded as the
property of employers, Thomasson said: "If the men in his employ were
Tories and voted so"--which meant voting for the Corn Laws, to which
he was most opposed--" they would remain perfectly undisturbed by
him--their public opinion and conduct were free." He was distinguished
beyond any Quaker of his day for political sympathy and tolerance. His
principle was "to extend to every man, rich or poor, whatever privilege,
political or mental, he claimed for himself."

At a memorable occasion in the Bolton Theatre, when the Corn Law
question was contested, he may be said to have called Mr. Paulton into
public life, by sending him on to the platform to defend the cause of
repeal. Mr. Paulton became the first effective platform advocate of
that movement Thomasson was the chief promoter of the Anti-Corn Law
agitation, and the greatest subscriber to its funds. When the great
subscription was raised in 1845, he was the first to put down £1,000.
When it was proposed to make some national gift to Mr. Cobden,
Thomasson gave £5,000. He subsequently gave,£5,000 to the second Cobden
subscription. This is not all that he did. Mr. John Morley relates,
in his "Life of Cobden," that Thomasson, learning that Cobden was
embarrassed by outstanding loans, raised to pay for his Illinois shares,
amounting to several thousand pounds, Thomasson released the shares, and
sent them to Cobden, with a request that "he would do him the favour to
accept that freedom at his hands in acknowledgment of his vast services
to his country and mankind." On a later occasion, when aid was needed,
Mr. Thomasson went down to Midhurst and insisted that Cobden should
accept a still larger sum, refusing a formal acknowledgment and handing
it over in such a form that the transaction was not known to any one but
Cobden and himself. After Mr. Thomasson's death there was found among
his private papers a little memorandum of these advances containing the
magnanimous words: "I lament that the greatest benefactor of mankind
since the invention of printing was placed in a position where his
public usefulness was com-promised and impeded by sordid personal cares,
but I have done something as my share of what is due to him from his
countrymen to set him free for further efforts in the cause of human

In the repeal of the Corn Laws he always had in mind the welfare of his
own townsmen, who, he said, "were paying in 1841 £150,000 more for
food than they did in 1835," and every town in the country in a similar
proportion. He constantly sought opportunities of generosity which could
never be requited, nor even acknowledged, as he left no clue to the
giver. When in London, he would, two or three years in succession, call
in Fleet Street at my publishing house--then aiding in the repeal of the
taxes on knowledge and defending the freedom of reasoned opinion--and
leave £10, bearing the simple inscription, "From T.T." Several years
elapsed before it was known whose name the initials represented. All
this was so unlike the popular conception of a political economist, that
such incidents deserve to be recorded. Workmen whose views he did
not share would invite lecturers to the town, whom he would sometimes
entertain, and judging that their remuneration would be scant, he would
add £5 on their departure to cover their expenses. Thinking that Huxley
might need rest which his means might not allow, Thomasson offered to
defray the cost of six months' travel abroad with his family. It was not
convenient to the Professor to act upon the offer. At Thomasson's death
a note was found among his papers, saying, "Send Huxley £1,000," which
his son, afterwards member for Bolton, did in his father's name.

Thomasson was not one of those who strongly _wish_ improvement, but
feebly _will_ it. He willed what he wished, and gave his voice and
fortune to advance it. He was not a foolish philanthropist, with emotion
without wisdom; his aid was never aimless, but given discerningly to
reward or aid others who rendered public service. His merit was like
circumstantial evidence--if special acts did not exceed those of some
other men, the accumulated instances made a record which few have

That was the character of a real "Manchester man"--on whom Charles
Kingsley poured out the vitriolic vials of his holy wrath. Yet Kingsley
had noble qualities--far above those with which the country clergyman
is usually credited. It requires discrimination to speak of men of the
"Manchester School" as persons--

     "Who have only to close their eyes,
     Be selfish, cold, and wise,
     And they never need to know
     How the workers' children grow,
     And live out only half their time."

Thomasson did know this--wished to know this--took trouble to know
it--and gave both thought and fortune to make their lot better. Thomas
Bayley Potter was of that class, which includes Manchester careers worth


[Illustration: Martineau]

There is a romance in the title of this chapter, should some one arise
to write it It was Lord Brougham who first spoke of Harriet Martineau as
the "deaf girl of Norwich," which does more than any other words written
about her to suggest a great disadvantage under which she accomplished
more than any other woman ever attempted. The phrase quoted occurs in
one of those letters which show that kindly feeling and genuine interest
in progress was natural to Lord Brougham, though obscured by the
turbulence of his later life. He first brought Miss Martineau into
notice. He wrote: "There is at Norwich a deaf girl, who is doing more
good than any man in the country. Last year she (Harriet Martineau)
called upon me several times, and I was struck with such marks of energy
and resolution in her, which I thought must command success in some line
or other of life."

If the reader can realise what deafness means, he will know how great
was her disablement Asking questions is the surest way of acquiring
knowledge, or verifying it. Harriet Martineau was discouraged in asking
questions, because she could not hear the answers, unless given through
a speaking-tube, which imposed efforts on her friends she was loath to
subject them to. She could hear no great singer, actor, or orator. These
noble sources of pleasure and ideas were denied to her. She could take
no part in public meetings or conferences, save those of which the
business was foreknown to her. Then she was dependent upon some friend
who indicated to her the time when she might intervene. Not hearing
conversation, she could only learn indirectly what had gone before. Nor
was it always possible to hear accurately, or interpret what was told to
her. How, under these disadvantages, she acquired her large knowledge,
her wonderful judgment of character, her unrivalled mastery of political
questions of the day--which made her the greatest political woman in
English history--proves the possibility of seemingly impossible things.
She wrote some twenty small volumes of "Tales of Political Economy,"
which were as eagerly looked forward to as the small volumes in which
Sterne's "Tristram Shandy" appeared, or Dickens's "Pickwick Papers."
James Mill and Charles Buller told her it was impossible to make the
"Dismal Science" entertaining, but she did it, and she was the first who
did it. She translated Comte's "Positive Philosophy" so well that Comte
had it retranslated from English into French, as being better than his
own work.

In 1852-3 Harriet Martineau invited me to visit her at Ambleside,
saying, "I should like a good long conversation with you on the
Abolitionists and American slavery, and also on the intolerable
iniquities of the _Leader?_"  What they were I do not recall--probably
Copperheadism* in one of the editors, which she could sharply detect.

     * "Copperhead" was the name of a venomous American snake,
     which gave no warning of its approach. The slavery
     Copperhead during the Civil War proclaimed his attachment to
     the Union, and argued against it. There are Copperheads in
     every movement.

On Sunday, the day after my arrival, she drove me to Wordsworth's house
and other places of interest. At my request she extended the drive to
Coniston Water, some miles away, and on to Brantwood, the place Mr.
Ruskin afterwards bought of Mr. Joseph Cowen, who held a mortgage of
£7,000 upon it. Brantwood was then the residence of W. J. Linton, and
Col. Stolzman and his wife were inmates. The Colonel was an old Polish
officer, who, when a young man, was present at Fontainebleau, when
Napoleon took leave of his Old Guard. Miss Martineau's quick eye took in
at a glance the surroundings of the dwelling, and she explained to Mrs.
Linton, who looked delicate, what should be done to render the house
healthier, as the rains falling on the hill behind made the undrained
foundation damp. Miss Martineau had an instinct of domesticity.

I never knew a more womanly woman. Her life was an answer to those
who think that active interest in public affairs is incompatible with
household affection. After my return home she wrote: "I enjoyed your
visit very much; and I hope you will come as often as you conveniently
can. It will be a great benefit, as well as pleasure to me. My good
girls, Caroline and Elizabeth, send you respectful thanks for your
remembrance of them. I, too, am obliged by your thoughtfulness of them.
But let this be once for all. You will come again, I hope; and my girls
will enjoy being hospitable, in their own way, to one whom I had led
them to respect as they do you"--mentionable as showing the tact,
judgment, independence, and friendliness of the hostess to visitors and
those of her household.

She aided the diffusion of opinions she thought ought to have a hearing
without altogether coinciding with them. She sent £10 towards the
establishment of the Fleet Street House. She took in the _Reasoned_
sending a double subscription. Many editors will appreciate so excellent
an example. Her interest in the _Reasoner_ was less in the subjects
discussed, than in its endeavour to maintain in controversy that
fairness to adversaries, which we should have wished (but did not even
expect) to be shown towards ourselves.

Of the £500 given by Mr. Loombs in aid of her translation of Comte's
great work, she arranged to reserve £150 for Comte, whose rights, as
author, she considered ought to be respected. Many unrequited authors
would be glad if all translators held the same opinion.

In 1854-5 she was told by her physicians that she had heart disease,
which might end her life any day. I mentioned to Professor Francis
William Newman the jeopardy she was said to be in. At times restoratives
had to be administered before she could be brought down to dinner. Mr.
Newman desired me to tell her that he had had, some years previously,
heart trouble. All at once a shock came as though a pistol had been
discharged in his brain, and he expected fatal results. Yet he recovered
his usual health and lived to a great age. Harriet Martineau lived
twenty-two years after her friends were instructed to expect her death
daily. Fearless and indifferent when the end might come, she was saved
from the apprehensiveness by which the timid invite what they dread.

It was during this--the period when her physicians apprehended her early
death--that I one day (February 5, 1855) received the following note at
147, Fleet Street:--

"Miss H. Martineau presents her compliments to Mr. Holyoake, and is
happy to find that she may hope to see him this week, and to thank him
for his kindness in sending her some interesting papers by post.

"Miss H. Martineau will be happy to see Mr. Holyoake at tea on Wednesday
evening next, if he can favour her with his company at seven o'clock.

"55, Devonshire Street, Portland Place."

In accordance with this note I took tea with her. She conversed in her
accustomed unperturbed way, and said, "I sent for you that you may bear
witness that I die on your side. An attempt will be made to represent
that my opinions have vacillated. Whereas I have gone right on, as, I
believe, from truth to truth. My views may not, however, have been those
of progress."

I remarked that I had bought her earlier works to satisfy myself of the
successiveness of her convictions, as expressed in her writings, and
thought she rightly described them as being intrinsically progressive.

"Yes," she added, "my views from time to time were at successive stages,
as they are now, clear and decided. Certainly I was never happier in my
life than at the present time. Christians, if they think it worth while
to attempt it, will not be able to make a 'Death Bed' out of me. I wish
you to know my opinions at this time. We have to vindicate the truth as
well as to teach it."*

     * I put these words down the same night; thus I am able to
     quote them.

For myself, I was neither priest nor confessor. Had I been, I should
have felt it presumption to attempt to confirm one better able to teach
me than I was to teach her. All I said was: "It is certainly a moral
relief not to hold the cardinal Christian tenets of faith, as so many
preachers speaking, as they assume to do, in the name of God, explain
them. To act according to conscience and speak according to knowledge,
never ceasing to consider what we can do for the service of others, is
the one duty which a future life, if it comes, will not contradict."

Though no one was so well able as herself to write her biography, it was
not in her mind to do it, and she wrote to me to give her the names of
persons I thought might undertake it. I named three: Charles Knight,
who knew more of her life than any one else, eligible to write it; next
Francis William Newman, who, being a many-sided thinker, and largely
coinciding with her views, could justly estimate her earlier and
later convictions. The third was Mr. H. G. Atkinson, who was entirely
conversant with her convictions and career, but who declined with
expressions of diffidence, though I urged him to undertake the work. At
length she did it herself, in a way which showed no one else could have
done it so well. She left instructions in her will that I should receive
a copy of her Autobiography, which appeared in three volumes, and
came to me (February 28, 1877) from Mr. Thomas Martineau, one of her

No autobiography produced in its day a greater impression. The treatment
Miss Martineau had received from eminent adversaries astonished a
generation in which greater controversial fairness had come to prevail.
The friends of those who had assailed her felt some consternation at the
imperishable descriptions of their conduct, which would never cease to
be associated with their names, and they made public attempts to explain
the facts away.

Her mind was photographic in other respects. She saw social facts and
their influences, their nature and sequences, with a vividness no other
writer of her day did. Her charming romance, the "Feats of the Fiord"
impressed Norwegians with the belief that she was personally familiar
with the country, where she had never been. There was "caller" air in
the pages which made the reader hungry.

The autobiography contains a small gallery of statues of contemporaries,
of note in their time, sculptured from life, as perfect in their way
as Grecian statues. Their excellencies are generously portrayed for
admiration, and their defects described for the guidance of survivors.
Not like the false eulogies of the dead, which, by pretending
perfection, lie to the living, where silence on errors or deficiencies
are of the nature of deceit, and sure to be resented when the truth
comes to be known. Only that admiration is lasting which is fully

No character of Lord Brougham so striking and true as hers, has ever
been drawn. Eminent biographers and critics, including Carlyle, have
delineated him, but her portrait--drawn twenty years before theirs
appeared--Professor Masson assured me her character of Brougham was the
most perfect of all.

Her two-sided estimate gave discomfort to those content with obliqueness
in knowledge, but those who have the impartial instinct seek reality,
by which no one is deceived. The light and shade of character, like the
light and shade of a painting, alone give distinctiveness and truth.
But whoever delineates so must suffer no distorting tints of pique, or
spite, or prejudice on his palate.

Miss Martineau entered into a correspondence on "Man's Nature and
Development," with Mr. Henry G. Atkinson, which, when published, was
reviewed by her brother, Dr. James Martineau, in the _Prospective
Review_ No. xxvi., Art 4, for which he selected the offensive and
ignorant title of "Mesmeric Atheism." It was misleading, because
mesmerism has no theology. It was ignorant, because neither Mr. Atkinson
nor Dr. Martineau's sister were Atheists. Their disavowal of Atheism was
in the book before him.


If the reader is curious to know what really were the opinions of these
two distinguished offenders (H. Martineau and H. G. Atkinson), I recite
them. In the book Dr. Martineau reviewed, Mr. Atkinson said:--

"I am far from being an Atheist I do not say there is no God, but that
it is extravagant and irreverent to imagine that cause a Person."

Miss Martineau herself writes in the same series of letters:--

"There is no _theory_ of a God, of an author of Nature, of an origin of
the universe, which is not utterly repugnant to my faculties; which is
not (to my feelings) so irreverent as to make me blush; so misleading as
to make me mourn."

Yet Dr. Martineau wrote of his sister and her friend in terms which
seemed, to the public, of studied insult and disparagement, which,
in educated society, would be called brutal. It was merely spiritual
malignity, of which I had in former years sufficient experience to
render me a connoisseur in it.

All the while Dr. Martineau had heresies of his own to answer for,
yet he wrote words of his sister which no woman of self-respect could
condone, unless withdrawn. During her long illness of twenty years Dr.
Martineau, her brother, never wrote to her nor addressed one word of
sympathy to one who had loved him so well. He had told the world that
the "subtle, all-penetrating spirit of Christ has an inspiring nobleness
philosophy cannot reach, nor science, nor nature impart." Then how
came Dr. Martineau to miss it? The nobleness of mind of his illustrious
sister all the world knew--before the world knew him--and Mr. Atkinson
was a gentleman of as pure a life and of as good a position in society
as Dr. Martineau himself. O Theology, into what crookedness dost thou
twist the straightest minds! I have seen in a "Life of Dr. Martineau"
that Professor Newman assented to what Dr. Martineau wrote of his
sister. This fact I ought not to withhold from the reader.

But Mr. Newman only knew what Dr. Martineau told him.

Mr. Atkinson was the son of a London architect who left him an income
which enabled him to devote himself to philosophy, which was his taste.
He was personally conversant, as visitor or guest, with a wide range of
distinguished thinkers and writers of his time. He was full of curious
knowledge and notable sayings gathered in that opportune intercourse.
With a mind devoid of prejudice, he looked on scientific discoveries
as a veteran and seasoned spectator. No new idea surprised him, no
expression of thoughtful opinion awakened in him resentment. He cared
only for truth, in whatever form or quarter it appeared. He had none
of the indifference of the arm-chair philosopher, but aided struggling
opinion to assert itself. Once I was his guest in Boulogne. To my
surprise I was the only passenger in the packet boat The quay of
Boulogne was deserted. At Hughes's Hotel I was the only guest in the
dining-room. On inquiring the reason, I learned that Gilbert a'Beckett
had died a few days before of diphtheria, and that Douglas Jerrold had
left for England since. Mr. Atkinson, not expecting me, had gone for
a day's sea trip to Calais. On his return we spent pleasant hours at a
cafe. He had no idea of leaving the hotel where he had rooms. Some years
later Mr. Atkinson died in Boulogne, where he had resided many years.
Personally he was tall, of good presence and refined manners. He was
clean shaven, and might be taken for an Evangelical Bishop. Save a
mobile expression, his face was as shadowless as one of Holbein's
portraits. The object of his letters to Miss Martineau was to ascertain
if there could be found a real basis of a science of mind. The common
idea in those days was that mind was a "vital spark" which shone at
will--originating without conditions--acting of its own caprice and
obeying no law. Only the theological spirit could see harm in this

Not only fidelity, but chivalry towards her friends was a characteristic
of Miss Martineau. When W. J. Linton, for whom I had great regard, as
appears in what I have written of him in the "Warpath of Opinion," had
become vindictive--because I had obtained 9,000 shillings for European
Freedom from readers of the _Reasoner_ at the request of Mazzini, Mr.
Linton--equally desirous and equally devoted, had not succeeded--wrote
to the _Liberator_ of New York, edited by Lloyd Garrison, assailing
me politically and personally, whereupon Miss Martineau sent to the
_Liberator_ the following generous letter--which, though it be counted
egotism in me to cite, I accept the risk, since such friendship was
without parallel in my experience:--

"Dear Sir,--I see with much surprise and more concern an attack in your
paper upon the character of Mr. G. J. Holyoake, signed by Mr. W. J.
Linton. I could have wished, with others of your readers, that you had
waited for some evidence, or other testimony, before committing your
most respected paper to an attack on such a man from such a quarter. Of
Mr. Linton it is not necessary for me to say anything, because what
I say of Mr. Holyoake will sufficiently show what I think of his

"I wish I could give you an idea of the absurdity that it appears to us
in this country to charge Mr. Holyoake with sneaking, with desiring to
conceal his opinions, and get rid of the word 'Atheism.' His whole life,
since he grew up, has been one of public advocacy of the principles he
holds, of weekly publication of them under his own signature, and of
constant lecturing in public places. One would think that a man who has
been tried and imprisoned for Atheism, and has ever since continued
to publish the opinions which brought him into that position, might be
secure, if any man might, from the charge of sneaking. The adoption
of the term Secularism is justified by its including a large number
of persons who are not Atheists, and uniting them for action which has
Secularism for its object, and not Atheism. On this ground, and because
by the adoption of a new term a vast amount of impediment from prejudice
is got rid of, the use of the name Secularism is found advantageous;
but it in no way interferes with Mr. Holyoake's profession of his own
unaltered views on the subject of a First Cause. As I am writing this
letter, I may just say for myself that I constantly and eagerly read Mr.
Holyoake's writings, though many of them are on subjects--or occupied
with stages of subjects--that would not otherwise detain me, because
I find myself always morally the better for the influence of the noble
spirit of the man, for the calm courage, the composed temper, the
genuine liberality, and unintermitting justice with which he treats
all manner of persons, incidents, and topics. I certainly consider the
conspicuous example of Mr. Holyoake's kind of heroism to be one of our
popular educational advantages at this time.

"You have printed Mr. Linton's account of Mr. Holyoake. I request you to
print mine. I send it simply as an act of justice. My own acquaintance
with Mr. Holyoake is on the ground of his public usefulness, based on
his private virtues; and I can have no other reason for vindicating him
than a desire that a cruel wrong should be as far as possible undone.
And I do it myself because I am known to your readers as an Abolitionist
of sufficiently long standing not to be likely to be deceived in regard
to the conduct and character of any one who speaks on the subject,

"I am, yours very respectfully,

"Harriet Martineau.

"London, November 1, 1855."

Born June 12, 1802, at Norwich, she died June 27, 1876, at Ambleside. In
1832, when she was twenty-eight, Lucy Atkin wrote to tell Dr. Channing
that "a great light had arisen among women," which shone for forty-four
years. When she was a young woman, Lord Melbourne offered her a pension,
which she declined on the ground that a Government which did not
represent the people had no right to give away their money--an act of
integrity so infrequent as to be always fresh. In her case it explains a

Two of the greatest women in Europe, George Sand and Harriet Martineau,
of nearly equal age, died within a few weeks of each other. "Passed
away" is the phrase now employed, as though the writer knew that a
journey was intended, and was in progress, whereas as Barry Cornwall

     "A flower above and a mould below
     Is all the mourners ever know."

Mrs. Fenwick Miller relates that Miss Martineau began writing for
the Press, like the famous novelist mentioned, under a man's name,
"Deciphalus." Once when at Mr. W. E. Forster's, at Burley, it fell to
me to take Mrs. Forster down to dinner. Being in doubt as to what was
etiquette in such cases, preferring to be thought uncouth than familiar,
I did not offer my hostess my arm. Afterwards I asked Miss Martineau
what I might have done. She answered that "a guest was an equal, and any
act of courtesy permissible in him was permissible in me," but in better
terms than I can invent. Recurring to the subject at another time, she
said, "I was well pleased at your consulting me as you did. It would
save a world of trouble and doubt and energy, if we all asked one
another what the other is qualified to tell. I, who have to be
economical of energy and time, always do it. I ask, point blank, what
it is important for me to know, from any one who can best tell me, and
I like to be inquired of in the same way. I hope no guest will feel
puzzled in my house, but ask, and what I can answer I will." The
readiness with which she placed her wisdom at the service of her friends
might have given Matthew Arnold (as she was a frequent visitor at Fox
Howe) his idea of "Sweetness and Light."

Greater than the difficulty of deafness was the fact that Miss Martineau
wrote on the side of Liberalism. Tory writers dipped their pens in the
best preparation of venom sold by Conservative chemists. The Church and
King party, which burnt down Dr. Priestley's house, soon discovered that
Miss Martineau was guilty of the further crime of being a Unitarian.
Nevertheless, she abandoned no principle, nor apologised for maintaining
what she believed to be true. Spinoza, as Renan has told us, gave great
offence to his adversaries by the integrity of his life, as it did not
give them a fair opportunity of attacking him, for the enormity of his
conduct in believing less than they believed. This was the case with
Harriet Martineau, who had said in one of her books, "A parent has a
considerable influence over the subsistence fund of his family, and an
absolute control over the numbers to be supported by that fund." The
_Quarterly Review_, "written by gentlemen for gentlemen," added, "We
venture to ask this maiden sage the meaning of this passage." Why not
ask the Rev. Thomas Maithus, whose words Miss Martineau merely repeated?
All that was meant was "deferred marriages." The reviewer put an obscene
construction upon it, and imputed to her his own malignant inference.
This was a common rascality of logic alike in theology and politics in
those days.

The intrepid authoress happened to believe there was some truth in
mesmerism. Dr. Elliotson, who thought so too, told me that his temerity
that way cost him £7,000 a year in fees. This mesmeric episode brought
the doctors upon the poor lady, who never forgave her being alive when
they said she ought to be dead. Eminent physicians predicted that she
would sink down in six months. When, instead of sinking down, she rode
on a camel to Mount Sinai and Petra, and on horseback to Damascus, they
said "she had never been ill!"

She had the unusual capacity which the gods only are said to give--that
of seeing herself as others saw her. She saw her own life and
intellectual power in its strength and in its limitation, as though
she stood away from them and looked at them; she saw them, as it were,
palpable and apart from herself. Of imagination, which sheds sunshine
over style, she had little. Her pictures were etchings rather than
paintings. Her strength lay in directness of expression and practical
thought She saw social facts and their influences, their nature and
sequences, with a vividness no other writer of her day did. When she had
completed the translation of Comte's "Positive Philosophy," she placed
at my disposal twenty-five copies to give to persons unable to buy
them, but able to profit by them; and to extend the knowledge of its
principles. She offered me the publication of an edition of "Household
Education." No book like it had been written before, and none since.
Four hundred copies were sold by my arrangement. The book was mainly
intended for women. The review of it for the _Reasoner_* was written by
my wife, as I advocated that women should take their own affairs in the
press into their own hands, and give their own opinion on what concerned
them. Miss Martineau's object in writing "Household Education" was, she
told me, "to indicate that, in her opinion, education should be on a
philosophical basis," adding: "I should see the great point of it is
ignoring rank in so important a matter as the development of human
beings. It was written for Buckingham Palace and the humblest cottage
where life is decently conducted." Miss Martineau lived twenty-two years
after receiving prognostications of early decease. Had she not been
a woman of courage she would have died, as was suggested to her. She
understood that she must accept new conditions of life. She had a bed
made in a railway carriage, and went down with her maids to Ambleside,
and never left her house except to take air and get the relief which
the smoking of a cigarette gave her, as she sat on summer evenings
just outside the open windows of her sitting-room. She might have given
herself greater liberty, for she did not die of heart ailment after all.

     * Reasoner, vol. vi. pp. 378-9 and 390.

As I have seen in women of thought, Harriet Martineau, like George
Eliot, grew handsomer as she grew older, and acquired that queenly
dignity, such as is seen in George Richmond's painting of Miss Martineau
in mature years.

She devoted all her diversified genius to inspire public affairs with
loftier aims and persistent purpose. She was one of those Christians
mentioned by Shakespeare who "mean to be saved by believing rightly."*
Harriet Martineau did, and these words of Flavius might be her epitaph.

     * "Twelfth Night," act iii., scene 2.


[Illustration: Newman]

In one of the last conversations I had the pleasure to hold with
Mr. Gladstone, I referred to the "three Newmans" and their divergent
careers. He said he never knew there were "three." He knew John Henry,
the Cardinal (as he afterwards became), at Oxford. He knew Francis
William there, who had repute for great attainments, retirement of
manner, and high character; but had never heard there was a third
brother, and was much interested in what I had to tell him. The articles
of Charles Newman I published in the _Reasoner_, and their republication
by the late J. W. Wheeler, were little known to the general public, who
will probably hear of them now for the first time.

Though I name "three Newmans," this chapter relates chiefly to the one I
best knew, Francis William, known as Professor Newman. The eldest of the
three was John Henry, the famous Cardinal. The third brother, Charles,
was a propagandist of insurgent opinion. Francis was a pure Theist, John
was a Roman Catholic, and Charles a Naturist, and nothing besides; he
would be classed as an Agnostic now. Francis William was the handsomest
He had classical features, a placid, clear, and confident voice, and an
impressive smile which lighted up all his face. John Henry manifested
in his youth the dominancy of the ecclesiastic, and lived in a priestly
world of his own creation, in which this life was overshadowed by the
terrors of another unknown. Francis believed in one sole God--not the
head of a firm. His Theism was of such intense, unquestioning devotion,
of such passionate confidence, as was seen in Mazzini and Theodore
Parker, of America. Voltaire and Thomas Paine were not more determined
Theists. In all else, Francis was human. Charles believed in Nature
and nothing more. In sending me papers to print in the _Reasoner_ on
"Causation in the Universe," he would at times say, "My mind is leaving
me, and when it returns a few months hence, I will send you a further
paper." Like Charles Lamb's poor sister, Mary, who used to put her
strait waistcoat in her basket and go herself to the asylum, when she
knew the days of her aberration were approaching, Charles Newman had
premonition of a like kind. He had the thoroughness of thought of his
family. The two brothers--the Cardinal and the Professor--united to
supply Charles with an income sufficient for his needs. The Cardinal,
though he knew Charles' opinions, readily joined.

When some questioning remark on Professor Newman was made incidentally
in the House of Commons, in consequence of his uncompromising views,
the Cardinal wrote saying that "for his brother's purity he would die,"
which, considering their extreme divergence of opinion, was very noble
in the Cardinal.

Professor Newman, I believe, wrote more books, having regard to their
variety and quality, than any other scholar of his time. Science,
history, poetry, theology, political economy, mathematics, travel,
translations--the Iliad of Homer--among them a Sanscrit dictionary. He
wrote many pamphlets and spoke for the humblest societies, regardless of
the amazement of his eminent contemporaries and associates. On questions
relating to marital morality, he did not hesitate to publish leaflets. I
published a series of letters for him in the _Reasoner_--now some fifty
years ago, so we were long acquainted. These earlier communications came
to me at a time when the authorities of University College in London,
where he was Professor of Latin, were being called upon to consider
whether his intellectual Liberalism might deter parents from sending
their sons there. But it was bravely held that the University had no
cognisance of the personal opinions of any professor. Like Professor
Key, Mr. Newman took an open interest in public affairs. Though variedly
learned, Professor Newman's style of speech, to whomever addressed by
tongue or pen, was fresh, direct, precise, and lucid.

Mr. Newman's quarto volume on Theism, written in metre, is the greatest
compendium of Theistical argument published in my time, and until Darwin
wrote, no entirely conclusive answer was possible.

Francis Newman had a travelling mind. From the time when I published his
"Personal Narrative" of his early missionary experience at Aleppo, he
grew, year by year, more rationalistic in his religious judgment. In
one of his papers, written in the year of his death, he said: "It may
be asked, 'Is Mr. Newman a disciple of Jesus?' I answer, 'Of all nations
that I know, that have a religion established by law, I have never seen
the equal to what is attributed to Jesus himself. But much is attributed
to Him--I disapprove of.' On the whole, if I am asked, 'Do you call
yourself a Christian?' I say, in contrast to other religions, 'Yes! I
do,' and so far I must call myself a Christian. But if you put upon me
the words Disciple of Jesus, meaning the believing all Jesus teaches
to be light and truth I cannot say it, and I think His words variously
unprovable. Now all disciples, when they come to full age, ought to seek
to surpass their masters. Therefore, if Jesus had faults, we, after more
than two thousand years' experience, ought to expect to surpass Him,
especially when an immense routine of science has been elaborately built
up, with a thousand confirmations all beyond the thought of Jesus."

What a progressive order of thought would exist now in the Christian
world had Mr. Newman's conception of discipleship prevailed in the

Mr. Newman's words about myself, occurring in his work on "The Soul," I
remember with pride. They were written at a time when I had an ominous
reputation among theologians. When residing at Clifton as a professor,
Mr. Newman came down to Broadmead Rooms at Bristol, and took the chair
at one of my lectures, and spoke words on my behalf which only he could
frame. But he was as fearless in his friendship as he was intrepid in
his faith. He wrote to me, April 30, 1897, saying: "I appeal to your
compassion when I say, that the mere change of opinion on a doubtful
fact has perhaps cost me the regard of all who do not know me
intimately." The "fact" related to the probability of annihilation at
death. He regretted the loss of friendship, but never varied in his
lofty fidelity to conscience. Whatever might be his interest in a future
life, if it were the will of God not to concede it, he held it to be
the duty of one who placed his trust in Him to acquiesce. The spirit
of piety never seemed to me nobler, than in this unusual expression of
unmurmuring, unpresuming resignation.

His first wife, who was of the persuasion of the Plymouth Brethren, had
little sympathy with his boldness and fecundity of thought. Once,
when he lived at Park Village, Regent's Park, his friend, Dr. James
Martineau, came into the room; she opened the window and stepped out on
to the lawn, rather than meet him. Mr. Newman was very tender as to her
scruples, but stood by his own. When I visited him, he asked me, from
regard to her, to give the name of "Mr. Jacobs"--the name I used when
a teacher in Worcester in 1840, where I lectured under my own name and
taught under another.

On February 12, 1897, Mr. Newman wrote:--"Mv dear Holyoake,--I am not
coming round to you, though many will think I am. On the contrary, I
hope you are half coming round to me, but I have no time to talk on
these matters." He then asked my advice as to his rights over his own
publications, then in the hands of Mr. Frowde, printer, of Oxford; but
with such care for the rights of others, such faultless circumspection
as to the consequences to others in all he wished done, as to cause
me agreeable surprise at the unfailing perspicacity of his mind, his
unchanging, scrupulous, and instinctive sense of justice.

He regarded death with the calmness of a philosopher. He wrote to me
April 30, 1897: "Only those near me know how I daily realise the near
approach of my own death (he was then ninety-three). I grudge every day
wasted by things unfinished which remain for me to do." No apprehension,
no fear, and he wished I could "appear before him, with a document drawn
up," by which he could consign to me the custody of all the works under
his control. At the time, as he said, he might "easily be in his grave"
before I could accomplish his wishes. He says in another letter that
his "wife, like himself, abhorred indebtedness." He provided for the
probable cost of everything he wished done. His sense of honour remained
as keen as his sense of faith. He was a gentleman first and a Christian

Mr. Gladstone told me he was under the impression that he had, in some
way unknown to himself, lost the friendship of Mr. Newman, from whom he
had not heard for several years; and Mr. Newman was under an impression
that Mr. Gladstone's silence was occasioned by disapproval of his
published views of the "Errors of Jesus"--an error of assumption
respecting Mr. Gladstone into which Mr. Newman might naturally, but not
excusably, fall; for Mr. Newman should have known that Mr. Gladstone had
a noble tolerance equal to his own, or should personally have tested
it, by letter or otherwise, before nurturing an adverse conjecture. I
mentioned the matter to Mr. Gladstone, and found Mr. Newman's surmise
groundless. At the same time I gave him a copy of Mr. Francis Newman's
"Secret Songs" (as one copy given to me was called) which revealed to
Mr. Gladstone a devotional spirit he did not, as he said, imagine could
co-exist in one whose faith was so divergent to his own.

The following letter, which has autobiographical value, may interest the

"Norwood Villa, 15, Arundel Crescent,


"March 22, 1893.

"Dear Mr. George Jacob Holyoake,--I had no idea of writing to Mr.
Gladstone, yet am glad to hear that you gave him my 'Secret Hymns.'
Probably my contrast to my brother, the late Cardinal, always puzzled
him. That we were in painful opposition ever since 1820 had never
entered his mind, much less that this opposition made it impossible to
me to endure living in Oxford, which also would have been my obvious

"I did send my 'Paul of Tarsus' to Mr. Gladstone, which partially opened
his eyes. For my brother's first pretentious religious book was against
the Arians, which I _think_ I read at latest in 1832. Mr. Gladstone has
_written_ that my brother's secession to Rome was the greatest loss that
the English Church ever suffered. Of what kind was the loss my little
book on 'Paul' indirectly states, in pointing out that, as our English
New Testament shows, Paul in his own episode plainly originated the
doctrine, three centuries later _called_ Arianism, and held by all the
Western Church until young Athanasius introduced his new and therefore
'false' doctrine.

My brother, with Paul's epistle open before him, condemned the doctrine
of Arian, and did not know that it was the invention of Paul, and
thereby prevailed in the whole Western Church. Moreover, I read what I
cannot imagine met Mr. Gladstone's eyes, that 'It is not safe to quote
any Pre-Athanasian doctrines concerning the Trinity, since the _Church_
had not yet taught them how to express themselves.' After this, _could_
Mr. Gladstone, as a decent scholar, mourn over my brother's _loss_ to
the Church? I hope Mr. Gladstone can now afford time to read
something of the really early Christianity. He will find the Jerusalem
Christianity perishing after the Roman revolt, and supplanted by Pauline
fancies (not Christian at all) and by Pauline morality, often better
than Christian. To me our modern problem is to eschew Pauline fancies
and further to improve on Pauline wisdom.

"But since I have reached the point of being unable to take Human
Immortality as a Church axiom, I cannot believe that the problem is
above fully stated, or that Christianity deserves to become coetaneous
with man's body.

"Perhaps I ought to thank you more, yet I may have said too much.--Yours

"F. W. Newman."

One day as Mr. Newman was leaving my room in Woburn Buildings, he looked
round and said: "I did not think there were rooms so large in this
place"; and then descending the stairs, as though the familiarity of the
remark was more than an impulse, he said: "Do you think you could join
with me in teaching the great truth of Theism?" Alas! I had to express
my regret that my belief did not lie that way. Highly as I should think,
and much as I should value public association with Mr. Newman, I had to
decline the opportunity. If the will could create conviction, I should
also have accepted Mazzini's invitation--elsewhere referred to--for
Theism never seemed so enchanting in my eyes as it appeared in the lives
of those two distinguished thinkers who were inspired by it.


[Illustration: Mazzini]

Giuseppe Mazzini, whom Englishmen know as Joseph Mazzini, was born in
Genoa, June 22, 1805, and died in Pisa, March 10, 1872. He spent the
greater part of forty years of his marvellous life in London. * Some
incidents of his English career, known to me, may increase or confirm
the public impression of him.

     * First in Devonshire Street, Queen Square; in Chelsea; in
     Brompton; in earlier years in penury. Where he had command
     of a sitting-room, birds were flying about. Uncaged freedom
     was to Mazzini the emblem of Liberty.

Never strong from youth, abstemious, oft from privation, and always
from principle, he was as thin as Dumas describes Richelieu. Arbitrary
imprisonment, which twice befel him, and many years of voluntary
confinement, imposed upon himself by necessity of concealment--living
and working in a small room, whence it was dangerous for him to emerge
by day or by night--were inevitably enervating. When he first came to
London in 1837, he brought with him three exiles, who depended upon his
earnings for subsistence. The slender income supplied him by his mother
might have sufficed for his few wants,* but aid for others and the
ceaseless cost of the propaganda of Italian independence, to which he
devoted himself, had to be provided by writing for reviews. At times
cherished souvenirs had to be pledged, and visits to money-lenders had
to be made.

     * Of Mazzini's great abstemiousness it was written later in

     "A cheaper world no one can know,
     Where he who laughs grows fat;
     Man wants but little here below--
     Mazzini less than that."

It was the knowledge all his countrymen had that he sought nothing for
himself, never spared himself in toil or peril, that was the source of
his influence. He wrote: "We follow a path strewn with sacrifices and
with sorrows." But all the tragedies of his experience we never knew
until years after his death, when his incomparable "Love Letters" were
published in the _Nineteenth Century_, No. 219, May, 1895.

He appeared to others to have "the complexion of a student," the air
of one who waited and listened. As Meredith said, it was not "until you
meet his large, penetrating, dark eyes, that you were drawn suddenly
among a thousand whirring wheels of a capacious, keen, and vigorous

Mr. Bolton King has published a notable book on the great Italian,
containing more incidents in his career than any other English writer
has collected. I confine myself mainly to those within my knowledge.

When anything had to be done, in my power to do, I was at his command.
I had numerous letters from him. His errorless manuscript had the
appearance of Greek writing. Two letters "t" and "s," such as no other
man formed, were the signs of his hand and interpreters of his words. Of
all the communications I ever received from him or saw, none had date or
address, save one letter which had both. Many sought for conversation,
if by chance they were near him, or by letter, or interview--for ends
of their own. But no one elicited any information he did not intend to
give. His mind was a fortress into which no man could enter, unless he
opened the door.

Kossuth astonished us by his knowledge of English, but he knew little
of the English people. Louis Blanc knew much; but Mazzini knew more than
any foreigner I have conversed with. Mazzini made no mistake about us.
He understood the English better than they understood themselves--their
frankness, truth, courage, impulse, pride, passions, prejudice,
inconsistency, and limitation of view. Mazzini knew them all.

His address to the Republicans of the United States (November, 1855) is
an example of his knowledge of nations, whose characteristics were as
familiar to him as those of individuals are to their associates, or as
parties are known to politicians in their own country. There may be seen
his wise way of looking all round an argument in stating it. No man of a
nature so intense had so vigilant an outside mind.

He knew theories as he knew men, and he saw the theories as they
would be in action. There was no analysis so masterly of the popular
schools--political and socialist--as that which Mazzini contributed
to the _People's Journal_, His criticisms of the writings of Carlyle,
published in the _Westminster Review_, explained the excellencies and
the pernicious tendencies--political and moral--of Carlyle's writing,
which no other critic ever did. But Mazzini wrote upon art, music,
literature, poetry, and the drama. To this day the public think of him
merely as a political writer--a sort of Italian Cobbett with a genius
for conspiracy.

The list of his works fills nearly ten pages of the catalogue of the
British Museum.

Under other circumstances his pen would have brought him ample
subsistence, if not affluence. Much was written without payment, as
a means of obtaining attention to Italy. It was thus he won his first
friends in England.

No one could say of Mazzini that he was a foreigner and did not
understand us, or that the case he put was defective through not
understanding our language. The _Saturday Review_, which agreed with
nobody, said, on reading Mazzini's "Letter to Louis Napoleon," which was
written in English, "The man can write." The finest State papers seen in
Europe for generations were those which Mazzini, when a Triumvir in
Rome, wrote--notably those to De Tocqueville. De Tocqueville had a great
name for political literature, but his icy mystifications melted away
under Mazzini's fiery pen of principle, passion, and truth. This
wandering, homeless, penniless, obscure refugee was a match for kings.

Some day a publisher of insight will bring out a cheap edition of
the five volumes of his works, issued by S. King and Co., 1867, and
"dedicated to the working classes" by P. A. Taylor, which cost him £500,
few then caring for them. Mrs. Emilie Ashurst Venturi was the translator
of the five volumes, which were all revised by Mazzini. The reader
therefore can trust the text.

Mazzini did me the honour of presenting to me his volume on the
"Duties of Man," with this inscription of reserve: "To my friend, G. J.
Holyoake, with a very faint hope." Words delicate, self-respecting and
suggestive. It was hard for me, with my convictions, to accept his great
formula, "God and the People." It was a great regret to me that I could
not use the words. They were honest on the lips of Mazzini. But I had
seen that in human danger Providence procrastinates. No peril stirs it,
no prayer quickens its action. Men perish as they supplicate. In danger
the people must trust in themselves.

Thinking as I did, I could not say or pretend otherwise.

Mazzini one day said to me, "A public man is often bound by his past.
His repute for opinions he has maintained act as a restraint upon
avowing others of a converse nature." This feeling never had influence
over me. Any one who has convictions ought to maintain a consistency
between what he believes, and what he says and does. But to maintain
to-day the opinions of former years, when you have ceased to feel them
true, is a false, foolish, even a criminal consistency. To conceal
the change, if it concerns others to know it, is dishonest if it is
misleading any persons you may have influenced. The test, to me, of the
truth of any view I hold, is that, I can state it and dare the judgment
of others to confute it. Had I new views--theistical or otherwise--that
I could avow with this confidence, I should have the same pleasure in
stating them as I ever had in stating my former ones. When I look
back upon opinions I published long years ago, I am surprised at the
continuity of conviction which, without care or thought on my part,
has remained with me. In stating my opinions I have made many changes.
Schiller truly says that "Toleration is only possible to men of large
information." As I came to know more I have been more considerate
towards the views, or errors, or mistakes of others, and have striven
to be more accurate in my own statement of them, and more fair towards
adversaries. That is all. Mazzini understood this, and did not regard as
perversity the prohibition of conscience.

In his letter to Daniel Manin, which I published in 1856, Mazzini
described as a "quibble" the use of the word "unification" instead
of "unity." "Unification" is not a bad thing in itself, though very
different from unity. To put forth unification as a substitute for unity
was forsaking unity. It was a change of front, but not "quibbling." The
Government of Italy were advised to contrive local amelioration, as
a means of impeding, if not undermining, claims for national freedom.
Mazzini condemned Manin for concurring in this. All English insurgent
parties have shown similar animosity against amelioration of evil,
lest it diverted attention from absolute redress. Yet it is a great
responsibility to continue the full evil in all its sharpness and
obstructiveness, on the grounds that its abatement is an impediment
to larger relief. Every argument for amelioration is a confession that
those who object to injustice are right What is to prevent reformers
continuing their demand for all that is necessary, when some of the evil
is admitted and abated? Paramount among agitators as I think Mazzini,
it is a duty to admit that he was not errorless. High example renders an
error serious.

The press being free in England, there needed no conspiracy here. An
engraved card, still hanging in a little frame in many a weaver's and
miner's house in the North of England, was issued at a shilling each
on behalf of funds for European freedom, signed by Mazzini for Italy,
Kossuth for Hungary, and Worcell for Poland. When editing the _Reasoner_
I received one morning a letter from Mazzini, dated 15, Radnor Street,
King's Road, Chelsea, June 12, 1852. This was the only one of Mazzini's
letters bearing an address and date I ever saw, as I have said. It

"My dear Sir,--You have once, for the Taxes on Knowledge question,
collected a very large sum by dint of sixpences. Could you not do
the same, if your conscience approved the scheme, for the Shilling
Subscription [then proposed for European freedom]? I have never made any
appeal for material help to the English public, but once the scheme is
started, I cannot conceal that I feel a great interest in its success.
A supreme struggle will take place between Right and Might, and any
additional strength imparted to militant Democracy at this time is not
to be despised. Still, the _moral_ motive is even more powerful with me.
The scheme is known in Italy, and will be known in Hungary, and it would
be extremely important for me to be able to tell my countrymen that it
has not proved a failure.

"Ever faithfully yours,

"Joseph Mazzini."

I explained to the readers of the _Reasoner_ the great service they
might render to European freedom at that time by a shilling subscription
from each. Very soon we received 4,000 shillings. Later (August 3, 1852)
Mazzini, writing from Chelsea, said:--

"My dear Sir,--I have still to thank you for the noble appeal you have
inserted in the _Reasoner_ in favour of the Shilling Subscription in aid
of European freedom. My friend Giovanni Peggotti, fearing that physical
and moral torture might weaken his determination and extort from him
some revelations, has hung himself in his dungeon at Milan, with his own
cravat. State trials are about being initiated by military commissions,
and General Benedek, the man who directed the wholesale Gallician
butcheries, is to preside over them. At Forli, under Popish rule,
enforced by Austrian bayonets, four working men have been shot as guilty
of having defended themselves against the aggression of some Government
agents. The town was fined in a heavy sum, because on that mournful
day many of the inhabitants left it, and the theatres were empty in the

"Faithfully yours,

"Joseph Mazzini."

People of England have mostly forgotten now what Italians had to suffer
when their necks were under the ferocious heel of Austria.

In a short time I collected a further 5,000 shillings, making 9,000 in
all, and I had the pleasure of sending to Mazzini a cheque for £450.*

     * The expenses of collection I defrayed myself.

A shilling subscription had been previously proposed mainly at the
instigation of W. J. Linton, which bore the names of Joseph Cowen,
George Dawson, Dr. Frederic Lees, George Serle Phillips, C. D. Collet,
T. S. Duncombe, M.P., Viscount Goderich, M.P. (now Marquis of Ripon),
S. M. Hawks, Austin Holyoake, G. J. Holyoake, Thornton Hunt, Douglas
Jerrold, David Masson, Edward Miall, M.P., Professor Newman, James
Stansfeld, M.P. Some of these names are interesting to recall now. But
it was not until Mazzini asked me to make an appeal in the _Reasoner_
that response came. Its success then was owing to the influence of
Mazzini's great name. Workmen in mill and mine gave because he wished

I published Weill's "Great War of the Peasants," the first and only
English translation, in aid of the war in Italy. The object was to
create confidence in the struggle of the Italian peasantry to free their
country, and to give reasons for subscriptions from English working men
to aid their Italian brethren. Madame Venturi made the translation, on
Mazzini's suggestion, for the _Secular World_, in which I published it.

In 1855 wishing to publish certain papers of 'azzini s, I wrote asking
him to permit me to do so, when he replied in the most remarkable letter
I received from him:

"Dear Sir,--You are welcome to any writing or fragment of mine which you
may wish to reprint in the _Reasoner_. Thought, according to me, is,
as soon as publicly uttered, the property of _all_, not an _individual_
one. In this special case, it is with true pleasure that I give the
consentment you ask for. The deep esteem I entertain for your personal
character, for your sincere love of truth, perseverance, and nobly
tolerant habits, makes me wish to do more; and time and events allowing,
I shall.

"We pursue the same end--progressive improvement, association,
transformation of the corrupted medium in which we are now living,
overthrow of all idolatries, shams, lies, and conventionalities. We both
want man to be not the poor, passive, cowardly, phantasmagoric unreality
of the actual time, thinking in one way and acting in another; bending
to power which he hates and despises, carrying empty Popish, or
thirty-nine article formulas _on_ his brow and none within; but
a fragment of the living truth, a real individual being linked to
collective humanity, the bold seeker of things to come; the gentle,
mild, loving, yet firm, uncompromising, inexorable apostle of all that
is just and heroic--the Priest, the Poet, and the Prophet. We widely
differ as to the _how_ and _why_. I do dimly believe that all we are
now struggling, hoping, discussing, and fighting for, is a _religious_
question. We want a new intellect of life; we long to tear off one more
veil from the ideal, and to realise as much as we can of it; we thirst
after a deeper knowledge of _what_ we are and of the _why_ we are. We
want a _new heaven_ and a _new earth_. We may not all be now conscious
of this, but the whole history of mankind bears witness to the
inseparable union of these terms. The clouds which are now floating
between our heads and God's sky will soon vanish and a bright sun shine
on high. We may have to pull down the despot, the arbitrary dispenser of
_grace_ and _damnation_, but it will only be to make room for the Father
and Educator.

"Ever faithfully yours,

"Joseph Mazzini."

Another incident has instruction in it, still necessary and worth
remembering in the political world. In 1872 I found in the _Boston
Globe_, then edited by Edin Ballou, a circumstantial story by the
_Constitutional_ of that day, setting forth that Sir James Hudson, our
Minister at Turin, begged Cavour to accord an interview to an English
gentleman. When Cavour received him, he was surprised by the boldness,
lucidity, depth, and perspicacity of his English visitor, and told him
that if he (Cavour) had a countryman of like quality, he would
resign the Presidency of the Council in favour of him, whereupon the
"Englishman" handed Cavour his card bearing the name of Joseph Mazzini,
much to his astonishment.

There are seven things fatal to the truth of this story received and
circulated throughout Europe without question:--

1. Sir James Hudson could never have introduced to the Italian Minister
a person as an Englishman, whom Sir James knew to be an Italian.

2. Nor was Mazzini a man who would be a party to such an artifice.

3. Cavour would have known Mazzini the moment he saw him.

4. Mazzini's Italian was such as only an Italian could speak, and Cavour
would know it.

5. Mazzini's Republican and Propagandist plans were as well known to
Cavour as Cobden's were to Peel; and Mazzini's strategy of conspiracy
was so repugnant to Cavour, that he must have considered his visitor a
wild idealist, and must have become mad himself to be willing to resign
his position in Mazzini's favour.

6. Cavour could not have procured his visitor's appointment in his place
if he had resigned.

7. Mazzini could not have offered Cavour his card, for the reason
that he never carried one. As in Turin he would be in hourly danger
of arrest, he was not likely to carry about with him an engraved
identification of himself.

Nevertheless, the _Pall Mall Gazette_ of that day (in whose hands it was
then I forget) published this crass fiction without questioning it.

The reader will rightly think that these are the incredible fictions
of a bygone time, but he will conclude wrongly if he thinks they have

Lately, not a nameless but a known and responsible person, one Sir
Edward Hertslet, K.C.B., a Foreign Office official, published a volume
in which he related that in 1848 (the 10th of April year, when no
political historian was sane) a stranger called at the Foreign Office
to inquire for letters for him from abroad. A colleague of Sir Edward's
suggested that he should inquire at the Home Office. The strange
gentleman replied indignantly, "I will not go to the Home Office. _My
name is Mazzini_." This answer Sir Edward put in quotation marks,
as though it was really said. Sir Edward has been in the Diplomatic
service. He has been a Foreign Office librarian, and is a K.C.B., yet
for more than fifty years he has kept this astounding story by him,
reserved it, cherished it, never suspected it, nor inquired into its

Mazzini was not a man to give his name to a youth (as Sir Edward was
then) at the Foreign Office. He never went there. It is doubtful whether
any letter ever came to England bearing his name. He was known among his
friends as Mr. Flower or Mr. Silva. When the late William Rathbone Greg
wished to see him, he neither knew his name nor where he resided,
and his son Percy--who was then writing for a journal of which I was
editor--was asked to obtain from me an introduction, and it was only to
oblige me that Mazzini consented to see Mr. W. R. Greg. Sir James Graham
never opened any letter addressed to Mazzini, for none ever came. He
opened letters of other persons, as every Foreign Secretary before
him and since has done, in which might be enclosed a communication
for Mazzini. Was it conceivable that the Foreign Office, then known to
secretly open Mazzini's letters, would be chosen by the Italian exile as
a receiving house for his letters, and have communications sent to its
care, and addressed in his name? Was it conceivable that Mazzini would
go there and announce himself when the Foreign Office was acting as a
spy upon his proceedings in the interest of foreign Governments? This
authenticated Foreign Office story would be too extravagant for a "penny
dreadful," yet not too extravagant, in Sir Edward Hertslet's mind, to be
believable by the official world now, and was sent or found its way to
Foreign Embassies and Legations for their delectation and information.
Yet Sir Edward was not known as a writer of romance, or novels, or
theological works, nor a poet, or other dealer in imaginary matters. His
book was widely reviewed in England, and nowhere questioned save in the
_Sun_ during my term of editorship in 1902.

Mazzini preached the doctrine of Association in England when it had no
other teacher. Much more may be said of him--but Sir James Stansfeld
is dead, and Madame Venturi and Peter Alfred Taylor. Only Jessie White
Mario and Professor Masson remain who knew Mazzini well. But this
chapter may give the public a better conception than has prevailed of
Mazzini's career in England.

[Illustration: Mario]


There have been many conspirators, but Mazzini appears to have been the
greatest of them all. In one sense, every leader of a forlorn hope is
a conspirator. Prevision, calculation of resources, plans of
campaign--mostly of an underground kind--are necessary to conspiracy.
The struggles of Garrison and Wendell Phillips for the rescue and
sustentation of fugitive slaves are well-known instances of underground
conspiracy. There the violence of the slave-owner made conspiracy
inevitable. In despotic countries, without a free platform and a free
press, the choice lies between secret conspiracy and slavery. When
Mazzini began to seek the deliverance of Italy he had to confront
600,000 Austrian bayonets. How else could he do it than by conspiracy?

Those are very much mistaken who think that the occupation of promoting
or taking part in a forlorn hope is a pastime to which persons
disinclined to business or honest industry, betake themselves. The spy,
for instance, who is a well-known instrument in war, takes the heroism
out of it. The sinister activity of the spy turns the soldier into a
sneak. Honourable men do, indeed, persuade themselves that if by deceit
they can obtain knowledge of facts which may save the lives of many on
their own side, it is right. At the same time they also betray to death
many on the other side, including some who have trusted the spy in his
disguise. But whatever success may attend the deceit of the spy, he can
never divest himself of the character of being a fraud; and a fraud in
war is only a little less base than a fraud in business. But it is the
perils of even the patriotic spy, which are so often under-estimated. If
discovered by the enemy, he is sure to be shot; and he runs the risk of
being killed on suspicion by friends on his own side--too indignant to
inquire into the nature of the suspicions they entertain. The spy dare
not communicate the business he is upon to his friends. Somehow it would
get out; then the spy would surely walk the plank, or hang from the
gallows as Andre did. The spy's own friends being ignorant of the secret
duty he has undertaken, observe him making the acquaintance of the
enemy--hear of him being seen in communication with them--and he becomes
distrusted and disowned by those whom he perils his life to serve.
Mazzini detested the Cabinets, or the Generals, who employed spies.
He made war by secrecy--open war being impossible to him--but never by
treachery. Some who had suffered and were incensed by personal outrage
or maddening oppression, would act as spies in revenge. Because these
were done on the side of Italian independence, Mazzini was accused of
inspiring them and employing them.

Mazzini had another difficulty. Like Cromwell, he sought his combatants
among men of faith. Mazzini was, as has been said, a Theist, like Thomas
Paine, or Theodore Parker, or Francis William Newman, he was that and
nothing more; and, as with them, his belief was passionate. He did not
believe that political enthusiasm could be created or sustained without
belief in God. He seemed unable to conceive that a sense of duty could
exist separately from that belief. Hence his motto always was "God and
the People," which limited his adherents largely to Theists, and implied
a propaganda to convert persons to a belief in Deity, before they could,
in his opinion, be counted upon to fight for Italian independence. Yet
there were contradictions; but contradictions seldom disturb passionate
convictions, and Mazzini himself could not deny that he had often been
faithfully served by men who were not at all sure that God would fight
on their side, if disaster overtook them. One night at a crowded Fulham
party Mazzini was contending, as was his wont, that an Atheist could not
have a sense of duty. Garibaldi, who was present, at once asked, "What
do you say to me? I am an Atheist. Do I lack the sense of duty?"

"Ah," said Mazzini, playfully, "you imbibed duty with your mother's
milk"--which was not an answer, but a good-natured evasion. Garibaldi
was not a philosophical Atheist, but he was a fierce sentimental one,
from resentment at the cruelties and tyrannies of priests who professed
to represent God. To disbelieve unwillingly from lack of evidence, and
to disbelieve from natural indignation is a very different thing.

All the many years Mazzini was in London, Madame Venturi was constantly
in communication with him, and was present at more conversations than
any one else. Had she possessed the genius of Boswell, and put down
day by day criticisms she heard expressed, the narratives of his
extraordinary adventures, and such as came to her knowledge from
correspondence, now no longer recoverable, we might have had as
wonderful a volume of political and ethical judgment as was Boswell's
"Johnson." Sometimes I expressed a hope that she was doing this.
Nevertheless, we are indebted to her for the best biography of him that
appeared in her time. I add a few sayings of his which show the quality
of his table talk:--

"Falsehood is the art of cowards. Credulity without examination is the
practice of idiots."

"Any order of things established through violence, even though in itself
superior to the old, is still a tyranny."

"Blind distrust, like blind confidence, is death to all great

"In morals, thought and action should be inseparable. Thought without
action is selfishness; action without thought is rashness."

"The curse of Cain is upon him who does not regard himself as the
guardian of his brother."

"Education is the bread of the soul."

"Art does not imitate, it interprets."

Only those who were in the agitation for Italian freedom can understand
the exhausting amount of labour performed by those who were adherents
or sympathisers. How much greater was the labour of the commander of the
movement, who had to create the departments he administered, to provide
the funds for them, to win and inspire its adherents, and correspond
incessantly with agents scattered over Europe and America, and to
vindicate himself against false accusations rained upon him by a
hostile, ubiquitous European press.

Orsini was a man of invincible courage, and could be trusted to execute
any commission given him. No danger deterred him, but in enterprises
requiring prevision of contingencies, he was inadequate. Mazzini
thought so; and Orsini secretly contrived to plot against the French
usurper, to extort from Mazzini the confession that he (Orsini) could
carry out an independent enterprise. All the same, the adversaries of
Italian freedom made Mazzini responsible for it.

A writer in the press, who did not give his name (and when a writer does
not do that, he can say anything), published, in editorial type, this
passage: "By the way, I remember that Orsini, the day before he left
England to make his attempt upon the life of Napoleon III., had a
solemn discussion with Joseph Cowen and Mazzini, as to the justice of
tyrannicide." Mazzini being then dead, I sent the paragraph to Mr. Cowen
and asked him if there was any truth in it, who replied:--

"Blaydon-on-Tyne, March 2, 1891.

"My dear Holyoake,--I have no idea where the writer of the enclosed
paragraph gets his information. I cannot speak as to Orsini having a
conversation with Mazzini, but I should think it is in the highest sense
improbable, because long before Orsini went to France, Mazzini and he
had not been in friendly intercourse. There was a difference between
them which kept them apart. I had repeated conversations with Orsini
about tyrannicide--a matter in which he seemed interested--but I did not
see him for some weeks before he went to France.

"Yours truly,

"Joseph Cowen."

Mazzini always repudiated the dagger as a political weapon. It answered
the purpose of his adversaries in his day and since, to accuse him
of advocating it. He pointed out that calumny was a dagger used to
assassinate character, but to that form of assassination few politicians
made objection. Sometimes partisans of Mazzini would supply a colourable
presumption of the truth of this accusation.

A circumstantial story appeared in the "Life of Charles Bradlaugh" (vol.
i. p. 69), signed W. E. Adams, as follows:--

"The year 1858 was the year of Felice Orsinis attempt on the life of
Louis Napoleon. I was at that time, and had been for years previously, a
member of the Republican Association, which was formed to propagate the
principles of Mazzini. When the press, from one end of the country to
the other, joined in a chorus of condemnation of Orsini, I put down on
paper some of the arguments and considerations which I thought told
on Orsini's side. The essay thus was read at a meeting of one of our
branches; the members assembled earnestly urged me to get the piece
printed. It occurred to me also that the publication might be of
service, if only to show that there were two sides to the question
of 'Tyrannicide.' So I went to Mr. G. J. Holyoake, then carrying on
business as a publisher of advanced literature. Mr. Holyoake not being
on the premises, his brother, Austin, asked me to leave my manuscript
and call again. When I called again Mr. Holyoake returned me the paper,
giving, among other reasons for declining to publish it, that he was
already in negotiation with Mazzini for a pamphlet on the same subject.
'Very well,' said I, 'all I want is that something should be said on
Orsini's side. If Mazzini does this, I shall be quite content to throw
my production into the fire.'"

It is true that the pamphlet was brought to me by Mr. Adams, entitled,
"Tyrannicide: A Justification." What really took place on my part, as
I distinctly remember, was this. I said: "I was unwilling to publish a
pamphlet of that nature which did not bear the name of the writer," which
the MS. did not. The author answered that "a name added no force to an
argument; besides, his name was unimportant, if put on the tide-page,"
which was reasonably and modestly said. My reply was, "That in an affair
of murder, 'Justification' was a recommendation, and that any one acting
on his perilous suggestion ought to know who was his authority." Nothing
more was said by me. The writer made no offer to add his name to
his MS., nor to meet my objection by a less assertive title. As any
prosecution for publishing it would be against me, and not against him,
I thought I had a right to an opinion as to the title and authorship
of the work I might have to defend. It was afterwards issued by Mr.
Truelove, a bookseller of courage and public spirit, but who suggested
the very changes I had indicated to the author; and by Mr. Truelove's
desire the author not only gave his name, but changed the title into
"Tyrannicide: Is it Justifiable?" which was quite another matter. It
asked the question; it no longer decided it.

As to Mazzini, it is impossible I could have said what is imputed to
me. I was not "in negotiation with Mazzini" "to write anything upon
the Orsini affair. I knew he would not do so. Orsini, as I have said,
concealed his plot from Mazzini, who never incited it, never approved
it, never justified it--he deplored it. Only enemies of Mazzini sought
to connect him with it. If I left this story uncontradicted, it might
creep into history that, in spite of the disclaimers of Mazzini's
friends, he actually "entered into negotiation" to write in defence
of Orsini's attempt, which must imply concurrence with the deplorable
method Orsini unhappily took; and, moreover, that a publisher, regarded
as being in Mazzini's confidence, had, in an open, unqualified way, told
a writer on assassination of it. The publisher was speedily arrested
on the issue of the pamphlet, as I should have been, but that would
not have deterred me from publishing it in a reasonable and responsible

Soon after I printed and published a worse pamphlet by Felix Pyat, which
was signed by "A Revolutionary Committee." The Pyat pamphlet was under
prosecution at the time I voluntarily published it. As what I did I did
openly--I wrote to the Government apprising them of what I was doing.

Besides, I commenced to issue serial "Tyrannicide Literature,"
commencing with pamphlets written by Royalist advocates of
assassination. Because I did not publish the Adams Tyrannicide pamphlet
right off without inquiry or suggestion, I was freely charged with
refusing to do it from fear. No one seems to have been informed of
the reasons I gave for declining. No one inquired into the facts.
Adversaries of those days did not take the trouble. But, as I had to
take the consequences of what I did, I thought I had a right to take my
own mode of incurring them.

On the last night of Orsini's life, Mazzini and a small group of the
friends both of Orsini and himself, of which I was one, kept vigil until
the morning, at which hour the axe in La Roquette would fall.

The favourite charge of the press against the great conspirator was that
he advised others to incur danger, and kept out of it himself. This was
entirely untrue--but it did not prevent it being said. The principle
these critics go upon is, that whoever is capable of advising and
directing others, should do all he can to get himself shot--a doctrine
which would rid the army of all its generals, and the offices of all
newspapers of their editors. Upon Mazzini's life the success of twenty
small cohorts of patriots depended, ready to give their lives for Italy.
Mazzini was not only the commander of the army of Liberation, but, as
has been indicated, the provider of its reserves, its commissariat
and recruits. His life was also of priceless value to other struggling
peoples. He was the one statesman in Europe who had a European mind--who
knew the peoples of the Continent, whose knowledge was intimate, and
whose word could be trusted. So far from avoiding danger, he was never
out of it. With a price set upon his head in three countries, hunted
by seven Governments, with spies always following him and by assassins
lying in ambush, his life for forty years passed in more peril than any
other public man of his time. Yet it was fashionable to charge him with
want of courage whose whole "life," to use his own phrase, "was a battle
and a march."

Could there be a doubt of the intrepidity of a man who, with the slender
forces of insurgent patriots, confronted Austria with its 600,000

No sooner was Garibaldi in Rome than Mazzini was there in the streets
inspiring its defenders. What dangers he passed through to reach Rome,
knowing well that his arrest meant death!

Rome was not a safe place for Mazzini, neither was London. His life was
never safe. I have been asked by his host to walk home with him at night
from a London suburban villa where he dined, because a Royalist assassin
was known to be in London waiting to kill him.

Mazzini died at Pisa, March 10, 1872, from chill by walking over the
Alps in inclement weather, intending to visit his English friends once
more. A few of his English colleagues protested against his embalmment.
I was not one. Gorini, the greatest of his profession, undertook to
transform the body into marble, and for him Mazzini had friendship. Dr.
Bertani, Mazzini's favourite physician, approved embalming. It could
not be done by more reverent hands. How could England--who disembowelled
Nelson and sent his body home in a cask of rum; who embalmed Jeremy
Bentham, and took out O'Connell's heart, sent it to one city, and his
mutilated remains to another--reproach Italy for observing the national
rites of their illustrious dead?

The personal character of Mazzini never needed defence. In private life
and state affairs, honour was to him an instinct. He saw the path of
right with clear eyes. No advantage induced him to deviate from it. No
danger prevented his walking in it.

Carlyle, whom few satisfied, said he "found in him a man of clear
intelligence and noble virtues. True as steel, the word, the thought of
him pure and limpid as water."

It may be by experience that a nation is governed, but it is by
rightness alone that it is kept noble. It was to promote this that
Mazzini walked for forty years on the dreary highway between exile and
the scaffold. It was from belief in his heroic and unfaltering integrity
that men went out at his word, to encounter the dungeon, torture, and
death, and that families led all their days alarmed lives, and gave up
husbands and sons to enterprises in which they could only triumph by
dying. No one save Byron has depicted the self-denial incidental to
Mazzini's career, which involved the abnegation of all that makes life
worth living to other men.

          "Such ties are not
     For those who are called to the high destinies
     Which purify corrupted commonwealths.
     We must forget all feeling save the _One_
     We must resign all passions, save our purpose.
     We must behold no object, save our country.
     And only look on death as beautiful
     So that the sacrifice ascend to heaven,
     And draw down freedom on her evermore."*

     * "Marino Faliero."

Mazzini left a name which has become one of the landmarks, or rather
mindmarks, of public thought, and, though a bygone name, there is
instruction and inspiration in it yet.


[Illustration: Garibaldi]

Dining one day (June 29, 1896) at Mr. Herbert Spencer's, thirty years
after Garibaldi left England, Professor Masson, who was a guest of Mr.
Spencer, told me that Garibaldi said to Sir James Stansfeld that "the
person whom he was most interested in seeing in England was myself."
This Garibaldi said at a reception given by Mr. Stansfeld to meet the
General--as we had then begun to call him. I was one of the party; but
Mr. Stansfeld did not mention the remark to me, and I never heard of it
until Professor Masson told me. Of course I should have been gratified
to know it We had met before, but it was years earlier, and Garibaldi
had forgotten it. The vicissitudes and battles of his tumultuous career
may well have effaced the circumstance from his mind. The first occasion
of my meeting Garibaldi was at an evening party at the Swan Brewery,
Fulham, when I was asked to accompany him to Regent Street, where he was
then residing. My name would be given to him at the time, which he might
not distinctly hear, as is often the case when an unfamiliar name is
heard by a foreign ear, as occurs when a foreign name is mentioned to an
English ear. On our way he asked me "how it was that the English people
had accorded such enthusiastic receptions to Kossuth, and yet they
appeared to have done nothing on behalf of Hungary?" I explained to him
that "our Foreign Office was controlled by a few aristocratic families
who had little sympathy with and less respect for the voteless voices of
the splendid crowds who greeted Kossuth with generous acclaim. That was
why large and enthusiastic concourses of people in the streets produced
so little effect upon the English Government" The great Nizzard
insurgent had been mystified by the impotence of popular enthusiasm.
In such plain, brief and abrupt sentences as I thought would be
intelligible, I explained that "he must distinguish between popular
sympathy and popular power. He might find himself the subject of the
generous enthusiasm of the streets, but he must take it as the voice of
the people, not the voice of the Government." Kossuth, who had a better
knowledge of English literature and the English press, never made the
distinction, which led him into mistakes and caused him needlessly to
suffer disappointments. To this day the House of Lords is an alien power
in England.

It was at the party which we left that night that I was first struck
with the natural intrepidity of Garibaldi. His square shoulders
and tapering body I had somehow come to associate with military
impassableness, and the easy, self-possessed way in which he moved
through the crowd in the room confirmed my impression. I was told
afterwards by one of his fellow combatants that unconscious courage was
his characteristic on the field. Calmness and imperturbable modesty
were attributes of his mind, as seen in his heroic acts, deemed utterly
impossible save in romance. He had received the triumphal acclamation of
people he freed, whose forefathers had only dreamed of liberation.

Since the time of that casual acquaintanceship, Garibaldi had heard
of me from Mazzini, from Mr. Cowen, and as acting secretary of the
Committee who sent out the British Legion to him. We had collected a
considerable sum of money for him, which was lying in unfriendly hands,
but which his treasurer had been unable to obtain. I had sent him other
help, when help was sorely needed by his troops. Besides, I had defended
him and his cause under the names of "Landor Praed," "Disque," and my
own name, in the press. Garibaldi sent me one of the first photographs
taken of himself after his victorious entry into Naples, on which he had
written the words, "Garibaldi, to his friend, J. G. Holyoke." He had got
name and initials transposed in those eventful days. After the affair of
Micheldever,* he charged his son Menotti to show me personal and public
attention on his visit to the House of Commons. To the end of his life
he saw every visitor who came to him with a note from me.

* See "Sixty Years," chap, lxxix.

When Menotti Garibaldi died, the family wished that the flag which
the "Thousand" carried when they made their celebrated invasion of
the Neapolitan kingdom, should be borne at the funeral. They therefore
telegraphed to the mayor of Marsala, who was supposed to be the guardian
of the relic. The mayor replied that he had not got it, but that it was
at Palermo; so the mayor of Palermo was telegraphed to. He also replied
that he had not got it, and said it was in the possession of Signor
Antonio Pellegrini, but that its authenticity was very doubtful. General
Canzio, one of the survivors of the expedition, says that the flag
possessed by Signor Pellegrini is nothing like the real one, which was
merely a tricolor of three pieces of cotton nailed to a staff. At the
battle of Calatafimi the standard-bearer was shot and the flag lost. It
was said to have been captured by a Neapolitan sub-lieutenant, but all
traces of it have now disappeared. The wonder is not that the flag has
disappeared, but that so many official persons should declare it
to exist elsewhere, of which they had no knowledge. The flag of the
_Washington_ would have been lost had it not been taken possession of
by De Rohan. The last flag carried by the Mazzinians, which was shot
through, would have been lost also had not Mr. J. D. Hodge sought for it
before it was too late. Both flags are in my possession.

Walter Savage Landor sent me (August 20, 1860) these fine lines on
Garibaldi's conquest of the Sicilies:--

     "Again her brow
     Sicaria rears
     Above the tombs--two thousand years,
     Have smitten sore her beauteous breast,
     And war forbidden her to rest

     Yet war at last becomes her friend,
     And shouts aloud
     Thy grief shall end.
     Sicaria! hear me! rise again!
     A homeless hero breaks thy chain."

How often did I hear it said, in his great days of action, that had
Garibaldi known the perils he encountered in his enterprises, he
would never have attempted them. No one seemed able to account for his
success, save by saying he was "an inspired madman." His heroism was not
born of insanity, but knowledge. His wonderful march of conquest through
Italy was made possible by Mazzini. In every town there was a small
band, mostly of young heroic men, who were inspired by Mazzini's
teaching, who, like the brothers Bandiera, led forlorn hopes, or who
were ready to act when occasion arose. I well remember when seeking
assistance for Mazzini, how friends declined to contribute lest they
became accessory to the fruitless sacrifice of brave men. There was no
other way by which Italy could be freed, than by incurring this risk.
Mazzini knew it, and the men knew it, as Mazzini did not conceal it from
those he inspired.

The following letter to me by one of the combatants was published at the
time in the _Daily Telegraph_, It is a forgotten vignette of the war,
drawn by a soldier on the battlefield who had been wounded five times
before, fighting under Garibaldi:--

"Dear Sir,--Just time to say that we are in full possession, after
streams of blood have flowed. Fights 'twixt brothers are deadly.

"We want money; we want, as I told you, a British steamer chartered,
with revolving rifles and pistols of Colt's (17, Pall Mall), also some
cannon _raye_ but for the sake of humanity and liberty do hurry up the
subscriptions. The sooner we are strong the less the chance of more
fighting. We muster now some 30,000 all told, though not all armed. We
want arms and ammunition, and caps--Minie rifles. Or the rifle corps
pattern the General would as soon have. He is well and radiant with joy
and hope, though sighing over the necessity to shed blood. Oh! will the
world never learn to value the really great men of the earth until the
grave has closed over them? Garibaldi has written only one or two of
all the things published over his name. The rest are the inventions of
enemies or over-zealous friends.

"Messina must capitulate. If the King grant a constitution, all will be
lost. The Bourbons must be driven from Italy, for it will never be quiet
without. Warn the papers against trusting the so-called letters, etc.,
from Garibaldi. He writes little or none, and dislikes to be made

"Do try and urge on the subscriptions. The English admiral here has
behaved bravely, and Lord John Russell's praises are in every one's
mouth; but he must not falter or hesitate.

"The Royal Palace was burned down, and the fighting was desperate

"Of all the defeats imputed to the 'insurgents' not one has really taken
place. The General was at times obliged to sacrifice some lives for
strategical purposes.

"Now, pray use your influence for England not to allow Naples to patch
up a peace, for I tell you it is useless. Garibaldi and his friends will
never consent to anything short of 'Italy for the Italians.'

"You may communicate this as 'official' if you wish to the _Times_ or
_News_, reserving my name, Yours truly, in great haste,


"G. J. Holyoake, Esq.

"P.S.--I need hardly say this will have to take its chance of getting
to you. I trust it to a captain whom I have given the money to pay the
postage in Genoa, where he is going. Will you let me hear from you?"

He did hear from me. Whether it is good to die "in vain," as George
Eliot held, I do not stay to determine. Certainly, to die when you know
it to be your duty, whether "in vain" or not, implies a high order of
nature. Sir Alfred Lyall has sung the praise of those English soldiers
captured in India, who, when offered their lives if they would merely
pronounce the name of the Prophet, refused. It was only a word they
had to patter, and Sir Alfred exclaims, "God Almighty, what could it
matter?" But the brave Englishmen died rather than be counted on the
side of a faith they did not hold. Dying for honour is not dying in
vain, and I thought the Italians entitled to help in their holy war for
manhood and independence.

When Garibaldi was at Brooke House, Isle of Wight, I was deputed by the
Society of the Friends of Italy to accompany Mazzini to meet Garibaldi.
Herzen, the Russian, who kept the "Kolokol" ringing in the dominions of
the Czar, met us at Southampton. The meeting with Garibaldi took place
at the residence of Madame Nathan. The two heroes had not met in London
when the General was a guest of the Duke of Sutherland. As soon as
Garibaldi saw Mazzini, he greeted him in the old patois of the lagoons
of Genoa. It affected Mazzini, to whom it brought back scenes of their
early career, when the inspiration of Italian freedom first began.

Mrs. Nathan, wife of the Italian banker of Cornhill, was an intrepid
lady, true to the freedom of her country, who had assisted Garibaldi and
Mazzini in many a perilous enterprise. After the interview at her house,
she had occasion to consult Garibaldi on matters of moment. Misled or
deterred by aspersion, which every lady had to suffer, suspected of
patriotic complicity, Mrs. Nathan was not invited to Brooke House. Under
these circumstances she could not go alone to see the General, and
she asked me to take her. Offering her my arm, we walked through the
courtyard and along the corridors of the house to Garibaldi's rooms.
Going and returning from her interview, I was much struck by the queenly
grace and self-possession of Mrs. Nathan's manner. There was neither
disquietude nor consciousness in her demeanour of the disrespect of not
being invited to Brooke House, though her residence was known.

On the night of Garibaldi's arrival at Brooke House, Mr. Seely, the
honoured host of the General, invited me to join the dinner party,
where I heard things said on some matters, which the speakers could
not possibly know to be true. Garibaldi showed no traces of excitement,
which had dazed so many at Southampton that afternoon. The vessel which
brought him there was immediately boarded by a tumultuous crowd of
visitors. All the reporters of the London and provincial press were
waiting for the vessel to be sighted, and they were foremost in the
throng on the ship. Before them all was Mrs. Colonel Chambers, with
her beseeching eyes, large, luminous and expressive, and difficult to
resist. Garibaldi gave instant audience to Joseph Cowen, whose voice
alone, or chiefly, influenced him. Years before, when Garibaldi was
unknown, friendless, and penniless, he turned his bark up the Tyne
to visit Mr. Cowen, the only Englishman from whom he would ask help.
Garibaldi's first day at Southampton was more boisterous than a battle.
Everybody wanted him to go everywhere. Houses where his name had never
been heard were now open to him. Mr. Seely was known to be his friend.
The Isle of Wight was near. Brooke House lay out of the way of the
"madding crowd," and there his friends would have time to arrange
things for him. The end of his visit to England was sudden, unforeseen,
inexplicable both to friend and foe, at the time and for long after.

He had accepted engagements to appear in various towns in England, where
people would as wildly greet him as the people of London had done. When
it was announced that he had left England, it was believed that the
Emperor of the French had incited the Government to prevail upon
Garibaldi to leave the country. Others conjectured that Mr. Gladstone
had whispered something to him which had caused the Italian hero
to depart. I asked about it from one who knew everything that took
place--Sir James Stansfeld--and from him I learned that no foreign
suggestion had been made, that nothing whatever had been said to
Garibaldi. His leaving was entirely his own act. He had reason to
believe that Louis Napoleon was capable of anything; but with all his
heroism, Garibaldi was imaginative and proud He fancied his presence in
England was an embarrassment to the Government. He being the guest of
the nation, they would never own to it or say it. But his departure
might be a relief to them, nevertheless. And therefore he went.
His sensitiveness of honour shrank from his being a constructive
inconvenience to a nation to whom he owed so much and for whom he cared
so much. It was an instance of the disappointment imagination may cause
in politics.*

     * Some who read Mr. Morley's account of "Garibaldi's
     Departure"  in his "Life of Gladstone" will think that
     Garibaldi did not require much imagination to see that he
     was not wanted to stay in England. He heard, even from Mr.
     Gladstone, words of solicitude for his health, if he visited
     the many towns he had promised--and not one suggestion that
     he should limit the number, which could do him no harm.
     There could be but one inference from this and Garibaldi
     drew it.

But Garibaldi was a poet as well as a soldier. Like the author of the
"Marseillaise," Korner and Petofe, he could write inspiring verse, as
witness his "Political Poem" in reply to one Victor Hugo wrote upon him,
which Sir Edwin Arnold, the "Oxford Graduate" of that day, translated
in 1868. Those do not understand Garibaldi who fail to recognise that he
had poetic as well as martial fire.*

     * Both poems, the one by Hugo and Garibaldi's in reply, were
     published with a preface by the present writer.


General de Lacy Evans is no longer with us, or he might give us an
instructive account of the uncertainty and difficulty of discipline in
a patriotic legion which volunteers its services without intelligently
intending obedience. When I became Acting Secretary for sending out the
British Legion to Garibaldi, I found no one with any relevant experience
who knew what to expect or what to advise. Those likely to be in command
were ready to exercise authority, but those who were to serve under them
expected to do it more or less in their own way. The greatest merit in a
volunteer legion is that they agree in the object of the war they engage
in. They do not blindly adopt the vocation of murder---for that is
what military service means. It means the undertaking to kill at the
direction of others--without knowledge or conviction as to the right and
justice of the conflict they take part in.

General De Lacy Evans being a military man of repute, and marching with
his Spanish Legion, had disciplinary influence over them. Two of
my colleagues in other enterprises of danger were among the Spanish
volunteers, but they were not at hand--one being in America and the
other in New Zealand--otherwise I might have had the benefit of their

The project of sending out to Garibaldi a British Legion came in the
air. It was probably a suggestion of De Rohan's, who had gathered in
Italy that British volunteers would influence Italian opinion; be an
encouragement in the field; and, if sent out in time, they might be
of military service. Be this as it may, the Garibaldi Committee found
themselves, without premeditation, engaged in enlisting men, at least by
proxy. It was a new business, in which none of us were experts. We knew
that men of generous motive and enterprise would come forward. At the
same time, we were opening a door to many of whom we could not know
enough to refuse, or to trust. However, the army of every country is
largely recruited from the class of dubious persons, over whom officers
have the power to compel order--which we had not.

As I was the Acting Secretary, my publishing house, 147, Fleet Street,
was crowded with inquirers when the project of the Legion became known.
Many gave their names there. For convenience of enrolment, a house was
taken at No. 8, Salisbury Street, Strand, where the volunteers, honest
and otherwise, soon appeared--the otherwise being more obtrusive and
seemingly more zealous. Among them appeared a young man, wearing the
uniform of a Garibaldian soldier, of specious manners, and who called
himself "Captain Styles"--a harmless rustic name, but he was not at all
rustic in mind. Being early in the field, volunteers who came later took
it for granted he had an official position. It was assumed that he
had been in Italy and in some army, which was more than we knew. His
influence grew by not being questioned. Without our knowledge and
without any authority, he invented and secretly sold commissions,
retaining the proceeds for his own use. To avoid obtruding our military
objects on public attention, I drew up a notice, after the manner of Dr.
Lunn's tourist agency, as follows:--

EXCURSION to SICILY and NAPLES.--All persons (particularly Members
of Volunteer Rifle Corps) desirous of visiting Southern Italy, and of
AIDING by their presence and influence the CAUSE of GARIBALDI and ITALY,
may learn how to proceed by applying to the Garibaldi Committee, at the
offices at No. 8, Salisbury Street, Strand, London.

The Committee caused, on my suggestion, applicants to receive notice of
two things:--

(1) That each man should remember that he goes out to represent the
sacred cause of Liberty, and that the cause will be judged by his
conduct. His behaviour will be as important as his bravery.

(2) Those in command will respect the high feeling by which the humblest
man is animated--but no man must make his equal patriotism a pretext
for refusing implicit obedience to orders, upon which his safety and
usefulness depend. There no doubt will be precariousness and privation
for a time, which every man must be prepared to share and bear.

Further, I wrote an address to the "Excursionists" and had a copy placed
in the hands of every one of them. It was to the following effect:--

Before leaving Faro, Garibaldi issued an address to his army, in which
he said:--"Among the qualities which ought to predominate among the
officers of an Italian army, besides bravery, is the amiability which
secures the affection of soldiers--discipline, subordination, and
firmness necessary in long campaigns. Severe discipline may be obtained
by harshness, but it is better obtained by kindness. This secret the
numerous spies of the enemy will not discover. It brought us from Parco
to Gibil-Rosa, and thence to Palermo. The honourable behaviour of our
soldiery towards the inhabitants did the rest. Of bravery, I am sure!"
exclaims the General. "What I want is the discipline of ancient Rome,
invariable harmony one with another--the due respect for property, and
above all for that of the poor, who suffer so much to gain the scanty
bread of their families. By these means we shall lessen the sacrifice
of blood and win the lasting independence of Italy." To this address was
added the following paragraph:--

"In these words the volunteer will learn the quality of companionship
he will meet with in the field, and the spirit which prevails among the
soldiers of Italian independence."

When we had collected the Legion, the thing was to get it out of the
country--international law not being on the side of our proceedings. As
many as a thousand names* were entered on the roll of British volunteers
for Italy. The Great Eastern Railway was very animated.

When they were about to set out at a late hour for Harwich, a "Private
and Confidential" note was sent to each saying:--

"As the arrangements for the departure of the detachment of
Excursionists are now complete, I have to request your attendance at
Caldwell's Assembly Rooms, Dean Street, Oxford Street, at three o'clock
precisely, on Wednesday, the 26th instant (September, 1860), when you
will receive information as to the time and place of departure, which
will be speedy.

"(Signed) E. Styles, Major."

     * I have preserved all letters of application for curiosity
     and conjecture. They might be of interest in the future.
     Some joined personally.

By this times the "Captain" had blossomed into a "Major." Owing to
urgency the Committee had to acquiesce in many things. Garibaldi
being in the field, and often no one knew where, it was futile to ask
questions and impossible to get them answered.

The Government no doubt knew all about the expedition. Captain De Rohan,
or, as he styled himself, "Admiral De Rohan," was in command of
the "Excursionists." He marched up and down the platform, wearing a
ponderous admiral's sword, which was entirely indiscreet, but he was
proud of the parade. By this time he had assumed the title of "Rear"
Admiral. De Rohan was not his name, but he was, it was said, paternally
related, in an unrecognised way, to Admiral Dalgren, of American
fame. Of De Rohan it ought to be said, that though he had the American
tendency to self-inflation, he was a sincere friend of Italy. Honest,
disinterested, generous towards others--and the devoted and trusted
agent of Garibaldi, ready to go to the ends of the earth in his service.
When the English Committee finally closed, and they had a balance of
£1,000 left in their hands, they were so sensible of the services and
integrity of De Rohan that they gave it to him, and on my introduction
he deposited it in the Westminster Bank. He was one of those men for
whom some permanent provision ought to be made, as he took more delight
in serving others than serving himself. In after years, vicissitude came
to him, in which I and members of the Garibaldi Committee befriended

As our Legion was going out to make war on a Power in friendly relation
to Great Britain, Lord John Russell was in a position to stop it.
The vessel (the _Melazzo_) lay two days in the Harwich waters before
sailing. There were not wanting persons who attempted to call Lord
John's attention to what was going on, but happily without recognition
of their efforts. No one was better able than Lord John to congeal
illicit enthusiasm.

Mr. E. H. J. Craufurd, M.P., chairman of the Committee, myself, my
brother Austin,--who was unceasing in his service to the Committee and
the Legion--W. J. Linton, and other members of the Committee, travelled
by night with the Legion to Harwich. Mr. George Francis Train went
down with us and explained to me vivaciously his theory, that to obtain
recognition by the world was to make a good recognition of yourself.
Train did this, but all it gave him was notoriety, under which was
hidden from public respect his great natural ability and personal
kindness of heart. When I last met him, I found him--as was his
custom--sitting on the public seat in a New York square, interesting
himself in children, but ready to pour, in an eloquent torrent, the
story of his projects into the ear of any passer-by who had time to
listen to him.

It was early morning when we arrived at Harwich. As the ship lay some
distance out, it took some time to embark the men, and it was the second
day before she set sail. To our disappointment De Rohan did not go with
the troops, which we thought it was his duty to do, but suddenly left,
saying he would meet them at Palermo. He alone had real influence over
the men. No one being in authority over them, feuds and suspicions were
added to their lack of discipline.

The vessel was well provisioned, even to the pleasures of the table.
There was that satisfaction.

It may interest readers who have never sailed in a troopship to read the
regulations enforced:--

1. The men will be allotted berths and divided into messes, regularly by
companies, and their packs are to be hung up near their berths.

2. With a view to the general health and accommodation of the men, they
will be divided into three watches, one of which is to be constantly on

3. A guard, the strength of which is to be regulated by the sentries
required, is to mount every morning at nine o'clock.

4. The men of each watch are to be appointed to stations.

5. The men not belonging to the watch are to be ordered below, when
required by the master of the ship, in order that they may not impede
the working of the vessel.

6. In fine weather every man is to be on deck the whole day.

7. The whole watch is to be constantly on deck, except when the rain
obliges them to go down for shelter.

8. Great attention is to be paid to the cleanliness of the privies.
Buckets of water are to be thrown down frequently.

9. The bedding is to be brought on deck every morning, if the weather
will permit, by eight o'clock, and to be well aired.

10. The men are to wash, comb, and brush their heads every morning.

11. At sunset the bedding is to be brought down, and at any time during
the day on the appearance of bad weather.

12. At ten o'clock in the evening, every man is to be in his berth,
except the men on guard and of the watch.

13. The chief of the watch is to be careful that no man interferes with
the windsails, so as to prevent the air from being communicated.

14. The men are strictly forbidden sleeping on deck, which they are apt
to do, and which is generally productive of fevers and flushes.

With a view of preventing accidents from fire, a sentry will be
constantly placed at the cooking place or caboose, or one on each side,
with orders not to allow fire of any kind to be taken without leave.

1. No lights are to be permitted amongst the men except in lanterns. All
are to be extinguished at ten o'clock at night, except those over which
there may be sentries.

2. No smoking on any account to be permitted, except on upper deck.

3. No lucifer or patent matches to be allowed.

4. The officers are strictly charged to trace when going their rounds
between decks, and to report instantly any man who shall presume either
to smoke there, or to use any lights except in lanterns.

Every possible precaution is to be taken to prevent liquor being brought
on board ship.

Regularity and decency of conduct are peculiarly required on board ship.
It is the duty of those in command to repress, by the most decided
and summary measures, any tendency to insubordination, to check every
species of immorality and vice, and to discountenance to the utmost of
their power whatever may disturb the comfort of others, or interrupt the
harmony and good understanding which should subsist on board.

We had trouble in London. One day at a Committee, held at my house, an
applicant, who was contracting to supply 900 rifles, attended to show
certificates of their efficiency. The legal eye of the chairman (Mr.
Craufurd, M.P., one of the prosecuting counsel of the Mint), detected
them to be forgeries. On his saying so, the applicant snatched them from
his hand. The chairman at once seized the knave, when a struggle
ensued to obtain the false credentials. As it was not prudent in us to
prosecute the presenter and have our proceedings before a court, we let
him go.

There being no legal power to enforce order was the cardinal weakness
of the British Legion. A competent commander should at least have been
appointed, and an agreement of honour entered into by each volunteer, to
obey his authority and that of those under him, on penalty of dismissal,
and a certain forfeiture of money. These conditions, though not of
legal force, would be binding on men of honour, and place the turbulent
without honour at a disadvantage.

At the Queenwood community, in Robert Owen's day, no contract of this
kind was thought of, and any one who declined to leave could defy
the governor, until he was ejected by force--a process which did not
harmonise with "Harmony Hall."

De Rohan met the Excursionists at Palermo on their disembarkation.
"Captain Styles" was prudently absent, and no more was heard of him. The
spurious commissions could not be recognised, and commotion naturally
arose among those who had been defrauded. Captain Sarsfield, Colonel
Peard, known as "Garibaldi's Englishman," De Rohan, Captain Scott,
and others on the spot, with colourable pretensions to authority, took
different views of the situation. Appeals were made to the Committee in
London, on whose minutes stormy telegrams are recorded. Mr. Craufurd,
though he had the prudent reticence of his race, would sometimes fall
into impetuous expressions. Yet the second statement of his first
thought would be faultless. This quality was so conspicuous that it
interested me.

The first man of the Legion killed was young Mr. Bontems, only son of a
well-known tradesman in the City of London--a fine, ingenuous fellow.
He was shot by the recklessness of a medical student of the London
University, as Bontems stood in a mess-room at Palermo. It was said not
to be the first death caused by the criminal thoughtlessness of the same
person. Mr. Southall, another London volunteer like young Bontems, was a
man of genuine enthusiasm, character, and promise. He became an orderly
officer to Garibaldi, by whom he was trusted and to whom he gave the
black silk cravat he wore on entering Naples.*

     * Southall forwarded it to me. A revolver and case was sent
     me by request of a soldier who died on the field.

When Garibaldi retired to his island home, he sent to England
the following testimony of the services and character of the


"Jan. 26, 1861.

"... They [the British Legion] came late. But they made ample amends for
this defect, not their own, by the brilliant courage they displayed
in the slight engagements they shared with us near the Volturno, which
enabled me to judge how precious an assistance they would have rendered
us had the war of liberation remained longer in my hands. In every way
the English volunteers were a proof of the goodwill borne by your noble
nation towards the liberty and independence of Italy.

"Accept, honoured Mr. Ashurst, the earnest assurance of my grateful
friendship, and always command yours,

"G. Garibaldi."

Allowing for Garibaldi's generosity in estimating the services of the
Legion, it remains true that the majority deserved this praise. Many
were of fine character. Many were young men of ingenuousness and bright
enthusiasm, prompt to condone lack of military knowledge by noble
intrepidity in the field.

The Legion cost the Italian Government some expense. Claims were
recognised liberally. The men were sent back to England overland, and
each one had a provision order given him to present at every refreshment
station at which the trains stopped. Count Cavour was a better friend of
Italian freedom than even Mazzini knew. It was only known after Cavour's
death, how he had secretly laboured to drag his country from under the
heel of Austria. Cavour had the friendly foresight to give orders that
the members of the English Legion were to be supplied on their journey
home with double rations, as Englishmen ate more than Italians. The
Cavourian distinction was much appreciated.

The sums due to the men until their arrival in England were paid by the
Sardinian Consul (whose office was in the Old Jewry), on a certificate
from me that the applicant was one of the Legion.

A request came to me from Italy for a circumstantial history of the
Legion and such suggestions as experience had furnished. The story made
quite a book, which I sent to Dr. Bertani. When after his death I was in
Milan, I learned from a member of his family that no one knew what had
become of it. And so I briefly tell the story again, as there is no one
else to tell it Bertani was the confidant and favourite physician of
Mazzini and Garibaldi. No one knew so well or so much as he who were the
makers of Italian Unity. What has become of his papers?

Among friends of Italy who appeared at our council in London was Captain
Sarsfield, the son of the Duke of Somerset. Pallid, with an expression
of restrained energy, handsome beyond any face I had seen, it might have
been carved by a Grecian sculptor. His high breeding struck me before
I knew who he was. He took out for me an important letter to Garibaldi,
who had then no postal address. On Sarsfield's return home, he took, as
was his delight, a furious ride in a high wind. Washington did the same,
and it killed him, as it did Captain Sarsfield. Difficulty of breathing
ensued, and it was necessary that Dr. Williams should be called in to
perform an operation--all in vain. The Duchess of Somerset lay all night
on the carpet-floor by the dead body of her son, for whom she grieved
exceedingly. In her distress she said Dr. Williams had been wanting in
promptness or in skill. His great reputation could not be affected by an
accusation made in agony, and his own explanation would vindicate him.
But he took the brutal course of dragging the distressed and distracted
mother into the law courts. In consequence of remarks I published upon
this unfeeling and egotistic outrage, the Duchess sent me a letter of
thanks, and requested me to call at her residence. So much for the two
men who mainly made Italy a nation. What Castelar said to the Italian
patriots in general, he might have addressed to Garibaldi and Mazzini

"That which Julius II. could not effect with his cannon, nor Leo X. with
his arts, that which Savonarola could not make a reality by giving
himself to God, nor Machiavelli by giving himself to the Devil, has been
done by you. You have made Italy one, you have made Italy free, you have
made Italy independent."


[Illustration: Mill]

One reason for commencing with the remark that John Stuart Mill was
born on May 20, 1806, at No. 13, Rodney Street, Islington, London, is
to notify the coincidence that Gladstone, another man of contemporaneous
distinction, was born in Rodney Street, Liverpool, three years later.
Rodney Street, London, where Mill was born, was a small, narrow,
second-rate, odd, out-of-the-way suburban thoroughfare. But in those
days Islington had the characteristics of a rural retreat A little above
this Rodney Street, in what is now known as the Pentonville Road, stood
the "Angel," a favourite hostelry, where Thomas Paine wrote part of one
of his famous books, near the period of Mill's birth.

The familiar books concerning J. S. Mill,* treat mainly of his eminence
as a thinker.

     * Notably those of Professor A. Bain and Mr. Courtney.

I concern myself with those personal characteristics which won for him
the regard and honour of the insurgent industrial classes--insurgent,
not in the sense of physical rebellion against authority, but
of intellectual rebellion against error, social inferiority and
insufficiency of means. Mill regarded the press as the fortress of
freedom. All his life he gave money to establish such defences, and left
the copyright of his works to Mr. John Morley, to be applied in aid
of publications open to the expression of all reasoned opinion, having
articles signed by the names of the writers. Mr. Mill was the first who
made provision for the expression of unfriended truth. It would be a
surprising biography which recorded the causes he aided and the persons
whom he helped. He was not one of those philosophers, "selfish, cold
and wise," who, fortunate and satisfied with their own emancipation from
error, leave others to perish in their ignorance. Mill helped them,* as
did Place, Bentham, Grote, Roebuck, Molesworth, and other leaders of the
great Utilitarian party. For ten years I knew Mr. Mill to receive and
write letters of suggestion from the India House. He would see any
one, at any hour, interested in the progress of the people. As Mr.
John Morley has said in the _Fortnightly Review_, "It was easier for a
workman than for a princess to obtain access to him."

     * Like Samuel Morley, he took trouble to aid honest
     endeavour, often irrespective of agreement with it.

A pamphlet by me on the "Liberal Situation" in 1865* being sent to Mr.
Mill, he wrote me the following letter:--

     * It was in the form of a letter addressed to Joseph Cowen.


"April 28, 1865.

"Dear Sir,--I have received your pamphlet (the 'Liberal Situation')
which I think is one of the best of your writings, and well calculated
to stir up the thinking minds among the working classes to larger views
of political questions. So far as I am myself concerned I cannot but
be pleased to find you in sympathy with some of the most generally
unpopular of my political notions. For my own part, I attach for the
present more importance to representation of minorities, and especially
to Mr. Hares plan, combined with opening the suffrage to women, than
to the plural voting which, in the form proposed by Mr. Buxton, of
attaching the plurality of votes directly to property, I have always
thoroughly repudiated. But I think what you say of it likely to be very
useful by impressing on the working people that it is no degradation to
them to consider some people's votes of more value than others. I would
always (as you do) couple with the plurality the condition of its being
accessible to any one, however poor, who proves that he can come up to a
certain standard of knowledge.--I am, yours truly,

"J. S. Mill.

"G. J. Holyoake."

One night when a great Reform League meeting was held in the
Agricultural Hall, Islington, I accompanied him from the House of
Commons to it. There were rumours of danger in attending it. This did
not deter him. The meeting itself was ill spoken of by the press--still
he went. The crowd about the place made it perilous for one so
fragile-looking as he, to force a way in. He never hesitated to try it
When we arrived on the thronged platform, it was a struggle to get to
the front. The vast amphitheatre, with its distant lights and dense
crowds--the horsepit presenting a valley of faces, the higher ground
hills of men, the iron rafters overhead were alive with hearers who had
climbed there--was a strange Miltonic scene. No sooner did the stout
voice of Manton--which alone all could hear--announce the arrival of Mr.
Mill than every man was silent; though few would catch the low, wise,
brave words he uttered. Afterwards I returned to the House of Commons
with him, he being interested in an expected division.

The Islington meeting that night had been denounced as illegal. He went
to justify the right of public meeting by his presence, and to share the
responsibility of those who convened it. What man eminent as a
thinker, save he, or Mr. John Morley, would incur the odium, peril, and
discomfort of attending, for such a purpose, a workman's meeting such as

The first time he made a speech at a public meeting was at the
Whittington Club, before a gathering of co-operators. I asked him to
address them. I was as glad as surprised when he consented. Had it not
been for the presence of women taking interest in co-operative economy,
he probably had not spoken then. In a sentence he defined the higher
co-operation. He never spoke in vain.

When in business in Fleet Street I signed bills for the convenience of
a city friend, who, like William Ellis--Mill's early associate--was a
munificent supporter of progressive endeavour. By putting my name on his
bills I incurred a liability beyond my means of meeting. My more than
imprudence was indefensible because it involved the business in which
the money of others was invested. Learning that my resources fell short
by £70 of the amount for which I was answerable, Mr. Mill sent me the
£70 from himself and a friend. When the bills were repaid me from the
estate of him for whom I had signed them, I sent the £70 to Mr. Mill,
who returned me half as a gift, on the condition that I did not sign
another bill, which I never did, unless I was able to pay it if my
friend did not, and I was willing to pay it if he could not.

Mr. Mill had quoted portions of my "History of the Rochdale Pioneers,"
in his "Political Economy," which was a great advantage to a cause
whose success I much desired. In many ways I was much indebted to his
friendship, and have never changed in my regard for him. Yet this did
not involve spontaneous acquiescence in all his views. Upon the ballot
I dissented from him. It seemed to me a just condition that the people
should be, for one minute in seven years, free to vote for their
political masters (as members of Parliament are) without control,
intimidation, or fear of resentment Mr. Bright himself and Mr. Berkeley
were impressed by my view as stated to a meeting of the Reform League.
Mill thought it conduced to manliness that the elector should withstand
adverse influences at whatever peril--which assumed the universal
existence of a heroic spirit of self-sacrifice. Since the elector by his
vote subjects his fellow-citizens, it may be, to perilous mastership,
Mill inferred every man had a right to know from whose hand came the
blessing or the blow. There is still force in Mill's view which
commands respect. On the other hand, secret voting is not without its
disadvantages. The citizen may be surrounded by disguised adversaries.
The fair-seeming dissembler he trusts may stab him at the poll. The
independence given by the ballot may betray the State, and the traitors
be shielded from responsibility. The secret vote also rests on a vast
assumption--that of the universal paramountcy of conscience and honesty
in electors--which paramountcy is as scarce as political heroism. Those
who so trust the people incur the greater and ceaseless responsibility
of educating them in political honour. They who have shown their trust
in the people, alone have the right of claiming their fidelity. Mr. Mill
was foremost in teaching the duty of independent thought, and, to do him
justice, my dissent from a principle he had come to hold strongly, made
no difference in his friendship. He was once a believer in the ballot

Mr. Mill was an instance which shows that even the virtues of a
philosopher need, as in lesser men, good sense to take care of them,
lest the operation of lofty qualities compromise others. His unguarded
intrepidity in defence of the right cost him his seat for Westminster.
Things were going well for him, on his second candidature, when one
morning it appeared in the newspapers that he had sent £10 to promote
the election of Mr. Bradlaugh. That £10 was worth £10,000 to his Tory
opponent, and cost Mill's own committee the loss of £3,000, which was
contributed to promote his election. When I was a candidate in the
Tower Hamlets, Mr. Mill sent a similar sum to promote my election; but I
prohibited the publication of an intrepid act of generosity, which might
prove costly to Mr. Mill At his first election Dean Stanley nobly urged
Christian electors to vote for Mr. Mill; but at the second election,
when it became known that Mr. Mill was subscribing to bring an Atheist
into Parliament, most Christians were persuaded Mr. Mill was himself an
Atheist, and only the nobler sort would vote for him again. It was right
and honourable in Mr. Mill to stand by his opinion, that an Atheist
had as much right as a Christian to be in Parliament, and that
ecclesiastical heresy was no disqualification for public or
Parliamentary service. To maintain your opinions at your own cost is
one thing, but to proclaim them at the cost of others, without regard to
time, consent or circumstance, is quite a different matter.

Mr. Mill had refused on principle to contribute to the expense of his
own election, on the ground that a candidate should not be called upon
to pay for his own election to a place of public service, I though it
was perfectly consistent that he should contribute to the election of
others. But his committee could not convert the electorate to this
view. There is nothing so difficult as the election of a philosopher.
Mr. Mill was in favour of the civil equality of all opinions, but it did
not follow that he shared all opinions himself. But the electors could
not be made to see this after the £10 sent to Northampton became known,
and England saw the most famous borough in the land handed over for
unknown years to a Tory bookseller, without personal distinction of his
own, and a book writer of the highest order rejected by the electors in
favour of a mere bookseller.

Mr. Mill's father, openly advocating the limitation of families in
the interest of the poor, bequeathed to his son a heritage of
disadvantage--of liability to frenzied imputation. No man is to be held
responsible save for what he himself says and what he himself does. No
man is answerable, or ought to be held answerable, for the construction
others put upon his conduct, or for their inference as to his opinions.
No writer ever guarded his words and conduct more assiduously than J.
S. Mill. Yet few have been more misrepresented by theological and
Conservative writers. Upon the question of "limitation of families," Mr.
Mill never wrote other or more than this:--

"No prudent man contracts matrimony before he is in a condition which
gives him an assured means of living, and no married man has a greater
number of children than he can properly bring up. Whenever this family
has been formed, justice and humanity require that he should impose on
himself the same restraint which is submitted to by the unmarried."*

     * "Principles of Political Economy," Book ii.

Further instruction of the people upon this subject J. S. Mill might
not deprecate, but he never gave it He never went so far as Jowett,
who wrote: "That the most important influences on human life should
be wholly left to chance, or shrouded in mystery, and instead of being
disciplined or understood, should be required to conform to an external
standard of propriety, cannot be regarded by the philosopher as a safe
or satisfactory condition of human things."*

     * "Dialogues of Plato." Introduction to "Republic," vol. ii.

Mill's views, or supposed views, naturally excited the attention of
wits. Moore's amusing exaggeration, which, like American humour, was
devoid of truth, yet had no malice in it, was:--

     "There are two Mr. Mills, too, whom those who like reading
     What's vastly unreadable, call very clever;
     And whereas Mill senior makes war on _good_ breeding,
     Mill junior makes war on all _breeding_ whatever."

The way in which opinions were invented for Mill is shown in the
instance of the London Debating Club (1826-1830), which was attended by
a set of young men who professed ultra opinions. Mr. J. A. Roebuck was
one. It was rumoured that at a meeting at which Mr. Mill was present, a
pamphlet was discussed entitled, "What is Love?" attributed to a man of
some note in his day, and of | unimpeachable character in private life.
Mr. Mill might have been present without knowledge of the | subject to
be brought forward, and may have been a listener without choice.

But in those days (and down to a much later period) the conventional
fallacy was in full vogue--that civility to an opponent implied a secret
similarity of opinion. Courtesy was regarded as complicity with
the beliefs of those to whom it was shown. He who was present at
an unconventional assembly was held to assent to what took place
there--though neither a member, nor speaker, nor partisan.



Mill was so entirely serious in his pursuit of truth, and entirely
convinced of the advantages of its publicity, that he readily risked
conventional consequences on that account. He held it to be desirable
that those who had important convictions, should be free to make them
known, and even be encouraged to do so. In thinking this he was in no
way compromised by, nor had he any complicity with, the convictions of
others. But this did not prevent him being made answerable for them, as
in the case of the distribution of papers sent to him by friends in his
company. A copy of it came into my possession which assuredly he did
not write, and the terms of which he could never have approved, had
they been submitted to him. On one occasion he sent to me a passionate
repudiation of concurrence or recommendation in any form, of methods
imputed to him.

These eccentricities of imputation, supposed to have died by time, were
found to be alive at Mills death.

The chief resurrectionist was one Abraham Hay-ward, known as a teller
of salacious stories at the Athenaeum. He was a man of many gifts,
who wrote with a bright, but by no means fastidious, pen. In some
unexplained, inconsistent, and inexplicable way, Mr. Gladstone was
on friendly terms with him. No sooner was Mill dead, and illustrious
appreciators of the great thinker were meditating some memorial to his
honour, than Mr. Hayward sent an article to the _Times_, suggesting
intrinsic immorality in his opinions. He also sent out letters privately
to deter eminent friends of Mill from giving their names to the memorial
committee. He sent one to Mr. Stopford Brooke, upon whom it had no
influence. He sent one to Mr. Gladstone, upon whom it had, and who, in
consequence, declined to join the committee.

Hayward was, in his day, the Iago of literature, and abused the
confiding nature of our noble Moor.* Yet, when Mr. Mill lost his seat
for Westminster, Mr. Gladstone had written these great words: "We all
know Mr. Mill's intellectual eminence before he entered Parliament.
What his conduct principally disclosed to me was his singular moral
elevation. Of all the motives, stings and stimulants that reach men
through their egotism in Parliament, no part could move or even touch
him. His conduct and his language were in this respect a sermon. For the
sake of the House of Commons, I rejoiced in his advent and deplored his
disappearance. He did us all good, and in whatever party, in whatever
form of opinion, I sorrowfully confess that such men are rare."

     * My little book, "John Stuart Mill, as the Working Classes
     Knew Him," was written to show Mr. Gladstone the answer that
     could be given to Hayward.

There was no tongue in the House of Commons more bitter, venomous, or
disparaging of the people than that of Lord Robert Cecil, afterwards
Lord Salisbury; yet I record to his honour he subscribed £50 towards the
memorial to Mr. Mill. One of the three first persons who gave £50 was
Mr. Walter Morrison. The Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Derby, the Duke of
Devonshire, Sir Charles and Lady Dilke, Mr. and Mrs. P. A. Taylor were
also among the subscribers of £50 each. Among those who gave large
but lesser sums were Mr. Herbert Spencer, Stopford Brooke, Leonard
H. Courtney, Frederic Harrison, G. H. Lewes, W. E. H. Lecky. Sir John
Lubbock, G. Croome Robertson, Lord Rosebery, Earl Russell, Professor
Tyndall, and Professor Huxley. So Mr. Mill had his monument with honour.
It stands on the Thames Embankment, and allures more pilgrims of thought
than any other there.

Purity and honour, there is reason to believe, were never absent from
Mill's mind or conduct; but trusting to his own personal integrity, he
assumed others would recognise it His admiration of Mrs. Taylor, whom he
frequently visited, and subsequently married, was misconstrued--though
not by Mr. Taylor, who had full confidence in Mr. Mill's honour. No
expression to the contrary on Mr. Taylor's part ever transpired. It
might be due to society that Mr. Mill should have been reserved in
his regard. But assured of his own rectitude, he trusted to the proud
resenting maxim, "Evil be to him who evil thinks," and he resented
imputation--whether it came from his relatives or his friends. Any
reflection upon him in this respect he treated as an affront to himself,
and an imputation upon Mrs. Taylor, which he never forgave. A relative
told me after his death, that he never communicated with any of them
again who made any remark which bore a sinister interpretation. If ever
there was a philosopher who should be counted stainless, it was John
Stuart Mill.

In the minds of the Bentham School, population was a province of
politics. It would seem incredible to another generation--as it seems
to many in this--that a philosopher should incur odium for being of
Jowett's opinion, that the most vital information upon the conduct of
life should not be withheld from the people. To give it is to incur
conventional reprehension; as though it were not a greater crime to be
silent while a feeble, half-fed, and ignorant progeny infest the land,
to find their way to the hospital, the poor house, or the gaol, than to
protest against this recklessness, which establishes penury and
slavery in the workman's home. Yet a brutal delicacy and a criminal
fastidiousness, calling itself public propriety, is far less reputable
than the ethical preference for reasonable foresight and a manlier race.

Mr. Mill's success in Parliament was greater than that of any
philosopher who has entered in our time. Unfortunately, very few
philosophers go there. The author of "Mark Rutherford" (W. Hale White)
writing to me lately, exclaimed: "Oh for one session with Mill and
Bright and Cobden in the House! What would you not give to hear Mill's
calm voice again? What would you not give to see him apply the plummet
of Justice and Reason to the crooked iniquities of the Front Benches? He
stands before me now, just against the gangway on the Opposition side,
hesitating, pausing even for some seconds occasionally, and yet holding
everybody in the House with a kind of grip; for even the most foolish
understood more or less dimly that they were listening to something
strange, something exalted, spoken from another sphere than that of the
professional politician."

Mr. Christie relates that in the London Debating Society, of which Mill
was a member when a young man, it used to be said of him in argument,
"He passed over his adversary like a ploughshare over a mouse."
Certainly many mice arguers heard in Parliament, who made the public
think a mountain was in labour, ended their existence with a squeak when
Mr. Mill took notice of them.

The operation of the suffrage and the ballot, questions on which Mill
expressed judgment, are in the minds of politicians to this day, and
many reformers who dissented from him do not conceal their misgivings as
to the wisdom of their course. "Misgivings" is a word that may be taken
to mean regret, whereas it merely signifies occasion for consideration.
The extension of the franchise and the endowment of the ballot have
caused misgivings in many who were foremost in demanding them. The wider
suffrage has not prevented an odious war in South Africa, and the ballot
has sent to the House of Commons a dangerous majority of retrograde
members. John Bright distrusted the vote of the residuum. John Stuart
Mill equally dreaded the result of withdrawing the vote of the elector
from public scrutiny. I agreed with their apprehensions, but it seemed
to me a necessity of progress that the risk should be run. While the
Ballot Act was before the House of Lords, I wrote to the _Times_ and
other papers, as I have elsewhere related, to say that the Ballot Act
would probably give us a Tory government for ten years--which it did.
I thought that the elector who had two hundred years of transmitted
subjection or intimidation or bribery in his bones, would for some time
go on voting as he had done--for others, not for the State. He would not
all at once understand that he was free and answerable to the State
for his vote. New electors, who had never known the responsibility
of voting, would not soon acquire the sense of it Mr. Mill thought it
conduced to manliness for an elector to act in despite of his interest
or resentment of his neighbours, his employer, his landlord, or his
priest, when his vote became known. At every election there were martyrs
on both sides; and it was too much to expect that a mass of voters,
politically ignorant, and who had been kept in ignorance, would
generally manifest a high spirit, which maintains independence in the
face of social peril, which philosophers are not always equal to. No
doubt the secrecy of the vote is an immunity to knaves, but it is the
sole chance of independence for the average honest man. The danger
of committing the fortune of the State to the unchecked votes of the
unintelligent was an argument of great power against a secret suffrage.
Lord Macaulay, though a Whig of the Whigs, gave an effective answer when
he brought forward his famous fool, who declared "he would never go into
the water until he had learnt to swim." The people must plunge into the
sea of liberty before they can learn to swim in it. They have now been
in that sea many years, and not many have learned the art yet. Then was
found the truth of Temple Leader's words, that "if the sheep had votes,
they would give them all to the butcher." Then when reformers found that
the new electors voted largely for those who had always refused them the
franchise, the advocates of it often expressed to me their misgivings
as to its wisdom. Lord Sherbrooke (then Robert Lowe) saw clearly that
if liberty was to be maintained and extended, the State must educate its

But has this been done? Has not education been impeded? Have not
electoral facilities been hampered? Has not the franchise been
restricted by onerous conditions, which keep great numbers from having
any vote at all? Has not the dual vote been kept up, which enables
the wealthy to multiply their votes at will? Before reformers have
misgivings concerning the extension of liberty to the masses, they must
see that the poor have the same opportunity of reaching the poll as the
rich have. George Eliot, who had the Positivist reluctance to see the
people act for themselves, wrote: "Ignorant power comes in the end to
the same thing as wicked power."* But there is this difference in their
nature. "Ignorant power" can be instructed, and experience may teach
it; but "wicked power" has an evil purpose, intelligently fixed and
implacably determined.

     * "Felix Holt," p  265.    Blackwood's stereotyped edition.

Does any reflecting person suppose, that when the vote was given to the
mass of the people, they would be at once transmuted into intelligent,
calculating, and patient politicians--that their passions would be
tamed, and their vices extinguished--that they would forthwith act
reasonably? Much of this was true of the thoughtful working men. But
for a long time the multitude must remain unchanged until intelligence
extends. We have had renewed experience that--

     "Religion, empire, vengeance, what you will,
     A word's enough to rouse mankind to kill.
     Some cunning phrase by fiction caught and spread,
     That guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed."

But the reformer has one new advantage now. He is no longer scandalised
by the excesses of ignorance, nor the perversities of selfishness.
Giving the vote has, if we may paraphrase the words of Shakespeare, put

     "Every man's hands
      The means to cancel his captivity."

It is no mean thing to have done this. There is no reason for misgiving
here. If the people misuse or neglect to use their power, the fault is
their own. There is no one to reproach but themselves.

Abolitionists of slavery may, if supine, feel misgivings at having
liberated the negroes from their masters, where they were certain of
shelter, subsistence, and protection from assault of others, and exposed
them to the malice of their former owners, to be maltreated, murdered at
will, lynched with torture on imaginary or uninvestigated accusations.
Those who aided the emancipation of the slaves are bound to ceaseless
vigilance in defending them. But despite the calamities of liberty,
freedom has added an elastic race (who learn the arts of order and of
wealth) to the family of mankind, and misgivings are obsolete among
those who have achieved the triumphs and share the vigils and duties of

Mr. Mill was essentially a teacher of the people. He wished them to
think on their own account--for themselves, and not as others directed
them. He did not wish them to disregard the thoughts of those wiser
than themselves, but to verify new ideas as far as they could, before
assenting to them. He wished them not to take authority for truth, but
truth for authority. To this end he taught the people principles which
were pathways to the future. He who kept on such paths knew where he
was. Herbert Spencer said he had no wrinkles on his brow because he
had discovered the thoroughfares of nature, and was never puzzled as to
where they led. Mr. Mill was a chartmaker in logic, in social economy,
and in politics. None before him did what he did, and no successor
has exceeded him. By his protest against the "subjection of women," he
brought half the human race into the province of politics and progress.
They have not all appeared there as yet--but they are on the way.


Mr. Gladstone's career will be the wonder of other generations, as it
has been the astonishment of this. Mr. Morley's monumental "Life" of
him will long be remembered as the greatest of all contributions to the
education of the British politician. It is a life of Parliament as well
as of a person. Those who remember how Carpenter's "Political Text Book"
was welcomed will know how much more this will be valued.

Never before was a biography founded on material so colossal. Only
one man was thought capable of dealing with a subject so vast and
complicated. Great expectations were entertained, and were fulfilled in
a measure which exceeded every anticipation. The task demanded a vaster
range of knowledge than was ever before required of a biographer.
Classic passages, not capable of being construed by the general reader,
are translated, so that interest is never diverted nor baffled by
flashes of learned darkness. When cardinal and unusual terms are used,
which might be dubiously interpreted, definitions are given which have
both delight and instruction. He who collects them from Mr. Morley's
pages would possess a little dictionary of priceless guidance. A noble
action or a just idea is recognised, whoever may manifest it Some
persons, as Mr. Gladstone said of Kinglake's famous book, "were too
bad to live and too good to die." Nevertheless, their excellence, where
discernible, has its place in this biographical mosaic Thus unexpected
pieces of human thought emerge in the careers of the historic figures
who pass before the reader, by which he becomes richer as he proceeds
from page to page. Illuminating similes abound which do not leave
the memory--such fitness is there in them. Historic questions which
interested those who lived through them, are made clear, by facts
unknown or unregarded then. Men whom many readers detested in their day
are discovered to have some noble feature of character, unrevealed to
the public before. Mr. Morley is a master of character--a creator of
fame by his discernment, discrimination, impartiality, and generosity to
adversaries, from which the reader learns charity and wisdom as he goes
along. Knowledge of public life, law, and government, come as part of
the charm of the incidents related. Memorable phrases, unexpected terms
of expression, like flashes of radium, gleam in every chapter. The
narrative is as interesting as the adventures of Gil Bias--so full is
it of wisdom, wonder, and variety. From all the highways, byways, and
broadways of the great subject, the reader never loses sight of Mr.
Gladstone. All paths lead to him. Like Bunyan's Pilgrim, the biographer
goes on his shining way, guiding the reader to the shrine of the hero of
the marvellous story. Mr. Gladstone moves through Mr. Morley's pages as
a king--as he did among men. He sometimes fell into errors, as noble men
have done in every age, but there was never any error in his purpose. He
always meant justly, and did not hesitate to give us new and ennobling
estimates of hated men. His sense of justice diffused, as it were, a
halo around him. Mr. Morley's pages give us the natural history of a
political mind of unusual range and power which was without a compeer.
As Mr. Gladstone began, he advanced, listening to everybody, to use one
of Mr. Morley's commanding lines: "He was flexible, persistent, clear,
practical, fervid, unconquerable."

In "Vivian Grey," Disraeli foreshadowed his bright and vengeful career.
In the same way, Mr. Gladstone wrote the whole spirit of his life in
his first address to the electors of Newark. His career is in that
manifesto, which has never been reprinted. The reader will be interested
in seeing it Here it is:--

To the Worthy and Independent Electors of the Borough of Newark.

"Gentlemen,--Having now completed my canvass, I think it my duty as well
to remind you of the principles on which I have solicited your votes as
freely to assure my friends that its result has placed my success beyond
a doubt. I have not requested your favour on the ground of adherence
to the opinions of any man or party, further than such adherence can be
fairly understood from the conviction that I have not hesitated to avow
that we must watch and resist that uninquiring and un-discriminating
desire for change amongst us, which threatens to produce, along with
partial good, a melancholy preponderance of mischief, which I am
persuaded would aggravate beyond computation the deep-seated evils of
our social state, and the heavy burthens of our industrial classes;
which, by disturbing our peace, destroys confidence and strikes at
the root of prosperity. This it has done already, and this we must,
therefore, believe it will do.

"For a mitigation of these evils we must, I think, look not only
to particular measures, but to the restoration of sounder general
principles--I mean especially that principle on which alone the
incorporation of Religion with the State in our constitution can be
defended; that the duties of governors are strictly and peculiarly
religious, and that legislatures, like individuals, are bound to
carry throughout their acts the spirit of the high truths they have
acknowledged. Principles are now arrayed against our institutions, and
not by truckling nor by temporising, not by oppression nor corruption,
but by principles they must be met. Among their first results should be
sedulous and especial attention to the interests of the poor, founded
upon the rule that those who are the least able to take care of
themselves ought to be most regarded by others. Particularly it is
a duty to endeavour by every means that labour may receive adequate
remuneration, which unhappily, among several classes of our
fellow-countrymen, is not now the case. Whatever measures, therefore,
whether by the correction of the Poor Laws, allotment of cottage
grounds, or otherwise, tend to promote this object, I deem entitled to
the warmest support, with all such as are calculated to secure sound
moral conduct in any class of society.

"I proceed to the momentous question of slavery, which I have found
entertained among you in that candid and temperate spirit which alone
befits its nature, or promises to remove its difficulties. If I have not
recognised the right of an irresponsible Society to interpose between
me and the electors, it has not been from any disrespect to its members,
nor from any unwillingness to answer their or any other questions
on which the electors may desire to know my views. To the esteemed
secretary of the Society I submitted my reasons for silence, and I made
a point of stating those views to him in his character of a voter.

"As regards the abstract lawfulness of slavery, I acknowledge it simply
as importing the right of one man to the labour of another; and I rest
upon the fact that Scripture--paramount authority on such a point--gives
directions to persons standing in the relation of master to slave for
their conduct in that relation; whereas, were the matter absolutely and
necessarily sinful, it would not regulate the manner. Assuming sin is
the cause of degradation, it strives, and strives most effectually, to
cure the latter by extirpating the former. We are agreed that both
the physical and moral bondage of the slave are to be abolished. The
question is as to the order and the order only; now Scripture attacks
the moral evil before the temporal one, and the temporal through
the moral one, and I am content with the order which Scripture has

"To this end I desire to see immediately set on foot, by impartial and
sovereign authority, an universal and efficient system of Christian
instruction, not intended to resist designs of individual piety
and wisdom for the religious improvement of the negroes, but to do
thoroughly what they can only do partially. As regards immediate
emancipation, whether with or without compensation, there are several
minor reasons against it, but that which weighs most with me is, that
it would, I much fear, exchange the evils now affecting the negro for
others which are weightier--for a relapse into deeper debasement, if not
for bloodshed and internal war.* Let fitness be made the condition of
emancipation, and let us strive to bring him to that fitness by the
shortest possible course. Let him enjoy the means of earning his freedom
through honest and industrious habits, thus the same instruments which
attain his liberty shall likewise render him competent to use it; and
thus, I earnestly trust, without risk of blood, without violation of
property, with unimpaired benefit to the negro and with the utmost speed
which prudence will admit, we shall arrive at the exceedingly desirable
consummation, the utter extinction of slavery.

     * Isaiah could not have prophesied more definitely. Friends
     of the slaves stoutly denied that the Scriptures sanctioned
     their bondage. They were afraid the fact would go against
     Christianity. It was true nevertheless, and the American
     preachers pleaded this for their opposition and supineness
     towards abolition.

"And now, gentlemen, as regards the enthusiasm with which you have
rallied round your ancient flag, and welcomed the humble representative
of those principles whose emblem it is, I trust that neither the lapse
of time nor the seductions of prosperity can ever efface it from my
memory. To my opponents my acknowledgments are due for the good humour
and kindness with which they have received me, and while I would thank
my friends for their zealous and unwearied exertions in my favour, I
briefly but emphatically assure them that if promises be an adequate
foundation of confidence, or experience a reasonable ground of
calculation, our victory is sure. I have the honour to be, gentlemen,
your obliged and obedient servant,

"W. E. Gladstone.

"Clinton Arms, Newark, Tuesday, Oct, 9, 1832."

The sincerity, the intrepidity, the sympathy with those who labour, the
candour of statement, the openness of mind, the sentiments of piety
and freedom (so rarely combined) of his life, are all there. His whole
career is but a magnificent enlargement of that address. I have lingered
before the hotel in the market-place, where he stayed and from which he
made speeches to the electors. There is no one living in Newark now who
heard them. Byron lived in the same hotel when he came to Newark with
his early poems, which he had printed at a shop still standing in the
market-place. The township is enlarged, but otherwise unchanged as the
Conservatism he then represented. I have thrice walked through all
the streets along which he passed, for he visited the house of every
elector. What a splendid canvasser he must have been, with his handsome
face, his courtesy, his deference, his charm of speech, and infinite
readiness of explanation!

I first saw him in the old House of Commons in 1842. Mr. Roebuck had
presented a petition from me that sitting, and I remained to witness
subsequent proceedings. I only remember one figure, seemingly a
young-looking man, tall, pallid-faced, with dark hair, who stood well
out in the mid-space between the Ministerial benches and the table, and
spoke with the fluency and freedom of a master of his subject Every one
appeared to pay him attention. I was told the speaker was Mr. Gladstone.

When he visited the Tyne in 1862, I did not need to be told his name. At
that time I was connected with the _Newcastle Chronicle_, and it fell
to me to write the leaders on Mr. Gladstone. The miners were told, when
they came up from the pits on that day, they would see a sight new
in England, which they might not soon see again--a Chancellor of the
Exchequer who was known to have a conscience. Other holders of the same
office may have had that commodity about them, but not employing it in
public affairs, its existence had not been observed. The penny paper
which gave the miners that information, we told them would not exist but
for Mr. Gladstone. Thousands of miners came up from the pits of Durham
and Northumberland, and great numbers succeeded in shaking hands with
Mr. Gladstone as he approached the _Harry Clasper_, named after the
well-known oarsman of the Tyne, who was on the river with Bob Chambers,
who had won a hundred contests. Clasper and Chambers were always
named together. Men swam before Mr. Gladstone's vessel a considerable
distance, as though they were the water gods of the Tyne, preparing the
way for their distinguished and unwonted visitor. And what a journey
it was! Twenty-two miles of banks, counting both sides, were lined with
people. The works upon the Tyneside, with their grim piles high in
the air, crowned with clouds of blackest smoke, out of which forks of
sulphurous flames darted, revealing hundreds of persons surmounting
roofs and pinnacles, cheering in ringing tones, above, while cannon
boomed at their feet below. Amid it all you could see everywhere women
holding up their children to see the great Chancellor of the Exchequer
go by. The Tyne has seen no other sight like this.

It was of this visit that I first wrote to Mr. Gladstone. The
arrangements for his wonderful reception were the work of Mr. Joseph
Cowen, jun. His father was Chief Commissioner for the Tyne--in person
taller than Mr. Gladstone, with a gift of speech which sincerity made
eloquent. His son, who had organised the reception, never came in sight
of Mr. Gladstone from first to last. As I knew Mr. Gladstone liked
to know what was below the surface as well as upon it, I sent him two
informing notes.

"Going to and fro in the land "--not with inquisitive malice as a
certain sojourner mentioned in Job is reputed to have done--on lecturing
purpose bent, sometimes on political missions, I knew the state and
nature of opinion in many places. The soul and Liberalism of the country
was Nonconformist and religious. Many in Parliament thought that London
newspapers, published mainly for sale, and which furnished ideas for
music-hall politicians--represented English opinion at large. At times
I wrote to members of Parliament that this was not so. Mr. Walter James
(since Lord Northbourne) was one who showed my reports to Mr. Gladstone.

One day in 1877 Mr. Gladstone sent me a postcard, inviting me to
breakfast with him. He was as open in his friendship as in his politics.
In all things he was prepared to dare the judgment of adversaries.
Incidentally I mentioned the invitation to two persons only, but next
day a passage appeared in a newspaper--much read in the House of Commons
at that time--to the effect that Mr. Gladstone was inviting unusual
persons to his house, who might be useful to him in his campaign on the
Eastern question, so anxious was he to obtain partisan support in the
agitation in which he was engaged. There was no truth whatever in this,
as Mr. Gladstone never referred to the subject, nor any of his guests.
But I took care at that time not to mention again an invitation lest it
should occasion inconvenience to my host. The visit to the Tyne had some
picturesque incidents. By happy accident, or it might be from thoughtful
design, Mrs. Gladstone wore an Indian shawl having a circle in the
centre, by which she was distinguishable. Every person whom thousands
come out to see, should have some individual mark of dress, and should
never be surrounded by friends, when recognition is impossible and
disappointing to the crowd.

At Middlesboro', Mrs. Gladstone was taken to see molten metal poured
into moulds. I knew the ways of a foundry, and that if the mould
happened to be damp, a shower of the liquid iron would fall upon those
near. The gentlemen around her seemed to think it an act of freedom to
warn her of her danger, so I stepped up to her and told her of the risk
she ran. She said in after years, that if I did not save her life, I
saved her from great possible discomfort.

Middlesboro* was then in a state of volcanic chaos. Mr. Gladstone
predicted that it would become what it is now, a splendid town. It was
in the grey of a murky evening, when blast furnaces were flaming
around him, that Mr. Gladstone began in a small office--the only place
available--a wonderful comparison between Oxford and the scene outside.
Alas! the dull-minded town clerk stopped him, saying that they wished
him to make his speech in the evening--not knowing that Mr. Gladstone
had twenty speeches in him at any time. The evening came, but the great
inspiration returned no more.

The night before he had spoken in Newcastle, when he made the
long-remembered declaration on the war then raging in America, the
reporter of the Electric Telegraph Company had fallen ill, and Mr.
Cowen asked me to take his place. It is easier to report Mr. Gladstone
verbatim than to summarise his speech as he proceeded on his rapid,
animated, and unhesitating way. So I condensed the famous passage in
these words: "Jefferson Davis had not only made a navy, he had made a
nation (Sensation)." The word was too strong. There was no "sensation;"
there was only a general movement as of unexpectedness, and "surprise"
would have been a more appropriate word; but it did not come to me at
the moment, and there was no time to wait for it, and the "sensational"
sentence was all over London before the speech was ended. The next night
he recurred to the subject at Middlesboro' with qualifications, but the
Press took no notice of them. The "sensation" appended to the sentence
had set political commentators on fire.

A notable speech was made by the Mayor of Middlesboro'. In presenting
addresses to Mr. Gladstone, local magnates complimented him upon his
distinction in Greek, which none of them were competent to appraise. The
Mayor of Middlesboro', an honest, stalwart gentleman, said simply, "Mr.
Gladstone, if I could speak as well as you can speak, I should be able
to tell you how proud we are to have you among us." No speech made to
him was more effective or relevant, or pleased him more.

By the courtesy of Mr. Bright, who procured me a seat in the Speaker's
gallery when there was only one to be had, I heard Mr. Gladstone
deliver, at midnight, his famous peroration, when, with uplifted hand,
he said, "Time is on our side."

I remember the night well. The Duke of Argyll came into the gallery,
where he stood four or five hours. I would gladly have given him my
seat, but if I did so I must relinquish hearing the debate, as I must
have left the gallery, as no stranger is permitted to stand. So I
thought it prudent to respect the privileges of the peerage--and keep my

In the years when I was constantly in the House of Commons, I was one
day walking through the tunnel-like passage which leads from Downing
Street into the Park, I saw a pair of gleaming eyes approaching me. The
passage was so dark I saw nothing else. As the figure passed me I saw
it was Mr. Gladstone. On returning to "The House," as Parliament is
familiarly called, I mentioned what I had seen to Mr. Vargus, who had
sat at the Treasury door for fifty years. "Yes," he answered, "there
have been no eyes enter this House like Mr. Gladstone's since the days
of Canning."

Yet those eyes of meteoric intensity so lacked quick perception that he
would pass by members of his party in the Lobby of Parliament without
accosting them, fearing to do so when he desired it, lest he should
mistake their identity and set up party misconceptions. Mr. Gladstone
ignored persons because he did not see them. It should not have been
left to Sir E. Hamilton to make this known after Mr. Gladstone's death.
The fact should have been disclosed fifty years before.

To disappointed members with whom I came in contact, I used to explain
that Mr. Gladstones apparent slightingness was owing to preoccupation.
He would often enter the House absorbed by an impending speech--which
was true--and thought more of serving his country than of conciliating
partisans. Lord Palmerston was wiser in his generation, who knew his
followers would forgive him betraying public interest, if he paid
attention to them.

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