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Title: Lives of Illustrious Shoemakers
Author: Winks, William Edward
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    10 AND 12 DEY STREET.


Time out of mind _The Gentle Craft_ has been invested with an air of
romance. This honorable title, given to no other occupation but that of
shoemakers, is an indication of the high esteem in which the Craft is
held. It is by no means an easy thing to account for a sentiment of this
kind, or to trace such a title to its original source. Whether the
traditionary stories which have clustered round the lives of Saints
Anianus, Crispin and Crispianus, or Hugh and Winifred, gave rise to the
sentiment, or the sentiment itself is to be regarded as accounting for
the traditions, one cannot tell. Probably there is some truth in both
theories, for sentiment and tradition act and react on each other.

Certain it is, that among all our craftsmen none appear to enjoy a
popularity comparable with that of "the old Cobbler" or "Shoemaker."
Most men have a good word to say for him, a joke to crack about him, or
a story to tell of his ability and "learning," his skill in argument, or
his prominence and influence in political or religious affairs. Both in
ancient times and in modern, in the Old World and in the New, a rare
interest has been felt in Shoemakers, as a class, on account of their
remarkable intelligence and the large number of eminent men who have
risen from their ranks.

These facts, and especially the last--which has been the subject of
frequent remark--may be deemed sufficient justification for the
existence of such a work as this.

Another reason might be given for the issue of such a book as this just
now. A change has come over the craft of boot and shoe making. The use
of machinery has effected nothing short of a _revolution_ in the trade.
The old-fashioned Shoemaker, with his leathern apron and hands redolent
of wax, has almost disappeared from the workrooms and streets of such
towns as Northampton and Stafford in Old England, or Lynn in New
England. His place and function are now, for the most part, occupied by
the "cutter" and the "clicker," the "riveter" and the "machine-girl."
The old Cobbler, like the ancient spinster and handloom weaver, is
retiring into the shade of the boot and shoe factory. Whether or no he
will disappear entirely may be questionable; but there can be no doubt
that the Cobbler, sitting at his stall and working with awl and hammer
and last, will never again be the conspicuous figure in social life that
he was wont to be in times gone by. Before we bid him a final farewell,
and forget the traditions of his humble yet honorable craft, it may be
of some service to bring under one review the names and histories of
some of the more illustrious members of his order.

Long as is the list of these worthy "Sons of Crispin," it cannot be said
to be complete. Only a few examples are taken from Germany, France, and
the United States, where, in all probability, as many illustrious
Shoemakers might have been met with as in Great Britain itself. And even
the British muster-roll is not fully made up. With only a few
exceptions, _living men_ are not included in the list. Very gladly would
the writer have added to these exceptions so remarkable a man as Thomas
Edward, the shoemaker of Banff, one of the best self-taught naturalists
of our time, and, for the last sixteen years, an Associate of the
Linnæan Society. But for the Life of this eminent Scotchman the reader
must be referred to the interesting biography written by his friend Dr.

In writing the longer sketches, free and ample use has been made of
biographies already in existence. But this has not been done without the
kind consent of the owners of copyrights. To these the writer tenders
his grateful acknowledgments. To the widow of the Rev. T. W. Blanshard
he is indebted for permission to draw upon the pages of her late
husband's valuable biography of "The Wesleyan Demosthenes," _Samuel
Bradburn_; to Jacob Halls Drew, Esq., Bath, for his courtesy in allowing
a liberal use to be made of the facts given in his biography of his
father, _Samuel Drew_, "The Self-Taught Cornishman;" and to the
venerable _Thomas Cooper_, as well as to his publishers, Messrs. Hodder
& Stoughton, for their kind favor in regard to the lengthy and detailed
sketch of the author of "The Purgatory of Suicides." This sketch, the
longest in the book, is inserted by special permission of Messrs. Hodder
& Stoughton.

The minor sketches have been drawn from a variety of sources. One or two
of these require special mention. In preparing the notice of John
O'Neill, the Poet of Temperance, the writer has received kind help from
_Mr. Richard Gooch_ of Brighton, himself a poet of temperance. Messrs.
_J. & J. H. Rutherford_ of Kelso have also been good enough to place at
the writer's service--but, unfortunately, too late to be of much use--a
copy of their recently published autobiography of John Younger, the
Shoemaker of St. Boswells. In the all-too-brief section devoted to
American worthies, valuable aid has been given to the author by Henry
Phillips, Esq., jun., A.M., Ph.D., Corresponding Member of the
Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, U.S.A.

In all probability the reader has never been introduced to so large a
company of illustrious Sons of Crispin before. It is sincerely hoped
that he will derive both pleasure and profit from their society.

                                               WILLIAM EDWARD WINKS.

    CARDIFF, 1882.




    Sir Cloudesley Shovel: The Cobbler's Boy who became an Admiral


    James Lackington: Shoemaker and Bookseller


    Samuel Bradburn: The Shoemaker who became President of the Wesleyan


    William Gifford: From the Shoemaker's Stool to the Editor's Chair


    Robert Bloomfield: The Shoemaker who wrote "The Farmer's Boy"


    Samuel Drew: The Metaphysical Shoemaker


    William Carey: The Shoemaker who Translated the Bible into Bengali
      and Hindostani


    John Pounds: The Philanthropic Shoemaker


    Thomas Cooper: The Self-educated Shoemaker who "Reared his own


    A Constellation of Celebrated Cobblers


    The Cobbler and the Artist Apelles

    The Shoemaker Bishops: Annianas, Bishop of Alexandria, and
      Alexander, Bishop of Comana

    The Pious Cobbler of Alexandria

    "Rabbi Jochanan, The Shoemaker"


    SS. Crispin and Crispianus: The Patron Saints of Shoemakers

    "The Learned Baudouin"

    Henry Michael Buch: "Good Henry"


    Hans Sachs: "The Nightingale of the Reformation"

    Jacob Boehmen: The Mystic


    Gabriel Cappellini: "il Caligarino"

    Francesco Brizzio: The Artist


    Ludolph de Jong: The Portrait-Painter

    Sons of Shoemakers


    "Ye Cocke of Westminster"

    Timothy Bennett: The Hero of Hampton-Wick

    _Military and Naval Heroes._

    The Souters of Selkirk

    Watt Tinlinn

    Colonel Hewson: The "Cerdon" of Hudibras

    Sir Christopher Myngs, Admiral

    _Astrologers and others._

    Dr. Partridge

    Dr. Ebenezer Sibly, F.R.C.P. 222

    Manoah Sibly, Short-hand Writer, Preacher, etc

    Mackey, "the Learned Shoemaker" of Norwich, and two other Learned

    Anthony Purver, Bible Revisionist

    _The Poets of the Cobbler's Stall._

    James Woodhouse, the Friend of Shenstone

    John Bennet, Parish Clerk and Poet

    Richard Savage, the Friend of Pope

    Thomas Olivers, Hymn-Writer

    Thomas Holcroft, Dramatist, Novelist

    Joseph Blacket, "The Son of Sorrow"

    David Service and other Songsters of the Shoemaker's Stall

    John Struthers, Poet and Editor

    John O'Neill, the Poet of Temperance

    John Younger, Fly-Fisher and Corn-Law Rhymer

    Charles Crocker, "The Poor Cobbler of Chichester"

    _Preachers and Theologians._

    George Fox, Founder of the Society of Friends

    Thomas Shillitoe, the Shoemaker who stood before Kings

    John Thorp, Founder of the Independent Church at Masboro'

    William Huntingdon, S.S.

    Robert Morrison, D.D., Chinese Scholar and Missionary

    Rev. John Burnet, Preacher and Philanthropist

    John Kitto, D.D., Biblical Scholar


    William Sturgeon, the Electrician


    Thomas Hardy, of "The State Trials"

    George Odger, Political Orator


    Noah Worcester, D.D., "The Apostle of Peace"

    Roger Sherman, the Patriot

    Henry Wilson, the Natick Cobbler

    John Greenleaf Whittier, "The Quaker Poet"













Sir Cloudesley Shovel,


    "Honor and shame from no condition rise;
    Act well your part, there all the honor lies.
    Fortune in men has some small difference made,
    One flaunts in rags, one nutters in brocade;
    The cobbler aproned and the parson gowned,
    The friar hooded, and the monarch crowned.
    "What differ more' (you cry) 'than crown and cowl?'
    I'll tell you, friend,--a wise man and a fool.
    You'll find, if once the monarch acts the monk,
    Or, cobbler-like, the parson will be drunk;
    Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow;
    The rest is all but leather or prunella."

    --POPE, _Essay on Man_.


On the south side of the choir of Westminster Abbey may be seen a very
handsome and costly monument, on which reclines a life-sized figure in
marble, representing a naval commander. The grotesque uniform and
elaborate wig are of the style of Queen Anne's time. The commander
himself has all the look of a well-bred gentleman and a brave officer.
He is a capital type of the old school of naval heroes, stout in person,
jolly in temper, but terrible in action, by whom our shores were
defended, our colonies secured to us, and the power and stability of the
British Empire were established for centuries to come. These men had, in
many instances, risen from the lowest social status, and had been
compelled to begin their nautical career in the humblest fashion,
accepting the most menial position the naval service could offer them.
When they came to hold positions of command, they had, perhaps, no
culture nor general education; the little knowledge they possessed was
confined to the arts of navigation and warfare, and this they had picked
up in actual service. Such knowledge served them well, and made them
equal to any emergency. It made them capable of deeds of valor and
enterprise, that brought renown to their own name and honor to their
country. They could sail round the world; they could, by their
discoveries, add new territories to the British crown, and open up
splendid fields for commercial enterprise; they could keep their vessels
afloat in a gale of wind, get to windward of the enemy if they wanted,
pour a broadside into him, board and capture his vessels or blow up his
forts; and, very often fighting against fearful odds, beat him by dint
of superior skill in seamanship and greater courage in action. Such a
commander was "old Benbow," whose name appears so often in the nautical
songs of the last century; and such a commander was his contemporary,
Sir Cloudesley Shovel, to whose memory the handsome monument just
referred to is erected. Let us pause for a moment to read the
inscription. It runs thus:

     "Sir Cloudesley Shovel, Knt., Rear-Admiral of Great Britain,
     Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet: The just reward
     of long and faithful services. He was deservedly beloved of
     his country, and esteemed though dreaded by the enemy, who had
     often experienced his conduct and courage. Being shipwrecked on
     the rocks of Scilly, in his voyage from Toulon, the 22d of
     October 1707, at night, in the fifty-seventh year of his age,
     his fate was lamented by all, but especially by the seafaring
     part of the nation, to whom he was a worthy example. His body
     was flung on the shore, and buried with others in the sands;
     but being soon after taken up, was placed under this monument,
     which his royal mistress has caused to be erected to
     commemorate his steady loyalty and extraordinary virtues."

If a stranger to Sir Cloudesley Shovel's history were to stand looking
at this fine monument, admiring the fine figure which adorns it and
reading the glowing epitaph, he would no doubt be greatly amazed if the
intelligent verger by his side were to whisper in his ear, "That man was
once a cobbler's boy; the first weapons he ever used in fighting the
battle of life were the awl and hammer and last."

Yet such was really the case. It is true he did not remain long at his
humble craft. He left it, indeed, sooner than any of the notable men
whose life-story we have to tell in this book; yet he wore the leathern
apron long enough to entitle him to a place in the category of
_Illustrious Shoemakers_.

Cloudesley Shovel was born in the county of Norfolk in the year 1650, at
a village called Clay, lying on the coast between Wells and Cromer. His
parents are said to have been in but "middling circumstances;" but it is
to be feared that even this modest term describes a better position than
they actually held. They were evidently of the humblest class, and had
no means of giving their boy either a good education or a good start in
the way of business. Cloudesley came by his rather singular name as no
doubt thousands had done before his time, and have done since. It was
given him in honor of a relative who was in good circumstances, and in
the hope that it might probably be a "means of recommending him to this
relative's notice." But fortunately, as it proved for him, and proves
also for many others, no fortune was left him. His parents were glad to
send him to the village shoemaker to learn the art and mystery of making
and mending boots and shoes.

Finding the drudgery of a sedentary occupation and the flatness and
quietude of village life irksome to his active temperament and aspiring
spirit, after a few years' work at shoemaking, he made off to sea. His
taste lying in the direction of the royal naval service, he went and
joined himself to a man-of-war. Here he had the good fortune to come
under the care and command of Sir John Narborough. This distinguished
officer had once been in Cloudesley's position as a man-of-war's
cabin-boy, and having shown himself a smart sailor and an industrious
student of navigation, had been rapidly promoted by his generous
captain, Sir Christopher Myngs. Sir John Narborough was therefore well
disposed, by his kindly disposition and his own early experience, to
favor any youth of promise placed in similar circumstances to those
through which he himself had passed. In young Cloudesley the gallant
captain seems to have seen his own character portrayed and his own
career enacted over again. The lad was smart at seamanship, and
uncommonly diligent when off watch in the study of any nautical books he
could lay hands on. He seems to have found out very early in his course
that the secret of success in life lies in being _ready_, when the time
comes, to seize and use the great opportunities of fortune which sooner
or later come in every one's way; that fortune waits on diligence and
courage; and that the future is pretty secure to the man who, whatever
be his position, works hard and does his plain duty every day.

The first incident in his naval career is an illustration of this. He
was on board the flag-ship commanded by Admiral Sir John Narborough in
one of the most hotly contested battles fought between the English and
the Dutch. The masts of the flag-ship were shot away early in the
engagement. The admiral saw that his case was hopeless, however bravely
his men might fight, unless the English reserve, which lay some distance
off to the right, could be brought round to his aid. The thing wanted
was to get a message conveyed to the captain of the reserve. Signalling
was out of the question, of course; the message must be _carried_ to the
ships somehow. Yet he saw plainly that in such a hurricane of shot and
shell, and with so many of the enemy's vessels close at hand, no boat
could hope to reach the English ships. But a man might _swim_ to them!
Acting on this thought, Sir John wrote an order and called aloud for
volunteers to swim with it, under the fire of the enemy, to the
neighboring ships. Among the able-bodied sailors who presented
themselves for the terrible duty young Cloudesley stood forth. Looking
at him with admiration mingled with something like pity, the admiral
exclaimed, "Why, what can you do, my fearless lad?" "I can swim, sir,"
said young Cloudesley, and added in the spirit of a patriot and a hero,
"If I be shot, I can be easier spared than any one else." After a
moment's hesitation on the part of the tender-hearted admiral, the paper
was handed to the boy, who placed it between his teeth and plunged into
the water. Cheered by his comrades, he swam on through a perfect hail of
shot, bearing, as it seemed, a charmed life, until at length the smoke
of battle concealed him from their view. The gallant Sir John and his
brave crew held on in the most determined manner until it seemed that no
hope was left that the brave lad had reached the friendly vessels in
safety and delivered the message. They were beginning to think of him
and of themselves as lost, when a sudden and terrific roar of cannon on
their right announced that the English vessels were bearing down on the
Dutch. In a few hours the enemy was flying in all directions. The
cabin-boy was not forgotten when the honors and rewards of victory came
to crown the events of that terrible day, for all agreed that he had
done a deed that deserved well of his country. When the sun was setting
on the sad scene of wreck and ruin, the courageous yet modest youth came
and stood once more on the deck of the flag-ship. As soon as the old
admiral saw him he spoke to him a few words of generous appreciation and
sincere thanks, finishing with the significant remark, "I shall live to
see you have a flag-ship of your own." The prediction came true, as we
shall presently see.

Not very long afterward Cloudesley Shovel was made lieutenant of His
Majesty's navy. The first opportunity he had of distinguishing himself
in this capacity was on an expedition sent out by the British to punish
the corsairs of Tripoli. These lawless and daring rogues had long
infested the Mediterranean, doing immense mischief to commerce and
committing sad depredations all along the coast, wherever they found it
possible to land with safety. No vessel or port, from the Levant to the
Straits of Gibraltar, was safe from their attack. Sir John Narborough
was therefore commissioned to bring them to terms or effectually punish
them. Arriving before Tripoli, their headquarters, in the spring of
1674, he found the enemy in great strength under the shelter of their
formidable forts, and decided, first of all, according to his
instructions, to try the effect of negotiations. Lieutenant Shovel, then
only twenty-four years of age, a tall thin young man, with little on his
face to indicate that he had come to manhood, was sent with a message
for the Dey of Tripoli, asking for satisfaction for the past and
security for the future. This message was delivered in a spirit becoming
a British sailor acting on behalf of the interests of his country; but
the Dey, a haughty and imperious man, refused to treat with such a
youth, and one, too, who held so subordinate a position, and after
treating him with insolence, sent him back to his admiral with an
indefinite answer. The wily ex-cobbler, however, had kept his eyes open
while on land, and on returning to Sir John, gave him so good an account
of the character of the fortifications and the disposition of the pirate
fleet, that he was sent back to the Dey with a second message, and
instructed to make further observations. He was treated on his second
visit with even greater insolence, but took all quietly, not caring how
much he was detained by the Dey's abuse, so long as he could look round
him and obtain a good view of the enemy's strength and position. Coming
back once more to his vessel, he explained the whole situation, and
described a plan of attack which he felt confident would be successful
in destroying the vessels lying at anchor in the bay. The admiral was so
much pleased with his lieutenant's smartness, and so satisfied that his
plan was practicable if conducted with skill and courage, that he
decided to intrust the execution of it to "his boy Shovel." On the night
of the 4th of March the young lieutenant took command of all the boats
of the fleet, which had been filled with combustible material, rowed
quietly into the harbor under cover of the darkness, made straight for
the guard-ship, which he set on fire and thoroughly disabled, thus
preventing it from giving orders to the other ships, and, before the
enemy could prepare for action, fired and blew up his vessels one after
another, and then leaving them in a state of the utmost confusion and
distress, brought all his boats back to the British fleet without the
loss of a single man. It was a brave exploit, cleverly conceived and
brilliantly executed. As a wholesome castigation of these impudent
pirates it was of the utmost value; and more than this, it crippled
their power for mischief for a long time to come.

The generous Sir John Narborough fully appreciated the courage and skill
of his youthful subordinate, and gave him the most honorable mention in
the official letters sent to the authorities at home. He was at once
promoted to the rank of captain. This office he held for eleven years,
until the death of Charles II. in 1685. During the three years of James
II.'s reign, Captain Shovel is said to have been in every naval
engagement that occurred. He had therefore ample opportunity of
distinguishing himself and obtaining still further promotion. Soon after
the accession of William III., Captain Shovel was conspicuous by his
daring and clever manoeuvring at the battle of Bantry Bay. He was then
in command of the ship "Edgar," and the favorable notices he had
received from Admiral Hobart brought his gallantry before the attention
of his monarch, who conferred upon the brave captain the honor of
knighthood. Captain, now Sir Cloudesley Shovel, was held in high esteem
by King William III., who intrusted him with the difficult and
responsible duty of conveying the troops to Ireland in 1690, on the
occasion of the Irish rebellion which terminated in the bloody battle of
the Boyne. This duty was discharged with so much ability that the King
decided to promote Sir Cloudesley to the rank of "_rear-admiral of the
blue_." In conferring this reward upon the gallant commander, the
grateful monarch marked his sense of the value of the service rendered
by delivering the commission with his own hands. Before the year came to
a close Sir Cloudesley added one more item to the long list of his
services by giving timely assistance to General Kirke at the siege of
Waterford. This town was held by the adherents of James II., and had
long defied all attempts of General Kirke to take it. The chief strength
of the town lay in Duncannon Castle, on which an attack was made by Sir
Cloudesley's ships and men. A surrender was speedily negotiated, and the
influential town of Waterford fell into the hands of the English. Two
years after this the King declared him "_rear-admiral of the red_,"
giving him at the same time the command of the squadron which was to
convey the King to Holland.

Soon after his return from Holland he was ordered to join the fleet then
under the command of Admiral Russell, and bore a very important part in
the brilliant naval victory known as the battle of La Hogue. His last
services during the reign of William III. were rendered in connection
with the bombardment of Dunkirk, which he undertook at the King's
express command. The author of the "Lives of British Admirals,"[1]
referring to the esteem in which Sir Cloudesley Shovel was held by his
king and country at the close of this reign, says, "He was always
consulted by His Majesty whenever maritime affairs were under

     [1] See Campbell's "Lives," etc., vol. iv. p. 247.

His first service in the reign of Queen Anne was performed as "_admiral
of the white_." The town of Vigo in Spain had been captured by Sir
George Rooke, and Sir Cloudesley was ordered to go out and bring home
the spoils of the united Spanish and French fleets, which lay disabled
in the harbor. This difficult task was accomplished with a rapidity and
dash which made so favorable an impression on the court, that on his
return "it was immediately resolved to employ him in affairs of the
greatest consequence for the future." In 1703 he was put in command of
the grand fleet, and protected the interests of England from the hostile
attempts of the French and allied powers in the Mediterranean. At the
battle of Malaga in 1704, Sir Cloudesley's division of nine ships led
the van, and had to bear the brunt of the enemy's attack to such an
extent, that at the beginning of the engagement he was almost entirely
surrounded by the French, and more than 400 of his men were either
killed or wounded. On his return home he was presented to the Queen by
Prince George, and shortly afterward received the appointment of
commander-in-chief and rear-admiral of the English fleet. As Admiral
Shovel he won great credit for the part he took in the capture of the
important city of Barcelona in 1705.

In the month of October, 1707, after bearing an honorable part in the
expedition under Prince Eugene against Toulon, he set sail with ten
ships of the line, five frigates, and other war vessels for the shores
of England. But he was destined never to see again the country he had
served so nobly and loved so well. By some strange mischance, which has
never been fully accounted for, his own vessel and several others, on
the night of the 22d of October, struck on the rocks of the Scilly
islands and perished. The brave admiral and his three sons-in-law, who
were on board his vessel, besides a large number of officers and seamen,
were drowned. The body of Sir Cloudesley Shovel was washed on shore, and
having been found by a number of smugglers, was stripped of an emerald
ring and other valuables, and buried in the sand. On attempting to sell
their booty, the miscreants found that the ring they prized so much
betrayed their guilty secret. They were compelled to point out the spot
where the body had been concealed. England, of course, could not allow
one of her noblest sons to lie in so ignominious a grave. The body was
at once removed to London by express order of Her Majesty Queen Anne,
and laid in the most honorable grave the nation had to give--

    "In the great minster transept,
    Where the lights like glories fall,
    And the organ rings and the sweet choir sings
    Along the emblazoned wall."[2]

     [2] Sir Cloudesley Shovel sat for several years as
     member of Parliament for the city of Rochester. In the
     Guildhall of that city there is an interesting portrait,
     representing the gallant sailor as Rear-Admiral. A tablet
     states that the hall was painted and decorated by his desire
     and at his expense, 1695-6. The portrait from which our
     engraving is taken is by Michael Dahl, and was originally at
     Hampton Court. It was presented by George IV. in 1824 to
     Greenwich Hospital. Sir C. Shovel at the time of his death was
     one of the governors of Greenwich Hospital.


[Illustration: JAMES LACKINGTON]



    Sutor Ultra Crepidam Feliciter Ausus.

    --_Latin Motto, Quoted on Frontispiece to
    "Lackington's Memoirs."_


    Who a few years since began Business with five Pounds,
    Now sells one Hundred Thousand Volumes Annually.

    --_From Frontispiece to First Edition of "Memoirs
    and Confessions," 1791-92._

     "I will therefore conclude with a wish, that my readers may
     enjoy the feast with the same good humor with which I have
     prepared it.... Those with keen appetites will partake of each
     dish, while others, more delicate, may select such dishes as
     are more light and better adapted to their palates; they are
     all genuine British fare; but lest they should be at a loss to
     know what the entertainment consists of, I beg leave to inform
     them that it contains forty-seven dishes of various sizes,
     which (if they calculate the expense of their _admission
     tickets_) they will find does not amount to twopence per dish;
     and what I hope they will consider as _immensely_ valuable (in
     compliance with the precedent set by Mr. Farley, a gentleman
     eminent in the culinary science), a striking likeness of their
     _Cook_ into the Bargain.

     "Ladies and Gentlemen, pray be seated; you are heartily
     welcome, and much good may it do you."--_From Preface to
     Lackington's "Memoirs and Confessions," published 1826._


One of the most successful booksellers of the last century was James
Lackington, whose enormous place of business at the corner of Finsbury
Square, London, was styled somewhat grandiloquently "The Temple of the
Muses." A flag floated proudly over the top of the building, and above
the principal doorway stood the announcement, no less true than
sensational, "The Cheapest Bookshop in the World." Lackington was an
innovator in the trade, and had introduced methods and principles of
doing business which at first awaked the ire of the bookselling
fraternity, but were at length generally adopted, thus inaugurating a
new era in the history of this important business. His name cannot be
omitted from any complete history of booksellers, and it is none the
less deserving of a place in the category of illustrious shoemakers; for
Lackington commenced life as a shoemaker, and for some time after he had
entered on bookselling speculations continued to work at the humble
trade to which he had served an apprenticeship.

When Lackington was about forty-five years of age, and had made a
considerable fortune in the bookselling trade, he wrote and published a
singular book, in which he narrated the principal events in his life,
under the form of "Letters to a Friend." This book bears the title
"Memoirs and Confessions," and is certainly one of the most remarkable
autobiographies ever presented to the world. What portion of its
contents may be referred to by the term "memoirs" as distinguished from
"confessions" it is impossible to say, but certain it is that there are
many things in the book which its author would have done well to blot as
soon as they were written, and of which he was no doubt heartily sorry
and ashamed in after-life. Among the worst of these were his strictures
and reflections on the Wesleyan Methodists, to whom he had belonged in
early life, and from whom he had received no small benefit, temporal as
well as spiritual. When the second edition of his memoirs came to be
printed in 1803, his character had undergone a happy change. He then
saw things in a different light, and made full and complete
acknowledgment of the faults which marked the first edition; expressed
in very decided albeit very conventional terms his faith in Christian
truth, and his debt of obligation to the religious people whom he had so
sadly maligned. But words were not enough to satisfy his ardent,
thorough-going nature. His benefactions to the Wesleyan Society were
very considerable, and he seemed toward the close of his life to have
found great satisfaction in making the best use of the ample means at
his disposal. With all his faults he was an estimable man, honest,
truthful, and generous. He was never ashamed of his lowly birth and
humble apprenticeship, nor turned his back on his poor relations, but
ever sought them out and helped them when he had the power to do so. His
success in business was owing to his shrewd common-sense, his rare
insight into character, his good judgment as to the public taste and
requirements, his capital method of assorting and classifying his stock
and strict keeping of accounts, his courageous yet prudent purchases,
and his strict adherence to a few sound maxims of economy and thrift.
None but a man of original and uncommon powers of mind could have
launched out on new speculations and adventures as Lackington did with
the same uniform and certain success, and none but a man of good sense
and lofty feeling would have been proof against the ill effects which so
often attend on success. There is a touch of vanity in his memoirs, it
is true, but it is not the vanity of a man who is vain and does not know
it; he is quite conscious of his egotism, and indulges in it with
thorough good-humor as a hearty joke. He was rather fond of display,
kept a town-house and a country-house when he could afford it, and set
up a "chariot," as the phrase went in those days, and liveried servants.
Yet it was not many men in his position who would have taken for a motto
to be painted on the doors of his carriage the plain English words which
express the principle on which his business had been made to bear such
wonderful results. "But," he remarks, "as the first king of Bohemia kept
his country shoes by him to remind him from whence he was taken, I have
put a motto on the doors of my carriage constantly to remind me to what
I am indebted for my prosperity, viz.,


The Lackington family had been farmers in the parish of Langford, near
Wellington, in Somersetshire. They were members of the Society of
Friends, and held a respectable position in the locality. For some
cause, not fully explained in the memoirs, James Lackington's father was
apprenticed to a shoemaker at Wellington. He made an imprudent marriage,
and for a time forfeited his father's approval and favor; but when the
good-wife proved herself to be a very worthy and industrious woman, the
old man relented and set his son up in business. This, however, was of
no advantage to him; in fact, it proved his ruin. He might have remained
a steady and hard-working man, bringing up his children honorably, if he
had remained a journeyman. The position of a master presented
temptations that were too much for his weak disposition. Lackington's
own words will best describe his unhappy circumstances in youth and the
character of his father. "I was born at Wellington, in Somersetshire, on
the 31st of August (old style), 1746. My father, George Lackington, was
a journeyman shoemaker, who had incurred the displeasure of my
grandfather for marrying my mother, whose maiden name was Joan Trott....
About the year 1750, my father having several children, and my mother
proving an excellent wife, my grandfather's resentment had nearly
subsided, so that he supplied him with money to open shop for himself.
But that which was intended to be of very great service to him and his
family eventually proved extremely unfortunate to himself and them; for
as soon as he found he was more at ease in his circumstances he
contracted a fatal habit of drinking, and of course his business was
neglected; that after several fruitless attempts of my grandfather to
keep him in trade, he was, partly by a very large family, but more by
his habitual drunkenness, reduced to his old state of a journeyman
shoemaker. Yet so infatuated was he with the love of liquor, that the
endearing ties of husband and father could not restrain him: by which
baneful habit himself and family were involved in the extremest poverty;
so that neither myself, my brothers, nor sisters, are indebted to a
father scarcely for anything that can endear his memory, or cause us to
reflect on him with pleasure."

James, as the oldest child in the family, fared for a time rather better
than the rest. He was sent to a dame-school and began to learn to read;
but before he could learn anything worth knowing, his mother, who was
obliged to maintain her children as best she could, found it impossible
to pay the twopence per week for his schooling. For several years his
time was divided between nursing his younger brothers and sisters and
running about the streets and getting into mischief. At the age of ten
he began to feel a desire to do something to earn a living. His first
venture in this way showed his ability and gave some promise of his
success as a man of business. Having noticed an old pieman in the
streets whose method of selling pies struck the boy as very defective,
the boy was convinced that he could do the work much better. He made
known his thoughts to a baker in the town, who was so pleased with the
lad's spirit that he at once agreed to take the little fellow into the
house and employ him in vending pies in the streets, if his father would
grant permission. This was soon obtained. In this queer enterprise young
Lackington met with remarkable success. He says: "My manner of crying
pies, and my activity in selling them, soon made me the favorite of all
such as purchased halfpenny apple-pies and halfpenny plum-puddings, so
that in a few weeks the old pie merchant shut up his shop. I lived with
this baker about twelve or fifteen months, in which time I sold such
large quantities of pies, puddings, cakes, etc., that he often declared
to his friends in my hearing that I had been the means of extricating
him from the embarrassing circumstances in which he was known to be
involved prior to my entering his service."

Such a story is a sufficient indication of character. It exhibits the
two qualities which distinguished him as a man--good sense and courage.
Another story of his boyhood is worth telling for the same reason. He
was about twelve years of age when he went one day to a village about
two miles off, and returning late at night with his father, who had been
drinking hard as usual, they met a group of women who had turned back
from a place called Rogue Green because they had seen a dreadful
apparition in a hollow part of the road where some person had been
murdered years before. Of course the place had been _haunted_ ever
since! The women dared not go by the spot after what they had seen, and
were returning to the village to spend the night. Lackington and his
father laughed at the tale, and the dauntless boy engaged to walk on in
front and go up to the object when they came near it in order to
discover what it was. He did so, keeping about fifty yards ahead of the
company and calling to them to come on. Having walked about a quarter of
a mile, the object came in sight. "Here it is!" said he. "Lord have
mercy on us!" cried they, and were preparing to run, "but shame
prevented them." Making a long file behind him, the order of procedure
of course being according to the degree of each person's courage, they
moved on with trembling steps toward the _ghost_. Although the boy's
"hat was lifted off his head by his hair standing on end," and his teeth
chattered in his mouth, he was pledged in honor and must go on. Coming
close to the dreaded spectre, he saw its true character--"a very short
tree, whose limbs had been newly cut off, the doing of which had made it
much resemble a giant." The boy's pluck was the talk of the town, and he
"was mentioned as a hero."

His merits as a pie vender had made him a reputation, and now an
application was made to his father to allow James to sell almanacs about
the time of Christmas and the New Year. He rejoiced immensely in this
occupation and drove a splendid trade, exciting the envy and ire of the
itinerant venders of Moore, Wing, and Poor Robin to such a degree that
he speaks of his father's fear lest these poor hawkers, who found their
occupation almost gone, should do the daring young interloper some
grievous bodily harm. "But," he says, "I had not the least concern; and
as I had a light pair of heels, I always kept at a proper distance."

At the age of fourteen he was bound for seven years to Mr. Bowden of
Taunton, a shoemaker. The indentures made Lackington the servant of both
Mr. and Mrs. Bowden, so that, in case of the death of the former, the
latter might claim the service of the apprentice. The Bowdens were
steady, religious people who attended what Lackington calls "an
Anabaptist meeting," _i.e._, we presume, a _Baptist_ chapel, for the
Baptists long bore the opprobrious epithet which was first given to them
in Germany and Holland at the time of the Reformation. The Baptists of
Taunton in 1760 seem to have been a dull, lifeless class of people, if
we may judge from the type presented in the family of the quiet
shoemaker with whom James Lackington went to live. Yet they were on a
par with the vast majority of churches, established or non-established,
in that age of religious apathy in England. The boy accompanied the
family twice on the Sabbath to the "meeting," and heard, yet not heard,
sermons full of sound morality, but devoid of anything like vigorous,
soul-searching, and soul-converting gospel truth, and delivered, withal,
in the flattest and most spiritless manner. The ideas of the family were
as circumscribed as their library, and that was small and meagre enough,
in all conscience. It may be worth while to give an inventory of its
contents. It will cover only a line or two of our space, and will be of
some use to those, perhaps, who are apt to mourn their own poverty as
regards books, and their small advantages, though, perchance, they may
have access to free libraries or cheap subscription libraries, or may be
able to buy or borrow all they could find time to peruse if only they
had the wish to read. Imagine a youth with any taste for literature
living in a sleepy town like Taunton in 1760, and looking over his
master's bookshelves and finding there a school-size Bible, "Watts'
Psalms and Hymns," Foot's "Tract on Baptism," Culpepper's "Herbal," the
"History of the Gentle Craft," an old imperfect volume of receipts on
Physic, Surgery, etc., and the "Ready Reckoner." Bowden was an odd
character, evidently. One of his strange customs is thus described:
"Every morning, at all seasons of the year and in all weathers, he rose
about three o'clock, took a walk by the river's side round Trenchware
fields, stopped at some place or other to drink half a pint of ale, came
back before six o'clock and called up his people to work, and went to
bed again about seven."

"Thus," says Lackington, "was the good man's family jogging easily and
quietly on, no one doubting but he should go to heaven when he died, and
every one hoping it would be a good while first."

The visit of "one of Mr. Wesley's preachers" led to the conversion of
the two sons of Lackington's employer, and set the young apprentice on a
train of thought and inquiry which eventually led him also to cast in
his lot with the Methodists. He was then about sixteen years of age, and
had so little knowledge of reading that he gladly paid the three
halfpence per week which his mother allowed him as pocket-money to one
of the young Bowdens for instruction. Yet he had at this time no
literary taste, and no thought beyond the limited round of devotional
reading, which consisted chiefly of the Bible, and the tracts, sermons,
and hymns of the Wesleys. His desire to hear the Methodist preachers was
so great at this time, that one Sunday morning, when his mistress had
locked the door to prevent his going out for this purpose, he jumped out
of the bedroom window, fondly imagining that the words of the
ninety-first Psalm, the eleventh and twelfth verses, which he had just
been reading, would be sufficient guarantee of his safety in
perpetrating such an act of rashness and folly. The last three years of
his apprenticeship were spent in the service of his master's widow, Mr.
Bowden having died when Lackington had served about four years. When he
was just twenty-one, and about six months before the expiration of his
time, a severe contest for the representation of Taunton in Parliament
took place, and the friends of two of the candidates purchased his
freedom from Mrs. Bowden's service in order to secure both his vote and
his services. The scenes of excitement and dissipation into which he was
thrown at this time unsettled his mind, and for a time entirely ruined
his religious character. The election over, he went to live at Bristol,
and lodged in a street called Castle Ditch, with a young man named John
Jones, a maker of stuff shoes, who led him into dissipation. Jones,
however, had been pretty well educated, and managed to awaken in
Lackington's mind a desire for more knowledge than he then possessed. He
was, indeed, wofully ignorant, had no idea of writing, and when he began
to feel a thirst for general reading, confesses that he dared not enter
a bookseller's shop because he did not know the name of any book to ask
for. His friend Jones picked up at a bookstall a copy of Walker's
"Paraphrase of Epictetus," which seems to have charmed the young
shoemaker immensely, and to have turned him for a time into a regular

The taste for reading once awakened, he soon grew weary of a life of sin
and folly. One evening he turned into a chapel in Broadmead to hear Mr.
Wesley, who was preaching there. The old fire of religious enthusiasm
was once more enkindled, and burned as fiercely as ever. His companions
were soon brought to join the Wesleyan Society, and for a time the
little knot of shoemakers working together lived a life of intense
religious devotion, working hard and singing hymns or holding religious
conversation all day, reading the works of leading evangelical divines
during the greater part of the night, and seldom allowing themselves
more than three hours' sleep.

The religious was combined with the philosophic mind. He bought copies
of such books as Plato on the "Immortality of the Soul," Plutarch's
"Lives," the "Morals of Confucius," etc.; and, speaking of this time, he
says: "The pleasures of eating and drinking I entirely despised, and for
some time carried the disposition to an extreme. The account of Epicurus
living in his garden, at the expense of about a halfpenny per day, and
that when he added a little cheese to his bread on particular occasions
he considered it as a luxury, filled me with raptures. From that moment
I began to live on bread and tea, and for a considerable time did not
partake of any other viand, but in that I indulged myself three or four
times a day. My reasons for living in this abstemious manner were in
order to save money to purchase books, to wean myself from the gross
pleasures of eating, drinking, etc., and to purge my mind and make it
more susceptible of intellectual pleasures."

Leaving Bristol in 1769, he lived for a year at Kingsbridge, Devonshire,
where he worked as a maker of stuff and silk shoes. In 1770 he went back
to Bristol, and lodged once more with his old friends, the Joneses. At
the end of that year he married Nancy Smith, an old sweetheart, whom he
had fallen in love with _seven_ years previously, "being at Farmer
Gamlin's at Charlton, four miles from Taunton, to hear a Methodist
sermon." Nancy was dairymaid then, and was accounted handsome; she was a
devout Methodist, and an amiable, industrious, thrifty woman. But they
were wretchedly poor at the time of their marriage, and had to go and
live in lodgings at half a crown a week. "Our finances," he remarks,
"were but just sufficient to pay the expenses of the (wedding) day, for
in searching our pockets (which we did not do in a careless manner), we
discovered that we had but one halfpenny to begin the world with. 'Tis
true we had laid in eatables sufficient for a day or two, in which time
we knew we could by our work procure more, which we very cheerfully set
about, singing together the following strains of Dr. Cotton:

    'Our portion is not large indeed,
    But then how little do we need!
        For Nature's calls are few.
    In this the art of living lies,
    To want no more than may suffice,
    And make that little do.'

"The above, and the following ode by Mr. Samuel Wesley, we did scores of
times repeat, even with raptures:

    'No glory I covet, no riches I want,
    Ambition is nothing to me:
    The one thing I beg of kind Heaven to grant
    Is a mind independent and free.

    'By passion unruffled, untainted by pride,
    By reason my life let me square;
    The wants of my nature are cheaply supplied,
    And the rest are but folly and care.

    'Those blessings which Providence kindly has lent
    I'll justly and gratefully prize;
    While sweet meditation and cheerful content
    Shall make me both healthy and wise.

    'How vainly through infinite trouble and strife
    The many their labors employ;
    When all that is truly delightful in life
    Is what all, if they will, may enjoy.'"

Sound sense and true philosophy this; and sorely did the young shoemaker
and his much-enduring wife feel the need of such philosophy to hearten
and console them when four and sixpence a week was all they had to spend
on eating and drinking, and when, as he states, "strong beer we had
none, nor any other liquor (the pure element excepted); and instead of
tea, or rather coffee, we toasted a piece of bread, at other times we
fried some wheat, which, when boiled in water, made a tolerable
substitute for coffee; and as to animal food, we made use of but little,
and that little we boiled and made broth of." That the cheerful
sentiments with which they set out in life did not fail them under the
stress of such hardships as these is sufficiently shown by the statement
with which he closes the chapter which deals with this part of his
history: "During the whole of this time we never once wished for
anything that we had not got, but were quite contented, and with a good
grace in reality made a virtue of necessity."

After three years Lackington resolved to go to London in the hope of
meeting with better work and pay. It was indeed dire necessity that
drove him to take this step. Incessant suffering and semi-starvation
seemed inevitable if he remained in Bristol. His wife had been extremely
ill almost from the beginning of their residence in the city, probably
owing to the change from country air and active employment to the close
atmosphere and sedentary occupation to which she was now accustomed. Her
continued illness and his own hopeless state of poverty drove him to
make the venture. Accordingly, having given her all the money he could
spare, he set off for the metropolis, and arrived there in August, 1774,
with half a crown in his pocket.

Once in London, the tide of his fortune turned. He soon found plenty of
work and got good wages. In a month his wife was sent for, and the two
worked so industriously and lived so economically, that before long
Nancy changed her cloth cloak for one of silk, and her worthy husband
indulged in the luxury of a _greatcoat_, the first he had ever worn.
When he had been in London about four months he received tidings of the
death of his grandfather, who had left ten pounds apiece to each of his
grandchildren. He was so ignorant of money matters that he had no
notion of obtaining the money except by going down to Somersetshire to
fetch it, and the sum was accounted so prodigious, that he at once set
off to claim his property; "so that," he says, "it cost me about half
the money in going down for it and in returning to town again." "With
the remainder of the money," he adds, "we purchased household goods; but
as we then had not sufficient to furnish a room, we worked hard and
lived hard, so that in a short time we had a room furnished with our own
goods; and I believe that Alexander the Great never reflected on his
immense acquisitions with half the heart-felt enjoyment which we
experienced on this capital attainment." Now and then he visited the old
bookshops and added a few books to his small library. One Christmas Eve
he went out with half a crown in his pocket to purchase the Christmas
dinner. Passing by an old bookshop, he could not resist the inducement
to turn in and look over the stock. He intended to spend only a few
pence on some book; but a copy of Young's "Night Thoughts," which he
very much coveted, was so tempting a prize, that, without hesitation, he
laid down his half-crown for the purchase of it. On returning home, he
had no slight difficulty to persuade his wife of "the superiority of
intellectual pleasures over sensual gratifications." "I think," said he
to his patient spouse, "that I have acted wisely; for had I bought _a
dinner_, we should have eaten it to-morrow, and the pleasure would have
been soon over; but should we live fifty years longer, we shall have the
'Night Thoughts' to feast upon."

In June, 1775, one of his Wesleyan friends looked in on Lackington and
his wife as they sat at work making boots and shoes, and told them of a
"shop and parlor" which were then to let in Featherstone Street, where
it was suggested Lackington might obtain work as a master-shoemaker. He
at once fell in with the proposal, and added that "he would sell books
also." He does not seem to have formed any intention of bookselling
previous to this interview, but the prospect of having a shop of his own
led him to think how easy and pleasant it would be to combine the two
kinds of business. He says in his own _naïve_ manner: "When he proposed
my taking the shop, it instantly occurred to my mind that for several
months past I had observed a great increase in a certain old bookshop,
and that I was persuaded I knew as much of old books as the person who
kept it. I further observed that I loved books, and that if I could but
be a bookseller, I should then have plenty of books to read, which was
the greatest motive I could conceive to induce me to make the attempt."
His friend engaged to procure the shop, and Lackington bought "a bag
full of old books, chiefly divinity, for a guinea," which, together with
his own little library and some scraps of old leather, were worth five
pounds. With this stock he "opened shop on Midsummer Day, 1775, in
Featherstone Street, in the parish of St. Luke."

He borrowed five pounds from a fund which Wesley's people had raised for
the purpose of lending out on a short term to men of good character who
were in need of help in business or domestic difficulties. No interest
appears to have been required, and he states that the money was of great
service to him. At this time they lived in the most economical and
sparing manner, "often dining on potatoes, and quenching their thirst
with water," for they could not forget the trials through which they had
passed, and, haunted by the dread of their recurrence, were determined,
if possible, to provide against them.

After six months his stock had increased to £25. "This stock I deemed
too great to be buried in Featherstone Street; and a shop and parlor
being to let in Chiswell Street, No. 46, I took them." His business in
the sale of books proved so prosperous, that, in a few weeks after
removing to Chiswell Street, he disposed of his little stock of leather
and altogether abandoned the _gentle craft_. At this time his stock
consisted almost entirely of divinity, and for a year or two he
"conscientiously destroyed such books as fell into his hands as were
written by free-thinkers: he would neither read them himself, nor sell
them to others." He makes some curious and sagacious remarks on
bargain-hunters who frequented his shop at this time, while his stock
was low and poor, and who in their craze after "bargains" often paid him
double the price for dirty old books that he afterward charged when he
had a larger stock, and had adopted the principle of selling every book
at its lowest paying price. These people, he observed, forsook his shop
as soon as he began to introduce better order and to appear
"respectable!"[3] He had not been long in Chiswell Street, before both
his wife and himself were seized with fever. She died and was buried
without his having once seen her after her illness. The shop was left in
the care of a boy, his house was put in charge of nurses, who robbed him
of his linen and other articles, kept themselves drunk with gin, and
would have left him to perish. The timely presence of his sister saved
his life, and several Wesleyan friends saved him from ruin by locking up
his shop, which the nurses and boy together would soon have emptied.
Although he wrote the whole story in after-years in a vein of flippant
sarcasm and irreverence for religion, he was constrained to acknowledge
his great obligation to the friends whose religion prompted them thus to
act the good Samaritan to him in his dire extremity. "The above
gentlemen," he says, "not only took care of my shop, but also advanced
money to pay such expenses as occurred; and as my wife was dead, they
assisted in making my will in favor of my mother." "These worthy
gentlemen," he adds, "belong to Mr. Wesley's Society (and
notwithstanding they have imbibed many enthusiastic whims), yet would
they be an honor to any society, and are a credit to human nature."

     [3] "Bibliomaniacs" will be interested to learn the
     price of certain books at this date, 1775. Lackington says:
     "Martyn's 'Dictionary of Natural History' sold for £15 15s.,
     which then stood in my catalogue at £4 15s.; Pilkington's
     'Dictionary of Painters,' £7 7s., usually sold at three;
     Francis's 'Horace,' £2 11s. At Sir George Colebrook's sale the
     8vo edition of the 'Tatler' sold for _two guineas and a half_.
     At a sale a few weeks since, Rapin's History in folio, the two
     first vols. only, sold for upward of £5."

In 1776 he married Miss Dorcas Turton, a friend of his first wife. It
seems to have been her influence, to a large extent, that drew him away
from Wesleyanism and religion. She was a woman of considerable
education, and a great reader, kindly and affectionate in her
disposition, a dutiful daughter to her aged and dependent father, whom
she had supported after his failure in business by keeping a school. But
she seems to have had no thought of religious truth as a basis for
character and an impulse to right conduct, and her absolute indifference
to religion soon told on the mind of a sensitive and impulsive man like
Lackington. "I did not long remain in Mr. Wesley's Society," he writes,
referring to this same year 1776, "and, what is remarkable, I well
remember that, some years before, Mr. Wesley told his society in
Broadmead, Bristol, in my hearing, that he could never keep a bookseller
six months in his flock."

Two years afterward Lackington entered into partnership for three years
with Mr. Denis, an _honest man_, as he is emphatically styled, who
brought a considerable sum of money into the business, by means of which
the stock was at once doubled, and the sales vastly increased.
Lackington now proposed the issue of a sale catalogue, to which his
partner reluctantly consented. Both partners were employed in writing
it, but the larger share fell to Lackington, whose name alone appeared
on the title-page. It was issued in 1779, and the first week after its
publication the partners took, what they regarded as the "large sum" of
twenty pounds. Denis, finding his money pay better in business than in
the Funds, invested a larger sum in stock, but when Lackington, who
according to the terms of the agreement was sole purchaser, began to
buy, as his partner thought, too largely, they had a dispute over the
matter and dissolved partnership on friendly terms a year before the
term of partnership had expired. Denis, to the end of his life, remained
friendly with Lackington, and used to call in every day on passing his
shop to inquire what purchases and sales he had effected, and now and
then the _honest man_ lent his old partner money to help in paying

In 1780 he resolved to give _no credit_ to any one, and to sell all his
books at the lowest price bearing a working profit. The effect of this
new method of doing business was remarkable in many ways. Long credit
seems to have been common in the trade in those days, most bills were
not paid within six months, many not within a twelvemonth, and some not
within two years. "Indeed," he adds, "many tradesmen have accounts of
seven years' standing; and some bills are never paid"(!) After
recounting the disadvantages of the credit system, he says: "When I
communicated my ideas on this subject to some of my acquaintances, I was
much laughed at and ridiculed; and it was thought that I might as well
attempt to rebuild the Tower of Babel as to establish a large business
without giving credit." The offence given to some old customers was very
great, and for a time he lost them, but they soon returned on learning
how much lower his books were now marked than those of other
booksellers. As to others who would only deal on credit, he cared little
when he observed their anger, very wisely remarking that "some of them
would have been as much enraged when their bills were sent in had credit
been given them." The booksellers themselves were not a little annoyed
by the innovations of the dauntless trader, and appear to have said some
bitter things about him and his stock. Some of them were "mean enough to
assert that all my books were bound in _sheep_," and he adds, in
language that does him credit, "As every envious transaction was to me
an additional spur to exertion, I am therefore not a little indebted to
Messrs. Envy, Detraction & Co. for my present prosperity, though, I
assure you, this is the only debt I am determined not to pay."

This adoption of the "no credit" system was the first decided step
toward Lackington's wonderful success in business. In five years his
catalogues contained the names of thirty thousand books, and these were
generally of a much better description.

The most startling innovation he made in the trade of bookselling, and
the one which led to the largest amount of opposition on the part of his
fellow-tradesmen, was in regard to the way of dealing with what are
called "_remainders_." When a bookseller found a book did not sell well,
it was his custom to put what remained into a private sale, "where only
booksellers were admitted, and of them only such as were invited by
having a catalogue sent them." "When first invited to these
trade-sales," he says, "I was very much surprised to learn that it was
common for such as purchased remainders to destroy one half or three
fourths of such books, and to charge the full publication price, or
nearly that, for such as they kept on hand. For a short time I
cautiously complied with this custom." But he soon became convinced of
the folly of this practice, and resolved to keep the whole stock of
books and sell them off at low prices. By this means he disposed of
hundreds of thousands of volumes at a small profit, which amounted to a
larger sum in the end than if he had destroyed three out of four and
sold the rest at the original retail price. This course made him many
enemies in the trade, who tried to injure him, and even did their best
to keep him out of the sale-rooms. It was, however, of no avail: his
business increased enormously, his customers appreciating his method,
whether the booksellers did or not. He often bought enormously; "West
says he sat next to Lackington at a sale when he spent upward of £12,000
in an afternoon."[4] It was no uncommon thing for him to buy several
thousand copies of one book, and at one time he had _ten thousand_
copies of Watts' Psalms and the same number of his Hymns in stock. Of
course he found it necessary to sell out rapidly, or business would soon
have come to a dead-lock; for, as he justly observes, "no one that has
not a quick sale can possibly succeed with large numbers." "So that I
often look back," he remarks, "with astonishment at my courage (or
temerity, if you please) in purchasing, and my wonderful success in
taking money sufficient to pay the extensive demands that were
perpetually made upon me, as there is not another instance of success
so rapid and constant under such circumstances." It is interesting to
notice how trifling a circumstance it was which led him to adopt the
plan of selling every article at the lowest remunerative price. "Mrs.
Lackington had bought a piece of linen; when the linen-draper's man
brought it into my shop three ladies were present, and on seeing the
cloth opened asked Mrs. L. what it cost per yard. On being told the
price, they all said it was very cheap, and each lady went and purchased
the same quantity; those pieces were again displayed to their
acquaintance, so that the linen-draper got a deal of custom from that
circumstance; and I resolved to do likewise." He admits that he often
sold a "great number of articles much lower than he ought, even on his
own plan of selling cheap, yet that gave him no concern," "but if he
found out that he had sold any articles too dear," he declares that "it
gave him much uneasiness." He reflects in his own simple fashion: "If I
sell a book too dear, I perhaps lose that customer and his friends
forever, but if I sell articles considerably under their real value the
purchaser will come again and recommend my shop to his acquaintances, so
that from the principles of self-interest I would sell cheap."

     [4] "History of Booksellers," by H. Curwen, p. 73.
     Chatto & Windus.

The following observations of a shrewd observer are worth quoting as a
testimony to the change which had begun to come over the minds of the
people of this country in regard to reading, about a hundred years ago:
"I cannot help observing that the sale of books in general has increased
prodigiously within the last twenty years [1791]. According to the best
estimation I have been able to make, I suppose that more than four times
the number of books are sold now than were sold twenty years since. The
poorer sort of farmers, and even the poor country people in general, who
before that period spent their winter evenings in relating stories of
witches, ghosts, hobgoblins, etc., now shorten the nights by hearing
their sons and daughters read tales, romances, etc.; and on entering
their houses, you may see 'Tom Jones,' 'Roderick Random,' and other
entertaining books stuck up on their bacon-racks, etc.; and if John goes
to town with a load of hay, he is charged to be sure not to forget to
bring home 'Peregrine Pickle's Adventures;' and when Dolly is sent to
the market to sell her eggs she is commissioned to purchase 'The History
of Pamela Andrews.' In short, all ranks and degrees now READ. But the
most rapid increase of the sale of books has been since the termination
of the late war."[5]

     [5] Articles of Peace with the United States were
     signed Nov. 30th, 1782; and the Peace of Versailles, between
     France, Spain, and England, was made Jan. 20th, 1783. It is to
     this, no doubt, that Lackington refers.

He tells the story of his going to reside in the country and set up a
carriage, horses, and liveried servants in his own quaint and
self-complacent style. "My country _lodging_ by regular gradation was
transformed into a country _house_, and the inconveniences attending a
_stage-coach_ were remedied by a _chariot_." This house was taken at
Merton in Surrey. Referring to the captious remarks of his neighbors, he
says: "When by the advice of that eminent physician, Dr. Lettsom, I
purchased a horse and saved my life by the exercise it afforded me, the
old adage, '_Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil_,'
was deemed fully verified; they were very sorry to see people so young
in business run on at so great a rate!" The occasional relaxation
enjoyed in the country was censured as an abominable piece of pride; but
when the carriage and servants in livery appeared, "they would not be
the first to hurt a foolish tradesman's character, but if (as was but
too probable) the _docket_ was not already struck, the Gazette would
soon settle that point." It appears that some of these wiseacres
speculated as to the means by which the fortunate bookseller had made
his large fortune. Some spoke of a _lottery_ ticket, and others were
sure that he must have found a number of "banknotes in an old book to
the amount of many thousand pounds, and if they please can even tell you
the title of the old book that contained the treasure." "But," he
jocosely remarks, "you shall receive it from me, which you will deem
authority to the full as unexceptionable. I found the whole of what I am
possessed of, in--SMALL PROFITS, _bound_ by INDUSTRY, and _clasped_ by

It is curious to notice the frank and simple manner in which he speaks
of his profits, and of the way in which he did his business. "The
profits of my business the present year [1791] will amount to four
thousand pounds," he writes, and goes on to say that "the cost and
selling price of every book was marked in it, whether the price is
sixpence or sixty pounds, is entered in a day-book as they are sold,
with the price it cost and the money it sold for; and each night the
profits of the day are cast up by one of my shopmen, as every one of
them understands my private marks. Every Saturday night the profits of
the week are declared before all my shopmen, etc., the week's profits,
and also the expenses of the week, then entered one opposite another;
the whole sum taken in the week is also set down, and the sum that has
been paid for books bought. These accounts are kept publicly in my shop,
and ever have been so, as I never saw any reason for concealing them."
He speaks in the same letter of selling more than one hundred thousand
volumes annually, and adds, in his own complacent manner, "I believe it
is universally allowed that no man ever promoted the sale of books in an
equal degree!"

Lackington at length quitted Chiswell Street, and took the enormous
building at the corner of Finsbury Square, which was styled "The Temple
of the Muses," and to which the public were invited as the cheapest
bookshop in the world. He declared in his catalogue that he had half a
million of books constantly on sale, "and these were arranged in
galleries and rooms rising in tiers--the more expensive books at the
bottom, and the prices diminishing with every floor, but all numbered
according to a catalogue which Lackington compiled by himself."[6] His
profits on the first year's trade at "The Temple of the Muses" amounted
to £5000. He retired from business in 1798, having made a large fortune.

     [6] "History of Booksellers," see above, p. 74.

His capacity for business was remarkable. Until he was nearly thirty
years of age he had no opportunity of exercising it. But once having
given up the gentle craft, in which he was no great proficient, he
proved himself one of the smartest and cleverest business men in London.
We can readily pardon the simple vanity of the self-made and self-taught
merchant prince who writes about his recently acquired _chariot_ in the
following strain: "And I assure you, sir, that reflecting on the means
by which the carriage was procured adds not a little to the pleasure of
riding in it. I believe I may, without being deemed censorious, assert
that there are some who ride in their carriages who cannot reflect on
the means by which they were acquired with an equal degree of
satisfaction." For several years, both before and after he retired from
business, he made a journey through different parts of England and
Scotland, calling at the chief towns, such as York, Leeds, Edinburgh,
Glasgow, Carlisle, Lancaster, Manchester, Bristol, and inspecting the
bookshops. His observations are of the most quaint and out-of-the-way
character. At Newcastle he found nothing more remarkable to record than
"the celebrated _crow's nest_ affixed above the weather-cock on the
upper extremity of the steeple in the market-place," and the famous
_brank_, an iron instrument, shown in the town-hall, and used in olden
time to punish notorious scolds. At Glasgow the most notable spectacle,
and one that calls forth a considerable amount of remark, is that of the
washerwomen, whose practice of getting into their tubs, placed by the
river-side, and dollying the linen with their bare feet, awoke his
profound astonishment. Of his visits to Bristol and the west of England,
the scene of his early life, he gives the following curious and
interesting account: "In Bristol, Exbridge, Bridgewater, Taunton,
Wellington, and other places, I amused myself in calling on some of my
masters, with whom I had, about twenty years before, worked as a
journeyman shoemaker. I addressed each with, '_Pray, sir, have you got
any occasion?_' which is the term made use of by journeymen in that
useful occupation when seeking employment. Most of those honest men had
quite forgot my person, as many of them had not seen me since I worked
for them, so that it is not easy for you to conceive with what surprise
and astonishment they gazed on me. For you must know that I had the
vanity (I call it _humor_) to do this in my chariot, attended by my
servants; and on telling them who I was, all appeared to be very happy
to see me. And I assure you, my friend, it afforded me much real
pleasure to see my old acquaintances alive and well." Coming to
Wellington, his birthplace and home during boyhood, he says: "The bells
rang merrily all the day of my arrival. I was also honored with the
attention of many of the most respectable people in and near Wellington
and other parts, some of whom were pleased to inform me that the reason
of their paying a particular attention to me was their having heard, and
now having themselves an opportunity of observing, that I did not so far
forget myself as many proud upstarts had done; and that the notice I
took of my poor relations and old acquaintance merited the respect and
approbation of every real gentleman."

Lackington's kindness to his own relatives, and to the poor, was one of
his best qualities. In fact, he declares in 1791 that he would have
retired from business five years previously if it had not been for the
thought of his poor relations, many of whom were helpless, and whom he
felt bound to relieve and protect. Besides supporting his "good old
mother" for many years, he says, "I have two aged men and one aged
woman whom I support: and I have also four children to maintain and
educate; ... many others of my relations are in similar circumstances
and stand in need of my assistance." He also made provision for the
support of the very aged parents of his first wife, Nancy.

On abandoning business he left his third cousin George Lackington at the
head of the firm, while he and his wife went to live at Thornbury in
Gloucestershire, in order to be in the neighborhood of the Turtons, his
wife's relations. He bought two estates in Alvestone, on one of which
was a genteel house, where he lived in good style for several years.
Here he employed his time in visiting the sick and poor, and sometimes
in _preaching_. For he had now returned to the faith of a Christian, and
threw himself with his accustomed ardor into all kinds of religious
work. His contrition for the severe and ungracious things he had said of
the Wesleyans in the first editions of his "Memoirs" was evidently very
deep. He acknowledges in plain terms that he owed to them all his early
advantages, and the moral and mental awakening which opened before him a
new path in life. He says, in the introduction to his last edition of
his book, "If I had never heard the Methodists preach, in all
probability I should have been at this time a poor, ragged, dirty
cobbler.... It was also through them that I got the shop in which I
first set up for a bookseller."

He built a small chapel at Thornbury on his own estate, where the
Wesleyan ministers regularly officiated. In 1806 he removed to Taunton,
where he resided for about six years, built a chapel at a cost of £3000,
adding £150 a year for the minister.

On the decline of his health in 1812, he went to live by the seaside at
Budleigh Sulterton, in Devonshire. Here also he erected a chapel which
cost £2000, and endowed it with a minister's stipend of £150 per annum.

James Lackington died of paralysis in the seventieth year of his age, on
the 22d of November, 1815, and was buried in the Budleigh Churchyard.
None will deny the successful bookseller the right to the Latin motto
with which he has adorned the frontispiece to the first edition of
"Memoirs and Confessions," viz., _Sutor ultra crepidam feliciter

     [7] "The shoemaker happily abandoned his last." It may
     be interesting to note that the writer's copy of this curious
     book once belonged to Henry Thomas Buckle, author of "The
     History of Civilization." On the fly-leaf are memoranda of
     Wesleyan and Jonsonian anecdotes which Buckle had evidently
     made for his own use.


[Illustration: REV. S. BRADBURN]

Samuel Bradburn,


"I was a poor ignorant cobbler."--_Samuel Bradburn, Life of Samuel
Bradburn_, p. 227.

"During forty years Samuel Bradburn was esteemed the Demosthenes of
Methodism."--_Abel Stevens, LL.D., quoted on title-page of Life of S.

"I have never heard his equal; I can furnish you with no adequate idea
of his powers as an orator; we have not a man among us that will support
anything like a comparison with him.... I never knew one with so great a
command of language."--_Dr. Adam Clarke._

"The generous and noble-minded Samuel Bradburn, whose ability as a
public speaker was all but unrivalled."--_Rev. Thomas Jackson, President
of the Wesleyan Conference._


In the winter of 1740 the press-gang men were busy at their abominable
work in most of the maritime and inland towns of England, and, among
other places, Chester seems to have sent certain unwilling recruits to
make up the rank and file of the army, and replenish the navy of His
Majesty King George II. Many are the tales of cruelty which belong to
this miserable period in the history of our army and navy. Thousands of
able-bodied men were carried away by main force from their peaceful
occupations, from home and friends, and everything that was dear to
them, and compelled to do duty for their country in foreign climes.
Sons, husbands, fathers of families, steady, honest, industrious,
law-abiding citizens, or worthless waifs and strays, it mattered
not--all who might be of service, and could be easily caught, were
seized and hurried off to the nearest military or naval depot, and were
soon lost sight of by their distressed relations, and were, perhaps,
never heard of again until their names were reported in the list of
killed and wounded in battle. Now and then the life of enforced military
or naval service was tolerable and even pleasant from a soldier's or
sailor's point of view and ended happily enough with an honorable
discharge and pension. A wretched beginning had not always a wretched
course and a miserable ending, for the Briton of those days was a
much-enduring creature, and had strong notions about "serving his
country," and soon learned to tolerate and even enjoy a condition of
things which, to say the least, was unjustifiable and tyrannical.

An incident connected with the life-story of the subject of this sketch
will illustrate some of the worst features of the system referred to,
and show the sort of hardship and injustice to which "the free and noble
sons" of Britain were exposed up to a time almost within the memory of
men still living. Two men sat drinking and chatting in a friendly manner
in an ale-house in Chester one night early in the year 1740. It does not
seem that either of them was the worse for liquor, or that anything
unpleasant had passed between them to spoil the pleasure of their
intercourse. In fact, the two men had known each other years before,
and both seemed glad to renew their acquaintance. The younger of the two
was only twenty-one years of age, and had been married but a few days
previously to a young woman of nineteen summers, to whom he was deeply
attached. After staying as long as he deemed expedient he rose to go
home, when to his amazement the pretended "friend" and old acquaintance
turned upon him with the words, "You shall not leave this room to-night;
you have now no master but the king, and you must serve him, as you have
taken his money." Guessing what was meant, the poor fellow felt in his
pocket and found that his companion had secretly slipped three guineas
into it as king's bounty. It was vain for the enraged and distracted
young man to throw the money on the floor, and declare he would none of
it nor the king's service, that he was but just married, and had no wish
to be a soldier, for armed men stood round the door and prevented
escape. It was vain also to appeal to the magistrates of that day, for
though they must have been perfectly well acquainted with the nefarious
tricks of pressmen and recruiting officers, they accepted the evidence
of the officer against the recruit, and adjudged him a legal soldier,
because, forsooth, he had received the king's bounty and so enlisted.
Such was the experience of Samuel Bradburn's father, and in two days
after the event just narrated he was hurried off to his regiment,
without a chance of saying good-by to his friends or making any further
efforts for his own release. Their grief, and the agony of mind endured
by the young bride, may be imagined. She had no choice but to part from
him, perhaps forever; or to get permission to attach herself to the
regiment, and follow her husband's fortunes as a soldier. No true woman
and worthy wife would hesitate long, and the noble-hearted Welsh girl[8]
soon resolved not to leave her husband. The regiment was ordered to
Flanders, and took part in several battles, in one of which Bradburn was
severely wounded, and on the conclusion of the war in 1748 ordered to
Gibraltar, where Samuel was born, 5th October, 1751, and where he spent
the first twelve years of his life.

     [8] Mrs. Bradburn was the daughter of Samuel Jones, of

The soldier's family numbered thirteen children, and as his pay was but
scanty, it may be supposed that the education of each of its members
could not have been a very important or costly affair. In short, we have
_another_ story to add to those already told of a life of singular
devotedness and usefulness which had no fair foundation of sound and
thorough education. Bradburn himself declares that he went to school for
only a fortnight during his twelve years' life at Gibraltar. The fee was
a penny a week, and on its being raised to three halfpence the boy was
removed, for the father's poor pittance would not allow of the extra
strain upon it of a halfpenny per week. And so, says the biographer,
almost with an air of triumph, "the education of one of the greatest
modern pulpit orators cost only _twopence_!"

Bradburn's father appears to have been a remarkably thoughtful and
exemplary sort of man for a soldier, in those days. Though he never
united with the Methodists, he was much attached to them, and had
derived great profit from their preaching at the camp in Flanders. His
children were brought up in a strictly religious manner, always going to
service on Sunday, and being compelled to read a daily portion of
Scripture, and repeat a Scripture lesson from week to week. According to
his light, he did his best to bring his children up well; and one of
them, at all events, profited by his training, for Samuel became very
thoughtful and serious, and was accounted, by his neighbors, one of the
best boys in the town.

On his discharge from the army Bradburn went to live in the old city
from which he had been so cruelly carried away about twenty-three years
before. Samuel was then nearly thirteen years of age, and a situation
was soon found for him as an out-door apprentice to a shoemaker, to whom
he was bound for eight years. Brought up under the influences of
Methodism, and accustomed to listen to a class of preachers who had done
more than any others to awaken and keep alive the flames of religious
revival and zeal, young Bradburn's mind was always more or less under
the influence of deep religious conviction. His history, as a youth,
presents the most astonishing contrasts of religious fervor and sinful
excess. Yet his worst moods did not last long, and, however far he went
in the way of transgression, his consciousness of the evil of sin never
left him, and he had always sufficient moral sensibility left to make
him profoundly miserable when he dared to reflect. Acts of daring
wickedness, and defiant or profane language, only served as a cover to a
troubled heart and a restless conscience. The story of his early life,
with its alternate seriousness and folly, anxiety about his soul's
welfare and mad recklessness, reads wonderfully like that of John
Bunyan. How like the records of the life of the Bedford tinker are
these entries in the diary of the Chester shoemaker: "One evening, being
exceedingly cast down, and finding an uncommon weight upon my spirits, I
went to preaching, and while Mr. Guilford was describing the happiness
of the righteous in glory, my heart melted like wax before the fire. In
a moment all that heaviness was removed, and the love of God was so
abundantly shed abroad in my heart, that I could scarcely refrain from
crying out in the preaching-house." ... "When preaching was over, I went
into a place near St. Martin's Churchyard, which adjoined the
preaching-house, and there I poured out my soul before the Lord in
prayer and praise, and continued rejoicing in God my Saviour most of the
night." He was then less than fourteen years of age; his companions at
the work-room were of a godless sort, and after a few months' enjoyment
of mental peace and joy, their injurious influence began to tell upon
him. By degrees he abandoned his prayerful habits, and surrendered
himself to the power of evil, until at length he "became acquainted with
the vilest of the vile," and imbibed their spirit and followed their
example. To what depths he sank the following sentences from his diary
will show: "It is impossible to express the feelings of my mind, on some
occasions during this apostasy from God; especially once, when one of
the greatest reprobates I ever knew was constrained to own that he was
shocked to hear me swear such oaths as I often did.[9] ... For a moment
I felt a degree of compunction, but gave away to despair and drowned the
conviction." The reproof which Bunyan received under similar
circumstances led him to drop the practice of swearing; but Bradburn
went on in his evil ways as resolutely as ever. For several years he
seems to have led a reckless life, joining in vicious company, indulging
a passion for "gaming," or gambling, to such an extent that he would
even go to bed and rise and dress again when the rest of the household
were asleep, in order to go out through the window and join his gambling
and betting companions. At last he became so enamoured of sinful follies
that he snatched the opportunity, which a few words of complaint from
his father afforded, to take offence and leave home, "in order to go and
lodge with some abandoned young men, in order to have his full swing
without being curbed by any one." His wages were but small, and as he
took half of them home he had but a small pittance to live upon: yet
such was his craze at this time for bad company and "gaming," that he
lived often for two days on a penny loaf, and went in rags rather than
confess his error to his parents and ask their aid. One good quality
kept him from utter ruin at this time, and it seems to have been the
only one that remained in a lively state. He speaks of "the affection he
had for his mother, whom he still loved as his own soul." He could not
endure her tears and tender reproofs, and left his home in order that he
might not have to suffer the constant reproach of her good character and
loving entreaties. To such lengths will a passion for sinful amusements
drive even a youth of sensitive nature and generous disposition. Nothing
can be more deplorable than the account he gives of his sinful
infatuation at this the worst period of his youthful career. "I spent
almost a twelvemonth in this truly pitiable way of life, and during that
time do not remember enjoying one satisfactory moment. My clothes were
now almost worn out, and my wages were not sufficient to supply me with
more; yet, such was my folly, I still persisted in the same way,
glorying even in my shame, till my life seemed nearly finished, and the
measure of my iniquity almost full; and, to all appearance, there was
but a step betwixt me and everlasting death."

     [9] This incident will remind readers of the following
     account given by Bunyan of a similar incident in his early
     life: "One day, as I was standing at my neighbor's shop-window,
     and there cursing and swearing, after my wonted manner, there
     sate within the woman of the house and heard me, who, though
     she was a loose and ungodly wretch, protested that I cursed and
     swore at such a rate that she trembled to hear me.... At this
     reproof I was silenced and put to secret shame, and that too,
     as I thought, before the God of heaven."

At eighteen years of age this miserable course of sin came to an end.
Bradburn was led "by the hand of Providence to work in the house of a
Methodist." He had about this time, also, become so weak and ailing in
health, as the result of his pernicious habits, that he was compelled to
yield to his parents' entreaties to go and live at home. Good example,
kind words, and wise counsel, combined with the beneficial effects of
separation from his old companions, soon began to tell upon his
conscience. As might be expected, the sense of sin, when once it was
awakened in him, was most intense. It was no wonder that such a youth as
Samuel Bradburn should have "experiences" which men of a milder
temperament are strangers to, and cannot perhaps appreciate. After he
had mused for a time, and thought upon his ways, he became suddenly,
and, as it seemed then, most unaccountably convinced of sin, and led to
cherish the most anxious concern to find peace with God. "One evening,"
he writes in his diary, "at the close of the year 1769, while I was
making a few cursory remarks on the season, and looking at some decayed
flowers in a garden adjoining the house I worked in, I was suddenly
carried, as it were, out of myself with the thought of death and
eternity.... My sins were set as in battle array before me, particularly
that of ingratitude to a good and gracious God. This caused my very
bones to tremble, and my soul to be horribly afraid. Hell from beneath
seemed moved to meet me.... The effects of those convictions were such
that I could scarcely reach home, though but a little way off. I went to
bed, but found no rest. I sunk under the weight of my distress, gave
myself up to despair, and for some time lost the use of my reason." For
several days the poor sin-stricken youth lay as if in a high fever, and
raved of judgment and perdition. It was three months ere he entered into
a state of quiet, firm, intelligent, Christian faith, bringing peace and
rest to his mind. His excellent and godly master helped him somewhat
during this long and terrible struggle in the "slough of despond."
Several "evangelists," in the character of gospel ministers, pointed out
the way of life to him, but they were not of so much service as might
have been expected. A "roll which he carried in his hand," on which was
written, "The Door of Salvation Opened by the Key of Regeneration," was
of great value in showing the way to the blessedness he sought. In fact,
it was during the reading of this little treatise on the life of faith
that his spirit first seemed to hear the divine words, "_Peace, be
still_." There could be no mistake about the young shoemaker's
conversion. Account for it as men might, the change was marvellous, and
infinitely beneficial, as we shall see, no less to his neighbors than to
himself; for Samuel Bradburn was intensely social, and bound to
influence his friends in one way or another, as well as to be influenced
by them. It was impossible for him to remain inactive when a great
impulse moved within him. The desire to go out and speak of the joy he
had found, and the means by which he had found it, soon became a ruling
passion. It is the desire which makes the philanthropist, the preacher,
the missionary. The language in which he attempts to describe that
indescribable joy of the renewed heart is but another reading of the old
gospel truth: "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things
are passed away; behold, all things are become new."[10] Alluding to
the reading of the little book above mentioned, he says: "Such an
unspeakable power accompanied the words to my soul, that, being unable
to control myself, I rose from my seat and went into the garden, where I
had spent many a melancholy hour; but, oh, how changed now! Instead of
terror and despair I felt my heart overflowing with joy, and my eyes
with grateful tears. My soul was in such an ecstasy that my poor
emaciated body was as strong and active as I ever remember it, and not
at that time only, for the strength and activity remained. I had now no
fear of death, but rather longed to die, knowing that the blessed Jesus
was _my_ Saviour; that God was reconciled to _me_ through Him; that
nothing but the thread of life kept me from His glorious presence. Now
the whole creation wore a different aspect. The stars which shone
exceeding bright appeared more glorious than before. Such was my happy
frame that I imagined myself in the company of the holy angels, who, I
believed, were made more happy on my account, and doubtless those
ministering spirits did feel new degrees of joy on seeing so vile a
sinner, so wretched a prodigal, come home to the arms of his heavenly
Father.[11] O Thou eternal God!" he exclaims, "Thou transporting delight
of my soul! preserve and support, me through life, that I may at last
enjoy the heaven of love which I then felt overpowering my spirit."

     [10] 2 Cor. 5:17.

     [11] There was surely a Scriptural reason for this
     feeling. See Luke 15:7, 10, and Heb. 1:15.

Bradburn at once joined the Methodist Society at Chester. His master's
son, a boy of twelve, and many other young people, began to attend the
"class-meetings" about the same time. Among his work-fellows, also,
there were some who rejoiced in the light which now filled young
Bradburn's soul, and their conversation and hymn-singing while at work,
and their union in prayer before quitting the workroom at the close of
the day, made the new time a perpetual Sabbath, and the shoemaker's room
"a perfect paradise." In March, 1770, after the usual period of
probation, he was admitted to full membership, and received what the
Methodists call "his first ticket." He was not long in discovering, as
every one else has done in similar circumstances, that the change,
though genuine, was not complete. An outburst of passion, and a growing
desire after disputation on theological matters, in which he found
himself contending for mastery rather than truth, gave him to see that a
sound and secure religious character is a matter of growth and culture
and can only be maintained by watchfulness and prayer, and the careful
formation of habits of piety. And as Thomas à Kempis finely says,
"Custom is overcome by custom," so Bradburn found it, and in order to
put a bar between his spirit and possible temptations, changed his way
of _living_, his _companions_, and his _books_. One day, when John
Wesley was administering the Lord's Supper in the little chapel at
Chester, Bradburn was seized with the idea that he must become a
preacher. For a long time he strove hard to drive it from his mind. But
the more he did so the more it seemed to possess him. His sense of
unfitness for so great an office as that of the preacher, his exalted
notions of the sacredness and responsibility attaching to the office,
and his own deepening conviction, which nothing could resist, that it
was his duty before God to devote himself to the work, made him for a
time positively wretched. He tried the effect of change of residence
upon his feelings in the matter. He was now twenty years of age, and out
of his time. But on visiting his relations at Wrexham, he found that
they and their friends of the Wesleyan Society, to whom he was
introduced, had a common feeling that such a young man ought surely to
exercise his gifts as a speaker. In answer to their entreaties he spoke
several times in their meetings, and thus made his first start in public
speaking. Still the question of preaching was left unsettled, and
disturbed his mind night and day. It became a positive burden to
him--"the burden of the Lord," indeed, and no power of his own could
remove it. Six months after this brief visit to Wrexham, he obtained a
situation, and went to reside in Liverpool, where he fell in with people
much to his mind, who were exceedingly kind to him. They, however, no
sooner came to know him than their opinion was strongly expressed to the
same purport as that of his friends in Chester and Wrexham. In four
months he left Liverpool and returned home, the great life-question
still upon his mind. He dare not settle it, in one way or the other; all
he could do was to resolve to live as near to God as possible, commit
his way unto Him, and submissively wait for the direction of Divine
providence. In this condition of mind he passed the rest of the year
1772. At the beginning of the following year he found employment at
Wrexham, and there took up his abode in the congenial society of his
relations and religious friends. Soon after this the event occurred
which decided the severe and agonizing mental struggle to which he had
been subjected for the last twelve months, and determined the whole
course of his life, and the employment of his rare gifts as a preacher
of the Gospel. On Sunday, February 7th, 1773, the preacher for the day
failed to appear. Young Bradburn was invited by the leaders of the
congregation to take the service. Trembling from head to foot, almost
blind with fear and excitement, and casting himself on divine aid, he
mounts the pulpit stairs. The opening part of the service gives him
confidence, and when the time for preaching comes, he is able to speak
with much freedom and fervor to an appreciative and thankful audience.
In the evening he is once more asked to occupy the pulpit, and this time
he delivers a discourse which is not too long for the hearers, though it
lasts for more than two hours. The next week he preaches to the same
people three times; and now the question is settled, and settled, as he
and his friends are fain to believe, in a providential way: Samuel
Bradburn is _called to be a preacher_, and a preacher of no ordinary
power. He has not waited all these long months for nothing. He has not
run before he was sent. He has not tarried in the desert like Moses,
like Elijah, like Saul of Tarsus, to learn the truth and will of God,
with no beneficial results. He has been called of the Holy Spirit to the
work, and to the work of preaching he must now give himself and his very
best powers, or a woe will rest upon him. He and his Methodist friends
would not trouble themselves for one moment about the question of his
being a shoemaker, or _remaining_ a shoemaker, if he is to become a
preacher. One apostolic precedent was as good as twelve to them in a
matter of this kind, and Paul did not cease to be a tent-maker when the
Holy Ghost said to the church at Antioch, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul
to the work whereunto I have called them."[12]

     [12] Acts 13:2.

Soon after the events just referred to, Bradburn resolved to go and see
the Rev. John Fletcher, Vicar of Madeley in Shropshire, the friend of
Lady Huntingdon, and Benson, and John Wesley. Fletcher had a reputation
for piety and usefulness which few men in his day could equal and none
surpass. He was a great favorite with the followers of John Wesley, not
alone because of his friendship with their leader, but on account of his
saintly life, his evangelistic zeal, and his rare catholicity of spirit.
None worked more faithfully and diligently than he at the College of
Trevecca in Wales, of which he was for several years the president. Yet
he received no emolument for his labors. "Fletcher was no pluralist, for
he did his work at Trevecca without fee or reward, from the sole motive
of being useful."[13] It is said of his apostolic work at Madeley, that
"the parish, containing a degraded, ignorant, and vicious population
employed in mines and iron works, became, under his diligent Christian
culture, a thoroughly different place. His public discourses, his
pastoral conversations, his catechising of the young, his reproofs to
the wicked, his encouragements to the penitent, his accessibility at all
hours, his readiness to go out in the coldest night and the deepest snow
to see the sick or the sorrowing, his establishment of schools, and his
personal efforts in promoting their prosperity--in short, his almost
unrivalled efforts in all kinds of ministerial activity, have thrown
around Madeley beautiful associations not to be matched by the hills and
hanging woods which adorn that hive of industry."[14] Bradburn was
lovingly received at the Madeley vicarage, stayed for several days with
the family, and preached in one of the rooms of the house to a
congregation of villagers. If Fletcher could not ask his shoemaker
friend to officiate in the church, seeing that he had taken no holy
orders, the good vicar had no difficulty or scruple in regard to his
guest's preaching the Gospel in the house. On leaving, young Bradburn
carried away, as a precious treasure of the heart, a deep sense of
Fletcher's holy character, and never forgot the good man's
characteristic remark, "If you should live to preach the gospel forty
years, and be the instrument of saving only one soul, it will be worth
all your labor." Returning home, he went on with his work as a
shoemaker, preaching on Sundays in the chapels at Flint, Mold, Wrexham,
etc., until the beginning of the following year, when he went to reside
with friends at Liverpool. Here his preaching was so much enjoyed by the
congregations of the "circuit" that he was pressed to stay and minister
to them till July, when it was hoped that some arrangement might be made
by the Conference in London by which he would be permanently and
officially appointed to labor among them. Although he had become
somewhat popular by this time, and was warmly welcomed wherever he went
on account of his earnestness and rough eloquence, he was sometimes
regarded with distrust because of his youthful and unclerical appearance
and manner. One good man, who generally entertained the preacher on his
visits, was so annoyed at the sight of "a mere lad" "travelling the
circuit, that he sent young Bradburn to take his meals and sleep in the
garret with the apprentices." After the morning sermon, however, which
surprised and delighted all who heard it, "he was judged worthy to sit
in the preacher's chair" at the table of his host, and at night was
allowed to sleep in the "prophet's chamber." In September of that year
he was not a little surprised to find himself appointed by the
Conference as a regular "travelling preacher on the Liverpool circuit."
It was about this time he had his first interview with John Wesley. The
veteran evangelist's simple and kindly manner affected the young
preacher deeply, and his advice was wonderfully like him: "Beware," said
Wesley, holding young Bradburn by the hand, "beware of the fear of man;
and be sure you speak flat and plain in preaching."

     [13] See Benson's "Life of Fletcher."

     [14] "Religion in England under Queen Anne and the
     Georges." By John Stoughton, D.D., vol. ii. pp. 158, 159.
     Hodder & Stoughton.

In these early days of Methodism, when the denomination was undergoing
the process of rapid growth, it was impossible to wait for men, to meet
the urgent need of the churches, who had gone through a regular process
of ministerial education and training. Such as had the requisite
character and the gift of speech were "called out" and placed over
churches in a manner that would not have been tolerated in later times,
when colleges had come to be established. Yet the work done by men of
Bradburn's stamp was genuinely apostolic, and served, under the divine
blessing, to lay broad and deep the foundations of that Wesleyan
denomination which, in the present day, yields to none of the so-called
"sects" in the culture and moral power of its ministry. It is not to be
supposed that the fluent young shoemaker was insensible to his need of
education. The first year's work in Lancashire taxed his mental
resources severely, and set him wondering many times whether he should
be able to go on preparing new sermons in order to preach repeatedly to
the same congregation. It was consequently an immense relief to him when
the year came to an end, and he found that the Conference at Leeds had
set him down for an entirely new field of labor, at Pembroke, in South

     [15] Bradburn's mother died during his first year's
     ministry. In connection with this event he mentions a
     circumstance which enabled him to be resigned to the
     bereavement, and which many readers will regard with unusual
     interest. "God spared her life, nearly _twelve years_, in
     answer to a prayer which I offered up when she seemed to be
     dying, in which I begged that she might live twelve years
     exactly. I was then very young, and could not bear the thought
     of losing her, but imagined I should be able to part with her
     after those years."

Bradburn felt his poverty in more ways than one. Wesleyan ministers were
then but poorly paid, and men of his generous character, who found it
easier to give to the needy than to economize and save, were often in
great straits for funds. On his way down to Pembroke he was reduced to
his last shilling, and, but for this meeting with Wesley at Brecon,
might have found it an awkward matter to reach his destination. "Apply
to me when you want help," said Wesley to his friend, and very soon
proved his sincerity by prompt assistance when the young pastor made
known his straitened circumstances. The following story is too good to
be omitted. In reply to Bradburn's appeal Wesley sent the following
short letter, inclosing several five-pound notes:

     "DEAR SAMMY: Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou
     dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.--Yours
     affectionately, JOHN WESLEY."

To which Bradburn replied:

     "REV. AND DEAR SIR: I have often been struck with the beauty of
     the passage of Scripture quoted in your letter, but I must
     confess that I never saw such useful expository notes upon it
     before.--I am, Rev. and dear Sir, your obedient and grateful
     servant, S. BRADBURN."

The year spent in South Wales was happy and prosperous, and the churches
at Pembroke, Haverfordwest, and Carmarthen were greatly increased and
well organized under the care of Bradburn and his colleague. By the
Conference in 1776 he was sent to Limerick, and from thence, in four
months, such was the severity of the strain upon his health, he was
removed to Dublin. Here he had met, on first landing in Ireland, with
the young lady who was afterward to become his wife. It was a case of
"mutual admiration" and "love at first sight." Bradburn was a passionate
lover, and could ill brook the delay of two years which had to pass away
before he took the beautiful Miss Nangle to his own home. In one of his
anxious moods, when sick of love and hope deferred, he rose from his
sleepless bed to pray for divine guidance and favor in regard to the
serious business of courtship. It was his custom to pray aloud, and
supposing his colleague, who occupied the same bed, to be fast asleep,
he did not balk his prayer in this instance, finishing a fervent appeal
for divine direction with the simple words, "But, Lord, let it be
Betsey." His bedfellow humorously responded, "Amen," and broke out into
a hearty laugh at poor Bradburn's expense. John Wesley, who favored the
match, and generously interceded in his friend's behalf, both with a
much-dreaded stepmother and the fair one herself, conducted the marriage
ceremony in the house of a friend. He had invited the bride and
bridegroom-elect, and Mrs. Karr the stepmother, "to breakfast with him
at Mrs. King's,[16] the morning after his arrival, being his birthday;
as soon as she (Mrs. Karr) entered he began the ceremony and married us
in the parlor. Pride would not let her affront Mr. Wesley, and she was
forced to appear satisfied." "Wesley," says Bradburn's biographer,[17]
"more than once took up cudgels for his preachers when in difficulties
of this kind, but not in such a summary manner."

     [16] Bradburn's lodgings.

     [17] "Life of Samuel Bradburn." By T. W. Blanshard. P.
     68. Elliot Stock, 1870. A most interesting biography of the
     famous Wesleyan preacher.

Relegated to the Cork and Bandon circuit, he had a very trying time of
it for about a year. One of his memoranda made at this time gives us a
glimpse of his acquirements from his own common-sense point of view, for
Bradburn was a thoroughly sensible and humble man, who never yielded to
ignorant flattery of his pulpit eloquence, nor gave way, as some
self-made men and popular preachers have done, to vanity and conceit.
Self-examination was with him a genuine business, conducted in a
reverent spirit and an honest and altogether healthy fashion. By this
means he came to know himself and act accordingly. Not many men in his
position would have written so sensibly as this: "_Cork, March 31st_
(1779).--I have read and written much this month, but sadly feel the
want of a friend to direct my studies. All with whom I have any
intimacy, know nothing of my meaning when I speak of my ignorance. They
praise my sermons, and consider me a prodigy of learning; and yet what
do I know? a little Latin, a little philosophy, history, divinity, and a
little of many things, all of which serves to convince me of my own
ignorance!" At this time, and for many years after, he preached forty
sermons a month, and sometimes fifty. Even if they were _all_ old
sermons, which would not often be the case, how could a man so employed
find time or energy for close and continuous study? The next four years
are spent at Keighley, Bradford, and Leeds in Yorkshire. When at
Keighley he "travelled" for a time with Wesley, and had an opportunity
of observing the way in which that sainted man wholly devoted his gifts,
his time, and his money to the service of God and his fellow-men.
Wesley's stipend from the Society in London was £30 a year, but the sale
of books, the generosity of the friends at Bristol, and occasional
preaching fees and sundry legacies, brought his yearly income up to
£1000 or £1200; yet he rarely spent more for himself than his meagre
stipend, and regularly gave away _all the rest_. "Thus literally having
nothing, he possessed all things; and though poor, he made many
rich."[18] At Leeds, Bradburn was offered the pastorate of an
Independent Church with a greatly increased salary, but the loyal
Methodist refused the tempting offer. His next appointment was to
Bristol, where he had the misfortune to lose his darling Betsey, who
died of decline in her twenty-ninth year. His colleague had suffered a
similar bereavement, and the stern yet tender-hearted Wesley, then in
his eighty-third year, actually set off from London "in the driven snow"
to go down to Bristol and comfort the two sorrowing preachers. Bradburn
did not long remain a widower. At Gloucester he met Sophia Cooke, "the
pious and godly" Methodist to whom Robert Raikes of Sunday-school fame
had spoken about the poor children in the streets, and asked her, "What
can we do for them?" Miss Cooke replied, "Let us teach them, and take
them to church!" The hint was acted upon, and Raikes and Miss Cooke
"conducted the first company of Sunday scholars to the church, exposed
to the comments and laughter of the populace, as they passed along with
their ragged procession." A better wife for the earnest Methodist
preacher could not have been found than the woman who thus showed her
good sense, her piety, and her courage, in starting the Sunday-school
movement. In 1786 Wesley showed his appreciation of Bradburn's excellent
qualities by getting him appointed to the London Circuit in order to
have his assistance in superintending the affairs of the Connection.
Here he met with Charles Wesley, and, at the time of his death in 1788,
Bradburn stood by the dying man's bed offering up earnest prayer for
him, and calling to his mind the truths of that Gospel which he had done
so much to spread throughout the world by his unrivalled hymns. John
Wesley himself died three years afterward, 2d March, 1791, and Bradburn,
then at Manchester, published a pamphlet entitled, "A Sketch of Mr.
Wesley's Character," in which he gave a most interesting epitome of the
chief points in the history and labors of his father in the Gospel.
Bradburn, now looked upon as one of the foremost men in the Connection,
united with eight others in issuing a circular giving an outline of
policy for the guidance of the Conference at its next session. The
utmost care and wisdom were needed in order to keep the various elements
of Methodism together; and few men in those days were more conspicuous
and useful than Bradburn in guiding the counsels of the assembled
ministers. He was elected to preach before the Conference at its next
session in Manchester, and so moved his audience by his impassioned
appeal for unity and loyalty to the good cause that had now lost its
earthly leader, that all in the chapel rose to their feet in response to
his stimulating words. In 1796, when stationed at Bath, he was made
secretary of the Conference, and held the office three years in
succession. In 1799 his brethren showed their esteem for him by choosing
him as _President_, and thus giving him the highest honor which they had
it in their power to bestow.

     [18] Bradburn's Life, see above, pp. 85, 86.

Among Methodists Bradburn is regarded as one of the most eloquent and
powerful preachers the denomination has produced. He had all the natural
gifts of a great orator, and these, combined with fervent piety and a
single and lofty purpose in preaching, invested his discourses with a
charm and an influence rarely wielded by public speakers. "Possessed of
a commanding figure, dignified carriage, graceful action, mellow voice,
ready utterance, correct ear, exuberant imagination, an astonishing
memory, and an extensive acquaintance with his mother tongue, he could
move an assembly as the summer breeze stirs the standing corn."[19] This
elocutionary power was not gained without much care and diligent labor.
He was a hard reader, and a most painstaking sermonizer, for though he
never used the manuscript in the pulpit but preached extempore, after
the fashion of the times, he nevertheless prepared his discourses with
great skill and labor. The following sentences from his biography will
sufficiently illustrate this point.[20] "His own bold, easy, and correct
English was such as no man acquires without perseverance in a right use
of means. His diligence may be inferred from one of his reported sayings
on leaving Manchester--that he had twelve hundred outlines of sermons
untouched (not used in preaching in the circuit) at the end of three
years' ministrations. The result of such endowments, improved, with such
assiduity, amid all the hindrances and discouragements of a laborious
and harassing vocation, was, that to be comprehensive and lucid in
arrangement; beautifully clear in statement or exposition; weighty,
nervous, and acute in argumentation; copious, various, and interesting
in illustration; overwhelming in pathos; to wield at will the ludicrous
or the tender, the animating, the sublime, or the terrible--seems to
have been habitually in his power." The Rev. Richard Watson, author of
the "Institutes," "walked twenty miles to hear the far-famed Mr.
Bradburn preach; and he never lost the impression which that
distinguished orator produced." Watson thus describes his impressions:
"I am not a very excitable subject, but Mr. Bradburn's preaching
affected my whole frame. I felt a thrill to the very extremity of my
fingers, and my hair actually seemed to stand on end." The biographer of
the Rev. Jabez Bunting says of Bradburn: "His career was brilliant and
useful; and perhaps more men longed, but durst not try, to preach like
him than like any other preacher of his time.... Bradburn was without
exception the most consummate orator we ever heard." And the author of
Bradburn's life concludes the citation of a number of testimonies with
the following strongly expressed opinion of his merits as a pulpit
orator: "Methodism has produced a host of preachers renowned for pulpit
eloquence. The names of Benson, Lessey, Watson, Newton, Beaumont, and
others, stand out in bold relief on the page of her history, but the
highest niche in her temple of fame belongs, most unquestionably, to

     [19] Bradburn's Life, pp. 177, 178.

     [20] Ibid., pp. 183, 184.

Like most men of genius he had a strong sense of humor, enjoyed a joke
most heartily, was ready and pithy in repartee, and seldom at a loss for
spirit and tact in extricating himself from difficulties. Many a good
story might be told, did space allow, in illustration of this feature of
his character. One or two must suffice. Perhaps the smartest thing he
ever did in outwitting the early opponents of Methodism was done in a
certain small town, in one of his own circuits, where, in the early days
of the movement, the preacher and his friends had often "been driven off
the field by a mob, headed by the clergyman." Bradburn understood the
state of affairs thoroughly, and resolved to go down to the parish and
preach in the open air. Notice of his coming was duly forwarded, and
the clergyman ordered constables and others to be in attendance at the
time and place appointed for the service. Meanwhile Bradburn having
"provided himself with a new suit of clothes, borrowed a new wig of a
Methodist barber," and "went to the place, put his horse up at the inn,
attended the morning service at church, placed himself in a conspicuous
situation so as to attract the notice of the clergyman, and, when the
service was closed, he went up to him on his way out, accosted him as a
brother, and thanked him for his sermon. The clergyman, judging from his
appearance and address that he was a minister of some note, gave him an
invitation to his house. Bradburn respectfully declined, on the ground
that he had ordered dinner, and expressed a hope that the clergyman
would dine with him at the inn. He did so, and Bradburn having
entertained him until dinner was over with his extraordinary powers of
conversation, managed to refer to the open-air service which was to be
held, and the clergyman stated his intention to arrest the preacher and
disperse the congregation, and asked Bradburn to accompany him, which he
did. On arriving at the appointed place they found a large company
assembled; and as no preacher had made his appearance, the clergyman
concluded that fear had kept him away, and was about to order the people
to their homes when Bradburn remarked that it would "be highly improper
to neglect so favorable an opportunity of doing good, and urged him to
preach to them. He excused himself by saying that he had no sermon in
his pocket, and asked Bradburn to address them, which, of course, he
readily consented to do, and commenced the service by singing part of
the hymn beginning--

    'Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
    My great Redeemer's praise,'

and, after praying, delivered an impressive discourse from Acts 5:38,
39, 'And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone;
for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but
if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to
fight against God.' This not only deeply affected the people, but so
delighted the clergyman, that although he knew, as the service
proceeded, that he had been duped, he heartily thanked Bradburn for the
deception he had practised on him, and ever afterward, to the day of his
death, showed a friendly disposition toward Methodism."[21]

     [21] Bradburn's Life, pp. 233-235.

The same readiness of resource and good humor were shown in the
management of the affairs of the society in his capacity as a pastor. On
one occasion, when he resided in Manchester, two ladies, district
visitors, went to the house of an old woman, a member of the society,
who was a laundress, and finding her hard at work accosted her with the
remark: "Betty, you are busy." "Yes, mum," said Betty, "as busy as the
devil in a whirlwind!" Shocked by such an indecorous speech, the
visitors threatened to report it to Mr. Bradburn. Afraid of what she had
done, and the consequence, if it should come to the preacher's ears,
Betty, as soon as the ladies had gone away, set off by the quickest
route to see Mr. Bradburn and relate the whole affair, and thus
anticipate the report from the ladies themselves. She found Bradburn
"engaged in his vocation as cobbler for his family." "He listened to
Betty's simple story, and engaged to put the matter right, if she would
try to be more guarded in the future. She had scarcely got clear away
when the two ladies arrived with their melancholy story of Betty's
irreverence. They were asked into the room, and seeing him at his
somewhat unclerical employment, one of them observed quite unthinkingly,
'Mr. Bradburn, you are busy!' 'Yes,' returned Bradburn, with great
gravity, 'as busy as the devil in a whirlwind!' This remark from Betty
was sufficiently startling, but from Bradburn it was horrifying. Seeing
their consternation, he explained how busy the devil was in Job's days,
when he raised the whirlwind which 'smote the four corners of the
house,' where the patriarch's children were feasting, and slew them. It
is, perhaps, needless to add that the two ladies left without mentioning
the object of their visit."[22]

     [22] Bradburn's Life, pp. 228, 229.

Hating the false pride which leads a man to forget his humble origin,
and the canting way in which some men talk of their sacrifices in
entering the ministry, he once severely rebuked two young men who made a
parade in company of having "given up _all_ for the ministry." "Yes,
dear brethren," said he, "some of you have had to sacrifice your all for
the itinerancy; but we old men have had our share of these trials. As
for myself, I made a double sacrifice, for I gave up for the ministry
two of the best _awls_ in the kingdom--a great sacrifice, truly, to
become an ambassador of God in the church, and a gentleman in society!"
His ready wit was sometimes displayed like that of Hugh Latimer, Dean
Swift, and Sydney Smith, in the selections of texts for sermons on
special occasions. Preaching at the opening of a chapel entirely built
with borrowed money, he took as a text the words of the young man to
Elisha the prophet:[23] "Alas, master, for it was borrowed." On a snowy
winter's day, when the congregation was very small, he selected the
words which describe the character of the virtuous woman,[24] "She is
not afraid of the snow."

     [23] 2 Kings 6:5.

     [24] Proverbs 31:21.

That Samuel Bradburn was not perfect none will need to be told, yet it
will surprise and pain every one to read that so great and good a man,
honored and beloved of his brethren for many years, and useful beyond
computation as a preacher, should have been "overtaken in a fault," for
which the Conference, in the exercise of a rigorous discipline, saw fit
to suspend him for a year. After the lapse of this time he came back
again to his old position, penitent and humble, like David or Peter, and
like them fully restored to the Divine favor. This singular and
melancholy event appears to have been due as much to _mental_ as _moral_
derangement, and in a short while, such was the sincerity of his sorrow
and the blameless character of his after-life, his brethren were
thankful to forget it, and to place him once more in positions of high
trust and honor in the Connection. The last ten years of his life were
spent in the important circuits of Bolton, Bath, Wakefield, Bristol,
Liverpool, and East London. He died in London, July 26th, 1816, in the
sixty-sixth year of his age. At the time of his decease the Conference
was sitting in London. As a token of esteem and affection all its
members joined in the funeral service at the New Chapel, City Road. He
was buried in Old Methodist graveyard, City Road, by the side of his
friend John Wesley, in the last resting-place of many of the fathers and
founders of the Wesleyan Connection.


William Gifford,


    "Not mine the soul that pants not after fame--
    Ambitious of a poet's envied name,
    I haunt the sacred fount, athirst to prove
    The grateful influence of the stream I love."

    --_The Baviad; William Gifford._

"It is on all hands conceded, that the success which attended the
'Quarterly' from the outset was due, in no small degree, to the ability
and tact with which Gifford discharged his editorial
duties."--_Encyclopædia Britannica._

"I am not more certain of many conjectures than I am that he never
propagated a dishonest opinion, nor did a dishonest act."--_Writer in
the Literary Gazette._


The field of literature seems always to have had a special charm for
shoemakers. If the reader will glance for a moment at the list of names
given at the end of this book, this fact will be at once apparent. Half,
or more than half, the names given in that list are in some way or other
connected with literature. The connection is but slight in many
instances, perhaps, and the reputation it conferred only local and
temporary. Few of our shoemakers, even though we have thought well to
style them "illustrious," can be said to have made a great and lasting
name in the world of letters; and none of them it must be confessed have
attained to first rank as prose or poetical writers. But there are
worthies in our list, associated alike with the humble craft of
shoemaking and the higher walks of literature, whose names the world
will not willingly let die, and we venture to think that the subject of
this sketch is one of the number.

William Gifford was the first editor of the _London Quarterly Review_.
The high and influential position held by this journal was mainly due in
the first instance to Gifford's talent and excellent management. The
_London Quarterly_ was started in opposition to the famous _Edinburgh
Quarterly_; George Canning, the celebrated statesman, and Sir Walter
Scott, the great novelist, being the prime movers and early patrons of
the enterprise, for the _Edinburgh_, under the clever management of
Jeffrey, and supported by such writers as Sydney Smith and Brougham, was
then too liberal in its tone to suit the taste of the brilliant Foreign
Secretary and his Tory friends. It was no slight testimony to the
abilities of the man who was chosen as the first editor of the new
_Quarterly_ that his election should have been cordially approved by the
first of Scottish novelists, and one of the most influential of English

Gifford was the author of two satirical poems, the "Baviad" and
"Maeviad," directed against the tawdry and sentimental rhymesters of a
certain school which flourished in his day.[25] His scathing satire
succeeded in putting an end to their trash. Gifford published also a
translation of the Latin poets, Juvenal and Persius. To the latter he
prefixed the story of his own early life as a poor cobbler's apprentice.
From this interesting autobiography the materials for the following
sketch have been chiefly selected. William Gifford's best title to fame
was, no doubt, his edition of the "Early English Dramatists"--Ford,
Massinger, Shirley, and Ben Jonson. His generous and able vindication of
Jonson reflects credit both upon the critic and the poet. It should be
added that Gifford's editorship of the _Quarterly_ extended over fifteen
years, and that during the whole of this period he was the writer of a
large number of its most able articles.

     [25] The "Della Cruscan school." See below.

Having taken a glimpse of the work accomplished by William Gifford as a
critic, a scholar, and an editor in the latter years of his life, let us
turn to look at his circumstances in boyhood and youth, when, as a
miserable cobbler's apprentice, he began to yearn after knowledge and to
cherish ambitious dreams. The contrast between the first and last scenes
in the drama of life could hardly be more wonderful than that which is
presented in the history of the man who passed from the cobbler's stool
to the editor's chair.

William Gifford was born at the small town of Ashburton, in South Devon,
in 1757. His father, who was a man of spendthrift and profligate habits,
died of the effects of his evil conduct before he had attained the age
of forty. In twelve months afterward Gifford's mother died, leaving
William, and a little brother two years old, orphans, and, it would
seem, penniless. As no home could be found for the infant, he was sent
to the workhouse. William, then thirteen years of age, fell into the
hands of a man named Carlisle, who had stood as his godfather, a
worthless fellow, who had appropriated the few things left by the
mother, on pretence of claiming them for debt. This man put William to
school, where he began to show signs of ability; but he was allowed no
chance of making progress; for, at the end of three months, grudging the
slight cost of his tuition, Carlisle took the boy from his books and
playmates, and put him to the plough. It was soon found that he was too
weak for such heavy work. His guardian now tried to get the boy out of
hand altogether, by sending him off to Newfoundland as an errand-boy in
a grocery store. This unkind project, however, being doomed to failure,
it was resolved that the troublesome charge should be got rid of by
making him a sailor.

We give the account of what happened at this period in his own words:
"My godfather had now humbler views for me, and I had no heart to resist
anything. He proposed to send me on board one of the Torbay
fishing-boats. I ventured, however, to remonstrate against this, and the
matter was compromised by my consenting to go on board a coaster. A
coaster was speedily found for me at Brixham, and thither I went when
little more than thirteen years of age. It will easily be conceived that
my life was a life of hardship. I was not only a ship-boy on the high
and giddy mast, but also in the cabin, where every menial office fell to
my lot. Yet if I was restless and discontented it was not so much on
account of this as of my being prevented reading, as my master did not
possess a single book of any description, excepting a Coasting Pilot."

Gifford was on board this vessel for about twelve months, a time of
untold suffering and degradation. In fact, his position was so
deplorable that some women from Ashburton, who went down to Brixham to
buy fish, shocked to see the boy running about the beach in ragged
clothes, spoke so plainly on their return home about the hardship of his
lot, that his godfather was compelled for very shame to send for him
home again. He was once more put to school, and now made such rapid
strides in arithmetic that on an emergency he was invited to assist the
school-master. He goes on in his own narrative to say that these
encouragements led him to entertain the idea that he might be able to
get his own living by teaching, and as his first master "was now grown
old and infirm, it seemed unlikely that he should hold out above three
or four years, and I fondly flattered myself," he adds, "that
notwithstanding my youth I might possibly be appointed to succeed him."
It is worth while to notice that he was but a boy in his teens when he
first began to feel the noble spirit of ambition stir within him, and to
cherish the laudable desire to rely upon his own efforts for his
maintenance. It was this lofty and self-reliant spirit which carried him
past all his difficulties; and, truth to tell, no one has ever done
anything remarkable in the world without it. The youth who is altogether
destitute of ambition, and is ever on the look-out for the help of
friends, lacks the first elements of success in life. But Gifford's
bravery and persistence of mind had to be severely tested before meeting
with their due reward.

Proceeding with his pathetic story, he says: "I was about fifteen years
of age when I built these castles in the air. A storm, however, was
collecting, which unexpectedly burst upon me and swept them all away. On
mentioning my plan to my guardian, he treated it with the utmost
contempt, and told me he had been negotiating with his cousin, a
shoemaker of some respectability, who had liberally consented to take
me, without fee, as an apprentice. I was so shocked at this intelligence
that I did not venture to remonstrate, but went in sullenness and
silence to my new master, to whom I was bound till I should attain the
age of twenty-one. At this period I had read nothing but a romance
called 'Parismus,' a few loose magazines--the Bible, indeed, I was well
acquainted with; these, with the 'Imitation of Thomas à Kempis,' which I
used to read to my mother on her death-bed, constituted the whole of my
literary acquisitions."

The account which follows has few things to equal it in the records of
struggling genius. It will serve to show how abject and apparently
hopeless was his condition as a student at this time of his life, and
will show also, what it may be hoped no youth who reads these pages will
fail to learn, how marvellous is the power of energy and perseverance to
triumph over apparently insuperable obstacles.

"I possessed," Gifford writes, "at this time but one book in-the world;
it was a treatise on algebra given to me by a young woman who had found
it in a lodging-house. I considered it a treasure; but it was a treasure
locked up, for it supposed the reader to be acquainted with simple
equations, and I knew nothing of the matter." He then speaks of meeting
with a book called Fenning's "Introduction" belonging to his master's
son, who, by the way, was discovered afterward to have been all through
this time a secret rival for the head-mastership. This "Introduction"
gave Gifford just the information required to carry him forward into the
study of algebra. But he was compelled to study it by stealth, lest it
should be taken from him, and he goes on to say: "I sat up for the
greater part of several nights successively and completely mastered it.
I could now enter upon my own, and that carried me pretty far into the
science. This was not done without difficulty. I had not a farthing on
earth, nor a friend to give me one; pen, ink, and paper, therefore, were
for the most part as completely out of my reach as a crown and sceptre.
There was, indeed, a resource, but the utmost caution and secrecy were
necessary in applying to it. I beat out pieces of leather as smooth as
possible and wrought my problems on them with a blunted awl; for the
rest my memory was tenacious, and I could multiply and divide by it to a
great extent."

Strange to say, although he displayed so much ability and zeal in the
study of mathematics, he was not destined to achieve distinction in that
department of study. A very trifling incident led to the exercise of new
gifts, and turned the tide of his evil fortune. A shopmate had made a
few verses on the blunder of a painter in the village who was engaged to
paint a lion for a sign-board, and had produced a dog instead. Gifford
thought he could beat the verses of his shopmate, and accordingly tried
his hand at rhyme. His associates all agreed in pronouncing young
Gifford's verses the better of the two. This encouraged him to try
again, and in the course of a short time he had composed about a dozen
pieces. He says: "They were talked of in my little circle, and I was
sometimes invited to repeat them out of it. I never committed a line to
paper--first, because I had no paper; and, second, because I was afraid,
for my master had already threatened me for inadvertently hitching the
name of one of his customers into a rhyme." The rest of this account of
his poetical adventures would be amusing if it were not for the pathos
which underlies it, and the fact that it is the prelude to one of the
most painful incidents in the sad story of Gifford's early life.
Referring to these recitals of his poetical pieces he says: "These
repetitions were always attended by applause, and sometimes by favors
more substantial; little collections were now and then made, and I have
received sixpence in an evening(!). To one who had long lived in the
absolute want of money such a resource seemed a Peruvian mine. I
furnished myself by degrees with paper, etc., and, what was of more
importance, with books of geometry and of the higher branches of
algebra, which I cautiously concealed. Poetry even at this time was no
amusement of mine. I only had recourse to it when I wanted money for my
mathematical pursuits. But the clouds were gathering fast. My master's
anger was raised to a terrible pitch by my indifference to his concerns,
and still more by my presumptuous attempts at versification. I was
required to give up my papers, and when I refused, was searched, my
little hoard of books discovered and removed, and all future repetitions
prohibited in the strictest manner. This was a severe stroke, I felt it
most sensibly, and it was followed by another, severer still, a stroke
which crushed the hopes I had so long and fondly cherished, and
resigned me at once to despair. Mr. Hugh, Smerdon, the master of the
school on whose succession I had calculated, died and was succeeded by a
person not much older than myself, and certainly not so well qualified
for the situation."

Poor Gifford! hard, indeed, was thy lot; an orphan without friends,
helpers, or sympathizers, having no proper leisure or means for study or
recreation, and even the little pleasure and profit wrung from a few
ciphering books and doggerel verses snatched away by cruel hands;
trodden down like a worm in the mire, and every particle of talent and
ambition threatened with extinction! For six long years this misery
lasted in one form or another, while he strove to hope on against hope,
and found himself compelled to labor at a trade which he declares he
hated from the first with a perfect hatred, and never, consequently,
made any progress in. What could be more miserable and disheartening?
But to the industrious and patient, as "to the upright, _there ariseth
light in the darkness_." No darker hour occurred in all Gifford's
miserable boyhood and youth than that which is described in the
sentences just quoted. And now the light is about to appear. A friend
comes upon the scene, to whose generous interference the unhappy cobbler
owed the educational advantages he afterward enjoyed. His obligations to
this benefactor were always most readily and warmly expressed; for
whatever faults Gifford might have, he was never charged with the
meanness of forgetting his lowly origin, and the generous friend by whom
he had been rescued from a wretched condition and introduced to a
happier state of life. He speaks of his benefactor as bearing "a name
never to be pronounced by him without veneration." This gentleman, Mr.
Cooksley, was a surgeon in the neighborhood. He had accidentally heard
of the young cobbler's poetry, and sought an interview with him. Gifford
went down to the surgeon's house, and, encouraged by the kindness he
received, told the story of his attempts at self-culture, and of the
hardships he had undergone. Deeply moved by the touching story, and
convinced of the young man's natural abilities and desert of
encouragement, Mr. Cooksley resolved, there and then, on liberating the
youth from the thraldom of his situation. The first thing was to free
him from the bonds of his apprenticeship, and the next to give him the
advantages of regular instruction. He was then twenty years of age, and
he says, "My handwriting was bad, and my language very incorrect."
Accordingly, a subscription was started to furnish funds for this
twofold purpose. It read as follows: "A subscription for purchasing the
remainder of the time of William Gifford, and for enabling him to
improve himself in writing and English grammar." The kindness of
Cooksley and a few other friends, whose sympathies were enlisted by his
generous zeal for the youth, enabled him to receive two years'
instruction from a clergyman, the Rev. Thomas Smerdon, who resided in
the locality. Such was the progress made by Gifford, that at the end of
that time his instructor pronounced him quite prepared for the
university. Again Mr. Cooksley proved a friend. By his efforts and
promises of support Gifford was entered at Exeter College, Oxford.
Unfortunately his noble patron died before Gifford could take his
degree. But he was not suffered to leave Oxford on account of Mr.
Cooksley's death. He found a second patron in Lord Grosvenor, by whose
aid the grateful undergraduate was enabled to finish his term. The
culture which he received in the university must have been very thorough
and complete, evincing itself in refinement of manner as well as
scholarship of no ordinary degree, for in the course of a few years
after leaving Ashburton, we learn that the late shoemaker was taken into
the family of Lord Grosvenor as private tutor and travelling companion
to his son Lord Belgrave. The circumstance which led to Lord Grosvenor's
patronage of Gifford was remarkable, and deserves to be recorded as an
illustration of the fact that an accident may lead to the most important
events in our history. But we must premise, first of all, as a safeguard
against a false inference or false hopes, that _such_ accidents are sure
to come in the way of _industrious, clever_ and _deserving_ men. If they
occur to men of a different stamp they are of no avail. If William
Gifford had not been a hard-working student, such a circumstance as the
accidental perusal of one of his letters by a person for whom it was not
intended could not have helped his fortunes in the least. It appears
that he had been in the habit of corresponding with a friend in London
on literary matters. His letters to this friend were sent under covers,
and in order to save postage were left at Lord Grosvenor's. One day the
address of the literary friend was omitted, and his lordship, supposing
the letter to be for himself, opened and read it. The contents excited
his admiration, and awakened his curiosity to know who the author could
be. He was sent for, and after an interview, in which, for the second
time in his life, he told the story of his early struggles to willing
and sympathizing ears, he was invited by Lord Grosvenor to come and
reside with him.

It is deeply gratifying to record instances of disinterested generosity
of this kind, and to read the glowing language in which the thankful
young student refers to the kindness of his noble patron. Referring to
the invitation to live with Lord Grosvenor, and his promise of honorable
maintenance, Gifford says, "These were not words of course, they were
more than fulfilled in every point. I did go and reside with him, and I
experienced a warm and cordial reception, and a kind and affectionate
esteem that has known neither diminution nor interruption, from that
hour to this, a period of twenty years."

In 1794, his "Baviad" was published, in imitation of the satires of
Persius, and in the following year the "Mæviad," after the style of
Horace. These names were taken from the third Eclogue of Virgil--

    "He may with foxes plough and milk he-goats,
    Who praises _Bavius_ or on _Mævius_ dotes."

These terribly virulent satires, like those of Boileau and Pope, were
aimed at contemporary poets of an inferior order, and like them, too,
were most crushing in their effect. The _Della Cruscan School_[26] never
smiled, or rather smirked, again after the issue of the Baviad and
Mæviad. But it is a rare thing to meet with a critic or a satirist who
escapes the danger of committing a fault in condemning one. Gifford did
not escape this danger. His lines certainly did not answer to the

    "Satire should, like a polished razor keen,
    Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen."

     [26] The name Cruscan was taken from the Florentine
     Academy, by Robert Merry, the founder of this school of mawkish
     and affected poetasters.

His unhappy victims were hacked and hewed in pieces in a merciless and
barbarous manner; while the spectators enjoyed the savage sport, and
accorded the cruel executioner a wreath of laurel for the vigor and
talent displayed in his unenviable task. These satires first made
Gifford's name in the world of letters. But his fame as a scholar was
established chiefly on his translations of Persius and Juvenal, and his
excellent editions, with valuable notes, of the early "English
Dramatists." Speaking of Gifford's edition of Ben Jonson's dramatic and
other works, John Kemble, the most accomplished actor of his day, says,
"It is the best edition, by the ablest of modern commentators, through
whose learned and generous labors old Ben's forgotten works and injured
character are restored to the merited admiration and esteem of the

The celebrity thus obtained, along with the friendship of the leading
Tory politicians of the day, secured for Gifford the position of editor
of the _London Quarterly_. It ought to be stated that when Mr. Channing
started the _Anti-Jacobin_ in 1797, Gifford was entrusted with the
conduct of that journal, and had thus acquired a little experience of
journalism. His connection with this paper, which came out weekly,
lasted only for a year. But he managed the _Quarterly_, as we have said,
for fifteen years, that is, from 1809, the date of its commencement, to
1824, when ill-health compelled him to lay his pen aside.

The plan of this new journal had originated with John Murray, the famous
publisher, and had received the hearty support of Walter Scott, Egbert
Southey, Canning, Rose, Disraeli, and Hookham Frere. The first number,
containing three articles by Walter Scott, was published on the 1st
February, 1809, and was immediately sold out, a second edition being
called for. Canning wrote for the second number, and Southey became a
constant and most prolific contributor. "For the first hundred and
twenty-six numbers he wrote ninety-four articles, many of them of great
permanent value."[27] At John Murray's "drawing-rooms," where the
leading literary men of the day were wont to assemble at four o'clock,
Gifford met with a brilliant assemblage of poets, novelists, historians,
artists, and others. Murray the publisher delighted "to gather together
such men as Byron, Scott, Moore, Campbell, Southey, Gifford, Hallam,
Lockhart, Washington Irving, and Mrs. Somerville; and, more than this,
he invited such artists as Lawrence, Wilkie, Phillips, Newton, and
Pickersgill, to meet them and paint them, that they might hang forever
on his walls."[28] It was in reference to one of Murray's "publishers'
dinners" Byron wrote the lines in which occurs the following allusion to

    "A party dines with me to-day,
    All clever men who make their way;
    Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton, and Chantrey
    Are all partakers of my pantry.

    My room's so full--we've Gifford here,
    Reading MS. with Hookham Frere,
    Pronouncing on the nouns and particles
    Of some of our forthcoming articles."

     [27] "History of Booksellers." H. Curwen. Chatto &
     Windus. P. 175.

     [28] Ibid., pp. 180, 181.

A writer in the _Literary Gazette_,[29] who had the pleasure of
Gifford's personal acquaintance, has made the following interesting
notes upon his private character, and his conduct as an editor. "He
never stipulated for any salary as editor; at first he received £200,
and at last £900 per annum, but never engaged for a particular sum. He
several times returned money to Murray, saying 'he had been too
liberal.' Perhaps he was the only man on this side the Tweed who thought
so! He was perfectly indifferent about wealth, I do not know a better
proof of this than the fact that he was richer, by a very considerable
sum, at the time of his death than he was at all aware of. In unison
with his contempt of money was his disregard of any external
distinction; he had a strong natural aversion to anything like pomp or
parade. Yet he was by no means insensible to an honorable distinction,
and when the University of Oxford, about two years before his death,
offered to give him a doctor's degree, he observed, 'Twenty years ago it
would have been gratifying, but now it would only be written on my

     [29] Quoted in "The Lives of Eminent Englishmen."
     Fullarton _&_ Co., Glasgow, 1838. Vol. viii. pp. 317, 318.

"His disregard for external show was the more remarkable, as a contrary
feeling is generally observable in persons who have risen from penury to
wealth. But Gifford was a gentleman in feeling and in conduct, and you
were never led to suspect he was sprung from an obscure origin except
when he reminded you of it by an anecdote relative to it. And this
recalls one of the stories he used to tell with irresistible drollery,
the merit of which entirely depended on his manner. It was simply this:
At the cobblers' board, of which Gifford had been a member, there was
but one candle allowed for the whole coterie of operatives; it was, of
course, a matter of importance that this candle should give as much
light as possible. This was only to be done by repeated snuffings; but
snuffers being a piece of fantastic coxcombry they were not pampered
with: the members of the board took it in turn to perform the office of
the forbidden luxury with their finger and thumb. The candle was handed,
therefore, to each in succession, with the word '_sneaf_' (Anglice,
snuff) bellowed in his ears. Gifford used to pronounce this word in the
legitimate broad Devonshire dialect, and accompanied his story with
expressive gestures. Now on paper this is absolutely nothing, but in
Gifford's mouth it was exquisitely humorous. I should not, however, have
mentioned it, were it not that it appears to me one of the best
instances I could give of his humility in recurring to his former
condition.... He was a man of very deep and warm affections. If I were
desired to point out the distinguishing excellence of his private
character, I should refer to his fervent sincerity of heart. He was
particularly kind to children and fond of their society. My sister, when
young, used sometimes to spend a month with him, on which occasions he
would hire a pianoforte, and once he actually had a juvenile ball at his
house for her amusement."

Speaking of the spirit he displayed as editor of the _Quarterly_, the
same writer says: "He disliked incurring an obligation which might in
any degree shackle the expression of his free opinion. Agreeably to
this, he laid down a rule, from which he never departed, that every
writer in the _Quarterly_ would receive at least so much per sheet. On
one occasion, a gentleman holding office under Government sent him an
article, which, after undergoing some serious mutilations at his hands
preparatory to being ushered into the world, was accepted. But the usual
sum being sent to the author, he rejected it with disdain, conceiving it
a high dishonor to be paid for anything--the independent placeman!
Gifford, in answer, informed him of the invariable rule of the _Review_
adding, that he could send the money to any charitable institution, or
dispose of it in any manner he should direct, but that the money must be
paid. The doughty official, convinced that the virtue of his article
would force it into the _Review_ at all events, stood firm in his
refusal; greatly to his dismay the article was returned. He revenged
himself by never sending another."

Speaking of his relation to the Tory Government of the day, the writer
says: "It is true his independence of opinion might seem to be
interfered with by the situations he held, but they were bestowed on him
unsolicited, and from motives of personal regard. I am sure every one
acquainted with him will admit that he would have rejected with scorn
any kindness which could be considered as fettering the freedom of his
conduct in the smallest degree. I am not more certain of many
conjectures than I am that he never propagated a dishonest opinion nor
did a dishonest act.... If the united influence of the _Anti-Jacobin_
and the _Quarterly_ be considered, we may probably be justified in
assigning to Gifford's literary support of Government a rank second only
to Burke."

William Gifford died worth a considerable fortune, which he left, as a
token of undying gratitude, to Mr. William Cooksley, the son of his
first generous patron and benefactor.

We append a few selections from Gifford's poetical works, as samples of
his style and quality as a writer. The first is from the "Baviad," and
represents him in the character of a satirist exposing the vanities of
the "Delia Cruscan" school of poets; and the second, taken from the
"Mæviad," exhibits him in the more genial light of a faithful friend,
commemorating his early intercourse with his companion and
fellow-student, Dr. Ireland, Dean of Westminster:

                             "For I was born
    To brand obtrusive ignorance with scorn;
    On bloated pedantry to pour my rage,
    And hiss preposterous fustian from the stage.
      Lo, Delia Crusca! In his closet pent,
    He toils to give the crude conception vent.
    Abortive thoughts that right and wrong confound,
    Truth sacrificed to letters, sense to sound,
    False glare, incongruous images combine;
    And noise and nonsense clatter through the line,
    'Tis done. Her house the generous Piozzi lends,
    And thither summons her blue-stocking friends;
    The summons her blue-stocking friends obey,
    Lured by the love of poetry--and tea.
      The bard steps forth in birthday splendor drest,
    His right hand graceful waving o' er his breast,
    His left extending, so that all may see
    A roll inscribed, 'The Wreath of Liberty.'
    So forth he steps, and with complacent air,
    Bows round the circle, and assumes the chair;
    With lemonade he gargles first his throat,
    Then sweetly preludes to the liquid note:
    And now 'tis silence all. 'Genius or muse'--
    Thus while the flowery subject he pursues,
    A wild delirium round th' assembly flies;
    Unusual lustre shoots from Emma's eyes;
    Luxurious Arno drivels as he stands;
    And Anna frisks, and Laura claps her hands.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Hear now our guests:--'The critics, sir, they cry,
    Merit like yours the critics may defy;'
    But this indeed they say, 'Your varied rhymes,
    At once the boast and envy of the times,
    In every page, song, sonnet, what you will,
    Show boundless genius and unrivalled skill.'

           *       *       *       *       *

    Thus fooled, the moon-struck tribe, whose best essays
    Sunk in acrostics and in roundelays,
    To loftier labors now pretend a call,
    And bustle in heroics one and all.
    E'en Bertie burns of gods and chiefs to sing--
    Bertie who lately twittered to the string
    His namby pamby madrigals of love,
    In the dark dingles of a glittering grove,
    Where airy lays, wove by the hand of morn,
    Were hung to dry upon a cobweb thorn!
    Happy the soil where bards like mushrooms rise,
    And ask no culture but what Byshe supplies!
    Happier the bards who, write whate'er they will,
    Find gentle readers to admire them still!

           *       *       *       *       *

    Oh for the good old times! when all was new,
    And every hour brought prodigies to view,
    Our sires in unaffected language told
    Of streams of amber, and of rocks of gold;
    Full of their theme, they spurned all idle art;
    And the plain tale was trusted to the heart.
    Now all is changed! We fume and fret, poor elves;
    Less to display our subject than ourselves:
    Whate'er we paint--a grot, a flower, a bird,
    Heavens! how we sweat, laboriously absurd!
    Words of gigantic bulk, and uncouth sound,
    In rattling triads the long sentence bound;
    While points with points, with periods periods jar,
    And the whole work seems one continued war!"

Not less poetical, and certainly much more pleasant in its tone, is this
reminiscence of his early friendship with Dr. Ireland:

    'Chief thou, my friend! who from my earliest years
    Hast shared my joys, and more than shared my cares,
    Sure, if our fates hang on some hidden power,
    And take their color from the natal hour,
    Then, Ireland, the same planet on us rose,
    Such the strong sympathies our lives disclose!
    Thou knowest how soon we felt this influence bland,
    And sought the brook and coppice, hand in hand,
    And shaped rude bows, and uncouth whistles blew,
    And paper kites--a last great effort--flew:
    And when the day was done, retired to rest,
    Sleep on our eyes, and sunshine in our breast.
    In riper years, again together thrown,
    Our studies, as our sports before, were one.
    Together we explored the stoic page
    Of the Ligurian, stern though bearless sage!
    Or traced the Aquinian through the Latine road,
    And trembled at the lashes he bestowed.
    Together, too, when Greece unlocked her stores,
    We roved in thought o'er Troy's devoted shores,
    Or followed, while he sought his native soil,
    'That old man eloquent' from toil to toil;
    Lingering, with good Alcinous o'er the tale,
    Till the east reddened and the stars grew pale."

The tenderness of his nature is also shown in the lines he wrote for the
tombstone of his faithful servant Ann Davies:

    "Though here unknown, dear Ann, thy ashes rest,
    Still lives thy memory in one grateful breast,
    That traced thy course through many a painful year,
    And marked thy humble hope, thy pious fear.
    Oh! when this frame which yet while life remained,
    Thy duteous love with trembling hand sustained,
    Dissolves--as soon it must--may that blest Power
    Who beamed on thine, illume my parting hour!
    So shall I greet thee where no ills annoy,
    And what was sown in grief is reaped in joy;
    Where worth, obscured below, bursts into day,
    And those are paid whom earth could never pay."



Robert Bloomfield,


      "Crispin's sons
    Have from uncounted time, with ale and buns,
    Cherished the gift of song, which sorrow quells;
    And, working single in their low-built cells,
    Oft cheat the tedium of a winter's night
    With anthems."

    --CHARLES LAMB: _Album Verses_, 1830, p. 57.

"I have received many honorable testimonies of esteem from strangers;
letters without a name, but filled with the most cordial advice, and
almost parental anxiety for my safety under so great a share of public
applause. I beg to refer such friends to the great teacher, Time; and
hope that he will hereafter give me my deserts, and no more."--_Robert
Bloomfield, Preface to "Rural Tales_," Sept. 29, 1801.

    "No pompous learning--no parade
    Of pedantry and cumbrous lore,
    On thy elastic bosom weigh'd;
    Instead, were thine, a mazy store
    Of feelings delicately wrought,
    And treasures gleaned by silent thought.

    "Obscurity, and low-born care,
    Labor, and want--all adverse things,
    Combined to bow thee to despair;
    And of her young untutor'd wings
    To rob thy Genius.--'Twas in vain:
    With one proud soar she burst her chain!"

    --_Blackwood's Magazine, Sept. 1823._


We have now to speak of a shoemaker-poet. The name of Robert Bloomfield,
the author of the "Farmer's Boy," is known and held in honor wherever
the English language is spoken. All classes of readers admire his
poetry, although it is not of the highest order of merit. It has,
however, a genuine quality which no one possessed of poetical taste can
fail to recognize. Its chief features are delightful rustic simplicity
and naturalness, faithful reflection of the beauties of nature, and the
charms which belong to rural occupations. The romantic side of the life
of a _farmer's boy_ is given in the poem bearing that name, as we have
it nowhere else in all our poetic or prose literature.

Bloomfield, though surrounded by the most unfavorable conditions, as a
writer of poetry seems to have experienced no difficulty in executing
his task. His was indeed a case in which the adage is well
illustrated--_poeta nascitur non fit_--a poet is born, not made. He was
born with the gift of song. It would have been difficult for him to
restrain its exercise. He made poetry, as the song-birds sing, by
instinct and irresistible impulse. For him the words are quite as true
as they are of the greater poet who wrote them,[30]

    "I do but sing because I must,
    And pipe but as the linnets sing."

     [30] Tennyson, "In Memoriam," stanza xxi.

Robert Bloomfield was born and brought up in the lovely neighborhood of
Honington, Ixworth and Sapiston, in the northern part of the county of
Suffolk. An idea of the quiet beauty of the woodland scenery of Suffolk
may be obtained from the paintings of Gainsborough, another notable man
whom this county has produced. Gainsborough, as a boy full of yearnings
after art, loved to spend his time in the woods and pastures round
Sudbury, sketching trees, brooks, meadow-landscapes, cattle, shepherds,
or ploughmen at their work in the fields. He was at the height of his
fame as a painter when Bloomfield was a farmer's boy at Sapiston, on the
Grafton estate. It is interesting to know that these two Suffolk men
were contemporary, "the first truly original English painter," who took
his lessons direct from nature, and the first genuine poet of the
English farm and field.

Bloomfield's father was a tailor at Honington, near Bury St. Edmund's.
Robert was born in 1766. His father died at the end of the following
year, leaving Robert and five other children to the care of their
mother. She was a worthy, estimable woman, who managed by her own
unaided efforts not only to maintain her little family, but to give each
of her children the rudiments of an education. This she accomplished by
opening a school, and teaching her own children along with the rest.
With the exception of a few months' instruction in writing from a
schoolmaster at Ixworth, the future poet learned from his mother all he
knew when he left his home to earn his own living. This he did at the
age of eleven, his mother, who had married again, being no longer able
to keep him at home, or put him to a good school. His maternal uncle, a
Mr. Austin of Sapiston, agreed to take him as a boy about the farm, and
allow him to live in the house with the rest of the family. He appears
to have received no wages, his "board" being the only allowance made for
the work he did as a farmer's boy; and this could hardly be much at such
an age. He remained in this situation four years, until he was fifteen.
It was during these four years of boyhood he picked up the knowledge of
farm-life, and made the observations on the varied phases of nature and
the seasons which are delightfully interwoven in the four books of his
well-known poem, "The Farmer's Boy." How observant he must have been,
how eagerly he must have entered into the pleasures of rural life, how
keen must have been his boyish sense of the beautiful and romantic, may
be imagined by those who consider the circumstances in the midst of
which, in after-years, he composed that charming poem.

His mother had undertaken to provide him with clothing while with his
uncle at the farm; but this small expense was found to be too much for
her scanty means. Robert at that time had two brothers, George and
Nathaniel, living in London, and working, the one as a journeyman
shoemaker, and the other as a tailor. To them the anxious mother applied
for help in her difficulties, stating in her letter that Mr. Austin had
said Robert was so small and weakly, it was to be feared he would never
be able to obtain his living by hard out-door labor. The brothers at
once agreed to take him under their care, find him in food and clothing,
and teach him the craft of shoemaking until he should be able to obtain
his own livelihood. Full of solicitude for his safety and well-being,
the good woman took him up to London herself, and handed him over to the
guardianship of her two eldest sons, begging them, "as they valued a
mother's blessing, to watch over him, to set good examples for him, and
never to forget that he had lost his father."

George Bloomfield and his brother were then living at No. 7 Pitcher's
Court, Bell Alley, Coleman Street, in a garret which served both as
workshop and bedroom. The place was dingy and gloomy, and presented to
the bright, thoughtful Suffolk lad a mournful contrast to the pleasant
surroundings in the old farm-house at Sapiston. Nor could it have been a
very healthy abode, for _five_ workmen occupied the room during the day,
"clubbing together," after the fashion of such workmen in those days, to
lighten the burden of rent.

At first the new-comer was chiefly employed by the older men as their
errand-boy, being rewarded for his trouble by receiving lessons from the
workmen in the art of shoemaking. These men, like so many of their
craft, were of a thoughtful turn of mind, and very eager for the news of
the day. It had been their custom to have the yesterday's paper brought
in with their dinner by the pot-boy from a neighboring public-house.
Until Robert came they had been in the habit of reading it by turns, but
now, as his time was less valuable than theirs, the office of reader was
permanently handed over to him. This duty was of much service to him,
for the information he gained by reading disciplined his young mind to
close and continuous thought, and enlarged his knowledge of his own
language. The simple account, given by his brother George, of these
social readings in the cobblers' workroom, and other means of
instruction of which Robert availed himself, is full of interest. George
Bloomfield says: "He frequently met with words that he was unacquainted
with; of this he often complained. I one day happened at a book-stall to
see a small dictionary which had been very ill-used. I bought it for him
for fourpence. By the help of this he in a little time could read and
comprehend the long and beautiful speeches of Burke, Fox, or North." And
again: "One Sunday, after a whole day's stroll in the country, we by
accident went into a Dissenting meeting-house in the Old Jewry, where a
gentleman was lecturing. This man filled Robert with astonishment. The
house was amazingly crowded with the most genteel people; and though we
were forced to stand in the aisle, and were much pressed, yet Robert
always quickened his steps to get into the town on a Sunday evening soon
enough to attend this lecture. The preacher's name was Fawcet. His
language was just such as the 'Rambler' is written in.... Of him Robert
learned to accent what he called hard words, and otherwise to improve
himself, and gained the most enlarged notions of Providence."

Bloomfield's reading was not very extensive nor diversified during these
early years of his London life, yet it was sufficient to whet his
appetite for mental improvement, and give him no small degree of
literary taste and skill. The brothers took, in sixpenny numbers, such
works as a "History of England," "The British Traveller," and a
"Treatise on Geography." These were read aloud to the little company of
busy listeners, several hours of the day being occupied with the task.
His first poetic impulse was awakened by the perusal of the _London
Magazine_, which found its way at this time into the cobblers' garret.
Robert always read it with zest, carefully scanning the reviews of
books, and never failing to look into the "Poets' Corner." One day he
surprised his brother by repeating a song which he had composed after
the manner of Burns and so many other graceful songsters, "to an old
tune." George was as much delighted as surprised at his young brother's
smooth and easy verses, and encouraged him to try the experiment of
sending them to the editor. This he did with many fears and hopes, and
nervously awaited the issue of the next number. To his intense delight,
and the pardonable pride of the whole company, the verses appeared in
print. As a specimen of his first literary attempt, every youth will
deem them worth recording, and will read them with pleasure. They bear
the modest title "A Village Girl," and are signed with the letters R. B.

    "Hail May! lovely May! how replenished my pails,
    The young dawn o'erspreads the broad east streaked with gold!
    My glad heart beats time to the laugh of the vales,
    And Colin's voice rings through the wood from the fold,

    The wood to the mountain submissively bends,
    Whose blue misty summit first glows with the sun;
    See! thence a gay train by the wild rill descends
    To join the mixed sports:--Hark! the tumult's begun.

    Be cloudless, ye skies! and be Colin but there;
    Not dew-spangled bents on the wide level dale,
    Nor morning's first smile can more lovely appear,
    Than his looks,--since my wishes I cannot conceal.

    Swift down the mad dance, whilst blest health prompts to move,
    We'll count joys to come, and exchange vows of truth;
    And haply, when age cools the transports of love,
    Decry, like good folks, the vain follies of youth."

Another piece called "The Sailor's Return" found a place in the "Poets'
Corner." These efforts were enough to prove his taste and gifts as a
versifier. The poetic power was latent in his mind, and only needed
sufficient stimulus to bring it into full exercise. This stimulus came,
as was natural, from the reading of poetry itself. A copy of Thomson's
"Seasons" and Milton's "Paradise Lost" fell into his hands when he was
about seventeen years of age. They belonged to a Scotchman who lived and
worked at a house in Bell Alley, to which the shoemakers removed about
this time. The eager youth read them with the passion of a born poet;
and, as he read, the fire burned within. His imagination was now fairly
awakened, and it was plain to all who watched him intelligently at this
time, that melodies were being awakened in his heart that sooner or
later must find their expression in song. The "Seasons" was his favorite
poem. He read and re-read its glowing descriptions of nature, committed
favorite portions to memory, and never tired of recounting its beauties
in the hearing of his sympathetic friends. The "Seasons" struck the
key-note of the "Farmer's Boy," though Bloomfield was no imitator of
Thomson, nor of any one else, in either matter or manner. The thought
and style of these two poets of nature are as unlike as their kindred
subjects would allow them to be. Thomson's music is that of a majestic
and stately oratorio, while Bloomfield sings a sweet and simple pastoral

But the young poet was not yet to enter on his great task. Fourteen
years passed away before his first and best published poem, the
"Farmer's Boy," saw the light. During this time several important events
in his history occurred. In his eighteenth year, in consequence of
certain disputes in the shoe-makers' trade about the legality of
employing boys who had not been bound as apprentices, he went back again
to Suffolk for a short time, and was taken into the home of his uncle
and former master, Mr. Austin of Sapiston. Here for two months of happy
leisure he roamed the fields where he spent so much of his time as a
boy, reviving old impressions, and deepening in his mind that keen sense
of the beautiful which city life and the imprisonment of a shoemaker's
occupation had not been sufficient to destroy. His companion at this
time was still the favorite "Seasons," from which, in the presence of
the very charms which Thomson describes, the ardent youth derived new
pleasure and inspiration.

The trade difficulty was got over by his becoming an apprentice for the
remaining three years of his minority to a Mr. Duddridge, brother to
George's former landlord. At the age of twenty he was left alone in
London, George having removed to Bury St. Edmund's in his own county,
and Nathaniel having married and gone into housekeeping. Robert now took
to the study of music, and became an expert player on the violin. At the
age of twenty-four he married the daughter of a boat-builder at Woolwich
named Church. "I have sold my fiddle and got a wife," he humorously
writes to his brother. At first his home was in furnished lodgings, but
by dint of hard work and strict economy he managed in a short time to
furnish _one_ room on the first floor of a house in Bell Alley, Coleman
Street, the old quarters to which he had come fresh from the country on
his first becoming a shoemaker. His landlord kindly allowed him the free
use of a garret to work in during the day. "In this garret," says his
brother, "amid six or seven other workmen, his active mind employed
itself in composing the 'Farmer's Boy.'" How long his mind was occupied
in this task we cannot tell. One could hardly wonder if the process of
composition was slow in the midst of such distracting and unfavorable
circumstances. The marvel is that it should have been composed at all
under such uncongenial and difficult conditions. So hard pressed for
time was the poor poet-shoemaker, and so unable to find the proper
materials for writing, that he is said to have made up and kept in his
mind no less than 600 lines, that is, about the _half_ of his poem,
before he could manage to write it down. And when he did this, he was
glad to lay hold of any odd scrap of paper for the purpose; the back of
a letter or a printed bill, the margin of newspapers, pieces of
pattern-paper, were seized as they came to hand and covered with
writing, and then hidden away in cupboards, and occasionally even in
some chink in the wall, until they could be collected and arranged for a
fair copy, suitable to go into the hands of the printer. It was indeed a
wonderful exhibition of mental abstraction and retentive memory. Few,
even among poets, could have wrought to any purpose amid the din and
conversation of a shoemakers' workroom, and still fewer, even if the
excitement of poetic thought had enabled them to compose, could have
treasured up their productions in the memory until they amounted to 600
lines. A friend of Bloomfield named Swan, writing to Mr. Capel Lofft,
says, "Bloomfield, either from the contracted state of his pecuniary
resources to purchase paper, or for other reasons, composed the latter
part of 'Autumn' and the whole of 'Winter' in his head, without
committing one line to paper! This cannot fail to surprise the literary
world, who are well acquainted with the treacherousness of memory, and
how soon the most happy ideas, for want of sufficient quickness in
writing down, are lost in the rapidity of thought. But this is not
all--he went a step further; he not only composed and committed that
part of his work to his faithful and retentive memory; but he
_corrected_ it all in his head!!!--and, as he said, when it was thus
prepared, 'I had nothing to do but to write it down.' By this new and
wonderful mode of composition, he studied and completed his 'Farmer's
Boy,' in a garret, among six or seven of his fellow-workmen, without
their ever once suspecting or knowing anything of the matter!"[31]

     [31] "Lives of Eminent Englishmen." Fullarton & Co.,
     1838. Vol. viii. p. 245. See also "Views Illustrative of Works
     of Robert Bloomfield," by E. W. Brayley. London: 1806, p. 17.

Bloomfield was thirty-two years of age when his poem was complete and
attempts were being made to find a printer and publisher. These attempts
were for a time fruitless. One after another the publishers rejected the
"copy" of the unknown writer. At length, it was sent by George
Bloomfield, who always had full confidence in Robert's powers, to a
gentleman of literary tastes living at Troston Hall, near Bury, in
Suffolk--Mr. Capel Lofft. This gentleman had the good sense at once to
perceive the genuine merits of the poem submitted to his judgment, and
to recommend its publication. By his kind influence and aid a publisher
was soon found. Messrs. Vernon & Hood paid the poet £50 for his copy,
and afterward, when the poem proved a success, honorably advanced an
additional £200, besides giving the author an interest in his copyright.

The success of the poem was immediate and complete. It was warmly
received by the public, and praised in all quarters as a masterpiece of
natural poetic simplicity and beauty. Twenty-six thousand copies were
sold in the first three years of its issue, seven editions having been
called for. The position secured by the "Farmer's Boy" on its first
publication has been held until the present day. All lovers of poetry
read it with delight. It is natural and graceful as the song of a bird
"warbling his native woodnotes wild." When the English song-bird sings
in captivity there seems to be a touch of pathos in his note; and one
can hardly resist the same impression in reading these sweet rustic
melodies in verse which came from the lips of the shoemaker-poet
imprisoned in a London garret. Yet there is something much more
stimulating in Bloomfield's lines than this. They are sweet and joyous,
and full of that glowing enthusiasm for beauty which all fine natures
feel. Besides the editions sent forth in this country, the "Farmer's
Boy" was printed at Leipsic, and was translated into French, Italian,
and Latin.

Bloomfield now had many friends as well as admirers. The Duke of
Grafton, on whose estate he had been employed as a boy, settled upon him
a small annuity, and used his influence to obtain for him a post at the
seal-office at 1s. per day. In addition to this, Bloomfield received
frequent presents from the nobility, and even from members of the royal
family. To the poor shoemaker, accustomed to the utmost obscurity, all
this success, and popularity, and patronage "appeared," to use his own
language, "like a dream."

In after-years he issued a number of small volumes of poetry, in which
are found several shorter pieces of great merit, such as the two
descriptive or ballad pieces "Richard and Kate," "The Fakenham Ghost,"
or the exquisitely simple piece called "The Soldier's Return." The first
of these is one of the best modern ballads in the language, as it is
certainly among the most, if it be not the most, spirited and original
of his compositions. Of the last of the three just mentioned, Professor
Wilson says: "The topic is trite, but in Mr. Bloomfield's hands it
almost assumes a character of novelty. Burns' 'Soldier's Return' is not,
to our taste, one whit superior."

The titles of the volumes that followed that by which his fame was
established are "Rural Tales," published in 1801; "The Banks of the
Wye," 1811; "Wild Flowers," and "May Day with the Muses," 1822.
"Hazelwood Hall, a Village Drama, in Three Acts," was published 1823,
the year of his death. All these poems have since been issued in one
volume, to which is attached a short sketch of the poet's life, and the
circumstances which attended the publication of "The Farmer's Boy." This
account, given by Mr. Capel Lofft, Bloomfield's kind friend and patron,
is full of interest. It serves to show the value of a judicious friend
to a young aspirant for literary fame, whose talents deserve
recognition, but whose position in life prevents him taking the
necessary steps to become known to the world.

The last twenty years of Bloomfield's life were embittered by affliction
and misfortunes in business. He did not long retain his position at the
Seal Office, being obliged to abandon it through continual ill-health.
After resuming the trade of a shoemaker for a short time, he was induced
to open a shop as a bookseller, but this speculation brought him only
disappointment and loss. His son, who was a printer, states that about
this time the poets Rogers and Southey took a deep interest in the
welfare of their poor suffering brother poet. Rogers, it seems, tried to
obtain him a government pension, but without success. At length he
removed from London to try the effect of the fresh air and quietude of
country life. His last years were spent as a shoemaker at
Shefford-cum-Campton, Bed's. Toward the close of his life he was in
great want and distress, having reaped little permanent gain from his
numerous and popular poems. So intense was the strain of mind he endured
from overwork, ill-health, and anxiety, that his friends entertained
grave fears of his becoming insane. Death was preferable to such a life
the death which is for men of Christian faith and character, like
Bloomfield, the gate to a higher and happier life. Providentially for
him, that gate was opened when life here had become a burden too
grievous to be borne. He died at Shefford, in the fifty-seventh year of
his age, August 19th, 1823, and was buried in the Campton churchyard.

Bloomfield's character, unlike that of many of the more celebrated poets
of his own day, exhibited a fair and lovely type of moral excellence. He
was genuinely modest, affectionate, industrious, and pious. None
regarded him with more respect and love than those who knew him most
intimately. This fact speaks strongly for his real worth. His own
brothers held him in the greatest esteem, and felt the most generous and
hearty pleasure in his literary success. His generosity to his needy
relatives, who were very numerous, often crippled his resources, and,
indeed, left him at times as poor as those he had befriended. We have
noticed how much he owed in early life to the loving care and good sense
of an excellent mother. Bloomfield never lost sight of this fact. Like
all good men, men whose lives are worth study and imitation, he was
deeply attached to his mother; and it is well deserving of record that,
like Buckle, the eminent philosophical writer, the young poet felt a
more exquisite pleasure in placing his first published work in the hands
of his mother than in the anticipation of any fame or advantage it might
secure for himself as the author. When the first edition was issued a
copy of it was sent to his mother, accompanied by these simple lines,
which faithfully reflect at once the character of the true mother and
the devoted son:

    "' To peace and virtue still be true,'
      An anxious mother ever cries,
    Who needs no _present_ to renew
      Parental love--which never dies."

Many tributes of esteem, both in prose and verse, were paid to
Bloomfield during his life and after his death. None of these was of
more value than the brief sentence written by his constant friend and
first literary patron, Mr. Capel Lofft, who says, "It is much to be a
poet, such as he will be found: it is much more to be such a man." The
lines which appeared in _Blackwood's Magazine_, the month after
Bloomfield's death, exactly describe the chief features of the poet's
life and work:

    "No pompous learning--no parade
      Of pedantry, and cumbrous lore,
    On thy elastic bosom weighed;
      Instead, were thine a mazy store
    Of feelings delicately wrought,
    And treasures gleaned by silent thought.

    Obscurity, and low born care,
      Labor, and want--all adverse things,
    Combined to bow thee to despair;
      And of her young untutored wings
    To rob thy genius. 'Twas in vain:
    With one proud soar she burst her chain!

    The beauties of the building spring;
      The glories of the summer's reign;
    The russet autumn triumphing
      In ripened fruits and golden grain;
    Winter with storms around his shrine,
    Each, in their turn, were themes of thine.

    And lowly life, the peasant's lot,
      Its humble hopes and simple joys;
    By mountain-stream the shepherd's cot,
      And what the rustic hour employs;
    White flocks on Nature's carpet spread;
    Birds blithely carolling o'erhead;

    These were thy themes, and thou wert blessed--
      Yes, blessed beyond the wealth of kings.
    Calm joy is seated in the breast
      Of the rapt poet as he sings,
    And all that Truth or Hope can bring
    Of Beauty, gilds the muse's wing.

    And, Bloomfield, thine were blissful days,
      (If flowers of bliss may thrive on earth);
    Thine were the glory and the praise
      Of genius linked with modest worth;
    To wisdom wed, remote from strife,
    Calmly passed o'er thy stormless life."

During the lifetime of Bloomfield, another young and obscure poet, Henry
Kirke White of Nottingham, was indebted to Bloomfield's patrons, Mr.
Lofft and Robert Southey, for his introduction to the public. After
reading "The Farmer's Boy" and "Rural Tales," White wrote the following
clever epigram, the sentiment of which all admirers of the
shoemaker-poet will heartily indorse:

    "Bloomfield, thy happy omened name
    Ensures continuance to thy fame;
    Both sense and truth this verdict give,
    While fields shall bloom, thy name shall live."


[Illustration: SAMUEL DREW, M.A.]

Samuel Drew,


"Secure to yourself a livelihood independent of literary success, and
put into this lottery only the overplus of time. Woe to him who depends
wholly on his pen! Nothing is more casual. The man who makes shoes is
sure of his wages: the man who writes a book is never sure of

"Hereafter, I believe, some metaphysical Columbus will arise, traverse
vast oceans of thought, and explore regions now undiscovered, to which
our little minds and weak ideas do not enable us to soar."--_Samuel


The life of Samuel Drew, the author of a once famous book, "The
Immateriality and Immortality of the Soul," is in some respects as
remarkable as that of William Gifford,[32] and in others even more so.
For Drew, unlike Gifford, received no collegiate training, nor was he
ever favored with the rudiments of education in an ordinary boys'
school. In his childhood he was sent to a school along with his
brothers, but his childish indifference to learning and his removal
before he was eight years of age prevented his making any progress worth
speaking of. His life, published by his son, speaks of him, with perfect
truth, as the "Self-Taught Cornishman."

     [32] See Chapter IV., _William Gifford_.

His reply to Paine's "Age of Reason," and his book on the "Immortality
of the Soul," both of which were written and issued from the press
during his life as a shoemaker, brought him into notoriety, and obtained
for him a name as an acute thinker and able controversialist. He
afterward published several theological works of great merit, edited and
wrote the chief portion of a history of Cornwall, and finally became an
editor on the staff of the Caxton press in Liverpool and London. His
contributions to the literature of his own religious denomination, the
Wesleyan Methodists, were very numerous; and for many years he was a
constant writer in the _Eclectic Review_. From the beginning to the
close of his public life he was held in high esteem as a preacher in the
"circuits" of Cornwall, Liverpool, and London. The two universities of
Aberdeen and London paid him a valuable compliment; the one conferring
on him the degree of A.M., and the other, through certain members of the
council, requesting him to be put in competition for the Chair of _Moral

But before all these things he was an earnest, high-souled, useful
Christian man, who found his principal delight in diffusing around him
the influence of a good example and a benevolent Christ-like spirit. His
best memorials were inscribed on the hearts of the people among whom he
spent his valuable life. His writings may now be but little read, and
his name but little known outside the Christian community to which he
was attached, yet he made a record as a faithful servant of God that
will never perish, and obtained a memorial for his name that is safe
against all the influence of time and change.

The subject of this sketch was born at St. Anstell, in Cornwall, on the
3d March, 1765. His parents were both members of families long resident
in Cornwall. They were in but poor circumstances, the father being
employed chiefly as a farm-laborer. Now and then he worked in connection
with the tin mines of the neighborhood. Hard work, scant fare, and great
economy were necessary to enable the parents to bring up their young
family respectably. We may judge of their circumstances by the fact that
the father found it not at all an easy thing to carry out a worthy
determination he had formed to send his three children to school, where
the fee for each scholar was only one penny per week. Little Sammy's
progress hardly compensated for this small outlay, for he was dull and
careless and shockingly fond of playing truant. However, his school life
did not last long. He was removed at the age of eight, as already
stated, and put to work as a _buddle-boy_. The pits in which the tin-ore
is washed after being broken up are called _buddles_, and it was the
business of the buddle-boy to stir up the sediment of ore and metal at
the bottom of the pit, in order that the stream of water which passed
through it might carry off the sandy particles and leave the mineral
behind. For this work Samuel was to receive three halfpence a week. But
the poor little fellow was early taught the meaning of the terms "bad
debt" and "failure in business." His master kept the wages back,
intending to pay them, as was customary, to the father. At the end of
eight weeks the employer failed, and Samuel never received his first
instalment of wages. When another man took the business, shortly after,
the boys were paid twopence per week, and for the two years in which he
continued at this work, the little buddle-boy never received more than
this miserable pittance. It must be confessed that Samuel was a wilful,
headstrong fellow. The circumstances which led to his removal from home
were hardly to his credit. His own mother died when he was nine years
old. She was a good woman, and took great pains to save her boy from the
bad influence of low company at the tin-works. Samuel, though young and
reckless, cherished a deep regard for his mother. About a year and a
half after her death the father married again, and Samuel, not liking
the idea of having a "new mother," made himself as obnoxious to her as
he could. This improper conduct could not be permitted, and it was
especially wrong in this instance, as the "new mother" was very
attentive and kind to the children.

"At the age of ten and a half," says his biographer, Samuel "was
apprenticed for nine years to a shoemaker, living in a sequestered
hamlet about three miles from St. Austell. His father and family at this
time were not far distant, but removing soon after to Polpea, in
Tywardreath, the poor lad's intercourse with his relatives was, in a
great measure, suspended, and he felt the loneliness of his situation."

Drew's apprenticeship life was well-nigh as miserable and unprofitable
as it could be. In an account of the hardships he endured at this time
he himself says: "My new abode at St. Blazey and new engagements were
far from being agreeable. To any of the comforts and conveniences of
life I was an entire stranger, and by every member of the family was
viewed as an underling, come thither to subserve their wishes, or obey
their mandates. To his trade of shoemaker my master added that of
farmer. He had a few acres of ground under his care, and was a sober,
industrious man; but, unfortunately for me, nearly one half of my time
was taken up in agricultural pursuits. On this account I made no
proficiency in my business, and felt no solicitude to rise above the
farmers' boys with whom I daily associated. While in this place I
suffered many hardships. When, after having been in the fields all day,
I came home with cold feet, and damp and dirty stockings, I was
permitted, if the oven had been heated during the day, to throw them
into it, that they might dry against the following morning; but
frequently have I had to put them on in precisely the same state in
which I had left them the preceding evening. To mend my stockings I had
no one, and frequently have I wept at the holes which I could not
conceal; though, when fortunate enough to procure a needle and some
worsted, I have drawn the outlines of the holes together, and made, what
I thought, a tolerable job."

"During my apprenticeship," he continues, "many bickerings and
unpleasant occurrences took place. Some of these preyed so much on my
mind, that several times I had determined to run away and enlist on
board a privateer or man-of-war." He seems to have had little
inclination for reading during these unhappy days; and if he had been
disposed for study there were but few books within his reach. Accident
put into his hands a few odd numbers of a publication circulated in
the West of England called _The Weekly Entertainer_. He read and
re-read the histories of "Paul Jones," "The Serapis," and "Bon Homme
Richard," until his imagination was inflamed with the thought of
joining a pirate, and leading the jolly abandoned life of a sea-rover.
Such reading as this did very little good for him. The only other book
he seems to have met with during these days of servitude was "an odd
number of the 'History of England' about the time of the
Commonwealth." But this spell of reading lasted only a short time. The
odd volume of history, which charmed him at first, soon grew
monotonous and wearisome, and was thrown aside. "With this," he says,
"I lost not only a _disposition_ for reading, but almost the _ability_
to read. The clamor of my companions and others engrossed nearly the
whole of my attention, and, so far as my slender means would allow,
carried me onward toward the vortex of dissipation."

Much of his time was occupied with wild companions, among whom he was
foremost in daring and mischief. Bird-nesting, orchard-robbing, and even
poaching and smuggling were resorted to for amusement and profit. On one
occasion he nearly lost his life by following sea-birds to their haunt
on the edge of a lofty cliff overhanging the sea. At another time, in
the dead of the night, when he and a number of men and boys were out on
a poaching expedition, he and his companions were nearly scared out of
their wits by some apparition, which confronted them with large fiery
eyes, and suddenly disappeared.

Spite of these doubtful amusements his life at St. Blazey was becoming
intolerable. He compares his position to that of "a toad under a
harrow;" and declares that his master and mistress seemed bent on
degrading him. At last, when he could brook his degradation no longer,
he resolved to abscond, and accordingly, at the age of seventeen, after
enduring six and a half years of bondage and cruelty, he ran off,
intending to go to sea. But his plans were happily frustrated. On his
way from St. Blazey to Plymouth he called at his old home, and as his
father was absent his stepmother refused to give him money to assist him
in his mad project. He then made off for Plymouth with only a few pence
in his pocket. Passing through Liskeard he chanced to meet with a
good-natured shoemaker, and entered into an engagement as a journeyman.
In a short time he was discovered in his retreat, and persuaded to
return to his father's roof. He agreed on condition that he should not
be sent back to his old master. This being arranged, a situation was
found for Drew at Millbrook and afterward at Kingsand and Crafthole.

It was during his stay at the last place that the event occurred which
led to the most important change in his life. He had often engaged in
smuggling expeditions during the time of his apprenticeship, these
unlawful practices not being regarded as disgraceful in out-of-the-way
places on the coast a century ago. The rough villagers were rather
disposed to make a boast of their success in evading the law; and few,
if any, of their neighbors offered any opposition or remonstrance. One
dark night in December, 1784, when Samuel Drew was about nineteen years
of age, a vessel laden with contraband goods made signals to have her
cargo fetched on shore; and the daring youth agreed to form one of the
boat's crew for this purpose. The night was so stormy and dark that the
captain of the vessel had been obliged to stand off a considerable
distance from the shore. The smugglers were two miles out at sea when
one of their number, in attempting to catch his hat, upset the boat.
Three men were immediately drowned; Drew, who was a first-rate swimmer,
managed by dint of the most violent effort to reach the rocks, and was
picked up by some of his companions 'more dead than alive,' and carried
to a farm-house, whose occupants were compelled, much against their
will, to allow the half-drowned youth to be brought in and laid before
the kitchen fire. A keg of brandy from the vessel was opened, and a
bowlful of its contents placed to his lips. He had sense enough not to
drink much, though recklessly urged to swallow it _all_! After lying by
the fire until circulation was pretty well restored, he was able, with
the help of friendly arms, to crawl to his lodgings, a distance of two
miles, the ground being covered with snow.

It was a mad adventure, and nearly cost him his life, but proved,
instead, the occasion of opening the way to a new life, brighter and
better and happier than the one he had spent in thoughtless and sinful
amusement. "Alas! what will be the end of my poor unhappy boy?" said his
father, on hearing of Samuel's narrow escape. Very wisely it was
resolved to have him removed from his sinful companions at Crafthole,
and a good situation was found for him under a steady master at St.

This little town was one of the numerous places in Cornwall that had
derived much benefit from the ministry of John and Charles Wesley; a
"society" had been formed and a chapel built. Drew began to attend the
services in this chapel soon after going to live at St. Austell. Here he
heard the popular young preacher, a mere stripling, Adam Clarke,
afterward well known to the world as the learned commentator, Dr. Adam
Clarke. The fervid discourses of this young man, combined with the
effect produced by the death of a gifted and pious brother, which
happened at this time, brought about that change in Samuel Drew which
the Saviour speaks of as the new birth, without which, He tells us, no
one "can enter into the kingdom of heaven." The change in Samuel Drew
was complete. Body, mind, and spirit shared and rejoiced in it. The
latent faculties of a great mind and noble heart were awakened and
developed by the heavenly light and heat which now fell upon them. He
felt at once a strong passion for self-culture, and the devotion of his
gifts to useful purposes. The first thing was to pick up again his
almost lost knowledge of the arts of reading and writing; for describing
his accomplishments in this way at the time of his conversion he says,
"I was scarcely able to read and almost totally unable to write.
Literature was a term to which I could annex no idea. Grammar I knew not
the meaning of. I was expert at trifles, acute at follies, and ingenious
about nonsense." As for his writing, a friend compared it to the traces
of a spider dipped in ink, and set to crawl on paper. In this respect,
sooth to say, it was neither better nor worse than the writing of many
men whose education is not supposed to have been neglected. This
description of Samuel Drew's accomplishments, or rather want of them,
refers to the beginning of the year 1785, when he was in his twentieth
year. It is well to note this fact, as it will show how much of his time
was wasted in youth, and how great must have been his industry in the
work of self-culture after this date. Practically his education did not
begin until he stood on the threshold of manhood, and even then it was
not carried on in any thorough and systematic fashion. He had to help
himself in the matter as best he could. At first he had no counsellors,
no store of books, and no well-arranged course of reading. All depended
on his good fortune in borrowing; and, what proved in his case as in so
many others the best thing in the world, all depended on his following
his own bent and satisfying his own taste in the choice of subjects for
study. This in the majority of cases proves to be the secret of success
in life. For our _taste_ for a subject is the result of our having a
special aptitude for it. We like to do what comes easiest to us. The
born artist, as he is termed, likes to draw and sketch because he can
draw and sketch better than he can do anything else; the arithmetician
enjoys working out problems in figures; the poet loves to indulge his
fancy and clothe his imaginations in the guise of poetry; and the
metaphysician is happiest when employed in the task of definition and

Drew's capacity, and therefore his taste, lay in the direction of
metaphysics, and it is curious to notice how the future logician and
theologian manages to make his most ungenial and untoward circumstances
as a shoemaker in an obscure country town serve his purpose and help him
forward to the accomplishment of his life-destiny. All this was partly
the result of natural gifts and partly the fruit of strenuous
application and toil. Men who have done notable things in the world have
been spoken of as belonging to two classes. There is the man who "seems
to have what is best in him as a possession;" and the man who "seems to
show that what is regarded as an inspiration may come as the result of
labor."[33] This is but another method of stating the old distinction
between "genius and talent." If Samuel Drew must be classified at all,
we should certainly place him in the former category. What was _best_ in
him was indeed a possession, not an acquirement. Yet, like all men of
mark, he owed much to close study and hard work. Without these his fine
natural gifts would have been useless.

     [33] _Athenæum_, No. 2770, Nov. 27, 1880, p. 719.

Drew's master at St. Austell combined the three somewhat kindred
businesses of saddler, shoemaker, and bookbinder. His shop was also a
regular meeting-place for the gossipers of the town; and as St. Austell
was then in a ferment of religious excitement, most of the talk ran on
religious topics. The Calvinist and Arminian divided the field between
them, and in their contests, sometimes as arbiters, and sometimes as the
champion of a party, Drew was often called in to contribute to the
discussion. Here he found the first arena for the exhibition of his
natural powers as a debater, and gained for himself no small renown.

About this time also a book came in his way, which seems to have made a
revolution in his mind. This was Locke's famous "Essay on the Human
Understanding," a copy of which was brought to Drew's master's to be
bound. The young shoemaker had read nothing of the kind. It opened to
his mind a world of thought that was new to his experience, yet one that
seemed familiar on account of his natural aptitude for such studies. He
read the luminous pages of the great philosopher with the utmost
avidity. Henceforth reading became with him an intense appetite. Nothing
came much amiss, but such books as led him into the ample domains of
philosophy and religion afforded the greatest delight. He says, "This
book (Locke's Essay) set all my soul to think.... It gave the first
metaphysical turn to my mind, and I cultivated the little knowledge of
writing which I had acquired in order to put down my reflections. It
awakened me from my stupor, and induced me to form a resolution to
abandon the grovelling views which I had been accustomed to entertain."

For two years after the change we have noticed Drew continued working
industriously at his trade, and filling up all his spare moments by
reading such books as came to the shop to be bound, or any others he
could borrow from friends. Attracted by one science after another, and
finding, as most eager minds do, a charm in each, he finally settled to
metaphysics, because, as he sometimes shrewdly observed, among other
recommendations it has this, that it requires fewer books than other
branches of study, and may be followed at the least expense. "It
appeared to be a thorny path; but I determined nevertheless to enter and
begin to tread it," he remarks; and adds, "To metaphysics I then applied
myself, and became what the world and Dr. Clarke call a METAPHYSICIAN."

By the advice and help of friends he resolved, in January, 1787, to
commence business on his own account. His savings at this time amounted
to only fourteen shillings. He was therefore compelled to borrow
capital, or remain a journeyman. It was not difficult, however, to find
a man in St. Austell who was willing to trust the now steady and
hard-working shoemaker. A miller advanced him £5 on the security of his
good character, saying, "And more if that's not enough, and I'll promise
not to demand it till you can conveniently pay me." Fortunately for him,
at this time Dr. Franklin's "Way to Wealth" came into his hands, and
impressed him deeply with its sage maxims and sound principles of
business and thrift. On one maxim, though severe, he often at this time
acted literally, "It is better to go supperless to bed than to rise in
debt." The account which he gives of the hard work and rigid economy,
and the good fruits they bore, during his first year's experience of
business, is highly creditable to him, and will be best told in his own
words: "Eighteen hours out of the twenty-four did I regularly work, and
sometimes longer, for my friends gave me plenty of employment, and until
the bills became due I had no means of paying wages to a journeyman. I
was indefatigable, and at the year's end I had the satisfaction of
paying the five pounds which had been so kindly lent me, and finding
myself, with a tolerable stock of leather, clear of the world." This
wise resolve to pay his way and to live within his means, so vigorously
carried out from the very beginning, was of the utmost service to him
all through life, and saved him from the worry and discredit by which so
many men of genius and literary gifts have been hampered and thwarted in
their work. When once the resolute shoemaker had made a fair start and
conquered the difficulties of early business-life, he was always at
liberty to devote his mind to his favorite pursuits. He was poor enough,
it is true; but he was comparatively independent, for he was free from
debt. Nor did he forget others in their need. Many stories are told of
his generosity. He was never rash and prodigal in his giving, but acted
on the best rules of common sense and high principle. He would not give
while he was himself in debt, sticking closely to the rule, "Be just
before you are generous," yet never making that wise adage a cloak, as
some do, for stinginess. Nothing could be more characteristic of his
wisdom and kindliness than the story told by his sister of his coming
home after being invited to dinner with a friend, and saying, "The
people at the place where I have been very kindly invited me to dinner;
I can now honestly give away my own. Bring out what meat you have left;
cut from it as much as you think I should have eaten, and carry it to
Alice H." At another time he observed a poor woman, "with an empty
basket on one arm and a child on the other, looking wistfully at the
butchers' stalls;" and adds, "I guessed from her manner that she had no
money, and was ashamed to ask credit: so as I passed her I put half a
crown into her hand. The good woman was so affected that she burst into
tears, and I could not help crying for company." Having been enabled to
start in business by a loan of money, he showed his gratitude by helping
others in the same position, and, strange to say, a change of fortune
having overtaken his old friend, the miller, Drew had the satisfaction
of helping him in his time of need.

An incident which happened about this time will show to what dangers his
social disposition and fondness for debate exposed him, and how slight
an incident saved him from the snare. He had become enamoured of
political matters, and discussed them very vigorously with his customers
and others who made his work-room a meeting-place where they might hear
and debate the latest news. Sometimes these discussions drew him from
home into the house of a neighbor, and so absorbed his time that he
found himself at the end of the day far behind in his work, and obliged
to sit up till midnight in order to finish it. One night, however, he
received a severe rebuke from some anonymous counsellor, which
effectually put a stop to this bad habit. As he sat at work after most
of the neighbors were in bed, he heard footsteps at the door, and
presently a boy's shrill voice accosted him through the keyhole with
this sage remark: "Shoemaker, shoemaker, work by night, and run about by
day!" "And did you," inquired a friend to whom Drew told the story,
"pursue the boy and chastise him for his insolence?" "No, no," replied
Drew, who had the wisdom to see that there was more fault in himself
than the boy, and had also the moral courage and firmness of character
to turn the annoyance to profitable account--"No, no. Had a pistol been
fired off at my ear I could not have been more dismayed or confounded. I
dropped my work, saying to myself, 'True, true, but you shall never have
that to say of me again!'" Right well did he keep to his resolve, and
with what results we shall see.

In 1791, at the age of twenty-seven, he married Honor Halls of St.
Austell, and now, fairly settled in his domestic affairs, he devoted his
attention and leisure time, such as he could snatch from intervals of
work, to careful reading and thought on philosophical and religious
subjects. His first literary productions were, according to rule in such
cases, in the shape of _poetry_. "An Ode to Christmas," dated 1791, and
"Reflections on St. Austell Churchyard," dated 1792, appear to have been
his earliest attempts. Though he had fine poetic feeling and
considerable readiness in expression, he was not destined to shine in
this field of literature. His first venture in print was entitled
"Remarks on Paine's 'Age of Reason.'" This infidel work by the notorious
Tom Paine had many readers and great influence among the working class
at the close of the last century. It appears that a young surgeon who
had been in the habit of visiting the thoughtful and well-read
shoemaker, had procured a copy of the "Age of Reason," and had read and
endorsed its atheistic doctrines. He strongly urged Drew to read the
book, in order that they might discuss its contents together. The two
disputants met night after night, the shoemaker attacking and the
surgeon defending the principles of the famous infidel book. At length
the discussion came to an end by the surgeon giving up his faith in
Voltaire, Rousseau, Gibbon, Hume, and Tom Paine, and accepting the
teaching and consolation of the religion of Jesus Christ. The young man
died soon after this occurrence, and confessed to the great service
which had been rendered him by Samuel Drew in removing doubt and laying
the basis for Christian faith. On showing his notes of this discussion
to two Wesleyan preachers then stationed at St. Austell, he was advised
to publish them, and did so in 1799. This pamphlet had a rapid sale. It
was, as we have said, Drew's introduction to the world of literature,
and it brought him no little fame and credit in the religious world of
his day. Great was the astonishment evinced when it was known that the
writer of what was deemed a masterly piece of argument in good, clear,
forcible English was a "cobbler" and an entirely self-taught man. The
flattering reception and notice given to this pamphlet emboldened him in
the following year to venture on the publication of an ode on the death,
by accident, of an influential townsman. A literary friend, who had
praised his first attempt very highly, spoke so plainly yet kindly of
this production that Drew very wisely abandoned the muse and stuck to
metaphysics and prose. In the same year also he wrote a pamphlet which,
in the locality of St. Austell, at all events, sustained his fame. This
was a reply to some aspersions cast on the Wesleyan Methodists by a
clergyman, the then vicar of Manaccan, Cornwall. So completely did the
worthy Methodist local preacher disprove the statements of the
clergyman, and withal in so temperate a spirit, that the latter
eventually not only confessed his defeat in a generous and manly spirit,
but very gracefully acknowledged his obligations to his humble
antagonist. Drew had now a greater task in hand which was drawing near
its completion. For several years he had occupied his mind with the
subject of the immortality of the soul, having read every book he could
procure on the subject. None of these books quite satisfied him. "He
imagined," as he says, that the immortality of the soul admitted of more
rational proof than he had ever seen. Accordingly in 1798 he resolved to
make notes of his thoughts on this vast theme. In 1801 these were fully
prepared for the press and submitted to the judgment of the judicious
friend referred to above--Rev. John Whittaker, of Ruan Lanyhorne, in
Cornwall. By his advice Drew committed the work to the press, with the
title, "The Immateriality and Immortality of the Soul." It was published
by subscription; "the best families" in the county giving their names as
subscribers. The first edition numbered 700 copies, of which
subscriptions were entered for 640. A few weeks after its publication,
Drew received a letter from a publisher in Bristol asking the author to
state his terms for the copyright. _Twenty pounds_ and thirty copies of
the new edition was all he asked, so little did he suspect the
popularity his work would attain, and so low did he rate his own
abilities as an author. A pleasing circumstance deserves mention here in
connection with the appearance of the first edition of this essay. A
highly favorable review of it appeared in the _Anti-Jacobin_, which Drew
afterward discovered to have been written by no other than Mr. Polwhele,
the clergyman whose pamphlet anent the Wesleyans Drew had so resolutely
and successfully attacked. Such an act of grace was infinitely
creditable to the critic as well as gratifying to the author. In regard
to the history of this essay, the following note, written by Samuel
Drew's son,[34] is full of interest: "After passing through five
editions in England and two in America, and being translated and printed
in France, the 'Essay on the Soul,' the copyright of which Mr. Drew had
disposed of on the terms just named, and which, before its first
appearance, a Cornish bookseller had refused at the price of _ten_
pounds, became again his property at the end of twenty-eight years. He
gave it a final revision, added much important matter, and sold it a
second time for £250."

     [34] Samuel Drew, M.A., the self-taught Cornishman."
     By his Eldest Son. P. 102. London: Ward & Co.

The literary reputation of the metaphysical shoemaker was now
established. Journals and reviews spoke in terms of high praise.
Literary men, clergymen, and ministers of various denominations, wrote
in congratulatory terms, and proffered friendship and assistance. The
best libraries in the locality were placed at his service, and
invitations or visits came so thick upon him, that the modest shoemaker
was at times fairly bewildered by them. A little book, issued in 1803,
the year after Drew's essay appeared, brought his circumstances before
the public. It was entitled, "Literature and Literary Characters of
Cornwall," and was edited by the above-named Mr. Polwhele. To this book
Drew, by request of the editor, sent a short autobiographical sketch.
"His lowly origin," says his son, "and humble situation being thus made
public, the singular contrast which it presented to his growing literary
fame attracted much attention. St. Austell became noted as the
birthplace and residence of Mr. Drew, and strangers coming into the
county for the gratification of their curiosity did not consider that
object accomplished until they had seen 'the metaphysical shoemaker.'"
Referring to those flattering attentions, he once shrewdly observed:
"These gentlemen certainly honor me by their visits; but I do not forget
that many of them merely wish to say that they have seen the cobbler who
wrote a book."

The following picture of the literary shoemaker during this period of
his life must not be omitted here, for it gives us a glimpse of his
method of working at this time when employed on his double task of
making _boots_ and _books_. It recalls the sketch given in the life of
Bloomfield, much of whose poetry was composed under similar conditions.
Indeed, it were hard to say who had the worst of it, the poet in the
crowded garret or the theologian in the noisy kitchen. The first
paragraph is written by Samuel Drew himself, and the second by his son.

"During my literary pursuits I regularly and constantly attended on my
business, and I do not recollect that through these one customer was
ever disappointed by me. My mode of writing and study may have in them,
perhaps, something peculiar. Immersed in the common concerns of life, I
endeavor to lift my thoughts to objects more sublime than those with
which I am surrounded; and, while attending to my trade, I sometimes
catch the fibres of an argument which I endeavor to note, and keep a pen
and ink by me for that purpose. In this state what I can collect through
the day remains on any paper which I may have at hand till the business
of the day is despatched and my shop shut, when, in the midst of my
family, I endeavor to analyze such thoughts as had crossed my mind
during the day. I have no study, I have no retirement. I write amid the
cries and cradles of my children; and frequently when I review what I
have written, endeavor to cultivate 'the art to blot.' Such are the
methods which I have pursued, and such the disadvantages under which I

"His usual seat," adds his son, "after closing the business of the day,
was a low nursing-chair beside the kitchen-fire. Here, with the bellows
on his knees for a desk, and the usual culinary and domestic matters in
progress around him, his works, prior to 1805, were chiefly written."

Samuel Drew's life as a shoemaker came to an end with the year 1805. It
will not be possible for us to give in detail the events which fill up
the remainder of his honorable career. Nor is it needful; the chief
interest of his history lies in that portion of it which shows us the
self-taught Cornishman plying his lowly craft while he lays the
foundation for his fame as a theologian. His preaching engagements were
very numerous from the time when he was first put on the Wesleyan
preachers' "plan," and they were never suspended until within a few
weeks of his death. His status as a local preacher was of the very best,
and frequently brought him into the company of the leading men of his
denomination. His friendship with Mr., now Dr., Adam Clarke, one of the
leading men among the Wesleyans, had been maintained from the time when
Clarke was on the St. Austell circuit. The good name acquired by Drew as
a literary man, and his high standing among his own religious society,
led to his appointment under Dr. Coke, the founder of the Wesleyan
Methodist Missions. The shoemaker now abandoned the awl and last for the
pen, and devoted himself, as a secretary and joint-editor, entirely to
literary work. He assisted Dr. Coke in preparing for the press his
"Commentary on the New Testament," "History of the Bible," and other
works. In 1806, through Dr. Adam Clarke's influence, Drew began to
contribute to the _Eclectic Review_. Before he had abandoned the
shoemaker's stall the materials for another theological work had been
collected and partly prepared for publication. Having treated the
question of the Immortality of the Soul, he had wished, and was strongly
urged by several clerical friends, to take up the subject of the
"Identity and Resurrection of the Human Body." A work bearing this title
appeared in 1809, having been submitted in manuscript to his old friends
the Revs. Mr. Whittaker and Mr. Gregor, and to Archdeacon Moore. It was
not a little remarkable that men of this class should have been the
foremost to patronize and aid the Methodist shoemaker in his literary
enterprises, and that one of them should call himself "friend and
admirer," while another spoke of feeling "a pride and pleasure in being
employed as the scourer of his armor." The most extensive work Drew
ventured to publish was entitled "A Treatise on the Being and Attributes
of God." This was undertaken at the earnest solicitation of Dr. Reid,
then Professor of Oriental Languages at the Marischal College, Aberdeen,
as a competition for a prize of £1500 offered for the best essay on that
subject. Though this work failed to gain the first place in the list,
it stood very high, and, certainly, it was no small testimony to its
worth that it should have been deemed worthy to rank as a close
competitor with the successful works of Dr. A. M. Brown, Principal of
Marischal College, and the Rev. J. B. Sumner, afterward Bishop of
Chester and Archbishop of Canterbury. Drew's treatise was not published
till 1820, when it came out in two octavo volumes. In 1813 he published
a controversial pamphlet on the Divinity of Christ, which had a large
sale, and for which, such was the value now set on his writings, his
publisher, Mr. Edwards, paid as much as he had previously given for the
Essay on the Soul. Under the direction of F. Hitchens, Esq., of St.
Ives, Drew now took up a laborious task which had been in that
gentleman's hands for several years, and brought it to completion. This
was the publication of a History of Cornwall. It appeared in 1815-17,
and consisted of 1500 quarto pages, all of which "was sent to the
printer in his," Drew's, "own manuscript." At the request of the
executors of Dr. Coke, Drew published a memoir of his friend, which
appeared in 1817. This task made a visit to London necessary. Here the
learned shoemaker met with the Rev. Legh Richmond, author of "The
Dairyman's Daughter," and with Dr. Mason of New York. He was, of course,
asked to preach in several London "circuits," where his fame as a writer
had preceded him. His "uncouth and unclerical appearance," for he wore
top-boots and light-colored breeches, excited no small curiosity; but
his excellent preaching and delightful simplicity and modesty of manner
awoke universal respect. The preacher was fifty years of age (1815) when
he paid this visit to the metropolis, and it was the first time he had
travelled more than a few miles from the locality where he was born.

But a journey of more importance still was taken in 1819, when he went
down to Liverpool to negotiate for the editorship of a new magazine to
be issued from the Caxton Establishment, then in the hands of Mr.
Fisher. Drew was finally engaged as permanent editor on this
establishment, and the publication of which he had the management,
bearing the title, _The Imperial Magazine_, became a complete success.
Though sold at one shilling, it had a circulation of 7000 during the
first year. The destruction of the premises by fire compelled the
removal of the Caxton Establishment to London, where Drew remained at
the post of editor for the rest of his life. In 1824 the degree of A.M.
was conferred on him by the Marischal College, Aberdeen. We have alluded
to the request made by some members of the Council of the London
University, that he would allow himself to be nominated for the Chair of
Moral Philosophy. This request was made in 1830; but Samuel Drew, who
was now sixty-five years of age, was beginning to feel the effects of
his long life of hard work, and to sigh for rest. His chief wish was to
end his days in his native county, among the scenes of his boyhood and
youth, and amid the associations that clustered round the place where he
had first learned to think and write, and make for himself a name in the
world of letters. This wish was hardly fulfilled; for, holding on to his
daily routine of office work from year to year in the hope of retiring
with a competence for himself and his children, he was at length
compelled on 2d March, 1833, the last day of his sixty-eighth year, to
lay down his pen. His life-work was now over. Within a few days he left
London for the home of his daughter at Helston in Cornwall, where on the
29th of March he died. It was his comfort, during the last days of his
life, to be surrounded by a circle of deeply attached relatives, and on
several occasions, when his head was supported by one of his children,
he repeated the lines of his favorite poem, the "Elegy" by Gray:

    "On some fond breast the parting soul relies:
    Some pious drops the closing eye requires."

His faith in the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul, which he had
so ably advocated, afforded him profound consolation in his last hours.
On the day before his death he said, with all the eagerness of keen
anticipation, "Thank God, to-morrow I shall join the glorious company

Monuments to his memory were erected over the grave in Helston
Churchyard, and in the Wesleyan chapel and parish church at St. Austell.
On each of these the inhabitants of his native town and county bore
strong testimony to the affection and regard felt by all who knew him
for the "self-taught Cornish metaphysician."


[Illustration: WILLIAM CAREY, D.D.]

William Carey.


"No, sir! only a cobbler."--_Dr. William Carey._

"I am indeed poor, and shall always be so until the Bible is published
in Bengali and Hindostani, and the people want no further
instruction."--_Dr. William Carey, Letter from India, 1794._


Between the years 1786 and 1789, when William Gifford, just liberated by
the generous interference of a friend from the yoke of apprenticeship to
a cruel master, was receiving instruction from the Rev. Thomas Smerdon,
when Robert Bloomfield, a journeyman shoemaker in London, was preparing
in his mind the materials for the "Farmer's Boy," and when Samuel Drew,
the young shoemaker of St. Austell, was reading "Locke on the
Understanding," and learning to think and reason as a metaphysician,
there lived at Moulton in Northamptonshire a poor shoemaker,
school-teacher, and village pastor, who was cherishing in his great
heart the project of forming a society for the purpose of sending out
Christian missionaries to the heathen world. This poor young man, in
spite of his obscure position, his meagre social influence, his limited
resources, and his lack of early educational advantages, became the
originator of the great foreign missionary enterprises which constitute
so remarkable a feature in the religious history of this country at the
close of the last and the beginning of the present century. He was the
first missionary chosen to be sent out by the committee of the society
he had been the means of establishing. His field of labor was India,
where for more than forty years, "without a visit to England or even a
voyage to sea to recruit his strength," and without losing a vestige of
his early enthusiasm for his Christian enterprise, he toiled on at the
work of preaching the gospel and translating the Sacred Scriptures. From
1801 to 1830, he was Professor of Oriental Languages in a college
founded at Fort William by the Marquis of Wellesley, Governor-General of
India. As an Oriental linguist he had few equals in his day, and few
have ever exceeded him in the extent and exactitude of his acquaintance
with the languages of India. He compiled grammars and dictionaries in
Mahratta, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Telugu, Bengali, and Bhotana. But his chief
work was the translation of the Scriptures into Bengali and other
languages. No less than twenty-four different translations of the Bible
were made and edited by him, and passed through the press at Serampore
under his supervision. One account speaks of "two hundred thousand
Bibles, or portions thereof, in about forty Oriental languages or
dialects, besides a great number of tracts and other religious works in
various languages;" and adds that "a great proportion of the actual
literary labor involved in these undertakings was performed" by this
prodigious worker. A truly noble life-work was this for any man. It may
be questioned if more work of a solid and useful character was ever
pressed into one human life. What monarch or ruler of a vast empire,
what statesman or judge, what scientific or literary worker, what man of
genius in business or the professions, has ever thrown more energy into
his life-work or achieved more worthy results for all his toil than this
humble shoemaker and village pastor from Northamptonshire, who first
gave to the various races of Northern India the Bible in their own

No one who is at all familiar with the work of the Christian Church in
the present century, will need to be told that we are speaking of the
famous pioneer missionary to Bengal, Dr. William Carey. And surely no
list of illustrious shoemakers would be complete that did not include
the name of this good man. His experience of the "gentle craft" was
somewhat extensive. He was bound apprentice to the trade, and afterward
worked as,a journeyman for more than twelve years. When he became known
to the world, he was often spoken of as "the learned shoemaker." Indeed,
he was not always honored with so respectful a title as this. More often
than not he was alluded to as "the cobbler," and his own strict honesty
and modesty of spirit led him to prefer the latter epithet. His humble
origin and occupation were sometimes the occasion of an empty sneer on
the part of men whose class feeling and religious prejudice prevented
their appreciation of his splendid mental gifts and high purpose in
life, and who consequently endeavored, but in vain, to bring his grand
and Christ-like undertaking into contempt. That famous wit, the Rev.
Sydney Smith, sometime prebendary of Bristol and canon of St. Paul's,
tried to set the world laughing at the "consecrated cobbler." It was a
sorry joke, and quite unworthy of a Christian minister, and must have
been sorely repented of in after-years. One would have thought that
Sydney Smith's undoubted piety, and natural kindliness of heart, let
along his strong bias in favor of all that was liberal in religion and
politics, would have saved him from such a cruel and flippant sneer. But
wit is a brilliant and dangerous weapon, and few men know how to use it
as much as Sydney Smith did without injury to their own reputation or
the feelings of other people.

Carey, as we have said, did not object to being called a "cobbler,"
although the term did not accurately describe his degree of proficiency
in the trade. It was reported in Northamptonshire that he was a poor
workman, the neighbors declaring that though he made boots, he "could
never make _a pair_."[35] In a letter to Dr. Ryland he contradicts this
report and says: "The childish story of my shortening a shoe to make it
longer is entitled to no credit. I was accounted a very good workman,
and recollect Mr. Old keeping a pair of shoes which I had made in his
shop as a model of good workmanship." He cautiously adds, "But the best
workmen sometimes, from various causes, put bad work out of their hands,
and I have no doubt but I did so too."[36] This is more than likely, for
he was subject to long fits of mental abstraction as he sat at the

                                           "His eyes
    Were with his heart, and that was far away."

     [35] "Baptist Jubilee Memorial." London: Simpkin,
     Marshall, 1842, p. 83.

     [36] "Memoir of Dr. Carey," by the Rev. Eustace Carey.
     London: Jackson & Walford, 2d edition, 1837, p. 16.

He pined for the field of missions and chafed against the cruel "bars of
circumstance" that kept him in his native land. While engaged in
shoemaking, he was so intent on learning Latin, Greek, and Hebrew that
he often forgot to fit the shoes to the last. No wonder if shoes were
not "a pair," and were sometimes returned; no wonder that while he
became one of the first linguists in the world in his day he was spoken
of by his neighbors as nothing more than "a cobbler!" With reference to
his poor abilities in the craft a good story is told of the way in which
he silenced an officious person whose "false pride in place and blood"
had betrayed him into some disparaging remarks about Carey as a
shoemaker. His biographer[37] says: "Some thirty years after this
period, dining one day with the Governor-General, Lord Hastings, at
Barrakpore, a general officer made an impertinent inquiry of one of the
aides-de-camp whether Dr. Carey had not once been a shoemaker. He
happened to overhear the conversation, and immediately stepped forward
and said, "No, sir; only a cobbler!"

     [37] J. C. Marshman, in "The Story of Carey, Marshman,
     and Ward;" London, J. Heaton & Sons, 1864, p. 6. See also an
     account of Carey's life and work in "The Missionary Keepsake
     and Annual," by Rev. John Dyer; London, Fisher & Co., 1837; and
     "The Life of Dr. Carey," by the Rev. Eustace Carey; London,

In the brief story we have to tell of the life of this remarkable man,
we shall, as seems most appropriate to our purpose, confine our remarks
almost entirely to the work he accomplished before he ceased to be a
shoemaker. His father and grandfather held the position of parish clerk
and schoolmaster at Pury, or Paulersbury, in Northamptonshire, where
William Carey was born, 17th August, 1761. His only education was
received in the village school, and this was very slight and
rudimentary; yet it was sufficient to give him a start in the work of
educating himself. As a boy he was always fond of reading, and chose
such books as referred to natural history. Botany and entomology were
favorite subjects. His bedroom was turned into a sort of museum, chiefly
remarkable for butterflies and beetles. Of books of travel and accounts
of voyages he never seems to have wearied; the history and geography of
any country also afforded him special delight. He was a bright, active,
good-looking, intelligent boy, by no means a recluse and bookworm,
caring nothing for out-door exercise and sports. He was as fond of games
as any boy in the village, and as clever at them, and so became a
general favorite. His quickness of intellect and perseverance with any
hobby he took up often led the neighbors to predict success for him in
future life. The perseverance and courage, which were such marked
features of his character as a man, were shown in his boyhood by a
curious incident. Attempting to climb a tree one day, he fell and broke
his leg, and was an invalid for six weeks. As soon as he could crawl to
the bottom of the garden, he made his way to the very tree from which he
had fallen, climbed to the top of it, and brought down one of the
highest branches, which he carried into the house, exclaiming, "There, I
knew I would do it!"

At the age of twelve he showed the first signs of a taste and capacity
for the acquisition of languages. A copy of Dyche's Latin Grammar and
Vocabulary had come into his hands, and he at once set to work, of his
own free will and choice, to study the introductory portion, and to
commit all the Latin words, with their meanings, to memory. Such an
incident as this was quite enough to show that he was a boy of no common
mind, and that he would well repay any outlay that might be made in
giving him a classical training. But that was out of the question; the
village school could not afford such a training, and anything better, in
the shape of grammar-school or college, was not to be had, for his
friends were poor and had no patrons to assist them. What he might have
done in an university it is idle to suppose. Undoubtedly, he would have
distinguished himself, but it may be reasonably doubted whether he would
have been led into the path of Christian philanthropy and usefulness
which the stress of circumstances at Moulton led him to think and adopt.
It must have been painful for his parents, with their sense of the boy's
merits and ambition as a scholar, to see him languishing at home, unable
to find sufficient food for his hungry and capacious young mind, while
they also were unable to satisfy his passion for books, or send him to a
school adequate to his requirements. And doubly painful must it have
been for him as for them, when they felt that the time had come for him
to learn a trade, and the thought of further schooling must be given up.

One can imagine his feelings when told that he must be apprenticed to a
shoemaker. Not that such an occupation was necessarily a bugbear to a
boy in his position, for thousands of village lads would not have
regarded it in that light; but it was so to _him_. His heart had been
set on a very different kind of occupation. He was eager for study, and
felt within him the movement of an impulse to do something great in the
world, and this apprenticeship was a bitter disappointment, saddening
his young heart, and quenching for a time all his bright hopes. But only
for a time did he lose heart. He was one of those who are no friends to
despair, who do not understand defeat, and whose spirit and
determination rise in the face of difficulties. It was not to be
expected in his circumstances that life could offer him any position of
greater honor or advantage than a cobbler's stool. He would not,
therefore, murmur at his necessary lot. He would rather take to it with
as good a grace as possible, and make the best of it. He would use every
means and chance of self-improvement, and if he could not have his
heart's desire in the way he had intended, he would have it in some
other way; anyhow he would have it. A broken purpose should no more
stand in the way of his climbing the "tree of knowledge" than a broken
leg had prevented his climbing to the top of the tree in his father's

So he settled to his work with Charles Nickolls of Hackleton at the age
of fourteen, with no prospect but that of being bound to wield the awl
and bend over the last until he had come to be twenty-one years of age.
Soon after entering the shoemaker's room he found a copy of the New
Testament, in the notes to which occurred a number of Greek words. This
opened up another field of study, and he determined to enter upon it.
Copying out the words, he took them for explanation to a young man who
was a weaver in the village where his father lived. This weaver came
from Kidderminster, had seen better days, and had received a good
education. He assisted young Carey, then fifteen years of age, in
mastering the rudiments of Greek. With such a start he did not rest
until he had procured and could read the Greek New Testament. In the
second year of his apprenticeship his indentures were cancelled on
account of the death of his master, and Carey became a journeyman, of
course at very low wages, under Mr. Old. At this time there lived in the
neighborhood a clergyman who was one of the lights of a dark period in
the religious history of this country--the Rev. Thomas Scott, the
popular evangelical preacher, writer, and Bible commentator. His own
career was very remarkable. From the position of a laboring man he had
risen to occupy good rank as a clergyman, and with very meagre
advantages in early life he had become, or was rapidly becoming, one of
the best sacred classics in the country. The man who had laid aside the
shepherd's smock for the clergyman's surplice, and who on one occasion
doffed his clerical attire, donned the shepherd's clothes again, and
sheared eleven large sheep on an afternoon, was not likely to neglect or
overlook a youth of more than ordinary intelligence and application to
study because the youth happened to spend his days at the shoemaker's
stall. Mr. Scott on his visiting rounds now and then turned in at Mr.
Old's, and was struck with the boy's bright look and rapt attention to
any remarks that the visitor might make. Occasionally young Carey would
venture to ask a question. So appropriate and far-seeing were his
inquiries that Mr. Scott discerned his young friend's uncommon powers,
and often declared that he would prove to be "no ordinary character." In
later years, when William Carey was known throughout England as a
pioneer in mission work, as a great Oriental linguist, and the first
translator of the New Testament into Bengali, Mr. Scott, as he passed by
the old room where the thoughtful and studious young shoemaker had once
sat at work, would point to it and say, "That was Mr. Carey's college."

But with all this mental activity and zest for knowledge there was no
moral purpose in his life, and as he grew older he became more and more
loose and careless in his habits, and, as he himself would have it, even
vicious, until he came to be about eighteen years of age. But there is
no proof of any evil conduct to justify the use of such a term as
"vicious" in describing his life at this time. He spoke of himself, no
doubt, after the religious fashion of the age, and judged his early
conduct by the severe moral standard adopted by his co-religionists. His
complete mental awakening, like that of Samuel Drew, seems to have come
as a result of the moral change wrought in him at the time of his
religious conversion. A variety of causes, as is the rule, led to this
crucial event in his life, "that vital change of heart which laid the
foundation of his Christian character." First of all he was indebted to
the good example of a fellow-workman, then to the earnest preaching of
the Rev. Thomas Scott. Mr. Marshman says, "It was chiefly to the
ministrations of Mr. Scott that Carey was indebted for the progress he
made in his religious career, and he never omitted through life to
acknowledge the deep obligation under which he had been laid by his
instructions." Brought up as a strict Churchman, he was confirmed at a
suitable age, and regularly attended the services at the parish church.
But at the time we are speaking of, when personal religion became the
chief subject of his thoughts, he sought light and help by every
available means. The little Baptist community, among whom he had many
friends, showed him much sympathy: he began to attend their meetings for
prayer, and eventually cast in his lot among them. They encouraged him
to become a preacher, and his first sermon, delivered at Hackleton when
he was nineteen years of age, was delivered in one of their assemblies.
For three and a half years he was on the preachers' plan, and regularly
"supplied the pulpits" in this village and Earl's Barton as a kind of
pastor. "It was during these ministerial engagements," says his
biographer, "that his views on the subject of baptism were altered, and
he embraced the opinion that baptism by immersion, after a confession of
faith, was in accordance with the injunctions of Divine Writ and the
practice of the apostolic age. He was accordingly baptized by Dr. John
Ryland, his future associate in the cause of missions, who subsequently
stated at a public meeting that, on the 7th of October, 1783, he
baptized a poor journeyman shoemaker in the river Nene, a little beyond
Dr. Doddridge's chapel in Northampton."[38]

     [38] "The Story of Carey, Marshman, and Ward," p. 4.

During these years he was diligently prosecuting his studies, and read
the Scriptures in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Like many another poor
student, he was fain to borrow what he could not buy in the way of
books, and "laid the libraries of all the friends around him under
contribution." Notwithstanding his extraordinary abilities and
diligence, he does not seem to have displayed any marked qualities as a
preacher. It was with difficulty he got through his trial sermons before
the church of which he was now a member. The very decided "personal
influence" of the pastor, the Rev. John Suttcliffe, was required to
enable the modest young shoemaker to obtain the church's sanction to his
receiving "a call to the ministry." The church to which he ministered at
Earl's Barton was poor, and scarcely able to keep its pastor in
clothing, much less provide for his entire maintenance. For this he was
dependent on his trade, and as the times were now very bad he was
obliged to travel from village to village to dispose of his work and
obtain fresh orders. Nothing but the assistance of his relatives saved
him at this time from destitution.

And here we are bound to pause and notice the greatest mistake Carey
made in all his life. We refer to his marriage at the age of twenty to
the sister of his former employer. "This imprudent union," it is said,
"proved a severe clog on his exertions for more than twenty-five years."
The match was about as unfortunate and unsuitable as a match could be.
Mrs. Carey was much older than her husband, ill-educated in mind and
temper, and quite incapable of sympathizing with her husband's studies
and projects. How he came to contract such a miserable union passes
comprehension, for he was remarkably sensible and business-like in
common affairs. But there are those who can cultivate another man's
vineyard while they neglect their own, wise for others and simple for
themselves; and in regard to this particular business, as Froude the
historian has well said, some men are apparently "destined to be
unfortunate in their relations with women." The judicious Hooker was
judicious in everything else but the choice of a wife, for he married a
jade who was wont to give him the baby to nurse and stand and scold him
into the bargain, as he sat writing the works that were destined to make
his name illustrious for all time. Molière, who exposed in the most
masterly manner in his plays the follies and foibles of the women of
Parisian society in his day, married, to his bitter regret, as weak and
vain a woman as any that figures in his own works. Milton's second wife
went home again within three months of their wedding-day; and John
Wesley's wife left him a short while after their marriage. But if these
good men made a mistake in their choice, they one and all acted with
good sense and feeling in their treatment of their ill-matched partners.
Nothing could be better than the common-sense of stern John Wesley in
his reply to a friend who asked him if he would not send for his truant
wife home again. He answered in Latin, but this is what his words mean,
"I did not send her away, and I will not fetch her back again." Carey
acted with much kindness and discretion toward his miserable partner;
but he found it harder to transform her into a sensible woman than to
transform his own Baptist Conference into a missionary society.[39]

     [39] It ought to be said that in 1808, about a year
     after the death of his first wife, Carey married Miss Rhumohr,
     a Danish lady of good family and education, who proved a most
     congenial companion and helper in his work. He was three times
     married: his third wife, who survived him, was an excellent
     partner for a missionary.

In 1786, he took the pastorate of a small church at Moulton; yet, even
here, he was obliged to eke out his poor living by shoemaking, and even
to add to his other labors the task of teaching a school. For this task
he was utterly unfit. However well he might teach himself, he could
never teach boys. He knew this, and was accustomed to say, "When I kept
school, it was the boys who kept me." His circumstances at this time
ought to be fully stated in order that the reader may form some idea of
the hardship Carey had to endure and the absorbing personal duties and
cares in the midst of which he began to cherish his great purpose "to
convey the gospel of Jesus Christ to some portion of the heathen world."
His ministerial stipend from all sources and the proceeds of his school
would not together put him in the position of Goldsmith's ideal village
pastor, who was "passing rich on forty pounds a year." So that he was
obliged, even at Moulton, to have recourse to shoemaking. A friend of
his at the time remarks, "Once a fortnight Carey might be seen walking
eight or ten miles to Northampton, with his wallet full of shoes on his
shoulder, and then returning home with a fresh supply of leather."

The time spent at Moulton was, in spite of its many cares and hardships,
a time of great progress in study. It was during these years he adopted
the plan of allotting his time, a plan to which he rigidly adhered all
through his life, and by means of which he was able in after-years to
accomplish tasks which seemed to onlookers sufficient for the energies
of two or three ordinary men. Now began also the acquaintance with men
whose friendship was of the greatest service to a man like Carey, and
largely influenced and helped him in his life-work--Mr. Hall (the father
of the eminent pulpit orator Robert Hall), Dr. Ryland, John Suttcliffe,
and Andrew Fuller. All these lived within a few miles of each other, and
belonged to the same association of Baptist churches, called the
Northamptonshire Association. It was at one of the meetings of this
association that Fuller first met with Carey and heard him preach. So
delighted was Fuller with the devout thoughtfulness and Christian
catholicity of Carey's discourse, that he met the preacher as he came
down from the pulpit and thanked him in the warmest manner. In this
cordial meeting commenced a friendship and fellowship in Christian work
which lasted for twenty years until Fuller's death, and which proved a
source of untold blessings to the heathen world.

Carey's first thought of missions came into his mind when reading
Captain Cook's account of his voyage round the world. He was in the
habit of blending study with his task as a shoemaker, or while sitting
among his boys at school. This book impressed his imagination, and
stirred his compassion to the utmost, as he contemplated the vast extent
of the world and the large proportion of its inhabitants who were living
in ignorance of the true God, and of the Saviour of mankind. In order to
realize the facts more vividly, he constructed a large map of the world,
and marked it in such a manner as to indicate the numerical relation of
the heathen to the Christian nations. This map was fixed on the wall in
front of his work-stool, so that he might raise his head occasionally
and look upon it as he sat at his daily toil. While he mused on the map
and the facts it represented, "the fire burned." It was the means of
inspiring in him the purpose never to tire nor rest until he and others
had gone out to convey the good news of the Gospel to his suffering
fellow-men in distant lands. It was to this circumstance that William
Wilberforce alluded, in a speech made in the House of Commons twenty
years after, when, urging Parliament to grant missionaries free access
to India, he said: "A sublimer thought cannot be conceived than when a
poor cobbler formed the resolution to give to the millions of Hindoos
the Bible in their own language."

With this purpose in mind, Carey went to the meetings of his brethren,
longing for an opportunity of expressing his thoughts and calling forth
their sympathies. But he had to endure a terrible trial at the outset--a
trial which only Christian faith and love could endure. The older men,
who ruled in an almost supreme manner in these councils, sternly rebuked
his presumption, as they deemed it, and called him an "enthusiast"--a
term employed very recently by a noble duke in the House of Lords in the
same connection. No term could have described Carey more correctly. It
was a term of honor, though meant in reproach and condemnation. The word
means one inspired by God, and surely Carey's Christlike thought and
zeal for his fellow-men was an inspiration. He was an enthusiast of the
type of Robert Raikes of Gloucester, who only six or seven years
before[40] had begun the work of Sabbath-schools in that city; or John
Howard, whose great work, published within a year or two of this
time,[41] on the condition of the prisons in Europe, and especially in
England and Ireland, created a merciful revolution in the treatment of
our criminal class; or Thomas Charles of Bala, whose pity for the Welsh
girl who had no Bible of her own, and had been unable to walk six or
seven miles to a place where she could have access to one, led him to
take steps which resulted in the formation of the British and Foreign
Bible Society. The founder of the Baptist Missionary Society was a man
of this type, and such men are the greatest benefactors of their race,
no matter whether they be clergymen like Charles, or country gentlemen
like Howard, or cobblers and Nonconformist village pastors like Carey.

     [40] The first Sunday-school was opened in Gloucester
     in 1780.

     [41] Viz., 1789.

At the first meeting in which Carey ventured to submit the subject of
Christian missions, the senior minister present spoke in the following
oracular manner: "Brother Carey ought certainly to have known that
nothing could be done before another Pentecost, when an effusion of
miraculous gifts, including the gift of tongues, would give effect to
the commission of Christ, as at the first; and that he (Mr. Carey) was a
miserable enthusiast for asking such a question." And then, as if to
settle the whole question once for all, and shut the mouth of Mr. Carey
forever, the stern old man turned to the humble young pastor and said,
"What, sir! can you preach in Arabic, in Persic, in Hindostani, in
Bengali, that you think it your duty to preach the gospel to the
heathen?" Little did the speaker imagine that he was addressing the very
man who would subsequently hold the office of Professor of Oriental
Languages, at Fort William for twenty years, become one of the greatest
proficients the world has known in two of the very languages he had
named, and not only _preach_ in them but translate the Scriptures into
them, as a boon and legacy of love to the people of Hindostan. When on
another occasion Carey, nothing daunted by his first repulse, and
willing to forgive and forget his rebuff for the sake of the cause he
cherished, asked his brethren once more to consider the question of
missions, the same stern voice exclaimed, "Young man, sit down; when God
pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine."

But the old man was not a prophet. God did not choose to work without
the aid of William Carey, though the time was not yet. The undaunted
moral hero had other battles to fight before he stood on the field of

In 1789 Carey became the pastor of a church in Leicester. For four years
he labored zealously at his ministerial duties, studied with great
diligence, availing himself of new and valuable friendships for this
purpose, and never failing to bring up his favorite theme for discussion
at the meetings of the Baptist ministers. Before he left Moulton, as we
have seen, he began to raise the question in the public assemblies. On
one occasion the debate ran on the question he had introduced, "Whether
it were not practicable, and our bounden duty, to attempt somewhat
toward spreading the gospel in the heathen world?" Not satisfied with
the result of such discussions, the village shoemaker and pastor sat
down to write a pamphlet on this subject, entitled "Thoughts on
Christian Missions." When he showed this pamphlet to his friends Fuller,
Suttcliffe, and Ryland, they were amazed at the amount of knowledge it
displayed, and deeply moved by Carey's zeal and persistence in the good
cause; but all they could do in the matter was to put him off for a time
by counselling him to _revise_ his production. It appears that at the
time this _brochure_ was penned the poor shoemaker with his family were
"in a state bordering on starvation, and passed many weeks without
animal food, and with but a scanty supply of bread."

In the year 1791, at a meeting held at Clipstone in Northamptonshire,
Carey again read his pamphlet, and was requested to publish it. This was
a decided step in advance, and prepared the way for the events of the
following year, when the desire of his heart was accomplished in the
formation of a missionary society. In May, 1792, he preached the famous
sermon which is said to have done more than anything else to consummate
this missionary enterprise.[42] The two main propositions of this
discourse have passed into something like a proverb on the lips of
missionary advocates: "Expect great things from God; attempt great
things for God." Although the discourse made a deep impression, Carey
was distressed beyond all self-control when he found his friends were
about to separate without a distinct resolution to form a society. He
seized Andrew Fuller's hand "in an agony of distress," and tearfully
pleaded that some steps should at once be taken. Overcome at last by his
entreaties, they solemnly resolved on the holy enterprise.

     [42] The text of this discourse was Isaiah 54:2, 3:
     "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the
     curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords
     and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the
     right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the
     Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited."

After this the history of the Society is a record of meetings,
committees, travels, and labors, of deputations to the churches,
difficulties and embarrassments, in the midst of which no one was more
devoted and useful in bringing the plans of the young Society into
working order than Carey's valuable friend, Andrew Fuller. The first
subscription list was made up at another meeting of the Association,
held at Kettering, in Carey's own county, in the autumn of the same
year. Its promises amounted to £13 2s. 6d. This little fund was the
precursor of the tens of thousands which have since flowed into the
treasuries of our modern Christian Missionary Societies. In twenty-nine
days after the fund was started at Kettering, Birmingham followed with
the noble gift of £70.

The Society was now fairly started, with the resolution formally
recorded on its minute-books "to convey the message of salvation to some
portion of the heathen world." On the 9th of January, 1793, Carey and a
colleague were appointed by the Committee to proceed at once to India.
Carey's colleague was a man of extraordinary missionary zeal, who had
"lately returned from Bengal, and was endeavoring to establish a fund in
London for a mission to that country."[43] He was a Baptist, and on
hearing of the schemes of his brethren in England, he readily fell in
with their proposal that he should accompany Carey to India. But the
question of finding a berth on an English vessel was not easily settled.
No English captain dare take them out without a government license, and
to obtain a license as missionaries was not to be thought of. Having at
one time gone on board a vessel with all their baggage, they were
obliged by the captain, who felt that he was risking his commission in
taking them on board, to land again and return to London. They were
compelled at length to have recourse to a Danish vessel, the _Cron
Princessa Maria_, whose captain, an Englishman by birth, though
naturalized as a Dane, looked favorably on their enterprise. On the 13th
of June, 1793, Carey and his companion set sail from the shores of
England, their expedition as ambassadors for Christ as little heeded by
the world at large as that of the Cilician tentmaker and his little band
of preachers who set sail seventeen centuries before from the port of
Alexandria Troas for the shores of Europe.

     [43] _Quarterly Review_, Feb. 1809, p. 197. This
     generous article on "The Periodical Accounts of the Baptist
     Missionary Society" is known to have been written by Southey.
     See below. Some idea of Thomas's passionate zeal may be formed
     from certain expressions in the letters sent home after Carey
     and he had arrived in India. He says, "Never did men see their
     native land with more joy than we left it; but this is not of
     nature, but from above," etc. See p. 223 of same article.

The story of Carey's life and work in India cannot be followed in
detail. We have come to the close of that portion of his history which
properly belongs to these brief sketches of illustrious shoemakers. A
few sentences must suffice to give a picture of his labors as a
missionary and the result of those labors. For six or seven years Carey
and his friends had to endure much hardship, and their proceedings were
hampered by difficulties of various kinds. To begin with, they had no
legal standing in the country, and were forced at length to take up
their quarters under the Danish flag at Serampore. "Here they bought a
house, and organized themselves into a family society, resolving that
whatever was done by any member should be for the benefit of the
mission. They opened a school, in which the children of those natives
who chose to send them were instructed gratuitously."[44] The funds
supplied from home were but scanty, and they were compelled to resort to
trade for their livelihood and the means of carrying on their work.
"Thomas, who was a surgeon, intended to support himself by his
profession. Carey's plan was to take land and cultivate it for his
maintenance."[45] At one time, when funds were exhausted, Mr. Carey "was
indebted for an asylum to an opulent native;" at another time, driven to
distraction by want of money, by the apparent failure of his plans, and
the upbraidings of his unsympathetic partner, he removed with his
family to the Soonderbunds, and took a small grant of land, which he
proposed to cultivate for his own maintenance; and, later on, he
thankfully accepted, as a way out of his difficulties and a means of
furthering his missionary projects, the post of superintendent of an
indigo factory at Mudnabatty. This post he held for five or six years.
No sooner had he got into this position of comparative independence than
he wrote home and proposed that "the sum which might be considered his
salary should be devoted to the printing of the Bengali translation of
the New Testament." This generous proposal is a fair illustration of his
self-sacrificing spirit from the beginning to the end of his missionary
life. To the work of translating and circulating the Scriptures in the
languages of India he devoted not only all his time and his vast mental
powers, but whatever private funds might be at his command. As the work
proceeded, and he became known and employed by the government in various
professorships, these funds were often very considerable. In 1807, when
Carey held the Professorship of Oriental Languages at the Fort William
College, at a salary of £1200 a year, Mr. Ward, one of his colleagues,
wrote, in reply to some unfriendly remarks made in an English
publication, that Dr. Carey and Mr. Marshman "were contributing £2400 a
year," and receiving from the mission fund "only their food and a trifle
of pocket-money for apparel."

     [44] _Quarterly Review_, Feb. 1809, p. 197.

     [45] Ibid.

In 1800 the missionary establishment, now strengthened by the two worthy
colleagues just named, was removed to Serampore, a Danish settlement
about fifteen miles from Calcutta. A printing press and type were
purchased, and the work of printing the Scriptures commenced. Carey had
been quietly but most diligently going on with the translation of the
Scriptures into Bengali during the previous years of anxiety and varied
missionary labor. Whatever cares weighed on brain and heart, the true
work of his life, to which he had devoted himself, was never

On the 18th of March, 1800, the first sheets of the Bengali New
Testament were struck off, and on the 7th of February in the following
year, "Mr. Carey enjoyed the supreme gratification of receiving the last
sheet of the Bengali New Testament from the press, the fruition of the
'sublime thought' which he had conceived fifteen years before." It is
not surprising that we should read the following record of the manner in
which these humble missionaries expressed their devout gratitude to God
on the consummation of this part of their Christian labors: "As soon as
the first copy was bound, it was placed on the communion table in the
chapel, and a meeting was held of the whole of the mission family, and
of the converts recently baptized, to offer a tribute of gratitude to
God for this great blessing." In 1806 the New Testament was ready for
the press in _Sanskrit_, the sacred language of India, the language of
its most ancient and venerated writings, and the parent of nearly all
the languages of modern India. Simultaneously with this were being
issued proof-sheets of the New Testament in Mahratta, Orissa, Persian,
and Hindostani, besides dictionaries and grammars, and other
publications for the use of students. It is well-nigh impossible to form
a correct idea of the amount of religious zeal, mental energy, and
physical endurance involved in labors like those of Dr. Carey, extending
over forty years in the climate of Bengal. He is said to have regularly
tired out three pundits, or native interpreters, who came one after the
other each day to assist him in the correction and revision of his
translations. A letter written in 1807, when the degree of D.D. was
conferred on Mr. Carey by the Brown University, United States, gives a
graphic sketch of the ordinary day's work performed by him at this
period: "He rises a little before six, reads a chapter in the Hebrew
Bible, and spends the time till seven in private devotion. He then has
family prayer with the servants in Bengali, after which he reads Persian
with a moonshee who is in attendance. As soon as breakfast is over he
sits down to the translation of the Ramayun with his pundit till ten,
when he proceeds to the college and attends to its duties till two.
Returning home, he examines a proof-sheet of the Bengali translation,
and dines with his friend Mr. Rolt. After dinner he translates a chapter
of the Bible with the aid of the chief pundit of the college. At six he
sits down with the Telugu pundit to the study of that language, and then
preaches a sermon in English to a congregation of about fifty. The
service ended, he sits down to the translation of Ezekiel into Bengali,
having thrown aside his former version. At eleven the duties of the day
are closed, and after reading a chapter in the Greek Testament and
commending himself to God he retires to rest."[46]

     [46] "Carey, Marshman, and Ward," by J. C. Marshman.
     London: J. Heaton & Son. 1864.

Strangely enough, about this time a controversy was going on in certain
English journals as to the value of the work that Carey and his
coadjutors were doing in India. We have no wish to speak bitterly of the
satire and severity of the articles written by Sydney Smith in the
_Edinburgh Review_. They were not simply sallies of wit, but serious
essays, written in a spirit of deliberate hostility to this missionary
enterprise. What else can be thought of an article commencing with words
like these: "In rooting out a nest of consecrated cobblers, and in
bringing to light such a perilous heap of trash as we are obliged to
work through in our articles on Methodists and missionaries, we are
generally considered to have rendered a useful service to the cause of
rational religion." Such articles condemned themselves; and it is fair
to add that their author himself lived to regard them as a mistake, and
to express to Lord Macaulay his regret that he had ever written

     [47] "Carey, Marshman, and Ward," p. 137.

But even in that day Carey and his heroic band of Christian
fellow-laborers had plenty of sympathizers and supporters both in the
Church of England and the Nonconformist denominations. Robert Southey
the poet came forward with generous enthusiasm in their defence, and
in a carefully-written article in the _Quarterly Review_[48]
vindicated their character and labors. Among other remarkable
statements in their behalf, he was able to say: "These 'low-born and
low-bred mechanics' have translated the whole Bible into Bengali, and
have by this time printed it. They are printing the New Testament in
the Sanskrit, the Orissa, the Mahratta, the Hindostani, the Guzerat,
and translating it into Persic, Teligna, Carnata, Chinese, the
language of the Sieks and the Burmans, and in four of these languages
they are going on with the Bible. Extraordinary as this is, it will
appear still more so when it is remembered that of these men one was
originally a shoemaker, another a printer at Hull, and the third the
master of a charity-school at Bristol. Only fourteen years have
elapsed since Thomas and Carey set foot in India, and in that time
these missionaries have acquired the gift of tongues. In fourteen
years these 'low-born, low-bred mechanics' have done more to spread
the knowledge of the Scriptures among the heathen than has been
accomplished or even attempted by all the world beside. A plain
statement of fact will be the best proof of their diligence and
success. The first convert was baptized in December, 1800,[49] and in
seven years after that time the number has amounted to 109, of whom
nine were afterward excluded or suspended, or had been lost sight of.
Carey and his son have been in Bengal fourteen years, the other
brethren only nine. They had all a difficult language to acquire
before they could speak to a native, and to preach and argue in it
required a thorough and familiar knowledge. Under these circumstances
the wonder is, not that they have done so little, but that they have
done so much; for it will be found that, even without this difficulty
to retard them, no religious opinions have spread more rapidly in the
same time, unless there was some remarkable folly or extravagance to
recommend them, or some powerful worldly inducement." This liberal
Tory an evangelical High Churchman goes on to say: "Other missionaries
from other societies have now entered India, and will soon become
efficient laborers in their station. From Government all that is asked
is toleration for themselves and protection for their converts. The
plan which they have laid for their own proceedings is perfectly
prudent and unexceptionable, and there is as little fear of their
provoking martyrdom as there would be of their shrinking from it if
the cause of God and man require the sacrifice."

     [48] _Quarterly Review_, Feb. 1809, pp. 224, 225.

     [49] Viz., _Krishnu_, who was baptized at the same
     time as Carey's son Felix. The ceremony was performed at the
     Ghaut, or landing-stairs of the Mahanuddy, in the presence of
     the Governor and a crowd of Hindoos and Mohammedans.

Having lived to see his desire accomplished in the establishment of many
other missionary societies besides his own; having been the means of
translating the Sacred Scriptures in the languages spoken probably by
two hundred millions of people; this good man, working up to the close
of his life, died at Calcutta on the 9th of June, 1834. As he lay ill,
Lady Bentinck, the wife of the Governor-General, paid him frequent
visits, and good "Bishop Wilson came and besought his blessing." He
instructed his executors to place no memorial over his tomb but the
following simple inscription:



    "A wretched, poor, and helpless worm,
            On Thy kind arms I fall."

Mr. Marshman, who had the best means of knowing Carey and his work,[50]
says: "The basis of all his excellences was deep and unaffected piety.
So great was his love of integrity that he never gave his confidence
where he was not certain of the existence of moral worth. He was
conspicuous for constancy, both in the pursuits of life and the
associations of friendship. With great simplicity he united the
strongest decision of character. He never took credit for anything but
plodding, but it was the plodding of genius." In all his work, however
successful, however honored by his fellow-men, William Carey was modest
and simple-hearted as a child. His unparalleled labors as a translator
of the Scriptures were performed under the prompting of sublime faith in
Divine truth, warm unwavering love to souls, and an assured confidence
in the ultimate triumph of the kingdom of God. The shoemaker of
Northamptonshire will be remembered till the end of the world as the
Christian Apostle of Northern India.

     [50] John Clark Marshman was the son of Dr. Marshman,
     Carey's colleague at Serampore.


John Pounds,


    "His virtues walked their narrow round,
    Nor made a pause, nor left a void;
    And sure the Eternal Master found
    His single talent well employed."

    --_Dr. Samuel Johnson._

"A young lady once said to him, 'O Mr. Pounds, I wish you were rich, you
would do so much good!' The old man paused a few seconds and then
replied, 'Well, I don't know; if I had been rich I might, perhaps, have
been much the same as other rich people. This I know, there is not now a
happier man in England than John Pounds; and I think 'tis best as it
is.'"--_Memoir of John Pounds_, p. 12.

"As unknown, and yet well known; ... as poor, yet making many
rich."--_The Apostle Paul._ 2 Cor. vi. 9, 10.

"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the
least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."--_Our Lord Jesus
Christ._ Matt. xxv. 40.


In 1837 there lived at Landport and Portsmouth two notable shoemakers.
The Landport man combined with his daily task as a shoemaker the
delightful occupation of sketching and painting, and obtained a local
fame as an artist. The Portsmouth man found in the work of teaching poor
ragged children to read and write and cipher his greatest relaxation
from the drudgery of daily toil and his purest enjoyment, and has become
known, we may safely affirm, throughout the Christian world, as a
philanthropist, and one of the first men in this country who conceived
and carried out the idea of Ragged Schools. The shoemaker-artist had a
great admiration for the shoemaker-philanthropist and painted a picture
representing him in his humble workroom, engaged in his double
occupation as shoemaker and schoolmaster, with a last between his knees
and a number of children standing before him receiving instruction. The
artist's name was Sheaf, and his interesting picture represented John
Pounds occupied in his benevolent work as a gratuitous teacher of the
neglected children of his native town. Sheaf sold his picture to Edward
Carter, Esq., of Portsmouth, a warm admirer of John Pounds, and one of
his best friends and helpers in his work. This picture was afterward
engraved by Mr. Charpentier of Portsmouth, and it is to a copy of the
engraving the renowned Dr. Guthrie of Edinburgh refers in the following

"It is rather curious, at least it is interesting to me, that it was by
a picture that I was first led to take an interest in Ragged Schools--a
picture in an old, obscure, decayed burgh, that stands on the shore of
the Firth of Forth. I had gone thither with a companion on a pilgrimage;
not that there was any beauty about the place, for it had no beauty. It
has little trade. Its deserted harbor, silent streets, and old houses,
some of them nodding to their fall, give indications of decay. But one
circumstance has redeemed it from obscurity, and will preserve its name
to the latest ages. It was the birthplace of Thomas Chalmers. I went to
see this place. It is many years ago, and going into an inn for
refreshments, I found the room covered with pictures of shepherdesses
with their crooks, and tars in holiday attire, not very interesting. But
above the chimney-piece there stood a large print, more respectable than
its neighbors, which a skipper, the captain of one of the few ships that
trade between that town and England, had probably brought there. It
represented a cobbler's room. The cobbler was there himself, spectacles
on nose, an old shoe between his knees, the massive forehead and firm
mouth expressing great determination of character, and below his bushy
eyebrows benevolence gleamed out on a number of poor ragged boys and
girls who stood at their lessons around the busy cobbler. My curiosity
was excited, and on the inscription I read how this man, John Pounds, a
cobbler in Portsmouth, taking pity on the poor ragged children, left by
ministers and magistrates, and ladies and gentlemen, to run in the
streets, had, like a good shepherd, gathered in the wretched outcasts;
how he had brought them to God and the world; and how, while earning his
bread by the sweat of his brow, he had rescued from misery, and saved to
society, not less than five hundred of these children."[51]

     [51] "Anecdotes and Stories," by Rev. Thomas Guthrie,
     D.D. London: Houlston & Wright, pp. 156, 157.

The biography of some of the best and most useful men the world has
known may be written almost in a sentence. In the Old Testament there is
a biography of this kind in the words, "And Enoch walked with God: and
he was not; for God took him."[52] In the New Testament there is another
of a similar character in the brief sentence, "There was a certain man
in Cæsarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian
_band_, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who
gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway."[53] The
life-story of John Pounds is told in the last sentence of Dr. Guthrie's
narrative; yet a few farther details of the life and work of this
noble-hearted man will be read with interest by all who venerate true
worth and take pleasure in contemplating acts of Christ-like charity and

     [52] Gen. 5: 24.

     [53] Acts, 10: 1, 2.

John Pounds was born at Portsmouth on the 17th of June, 1766. He was
only twelve years old when his father, a sawyer employed in the
government dockyard, had him bound apprentice as a shipwright in the
same yard. He was then a strong active boy, and worked with his father
in the yard until an accident maimed him for life, and made him
incapable of working as a shipwright. He fell into a dry-dock and broke
one of his thigh-bones, at the same time dislocating the joint. Whether
the fracture was neglected or not we do not know; but, from some cause
or other, poor Pounds went lame ever after. From the art of making ships
he was now fain to turn to that of making shoes, and finding an old man
in High Street, Portsmouth, who was willing to give the needful
instruction, John Pounds, at the age of fifteen, became a _shoemaker_.
Indeed, he would scarcely have claimed that title of dignity for
himself; for his chief thoughts were given to other affairs, so that he
was never an adept at his craft, and would in all probability have
preferred to be set down as "only a cobbler." It was not until 1804,
when Pounds was thirty-eight years of age, that "he ventured to become a
tenant on his own account of the small, weather-boarded tenement in St.
Mary's Street." It was in this humble abode that John Pounds lived and
worked and carried on his benevolent labors for thirty-five years. The
room appears to have been about the size and shape of an open
third-class railway carriage, and the entire tenement had more the
appearance of a shanty or hut than an ordinary dwelling-house. Yet it
was amply sufficient for the poor cobbler's purposes, and served as the
field of operations in all his benevolent enterprises.

Pounds lived alone in his snug little home; and as his earnings, though
small, were more than enough to meet the requirements of a bachelor, he
felt it right to do something to assist his poor relatives. He had a
brother--a seafaring man--whose family was large and stood in need of
assistance. John accordingly proposed to take one of his brother's
children and clothe, board, and educate him as if he had been his own.
With characteristic generosity of spirit, he selected a poor little
fellow who was a cripple. The child's feet turned inward, and, as he
walked, he had to lift them one over another. The tender-hearted cobbler
could not endure to see the deformity, and soon devised the means of
remedy. A neighbor's child who suffered in the same way had been
provided by a surgeon with a set of irons which straightened his feet
and enabled him to walk properly. Unable to purchase irons for his own
little charge, Pounds set to work to construct something in lieu of them
to answer the same purpose. His apparatus, made out of old shoe soles,
answered admirably, and he soon had the gratification of seeing the
little fellow entirely cured of his defect. This boy grew up under his
uncle's care, was put apprentice to a fashionable shoemaker, and lived
with Pounds till the time of his death.

When his nephew was old enough to begin to learn to read, John Pounds
resolved to do the work of a schoolmaster himself; and, thinking that
his little pupil would get on better if he had a companion, he began to
look round for some one to share the benefit of his instructions. He
selected a poor little urchin, "the son of a poor woman who went about
selling puddings, her homeless children, unable to accompany her, being
left in the open street amid frost and snow, with no other shelter than
the overhanging shade of a bay-window."[54] Other pupils were added in
course of time, and the shoemaker soon began to take great delight in
the work of teaching. It was not very difficult in Portsmouth to find
plenty of children whose education and training were entirely neglected
by their parents, and who were suffered to run about the streets in the
most ragged and destitute condition. The sight of these children moved
him to pity; and, once embarked on the enterprise of reforming and
teaching them, Pounds could not rest content with having half a dozen or
a dozen of them under his care, but went on gathering them into his room
until he had, in the later years of his life, an average of forty poor
children under his charge at a time. He loved his work all the more
because it was entirely gratuitous, and because he knew that if these
poor children were not thus taught they would never be taught at all,
but grow up in ignorance, misery, and vice. No amount of pains,
self-sacrifice, and anxiety was too much for this true disciple of
Christ to pay for the satisfaction of doing such children good, and
enriching and ennobling all their future lives.

     [54] "A Memoir of John Pounds." Foord, Stationer,
     Landport; p. 9. The writer is indebted to this brief memoir for
     most of the facts stated in this sketch. He is also indebted
     for information to the courtesy of Rev. T. Timmins, Portsmouth,
     pastor of the congregation of which John Pounds was a member.

The editor of the "Memoir of John Pounds" thus describes the cobbler in
the midst of his scholars: "His humble workshop was about six feet wide
and about eighteen feet in depth, in the midst of which he would sit on
his stool, with his last or lapstone on his knee, and other implements
by his side, going on with his work and attending at the same time to
the pursuits of the whole assemblage--some of whom were reading by his
side, writing from his dictation, of showing up their sums; others
seated around on forms or boxes on the floor, or on the steps of a small
staircase in the rear. Although the master seemed to know where to look
for each and to maintain a due command over all, yet so small was the
room, and so deficient in the usual accommodation of a school, that the
scene appeared to the observer from without to be a mere crowd of
children's heads and faces."[55]

     [55] "Memoir of John Pounds," p. 10.

The smallness of his room made selection necessary when the number of
candidates for instruction became unusually large. In this case he
always chose the worst and most desperate cases, preferring to take in
hand "the little blackguards," as he termed them, and turn them into
decent members of society. At other times, "he has been seen to follow
such to the town-quay, and hold out in his hand to them the bribe of a
roasted potato to induce them to come to school."[56] On fine warm days
the school "ran over" into the street, the children who behaved best
being allowed to sit near the door, or on a bench outside.

     [56] Ibid, p. 10.

His method of teaching was of the simplest and most graphic character,
and seemed, although John Pounds, of course, knew nothing of such
things, to combine the features of the Pestalozzian and Kindergarten
systems. He would point to the different parts of the body, get the
pupil to tell their names, and then to spell them. Taking a child's
hand, he would say, "What is this? Spell it." Then slapping it he would
say, "What did I do? Spell that."

With the older pupils he went as far as his knowledge would allow of,
teaching them to read by means of handbills, or making use of such old
school-books as he had been able to beg, or buy cheap. Slate and pencils
only were used for teaching writing, "yet a creditable degree of skill
was acquired, and in ciphering, the Rule of Three and Practice were
performed with accuracy."

Pounds made efforts to clothe and feed as well as educate his destitute
pupils, many of whom were in a deplorable condition of rags and dirt. He
was anxious to take them with him on Sundays to the meeting-house which
he attended, and would have them decently clad and properly washed. "In
one corner of his room was a bag full of all sorts of garments for girls
and boys, which he had begged and mended, to be worn by his scholars on
Sundays, and when they went with him to the house of God. The garments
took the place of worse ones; for John took pride in the decent, clean
appearance of his pupils. Imagine him on a Sunday morning, with his
children round him, and his big bag open, and his handing the garments
round, with the soul of kindness in his eyes and the joy of God in his
heart!"[57] He might often have been seen on Saturday nights going round
to the bakehouses to buy bread for his poor children to eat on Sundays,
gathering it into his huge leathern apron, and, when his money was all
spent, standing still with a troubled look, searching in all his pockets
for a few more coppers in order to secure yet one more loaf to add to
his store.

     [57] Rev. T. Timmins, Portsmouth, in a letter to the

When he was in need of books for his pupils, he did not hesitate to go
to the houses of well-to-do citizens and explain his case, and ask them
for aid. For the most part, he met with much kindness and sympathy, for
many of the inhabitants of Portsmouth and the neighboring towns knew the
benevolent cobbler of St. Mary's Street. But now and then he met with
rebuffs from those who did not know him, or from churlish souls who
could not feel for the sufferings of the poor. If he alone had suffered
from these rebuffs, the brave and sensible old man would have borne them
calmly enough; but a word spoken against his helpless little scholars
was enough at any time to rouse his warmest feelings. Once he called on
a gentleman of considerable means to ask the favor of a few old disused
books for the use of the pupils in reading. "Let them _buy_ books!" was
the only response he got to his generous appeal. "Poor little beggars!"
he exclaimed; "they can scarcely get bread, let alone books," and turned
away with ill-concealed disgust from the _gentleman's_ presence.

Pounds taught his pupils many other things besides "the three R's." Many
of the boys received instruction in the useful arts of shoe-mending and
tailoring, so that when they grew up they found their little knowledge
of great practical utility. He even went so far as to teach the lads and
lasses how to cook their plain food, and make the best of everything. In
fact, nothing that children required to make them happy and comfortable,
and to fit them for the duties of after-years, did the good cobbler
overlook or neglect. He made their playthings--bats, balls, crossbows,
shuttlecocks, kites, what-not; went out with them on holiday and festive
gatherings; got them gifts of tea and cake, and had them assembled in a
neighboring schoolroom for public examination; saw that they were
included at the public dinners, such as the celebration of Her Majesty's
coronation in 1837; and from year to year had the satisfaction of seeing
them grow up and take honorable and useful positions in society. _This_,
in fact, was his reward--all he looked for, all he ever had, except the
approval of Him who said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the
least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

It was no uncommon thing during the last years of John Pounds' life for
some fine, manly fellow, soldier or sailor on furlough, or workman
passing through the town, to turn in at the old room, where the good
cobbler was still going on with his good work, in order to shake hands
with him, and thank him, while the big tears stood in the eyes of both
master and pupil, as the latter spoke of his rescue from starvation,
poverty, or crime, and of the fair start in life which he had received
at the hands of the worthy cobbler. And to this day there are men and
women by the score, in respectable and comfortable positions, who can
tell the same tale. "During the seven years I have been minister here,"
writes the pastor of the chapel in the graveyard of which John Pounds
was buried, "I have seen paying a pilgrimage to his tomb a number of
those who were taught by him, and who, passing through the town, or
coming for a short time to Portsmouth (as they belonged to the army or
navy), thus showed their grateful feeling toward their venerated teacher
and friend. They have told me in touching language, and almost sobbing
the while, of the debt of gratitude they owed him."

The useful life of this philanthropist came to an end on New Year's Day,
1839. A few days previously he went to the house of his friend Edward
Carter, Esq., who then lived in High Street, Portsmouth, to acknowledge
certain acts of kindness done in behalf of his little scholars. While
there, he saw the painting referred to at the beginning of this sketch,
which that gentleman had purchased of Mr. Sheaf, the shoemaker-artist.
The simple-minded man, whose love for dumb animals and domestic pets was
one of the most amiable features in his character, seemed to be more
pleased by finding his favorite _cat_ included in the picture than by
any other part of the painting. He then showed Mr. Carter the writing
and ciphering lessons of one of the pupils, and asked for aid in
procuring copy-books. A day or two after this John Pounds again called
on his friend, and while conversing with him on matters connected with
the school, fell down as if fainting. Medical aid was called in, but
John Pounds was dead before the doctor arrived. The body was conveyed to
the little room in St. Mary's Street, where about thirty children were
waiting for their teacher to come and commence the day's work, and
"wondering what had become of him." Terror and grief seized upon the
minds of the children when they saw the lifeless body of their kind
teacher borne into the room and laid upon the bed. On the following day
a group of children might have been seen standing at the door weeping
because they could not be admitted. Day after day "the younger ones
came, looked about the room, and not finding their friend, went away

Mr. Martell, the physician who had been called in when Pounds was dying,
asked the favor of being allowed to pay the expenses of the funeral.
John Pounds was buried in the graveyard of the chapel in High Street
where he had been a constant worshipper. A large number of people
gathered round the grave, among whom the most conspicuous and sincere
mourners were the children now bereaved of their teacher and best
earthly friend.

A tablet was placed on the wall of the High Street Chapel bearing the
following inscription:




    AGED 72 YEARS.


Over the _grave_ a monument was erected, the cost of which was defrayed,
as the inscription states, "By means of penny subscriptions, not only
from the Christian Brotherhood with whom John Pounds habitually
worshipped in the adjoining chapel, but from persons of widely differing
religious opinions throughout Great Britain, and from the most distant
parts of the world." Another memento took the form of a library for the
use of the poor people of the neighborhood in which the philanthropic
shoemaker lived and labored. A Ragged School has also been built which
bears his name, and in which the good work he inaugurated in Plymouth is
now carried on. In 1879 the "John Pounds Coffee Tavern" was opened.
Happy are they who can say with Lord Shaftesbury, in the closing words
of his speech at the opening of this institution--



[Illustration: THOMAS COOPER]

Thomas Cooper,


          "I consuming fire
    Felt daily in my veins to see my race
    Emerge from out the foul defiling mire
    Of animal enjoyments that debase
    Their nature, and well-nigh its lineaments efface.

    I burned to see my species proudly count
    Themselves for more than brutes; and toiled to draw
    Them on to drink at Virtue's living fount,
    Whence purest pleasures flow....

          Canst thou blame
    My course? I tell thee, thirst for human laud
    Impelled me not: 'twas my sole-thoughted aim
    To render Man, my brother, worthy his high name!"
          --_Empedocles, in "The Purgatory of Suicides,"
                Stanzas_ 35-37.

"Few shrewder, kindlier men have fought the battle of life."--_London
Quarterly Review._

"He is a man of vast reading, and indomitable courage. His Autobiography
is a remarkable book, well worth reading."--_Editor of "Charles
Kingsley's Life and Letters_."

     [58] See closing sentences of preface to "Purgatory of
     Suicides," by Thomas Cooper, early editions.


"The Lord's will be done! I don't think He intends thee to spend thy
life at shoemaking. I have kept thee at school, and worked hard to get
thee bread, and to let thee have thy own wish in learning, and never
imagined that thou wast to be a shoemaker. But the Lord's will be done!
He'll bring it all right in time." Such were the words with which the
worthy and excellent mother of Thomas Cooper gave her consent to her
boy's proposal that he should go and learn "the art, craft, and mystery
of shoemaking." He had no particular love for the craft, but he was
anxious to do something for a livelihood, and desirous of helping his
widowed mother; and, above all, he was ashamed of being pointed at by
his neighbors as "an idle good-for-nothing." That never was true of
Thomas Cooper either in school or out, at work or recreation; and now
that he had left school and was turned of fifteen years of age, he could
not brook the insinuation that he was unwilling to work; so, good
scholar as he was, and zealous for learning, and not without ambition,
he resolved on doing _something_, however humble, to earn his bread, in
order to shut the mouths of tattling neighbors. His mother had tried to
get him apprenticed as a painter or a merchant's clerk, and failed for
want of a premium; and he had made a brief experiment at sailoring down
at Hull, and had come home again utterly loathing the cruelty and abuse
to which a sailor-boy of those days was subjected; so there was nothing
for him now but to take the first chance of learning any trade that came
in his way. He was an only child, and his mother had been a widow eleven
years, getting her living as a dyer, in which occupation she had
assisted her husband during his lifetime. In the pursuit of his trade as
a dyer he had moved about from town to town, and had met with his wife
at Gainsborough in Lincolnshire. Not long after their marriage Mr. and
Mrs. Cooper removed to Leicester, and took a house in Soar Lane,
conveniently situated by the river Soar. Here Thomas, their only child,
was born on the 20th of March, 1805. Twelve months afterward they went
to live at Exeter, where the father died when his little boy was but
four years old. After this his mother at once went back to old
Gainsborough, where she would be near her relatives. Here she remained
for the rest of her life, and here the first twenty-nine years of Thomas
Cooper's life were spent.

The signs her boy had given of mental powers above the average were
quite enough to warrant Mrs. Cooper's pathetic speech when he sought
permission to become a shoemaker. His memory was remarkably retentive,
and dated from a period which must be regarded as exceptionally early.
On the day that he was two years old he fell into a stream that ran in
front of his father's house, and was nearly drowned. He declares that he
distinctly remembers being led by his father's hand over St. Thomas's
Bridge on the afternoon of that same day, and how the neighbors "chucked
him under the chin, and said, How did you like it? How did you fall in?
Where have you been to?" Writing in 1871 he says, "The circumstances are
as vivid to my mind as if they only occurred yesterday." Reading came to
him almost by instinct, and at three years of age his schoolmistress set
him on a stool to teach a boy more than twice his own age the letters of
the alphabet. At the same age he could repeat several of Æsop's fables.
On their removal to Gainsborough he was seized with small-pox, which
fearful complaint marred his visage for life. This was followed by other
complaints which kept him an invalid for a year. On his recovery he had
to bear the annoyance, so bitterly painful to a child, of being either
scouted or pitied for his altered looks. But the kindness he failed to
find out-of-doors was more than doubled at home. The heart of a true
mother and a right noble woman warmed toward the child in his weakness
and sad disfigurement. Never had needy child a more devoted parent. It
was hard work for the solitary woman to make a living and pay her way,
yet she bore up bravely and did the best she could for her child. The
picture which is given by Thomas Cooper in his Autobiography of his home
at this time, and of his own and his mother's position, has a
pre-Raphaelite simplicity about it, and well deserves a moment's
attention. "Within doors there was no longer a handsome room, the
cheerful look of my father, and his little songs and stories. We had now
but one chamber and one lower room, and the last-named at once parlor,
kitchen, and dye-house: two large coppers were set in one part of it;
and my mother was at work amid steam and sweat all the day long for half
of the week, and on the other half she was fully employed in "framing,"
ironing, and finishing her work. Yet for me she had ever words of
tenderness. My altered face had not unendeared me to her. In the midst
of her heavy toil, she could listen to my feeble repetitions of the
fables, or spare a look, at my entreaty, for the figures I was drawing
with chalk upon the hearthstone."[59] Returning to school again, he was,
at five years of age, his teacher's favorite pupil, for he could "read
the tenth chapter of Nehemiah, with all its hard names, like the parson
in the church, as she used to say, and spell wondrously." Wandering
through the woods with his mother, or going with her on her country
business rounds when the weather was fine; poring over Baskerville's
quarto Bible with its fine engravings from the old masters, when
compelled on wet Sundays to stop indoors, the sensitive mind of the
eager child received its first impressions of the beautiful in nature
and art. When he was eight years of age his mother succeeded in getting
him admitted to a new Free School, recently opened in the town, and
little Tom was placed upon the foundation as a "Bluecoat" scholar. The
course of instruction at this school was neither varied nor profound,
consisting entirely of Scripture reading, writing, and the first four
rules of arithmetic; but its frequent repetitions of spelling and
ciphering lessons were good as a beginning, and laid a fair basis for
future learning. Obliged to attend the parish church with the rest of
the "Bluecoats," he became enamoured with the stately service of the
Church of England, the superior singing, and the grand old organ; and
great was his delight when he was chosen, on account of his good voice
and musical ear, to sit with six other boys in the choir by the organ up
in the gallery of the church. During these three years, from the age of
eight to eleven, he began to read for pleasure or profit such books as
the immortal "Pilgrim's Progress," or Baines's "History of the War,"
"Pamela," and the "Earl of Moreland," and to revel in such ballads as
"Chevy Chase," which were committed to memory and repeated when alone,
and served to stir up in his young heart the poetic or the warlike
spirit. But these were years of severe trial too, for the great wars
were then raging on the Continent; taxes pressed with terrible weight on
all classes, but especially on the poor; and, added to these troubles,
were the evils of bad harvests and winters unusually severe. It was hard
indeed for his mother to make a living in such times, and to provide
the barest subsistence for herself and child. "At one time," he says,
"wheaten flour rose to six shillings per stone, and we tried to live on
barley-cakes, which brought on a burning, gnawing pain at the stomach.
For two seasons the corn was spoiled in the fields with wet; and when
the winter came, we could scoop out the middle of the soft distasteful
loaf, and to eat it brought on sickness. Meat was so dear that my mother
could not buy it, and often our dinner consisted of potatoes alone." In
three years the little Bluecoat boy had grown weary of the monotonous
round of teaching at the Free School, and got his mother's consent to
attend a better class of school for boys, kept by a man who was known
among his pupils and the neighbors as "Daddy Briggs." Here there was
talk of such abstruse subjects as _mensuration_ and _algebra_;
"Enfield's Speaker" was used for reading, and the scholars went deeply
into the histories of Greece and Rome and England, led on by that
profound and original historian, Goldsmith! However, the school was an
immense advance on the one just left, and offered certain opportunities
of intercourse with boys of better position and culture than Tom had
known before.

     [59] "The Life of Thomas Cooper, Written by Himself."
     Hodder & Stoughton, 1872; p. 7.

The boy must have made good use of his time at the Free School, for, it
seems, he went to Daddy Briggs' academy as much in the character of a
teacher as that of a pupil; and he says of this good-natured but not
very accomplished master: "He took no school-fees of my mother, but
employed me as an assistant, for about an hour each day, in teaching the
younger children. He treated me less as a pupil than as a companion, and
I became much attached to him. Yet he was never really a teacher to me.
I made my way easily without help through Walkinghame, part of
Bonnycastle, and got a little way into algebra before I left school." By
this time he had acquired an intense thirst for reading, and eagerly
sought out every book within reach. Now he borrowed the school-books of
his companions and read them through, and now he resorted to the
"circulating library," at the shop of an old lady who supplied him with
writing materials, and, as a great favor, was allowed to read such books
as were not immediately required for circulation; or, again, he seized
upon the cheap issues of educational works which were beginning to make
their appearance about this time, and were sold at the doors of the good
Gainsborough folk by that important personage "the number man." At
twelve years of age he had thus made the acquaintance of the classic
English poets, had read "Cook's Voyages," the "Arabian Nights," the
"Old English Baron," besides "a heap of other romances and novels it
would require pages even to name."

At thirteen years of age the poetry of Byron made a deep impression on
his mind. Nothing in poetry but "Chevy Chase" had ever moved his heart
before. Of "Childe Harold" and "Manfred" he says, "They seemed to create
almost a new sense within me." Poetry was henceforth a passion with him;
but few subjects came amiss: he read everything he could lay hold of.

About this time, too, he showed tendencies in two directions, which were
strongly developed subsequently, and, in fact, formed the main features
of his character in after-years. The conversation of certain working-men
politicians in a neighboring brush manufactory, and the loan of "Hone's
Caricatures" and "The News," set him off in the direction of _politics_,
and made him, of course, a disciple of Radicalism. But the other change
in the current of his thoughts, which came a little later on, was more
important, if not more profound and lasting. Deeply emotional and
imaginative as a child, having also a strong sense of moral right and
wrong, he was easily moved by religious appeals. A band of Primitive
Methodists having come to the town, he was caught up by their enthusiasm
and zeal, and resolved to join them. After much religious emotion,
ending in no very settled state of mind, he left them and united with
the Wesleyan Methodists, whose services and preaching were more to his
mind. This brings us up to the time of his leaving school at the age of
fifteen, and his entrance on the sterner work of life as a shoemaker.
True, he had not done anything very marvellous at present, but he had
fine abilities, a warm emotional nature, a rare poetic taste, a thorough
craving for books, and no little perseverance and industry. Good Mrs.
Cooper, therefore, showed something more than a mother's fond fancy when
she said, "The Lord's will be done; I don't think He intends thee to
spend thy life at shoemaking."

The society in John Clarke's garret, where young Cooper sat down to
learn his trade, was, like that of many similar places, rather literary.
This man Clarke, true to the reputation of the followers of St. Crispin,
was thoughtful and fond of reading. The conversation ran on the poetry
of Shakespeare and Byron, and the acting of Kemble and Young and Mrs.
Siddons--the stars of that day in the theatrical world. One of the
fruits of this new poetic impulse was Cooper's first poem, made one
spring morning in his fifteenth year, as he walked in the fields near
Gainsborough. Quoting this short piece in his Autobiography, he says: "I
give it here, be it remembered, as the first literary feat of a
self-educated boy of fifteen. I say self-educated, so far as I was
educated. Mine has been almost entirely self-education all the way
through life." Great merit or promise is not claimed for these lines,
yet they are worth quoting, if only for the sake of comparing them with
the first attempt of another young shoemaker, Bloomfield.[60]

     [60] See above, p. 96.


    "See with splendor Phoebus rise,
    And with beauty tinge the skies.
    See the clouds of darkness fly
    Far beyond the Western sky;
    While the lark upsoaring sings,
    And the air with music rings;
    While the blackbird, linnet, thrush,
    Perched on yonder thorny bush,
    All unite in tuneful choir,
    And raise the happy music higher.
    While the murmuring busy bee,
    Pattern of wakeful industry,
    Flies from flower to flower to drain
    The choicest juice from sweetest vein;
    While the lowly cottage youth,
    His mind well stored with sacred truth,
    Rises, devout, his thanks to pay,
    And hails the welcome dawn of day.
      Oh, that 'twere mine, the happy lot,
    To dwell within the peaceful cot--
    There rise, each morn, my thanks to pay,
    And hail the welcome dawn of day!"

Cooper stayed with Clarke for a year and a half, and, after a brief
interval, went to work with a "first-rate hand," who was known in the
shoemaking fraternity as _Don_ Cundell. Here the youth, more expert at
his craft than many of his companions, learned before the age of
nineteen to make "a really good woman's shoe."[61] During this period he
seems to have settled in good earnest alike to his daily occupation and
the work of self-culture. Under the guidance of a friend named
Macdonald, who lent him books, he read such works as Robertson's
"Histories of Scotland," "America," and "Charles the Fifth," Neale's
"History of the Puritans," and a little theology. Like multitudes of
youths in a position similar to his, Thomas Cooper derived much benefit
from a Mutual Improvement Society which was started in Gainsborough
about this time by a friend of his, a draper's assistant named Joseph
Foulkes Winks. In this society papers were read and discussions held on
all imaginable subjects, literary, historical, and religious. "This
weekly essay-writing," he says, "was an employment which absorbed a good
deal of my thought, and was a good induction into the writing of prose,
and into a mode of expressing one's thoughts." On one occasion a prize
was offered for the best essay on "The Worst King of England." The tug
of war lay between Winks, who chose as his subject James II., and
Cooper, who eventually was adjudged the victor, and had taken William
the Conqueror as his ideal of a bad king. The friendship thus commenced
in amicable rivalry lasted, as we shall see, through life. Not content
with self-improvement, these youths, with Macdonald and Wood, banded
themselves together in a resolve to instruct others less favored than
themselves, and an "Adult School" was formed. This was one of the first
if not the first school of the kind in Lincolnshire, and must have
proved a great benefit to the illiterate poor of the town, for by the
end of the following year, when this branch was admitted into "The Adult
Schools Society," the numbers on the books were 324. Friendships with
two other young men brought such books in his way as Sibley's famous
illustrated work on astrology, over which he wasted much valuable time,
Volney's "Ruins of Empires" and Voltaire's "Philosophical Dictionary,"
over which his time was worse than wasted. But the best piece of good
fortune in the way of reading came to him in the discovery that one
"Nathaniel Robinson, mercer," "had left his library for the use of the
inhabitants of the town." It seems that this boon had been neglected or
forgotten by the good folk of Gainsborough. Once known to the ardent
young shoemaker, it was not neglected nor forgotten, at all events as
far as he was concerned. He pounced upon it with the avidity and excited
joy of a naturalist who lights upon a new or rare specimen. We must let
him speak for himself in the matter, and describe this precious "find"
in his own words. He says: "I was in ecstasies to find the dusty,
cobwebbed shelves loaded with Hooker, and Bacon, and Cudworth, and
Stillingfleet, and Locke, and Jeremy Taylor, and Tillotson, and Bates,
and Bishop Hall, and Samuel Clarke, and Warburton, and Bull, and
Waterland, and Bentley, and Bayle, and Ray, and Derham, and a score of
other philosophers and divines, mingled with Stanley's 'History of
Philosophers,' and its large full-length portraits; Ogilvy's 'Embassies
to Japan and China,' with their large curious engravings; Speed's and
Rapin's folio Histories of England, Collier's 'Church History,' Fuller's
'Holy War,' Foxe's 'Book of Martyrs,' the first edition, in black
letter, with its odd rude plates, and countless other curiosities and

     [61] This seems to be a test of proficiency in the
     trade. Bloomfield's brother says, "Robert is a _ladies'_
     shoemaker;" and stories are told of his receiving, after he
     became famous as a poet, many orders from the nobility for
     ladies' boots.

Cooper now settled to reading in desperate earnest, and with something
like a fixed purpose to become a scholar, and perhaps a writer, or a
great political or religious orator, or, more probable than all things
else--for the poetic fervor was very strong just now--a _poet_! Yet he
had no very definite notions of what he was to be. All he was certain
about was that he must and would study, and fit himself for some higher
walk in life when the time came to enter on it. Let the reader keep this
fact in mind while reading the story we have to tell of close
application to study, lofty aspirations, and great attainments as a
scholar. _Thomas Cooper during his shoemaker's life, in which he laid
the foundation of rare scholarship, never earned more than ten shillings
a week_--scarcely enough to buy food and clothes. He had not become an
apprentice, and therefore the laws of the trade prevented the best
masters employing him. One "Widow Hoyle, who sold her goods in the
market cheap," was his only employer, so long as he remained at the
trade. If he was not, in these days of lowly toil and lofty thoughts,

    "Checked by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown,"

he well knew what it was to feel the restraint of

    "Poverty's unconquerable bar."

Yet he had _courage_, an indispensable quality in a youth so situated,
and it was the courage that "mounteth with the occasion," and all these
bars to self-culture only acted as a stimulus to more resolute toil.
Strange to say, one of his greatest incentives to study at this time was
an account of the life of Dr. Samuel Lee, Professor of Hebrew in the
University of Cambridge, which the young student had read in the
_Imperial Magazine_, then edited by another of our illustrious
shoemakers, Samuel Drew. Lee had been a carpenter, ignorant of English
grammar, had bought Ruddiman's Latin Rudiments, and having mastered the
book, had learned to read Cæsar and Virgil, and had taught himself
Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac by the time he was six-and-twenty years of
age! Cooper said within himself, "If one man can teach himself a
language, another can." So he went to work, following in Lee's steps so
far as to take Ruddiman's book and commit "the entire volume to
memory--notes and all!" Then came the study of _Hebrew_ with the help of
Lyon's small grammar, bought for a shilling at an old bookstall; and a
year after he was busy at _Greek_, and created for himself a pleasing
diversion by the comparatively easy task of mastering _French_. All this
time his general reading was not neglected. By the advice of a valued
friend, John Hough, he fortified his mind against the sceptical thoughts
which previous reading had awakened by going carefully through the chief
works on Christian evidences. Few divinity students at the end of their
course have read more carefully or extensively than this occupant of a
cobbler's stall had done by the time he was twenty-three years old.
Paley's "Horæ Paulinæ," "Natural Theology," and "Evidences," Bishop
Watson's "Apologies," Soame Jenyns' "Internal Evidences," Lord
Lyttleton's "Conversion of St. Paul," Sherlock's "Trial of the
Witnesses," besides profounder works like Butler's "Analogy," Bentley's
"Folly of Atheism," Dr. Samuel Clarke's "Being and Attributes of God,"
Stillingfleet's "Origines Sacræ," and Warburton's "Divine Legation of
Moses," were as familiar to him as the "Paradise Lost" and most of the
plays of Shakespeare were to his companion Thomas Miller.[62] The labors
of this period, from 1824 to 1828, were tremendous, or, as one of Sir
Walter Scott's characters was wont to say, "prodigious." Cooper had left
Don Cundell's, and now worked at home, so that he could arrange his time
for study and work as he pleased. Like Drew, he had learned to do a fair
day's work and not to neglect the means of earning his daily bread for
the more fascinating occupations of reading and study. But if ordinary
work was not neglected, it must be confessed that the work of the
scholar was overdone. No one can live as Cooper lived from the age of
nineteen to twenty-three without incurring fearful risk to body and
mind. Rising at three, or four at the latest, he read history, or the
grammar of some language, or engaged in translation till seven, when he
sat down to his stall. At meal-times he attempted the double task of
taking in food for the body and the mind at the same time, cutting up
his food and eating it with a spoon that he might not have occasion to
take his eyes off the book he held in his hand; at work till eight or
nine, he was all the while committing to memory and reciting aloud
passages from the poets, or declensions and conjugations, or rules of
syntax; and when he rose from his stool, it was only to pace the room,
while he still went on with his studies, until at last he dropped into
bed utterly exhausted. This was his method in spring and summer, but
even in winter his hours were just as long, and study in the early
morning was not accompanied by the invigorating influence of walking
exercise and fresh air; for he says, "When in the coldness of winter we
could not afford to have a fire till my mother rose, I used to put a
lamp on a stool, which I placed on a little round table, and standing
before it wrapped up in my mother's old red cloak, I read on till seven,
or studied a grammar or my Euclid, and frequently kept my feet moving to
secure warmth or prevent myself from falling asleep."[63] In this way
Latin was so far mastered that Cæsar's "De Bello Gallico" could be read
"page after page with scarcely more than a glance at the dictionary,"
and the "Eneid" of Virgil became an intellectual love that lasted for
life. We have no space to describe the vast amount of historical and
miscellaneous reading done at this time. It was surely no small feat for
a shoemaker, working hard for twelve or thirteen hours in the day, to go
in a few years through Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," Sale's "Preliminary
Discourse to his Translation of the Koran," Mosheim's "Church History,"
all the principal English poets from Shakespeare to Scott and Keats; to
read the "Curiosities of Literature," "Calamities" and "Quarrels of
Authors," Wharton's "History of Poetry" and Johnson's "Lives of the
Poets," Boswell's "Life of Johnson" and Landor's "Imaginary
Conversations," Southey's "Book of the Church," and Lingard's
"Anglo-Saxon Antiquities," besides a host of books of travel, and
quarterly and monthly magazines innumerable.

     [62] Thomas Miller, afterward known as a poet and
     novelist, and for his charming descriptions of rural scenery,
     was an intimate friend of Cooper from childhood to old age.

     [63] "Life of Thomas Cooper," pp. 60, 61.

We have said that Cooper _overdid_ the work of study. Like Kirke-White,
he was so completely absorbed with the passion for learning, that he set
all the laws of health at defiance, and had to pay the penalty. Having a
stronger constitution than the Nottingham youth, Cooper managed to
escape with his life, and, after a period of bodily and mental
prostration, with all his old vigor restored to him; but it was a narrow
escape. These excessive labors, coupled with the effects of scanty fare,
brought him to a state of extreme weakness. He says, "I not unfrequently
swooned away and fell all along the floor when I tried to take my cup of
oatmeal gruel at the end of my day's labor. Next morning, of course, I
was not able to rise at an early hour; and then very likely the next
day's study had to be stinted. I needed better food than we could afford
to buy, and often had to contend with the sense of faintness, while I
still plodded on with my double task of mind and body."[64] At length,
after many premonitory symptoms, came a crisis. One night he had to be
carried to bed in a dead faint, and for nine weeks he left his bed but
for a short time each day. The greatest fears were felt for his safety;
the doctor had little hope, and once he was so prostrate, that a friend
who was called in sadly told his mother that the pulse had ceased to
beat, and _he was dead_! This was at the end of 1827; by the spring of
the following year he had recovered sufficiently to begin to think of
going to work again. A brief spell at his old occupation was enough to
satisfy him that it would not suit him in his altered state of health;
and, after a short rest and more complete recovery, he took the welcome
advice of two friends and agreed to _open a school_. He had now done
forever with the trade of a shoemaker, after giving to it eight years of
the best part of his early life. These he confesses to have been, on the
whole, most happy years, and of the last four he says with enthusiasm,
"What glorious years were those years of self-denial and earnest mental
toil, from the age of nearly nineteen to nearly three-and-twenty, that I
sat and worked in that corner of my poor mother's lowly home!" He had
certainly made wondrous progress as a self-taught scholar, and now he
was prepared to enter the world and make his own way in it, with such a
stock of learning and culture as few young men in England, in his
position, could boast of. We scarcely dare venture to estimate his
acquirements at this time. The reader can easily judge from our account
of his studies how considerable they must have been. In English
literature, from Spenser and Shakespeare to the essayists and poets,
such as De Quincey, Hazlitt, and Charles Lamb, or Byron, Campbell, and
Moore, he was well versed. He had read extensively in history,
philosophy, theology, and Christian evidences. As to mathematics, he had
gone pretty deeply into algebra and geometry; and in the languages,
besides his "easy" French, he had done something in Hebrew, could read
his Greek Testament, and found delight in the Latin authors, such as
Cæsar, Virgil, Tacitus, and Lactantius. This is no mean story to tell of
the accomplishments of a self-taught shoemaker, who has never earned
more than ten shillings per week.

     [64] "Life of Thomas Cooper," p. 67.

School-teaching was a congenial employment for one so fond of study and
so apt to teach as Thomas Cooper. He threw his whole soul into the work,
and succeeded in establishing a first-rate school of its class; and
_that_ class of school was certainly a vast improvement on the Free
School of his own early days. Everybody in Gainsborough knew the
studious shoemaker who had learned four languages at the cobbler's
stall, read as much, or more, than any one in the town of his own age,
had a marvellous memory, and could repeat the whole of _Hamlet_ and the
first four books of the "Paradise Lost!" Besides all this, he was known
and esteemed for a steady young man, who, though he might incur a little
suspicion among the strictly religious folk by his neglect of public
worship, was guilty of no waste of time or money in vicious company and
riotous living. And so pupils flocked in; a hundred names were entered
on his books by the end of the first year, and the school prospered to
his heart's content. Nor was the confidence of parents misplaced; never,
surely, did a teacher give himself more completely to his work. He gave
even more than was bargained for, drilling all the boys in Latin
grammar, and carrying them on as far as possible in the higher branches
of arithmetic. Five years were thus spent most usefully and happily at
Gainsborough, after which he removed from the old town and settled in
the cathedral city of Lincoln.

But before quitting Gainsborough a vital change had taken place in his
thoughts and mode of life. Brought face to face with death in his recent
illness, the most serious thoughts had been aroused within his mind, and
on his recovery he was not the man to abandon or drown such thoughts
because the immediate fear of death had passed away. The earnest
conversations he held with the young curate of the parish, "the pious
and laborious Charles Hensley," and his two former friends, Hough and
Kelvey, strengthened his resolve to seek for peace of mind in the belief
of gospel truth and entire devotion to a religious life. In January,
1829, he joined the Methodist Society. The perusal of Sigston's "Life of
William Bramwell" fired his soul with a passion for holiness, and such
was his intensity of religious fervor for a time, that he is constrained
to say in his Autobiography: "If throughout eternity in heaven I be as
happy as I often was for whole days during that short period of my
religious life, it will be heaven indeed. Often for several days
together I felt close to the Almighty--felt I was His own and His
entirely. I felt no wandering of the will and inclination to yield to
sin; and when temptation came, my whole soul wrestled for victory till
the temptation fled." Entered on the local preachers' plan, he turned
his rare gifts to good account in ministering to the congregations which
formed the Gainsborough "circuit," and developed that faculty of
eloquent speech which in later years has delighted the thousands who
gathered to hear his political orations as an advocate of the "People's
Charter" or his grand lectures on the evidences of the Christian
religion. Driven away from his old home by unhappy disturbances in the
Wesleyan Society, he went, as we have said, in November, 1833, to live
at Lincoln, where once more he occupied himself as a schoolmaster.

Just before leaving Gainsborough he was constrained to gather a few
pieces of his poetry together and publish them by subscription in a
small volume, with the title, taken from the first piece, "The Wesleyan
Chiefs." The book fell flat on the market, and seems to have had very
little merit. Its publication was chiefly remarkable for bringing the
author into the company of James Montgomery, who kindly undertook to
read the proof sheets. Only one of these selections seems to have called
forth a word of commendation from the veteran poet. Against the lines
addressed to "Lincoln Cathedral" he wrote: "These are very noble lines,
and the versification is truly worthy of them."[65] Montgomery was then
over sixty years of age, and had published all the poems by which his
name is known to fame.

     [65] These lines stand first among the minor pieces in
     "Cooper's Poetical Works." London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1877.

Soon after going to reside in Lincoln, Cooper married Miss Jobson,
sister of Frederic James Jobson, afterward well known as Dr. Jobson
among the Wesleyan Methodists, and at one time their honored President
of the Conference. The religious troubles at Gainsborough followed the
local preacher to Lincoln, for the superintendent with whom he had
disagreed at the former place would not suffer him to rest in his new
home; and at length, soured and wearied by what he could not but deem
ill-usage, he threw up his appointment on the plan, and finally cut
himself off from the Methodist connection. Free to devote his energies
to other pursuits, he now flung himself very zealously into the new
Mechanics' Institute movement, took a class in Latin, sought to perfect
himself in French pronunciation, and to acquire a knowledge of Italian
under the tutorship of Signor D'Albrione, "a very noble-looking Italian
gentleman, a native of Turin, who had been a cavalry officer in the
armies of Napoleon, had endured the retreat from Moscow, was at the
defeat of Leipzig," etc., and had become "a refugee in England on
account of his participation in the conspiracy of the Carbonari."
German, also, was studied for a time; but very soon a new attraction
arose in the formation of a Choral Society, of which the zealous
schoolmaster became the secretary and chief manager, collecting its
funds, enlisting by his persuasive powers the best singers in the city,
and arranging for its meetings and public performances. His attendance
at the lectures of the Institute incidentally led to a new employment,
in which undoubtedly Thomas Cooper might have excelled and gained no
mean emolument and renown had he chosen to devote himself exclusively to
it. Having sent a paragraph report of one of the lectures on chemistry
to the _Lincoln_, _Rutland_, and _Stamford Mercury_, he was waited upon
by the editor, Richard Newcomb, and requested to supply intelligence
weekly of any affairs of importance in the city, and promised £20 a year
for his trouble. This was in 1834. In two years he gave up his
connection with the Choral Society, cultivated the newspaper
correspondent business to such an extent that he was advanced to £100
per year, and so gave up his school. Having put his hand to the work of
newspaper correspondence, he did not do it by halves. He exposed the
abuses, as he deemed them, then rife in the city, wrote sketches of the
"Lincoln Preachers," and created such a stir by his lively and racy
articles on municipal and political matters, that the paper rapidly rose
in circulation, and he found himself for a time the most notorious man
in the city, feared by many, hated by not a few, and courted by those
who had favors to win or help to secure from the lively correspondent.

In 1838, at the urgent request of Mr. Newcomb, he removed to Stamford,
under a verbal promise that when the editor retired, which he intimated
would be very soon, Cooper should have the sole management. After
remaining for a few months in the position of clerk to Mr. Newcomb, and
finding to his chagrin that the old editor gave no sign of keeping to
his agreement, he very rashly threw down his pen and gave notice to
leave. A little patience might have sufficed to gain his end, but his
mortification was extreme, and so a good situation, worth, in all, £300
a year, was sacrificed. "On the 1st of June, 1839," he writes, "we got
on the stage-coach, with our boxes of books, at Stamford, and away I
went to make my first venture in London."

The six years spent at Lincoln had been a time of literary activity in
more ways than that of newspaper correspondence. Many minor pieces, such
as are found at the end of the collected poems, were written, and the
title and plan of his best poetical work, "The Purgatory of Suicides,"
was decided upon. But he had done more in the way of prose. The first
volume of a historical romance was finished ere he left Lincoln, and now
that he had come to London, he hoped to make his way with this as an
introduction to the publishers and the reading world. But he very soon
discovered, as thousands besides have done, that he had little to hope
from patrons, even though, like Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer, they might be
men to whom he had rendered some political service in days gone by, and
that his unlucky manuscript was a poor broken reed to lean upon. After
nine months' bitter experience of fruitless attempts to find employment,
and when all his stock of five hundred books, the dear companions of the
last ten years of earnest study, had been sold, and even his father's
old silver watch and articles of clothing had been carried to the
pawnshop, he was fortunate enough to make an engagement, at £3 per week,
as editor of the _Kentish Mercury_, _Gravesend Journal_, and _Greenwich
Gazette_, of which Mr. William Dougal Christie was the proprietor. He
had held this office but a short time when disagreement as to the
management of the paper led him to give notice of retirement from his
awkward position. Strangely enough, at this very juncture a letter
reached him from a friend in Lincoln enclosing another from the manager
of a paper in Leicester, asking to be informed of "the whereabouts of
Thomas Cooper, who wrote the articles entitled 'Lincoln Preachers' in
the _Stamford Mercury_." Dropping the letter, he exclaimed to his wife,
"The message has come at last--the message of Destiny! We are going to
live at Leicester," thus expressing a thought he had secretly cherished
for years, "that he had something to do of a stirring and important
nature at Leicester." And so it proved, but that "something" was very
different from what he had ever anticipated. Answering the inquiry in
person, he agreed with the manager of the _Leicestershire Mercury_ to
accept a reporter's place at a small remuneration, and in November,
1840, he went to reside in his native town and prepare himself for his
"destiny." In London he had met with his old friend Thomas Miller, who
was then writing "Lady Jane Grey;" and here at Leicester he discovered
another Gainsborough youth, Joseph Winks, who had been his companion and
rival in the Improvement Society, and was now "a printer and bookseller,
a busy politician, Baptist preacher, and editor of three or four small
religious periodicals."[66]

     [66] The _Children's Magazine_ (next to the _Teacher's
     Offering_ the first magazine for children published in this
     country), the _Christian Pioneer_, the _Child's Magazine_. He
     was also editor of the _Baptist Reporter_ for many years.

Sent one night by the manager of the _Mercury_ to attend and report a
Chartist lecture, he was introduced for the first time to those poor but
desperately earnest politicians who were at that time making their
pathetic and passionate voices heard throughout the Midland and Northern
Counties. From that night Thomas Cooper was a Chartist; and for the next
three years his best powers were devoted to the cause of the suffering
operatives and his life-interests bound up in the Chartist movement.
Nothing could be more pitiable than the condition of the Leicester
"stockingers" at this time. The average weekly wages of a man who worked
hard were four-and-sixpence! Ground down to the point of starvation by
"frame-rent," payment for "standing," for "giving-out," and for the
"seamer," and, worst of all, obliged to pay the full week's rent when
working on half-time, it is no wonder that his spirit was galled to
madness, and that he looked to something like a political revolution for
a redress of his wrongs. Lord Byron, in the only speech he ever
delivered in the House of Lords, had spoken eloquently and generously in
behalf of these suffering operatives of the Midland Counties.

One cannot wonder that a man like Cooper, who had known the pinchings of
poverty, should have felt his soul stirred within him. His sympathies
and views soon drew him into writing and speaking for the Chartists.
This was an offence in the eyes of his employers of the _Mercury_, and
led to his severance from them. He now, at the request of the factory
hands of Leicester, became their political leader, and the editor of
their paper, the _Midland Counties Illuminator_, which fell into his own
hands after a few weeks, and was changed in style and title, and made a
new appearance as the _Chartist Rushlight_, and afterward as the
_Extinguisher_. In the midst of the dispute between Whigs and Tories,
Cooper was "nominated" by the Chartists as their candidate, not with any
hope of being carried at the poll, but rather as a means of spiting the
Whigs, against whom the working-men were intensely bitter, on account of
their unwillingness to support "The People's _Charter_." Endeavoring to
turn his leadership of the Chartists to some account apart from
politics, he added to the task of regular addresses in the open air the
conduct of a Sunday adult school and Sunday-evening meetings; and, when
the winter came on, gathered his friends together, and sought to lift
their thoughts above their daily care, and awaken in their minds a
desire for reading, by a course of lectures on literature and science.
But the bad times of 1842 put a stop to all this. The condition of the
stockingers grew worse and worse, and Cooper took to supplying bread on
sale or loan, to meet the wants of the poor starving creatures, and ran
into debt by so doing. The poorhouse, or _Bastile_, as the working-men
always called it, was crowded to excess, and riots broke out now and
again; but with these neither Cooper nor the Chartist Association had
anything to do. In August of the same year he was appointed by this body
as a delegate to the Chartists' Convention at Manchester. On the way
thither he lectured or spoke in the open air at Birmingham, Wednesbury,
Bilston, Wolverhampton, and at length came to Hanley, where he addressed
a vast crowd of men at "the _Crown Bank_." His subject was the sixth
commandment, "Thou shalt do no murder," in which he spoke of the
violations of this law by conquerors and legislators, and by masters who
oppressed the hireling in his wages. The men were now out on strike, and
the excitement produced by this and another address on the following
night was intense. He counselled perpetually "peace, law, and order,"
and bade the men hold out in their strike until the People's Charter
became the law of the land. Riot and incendiarism broke out in a short
time, for which Cooper was in no way directly responsible, but had, on
the other hand, distinctly endeavored to dissuade them from. He was
taken prisoner on his return from Manchester, and having been tried for
the crime of arson, was acquitted, having pleaded his own case so
eloquently that the judge was evidently affected, and the ladies present
at the trial were even moved to tears. Tried again at the Spring Assizes
on the charge of sedition, he cross-examined the witnesses from Monday
to Saturday at noon, and then proceeded to sum up his defence in a
speech which altogether (Sunday intervening) lasted ten hours. "I do not
think," he remarks, "I ever spoke so powerfully in my life as during the
last hour of that defence. The peroration, the Stafford papers said,
would never be forgotten; and I remember as I sat down, panting for
breath and utterly exhausted, how Talfourd and Erskine and the jury sat
transfixed, gazing at me in silence, and the whole crowded place was
breathless, as it seemed, for a minute." The case being removed by a
"writ of _certiorari_" to the Court of Queen's Bench, was tried on the
5th of May, 1843. In his defence Thomas Cooper again delivered an
eloquent speech, five and a half hours long, and was again acquitted of
the charge of felony. Judge Erskine's notes of the trial had "_mistake_"
written alongside the evidence on that part of the charge. But the
eloquent Chartist orator was convicted on the charge of _sedition_ and
_conspiracy_, and sent to Stafford jail for two years.

There are few chapters in the Autobiography so full of interest and so
graphically written as those which describe Thomas Cooper's prison
experience. Galled to the quick by the treatment he received--for he was
kept on low, miserable fare and denied "literary privileges"--he
determined to break down "the system of restraint in Stafford jail, and
win the privilege of reading and writing, or die in the attempt." After
many manoeuvres he managed to get pen, ink, and paper, and write a
petition to the House of Commons, which was handed in at the bar of the
House by Mr. Duncombe, M.P. for Finsbury. All that he could reasonably
expect was now granted in answer to his appeal, and the remainder of his
time was filled up with literary work. He revelled in the English poets
from Shakespeare to Shelley; read again the "Decline and Fall,"
Prideaux's "Connexion," White's "Selborne," etc., etc.; fell
passionately in love with the study of Hebrew, and almost raved about
the glories of the sacred language of the Old Testament; and read two
thirds of the Hebrew Bible, copying out verbs and nouns as he went
along. One day he was visited by Lord Sandon, afterward Earl of
Harrowby, who fell into conversation with the learned prisoner about the
poetical books of the Bible in the old German edition which lay open
before him on the table. A short time before his release the chaplain
told him that the way was open for him to go to Cambridge if he would;
but the conditions were such as did not suit the independent mind of the
political martyr. Cooper had a shrewd suspicion that the visit of the
nobleman had some connection with this generous offer.

Cooper's best work in Stafford jail was the composition of the
well-known poem, "The Purgatory of Suicides." This poem, he tells us,
was the working out of a thought which occurred to him ten years before,
when he was sitting as a reporter in the assize court at Lincoln. The
historical romance, the first part of which he had carried to London in
1839, was also completed during his imprisonment, and he wrote during
the same period a volume of tales, afterward published under the title,
"Wise Saws and Modern Instances." "These," he says, "I took out of
prison with me as my keys for unlocking the gates of fortune."

On his liberation, May 4th, 1845, he went up to London, shedding tears
of gladness and gratitude on the way as he looked once more on the green
fields and hedgerows of the Midland Counties. His first care was to find
a publisher for his prison rhyme and tales. As soon as he was able he
sought out Mr. Duncombe, to thank him for his generous help in the
matter of the petition to the House of Commons, and to ask for counsel
in seeking a publisher. Duncombe sent him to Mr. D'Israeli, with the
following note:

     "MY DEAR D'ISRAELI,--I send you Mr. Cooper, a Chartist, red-hot
     from Stafford jail. But don't be frightened; he won't bite you.
     He has written a poem and a romance, and thinks he can cut out
     'Coningsby' and 'Sybil.' Help him if you can, and oblige yours,
     T. S. DUNCOMBE."

It is gratifying to read of the kindness with which the shrewd
statesman, then a Tory of the Tories, received the "red-hot radical." "I
wish I had seen you before I finished my last novel," said he; "my
heroine Sybil is a Chartist." With the kindly help of Douglas Jerrold
the "Purgatory" was at length published by Jeremiah How, Fleet Street,
who undertook to bear the cost and risk of printing. It came out in
September, 1845, and the five hundred copies of the first edition were
sold off before Christmas. Cooper now began to write for Douglas
Jerrold's "Shilling Magazine." The volume of tales called "Wise Saws,"
etc., and a short poem, "The Baron's Yule Feast," were issued about the
same time. The "Purgatory of Suicides" had been dedicated, without leave
asked, to Thomas Carlyle, to whom the author sent a copy, and from whom
he received in acknowledgment a characteristic letter, in which, among
other kind and wise things, that greatest of all the literary men of his
age said, "I have looked into your poem, and find indisputable traces of
genius in it--a dark Titanic energy struggling there, for which we hope
there will be clearer daylight by and by;" and along with the letter
came a copy of "Past and Present," with Carlyle's autograph. In 1846
Cooper was at work on Douglas Jerrold's weekly paper, visiting the
Midland and Northern Counties as a sort of commissioner, and writing
articles on the "Condition of the People of England." Passing through
the Lake District, he called on Wordsworth, and was most kindly received
by the "majestic old man." Great, however, was the Chartist's amazement
to hear the "Tory" Wordsworth say with reference to the Chartist
movement, "You were right; I have always said the people were right in
what they asked; but you went the wrong way to get it." On his return to
London, Cooper engaged to lecture on Sunday evenings at South Place,
Finsbury Square, and continued the work of public lecturer for the next
eight years. During this time he lectured through the winter for various
political and socialist societies in several large halls in London, such
as the John Street Institution and the "Hall of Science," City Road, and
filled up the time during the summer by lecturing tours throughout the
kingdom. He had now become a _sceptic_, _i.e._ _doubter_, and confined
himself in his lectures exclusively to secular topics, political or
literary. The misery he had witnessed in Leicester and the Potteries,
the failure of all his efforts to benefit the suffering poor, and the
long imprisonment he had endured as a disinterested champion of their
cause, had sorely shaken his faith in Divine Providence and driven him
to the verge of downright atheism, but only to the verge: he declares
that he was never an atheist, nor ever "proclaimed blank atheism in his
public teaching."[67] Yet it must be confessed he went far in this
direction. The worst period of his life in this respect was the winter
of 1848-49, when, having become a disciple of Strauss, he engaged to
give a series of lectures on Sunday evenings in the "Hall of Science" on
the teachings of the "Leben Jesu." He says: "There is no part of my
teaching as a public lecturer that I regret so deeply as this. It would
rejoice my heart indeed if I could obliterate those lectures from the
realm of fact."[68] But for the most part his addresses were on purely
literary or historical subjects, and marvellous indeed was the
versatility and extent of learning they displayed. The enumeration of
topics alone would occupy several pages. Every one of the chief English
poets and their poems, the history of every European country, the lives
of great reformers, statesmen, generals, inventors, discoverers, men of
science, musicians, ancient philosophers and modern philanthropists,
negro slavery, taxation, national debt, the age of chivalry, the Middle
Ages, wrongs of Poland, the Gypsies, ancient Egypt, astronomy, geology,
natural history, the vegetable kingdom--these and scores of other topics
were treated during these years of lecturing life in London and the
provinces. In addition to these duties he had other cares and toils. In
1848-49 he edited a weekly paper called the _Plain Speaker_, and in the
following year _Cooper's Journal_. His "Triumph of Perseverance"
appeared in 1849, "Alderman Ralph" and "The Family Feud," two novels, in
1853 and 1855 respectively.

     [67] "Life of Thomas Cooper," p. 262, also pp.

     [68] "Life of Thomas Cooper," p. 316.

Returning from a lecturing tour at the end of 1855, he was conscious of
a great and vital change which had for some time been going on within
his mind, and when he attempted to recommence his work at the City Hall
in January, 1856, he found it impossible to go on along the old lines.
On a certain memorable night, when announced to speak on "Sweden and the
Swedes," he could not utter a word. He turned pale as death, and as the
audience sat gazing and wondering what could have come to the bold and
fluent speaker, whose tongue was ready on every theme, his pent-up
feelings at length found vent. He told the people he could lecture on
Sweden, but must relieve his conscience, for he could suppress
conviction no longer. He then declared that he had been insisting on the
duty of morality for years, but there had been this radical defect in
his teachings, that he had "neglected to teach the right foundation for
morals--the existence of a Divine moral Governor."[69] In the storm
which followed he challenged them to bring the best sceptics they could
muster in the metropolis, and he would meet them in debate on the being
of God and the argument for a future state. He kept his promise, and for
four nights maintained his ground against _Robert_ Cooper[70] and others
in the City Hall and the John Street Institute.

     [69] Ibid p. 335.

     [70] The charges of atheism and atheistic advocacy
     made against _Thomas_ Cooper have often arisen from confounding
     _Thomas_ Cooper the _sceptic_ with _Robert_ Cooper the
     _infidel_. See "Life of Thomas Cooper," p. 357.

But though the battle was fought out bravely in public, he had yet
another conflict to wage and win ere his mind enjoyed rest and peace in
the faith of a true _Christian_. In this conflict he received valuable
aid from the Rev. Charles Kingsley,[71] and his old friend and relative,
Dr. Jobson. Through the kind interest of the Rev. F. D. Maurice, W. E.
Foster, M.P., and W. F. Cowper, President of the Board of Health, Cooper
obtained employment for two years under Government as a copyist of
letters. Returning to the City Hall, he now began a series of
Sunday-evening lectures on Theism, and advancing stage by stage, he took
up such themes as the Moral Government of God, Man's Moral Nature, the
Soul and a Future State, Evidences of Christianity, Atonement, Faith,
Repentance, etc. But his return to the truth of Christ and Christianity
was gradual, though sure. As he says, "I had been twelve years a
sceptic; and it was not until fully two years had been devoted to hard
reading and thinking that I could conscientiously and truly say, I am
again a Christian, even nominally." Saved in an extraordinary manner
from death by a railway accident as he was travelling to Bradford on the
10th May, 1858, he finally and fully resolved to dedicate his powers to
the service of God, saying within himself as he stood looking on the
mournful sight of the ruined train and the dead and wounded lying
around, "Oh, take my life, which Thou hast graciously kept, and let it
be devoted to Thee. I have again entered Thy service; let me never more
leave it, but live only to spread Thy truth!"

     [71] See letters to Thomas Cooper in "Kingsley's Life
     and Letters." London: Henry King & Co., 1877, pp. 183 and 221,

He began at once not only to lecture on the evidences of Christianity,
but to preach, and received many solicitations to join different
religious societies. Dr. Hook of Leeds generously offered him an
appointment as head of a band of Scripture-readers, with freedom to go
out on his own mission as a speaker when he pleased. This offer he
declined, with grateful thanks to the worthy vicar. In the spring of the
following year he decided to join the Baptist denomination, and writes,
"Reflection made me a Baptist in conviction, and on Whitsunday, 1859, my
old and dear friend, Joseph Foulkes Winks, immersed me in baptism in
Friar Lane Chapel, Leicester."

From that time to the present--twenty-two years--Thomas Cooper has
devoted his great powers to the work of preaching and lecturing on the
evidences of the Christian religion. The energy and ability displayed in
this noble work by the veteran orator have been remarkable. For months
together he has been known to travel long distances by rail, and lecture
four or five times in the week, and preach three times on Sunday. After
a two hours' lecture he was wont, during the first few years of this
period, to recite the first two or three books of Milton's "Paradise
Lost." Few, if any, that ever heard his preaching can forget its rich
spirituality of tone and delightful purity and simplicity of style. The
lectures it is hard to describe without seeming to exaggerate their rare
merits. The best testimony to their worth has been given by the hundreds
of thousands who have come together to listen to them as delivered in
all the chief towns of England, Scotland, and Wales for more than twenty
years, and by their rapid and extensive sale when published. Crowded
with facts of history or science which are clearly arranged and pressed
into the service of logical argument, delivered extemporaneously in
language of the truest and homeliest Saxon type, and often marked by
passages of great eloquence, these lectures may be taken as ideals of
what popular lectures on religious evidences should be. Of his present
employment, Thomas Cooper, writing in 1872, says, in his own simple
fashion: "My work is indeed a happy work. Sunday is now a day of heaven
to me. I feel that to preach 'the unsearchable riches of Christ' is the
most exalted and ennobling work in which a human creature can be
engaged. And believing that I am performing the work of duty--_that I am
right_--my employment of lecturing on the 'Evidences of Natural and
Revealed Religion,' from week to week, fills me with the consoling
reflection that my life is not being spent in vain, much less spent in
evil." Happy close of a strangely eventful and checkered life! May the
stalwart old laborer of _seventy-five_ be spared to scatter many a
handful of the seeds of truth before he hears the summons which shall
end his labors.

We have spoken, in the title of this chapter, of Thomas Cooper as "The
self-educated shoemaker who reared his own monument." This sketch cannot
be closed more appropriately than by giving the titles of the works
published during the last eight years--the stones which form the chief
part of that monument:

     The Bridge of History over the Gulf of Time (1872), twentieth

     Plain Pulpit-Talk (1872), third edition.

     The Life of Thomas Cooper, written by Himself (1872), twelfth

     The Paradise of Martyrs, or Faith Rhyme (1873).

     God, the Soul, and a Future State (1873), eight thousand.

     Old-Fashioned Stories (1874), third edition.

     The Verity of Christ's Resurrection from the Dead (1875), fifth

     The Verity and Value of the Miracles of Christ (1876), fourth

     The Poetical Works--Purgatory of Suicides, Paradise of Martyrs,
     Minor Poems (1877), Evolution, the Stone Book, and the Mosaic
     Record of Creation (1878), third thousand.

     The Atonement and other Discourses (1880).


A Constellation of Celebrated Cobblers.

    "This day is called the feast of Crispin:

    .. .. .. .

    And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered:
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers."

    --_Shakespeare. King Henry Fifth's Address
    to the Leaders of the English Army on
    the Eve of the Battle of Agincourt. Act
    v. Scene 3._

Archbishop Whately once amused a clerical dinner-party by asking the
question, "Why do _white_ sheep eat more than _black_ sheep?" When none
of his friends could answer the question, the witty Archbishop dryly
remarked that _one_ reason undoubtedly was that "there were more of
them." The question is often asked, "How are we to account for the fact
that shoemakers outnumber any other handicraft in the ranks of
illustrious men?"[72] Perhaps this question may be answered in the same
way. At all events, the answer "there are more of them," will go a long
way toward a solution of this interesting social problem. The sons of
Crispin are certainly a very numerous class, and it is but natural that
they should figure largely in the lists of famous men. But inquirers on
this subject are not generally satisfied by an appeal to statistics. It
is felt that something more is required in order to account for the
remarkable proportion of shoemakers in the roll of men of mark. In
addition to this, it must be borne in mind that the reputation of
shoemakers does not depend entirely on their most illustrious
representatives. They have, _as a class_, a reputation which is quite
unique. The followers of "the gentle craft" have generally stood
foremost among artisans as regards intelligence and social influence.
Probably no class of workmen could, in these respects, compete with them
fifty or a hundred years ago, when education and reading were not so
common as they are now. Almost to a man they had some credit for
thoughtfulness, shrewdness, logical skill, and debating power; and their
knowledge derived from books was admitted to be beyond the average among
operatives. They were generally referred to by men of their own social
status for the settlement of disputed points in literature, science,
politics, or theology. Advocates of political, social, or religious
reform, local preachers, Methodist "class-leaders," and Sunday-school
teachers, were drafted in larger numbers from the fraternity of
shoemakers than from any other craft.

     [72] Among others, Coleridge observed that shoemakers
     had given to the world a larger number of eminent men than any
     handicraft. The philosopher was rather partial to shoemakers,
     from the time when, as a boy at Christ's Hospital, he wished to
     be apprenticed to the trade of shoemaking.

How are we to account for such facts as these? Is there anything in the
_occupation_ of the shoemaker which is peculiarly favorable to habits of
thought and study? It would seem to be so; and yet it would be difficult
to show what it is that gives him an advantage over all other workmen.
The secret may lie in the fact that he _sits_ to his work, and, as a
rule, sits _alone_; that his occupation stimulates his mind without
wholly occupying and absorbing its powers; that it leaves him free to
break off, if he will, at intervals, and glance at the book or make
notes on the paper which lies beside him. Such facts as these have been
suggested, and not without reason, as helping us to account for the
reputation which the sons of Crispin enjoy as an uncommonly clever class
of men.



"Let the cobbler stick to his last."

The reputation of the shoemaker class is not confined to our own country
or to modern times. It is pretty much the same in all countries, and
reaches back to very ancient times. The proverb, "_Ne Sutor ultra
crepidam_"--"Let the cobbler stick to his last"--is one of the oldest in
existence. Few proverbs are more universally and frequently quoted. It
is based on a story which comes down to us from the times of Alexander
the Great. Even if the story, as it is told in our Grecian histories, be
not authentic, it serves to show that even in times preceding the
Christian era cobblers were regarded as a shrewd and observant set of
men. But there is no reason that we know of to doubt the story, which is
well worth repeating. It is told of Apelles, one of the most celebrated
of the old Greek painters, who flourished about 300 B.C. He was the
friend of Alexander, and the only artist whom the great warrior would
allow to paint his portrait. Apelles, we are told, was not ashamed to
learn from the humblest critics. As Lord Bacon says, he did not object
to "light his torch at any man's candle." For this reason, knowing that
a good deal may sometimes be learned from the observations of
passers-by, he was in the habit of placing his pictures before they were
quite finished outside his house; and then, crouching down behind them,
he listened to the remarks of spectators. On one occasion a cobbler
noticed a fault in the painting of a shoe, and remarking upon it to a
person standing by, passed on. As soon as the man was out of sight
Apelles came from his hiding-place, examined the painting, found that
the cobbler's criticism was just, and at once corrected the error. Once
more the picture was exposed, while the artist lay behind it to hear
what further might be said. The cobbler came by again, and soon
discovered that the fault he had pointed out had been remedied; and,
emboldened by the success of his criticism, began to express his opinion
pretty freely about the painting of the _leg_! This was too much for the
patience of the artist, who rushed from his hiding-place, and told the
cobbler _to stick to his shoes_. Hence the proverb, which for more than
two thousand years[73] has expressed the common feeling, that critics
would do well not to venture beyond their legitimate province.

     [73] It is used by Pliny, who died A.D. 79.


If the shoemaker has found a place in classic history, it must not be
forgotten that he has a place in ecclesiastical history also. In two
instances a shoemaker is said to have been taken direct from the stall
and elevated to the episcopal chair. No doubt many shoemakers have been
endowed with sufficient piety and learning for this sacred and dignified
office, and probably not a few have deemed themselves fit, whether they
were so or not, to discharge its high functions; but the instances here
given are, we believe, quite unique. The first is that of Anianus or
Annianus (A.D. 62-86), who is said to have been appointed by St. Mark to
assist him in the government of the Church at Alexandria. On the
outbreak of persecution under Nero, Mark fled from the city; and, as
Eusebius says, "Nero was now in his eighth year, when Annianus succeeded
the Apostle and Evangelist Mark in the administration of the Church at
Alexandria." The historian adds, "He (Annianus) was a man distinguished
for piety, and admirable in every respect."[74] He died in the fourth
year of Domitian, 86 A.D. He was the first Bishop of Alexandria, and
filled the office twenty-two years.[75] To these simple statements of
the historian are added the stories which found a ready acceptance in
later times. To the fact that the worthy Alexandrian was a _shoemaker_
tradition added the account of the miracle wrought upon him by St. Mark.
One account tells us that the Evangelist, on passing along the street,
burst his shoe and turned in to get it repaired, and so became
acquainted with Annianus. Another version of the story declares that
the cobbler, having hurt his hand with an awl, uttered a not very pious
exclamation, which Mark overheard as he passed by, and going in to
inquire the cause, took the opportunity not only to heal the wound, but
to speak to the impatient workman of the true and living God whose name
he had taken in vain. Annianus is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology
with St. Mark on the 25th April.[76]

     [74] Eccles. Hist., Book ii. cap. xxiv.

     [75] Ibid., Book iii. cap. xiv.

     [76] Annianus is regarded in some countries as the
     patron saint of shoemakers. Campion's "Delightful History of ye
     Gentle Craft." Northampton: Taylor & Son, 2d ed., 1876, p. 25.

The other appointment of a shoemaker to the episcopate was due to the
piety and wisdom of Gregory Thaumaturgus, the pupil and friend of Origen
(220-270 A.D.). Gregory was then Bishop of Neo-Cæsarea in Asia Minor,
and when a vacancy occurred in the bishopric of Comana in Cappadocia, he
defied all conventionalism and prejudice, and appointed "a poor
shoemaker named _Alexander_, despised by the world, but great in the
sight of God, who did honor to so exalted a station in the Church."[77]
He was chosen in preference to scholars and men of good social status on
account of his extraordinary piety. This Alexander justified the choice
thus made by reason of his excellent discourse, his holy living, and a
martyr's death. He is honored in the Roman Calendar on August 11th.[78]

     [77] Pressense's "Early Years of Christianity."
     London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1879, vol. ii. p. 355.

     [78] Dr. Smith's "Dict. Christian Biog.," art.
     "Gregory Thaumaturgus." In this article Gregory is called a
     charcoal-burner. Probably, like many other shoemakers, he
     followed more than one vocation.


Quite as good a man, no doubt, if not as fit to fill the episcopal
chair, was _the pious cobbler of Alexandria_, of whom we read that St.
Anthony paid him a visit in consequence of a voice from Heaven which
said to him, "Antony, thou art not so perfect as a cobbler that dwelleth
at Alexandria." The pious anchorite was in the habit of hearing such
voices and obeying them. All the leading events of his life were
accompanied by a similar message from heaven, as he deemed it.
Accordingly he took his staff, and leaving his secluded retreat in the
desert, came down to the great city in search of the pious cobbler.
Arriving before his door, where the good man sat at work, Antony asked
him for an account of himself and his mode of living. "Sir," answered
the cobbler, "as for me, good works I have none. My life is but simple,
seeing I am but a poor cobbler. In the morning when I rise, I pray for
the whole city wherein I dwell, especially for all such neighbors and
poor friends as I have; after that I sit me down to my labor, where I
spend the whole day in getting my living; and I keep me from all
falsehood, for I hate nothing so much as I do deceitfulness; wherefore
when I make any man a promise, I keep it and perform it truly; and thus
I spend my time poorly with my wife and children, whom I teach and
instruct, so far as my wit will serve me, to fear and dread God; and
this is the sum of my simple life."


Speaking of Alexandria reminds us of another worthy of that city, the
famous Jewish Rabbi Jochanan _Sandalarius_, or the shoemaker. Learned
Rabbins were common enough in Alexandria from the time of its foundation
by Alexander the Great, 332 B.C., down to its capture by the Arabs in
the seventh century A.D. And as it was the custom with even the most
learned Rabbins to learn a trade, it can be no matter of surprise that
many of the most eminent leaders of thought among the Jews were employed
in what are now regarded as very humble occupations. The Delegate Chief
Rabbi of Great Britain, in an interesting article in the _Nineteenth
Century_,[79] tells us that "in the grand basilica synagogue of
Alexandria, separate portions of the building were assigned to the
silversmiths, weavers, and other trades.... The Rabbins, the authorized
expounders of the law, deemed it derogatory to receive any reward for
the exercise of their spiritual, doctrinal, or judicial functions, and
maintained themselves by the labor of their hands. And thus in the
Talmud we meet, in curious juxtaposition, the Rabbi and his trade in
such phrases as these: "It was taught by Rabbi Jochanan the shoemaker."
This illustrious Rabbi came from Alexandria to Palestine, attracted by
the great name of Akiba Ben Joseph, the famous Rabbi, who was the chief
teacher of the rabbinical school at Jaffa at the close of the first
century and the beginning of the second. In this school there were said
to be no less than 24,000 pupils. Akiba sided with Bar Cocheba in his
revolt against Rome, 132 A.D., acknowledged him as the Messiah, and
became his armor-bearer. On the death of Bar Cocheba and the destruction
of his army, Akiba was taken prisoner, and remained in the hands of the
Romans for a long time, until his cruel death under Severus. During his
imprisonment Jochanan managed to get access to his cell, and receive
instructions from him on questions which had not been settled. Through
Jochanan and Meir, Akiba greatly influenced the teachers of the next
generation. Jochanan was certainly one of his most illustrious pupils,
taking a leading part in the theological discussions of the Tanaim, the
authors of the Mishna and Gamara, where his opinions are frequently
quoted. In the Mishna Aboth[80] "Rabbi Jochanan the shoemaker" is
reported to have made the following sensible remark, which reminds one
of the counsel of Gamaliel to the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem:[81] "An
association established for a praiseworthy object must ultimately
succeed; but an association established without such an object cannot

     [79] December, 1881.

     [80] 4:11.

     [81] Acts 5:38, 39.




Undoubtedly the first shoemakers who obtained anything like a general
reputation were the famous brothers Crispin and Crispianus, who are said
to have lived in the third century of our era. These saints have been
regarded almost ever since that early time as the tutelary or patron
saints of shoemakers, who are, to tell the truth, not a little proud of
their romantic title, "the sons of Crispin." We must be careful how we
speak of these saints, for it seems to be an open question whether the
story of their holy self-denying lives and martyr-deaths be true or
false. If the main features of the story be true, they have been greatly
distorted by fable. We give the story as it is generally reported.

_SS. Crispin and Crispianus_ were born in Rome. Having become converts
to Christianity, they set out with St. Denis from that city to become
preachers of the Gospel, travelled on foot through Italy, and finally
settled down at a little town, now called Soissons, in the modern
department of Aisne, about fifty or sixty miles to the north-east of
Paris. Here they are said to have devoted their time during the day to
preaching, and to have maintained themselves by working during most of
the night as shoemakers. This they did on the apostolic model of Paul,
who, while he carried on his mission as a preacher, maintained himself
by his trade as a tent-maker, that he might be "chargeable to no man."
Very little more can be told of the life of these saintly shoemakers
than this; but this, surely, is a great deal. The story goes that they
suffered martyrdom by the order of Rictus Varus, governor or consul in
Belgic Gaul, during the persecution under Diocletian and Maximinus, on
the 25th of October, 287. The 25th of October is still kept in honor of
these saints in some parts of England and Wales, and in other European
countries. The shoemakers of the district turn out in large numbers and
parade the streets, headed by bands of music, and accompanied by banners
on which are emblazoned the emblems of the craft.

It is difficult, as already intimated, to tell how much of pure legend
has been imported into the history of the saints of Soissons. One
tradition declares them to have been of noble birth, and to have adopted
their humble trade entirely for Christian and charitable purposes.
Another story relates how they furnished the poor with shoes at a very
low price, and that, in order to replenish their stock, and as a mark of
divine favor, an angel came to them by night with supplies of leather;
while yet another fable, not very creditable to their morals, avows that
_Saint_ Crispin _stole_ the leather, so that he might be able to _give_
shoes to the poor. Hence the term _Crispinades_ to denote charities done
at the expense of other people. To crown all, it is averred on one
authority that after suffering a horrible death by the sword, their
bodies were thrown into the sea, and were cast ashore at Romney
Marsh.[82] Such tales are worthless, except as indicating the wide
extent of popularity the shoemakers of Soissons secured by virtue of
their piety and benevolence.[83]

     [82] On the beach at Lidde, near Stonend, "there is
     yet to be seene," says Weever, in his "Funeral Monuments," "an
     heap of great stones which the neighbour inhabitants call St.
     Crispin's and St. Crispinian's tomb, whom they report to have
     been cast upon this shore by ship-wracke, and from hence called
     into the glorious company of the saints. Look _Jacobus de
     Voraigne_, in the legend of their lives, and you may believe
     perhaps as much as is spoken. They were shoemakers, and
     suffered martyrdom the tenth of the kalends of November (25th
     October), which day is kept holy to this day by all our
     shoemakers in London and elsewhere."--Quoted in "Crispin
     Anecdotes," Sheffield, 1827, p. 18.

     [83] For the legends of these saints, and much curious
     information respecting the craft and its guilds in early times,
     the reader may consult Lacroix, "Manners, Customs, and Dress in
     the Middle Ages;" "Histoire de la Chaussure," etc. That quaint
     old book, "The Delightful, Princely, and Entertaining History
     of the Gentle Craft," by T. Deloney, 1678, gives the story of
     the _princely_ and _saintly_ brothers in its English dress, and
     it is one of the strangest tales even in legendary lore. This
     story, Deloney tells us, accounts for the term "gentle craft"
     as applied to shoemaking, and explains the saying "a
     shoemaker's son is a prince born." The _Princes_ Crispin and
     Crispinian becoming shoemakers sufficiently accounts for the
     former term, for

       "The gentle craft is fittest then
       For poor distressed gentlemen;"

     and the marriage of Crispine to Ursula, the daughter of the
     Emperor Maximinus, and the birth of a son to the Prince, will
     explain the latter. See the stories and ballads thereanent in
     Campion's "Delightful History of the Gentle Craft,"
     Northampton, Taylor & Son, 2d ed., 1876, pp. 25-35. A most
     interesting and valuable little book on shoes and shoemakers in
     ancient and modern times.

Mrs. Jameson, in her interesting work on "Legendary Art,"[84] says, "The
devotional figures which are common in old French prints represent these
saints standing together, holding the palm in one hand, and in the other
the awl or shoemaker's knife. They are very often met with in old
stained glass working at their trade, or making shoes for the poor--the
usual subjects in shoemakers' guilds all over France and Germany.
Italian pictures of these saints are rare. There is, however, one by
Guido, which presents the throned Madonna, and St. Crispin presenting to
her his brother, St. Crispianus, while angels from above scatter flowers
on the group. Looking over the old French prints of St. Crispin and St.
Crispinian, which are in general either grotesque or commonplace, I met
with one not easily to be forgotten. It represents these two famous
saints proceeding on their mission to preach the gospel in France. They
are careering over the sea in a bark drawn by sea-horses and attended by
tritons, and are attired in the full court-dress of the time of Louis
XV., with laced coats and cocked hats and rapiers!"

     [84] Vol. ii. pp. 305, 306. London, Longmans, 1848.

Probably many of these curious prints may still be seen in the library
of the cathedral at Soissons, famous for its rare MSS. and books. But a
better memorial of these patron saints than any of the absurd
representations of legendary art was the church erected in their honor
in the sixth century, and the religious house which stood on the
traditionary site of their prison. This house was afterward transformed
into a monastery dedicated to St. Crispin, and in the year 1142 received
the sanction of Pope Innocent II.[85]

     [85] Another memorial of the saints, of a very
     different character, was the semi-sacred play entitled "The
     Mystery of St. Crispin and St. Crispinian," which used to be
     performed on St. Crispin's Day by the Guilds or Brotherhoods of
     Shoemakers in Paris and elsewhere.


The eminent French antiquary, _Benoit Baudouin_, is by far the most
learned man who has risen from the ranks of the shoemaker class in
France. A native of Amiens, he was born somewhere about the middle of
the sixteenth century. His father, who was also a _cordonnier_ in that
city, taught him the art and mystery of the craft; but the clever youth
soon rose above his lowly circumstances, and became first a theological
student, and afterward the principal of the college in the old town of
Troyes. Here the ancient and extensive library delighted him, and his
studies as a historian and antiquary were determined to some extent by
his former occupation as a shoemaker; for, besides a translation of
certain ancient tragedies,[86] he is not known to have written any
original work excepting his "Chaussures des Anciens," or "The Shoes of
the Ancients." Baudouin never blushed to own his former vocation,[87]
and in writing this remarkable work he was evidently moved by a desire
to do it honor.[88] A strange book indeed it must be, full of the most
curious and out-of-the-way learning and singular notions; for, not
content with describing the various kinds of shoes worn by Roman and
Greek and other ancient peoples who have flourished within the historic
period, the enthusiastic and daring scholar pushes his inquiry back to
the days "when Adam delved and Eve span," until, at length, he discovers
the origin of the foot-covering in the communication of the secret by
the Almighty Himself to "the first man, Adam!" Spite of its preposterous
speculations, the work of the ex-shoemaker of Amiens is learned and
valuable, contains a vast amount of curious lore in regard to a not
unimportant subject, and helps to confirm his claim to the ambitious
title of "the learned Baudouin." The first edition of this work seems to
have been published in Paris, 1615.[89] It was afterward issued at
Amsterdam, 1667, and at Leyden, 1711, and Leipsic, 1733, in Latin. A
writer in the _Biographie Universelle_ says that Baudouin held at one
time the office of director of the _Hotel Dieu_ at Troyes. This
illustrious French shoemaker died and was buried in that town in 1632.

     [86] "Biographie Universelle." Paris, 1811.

     [87] Ibid.

     [88] "Nouveau Dictionnaire Historique," tom. ii.

     [89] "Nouvelle Biographie Generale." Paris, 1853, tom.
     iv. p. 786.


Whether the story of the shoemaker-saints of Soissons be regarded as
apocryphal or not, it has undoubtedly had considerable influence for
good, either directly or indirectly, over the minds of those who call
themselves sons of Crispin. Much of this has been due to the character
and work of a man who was evidently inspired by the story of St.
Crispin. Through the agency of this man a very important movement was
begun in the middle of the seventeenth century, which ultimately issued
in a widespread religious and social reform among the shoemakers and
other operatives of Western Europe. We allude to the foundation of a
society called "The Pious Confraternity of Brother Shoemakers," having
as their patrons and models the saints Crispin and Crispianus. The
founder of this society was Henry Michael Buch, who was known throughout
Paris, in his day and long after, as _Good Henry_.

Henry Michael Buch came from the Duchy of Luxemburg, where he had been
born, and where his parents, who were day-laborers, had brought him up
in a very simple manner. As a child, Buch was remarkably gifted and very
pious. He was early apprenticed to a shoemaker, and was accustomed to
spend his Sundays and holidays in public worship or private devotion.
During his apprenticeship he began the work of reform among the members
of his own craft, for his young heart was grieved to see them living in
ignorance and vice. Enlisting the help of the more serious among them in
his good work, he endeavored to instruct the apprentices of the town in
the doctrines of religion, to draw them away from ale-houses and vicious
company, and to persuade them to spend their time in a sensible and
profitable manner. Taking the patron saints of the trade for a model, he
cultivated habits of self-denial and beneficence, went always meanly
clad, abandoned luxuries in food and clothing, and frequently gave away
his own garments in order to clothe some poor brother shoemaker. While
at Luxemburg and Messen, he lived chiefly on bread and water, so that he
might be able to feed the hungry and destitute.

Having removed to Paris, his good deeds soon attracted the attention of
Gaston John Baptist, Baron of Renti, who was so much impressed by the
shoemaker's simplicity of manner, intelligence, and missionary zeal,
that he persuaded Buch to establish in that city a confraternity among
the members of his own humble craft for the purpose of instructing them
in the principles and practices of a holy life. With a view to
strengthen his hands for such a task, the freedom of the city was
purchased for him, and means were supplied him for starting in business
as a master shoemaker, "so that he might take apprentices and journeymen
who were willing to follow the rules that were prescribed them."[90]

     [90] Butler's "Lives of the Primitive Fathers,
     Martyrs, and Saints," 1799, p. 532.

Seven men and youths having joined him on these terms, the foundation of
his Confraternity was laid in 1645, Good Henry being appointed the first

     [91] This society flourished until the outbreak of the
     French Revolution, 1789, when it was suppressed.

Two years after this, the _tailors_ of the city, who had noticed the
conduct of the shoemakers, and had been delighted with the goodly
spectacle presented in their happy and useful lives, resolved to follow
the example. They borrowed a copy of the rules, and started a similar
society in 1647.

These brotherhoods, but notably those of the shoemakers, were spread
through France and Italy, and were the means of doing an immense amount
of good among the members of the two crafts.

The rules of the fraternity founded by Buch were assimilated to certain
monastic orders. They enjoined rising at five o'clock and meeting for
united prayer before engaging in work, prayers offered by the superior
as often as the clock strikes, at certain hours the singing of hymns
while at work, at other times silence and meditation; meditation before
dinner, the reading of some devotional work by one of the number during
meals; a _retreat_ for a few days in every year; assisting on Sundays
and holy days at sermons and "the divine office;" the visitation of the
poor and sick, of hospitals and prisons; self-examination, followed by
prayer together at night and retiring to rest at nine o'clock.

Henry Michael Buch, the founder of this remarkable society with its
offshoots all over Western Europe, succeeded in making the title _Sons
of Crispin_ something more than a name in the case of thousands of his
brother workmen. Bearing in mind his humble birth and training, his
scanty means, his social position, the unpromising materials he had to
work with, it will be allowed that the moral reform he inaugurated among
working-men deserves to be classed among the best things of the kind of
which we read in history. Buch died at Paris on the 9th June, 1666, and
was buried in the churchyard of St. Gervaise.[92]

     [92] If this were a history of the craft and trade of
     shoemaking, attention might be called to the genuinely
     illustrious _shoemaker_, Nicholas Lestage of Bordeaux. This
     clever artisan having made a remarkably fine pair of boots,
     presented them to the king, Louis XIV., on his visit to
     Bordeaux, shortly before his marriage to the Infanta of Spain.
     The fortunate son of Crispin was made shoemaker to his Majesty,
     and rose rapidly to wealth and favor at court. In 1663 he
     presented to his royal patron the famous boot "without a seam,"
     which was spoken of as a "miracle of art," and of which it was
     declared that "the name of a boot would fill the world." About
     a dozen years after Lestage succeeded in making this wonderful
     seamless boot, a small book of poems was written to commemorate
     the extraordinary achievement. Among other extravagant things
     said about "cette admirable chaussure," it was affirmed that
     "neither antiquity nor the sun had ever seen its equal," "that
     man was not its inventor," and its structure was truly
     _divine_!" etc.



Before Good Henry's day two famous shoemakers had appeared in Germany,
whose names are now much better known than his: _Hans Sachs_, the
shoemaker-poet of the Reformation, and _Jacob Boehmen_, the mystic.

_Hans Sachs_ was the son of a tailor at Nuremberg, and was born November
5th, 1494. At the age of fifteen he was put apprentice in his native
town. His schooling had been but slight, but he managed after
school-days were passed to retain and add to the little he had learned.
His studies as an apprentice soon lifted him considerably above the
level of his class. All his spare time was given to poetry and music, in
which arts he was greatly assisted by a clever fellow named Nunnenbeck,
a weaver in the city. On attaining his majority, Sachs, after the
fashion of the time, travelled as a workman from town to town throughout
Germany, in order to learn his trade perfectly and see what he could of
the wide world around him. In this expedition he seems to have thought
as much of poetry as of shoemaking, for he never omitted, wherever he
went, visiting the little poetical and musical societies which then
existed in nearly every town in Germany. These societies were formed by
the various trades guilds, and their members were called

On his return from this tour, Sachs settled down to work in Nuremberg,
and proved himself both an expert shoemaker and a first-rate
meistersinger. In fact, he outshone all his compeers of the guild to
which he belonged, and it was not long before he earned the reputation
of being the first German poet of his day. The Reformation movement, led
by Martin Luther, was then in full vigor, and found a hearty sympathizer
and vigorous supporter in this "unlettered cobbler but richly gifted
poet," who was counted among the friends and admirers of the great
Reformer. Luther had few more valuable supporters in his work than the
shoemaker of Nuremberg, whose simple, spirit-stirring songs were rapidly
learned and readily sung by the humbler sorts of people all over the

Sachs' writings were very numerous, both in prose and verse. Few poets,
indeed, have ventured to write and publish so much. He averaged more
than a volume a year for over thirty years. On an inventory being made
of his literary stock in the year 1546, when he was about fifty-two
years of age, it was found that he had written 34 volumes, containing
4275 songs, 208 comedies and tragedies, about 1700 merry tales, and
secular and religious dialogues, and 73 other pieces.

His best writings are said to be the "Schwanke" or merry tales, the
humor of which is sometimes unsurpassable. His collected works were
published by Willer, 1570-79, in five folio volumes.

Exactly two hundred years after Hans Sachs' death, Goethe, who was a
warm admirer of the shoemaker-poet, published a poem entitled _Hans
Sachs Erklärung eines alten Holzschnitts, vorstellend Hans Sachs'
poetische Sendung_ (Explanation of an old woodcut representing Hans
Sachs' poetical mission). This tribute from the pen of Germany's
greatest poet brought the shoemaker of Nuremberg again into notice, and
put him in the right place in the temple of fame. Since the date of
Goethe's poem, Sachs' works have been published in various forms, and
are now as much read and as warmly appreciated as when they were first
published. Nuremberg, his native town, is proud of her humble yet
illustrious poet, and treasures up in her museum every relic connected
with his name, MS. copies of his writings, poetical fly-sheets issued
during his lifetime, or early editions of his works. In the libraries
of Zwickau, Dresden, and Leipsic similar relics of the poet may be seen.

No testimony to his merit could be higher than that of Goethe, the
prince of German critics in literature. It may be of value, however, in
addition to this, to give the opinion of two very different men
respecting Sachs. Dr. Hagenbach in his "History of the Reformation"
says: "A happy union of wholesome humor and moral purity meets us in
Hans Sachs of Nuremberg;" and Thomas Carlyle, in his own style, which
happily is "inimitable," speaks of him as a "gay, childlike, devout,
solid character--a man neither to be despised nor patronized, but left
standing on his own basis as a singular product, and legible symbol, and
clear mirror of the time and country where he lived."

He died on the 25th of January, 1576, at the age of eighty-two, in full
mental vigor. He was busy writing verses and tales almost to the last
days of his life. His grave is still shown in the churchyard of St.
John's, Nuremberg.


Jacob Boehmen, or Boehme, was born at the village of Altseidenberg, near
Gorlitz, in Prussian Silesia, about a year before the death of Hans
Sachs. A shoemaker for the greater part of his life, Boehmen devoted the
powers of a remarkable mind to philosophical and religious speculation,
and produced works which, notwithstanding their mystical and well-nigh
unintelligible character, are declared by some of the best authorities
in Germany and England to have laid the foundation of metaphysics and
philosophy. It is impossible to give a true idea of the writings of this
extraordinary man except by a complete review of his philosophy and its
influence on German philosophical writers. The most contradictory
opinions have been expressed in regard to the value of his productions.
By some critics he is set down as a rhapsodist who wrote nothing but
mystical jargon, and by others as a profound philosopher whose thoughts
and dreams are full of inspiration. Mosheim, _e.g._, says: "It is
impossible to find greater obscurity than there is in these pitiable
writings, which exhibit an incongruous mixture of chemical terms,
mystical jargon, and absurd visions." On the other hand, it is curious
to read the opinions expressed by our own King Charles I., who of all
the Stuarts, not excepting his own father, James I., that "so learned
and judicious a prince," was most capable of being a judge in such
matters. Charles is reported to have said of the writings of the
shoemaker of Gorlitz: "Had they been the productions of a scholar and a
man of learning, they would have been truly wonderful; but if, as he
heard, they were the productions of a poor shoemaker, they furnished a
proof that the Holy Ghost had still a habitation in the souls of men."

Sir Isaac Newton was a student of Boehmen, whose dissertation on "The
Three Principles" is said to have furnished hints to the philosopher
which put him on the track of some of his great discoveries; and Blake,
the half-mad, half-inspired poet, painter, and engraver, frequently
spoke of him as a divinely inspired man. Before Blake's day the writings
of Boehmen had been translated by William Law, author of "The Serious
Call," and published by Ward & Co. in two quarto volumes (1762-84).
Law's writings had immense influence over the minds of John and Charles
Wesley, and their followers, the Methodists. Law, who was no mean judge
of the worth of Boehmen's writings, held them in high esteem.

But of more value than these opinions is the estimate formed by
philosophers themselves as to the works of this great mystic. Spinoza
frequently studied them, and acknowledged their influence on his own
mind. Schelling, the idealist philosopher, bears testimony to Boehmen's
great merits as a thinker. Hegel speaks of him as the "Teutonic
philosopher," and adds, "In reality, through him, for the first time,
did philosophy in Germany come forward with a characteristic stamp." S.
T. Coleridge in his "Literary Remains"[93] says: "I have often thought
of writing a book to be entitled 'A Vindication of Great Men Unjustly
Branded,' and at such times the names prominent to my mind's eye have
been Giordano Bruno, Jacob Boehmen, Benedict Spinoza, and Emanuel
Swedenborg." In the library of Manchester New College, London, is a copy
of the works of Spinoza with marginal notes written by Coleridge,[94]
and among them is the following note to Epistle xxxvi.: "The truth is,
Spinoza, in common with all metaphysicians before him (Boehme perhaps
excepted), began at the wrong end," etc., etc. Coleridge frequently
spoke of Boehmen in the warmest terms of admiration.

     [93] Vol. iv. p. 423.

     [94] This book once belonged to Henry Crabb Robinson:
     see H. C. R.'s Diary, etc., vol. i. pp. 400, 401, for the above

At a very early age Jacob Boehmen showed a disposition to pious
meditation and fancied himself inspired. He was poorly educated as a
youth, and nearly all his knowledge was self-acquired. His first work
was published when he was thirty-seven years of age, and was entitled
"Aurora," or _the morning dawn_. He was severely attacked by the
religious leaders of his day, but the court at Dresden patronized and
protected him. His death took place November 27th, 1624. His works have
been frequently published in Germany, Holland, and England, where they
are much more warmly appreciated now than they were in his own lifetime.



If it be characteristic of Germany that one of her illustrious
shoemakers should be a _poet_ and another a _philosopher_, it is no less
characteristic of Italy and Holland that several followers of the gentle
craft in these countries should have distinguished themselves as
_painters_. We take three examples from the sixteenth and seventeenth

Gabriel Cappellini of Ferrara in Italy was more generally known by the
appellation _Il Caligarino_, or the _little shoemaker_, a name derived
from his original occupation. He is said to have been led to throw down
the awl and take to the brush in consequence of a compliment paid to him
one day by one of the great family of painters called Dossi, who told
the shoemaker that a pair of shoes he had just made were so elegant that
they looked as if they had been painted. He became a scholar of Dossi,
and made a fair name as an artist in the sixteenth century. He is
praised by Barotti for "the boldness of his design and the sobriety of
his color." Several of his paintings may now be seen in the city of
Ferrara, the best of which is in the Church of St. Giovannino. This is
an altar-piece representing the Virgin and Child with infant saints
attending upon them. In the Church of St. Francesco is a painting of
SS. John and James. There is also an altar-piece ascribed to him in the
Church of St. Alesandro at Bergamo, representing the Last Supper. A
small painting of the same subject is in the possession of Count

     [95] Lanzi's "History of Painting." London: Bohn, vol.
     iii. p. 200; and Bryan's "Dictionary of Painters." London:
     Bohn, p. 138.


Francesco Brizzio (or Briccio) was the most eminent of the three
painters we have to name who began life as shoemakers. He was born at
Bologna in 1574. Up to the age of twenty he worked as a shoemaker, and
then, being free to follow his bent, became at first a pupil of
Passerotti, who taught him design, afterward of Agostini, who initiated
him in the engraver's art, and finally of Lodovico Caracci, under whom
he became so proficient that "by some he has been pronounced the most
eminent disciple of Caracci;" and it has been affirmed of this son of
Crispin that of all Caracci's pupils except Domenichino he was gifted
with the most universal genius. In perspective, landscape, architecture,
and figures, a competent critic, Andrea Sacchi, the famous Roman artist,
says, "Brizzio surpassed all his rivals." Guido speaks highly of the
beauty of his cherubs. His extant paintings are an altar-piece entitled
"The Coronation of the Virgin," which is very rich in coloring, and the
"Table of Cebes," a grand painting executed for the Angellili family.
Numerous engravings of his are known to connoisseurs, and highly prized
as the work of an artist "who often approaches Guido." "His pictures
were not only admired for the truth of the perspective and the beauty of
his coloring, but also for the grandeur of his ideas, the majestic style
of the architecture, the elegance of the ornaments, and the noble taste
of the landscapes which he introduced to set off his buildings." Brizzio
died in 1623 at the age of forty-nine.[96]

     [96] Lanzi's "History of Painting." London: Bohn, vol.
     iii. p. 126; Bryan's "Dictionary of Painters." London: Bohn, p.
     114; and Pilkington's "Dictionary of Painters," p. 95 (1770



Ludolph de Jong, was the son of a shoemaker at Oberschic, a village near
Rotterdam, and was born in the year 1616. His father intended to bring
his son up to his own humble trade, but having been treated with great
severity, Ludolph ran away from home and bade good-by to the cobbler's
stall, and became soon afterward a pupil of Sacht Coen. After two years
spent with this master, he also studied under Palamedes at Delft and
Baylaert at Utrecht. Seven years of his life were spent in France, where
he gained renown as a portrait-painter, in which branch of art he showed
his best hand. From France he returned to Holland and settled at
Rotterdam, where his skill and fame gained him much patronage and a
handsome fortune. His best work is at Rotterdam in the _Salle des
Princes_, and consists of portraits of officers belonging to the Company
of Burghers.

De Jong the younger, the clever etcher of battle-scenes, who signs
himself IMDI (Jan Martss de Jong), is generally thought to be the son of
the well-known painter.[97]

     [97] Sons of shoemakers have often become famous. See
     the list given below, which might be greatly extended.


Before leaving the continent of Europe to come to Great Britain for
examples, we may here mention one or two instances in which boys who
have been brought up amid the humble surroundings of the shoemaker's
home have become illustrious in the field of literature, or science, or

_Pope John XXII._ (1316-1334), whose popedom was distinguished by the
existence of an _anti-pope_, was the son of a shoemaker living at Cahors
in France.

_Jean Baptiste Rousseau_ (1670-1741), the French poet, author of "Le
Cafè," "Jason," "Adonais," "Le Flatteur," etc., was the son of a
well-to-do shoemaker in Paris. The poet was always rather ashamed of his
origin, and on one occasion treated his father in the most heartless
manner because he stepped forward at the conclusion of the first
performance of a play to offer his warm congratulations to his clever
and popular son. "I know you not," said the proud poet, waving his
father off. The poor fellow retired in bitter grief and uncontrollable

_Johan Joachim Wincklemann_, the eminent art-critic and writer, was the
son of a humble member of the craft, who lived at Stendal in Prussia.
His father gave him as good an education as lay within his reach, and
was rewarded by the progress his son made in the study of languages.
From the position of teacher of languages in the College of Seehausen he
passed on to that of librarian to Count Bunan, and finally to the
curatorship of the Vatican Museum at Rome, where he published his famous
works, "Ancient Statues," "Taste of the Greek Artists," "History of
Art," and "Antique Monuments." He died by the hand of an assassin at
Trieste, 1768, aged fifty-two.

_Hans Christian Andersen_ was born in 1805, at Adense in Denmark, where
his father worked as a shoemaker. While a mere boy he went to Copenhagen
in the hope of getting his living as a singer and writer of plays, and
eventually became known as the writer of incomparable fairy tales, the
joy and wonder of children, young and old, all over the world.

The name of Dr. Isaac Watts, the hymnist, has sometimes been set down in
this category, on the authority of a line in Dr. Johnson's "Lives of the
Poets." But Johnson speaks only of "common report," making the father of
Isaac Watts a shoemaker. Johnson says he "kept a boarding-school for
young gentlemen." He may have done so and followed the gentle craft as
well; there is no knowing to what occupation the shoemaker may aspire!

If we go far enough back, we may find a very striking example of ability
displayed by a shoemaker's son in military affairs. _Iphicrates_ (4th
cent. B.C.), one of the most capable and trusted Athenian generals, rose
from this humble position to the highest offices of command and trust in
the armies of Greece. His reforms in the arms, dress, and tactics of the
soldiers, formed an "epoch in the Grecian art of war." He distinguished
himself in battles fought against the Thracians and Spartans, and in the
service of the King of Persia in his Egyptian campaign.



Coming now to Great Britain, we are able to select from the records of
history and biography illustrations for our purpose which represent
pretty nearly all the varieties of English life. Practical philanthropy
all men will allow to be one of the most prominent and honorable
features of the national character, and to this shoemakers have
contributed a good share. Our readers will remember the good work done
by Drs. Carey and Morrison, the pioneer missionaries to India and China,
and noble old John Pounds, one of the founders of ragged schools in this
country. Two examples, in a different field, may be given here. One can
easily understand how shoemaking would pay better before the invention
of machinery than it does now, yet it appears strange to us to read of
men making anything like a fortune by so humble a craft. So it was,
however, after a certain modest fashion; and shoemakers, like men whose
fortune has been made on a larger scale, have shown themselves veritable
philanthropists in the use they have made of their money. The two
instances we refer to are wide apart as to time, but closely related as
regards the benevolent spirit they exhibit. Holinshed has very properly
thought it worth his while to chronicle the good deed of a benevolent
old shoemaker who lived in Westminster in the reign of Edward VI. This
true son and follower of Crispin bore the name of _Richard Castell_, but
was still better known, in his own day, by the sobriquet, _Ye Cocke of
Westminster_, not only "because he was so famous with the faculty of his
hands," but on account of his early rising; for every morning, all the
year round, saw him sitting down to his work "at four of the clock." His
skill and diligence in the craft brought him in a considerable sum of
money, which he invested in lands and tenements in the neighborhood of
Westminster, yielding a yearly rental of £42--not at all a poor living
for a retired shoemaker three hundred years ago. It appears that Castell
greatly admired the generosity of his monarch, Edward VI., who had
recently endowed Christ's Hospital, and the shoemaker having no family
to whom he could bequeath his property, and being blessed, moreover,
with a wife as generously disposed as himself, resolved to leave his
property to the endowment fund of this public charity. It is much more
than probable that the fame of the kingly founder of the hospital has
totally eclipsed that of his humble subject, and for this reason it
seems right for us to find a place in our list of illustrious shoemakers
for a worthy man whose industry and benevolence are bearing good fruit
to this day, and who once, it may be, was not a little proud of the
honorable nickname of _Ye Cocke of Westminster_.[98]

     [98] For this and one or two other examples of noted
     shoemakers the writer is indebted to a series of most
     interesting articles entitled "Concerning Shoes and
     Shoemakers," in the _Leisure Hour_, 1876.


It would be hard to find a name more worthy of being enrolled in our
list than that of the public-spirited and courageous shoemaker of
Hampton-Wick in Surrey named _Timothy Bennett_,[99] who, early in the
last century, undertook, at his own cost, to rescue a right of road
from loss to the public. This road ran from Hampton-Wick to
Kingston-upon-Thames through the well-known Bushy Park, belonging to the
Crown. Bennett was grieved to see the right of way infringed by the
Crown authorities, and to observe the consequent inconvenience to
thousands of his neighbors. He determined, therefore, to go to law about
the matter, and, if possible, put a stop to the high-handed and unjust
proceedings of the "Ranger of the Park." He went to a lawyer and
inquired as to the probable chances of success in his project, and as to
the cost, saying, "I have _seven hundred pounds_ which I would be
willing to bestow upon this attempt. It is all I have, and has been
saved through a long course of honest industry." Satisfied on both
points, he resolved to carry out his plan. Lord Halifax was then Ranger
of Bushy Park, and having heard of Bennett's intentions, sent for him.
"Who are you, sir," demanded my lord, "that have the assurance to meddle
in this affair?" "My name, my lord, is Timothy Bennett, shoemaker, of
Hampton-Wick. I remember, an't please your Lordship, when I was a young
man, of seeing, while sitting at my work, the people cheerfully pass by
to Kensington market; but now, my lord, they are forced to go round
about, through a hot sandy road, ready to faint beneath their burdens,
and I am unwilling" (using a phrase he was very fond of) "to leave the
world worse than I found it. This, my lord, I humbly represent, is the
reason of my conduct." "Be gone! You are an impertinent fellow!" said
the Ranger of Bushy Park. After thinking the matter over in a calmer
mood, Lord Halifax saw the equity of the shoemaker's claim, and the
certainty of his own failure to justify his conduct, and gave up his
opposition. The road was opened, and remains open to this day, and is
used not only by those who pass on business between Hampton and
Kingston, but by thousands of pleasure-seekers from the busy and
smoke-laden metropolis, who run down by rail in the spring and summer to
enjoy the sight of one of the finest avenues of chestnut-trees in the
world, or to breathe the sweet country air, and rest beneath the
refreshing shade of the trees of the park. The good people who make
constant use of the road, which the worthy shoemaker has secured to them
and their descendants forever, can hardly be ignorant of the story of
yet the stranger who goes down to the Park in May to see

    "The chestnuts with their milky cones,"

will probably never have heard of this

    "Village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
    The little tyrant of his fields withstood."

Bennett died an old man in 1756, having had his wish, at least, to leave
the world no worse than he found it. Assuredly many who have more fame
have done less to merit it.

     [99] Born 1676; died 1756. Bennett is placed out of
     his chronological order because it seems most fitting that he
     should follow the benevolent Castell.



The old Border song, sung at public dinners "when Selkirk folks began to
be merry"--

    "Up wi' the souters of Selkirk,
      And down wi' the Earl of Home;
    And up wi' a' the braw lads
      That sew the single shoon.

    "Fye upon yellow and yellow,
      And fye upon yellow and green,
    And up wi' the true blue and scarlet,
      And up wi' the single-soled sheen.

    "Up wi' the souters o' Selkirk,
      For they are baith trusty and leal;
    And up wi' the men o' the Forest,[100]
      And down wi' the Merse[101] to the deil,"

has made the "Souters of Selkirk" famous throughout Scotland. The origin
of the song seems to be lost. Whether it has reference, as the common
tradition in Selkirk goes, to the part which a gallant band of Selkirk
men played at the battle of Flodden Field, 1513, "when the flower of the
Scottish nobility fell around their sovereign, James IV.," which Sir
Walter Scott and Mr. Plummer assert,[102] or to "a bet between the
Philiphaugh and Home families" on a match of football "between the
souters (or shoemakers) of Selkirk against the men of Home," as Mr.
Robertson in his "Essay on Scottish Song" declares, it is not easy to
determine. At any rate, whether the song points to the historical event
or not, the event itself is beyond dispute. Selkirk did "certainly send
a brave band of eighty or a hundred men to Flodden Field to support the
cause of James. No doubt a large proportion of these men were veritable
_souters_, for the chief trade of the town in the sixteenth century was
the making of "a sort of brogues with a single thin sole." This local
manufacture seems to have given a name to the inhabitants of the burgh,
who were called _souters_, pretty much as natives of Sheffield might be
called _blades_, or Birmingham folk _buttons_. The people of Selkirk are
not ashamed of the designation, but rather glory in perpetuating the
name and the tradition on which it rests. "A singular custom," we are
told, is observed at conferring the freedom of the burgh. Four or five
bristles, such as are used by shoemakers, are attached to the seal of
the burgess ticket. These the new-made burgess must dip in his wine and
pass through his mouth, in token of respect for the Souters of Selkirk.
This ceremony is on no account dispensed with.[103]

     [100] Selkirkshire, otherwise called Ettrick Forest.

     [101] Berwickshire, otherwise, called the Merse.

     [102] See "Border Minstrelsy."

     [103] Scott's "Border Minstrelsy," foot-note.


That the souters of that time knew how to fight and win renown by their
valor and skill may be gathered from the story which the author of "The
Lay of the Last Minstrel" tells us anent the reference to Watt of
Liddelside in the fourth canto of the "Lay":

    "Now loud the heedful gateward cried,
      'Prepare ye all for blows and blood!
    Watt Tinlinn from the Liddelside
      Comes wading through the flood.
    Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock
      At his lone gate and prove the lock;
    It was but last St. Barnabright
      They sieged him a whole summer night,
    But fled at morning; well they knew
      In vain he never twanged the yew.'"

This Watt was a shoemaker and a soldier, and if he had no large field
for the display of his skill and valor in the Border skirmishes of his
time, he nevertheless deserves a place among his more illustrious
brethren of the craft, if only for the sake of the following note
respecting him. "This person was in my younger days," says Sir Walter
Scott,[104] "the theme of many a fireside tale. He was a retainer of the
Buccleuch family, and held for his Border service a small tower on the
frontiers of Liddesdale. Watt was by profession a sutor, but by
inclination and practice an archer and warrior. Upon one occasion, the
captain of Bewcastle, military governor of that wild district of
Cumberland, is said to have made an incursion into Scotland, in which he
was defeated and forced to fly. Watt Tinlinn pursued him closely through
a dangerous morass; the captain, however, gained the firm ground, and
seeing Tinlinn dismounted and floundering in the bog, used these words
of insult, "Sutor Watt, ye cannot sew your boots; the heels risp and the
seams rive."[105] "If I cannot sew," retorted Tinlinn, discharging a
shaft which nailed the captain's thigh to his saddle--"if I cannot sew I
can yerk."[106]

     [104] Note IV. to Canto IV., "Lay of the Last

     [105] Risp and rive, creak and tear.

     [106] To twitch the thread as shoemakers do in
     securing the stitches.


In the turbulent days of the Stuarts and the Commonwealth, when the
lofty were laid low and the lowly were set in high places, it can hardly
be matter of surprise that the shoemaker should have had his share of
the favors of fortune. The circumstances of the time had led to the
adoption of the rational rule of granting promotion by merit. In an army
commanded by Cromwell it is not likely that any other rule would be
adopted. His two chief requirements were military capacity and moral
character. With men of this class he made up his invincible _Ironsides_.
One of his colonels was John Hewson. "This man," Grainger says,[107]
"once wore a leather apron, and from a mender of old shoes became a
reformer of government and religion. He was, allowing for his education,
a very extraordinary person. His behavior in the army soon raised him to
the rank of a colonel; and Cromwell had so great an opinion of him as to
intrust him with the government of the city of Dublin, whence he was
called to be a member of Barebones'[108] parliament. He was a frequent
speaker in that and the other parliament of which he was a member, and
was at length thought a fit person to be a lord of the upper house. He
was one of the committee of safety, and was, with several of his
brethren, very intent upon a new model of the republic at the eve of the
Restoration." Rugge, in his "Diurnal," 5th December, 1659, says that
Hewson "was a very stout man, and a very good commander;" and adds, "But
in regard of his former employment, they (the city apprentices) threw at
him old shoes and slippers, and turnip-tops and brickbats, stones and
tiles." He was the object of no end of lampooning on the part of the
Royalists. Pepys, in his "Diary," 25th January, 1659-60, has an
interesting memorandum in regard to the notoriety of the
cobbler-colonel: "Coming home, heard that in Cheapside there had been
but a little before a gibbet set up, and a picture of Huson (Hewson)
hung upon it, in the middle of the street."[109] One of these squibs
bore the title, "Colonel Hewson's Confession; or, a Parley with Pluto,"
and referred to his removal of the gates of Temple Bar. Lord Braybrooke
informs us that Hewson "had but one eye, which did not escape the notice
of his enemies." Nor did the burly cobbler-colonel escape the notice of
Dr. Butler, who makes him a conspicuous figure in the first part of
"Hudibras"[110] under the nickname of _Cerdon_:

    "The upright Cerdon next advanc'd,
    Of all his race the valiant'st:
    Cerdon the Great, renowned in song,
    Like Herc'les, for repair of wrong.

    He rais'd the low, and fortify'd
    The weak against the strongest side:
    Ill has he read that never hit
    On him in Muses deathless writ.
    He had a weapon keen and fierce,
    That through a bull-hide shield would pierce,
    And out it in a thousand pieces,
    Though tougher than the Knight of Greece his,
    With whom his black-thumb'd ancestor
    Was comrade in the ten years' war.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Fast friend he was to reformation,
    Until 'twas worn quite out of fashion;
    Next rectifier of every law,
    And would make three to cure one flaw.
    Learned he was, and could take note,
    Transcribe, collect, translate, and quote."[111]

     [107] "Biographical History of England," vol. iii.

     [108] The author of "Crispin Anecdotes," p. 127, says,
     "Praise-God Barebones was a shoemaker, but from all the writer
     can learn he was a leather-seller; and Bloomfield is reported
     as saying that Secretary Craggs was a chip of leather. On what
     authority it is hard to say. His father, the
     postmaster-general, is more likely to have been in such a
     position; but _his_ trade was that of a country
     barber."--Grainger, Noble's continuation, vol. iii.

     [109] Pepys' Diary, note, January 25th, 1659-60.

     [110] Part I. Canto II., 409-430, etc.

     [111] Part I. Canto II., 409-430, etc.

Later on,[112] Hudibras describes the scene at the bear-gardens when
Hewson and the Puritan party endeavor to put a stop to the savage sport
of bear-baiting. The mob turn on the Puritans, but as for the fat

    "Quarter he scorns, he is so stout,
    And therefore cannot long hold out."

     [112] Part I. Canto III, 118, 119.

One of the squibs alluded to above was entitled "A Hymn to the Gentle
Craft; or, Hewson's Lamentation."[113] The reader will observe that
Hewson's _one eye_ "does not escape the notice of his enemies." This
piece was sung as a ballad in the streets:

    "Listen awhile to what I shall say,
    Of a blind cobbler that's gone astray
    Out of the Parliament's highway.
      Good people, pity the blind!

    "His name you wot well is Sir John Howson,
    Whom I intend to set my muse on,
    As great a warrior as Sir Miles Lewson.
      Good people, pity the blind!

    "He'd now give all the shoes in his shop
    The Parliament's fury for to stop,
    Whip cobbler like any town-top.
      Good people, pity the blind!

    "Oliver made him a famous Lord,
    That he forgot his cutting-board,
    But now his thread's twisted to a cord.
      Good people, pity the blind!

    "Sing hi, ho, Hewson!--the state ne'er went upright,
    Since cobblers could pray, preach, govern, and fight;
    We shall see what they'll do now you're out of sight.
      Good people, pity the blind!"

     [113] Quoted in Chambers's "Book of Days," August
     15th. W. & R. Chambers, Edinburgh.

Having been one of the men who sat in judgment on King Charles I., the
Colonel was with other regicides condemned to be hung October 14th,
1660;[114] but he is said to have escaped hanging by flight, and to have
died at Amsterdam "in his original obscurity," 1662.[115]

     [114] Evelyn's "Diary" of this date.

     [115] Pepys, see above.


Christopher Myngs (or Minns), "the son of an honest shoemaker in London,
from whom he inherited nothing but a good constitution,"[116] is said to
have worn the leathern apron for a short time before he went to sea.
Speaking of the men of humble origin who, toward the end of the
seventeenth century, made their way to high office by their skill and
bravery, Lord Macaulay says: "One of the most eminent of these officers
was Sir Christopher Mings, who entered the service as a cabin-boy, who
fell fighting bravely against the Dutch, and whom his crew, weeping and
vowing vengeance, carried to the grave. From him sprang, by a singular
kind of descent, a line of valiant and expert sailors. His cabin-boy was
Sir John Narborough, and the cabin-boy of Sir John Narborough was Sir
Cloudesley Shovel. To the strong natural sense and dauntless courage of
this class of men England owes a debt never to be forgotten."[117] Myngs
knew how to be familiar and friendly with his men, and yet to keep his
position and authority. Seamen learn to love bravery, and of this they
saw enough in their gallant Admiral. They had additional reason for
their devotion in the care he always took to see them well paid and fed,
and the justice he did them in the distribution of prizes. It was in the
great four days' fight off the English coast, June 1st-4th, 1666,
between the English and Dutch fleets, that this brave man met with his
death. The English fleet was commanded by the Duke of Albemarle and
Prince Rupert, and the Dutch by De Ruyter and Van Tromp the younger. The
battle was one of the most memorable on record, both for its length and
the valor displayed on both sides. "On the fourth day of the famous
battle that began on the 1st of June, he received a shot in the neck;
after which, though he was in exquisite pain, he continued in his
command, holding his wound with both his hands for above an hour. At
length another shot pierced his throat and laid him forever at

     [116] Grainger's "Biographical History of England,"
     vol. iii.

     [117] "History of England," vol. i. p. 316 (People's

     [118] Grainger's "Biographical History of England,"
     vol. iii. Grainger has an interesting note concerning Myngs,
     which we cannot forbear copying: "I am credibly informed that
     when he had taken a Spanish man-of-war and gotten the commander
     on board his ship, he committed the care of him to a
     lieutenant, who was directed to observe his behavior. Shortly
     after word was brought to Myngs that the Spaniard was deploring
     his captivity and wondering what great captain it could be who
     had made Don----, with a long and tedious string of names and
     titles, his prisoner. The lieutenant was ordered to return to
     his charge, and if the Don persisted in his curiosity, to tell
     him that 'Kit Minns' had taken him. This diminutive name
     utterly confounded the _titulado_, threw him into an agony of
     grief, and gave him more acute pangs than all the rest of his

The portrait of Sir Christopher Myngs is now in the Painted Hall of
Greenwich Hospital. It is a half-length by Sir Peter Lely, and came from
Windsor Castle, having been presented by George IV. in 1824.[119]

     [119] See the "Descriptive Catalogue of the Portraits
     of Naval Commanders," etc., in the "Painted Hall, Greenwich
     Hospital," Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1881, p.
     10. The editor of the catalogue states that "this portrait and
     those numbered 7, 8, 47-49, 102, 105, 107, 110-112 form the
     series of valuable pictures mentioned in Pepys' 'Diary,' as
     follows:--'To Mr. Lilly's the painter's, and there saw the
     heads--some finished and all begun--of the flagg-men in the
     late great fight with the Duke of York against the Dutch. The
     Duke of York hath them done to hang in his chamber, and very
     finely they are done indeed. Here are the Prince's (Rupert),
     Sir George Askue's, Sir Thomas Teddiman's, Sir Christopher
     Myngs', Sir Joseph Jordan's, Sir William Berkeley's, Sir Thomas
     Allen's, and Captain Harman's, as also the Duke of Albemarle's;
     and will be my Lord Sandwich's, Sir W. Penn's, and Sir Jeremy



In the same age lived another noteworthy man, whose connection with the
gentle craft was much more intimate, and, indeed, of almost life-long
duration. This man was an astrologer, and blended with his study of the
subtle influences of the stars over human affairs the study of medicine.
What relation there is between these two things it were hard to tell;
but certain it is, that for many years men who were not otherwise fools
and knaves believed in this relation; and, combining the two
"professions," found very often that success in the one gave them a
certain prestige in the other. A lucky hit in "casting the nativity" of
a notable person, brought the "astrologer and physician" endless
patients and no small fortune. Probably an appointment as physician to
the king was due to no better cause; and, with such an appointment, of
course the practitioner's position was secure for life. This seems to
have been pretty much the case with _John Partridge_, who is spoken of
as a shoemaker in Covent Garden in 1680, and in 1682 is styled
_physician to His Majesty Charles II._ Here is a case, then, of a
cobbler who ventured _ultra crepidam_ to some purpose, and who might
very well have taken James Lackington's motto for his own.[120]
Partridge, it must be allowed, was a scholar of no mean attainments,
whatever he may have been as a physician, and his scholarship was
self-acquired. During his apprenticeship to a shoemaker he began the
study of Latin with a copy of Lilye's Grammar, Gouldman's Dictionary,
Ovid's Metamorphoses, and a Latin Bible. Having got a sufficient
knowledge of Latin to read astrological works, he betook himself to the
study of Greek and Hebrew. Then came _physic_, with the grand result of
royal patronage. Partridge was a considerable author or editor, and the
list of his works shows the strong bent of his mind toward the occult
science. He published a "Hebrew Calendar" for 1678; "Vade Mecum," 1679;
"Ecclesilegia, an Almanac," 1679; the same for 1680; "The King of
France's Nativity;" "A Discourse of Two Moons;" "Mercurius Coelestis,"
being an almanac for 1681; "Prodomus, a Discourse on the Conjunction of
Saturn and Mars;" "The Black Life of John Gadbury," in which a brother
astrologer is roundly abused; and shown to be, as a matter of course, a
rogue and impostor; and a "Translation of Hadrianus a Mynsicht's
Treasury of Physic," 1682.

     [120] Sutor ultra crepidam feliciter ausus. See
     Lackington's Life, p. 45.

The inscription over Partridge's tomb is in Latin, as becomes the
memorial of so learned a man and so eminent a physician! The visitor to
the churchyard of Mortlake in Surrey may still learn--if the great
destroyer has dealt gently with the record--how


was born at East Sheen, in Surrey, on the 18th January, 1644, and died
in London, 24th June, 1715; how he made medicine for two kings and one
queen, _Carolo scilicet Secundo, Willielmo Tertio, Reginæque Mariæ_; and
how the Dutch University of Leyden conferred on him the diploma
_Medicinæ Doctor_.

Partridge seems to have given his MS. of the "Conjunction of Saturn and
Mars" to Elias Ashmole, who presented it in 1682, with other
curiosities, to the University of Oxford, where it may still be seen in
the Ashmolean Museum.[121]

     [121] Elias Ashmole appears to have been given to
     astrology and alchemy; see his "Way to Bliss," a work on the
     Philosopher's stone, published 1658.

Partridge is alluded to in Pope's "Rape of the Lock," where the poet
speaks of Belinda's "wavy curl," which has been stolen and placed among
the stars--

    "This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies,
    When next he looks through Galileo's eyes;
    And hence the egregious wizard shall foredoom
    The fate of Louis and the fall of Rome."

"What sacrifices," says the author of "The Book of Days," "would many a
sage or poet have made to be connected through all time with Pope and
the charming Belinda! Yet here, in this case, we find the almanac-making
shoemaker enjoying a companionship and a celebrity for qualities which,
morally, have no virtue or endurance in them, but quite the reverse."
Swift, whose satire stung many an abuse to death, made endless fun of
Partridge and his absurd prophecies based on astrology. In 1708 Swift
published a burlesque almanac containing "predictions for the year,"
etc., etc., the first of which was about Partridge himself. Fancy the
astrologer's feelings when he read the following awful announcement:--"I
have consulted the star of his nativity by my own rules, and find he
will infallibly die on the 29th of March next of a raging fever;
therefore I advise him to consider it and settle his affairs in time!"

After the 29th of March was past, Partridge positively took the trouble
to inform the public that he was _not_ dead! This he did in his almanac
for 1709. Whereupon the cruel Dean took the matter up again and tried to
show Partridge his error. He was dead, argues Swift, if he did but know
it; but then there is no accounting for some men's ignorance! He says,
"I have in another place and in a paper by itself sufficiently convinced
this man that he is dead; and if he has any shame, I don't doubt but
that by this time he owns it to all his acquaintance."[122] Not content
with this, Swift wrote an "Elegy on the supposed Death of Partridge, the
Almanac-maker," and wound up the _painful_ business by writing his
epitaph too.

     [122] _The Tatler_, April 11, 1709. Steele and Congreve
     assisted in the joke. Congreve pretended to take the side of
     Partridge by defending him against the charge of "sneaking
     about without paying his funeral expenses!" See Timb's
     "Anecdote Biog." vol. i. pp. 24 and 154.


    "Here, five foot deep, lies, on his back,
    A cobbler, starmonger, and quack,
    Who to the stars, in pure good-will,
    Does to his best look upward still.
    Weep, all ye customers, that use
    His pills, or almanacs, or shoes;
    And you that did your fortunes seek,
    Step to his grave but once a week.
    This earth, which bears his body's print,
    You'll find has so much virtue in't,
    That I durst pawn my ear 'twill tell
    Whate'er concerns you full as well,
    In physic, stolen goods, or love,
    As he himself could when above."


Here also may be mentioned the once famous _Dr. Ebenezer Sibly_, the
physician and astrologer, and his brother Manoah, who by turns was
shoemaker, shorthand reporter, and preacher of the "heavenly doctrines"
of the New Jerusalem Church. However great a figure these men may have
made in their day, they have managed to drop so completely out of notice
that no encyclopædia, biographical dictionary, or magazine[123] the
writer has met with contains any account of them. They are said to have
been born in Bristol, and to have been brought up to the gentle
craft.[124] The first edition of Ebenezer Sibly's "Astrological
Astronomy" was published in 1789, in three vols. 8vo, and was entitled
"Astronomy and Elementary Philosophy," being a translation of Placidus
de Titus. The various editions of this work contain a collection of
remarkable nativities, and among them Sibly includes that of Thomas
Chatterton, "the marvellous boy" of Bristol.[125] Of course the
astrologer sees in the horoscope of Chatterton sure signs of remarkable
genius. Sibly was frequently consulted both for astrological and medical
purposes, the two professions, astrology and medicine, being regarded as
having a certain necessary relation. At all events, it answered the
purposes of men like Sibly and Partridge to associate them in their
practice. Human credulity dies hard, the race of fools seems to be
endowed with wondrous vitality; even as late as 1826 Sibly's "Celestial
Science of Astrology," in two bulky 4to vols., was published in a
twelfth edition, and at that time there must have been many readers of
his costly works[126] on the "Occult Sciences, comprehending the Art of
Foretelling Future Events and Contingencies by the Aspect and Influences
of the Heavenly Bodies." This work was accompanied by a key to physic
and the occult sciences. "Many of my readers," says the author of
"Crispin Anecdotes," "otherwise indebted to Dr. Sibly, may remember his
solar and lunar tinctures, and may probably have experienced their
efficacy in transmuting gold coin into AURUM POTABILE!" In his
astrological works and his edition of "Culpepper's Herbal," Sibly signs
himself "M.D.," "Fellow of the Royal Harmonic Philosophical Society at
Paris," "Member of the Royal College of Physicians in Aberdeen," etc.,
etc. The "Herbal" is dated in the year of Masonry 5798, and is written
from No. 1 Upper Tichfield Street, Cavendish Square, London. We have no
record of the death of this illustrious son of Crispin, who, perhaps,
had better have stuck to his last. He is called "_the late_ E. Sibly,
M.D.," in the 1817 edition of his "Celestial Science."

     [123] In regard to Manoah Sibly, see below.

     [124] "Crispin Anecdotes," p. 85. The plates in E.
     Sibly's works are by Ames, a Bristol name a century ago. His
     portrait in the 1790 edition is by Roberts.

     [125] His birth is set down as occurring 20th
     November, p.m., 1752.

     [126] They were published at _two guineas_.


Manoah Sibly appears to have been a man of more varied and certainly of
much more useful gifts than his brother "the doctor;" but it may well be
doubted if he made as much capital out of them. He was born August 20th,
1757.[127] If the writer above quoted be correct in saying that Manoah
was a shoemaker, he must have made good use of his spare time, and even
of his working hours, for at the age of nineteen he is said to have been
teaching Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Syriac. During the greater part of
his life he was a prominent preacher in connection with the New
Jerusalem or Swedenborgian community. For fifty-three years, from the
time of his ordination in 1790, he held the pastorate of the
congregation for which the Friars Street Chapel, London, was built in
1803. This congregation is now represented by the well-known Argyle
Square Church, King's Cross, where a tablet to his memory has been
erected. Manoah Sibly does not seem at any time to have been wholly
occupied with the work of preaching, although he delivered two sermons a
week for forty-three years, and one a week for the remaining ten of his
ministry. "Whether he dabbled in the muddy waters of astrology or no, it
is rather hard to tell; probably he left the task of reading the stars,
for the most part, to his more astute brother, Ebenezer. At any rate, a
translation of Placidus de Titus is set down in certain lists as having
been published in his name in 1789;[128] and when he opened a shop as a
bookseller, he dealt chiefly in works on occult philosophy. In 1795 he
is styled shorthand writer to the City of London on the title-page of
the published reports from his own notes of the trial of Gillman and of
Thomas Hardy, the political shoemaker, whose trial and acquittal created
so great an excitement throughout the country. Two years after this he
obtained a situation in the Bank of England, which he held for no less
than forty-three years. In addition to all this multifarious work, he
found time for writing and slight editorial duties. In 1796 a volume of
sermons preached in the New Jerusalem Temple appeared in his name, and
in 1802 he edited a liturgy for his own church, and wrote a hymn-book.
If in no other way, his memory will be perpetuated among his
coreligionists by the hymns that bear his name. His first published work
was a critical essay on Jeremiah 38:16, issued in 1777; and his last, a
discourse on "Jesus Christ, the only Divine object of Praise," delivered
on the forty-fifth anniversary of the promulgation of the "heavenly
doctrines," appeared fifty-six years after, viz., in 1833. Manoah
Sibly's long life of fourscore and three years came to an end December
16th, 1840.

     [127] The Secretary of the Swedenborg Society, Mr.
     James Speirs, has obligingly supplied the writer with most of
     the facts given above, which are taken from an obituary of M.S.
     in the _Intellectual Repository_, a Swedenborg magazine for
     1841. Mr. Speirs says that Manoah Sibly was "presumably" born
     in London, but see above.

     [128] The exact correspondence in _title_ and _date_
     between this book and the first edition of E. Sibly's similar
     work creates a suspicion of error in the name.


In this connection we may mention a curious instance of learning in
lowly life, mentioned in one of a series of interesting articles in the
_Leisure Hour_, already alluded to. The writer says: "In that most
entertaining miscellany _Notes and Queries_ (No. 215) we find an
interesting account of a very poor Norwich shoemaker named _Mackey_,
whose mind appears to have been a marvellous receptacle of varied
learning. He died in Doughty's Hospital, in Norwich, an asylum for aged
persons there. The writer of the paper found him surrounded by the tools
of his former trade and a variety of astronomical instruments and
apparatus, and he instantly was ready for conversation upon the
mysteries of astronomical and mythological lore, the "Asiatic Researches
of Captain Wilford," and the mythological speculations of Jacob Bryant
and Maurice, quoting Latin and Greek to his auditor. He was called "the
learned shoemaker." His learning was probably greatly undigested and
ungeneralized, but it was none the less another singular instance of the
pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, as is shown by his published
works on mythological astronomy and on "The Age of Mental Emancipation."
To this notice of Mackey the writer in the _Leisure Hour_ adds an
amusing story, which is too good to be omitted, of a brother of the
gentle craft (a cobbler) who, in order to eclipse a rival who lived
opposite to him, put over his door on his stall the well-known motto,
"_Mens conscia recti_" (a mind conscious of rectitude). But his
adversary, determined not to be outdone, showed himself also a cobbler
in classics as well as in shoes, by placing over his door the
astonishingly comprehensive defiance, "Men's and Women's _conscia


Another curious instance of extensive reading and remarkable linguistic
talent, somewhat similar to that of Dr. Partridge and the learned
shoemaker of Norwich, is that of _Anthony Purver_. He was born at Up
Hurstbourne in Hampshire in 1702. His parents were poor, and put their
boy apprentice to the art and mystery of making and mending boots and
shoes. When his "time was out," he betook himself to the leisurely and
healthy employment of keeping sheep, and began to study. His special
line in after-life was decided by his meeting with a tract which pointed
out some errors of translation in the authorized version of the Bible.
This led him to resolve that he would read the Scriptures in the
original Hebrew and Greek. Taking lessons from a Jew, Purver soon
learned to read Hebrew. After this he took up Greek and Latin, until he
could read with ease in either language. "On settling as a schoolmaster
at Andover," we are told,[129] "he undertook the extraordinary labor of
translating the Bible into English, which work he actually accomplished,
and it was printed at the expense of Dr. Fothergill in two vols. folio.
This learned shoemaker, shepherd, and schoolmaster deeply felt the need
of the great work which has been accomplished in our own day by the
united scholarship of England and America. In his own way he completed
the Herculean task single-handed; and if his translation was not of any
general and practical utility, it none the less deserves mention as a
monument of self-acquired learning and honorable industry. Purver died
in 1777, at the age of seventy-five.

     [129] "Maunder's Biographical Treasury." London:


In coming to speak of the _poets_ of the cobbler's stall, the task of
selection is found to be by no means an easy one. It is hard enough to
tell where to begin; it is harder still to know where to leave off.
"This brooding fraternity" of shoemakers, it is said, "has produced more
rhymers than any other of the handicrafts."[130]

        "Crispin's sons
    Have from uncounted time with ale and buns
    Cherish'd the gift of song, which sorrow quells;
    And working single in their low-built cells,
    Oft cheat the tedium of a winter's night
    With anthems."[131]

     [130] _Quarterly Review_, January, 1831, p. 76.

     [131] Charles Lamb, "Album Verses," 1830, p. 57.

In the days of the revival of learning and the reformation of religion
in England, shoemakers had their share in the mental and moral
awakening. Many of them turned poets, and essayed to write ballads and
songs, of which we have a sample in Deloney's "Delightful, Princely, and
Entertaining History of the Gentle Craft."[132] Such a spirited songster
as Richard Rigby, "a brother of the craft," who undertook to show in his
"Song of Praise to the Gentle Craft" how "royal princes, sons of kings,
lords, and great commanders have been shoemakers of old, to the honor of
the ancient trade," also deserves to be mentioned. This song, beginning

    "I sing in praise of shoemakers,
    Whose honor no person can stain,"[133]

is no mean performance; its historic allusions may not be unimpeachable,
but its poetic ring is genuine. Scores of pieces of a similar character
have issued from the cobbler's room, and either perished, like many
another ballad and song of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or
found their way into odd corners of our literature, where they are
buried almost beyond hope of resurrection.

     [132] London, 1675 and 1725.

     [133] See Campion's "Delightful History," p. 51.

Speaking of men who have aspired to be poets and have published their
productions, one is fain to begin with a name which, if it could be
proved to belong to the gentle craft, would certainly have to stand at
the head of the long list of poetical shoemakers--the Elizabethan
dramatist _Thomas Dekker_, who wrote "one of the most light-hearted of
merry comedies," _The Shoomaker's Holyday_. One of the most prominent
characters in the play is Sir Simon Eyre, the reputed builder of
Leadenhall Market, London, and Lord Mayor of the city.[134] Of this
worthy, who lived in the time of Henry VI., Rigby, in his "Song in
Praise of the Gentle Craft," says--

    "Sir Simon, Lord Mayor of fair London,
    He was a shoemaker by trade."

     [134] The author of "Crispin Anecdotes" mentions
     another shoemaker who was made Lord Mayor of London, viz., Sir
     Thomas Tichbourne, who was Mayor in 1656, during the
     Protectorate.--"Crispin Anecdotes," p. 127.

It is hard to think that the writer of _The Shoomaker's Holyday_, in
which the ways of shoemakers and the details of the craft are described
with all the ease and exactitude of familiarity, was not a brother of
the craft.[135] When the famous quarrel arose between the quondam
friends and coworkers, Ben Jonson and Dekker, Jonson in his _Poetaster_
satirized the author of _The Shoomaker's Holyday_ under the name of
_Crispinus_. This epithet may be simply an allusion to the subject of
Dekker's well-known comedy; but may it not also be regarded as a
veritable "cut at a cobbler?"

     [135] One is ready to ask who but a shoemaker could
     have gone so heartily into the rollicking fun of the
     shoemaker's room, or asked such a question as the
     following:--"Have you all your tools; a good rubbing pin, a
     good stopper, a good dresser, your four sorts of awls, and your
     two balls of wax, your paring knife, your hand and thumb
     leathers, and good St. Hugh's bones to smooth your work?" It
     may be remarked here that St. Hugh is another patron saint of
     the craft. Hugh, son of the king of Powis, was in love with
     Winifred, daughter of Donvallo, king of Flintshire. Both were
     martyrs under Diocletian. St. Hugh's bones were stolen by the
     shoemakers, and worked up into tools to avoid discovery. Hence
     the cobbler's phrase, "St. Hugh's bones." See Deloney's
     "Entertaining History."


James Woodhouse stands first on our list in point of time, but not in
regard to ability. He evidently owed his little brief popularity to the
friendship of William Shenstone, author of "The Schoolmistress."
Shenstone lived at Leasowes, seven miles from Birmingham, in a charming
country-house surrounded by gardens, artistically laid out and
cultivated with the utmost care by the eccentric, fantastic poet.
Woodhouse, who was born about 1733, was a village shoemaker and eke a
schoolmaster at Rowley, two miles off. Shenstone had been obliged to
exclude the public from his gardens and grounds at Leasowes on account
of the wanton damage done to flowers and shrubs. Whereupon the village
shoemaker addressed the poet in poetical terms asking to be "excluded
from the prohibition." In reply Shenstone admitted him not only to
wander through his grounds, but to make a free use of his library.
"Shenstone found," says Southey, "that the poor applicant used to work
with a pen and ink at his side while the last was in his lap--the head
at one employ, the hands at another; and when he had composed a couplet
or a stanza, he wrote it on his knee." Woodhouse was then about
twenty-six years of age. His lot must have been rather hard at that
time, for, speaking of his wife's work and his own, he says in one of
his poems--

    "Nor mourn I much my task austere,
      Which endless wants impose;
    But oh! it wounds my soul to hear
      My Daphne's melting woes!

    "For oft she sighs and oft she weeps
      And hangs her pensive head,
    _While blood her farrowed finger steeps_
      _And stains the passing thread._

    "When orient hills the sun behold,
      Our labors are begun;
    And when he streaks the west with gold,
      The task is still undone."

Five years after his introduction to Shenstone, a collection of his
poems was published, entitled "Poems on Several Occasions." About forty
years afterward he issued another edition with additional pieces, such
as "Woodstock, an Elegy," "St. Crispin," etc. In the later years of his
life he was living near Norbury Park, and had found a generous patron in
Mr. Lock, who superintended the publication of his poetry, and in Lord
Lyttleton of Hagley.


The name of Bennet occurs once more in our list, and in this instance,
if classed at all, it should be classed with the poets, although it must
be confessed that the claim of John Bennet to that honorable title
would hardly be allowed in some quarters. This little local celebrity
inherited the office of parish clerk from his father, and with it some
degree of musical taste, for his father's psalm-singing is said to have
charmed the ear of Thomas Warton, Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and
sometime curate of Woodstock. John Bennet, junior, succeeded to the
clerkship in Warton's time, and thus came under the notice of the kindly
clergyman, who was a generous patron of men of this class. When Bennet
took to writing poetry and thought of publishing, Warton gave him every
assistance in his power. A poor uneducated poet could scarcely have
fallen into better hands, for the young curate was geniality itself, if
we may judge from the estimate of him formed by Southey, who speaks of
his "thorough good nature and the boyish hilarity which he retained
through life," and furthermore adds, "The Woodstock shoemaker was
chiefly indebted for the patronage which he received to Thomas Warton's
good-nature, for my predecessor was the best-natured man that ever wore
a great wig."[136] The shoemaker's poetry was "published by
subscription" in 1774, and the long list of notable names speaks well
for the industry and influence of the patron to whose efforts the
splendid array of subscribers must be attributed. Bennet's poetry, which
was not of a very high order of merit, consisted chiefly of simple
rhymes on rustic themes, in which he does not forget to sing the praises
of the _gentleman-like craft_ to which he belongs; nor does he hesitate
frankly to declare that his reason for publishing his rhymes is "to
enable the author to rear an infant offspring, and to drive away all
anxious solicitude from the breast of a most amiable wife." Later in
life he published another volume, having for its chief piece a poem
entitled "Redemption;" and, as a set-off, a kindly preface by Dr. Mavor,
Rector of Woodstock. This honest parish clerk of poetical fame died and
was buried at Woodstock on the 8th of August, 1803.

     [136] See Southey's preface to "Attempts in Verse, by
     John Jones," London, 1830; and article thereon in _Quarterly
     Review_, January, 1831, p. 81.


A far better poet but a far less worthy man than Bennet of Woodstock or
Woodhouse of Rowley was _Richard Savage_, the friend of Pope. From
beginning to end the story of his life, as told by Dr. Johnson in his
"Lives of the Poets," is one of the most romantic and melancholy
biographies in existence. It only concerns us here to say that Richard
Savage, the reputed[137] son of Earl Rivers and the Countess of
Macclesfield, was, on leaving school, apprenticed to a shoemaker, and
remained in this humble position "longer than he was willing to confess;
nor was it, perhaps, any great advantage to him that an unexpected
discovery determined him to quit his occupation." Dr. Johnson thus
speaks of this discovery and its immediate results: "About this time his
nurse, who had always treated him as her own son, died; and it was
natural for him to take care of those effects which, by her death, were,
as he imagined, become his own. He therefore went to her house, opened
her boxes, and examined her papers, among which he found some letters
written to her by the Lady Mason, which informed him of his birth and
the reason for which it was concealed. Dissatisfied with his employment,
but unable to obtain either pity or help from his mother, to whom he
made many tender appeals, he resolved to devote himself to literature.
His first attempt in this line was a short poem called 'The Battle of
the Pamphlets,' written anent the Bangorian Controversy; and his second
a comedy under the title 'Woman's Riddle.' Two years after appeared
another comedy, 'Love in a Veil.' In 1723 he wrote a drama, having for
its subject certain events in the life of Sir Thomas Overbury. Previous
to the publication of a small volume entitled 'A Miscellany of Poems,'
Savage wrote the story of his life in a political paper called _The
Plain Dealer_. His best poem, 'The Wanderer,' in which are some pathetic
passages referring to himself, was published in 1729." For the story of
the life of this unhappy man the reader must be referred to Johnson's
"Lives." Savage died in the debtors' prison, Bristol, August 1st, 1743.

     [137] For an able discussion of the question, "Was
     Richard Savage an Impostor?" to which the writer, Mr. Moy
     Thomas, says, "Yes," see _Notes and Queries_, 2d Series, vol.


It is a relief to turn from the thought of Savage to _Thomas Olivers_,
one of John Wesley's most intimate friends and zealous coworkers. We
have seen already how prominent a part another shoemaker played in the
Methodist revival;[138] but Olivers is perhaps better known to the
general public than Samuel Bradburn, for the latter has left no mark on
our literature, while the former has made a name among hymn-writers as
the author of several excellent hymns, and of one, in particular, which
holds a place of first rank in Christian hymnology. Olivers' fame
outside Methodism rests chiefly on the fine hymn beginning--

    "The God of Abram praise,
      Who reigns enthroned above,
    Ancient of everlasting days,
      And God of love.
    Jehovah great, I Am,
      By earth and heaven confest;
    I bow and bless the sacred name,
      Forever blest."

     [138] See Life of Samuel Bradburn, President of the
     Wesleyan Conference.

One hymn may seem to be a very narrow basis on which to build a
reputation, yet the name of Olivers will as surely be handed down to
future generations, on account of this fine sacred lyric, as it would
have been if he had written a whole volume of hymns of merely average
merit. A dozen instances might be cited in which a single brief poem of
rare excellence has won an undying fame for the writer. Gray's "Elegy
Written in a Country Churchyard," and Michael Bruce's "Elegy Written in
Spring," Wolfe's "Burial of Sir John Moore," and Blanco White's single
sonnet, "Night and Death," and, in an inferior degree, poor Herbert
Knowles' "Lines Written in the Churchyard of Richmond, Yorkshire," are
cases in point.

Thomas Olivers in his autobiography[139] tells us that he was born at
Tregonon in Montgomeryshire in 1725. After the death of his father and
uncle, Thomas was left in charge of another relative named Tudor, who
sent him to school and afterward bound him apprentice to a shoemaker. He
was, by his own account, idle, dissolute, and profane--"the worst boy
seen in those parts for the last twenty or thirty years." His evil
conduct compelled him to fly from the scene of his early dissipation as
soon as he could; and, after living a wild life at Shrewsbury and
Wrexham, he came to Bristol. This city was his spiritual birthplace;
for, under a sermon by George Whitfield, the sinful, reckless young
Welshman was converted, and became as noted for piety and earnest
Christian work as he had once been for blasphemy and opposition to all
religion. Shortly after his conversion he removed to Bradford in Wilts,
where he joined the Methodists. On recovering from a terrible attack of
small-pox he went back to visit the scenes of his early life. In this
expedition he had a double object--to obtain a sum of money left him by
his uncle, and then to go round to all his creditors and pay his debts.
This most Christian conduct won him golden opinions and formed a capital
introduction to the preaching of the Gospel; for Olivers had now begun
to exercise his rare gifts in that direction. Returning to Bradford, he
was soon appointed by John Wesley as a travelling preacher. After
preaching in many parts of England and enduring the usual amount of
hardship and risk to life and limb incident to the field-preacher's work
in those days, he finally settled in London as John Wesley's _editor_,
having charge of the _Arminian Magazine_, and other publications, for
which Wesley was responsible. This office he held for twelve years; but
he was never quite fit for it, and his chief was reluctantly compelled
at last to put a more scholarly man in his place.

     [139] See a book of unusual interest, "Lives of the
     Early Methodist Preachers," ed. by Rev. I. Jackson. Wesleyan
     Book-Room, London, 3 vols. 1865.

In the controversy between Wesley and Toplady on Predestination, etc., a
controversy marked by the worst features of the time, the fiery Welshman
was put forward to take the leading part on the Arminian side. Nothing
could exceed the severity of Toplady's remarks and the fierceness of his
attacks, both on the character and teaching of the veteran preacher,
John Wesley, whom all the world now agrees to honor as one of the most
devout, unselfish, and useful men who have adorned the Christian Church
in any age. Right manfully did the "Welsh Cobbler," as Olivers was
contemptuously styled, stand up for the doctrine of free grace. In his
hands Wesley was quite content to leave the work of reply to Toplady's
_Zanchius_, quietly remarking, "I can only make a few strictures, and
leave the young man Toplady to be further corrected by one that is fully
his match, Thomas Olivers."

Tyerman[140] speaks of Olivers as a man of high intellectual power; but
"laments that the fiery Welshman undertook to meet the furious
Predestinarian with the not too respectable weapons of his own
choosing." What this means may be imagined by the following sample of
Toplady's personalities in this strife of tongues. He says, "Mr. Wesley
skulks for shelter under a cobbler's apron;" and again, "Has Tom the
Cobbler more learning and integrity than John the Priest?" It must be
confessed that Cobbler Tom hit hard in reply. But an end has now come to
the discreditable and useless strife; and, happily, it is in no danger
of revival; while the hymns written by the pious Calvinist[141] and the
zealous Arminian are both alike sung with devout emotion wherever the
Saviour's name is known and adored.

     [140] "Life of Wesley," vol. iii. p. 108. London:
     Hodder & Stoughton, 1870.

     [141] Toplady wrote the fine hymn "Rock of Ages,"

Besides several controversial tracts, Olivers wrote a number of hymns,
and is known as the composer of a number of Psalm-tunes.[142] He
continued his ministry in London till March, 1799, when he died at the
age of seventy-four. He was buried in John Wesley's tomb, in the City
Road Chapel Yard, London, as a token of the esteem in which he was held
by Wesley and his friends.

     [142] "_Helmsley_" has been set down to Olivers; but
     Mr. Benham says it was composed by Martin Madan, Cowper's
     uncle, author of "_Thelyphthora_." See Cowper's "Poems," Globe
     Ed., Intro., p. 34.


     [143] "Memoirs of the late Thomas Holcroft, written by
     Himself, and Continued to the Time of his Death from his
     Diary," by W. Hazlitt. The Traveller's Library, vol. xvii.

Thomas Holcroft was a much more noteworthy man. At the time of the State
Trials he had made a considerable name as a writer of political novels.
In his "Anna St. Ives" and "Hugh Trevor" he had exposed the follies and
vices of society around him, and had set forth his own political views
in a manner well calculated to captivate the fancy of young and ardent
reformers. When the trial of Hardy began, Holcroft surrendered himself
in court, deeming it base and unmanly to refuse to share the fate of
those whose political views he had warmly espoused. Both friends and
foes honored him for his chivalrous conduct in the affair. On the
acquittal of his friends he was discharged without a trial.

The life of Holcroft is as full of romance as any of those depicted in
his novels. He was born in London in 1745. During the first six years
of the boy's life, his father was a shoemaker. Giving up this occupation
in 1751, Holcroft, senior, "took to the road" as a hawker and peddler,
and his poor child led a vagrant, gypsy-like life, and passed through
privations which he could never afterward think of without shame and
sorrow. And yet he managed to turn this worst period of his life to some
account. The first-hand knowledge it afforded him of nature and human
affairs gave freshness and power to the comedies and dramas written in
later years. During these early years his father taught him to read out
of the Bible, and such was his progress, that in a little while the
daily task consisted of eleven chapters. These, he tells us, he could
often have missed by telling a falsehood, which his conscience never
would allow; and, besides this, he had no wish to evade the task, for
the stories of the Old Testament were so full of interest to his boyish
mind, that he was eager to go on to the end. While his father and mother
were engaged as hawkers, young Holcroft was sent out to beg. In this
miserable employment he became quite an expert; and, like many another
unfortunate beggar, he was led to draw on his imagination for tales to
answer his purpose. On returning home he would recount his adventures,
and repeat the marvellous stories he had invented, until his father, who
at first admired the lad's gift as a romancer, came to be ashamed of
allowing him to lead such an idle and mischievous life, and put a stop
to his escapades.

After this he was employed as a stable-boy and jockey at Newmarket. The
change in his circumstances thus brought about was a very happy one, for
he had now good fare, a comfortable bed to sleep on, decent or rather
_smart_ clothes, of which he was not a little proud; and, added to all
this, a certain position in respectable society! His father had a friend
at Newmarket who had a taste for reading, and followed the "profession"
of feeder and trainer of gamecocks for the pit. This man was struck with
Thomas Holcroft's natural ability, and lent him books to read, such as
the "Spectator" and "Gulliver's Travels." While at Newmarket he was one
day passing a church, and stopped to listen to the music of the choir,
then engaged in practice. He ventured to enter the church, and feeling a
strong desire to learn to sing, spoke to the leader. Mr. Langham, who,
finding the stable-boy had a good voice, admitted him into the choir. He
threw himself so heartily into this new and fascinating study, that it
was not long before he could read music and sing in good style.

At the age of sixteen, he again went to live with his father, who had
once more returned to the shoemaker's stall, and lived in London. Here
he learned enough of the trade to earn a livelihood, but he involved
himself in premature cares by an imprudent marriage when only twenty
years of age.

And now the passion for a roving life got the better of him, and
quitting the monotony of a cobbler's room, he betook himself to the
stage. For seven years he led the life of a strolling player, "and
sounded all the depths and shoals" of misery incident to such a
precarious existence.

It was not till after his thirtieth year that he began to acquire
settled habits of study, to learn the languages--French, German, and
Italian--in which he afterward became a ready translator, and to set
about any kind of literary work. The first products of his pen appeared
in the _Whitehall Evening Post_. He was in his thirty-fifth year when
his first novel, "Alwyn, or the Gentleman Comedian," appeared. The year
after this saw the issue of his earliest comedy, _Duplicity_, which was
put on the stage at Covent Garden Theatre, and had a good run of
success. This was followed by some thirty dramatic pieces of one kind or
other, in poetry or prose, comedies and comic operas, dramas and
melodramas, which last he had the credit of introducing into England.
The _Road to Ruin_ is accounted, by some judges of note, the best of his
dramas. Holcroft was a man of versatile powers and great industry. His
natural gifts were remarkable, and his extensive knowledge was almost
entirely self-acquired. As already indicated, he was a very prolific
author. Besides the three novels and the plays referred to above, he
issued translations from the _French_ of Toucher d'Obsonville and Pierre
de Long; from the _German_, Goethe's "Herman and Dorothea;" and from the
Italian. He spent much of his time in Germany and France, and his
interesting work, "Travels into France," is one of his most valued
productions. Thomas Holcroft died 23d March, 1809, at the age of
sixty-four, having crowded as much work into his eventful life as most
of the leading men of his time.


At the beginning of this century there were two young shoemakers in
London who were spending their leisure time in hard reading and attempts
at musical composition. One of them, Robert Bloomfield, a sketch of
whom has already been given,[144] is known as widely as the English
language itself. The other, _Joseph Blacket_, made but little stir in
the world, and is now well-nigh forgotten. He took to writing poetry at
a much earlier age than Bloomfield, who wrote nothing before his
sixteenth year, while Blacket, if we may trust the notes in his
"Specimens" and "Remains," began, very characteristically, with "The
Sigh," written at _ten_ years of age. His unhappy life was brought to a
close when he was but twenty-four years old. At this age Bloomfield had
written very little poetry, and "The Farmer's Boy" was not begun. But if
his genius ripened slowly, it produced fruits far more valuable than
those presented to the world by the precocity of poor Blacket. There is
nothing of Blacket's to compare with "The Farmer's Boy," or "Richard and
Kate," or "The Fakenham Ghost." It is interesting to know that the two
poetical sons of Crispin were acquainted, and cherished a high regard
for each other. They seem to have met at the house of Mr. Pratt,
Blacket's patron and editor, and afterward to have exchanged copies of
each other's works, accompanied by friendly letters. What Bloomfield
thought of his young friend may be gathered from the following portion
of a letter: "The instant I received your volume I resolved to shake
hands with you, by letter at least, and to thank you for a pleasure of
no common sort. The 'Conflagration' is so truly full of fire that it
almost burns one's fingers to read it. 'Saragossa' is a noble poem.
Choose your own themes, and let the master-tints of your mind have full

     [144] It may be thought by some readers that
     Bloomfield's brothers, George and Nathaniel, ought to have a
     place in our list of illustrious shoemakers. _George_, in his
     correspondence with Mr. Capel Lofft, Robert's patron, showed
     himself a man of good sense and a fair writer. See preface to
     Bloomfield's Poems. But _Nathaniel_, the author of a little
     volume of poems, edited by Capel Lofft, 1803, entitled, "An
     Essay on War," in blank verse, and "Honington Green, a Ballad,"
     was _not_ a shoemaker. He was a _tailor_, though not a few
     writers have made Byron's mistake of classing him with "ye
     tuneful cobblers."

[Illustration: JOSEPH BLACKET]

In a letter to his friend Mr. Pratt, Blacket says that he was born in
1786 at Tunstill, five miles from Richmond, in Yorkshire. His father was
a day-laborer, who had eight children to provide for at the time Joseph
was old enough for school.[145] It was therefore fortunate for him that
the village schoolmistress took a fancy for him, and taught him for
nothing. He stayed with her until he was seven, and then went to a
school taught by a master. At the age of eleven he was removed to
London, his brother John having engaged to provide a home for him and
teach him his trade during the next seven years. In this respect his
position was very similar to that of Bloomfield, whose brother George
became the guardian of the shy Suffolk lad when he first went up to
London.[146] John Blacket was so anxious that his ward should not forget
his little learning that he often kept the lad at home to write on
Sunday. There were such books in John's library as "Josephus,"
"Eusebius' Church History," "Fox's Martyrs," all of which were read
through by the time Joseph was fifteen years of age. "At that time," he
says, "the drama was totally unknown to me; a play I had neither seen
nor read." One evening a companion called on him and begged him to go
and see Kemble play _Richard the Third_ at Drury Lane. His brother John
refused consent at first, but yielded at last to the clever strategy of
an appeal made in a few impromptu verses, which so greatly pleased and
surprised the fond brother, that he at once "gave him leave to go,
together with a couple of shillings to defray his expenses." From this
time forth he devoted himself to the study of the poets Milton, Pope,
Young, Otway, Rowe, Beattie, Thompson, but especially, and for a time
almost exclusively, to Shakespeare. As a young poet it is said of him
that "His anxiety to produce something that should be thought worthy of
the public in the form of a drama appears to have surpassed all his
other cares.... Something of the dramatic kind pervades the whole mass
of his papers. I have traced it on bills, receipts, backs of letters,
shoe patterns, slips of paper hangings, grocery wrappers, magazine
covers, battalion orders for the volunteer corps of St. Pancras, in
which he served, and on various other scraps on which his ink could
scarcely be made to retain the impression of his thoughts; yet most of
them crowded on both sides and much interlined."[147]

     [145] Blacket's "Remains," preface, vol. i. pp. 62,
     63. London, 1811.

     [146] Blacket's "Remains," preface, vol. i. pp. 2-7.

     [147] Editor of Blacket's "Remains," Letters, pp. 9,

Like most ardent young students in poor circumstances, Blacket was
reckless of his health. His hard work by day and loss of nightly sleep
sowed the seeds of the disease to which he eventually fell a victim. He
married very young, and had the misfortune to lose his wife when he was
only twenty-one years of age. A sister who came to nurse her was taken
ill of brain fever, and nearly lost her life. "Judge of my situation,"
he says to his friend Mr. Pratt, "a dear wife stretched on the bed of
death; a sister senseless, whose dissolution I expected every hour; an
infant piteously looking round for its mother; creditors clamorous,
friends cold or absent. I found, like the melancholy Jaques, that 'when
the deer was stricken the herd would shun him.'" In this wretched
position he was obliged to sell everything to pay his debts. No wonder
that he became a "son of sorrow," and that most of the poetry written
after this date bears the marks of gloom and distraction of mind. Yet it
must be confessed that when the young poet sought to enter on his
literary career by the publication of his poems, he had no cause to
complain of want of friends. Mr. Marchant, a printer, took kindly to
him, and published his first copies of "Specimens" free of expense. It
was he who introduced the young aspirant for poetical fame to Mr. Pratt,
the editor of the "Remains," who seems, from the letters published, to
have been a man of considerable means, but not of the best judgment in
literary affairs. This friend had the most exalted notions of the
"genius" of his _protégé_, showed him the utmost kindness till the day
of his death, and took charge of the funds raised by the publication of
his "Remains," investing them in behalf of the poet's orphan child. In
August, 1809, Blacket removed to Seaham, Durham, to the house of a
brother-in-law, gamekeeper to Sir Ralph Milbanke of Castle Eden. The
baronet and his family were very kind to him; a horse was lent him;
dainty food was sent down for him from the castle; doctors were procured
who attended him gratis; Lady Milbanke and Miss Milbanke, afterward Lady
Byron, visited him constantly, and interested others in his behalf;
among them the Duchess of Leeds, who procured a large number of
subscribers to his volume of "Specimens."[148] No effort was spared by
either doctors or friends to save his life and to ensure his reputation
as a poet; but to no purpose, as it seemed, in either case. He died of
consumption on the 23d of September, 1810, at the house of his
brother-in-law, and was buried in Seaham churchyard by his friend Mr.
Wallis, rector of the parish, who had been a Christian counsellor and
comforter to the young poet during his long illness. At his own request,
Miss Milbanke selected the spot for his grave, and caused a suitable
monument to be placed over it, on which were inscribed the lines, taken
from his own poem, "Reflections at Midnight"--

    "Shut from the light, 'mid awful gloom,
    Let clay-cold honor rest in state;
    And, from the decorated tomb,
    Receive the tributes of the great.

    "Let me, when bade with life to part
    And in my narrow mansion sleep,
    Receive a tribute from the heart,
    Nor bribe one sordid eye to weep."

     [148] That these generous friends labored to some
     purpose may be judged from the fact that after Blacket's little
     legacies and funeral expenses were paid, £97 10s remained over
     for the benefit of his child. "Remains," p. 101.


David Service of Yarmouth represents a pretty numerous class of
songsters of the cobbler's stall, worthy men in their way, but writers
of inferior merit, of whom much cannot be said. Such writers were _John
Foster_ of Winteringham, Lincolnshire, who owed the publication of his
"Serious Poems," in 1793, to the kindness of the vicar of the parish;
_J. Johnstone_, a Scotchman, who published a small volume of poems in
1823; the Rev. _James Nichol_ of Traquair, Selkirkshire, who in his
shoemaking days "published two or three volumes of poetry."[149] _Gavin
Wilson_, of Edinburgh, who, in 1788, published "A Collection of Masonic
Songs," of whom Campbell says: "I knew Gavin Wilson; he was an honest,
merry fellow, and a good boot, leather-leg, arm, and hand maker, but as
sorry a poetaster as ever tried a couplet."[150] _James Devlin_, a man
of versatile gifts and most irregular habits, who by turns wrote poetry,
corresponded for the _Daily News_, and contributed to the _Spectator_,
_Builder_, and _Notes and Queries_, and died about twenty years ago in
poverty and obscurity.[151] These men, as regards their literary merit
and fame, excepting perhaps the last, are well represented by the
herdboy from the banks of the Clyde, who, after serving his time as a
_sutor_ at Greenock, journeyed south in search of work, and settled at
Yarmouth, Norfolk, and there, at the age of twenty-seven, published a
"Rural Poem," called "The Caledonian Herdboy," in 1802. Two years after
he was encouraged by his friends to issue "The Wild Harp's Murmurs" and
"St. Crispin, or the Apprentice Boy," the former being dedicated to that
friend of unknown young poets, Capel Lofft, the friend of the
Bloomfields and Kirke White. His last adventure in this line bore the
romantic title "A Voyage and Travels in the Region of the Brain." This
verse occurs in one of his publications--

    "'Apollo, why,' a matron cried,
        'Are poets all so poor?'
    'They write for fame,' Apollo cried,
        'And seldom ask for more.'"

But this _poet_, it is to be feared, obtained neither wealth nor fame.

He became an inmate of the Yarmouth Workhouse, and died there on the
13th of March, 1825. And his "memorial," like that of many another local
celebrity, has well-nigh perished with him.

     [149] "Crispin Anecdotes," pp. 87, 88.

     [150] Ibid.

     [151] "Campion's Delightful History," p. 81.


John Struthers, a Scottish poet, the friend of Sir Walter Scott and
Joanna Baillie, followed the trade of a shoemaker for many years after
he had begun to gain a literary reputation. He was born at Kilbride in
Lanarkshire in 1776, and learned his trade in his own home, for his
father was a member of the same craft. Struthers is best known in
Scotland as the author of "The Poor Man's Sabbath," a simple,
unpretentious poem, which appeared in 1804, and rapidly passed through
several editions.[152] His success in this first venture led to the
publication of "The Peasant's Death," in 1806; "The Winter's Day," in
1811; "The Plough," in 1816; "The Dechmont," in 1836. He was the editor
of a Scottish anthology, called "The Harp of Caledonia," in three
volumes, to which his friends Sir Walter Scott and Joanna Baillie "sent
voluntary contributions." He wrote a history of Scotland from the Union,
1707 to 1827, by which his reputation was greatly enhanced.

     [152] Of "The Sabbath," a writer in the _Quarterly
     Review_, January, 1831 (p. 77), says it is "a poem of which
     unaffected piety is not the only inspiration, and which but for
     its unfortunate coincidence of subject with the nearly
     contemporary one of the late amiable James Grahame, would
     probably have attracted a considerable share of favor, even in
     these hypercritical days."

A considerable number of the biographies in Chambers's "Lives of
Illustrious Scotchmen" are from his pen. For several years he held the
position of press-corrector for Khull, Blackie & Co., of Glasgow. In
1832 he was made librarian in Stirling's Library, which office he held
until within a few years of his death in 1853. His poetical works were
collected and published by himself in 1850. He is spoken of as an
excellent specimen of a shrewd, intelligent, strong-minded

     [153] "Imperial Dictionary of Biography." Glasgow:
     Blackie & Co.


The name of John O'Neill is intimately associated with that of George
Cruickshank in the work of temperance reform; for not only did
Cruickshank prove himself a friend to the poor shoemaker and poet by
illustrating his little poem entitled "The Blessings of Temperance," but
it is with good reason declared that these illustrations and the scenes
depicted in the poem itself suggested to the artist the leading ideas
worked out in his series of plates entitled "The Bottle." Some of these
sketches, as, for example, "The Upas Tree" and "The Raving Maniac and
the Drivelling Fool," derive their titles from O'Neill's language in the
poem itself. So closely, indeed, do the graphic sketches of the artist
and the poet correspond, that O'Neill in the later editions of his
little work surnamed it "A Companion to Cruickshank's 'Bottle.'"[154] On
its first appearance the poem was entitled "The Drunkard," and received
favorable notice in the pages of the _Athenæum_ and the _Spectator_,
besides other journals and papers of less literary merit. "The Drunkard"
was not his first work, but it was his best, and the one by which his
name became known and honored among teetotallers. As early as 1821 he
had published a drama entitled "Alva." "The Sorrows of Memory" and a
number of Irish melodies belonging to different periods in his life were
issued a little later. His friend the Rev. Isaac Doxsey, in a sketch
prefixed to "The Blessings of Temperance," speaks of O'Neill as the
author of seven dramatic pieces, a collection of poems, and a novel
called "Mary of Avonmore, or the Foundling of the Beach," and of
numerous contributions to various periodicals.

     [154] "The Blessings of Temperance, Illustrated in the
     Life and Reformation of the Drunkard: a Poem by John O'Neill,
     etc., forming a Companion to Cruickshank's 'Bottle,' with
     etchings from his pencil." London: W. Tweedie. 1851. Fourth

John O'Neill was an Irishman, born at Waterford on the 8th of January,
1777. His mother was in wretched circumstances at the time of his birth,
having been deserted by a worthless husband, who left her and her little
family to the care of fortune. As a boy he was very slow to learn, and
gave no indication of the gifts he afterward displayed. He and his
brother, much his senior, were apprenticed to a relative who acted as a
sort of guardian to the boys. O'Neill's mind was first awakened to a
love for poetry by a drama in rhyme entitled "The Battle of Aughrim," by
a shoemaker named Ansell, which he committed to memory. On leaving the
service of his first master he became an apprentice to his brother, but
soon quarrelled and the indentures were thrown into the fire. During the
Rebellion of 1798 and 1799, when food was at famine prices, he lived in
great poverty at Dublin and Carrick-on-Suir; and in the latter place,
notwithstanding the miserable state of his affairs, he found some one
with love and courage sufficient to enable her to become his wife. It
was at this time also that he began to read in earnest, chiefly poetry,
though nothing came amiss, and, as a matter of course, every book was
borrowed. The first-fruits of his poetic genius, if the term be
permissible, were presented to the world in a little satirical poem
written at Carrick, "The Clothier's Looking-Glass." This was designed to
expose what was regarded as the cruelty and heartlessness of the
master-clothiers in uniting to reduce the wages of the men. O'Neill was
induced to contribute to this trade dispute by a man named Stacey, a
printer, under whose guidance the shoemaker acquired some knowledge of
the art of printing, and set up a press. The press was a capital adjunct
to the pen, which the active young shoemaker and amateur printer was now
using pretty freely.

At this time he became a strong political partisan, and used both his
pen and press in an election contest in favor of General Matthew,
brother of the Earl of Llandaff. It was the Earl's promise of patronage
that induced O'Neill to leave Ireland and settle in London, some time in
1812 or 1813. This promise was never redeemed, for the Earl about this
time became a resident in Naples. Disheartened by his disappointment,
the poor shoemaker dropped for a time all reading and literary toil and
aspiration, and stuck doggedly and sullenly to his last.

For seven years he seems to have neither read nor written anything. At
length a long period of "enforced leisure," occasioned by an accident
which made work with the awl impossible, compelled him to betake
himself to reading, and thus his mind was roused from its torpor. An
English translation of a volume of Spanish novels fell in his way, and
its perusal suggested the subject for the drama _Alva_, which, as we
have said, he published in 1821. His other works are named above. None
of these seem to have brought him much profit, neither were his attempts
at "business for himself," once as a master-shoemaker and again as a
huckster, at all successful. On several occasions he was assisted by
grants from the Literary Fund, and was thankful for the kindly aid
afforded him by his friends the teetotalers.

In spite of all his hard work as a shoemaker, and his many little
literary adventures (perhaps because of _them_), he was in his old age a
very poor man. Mr. Doxsey says in 1851, "John O'Neill and his aged
partner dwell in a miserable garret in St. Giles's." In his poor earthly
estate he had one comfort, at all events--he did not "suffer as an
evil-doer," and he could feel pretty sure that he had done not a little
by his graphic pen and rude eloquence to turn many a sinner from a life
of misery and shame. His death occurred on the 3d of February, 1858.


In 1860 a charming little book on "River Angling for Salmon and
Trout"[155] was added to our extensive angling literature by a devout
follower of Isaac Walton. The preface showed that it was the work of a
Lowland Scotchman, who was accustomed to divide his time between the two
"gentle" occupations of shoemaking and fishing, and that this man, _John
Younger_, had an enthusiasm for other things besides making
fishing-boots and fishing-rods and lines, and the sport of the
river-side. He was a zealous and, we had almost said, a desperate
politician. He made corn-law rhymes, which came into the hands and drew
forth praise from the pen of Ebenezer Elliott, who sent the best copy of
his works as a present to the poetical shoemaker. In 1834 Younger tried
the public with a volume of verse under the quaint title, "Thoughts as
they Rise."[156] But the public, like the shy fish of some of his own
Scottish rivers, would not "rise" to his bait, for the work fell
uncommonly flat. He was much more successful with his "River Angling,"
which appeared first in 1840, and again, with a sketch of his life, in
1860. In 1847 John Younger won the second prize for an essay on "The
Temporal Advantages of the Sabbath to the Working-Classes," and it was a
proud day for him and his neighbors at St. Boswell's when he set off to
go up to London to receive his reward of £15 at the hands of Lord
Shaftesbury in the big meeting at Exeter Hall. Younger, who was all his
life a brother of the craft, was born at Longnewton, in the parish of
Ancrum, 5th July, 1785. He died and was buried at St. Boswell's in June,
1860. As we are writing we observe that his autobiography[157] has just
been published, concerning which a writer in the _Athenæum_
remarks,[158] "John Younger, shoemaker, fly-fisher, and poet, has left a
Life which is certainly worth reading;" and adds, "There is something
more in him than a vein of talent sufficient to earn a local celebrity."
With this opinion agree the remarks of the _Scotsman_ and the
_Sunderland Times_, which said of him at the time of his death, "One of
the most remarkable men of the population of the South of Scotland,
whether as a genial writer of prose or verse or a man of high
conversational powers and clear common-sense, the shoemaker of St.
Boswell's had few or no rivals in the South;" and "Nature made him a
poet, a philosopher, and a nobleman; society made him a cobbler of
shoes." He was certainly a most original character, and his originality
and genius appear in every chapter of his Autobiography.

     [155] Kelso: Rutherford. Edinburgh: Blackwood & Sons.

     [156] Glasgow, 1834.

     [157] "Autobiography of John Younger, Shoemaker, of
     St. Boswell's." Kelso: J. & J. H. Rutherford, 1881.

     [158] 6th May, 1882, p. 564.


Charles Crocker, who was born in Chichester, 22d June, 1797, was the son
of poor parents, who could not afford to send him to school after he was
seven years of age, but they were assisted by friends who procured him
admission to the Chichester "Greycoat School." He was sent before the
age of twelve to work as a shoemaker's apprentice. "This arrangement,"
he says in the brief sketch of his life which is given in the preface
to his poems,[159] "was perhaps rather favorable than otherwise to the
improvement of my mind, for the sedentary labor necessary in this kind
of employment, while it keeps the hands fully engaged, gives little or
no exercise to the mental faculties, consequently the mind of a person
so employed may, without any hindrance to his work, find occupation or
amusement in intellectual or imaginative pursuits." His youthful days
were spent in hard work and study. Spite of his schooling, grammar
presented a great difficulty when he began to apply himself seriously to
literary work. He even went so far as to commit an entire book to memory
in his efforts to master the art. He mentions a lecture on Milton by
Thelwall as having given him much help in trying to understand the
structure of English verse. Besides Milton, Cowper, Collins, and
Goldsmith became favorites, and he committed large portions of their
writings to memory, and so learned to frame a style. The first volume of
his poems was published in 1830, and the third in 1841. He also wrote "A
Visit to Chichester Cathedral," which passed through several editions.
Crocker died in 1861.[160]

     [159] "The Vale of Obscurity, and Other Poems," by
     Charles Crocker, 3d edition. Chichester: W. H. Mason, 1841.

     [160] It is perhaps best, on the whole, not to speak
     of living men in such a work as this. An exception has,
     however, been made to such a rule in the rare instances of the
     famous politician, poet, and preacher Thomas Cooper, and the
     American poet Whittier. If the writer did not feel the
     necessity of adhering, in the main, to this rule, it would be
     easy enough for him to cite many instances in proof of the
     statement that the literary reputation of shoemakers is being
     well sustained in the present day by writers in prose and
     poetry, who either have been or still are working at the stall.
     Most Scottish _sutors_, one would think, have heard of the
     author of "Homely Words and Songs" and "Lays and Lectures for
     Scotia's Daughters of Industry" (Edinburgh, 1853 and 1856).
     London craftsmen know and honor the names of J. B. Rowe, a
     political writer and poet, and John B. Leno, the editor of "St.
     Crispin," and author of the "Drury Lane Lyrics," "Tracts for
     Rich and Poor," and "King Labor's Song-Book" (London, 1867-68;
     see also "Kimburton, and Other Poems," London, 1875-76); and
     the shoemaker of Wellinborough, John Askham, by his "Sonnets of
     the Months," "Descriptive Poems," and "Judith" (Northampton:
     Taylor & Son, 1863, 1866, 1868, and 1875), has made a
     reputation which is not entirely confined to his own locality,
     nor to the members of the craft to which he belongs.



The name of George Fox belongs to the list of practical philanthropists;
for Fox may be said to have given himself body and soul to the good of
his fellow-men, and to have lived the life of a martyr to the cause to
which he felt called to consecrate himself. He was born in 1624, the
year in which Jacob Boehmen died. We are the more inclined to notice
this coincidence because the character and work of George Fox suggest a
comparison between the two men. Both men were pietists and mystics; but
in this alone are they alike. When we look at their life-work, we are at
once reminded of their nationality. The German is speculative, the
Englishman is practical; the one turns his dreams and visions into
books, and the other into acts.[161]

     [161] All the writings of George Fox were published
     after his death. See below.

George Fox's early life was spent near his native place, Drayton, in
Leicestershire, with a man who combined the occupations of shoemaker and
dealer in wool and cattle. After eight years' service with this master,
the young shoemaker, then at the age of nineteen, clad in a leathern
doublet of his own making, went forth into the world as a preacher and
reformer. He was led to adopt this life by what he regarded as a voice
from heaven. He had been to a fair, and was grieved by the intemperance
of two of his youthful friends whom he saw there. In his "Journal" he
speaks of the effect this sight produced upon his mind, and the resolve
to which it led him. "I went away," he says, "and when I had done my
business, returned home; but I did not go to bed that night, nor could I
sleep, but sometimes walked up and down, and sometimes prayed and cried
to the Lord, who said unto me, 'Thou seest how many young people go
together into vanity, and old people into the earth; thou must forsake
all, young and old, keep out of all, and be a stranger to all.'" After
living the life of a wandering preacher for a few years, he was induced
to return home for a short time, but the voice from heaven forbade his
resisting, and summoned him again into the Lord's vineyard. In 1648,
when only twenty-four years of age, he began to preach in Manchester,
and to gather round him a number of adherents. From Manchester he went
on a tour through the northern counties of England. Two years after this
his followers began to be known by the name of Quakers. This term was
first used by Justice Bennet of Derby, before whom Fox was cited for
disturbing the peace. In 1655 he was summoned to appear before Cromwell,
who dismissed the Leicestershire shoemaker as a harmless enthusiast,
whose attempts at moral and religious reform could not do anything but
good among the people. In fact, Cromwell, a sturdy Puritan and a
religious enthusiast himself, was deeply moved by the spiritual fervor
of the simple-hearted preacher; for Fox, who never feared the face of
any man, did not fail to speak his mind to Cromwell on religious
matters. As the preacher left the room, the Protector said to him, "Come
again to my house, for if thou and I were but an hour of a day together,
we should be nearer one to the other."

In the reign of Charles II., when the anti-puritan reaction set in, Fox
fared far worse than before. Time after time he was thrown into prison
for speaking in the "steeple-houses" (churches) and disturbing public
worship. It was not at all an uncommon thing for the rough preacher,
clad in his leathern doublet, to stand up in church while service was
going on, and rebuke the lukewarmness of the minister and the formalism
of the worshippers. This he conceived to be part of the mission to which
the spirit-voice had called him. Nor did he expect to be allowed to
discharge it without bringing down the hand of the civil authorities
upon his own head. But he had counted the cost, and was prepared to
suffer. A large part of his time was spent in jail, where he underwent
terrible hardships from want of food and clothing. Nothing, however,
could daunt his ardor, or make him "disobedient unto the heavenly
vision." He was no sooner at large than he began again to deliver his
message, calling on men to listen to the voice of Christ within, and to
reform their lives. Surely nothing could have been more pure, more
simple, and more unselfish than the life of this devout and eccentric
preacher of the gospel of love, peace, and truth; yet he was hounded
from jail to jail by the bigots of his day as if he had been a common
vagrant or thief. The sufferings he endured at the hands of furious mobs
are often recorded in his journal. These he bore with the utmost
meekness, as a firm believer in the doctrine of non-resistance to evil.
Once when he had been half killed, and the mob stood round him as he lay
upon the floor, he says, "I lay still a little while, and the power of
the Lord sprang through me, and eternal refreshings revived me, so that
I stood up again in the strengthening power of the eternal God, and
stretching out my arms among them, I said, 'Strike again! here are my
arms, my head, my cheeks!' Then they began to fall out among
themselves." The distinctive principles of the Society of Friends, of
which George Fox was the founder, are too well known to need description
here. In 1669 Fox married the widow of Judge Fell. After visiting
Ireland, America, Holland, Denmark, and Prussia, this apostle of the
seventeenth century returned to England, and died in London, January
13th, 1691, at the age of sixty-seven.

Spite of all his so-called _vagaries_, his want of education and culture
and grasp of intellect, the Leicestershire shoemaker, by dint of moral
earnestness and undaunted courage, succeeded in laying the foundation of
a religious society, which in proportion to its numbers has exerted a
greater moral influence than any other denomination of Christians. His
"Journal," which is one of the most singular records of mental
experience and missionary adventure ever written, was first published in
1694. His "Epistles" were printed in 1698, and his "Doctrinal Pieces" in


The term "calling," as applied to the trade or occupation a man follows,
is, or rather was, originally supposed to indicate a belief that he is
called and appointed of God to follow it. This belief underlies the
teaching of the Church Catechism.[162] How far it prevails nowadays it
would be hard to tell. The term seems to have survived the belief which
gave rise to it; for one does not often meet with instances outside the
Christian ministry in which men regard their daily avocation as a
veritable "calling." This, however, was the case with _Thomas
Shillitoe_, who was evidently as well satisfied of his "call" to be a
shoemaker as of his Divine commission to stand before kings and rulers
as a witness for the truth of God. This devout man would have had no
hesitation, we apprehend, in the simplicity and strength of his
conviction about the matter, to speak of himself as "called to be" a
shoemaker. He was a member of the Society of Friends, a follower, and
indeed a very close follower, in the spirit and method of his life-work,
of the apostolic George Fox. Shillitoe's "Journal" will often remind the
reader of the records and experiences of the shoemaker of

     [162] See answer to the question, "What is thy duty
     toward thy neighbor?"

Thomas Shillitoe was born in Holborn, London, in 1754. His father, who
had been librarian to the Society of Gray's Inn, became the landlord of
the "Three Tuns" public house, Islington, when Thomas was about twelve
years of age. "Merry Islington" was then a village, and a favorite
resort of idlers from the great city. Sundays were the busiest days of
the week, and were chiefly spent by the boy in waiting on his father's
customers. At the age of sixteen he became an apprentice to a grocer,
whose failure very soon compelled Thomas to return home. About this time
he began to attend the meetings of the Society of Friends. This led to
serious thought and prayer, and the resolve to lead a Christian life and
unite himself with these earnest Christian people. "His father, finding
he was thus minded, was greatly displeased, and told him he would rather
have followed him to the grave than he should have gone among the
Quakers, and he was determined he should at once quit his house." But
the youth was prepared for such a severe trial as this by that strong
faith in Divine Providence which formed the most marked feature of his
character throughout the rest of his life. Nor was his faith unrewarded,
for, on the very day on which he bade good-by to his father's roof, a
situation was offered him in a banking-house in Lombard Street. Here he
remained until he was twenty-four years of age.

He was at this time very anxious to become a preacher, but dreaded the
danger of "running before he was sent," and therefore he waited for the
Divine voice bidding him "Go forth." But before he could be made fit for
this great work he must learn to humble himself and take up the cross.
The banking-house and its surroundings must be forsaken; he must go
forth like Moses into the land of Midian, like Paul into Arabia, and be
prepared by simpler ways of life for the stern duties of the ministry of
God's word. And so it came to pass, he tells us, that one Sunday while
in earnest prayer that the Lord would be pleased to direct him, "He in
mercy, I believe, heard my cries, and answered my supplications,
pointing out to me the business I was to be willing to take to for a
future livelihood as intelligibly to my inward ear as ever words were
expressed clearly and intelligibly to my outward ear--that I must be
willing to humble myself and learn the trade of a shoemaker. This caused
me much distress of mind, as my salary had been small, and having been
obliged to make a respectable appearance, I had but little means to pay
for instruction in a new line of business. Yet believing I was to keep
close to my good Guide and He would not fail me, I entered on the work,
though for the first twelve months my earnings only provided me at best
with bread, cheese, and water, and sometimes only bread, and sitting
constantly on the seat made it hard for me, yet both I and my instructor
soon became reconciled to it." His diligence and thrift enabled him in a
short time to open a shop of his own in Tottenham, and to employ
workmen. It was not long after this that he received his first call to
go forth from his home and preach. It was no easy matter to obey such a
call at this time. His young wife knew nothing of business, and the
foreman was not very trustworthy. Still the good man went out on a sort
of missionary tour in Norfolk, and returned home to find, as he avers he
always did find on returning from such a mission, that the words of
Divine promise spoken to his inward ear were verified: "I will be more
than bolts and bars to thy outward habitation, more than a master to thy
servants, for I can restrain their wandering minds; more than a husband
to thy wife, and a parent to thy infant children."

After continuing at the craft as a master-shoemaker for about
twenty-seven years, Shillitoe in 1805 found that he had saved enough to
put him in a position to relinquish business, and to devote himself more
fully to the Christian and philanthropic work to which he believed he
had been called of God. He paid several visits to Ireland, visiting the
"drinking-houses" in every town to which he went, and endeavoring to
reform the shocking abuses he met with in such places. First of all he
would speak with the "keepers" of these houses, and plead with them to
abolish the evils he saw around him; and then, turning his attention to
the company of drinkers, revellers, and dancers, he would speak to them
in such tender loving tones, that they were constrained to cease their
rioting and listen to the faithful servant of Christ. He and his
companion were rarely molested while engaged on these errands of mercy.
In some instances crowds followed them to listen to their message, and
where the company began by jeering and insulting the visitors, they soon
settled down into a quiet and respectful demeanor. When at Clonmel in
1810, Shillitoe writes in his journal: "My companion used often to say
it seemed as if the Good Master went into the houses before us to
prepare the way." Not content with visiting the "drinking-houses," we
read, "it was his practice to visit either the magistrates or the
bishops and priests, and sometimes he did not feel clear until he had
spoken faithfully to all."[163] To the bishops, Roman Catholic or
Protestant, he spoke in the most uncompromising manner about their
responsibility for the influence of their teaching and conduct upon the
people. Six hundred visits of mercy were paid to the drinking-houses of
Dublin alone in the year 1811. The year after this his "Journal" records
a remarkable visit which he and a fellow-worker paid to "an organized
company of desperate characters, who for nearly fifty years had infested
the neighborhood of Kingswood, who lived by plundering, robbing,
horse-stealing," and were a terror to the locality. Even these men
listened patiently to correction and instruction from the lips of Thomas
Shillitoe, and thanked him and his friend for their good counsel.

     [163] "Select Miscellanies." London: Charles Gilpin.
     1854, vol. iv. p. 135.

From the lowest and humblest members of society he sometimes turned his
attention to the highest and most influential. He could not think of
kings and emperors without remembering their grave responsibility before
God for the good government of their people, and feeling that it was his
duty to speak to them upon the subject. In 1794 he and a friend named
Stacey went to Windsor intent on seeing and speaking with King George
III. It was early morning, when the King was in the habit of visiting
his stables. Shillitoe was about to follow the King into one of the
stables, when he was stopped by an attendant. George III., hearing their
remarks, came out; when Stacey said, "This friend of mine has something
to communicate to the King." On which his Majesty raised his hat, and
his attendants ranging on his left and right, Thomas Shillitoe advanced
in front, saying, "Hear, O King," and, in a discourse of about twenty
minutes' duration, pressed upon the monarch the importance of true
religion in persons of exalted station, and the influence and
responsibility attached to power. The King listened with respect and
emotion, "tears trickling down his cheeks."[164] It was certainly a more
difficult thing to pay such a visit to the Prince Regent; but even this
the prophet-like Quaker accomplished at Brighton in 1813, and again at
Windsor in 1823, when the gay Prince had become King George IV. The
missionary zeal of Shillitoe carried him into Europe and America, where
he never flinched from delivering his message to men in any position,
high or low.

     [164] "Journal of Thomas Shillitoe," vol. i. p. 21.

In Denmark he obtained an audience of the King, and spoke to him some
plain words regarding the desecration of the Sabbath, and the evils
attendant on Government-licensed lotteries. In Prussia he ventured to
speak to the King in the garden of the Palace of Berlin, and was
graciously received, the monarch promising to profit by the admonition
he received. In Russia he saw the Czar Alexander in 1825, and spoke to
him "of the abuses and oppressions that existed under his government."
Alexander, who had great respect for the Friends, received his visitor
very kindly, and conversed with him for a long time on religious
subjects in the most frank and familiar manner.

After fifty years' faithful ministry, of the most singularly pure and
disinterested character, this good man died at the age of eighty-two,
12th June, 1836.


The conversion and ministry of John Thorp, a shoemaker at Masbrough,
Yorkshire, may be set down among the most extraordinary incidents
connected with the eighteenth century religious revival. Thorp's
conversion was an indirect result of the preaching of the Methodists,
and occurred in such a singular manner as to make the story worth
telling, even if it had led to no other results; but in Thorp's case the
results of conversion were very noteworthy. Southey in his "Life of
Wesley"[165] gives the following account: "A party of men were amusing
themselves one day in an ale-house at Rotherham,[166] by mimicking the
Methodists. It was disputed who succeeded best, and this led to a wager.
There were four performers, and the rest of the company were to decide
after a fair specimen from each. A Bible was produced, and three of the
rivals, each in turn, mounted the table and held forth in a style of
irreverent buffoonery, wherein the Scriptures were not spared. John
Thorp, who was the last exhibitor, got upon the table in high spirits,
exclaiming, 'I shall beat you all!' He opened the book for a text, and
his eyes rested on these words, 'Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
perish!' These words at such a moment and in such a place struck him to
the heart. He became serious, he preached in earnest, and he afterward
affirmed that his own hair stood erect at the feelings which then came
upon him, and the awful denunciations which he uttered. His companions
heard him with the deepest silence. When he came down not a word was
said concerning the wager; he left the room immediately without speaking
to any one, went home in a state of great agitation, and resigned
himself to the impulse which had thus strangely been produced. In
consequence he joined the Methodists, and became an itinerant preacher;
but he would often say, when he related this story, that if ever he
preached by the assistance of the Spirit of God, it was at that time."
In the theological controversies which sprang up in the society at
Rotherham, Thorp took the Calvinistic side. This roused the ire of the
Arminian Wesley, who sent off the Calvinistic cobbler to labor in a
circuit a hundred miles away. But though Wesley had the power to drive
Thorp from Rotherham, the autocrat had no power to drive the cobbler
away from his Calvinism. Wesley then dismissed Thorp from the
Connection, and he returned to the scenes of his conversion and first
Christian work, to take charge of a body of people who left the
Methodists and formed an Independent Church, 1757-60.[167] This little
society rapidly grew in numbers and influence, and is at the present
time a large and flourishing church at Masbro'. One of its first
members, Mr. Walker, an iron-founder, was a leading patron of the
school, which afterward developed into Rotherham College under the
presidency of the learned Dr. E. Williams.[168] "Thus to the pious zeal
of an obscure shoemaker the Dissenters are indirectly indebted for their
valuable academical institution."[169]

     [165] "Bonn's Standard Library," p. 305.

     [166] Rotherham and Masbro' are one town, only
     separated by the River Rother.

     [167] "Masbro' Chapel Manual" for 1881, whence many of
     these particulars are taken. See also Miall's
     "Congregationalism in Yorkshire."

     [168] Dr. Edward Williams became president in 1795. He
     edited the works of Jonathan Edwards, and was the author of a
     once famous controversial treatise on "Divine Equity and

     [169] "Crispin Anecdotes," p. 18.

Thorp was regularly ordained to the pastorate, and a chapel was built
for his ministry, where he preached till his death, at the age of
fifty-two, 8th November, 1776. He was a friend of the pious and
eccentric John Berridge,[170] Vicar of Everton, who gave his watch to
Thorp as a token of esteem. John Thorp's son, William, was a far more
famous preacher than his father, and held a conspicuous place at the
beginning of this century as pastor of the Castle Green Church, Bristol.
Representatives of the family belonging to a _third_ and _fourth_
generation of preachers still hold an honorable position as Established
or Free Church ministers.

     [170] "Crispin Anecdotes," p. 18.


One of the most eloquent and famous preachers in London at the close of
the last century and the beginning of the present, when eloquent and
famous preachers were by no means rare, was _William Huntingdon_, whose
portrait may be seen in the National Portrait Gallery, South Kensington,
London. Huntingdon's father was a farm laborer in Kent named Hunt. How
the name Hunt grew into the more dignified Huntingdon (or Huntington) we
cannot tell; probably through some whim of his own, for this eccentric
man took liberties with his name, as the reader will see presently. He
seems to have combined shoemaking with his other avocations, for one
notice speaks of him as by turns hostler, gardener, cobbler, and

He was not favored with any early education, but by careful self-culture
of his first-rate natural gifts acquired the rare art of speaking with
an ease and elegance and force that pleased all sorts of hearers. Long
after he had begun to attract crowds by his eloquence he worked for his
daily bread as a cobbler. Many a sermon was made with his work on his
lap and a Bible on the chair beside him. A chapel was built for his
ministry in Tichfield Street, London, and when it proved too small, the
congregation moved to a larger building erected in Gray's Inn Road.

     [171] "Imperial Dictionary of Biography," vol. iv.
     Edinburgh: Blackie & Son.

In his diary, 22d October, 1812, H. C. Robinson[172] says, "Heard W.
Huntingdon preach, the man who puts _S.S._ (sinner saved) after his
name. He has an admirable exterior; his voice is clear and melodious;
his manner singularly easy, and even graceful. There was no violence, no
bluster; yet there was no want of earnestness or strength. His language
was very figurative, the images being taken from the ordinary business
of life, and especially from the army and navy. He is very colloquial,
and has a wonderful Biblical memory; indeed, he is said to know the
whole Bible by heart. I noticed that though he was frequent in his
citations, and always added chapter and verse, he never opened the
little book he had in his hand. He is said to resemble Robert Robinson
of Cambridge."[173]

     [172] Vol. i. p. 402.

     [173] The eminent Baptist minister of St. Andrew's
     Chapel, 1761-1790, predecessor of Robert Hall.

In regard to the S.S. which he persisted in writing after his name.
Huntingdon says, "M.A. is out of my reach for want of learning; D.D. I
cannot attain for want of cash; but S.S. I adopt, by which I mean
'_sinner saved_.'" He married as his second wife the wealthy widow of
Alderman Sir J. Saunderson, once Lord Mayor of London. His death
occurred in 1813, at Tunbridge Wells.[174] One of his best known works
is entitled "The Bank of Faith," an extraordinary record of his own
personal experience in illustration of the doctrine of special
providence. His sermons, etc., were published in no less than twenty

     [174] Huntingdon wrote his own epitaph, part of which
     reads--"Beloved of his God but abhorred by men. The Omniscient
     Judge at the Great Assize shall ratify and confirm this, to the
     confusion of many thousands; for England and its metropolis
     shall know that there hath been a prophet among them."


A maker of wooden clogs and shoe-lasts is hardly a shoemaker, in the
commonly understood sense of the term, yet he stands in a very close
relation to the gentle craft, and for this reason we may not unfairly
claim _Robert Morrison_ of Newcastle as a member of the illustrious
brotherhood of the sons of St. Crispin. Dr. Morrison was the pioneer of
modern missions to China, and did for the people and language of that
country what another shoemaker did for the people of Bengal. The
youthful Northumbrian had only a plain elementary education, and after
he became an apprentice, spent all his spare time in reading religious
books. At the age of nineteen he gave up his humble trade and began to
study under a minister, who passed him on in two years to the academy at
Hoxton, where he made such progress, that in a short time he was sent to
London to study Chinese under Sam Tok, a native teacher, with a view to
his becoming a missionary to China, in connection with the London
Missionary Society. In 1807, he sailed for that country, and his rare
gifts as a linguist were shown in the publication of a Chinese version
of the Acts of the Apostles, after only three years' labor, in 1810. The
Gospel of Luke appeared in 1812, and the entire New Testament in 1814.
With the help of William Milne he issued the Old Testament shortly after
the last date. His labors were not confined to the translation of the
Sacred Scriptures. His greatest work was a "Dictionary of the Chinese
Language," published in 1818 by the Hon. East India Company at a cost of
£15,000. He also edited a Chinese grammar. The degree of Doctor of
Divinity was conferred on him by the University of Glasgow.

In 1817, Dr. Morrison accompanied Lord Amherst in his embassy to Pekin,
and afterward, as the last great work of a noble life, founded an
Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca, to whose funds he left the bulk of his
property. On his return to England in 1823 for rest and change, his
great gifts and labors as a linguist and a missionary were cordially
recognized in many quarters. The Royal Society made him a member, and
King George IV. honored himself, as well as his distinguished subject,
by seeking an interview with him. In 1826 he returned to the field of
his missionary labors. On his death at Canton in 1834, England lost her
best Chinese scholar, and one of the most devoted, self-sacrificing, and
useful missionaries who ever left her shores.


The eloquent and popular minister of Camberwell Green Congregational
Church, the _Rev. John Burnet_, who divided his time and energies
between preaching and philanthropic labors, is claimed by the craft as
one of the most gifted and useful men who have sprung from their
ranks.[175] He was of Highland descent, and was born in Perth, 13th
April, 1789. His early education at the High School of Perth must have
given him great advantage over most youths of the _souter_ fraternity.
How long he plied the awl we cannot say. Soon after his union with a
Christian Church in Perth his friends discovered his gifts as a speaker,
and encouraged his adoption of the ministry as a profession. To this end
they supplied him with funds, and for a time he studied with much
advantage under the Rev. William Orme of Perth. In 1815 Mr. Burnet
removed from Perth to Dublin, and soon afterward became an agent of the
Irish Evangelical Society. His labors at Cork proving acceptable to the
Independent Church there, he was invited to become their pastor, and for
fifteen years was well known by all the Protestants of the district as
an eloquent and faithful preacher. The growth of his congregation led to
the building of a handsome new chapel for his ministry in George Street.
But his labors were not confined to these localities (Cork and Mallow).
His biographer states that "he continually visited the other towns and
places in the South of Ireland, preaching in the court-houses,
market-places, and frequently in the halls of the resident nobility and
gentry--all the Protestants gladly giving him the requisite facilities.
On these journeys he had usually a free pass by the mails and coaches,
but he travelled a good deal on horseback."[176]

     [175] See Campion's "Delightful History," p. 83.

     [176] "Congregational Year-Book" for 1863, pp. 214-216.
     To the obituary notice given in the Year-Book I owe the facts
     given in this sketch.

It would have been an easy matter for Mr. Burnet to enter Parliament, if
he could have been persuaded to quit the ministry and devote himself
entirely to political life; for he was popular with the Liberals of his
day, had rare gifts as a speaker, and was thoroughly acquainted with
politics. But the best efforts of his friend Joseph Sturge, and the
offer of ample means to maintain the position of a member of Parliament,
failed to induce him to accept the flattering offer. He was constantly
employed as a platform speaker, and never refused his aid to any cause
"affecting the rights of the people or the progress of humanity."

For many years he was on the Committee of the Bible Society, the London
Missionary Society, the Irish Evangelical and the British and Foreign
Sailors' Societies. Yet with all this public work he never neglected the
duties of the pastorate, but occupied his pulpit efficiently from Sunday
to Sunday, and held several meetings during the week for the
instruction of his people. In 1845 his brethren of the Independent
Connection showed their esteem by electing him to fill the chair of the
Congregational Union.

In 1825 Mr. Burnet was summoned to give evidence before a committee of
the House of Lords on the state of the Catholic population in Ireland.
At first he declined to attend, saying that he could not leave his work,
for he had no one to supply his place in his absence. But a second
summons made it clear that he was bound to obey orders, and he
accordingly went up to London and gave the committee the benefit of his
extensive acquaintance with the religious condition of the South of
Ireland. His visit to London brought him again into the company of his
old friend Mr. Orme, who introduced him to the congregation, of which
Mr. Orme was the pastor, at the Mansion House Chapel. On his death in
1830, Mr. Burnet was invited to succeed his friend as the pastor of the
church. This pastorate he held for thirty-two years, till the day of his
death. In 1852 the new and costly building opposite Camberwell Green was
built, the congregation removing thither from the old "Mansion House."

Mr. Burnet was best known for his philanthropic labors, chiefly in
connection with the anti-slavery cause. In this work he labored side by
side, and on intimate terms of friendship, with Wilberforce, Brougham,
Zachary Macaulay, Lord Macaulay, Sir T. F. Buxton, and other advocates
of freedom for the slave. "His labors," it is said, "in committee were
continuous and valuable, and his good sense and sound judgment were not
seldom needed in the conduct of this great movement. He went frequently
on deputations to the Government, and was obliged to spend much time at
the House of Commons to be near the anti-slavery leaders in all times of
difficulty, and by this means became acquainted with the leading public
men of the day, who admired his straightforward character, readiness,
and humor." He died at the age of seventy-three, June 10th, 1862.


Very few illustrious men have been so heavily handicapped in the race of
life and the pursuit of knowledge as the eminent Biblical scholar, _John
Kitto_, who was born at Plymouth, 4th December, 1804.[177] Added to
poverty, the want of proper food and clothing, he had to endure in early
life the deprivation of natural guardians and friends, terrible cruelty
from a master under whose care he was placed, and, worst of all, the
entire loss of the sense of hearing, so that from the age of twelve to
the day of his death he never could hear a sound of any description.
Deeply pathetic is the story of his early life as told by himself in his
journal and letters. His father was a working mason at Plymouth, who had
lost a good business by intemperate habits. When John was only four
years old, his grandmother, who could not endure the sight of his misery
at home, engaged to bring him up. This good woman was the guardian angel
of Kitto's childhood, and did more, perhaps, than any one else to mould
his character. It was a sad day for him when she was compelled by
poverty and illness to break up her home and go with her little ward to
live with his parents. He had already become fond of reading, and had
even tried his hand at writing tales for the amusement of his childish
companions and the more serious purpose of earning a few pence to buy
books. One day, when working with his father, he fell from the top of a
house thirty-five feet high, and was carried home in a state of
unconsciousness. After lying in this state for a fortnight, he awoke to
discover to his dismay that he was absolutely deaf. He had asked for a
book which a neighbor had lent him just before the accident, and when
his friends found that he could not hear their reply, one of them took
up a slate and _wrote_ upon it. "Why do you not speak?" he cried. "Why
do you _write_ to me? Why not speak? Speak, speak!" "Then," he tells us,
"those who stood around the bed exchanged significant looks of concern,
and the writer soon displayed upon his slate the awful words, 'YOU ARE
DEAF!' Did not this utterly crush me? By no means. In my then weakened
condition nothing like this could affect me. Besides, I was a child; and
to a child the full extent of such a calamity could not be at once
apparent. However, I knew not the future--it was well I did not; and
there was nothing to show me that I suffered under more than a temporary
deafness, which in a few days might pass away. It was left for time to
show me the sad realities of the condition to which I was reduced."

     [177] "Memoirs of John Kitto, D.D.," by R. E. Ryland,
     M.A. Edinburgh: William Oliphant & Sons, 1856.

At the age of fifteen he was sent to the workhouse, scarcely
understanding what was being done with him. On realizing his true
position in this place, "his anguish was indescribable." Yet in Kitto's
time this place was hardly like an ordinary modern workhouse. It had
long borne the name of _The Hospital of the Poor's Portion_, was founded
in 1630 by Gayer, Colmer, and Fowell, and endowed in 1674 by Lanyon with
£2000, and in 1708 was converted into a poorhouse by Act of Parliament.
It had apartments for boys, who were admitted on Hele's and Lanyon's
charities. Young Kitto was kindly treated by the guardians, even being
allowed to go out every day, and for a long time to sleep at home. His
occupation was the making of _list shoes_, in which he became so
proficient that he was sent out as an apprentice to a shoemaker in the
town, who treated him so savagely that the humane guardians quashed the
agreement and took him again under their care. But even in this wretched
situation, where he was often compelled to work sixteen or eighteen
hours a day, the poor deaf boy managed to go on with his studies; and in
his interesting work called "The Lost Senses," published twenty years
afterward, he remarks, "Now that I look back upon this time, the amount
of study which I did, under these circumstances, contrive to get
through, amazes and confounds me."

About a year after his return to the poorhouse, certain gentlemen in
Plymouth, who had come to hear of his superior abilities and passion for
reading, drew up a circular asking for funds to enable him to devote his
time entirely to study. This appeal was so successful that the poor
workhouse boy was placed under the care of a good friend, named Mr.
Barnard, to board and lodge, and allowed to go to the public library for
the purpose of reading and study. His course as a student was now fairly
open. In a few years he published his first book, "Essays and Letters,"
with a short memoir of the author. In 1825 his friend Mr. Groves of
Exeter was the means of sending him to the Church Missionary
Institution, London, where for a time he was employed as a printer. For
two years he resided at Malta in the service of this Society. After
this, an arrangement was made with his friend Mr. Groves which proved of
the utmost possible service to the diligent student, whose mind had long
been set on travelling as a means of increasing his knowledge. Mr.
Groves asked Kitto to accompany him to the East. Five years were spent
in a journey through Russia, Persia, and Asiatic Turkey, during which
"the deaf traveller" obtained the vast stores of information of which he
made such good use in the various works written on his return to
England. In 1833 he was engaged by Mr. Charles Knight, the well-known
publisher, to write for the _Penny Magazine_, and wrote for that journal
a number of articles entitled "The Deaf Traveller." He contributed many
articles also to the _Penny Cyclopædia_. His best known works are "The
Pictorial Bible," "The Pictorial Sunday Book," "Cyclopædia of Biblical
Literature," "The Lost Senses," "Journal of Sacred Literature," and
"Daily Bible Illustrations," a work of great value, in eight volumes. In
1844 the University of Giessen conferred on him the diploma of D.D., and
in the following year he was elected a Fellow of the Society of
Antiquaries. Notwithstanding his immense labors and the great value of
his writings, he was, toward the close of his life, considerably
embarrassed by pecuniary difficulties, which were alleviated, but not
entirely removed, by a Government pension of £100 per year. John Kitto
died and was buried at Cannstatt, in Germany, 25th November, 1854, at
the age of forty-nine.



The name of _William Sturgeon_, so honorably connected with the science
of electricity and magnetism, has a fair claim to be entered on this
list. Sturgeon was a Lancashire man, born at Wittington in that county
in 1783. All his youth was spent at the shoemaker's stall. On arriving
at manhood he abandoned this quiet, peaceful occupation for the life of
a soldier. After two years' service in the militia he enlisted in the
Royal Artillery. Like William Cobbett, he found it possible to read in
the midst of the distractions of the barrack-room. His chief attention
was given to the study of electricity and magnetism, which at that time
were attracting a great deal of attention on the part of men of
science.[178] The first proof Sturgeon gave of special and extensive
knowledge on the subject was in the papers which he contributed to the
_Philosophical Magazine_ in 1823-24. In 1825 he published an account of
certain magneto-electric appliances, for which the Society of Arts
awarded him their silver medal and a purse containing £30. About this
time, that is, soon after leaving the army, he was appointed to the
chair of experimental philosophy in the East India Company's Military
Academy at Addiscombe. His pamphlet, published in 1830, on "Experimental
Researches in Electro-Magnetism and Galvanism," described his own
experiments, which issued in an improved method of preparing plates for
the galvanic battery; a method still found, in many respects, to be the
best. He invented the electro-magnetic-coil machine, now used very
frequently by medical men in giving a succession of shocks to the
patient, and still preferred by the faculty to other instruments for
this purpose. This industrious and original investigator was also the
inventor of a method of driving machinery by electro-magnetism; but he
little dreamt, it may be, of the extent to which electricity would be
employed in these days as a motive power and for lighting purposes. He
edited the "Annals of Electricity, Magnetism, and Chemistry," and
published his own works in one volume a few years before his death. Like
many inventors, he never made a fortune, but died poor. A Government
pension of £50 per annum came to relieve him of his cares only the year
before his death, which occurred in 1850.

     [178] Magneto-electricity was discovered by Oersted in



The "_gentle_ craft." has been as prolific of fiery politicians as of
peaceful poets. We have to speak now of two men who were connected
respectively with the political agitations of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries.

In the year 1794, when the events of the French Revolution had convulsed
the whole of Europe, society in England was stirred to its depths, and
grave fears were entertained by the King and his Parliament lest the
spirit of revolution should break loose in this country. Such fears were
not altogether unfounded. Societies sprang up whose object was reform,
by legitimate means if possible, but if not, by violence and bloodshed.
One of the strongest of these societies existed in London, and had
carried its proceedings to such a pitch that four of its leading
members were brought to trial on a charge of treason and sedition. It is
a remarkable fact that of these four men--Hardy, Horne-Tooke, Thelwall,
and Holcroft--the first and last belonged to the class of

     [179] A story is told of Sir Robert Peel which is
     worth repeating here. A deputation of working-men once waited
     on Sir Robert to lay the wants of the trades' societies before
     him. The two speakers selected by the deputation were
     shoemakers. On learning this interesting fact, the statesman
     turned to the sons of Crispin and said, half in earnest and
     half in jest, "How is it that you shoemakers are foremost in
     every movement? If there is a plot or conspiracy or
     insurrection or political movement, I always find that there is
     a shoemaker in the fray!"

     It is a singular fact that the shorthand notes of Hardy's trial
     were taken down by another illustrious shoemaker--Manoah Sibly
     (see above). There is a printed copy of these notes in the
     British Museum, published 1795.

_Thomas Hardy_ was the secretary of the Association, and had to bear the
brunt of the trial, in which he was defended by the Honorable Thomas
Erskine. Speaking of these famous state trials, Henry Crabb Robinson,
who was then living at Colchester, says, "I felt an intense interest in
them. During the first trial I was in a state of agitation that rendered
me unfit for business. I used to beset the post-office early, and one
morning at six I obtained the London paper with NOT GUILTY printed in
letters an inch in height, recording the issue of Hardy's trial. I ran
about the town knocking at people's doors and screaming out the joyful
words. Thomas Hardy, who was a shoemaker, made a sort of circuit, and
obtained, of course, many an order in the way of his trade.... Hardy was
a good-hearted, simple, and honest man. He had neither the talents nor
the vices which might be supposed to belong to an acquitted traitor. He
lived to an advanced age and died universally respected."[180] Hardy
died in the year 1831, in his eighty-second year, having been born in
1751. At the close of his life he was connected with the Wesleyan
Methodists. His monument may still be seen in the Bunhill Fields Burying
Ground, opposite the City Road Chapel, London.

     [180] H. C. Robinson's Diary, vol. i. pp. 26, 27.


It has been remarked above, that shoemakers, whether "illustrious" or
not, have played a prominent part in connection with religious and
political reform. In proof of this we have only to ask the reader to
recall what has been said of Henry Michael Buch, Hans Sachs, George Fox,
Drs. Carey and Morrison, and John Pounds, among moral and religious
reformers; and such men as Hardy, Holcroft, and Thomas Cooper, in the
sphere of politics. The name of _George Odger_ deserves a place also in
this list of reformers and improvers of the world, for although his
field of labor was a very humble one, it was sufficient for the display
of fine qualities of mind and heart. Odger was one of the best specimens
this country has produced of a powerful class in modern society, called
"working-men politicians." His influence as a working-man among the
working-men of London was unrivalled in his day, and was always of a
wholesome and ennobling character. Professor Fawcett said "he was as
good and true a man as ever lived," paid a warm tribute to his "rare
intelligence and power and eloquence," and added, moreover, that if the
poor shoemaker "had been born in circumstances in which he could have
had the advantages of education, there would have been for him a career
as distinguished as any Englishman had achieved." John Stuart Mill also
held similar opinions in regard to Odger's excellent character and
remarkable abilities. Other members of Parliament have done honor to
Odger's worth, and recognized his unselfishness and patriotism as a
leader of the people. He was no vulgar demagogue, pandering to popular
passion, and seeking fame and power at any cost. His appeals were always
made to the intelligence of his hearers, and his demands for reform were
based on what he conscientiously regarded as principles of justice.
Throughout the American war, 1861-65, he sought to direct public opinion
against the slave-holding interest.

George Odger was born at Rogborough, near Plymouth, in 1813. His father
was a Cornish miner, and so poor that he was obliged to send his boy out
to earn his living at shoemaking as soon as he was able to work. It goes
without saying that under such circumstances he had no advantages of
education, and that he was indebted to his own efforts for any measure
of culture displayed in later life. In his youthful days he made
diligent use of every moment of leisure for the purpose of study, and
acquired an amount of general information which was of immense service
to him as a public speaker. His first attempts at speaking were made in
connection with the Reform movement. He rapidly acquired influence among
the working class, and was well known and respected both in London and
the provinces as a safe leader and counsellor of the people, so that in
the Liverpool and Kendal strikes he was accepted by both masters and men
as a mediator. In 1868 he stood for a time as a candidate for the newly
made borough of Chelsea, and in the following year he was accepted by a
large party as a candidate for Stafford, but in each case he retired
from the contest lest his candidature should damage the interests of his
party. In 1870 and 1874 he contested Southwark as a working-man's
candidate, but was not successful. In the former of these contests he
polled only 300 fewer votes than the elected candidate.

George Odger never followed any other trade than that of a shoemaker,
and was always in very humble circumstances. Shortly before his death a
subscription was raised by the Trade Union Congress at Newcastle to
supply the wants of his declining years, and in consequence of the
esteem in which he was held, "the result was liberal and prompt."[181]
After a long illness he died at his residence, Bloomsbury, London, 3d
March, 1877.

     [181] "The Oracle," vol. vi. pp. 154, 237. London: 155
     Fleet Street.

The honor done him at his funeral was such as many a nobleman might
envy. The _Times'_ report of the funeral says: "The remains of Mr. Odger
were borne to the grave at Brompton Cemetery with all the honors of a
public funeral. The crowd around the house of the deceased was immense."
The Shoemakers' Society, to which Odger belonged, held the foremost
place in the long procession which accompanied the remains of this
illustrious shoemaker to the grave. Members of the House of Commons, and
other men of position and influence in the great city, stood side by
side with the working-men of Clerkenwell, Southwark, and Bloomsbury, to
pay their last tribute of esteem to the memory of this truly estimable

[Illustration: J. G. WHITTIER]



America has her share of illustrious shoemakers. The United States can
boast of men worthy to stand on a level with the best examples of merit
the gentle craft can produce in the Old World. We select four
"representative men" from the long list that might be named, to whom we
shall chiefly devote our remaining space. These men show in their
character and life-work the best features of the New England type of the
American citizen. They are men of sterling moral and religious worth,
intense haters of tyranny and slavery, and war and intemperance, "sound
as gospel" in their political principles, "clear as Wenham ice" in their
transparency of character.

We are fain to believe that every intelligent person in the United
States knows the name of _Noah Worcester_, the "Apostle of Peace," as he
has been very justly styled. Every intelligent person also on the
British side of the Atlantic ought to know something of this good man.
He was one of the world's reformers, and commenced a movement which is
destined to deepen and widen in its influence until it becomes
universal, and changes for the better the entire condition of mankind.
We allude to the establishment of the Peace Society of
Massachusetts--the parent of numberless similar societies in America and
Europe. "I well recollect," says Dr. Channing,[182] "the day of its
formation in yonder house, then the parsonage of this parish; and if
there was a happy man that day on earth it was the founder of this
institution. This Society gave birth to all the kindred ones in this
country, and its influence was felt abroad. Dr. Worcester assumed the
charge of its periodical, and devoted himself for years to this cause,
with unabating faith and zeal; and it may be doubted whether any man
who ever lived contributed more than he to spread just sentiment on the
subject of war, and to hasten the era of universal peace. He began his
efforts in the darkest day, when the whole civilized world was shaken by
conflict and threatened with military despotism. He lived to see more
than twenty years of general peace, and to see through these years the
multiplication of national ties, an extension of commercial
communications, an establishment of new connections between Christians
and learned men throughout the world, and a growing reciprocity of
friendly and beneficent influence among different States, all giving aid
to the principles of peace, and encouraging hopes which a century ago
would have been deemed insane."

     [182] Sermon entitled "The Philanthropist, a Tribute
     to the Memory of the Rev. Noah Worcester, D.D." Channing's
     Works, People's Edition, vol. ii. p. 251, etc. Belfast: Simms &
     M'Intyre, 1843.

Noah Worcester, born at Hollis, New Hampshire, November 25th, 1758, was
the son of a farmer, and until the age of twenty-one worked on the farm.
His father's means were limited, and the education of the family was
stinted in consequence. When hostilities commenced between the American
Colonies and Great Britain, young Worcester, then only about eighteen
years of age, became a soldier and fought at the battle of Bunker's
Hill. It is said that his disgust with the vices of soldier life, and
horror at the awful sights of the battle-field, drove him from the army
and made him forever afterward a hater of war and an advocate of peace.
Returning to farm life, he divided his time between outdoor labor and
shoemaking, which occupation he followed when the darkness of night time
or the cold of winter prevented his working in the fields. He also
betook himself earnestly to the work of self-education. Like many
another shoemaker, he made his work-room his study. The materials for
the improvement of his mind lay all round his bench--books, pens, ink,
paper, etc. An early marriage increased the difficulties of his
situation as a poor student, yet he managed by dint of extraordinary
application to improve himself and become fit for the ministry before he
had reached the age of thirty. His first church was small, and his
salary amounted to only two hundred dollars (£45.) Many of the members
were poor, and the conscientious pastor could not allow them to pay
their share to his support. On this account he often gave up as much as
a quarter of his salary in the year, getting through as best he could by
a little farming and a good deal of shoemaking. When times were bad he
turned his "study" into a day-school and taught the children of his
parishioners for nothing. "His first book was a series of letters to a
Baptist minister, and in this he gave promise of the direction the
efforts of his life were to assume." Its aim was to promote unity among
men of different denominations. Later on he published a remarkable book,
which made no small stir in its day, entitled "Bible News Relating to
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;" and a second on the same subject,
under the title "Letters to Trinitarians." "These works," says Channing,
"obtained such favor, that he was solicited to leave the obscure town in
which he ministered, and to take charge in this place (Brighton, Mass.)
of a periodical at first called the _Christian Disciple_, and now better
known as the _Christian Examiner_."[183]

     [183] Written in 1837.

At length he issued, in 1814, the famous pamphlet by which his name
became known and honored among Christian men and lovers of peace
throughout the world. It bore the title "A Solemn Review of the Custom
of War." No more effective tract was ever printed. It was translated
into several of the languages of Europe. The impression it produced in
America led to the formation of the "Peace Society of Massachusetts."
Worcester's views on war were identical with those of the Society of
Friends. "He interpreted literally the precept, 'Resist not evil,' and
believed that nations as well as individuals would find safety as well
as fulfil righteousness in yielding it literal obedience.... He believed
that no mightier man ever trod the earth than William Penn when entering
the wilderness unarmed, and stretching out to the savage a hand which
refused all earthly weapons in token of peace and brotherhood." So
absorbed was he in this great theme, that he declared, eight years after
his famous pamphlet was issued, that "its subject had not been out of
his mind when awake an hour at a time during the whole period." He died
at Brighton, Mass., in his eightieth year, 31st October, 1838. It was
his wish to have written on his tombstone the words, "He wrote the
'Friend of Peace.'" Dr. Channing's testimony to Dr. Worcester's
character is the highest one man can bear to another. He says, "Two
views of him particularly impressed me. The first was the unity, the
harmony of his character. He had no jarring elements. His whole nature
had been blended and melted into one strong, serene love. His mission
was to preach peace, and he preached it, not on set occasions or by
separate efforts, but in his whole life.... My acquaintance with him
gave me clearer comprehension of the spirit of Christ and the dignity of

Worcester received his degree of Master of Arts from Dartmouth College,
and his diploma of Doctor of Divinity from Harvard.


Another famous American citizen, contemporary during the early part of
his life with Noah Worcester, was Roger Sherman, who was born at Newton,
Massachusetts, 19th April, 1721. Until the age of twenty-two he was a
shoemaker, and from the age of twenty supported his widowed mother and
the younger members of the family, and found the means to enable two
brothers to enter the ministry. At this time he devoted his leisure to
the study of mathematics and astronomy. In 1743 he laid aside the awl,
and left his native place to settle at New Milford, Connecticut, where
he joined his elder brother in keeping a small store. His
accomplishments very soon led to his appointment as surveyor of roads.
While holding this office he began the study of law, and made such
progress that in 1745, at the age of twenty-four, he was admitted to the
bar. In 1748 he began to supply the astronomical calculations for a New
York almanac. His life as a legislator commenced with his membership of
the Connecticut Assembly, where he held a seat during several sessions.
The appointment of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas was given him in
1759, and again in 1765, at New Haven, whither he had removed four years
previously. He was made an assistant in 1766, and held the office for
nineteen years. The judgeship was not resigned until 1789, part of the
time since his appointment having been spent on the bench of the
Superior Court.

Roger Sherman's connection with the American Congress was long and
highly honorable. He became a Congressman in 1774, and served his
country faithfully in that capacity for nearly twenty years till the
time of his death, at which time he held a seat in the Senate of the
United States. He was appointed also as a member of the Council of
Safety. During the last nine years of his life he was Mayor of New
Haven. For many years he held the honorable office of treasurer of Yale

In the year 1766 Sherman was placed on the Commission appointed to
draught the Declaration of Independence, and he was one of those who
afterward signed the Declaration. Having been one of those who framed
the old "Articles of Confederation," and a very useful member of the
Constitutional Convention of 1787, his services in obtaining the
indorsement or ratification of the Constitution by his own State
Convention (_i.e._, of Connecticut) were of the utmost value.

The foregoing statements will sufficiently show how well the quondam
shoemaker of Massachusetts earned the noble name of Patriot. Few men in
his day did more solid and lasting public work. Although he was a man of
remarkably cool, deliberate judgment, he was none the less an enthusiast
in the cause of political freedom and independence. During the War of
Independence he urged his compatriots by every means in his power to
resist the English claims to impose taxation upon the colonies. He never
swerved for a moment from the view he first took on the crucial question
of "taxation without representation," but always avowed his firm
conviction that "no European Government would ever give its sanction to
such unfair legislation." His rectitude and integrity were
unimpeachable, and his "rare good sense" made him a man of mark even
among the noteworthy men of the first Federal Congress. Mr. Macon used
to say of him, "Roger Sherman had more common-sense than any man I ever
knew;" and Thomas Jefferson was wont to declare that Roger Sherman was
"a man who never said a foolish thing in his life." To this opinion of
his judgment and mental qualities may be added a valuable estimate of
his moral and religious character. Goodrich[184] says that Sherman
"having made a public profession of religion in early life, was never
ashamed to advocate the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, which are
often so unwelcome to men of worldly eminence. His sentiments were
derived from the Word of God, and not from his own reason."

     [184] In "American Biographical Dictionary." Boston:
     J. P. Jewett & Co.

The life of this man of "patriot fame"[185] came to an end July 23d,
1793. His good name is in no danger of being lost to posterity, for in
addition to his own personal claim to immortality, he gave "hostages to
fortune" in a family of fifteen children, one of whom, his namesake,
died in 1856 at the patriarchal age of eighty-eight.

     [185] See the allusion to Sherman in Whittier's lines,
     given below.


Among the political leaders of modern times _Henry Wilson_ long held a
conspicuous place in the United States. His early connection with the
gentle craft procured for him the familiar and not unfriendly sobriquet
"The Natick Cobbler." Wilson was born at Farmington, New Hampshire,
February 16th, 1812. From his schoolboy days until he entered on
political life he seems to have been connected both with shoemaking and
farming, but chiefly with the former occupation. Part of his time, viz.,
from 1832 to 1837, he was a thorough-going son of Crispin, working on
the stool from daylight till dusk. From 1837 to 1840 he was still
connected with the trade, but in the more ambitious position of a "shoe
manufacturer." In the year 1840 he devoted himself to the life of a
politician. The office of President of the Massachusetts Senate was held
by him in 1851 and 1852. Three years after this he became a senator as a
representative of the same State. This honor he held for seventeen
years, that is, till 1872. In 1861 he was made Colonel of the
Twenty-second Massachusetts Volunteers. The highest office to which he
attained was that of Vice-President of the United States, which post he
held from 1872 to 1875, the year of his death. Henry Wilson was held at
the time of his death in general and hearty esteem for the valuable
services which he had rendered for thirty-five years to his country.
Like many another famous son of St. Crispin, _The Natick Cobbler_ was a
friend of freedom and a sworn foe to all kinds of tyranny. For many
years he stood side by side with the best men in the Northern States,
fighting the battle of liberation for the slaves, and at last was
permitted to rejoice with them in the triumph of the good cause.

One is very much tempted to multiply instances of men like Wilson, who,
having begun life as shoemakers, found their way into the Congress of
the United States. _Seven_ such men at least have sat in Congress during
the present century.[186] It may also be mentioned here that Franklin
in his Autobiography speaks of a member of the _Junto_, a "William
Parsons, bred a shoemaker, but loving reading, who acquired a
considerable share of mathematics," and "became surveyor-general;" and
that Philip Kirtland, a shoemaker from Sherrington, Buckinghamshire, who
settled at Lynn, Mass., in 1635, was the founder of the immense trade in
boots and shoes for which that city has obtained an unrivalled name
throughout the States.

     [186] These are Roger Sherman and Henry Wilson,
     already noticed, and Daniel Sheffey, Gideon Lee, William
     Claflin, John B. Alley, and H. P. Baldwin. In answer to the
     question, "What shoemaker has risen to political or literary
     eminence in the United States?" a writer in the Philadelphia
     _Dispatch_, besides speaking of the four remarkable men we have
     selected as examples, says, "There are other famous names of
     graduates from that profession. _Daniel Sheffey_ of Virginia
     learned the trade, and worked at it many years, and from 1809
     to 1817 represented his district in the Congress of the United
     States. His retort to John Randolph of Roanoke, who taunted him
     on the floor of Congress with his former occupation, was, 'The
     difference, sir, between my colleague and myself is this, that
     if his lot had been cast like mine in early life, instead of
     rising, by industry, enterprise, and study, above his calling,
     and occupying a seat on this floor, he would at this time be
     engaged in making shoes on the bench.' ... _Gideon Lee_, a
     mayor of New York City, and a member of Congress from about
     1840 to 1844, was a working shoemaker, and afterward a leather
     dealer. _William Claflin_, an ex-governor of Massachusetts and
     a member of Congress, worked at the shoemaker's trade when
     young, and is now at the head of a very large
     shoe-manufacturing firm. _John B. Attey_, an ex-member of
     Congress from Massachusetts, was in the shoe trade, as was also
     _H. P. Baldwin_, ex-governor of Michigan, and ex-member of
     Congress from that State."


The last name we have to give in this long, but still incomplete, list
of illustrious shoemakers is that of _John Greenleaf Whittier_, who
happily is still living to charm and educate the English-speaking people
on both sides of the Atlantic with his simple, spirit-stirring poetry.
Whittier is frequently spoken of in the States as _the Quaker Poet_.
This designation is sufficiently distinctive, for poets are not very
numerous in the Society of Friends. Preachers, patriots,
philanthropists, orators, and writers of prose are numerous enough, but
poets are very hard to find in this intensely earnest and practical
religious community.

Like his coreligionists in every generation since the days of George Fox
and William Penn, Whittier is "right on all points" relating to social
and religious reform. The assistance his vigorous, thrilling lines have
given to every philanthropic movement in the United States is beyond
calculation. For many years he was the _Hans Sachs_ or _Ebenezer
Elliott_ of the Liberation cause, giving similar help by his songs to
the work of emancipation in America to that which the German gave to the
cause of Protestantism on the continent of Europe, and the Englishman
gave to the labors of the Anti-Corn Law League in Great Britain.

His father was a farmer at Haverhill, Massachusetts, where the poet was
born in 1807. He remained on the farm until he was nearly nineteen years
of age, and divided his time between field-work and shoemaking. In 1825
he was sent to a college belonging to the Society of Friends. Four years
after this he became editor of _The American Manufacturer_, which office
he held for only twelve months, and then resigned in order to take the
management of the _New England Weekly Review_. In 1832 he went back to
the old home, worked on the farm, and edited _The Haverhill Gazette_.
Twice he represented Haverhill in the State Legislature. All through
life he has been a strong and consistent anti-slavery advocate, and at
various times has been made secretary of societies and editor of papers
whose aim has been the abolition of slavery. About 1838-39 he became the
editor of the _Pennsylvania Freeman_, an ardent anti-slavery paper. It
required no small amount of courage to advocate freedom for the slave in
those days. On one occasion Whittier's office was surrounded by a mob,
who plundered and set fire to the building. His published works in prose
and verse are very numerous, beginning with the "Legends of New England"
in 1831, and coming down to volumes of verse like "The King's Missive,
Mabel Martin, and Later Poems," etc.,[187] published within the last few
years. Through all his writings there runs a healthy moral tone, and his
poetry is no less distinguished for purity of sentiment than for
sweetness of numbers and true poetic fire. No man in New England, nor,
indeed, in the States, has earned a better title to the thanks and
esteem of his fellow-countrymen than the "Quaker Poet," who began the
hard work of life by blending the duties of the farm with the occupation
of a shoemaker. Whittier College at Salem, Iowa, was established and
named in his honor.

     [187] In a review of this last volume of Whittier's
     poems (Macmillan & Co.), a writer in the _Athenæum_ (February
     18th, 1882) gives the following just estimate of Whittier's
     character and merits as a man and a poet: "The poems in this
     collection ... show that delicate apprehension of nature, that
     deep-seated sympathy with suffering mankind, that unwavering
     love of liberty and all things lovable, that earnest belief in
     a spirit of beneficence guiding to right issues the affairs of
     the world, that beautiful tolerance of differences--in a word,
     all those high qualities which, being fused with imagination,
     make Mr. Whittier, not indeed an analytical and subtle poet,
     nor a poet dealing with great passions, but what he is
     emphatically, the apostle of all that is pure, fair, and
     morally beautiful.

Whittier has never forgotten his connection with the gentle craft in
early life; nor has he been ashamed to own fellowship with its humble
but worthy members. What he thinks of the craft itself, and of the
spirit of the men who have followed it, may be learned from his lines
addressed to shoemakers in the "Songs of Labor," published in 1850:


    Ho! workers of the old time, styled
    The Gentle Craft of Leather!
    Young brothers of the ancient guild,
    Stand forth once more together!
    Call out again your long array,
    In the olden merry manner!
    Once more, on gay St. Crispin's Day,
    Fling out your blazoned banner!

    Rap, rap! upon the well-worn stone
    How falls the polished hammer!
    Rap, rap! the measured sound has grown
    A quick and merry clamor.
    Now shape the sole! now deftly curl
    The glossy vamp around it,
    And bless the while the bright-eyed girl
    Whose gentle fingers bound it!

    For you, along the Spanish main
    A hundred keels are ploughing;
    For you, the Indian on the plain
    His lasso-coil is throwing;
    For you, deep glens with hemlock dark
    The woodman's fire is lighting;
    For you, upon the oak's gray bark
    The woodman's axe is smiting.

    For you, from Carolina's pine
    The rosin-gum is stealing;
    For you, the dark-eyed Florentine
    Her silken skein is reeling;
    For you, the dizzy goatherd roams
    His rugged Alpine ledges;
    For you, round all her shepherd homes
    Bloom England's thorny hedges.

    The foremost still, by day or night,
    On moated mound or heather,
    Where'er the need of trampled right
    Brought toiling men together;
    Where the free burghers from the wall
    Defied the mail-clad master,
    Than yours, at Freedom's trumpet-call,
    No craftsmen rallied faster.

    Let foplings sneer, let fools deride--
    Ye heed no idle scorner;
    Free hands and hearts are still your pride,
    And duty done your honor.
    Ye dare to trust, for honest fame,
    The jury Time empanels,
    And leave to truth each noble name
    Which glorifies your annals.

    Thy songs, Hans Sachs, are living yet,
    In strong and hearty German;
    And Bloomfield's lay, and Gifford's wit,
    And patriot fame of Sherman;
    Still from his book, a mystic seer,
    The soul of Behmen teaches,
    And England's priestcraft shakes to hear
    Of Fox's leathern breeches.

    The foot is yours; where'er it falls,
    It treads your well-wrought leather,
    On earthen floor, in marble halls,
    On carpet, or on heather.
    Still there the sweetest charm is found
    Of matron grace or vestal's,
    As Hebe's foot bore nectar round
    Among the old celestials!

    Rap, rap! your stout and bluff brogan,
    With footsteps slow and weary,
    May wander where the sky's blue span
    Shuts down upon the prairie.
    On beauty's foot, your slippers glance
    By Saratoga's fountains,
    Or twinkle down the summer dance
    Beneath the crystal mountains!

    The red brick to the mason's hand,
    The brown earth to the tiller's,
    The shoe in yours shall wealth command,
    Like fairy Cinderella's!
    As they who shunned the household maid
    Beheld the crown upon her,
    So all shall see your toil repaid
    With heart and home and honor.

    Then let the toast be freely quaffed,
    In water cool and brimming--
    "All honor to the good old Craft
    Its merry men and women!"
    Call out again your long array,
    In the old time's pleasant manner:
    Once more, on gay St. Crispin's Day,
    Fling out his blazoned banner.


    Adult schools at Gainsborough, started by J. F. Winks and T. Cooper, 171

    Akiba, Ben Joseph, 194, 195

    Alexander of Comana, 193

    Alexandria, the pious cobbler of, 198

    Alley, John B., 277

    Andersen, Hans C., 210

    Angling, book on, by Younger, 246, 247

    Annianus of Alexandria, 192

    Ansell and the battle of Aughrim, 245

    Apelles and the cobbler, 191

    Ashmole, Elias, and Partridge, 221

    Askham, John, 248

    Athenæum, quoted from, 115, 247, 278

    Baldwin, H. P., 277

    Baptist jubilee memorial, 131

    Baptist missions commenced by Carey and Thomas, 141, 142

    Barebones, Praise God, 216

    Baudouin, the learned, 200

    Baviad and Mæviad, 75, 82, 86-7

    Benbow and nautical songs, 17

    Bennet, John, poet, 229

    Bennett, Timothy, of Hampton-Wick, 212

    Bentinck, Lady, visits Carey when dying, 146

    Berridge, John, and John Thorp, 257

    Blacket, Joseph, 236, 242

    Blanshard's Life of Bradburn, 65, 66, 67, 70

    Bloomfield and Blacket, 239

    Bloomfield, George, 94, 95, 96, 238

    Bloomfield, Nathaniel, 94, 96, 98, 239

    Bloomfield, Robert, a farmer's boy at Sapiston, 94
      a ladies' shoemaker, 171
      becomes a shoemaker, 94, 95
      Birth and childhood, 94
      his first poems, 96, 97
      his mother, 94, 102
      his last years, death, and burial, 101
      life in London, 94, 101
      list of his poems, 96, 97, 102-3
      marriage of, 98
      method of composing "The Farmer's Boy," 98
      poetical tributes in "Blackwood," etc., 102, 103

    Bloomfield, Robert, publishes "The Farmer's Boy," 99

    Boehmen, Jacob, the mystic, 205-207
      opinions of, by Charles I., William Law, &c., 206

    Bowden, Mr., of Taunton, Lackington's master, 34

    Bradburn, Samuel, and Charles Wesley, 66
      and the clergyman, 68, 69
      anecdotes of early preaching, 68
      born at Gibraltar, 54
      called to be a preacher, 61
      circuits he travelled in, 64, 65, 66, 71
      death and burial, 71
      early life at Chester, 55-60
      eloquence as a preacher, 67, 68
      his conversion, 55-57
      his father pressed into the army, 54
      his first sermon, 61
      his marriage with Betsy Nangle, 65
      his marriage with Sophia Cooke, 66
      his mother a Welshwoman, 54
      his mother's death, note, 63
      his wit and humor, anecdotes of, 70, 71
      offered the pastorate of an Independent Church, 66
      overtaken in a fault, 71
      President of Wesleyan Conference, 67

    Brizzio, Francesco, 208

    Bruce's "Elegy written in Spring," 322

    Buch, Henry Michael, "Good Henry," 201-203

    Bunyan and Bradburn compared, 56

    Burnet, Rev. John, 259-262

    Bushey Park and Timothy Bennett, 213

    Byron, Lord, allusion to Gifford, 93

    Campion's "Delightful History of ye Gentle Craft," 193, 199, 242, 259

    Capellini, _il Caligarino_, 207

    Carey and Thomas sail for India, 142

    Carey, Eustace, "Life of Dr. Carey," 131
      William, abilities as a shoemaker, 131
      and Rev. John Ryland, 131, 138
      an enthusiast, 131, 132
      apprenticed to a shoemaker, 133
      baptized by Rev. J. Ryland, 135
      D.D. conferred on him by Brown University, 144
      first Bengali New Testament, 143
      first marriage a mistake, 137
      first sermon and pastorate, 135
      first study of languages, 132, 133, 135
      first thought of missions to heathen, 138
      his death, 146

    Carey, William his famous sermon at Nottingham, 141
      his self-sacrificing spirit, 143
      life briefly sketched, 129, 130
      life in India, 142, 146
      lives at Moulton, 137, 139
      "Only a Cobbler," 132
      pamphlet on Missions, 140
      parentage and birth and childhood, 131, 132
      Professor of Oriental Languages,

    Calcutta, 129, 143
      removes to Leicester, 140

    Carlisle, Gifford's guardian, 205

    Carlyle on _Hans Sachs_, 76, 77, 205
      Thomas, and Thomas Cooper, 184

    Carter, Edward, Esq., friend to John Pounds, 151, 157

    Castell, Richard, "Ye Cocke of Westminster," 210

    Caxton Printing Establishment and S. Drew, 121

    Chambers's "Book of Days," 217

    Channing on Noah Worcester, 271, 273

    Charles, Rev. Thomas, of Bala, 139

    Chartists and Thomas Cooper, 179, 182

    Chartist Newspapers edited by Thomas Cooper, 181

    Christ's Hospital and Richard Castell, 121

    Claflin, William, Governor of Massachusetts, 277

    Clarke, Dr. Adam, and Samuel Drew, 114, 122

    Coke, Dr., and S. Drew, 122, 123

    Coleridge, S. T., and Boehmen, 206
      and shoemakers, 189

    Cooksley, Dr., Gifford's friend, 80, 81
      William, son of Dr. Cooksley, Gifford's will in favor of, 86

    Cooper, _Robert_, mistaken for _Thomas_

    Cooper, 186

    Cooper, Thomas, a copyist at the Board of Health, 186

    Cooper, Thomas, and "Stamford Mercury," 178
      a sceptic, his lectures as, 185: _footnote_, 186
      as a lecturer on Christianity, 187
      becomes a shoemaker, 169
      birth and parentage, 165
      childhood at Exeter, 165-167
      early studies while a shoemaker, 169-175
      editorship and authorship in 1848-49, 185
      final conversion to Christianity, 185, 186
      first poem, 170
      his connection with the Methodists, 177, 178
      his excessive studies, 175, 176
      his first published poems, 177
      in Stafford Jail, 182-3
      lectures at City Hall, London, on Theism, 186
      life in Leicester, 180-3
      life in Lincoln, 177
      life in London, 179-180
      Cooper, Thomas, list of his writings, 181-7
      marries Miss Jobson, 177
      professes Christianity in Baptism by immersion, 185
      schoolboy days, 168, 169
      sets up a school, 176
      the railway accident, 186
      Trial at Stafford and in London, 182-3

    Craggs, Secretary, 216

    Crispin and Crispianus, 197-199

    Crispin anecdotes, 198-216, 223, 228, 242

    Crocker, Charles, 247, 248

    Cromwell and Fox, 249-51

    Cruickshank and O'Neill, 244-6

    Curwen's "History of Booksellers," 37, 45, 83

    D'Albrione, Signor, 178

    Davies, Ann, Gifford's lines on, 68, 87

    Dekker, Thomas, 228

    Della Cruscan School, 75, 82

    Deloney's "History of Gentle Craft," 199, 228

    Dennis, friend of Lackington, 40

    Devlin, James, 242

    Dey of Tripoli and Lieutenant Shovel, 20-21

    D'Israeli, Mr., and Thomas Cooper, 183

    "Dramatists, Early English," edited by Gifford, 75, 82

    Drew, Samuel, as a preacher, 122, 123
      as editor and author, list of works, 139-141
      apprenticeship days, 111-113
      attempts at poetry, 118-119
      begins to study, 114-115
      birth and childhood, 110-111
      competes for prize of £1500, 122
      conversion, joins the Wesleyans, 114
      Defence of the Methodists, 119
      his generosity, 117
      his method of writing books while a shoemaker, 121
      his works on immortality of the soul, 120
      honors conferred on, 123, 124
      last days, 124
      lives in Liverpool and London, 124
      marriage, 118
      narrow escape from drowning, 113
      quits the shoemaker's stall, 122
      starts in business on £5, his thrift, 116
      the midnight visitor, 118
      writes "Remarks on Paine's Age of Reason," 118

    Duncombe, T. S., M.P., and Thomas Cooper, 183

    Elliott, Ebenezer, and John Younger, 246

    Eyre, Sir Simon, Lord Mayor of London, 228

    Fletcher, vicar of Madely and Bradburn, 62

    Foster, John, 242

    Fox, George, 249

    Fullarton's "Lives of Eminent Englishmen," 84

    Fuller, Rev. Andrew, the friend of Carey, 138, 141

    Gainsborough the painter, 93

    Gentle Craft, etc., origin of the terms, _note_, 198

    George III. and Shillitoe, 254

    Gifford, William, and Lord Grosvenor, 81, 82
      childhood and youth, 76, 79
      editorship of London "Quarterly," 75, 76, 83, 84
      first attempts at verse, 79
      his character, 83, 84
      parentage and birth, 76
      private tutor to Lord Belgrave, 81
      story of the candle, 84
      translations of Persius and Juvenal, 82
      works his sums on pieces of leather, 78

    Goethe's opinion of _Hans Sachs_, 204

    Grafton, the duke of, and Bloomfield, 100

    Grainger's "Biographical History," 215, 218, 219

    Gray's Elegy, 232

    Gregory Thaumaturgus, 143

    Grosvenor, Lord, a friend to Gifford, 81, 82

    Guilds or fraternities of shoemakers in Paris, 201-203

    Guthrie, Dr., anecdotes and stories, 151
      on John Pounds, 151, 152

    Halifax, Lord, and Timothy Bennett, 212, 213

    Hanley, Thomas Cooper's speech at, 182

    Hardy, Thomas, 265, 266

    "Helmsley," the tune, who composed it? 234

    Hewson, Colonel, the Cerdon of Hudibras, 215-217

    Holcroft, Thomas, 234

    Hook, Dr., of Leeds, and Thomas Cooper, 186

    Howard, John, 139

    Hudibras and Colonel Hewson, 217

    Hugh, Saint, 228

    Huntingdon, William, S. S., 257-8

    Imperial Dictionary of Biography, 244 257

    Iphicrates, 219

    Ireland, Dr., Lines to, by Gifford, 96

    Jackson's Lives of Methodist Preachers, 232

    Jameson, Mrs., on S. Crispin legendary art, 199

    Jefferson on Roger Sherman, 275

    Jerrold, Douglas, and Thomas Cooper, 183, 184

    Jochanan, Rabbi, 194

    Johnstone, J., 242

    Jones, John, friend of Lackington, 35

    Jong, Ludolph de, 209

    Kettering, first collection for Baptist Missions, 141

    Kingsley, Rev. Charles, and Thomas Cooper. 186

    Kirtland, Philip, of Lynn, Mass., 277

    Kitto, Rev. John, D.D., 261-4

    Knowles, Herbert, "Lines," etc., 232

    Krishnu, Carey's first convert in India, _note_, 146

    Law, William, and Boehmen, 206

    Lackington, James, and bargain-hunters, 39
      apprenticeship, 33, 34
      benefactions to Wesleyan denomination, 47
      birth and parentage, 31
      boyhood, vender of pies, almanacs. etc., 32
      business and profits in 1791, 44
      buys Young's "Night Thoughts," 38
      courage as a boy--the ghost story, 32
      death and burial, 47
      extensive purchases, 42
      first sale catalogue, 40
      gives up shoemaking for book-selling, 38
      goes to London, 1774, 37
      helped by the Wesleyan Fund, 39
      kindness to his relatives, 46
      life in Bristol, 35, 36
      marries Nancy Smith, 36
      "Memoirs and Confessions," 29
      motto for the door of his carriage, 30
      "No credit" system, 41, 42
      reads Epictetus, etc., 35
      retires from business, 1798, 45
      second marriage, 40
      sets up a "chariot" and "country-house," 44
      starts as bookseller, 38
      strictures on the Wesleyans, 29
      "Temple of the Muses," 29, 45
      tour through England and Scotland, 45, 46

    Lamb, Charles, on Shoemakers, 91, 227

    Lacroix, "Manners and Customs of Middle Ages," 198

    Lee, Dr. Samuel, 172
      Gideon, Mayor of New York, 277
    "Leisure Hour," articles on shoemakers, 211

    Leno, John B., 248

    Lestage, Nicholas, of Bordeaux, 203

    Let the cobbler stick to his last, 191

    "Literary Gazette " on Gifford, 93, 94

    Living examples of illustrious shoemakers, 248

    Llandaff, Earl of, and O'Neill, 245

    Lofft, Capel, 99, 239, 243

    Mackay, of Norwich, 225

    Macon, Mr., on Roger Sherman, 275

    Madan, Martin, and "Helmsley," 234

    Marriage, remarks on, 136, 137

    Marshman's "Carey, Marshman, and Ward," 131, 144, 145
      John Clarke, author of "Carey, Marshman, and Ward," 145
      Mr., Dr. Carey's friend and colleague, 143, 145

    Meistersingers of Germany, 204

    Men's and Women's _conscia recti_, 225-6

    Milbanke, Miss (Lady Byron) and Blacket, 241

    Miller, Thomas, and Thomas Cooper, 173, 180

    Montgomery, Jas., and Thomas Cooper, 177

    Morrison, Rev. Robert, D.D., 258, 259

    Mutual Improvement Society at Gainsborough and T. Cooper, 171

    Murray, John, and Gifford's editorial stipend, 83, 84

    Murray, John, his "drawing-rooms," 83

    Myngs, Sir Christopher, 19, 28, 219

    Narborough, Sir John, 19-21, 219

    Newton, Sir Isaac, and Boehmen, 206

    Nichol, Rev. James, 239

    Notes and Queries, 225

    Odger, George, 266-8

    Olivers, Thomas, 234

    O'Neill, John, temperance poet, 244-6

    "Oracle," The, 268

    Parsons, William, of the _Junto_, 277

    Partridge, Dr., 220-3

    Peace Societies, founded in America, 273

    Peel, Sir Robert, and shoemakers, 266

    Polwhele, Rev. Mr., and S. Drew, 120

    Pope John XXII., 209

    Pope and Partridge, 221
      and Savage, 230

    Portraits of naval officers at Greenwich, 219

    Pounds, John, begins teaching poor children, 153, 154
      birth and childhood, 152, 153
      gratitude of his old scholars, 156
      his death, 157
      his workroom described, 153, 154
      kindness to his scholars, 156
      memorials of, in Portsmouth, 158
      method of teaching, 155-157
      the roasted potato, 155

    Pressgang, 53

    "Purgatory of suicides," 179, 183

    Purver, Anthony, 226

    "Quarterly Review," 227, 243
      on Baptist Missionary Society, 141, 142

    Quarterlies, the Edinburgh and London, 75, 83, 84

    Ragged schools, John Pounds a founder of, 151, 152

    Raikes, Robert and Sophia Cooke start first Sunday-school, 66

    Reading, growth of about 1790;
      Lackington's remarks on, 43

    Rigby, Richard, ballad-writer, 227, 228

    Robinson, Henry Crabb, Diary, 206, 257, 266

    Rousseau, Jean Baptiste, 209

    Rowe, J. B., 228

    Russell, Admiral, 22

    Sachs, Hans, the Nightingale of the Reformation, 203-205

    Sandon, Lord, and Thomas Cooper, 188

    Savage, Richard, 230

    Scott, Rev. Thomas, the Commentator, and Carey, 113, 114

    Service, David, 242

    Sheaf, Mr., Shoemaker and artist, and John Pounds, 151, 157

    Sheffey, Daniel, of Virginia, 276

    Shenstone and Woodhouse, 228

    Sherman, Roger, 274, 275

    Shillitoe, Thomas, 251, 255

    Shoemakers and literature, 75

    Shoemaker's holiday, the, 227

    Shoemakers, large proportion of eminent men, 189, 190

    Shovel, Captain, knighted by William III., 22

    Shovel, Cloudesley, made captain, 21

    Shovel, Sir C., admiral of the _Blue_ and _Red_ and _White_, 22
      at battle of "La Hogue," 22
      at battle of Malaga, 23
      at capture of Barcelona, 23
      at the siege of Waterford, 22
      death by drowning, 23, 24
      epitaph, 17
      exploit as cabin boy, 19, 20
      exploit as lieutenant, 20, 21
      governor of Greenwich Hospital, _note_, 24
      M.P. for Rochester, _note_, 24
      portraits of, 17, 24
      presented to Queen Anne, 23
      William III.'s opinion of, 22

    Sibly, Dr. Ebenezer, 282, 323

    Sibly, Manoah, 266

    Smerdon, Rev. T., prepares Gifford for Oxford, 81

    Smith, Sidney, 75, 130, 145

    Sons of shoemakers, 209

    Souters of Selkirk, 213-215

    Southey, Robert, 230, 255

    Southey's article in "Quarterly Review" on Carey, etc., _note_, 141, 143, 145

    Struthers, John, 243

    Sturgeon, William, electrician, 264, 265

    Sunday-school, the first, 66, 139

    Sutcliffe, Rev. John, the friend of Carey, 136, 138, 140

    Swift and Partridge, 222

    Tyerman's Life of Wesley, 233

    Toplady and Olivers, 233

    Tinlinn, Watt, 214, 215

    Timmins, Rev. T., remarks on John Pounds, 154-156

    Tichbourne, Sir Thomas, Lord Mayor of London, 227

    Thorp, John, 255-7

    Thomas, Mr., Carey's colleague in first mission work, 141, 142

    Value of books in 1775, _note_, 39

    Warton, Thomas, and John Bennet, 229

    Watts, Dr. Isaac, 210

    Wesley, John, and Bradburn, 60, 63, 64, 65, 66, 71
      and Olivers, 231-34
      and Thorpe, 255

    Weever's "Funeral Monuments," _note_, 198

    Whately, Archbishop, 189

    White, Henry Kirke, lines on Bloomfield, 103

    Whitefield, George, and Olivers, 232

    Whittaker, Rev. John, and S. Drew, 120, 122

    Whittier, John Greenleaf, 227, 229
      lines to "Shoemakers," 279-281

    Wilberforce, William, remarks on Carey, 138

    Williams, Dr. Edward, 256

    Wilson, Bishop, friendship with Carey, 146

    Wilson, Gavin, 242

    Wilson, Henry, the Natick cobbler, 277-9

    Wilson, Professor, his opinion of Bloomfield's poetry, 100

    Wincklemann, J. J., 209

    Winnifred, Saint, 227

    Winks, Joseph, Foulkes, and Thomas Cooper, 171, 180, 186

    Wolfe's "Burial of Sir J. Moore," 232

    Woodhouse, James, 228

    Worcester, Noah, D.D., 271-4

    Wordsworth and Thomas Cooper, 184

    Ye Cocke of Westminster, Richard Castell, 210

    Younger, John, 246-7




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     Eminently practical in his own teaching, he has collected in
     these volumes the best thoughts of the best minds on the
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     together as the Puritan divines. I am heartily glad that by
     arrangements satisfactory to all concerned the Messrs. Funk &
     Co. are about to bring this great work within the reach of
     ministers everywhere, as the English edition is necessarily
     expensive. I wish the highest success to the enterprise."

=_Van Doren's Commentary._=

A Suggestive Commentary on Luke, with Critical and Homiletical Notes. By
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Communism Not the Best Remedy. A pamphlet for the times, containing the
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and Verities," by Rev. C. H. Spurgeon. 8vo, paper, 10 cents.

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A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of
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=_Disraeli's Lothair._=

Lothair. By Rt. Hon. B. DISRAELI, Earl of Beaconsfield. 2 vols., paper,
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=_Drill Book in Vocal Culture._=

Drill-Book in Vocal Culture and Gesture. By Rev. Prof. EDWARD P. THWING.
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_Five Remarkable Discourses._

"The Voice of God in Us," by R. S. STORRS, D.D.; "Jesus as a Poet," by
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=_How to Enjoy Life._=

Clergyman's and Students' Health; or Physical and Mental Hygiene, the
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=_In Memoriam--Wm. Cullen Bryant._=

A Funeral Oration. By HENRY W. BELLOWS, D.D. 8vo, paper, 10 cents.

=_Knight's History of England._=

The Popular History of England. A History of Society and Government from
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This is the most complete, and in every way the most desirable History
of England ever written. The former price of this History was $18.00 to

     _Lord Brougham_ says: "Nothing has ever appeared superior, if
     anything has been published equal, to the account of the state
     of commerce, government and society, at different periods."

     _Noah Forter, D.D., LL.D_, says: "The best history of England,
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     "The very thing required by the popular taste of the
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=_Lectures by Pere Hyacinthe._=

"Respect for the Truth," "The Reformation of the Family," "The Moral
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=_Leech's Reply._=

A Magnificent Reply to Ingersoll's Attack on the Bible. By S. V. LEECH,
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=_Robert Raikes Centennial Addresses._=

The Addresses delivered at the Robert Raikes Centennial Celebration in
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=_Standard Series--Class A._=

Fifteen Volumes by the most eminent Authors. Being Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6 and
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=_Talks to Boys and Girls About Jesus._=

Edited by Rev. W. F. CRAFTS. Contains one or more sermons on each of the
International S. S. Lessons for 1882, by more than _thirty_ of the
world's ablest preachers to children. An excellent book for holiday
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12mo., cloth, $1.50. Same, without illustrations, 75 cents.


=_Talks to Farmers._=

A new book of 19 sermons to farmers, by CHARLES H. SPURGEON. Price,

=_Gems of Illustrations._=

From the writings of Dr. GUTHRIE, arranged under the subjects which they
illustrate. By an American clergyman. A priceless book for clergymen and
all public teachers. Price $1.50.

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=_Burial of the Dead._=


A Pastor's Complete Hand-Book for Funeral Services, and for the
consolation and comfort of the afflicted. This work is a complete
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is arranged, for ease of reference, in four parts.

Entirely practical, wholly unsectarian, and far in advance of all other
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=_The Deems' Birthday Book._=


This book is being gotten up in beautiful style, making it a very
acceptable present for birthdays or other occasions. It contains some
hundreds of the choicest extracts of the writings and addresses of Dr.
Charles F. Deems, the well-known pastor of the Church of the Strangers,
New York.

These extracts are printed on the left-hand pages throughout the book.
On the right-hand pages are printed the days of the year; two dates to
each page, one at the top and one in the middle of the page; for
example, on first date page, _January 1st_ is printed on the top, and
_January 2d_ at the middle of the page. Under each date there is space
for a number of friends to write their names, each name to be written
under the date of the birth of the writer, so that at a glance at the
book the owner can tell the birthday of each of his friends.

The book thus serves as a most convenient autograph album.

Each volume contains a number of _autographs_ of leading clergymen, as
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close there are a number of blank pages on which are to be written, in
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The book has for a frontispiece a very fine vignette portrait of Dr.

What could be a more pleasing and appropriate present than this book?
Every family should have one.

Price, cloth, plain edges, $1.00; gilt edges, $1.25.

=_The Revisers' English._=


A series of criticisms showing the Revisers' violation of the laws of
the language.

Price, Cloth, 12mo, 75 cents. Paper, 12mo, 20 cents.

       *       *       *       *       *

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=_The Diary of a Minister's Wife._=


One editor says of it: "Some Itinerant's wife has been giving her
experience out of meeting."

Says one who has lived in the family of a minister for over a quarter of
a century: "It's funny; yes it's very funny; but it's true--it's all
true. Let those who want to know the ups and downs of the life of a
minister and his wife read this book."

Another reader says of it: "I have never read a book in which I was so
much interested and amused at the same time. The story of the trials of
Mrs. Hardscrabble with the Doolittles' alone is worth ten times the cost
of the book. Every one should buy it, and let his minister and his wife
read it."

Complete Edition, 12mo, 544 pages; Handsomely Bound in cloth. Price

=_What Our Girls Ought to Know._=


A most practical and valuable book; should be placed in the hands of
every girl.

Intelligently read it will accomplish much in the elevation of the human

The book is full of the most practical information--just what every girl
ought to know--must know.

Clergymen and others who have occasion to address in sermon or lecture,
girls, will find this book "crammed with suggestiveness."

The author, Dr. Mary J. Studley, was a physician of large practice and
great success. She was a graduate, resident physician and teacher of the
natural sciences in the State Normal School, Framingham, Mass.; also
graduate of the Woman's Medical College, New York: Dr. Emily Blackwell,
Secretary of the Faculty, and Dr. Willard Parker, Chairman of the Board
of Examiners.

Price, $1.00.

       *       *       *       *       *

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Best Books for a Trifle.

These books are printed in readable type, on fair paper, and are bound
in postal card manilla.

These books are printed wholly without abridgment, except Canon Farrar's
"Life of Christ" and his "Life of Paul."

       *       *       *       *       *

No. Price.

    1. John Ploughman's Talk. C. H.
    Spurgeon. On Choice of Books.
    Thomas Carlyle. 4to. Both      $0 12

    2. Manliness of Christ. Thomas
    Hughes. 4to. 10

    3. Essays. Lord Macaulay. 4to. 15

    4. Light of Asia. Edwin Arnold. 4to. 15

    5. Imitation of Christ. Thomas à
    Kempis. 4to. 15

    6-7. Life of Christ. Canon Farrar.
    4to. 50

    8. Essays. Thomas Carlyle. 4to. 20

    9-10. Life and Work of St. Paul.
    Canon Farrar. 4to. 2 parts, both      50

    11. Self-Culture. Prof. J. S. Blackie.
    4to. 2 parts, both                  10

    12-19. Popular History of England.
    Chas. Knight. 4to. 2 80

    20-21. Ruskin's Letters to Workmen
    and Laborers. 4to. 2 parts, both      30

    22. Idyls of the King. Alfred Tennyson.
    4to. 20

    23. Life of Rowland Hill. Rev. V. J.
    Charlesworth. 4to. 15

    24. Town Geology. Charles Kingsley.
    4to. 15

    25. Alfred the Great. Thos. Hughes.
    4to. 20

    26. Outdoor Life in Europe. Rev. E.
    P. Thwing. 4to. 20

    27. Calamities of Authors. I. D'Israeli.
    4to. 20

    28. Salon of Madame Necker. Part I.
    4to. 15

    29. Ethics of the Dust. John Ruskin.
    4to. 15

    30-31. Memories of My Exile. Louis
    Kossuth. 4to. 40

    32. Mister Horn and His Friends.
    Illustrated. 4to. 15

    33-34. Orations of Demosthenes. 4to. 40

    35. Frondes Agrestes. John Ruskin.
    4to. 15

    36. Joan of Arc. Alphonse de Lamartine.
    4to. 10

    37. Thoughts of M. Aurelius Antoninus.
    4to. 15

    38. Salon of Madame Necker. Part
    II. 4to. 15

    39. The Hermits. Chas. Kingsley. 4to. 15

    40. John Ploughman's Pictures. C.
    H. Spurgeon. 4to. 15

    41. Pulpit Table-Talk. Dean Ramsay.
    4to. 10

    42. Bible and Newspaper. C. H.
    Spurgeon. 4to. 15

    43. Lacon. Rev. C. C. Colton. 4to. 20

    44. Goldsmith's Citizen of the World.
    4to. $0 20

    45. America Revisited. George Augustus
    Sala. 4to. 20

    46. Life of C. H. Spurgeon. 8vo. 20

    47. John Calvin. M. Guizot. 4to. 15

    48-49. Dickens' Christmas Books.
    Illustrated. 8vo. 50

    50. Shairp's Culture and Religion. 8vo. 15

    51-52. Godet's Commentary on Luke.
    Ed. by Dr. John Hall. 8vo, 2 parts,
    both                              2 00

    53. Diary of a Minister's Wife. Part
    I. 8vo. 15

    54-57. Van Doren's Suggestive Commentary
    on Luke. New edition,
    enlarged. 8vo. 3 00

    58. Diary of a Minister's Wife. Part
    II. 8vo. 15

    59. The Nutritive Cure. Dr. Robert
    Walter. 8vo. 15

    60. Sartor Resartus. Thomas Carlyle.
    4to. 25

    61-62. Lothair. Lord Beaconsfield.
    8vo. 50

    63. The Persian Queen and Other
    Pictures of Truth. Rev. E. P.
    Thwing. 8vo. 10

    64. Salon of Madame Necker. Part
    III. 4to. 15

    65-66. The Popular History of English
    Bible Translation. H. P. Conant.
    8vo. Price both parts               50

    67. Ingersoll Answered. Joseph Parker,
    D.D. 8vo. 15

    68-69. Studies in Mark. D. C.
    Hughes. 8vo, in two parts           60

    70. Job's Comforters. A Religious
    Satire. Joseph Parker, D.D. (.London.)
    12mo. 10

    71. The Revisers' English. G. Washington
    Moon, F.R.S.L. 12mo. 20

    72. The Conversion of Children. Rev.
    Edward Payson Hammond. 12mo.      30

    73. New Testament Helps. Rev. W.
    F. Crafts. 8vo. 20

    74. Opium--England's Coercive Policy.
    Rev. Jno. Liggins. 8vo. 10

    75. Blood of Jesus. Rev. Wm. A.
    Reid. With Introduction by E.
    P. Hammond. 12mo. 10

    76. Lesson in the Closet for 1883.
    Charles F. Deems, D.D. 12mo. 20

    77-78. Heroes and Holidays. Rev.
    W. F Crafts. 12mo. 2pts., both      30

    79. Reminiscences of Rev. Lyman
    Beecher, D.D. 8vo. 10

       *       *       *       *       *

FUNK & WAGNALLS, 10 and 12 Dey St., NEW YORK.

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