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Title: Charles Bradlaugh: a Record of His Life and Work, Volume I (of 2) - With an Account of his Parliamentary Struggle, Politics and Teachings. Seventh Edition
Author: Robertson, J. M. (John Mackinnon), 1856-1933, Bonner, Hypatia Bradlaugh
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Bradlaugh: a Record of His Life and Work, Volume I (of 2) - With an Account of his Parliamentary Struggle, Politics and Teachings. Seventh Edition" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

LIFE AND WORK, VOLUME I (OF 2)***


Transcriber's note:

      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

      [oe] represents the oe-ligature.



[Illustration: CHARLES BRADLAUGH Born Sept. 26, 1833 Died Jan. 30,
1891]


CHARLES BRADLAUGH

A Record of His Life and Work by His Daughter.

HYPATIA BRADLAUGH BONNER.

With an Account of his Parliamentary Struggle
Politics and Teachings by

JOHN M. ROBERTSON, M.P.

Seventh Edition

With Portraits and Appendices



T. Fisher Unwin
London               Leipsic
Adelphi Terrace      Inselstrasse 20
1908

All Rights Reserved



PREFACE.


"I wish you would tell me things, and let me write the story of your
life," I said in chatting to my father one evening about six weeks
before his death. "Perhaps I will, some day," he answered. "I believe I
could do it better than any one else," I went on, with jesting vanity.
"I believe you could," he rejoined, smiling. But to write the story of
Mr Bradlaugh's life with Mr Bradlaugh at hand to give information is
one thing: to write it after his death is quite another. The task has
been exceptionally difficult, inasmuch as my father made a point of
destroying his correspondence; consequently I have very few letters to
help me.

This book comes to the public as a record of the life and work of a
much misrepresented and much maligned man, a record which I have spared
no effort to make absolutely accurate. Beyond this it makes no claim.

For the story of the public life of Mr Bradlaugh from 1880 to 1891,
and for an exposition of his teachings and opinions, I am fortunate
in having the assistance of Mr J. M. Robertson. We both feel that
the book throughout goes more into detail and is more controversial
than is usual or generally desirable with biographies. It has,
however, been necessary to enter into details, because the most
trivial acts of Mr Bradlaugh's life have been misrepresented, and for
these misrepresentations, not for his acts, he has been condemned.
Controversy we have desired to avoid, but it has not been altogether
possible. In dealing with strictures on Mr Bradlaugh's conduct
or opinions, it is not sufficient to say that they are without
justification; one must show how and where the error lies, and where
possible, the source of error. Hence the defence to an attack, to our
regret, often unavoidably assumes a controversial aspect.

A drawback resulting from the division of labour in the composition of
the book is that there are a certain number of repetitions. We trust,
however, that readers will agree with us in thinking that the gain of
showing certain details in different relations outweighs the fault of a
few re-iterations.

In quoting Mr Bradlaugh's words from the _National Reformer_, I have
for the sake of greater clearness and directness altered the editorial
plural to the first person singular.

I desire to express here my great indebtedness to Mrs Mary Reed for her
help, more especially in searching old newspaper files with me at the
British Museum.

 HYPATIA BRADLAUGH BONNER.

 1894.



 CONTENTS

 Part 1.

 BY HYPATIA BRADLAUGH BONNER.



 VOL. I.

 CHAPTER I.

 PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD                                               1

 Origin of the Bradlaugh family--James Bradlaugh--Charles
 Bradlaugh, senr.--His marriage--Birth of Charles Bradlaugh--Needy
 circumstances of the family--Character and tastes of his
 father--Character of his mother--Schooling--Handwriting--Amusements--Early
 lessons in politics.


 CHAPTER II.

 BOYHOOD                                                               7

 Charles Bradlaugh as office-boy--Wharf clerk and cashier--Politics
 at Bonner's Fields--Sunday School--The Rev. J. G. Packer--Suspended
 from duties as Sunday School teacher--Bonner's
 Fields on Sunday--Mrs Sharples Carlile--The Warner Street
 Temperance Hall--A teetotaller--Mr Packer's methods--An angry
 father--The ultimatum--Leaving home--Mr Packer's responsibility.


 CHAPTER III.

 YOUTH                                                                17

 Alone in the world--B. B. Jones--A youthful "coal merchant"--The
 baker's wife--Selling braces--Mrs Carlile offers a home--"A
 little Hebrew and an imperfect smattering of other tongues"--Hypatia
 Carlile--Brother and sister--Youthful oratory--The
 _British Banner_--Austin Holyoake--George Jacob Holyoake--The
 first pamphlet--A "season's campaign."


 CHAPTER IV.

 ARMY LIFE                                                            25

 Poverty, hunger, and debt--Enlisting for the East India service--Enrolled
 in the 50th Foot--Transferred to the 7th Dragoon
 Guards--Family reconciliation--The father's changed character--Troubles
 at sea--Temperance advocacy under difficulties--"Leaves"--At
 Rathmines Church--A right-of-way--A new
 officer--Donnybrook Fair--An Irish tragedy.


 CHAPTER V.

 ARMY LIFE CONCLUDED                                                  35

 The father's death--Letters home--Death of Miss Elizabeth
 Trimby--Mother and Daughter--Purchasing his discharge--Advantages
 derived from Army life--James Thomson.


 CHAPTER VI.

 MARRIAGE                                                             41

 Changes at home--A soldier in search of work--With Mr
 Rogers, of 70 Fenchurch Street--Anonymous busybodies again--"Iconoclast"
 --The Hooper family--Old letters--Poetry--Calumnies
 refuted--Common-sense justice--First recorded lawsuit--Marriage--My
 sister's birth--My mother.


 CHAPTER VII.

 HYDE PARK MEETINGS, 1855                                             52

 The new Sunday Bill--In Hyde Park--"Go to Church"--Hyde
 Park again--The Bill abandoned--The Royal Commission--Mr
 Bradlaugh's evidence.


 CHAPTER VIII.

 THE ORSINI ATTEMPT                                                   62

 Lecturing and writing--"The Bible: what it is"--Arrest of
 Edward Truelove--Felice Orsini--Simon Bernard--Thomas
 Allsop--"Thorough"--Recollections of W. E. Adams.


 CHAPTER IX.

 EARLY LECTURES AND DEBATES                                           72

 Provincial lectures--First visit to Northampton--President of
 the London Secular Society--Robert Owen's last paper--_The
 Investigator_--Political meetings--Hyde Park--Guildhall--Debates:
 Thomas Cooper--Rev. Brewin Grant--Dr Mensor--Rev.
 T. D. Matthias--Mr Court--John Smart.


 CHAPTER X.

 HARD TIMES                                                           90

 The Manchester poisoning case--Mr Harvey--Rheumatic fever--Elysium
 Villa--My brother's birth--Kate--Railway journeys--A
 lecturer's profits--An editor's profits.


 CHAPTER XI.

 A CLERICAL LIBELLER                                                  99

 An articled clerk--The Naples Colour Company--Financial
 operations--"Black Friday"--Sunderland Villa--The Rev. Hugh
 M'Sorley.


 CHAPTER XII.

 TOTTENHAM                                                           108

 Our home--James Thomson ("B. V.")--Harriet Bradlaugh--Father
 and children.


 CHAPTER XIII.

 THE "NATIONAL REFORMER"                                             119

 The _National Reformer_ Company--The coming of Joseph
 Barker--Turkish baths and Secularism--The difficulties of a dual
 editorship--A house divided--Sole editor--G. J. Holyoake as
 chief contributor--More difficulties--Arbitration--Messrs Smith
 and Son's boycott--John Watts as editor--My father resumes--The
 _Saturday Review_--"B. V." replies--The Rev. Charles Voysey:
 1868 and 1880.


 CHAPTER XIV.

 THE "NATIONAL REFORMER" AND THE GOVERNMENT PROSECUTIONS             137

 Prosecution of _National Reformer_ by Mr Disraeli's Government--"Published
 in defiance of Her Majesty's Government"--The
 Act of James I.--Collapse of the prosecution--The Press--The
 Rev. J. Page Hopps--Prosecution of _National Reformer_ by Mr
 Gladstone's Government--Abandonment of the prosecution--John
 Stuart Mill--Repeal of the odious Security laws--The
 Postmaster-General and the _National Reformer_.


 CHAPTER XV.

 ITALY                                                               152

 Earning money for Garibaldi--Mazzini--An eloquent passport--Police
 espionage--Carrying despatches--An American sees "fair
 play"--The police and the Life Assurance Companies.


 CHAPTER XVI.

 PLATFORM WORK, 1860-1861                                            158

 Debate with the Rev. B. Grant at Bradford--Dr Brindley--Pursuing
 Mr Bradlaugh to New York--Debates with Dr Baylee
 and others--"Extended propaganda"--The _Wigan Examiner_--Mr
 Hutchings--Dispensing "justice" to the Atheist--More
 debates--Norwich and Yarmouth--The Yarmouth Magistrates.


 CHAPTER XVII.

 THE DEVONPORT CASE, 1861                                            175

 The speech in Devonport Park--Opening a fortnight's campaign--Arrest--
 Imprisonment--The Guildhall--A marine adventure--The
 case against Superintendent Edwards--Mr Robert Collier,
 Q.C., M.P.--Mr Montagu Smith, Q.C.--An unjust judge--The
 Court of Common Pleas--Lord Chief Justice Erle--Mr Justice
 Keating--The Court of Appeal.


 CHAPTER XVIII.

 "KILL THE INFIDEL"                                                  189

 Religious liberty at Guernsey--Challenging the island authorities
 --Bill-posting extraordinary--"Kill the Infidel"--An infuriated
 crowd and a shrewd landlady--The courageous Harbour Master--"An
 act of natural justice."


 CHAPTER XIX.

 PROVINCIAL ADVENTURES, 1860-1863                                    194

 Altrincham--Shaw--Sunderland--Rochdale--The Bellman of
 Leigh--Warrington Journalism--Dumfries--Burnley--Chesterfield--Counter
 attractions at Worksop--At Boardman's Edge,
 discussion precedes the lecture--The Dewsbury poster--Leeds--A
 dream of Voltaire.


 CHAPTER XX.

 A FREEMASON                                                         203

 The Philadelphs--The Grand Lodge of England--The Prince of
 Wales as Grand Master--"To the oppressed of all Nations"--Joshua
 B. Smith as Junior Warden to the Adelphi Lodge--"Ill
 winds" that blow good to a Masonic charity.


 CHAPTER XXI.

 DEBATES, 1860-1866                                                  207

 The Rev. W. Barker--Thomas Cooper--A frank avowal--The
 Rev. Woodville Woodman again--Mr Porteous--A one-sided
 debate--Mr Porteous again.


 CHAPTER XXII.

 "THE WORLD IS MY COUNTRY; TO DO GOOD IS MY RELIGION"                214

 Sympathy with Garibaldi--Irish Catholic Opposition--An
 attempt to stab Mr Bradlaugh--Lancashire distress--"Viva la
 Polonia"--Death of B. B. Jones--Sheffield inundation--Help for
 the needy--A Hall of Science Company.


 CHAPTER XXIII.

 THE REFORM LEAGUE, 1866-1868                                        220

 The National Reform League--Primrose Hill--Trafalgar Square--Sir
 Richard Mayne's prohibition--The Derby Cabinet--Hyde
 Park--Another prohibition--Fall of the Hyde Park railings--Agricultural
 Hall--Bristol--Attacks upon Mr Bradlaugh--Northampton--Luton--Matthew
 Arnold casts his stone--On
 horseback at Trafalgar Square--Agricultural Hall again--The
 _Saturday Review_ and its followers--Hyde Park again--The
 Government "admonition" served and withdrawn--Mr Bradlaugh's
 resignation--Its result.


 CHAPTER XXIV.

 PROVINCIAL LECTURING, 1866-1869                                     238

 The Mayor of Liverpool--David King--Huddersfield: Arrest;
 Release; Before the Magistrates--The Rev. J. M'Cann--Huddersfield
 again--The Murphy riots at Manchester--The New Hall of
 Science--Blyth and Mr Thomas Burt--The "infidel" on Portsea
 Common--The people who loved my father--A liberal priest.


 CHAPTER XXV.

 IRELAND                                                             252

 English Misgovernment--The Fenian Brotherhood--Colonel
 Kelly and General Cluseret--The Irish proclamation of 1867--The
 Manchester rescue--The death sentence--The Clerkenwell explosion--Pamphlet
 on "the Irish Question"--A Quakers' discussion
 society--Lectures on behalf of Ireland--A visit to Dublin.


 CHAPTER XXVI.

 NORTHAMPTON, 1868                                                   263

 Mr Bradlaugh's determination to seek a seat in Parliament--The
 choice of Northampton--First election address--Scorn of the
 Whigs--Enthusiasm of the people--The election colours--John
 Stuart Mill--_The Daily Telegraph_--The Irish Reform League--John
 Bright--W. E. Gladstone--Mr Charles Gilpin and Lord
 Henley--The press--Dr Lees--Canvassing--The Lord's Day Rest
 Association--Mr Giffard, Q.C.--Mr Charles Capper, M.P.--Anti-Compulsory
 Vaccination--The nomination day--The poll--Tributes
 from the Mayor and from Mr Gilpin--Ministers who
 rejoiced.


 CHAPTER XXVII.

 SOUTHWARK ELECTION, 1869                                            280

 Mr Bradlaugh and Mr Odger.


 CHAPTER XXVIII.

 LITIGATION, 1867-1871                                               282

 English Joint Stock Bank (Limited) and Charles Bradlaugh--Bradlaugh
 _v._ De Rin--The Oath question in different Courts-Confusion
 of the law of evidence--A costly victory--The Evidence
 Amendment Act, 1870--The _Razor_ libel case--Mr O'Malley, Q.C.--"Outlaw
 or Citizen: Which am I?"--Action against the Mirfield
 Town Hall Company--Mr Digby Seymour, Q.C.--Mr Justice
 Willes.


 CHAPTER XXIX.

 PERSONAL                                                            299

 Financial difficulties--Mr Bradlaugh gives up business in the
 City and devotes himself to public work--Our home sold up--A
 scattered family--My brother's illness and death--His burial--The
 Rev. Drummond Ash--The Rev. Theophilus Bennett--My
 father's grief.


 CHAPTER XXX.

 LECTURES, 1870-1871                                                 304

 Freethought and Republican activity--A full lecture list--The
 "Impeachment of the House of Brunswick"--A misleading
 announcement--Stourbridge and Lord Lyttleton--The High Bailiff
 of Newton Abbot--The Sowerby Bridge champion wrestler--Dr
 Magee at Norwich Cathedral--Mr Disraeli and the Queen--Mr
 Gladstone's "Questionable Book."


 CHAPTER XXXI.

 FRANCE--THE WAR                                                     312

 Mr Bradlaugh's position--Republican France--Madame de
 Brimont--"France and Peace"--St James's Hall--Thanks of the
 Republican Government--Pleading for the recognition of the
 Republic by the English Government--The conference of European
 powers--M. C. Tissot.


 CHAPTER XXXII.

 THE COMMUNE, AND AFTER                                              322

 Communist friends--An effort for peace--Arrested at Calais--Expelled
 from France--A second arrest--Allowed to proceed to
 Paris--A lecture for French refugees--Prince Jérome Napoléon--Emile
 de Girardin--Emanuel Arago--Léon Gambetta--Yves
 Guyot--A Marxist attack.


 CHAPTER XXXIII.

 A DOZEN DEBATES                                                     332

 George Jacob Holyoake and Secularism--Alexander Robertson
 and the Existence of Deity--The Rev. A. J. Harrison--Father
 Ignatius--Mr Burns and Spiritualism.


 CHAPTER XXXIV.

 FAMILY AFFAIRS                                                      346

 Father and children--School in Paris--W. R. Bradlaugh.


 CHAPTER XXXV.

 REPUBLICANISM AND SPAIN                                             352

 English Republicans--Conference at Birmingham--Mr Bradlaugh
 carries English congratulations to the Spanish Republicans
 in 1873--Adventures between Irun and Madrid.


 CHAPTER XXXVI.

 MADRID AND AFTER                                                    364

 To Lisbon and back--Senor Castelar--Enthusiasm of the
 Madrid Republicans--The return journey--Reported death.


 CHAPTER XXXVII.

 GREAT GATHERINGS                                                    372

 The Parks Regulation Bill (1872)--Agricultural labourers at
 Exeter Hall--Miners' meetings in Northumberland, Durham, and
 Yorkshire--Agricultural labourers at Yeovil.


 CHAPTER XXXVIII.

 FIRST VISIT TO AMERICA                                              380

 The "London Correspondents'" puff extraordinary--Welcomed
 on arrival in New York--The Lotos Club--O'Donovan Rossa--Financial
 panic--At Steinway Hall--Stephen Pearl Andrews and
 Mrs Victoria Woodhull: a contrast--Wendell Phillips--Charles
 Sumner--William Lloyd Garrison--Henry Wilson--Joshua B.
 Smith--An accident at Kansas City--Carlile's daughters at
 Chicago--Ralph Waldo Emerson--Julia Ward Howe--Dissolution
 of Parliament--Return to England.


 CHAPTER XXXIX.

 TWO NORTHAMPTON ELECTIONS, 1874                                     392

 The first General Election under the Ballot Act--Northampton
 and its absent candidate--Reception on his return--Charles
 Gilpin's recommendation: his death--The bye-election--Mr
 William Fowler--The bitterness of the contest--Departure for
 the United States on the night of the poll--Rioting at Northampton
 --Hostile camps--Better counsels prevail.



CHARLES BRADLAUGH.



CHAPTER I.

PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD.


Although there has often been desultory talk among us concerning the
origin of the Bradlaugh family, there has never been any effort made
to trace it out. The name is an uncommon one: as far as I am aware,
ours is the only family that bears it, and when the name comes before
the public ours is the pride or the shame--for, unfortunately, there
are black sheep in every flock. I have heard a gentleman (an Irishman)
assure Mr Bradlaugh that he was of Irish origin, for was not the Irish
"lough" close akin to the termination "laugh"? Others have said he
was of Scotch extraction, and others again that he must go to the
red-haired Dane to look for his forbears. My father would only laugh
lazily--he took no vivid interest in his particular ancestors of a
few centuries ago--and reply that he could not go farther back than
his grandfather, who came from Suffolk; in his boyhood he had heard
that there were some highly respectable relations at Wickham Market,
in Suffolk. But so little did the matter trouble him that he never
verified it, though, if it were true, it would rather point to the
Danish origin, for parts of Suffolk were undoubtedly colonized by
the Danes in the ninth century, and a little fact which came to our
knowledge a few years ago shows that the name Bradlaugh is no new one
in that province.

Kelsall and Laxfield,[1] where there were Bradlaughs in the beginning
of the 17th century; Wickham Market and Brandeston, whence Mr
Bradlaugh's grandfather came at the beginning of the 19th, and where
there are Bradlaughs at the present day, are all within a narrow radius
of a few miles. The name Bradlaugh commenced to be corrupted into
Bradley prior to 1628, as may be seen from a stone in Laxfield Church,
and has also been so corrupted by a branch of the family within our own
knowledge. The name has also, I know, been spelled "Bradlough."

James Bradlaugh, who came from Brandeston about the year 1807, was a
gunsmith, and settled for a time in Bride Lane, Fleet Street, where
his son Charles, his fourth and last child, was born in February 1811.
He himself died in October of the same year, at the early age of
thirty-one.

Charles Bradlaugh (the elder) was in due course apprenticed to a law
stationer, and consequently this became his nominal profession; in
reality, he was confidential clerk to a firm of solicitors, Messrs
Lepard & Co. The apprentice was, on the occasion of some great trial,
lent to Messrs Lepard, and the mutual satisfaction seems to have
been so great that it was arranged that he should remain with them,
compensation being paid for the cancelling of his indentures. I have
beside me at the moment a letter, yellow and faded, dated July 30th,
1831, inquiring of "---- Batchelour, Esq.," concerning the character
of "a young man of the name of Bradlaugh," with the answer copied on
the back, in which the writer begs "leave to state that I have a high
opinion of him both as regards his moral character and industrious
habits, and that he is worthy of any confidence you may think proper to
place in him."

Charles Bradlaugh stayed with these solicitors until his death in 1852,
when the firm testified their appreciation of his services by putting
an obituary notice in the _Times_, stating that he had been "for
upwards of twenty years the faithful and confidential clerk of Messrs
Lepard & Co., of 6 Cloak Lane." He married a nursemaid named Elizabeth
Trimby, and on September 26th, 1833, was born their first child, who
was named Charles after his father. He was born in a small house in
Bacchus Walk, Hoxton. The houses in Bacchus Walk are small four-roomed
tenements; I am told that they have been altered and improved since
1833, but I do not think the improvement can have been great, for
the little street has a desperate air of squalor and poverty; and
when I went there the other day, Number 5, where my father was born,
could not be held to be in any way conspicuous in respect of superior
cleanliness. But in such a street cleanliness would seem to be almost
an impossibility. From Bacchus Walk the family went to Birdcage Walk,
where I have heard there was a large garden in which my grandfather
assiduously cultivated dahlias, for he seems to have been passionately
fond of flowers. Soon the encroaching tide of population caused their
garden to be taken for building purposes, and they removed to Elizabeth
Street, and again finally to 13 Warner Place South, a little house
nominally of seven rooms, then rented at seven shillings per week.

[Footnote 1: A friend studying the _Topographer and Genealogist_ found
the following extract in Vol. II.:--

"Hoxne Hundred.

"Kelsall Church. Brass; no figure. John Parker, gent., who married
Dorothy Bradlaugh, alias Jacob; died 24 April, 1605, aged 66.

"Laxfield Church. On a stone which had the figure of a man and two
women still remains a shield with the arms of Bradlaugh alias Jacob."

"A stone in the north wall of the vestry for Nicholas Bradley alias
Jacob, buried 8th August, 1628."]

The family, which ultimately numbered seven, two of whom died in
early childhood, was in very straitened circumstances, so much so
that they were glad to receive presents of clothing from a generous
cousin at Teddington, to eke out the father's earnings. The salary
of Charles Bradlaugh, sen., at the time of his death, after "upwards
of twenty years" of "faithful" service, was two guineas a week, with
a few shillings additional for any extra work he might do. He was an
exquisite penman; he could write the "Lord's Prayer" quite clearly and
distinctly in the size and form of a sixpence; and he was extremely
industrious. Very little is known of his tastes; he was exceedingly
fond of flowers, and wherever he was he cultivated his garden, large
or small, with great care; he was an eager fisherman, and would often
get up at three in the morning and walk from Hackney to Temple Mills on
the river Lea, with his son running by his side, bait-can in hand. He
wrote articles upon Fishing, which were reprinted as late as a year or
two ago in a paper devoted to angling, and also contributed a number
of small things under the signature C. B----h to the _London Mirror_,
but little was known about this, as he seems usually to have been very
reticent and reserved, even in his own family. He had his children
baptized--his son Charles was baptized on December 8th, 1833--but
otherwise he seems to have been fairly indifferent on religious
matters, and never went to church.

This is about all that is known concerning my grandfather up till about
the time of his son's conflict with the Rev. J. G. Packer, and what
steps he took then will be told in the proper place. His son Charles
always spoke of him with tenderness and affection, as, indeed, he also
did of his mother; nevertheless, he never seemed able to recall any
incident of greater tenderness on the part of his father than that of
allowing him to go with him on his early morning fishing excursions.
Mrs Bradlaugh belonged undoubtedly to what we regard to-day as "the
old school." Severe, exacting, and imperious with her children, she
was certainly not a bad mother, but she was by no means a tender
or indulgent one. The following incident is characteristic of her
treatment of her children. One Christmas time, when my father and his
sister Elizabeth (his junior by twenty-one months) were yet small
children, visitors were expected, and some loaf sugar was bought--an
unusual luxury in such poor households in those times. The visitors,
with whom came a little boy, arrived in due course, but when the tea
hour was reached, it was discovered that nearly all the sugar was
gone. The two elder children, Charles and Elizabeth, were both charged
with the theft; they denied it, but were disbelieved and forthwith
sent to bed. They listened for the father's home-coming in the hope of
investigation and release; there they both lay unheeded in their beds,
sobbing and unconsoled, until their grandmother brought them a piece of
cake and soothed them with tender words. Then it ultimately appeared
that it was the little boy visitor who stole the sugar; but the
children never forgot the dreadful misery of being unjustly punished.
The very last time the brother and sister were together, they were
recalling and laughing over the agony they endured over that stolen
sugar.

At the age of seven the little Charles went to school: first of all
to the National School, where the teacher had striking ideas upon the
value of corporal punishment, and enforced his instructions with the
ruler so heavily that the scar resulting from a wound so inflicted was
deemed of sufficient importance some nine or ten years later to be
marked in the enlistment description when Mr Bradlaugh joined the army.
Leaving the National School, he went first to a small private school,
and then to a boys' school kept by a Mr Marshall in Coldharbour Street;
all poor schools enough as we reckon schools to-day, but the best the
neighbourhood and his father's means could afford. Such as it was,
however, his schooling came to an end when he was eleven years old.

I have by me some interesting mementoes of those same
schooldays--namely, specimens of his "show" handwriting at the age of
seven, nine, and ten years. The writing is done on paper ornamented
(save the mark!) by coloured illustrations drawn from the Bible. The
first illustrates in wonderful daubs of yellow, crimson, and blue,
passages in the life of Samuel; in the centre is a text written in
a child's unsteady, unformed script; and at the bottom, flanked on
either side by yellow urns disgorging yellow and scarlet flames, come
the signature and date written in smaller and even more unsteady
letters than the text, "Charles Bradlaugh, aged 7 years, Christmas,
1840." The second specimen is adorned with truly awful illustrations
concerning "the death of Ahab," not exactly suggestive of that "peace
and goodwill" of which we hear so much and sometimes see so little.
The writing shows an enormous improvement, and is really a beautiful
specimen of a child's work. The signature, "Charles Bradlaugh, aged
9 years, Christmas, 1842," is firmly and clearly written. The third
piece represents the "Death of Absalom" (the teacher who gave out these
things seems to have been of a singularly dismal turn of mind), with
illustrations from 2 Sam. xiv. and xviii. The writing here has more
character; there is more light and shade in the up and down strokes,
as well as more freedom. As an instance of the humane nature of the
teaching, I quote the text selected to show off the writing: "Then
said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in
his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was
yet alive in the midst of the oak. And ten young men of Joab's smote
Absalom and slew him." As a lesson in sheer wanton cruelty this can
hardly be exceeded. The signature, "Charles Bradlaugh, aged ten years,
Christmas, 1843," which is surrounded by sundry pen-and-ink ornaments
is, like the text, written with a much freer hand than that of the
other specimens.

The boy's amusements--apart from the prime one of going fishing with
his father, which he did when eight years old--consisted chiefly in
playing at sham fights with steel nibs for soldiers, and dramatic
performances of "The Miller and his Men," enacted by _artistes_ cut out
of newspaper. Then there was the more sober joy of listening to an old
gentleman and ardent Radical, named Brand, who took a great affection
for the lad, and used to explain to him the politics of the day, and
doubtless by his talk inspired him to plunge into the intricacies of
Cobbett's "Political Gridiron," which he found amongst his father's
books, and from that to the later and more daring step of buying a
halfpenny copy of the People's Charter.



CHAPTER II.

BOYHOOD.


Now came the time when the little Charles Bradlaugh should put aside
his childhood and make a beginning in the struggle for existence. His
earnings were required to help in supplying the needs of the growing
family; and at twelve years old he was made office boy with a salary
of five shillings a week at Messrs Lepard's, where his father was
confidential clerk. In later years, in driving through London with
him, he has many a time pointed out to me the distances he used to run
to save the omnibus fare allowed him, and how if he had to cross the
water he would run round by London Bridge to save the toll. The money
thus saved he would spend in books bought at second-hand bookstalls,
outside of which he might generally be found reading at any odd moments
of leisure. One red-letter day his firm sent him on an errand to the
company of which Mr Mark E. Marsden was the secretary. Mr Marsden,
whose name will be remembered and honoured by many for his unceasing
efforts for political and social progress, chatted with the lad,
asking him many questions, and finished up by giving him a bun and
half-a-crown. As both of these were luxuries which rarely came in the
office boy's way, they made a great impression on him. He never forgot
the incident, although it quite passed out of Mr Marsden's mind, and he
was unable to recall it when the two became friends in after years.

The errand-running came to an end when my father was fourteen, at
which age he was considered of sufficient dignity to be promoted to
the office of wharf clerk and cashier to Messrs Green, Son, & Jones,
coal merchants at Brittania Fields, City Road, at a salary of eleven
shillings a week. About this time, too, partly impelled by curiosity
and swayed by the fervour of the political movement then going on
around him, but also undoubtedly with a mind prepared for the
good seed by the early talks with old Mr Brand, he went to several
week-evening meetings then being held in Bonner's Fields and elsewhere.
It was in 1847 that he first saw William Lovett, at a Chartist meeting
which he attended. His Sundays were devoted to religion; from having
been an eager and exemplary Sunday school scholar he had now become
a most promising Sunday school teacher; so that although discussions
were held at Bonner's Fields almost continually through the day every
Sunday, they were not for him: _he_ was fully occupied with his duties
at the Church of St Peter's, in Hackney Road.

At this time the Rev. John Graham Packer was incumbent at St Peter's;
and when it was announced that the Bishop of London intended to hold
a confirmation at Bethnal Green, Mr Packer naturally desired to make
a good figure before his clerical superior. He therefore selected
the best lads in his class for confirmation, and bade them prepare
themselves for the important occasion. To this end Charles Bradlaugh
carefully studied and compared the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church
of England and the four Gospels, and it was not long before he found,
to his dismay, that they did not agree, and that he was totally
unable to reconcile them. "Thorough" in this as in all else, he was
anxious to understand the discrepancies he found and to be put right.
He therefore, he tells us, "ventured to write Mr Packer a respectful
letter, asking him for his aid and explanation." Instead of help there
came a bolt from the blue. Mr Packer had the consummate folly to write
Mr Bradlaugh senior, denouncing his son's inquiries as Atheistical,
and followed up his letter by suspending his promising pupil for three
months from his duties of Sunday-school teacher.

This three months of suspension was pregnant with influence for him;
for one thing it gave him opportunities which he had heretofore
lacked, and thus brought him into contact with persons of whom up till
then he had scarcely heard. The lad, horrified at being called an
Atheist, and forbidden his Sunday school, naturally shrank from going
to church. It may well be imagined also that under the ban of his
parents' disapproval home was no pleasant place, and it is little to be
wondered at that he wandered off to Bonner's Fields. Bonner's Fields
was in those days a great place for open-air meetings. Discussions on
every possible subject were held; on the week evenings the topics
were mostly political, but on Sundays theological or anti-theological
discourses were as much to the fore as politics. In consequence of my
father's own theological difficulties, he was naturally attracted to
a particular group where such points were discussed with great energy
Sunday after Sunday. After listening a little, he was roused to the
defence of his Bible and his Church, and, finding his tongue, joined in
the debate on behalf of orthodox Christianity.

The little group of Freethinkers to which Mr Bradlaugh was thus drawn
were energetic and enthusiastic disciples of Richard Carlile. Their
out-door meetings were mostly held at Bonner's Fields or Victoria Park,
and the in-door meetings at a place known as Eree's Coffee House. In
the year 1848 it was agreed that they should subscribe together and
have a Temperance Hall of their own for their meetings. To this end
three of them, Messrs Barralet, Harvey, and Harris, became securities
for the lease of No. 1 Warner Place, then a large old-fashioned
dwelling-house; and a Hall was built out at the back. As the promoters
were anxious to be of service to Mrs Sharples Carlile, who after the
death of Richard Carlile was left with her three children in very poor
circumstances, they invited her to undertake the superintendence of the
coffee room, and to reside at Warner Place with her daughters Hypatia
and Theophila and her son Julian.

When my father first met her, Mrs Sharples Carlile, then about
forty-five years of age, was a woman of considerable attainments.
She belonged to a very respectable and strictly religious family at
Bolton; was educated in the Church with her two sisters under the Rev.
Mr Thistlethwaite; and, to use an expression of her own, was "quite an
evangelical being, sang spiritual songs, and prayed myself into the
grave almost." Her mind, however, was not quite of the common order,
and perhaps the excess of ardour with which she had thrown herself into
her religious pursuits made the recoil more easy and more decided.
Be this as it may, it is nevertheless remarkable that, surrounded
entirely by religious people, reading no anti-theological literature,
she unaided thought herself out of "the doctrines of the Church." After
some two-and-a-half-years of this painful evolution, accident made her
acquainted with a Mr Hardie, a follower of Carlile's. He seems to have
lent her what was at that time called "infidel literature," and so
inspired her with the most ardent enthusiasm for Richard Carlile, and
in a less degree for the Rev. Robert Taylor. On the 11th January 1832,
whilst Carlile was undergoing one of the many terms of imprisonment
to which he was condemned for conscience' sake, Miss Sharples came to
London, and on the 29th of the same month she gave her first lecture at
the Rotunda.

On the 11th of February this young woman of barely twenty-eight
summers, but one month escaped from the trammels of life in a country
town, amidst a strictly religious environment, started a "weekly
publication" called _Isis_, dedicated to "The young women of England
for generations to come or until superstition is extinct." The _Isis_
was published at sixpence, and contains many of Miss Sharples'
discourses both on religious and political subjects. In religion she
was a Deist; in politics a Radical and Republican; thus following
in the footsteps of her leader Richard Carlile. I have been looking
through the volume of the _Isis_; it is all very "proper" (as even
Mrs Grundy would have to confess), and I am bound to say that the
stilted phrases and flowery turns of speech of sixty years ago are to
me not a little wearisome; but with all its defects, it is an enduring
record of the ability, knowledge, and courage of Mrs Sharples Carlile.
She reprints some amusing descriptions of herself from the religious
press; and were I not afraid of going too much out of my way, I would
reproduce them here with her comments in order that we might picture
her more clearly; but although this would be valuable in view of the
evil use made of her name in connection with her kindness to my father,
it would take me too far from the definite purpose of my work. In her
preface to the volume, written in 1834, she thus defends her union with
Richard Carlile:--

"There are those who reproach my marriage. They are scarcely worth
notice; but this I have to say for myself, that nothing could have
been more pure in morals, more free from venality. It was not only a
marriage of two bodies, but a marriage of two congenial spirits; or
two minds reasoned into the same knowledge of true principles, each
seeking an object on which virtuous affection might rest, and grow, and
strengthen. And though we passed over a legal obstacle, it was only
because it could not be removed, and was not in a spirit of violation
of the law, nor of intended offence or injury to any one. A marriage
more pure and moral was never formed and continued in England. It was
what marriage should be, though not perhaps altogether what marriage is
in the majority of cases. They who are married equally moral, will not
find fault with mine; but where marriage is merely of the law or for
money, and not of the soul, there I look for abuse."[2]

[Footnote 2: In the _Gauntlet_ for Sept. 22nd, 1833, Carlile, who had
been formally separated from his wife nine months previously, says:--

"Many months did not elapse before we stood pledged to a moral
marriage, and to a resolution to avow that marriage immediately after
my liberation. I took the first opportunity of doing it, as I now take
the first of explaining the introduction. As a public man, I will be
associated with nothing that is to be concealed from the public. Many,
I know, will carp upon my freedom as to divorce and marriage; and to
such persons I say, if they are worth a word, that I do so because I
hate hypocrisy, because I hate everything that is foul and indecent,
because I will not deceive any one. I have led a miserable wedded life
through twenty years, from disparity of mind and temper; and, for
the next twenty, I have resolved to have a wife in whom I may find a
companion and helpmate.... I will make one woman happy, and I will not
make any other woman unhappy. RICHARD CARLILE.

"_P.S._--I would not have intruded this matter upon the public notice
had it not been intended that the lady, as well as myself, will
continue to lecture publicly. We are above deception. Our creed is
truth, and our morals nothing but is morally and reasonably to be
defended. Priestcraft hath no law for us; but every virtue, everything
that is good and useful to human nature in society, has its binding law
on us. We will practise every virtue and war with every vice. This is
our moral marriage and our bond of union. Who shall show against it any
just cause or impediment?"]

Of course, all this happened long before Mr Bradlaugh became acquainted
with Mrs Carlile; when he knew her, sixteen or seventeen years later,
she was a broken woman, who had had her ardour and enthusiasm cooled by
suffering and poverty, a widow with three children, of whom Hypatia,
the eldest, could not have been more than fourteen or fifteen years old
at the most. I have been told by those who knew Mrs Carlile in those
days that in spite of all this she still had a most noble presence,
and looked and moved "like a queen." Her gifts, however, they said,
with smiles, certainly did not lie in attending to the business of the
coffee room--at that she was "no good." She was quiet and reserved, and
although Christians have slandered her both during her lifetime and up
till within this very year on account of her non-legalised union with
Richard Carlile, she was looked up to and revered by those who knew
her, and never was a whisper breathed against her fair fame.

Amongst the frequenters of the Warner Street Temperance Hall I find
the names of Messrs Harvey, Colin Campbell, the brothers Savage,[3] the
brothers Barralet, Tobias Taylor, Edward Cooke, and others, of whom
most Freethinkers have heard something. They seem to have been rather
wild, compared with the sober dignity of the John Street Institution,
especially in the way of lecture bills with startling announcements,
reminding one somewhat of the modern Salvation Army posters. The
neighbourhood looked with no favourable eye upon the little hall, and I
am told that one night, when a baby was screaming violently next door,
a rumour got about that the "infidels" were sacrificing a baby, and
the place was stormed by an angry populace, who were with difficulty
appeased.

[Footnote 3: There were three of these brothers, all remarkable for
their courage, pertinacity, or ability. One of them, John Savage,
refused to pay taxes in 1833. The best of his goods were seized and,
in spite of Mr Savage's protests, carried away in a van. There was so
much feeling about the taxes at the time that no sooner did the people
living in the neighbourhood (Circus Street, Marylebone) hear of the
seizure than they collected in great numbers. The van was followed,
taken possession of, and brought back to Circus Street. The goods were
removed, the horse taken out of the shafts, and the van demolished.
After the news spread throughout the metropolis the excitement became
so great that the Horse Guards at the Regent's Park Barracks were put
under arms. They had lively times sixty years ago.]

It was to this little group of earnest men that the youth Charles
Bradlaugh was introduced in 1848, as one eager to debate, and
enthusiastically determined to convert them all to the "true religion"
in which he had been brought up. He discussed with Colin Campbell,
a smart and fluent debater; he argued with James Savage, a man of
considerable learning, a cool and calm reasoner, and a deliberate
speaker, whose speech on occasion was full of biting sarcasms; and
after a discussion with the latter upon "The Inspiration of the
Bible," my father admitted that he was convinced by the superior
logic of his antagonist, and owning himself beaten, felt obliged to
abandon his defence of orthodoxy. Nevertheless, he did not suddenly
leap into Atheism: his views were for a little time inclined to
Deism; but once started on the road of doubt, his careful study
and--despite his youth--judicial temper, gradually brought him to
the Atheistic position. With the Freethinkers of Warner Place he
became a teetotaller, which was an additional offence in the eyes of
the orthodox; and while still in a state of indecision on certain
theological points, he submitted Robert Taylor's "Diegesis" to his
spiritual director, the Rev. J. G. Packer.

During all this time Mr Packer had not been idle. He obtained a
foothold in my father's family, insisted on the younger children
regularly attending Church and Sunday School, rocked the baby's cradle,
and talked over the father and mother to such purpose that they
consented to hang all round the walls of the sitting-room great square
cards, furnished by him, bearing texts which he considered appropriate
to the moment. One, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God,"
was hung up in the most prominent place over the fireplace, and just
opposite the place where the victim sat to take his meals. Such stupid
and tactless conduct would be apt to irritate a patient person, and
goad even the most feeble-spirited into some kind of rebellion; and I
cannot pretend that my father was either one or the other. He glowered
angrily at the texts, and was glad enough to put the house door between
himself and the continuous insult put upon him at the instigation of
Mr Packer. In 1860, the rev. gentleman wrote a letter described later
by my father as "mendacious," in which he sought to explain away his
conduct, and to make out that he had tried to restrain Mr Bradlaugh,
senior. In illustration thereof, he related the following incident:--

 "The father, returning home one evening, saw a board hanging at the
 Infidels' door announcing some discussion by Bradlaugh, in which
 my name was mentioned not very respectfully, which announcement so
 enraged the father that he took the board down and carried it home
 with him, the Infidels calling after him, and threatening him with a
 prosecution if he did not restore the placard immediately.

 "When Mr Bradlaugh, senior, got home, and had had a little time for
 reflection, he sent for me and asked my advice, and I urged him
 successfully immediately to send [back] the said placard."

That little story, like certain other little stories, is extremely
interesting, but unfortunately it has not the merit of accuracy. The
facts of the case have been told me by my father's sister (Mrs Norman),
who was less than two years younger than her brother Charles, and who,
like him, is gifted with an excellent, almost unerring memory. Her
story is this. One autumn night (the end of October or beginning of
November) Mr Packer came to the house to see her father. He had not yet
come home from his office, so Mr Packer sat down and rocked the cradle,
which contained a fewdays-old baby girl. After some little time,
during which Mr Packer kept to his post as self-constituted nurse, Mr
Bradlaugh, sen., returned home. The two men were closeted together for
a few minutes, and then went out together. It was a wild and stormy
night, and Mr Bradlaugh wore one of those large cloaks that are I think
called "Inverness" capes. After some time he came home, carrying under
his cape two boards which he had taken away from the Warner Place Hall.
He behaved like a madman, raving and stamping about, until the monthly
nurse, who had long known the family, came downstairs to know what was
the matter. He showed her the boards, and told her he was going to burn
them. Mrs Bailey, the nurse, begged him not to do so, talked to him
and coaxed him, and reminded him that he might have an action brought
against him for stealing, and at length tried to induce him to let her
take them back. By this time the stress of his rage was over, and she,
taking his consent for granted, put on her shawl, and hiding the boards
beneath it, went out into the rain and storm to replace them outside
the Hall. The inference Mrs Norman drew from these proceedings was that
Mr Packer had urged on her father to do what he dared not do himself.
It is worthy of note that when Mrs Norman told me the story neither she
nor I had read Mr Packer's version, and did not even know that he had
written one.

When Mr Packer received the "Diegesis" he seems to have looked upon the
sending of it as an insult, and, exercising all the influence he had
been diligently acquiring over the mind of Mr Bradlaugh, sen., induced
him to notify Messrs Green & Co., the coal merchants and employers of
his son, that he would withdraw his security if within the space of
three days his son did not alter his views. Thus Mr Packer was able to
hold out to his rebellious pupil the threat that he had three days in
which "to change his opinions or lose his situation."

Whether it was ever intended that this threat should be carried out
it is now impossible to determine. Mr Bradlaugh, who seldom failed
to find a word on behalf of those who tried to injure him--even for
Mr Newdegate and Lord Randolph Churchill he could find excuses when
any of us resented their bigoted or spiteful persecution--said in his
"Autobiography," written in 1873, that he thought the menace was used
to terrify him into submission, and that there was no real intention of
enforcing it. Looking at the whole circumstances, and from a practical
point of view, this seems likely. One is reluctant to believe that a
father would permit himself to be influenced by his clergyman to the
extent of depriving his son of the means of earning his bread. His own
earnings were so scanty that he could ill afford to throw away his
son's salary, especially if he would have to keep him in addition.
The one strong point in favour of the harsher view is that when the
son took the threat exactly to the letter, the father never called
him back or made a sign from which might be gathered that he had been
misunderstood; and he suffered the boy to go without one word to show
that the ultimatum had been taken too literally.

At the time, at any rate, my father had no doubt as to the full import
of the threat. He took it in all its naked harshness--three days in
which to change his opinions or lose his situation. To a high-spirited
lad, to lose his situation under such circumstances meant of course
to lose his home, for he could not eat the bread of idleness at such
a cost, even had the father been willing to permit it. On the third
day, therefore, he packed his scanty belongings, parted from his dear
sister Elizabeth, with tears and kisses and a little parting gift,
which she treasures to this hour, and thus left his home. From that
day almost until his death his life was one long struggle against the
bitterest animosity which religious bigotry could inspire. In the face
of all this he pursued the path he had marked out for himself without
once swerving, and although the cost was great, in the end he always
triumphed in his undertakings--up to the very last, when the supreme
triumph came as his life was ebbing away in payment for it, and when he
was beyond caring for the good or evil opinion of any man.

It is now the fashion to make Mr Packer into a sort of scapegoat: his
harsh reception of his pupil's questions and subsequent ill-advised
methods of dealing with him are censured, and he is in a manner made
responsible for my father's Atheism. If no other Christian had treated
Mr Bradlaugh harshly; if every other clergyman had dealt with him in
kindly fashion; if he had been met with kindness instead of slanders
and stones, abuse and ill-usage, then these censors of Mr Packer
might have some just grounds on which to reproach him for misusing
his position; as it is, they should ask themselves which among them
has the right to cast the first stone. The notion that it was Mr
Packer's treatment of him that drove my father into Atheism is, I am
sure, absolutely baseless. Those who entertain this belief forget that
Mr Bradlaugh had already begun to compare and criticise the various
narratives in the four Gospels, and that it was on account of this (and
therefore after it) that the Rev. J. G. Packer was so injudicious as to
denounce him as an Atheist, and to suspend him from his Sunday duties.
This harsh and blundering method of dealing with him no doubt hastened
his progress towards Atheism, but it assuredly did not induce it. It
set his mind in a state of opposition to the Church as represented
by Mr Packer, a state which the rev. gentleman seems blindly to have
fostered by every means in his power; and it gave him the opportunity
of the Sunday's leisure to hear what Atheism really was, expounded by
some of the cleverest speakers in the Freethought movement at that
time. But in spite of all this, he was not driven pell-mell into
Atheism; he joined in the religious controversy from the orthodox
standpoint, and was introduced into the little Warner Place Hall as an
eager champion on behalf of Christianity.

Those persons too who entertain this idea of Mr Packer's responsibility
are ignorant of, or overlook, what manner of man Mr Bradlaugh was.
He could not rest with his mind unsettled or undecided; he worked
out and solved for himself every problem which presented itself to
him. He moulded his ideas on no man's: he looked at the problem on
all sides, studied the pros and cons, and decided the solution for
himself. Therefore, having once started on the road to scepticism,
kindlier treatment would no doubt have made him longer in reaching the
standpoint of pure Rationalism, but in any case the end would have been
the same.



CHAPTER III.

YOUTH.


Driven from home because he refused to be a hypocrite, Charles
Bradlaugh stood alone in the world at sixteen; cut off from kindred
and former friends, with little or nothing in the way of money or
clothes, and with the odium of Atheist attached to his name in lieu of
character. To seek a situation seemed useless: what was to be done? To
whom should he turn for help and sympathy if not to those for whose
opinions he was now suffering? To these he went, and they, scarce
richer than himself, welcomed him with open arms. An old Chartist and
Freethinker, a Mr B. B. Jones, gave him hospitality for a week, while
he cast about for means of earning a livelihood. Mr Jones was an old
man of seventy; and in after years, when he had grown too feeble to
do more than earn a most precarious livelihood by selling Freethought
publications, Mr Bradlaugh had several times the happiness of being
able to show his gratitude practically by lecturing and getting up a
fund for his benefit. Having learned something about the coal trade
whilst with Messrs Green, my father determined to try his fortune as
a "coal merchant;" but unhappily he had no capital, and consequently
required to be paid for the coals before he himself could get them to
supply his customers. Under these circumstances it is hardly wonderful
that his business was small. He, however, got together a few customers,
and managed to earn a sufficient commission to keep him in bread and
cheese. He had some cards printed, and in a boyish spirit of bravado
pushed one under his father's door. Mr Headingley, in the "Biography of
Mr Bradlaugh" that he wrote in 1880, gives the story of the "principal
customer" in pretty much the very words in which he heard it, so I
reproduce it here intact:--

 "Bradlaugh's principal customer was the good-natured wife of a
 baker, whose shop was situated at the corner of Goldsmith's Road.
 As she required several tons of coal per week to bake the bread,
 the commission on this transaction amounted to about ten shillings a
 week, and this constituted the principal source of Bradlaugh's income.
 The spirit of persecution, however, was abroad. Some kind friend
 considerately informed the baker's wife that Bradlaugh was in the
 habit of attending meetings of Secularists and Freethinkers, where he
 had been known to express very unorthodox opinions. This was a severe
 blow to the good lady. She had always felt great commiseration for
 Bradlaugh's forlorn condition, and a certain pride in herself for
 helping him in his distress. When, therefore, he called again for
 orders she exclaimed at once, but still with her wonted familiarity--

 "'Charles, I hear you are an Infidel!'

 "At that time Bradlaugh was not quite sure whether he was an Infidel
 or not; but he instinctively foresaw that the question addressed him
 might interfere with the smooth and even course of his business;
 he therefore deftly sought to avoid the difficulty by somewhat
 exaggerating the importance of the latest fluctuation in the coal
 market.

 "The stratagem was of no avail. His kind but painfully orthodox
 customer again returned to the charge, and then Bradlaugh had to fall
 back upon the difficulty of defining the meaning of the word Infidel,
 in which line of argument he evidently failed to produce a favourable
 impression. Again and again he tried to revert to the more congenial
 subject of a reduction in the price of coals, and when, finally, he
 pressed hard for the usual order, the interview was brought to a close
 by the baker's wife. She declared in accents of firm conviction, which
 have never been forgotten, that she could not think of having any more
 coals from an Infidel.

 "'I should be afraid that my bread would smell of brimstone,' she
 added with a shudder."

It always strikes me as a little odd that orthodox people, who believe
that the heretic will have to undergo an eternity of punishment--a
punishment so awful that a single hour of it would amply suffice
to avenge even a greater crime than the inability to believe--yet
regard that as insufficient, and do what they can on earth to give
the unbeliever a foretaste of the heavenly mercy to come. This little
story of the kind-hearted woman turned from her kindness by some
bigoted busybody is a mild case in point. Such people put a premium on
hypocrisy, and make the honest avowal of opinion a crime.

In so limited a business the loss of the chief customer was naturally a
serious matter; and although the young coal merchant struggled on for
some time longer, he was at last obliged to seek for other means of
earning his bread. For a little while he tried selling buckskin braces
on commission for Mr Thomas J. Barnes. Mr Barnes gave him a breakfast
at starting in the morning, and a dinner on his return at night, but as
he could only sell a limited quantity of the braces he grew ever poorer
and poorer.

Early in my father's troubles, Mrs Carlile and her children seem to
have taken a warm liking for him. He shared Julian Carlile's bed, and
there was always a place at the family table--such as it was--whenever
he wanted it. He read Hebrew with Mr James Savage, and in turn taught
Hebrew and Greek to Mr Thomas Barralet, then a young man of his own
age, his particular friend and companion at the time. With the Carlile
children he had lessons in French from Mr Harvey, an old friend of
Richard Carlile's. These "French" days, I can readily believe, were
altogether red-letter days. Usually, from motives of economy, the
_menu_ was made up on a strictly vegetarian basis; but when Mr Harvey
came he invariably invited himself to dinner, and having a little
more money than most of the others, he always provided the joint. Mr
Bradlaugh says in his "Autobiography" that while with the Carliles
he picked up "a little Hebrew and an imperfect smattering of other
tongues." Then and with subsequent study he acquired a good knowledge
of Hebrew; French he could read and speak (although with a somewhat
English accent) as easily as his own tongue; he knew a little Arabic
and Greek; and he could make his way through Latin, Italian, or
Spanish, though of German and its allied languages he knew nothing.

It was whilst under Mrs Carlile's roof my father fell in love with
Hypatia, Mrs Carlile's eldest daughter; and this fleeting attachment
of a boy and girl (or rather, I should say of a boy _for_ a girl, for
I know that Miss Carlile laughed at my father's pretensions, and there
is absolutely no reason to suppose that she felt anything more than a
sisterly affection for him) would hardly be worth alluding to had not a
whole scandal been built upon it. As far as I can trace, the vile and
iniquitous statements that have been made as to the relations between
my father and Hypatia Carlile--he between sixteen and seventeen, and
she a year or two younger--originated with the Rev. J. G. Packer and
the Rev. Brewin Grant; and since Mr Bradlaugh's death there have not
been wanting worthy disciples of these gentlemen, who have endeavoured
to revive these unwarranted accusations. Mrs Carlile was also vaguely
accused of making "a tool" of the lad, and involving him in money
transactions!----It is not easy to sympathise with the temper which
makes people so unable to understand the generous heart of a woman
who, herself desperately poor, could yet freely share the crumbs of
her poverty with one whose need was even greater than her own, and
give a home and family to the lad who had forfeited his own purely for
conscience' sake.

As after my father left home he was chiefly sheltered by the Carliles
at 1 Warner Place, I cannot imagine what Mr Headingley[4] means by
saying that Mr Bradlaugh was saved the anxiety of pursuit by his
parents. There was no necessity for pursuit; he was never at any time
far from home, and for the most part was in the same street, only a
few doors off. His parents knew where he was; he was often up and down
their street; and his sister Elizabeth would watch to see him pass, or
would loiter about near the Temperance Hall to catch a glimpse of her
brother. She was peremptorily forbidden to exchange a word with him;
and when they passed in the street, this loving brother and sister,
who were little more than children in years, would look at each other,
and not daring to speak, would both burst into tears. In spite of all
this I never heard my father say an unkind or bitter, or even a merely
reproachful word about either of his parents.

Having once begun to speak at the open-air meetings in Bonner's Fields,
he continued speaking there or at Victoria Park, Sunday after Sunday,
during the day, and in the evening at the Warner Place Temperance Hall,
or at a small Temperance Hall in Philpot Street. I am also informed
that he lectured on Temperance at the _Wheatsheaf_ in Mile End Road.
The _British Banner_ for July 31st, 1850, contains a letter signed
D. J. E., on "Victoria Park on the Lord's Day." The writer, after
dwelling at length upon the sinfulness and general iniquity of the
Sunday frequenters of the park, who, he affirmed, sauntered in "sinful
idleness" ... "willing listeners to the harangues of the Chartist, the
Socialist, the infidel and scoffer," goes on to say of my father:--

 "The stump orator for the real scoffing party is an overgrown boy of
 seventeen, with such an uninformed mind, that it is really amusing
 to see him sometimes stammering and spluttering on in his ignorant
 eloquence, making the most ludicrous mistakes, making all history to
 suit his private convenience, and often calling yea nay, and nay yea,
 when it will serve his purpose. He is styled by the frequenters of the
 park as the 'baby'; and I believe he is listened to very often more
 from real curiosity to know what one so young will say, than from any
 love the working men have to his scoffings."

[Footnote 4: Biography of Charles Bradlaugh.]

At the conclusion of a long letter, the writer says:--

 "It gives me great delight to state that the working men have no real
 sympathy with Infidels and scoffers, but would far sooner listen to
 an exposition of the Word of God. To give you an instance. One Sunday
 I opposed the 'baby' of whom I have spoken, and instantly there was
 a space cleared for us, and an immense ring formed around us. The
 Infidel spoke first, and I replied; he spoke again, and was in the
 midst of uttering some dreadful blasphemy, copied from Paine's 'Age of
 Reason,' when the people could suppress their indignation no longer,
 but uttered one loud cry of disapprobation. When silence had been
 obtained, I addressed to them again a few serious kind words, and told
 them that if they wish me to read to them the Word of God, I would do
 so; that if they wished me to pray with them, I would do so. Upon my
 saying this, nearly all the company left the Infidel, and repaired to
 an adjoining tree, where I read and expounded the Word of God with
 them for about an hour."

In this first press notice of himself Mr Bradlaugh had an introductory
specimen of the accuracy, justice, and generosity, of which he was
later to receive so many striking examples from the English press
generally, and the London and Christian press in particular.

In attending Freethought meetings Charles Bradlaugh became acquainted
with Austin Holyoake, and a friendship sprang up between these two
which ended only with the death of Mr Holyoake in 1874. By Austin
Holyoake he was taken to the John Street Institution, and by him also
he was introduced to his elder and more widely-known brother, Mr George
Jacob Holyoake, who took the chair for him at a lecture on the "Past,
Present, and Future of Theology" at the Temperance Hall, Commercial
Road. Mr G. J. Holyoake, in a sketch of my father's life and career
written in 1891, says:--

 "It will interest many to see what was the beginning of his splendid
 career on the platform, to copy the only little handbill in existence.
 Only a few weeks before his death, looking over an old diary, which
 I had not opened for forty-one years, I found the bill, of which I
 enclose you the facsimile. It is Bradlaugh's first placard:--

  LECTURE HALL,
  PHILPOT ST., (3 DOORS FROM COMMERCIAL ROAD).

  A LECTURE
  WILL BE DELIVERED BY
  CHARLES BRADLAUGH, JUN.,
  _On Friday, October the 10th, 1850_,

  SUBJECT:
  PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF THEOLOGY.

  MR GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE,
  _Editor of the "Reasoner,"_
  WILL TAKE THE CHAIR AT EIGHT O'CLOCK PRECISELY.

  A Collection will be made after the Lecture for the Benefit of
  C. Bradlaugh, victim of the Rev. J. G. Packer, of St. Peter's,
  Hackney Road.

 "Being his first public friend, I was asked to take the chair for him.
 Bradlaugh's subject was a pretty extensive one for the first lecture
 of a youth of seventeen, who looked more like fourteen as he stood up
 in a youth's round jacket; but he spoke with readiness, confidence,
 and promise."

In May 1850, "at the age of 16 years 7-1/2 months," Mr Bradlaugh wrote
an "Examination of the four Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke
and John, with remarks on the life and death of the meek and lowly
Jesus." This he "altered and amended" in June 1854, but it was never
published. In the preface, written in 1850, he says, "I think I can
prove that there did exist a man named Jesus [Greek: chrêstos] the
good man," but in 1854 he no longer adheres to this position, and
adds a note: "I would not defend the existence of Jesus as a man at
all, although I have not sufficient evidence to deny it." Through the
kindness of a friend I am in possession of the MS. volume containing
this "Examination," which, apart from its value to me personally, is
extremely interesting as showing how carefully my father went about
his work, even at an age when many lads are still at school. A month
or so after writing this critical examination, "C. Bradlaugh, jun.,"
published his first pamphlet, entitled, "A Few Words on the Christian's
Creed." To the Rev. J. G. Packer he dedicated his first printed attack
upon orthodox Christianity, addressing him in the following words:--

 "SIR,--Had the misfortunes which I owe to your officious
 interference been less than they are, and personal feeling left any
 place in my mind for deliberation or for inquiry in selecting a
 proper person to whom to dedicate these few remarks, I should have
 found myself directed, by many considerations, to the person of the
 Incumberer of St Peter's, Hackney Road. A life spent in division from
 part of your flock, and in crushing those whom you could not answer,
 may well entitle you to the respect of all true bigots.--Hoping that
 you will be honoured as you deserve, I am, Reverend Sir, yours truly,

 C. BRADLAUGH."

At the end of October in the same year he sent "a report of the
closing season's campaign in Bonner's Fields, Victoria Park," to the
_Reasoner_, from which I take an extract, not without interest for
the light it throws upon the manners and methods then common at these
out-door assemblies:--

 "In May last, when I joined the fray, the state of affairs was as
 follows: In front of us, near the park gates, were stationed some two
 or three of the followers of the Victoria Park Mission, who managed
 to get a moderate attendance of hearers; on our extreme left was the
 Rev. Henry Robinson, who mustered followers to the amount of three or
 four hundred; on our right, and close to our place of meeting, was
 erected the tent of the Christian Instruction Society; sometimes,
 also, in our midst we have had the Rev. Mr Worrall, V.D.M., who gives
 out in his chapel one Sunday that infidelity is increasing, and that
 there must be fresh subscriptions for more Sunday-school teachers (who
 are never paid), and the next Sunday announces in the Fields that
 infidelity is dying away. Besides these, we have had Dr Oxley, and
 some dozens of tract distributors, who seemed to have no end to their
 munificence--not forgetting Mr Harwood, and a few other irregular
 preachers, who told us how wicked they had been in their youth, and
 what a mercy it was the Lord had changed them.

 "When I first came out I attracted a little extra attention on account
 of my having been a Sunday-school teacher, and therefore had more
 opposition than some of our other friends; and as the Freethinking
 party did not muster quite so well as they do now, I met with some
 very unpleasant occurrences. One Monday evening in particular I was
 well stoned, and some friends both saw and heard several Christians
 urging the boys to pelt me. As, however, the attendance of the
 Freethinkers grew more regular, these minor difficulties vanished.
 But more serious ones rose in their place. George Offer, Esq., of
 Hackney, and Dr Oxley, intimated to the police that I ought not to
 be allowed to speak; and a Christian gentleman whose real name and
 address we could never get, but who passed by the name of Tucker,
 after pretending that he was my friend to Mrs Carlile, and learning
 all he could of me, appeared in the Park and made the most untrue
 charges. When he found he was being answered, he used to beckon the
 police and have me moved on.... I happened to walk up to the Fields
 one evening, when I saw some of the bills announcing our lecture at
 Warner Place pulled down from the tree on which they had been placed.
 I immediately renewed them, and on the religious persons attempting to
 pull the bills down again I defended them; and one gentleman having
 broken a parasol over my arm in attempting to tear the bills, the
 congregation, of which Mr Robinson was the leader, became furious.
 The pencil of Cruikshank would have given an instructive and curious
 picture of the scene. They were crying out, men and women too, 'Down
 with him!' 'Have him down!' And here the scene would have been very
 painful to my feelings, for down they would have had me had not my
 own party gathered round, on which a treaty of peace was come to on
 the following terms, viz. that the man who tried to pull the bills
 down would guard them to keep them up as long as the religious people
 stayed there. Mr Robinson applied for a warrant against me, but the
 magistrate refused to grant it."

On another occasion, when some people whom he and Mr James Savage had
been addressing in the Park had become unduly excited by a Scotch
preacher, who politely informed them that they were "a generation of
vipers," Mr Bradlaugh stepped forward in an attempt to pacify them, but
much to his surprise was himself seized by police. Fortunately, several
of the bystanders volunteered to go to the police station with him, and
he was immediately released.

Nowadays the Parks and the Commons are the happy hunting-grounds
for the outdoor speaker, where he inculcates almost any doctrine he
chooses, unmolested by the police or the public.



CHAPTER IV.

ARMY LIFE.


But all his debating and writing, all his studying, did not fill my
father's pockets; they, like their owner, grew leaner every day. With
his increasing poverty he fell into debt: it was not much that he owed,
only £4 15s., but small as the sum was, it was more than he could
repay, or see any definite prospect of repaying, unless he could strike
out some new path. My grandfather, Mr Hooper, who knew him then, not
personally, but by seeing and hearing him, used to call him "the young
enthusiast," and many a time in later years recalled his figure as he
appeared in the winter of 1850, in words that have brought tears to
my eyes. Tall, gaunt, white-faced and hollow cheeked, with arms too
long for his sleeves, and trousers too short for his legs, he looked,
what indeed he was, nearly starving. "He looked _hungry_, Hypatia," my
grandfather would say with an expressive shudder; "he looked hungry."
And others have told me the same tale. How _could_ his parents bear to
know that he had come to such a pass!

A subscription was offered him by some Freethinking friends, and
deeply grateful as he was, it yet brought his poverty more alarmingly
before him. One night in December, one of the brothers Barralet met
him looking as I have said, and invited him into a coffee house close
by to discuss some scheme or other. They went in and chatted for some
minutes, but when the waiter had brought the food, it seemed suddenly
to strike the guest that the "scheme" was merely an excuse to give him
a supper, and with one look at his companion, he jumped up and fled out
of the room.

On Sunday, the 15th of December, he was lecturing in Bonner's Fields,
and went home with the sons of Mr Samuel Record to dinner. They tell
that while at dinner he threw his arms up above his head and asked
Mr Record in a jesting tone, "How do you think I should look in
regimentals?" The elder man replied, "My boy, you are too noble for
that." Unfortunately, a noble character could not clothe his long
limbs, or fill his empty stomach, nor could it pay that terrible debt
of £4 15s.

With "soldiering" vaguely in his mind, but yet without a clearly
defined intention of enlisting, he went out two days afterwards,
determined upon doing something to put an end to his present position.
He walked towards Charing Cross, and there saw a poster inviting smart
young men to join the East India Company's Service, and holding out
to recruits the tempting bait of a bounty of £6 10s. This bounty was
an overpowering inducement to the poor lad; his debts amounted to £4
15s.; this £6 10s. would enable him to pay all he owed and stand free
once more. As Mr John M. Robertson justly says in his Memoir,[5] this
incident was typical: "All through his life he had to shape his course
to the paying off of his debts, toil as he would." Mr Headingley[6]
tells that

 "With a firm step, resolutely and soberly, Bradlaugh went down some
 steps to a bar where the recruiting sergeants were in the habit of
 congregating. Here he discerned the very fat, beery, but honest
 sergeant, who was then enlisting for the East India Service, and at
 once volunteered. Bradlaugh little imagined, when he stepped out of
 the cellar and crossed Trafalgar Square once more--this time with
 the fatal shilling in his pocket--that after all he would never
 go to the East Indies, but remain in England to gather around him
 vast multitudes of enthusiastic partisans, who, on that very spot,
 would insist on his taking his seat in Parliament, as the member for
 Northampton; and this, too, in spite of those heterodox views which,
 as yet, had debarred him from earning even the most modest livelihood.

 "It happened, however, that the sergeant of the East India Company
 had 'borrowed a man' from the sergeant of the 50th Foot, and he
 determined honestly to pay back his debt with the person of Bradlaugh;
 so that after some hocus-pocus transactions between the two sergeants,
 Bradlaugh was surprised to find that he had been duly enrolled in
 the 50th Foot, and was destined for home service. Such a trick might
 have been played with impunity on some ignorant country yokel; but
 Bradlaugh at once rebelled, and made matters very uncomfortable for
 all persons concerned.

 "Among other persons to whom he explained all his grievances was the
 medical officer who examined him. This gentleman fortunately took
 considerable interest in the case, and had a long chat with Bradlaugh.
 He could not engage him for India, as he belonged to the home forces,
 but he invited him to look out of the window, where the sergeants were
 pacing about, and select the regiment he might prefer. As a matter of
 fact, Bradlaugh was not particularly disappointed at being compelled
 to remain in England; he objected principally to the lack of respect
 implied in trifling with his professed intentions. He was, therefore,
 willing to accept the compromise suggested by the physician. So long
 as his right of choice was respected, it did not much matter to him in
 which regiment he served.

 "After watching for a little while the soldiers pacing in front of the
 window, his choice fell on a very smart cavalry man, and, being of the
 necessary height, he determined to join his corps."

[Footnote 5: Labour and Law, by Charles Bradlaugh. With Memoir by John
M Robertson.]

[Footnote 6: Biography of Charles Bradlaugh.]

The regiment he elected to join proved to be the 7th (Princess Royal's)
Dragoon Guards, and thus, through the kindly assistance of the doctor,
at the age of "17-3/12 years," he found himself a "full private"
belonging to Her Majesty's forces.

After he enlisted he sent word, not to the father and mother who had
treated him so coldly, but to the grandmother who loved him so dearly.
She sent her daughter Mary to tell the parents of this new turn in
their son's affairs, and the news seems to have been conveyed and
received in a somewhat tragic manner. A day or so before Christmas Day
she came with a face of gloomy solemnity to tell something so serious
about Charles that the daughter Elizabeth, who happened to be there,
was ordered out of the room. She remained weeping in the passage during
the whole time of the family conclave, thinking that her brother must
have done something very dreadful indeed.

Then the father went to see his son at Westminster, and obtained
permission for the new recruit to spend the Christmas Day with his
family. It is only natural to suppose that this semi-reconciliation
must have afforded them all some sort of comfort, while I have a very
strong personal conviction that the whole affair preyed upon the
father's mind, and that the harshness he showed his son was really
foreign to his general temper. Anyhow, his character underwent a great
change after he let himself come under the influence of Mr Packer. He
who before never went inside a church, now never missed a Sunday; he
became concentrated and, to a certain extent, morose, and at length, on
the 19th August 1852, some twenty months after his son's enlistment,
he was taken suddenly ill at his desk in Cloak Lane. He was brought
home in a state of unconsciousness, from which he was only aroused to
fall into violent delirium, and so continued without once recovering
his senses until the hour of his death, which was reached on Tuesday
the 24th. He was only forty-one years of age, and had always had good
health previously, never ailing anything; and I feel quite convinced
that the agony of mind which he must have endured from the time when
his son was first denounced to him as an "Atheist" was mainly the cause
of his early death.

The 7th Dragoon Guards was at that time quartered in Ireland, and Mr
A. S. Headingley tells at length the tragic-comic adventures the new
recruit met with at sea on the three days' journey from London to
Dublin:--

 "The recruits who were ordered to join their regiment were marched
 down to a ship lying in the Thames which was to sail all the way to
 Ireland. Bradlaugh was the only recruit who wore a black suit and a
 silk hat. The former was very threadbare, and the latter weak about
 the rim, but still to the other recruits he seemed absurdly attired;
 and as he looked pale and thin and ill conditioned, it was not long
 before some one ventured to destroy the dignity of his appearance by
 bonneting him. The silk hat thus disposed of, much to the amusement
 of the recruits, who considered horse play the equivalent of wit, a
 raid was made upon Bradlaugh's baggage. His box was ruthlessly broken
 open, and when it was discovered that a Greek lexicon and an Arabic
 vocabulary were the principal objects he had thought fit to bring into
 the regiment, the scorn and derision of his fellow soldiers knew no
 bounds.

 "A wild game of football was at once organized with the lexicon,
 and it came out of the scuffle torn and unmanageable. The Arabic
 vocabulary was a smaller volume, and it fared better. Ultimately,
 Bradlaugh recovered the book, and he keeps it still on his shelf,
 close to his desk, a cherished and useful relic of past struggles and
 endeavours.

        *       *       *       *       *

 "His luggage broken open, his books scattered to the winds, his hat
 desecrated and ludicrously mis-shaped by the rough hands of his fellow
 recruits, Bradlaugh certainly did not present the picture of a future
 leader of men. Yet, even at this early stage of his military life an
 opportunity soon occurred which turned the tables entirely in his
 favour.

 "The weather had been looking ugly for some time, and now became more
 and more menacing, till at last a storm broke upon the ship with a
 violence so intense that the captain feared for her safety. It was
 absolutely necessary to move the cargo, and his crew were not numerous
 enough to accomplish, unaided, so arduous a task. Their services
 also were urgently required to man[oe]uvre the ship. The captain,
 therefore, summoned the recruits to help, and promised that if they
 removed the cargo as he indicated, he would give them £5 to share
 among themselves. He further encouraged them by expressing his hope
 that if the work were well and promptly done, the ship would pull
 through the storm.

 "The proposition was greeted with cheers, and Bradlaugh, in spite of
 his sea-sickness, helped as far as he was able in moving the cargo.
 The ship now rode the waves more easily, and in due time the storm
 subsided; and, the danger over, the soldiers thought the hour of
 reckoning was at hand. The recruits began to inquire about the £5
 which had been offered as the reward of their gallant services; but,
 with the disappearance of the danger, the captain's generosity had
 considerably subsided. He then hit on a mean stratagem to avoid the
 fulfilment of his promise. He singled out three or four of the leading
 men, the strongest recruits, and gave them two half-crowns each,
 calculating that if the strongest had a little more than their share,
 they would silence the clamours of the weaker, who were altogether
 deprived of their due.

 "The captain had not, however, reckoned on the presence of Bradlaugh.
 The pale, awkward youth, who as yet had only been treated with jeers
 and contempt, was the only person who dared stand up and face him. To
 the unutterable surprise of every one, he delivered a fiery, menacing,
 unanswerable harangue, upbraiding the captain in no measured terms,
 exposing in lucid language the meanness of his action, and concluding
 with the appalling threat of a letter to the _Times_. To this day
 Bradlaugh remembers, with no small sense of self-satisfaction, the
 utter and speechless amazement of the captain at the sight of a person
 so miserable in appearance suddenly becoming so formidable in speech
 and menace.

 "Awakened, therefore, to a consciousness of his own iniquity by
 Bradlaugh's eloquence, the captain distributed more money. The
 soldiers on their side at once formed a very different opinion of
 their companion, and, from being the butt, he became the hero of the
 troop. Every one was anxious to show him some sort of deference, and
 to make some acknowledgment for the services he had rendered."

While serving with his regiment Mr Bradlaugh was a most active advocate
of temperance; he began, within a day or so of his arrival in Ireland,
upon the quarter-master's daughters. He had been ordered to do some
whitewashing for the quarter-master, and that officer's daughters
saw him while he was at work, and took pity on him. I have told how
he looked; and it is little wonder that his appearance aroused
compassion. They brought him a glass of port wine, but this my father
majestically refused, and delivered to the amused girls a lecture
upon the dangers of intemperance, emphasising his remarks by waves of
the whitewash brush. He has often laughed at the queer figure he must
have presented, tall and thin, with arms and legs protruding from his
clothes, and raised up near to the ceiling on a board, above the two
girls, who listened to the lecture, wineglass in hand. Later on, when
he had gained a certain amount of popularity amongst his comrades, he
used to be let out of the barrack-room windows when he could not get
leave of absence, by means of blankets knotted together, in order to
attend and speak at temperance meetings in Kildare. But the difficulty
was not so much in getting out of barracks as in getting in again; and
sometimes this last was not accomplished without paying the penalty
of arrest. The men of his troop gave him the nickname of "Leaves,"
because of his predilection for tea and books; his soldier's knapsack
contained a Greek lexicon, an Arabic vocabulary, and a Euclid, the
beginnings of the library which at last numbered over 7000 volumes. Mr
Bradlaugh remained a total abstainer for several years--until 1861. At
that time he was in bad health, and was told by his physician that he
was drinking too much tea; he drank tea in those days for breakfast,
dinner, and tea, and whenever he felt thirsty in between. From that
time until 1886 he took milk regularly for breakfast, and in 1886 he
varied this regimen by adding a little coffee to his milk, with a
little claret or hock for dinner or supper, and a cup of tea after
dinner and at teatime. It has been said that he had a "passion for
tea," but that is a mere absurdity. If he had been out, he would ask
on coming in for a cup of tea, as another man would ask for a glass of
beer or a brandy and soda, but he would take it as weak as you liked to
give it him.

The stories of the energetic comment of the 300 dragoons upon the
sermon of the Rev. Mr Halpin at Rathmines Church, and the assertion of
a right of way by "Private Charles Bradlaugh, C. 52, VII D. G.," have
both been graphically told by Mr Headingley[7] and by Mrs Besant.[8]

[Footnote 7: Biography of Charles Bradlaugh.]

[Footnote 8: Review of Reviews, March 1891.]

 "On Sundays," relates Mr Headingley, "when it was fine, the regiment
 was marched to Rathmines Church, and here, on one occasion--it was
 Whit-Sunday--the Rev. Mr Halpin preached a sermon which he described
 as being beyond the understandings of the military portion of his
 congregation. This somewhat irritated the Dragoon Guards, and
 Bradlaugh, to their great delight, wrote a letter to the preacher, not
 only showing that he fully understood his sermon, but calling him to
 account for the inaccuracy of his facts and the illogical nature of
 his opinions.

 "It was anticipated that an unpleasant answer might be made to this
 letter, and on the following Sunday the Dragoons determined to be
 fully prepared for the emergency. Accordingly, they listened carefully
 to the sermon. The Rev. Mr Halpin did not fail to allude to the letter
 he had received, but at the first sentence that was impertinent and
 contemptuous in its tone three hundred dragoons unhooked their swords
 as one man, and let the heavy weapons crash on the ground. Never had
 there been such a noise in a church, or a preacher so effectively
 silenced.

 "An inquiry was immediately ordered to be held, Bradlaugh was
 summoned to appear, and serious consequences would have ensued; but,
 fortunately, the Duke of Cambridge came to Dublin on the next day, the
 review which was held in honour of his presence diverted attention,
 and so the matter dropped."

I give the right-of-way incident in Mrs Besant's words. While the
regiment was at Ballincollig, she says--

 "A curiously characteristic act made him the hero of the Inniscarra
 peasantry. A landowner had put up a gate across a right-of-way,
 closing it against soldiers and peasants, while letting the gentry
 pass through it. 'Leaves' looked up the question, and found the
 right-of-way was real; so he took with him some soldiers and some
 peasants, pulled down the gate, broke it up, and wrote on one of the
 bars, 'Pulled up by Charles Bradlaugh, C. 52, VII D. G.' The landowner
 did not prosecute, and the gate did not reappear."

The landlord did not prosecute, because when he made his complaint
to the officer commanding the regiment, the latter suggested that he
should make quite certain that he had the law on his side, for Private
Bradlaugh generally knew what he was about. The peasants, whose rights
had been so boldly defended, did not confine their gratitude to words,
but henceforth they kept their friend supplied with fresh butter,
new-laid eggs, and such homely delicacies as they thought a private in
a cavalry regiment would be likely to appreciate.

After speaking of the difficulties into which my father might have got
over the Rathmines affair, Mrs Besant[9] tells of another occasion in
which his position

 "was even more critical. He was orderly room clerk, and a newly
 arrived young officer came into the room where he was sitting at work,
 and addressed to him some discourteous order. Private Bradlaugh took
 no notice. The order was repeated with an oath. Still no movement.
 Then it came again with some foul words added. The young soldier rose,
 drew himself to his full height, and, walking up to the officer, bade
 him leave the room, or he would throw him out. The officer went, but
 in a few minutes the grounding of muskets was heard outside, the door
 opened, and the Colonel walked in, accompanied by the officer. It was
 clear that the private soldier had committed an act for which he might
 be court-martialled, and as he said once, 'I felt myself in a tight
 place.' The officer made his accusation, and Private Bradlaugh was
 bidden to explain. He asked that the officer should state the exact
 words in which he had addressed him, and the officer who had, after
 all, a touch of honour in him, gave the offensive sentence word for
 word. Then Private Bradlaugh said, addressing his Colonel, that the
 officer's memory must surely be at fault in the whole matter, as he
 could not have used language so unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.
 The Colonel turned to the officer with the dry remark, 'I think
 Private Bradlaugh is right; there _must_ be some mistake,' and he left
 the room."

[Footnote 9: See Character Sketch _Charles Bradlaugh_.--Review of
Reviews, March 1891.]

Many are the stories that might be told of these his soldier's days.
One incident that I have often heard him give, and which may well come
in here, is referred to in Mr Robertson's interesting _Memoir_ appended
to my father's last book, "Labour and Law." This was an experience
gained at Donnybrook Fair, the regiment being then quartered near "that
historic village." "When Fair time came near the peasantry circulated
a well-planned taunt to the effect that the men of the Seventh would
be afraid to present themselves on the great day. The Seventh acted
accordingly. Sixteen picked men got a day's leave--and shillelaghs. 'I
was the shortest of the sixteen,'" said Mr Bradlaugh, as he related the
episode, not without some humorous qualms, and _he_ stood 6 feet 1-1/2
inches. "The sixteen just 'fought through,' and their arms and legs
were black for many weeks, though their heads, light as they clearly
were, did not suffer seriously. But," he added, with a sigh, as he
finished the story, "I _couldn't_ do it now."

A further experience of a really tragic and terrible kind I will relate
in my father's own words, for in these he most movingly describes a
scene he himself witnessed, and a drama in which he took an unwilling
part.

 "Those of you who are Irishmen," he begins,[10] "will want no
 description of that beautiful valley of the Lee which winds between
 the hills from Cork, and in summer seems like a very Paradise, green
 grass growing to the water side, and burnished with gold in the
 morning, and ruddy to very crimson in the evening sunset. I went there
 on a November day. I was one of a troop to protect the law officers,
 who had come with the agent from Dublin to make an eviction a few
 miles from Inniscarra, where the river Bride joins the Lee. It was a
 miserable day--rain freezing into sleet as it fell--and the men beat
 down wretched dwelling after wretched dwelling, some thirty or forty
 perhaps. They did not take much beating down; there was no flooring
 to take up; the walls were more mud than aught else; and there was
 but little trouble in the levelling of them to the ground. We had got
 our work about three parts done, when out of one of them a woman ran,
 and flung herself on the ground, wet as it was, before the Captain
 of the troop, and she asked that her house might be spared--not for
 long, but for a little while. She said her husband had been born in
 it; he was ill of the fever, but could not live long, and she asked
 that he might be permitted to die in it in peace. Our Captain had
 no power; the law agent from Dublin wanted to get back to Dublin;
 his time was of importance, and he would not wait; and that man was
 carried out while we were there--in front of us, while the sleet was
 coming down--carried out on a wretched thing (you could not call
 it a bed), and he died there while we were there; and three nights
 afterwards, while I was sentry on the front gate at Ballincollig
 Barracks, we heard a cry, and when the guard was turned out, we found
 this poor woman there a raving maniac, with one dead babe in one arm,
 and another in the other clinging to the cold nipple of her lifeless
 breast. And," asked my father, in righteous indignation, "if you had
 been brothers to such a woman, sons of such a woman, fathers of such
 a woman, would not rebellion have seemed the holiest gospel you could
 hear preached?"

[Footnote 10: _National Reformer_, November 16, 1873. A speech on the
Irish Question delivered in New York; reprinted from the _New York
Tribune_ of October 7th.]



CHAPTER V.

ARMY LIFE CONCLUDED.


When his father died in 1852 Private Charles Bradlaugh came home on
furlough to attend the funeral. He was by this time heartily sick of
soldiering, and under the circumstances was specially anxious to get
home to help in the support of his family. (This, one writer, without
the slightest endeavour to be accurate even on the simplest matters,
says is nonsense, because his family only numbered _two_, his mother
and his brother!) His great-aunt, Elizabeth Trimby, promised to buy
him out, and he went back to his regiment buoyed up by her promise.
In September he was in hospital, ill with rheumatic fever, and after
that he seems to have had more or less rheumatism during the remainder
of his stay in Ireland; for in June 1853, in writing to his sister,
apologising for having passed over her birthday without a letter,
he says: "I was, unfortunately, on my bed from another attack of
the rheumatism, which seized my right knee in a manner anything but
pleasant, but it is a mere nothing to the dose I had last September,
and I am now about again."

The letters I have by me of my father's, written home at this time,
instead of teeming with fiery fury and magniloquent phrases as to
shooting his officers,[11] are just a lad's letters; the sentences
for the most part a little formal and empty, with perhaps the most
interesting item reserved for the postscript; now and again crude
verses addressed to his sister, and winding up almost invariably with
"write soon." After the father's death Mr Lepard, a member of the firm
in which he had been confidential clerk for upwards of twenty-one
years, used his influence to get the two youngest children, Robert and
Harriet, into Orphan Asylums. While the matter was yet in abeyance
Elizabeth seems to have written her brother asking if any of the
officers could do anything to help in the matter, and on March 14th he
answers her from Ballincollig:--

[Footnote 11: Whether rightly or wrongly, my father thought he was
treated with exceptional severity by his Captain during the first part
of the time he was in the army; and this has been exaggerated into a
story of how in his letters to his mother during the latter part of
his army life he was "_constantly_ informing her" that "unless she
obtained his discharge he would put a bullet through this officer."
The story, I need hardly say, is quite untrue, and to any one who knew
my father must seem almost too absurd to need refutation. During Mr
Bradlaugh's illness in 1889 Captain Walker, then General Sir Beauchamp
Walker, called twice to inquire at Circus Road. My father was very dull
and depressed one day as he lay in bed, and, thinking to cheer him. I
mentioned the names of persons who I knew he would like to hear had
inquired; and when I read the name from the card, and said that General
Walker had told the maid to "tell Mr Bradlaugh that his old Captain
had called," he was delighted beyond measure, and was for the moment
the boy private again, with the private's feelings for his superior
officer. The visit gratified him almost as much as if it had been one
from Mr Gladstone himself.]

 "I am very sorry to say that you have a great deal more to learn of
 the world yet, my dear Elizabeth, or you would not expect to find
 an officer of the army a subscriber to an Orphan Asylum. There may
 be a few, but the most part of them spend all the money they have
 in hunting, racing, boating, horses, dogs, gambling, and drinking,
 besides other follies of a graver kind, and have little to give to the
 poor, and less inclination to give it even than their means."

My father's great-aunt, Miss Elizabeth Trimby, died in June 1853, at
the age of eighty-five. She died without having fulfilled her promise
of buying her nephew's discharge; but as the little money she left,
some £70, came to the Bradlaugh family, they had now the opportunity
of themselves carrying out her intention, or, to be exact, her precise
written wishes.[12]

[Footnote 12: _National Reformer_, Feb. 10, 1884.]

The mother, in her heart, wanted her son home: she needed the comfort
of his presence, and the help of his labour, to add to their scanty
women's earnings; but she was a woman slow to forgive, and her son had
set his parents' commands at defiance, and gone out into the world
alone, rather than bow his neck to the yoke his elders wished to put
upon him. She talked the matter over with her neighbours, and if it
was a kindly, easy-going neighbour, who said, "Oh, I should have
him home," then she allowed her real desires to warm her heart a
little, and think that perhaps she would; if, on the other hand, her
neighbour dilated upon the wickedness of her son, and the enormity of
his offences, then she would harden herself against him. Her daughter
Elizabeth wanted him home badly; and whilst her mother was away at
Mitcham, attending the funeral, and doing other things in connection
with the death of Miss Trimby, Elizabeth wrote to her brother, asking
what it would cost to buy him out. He was instructed to write on a
separate paper, as she was afraid of her mother's anger when she saw
it, and wished to take the favourable opportunity of a soft moment to
tell her. She was left in charge at home, and thinking her mother safe
at Mitcham for a week, she had timed the answer to come in her absence.
One day she had to leave the house to take home some work which she
had been doing. On her return, much to her dismay, her mother met her
at the door perfectly furious. The letter had come during the girl's
short absence, and her mother had come home unexpectedly! "How dared
she write her brother? How dared she ask such a question?" the mother
demanded, and poor Elizabeth was in sad disgrace all that day, and for
some time afterwards. This was the answer her brother sent, on June
22nd, from Cahir--

 "As you wish, I send on this sheet what it would cost to buy me off;
 but I would not wish to rob you and mother like that.

For the Discharge                      £30  0 0
Compensation for general clothing        0 17 6
Passage money home                       1 16 0
                                       --------
                                       £32 13 6

 or about £33.

 "I could come home in regimentals, because clothes could be bought
 cheaper in London, and I would work like a slave; but do not think, my
 dear sister, I want to take the money from you and mother, though I
 would do anything to get from the army.

 "We are under orders to march into the county of Clare to put down the
 rioters at Six Mile Bridge, in the coming election, and expect some
 fighting there."

The discharge was applied for in August, but I gather that Mr Lepard,
who assisted my grandmother in the little legal matters arising out of
Miss Trimby's death, was not very favourable to the project, and seems
to have required some guarantee as to my father's character,[13] before
he would remit the money.

[Footnote 13: Amongst some letters my father gave me some long time ago
is one which must have satisfied even Mr Lepard. It is as follows:--

  "Cahir Barracks, September 23rd, 1853.

 "SIR,--Having been informed by Private Charles Bradlaugh
 of the 7th Dragoon Guards, that you require some testimonials as to
 character, I beg to inform you that during the time this man has been
 in the regiment (since December 1850) his conduct has been extremely
 good, and I beg also to add that he is always considered to be a
 clever, well-informed, and steady young man. Should you require
 any further information, I shall be most happy to give [all] in my
 power.--I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,

  "E. T. DOWBIGGIN,

  "J. Lepard, Esq.       Lieut. and Adjutant, 7th Dragoon Guards.

 "_P.S._--I may observe that during the last eighteen months this man
 has been occupying rather a prominent situation in the regiment, being
 that of orderly room clerk, and has consequently been immediately
 under my notice."]

However, it was at length definitely arranged that the aunt's promise
should be kept, and that her money should purchase the discharge
according to her intentions. A thoroughly boyish letter gives
expression to Private Bradlaugh's sentiments on hearing the good news.
It is dated from "Cahir, 6th October 1853:--

 "MY DEAR MOTHER,--When I opened your letter, before reading
 it I waved it three times round my head, and gave a loud 'hurra'
 from pure joy, for then I felt assured that all this was not a mere
 dream, but something very like reality. The £30 has not yet made its
 appearance on the scene. I shall be glad to see it, as I shall not
 feel settled till I get away. I am, however, rather damped to hear of
 your ill-health, but hope for something better. I have made inquiries
 about butter, but it is extremely dear, 1s. to 14d. per lb. in this
 county.

 "When the £30 arrives I will write to let you know the day I shall be
 home. Till then, believe me, my dearest mother, your affectionate Son,

  CHARLES BRADLAUGH.

 "Love to Elizabeth, Robert, and Harriet."

He did not have to wait long for the appearance of the £30 "on
the scene," which speedily resulted in the following "parchment
certificate:"--

 "7th (Princess Royal's) Regiment of Dragoon Guards.

 "These are to certify that Charles Bradlaugh, Private, born in the
 Parish of Hoxton, in or near the Town of London, in the County of
 Middlesex, was enlisted at Westminster for the 7th Dragoon Guards, on
 the 17th December 1850, at the age of 17-3/12 years. That he served
 in the Army for two years and 301 days. That he is discharged in
 consequence of his requesting the same, on payment of £30.

  "C. F. AINSLIE, Hd. Commanding Officer.
  "Dated at Cahir, 12th October 1853.

  "Adjutant General's Office, Dublin.
  "Discharge of Private Charles Bradlaugh confirmed.

  "14th October 1853. J. EDEN,[14] 7th D. G.

  "Character: Very Good.

  "C. F. AINSLIE, 7th D. Guards."

The merely formal part of the discharge is made out in his own
handwriting as orderly room clerk.

[Footnote 14: This signature is almost illegible.]

       *       *       *       *       *

These three years of army life were of great value to my father. First
of all physically: for a little time before he enlisted he had been
half starved, and his health was being undermined by constant privation
just at a time when his great and growing frame most needed nourishing.
In the army he had food, which although it might be of a kind to be
flouted by an epicure, was sufficiently abundant, and came at regular
intervals. The obnoxious drill which he had to go through must have
helped to broaden his chest (at his death he was forty-six-and-a-half
inches round the chest) and harden his muscles, and so gave him the
strength which served him so well in the later years of his life. He
learned to fence and to ride, and both accomplishments proved useful
in latter days. Fencing was always a favourite exercise with him and,
in after days, when alone, he would also often exercise his muscles by
going through a sort of sword drill with the old cavalry sabre, which
is hanging on my wall to-day. Riding he at first abhorred, and probably
any London East End lad would share his sentiments when first set upon
a cavalry charger with a hard mouth; he was compelled to ride until the
blood ran down his legs, and before these wounds had time to heal he
had to be on horseback again. When he was orderly room clerk, and was
not compelled to ride so often, then he took a liking for it, and then
he really learned to sit and manage his horse. Often and often during
the last years of his life he longed to be rich enough to keep a horse,
so that he might ride to the House and wherever his business might
take him within easy distance, and thus get the exercise of which he
stood so urgently in need.

It was, too, while with his regiment in Ireland that Mr Bradlaugh
first became acquainted with James Thomson, an acquaintance which soon
ripened into a friendship which lasted for five-and-twenty years. In
the quiet nights, whilst the private was on sentry duty, he and the
young schoolmaster would have long serious talks upon subjects a little
unusual, perhaps, amongst the rank and file; or in the evening, when
Thomson's work was done, and Private Bradlaugh could get leave, they
would go for a ramble together. They each became the confidant of the
other's troubles and aspirations, and each was sure of a sympathetic
listener.

That his regiment happened to be stationed in Ireland during the whole
time he belonged to it was of immense importance to him. He learned the
character and the needs of the Irish peasantry as he could have learned
it in no other way. The sights he saw and the things he heard whilst
he was in Ireland, as the story I cited a few pages back will show,
produced in him such a profound feeling of tenderness and sympathy for
the Irish people, that not all the personal enmity which was afterwards
shown him by Irishmen could destroy or even weaken.



CHAPTER VI.

MARRIAGE.


Barely three short years away, yet how many changes in that short time.
My father found, father, aunt, and grandmother dead; his little sister
and brother--of five and eight years--in Orphan Asylums. Even his kind
friend Mrs Carlile was dead, and her children scattered, gone to the
other side of the Atlantic, to be lost sight of by him for many years.
Of their fate he learned later that the two daughters were married,
while Julian, his one time companion, was killed in the American War.

On his return my father's first endeavour was, of course, to seek for
work, so that he might help to maintain his mother and sisters; but
although he sought energetically, and at first had much faith in the
charm of his "very good" character, no one seemed to want the tall
trooper. After a little his mother, unhappily, began to taunt him with
the legacy money having been used to buy his discharge; and although
he thought, and always maintained, that the money was morally his, to
be used for that purpose, since it was carrying out the intentions of
his aunt expressed so short a time before her death, he nevertheless
determined to, and in time did, pay every farthing back again to his
mother, through whose hands the money had come to him. He was offered
the post of timekeeper with a builder at Fulham, at a salary of 20s. a
week; this Mrs Bradlaugh objected to, as taking him too far away from
home.

One day he went, amongst other places, into the office of Mr Rogers,
a solicitor, of 70 Fenchurch Street, to inquire whether he wanted a
clerk. Mr Rogers had no vacancy for a clerk, but mentioned casually
that he wanted a lad for errands and office work. My father asked,
"What wages?" "Ten shillings a week," replied Mr Rogers. "Then I'll
take it," quickly decided my father, feeling rather in despair as to
getting anything better, but bravely resolved to get something. Not
that he was in reality very long without work, for his discharge from
the army was dated at Dublin, October 14th, 1853, and I have a letter
written from "70 Fenchurch Street" on January 2nd, 1854, so that he
could not have been idle for more than about two months at the most.
There is no reference whatever in the letter to the newness of his
situation, so that he had probably been with Mr Rogers some weeks
prior to the 2nd January 1854. The solicitor soon found out that his
"errand boy" had considerable legal knowledge and, what was even more
important, a marvellous quickness in apprehension of legal points.
At the end of each three months his salary was increased by five
shillings, and after nine months he had intrusted to him the whole of
the Common Law department. Very soon he was able to add a little to his
income by acting as secretary to a Building Society at the Hayfield
Coffee House, Mile End Road.

As soon as my father found himself in regular employment he began
to write and speak again; but even as the busybodies turned the
kind-hearted baker's wife against him a few years before, so now
again they tried to ruin his career with Mr Rogers. Anonymous and
malicious letters were sent, but they did not find in him a weak though
good-hearted creature, with a fearful apprehension that the smell
usually associated with brimstone would permeate the legal documents;
on the contrary, he was a shrewd man who knew the value of his clerk,
and treated the anonymous letters with contempt, only asking of my
father that he should "not let his propaganda become an injury to his
business."

Thus it was he took the name of "Iconoclast," under the thin veil of
which he did all his anti-theological work until he became candidate
for Parliament in 1868; thenceforward he always spoke and wrote under
his own name, whatever the subject he was dealing with. Any appearance
of concealment or secrecy was dreadfully irksome to him, though in 1854
he had very little choice.

About Christmas 1853 my father made the acquaintance of a family
named Hooper, all of whom were Radicals and Freethinkers except Mrs
Hooper, who would have preferred to have belonged to Church people
because they were so much more thought of. She had great regard for
her neighbours' opinion, and for that reason objected to chess and
cards on Sunday. Abraham Hooper, her husband, must on such points as
these have been a constant thorn in the dear old lady's side: he was
an ardent Freethinker and Radical, a teetotaller, and a non-smoker.
All his opinions he held aggressively; and no matter where was the
place or who was the person, he rarely failed to make an opportunity
to state his opinions. He was very honest and upright, a man whose
word was literally his bond. He had often heard my father speak in
Bonner's Fields, and had named him "the young enthusiast." He himself
from his boyhood onward was always in the thick of popular movements;
although a sturdy Republican, he was one of the crowd who cheered Queen
Caroline; he was present at all the Chartist meetings at London; and
he was a great admirer of William Lovett. On more than one occasion he
was charged by the police whilst taking part in processions. He once
unwittingly became mixed up with a secret society, but he speedily
disentangled himself--there was nothing of the secret conspirator about
him.

He was what might be called "a stiff customer," over six feet in
height, and broad in proportion; and he would call his spade a spade.
If you did not like it--well, it was so much the worse for you, if you
could not give a plain straightforward reason why it should be called
"a garden implement." "Verbosity" was lost upon him; he passed it over
unnoticed, and came back to his facts as though you had not spoken. In
his early old age he had rather a fine appearance, and I have several
times been asked at meetings which he has attended with us, who is that
"grand-looking old man." Although in politics and religion he was all
on the side of liberty, in his own domestic circle he was a tyrant and
a despot, exacting the most rigorous and minute obedience to his will.

His passionate affection for my father was a most beautiful thing to
see. He had heard him speak, as a lad, many a time in Bonner's Fields,
and from 1854 had him always under his eye. "The young enthusiast"
became "my boy Charles," the pride and the joy of his life; and he
loved him with a love which did but grow with his years. My father's
friends were his friends, my father's enemies were his enemies; and
although "Charles" might forgive a friend who had betrayed him and take
him back to friendship again, _he_ never did, and was always prepared
for the betrayal--which, alas! too often came. He outlived my father
by only five months: until a few years before his death he had never
ailed anything, and did not know what headache or toothache meant; but
when his "boy" was gone life had no further interest for him, and he
willingly welcomed death.

And it was the eldest daughter of this single-hearted, if somewhat
rigorous man, Susannah Lamb Hooper, whom my father loved and wedded.
I knew that my mother had kept and cherished most of the letters
written her by my father during their courtship, but I never opened
the packet until I began this biography. These letters turn out to be
more valuable than I had expected, for they entirely dispose of some
few amongst the many fictions which have been more or less current
concerning Mr Bradlaugh.

At the first glance one is struck with the quantity of verse amongst
the letters. I say struck, because nearly, if not quite, all his
critics, friendly and hostile, have asserted that Mr Bradlaugh was
entirely devoid of poetic feeling or love of verse. With the unfriendly
critics this assumed lack seems to indicate something very bad: a
downright vice would be more tolerable in their eyes; and even the
friendly critics appear to look upon it as a flaw in his character.
I am, however, bound to confirm the assumption in so far as that,
during later years at least, he looked for something more than music in
verse; and mere words, however beautifully strung together, had little
charm for him. His earliest favourites amongst poets seem to have been
Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn Law rhymer, and, of course, Shelley. As late
as 1870 he was lecturing upon Burns and Byron; later still he read
Whittier with delight; and I have known him listen with great enjoyment
to Marlowe, Spenser, Sydney, and others, although, curiously enough,
for Swinburne he had almost an active distaste, caring neither to read
his verse nor to hear it read. It is something to remember that it was
my father, and he alone, who threw open his pages to James Thomson ("B.
V.") at a time when he was ignored and unrecognised and could nowhere
find a publisher to recognise the fire and genius of his grand and
gloomy verse.

But to return to his own verses: he began early, and his Bonner's
Fields speeches in 1849 and 1850 more often than not wound up with
a peroration in rhyme; in verse, such as it was, he would sing the
praises of Kossuth, Mazzini, Carlile, or whatever hero was the subject
of his discourse. His verses to my mother were written before and
after marriage: the last I have is dated 1860. I am not going to quote
any of these compositions, for my father died in the happy belief that
all save two or three had perished; but there is one that he sent my
mother which will, I think, bear quoting, and has an interest for its
author's sake. Writing in July 1854, he says: "I trust you will excuse
my boldness in forwarding the enclosed, but think you will like its
pretty style. I begged it from my only literary acquaintance, a young
schoolmaster, so can take no credit to myself"--

    "Breathe onward, soft breeze, odour laden,
    And gather new sweets on your way,
    For a happy and lovely young maiden
    Will inhale thy rich perfume this day.
      And tell her, oh! breeze softly sighing,
        When round her your soft pinions wreathe,
      That my love-stricken soul with thee vieing
        All its treasures to her would outbreathe.

    "Flow onward, ye pure sparkling waters
    In sunshine with ripple and spray,
    For the fairest of earth's young daughters
    Will be imaged within you this day.
      And tell her, oh! murmuring river,
        When past her your bright billows roll,
      That thus, too, her fairest form ever
        Is imaged with truth in my soul."

The "young schoolmaster" was, of course, James Thomson; and these
verses express the thought which occurs again so delightfully in No.
XII. of the "Sunday up the River."[15]

[Footnote 15: The City of Dreadful Night, and other Poems. By James
Thomson ("B. V.").]

Another current fiction concerning my father is that he was coarse,
rude, and ill-mannered in his young days. Now, to take one thing alone
as a text: Can I believe that the love letters now before me that he
wrote to my dear mother could have been penned by one of coarse speech
and unrefined thought? The tender and respectful courtesy of some of
them carries one back to a century or so ago, when a true lover was
most choice in the expressions he used to his mistress. No! No one with
a trace of coarseness in his nature could have written these letters.

Another and equally unfounded calumny, which has been most
industriously circulated, concerns my father's own pecuniary position
and his alleged neglect of his mother. I am able to quote passages from
this correspondence which make very clear statements on these points;
and the silent testimony of these letters, written in confidence to his
future wife, is quite incontrovertible. In a letter written on the 17th
November 1854, he says:--

 "My present income at the office is £65, and at the Building Society
 £35, making about £100 a year, but I have not yet enjoyed this long
 enough to feel the full benefit of it. I am confident, if nothing
 fresh arises, of an increase at Christmas, but am also trying for
 a situation which if I can get would bring me in £150 per annum
 and upwards. Your father did not tell me when I saw him that I was
 extravagant, but he said that he thought I was not 'a very saving
 character,' so that you see, according to good authority, we are
 somewhat alike.... I do not blame you for expecting to hear from me,
 but I was, as the Americans say, in a fix. I did not like to write,
 lest your father might think I was virtually taking advantage of a
 consent not yet given.

 "You will, of course, understand from my not being a very careful
 young man why I am not in a position of healthy pockets, purse
 plethora, plenum in the money-box, so necessary to one who wishes
 to entangle himself in the almost impenetrable mysteries of
 'house-keeping.'

 "I don't know whether you were ever sufficiently charmed with
 the subject to make any calculations on the £ s. d. questions of
 upholstery, etc. I have, and after knocking my head violently
 against gigantic 'four posters,' and tumbling over 'neat fender and
 fire-irons,' I have been most profoundly impressed with respect
 and admiration for every one who could coolly talk upon so awful a
 subject."

From the foregoing letter it would appear that Mr. Hooper would not
give a definite consent to the marriage; and a little later my father
writes that he had again asked for the paternal approval, and draws a
picture of "C. B." kneeling to the "krewel father." The consent asked
for was apparently given this time, and plans and preparations for the
marriage were made. On 20th March 1855 my father writes:--

 "I also thought that it seemed a rather roundabout way of arriving
 at a good end, that I should take upon myself the bother of lodgers
 in one house, while mother at home intended to let the two upstairs
 rooms to some one else. I also thought that supposing anything were
 to happen either to separate me from the Building Society or to
 stop its progress, I might be much embarrassed in a pecuniary point
 of view with the burden of two rents attached to me. It therefore
 struck me, and I suggested to mother and Lizzie, whether it would not
 be possible, and not only possible but preferable, that we should
 all live in the same house as separate and distinct as though we
 were strangers in one sense, and yet not so in another. Mother and
 Lizzie both fully agreed with me, but it is a question, my dearest
 Susan, which entirely rests with you, and you alone must decide the
 question. I have agreed to allow mother 10s. per week, and if we lived
 elsewhere, mother out of it would have to pay rent, whilst ours would
 be in no way reduced. Again, if you felt dull there would be company
 for you, and I might feel some degree of hesitation in leaving you
 to find companionship in persons utterly strangers to both of us.
 There are doubtless evils connected with my proposal, but I think
 they are preventible ones. Mother might wish to interfere with your
 mode of arrangements. This she has promised in no way whatever to do.
 I leave the matter to yourself--on the ground of economy much might
 be said--at any rate my own idea is that we could not hurt by trying
 the experiment for a time; but do not let my ideas influence you in
 your decision: I will be governed by you: believe me, I only wish and
 endeavour to form a plan by which we may live happy and comfortably."

In April we have the first recorded lawsuit in which Mr. Bradlaugh took
part as one of the principals, though earlier than this, soon after
quitting the army, he had shown much legal acumen and practical wisdom
in a case that I cannot do better than quote here in his own words:--

"While I was away," he says, "a number of poor men had subscribed their
funds together, and had erected a Working Man's Hall, in Goldsmith's
Row, Hackney Road. Not having any legal advice, it turned out that they
had been entrapped into erecting their building on freehold ground
without any lease or conveyance from the freeholder, who asserted
his legal right to the building. The men consulted me, and finding
that under the Statute of Frauds they had no remedy, I recommended
them to offer a penalty rent of £20 a year. This being refused, I
constituted myself into a law court; and without any riot or breach
of the peace, I with the assistance of a hundred stout men took every
brick of the building bodily away, and divided the materials, so far
as was possible, amongst the proper owners. I think I can see now the
disappointed rascal of a freeholder when he only had his bare soil left
once more. He did not escape unpunished; for, to encourage the others
to contribute, he had invested some few pounds in the building. He had
been too clever: he had relied on the letter of the law, and I beat him
with a version of common-sense justice."

To return to my father's first suit in law. He brought an action for
false imprisonment against a solicitor named Wyatt. It appeared that
a person named Clements had assigned a wharf and certain book debts
and books to Messrs. Carr, Lamb & Co., and Mr Rogers, their solicitor,
sent Mr Bradlaugh, then his clerk, to Mr Wyatt's office, Gray's Inn, to
fetch away the books. Mr Wyatt refused to give them up: Mr Bradlaugh
seized them and carried them (an immense pile) to a cab he had waiting.
Mr Wyatt appeared on the scene with a clerk, and endeavoured to regain
possession of the books. After much resistance, in which my father's
coat was torn and hands cut, Mr Wyatt, unable to get the books,
called a policeman, and gave his adversary into custody on a charge
of "stealing the books;" this he withdrew for another--"creating a
disturbance and carrying off books." My father was locked up (whether
for minutes or hours I know not) with a boy who had been apprehended
whilst picking pockets. When he was brought before the magistrate he
was discharged, because no one appeared to prosecute. He wrote a number
of letters to Mr Wyatt demanding an apology, but received no answer,
and at length brought an action against him for false imprisonment. The
case came on before Mr Justice Crompton, and much to his delight, he
won a verdict, with £30 damages.

The foregoing is, I think, the only case in Mr Bradlaugh's career in
which he kept damages awarded him for his own personal use. In every
other case the damages were given to some charity--in later years,
always to the Masonic Boys' School. This time however the damages
awarded him by the jury were used in a purely personal manner, for the
money enabled him to hasten his marriage, and on June 5th, 1855, he
and my mother were married at St. Philip's Church, in the Parish of
Stepney, he barely 22 years of age, and she two years his senior.

They went to live at Warner Place, as was suggested in a letter I have
quoted; and my mother, who had been in very poor health for some time
previous to her marriage, seems to have gone with her sister-in-law
to Reigate for a few days at the end of the following July. How very
straitened their circumstances were, the following extract from a
letter of my father's to his wife will show:--

 "Carr and Lamb have not settled with me, and I am much pinched for
 cash, in fact, so much so that, as mother seems to wish to come to
 Reigate, I have thought of letting her come on Sunday, and staying at
 home myself, as I cannot manage both. If you feel well enough, I would
 like you to come home about next Thursday or Friday, as I begin to
 feel rather topsy-turvy.... If I do not come, I will send you money
 to clear you through the week. Do not think me in the least degree
 unkind if I stay away, because I assure you it is a great source
 of discomfort to me; but the fact is, if you want to spend thirty
 shillings, and have only twenty, there arises a most unaccountable
 difficulty in getting your purse and programme to agree. Had Carr and
 L., as I anticipated, closed accounts with me on Monday, all would
 have gone on smoothly, but as it is I am cramped. I have also been
 disappointed in the receipt of two or three other small sums which,
 coupled with an increased expenditure, all help to draw me up short."

The newly-married couple did not stop very long at Warner Place. Mrs
Bradlaugh senior and her daughter-in-law did not get on comfortably
together, and so husband and wife removed to 4 West Street, Bethnal
Green, where their first child, my sister Alice, was born on April
30, 1856. At the outset my parents were devotedly attached to one
another, an attachment which was not in the least degree diminished on
my mother's part until the hour of her death; and had they remained
pinched by the same close grip of poverty as at first their union
might have remained unbroken; who can say? My father was essentially
a "home" man, and when not called away on business preferred his own
fireside to that of any other man. People have taken it upon themselves
to describe my mother's personal appearance, some by one adjective
and some by another; but to my eyes, at least, she was comely to look
upon. She was a brunette, with hair which was black and silky, and the
finest I ever saw; she was nearly as tall as my father, and carried
herself well, although in her later years she was much too stout.
She was good-natured to a fault, generous to lavishness, and had an
open ear and an open pocket for every tale of sorrow or distress.
During my recollection our home was never without one or more needy
visitors: my father's brother and youngest sister, her own brother
and sister, Mr James Thomson, and others too numerous to mention, all
partook of the open-hearted hospitality which was lavished upon them.
She shone at her best in entertaining my father's political friends,
and her good-natured amiability made her a general favourite. She
was passionately attached to her children, and was rewarded by her
children's devotion, which endured through fair weather and foul; as,
indeed, was only her just due, for in all points save one she was the
best of mothers.

And it was this one point which, overbalancing all the rest, ruined
our home, lost her my father's love and her friends' respect, and was
the cause of her own sufferings, unhappiness, and early death. As soon
as fortune and success began to shine ever so feebly on my father's
labours, there did not lack the usual flatterers to his wife, and
panderers to her unhappy weakness. In a terribly short time, by the aid
of thoughtless, good-natured evil-doers and intentional malice, this
weakness developed into absolute and confirmed intemperance, which it
seemed as though nothing could check. With intemperance came the long
train of grievous consequences; easy good nature became extravagant
folly, and was soon followed by the alienation of real friends and a
ruined home. My father was gentleness and forbearance itself, but his
life was bitterly poisoned; he had his wife treated medically, and
sent to a hydropathic establishment, but all to no purpose. When our
home was finally broken up in 1870, and the closest retrenchment was
necessary, my father decided that it was utterly impossible to do that
with dignity as long as my mother remained in London; so she and we two
girls--my brother was at school--went to board with my grandfather at
Midhurst, Sussex. It was intended as a merely temporary arrangement,
and had it proved beneficial to my mother we should, when better
times came, have had a reunited home; but, alas! it was not to be. At
first my father came fairly frequently to Midhurst, but there was no
improvement, and so his visits became fewer and fewer; they brought
him no pleasure, but merely renewed the acuteness of his suffering.
At length he, always thoughtful for those about him and recognising
the terrible strain upon us his daughters in the life we were then
leading, arranged for us each to spend a month alternately with him at
his London lodgings, but not continuously, as he was anxious not to
separate us. Sometimes it was contrived for us both to be in London
together, and these were indeed sun-shiny days. We wrote letters for
him, and did what we could, and he made us happy by persuading us
that we were his secretaries and really useful to him; we tried to
be, but I fear our desires and his loving acceptance of our work went
far beyond its real merits. With time my mother became a confirmed
invalid, and in May 1877 she died very unexpectedly from heart disease
engendered by alcoholism.

Malevolent people have made a jest of all this, but the tragedy was
ours; others even more malevolent have endeavoured to make my father
in some way blameworthy in the matter--they might just as well blame
me! Any one who knows the story in all its details, with its years of
silent martyrdom for him, will know that my father's behaviour was that
of one man in a thousand. Some also have said that my mother was in an
asylum. Perhaps the following quotation from a letter written by her
from Midhurst, a few days before her death, to us who were in London
getting my father's things straight in his new lodgings, will be the
best answer, and will also show a little the kind of woman she was:--

 "My chest is so bad. I really feel ill altogether; if either of you
 were with me, you could not do me any good. I shall be glad of a
 letter to know how Hypatia gets on.

 "Do not neglect writing me, my darlings, for my heart is very
 sad. With great love to dear Papa, and also to your own dear
 selves.--Always believe me, your faithful mother,

   S. L. BRADLAUGH."

I have in this chapter said all I intend to say as to the relations
between my father and my mother. I shall perhaps be pardoned--in my
capacity as daughter, if not in that of biographer--for leaving the
matter here, and not going into it more fully. It is a painful subject
for one who loved her parents equally, and would fain have been equally
proud of both. Honestly speaking, I think I should never have had
the courage to touch upon it at all had I not felt that my duty to
my father absolutely required it. He allowed himself to be maligned
and slandered publicly and privately on the subject of his alleged
separation from his wife, but he never once took up the pen to defend
himself. Hence it becomes my unhappy duty to give the world for the
first time some real idea of the truth.



CHAPTER VII.

HYDE PARK MEETINGS, 1855.


In the summer of 1855, Mr Bradlaugh for the first time took part in
a great Hyde Park meeting. He went, like so many others, merely as a
spectator, having no idea that the part he would be called upon to play
would lead him into a position of prominence. In order to get a little
into the spirit of that Hyde Park meeting, I must recall a few of the
events which led up to it.

A Bill had been introduced into the House of Commons by Lord Robert
Grosvenor which was called the New Sunday Bill or the Sunday Trading
Bill, and had for its object the prevention of the whole of that small
trading by poor vendors, with which we are familiar in certain parts
of the metropolis to-day. Who has not seen or heard of the Sunday
marketing in Petticoat Lane, Leather Lane, Golden Lane, Whitecross
Street, and many such another place? This small trading is very useful,
and in many cases absolutely necessary to the very poor, who, being
at work all the week, would not otherwise have time for the purchase
of the Sunday dinner--the one real dinner of the week--shoes, or
such other articles of clothing as decency compels them to have even
when their slender purses almost forbid the purchase. Lord Robert
Grosvenor's Bill fell amongst these like a bombshell, causing the
wildest excitement and indignation.[16]

[Footnote 16: The following handbill, which was circulated after the
second reading of the Sunday Trading Bill, and put in evidence at the
Royal Commission subsequently held, will give a good idea as to the
extent of the proposed measure.

"Tyrannical attack upon the Liberty of the people. Proposed prohibition
of Sunday trading. The New Bill brought in by Lord Robert Grosvenor,
Lord Ebrington, and Mr M. Chambers proposes to prevent trading on
Sundays within the Metropolitan Police District and city of London, and
the liberties thereof. It enacts 'that all persons selling, offering,
or exposing for sale, or causing to be sold or exposed for sale (on
Sundays) any goods, chattels, effects, or things whatsoever, shall, on
summary conviction thereof, be fined 5s., and on a second conviction,
this fine may be increased to 40s.; and the fines will be cumulative,
and every separate act of selling will be a separate offence. The act
will not apply to the sale of medicines or drugs, nor to the selling
or crying of milk or cream before 9 a.m. or after 1 p.m., nor to the
selling or offering of any newspaper or periodical before 10 a.m., nor
to the sale of fruit, cooked victuals, or any unfermented beverage
before 10 a.m. and after 1 p.m., nor to the sale of meat, poultry,
fish, or game, before 9 a.m., from the 31st of May to the 1st of
October in each year, nor to the exercise of the ordinary business of
a licensed victualler or innkeeper. Butchers and others delivering
meat, fish, or game, after 9 a.m. on Sundays, will be liable to the
penalties above mentioned. Nor will that useful class of the community,
the barbers and hairdressers, be exempted, if they presume to 'do
business' after ten o'clock on Sunday mornings, in which case they
may be fined 5s., and 20s. for a second offence. It appears, however,
that the payment of one penalty will protect the offending barber from
any further fine on the same day. Clause 6 saves servants from the
operation of the Act, and visits their disobedience on their masters or
mistresses. The police are required to enforce the provisions of the
Act. Penalties and costs may be levied by distress, and imprisonment
may be inflicted in default of payment for 14 days in the common gaol
or house of correction. The penalties will be appropriated to the
expenses of the police force. No informations are to be quashed for
informality, or to be removed by _certiorari_ into the Court of Queen's
Bench. The Act (is) to commence (if passed) on the 1st day of November,
or All Saints' Day, 1855. A more tyrannical measure was never attempted
to be forced upon the people of this country, and if this 'Saints'
Bill' is allowed to pass, a much more stringent Act will doubtless
follow."]

Then it was that the excitement of the people needed to find some
expression in action, and J. B. Leno, the working man poet, and others,
turned the popular feeling to account by directing it into the form of
an unmistakable protest against this class of legislation. Amongst the
handbills put in circulation was the following, calling a meeting for
June 24th:--

 "New Sunday Bill to put down newspapers, shaving, smoking, eating
 and drinking of all kinds of food, or recreation for body or mind at
 present enjoyed by poor people. An open-air meeting of the artizans,
 mechanics, and lower orders of the metropolis will be held in Hyde
 Park on Sunday afternoon next, to see how religiously the aristocracy
 observe the Sabbath, and how careful they are not to work their
 servants or their cattle on that day (_vide_ Lord Robert Grosvenor's
 speech). The meeting is summoned for three o'clock on the right bank
 of the Serpentine, looking towards Kensington Gardens. Come and bring
 your wives and families with you, that they may benefit by the example
 set them by their betters.--_A Ratepayer of Walworth._"

The outcome of all this was that large numbers of people found their
way into Hyde Park on Sunday, June 24th. They came with the intention
of holding a meeting of protest. A space was set aside for the meeting,
and a Mr James Bligh called upon to preside. He began by addressing
the people in very temperate language, but was soon interrupted by
an Inspector of Police, who "politely told him he was authorised by
the Commissioner of the Police to prevent any meeting being held in
the Park; inasmuch as the Park was not public property, it would be
illegal." The Inspector said that his orders were imperative, and if
the speaker continued speaking he would be obliged to take him into
custody. Sir Richard Mayne was present with a Superintendent of Police,
and although the meeting was broken up, nevertheless many thousands
remained in the Park. These lounged along the carriage ways and greeted
the carriages with groans and hooting, or chaffing and good-humoured
sarcasm, each according to his feelings. The aristocracy and wealthy
commoners, who were taking their Sunday afternoon airing at their ease
in the Park, did not at all approve of the attendance and attention of
the multitude. The ladies and gentlemen reclining in their carriages
were asked why they allowed their servants to work on Sunday, or were
told to "go to Church," an order which some met by shaking their Church
Services in the faces of the throng, or by sneers; whilst others, such
as Lord and Lady Wilton, Lady Granville, and the Duke and Duchess of
Beaufort, were so frightened that they got out of their carriages at
the demand of the crowd and trudged it on foot.

This little taste of the delights of showing the wealthy their power
and of giving them a little bit of a fright only inflamed the people
the more. During the week following the 24th the excitement continued
to increase, and more handbills and placards were distributed. A very
witty placard issued by the "Leave us alone Club," and some amusing
lines, are quoted in Mr Headingley's Biography; while another which met
with great success was in the following terms:--

  "GO TO CHURCH!"

 "Lord Robert Grosvenor wishes to drive us all to church! Let us go to
 church with Lord Grosvenor next Sunday morning! We can attend on his
 Lordship at Park Lane at half-past ten: 'go to church' with him, then
 go home to dinner, and be back in time to see 'our friends' in Hyde
 Park. Come in your best clothes, as his lordship is very particular."

In the House, Lord Grosvenor fanned the flames of the popular
excitement outside by an express refusal to withdraw the Bill, and by
stating his fixed determination to press the measure. The signs of the
increasing agitation amongst the people were so marked that Sir Richard
Mayne, Commissioner of Police, became alarmed, especially as the police
superintendents of various districts reported to him that large numbers
of people were likely to attend the Park on the Sunday; and on June
29th he communicated with Sir George Grey, then Home Secretary, from
whom, as he stated later on to the Commission, he received instructions
to draft a document forbidding the meeting.

This notice was printed in one or two newspapers on the morning of
Saturday the 30th, but not issued in the form of a handbill until the
afternoon. It was then also posted throughout the metropolis, and on
Sunday morning at the Park Gates.

In common with the rest of the London public, Mr Bradlaugh read this
police notice, and directly he read it he felt convinced that the
Commissioner of Police had no power to prevent a meeting in the Park.
He therefore, after due consideration, resolved not to submit to this
order, but to take part in the general concourse--one can hardly
call it a meeting, since any attempt to form in a mass and listen to
speeches had been prevented on the previous Sunday--in the Park, and if
necessary to resist in his own person any active interference on the
part of the police.

The 1st of July arrived, and people from every district of London and
all round about flocked to the Park, crowding particularly towards the
north side of the Serpentine. Although showing every disposition to be
in the main quiet and orderly, the temper of the crowd was much less
good-humoured than on the previous Sunday; the police placards had
acted as a very successful irritant, and this feeling of irritation was
kept up and augmented by the sight of the wealthy ones parading up and
down in their carriages. As on the former Sunday, they were greeted
with groans and hooting, and so much vigour was thrown into the groans
that in two or three cases the high-spirited horses took fright, and
serious accidents appeared probable. At this point the police charged
the people, and naturally enough rioting (so-called) was the result.
Many persons were hurt, and seventy were taken prisoners. The police
accommodation at the Marlborough Street Police Station proved totally
inadequate for so large a number of prisoners, and the condition of the
cells was compared with that of the Black Hole in Calcutta. My father
was in the Park with my grandfather, Mr A. Hooper, and what he did
there may be learned a little later on from his own words.

This demonstration in Hyde Park produced such an impression that on the
following day, the 2nd of July, Lord Robert Grosvenor, in answer to a
question put to him in the House of Commons, said he was in "rather
an awkward predicament," a statement which we can readily believe.
His Bill, the Honourable Member insisted, was in reality intended to
increase the amount of holiday possible to "the overtaxed thousands of
the metropolis. But," he went on, "considering this is one of those
measures which are peculiarly liable to misrepresentation and ridicule;
considering also the late period of the session, and the formidable
opposition I am threatened with, I think it would not be right to keep
up the irritation that at the present moment exists for the bare chance
of passing this measure during the present session."

This abandonment of his Sunday Bill in a fright by "Saint" Grosvenor,
as he was nicknamed, was a tremendous triumph to all those whom
it affected, a triumph happily not marred by any punishment being
inflicted on the men arrested on various charges connected with the
demonstration, for when these were brought into court on the Monday
they were all discharged. At the John Street Institution a meeting was
held to protest against the action of the police, to express sympathy
with the injured, and to collect subscriptions on their behalf.[17]

[Footnote 17: Probably the re-formation of the National Sunday League
on its present basis in the autumn of 1855 was in great degree owing to
the attempted Sunday legislation of the summer; and it will perhaps be
news to most of the Sunday Leaguers of to-day that in the March of 1856
Mr Bradlaugh was actively engaged in trying to form a branch of the
League in the East End, of which he was the Secretary _pro. tem._, and
which was to hold its meetings in the Hayfield Coffee House, Mile End
Road.]

A Royal Commission was appointed "to inquire into the alleged
disturbances of the public peace in Hyde Park, Sunday, July 1st, 1855;
and the conduct of the metropolitan police in connection with the
same." This Commission sat continuously day by day from Tuesday, July
17th, to Thursday, August 2nd. The sittings were held in the Court
of Exchequer, and the Commission heard eighty-six witnesses on the
part of the complainants, and ninety-three for the police. Amongst
the eighty-six witnesses was my father, who was examined on the 20th
July. I quote the questions, with their often extremely characteristic
answers, from the Parliamentary Blue Book.[18]

[Footnote 18: Vol. XXIII. 1856, pp. 146, 147.]

  "Mr C. BRADLAUGH examined by Mr Mitchell:--

 "Where do you reside?--At No. 13 Warner Street South, Hackney Road.

 "You are a solicitor's clerk?--I am.

 "Were you in Hyde Park on the 1st of July?--I was.

 "At what time?--From about half-past three to half-past six.

 "Where did you walk during that time? I walked completely over the
 park, round by the carriage drive, and all round during that time.

 "Did you see a man in a cab with several policemen?--Yes. I saw a man
 being driven along in a cab with three policemen in the cab, a man
 with no shirt on; he was without his shirt, he was trying to look out,
 and I saw a policeman strike him over the temple with his truncheon.

 "There were three policemen in the cab?--Yes.

 "Mr Stuart Wortley: A man without a shirt?--Yes.

 "Mr Mitchell: Did you see anybody attacked?--Yes, I saw a rush made
 out on to the greensward. I went forward, and I saw four or five
 policemen striking a short man: his hat was knocked with a truncheon,
 and he held up his hands and said, 'For God's sake, do not hit
 me--take me!'

 "Did they continue to hit him?--Yes; I ran forward, and put one
 truncheon back with my gloved hand, and I said, 'The next man that
 strikes I will knock him down!'

 "What did they do then?--Then they left off striking him, and they put
 him between two policemen, and I suppose he was taken away in custody.

 "They found that you were rather a strongish man?--They would.

 "Were you attacked by the police?--I was standing on the grass just
 after that, and they made another sortie out from the roadway, and
 ordered the people to move on, and they moved as fast as they could.
 One of them came up to me, and began to push me with his truncheon,
 upon which I said to him: 'Do not do that, friend; you have no right
 to do it, and I am stronger than you are.' He then beckoned to two
 others, who came up, and I took hold of two of the truncheons, one in
 each hand, and I said to the centre one: 'If you attempt to touch me,
 I will take one of those truncheons, and knock you down with it.' I
 took the two truncheons, and I wrested them, and I showed them that I
 could do it.

 "Did they then leave you alone?--Yes; the people that came behind me
 picked me up and carried me up about 100 yards back, cheering me.

 "Mr Stuart Wortley.--Did they take you off your legs?--Yes, and I
 thought it was the police behind for a moment.

 "Mr Mitchell.--You were in the Park for three hours?--Yes.

 "How were the people behaving?--I never saw a large assemblage of
 people behaving so well.

 "You were with your father-in-law, were you not?--Yes, I was.

 "What time in the day was this particular occurrence?--About
 half-an-hour before I left.

 "Mr Henderson.--The people gathered round you?--Yes. I did not want to
 be a self-constituted leader, and immediately I could I got away from
 the press and came away. I left about half-past six, a few minutes
 after or a few minutes before.

 "Mr Stuart Wortley.--Had the excitement in the Park increased a good
 deal at that time?--Yes; I felt excited by seeing men, unable to
 defend themselves, knocked about.

 "Mr Mitchell.--Did you see any other rush of the police at the
 people?--I saw several rushes. I could not understand the reason for
 them at all, except on one occasion; I saw one mounted superintendent
 stretch out his arm, and I saw a rush immediately in the direction
 that his arm went.

 "What sort of a horse had he?--I could not see; I was on the sward. I
 only noticed a mounted man.

 "You would not know him if you saw him again?--Yes; I think so: I
 should certainly know him if I saw him mounted.

 "Can you say whether he had whiskers or not?--Yes; I think he had, but
 that is more an impression than anything else.

 "Did you see them strike any woman?--I saw in the rush, in one of
 them, a man and two women thrown down, and I saw the police run over
 them. They did not strike them, but they ran right over them. I made a
 remark to my father-in-law: 'It is lucky they are no sisters of mine,
 or else they would stop to pick them up.'

 "You did not go into the Park to resist the police?--Decidedly not.
 I went in consequence of seeing the notice of Sir Richard Mayne
 forbidding it, and to see what took place there.

 "Out of curiosity?--Not exactly. I had heard it said that they were
 rabble, and I did not believe it, and I went to see for myself.

 "Your indignation was not excited till you got there?--Not till some
 time after I had been there. At first I should have come away. The
 police were doing nothing, and at first everything seemed to be very
 quiet. There was no kind of meeting, except that there had been a
 large concourse of people. I should have come away but for those
 rushes of the police amongst the people.

 "They were not a disorderly crowd?--No.

  "Cross-examined by Mr Ellis:--

 "You spoke of Sir Richard Mayne's proclamation as forbidding this
 meeting. Did you read it?--Yes.

 "Does it forbid it?--The tenor of it seemed to me to be forbidding the
 assemblage, and I had not heard then, and have not heard now, that
 Sir Richard Mayne has any power to forbid my going into the Park;
 therefore I went.

 "I think that the language of this proclamation is, that all
 well-disposed persons are requested to abstain. You do not call that
 forbidding?--When those police notices are put up I remember one place
 where I was requested to abstain from going to, some few years ago;
 and when I went there I found that the request to abstain was enforced
 in a precisely similar way, by striking the people with truncheons who
 went there. That was at Bonner's Fields.

 "Were any persons struck with truncheons there?--Yes.

 "Surely the police were armed with cutlasses?--I think I remember
 two being drawn as well; but I know some of them were struck with
 truncheons. I was struck with a truncheon myself, so that I am
 perfectly capable of remembering it.

 "You were at Bonner's Fields?--I was.

 "Mr Stuart Wortley.--Is there anything else that you wish to
 add?--Nothing.

 "The witness withdrew."

In his "Autobiography"[19] Mr Bradlaugh says: "I was very proud that
day at Westminster, when, at the conclusion of my testimony, the
Commissioner publicly thanked me, and the people who crowded the Court
of the Exchequer cheered me.... This was a first step in a course in
which I have never flinched or wavered."

[Footnote 19: The Autobiography of Charles Bradlaugh. A page from his
life, written in 1873 for the _National Reformer_.]

 Before dismissing this Sunday Trading question altogether, I may as
 well notice here that in the succeeding year my father made a short
 humorous compilation of some of the more striking "English Sunday
 laws" for the _Reasoner_. I am ignorant how many of these are still
 in force, but I repeat part of the article here: as a trifle from
 my father's pen, it will be welcome to some, and in others it may,
 perhaps, provoke inquiry as to how many of these restrictions are
 binding (in law) upon us to-day.

 "Travelling in a stage or mail coach on a Sunday is lawful, and the
 driver is lawfully employed. Contracts to carry passengers in a stage
 coach on a Sunday are therefore binding, but the driver of a van
 travelling to and from distant towns, such as London and York, is
 unlawfully employed, and may be prosecuted and fined 20s. for each
 offence; and presuming that the laws of God and England are in unison,
 the driver of the van will be damned for Sabbath breaking and the
 driver of the coach will go to heaven for the same offence.

 "Mackerel may be sold on Sunday either before or after Divine service.

 "There is no offence against the common law of England in trading
 or working on a Sunday; therefore the statutes must be strictly
 construed. If a butcher should shave on a Sunday, he would commit no
 offence, because it would not be following his ordinary calling.

 "Persons exercising their calling on a Sunday are only subject
 to one penalty, for the whole is but one offence, or one act of
 exercising, although continued the whole day. A baker, a pastrycook,
 or confectioner, is liable to be prosecuted if selling bread or pastry
 before nine or half-past one o'clock on the Sunday.

 "If the Archbishop of Canterbury's cook, groom, footman, butler, and
 all other his men servants and maid servants do not each of them
 attend church every Sunday, they may be prosecuted and fined.

 "If the Archbishop of Canterbury's coachman drive his master to church
 on Sunday, if his footmen stand behind his carriage, these being their
 ordinary callings and not works of charity or necessity, they may be
 prosecuted and fined 5s. each.

 "Tobacconists may be prosecuted for selling tobacco and cigars on a
 Sunday.

 "Railway officials may be punished for working on a Sunday; certainly
 on excursion trains.

 "The stokers and men employed on the steamboats plying to Gravesend,
 etc., are also liable to prosecution, although a few watermen enjoy
 the privilege of Sabbath-breaking by Act of Parliament.

 "Civil contracts made on a Sunday are void with some few exceptions,
 viz. a soldier may be enlisted on a Sunday. A labourer may be hired
 on a Sunday. A guarantee may be given for the faithful services of
 a person about to be employed. A bill of exchange may be drawn on a
 Sunday.

 "Civil process must not be served an a Sunday, but an ecclesiastical
 citation may; therefore the Church reserves to itself the right of
 Sabbath breaking on all occasions.

 "A cookshop may be open on a Sunday for the sale of victuals.

 "Every person who should go to Hyde Park, or any of the other parks,
 to hear the band play, if out of his own parish, is liable to be fined
 3s. 4d.

 "If two or three go from out of their smoky city residences to the
 sea to fish, or to the green fields to play cricket, they may each be
 fined 3s. 4d. if out of the parish in which they reside."



CHAPTER VIII.

THE ORSINI ATTEMPT.


The first allusion which I can find to any lecture delivered by my
father after his return from Ireland appears in the _Reasoner_, and
is the briefest possible notice, in which no comment is made, either
upon the speaker or upon his name, although I find the _nom de guerre_
of "Iconoclast" and the subject (Sunday Trading and Sunday Praying)
given. We may, therefore, conclude that by this time[20] he had become
a tolerably familiar figure on the London Freethought platform. The
next reference I come across relates to his first lecture, given on
24th August 1855, on behalf of Mr B. B. Jones, the aged Freethinker
who sheltered him on his first leaving home, and for whose benefit he
afterwards lectured every year during the remainder of the kindly old
veteran's life.

[Footnote 20: July 1855.]

In the latter part of 1856 my father's lectures are referred to in the
reports of meetings with tolerable regularity, and I gather that even
at that time he was lecturing four or five times a month. He lectured
at a little hall in Philpot Street, Commercial Road; Finsbury Hall,
Bunhill Row; at a hall in St George's Road, near the "Elephant and
Castle," afterwards given up by the Freethinkers who were accustomed to
hire it on Sundays, because they did not approve of the uses to which
it was put during the week; at the Hoxton Secular Class Rooms, 101 High
Street; and the John Street Institution, Fitzroy Square.

Amongst his many and varied occupations he yet contrived to make time
for study, for in the same year he was lecturing on Strauss' "Life of
Jesus," and Mahomet and the Koran, in addition to the more general
questions of the Existence of God, Materialism, etc. And here I may
cite a little instance showing that my father's power of repartee was
a very early development. He happened to be lecturing upon "The God of
the Bible," and in the discussion which ensued "a Christian gentleman,
Mr Dunn, ... informed his auditory that it was only by God's mercy
they existed at all, as all men had been tried and condemned before
their birth, and were now prisoners at large." My father in his reply
promptly took "objection to this phrase, as implying that society was
nothing more than a collection of 'divine ticket-of-leave men.'"

In 1856, too, Mr Bradlaugh once more ventured into print. His first
essay in the publishing way, it may be remembered, was the little
pamphlet on the "Christian's Creed," which he dedicated to the Rev.
Mr Packer. This time he issued, in conjunction with John Watts and
"Anthony Collins," a little publication called "Half-hours with
Freethinkers," which came out in fortnightly numbers, and opened on
October 1st with a paper on Descartes from the pen of "Iconoclast."
Two series were ultimately issued, each of twenty-four numbers, but
some time elapsed between the two; in fact, the second did not come
out until 1864, and was edited by my father and Mr John Watts. These
stories "of the lives and doctrines of those who have stood foremost in
the ranks of Freethought in all countries and in all ages" met with a
hearty welcome, and are in demand even to this day; several were at the
time reprinted in America by the _Boston Investigator_.

The new year of 1857 opened with a promise of growing activity by an
address from "Iconoclast" to a party of Secular friends who assembled
in the hall at Philpot Street, to watch the New Year in, and by a
course of ten (or twelve) lectures in criticism of the Bible, which
he commenced on the following day. On the 12th of February, also, was
held his first discussion, or at least the first I can find recorded,
if we except the youthful encounters of Warner Place. The discussion
between "Mr Douglas and Iconoclast" took place at the little Philpot
Street Hall; but who Mr Douglas was I know not, for the report is
limited to a mention of an allusion by the Christian advocate to
Atheists as "monsters, brutes, and fools," which was--as we may well
believe--"severely commented on by 'Iconoclast.'"

Another and more important work, however, was begun in the early spring
of 1857. This was "The Bible: what it is: Being an examination thereof
from Genesis to Revelation." This work, advertised by my father as
"intended to relieve the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
from the labour of retranslating the Bible, by proving that it is
not worth the trouble and expense," it was arranged should be issued
in fortnightly numbers by Holyoake & Co., whose "Fleet Street House,"
situate at 147 Fleet Street, was to a considerable extent maintained
by the Freethought party. After the third number, Mr G. J. Holyoake
declined to publish, on the ground that Mr Bradlaugh would probably
go too far in his mode of criticism, and that by publishing the book
he would be identified with it. This seemed an inadequate reason,
since Mr Holyoake published Spiritualistic works, a "Criminal History
of the Clergy," and other books, with which he was most certainly
not identified. Later Mr Holyoake based his refusal to publish on
the ground that a short passage in the third number referring to
the suggestion that the third chapter of Genesis was intended as an
allegorical representation of the union of the sexes, was obscene.
Mr Bradlaugh was both surprised and indignant, as well he might be,
and wrote a letter to the _Investigator_,[21] explaining his position
fully. He was obliged henceforward to publish his work himself; Mr
Edward Truelove, who then had a bookseller's business at 240 Strand,
generously rendering every assistance in his power.

[Footnote 21: The _Investigator_. A Journal of Secularism, edited by
Robert Cooper.]

By this time also he had become a regular contributor to the
_Investigator_, and his first articles were upon the "Lives of Bible
Heroes"--Abraham, Moses, David, and Cain, each following in turn.

On the 22nd of February 1858 Mr Truelove was arrested by Government
warrant for the publication of a pamphlet written by Mr W. E. Adams,
"Is Tyrannicide Justifiable?" in which was discussed the attempt made
by Orsini upon the life of the French Emperor.

Referring to this, my father wrote some notable words in his
Autobiography of 1873. "I became," said he, "Honorary Secretary to the
Defence, and was at the same time associated with the conduct of the
defence of Simon Bernard, who was arrested at the instigation of the
French Government for alleged complicity in the Orsini tragedy. It was
at this period I gained the friendship of poor Bernard, which, without
diminution, I retained until he died; and also the valued friendship
of Thomas Allsop, which I still preserve. My associations were
thenceforward such as to encourage in me a strong and bitter feeling
against the late Emperor Napoleon. Whilst he was in power I hated
him, and never lost an opportunity of working against him until the
_déchéance_ came. I am not sure now that I always judged him fairly;
but nothing, I think, could have tempted me either to write or speak
of him with friendliness or kindliness during his life. _Le sang de
mes amis etait sur son âme._ Now that the tomb covers his remains, my
hatred has ceased; but no other feeling has arisen in its place. Should
any of his family seek to resume the Imperial purple, I should remain
true to my political declarations of sixteen years since, and should
exert myself to the uttermost to prevent France falling under another
Empire. I write this with much sadness, as the years 1870 to 1873
have dispelled some of my illusions, held firmly during the fifteen
years which preceded. I had believed in such men as Louis Blanc, Ledru
Rollin, Victor Hugo, as possible statesmen for France. I was mistaken.
They were writers, talkers, and poets; good men to ride on the stream,
or to drown in honest protest, but lacking force to swim against, or
turn back, the tide by the might of their will. I had believed too in
a Republican France, which is yet only in the womb of time, to be born
after many pangs and sore travailing."

When Mr Bradlaugh acted as Secretary for the Defence, his duties were
performed in no merely formal way, but with the utmost energy and
enthusiasm. In order to give more time to this work, he suspended the
publication of his Commentary on the Bible, and in issuing the "Appeal"
for the Defence fund wrote in earnest entreaty for his staunch and
fearless friend, saying truly enough, "It would be a stain on us for
years if we left poor Truelove to fight the battle of the press alone."

But my father's sympathies were all his life long on the side of the
weak and oppressed, and in this particular instance he came in personal
contact with the friends and associates of Orsini, if not with Orsini
himself (which, indeed, I am under the impression was the case), so
that the whole tone of his surroundings was anti-Napoleonic. Felice
Orsini must have been personally known to many of the advanced thinkers
in England, for I notice that in the winter of 1856 he was lecturing
at Woolwich (and probably elsewhere) on "Austrian and Papal Tyranny in
Italy." Those who knew him, even those who could not approve his deed,
yet honoured and revered him as a hero and a martyr.

My father spoke of him as "the noble, the brave, the true-hearted
Orsini." In 1859, writing of him: "One year since and his blood was
scarce dry! Bernard was a prisoner; Allsop a fugitive. Now Orsini
lives: the spirit of his greatness passed into a hundred others, and
the dead hero lives. Priests in their masses say, 'Pray for the memory
of the dead;' we say, 'Work for the memory of the dead!' Orsini needs
a monument o'er his grave. He is buried in the hearts of the freemen
of Europe, and his monument should be indestructible Republicanism
throughout France, Italy, Hungary, and Poland." Alas! for my father's
dreams of a Republic for those striving and oppressed nations. Poland
still lies at the feet of Russia, Hungary is held in the iron grasp
of Imperial Austria, and but a year or so ago Republican France and
Monarchical Italy were ready to fly at one another's throats.

The result of the prosecution of Mr Truelove, which is told more
fully at the end of this chapter by an abler pen than mine, was the
abandonment by the Government of all proceedings on certain conditions;
and although Mr Truelove, as well as his friends, would have preferred
a trial and acquittal to a withdrawal on the conditions accepted by his
counsel, nevertheless it was an undoubted triumph for the principle
of the liberty of the press and free discussion. When at length the
struggle ended it was proposed to raise a sum of money to compensate Mr
Truelove for the loss he must have sustained in his business, but this
Mr Truelove, with true public spirit, chivalrously refused.

Dr Bernard, in the conduct of whose defence Mr Bradlaugh was also
associated, seems to have been personally a most lovable man. I do not
think that I myself recollect him, but he was so often spoken of in
our family, and always with affection and regret, and his photograph
so proudly kept, that he seems a familiar figure in my early memories;
there was a tradition, of which as a child I was immensely proud (as
though I had played a conscious and important part in the matter!)
that the evening on which I was born, the 31st of March, my father
was delivering an oration upon Orsini in some Hall in London; at the
conclusion he was followed home by the police, and, being aware of the
fact, he led his pursuers a pretty chase. The notes of this address
were afterwards written out on thin paper and ironed, by an expert
laundress attached to my father and mother, into the folds of Dr
Bernard's shirt and conveyed to him in prison. In a notice which he
wrote of a meeting of the Political Reform League in the October of
the same year, Mr Bradlaugh alludes to the presence of "Simon Bernard,
who with his frank and good-humoured bearing seems quite unlike a
conspirator." He not infrequently took the chair at Dr Bernard's
meetings at St. Martin's Hall, Long Acre, and elsewhere, returning home
on one occasion with sundry rents in his coat, the result of Catholic
objections to Dr Bernard's strictures on the Pope, aided by the rancour
of persons friendly to Louis Napoleon.

Mr Headingley[22] says that when Dr Bernard was tried, great anxiety
was felt as to the verdict; and when it was known that one of the
jurymen was a friend, he was sent into the jury box with his pocket
full of sandwiches, so that he should not yield for want of food. But
this proved a needless precaution, for the jury returned with a verdict
of _Not guilty_ after a consultation of less than an hour-and-a-half.
Amongst other exciting incidents of the time, which he learned from my
father's own lips, Mr Headingley relates that--

[Footnote 22: Biography of Charles Bradlaugh.]

 "Before the trial, and while Bernard lay in prison awaiting his fate,
 considerable fear was entertained lest he should be surreptitiously
 given up to the French authorities. A watch was therefore instituted
 over the prison; communications, in spite of all regulations to
 the contrary, were established with the prisoner; and the Defence
 Committee kept informed as to everything that happened within the
 walls. Had Bernard been removed, there were friends ever close at
 hand, both night and day, ready to give the alarm. A riot would very
 probably have ensued, and an attempt made to rescue Bernard in the
 confusion."

 He goes on to say that "the organization of all these precautionary
 measures involved a great deal of labour, and required much tact. The
 presence of French police spies was supplemented by the interference
 of English spies; and against these it was necessary for Bernard's
 friends to be on the alert. On one occasion some mounted police
 followed Bradlaugh to his home in Cassland Road, Hackney. At another
 time he entered a restaurant near Leicester Square with Dr Bernard
 and Mr Sparkhall, an old and trusty friend, who subsequently joined
 and helped to organize the English legion that fought so well for
 Garibaldi. While they were discussing a French spy came in, and
 sitting down in the next compartment, soon pretended to be asleep.
 Bradlaugh, recognising the individual, leaned over the compartment,
 took a long spill, as if to light a cigar, and held the burning paper
 under the spy's nose. As the man was only pretending to be asleep,
 this treatment did not fail to awake him most promptly. Further, this
 manner of dealing with him left no room for doubt as to his having
 been recognised, and he therefore simply rose and quietly left the
 restaurant, without even protesting against the burn inflicted on
 his most prominent feature. So numerous were the foreign spies in
 London at that time, that popular irritation was excited, and once
 Bernard himself was mistaken by a mob in the Park, and attacked as a
 French spy. His friends had great difficulty in shielding him and in
 persuading his aggressors that they were mistaken."

Thomas Allsop,[23] mentioned by Mr Bradlaugh in the same sentence with
Bernard, was also present at the Reform League meeting, and he is
described by my father as "a straightforward old gentleman, carrying
his years well, and apparently untroubled by the late harassing events;
his head gives you an idea of power and dogged determination--it
is worth more than £200." These last words refer, I believe, to a
reward of £200 which was offered for the apprehension of Mr Allsop in
connection with the Orsini matter. Apart from the striking personality
it represents, the name of Thomas Allsop will always bear a peculiar
interest to admirers of Charles Bradlaugh, for it was he who bestowed
upon the, even then, "strong man and strenuous fighter" the motto
"Thorough," which his after life so amply justified, and of which he
was so proud, saying, "When my work is over, and the stone covers the
spot wherein I lie, may I be entitled to have the word 'Thorough'
carven upon its face."

[Footnote 23: Mr Allsop will be known to the English public as the
author of the "Recollections of Samuel Taylor Coleridge." He died a few
years before my father, and he lies near his friend at Brookwood.]

It was during these years of political excitement that my father became
acquainted with Mazzini, Crispi, de Boni, Ledru Rollin, Louis Blanc,
and W. J. Linton.

The author of the "Tyrannicide" pamphlet has been so good as to
write for me his "Recollections of Charles Bradlaugh;" and as the
references to this period are very interesting, I cannot do better than
incorporate them here just as he sent them to me:--

"It was in 1858," Mr W. E. Adams tells us, "that I first made the
personal acquaintance of Charles Bradlaugh. Mr Bradlaugh was at that
time known only as 'Iconoclast,' the general public having, I think,
a very indistinct idea what his real name was. I had heard him as
'Iconoclast' at the old John Street Institution, where many another
dead and gone controversialist had won plaudits from the listening
crowd: Dr Mill, Henry Tyrrell, Samuel Kydd, Robert Cooper. There, too,
the veteran Thomas Cooper had recited 'Paradise Lost,' or told the
eloquent story of the cause of the Commonwealth. Iconoclast, then a
tall, slender, yet powerful young man, with a face stern enough for
an adjutant, and a carriage equal to that of an Elizabethan hero, was
beginning to claim admission to the ranks of the leaders of advanced
thought.

"The year 1858 was the year of Felice Orsini's attempt on the life
of Louis Napoleon. I was at that time, and had been for some years
previously, a member of a Republican association, which was formed to
propagate the principles of Mazzini. When the press, from one end of
the country to the other, joined in a chorus of condemnation of Orsini,
I put down on paper some of the arguments and considerations which I
thought told on Orsini's side. The essay thus produced was read at a
meeting of one of our branches, the members attending which earnestly
urged me to get the piece printed. It occurred to me also that the
publication might be of service, if only to show that there were two
sides to the question 'Tyrannicide.' So I went to Mr G. J. Holyoake,
then carrying on business as a publisher of advanced literature in
Fleet Street. Mr Holyoake not being on the premises, his brother
Austin asked me to leave my manuscript and call again. When I called
again Mr Holyoake returned me the paper, giving among other reasons
for declining to publish it that he was already in negotiation with
Mazzini for a pamphlet on the same subject. 'Very well,' said I, 'all
I want is that something should be said on Orsini's side. If Mazzini
does this, I shall be quite content to throw my production into the
fire.' A few days later, not hearing anything of the Mazzini pamphlet,
I left the manuscript with Mr Edward Truelove, with whom I have ever
since maintained a close and unbroken friendship. Mr Truelove seemed
pleased with the paper, offered to publish it, and proposed to get it
printed. The essay, as I had written it, was entitled 'Tyrannicide,
a Justification.' Mr Truelove, however, suggested that it should be
called 'Tyrannicide: is it Justifiable?' Then there was no name to the
production, which, I need not say, bore many marks of the immaturity
of the author. Mr Truelove said it would be as well to adopt a _nom
de plume_. But if any name was to appear to the pamphlet, I said I was
disposed to think that it should be my own. And so it came to pass that
the pamphlet appeared with the title--'Tyrannicide: is it Justifiable?
by W. E. Adams. Published by Edward Truelove, 240 Strand, London.' Two
or three days after the announcement of the publication, when only a
few hundred copies had been sold, Mr Truelove was arrested, brought
before the Bow Street magistrate, and held to bail for publishing a
seditious libel on Louis Napoleon. As a matter of course, nobody knew
the author. It was suspected indeed that the name attached to the
pamphlet was a fiction, and that the essay was the production of a
French exile.

"The arrest of Mr Truelove was regarded as an attack upon the liberty
of the press--an attempt to restrict the right of public discussion.
So regarding it, a number of gentlemen, prominently identified with
advanced opinions, formed what was called a 'Truelove Defence Fund.'
Mr Bradlaugh, who was among the first to volunteer assistance, was
appointed secretary of the committee; the late James Watson accepted
the office of treasurer; and contributions and other help were
received from John Stuart Mill, W. Cunningham, M.P., Dr Epps, Arthur
Trevelyan, Professor F. W. Newman, W. J. Fox, M.P., Jos. Cowen,
junr., Abel Heywood, P. A. Taylor, Harriet Martineau, etc. Six months
after Mr Truelove had been arrested, the whole affair came to a most
'lame and impotent' conclusion. It was at the instance of Sir Richard
Bethel, Attorney-General under Lord Palmerston, and probably at the
instigation of the Government of Louis Napoleon, whom the pamphlet
was alleged to have libelled, that the prosecution was commenced.
The case was withdrawn by Sir Fitzroy Kelly, Attorney-General under
the Government of Lord Derby, on the understanding that Mr Truelove
would sell no more of the pamphlets. Down to the evening preceding the
day fixed for the trial, Mr Truelove, though he had doubts as to the
result, fully expected that the matter would be fought out. On that
evening, however, when it was too late to instruct other counsel, Mr
Truelove was informed that the counsel already retained for the defence
announced that the affair would have to be compromised. So it came to
pass that Chief Justice Campbell, six months after the prosecution had
been instituted, dismissed Mr Truelove with many words of caution.
It need not be said that Mr Bradlaugh was as much disgusted with
this termination of the case as Mr Truelove himself. The secret of
the collapse, I think, was this:--Edwin James, who was retained for
the defence, and who had political ambitions which were never fully
realised on account of misdeeds which compelled him to retire from
public life and from his own country, practically sold his client in
order that the Government might be relieved from a distasteful and
unpleasant position."



CHAPTER IX.

EARLY LECTURES AND DEBATES.


I do not know at what date or at what place my father delivered his
first provincial lectures, but the earliest of which I can find any
record occurred in January 1858, when on the 10th of that month he
delivered two lectures at Manchester, a town in which, as we shall
see later on, he was not altogether unknown, although in a totally
different capacity. In reading the little there is to read about these
early lecturing days I have been impressed with the fact that while
in London his lectures were favourably received, and he was evidently
gaining goodwill as he went from one hall to another, in the country he
seems to have touched the hearts and the feelings of his audiences for
or against him wherever he went. At these first Manchester lectures the
reporter writes: "His manly, earnest, and fearless style of advocacy
were much admired, and evidently produced a deep impression. Everybody
who heard him wished to hear him again." In the April following he
lectured in Sheffield, and from that time forward his visits to the
provinces were very frequent. Sheffield almost adopted him, and he went
there again and again; in 1858 and 1859 he went also to Newcastle,
Sunderland, Bradford, Northampton, Doncaster, Accrington, Blackburn,
Halifax, Bolton, and other towns, leaving a trail of excitement in his
wake wherever he went. The descriptions of his personal appearance and
the comments on his lectures at this time are more or less amusing.
The first I will note here shall be one from his own pen, written to
Mr Alfred Jackson in 1858, on the occasion of his earliest visit to
Sheffield. He says: "You ask me to tell you how you may know me. I am
6 ft. 1 in. in height, about twenty-five years of age, dress in dark
clothing, am of fair complexion, with only the ghost of a prospective
whisker."

In a brief account of his Sheffield lectures that year my father says
that when he reached the Temperance Hall a copy of the _Sheffield
Independent_ was put into his hands, in which the Rev. Brewin Grant
announced his intention to take no notice of him. But Mr Grant proved
to be of a rather fickle temper, for on the morning following this
first lecture "a small bill was printed and industriously circulated,
entitled 'Iconoclast clasted,' being a challenge to myself from this
very Brewin Grant who had previously determined not to notice me." On
the first night Mr Bradlaugh had "a perfect crowd of opponents;" on the
second he found that fresh troops had been levied against him. These
"were led to the fray by the Rev. Eustace Giles (a stout Dissenting
minister with a huge black bag). After the lecture this gentleman rose
to reply, and commenced by extracting from his bag three huge volumes
of Van der Hooght's Hebrew Bible, which he declared was the original
Word of God, and which he requested me to read aloud to the audience. I
complied by reading and translating a verse, to each word of which Mr
Giles and his coadjutors nodded approval."

Going to Newcastle in September, my father found that the description
of his personal appearance had so preceded him that the gentleman who
met him, Mr Mills, came "straight to me on the platform as though we
were old acquaintances instead of meeting for the first time." In
Newcastle he lectured twice in the Nelson Street Lecture Hall (which
has quite recently, I believe, been turned into a market), and was
fairly, if briefly, reported by the _Newcastle Daily Chronicle_. While
in the town he took the opportunity of listening to a lecture delivered
by "J. Cowen, jun.," as Mr Joseph Cowen was then styled.

From Newcastle he went to Sunderland, where a person who came from
the Rev. Mr Rees, a clergyman of that place, brought him a parody of
the Church service entitled "The Secularist's Catechism," which was
intended as some far-reaching and scathing sarcasm on the Secularist's
"creed," but which is really as pretty a piece of blasphemy as ever
issued from the pen of a Christian minister. Mr Bradlaugh tells how the
person who brought it "gave it to me in a fearful manner, keeping as
far away from me as possible, and evidently regarding me as a dangerous
animal; he backed towards the room door after putting the paper in
my hand, and seemed relieved in mind that I had not in some manner
personally assaulted him."

On his next visit to Sheffield, where he was announced to deliver
three lectures on three successive evenings, the walls were covered
with bills advising the people to keep away, and the clergy in church
and chapel publicly warned their congregations against attending the
lectures. In spite of all these precautions (or was it because of
them?) the lectures were a decided success, the audiences increasing
with each evening, until on the last evening "the large Temperance
Hall was full in every part, the applause was unanimous, and not one
opponent appeared." The visit of "Iconoclast" to Bradford produced a
great flutter in the clerical society of that town; and after he left
we hear that "almost every missionary and clerical speaker opened fire
upon him," and one sensitive gentleman wrote to the _Bradford Observer_
expressing his grief that the Teetotal Hall should be "prostituted" by
being let to the Freethought lecturer.

In his _Autobiography_ my father himself puts the date of his first
lecturing visit to Northampton as the year 1857, and this year is again
given in the little book issued as a _souvenir_ of the unveiling of the
statue of their late member by the Northampton Radical Association in
June 1894; but I am inclined to think that this is a mistake, that my
father's memory misled him a little, and, that he put the date a few
months too early. In any case, although I have made diligent inquiry,
the first lectures of which I can find any note took place on Sunday
and Monday, January 30th and 31st, 1859, in the large room of the
Woolpack Inn, Kingswell Street. On the Monday evening the chair was
taken by the late Mr Joseph Gurney, J.P., who, in company with his
old friend Mr Shipman, had already heard Mr Bradlaugh lecture at the
John Street Institution in London, and had been much impressed by the
ability and earnest eloquence of the young speaker. The people crowded
the street outside the Woolpack Inn for some time before the doors of
the lecture-room were open, and the room was packed in a few moments.
I wonder how many times after that did Mr Gurney preside at densely
packed meetings for Mr Bradlaugh! Mr Gurney himself subsequently
attained all the municipal honours Northampton could bestow upon her
deserving townsman, nominated Charles Bradlaugh seven out of eight
times that he contested the borough, and only did not nominate him on
the eighth occasion because his position as chief magistrate prevented
him.

In the following March it was arranged that my father should lecture
in the Guildhall, at Doncaster. Doncaster, with its reputation as a
race town, was also in those days the abode of the "unco' guid." Some
of the inhabitants appear to have been much put out at the proposed
lecture, and certain "Friends of Religion," as they called themselves,
issued a "Caution to the public, especially the religious portion,"
in which they, the "People of Doncaster," are entreated to give
"Iconoclast the extacy (_sic_) of gazing on the unpeopled interior of
the Guildhall." The "Friends of Religion" prefaced their entreaty by
announcing that "the juvenile destroyer of images" had been engaged as
a "grand speculation!" Presumably this "Caution" resulted in a famous
advertisement, for the _Doncaster Herald_ says that the Guildhall was
"crowded to excess," and in writing his account of the lecture, which
he says was a "frantic panegyric in honour of hell and a blasphemous
denunciation of heaven," the reporter to this journal seems to have
worked himself up into a fine frenzy. One can almost see him with his
tossed-back hair, his rolling eyes and gnashing teeth, as he hurled
these dynamitic words at the readers of the _Herald_:--

 "There boldly, defiantly, recklessly--with the air of the dreadnought
 bravo or the Alpine bandit--stood the creator's work [elsewhere styled
 'clayformed ingrate'] toiling, sweating, labouring strenuously, to
 heap slander upon his creator, and to convert into odious lies the
 book by which that creator has made himself known to the world!...
 Need we go further to express our more than disgust--our horror--at
 the fact of a young and accomplished man standing forth in crowded
 halls, and, while the beauteous moon marches aloft in the vast and
 indefinable firmament, and the myriad of silvery stars shoot their
 refulgent rays upon the desecrated lecture-room, actually telling
 the people that no God lives! no Supreme hand fretted the brave
 o'erhanging firmament with golden fire--no Jehovah made the wide
 carpet of fair nature bespangled with laughing flowers--no God made
 roaring seas and mighty rivers--no God revealed the Bible--no God made
 man!"

One really needs to draw breath after all that: the lecture-room
lighted by star rays, the firmament fretted with golden fire, the
laughing flowers and roaring seas, must surely have carried conviction.
The _Doncaster Chronicle_, if more prosaic, is not the less hostile.
Its report thus describes the lecturer:--

 "He is a tall, beardless, whiskerless young man, with a pale face,
 and has rather a harmless and prepossessing appearance"--[compare the
 _Herald's_ 'Alpine bandit!']--"certainly not the fierce individual we
 had previously imagined him to be from the elements of destruction
 indicated in his name--'the image breaker!' He is a person possessing
 great fluency of speech, of ready wit, and the declamatory style of
 his oratory is well calculated to excite and carry away a popular
 audience."

And the _Chronicle_, in a vain endeavour to outvie its colleague in
choice epithets, winds up by styling the arguments of Atheists as "the
miserable sophistry of these 'filthy dreamers,'" the delicate wording
of which phrase would be hard for even a "coarse" Atheist to match,
and urges that "for the sake of the youth of our town, the municipal
authorities will not again lend the Guildhall for such an object." In
Sheffield Mr Bradlaugh was rapidly growing in popularity; lecturing
there again immediately after his Doncaster lecture, he had an audience
of 2000 persons to hear his address on "Has Man a Soul?"

Later in the year he was again in Doncaster, and this time the "Friends
of Religion" had succeeded so far in their endeavours that the Granby
Music Hall was refused, and it was rumoured that the lectures would
not be permitted. A temporary platform was however erected under the
roof of the Corn Market, and, in lieu of the electric light of to-day,
the lecturer was made dimly visible to his audience by means of a lamp
raised upon a pole. The audience was said to number about 4000, "the
hollow and partly arched roof of the Corn Market served as a sounding
board, and the tones of Iconoclast, whilst speaking, were distinctly
heard through the surrounding streets. Although the town was in a
state of considerable excitement, the meeting was on the whole very
orderly." It was a beautiful evening; and when the lecture was over
several hundred persons escorted "Iconoclast in a sort of triumphant
procession" to his lodgings. As this was not exactly in accordance with
the anticipations of the "Friends of Religion," my father was informed
by the Mayor that several magistrates had protested against the use
of the Corporate property (the Corn Market), which they had occupied
without the express permission of the Corporation, and in consequence
the lectures must be given elsewhere. Accordingly, a large open yard
near the market was obtained for that night; and although no fresh
announcement was made, the news rapidly spread throughout the town.
At half-past seven Mr Bradlaugh began to speak from a waggon. The
subject was that of the "History and Teaching of Jesus Christ," and the
audience, which increased every moment until it spread into the grounds
of the adjoining Corn Market, ultimately numbering between 7000 and
8000 persons, was very quiet and attentive. Missiles were thrown from
a neighbouring house, and fireworks also were thrown into the midst of
the assemblage; they were soon put out, but "one cracker was kept by
the lecturer and placed among other Christian evidences." On returning
from the meeting to his lodgings, "a large stone was thrown, which
partially stunned Iconoclast, and cut his head slightly."

In April he should have lectured at Accrington, but the proprietor of
the hall was a publican, and the clergy and magistrates of the town
had so worked upon his fears by threatening to refuse his license
at the next Sessions that he drew back from his agreement. No other
room was to be obtained; and as numbers of people had come from long
distances to hear my father, he got leave to address them from a
showman's waggon; but when the showman--notorious for his intemperance
all over the district--"found that Iconoclast approached spiritual
subjects less freely than himself," he, too, retracted his permission.
Not to waste his time altogether, however, Mr Bradlaugh attended a
meeting of the Accrington Mutual Improvement Society, at which, as it
happened, the subject of the essay for the evening was "Jesus Christ."
At Bolton the Concert Hall was engaged for his lectures on the 20th and
21st September; but when Mr Bradlaugh came from London to deliver the
lectures, he found the walls placarded with the announcement that the
lectures would not be permitted to take place. He brought an action
against the Bolton Concert Hall Company for £7 damages for breach of
contract, the £7 representing the expense to which he had been put.
The jury, however, after being absent a considerable time, gave a
verdict for the defendants. Needless to say that the closing of the
Concert Hall did not prevent Mr Bradlaugh from lecturing in Bolton.
Shortly afterwards the Unitarian Chapel, Moore Lane, was obtained, and
he delivered three lectures on successive evenings, instead of two, as
formerly announced.

At Halifax, in this year, his lectures produced the usual excitement.
The town missionary rushed into verse upon the subject of "Iconoclast
and the Devil," and issued his polite reflections in the form of
a handbill. The lectures also resulted in a set debate between
"Iconoclast" and the Rev. Mr. Matthias, which I shall notice later on.
The story goes that at one of my father's lectures Mr Matthias was
present, and wished to offer some opposition at the conclusion. His
friends sought to dissuade him, and even to hold him in his seat, but
the reverend gentleman was so much in earnest, and was so excited, that
he shook off the restraining hands, crying, "Unhand me, gentlemen. By
heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me."

In Glasgow, that autumn, Mr Bradlaugh was threatened with prosecution
for blasphemy, with the result that his lectures at the Eclectic
Institute were better attended than they had been before. A little
later the Procurator Fiscal informed him that the prosecution was in
his hands, and that "in the course of law" he would have to answer for
his offence in Glasgow "against the Holy Christian religion." I cannot
find that the matter was carried beyond this, however, so I suppose the
Glasgow pietists contented themselves with empty threats.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although thus actively engaged in the provinces during 1858 and 1859,
my father by no means neglected work in London. He lectured at various
halls on theological and political subjects, and took part in more
general public work. In the spring of 1858 he was elected President
of the London Secular Society in the place of Mr G. J. Holyoake,
and those who know anything of his unremitting labours as President
of the National Secular Society will comprehend that he was no mere
figure-head, or President in name only. Amongst other things, he
immediately set about issuing a series of tracts for distribution, of
which he himself wrote the first.

On May 16th Mr Bradlaugh spoke at the John Street Institution at the
celebration of Robert Owen's 88th and last birthday, and a little thing
happened then which he was always proud to recall. It was Mr Robert
Cooper's custom to read Mr Owen's papers to the public for him; but on
this particular evening he was himself in ill-health; and had already
exhausted his strength in addressing the meeting. Mr Owen had prepared
a discourse on the "Origin of Evil," which Mr Cooper commenced to read
as usual; but he being unable to continue, it fell to my father's lot
to take up the reading. This was the last paper of Mr Owen's read in
public, and almost the last public appearance of the aged reformer, who
died on the 17th of the following November.

In the provinces there was often considerable difficulty in the matter
of hiring halls or in keeping the proprietor to his contract after the
hall had been hired, but in London there was either less intolerance
or more indifference, and the trouble arose less frequently. On one
occasion, however, in March 1859, when Mr Bradlaugh was to have
lectured in the Saint Martin's Hall on "Louis Napoleon," he recalls
in his _Autobiography_ that "the Government--on a remonstrance by
Count Walewski as to language used at a previous meeting, at which I
had presided for Dr Bernard--interfered; the hall was garrisoned by
police, and the lecture prevented. Mr Hullah, the then proprietor,
being indemnified by the authorities, paid damages for his breach of
contract, to avoid a suit which I at once commenced against him."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the winter of 1858 my father became editor of the _Investigator_,
originally edited by Robert Cooper, and he was full of enthusiasm and
belief in his ability to make the little paper a success. It had at
that time a circulation of 1250, and he estimated that it needed twice
that number to enable it to pay its printing and publishing expenses.

He commenced his conduct of the paper by a statement of his policy,
and by a trenchant letter to Louis Napoleon. From the former I take
the opening and concluding words as giving his first editorial
utterance:[24]--

[Footnote 24: _Investigator_, November 1st, 1858, p. 124.]

"We are investigators, and our policy is to ascertain facts and present
them to our readers in clear and distinct language. If we find a mind
bound round with Creeds and Bibles, we will select a sharp knife to
cut the bonds; if we find men prostrating themselves, without inquiry,
before idols, our policy is iconoclastic--we will destroy those
idols. If we find a rock in our path, we will break it; but we will
not quarrel with our brother who deems his proper work to be that of
polishing the fragments. We believe all the religions of the world
are founded on error, in the ignorance of natural causes and material
conditions, and we deem it our duty to endeavour to expose their
falsity. Our policy is therefore aggressive. We are, at present, of
opinion that there is much to do in the mere clod-crushing sphere, in
uprooting upas trees, hewing down creed-erected barriers between man
and man, and generally in negating the influence of the priest. Our
policy is of a humble character; we are content to be axebearers and
pioneers, cutting down this obstacle and clearing away that. We respect
the sower who delights in the positive work of scattering seed on the
ground, but we fear that the weeds destroy much of the fruit of his
labours....

"There is no middle ground between Theism and Atheism. The genuineness
and authenticity of the Scriptures are questions relevant to
Secularism. It is as necessary for the Secularist to destroy Bible
influence as for the farmer to endeavour to eradicate the chickweed
from his clover field. We appeal to those who think our work fairly
done to aid us in our labours; to those who will not work with us we
simply say, do not hinder us.

"Our only wish and purpose is to make man happy, and this because in so
doing we increase our own happiness. The secret of true happiness and
wisdom lies in the consciousness that you are working to the fullest
of your ability to make your fellows happy and wise. Man can never be
happy until he is free; free in body and in mind; free in thought and
in utterance; free from crowns and creeds, from priest, from king; free
from the cramping customs created by the influences surrounding him,
and which have taught him to bow to a lord and frown upon a beggar.
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! That true liberty, which infringes not
the freedom of my brother; that equality which recognises no noblemen
but the men of noble thoughts and noble deeds; that fraternity which
links the weak arm-in-arm with the strong, and, teaching humankind that
union is strength, compels them to fraternise, and links them together
in that true brotherhood for which we strive."

The second number of the _Investigator_ under his editorship is
interesting to-day, as containing his earliest printed views upon
"Oath-taking;" the third is also notable for its paper on "Emerson,"
the first article from the pen of "B. V." (James Thomson); and in the
fourth Mr W. E. Adams commenced his contributions. It is evident that
my father spared no effort to make the paper "undoubtedly useful," as
he put it; but in spite of all his energy and his able contributors
the _Investigator_ did not pay its way. In April, too, he fell ill
from a very severe attack of rheumatic fever, and was laid up for many
weeks; so that at length, "being unable to sustain any longer the
severe pecuniary burden cast upon him, and not wishing to fill his
pages with appeals for charitable assistance," the journal was, with
much regret, discontinued in August 1859. In the final number he pens
a few "last words," which are worth the reading, and in which he says
that his reason for the discontinuance is very simple--"I am poor"--and
in a rarely despondent mood he bids his readers "farewell," as he may
perchance never address them again.

       *       *       *       *       *

Delivering Freethought lectures and editing a Freethought journal
undoubtedly absorbed much of Mr Bradlaugh's time, but these occupations
engrossing as they were did not make him unmindful of his duties as
a good citizen, and he was always taking some part or other in the
political movements going on around him. At a meeting held in the
Cowper Street Schoolroom in November 1858, to advocate the principles
of the Political Reform League, at which the League was represented by
Mr Passmore Edwards and Mr Swan, and the Chartists by Ernest Jones, Mr
Bradlaugh is reported as seconding a resolution in an "earnest, lucid,
and eloquent manner," and as having "enforced the duty of every man
to preserve the public rights, by unitedly demanding and steadfastly,
peaceably, and determinedly persevering to obtain that position of
equality in the State to which they were as men entitled;" now, as
always hereafter, urging the _peaceful_ demand of constitutional
rights: a point I am anxious to lay stress upon, as this is the time
when some of my father's later critics assert that he was rude, coarse,
and, above all, violent.

The chairman of the meeting, who was also the churchwarden of
Shoreditch, and a man apparently much respected, at the close quaintly
said "he had not met that young man (Mr Bradlaugh) before that night,
but he was most highly pleased to find in him such an able advocate of
principle; he hoped he would be as good and faithful an advocate when
he became old."

On the first Sunday in March 1859, the working men of London held a
great meeting in Hyde Park to protest against the Government Reform
Bill. They were very much in earnest, and although the time for the
speaking was fixed for three o'clock in the afternoon, long before
that hour the Park was thronged with people. About half-past two a man
was hoisted on the shoulders of two others, and was greatly cheered
by the crowd, who thought this was the opening of the proceedings.
When, however, the person so elevated proclaimed to his listening
auditors that "those who dared to take part in a political meeting on
the Sabbath would be grossly offending the Almighty," the cheering was
changed to uproar and confusion, which only the advent of the real
chairman sufficed to calm. The _Times_ says that after the meeting had
been duly opened, "Mr Bradlaugh, a young man well known in democratic
circles, came forward and addressed the meeting." The report which
follows is probably the first vouchsafed to Charles Bradlaugh by the
great daily; and, judging from the number of "Cheers" and "Hear,
hears," and even "Loud cheers" that the reporter managed to include in
his score of lines of report, it was much more generous to him in '59
than at any later period. This meeting, like so many of its kind, and
like the great majority of those with which my father was concerned,
was remarkable for its orderliness; there was no police interference
at any of the groups (several meetings were held simultaneously), and
there was hardly a constable visible. On the Friday following, the
11th, a meeting was held at the Guildhall "to consider the measure
of Parliamentary Reform introduced by the Ministry." The chair was
taken by the Lord Mayor, and the speakers included Baron Rothschild,
one of the three members for the City, Samuel Morley, P. A. Taylor,
and Serjeant Parry. Ernest Jones, who rose to move an amendment,
was refused a hearing--under a misapprehension, it is said. When
Baron Rothschild began to speak he was considerably interrupted.
"Loud calls," said the _Times_ on the following day (when it was a
trifle less polite than on the previous Monday), "were also raised
for 'Bradlaugh'--a youthful orator who seemed a great favourite with
the noisier Democrats." The poor Lord Mayor vainly tried to restore
order, but louder grew the tumult and "more deafening" the calls for
"Bradlaugh." Baron Rothschild was at length obliged to limit his speech
to "I beg to second the motion;" and even these few words were only
audible to those within two or three yards of him. When the meeting was
drawing to a close, and the usual vote of thanks to the chair had been
proposed--

       *       *       *       *       *

 "The Lord Mayor acknowledged the compliment, at the same time
 expressing his deep regret that persons should have come to the hall
 bent on creating a disturbance. At this juncture a young man, with
 fair hair and thin but intelligent features, was seen gesticulating
 vehemently at the extreme end of the platform, to which he had worked
 his way unobserved amid the general confusion. His name, it appeared,
 is Bradlaugh, and his object evidently was to gratify his admirers
 by delivering an harangue. His words were, however, drowned by the
 conflicting clamour from the body of the hall. The Lord Mayor seemed
 to beckon him to the rostrum, as though his claim to speak were to be
 allowed; but a minute or two of indescribable confusion intervening,
 his Lordship came forward and then declared the meeting to be
 dissolved. This announcement had hardly been made when Mr Bradlaugh
 reached the part of the platform for which he had been struggling. His
 triumph was, however, very short lived. In an instant the Lord Mayor,
 though having one of his arms in a sling, was upon the refractory
 Chartist leader, and collared him with the energy and resolution of
 a Sir William Walworth. Two of the city officers promptly seconding
 his Lordship's assertion of his authority, Mr Bradlaugh was dragged
 forcibly to the back of the platform, and fell in the scuffle. All
 this was but the work of a moment, yet the uproar which it provoked
 continued after every occupant of the platform had retired. The
 undaunted orator found his way to the body of the hall unhurt, where
 he addressed such portions of the crowd as had not dispersed in
 frantic and excited eloquence. A considerable time elapsed before
 the building was cleared, during which Anarchy and Bradlaugh had
 undisputed possession of the scene."

How much of fact and how much of fiction there is in this lively
account the _Times_ only knoweth. The idea that a "Sir William
Walworth" with one arm in a sling could "collar" a man of my father's
herculean strength is sufficiently ridiculous. I myself saw him as late
as 1877 at a stormy meeting take two unruly medical students in one
hand and one in the other, and force them down the hall to the door,
where he cast them out. His resistance to his fourteen assailants on
August 3rd, 1881, is historic. It is hardly probable that a man who
could do these things when he had passed the fulness of his strength
would, when in the height of his vigour, have tamely submitted to be
"collared" by a one-armed man and then dragged back and thrown to the
ground by two "city officers;" and all "the work of a moment!"

Gatherings opposing the Government Reform Bill were held in different
parts of London and the country; and Mr Joseph Cowen, himself President
of the Northern Reform Union, writing to a friend in reference to them,
on the 16th March, says incidentally: "Bradlaugh is a clever young
fellow--full of vigour and daring--and is altogether a likely man to go
ahead if he has any backing."

Considering the limited time at his disposal, there is really a
tremendous record of public work for these two years, 1858 and 1859;
for in addition to that which I have already mentioned, my father held
several debates, some of them continuing for three or four nights in
succession. He had his first formal encounter in June 1858. Prior to
this, he had gained a little practice in discussing with the numerous
opponents who used to rise after his lectures; then there was the
more extended, but apparently informal, debate with Mr Douglas, to
which I referred some time ago; and also, in the early part of 1858,
Mr Bradlaugh seems to have arranged to speak at considerable length
in opposition to the lectures given by Thomas Cooper in the Hall of
Science, City Road; but the brief notices of these which appeared
do not enable one to form any opinion, beyond remarking a decided
irritability on the part of Mr Cooper, who permitted himself to use
distinctly unparliamentary language. The first formally arranged
debate in which he took part was a four nights' discussion with the
Rev. Brewin Grant, B.A., then a dissenting minister at Sheffield, and
was held in that town on the 7th, 8th, 14th, and 15th June. In 1873
my father, writing of this occasion, said: "Mr Grant was then a man
of some ability, and, if he could have forgotten his aptitudes as a
circus jester, would have been a redoubtable antagonist." The audiences
were very large; the numbers of persons present on the different
nights ranged from eleven to sixteen hundred; and, considering the
heat of the weather and the still greater heat of the discussion, my
father's testimony is that they "behaved bravely." Writing shortly
afterwards, he says: "The chairmen (both chosen by Mr Grant) behaved
most courteously to me, and, in fact, the only disputed point of order
was decided in my favour." He seems to have been particularly impressed
by Alderman H. Hoole, the Chairman for the first two nights, who by an
act of kindly courtesy quite outside the debate, showed that the gibes
and sneers in which Mr Grant so freely indulged had little weight even
with his own friends.

A friend in Sheffield has lent me the report of the discussion, printed
at the time by Mr Leader of the _Sheffield Independent_, and which both
disputants agreed was a very fair representation of what was said.
According to the arranged terms, Mr Bradlaugh led the first night, and
the Rev. Brewin Grant on each succeeding evening. The proposition to
be affirmed by "Iconoclast" on the first evening was: "The God of the
Bible, revengeful, inconstant, unmerciful, and unjust. His attributes
proven to be contradicted by the book which is professed to reveal
them." His opening speech was made in clear, concise language, was
directly to the point, and was listened to with the utmost attention.
He drew the picture of the Deity who, reviewing his creation,
pronounced everything that he had made "very good" (Gen. i. 31); "yet
in a short period the same Deity looks round and declares that man
is so bad that he repented that he had made man on the earth, and it
grieved him at his heart [Gen. vi. 6]; and in consequence God, to
relieve himself from this source of grief, determined to destroy every
living thing, and he did destroy them by deluge, for it repented him
that he had made them, because man was so very wicked." He dwelt upon
this at some length; then passed on to the selection of Noah and his
family, "part of the old stock of mankind having personal acquaintance
with all pre-existing evil," to re-people the earth; and concluded
his first half-hour by asking where was the love, where the justice
towards the Amalek, against whom "the Lord hath sworn" to have war
"from generation to generation"? It was now the turn of the Rev. Brewin
Grant to reply to this terrible indictment against the Deity whose
professed servant he was; and it is interesting to mark the manner in
which he set about his task. He commenced by unburdening himself of
a few minor personalities against my father, and when a few of these
petty sneers--the only possible object of which could be to provoke ill
feeling--were off his mind, he indulged his overwhelming passion for
raising a laugh. For this he made an opportunity in dealing with the
causes which led to "the Flood," asking whether "Iconoclast imagines
that, because God knew of these sins before they were committed, he
should have drowned men before they were created." This, of course,
provoked the desired merriment, and, temporarily satisfied, Mr Grant
proceeded to his argument with acuteness and ability. Unfortunately,
his peculiar temperament would not allow him to keep this up for
very long; and while still in his first half-hour speech he drew a
comparison of God's repentance with that of a merchant who repents him
of engaging a certain clerk, and made the merchant say, "Wherein can
you find fault? Am I a Secularist that I should lie, or an infidel
committee-man that I should violate a ratified agreement?" "Iconoclast"
is once more taunted with blindness and ignorance; and "infidels" with
amusing "auditors in holes of progress;" and so the reverend (never
was a title more meaningless) gentleman's speech came to a conclusion.
It would have been small wonder if a young, hotly enthusiastic man
as my father then was, had been roused to angry retaliation, and so
turned aside from the real points in dispute; but he did not so soon
lose the coolness with which he had started. He made a few short
answers to the personalities, and proceeded at once to deal with the
arguments urged by Mr Grant; and, these disposed of, continued to
build up his own position. The greater part of Brewin Grant's next
speech was argumentative, but not all; he made an opportunity to tell
his antagonist that his strength lay "not in his logic, but in his
lungs;" that one of his objections was "too foolish," but he (Grant)
"condescended to notice it;" and further, that "no class of men with
which I am acquainted has had all honesty so thoroughly eaten out by
trickery and falsehood as the infidel class." The next quarter of an
hour fell to my father, who hardly noticed Mr Grant's gibes; but when
the latter made his speech, the final one of the evening, he still
interlarded it with innuendoes against the "infidel." The propositions
affirmed by Mr Grant on the succeeding nights were shortly as follows:
The Creation story consistent with itself and with science; the Deluge
story consistent with itself and physically possible; and finally,
"Iconoclast" as a commentator on the Bible, "deficient in learning,
logic, and fairness." But the story of the first night was merely
repeated on the later evenings; as feeling grew a little warmer,
or there was something more than usually offensive in Mr Grant's
personalities, Mr Bradlaugh was once or twice evidently roused to
anger; but after reading the debate I only wonder that he had the
patience to carry it through to the end.

I have dwelt upon this debate much longer, as I am well aware, than it
really deserves; but I have done so for two reasons: (1) That being
the first set debate, formally arranged and fairly reported, it should
have a special interest, inasmuch as we should expect it to show to a
certain extent the measure of Mr Bradlaugh's debating powers at the age
of twenty-six; and (2) because the idea has been so diligently spread
abroad, and possibly received with credence by those who were not
personally acquainted with either disputant, that Mr Bradlaugh found in
the Rev. Brewin Grant a powerful opponent. By my father's testimony,
Mr Grant was a man of ability; by his own--as shown by quotations I
have here given--he was an unscrupulous slanderer. He had a power,
it is true, and that power consisted in his willingness to weary and
disgust his antagonist and his audience (friends as well as foes) by
low jests and scandalous personalities. In the course of this debate he
scornfully told his audience that he was not speaking to them but to
the thousands outside: by those thousands, if perchance he has so many
readers, will he be judged and condemned.

In March 1859 a debate between Mr Bradlaugh and Mr John Bowes was
arranged at Northampton. My father describes Mr Bowes as "a rather
heavy but well-meaning old gentleman, utterly unfitted for platform
controversy." The _Northampton Herald_, which professed to give an
"outline" of this debate, announced that the "mighty champion" of the
Secularists was "a young man of the name of Bradlaugh, who endeavoured
to impose upon the credulity of the multitude by arrogating to himself
the high-sounding title of 'Iconoclast.'" Mr John Bowes the _Herald_
put forward as a "gentleman well known for his contests with the
Socialists and the Mormonites." The _Herald's_ outline-report was
reprinted in the _Investigator_, with a few additions in parentheses;
but a note is appended that it is very imperfect, and my father having
by this time fallen ill with rheumatic fever, he was unable to revise
it. There is just one passage in Mr Bradlaugh's opening speech which is
given fairly fully, and which it is desirable to repeat here, for in it
he lays down his position as an Atheist, a position to which he adhered
until his last hour.

"He did not deny that there was 'a God,' because to deny that which was
unknown was as absurd as to affirm it. As an Atheist he denied the God
of the Bible, of the Koran, of the Vedas, but he could not deny that of
which he had no knowledge."

This statement Mr Bradlaugh made, in varying words, over and over
again, and yet over and over again religious writers and speakers have
described, and probably they always will describe, the Atheist as "one
who denies God."

In the years 1859 and 1860, despite the fact that in the former year
he lay for many weeks very seriously ill, discussions, as he himself
says, grew on him "thick and fast." "At Sheffield I debated with a
Reverend Dr Mensor, who styled himself a Jewish Rabbi. He was then in
the process of gaining admission to the Church of England, and had
been put forward to show my want of scholarship. We both scrawled
Hebrew characters for four nights on a black board, to the delight
and mystification of the audience, who gave me credit for erudition
because I chalked the square letter characters with tolerable rapidity
and clearness. At Glasgow I debated with a Mr Court, representing the
Glasgow Protestant Association, a glib-tongued missionary, who has
since gone to the bad; at Paisley with a Mr Smart, a very gentlemanly
antagonist; and at Halifax with the Rev. T. D. Matthias, a Welsh
Baptist minister, unquestionably very sincere."

I have not been able to get a report of the debate with Dr Mensor, and
indeed I do not think one was ever printed. The discussion with the
Rev. T. D. Matthias was for many years on sale with other Freethought
publications, and has doubtless been read by many. The subject of the
debate was "The Credibility and Morality of the Four Gospels," and
it was continued for five successive nights--October 31st, November
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 1859. It grew, as we have already seen, out of
lectures delivered in Halifax by Mr Bradlaugh, and was with one or two
exceptions conducted with such calmness, courtesy, and good feeling,
that at the conclusion each gentleman expressed his appreciation of
the other. The Court debate was not held until 1860, and was a four
nights' debate, terminating on March 20. The use of the City Hall was
refused on the ground "that such meetings tend to riot and disorder,"
and the discussions were therefore held in the Trades' Hall, which
on each evening was crowded to the door. The chair was taken by the
late Alexander Campbell, whom Mr Bradlaugh speaks of as "a generous,
kindly-hearted old Socialist missionary, who, at a time when others
were hostile, spoke encouragingly to me, and afterwards worked with
me for a long time on the _National Reformer_." Mr Campbell edited
the _Glasgow Sentinel_, and in the issue of March 17, 1860, there is
an allusion to the debate then being carried on between "Iconoclast"
and Mr Court, of "The Protestant Layman's Association." Says the
_Sentinel_, "Few Scottish clergymen are fit for the platform. The
pulpit, indeed, unfits for logical debate, but the Protestant
community ought to feel well pleased that in Mr Court ... they have
a skillful and redoubtable champion of Christianity." The _Glasgow
Daily Bulletin_, giving a few words to the final night, says that "the
speaking during the evening was excellent and occasionally excited, but
the conduct of the audience was orderly in the extreme. Mr Bradlaugh
was animated and forcible, and exhibited many of the traits of a
great speaker. Mr Court's university career is evidently polishing and
improving him." The audience passed a resolution of censure upon the
authorities who refused the City Hall, regarding it as involving a
slander upon the community of Glasgow. A friend, after much searching,
came across and sent to me a fragment of the published debate; but as
it contains only one complete speech from each disputant and parts
of two others, one cannot say much about it. Mr Court seems to have
been unusually smart, and the _Daily Bulletin's_ reference to his
"university career" accounts for the numerous literary quotations which
adorned his speech.

The _Paisley Journal_ gives a short notice of the debate with Mr John
Smart of the Neilson Institute, which was held for two successive
nights in the Paisley Exchange Rooms in March 1860. Speaking of the
first night's audience, it says it "was the largest we ever saw in the
Exchange Rooms, the whole area, gallery, and passages being crowded;"
on the second night the audience was estimated at between 1100 and
1200. The discussion for the first night was upon the four Gospels; and
the editor remarks: "Of course, there will be differences of opinion
as to which of the debaters had the best of the argument; but those
who could clear their minds of partisanship will perhaps be of opinion
that Mr Bradlaugh's speeches displayed boldness and vigour, with great
information on the subjects at issue; that Mr Smart showed himself as
an accomplished scholar, with a mass of knowledge ever ready to bring
up in illustration of his views; and that each had a foeman worthy of
his steel." The subject for the second night was a consideration of
the teachings of Christ. The _Journal_ thought that "both speakers
brought their best arguments and greatest powers of intellect into the
subject." Mr Bradlaugh enforced his objections "in powerful voice and
vigorous language, and with telling effect. In his own quiet scholarly
way--closely, tersely, and clearly, Mr Smart took up most of the
objections and discussed them _seriatim_." It will be seen that the
_Paisley Journal_, at least, tried to clear its mind of "partisanship,"
and to hold the scales evenly.



CHAPTER X.

HARD TIMES.


The question will probably have presented itself to many minds, If Mr
Bradlaugh was giving up so much time to public work, to lecturing,
reform meetings, debating, etc., how was he living the while? what
was his home life, and in what way was he earning his bread? It will
be remembered that, after leaving the army in 1853, he was before the
year was out in the employ of Mr Rogers, solicitor, of 70 Fenchurch
Street, first as "errand boy" at 10s. a week, and then as clerk at a
slowly increasing salary. After a few months at Warner Place, he and my
mother went to live in a little four-roomed house at No. 4 West Street,
Cambridge Heath, where my sister Alice was born. In the previous
January my father had had a very troublesome piece of litigation to
conduct for his firm at Manchester. Often and often has he told us the
story of it, and he used to work us up into a state of excitement by
his graphic account of his capture of two men at night from a common
lodging house in one of the low parts of Manchester; of his interview
at the Albion Hotel with Mr Holland, a surgeon implicated in the case,
who, when my father rose to ring the bell for some lemonade, mistaking
the intent, rose in alarm, and cried, "For God's sake, don't!" These
and other episodes in the case remained clearly enough in my memory,
but when I wished to retell the story in a connected form, I found
myself altogether at a loss. First of all, I could not remember that my
father ever mentioned the date of these legal adventures, and without
the date I could do little in the way of searching for press reports.
However, I found a clue to this in the following letter, which was
amongst those papers of my mother's which, as I have said, I looked
through quite recently for the first time:--

  "North Camp, Aldershot,
  "29th January 1856.

 "Madam,--Mr Bradlaugh has been kind enough to send me, during the
 last few days, some Manchester newspapers containing reports relative
 to the case of suspected poisoning. Not knowing where to address him
 now, I take the liberty of writing to you. Will you be so kind as to
 convey to him my thanks for the papers, and my hearty congratulations
 on his having obtained the management of the prosecution; it is an
 opportunity of distinguished service. With his wonderful acuteness and
 energy (Mr Bradlaugh and myself are such old and close friends that
 we do not mince words in speaking of or to each other) he will surely
 distinguish himself, and thus, as I suppose and hope, begin a fair way
 for promotion, as we phrase it. Watching the case with great interest,
 I thought his cross-examination of Mr Holland, the surgeon, extremely
 good and well conducted; but as this is merely an unprofessional
 opinion, he will not care much for it, although so favourable.

 "Trusting that yourself and the other members of the family are
 enjoying good health, I have the honour to be, Madam, yours most
 respectfully,

  JAS. THOMSON, Schoolmaster.
  "Depôt. 1st Rifles.

  "Mrs C. Bradlaugh."

Apart from the subject, this letter has in itself a special interest to
personal admirers of "B. V.": the handwriting--the earliest specimen
in my possession--is singularly unlike Mr Thomson's writing of later
years, so unlike that it was not until I had looked at the signature
that I realised who was the writer, although I am so familiar with
his writing that I should not have thought it possible that I could
hesitate in recognising it.

The poisoning case must have aroused considerable attention in
Manchester at the time. It arose in this way:--An insurance company
called The Diadem Life Insurance Company had reason to believe that
frauds were being practised upon them in Manchester through their
agent, and consequently instructed their solicitor to investigate one
case which they deemed unusually suspicious. The solicitor happened to
be Mr Rogers, and he sent his clerk, Mr Bradlaugh, to Manchester to
conduct the proceedings there. A man named John Monahan, a waterproof
worker, had become insured in the Diadem Office for £300; and after
paying the premiums he died, leaving a will securing the £300 to his
son James Monahan. Certain facts had been kept back from the Insurance
Company at the time of taking out the policy, and the man's age had
also been wrongly given. Investigations led, first, to the belief that
the will had not been written until three weeks after the testator's
death--and this was subsequently sworn to by witnesses, one of whom
wrote out the will--and finally, to the possibility that the old man,
John Monahan, had been poisoned. Two men implicated in the matter Mr
Bradlaugh himself captured and handed over to the police in the middle
of the night, and, in consequence of the evidence sworn to, an order
was made for the exhumation of the body of Monahan. As there was no
record of the place of burial, the details of the exhumation were
revolting in the extreme. For four days a gang of men were employed
in digging up bodies in an almost haphazard manner under the vague
directions, first, of the sexton and next of a niece of the deceased.
Mr Bradlaugh, after consulting with the coroner, contracted with a
Mr Sturges to undertake the work with more system. Sixty or more
bodies were dug up, and at length one of these was identified as
that of Monahan. Under the circumstances one cannot believe that the
identification was very precise; the body had been lying in a common
grave for between five and six months, and no one's memory seems to
have been clear enough even to point out the spot where the old man
was buried. Mr Bradlaugh was always of opinion that they did not get
the right body after all, although in the body found there were traces
of poison. These traces the medical evidence did not judge sufficient
to justify a charge of poisoning, and this count therefore fell to
the ground. The counsel engaged on behalf of the accused son, James
Monahan, was very indignant that my father should be allowed to conduct
the prosecution; he protested that heretofore the rule in that court
was that no one should be allowed to practise in that court unless
an attorney, or solicitor, or barrister. On the last occasion, the
counsel went on, as the prisoners had been apprehended only the night
before, and therefore, as there was not perhaps time to instruct a
professional man, Mr Bradlaugh had been allowed to appear. Other clerks
had been refused to appear, and he could not see why a different rule
should be adopted in this case. To expedite the business, he suggested
that the case should, according to ordinary practice, be conducted
by a solicitor or barrister. Mr Bradlaugh said he had appeared to
conduct cases for his employer in London police courts, and this was
a matter entirely within the discretion of the Court. He urged that
he alone was in possession of all the facts of the case, and that he
could not communicate his knowledge to any other person. Mr Maude (the
magistrate) remarked that it had been the general rule in that court
that parties should be represented either by counsel or solicitor, but
there was no rule without an exception, and looking at the peculiarity
of this case, he thought it would be very inconvenient now not to allow
Mr Bradlaugh to elicit the facts.

At a later stage of the proceedings a Mr Bent, who was watching the
case on behalf of another of the prisoners, objected, on the part of
the solicitors practising in the court, to Mr Bradlaugh, an attorney's
clerk, being allowed to appear, but the Bench overruled his objection.
In consequence of the medical evidence as to the condition of the
exhumed body, the charge of poisoning had, of course, to be entirely
abandoned, but in the March following James Monahan and two others were
charged with having, on 3rd August 1855, "feloniously forged a will
purporting to be the last will and testament of John Monahan, and with
having uttered the same, knowing it to be forged," and another was
charged with having feloniously been an accessory after the fact. The
jury found Monahan guilty, but acquitted the others. Keefe, the fourth
man, was then charged with having taken a false oath, and to this he
pleaded guilty.

In September 1857 my father moved from West Street to 3 Hedgers
Terrace, Cassland Road, Hackney, where I was born in the March of the
following year. He now began to think it was quite time to take some
definite steps towards the advancement of his position in life, and
with that object in view he wrote the following letter to Mr Rogers:--

 "DEAR SIR,--I have been in your employ above four years,
 and am now twenty-five years of age. I have a wife and child,
 beside mother and sisters, looking to me for support; under these
 circumstances it is absolutely necessary that I should make the best
 position I can for myself. My object in now addressing you is to
 ascertain if there is any probability of my obtaining my articles
 from you, and if so, at what period? You must not be offended with
 me for this, because we are in the position of two traders. I have
 my brains for sale, you buy them. I naturally try to get the best
 price--you perhaps may think I sell too high. I have already this year
 refused three situations offered to me. The first (although it was
 £160 a year) I refused because it came just after my last increase of
 salary; the second because it did not involve the articles; and the
 third because it was made to me immediately prior to the death of Mr
 Rogers, and I thought it would be indelicate then to trouble you. My
 question to you now is, Do you feel willing to give me my articles?
 Of course, I need not say that I have not the means to pay for the
 stamp, and the matter therefore involves the question of an advance
 of £80. I would, however, gladly serve you for the five years at
 the salary I now receive, and I would enter into any bond, however
 stringent, to prevent loss of practice to you in the future. If you
 feel inclined to do this, name your own time within six months: if, on
 the contrary, you think I set too high a value on my capabilities, or
 have determined not to give articles to any clerk, I shall be obliged
 by an early reply.

 "Whatever may be the result of this application, I trust you will
 believe that I am grateful for the many past kindnesses you have
 shown me, and that the good feeling at present existing may not be
 lessened between us. I have my way in life to make--yours to a great
 extent is smooth and easy; but as you have struggled yourself, I am
 willing to hope you will not blame me for trying hard to make a step
 in life.--Yours very respectfully,

  "(Signed)       CHAS. BRADLAUGH.

  "Thos. Rogers, Esq."

This letter is undated and without address; and it will be noted as a
curious point of interest, in one so very business-like and practical,
that Mr Bradlaugh rarely did put his address or date on the letters
he wrote with his own hand. If the address happened to be stamped on
the paper, well and good, if not, he rarely wrote it; and his nearest
approach to dating his letters was to put upon them the day of the
week. I do not, of course, say that he never went through the customary
form of putting the date or address, but that he more often than not
omitted it. This habit, contracted early in life, he retained until his
death, and in fact the very last letter entirely written with his own
hand was merely dated with the day of the week.

The precise reply to this appeal I do not know; that it must have been
in the negative, and that my father had to seek for some one else
who would give him his articles on the terms indicated in his letter
is clear. This person he thought he had found in Mr Thomas Harvey,
solicitor, of 36 Moorgate Street, and he quitted Mr Rogers in order
to be articled to him. The draft of the articles of agreement found
amongst my father's papers bears the date November 16th, 1858. This
connection proved to be a most unfortunate one for my father; for Mr
Harvey shortly afterwards fell into money difficulties, in which Mr
Bradlaugh also became involved. My father's troubles--as troubles ever
seem to do--came, not singly, but in battalions; he was now not only
without regular employment and in serious pecuniary difficulties, but
rheumatic fever seized upon him, and laid him for many weeks in the
spring and early summer of 1859 on his couch in his little room at
Cassland Road. In August, still weak, poor, and full of care, he was,
as I have said, obliged to stop the _Investigator_, and give up for the
time his cherished project of editing a Freethought journal.

When poor people are ill, necessity compels them to curtail the period
of convalescence, so before my father was able to go out he strove to
do writing work at home, although the rheumatism lingering in his right
hand rendered the use of the pen painful and difficult. As soon as he
could get about again he began once more lecturing and debating (as we
have seen) with renewed energy. Anyhow the stories are legion of the
fortunes he made upon the platform and through his publications, though
a few small incidents will show the amount of truth there is in these
oft-repeated tales.

Just before the birth of my brother Charles, on the 14th September
1859, we moved from Hackney to a little house at Park, near Tottenham,
called Elysium Villa; and while we lived here, when my father had to
make a journey to the North he was obliged to start from Wood Green
station, a distance of about three and a half miles from our house. The
only way to get there was to walk--omnibuses there were none, and a
cab was out of the question on the score of expense. Mr Bradlaugh had
no portmanteau in those days; his books and his clothes were packed
in a square tin box, which to the "curious observer"--to use a phrase
much favoured by novelists--would have given a hint of his profession,
inasmuch as it was uncommonly like a deed box. The maid Kate, assisted
by someone else, carried this box from home to the station at Wood
Green over night, and my father would get up early in the morning
and walk the three and a-half miles to catch the first train to the
North. It must be borne in mind that my father did not, like many young
men, like walking for walking's sake, and the long walk, followed by
a still longer train ride in one of the old comfortless third-class
compartments in a slow train, finishing up with a lecture or debate,
made a fairly heavy day's work.

Before going farther I must stay to say a word about Kate, because I
want to give some idea of the devotion my father inspired at home as
well as in the hearts of men who could only judge him by his public
acts. Kate came to us from the country, a girl of sixteen, when I was
but a few months old; she stayed with us until our home was broken
up and my brother died, in 1870. Many a time her wages were perforce
in arrears; and in 1870 she would, as she had done before, have
patiently waited for better times and shared with us, had we not been
compelled to do without her. Her loyalty was absolute. When we three
children were babies she cheerfully bore poverty with us; and well do
I remember--as a picture it stands out in my mind, one of my earliest
recollections--the carpetless floor and scantily furnished room. In
the days when there was arrest for debt she kept the door against the
sheriff's officer: when one of Mr Thomson's sad periods of intemperance
overwhelmed him, she, with my mother, searched the purlieus of London
for him, found him in some poor den, and brought him home to be
nursed and cared for. Kate lives to-day, and with unabated loyalty
never allows an opportunity to pass of saying a word in praise, or in
defence, of her dead but much-loved master.

A letter to my mother (undated, but certainly written early in the
sixties) giving some description of one of my father's journeys to
Yarmouth, reminds us that the old-fashioned windowless third-class
carriage left many things to be desired, and in these days of luxurious
travelling such hardships would be thought unendurable:--

 "I am safely landed here[25] with sevenpence in my pocket. It has
 snowed nearly all the journey, and if it continues I expect all the
 bloaters will be turned into whitings. The ride was a cold one, for
 the E. C. R.[26] parliamentary carriage combined the advantage of
 ventilation with that of a travelling bath, wind, rain, and snow
 gaining admission and accompanying us without payment--which was not
 fair.

 [Footnote 25: The letter is headed, "Yarmouth, Thursday."]

 [Footnote 26: "Eastern Counties," now "Great Eastern" Railway.]

 "You asked me to write, and I will therefore describe the incidents of
 the journey. Park to Broxbourne: carriage full, darkness prevailed;
 Broxbourne: spent 1d. on _Daily Telegraph_, which read to myself lying
 on the broad of my back, the carriage being more empty; the view was
 mist in the clouds of snow. Cambridge: bought 3d. of biscuits and a
 [_Morning_] _Star_, ate one and read the other till I arrived at Ely,
 with an occasional glance at Buckle on Civilisation. Ely to Norwich:
 cold, and discontented with my lot in life; Norwich: met Adams and
 Roberts, talked sweet things about confectionery for ten minutes, then
 straight on here, where I fulfil my promise of writing you."

The letter is ornamented with several drawings of himself under the
different circumstances indicated in his letter.

The story he also relates in his "Autobiography," "for the
encouragement of young propagandists," is a forcible example of the
little profit his lectures often brought, and the difficulties his
poverty sometimes forced upon him.

"I had," he says, "lectured in Edinburgh in mid-winter; the audience
was small, the profits microscopical. After paying my bill at the
Temperance Hotel, where I then stayed, I had only a few shillings more
than my Parliamentary fare to Bolton, where I was next to lecture.
I was out of bed at five on a freezing morning, and could have no
breakfast, as the people were not up. I carried my luggage (a big tin
box, corded round, which then held books and clothes, and a small black
bag), for I could not spare any of my scanty cash for a conveyance or
porter. The train from Edinburgh being delayed by a severe snowstorm,
the corresponding Parliamentary had left Carlisle long before our
arrival. In order to reach Bolton in time for my lecture, I had to book
by a quick train, starting in about three-quarters of an hour, but
could only book to Preston, as the increased fare took all my money
except 4-1/2d. With this small sum I could get no refreshment in the
station, but in a little shop in a street outside I got a mug of hot
tea and a little hot meat pie. From Preston I got with great difficulty
on to Bolton, handing my black bag to the station-master there, as
security for my fare from Preston, until the morning. I arrived in
Bolton about a quarter to eight; the lecture commenced at eight, and
I, having barely time to run to my lodgings, and wash and change, went
on to the platform cold and hungry. I shall never forget that lecture;
it was in an old Unitarian Chapel. We had no gas, the building seemed
full of a foggy mist, and was imperfectly lit with candles. Everything
appeared cold, cheerless, and gloomy. The most amusing feature was
that an opponent, endowed with extra piety and forbearance, chose that
evening to specially attack me for the money-making and easy life I was
leading."

Writing in April 1860, he also gives some idea of his profits as
an editor and a publisher:--"When," he writes, "I relinquished the
editorship of the _Investigator_, I was burdened with a printing
debt of nearly £60; this has been reduced a little more than half by
contributions, leaving about £26 still due. I have, in addition, paid
out of my own pocket, for Freethought printing, during two years, more
than £100, for which I have yet no return. During the last eight months
I have been actively engaged in lecturing.... When you learn that at
some places I took nothing away, and paid my own expenses, and that at
nearly every place I only received the actual profit of my lectures;
and when, in addition, you allow a few days for visits to my wife and
family, which have been few and far between; and also reckon for more
than a week of enforced idleness through ill health, you will perceive
that I am not amassing a fortune."

In 1861 he again wrote: "During the past twelve months I have addressed
276 different meetings, four of which each numbered over 5000 persons;
eighty of these lectures have involved considerable loss in travelling,
hotel expenses, loss of time, etc. I have during the same time held
five separate debates, two of these also without remuneration."

It is very likely that even in these early years my father cherished
the hope of being able to earn enough by his tongue and his pen to
devote himself entirely to that Freethought and political work which he
had so much at heart; but as his own words show us, the day for that
was not yet come, and the fortune he was accused of amassing existed
then, as always, only in the heated imagination of his detractors.



CHAPTER XI.

A CLERICAL LIBELLER.


Some lawsuits in which Mr Bradlaugh was interested brought him into
contact with a solicitor named Montague R. Leverson, who had indeed
been engaged in the defence of Dr Bernard. The acquaintance thus
begun resulted in an arrangement between them in January 1862 that Mr
Leverson should give my father his articles. It was agreed that Mr
Leverson should pay the £80 stamp duty and all expenses in connection
with the articles, and that my father should serve him as clerk for
five years at a salary of £150 per annum for the first three years and
£200 for the final two. The articles were drawn up and duly stamped
on 25th June of the same year. For the convenience of business, my
father gave up his house at Park, and went to live at 12 St Helen's
Place, Bishopsgate. This connection, which opened so favourably, and
gave my father the opportunity, as he thought, of making a settled
position in life, lasted only for two years or less. Mr Leverson got
into difficulties, and the business was broken up. Vague accusations
had been brought against my father for the manner in which he is
supposed to have treated Mr Leverson. Nothing definite is stated, but
the slanderous "know-all's," who really know nothing, try to make out
a case by means of hint and innuendo. With a view of disposing of even
such paltry slanders as these, I quote the following letter written in
reference to Mr Montague R. Leverson:--

  "Langham Hotel, Portland Place, London, W.
  "7th January 1867.

 "MY DEAR SIR,--As written words remain when those spoken
 may be forgotten, I desire to place on record my sense of the kindly
 interest and alacrity you have recently displayed in your endeavours
 to serve a person with whom, despite anterior intimate relations, you
 had a short time previously been on antagonistic terms.

 "Your earnest and energetic zeal on a former occasion had commanded
 my respect and that of my wife, who witnessed some of your untiring
 efforts, and I regret that your friendly services have not met their
 full and due appreciation.

 "I feel sure, nevertheless, that should an opportunity occur where
 your good offices would be required, you would not withhold them.--I
 remain dear Sir, yours most truly,

  GEORGE R. LEVERSON.

  "Chas. Bradlaugh, Esq."

When Mr Bradlaugh quitted Mr Leverson he also quitted St Helen's Place,
and went back to Tottenham to live, where, indeed, my sister and I had
remained at a school kept by two maiden ladies during the greater part
of the intervening time. He took the house, Sunderland Villa, next
door to the one we had previously occupied, and for business purposes
he rented an office in the city first at 23 Great St Helen's, and
later at 15 and 16 Palmerston Buildings, Old Broad Street. A company
was formed called the "Naples Colour Company," of which he was the
nominal principal, and in which he was very active. This enterprise
arose out of the discovery that iron and platinum were to be found in
the sand of the beach at Castellamare, a little place on the coast
not far from Naples. From this sand, steel of the finest quality was
manufactured, and paint peculiarly suitable for the painting of iron
ships, inasmuch as it would not rust. I have a razor in my possession
manufactured from this steel, and I remember that while we were at
Midhurst my grandfather still had some of this paint, with which he
loyally painted hen-coops, troughs, sheds, and every article in his
possession that could be reasonably expected to stand a coat of paint.
Everything in connection with the company was done in my father's
name: the Italian Government granted the concession in his name; some
stock in the Grand Book of Italy, at one time held in his name, was in
connection with this company; Foundry, warehouses, and other buildings
were raised; there were factories at Granili, Naples, and Hatcham New
Town, London; steel and paint, especially the latter, were duly turned
out, and were pronounced first-class; but somehow the business was a
failure--perhaps partly because those engaged in it may not have been
sufficiently versed in the "colour" trade (I do not know that this
was so, but think it very probable), and also certainly because of my
father's name. I well recollect his telling us how on one occasion a
large order came for paint; the paint was duly taken down to the wharf
to be shipped, when at the last moment came a telegram, followed
by a letter countermanding the order. In the interval the intending
purchaser had learned that the Bradlaugh of the "Naples Colour Company"
was also Bradlaugh the Atheist, so, of course, he could not think of
doing business with him.

In the city my father also fell into business connection with gentlemen
who were concerned in the conduct of financial operations, and he
himself took part in negotiating municipal loans, etc. I only remember
two incidents in connection with these undertakings: one the loan to
the city of Pisa, told by Mr John M. Robertson in his Memoir,[27] and
the other a negotiation he was conducting to supply the Portuguese
Government with horses. His business was nearly concluded to his
satisfaction when he was recalled by telegram to London. Overend,
Gurney & Co. had failed, and "Black Friday" had come; Mr Bradlaugh lost
his contract; there was the terrible financial panic, and a fatal blow
was struck to my father's business career. Mr Robertson quotes him
saying, "I have great faculties for making money, and great faculties
for losing it;" and these words were very true.

[Footnote 27: "Once, as a financier, he was intrusted with the
negotiation of a loan for the city of Pisa, with some of whose
authorities he had become acquainted in some of his various journeys to
Italy. His percentage, small in name, was to be considerable in total,
on a loan of £750,000. He duly arranged matters with a certain London
financier, who thereupon sent off a clerk to Pisa to offer the money at
a fraction less than Bradlaugh was to get, provided he got the whole
commission. Bradlaugh, however, had been secured in the conduct of
the transaction up to a given date. He instantly went to Rothschilds,
who allowed no commission, and put the loan in their hands. The other
financier thus got nothing; but so did Bradlaugh."--John M. Robertson,
"Memoir," pp. xxxvi. xxxvii.]

While at Sunderland Villa Mr Bradlaugh made many friends in the
neighbourhood, and interested himself in local affairs. Going to the
city every day, he made personal acquaintance with men who travelled
daily in the same way, and won their liking and esteem. We children had
a large circle of small friends, so that although there was a certain
amount of hostility on account of my father's opinions[28] this did not
greatly trouble us; we had ample local popularity to counterbalance
that. In any case our house would have been sufficient unto itself, for
during these years we nearly always had one or two resident guests,
besides a constant flow of visitors of all nationalities. Many of our
neighbours attended the Church of St Paul's in Park Lane, of which
the Rev. Hugh M'Sorley was the vicar; and I am bound to say that Mr
M'Sorley at least did not err on the side of "loving his neighbour." He
felt the bitterest animosity towards Mr Bradlaugh, which occasionally
found some vent in sharp passages at vestry committees,[29] where, of
course, they were almost always in opposition.

[Footnote 28: For example, a lady gave the mistress of the school which
we attended the option of sending us away or of losing her daughters.
We were not sent away, so the lady withdrew her children rather than
have them contaminated by contact with the children of the Atheist.]

[Footnote 29: An instance of Mr Bradlaugh's interest in local matters
may be found in the _Tottenham and Edmonton Advertiser_ for March 1,
1865, which gives a notice of a vestry meeting held on February 20,
at which he was present. He is reported as asking for a more detailed
account of "Mrs Overend's charity," and the increased value of the
land forming part of the property. Several members of the "Waste Land
Commission" asked that an inquiry should be made. The Chairman (the
vicar) refused to allow the subject to be discussed; but when the
report was entered in the minutes, Mr Bradlaugh gave notice that he
should move that an inquiry be made.

The next business was to receive a report of the committee appointed
by the parishioners in the November before on the matter of the water
supply. Mr Delano, chairman of this committee, read the report,
which consisted of questions put by the local Board of Health, with
correspondence thereon. After criticising the discourtesy of the Board
of Health, the chairman agreed that nothing further could be done.

Mr Bradlaugh, however, "said it would not be right to let the subject
drop without taking some further notice of it. He thought the Board
was bound to act at least courteously towards any of the parishioners
having complaints to make of the insufficiency of the water supply. The
Board acknowledged this insufficiency, and showed they could give a
better supply when a stir was made about the subject. He complained of
the unfairness of the Board in refusing all explanation. Not only did
they do this, but they added impertinence in characterising him as a
new member of the parish. He could not tell who was to blame, but the
Board confessed that the supply was irregular, and showed that it was
capable of being remedied. In his opinion the Board deserved a vote of
censure from the Vestry; they were bound to do their best for those who
elected them, and as far as lay in his power he would teach them their
duty. He then moved: 'That in the opinion of this meeting the conduct
of the Local Board of Health, in refusing to answer the questions of
the Committee, is deserving of censure.'" This was seconded by Mr
Noble, and there was some discussion, a Mr Kirby rising to defend the
action of the Board, to which Mr Bradlaugh replied "in a most caustic
speech;" and the motion being put by the chairman, was carried:
"twenty- six voting for, and two against it."]

The Rev. Mr M'Sorley's animosity at length culminated in an outrageous
libel. An article had appeared in _All the Year Round_ entitled "Our
Suburban Residence," in the nature of a "skit" dealing with Tottenham,
in which Mr M'Sorley was alluded to under a very thin disguise. This
article was reprinted in the _Tottenham and Edmonton Weekly Herald_,
and Mr M'Sorley, taking it into his wise head that Mr Bradlaugh was the
author, wrote the following "appendix" to the reprint, which appeared
in the issue for April 28, 1866:--

 "You will have seen that a serious omission has been made in a sketch
 which appeared in a recent number of _All the Year Round_, edited
 by C. Dickens, Esq. I crave your indulgence while I endeavour to
 supply the omission. It would be a crying injustice to posterity if
 the historian of our little suburban district were to omit one of
 the celebrities of the place. No doubt he is not much thought of or
 respected, but that shows his talent is overlooked. He is a great
 man this: why, our good-natured, genial, and humane vicar must hide
 his diminished head, when put in the scales and weighed against
 Swear'em Charley! and as for the 'bould' Irishman, the Rev. M'Snorter,
 why, he could not hold a candle to this genius; and as for the Rev.
 Chasuble--well, no matter, the least said about him the better, poor
 man!

 "It was stated in the sketch that this parish had its representatives
 of all sorts of religions, from the Quaker to the Papist, the
 disciples of George Fox, who bends to no authority, and the disciples
 of the Pope, who makes all authority bend to him. We had a capital
 sketch of Churchism, High, Low, and Broad. But the sketcher forgot
 to add another to his list. Ay, truly, if we have those who are of
 the High Church, and the Low Church, and the Broad Church, we have
 some who are of 'No Church.' Why, we have got in our midst the very
 Coryphæus of infidelity, a compeer of Holyoake, a man who thinks
 no more of the Bible than if it were an old ballad--Colenso is a
 babe to him! This is a mighty man of valour, I assure you--a very
 Goliath in his way. He used to go 'starring' it in the provinces,
 itinerating as a tuppenny lecturer on Tom Paine. He has occasionally
 appeared in our Lecture Hall. He, too, as well as other conjurers,
 has thrown dust in our eyes, and has made the platform reel beneath
 the superincumbent weight of his balderdash and blasphemy. He is as
 fierce against our common Christianity as the Reverend M'Snorter is
 against Popery--indeed, I think the fiercer of the two. The house he
 lives in is a sort of 'Voltaire Villa.' The man and his 'squaw' occupy
 it, united by a bond unblessed by priest or parson. But that has an
 advantage; it will enable him to turn his squaw out to grass, like his
 friend Charles Dickens, when he feels tired of her, unawed by either
 the ghost or the successor of Sir Creswell Creswell. Not having any
 peculiar scruples of conscience about the Lord's Day, the gentleman
 worships the God of nature in his own way. He thinks 'ratting' on a
 Sunday with a good Scotch terrier is better than the 'ranting' of a
 good Scotch divine--for the Presbyterian element has latterly made its
 appearance among us. Like the homoeopathic doctor described in the
 sketch, this gentleman combines a variety of professions 'rolled into
 one.' In the provinces he is a star of the first magnitude, known by
 the name of Moses Scoffer; in the city a myth known to his pals as
 Swear 'em Charley; and in our neighbourhood he is a cypher--_incog._,
 but perfectly understood. He contrives to eke out a tolerable
 livelihood: I should say that his provincial blasphemies and his City
 practice bring him in a clear £500 a year at the least. But is it not
 the wages of iniquity? He has a few followers here, but only a few. He
 has recently done a very silly act; for he has, all at once, converted
 'Voltaire Villa' into a glass house, and the whole neighbourhood can
 now see into the premises--'the wigwam,' I should say, where he dwells
 in true Red Indian fashion with his 'squaw.' This is the sketch of
 one particular character in our suburban residence, which has been
 omitted. But it is worth all the others noticed in Dickens' paper, and
 I have no doubt we shall all feel gratified at your allowing it room
 in your paper."

The article was, of course, unsigned, but it did not take Mr Bradlaugh
very long to discover who was the author of this "Appendix:" surely
one of the most dastardly libels to which a professed "gentleman"
ever put his pen. The immediate steps taken by Mr Bradlaugh to show
his appreciation of the Rev. Mr M'Sorley's attentions resulted in the
appearance of apologies from both editor and contributor in the issue
of the _Herald_ for the following week, May 5th. Having given the text
of the libel, I now give the retracting words, which are as strong and
complete as the falsehoods which preceded them.

  "OUR SUBURBAN RESIDENCE AND ITS 'APPENDIX.'
  "MR AND MRS BRADLAUGH.
  No. 1.

 "The Editor and Proprietor of this newspaper desires to express his
 extreme pain that the columns of a journal which has never before been
 made the vehicle for reflections on private character, should, partly
 by inadvertence, and partly by a too unhesitating reliance on the
 authority and good faith of its contributor, have contained last week,
 in the form of an 'Appendix' to a recent article from _All the Year
 Bound_, a mischievous and unfounded libel upon Mr Charles Bradlaugh.

 "That Mr Bradlaugh holds, and fearlessly expounds, theological
 opinions entirely opposed to those of the editor and the majority of
 our readers, is undoubtedly true, and Mr Bradlaugh cannot and does
 not complain that his name is associated with Colenso, Holyoake, or
 Paine; but that he has offensively intruded those opinions in our
 lecture hall is NOT TRUE. That his ordinary language on the platform
 is 'balderdash and blasphemy' is NOT TRUE. That he makes a practice
 of openly desecrating the Sunday is NOT TRUE. That he is known by the
 names of 'Moses Scoffer,' or 'Swear 'em Charley,' is NOT TRUE. Nor is
 there any foundation for the sneer as to his 'City practice,' or for
 the insinuations made against his conduct or character as a scholar
 and a gentleman.

 "While making this atonement to Mr Bradlaugh, the Editor must express
 his unfeigned sorrow that the name of Mrs Bradlaugh should have been
 introduced into the article in question, accompanied by a suggestion
 calculated to wound her in the most vital part, conveying as it does
 a reflection upon her honour and fair fame as a lady and a wife. Mrs
 Bradlaugh is too well known and too much respected to suffer by such
 a calumny; but for the pain so heedlessly given to a sensitive and
 delicate nature the Editor offers this expression of his profound and
 sincere regret.

 "No. 2.

 "The author of the 'Appendix' complained of, who is NOT the Editor
 or Proprietor, or in any way connected with the _Tottenham Herald_,
 unreservedly adopts the foregoing apology, and desires to incorporate
 it with his own.

 "It is for him bitterly to lament that, stung by allusions in the
 article from _All the Year Round_, which he erroneously attributed
 to the pen of Mr Bradlaugh, he allowed his better judgment to give
 way, and wrote of that gentleman in language which he cannot at all
 justify, and which he now entirely retracts.

 "To Mrs Bradlaugh he respectfully tenders such an apology as becomes a
 gentleman to offer to a lady he has so greatly wronged. He trusts that
 the exquisite pain she must have suffered from a harsh allusion will
 be somewhat mitigated by the public avowal of its absolute injustice.
 As a wife united to her husband in holy wedlock by the solemn forms
 of the Church, as a mother of a young family, to whom she sets the
 proper example of an English lady, she is entitled to reparation from
 one whose only excuse is that he wrote of her in ignorance and haste,
 while writing of her husband under irritation and excitement.

 "The writer of the libel has only to add that he has addressed to Mr
 Bradlaugh a private letter bearing his proper signature, and avowing,
 while he laments, the authorship of the offending article; and he
 begs to offer his thanks to Mr Bradlaugh for the generous forbearance
 which declines to exact the publication of the writer's name, from
 considerations which will be patent to most of the readers of this
 journal."

These apologies were accepted in a few generous words by Mr Bradlaugh:--

 "On my own behalf, and that of my wife, I am content with these
 apologies. To have accepted less would have shown my disregard of her
 honour and my own. To have required more would have been to punish
 with too great severity those whose own frank avowals show that they
 acted rather with precipitancy than with 'malice prepense.'

  "(Signed)      CHARLES BRADLAUGH."

If I could believe that Mr M'Sorley _had_ frankly--to repeat Mr
Bradlaugh's word--repented in fact, as well as in appearance, I should
pass this libel now with but slight allusion, and have considered
myself bound by my father's promise not to make the writer's name
public.[30] In the immediate locality it was impossible that the
authorship of such an astounding concoction should long remain secret,
and for long afterwards Mr M'Sorley's name was bandied about with
small jests amongst the irreverent youngsters of the neighbourhood.
The apology was made under considerable pressure: members of the
congregation threatened to leave the Church, a lawsuit loomed in
the distance, and a horsewhipping in the near future.[31] "This
fellow," said Mr Bradlaugh,[32] speaking thirteen years later, and
still withholding the name, "I compelled to retract every word he had
uttered, and to pay £100, which, after deducting costs, was divided
amongst various charitable institutions. The reverend libeller wrote me
an abject letter begging me not to ruin his prospects in the Church by
publishing his name. I consented, and he has since repaid my mercy by
losing no opportunity of being offensive. He is a prominent contributor
to the _Rock_, and a fierce ultra-Protestant."

[Footnote 30: In 1872 Mr Bradlaugh had occasion to address a letter in
the _National Reformer_ to the Rev. Mr M'Sorley, dealing with a sermon
of his published in the _Tottenham and Edmonton Advertiser_, but he did
not make the slightest allusion to the clergyman's former conduct. Mr
M'Sorley died in 1892.]

[Footnote 31: I remember that some one, I know not whom, put the
horsewhip in the hall in readiness, and this impressed upon the minds
of us children the dreadful depths of Mr M'Sorley's depravity! Our
father never said a harsh word or raised his hand in anger to one
of us, and we knew that the person must be very bad indeed if the
possibility of a whipping could be even contemplated!]

[Footnote 32: _The Weekly Dispatch_, November 16, 1879.]

So much for the bitter lament and frank avowal of an ordained minister
of the Church of England!

It is an open question which was the worse of the two--the Rev. John
Graham Packer or the Rev. Hugh M'Sorley. I am inclined to think that
the latter carried off the palm, although his malignancy recoiled upon
himself, whilst Mr Packer's took such terrible effect. In any case a
perusal of Mr M'Sorley's "Appendix" will convince the reader, if indeed
any need convincing, that Mr Packer was not--as has lately been the
fashion to assume--the only clergyman who has striven to injure my
father's character.



CHAPTER XII.

TOTTENHAM.


Our house at Sunderland Villa was what I suppose would be called an
eight-roomed house. It comprised four bedrooms, two sitting-rooms, and
a little room built out over the kitchen, which was Mr Bradlaugh's
"den" or study. There was a garden in the rear communicating by a
private way with "The Grove," a road running at right angles to
Northumberland Park, in which our house was situated; and at the bottom
of this garden, when things looked very prosperous indeed, some stables
were built. There was to be stalled the longed-for horse which was to
take my father to the City every day; but before the stables were quite
completed Black Friday came, and with it vanished all these entrancing
dreams. The building indeed remained, but merely as a playhouse for
us children, or to afford an occasional lodging for a friend (the
coachman's quarters being well and snugly built), and also, I fear, as
a "good joke" to the neighbourhood.

We usually had one or more dogs, belonging to the various members of
the family, for we were all fond of animals, and any big ones were kept
in the paved forecourt of the stables. At one time there were three
dwellers in the court, but these ultimately thinned down to one, the
dog Bruin, my father's special favourite. Bruin was part retriever and
part St Bernard, a fine dog to look at, and wonderfully clever. Mr
Bradlaugh was never weary of relating anecdotes of his intelligence
and sagacity. From his kennel in the court Bruin's chain-range covered
the garden gate, and with him there no bolt or lock was necessary,
for while with friends he was the mildest and gentlest of dogs, with
strangers or suspicious persons he was truly formidable. He made no
unnecessary show of what he could do; he quietly watched the person
until he was well within his reach, and then hurled himself at his
throat. This I once saw. He was devoted to my father, and with him
almost perfectly docile and obedient. And when, in 1870, Mr Bradlaugh
had to part with him, losing Bruin was by no means the smallest grief
at a time when there was little else but sadness and sorrow.

At St. Helen's Place Mr James Thomson (B. V.) had shared our home,
and he again lived with us for some years at Sunderland Villa. The
acquaintance which sprang up between them during Mr Bradlaugh's army
experiences in Ireland had soon ripened into warm friendship.

When my father quitted the service they kept up a close correspondence,
and many a time have I heard my mother lament that Mr Thomson's
"beautiful letters" had been destroyed. When Mr Thomson also left the
army and came to London at the end of 1862, he came to my father, who
at once held out a helping hand to him. In 1863 Mr Bradlaugh obtained
for him the appointment of Secretary to the Polish Committee, but his
inherited curse of intemperance seized upon him, and at a crucial
moment he disappeared.[33] On May 29th Mr W. J. Linton wrote from
Ambleside:--

[Footnote 33: Mr W. E. Adams speaks of this matter in his recollections
of my father, from which I have already quoted on page 68. "I think it
has been said," he remarks, "that Mr Bradlaugh did not do the best he
could for James Thomson, the author of 'The City of Dreadful Night.'
My own testimony on this subject may not be of much account, but I
happen to know that Mr Bradlaugh for many years maintained Thomson
as a member of his own family; sometimes finding him employment in
his own office, at other times getting him situations elsewhere. When
the Polish Revolution of 1862 broke out, a committee was formed in
London to assist the insurgents. I was appointed secretary of that
committee. But in 1863 it became necessary that I should resign in
order to accept an appointment in Newcastle. Mr Bradlaugh asked me to
do what I could to obtain for Thomson the succession to the office. It
was mainly on Mr Bradlaugh's strong and urgent recommendation that the
committee selected him. I transferred to him all the books, documents,
correspondence, etc., much of it of a very interesting and valuable
character. Although I endeavoured, both in Manchester and in Newcastle,
where I visited some of the leading politicians, to form branches of
the central committee in London, I ceased all active participation
in the movement. It was naturally expected, of course, that Thomson
would do all that had been hitherto done by me, and indeed, from his
superior qualifications, a great deal more. A few weeks after I had
been located in Newcastle, however, a letter was placed in my hands
from the late Peter Alfred Taylor, who was chairman of the Polish
Committee, asking whether I could tell him where James Thomson could be
found, since he had not been at the office for many days, and had left
the affairs of the committee in a disordered condition. Poor Thomson,
as it turned out, had been overtaken by one of those periodical attacks
of dipsomania which ultimately resulted in his death. It may readily be
imagined how much this collapse must have disturbed and distressed Mr
Bradlaugh. But it does not appear that it made any difference whatever
in his helpful friendship for the unfortunate poet; for some years
afterwards I still found Thomson a member of Mr Bradlaugh's family and
the occupant of an important post in the business which Mr Bradlaugh
was then conducting. These are matters of personal knowledge. I may add
that Mr Bradlaugh, whenever Thomson was the subject of conversation
between us, always spoke of him in the tenderest and most affectionate
terms. Even when, as I understand, he had been compelled to part
company with his unfortunate friend, no word of censure or complaint
ever passed Mr Bradlaugh's lips in my hearing.

"The kindness which Mr Bradlaugh had shown to poor Thomson was shown
in a modified degree to me too. I should regard myself as one of the
most ungrateful creatures living if I ever forgot the kindly help and
sympathy I received from him in a most trying period of my life. For
many months during this period, when I was begging some brother man to
give me leave to toil, I breakfasted at his house nearly every morning
(and a breakfast was a matter of some consequence to me then), in order
to learn what had come of inquiries which he was day by day making on
my behalf, inquiries which eventually resulted in a service of the
highest value."]

 "DEAR BRADLAUGH,--The enclosed from Taylor. I send it to you
 knowing no other way of getting at Thomson, and wishful not to throw
 over any one spoken kindly of by you. But for myself I would not stand
 a second utter neglect of this kind. However, it rests with Taylor.

 "After some trouble about Thomson, he might at least have written
 to me in the first instance, or to Taylor now, to account even for
 'illness'--which I begin to doubt.

 "_I_ only asked him for a daily paper, which would have satisfied me
 of his daily attention. I have had _three_ since I left. Row him,
 please!--Yours ever, very hard worked,

  W. J. LINTON."

  ENCLOSURE.

  "House of Commons, May 28, 1863.

 "DEAR LINTON,--Do you know Thomson's address or how to get at
 it? He has not been at S. Street this week, and everything is going to
 the D----l.--Yours ever,

  P. A. TAYLOR."

These fits of intemperance, comparatively rare at first, unhappily
became more and more frequent. While Mr Thomson lived with us when he
came back after one of these attacks--or was brought back, for indeed
it usually happened that some friend searched for him and brought him
home despite himself--he was nursed and cared for until he was quite
himself again, for it often happened that he was bruised and wounded,
and unfit to go out for some days.

Although he failed so miserably in his secretary's work, Mr Bradlaugh
gave him a post in his own office, and encouraged him to write for the
_National Reformer_. He had already written a few scattered articles,
first for the _Investigator_ in 1859, and then for the _National
Reformer_. In the latter his writings ultimately extended over a period
of fifteen years, commencing in 1860, and ending in the summer of
1875. His contributions range from the smallest review notice of some
pamphlets written by Frederic Harrison, to his great and remarkable
poem of "The City of Dreadful Night." Those who think most highly of
this wonderful work admit that there was no other publisher in London
who would have published it, but at the same time they give no credit
to my father for discerning genius to which every one else was then
blind; on the contrary, they join in the suggestion that Mr Thomson
was in some way ill-used by Mr Bradlaugh, although _how_ they do not
deign to tell. Most of "B. V.'s" writings to the _National Reformer_
were done in the years 1865, 1866, 1867, the first half of 1868, and
second half of 1869, 1870, 1871, 1874, and the early months of 1875. In
the other years his contributions were more scattered, but no year is
entirely without.

While he lived with us at Sunderland Villa, Mr Thomson was just one
of the family, sharing our home life in every particular. He was a
favourite with us all; my father loved him with a love that had to
bear many a strain, and we children simply adored him. Sometimes in
the evenings he, with my mother for a partner, my father with Miss
Lacey (a frequent inmate of our house), would form a jovial quartet
at whist; and many were the jokes and great the fun on these whist
evenings. On Sundays, if my father were at home, he and Mr Thomson
would take us children and Bruin for a walk over the Tottenham Marshes
to give Bruin a swim in the Lea; or if my father were away lecturing,
as was too frequently the case, then Mr Thomson would take us for a
long ramble to Edmonton to see Charles Lamb's grave, or maybe across
the fields to Chingford. In the winter time, when the exigencies of
the weather kept us indoors, he would devote his Sunday afternoons to
us, and tell us the most enchanting fairy tales it was ever the lot of
children to listen to. One snowy night my father and he came to fetch
my sister and me home from a Christmas party. They had to carry us,
for the snow was deep. They took us out of the house with due regard to
propriety; but they had not got far before they were all too conscious
of the weight of their respective burdens, so they set us down in a
fairly clear spot, and then readjusted us "pick-a-back." There was much
joking over our weight, and we heartily joined in the laugh and enjoyed
the jests at our expense, and over and above all the notion of being
aided and abetted by our elders in doing something so shocking as a
"pick-a-back" ride through the streets. These were delightful, happy
times to us at least, and, in spite of all his cares, not unhappy for
my father. He had youth and health and hope and courage, a friend he
loved, and children he was ever good to. I feel indeed as though my pen
must linger over these small trifles, over these merry moods and happy
moments, and I am loth to put them aside for sadder, weightier matters.

Or the two would sit in my father's little "den" or study, and smoke.
Mr Bradlaugh smoked a great deal at this time, and "B. V." was an
inveterate smoker; the one had his cigar, and the other his pipe; and
while the smoke slowly mounted up and by degrees so filled the room
that they could scarce see each other's faces across the table, they
would talk philosophy, politics, or literature. I can see them now, in
some ways a strangely assorted pair, as they sat in that little room
lined with books; at the far side of the table the poet and dreamer,
with his head thrown back and with the stem of his pipe never far from
his lips, his face almost lost in the blue clouds gently and lazily
curling upwards; and here, near the fireplace, my father, essentially a
man to whom to think, to plan, was to _do_, sitting in careless comfort
in his big uncushioned oaken chair, now taking frequent strong draws at
his cigar, transforming the dull ash into a vigorous point of light,
and again laying it aside to die into dull ash once more, whilst he
argued a point or drew himself up to write. How often and how vividly
that once familiar scene rises before my closed eyes! Of course, whilst
with us, Mr Thomson had the use of my father's little library as his
own, and many of the books still bear the traces of his reading in the
pencilled notes.

During the Carlist War, in 1873, Mr Bradlaugh obtained for his friend
an appointment to go to Spain as special correspondent to a New York
paper; but alas! he was taken "ill" whilst about his duties, wrote
irregularly and infrequently, and as a climax wrote three lines
describing an important event when three columns were expected. He was
consequently recalled, and when he got back my father found, to his
additional vexation, that he (Mr Thomson) had lost the Colt's revolver
which he had lent him. It was an old friend to Mr Bradlaugh; he had had
it for many years, and it had served him well.

My father's anger was, as usual, short lived; and in the next year he
published "B. V.'s" "City of Dreadful Night," and thenceforward gave
him regular work on the _National Reformer_. But he was unhappily one
not to be relied upon; and on a special occasion when he was left with
the responsibility of the paper he disappeared and left it, as far as
he was concerned, to come out as best it could. At length, in 1875,
in spite of all my father's forbearance and affection, Mr Thomson for
some reason felt injured; but whatever might have been his grievances,
they were in fact utterly baseless. Mr Thomson resented his supposed
injury by an open insult, and from that moment the friendship between
these two was dead. On Mr Thomson's side it seemed turned to hatred
and bitter animosity, and he said against my father some of the most
bitter things possible for a man to say. The memory of all past love
and kindness seemed washed out and drowned in a whirl of evil passions.
My father was deeply wounded, and at first, for some year or two,
never voluntarily mentioned his old friend's name; but when the first
soreness had passed he spoke of him, seldom, it is true, but with a
certain tenderness, and always as "poor Thomson." We found amongst
things long put away a silver cup won by Mr Thomson and inscribed with
his name; we asked my father what we should do with it. "Send it to
him, my daughters; I dare say he needs it, poor fellow." And indeed we
heard afterwards that it soon found its way to the pawnshop. It was
characteristic of my father that he said nothing to us, his daughters,
of his quarrel with one to whom he knew we were greatly attached; we
heard of it from others not too friendly to my father. We, naturally
and without a word, although not without great grief, ranged ourselves
on our father's side, and met Mr Thomson as a stranger; we felt that he
was grateful for our sacrifice, but he neither uttered a syllable of
approval or comment, nor did he ever attempt to sway us by sign or word.

Although our home was small, the doors were made to open very
wide. Relations and friends, all who stood in need of kindness and
hospitality, seemed to find their way here. My father's youngest
sister Harriet, after leaving the Orphan Asylum in which she had been
placed at her father's death, lived with us for a long time. She
was a brilliant, handsome girl, yet bearing a strong resemblance to
my father. I can always picture her as she stood one 30th of April,
awaiting the child guests who were to come to make merry over my
sister's birthday. Standing against the wall I can see her tall,
well-proportioned figure, robed in one of the sprigged muslin gowns
of those days, the short sleeves and low neck of the time showing her
fine arms and shoulders. I see her face with its fair complexion, alive
with vivacity and the warm glow of health, her light brown hair, her
laughing mouth and eyes--eyes which were certainly not of the "angel"
order, but whose fire and flash gave some warning of the unrestrained
temper within. Poor Harriet! this same temper was her own undoing.
Driven by it she married badly, in every sense of the word, dragged
through a few years of miserable existence, and eventually died in the
Fulham Hospital, of smallpox, when it fell to my father to discharge
the funeral expenses--such was the poverty of her own home. I have
heard that stories have been told and even preached from a public
platform of her "deathbed conversion," but this is only one of the
common pious frauds. Her illness was quite unexpected, and lasted only
a few days, none of her family, except her husband, knowing of it
until after she was dead. Apart from that point and the nature of her
illness, which would somewhat stand in the way of much visiting, I am
not aware that she ever called herself anything but a Christian. She
was brought up in that religion, and she was not interfered with whilst
with us.

Here, also, Mr Bradlaugh's younger brother found a resting place and
tendance after illness; but as I shall have occasion to speak of him
later, I will for the moment pass him with a mere mention.

Others, too, more than I can count, found their way to that small
house in Northumberland Park. Some were nursed there, some did their
courtship there, and some were even married from there. In the
meantime, who can tell how many were the visitors to that little study
at the back, over the kitchen? Alas! I can only remember the names of
a few. There were Frenchmen like Talandier, Le Blanc, Elisée Reclus,
Alphonse Esquiros; Italians and Englishmen working for Mazzini and
Garibaldi; Irish politicals like General Cluseret and Kelly; and there
was Alexander Herzen, for whom my father had a great admiration, and
whom he always counted as a friend. These, whose names are sometimes
joined to faces, and others, faces without names, lie indistinctly in
the dim far-back memory of my childhood.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was here about to break off and take up again the thread of the story
of Mr Bradlaugh's public work, but it occurs to me that I have said
little about my father's treatment of us, his children, and of our
early education. There is so little to say, and certainly so little
of importance to linger over, that I should have passed on to other
matters were it not for the imaginings of those who make it their
business to spread false statements concerning Mr Bradlaugh, even on
such a purely personal matter as his children's education.

My father was away from home so much that ordinarily we saw him very
little, and my earliest recollection of him is at St. Helen's Place.
One evening in particular seems to stand out in my memory. The room
was alight and warm with gas and fire; and at one end of the table,
covered with papers, sat my father. I suppose that we were romping
and noisy, and interfered with his work, for he turned towards us and
said in grave tones, which I can always hear, "Is it not time you
little lassies went to bed?" A trifling incident, but it shows that at
that time he was obliged to do his thinking and writing in the common
room in the midst of his family, and the term "little lassies" was
a characteristic one with him. When we were quite little, if he had
anything serious to say to us, it was his "little lassies" he talked
to; as we grew older it was "my daughters," and what he had to say
always seemed to have an additional emphasis by the use of the special,
yet tender term, almost entirely reserved for serious occasions. In the
morning, when he left home, we three children always assembled for the
"goodbye" kiss; after that we seldom saw him until the next day. If,
however, he was home in the evenings while we were still up, we used
to sit by his elbow while he played whist or chess, and after the game
was over he would so carefully explain his own moves, and perhaps the
faults of his partner or his opponents, that before I was twelve years
old I could play whist as well as I can to-day, and chess a great deal
better, merely through watching his play, and paying attention to his
comments.

Broxbourne was then his favourite place for fishing; it was easily
reached from Northumberland Park, and there were in those days good
fish in the Lea. He and the proprietor of the fishing-right were very
good friends; and sometimes when it grew too dark to fish, he would
wind up his day with a pleasant game at billiards before taking the
train home. He generally took us children with him if the day was fine,
and these were indeed red-letter days for us. We were on our honour
not to get into any mischief, and, with the one restriction that we
were not to make a noise close to the water, we were allowed a perfect,
glorious liberty. Sometimes we too would fish, and my father would
give us little lines and floats and hooks, and with an impromptu rod
stolen from the nearest willow or ash tree we would do our best to
imitate our superior. But my brother was the only one who showed great
perseverance in this respect; my sister and I soon tired of watching
the placid float on the sparkling water, and sought other amusements.
At Carthagena Weir my father would "make it right" with old Brimsden
the lock-keeper, and he would rig us up a rope swing on which he would
make a seat of a most wonderful sheep-skin; or there were a score of
ways in which we amused ourselves, for there was no one to say, "Don't
do this" or "Don't do that." We could roll in the grass and get our
white muslin dresses grass-green, jump in the ditch and fill our shoes
with mud, anything so long as we enjoyed ourselves and did no harm.
Whether it was the feeling of freedom and the being made our own judges
of right or wrong, I do not know, but I do not remember one occasion
on which we were rebuked either by the lenient guardian with us or by
the stricter one when we got home again--for, of course, as is mostly
the way with women, my mother was much more particular about the
"proprieties" than my father; and had he brought us home in a _very_
tumbled, muddy condition, our fishing expeditions would have been less
frequent.

As to our early education, our father did the best he could for us; but
his means were small, and the opportunities for schooling twenty-five
and thirty years ago were not such as they are to-day. My sister and
I, first alone and then with my brother, were sent to a little school
taught by two maiden ladies; the boys being taught upstairs, and the
girls in a room below. At this school, as always, although the contrary
has been stated, we were withdrawn from religious instruction, but the
Misses Burnell did not always obey this injunction: if a bogie was
wanted to frighten us with, then "God" was trotted out. I remember
on one occasion, when I suppose I had been naughty, Miss Burnell,
pointing to the sky, told me that God was watching me from above and
could see all I did. Childlike, I took this literally, though I suppose
with the proverbial "grain of salt," for I leaned out of the window
and gazed up into the sky to see for myself this "God" who was always
watching my actions. It was just dusk, and it happened to be a time
when some comet was visible. When I looked out and saw this brilliant
body lighting up the darkness all about it, I was convinced that
_this_ was the "eye of God" of which Miss Burnell had been talking,
and hastily drew in my head again to get out of his sight! But as at
home we had no mysterious Being either to fear (because that seems the
first impression generally made upon sensitive children) or to love,
this awful Eye blazing away overhead merely left a vague feeling of
uneasiness behind, which time and healthier thought effaced. My little
brother was soon taken from this school and sent to a boarding-school,
where he remained only a few months, as it was unsatisfactory; he was
also over-walked, which resulted in laming him for a time. The master
who took the boys out for walking exercise could not have been of an
exactly cheerful disposition, for at the time of the dreadful ice
accident in 1867, when forty persons were drowned, he marched the boys
to Regent's Park to see the dead bodies taken out of the water. It was
a terrible sight for little boys to see; and as my little brother was
only just over seven years old, the remembrance of these rows of dead
bodies made an indelible impression upon his mind. He was then sent to
some good friends at Plymouth, Mr and Mrs John Williamson, and while he
grew well and strong in the sea breezes, he went to school with their
son. On coming home again, he was sent to Mr John Grant, schoolmaster
in the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards--then a friend of Mr Thomson's,
and so of my father's--who took him as a private pupil. My sister and I
learned French of different French refugees who frequented our house,
and I must do them the justice to say that our French was both a great
deal better taught and learned than our English. My father used to hold
sudden examinations at unstated times of our progress in the French
language, especially if he happened to come across a _franc_ piece,
reminiscent of his journeys to the Continent. This _franc_ was to be
the reward of the one who answered best; but somehow I was so stupid
and desperately nervous that I never once won the prize: my sister
always carried it off in triumph.

Never during the whole of our childhood did my father once raise his
hand against us, never once did he speak a harsh word. We _were_
whipped, for my mother held the old-fashioned, mistaken notion that to
"spare the rod" was to "spoil the child;" but when scolding or whipping
failed to bring obedience, the culprit was taken to that little study;
there a grave look and a grave word brought instant submission. But it
seldom went beyond the threat of being taken there, for we loved him so
that we could not bear him even to know when we were naughty.

I feel that much of this may well seem very trivial to those who read
my book, but my excuse for dwelling so long on such details is that
even the most ordinary incidents in my father's history have been
misstated and distorted. I take my opportunity whilst I may, for many
lie cold in the grave, and mine is now almost the only hand which can
nail down the wretched calumnies which strike at such small personal
matters as these.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE "NATIONAL REFORMER."


Those who have travelled with me thus far will have noticed that the
story of Mr Bradlaugh's public work is carried down to 1860, just prior
to the inauguration of the _National Reformer_. This I thought would be
a good point at which to break off and look at what his private life
and home surroundings had been during that time; and the account of
this I have brought down to about the year 1870. I will now retrace my
steps a little and go back to 1860 to take up again the narrative of
my father's public work, and to tell of the starting, carrying on, and
vicissitudes of the _National Reformer_, of the stormy lecturing times
when Mr Bradlaugh delivered twenty-three or more lectures in one month,
travelling between Yarmouth and Dumfries to do it and home again with
perhaps less money in his pocket than when he started. Italy, Ireland,
the Lancashire Cotton Famine, the Reform League, the General Election
of 1868, these and other matters of more or less importance will bring
us again to the year 1870. That year brought with it such important
events touching both the private and public life of Mr Bradlaugh that
it made, as it were, a break in his life, and marked a new era in his
career.

The Sheffield Freethinkers, as I said a few pages back, almost adopted
the young "Iconoclast" as their own. In him they found a bold, able,
and untiring advocate of the opinions they cherished; in them he,
in return, found full appreciation of his efforts, kind friends and
enthusiastic co-workers. This union had not existed long before
it resolved itself into a practical form--the promulgation of the
_National Reformer_. The initiation of the idea came from Mr Bradlaugh,
who naturally sighed after his lost _Investigator_; but as neither he
nor any one of these Yorkshire friends was sufficiently wealthy to
take the sole risk of starting and running a newspaper, a committee
of Sheffield, Bradford, and Halifax men formed a Company and issued
a prospectus, which was inserted in the _Reasoner_ of February 12,
1860.[34] This original Prospectus is very interesting, and a perusal
of it will show how closely, except on one or two matters of detail
which have necessarily altered with the times, the programme of the
latter day _National Reformer_ adhered to that issued thirty-four years
ago. A careful comparison of the policy embodied in this Prospectus
with the policy of the paper up to January 1891 will entirely disprove
the various assertions of modifications airily made by many persons;
by some carelessly, these never having troubled to make themselves
acquainted with the facts; by others wilfully, regardless of the truth
within their knowledge.

[Footnote 34: The Prospectus of the _Reformer_, as it appeared in the
_Reasoner_, was as follows:--

 "REFORMER NEWSPAPER COMPANY, Limited. Capital, £1000, in 2000
 shares of 10s. each. This Company is to be formed for the purpose
 of issuing a weekly newspaper, price twopence, to be entitled the
 _Reformer_, of the size of the _Manchester Guardian_, folded so as
 to form eight pages. It will advocate advanced Liberal opinions, on
 Social, Political, Theological, and Scientific questions, and will
 permit free discussion on every statement made, or opinion advanced in
 its columns, or upon any question of general importance. The present
 platform of political views will be mainly that advocated by the
 Northern Reform Union, but every phase of the political question shall
 have free and unreserved treatment, and the most partial Tory will be
 allowed to answer the views of the Editor, as well as the most extreme
 Republican, the promoters being of opinion that no one man holds
 the whole truth, but that it permeates from one extreme to another,
 and can only be found by a complete ventilation and examination of
 each man's views. On social science, the promoters intend specially
 to watch the conduct of the Social Science League, reviewing the
 course taken by its leading men, and illustrating the general views
 enunciated at its meetings. The newspaper will contain full reports of
 co-operative news, meetings and proceedings of trade societies, and
 co-operative progress throughout the country. It will also contain
 articles illustrating the connection between physiological and
 psychological phenomena, and illustrating new scientific discoveries,
 examining and explaining the various theories in connection with
 animal magnetism, phrenology, etc., treating fully on the important
 ground recognised under the title of Political Economy. The present
 platform, of theological advocacy, will be that of antagonism to
 every known religious system, and especially to the various phases of
 Christianity taught and preached in Britain; but every one--Churchman,
 Dissenter, or anti-theologian--shall have full space to illustrate his
 own views. The paper will also contain all the important news of the
 week, summary of Parliamentary debates, reviews of books, etc. etc.;
 special law and police intelligence; original poetry, etc. The Company
 will be conducted by a committee of management, appointed annually by
 the general body of shareholders. The committee will have the whole
 financial control of the paper, and will have the appointment of the
 Editor. The Editor for the first six months will be 'Iconoclast,'
 who will be continued in that office if satisfaction be given to the
 committee of management. A number of well-known writers have already
 associated themselves with that gentleman in order to make the pages
 of the _Reformer_ worthy of general approbation."

It will be noted that here the paper is called the _Reformer_ simply,
but in the first advertisement which appeared after the publication of
its policy, it was announced as the _National Reformer_.]

The arrangements for the paper were completed, and announcements
concerning it made, when Mr Joseph Barker returned to England from
America. His coming was heralded by a flourish of trumpets--literary
trumpets, that is--receptions were arranged to welcome him, and there
was evidently a widespread notion that Joseph Barker was a very great
man indeed. It is difficult for us to-day, having before us his whole
public career, with its kaleidoscopic changes of front, to realise the
enthusiasm which his name provoked in 1860. But be that as it may, it
is quite evident that at that time his reputation stood high amongst
English Freethinkers; and, in an evil hour, Mr Bradlaugh, thinking that
the co-operation of such a man would be of great advantage to the cause
he had at heart, suggested to the Sheffield committee that Mr Barker
should be invited to become co-editor with himself. The suggestion was
readily adopted, and all future announcements concerning the _National
Reformer_ contained the two names, Joseph Barker and "Iconoclast," as
"editors for the first six months."

The issue of the first number was promised for April 8th (1860), but
apparently there was some little difficulty in getting it under way,
and it was not until the following Saturday,[35] April 14th, that
the new venture was fairly launched. According to the arrangements
made between the committee of management and the editors, Mr Joseph
Barker edited the first half (four pages), "Iconoclast" the second;
and in this last half were put all the parliamentary, co-operative,
and society reports, announcement of lectures, and advertisements.
I conclude that after a few numbers, Mr Bradlaugh found all these
reports greatly curtailed the space available for original articles by
himself or his contributors, for very soon the Parliamentary reports
were abandoned, and criticism of measures before the Legislature,
written either by himself or by "Caractacus," were substituted. The
"original" poetry, I remark, was mainly confined to Mr Barker's side
(I use the word "original" because it appeared in the Prospectus);
and even there the poetic seed seems to have taken some time to
germinate, for until the tenth number only two or three stray shoots
appeared; with "No. 10," however, it suddenly blossomed into upwards
of a column of verses. These verses are from the pens of Charles
Mackay, John G. Saxe, Longfellow, and Richard Howitt, and it is a
heavy demand upon us to believe that they made their first appearance
under the auspices of Mr Barker in the _National Reformer_. After this
number there was seldom an issue without some verse--"original" or
otherwise. There is one small matter which has amused me immensely in
connection with the _National Reformer_ (and also with the _Reasoner_),
that is, the enthusiastic advocacy of the Turkish Bath. A casual
observer, say a Hindu or a Confucian, coming to these papers with an
entirely unbiased mind, might well imagine that the Turkish Bath was
a mainstay of Secularism, such is the ardour with which its merits
are put forward. At each town visited by the different editors,
wherever there was a Turkish Bath, the bath is also visited, reported
upon, and if possible, commended in their respective papers. Thus,
in the first number of the _National Reformer_, Mr Barker winds up
an account of "My lecturing tour" by a detailed description of the
bath at Keighley, and refers more briefly to those he revelled in at
Sheffield, Huddersfield, Rochdale, Stockport, and Bradford. He seems
to have been a new convert, and on that ground perhaps may be excused
the eagerness which carried him to such flights in his description
as to record the momentous fact that the drying sheet was "fringed
with red." While Mr Barker thus describes in his half of the paper,
"Iconoclast" in the four pages under his charge devotes two-thirds of
a column to an article on "Cleanliness," in which he also extols the
Turkish Bath, but with the calmness and matter-of-fact manner of an old
frequenter. Mr Jagger of Rochdale and Mr Maxfield of Huddersfield are
especially and discriminatingly praised for the comfort and cleanliness
of their arrangements. We are all tolerably familiar with the proverb
"Cleanliness comes next to Godliness," but any one reading the
Freethought papers of thirty odd years ago would be compelled to admit
that it took a very front place in the principles of Secularism then.

[Footnote 35: The paper was at first dated on the Saturday.]

As a matter of course, Mr Bradlaugh addressed some "First words" to
his readers; from this I will detach two sentences, and two only;
and these because they embody, in forcible language, truths as sound
to-day as at the moment when they were written. Let us unite against
the clergy, he urges upon his Freethinking readers, for "the Bible
is the great cord with which the people are bound; cut this, and the
mass will be more free to appreciate facts instead of faiths." Then in
praising the efforts at Co-operation at Rochdale, he adds: "I would
say to the men of other towns, do not strike against your masters, ye
who are servants, but combine to serve one another in co-operative
associations, which will enable you to employ and elevate yourselves,
and in time will strike the, words 'master and servant' out of our
vocabulary."

The second number of the _National Reformer_ did not appear until a
month later, the third came out on June 2nd, and with that commenced
the weekly issue. With the exception of a few letters and occasional
extracts, the whole of which rarely filled more than two or three
columns, Mr Joseph Barker's half was entirely written by himself,
and the initials "J. B." dotted all over the four pages become so
monotonous that the sight of another signature gives quite a relief to
the eye. The most prominent contributors to Iconoclast's section were
"Caractacus," "G. R.," and Mr John Watts. When the paper was nothing
more than a project, Mr Bradlaugh spoke of it to his friend Mr W. E.
Adams, who was then living at Manchester. He asked the author of the
"Tyrannicide" pamphlet to write articles for the new paper, but Mr
Adams had so modest an opinion of his own abilities that he hesitated
to consent. But consent he at length did; an article from his pen upon
"Reform" appeared in the first number, and once having made the plunge,
he became a regular weekly contributor. The first contribution was
signed "W. E. A.," but after that Mr Adams wrote under the signature
of "Caractacus," and the eloquence of his articles impeaching the
oppressor, or pleading the cause of the oppressed, quicken the blood
in one's veins to-day, although the men and causes which inspired his
pen are now more than half forgotten. G. R.'s first article on the
population doctrines appeared in the fourth number, and after that he
wrote fairly frequently for the _National Reformer_. In number sixteen,
the printer transferred nine "make-up" paragraphs--sent by Mr Bradlaugh
to fill up any vacant corners in his section--to Mr Barker's half. The
paragraphs were sufficiently interesting in their way, but, after the
manner of such paragraphs, contained no very startling doctrines, nor
expressed any very extraordinary sentiment. The first read "Kindness to
animals promotes humanity;" the second gave some tonnage statistics;
the third was upon persecutions, urging "that he who kills for a faith
must be weak, that he who dies for a faith must be strong;" the other
paragraphs were quotations from Thackeray, Wendell Phillips, Senior,
Mansell's Bampton Lectures, Theodore Parker and Ruskin. Such was the
effect of these harmless looking extracts upon Mr Barker, however, that
he thought it necessary to specially address his readers on September
8th (in No. 17), publicly repudiating the sentiments as "foolish or
false," and specially selecting for condemnation the maxim on kindness
to animals! This is the first intimation the public have of the "rift
within the lute," and one is immediately driven to the conclusion that
a man who could publicly repudiate, in the brusque language used by Mr
Barker, such a trifling matter as this, must have been very anxious to
pick a quarrel with his colleague, no matter how slight the grounds.
As a matter of course, Mr Bradlaugh was obliged in the next number
to explain that the paragraphs had been used by the printer to fill
up what would otherwise have been a blank space in Mr Barker's half.
"It was done," he said, "without my knowledge, but I can hardly say
against my wish," and then, naturally enough, he proceeded to defend or
explain the sentiments expressed in them. This matter, small in itself,
makes it fairly evident that Mr Barker was a man exceedingly difficult
to deal with; and his entire lack of self-restraint is shown in his
eagerness to display to the public the smallest of his grievances, even
as against his co-editor, with whom one would have imagined it would
have been to his interest to at least appear on friendly terms, since
it directly involved the welfare of the paper.

For some time after this, things went on quietly between the two
editors, each pursuing the even tenor of his way. But this seeming
tranquillity did not extend far below the surface. Mr Barker expressed
to certain persons his regret at having associated himself with Mr
Bradlaugh, and his determination not to continue long as co-editor. Of
course, all this was reported to Mr Bradlaugh, although he allowed it
to pass quite unnoticed.

There were for the moment no more outbursts of repudiation in the
_National Reformer_, still the paper was very curious reading, and it
grew more and more curious each week. As Mr Bradlaugh himself wrote
at a later stage: "The points of difference between myself and Mr
Barker are many. He professes now to be a Theist. For eight years,
at least, I have been an Atheist. I am for the Manhood Suffrage. Mr
Barker is against it. I hold the doctrines of John Stuart Mill on
Political Economy. Mr Barker thinks the advocacy of such opinions
vile and immoral. Mr Barker thinks Louis Napoleon a good and useful
man. I believe the Emperor of the French to be the most clever and
unscrupulous rascal in the world." These were a few of the more
prominent points of difference, and they seemed to increase and magnify
week by week, although my father's Malthusian advocacy and his hatred
of Louis Napoleon were made the principal grounds of friction. All
Mr Bradlaugh's contributors were apparently obnoxious to Mr Barker.
He fell foul of "Caractacus" on the subjects of the American War,
Garibaldi, and the Emperor of the French; "G. R." was attacked for
his economical doctrines in the most unreserved language; and Mr John
Watts he opposed on private grounds. These differences of opinion
broke out once more into open hostility in Mr Barker's half. In No.
47, "Caractacus," in an article on the dangers to the rights of free
speech, called upon "all honest and liberal men" to stand by Iconoclast
and Mr Barker in their efforts "to maintain the very greatest of our
public rights." In the same number, and on the opposite page, Mr Joseph
Barker protested against the reference to himself. He had seen the
article before it went to press, and had he mentioned his objection,
the words would have been erased; but apparently that was too ordinary
a method for Mr Barker. In No. 48 he inserted a ridiculous statement
that Luther made it a rule to translate a verse of the Bible every day,
which rapid rate of working "soon brought him to the conclusion of his
labours." A few weeks later he wrote of this as though it had appeared
in "Iconoclast's" section; in the same issue of the paper he also took
occasion to insert a notice disclaiming all responsibility for anything
that might appear in the last four pages, and this notice he continued
week by week. All this to an infant paper was about as bad as a course
of whooping cough, measles, and scarlet fever to a child; that the
_National Reformer_ survived it proves that it had an exceptionally
strong constitution. Mr Bradlaugh naturally became much alarmed about
its future, for it was noticeably falling away and losing strength.
Feeling that a little more of such treatment would kill it outright, he
addressed himself to those who, with himself, were responsible for its
existence.

He sent a short letter to the shareholders of the _National Reformer_
Company, in which he said:--

 "Eighteen months since I, with the special aid of my Sheffield
 friends, initiated the present Company. The paper belonging to the
 Company was to have been edited by myself, but feeling that two men do
 more work than one--if such work be done unitedly--I offered to share
 such editorship with Mr Joseph Barker. The experience of the past
 twelve months has taught me that the paper can only be efficiently
 conducted under one editor."

After recounting the differences and difficulties, he ends by
suggesting that both should tender their resignations, and that some
one gentleman be elected as the sole conductor. If this course should
be adopted, he says, he would offer himself as a candidate for the
office.

An extraordinary meeting of the shareholders was called for August 26th
(1861), and Mr Bradlaugh was elected as editor, with a salary of £5 per
week, by 41 votes against 18 for Mr Barker, and with the next number
this gentleman's connection with the paper came to an end.

Before dismissing Mr Barker's name altogether from these pages, I am
anxious to record a little discovery that I have made since I have been
at work upon this biography. If those who own a copy of the "Biography
of Charles Bradlaugh," by A. S. Headingley, which for the most part
gives a very fair account of the life of Mr Bradlaugh up to 1880, will
turn to pages 78 to 82, they will find a story given there of rioting
at Dumfries and Burnley during Mr Bradlaugh's visits to those towns.
At Dumfries, so the story goes, there was so much violence exhibited
that "Bradlaugh," whom the mob had threatened to kill, thought he had
better wait until the excitement was over; he waited until midnight,
when some one took him down into a cellar and so out into the street;
once outside he feared to go to his hotel, but waited in the shadow
by the river-side. At length he ventured to move a little, but was
recognised by some persons, who rushed off to raise the hue and cry.
"Bradlaugh then turned down a dark side street and got back to the
friendly river," where after a time he saw a policeman and then took
courage "to walk by his side." He was soon met by friends, for the town
was being scoured for him, and conducted to his hotel in safety. The
story of what happened at Burnley is somewhat similar. I must confess
that the account of these riots always annoyed and disappointed me.
It was so unlike my father to wait about for fear of the mob, get out
through the cellar and loiter by the river-side till he happened to
meet a policeman under whose sheltering wing he at last ventured to go
towards his lodgings. But Mr Bradlaugh having seen the book, having
caused it to be revised in one or two points, it never occurred to me
to doubt the _general_ accuracy of the statements made in it. Lately,
in searching for some account of these riots, I find that Mr Headingley
is quite trustworthy, except on one point, and that is the _name of
the lecturer_ at Dumfries and Burnley. Those who own copies of this
work are requested to substitute "Barker" for "Bradlaugh" wherever the
latter name occurs on the pages specified, beginning with the paragraph
at the bottom of page 78. No injustice will be done to Mr Barker's
memory, for his own account[36] has been faithfully followed by Mr
Headingley.

[Footnote 36: _National Reformer_, March 23, 1861.]

From the issue of September 7th (1861), then Mr Bradlaugh was sole
editor of the _National Reformer_, and in the following number he made
a declaration of his policy and objects as advocate of the Secular
Body. In concluding this statement of his views he says:--

"Our party is the 'party of action,' youthful, hopeful effort; we
recognise no impassable barriers between ourselves and _the right_;
we see no irremovable obstacles in our course to _the true_. We will
strive for it, we will live for it, and, if it be necessary, die for
it. And even then, in our death we should not recognise defeat, but
rather see another step in the upward path of martyrdom ... it is our
most enduring hope that ... we may find a grave which, in the yet
far-off future, better men than ourselves may honour in their memories;
forgetting our many faults, alone remembered now, and remembering
our few useful deeds, at present by our hostile critics persistently
overlooked."

A month later appears one of his earliest letters to the clergy,
though not _the_ earliest, for some five or six short letters,
scattered over several months, had previously appeared; most of
these were brief challenges based upon the public statements of some
cleric, or repudiation of certain views attributed to Freethinkers,
or condemnation of some intolerant utterance. The letter to the Rev.
J. Clarke, of Cleckheaton, is, I think, about the first of those
controversial letters of which he subsequently wrote so many, and
which were so popular and effective. In November we find notification
of another change to take place in the _National Reformer_. In future
Mr George Jacob Holyoake is to "rank as chief contributor," while Mr
John Watts is definitely charged with the duties of sub-editor. A week
later, a letter signed "G. J. Holyoake," and headed "One Paper and One
Party," informed "the Secularists of Great Britain" that Mr Holyoake
had arranged to become special contributor. With the beginning of the
year 1862 he was to contribute three pages of matter either from his
own pen or from the pens of others for whom he was responsible. The
_Reasoner_, edited since 1842 by Mr Holyoake, came to an end in the
June of 1861; after that he was connected with the _Counsellor_, and
was proposing to bring out a new paper called the _Secular World_. This
latter title he liked so well that although he abandoned for the time
the bringing out of his new paper in favour of special contributions
to the _National Reformer_, he reserved to himself "a copyright in
that idea." It will be remembered that the Company agreed to pay
their editor £5 per week in full discharge of his duties. Of this Mr
Holyoake was to receive £2 per week, leaving £3 to my father to pay
other contributors, his sub-editor, and himself. An effort was made
to sell 10,000 copies of the first issue of the paper under the new
arrangement; about 8000 were sold, and the sale would have exceeded the
10,000, if the orders had not arrived too late to supply them.

In consequence of the diversity of opinion which had been expressed
in the columns of the _National Reformer_ at various times, a
correspondent wrote in February 1862 asking what were the political and
religious views really advocated by this journal; and from the answer
made to this gentleman by Mr Bradlaugh, we can judge to what extent he
went back upon the position of his earlier years, as it was for the
last few years of his life the fashion to assert. He says:--

"Editorially the _National Reformer_, as to religious questions, is,
and always has been, as far as we are concerned, the advocate of
Atheism; it teaches that all the religions of the world are based
upon error; that humanity is higher than theology; that knowledge is
far preferable to faith; that action is more effective than prayer;
and that the best worship men can offer is honest work, in order to
make one another wiser and happier than heretofore. In politics, we
are Radicals of a very extreme kind; we are advocates of manhood[37]
suffrage; we desire shorter Parliaments; laws which will be more equal
in their application to master and servant; protection from the present
state of the laws which make pheasants more valuable than peasants;
we desire the repeal of the laws against blasphemy, and the enactment
of some measure which will make all persons competent as witnesses
whatever may be their opinions on religion; we advocate the separation
of Church and State, and join with the financial reformers in their
efforts to reduce our enormous and extravagant national expenditure."

Those who have read the literature in connection with the Freethought
movement for the five or six years prior to 1862 will be in no way
unprepared to find that the journalistic union between Mr Holyoake and
Mr Bradlaugh was very shortlived. In March my father, feeling unable
to continue to work under existing arrangements, sent his resignation
into the _National Reformer_ Company; however, at the Special General
Meeting held on the 23rd, it was decided not to elect any editor "in
the place of Iconoclast." Mr Bradlaugh therefore continued to act as
editor, and Mr Holyoake ceased to be special contributor to the paper.
My father was anxious there should be no quarrel--there had been enough
of that with Mr Barker--and proposed to Mr Holyoake that he should
contribute two columns of original matter each week, for which he
should receive the same amount as he had received before for the three
pages. The _Secular World_ was re-announced, and it had my father's
best wishes. "We believe that its advent will benefit the Freethought
party," he writes. However, the matter was not to be so soon or so
easily settled. Mr Holyoake claimed from my father the sum of £81,
18s., urging that the agreement to act as special contributor was for
twelve months; although he had only filled the post for three months,
he yet claimed his salary for the remaining nine. The matter was
placed before legally appointed arbitrators--Mr W. J. Linton, chosen
by my father, and Mr J. G. Crawford by Mr Holyoake. These gentlemen
did not agree, Mr Linton being strongly in favour of Mr Bradlaugh, and
Mr Crawford as strongly, I presume, on the other side. They therefore
chose an umpire, Mr Shaen--who, by the way, had, I gather, previously
acted as solicitor to Mr Holyoake, and who many years later showed a
decided personal hostility towards Mr Bradlaugh. After many delays Mr
Shaen at length made his award in August 1863 in favour of Mr Holyoake,
and my father writing to a friend at the time says rather grimly: "The
only good stroke of luck lately is that I am ordered by Shaen to pay G.
J. H. £81, 18s. Linton will tell you the particulars."

[Footnote 37: "Manhood," Mr Bradlaugh explained later in answer to
a letter from Mrs Law, he used "not in a sexual sense, but rather
as asserting the right of every citizen to the franchise," with, of
course, limitations as to insanity, etc. My father put his position in
most unmistakable language in March 1884 in the _National Reformer_, in
answer to a suggestion made by a correspondent that if there had been
women-voters in Northampton he would not have been elected. "If the
women-electors," he said, "thought fit to reject Mr Bradlaugh, and they
made the majority, it would be their right. If Mr Bradlaugh were in
the House of Commons he would vote for woman suffrage, even if he were
sure he would in future be excluded by women's votes." And again in the
December of the following year he urged: "Even if it were unfortunately
true that every woman would always vote Tory, it would be the duty of
Radicals to try and obtain the suffrage for them."]

In May 1862 Messrs W. H. Smith & Son first officially refused to supply
their agents with the _National Reformer_. They then occupied the
chief railway station bookstalls in England, but were not quite the
monopolists they are to-day, and Mr Bradlaugh could for a little while
at least get his paper sold at all the stations, numbering some sixty
or seventy, on the North Eastern and Newcastle and Carlisle railways,
at which book agencies were held by a Mr Franklin. It is wonderful,
indeed, how this journal managed to live through more than thirty years
in spite of this powerful boycott, extending as it afterwards did to
every part of the kingdom. Mr Bradlaugh called upon his friends to use
every effort to keep up the sale. "We will do our part," he wrote, "and
we call upon our friends, east, west, north, and south, to do their
duty also." During the last year of his life Mr Bradlaugh was given
to understand that the boycott would be raised, and that Messrs W. H.
Smith & Son would be willing to take the _National Reformer_ on to the
railway bookstalls, but the first expenses would have been so great
that he was unwilling to enter into the further financial liabilities
which the new departure would have involved.

The _National Reformer_ was not only from its earliest years refused
by the most powerful booksellers in England, but it was maligned in a
quarter where indeed it might have looked for fair play and a little
justice--I mean by the Unitarians.[38] The cynical reflection that
those who have themselves broken away from the conventional thought of
the times always damn those who go a little further than themselves,
carries a germ of truth within its bitter shell. The Unitarian
body always seem to treat Freethinkers with an acrimony special to
themselves and us. Individual Unitarians whom I have known personally
have been kind, pleasant, liberal-minded people, but Unitarians as
a body or as represented by their organ seldom enough have turned a
kindly side towards atheists.

[Footnote 38: See _Inquirer_, May 31, 1862.]

With every man's hand against it, with financial difficulties to
cripple it, both the editor and the company of the unfortunate paper
felt compelled to review the situation, and put matters on a somewhat
different footing. Hence at a duly convened meeting held in September
the company was wound up, and Mr Bradlaugh "appointed liquidator
according to the terms of the Joint Stock Company's Act, 1856." From
this time the sole responsibility, financial and otherwise, rested upon
my father. Unfortunately, a few months later his health broke down, and
at the urgent entreaty of his friends he "most reluctantly resolved to
determine his connection as Editor, and to retire entirely from the
conduct and responsibilities of the paper."

He begged therefore the support of all friends to Mr John Watts, who
had consented to take up the onerous burden of editorship. Mr John
Watts, in an address published the following week, wished it to be
understood that he was taking up the editorship at the "express wish"
of Iconoclast. On quitting the editor's chair with the issue of No. 146
(Feb. 28), Mr Bradlaugh gave expression to his wishes in regard to the
conduct of the paper.

"I should wish," he says, "that the _National Reformer_ may continue
to advocate the fullest liberty of thought and utterance, conceding
to others that which it claims for itself. That it should be plain
and honest in its attacks on shams. That it should spare no falsehood
merely because uttered by a great man, show no mercy to royal treachery
simply from reverence for royalty, and have no pardon for crowned wrong
while ragged wrong shall suffer...."

To Freethinkers and Radicals he says, with a bitter prescience of his
own future fate indicated in some of his words: "Your duty lies not in
petty personal strife, but in the diffusion of the great and mighty
truths for which our predecessors have risked stake and dungeon. Your
duty is not to take part in disputes whether John or Thomas is the
better leader, but rather so to live as to need no leaders. A public
man's life is composed of strange phases. If successful, he wins his
success with hard struggling. As he struggles the little great ones
before him, who envy his hope, block up his path. His ignorance is
exposed, his incapability made manifest; and then when he has won the
victory, and made a place for standing, each envious cowardly caviller,
who dares not meet him face to face, stabs him with base innuendo in
the back. I do not envy any statesman's character in the hands of his
political antagonists, still less do I envy when I hear him dissected
behind his back by his pseudo-friends."

In concluding his article he gives special praise to Mr John Watts and
Mr Austin Holyoake for their help on the paper, taking the blame for
all its past shortcomings on his own shoulders.

From February 1863 until April 1866 Mr John Watts edited the _National
Reformer_; but unless my father happened to be abroad, as he frequently
was during the early part of the sixties, traces of him were to be
found somewhere or other in the paper, either in an article from
his pen, a letter, or answers to correspondents on legal points.
During these three years he contributed several notable articles,
such as "Notes on Genesis and Exodus," "The Oath Question," "Real
Representation of the People," "A Plea for Atheism," "Universality of
Heresy," "The Atonement," "Antiquity and Unity of the Origin of the
Human Race," "The Twelve Apostles," "Why do Men Starve?" and "Labour's
Prayer," and many of which have been from time to time revised or
rewritten, and published and republished in pamphlet form.

He also gave the paper considerable financial assistance, amounting in
the three years to upwards of £250.

On the 22nd of April 1866, a notice appeared in the _National_
_Reformer_ to the effect that Mr Bradlaugh would resume his editorial
duties on the paper, of which he had never relinquished the copyright.
The occasion for this announcement was a very sad one. Just as in
1863 Mr Bradlaugh, overtaken by illness, was obliged to lay aside his
burden of editorship, so in 1866 Mr John Watts also became too ill to
continue his work. But the illness of Mr John Watts was unhappily more
serious than Mr Bradlaugh's; it was the forerunner of his death. In the
November of the same year a career of some promise was cut short at
its opening, and Mr John Watts died of consumption at the early age of
thirty-two.

When he learned of his friend's illness my father readily consented
to resume his former task as editor, and appointed as sub-editor
Mr Charles Watts, who spoke of the satisfaction it had been to his
brother to have so willing and able a friend take charge of the paper
once more. A little later Mr Austin Holyoake was associated in the
sub-editing with Mr Charles Watts.

Thus in 1866 the journal was once more under the full control of Mr
Bradlaugh, and although he subsequently, for a time, associated another
editor with himself, he thought for it and fought for it, wrote for it
and cared for it, from that time until within a fortnight of his death,
when from his dying bed he dictated a few words for me to write. He had
to fight for it in press and law court.

In 1867 the high-priced and refined _Saturday Review_ started the
story, so often repeated since, that Mr Bradlaugh had compared God with
a monkey with three tails; and further declared, with that delicacy
of language which one expects to meet in such aristocratic company,
that "such filthy ribaldry as we have, from a sense of duty, picked
off Bradlaugh's dunghill, is simply revolting, odious, and nauseating
to the natural sense of shame possessed by a savage." Needless to
say, the "savage" feelings of the _Saturday Review_ were much too
delicate to admit any reply from the editor of the journal attacked.
Mr Bradlaugh, of course, replied in his own paper, and "B. V." took
up the cudgels also on behalf of his friend. He wrote at some length,
and the following quotation truly and amusingly pictures the _National
Reformer_ at least:--

 "This poor _N. R._! Let us freely admit that it has many
 imperfections, many faults; its poverty secures for it a constant
 supply of poor writers, while securing for us, the poor writers,
 an opportunity of publishing what we could hardly get published
 elsewhere. But I fear not to affirm that, by its essential character,
 it is quite incomparably superior to such a paper as the _S. R._
 It has clear principles, which it honestly believes will immensely
 benefit the world; the _S. R._ is governed by hand-to-mouth expediency
 for the sole benefit of itself. The former is devoted to certain
 ideas; the latter has neither devotion nor ideas, but has a cool
 preference for opinions of good fashion and of loose and easy fit.
 The former is written throughout honestly, each writer stating with
 the utmost sincerity and candour what he thinks and feels; the
 latter--why, the latter would doubtless be ashamed to resemble in
 anything its poor contemporary. The former, though not always choice
 and accurate in its language, is generally written in plain clear
 English (and I really account this of importance, and even of vital
 importance, in an _English_ publication); the latter is not written in
 any language at all, for a mixed jargon of the schools, the bar, the
 pulpit, and the clubs is certainly not a language."

Amongst the papers which copied the _Saturday Review_ article was the
_Printers' Journal_; and this paper, determined not to fall behind its
aristocratic colleague, added a little slander on its own account,
that the _National Reformer_ was improperly printed by underpaid
compositors--although had the editor cared to inquire, he would have
found that the men were paid according to the regulations of the
Printers' Society.

In January and June of 1867 there appeared in the _National Reformer_
some noteworthy letters from the Rev. Charles Voysey. They are
specially remarkable when contrasted with his public utterances of
1880. These letters arose out of a sermon preached at Healaugh on
October 21st, 1866, in which Mr Voysey said that if it were urged

 "that a belief in the Articles of the Christian Creed without
 morality is better than morality without belief,[39] I frankly own
 that, though I am a Churchman, I would rather see them put aside and
 torn up as rubbish, than see the cause of morality, which is true
 religion, for a moment imperilled. I would honestly prefer a morality
 without any religious belief--nay, even without any religious hopes
 and religious consolations--to the most comforting, satisfying creed
 without morality.... Inexpressibly sad as it is to us, who rejoice
 in our Maker, and whose hearts pant for the Living God, yet there
 are some who cannot believe in him at all. Some of these are kept
 steadfast in duty, pure and upright in their lives, models of good
 fathers and mothers, good husbands and wives, and fulfilling God's
 own law of love, which in mercy he has not made dependent on Creed,
 but has engraven on our very hearts. They are living evidences of
 morality without religion; and if I had to choose between the lot of a
 righteous man who could not believe in a God, and the man of unlimited
 credulity, who cared not to be righteous so much as to be a believer,
 I would infinitely sooner be the righteous Atheist."

[Footnote 39: A dignitary of the Church was reported to have said
that it was better "to have a religion without morality than morality
without religion."]

Mr Bradlaugh made a short comment upon this, to which Mr Voysey
replied, and one or two further letters appeared. In a letter dated
January 13th he writes:--

 "But I leave these minor matters to express my heartfelt sympathy
 for what you call the 'Infidel party' under the civil disabilities
 which have hitherto oppressed them. I think with sorrow and shame
 of the stupid, as well as cruel contempt, with which some of my
 brother-clergymen have treated you; and I cannot but deplore the want
 of respect towards you as shown in the attitude of society, and in the
 continuance of those nearly obsolete laws which our less enlightened
 forefathers passed in the vain hope of checking the movements of the
 human mind.... _I can do but very little, but that little I will do
 with all my heart to remove the stigma which attaches to my order
 through its blind and senseless bigotry._"

The italics here are mine, as I wish to draw special attention to the
sentiments of the Rev. Charles Voysey in 1867. In June of the same year
he wrote other somewhat lengthy letters, in which he expressed his
great respect for Mr Bradlaugh's "candour and honesty," and his thanks
for the "invariable courtesy" shown him. That is the Mr Voysey of
1867. In 1880 the Rev. Charles Voysey proved the value of his unsought
promise to work to remove the stigma from his order, by going out of
his way to preach a sermon at the Langham Hall upon the "Bradlaugh
Case," in which he explained that he felt "ashamed and disgraced by the
people of Northampton for electing him [Charles Bradlaugh] to represent
them;" he said that "most of the speeches in the Bradlaugh case, in
favour of his exclusion, strike me as singularly good, wholesome, and
creditable," and he felt thankful to the speakers for not mincing the
matter. Mr Bradlaugh, making an exceedingly brief commentary on Mr
Voysey's sermon, said:--

"We presume that this commendation included the various phrases
invented for Mr Bradlaugh by 'hon.' members, but never used by him.
Mr Voysey's belief in God seems to include approval of the use of
lies on God's behalf. Mr Voysey says: 'It is more than probable that
if Mr Bradlaugh had claimed to affirm without giving reasons for it
the Speaker would have at once permitted him to affirm.' Here Mr
Voysey writes in absolute and inexcusable ignorance of what actually
took place. For eightpence Mr Voysey can buy the Report of the Select
Parliamentary Committee, which, while unfavourable to me, gives the
exact facts, and this at least he ought to do before he preaches
another sermon full of inaccuracies as to fact, and replete with
unworthy insinuation."

"The whole affair," says Mr Voysey, "has been a perfect jubilee to the
martyr and his friends." And in the end it was--such a jubilee as is
never likely to fall to the lot of Mr Voysey. True, it was paid for
in years of care and terrific mental anxieties; true, it was heralded
with insult and actual personal ill-usage; true, it cost a life
impossible to replace; but the "jubilee" came when over the "martyr's"
very deathbed the House of Commons itself vindicated his honour; when
even a Tory statesman could be found to uphold my father's conduct in
the House, and a Tory gentleman to proclaim that he was "a man who
had endeavoured to do his duty." It was a jubilee of the triumph of
consistent courage and honesty over "blind and senseless bigotry" and
unprincipled malice.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE "NATIONAL REFORMER" AND ITS GOVERNMENT PROSECUTIONS.


On the third of May 1868 the _National Reformer_ appeared in a new
character. A startling announcement at the head of the Editorial
Notices sets forth that "the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Inland
Revenue having commenced proceedings to suppress the _National
Reformer_, a special fund is opened, to be entitled 'The _National
Reformer_ Defence Fund,' to which subscriptions are invited." Above
the editorial leaders was the legend, "Published in Defiance of Her
Majesty's Government, and of the 60 Geo. III. cap. 9."

Beyond these two statements no further information was given until
the following week, when Mr Bradlaugh explained in answer to numerous
inquirers that the Commissioners of the Inland Revenue had, under 60
Geo. III., cap. 69, required him to give sureties in the sum of £400
against the appearance of blasphemy or sedition in his columns; that
they had sent officially to purchase a copy; and that they claimed £20
for each separate copy of the _National Reformer_ published. Another
communication came from W. H. Melvill, Esq., Solicitor to the Inland
Revenue Office, insisting upon his compliance with the requirements of
the statute. Mr Bradlaugh replied intimating his refusal, and stating
that he was prepared to contest the matter. He also addressed a short
public letter to the Commissioners:--

 "You have," he writes, "taken the pains to officially remind me of
 an Act of Parliament, passed in 1819, avowedly for the suppression
 of cheap Democratic and Freethought literature, and you require me
 to comply with its provisions, such provisions being absolutely
 prohibitory to the further appearance of this journal. With all
 humility, I am obliged to bid you defiance; you may kill the _National
 Reformer_, but it will not commit suicide. Before you destroy the
 paper we shall have to fight the question as far as my means will
 permit me."

The Government showed itself in so little hurry to notice Mr
Bradlaugh's defiance that he announced the suspension of the "defence
fund" in the hope that the Government had "reconsidered its hasty
intimations." My father's warlike spirit appears to have made him half
regretful that all these preliminary threatenings seemed about to
result in nothing more serious, for he believed he "should have made a
good fight for the liberty of the press;" although, on the other hand,
he was, of course, "delighted to be let alone," as he could not afford
"to go to jail," and "jail" would have been the natural termination
to his defeat and the Government triumph. The hopes and fears, of his
suspense were, however, at length brought to an end, and the next
issue of the _National Reformer_ (May 24) appeared with the words
"Prosecuted by Her Majesty's Government" printed in large black type on
the front page; and this announcement was so continued until the end of
the proceedings, giving to the journal--despised and rejected by its
contemporaries as it was--quite a distinguished appearance.

In fact, the public could hardly have read his words as to the
possibility of a reconsideration by the Government, when he received
an ominously worded writ[40] from the Solicitor's Department, Somerset
House, for the recovery of two penalties of £50 and £20 attaching to
the publication and sale of the paper; and it may be remarked that
the claim of these sums of £50 and £20 meant considerably more than
would appear to the eye of the uninitiated, for it meant £50 "for each
and every day" since publication, and £20 "for each and every copy"
published, so that the amount of the penalties really claimed was
something tremendous. On these two numbers alone, at the very lowest
estimate, it must have reached somewhere about a quarter of a million
of money, "The Defence Fund" was of course re-opened; for, as we shall
see later on, Mr Bradlaugh had by this time gained plenty of personal
experience as to the cost of litigation, and opposing the Government
law officers promised largely in the way of expense. Hosts of small
subscribers sent their small sums to swell the funds for the defence
of the persecuted and prosecuted paper. Meetings were held, and a
petition for the repeal of the Statutes of William and George was
immediately got up. One of the first to be presented was one from Mr
Bradlaugh himself, which was laid before the House on May 25th by Mr
John Stuart Mill; on the same day Mr Crawford presented one from Mr
Austin Holyoake; and later on people in various parts of the country,
sent in petitions through their respective members. These petitions and
the general agitation soon began to have their effect, and resulted in
a meeting of members being convened to be held in one of the Committee
Rooms of the House, to consider the proper action to be taken. Men
like James Watson, who had suffered imprisonment for his defence of
the liberty of the press; Richard Moore, whose name was well known in
those days for his efforts to promote political freedom; and Mr C. D.
Collet, who had worked untiringly for political reforms: such men as
these came forward with help and advice, as well as many others who,
like Edward Truelove and Austin Holyoake, were intimately associated
with my father. On the 28th May he received an "information" from the
law officers of the Crown, but, curiously enough, it was undated. No
one who knows anything of Mr Bradlaugh will need to be told that this
slip did not pass unnoticed, and on the following day, with the view of
gaining a slight extension of the time to plead, he applied to Mr Baron
Bramwell to order the withdrawal of the information. Baron Bramwell
made the order applied for, and the solicitor to the Inland Revenue
amended his document the same day.

[Footnote 40: "This writ is issued against you for the recovery of two
penalties of £50 and £20 incurred by you in respect of the publication
and sale of '_The National Reformer_, Secular Advocate and Freethought
Journal' newspaper of 3rd May 1868, without making the Declaration and
Recognisances, required respectively by the Statutes 6 and 7 Wm. iv.
cap. 76, and 1st Wm. iv. cap. 73; and also for two other like penalties
in respect of the publication and sale of the newspaper of 18th May
1868."]

From this "information," with its customary confusion of legal jargon
retailed to clients at so much per folio, we may extricate three
essential points, which I will put plainly in as many lines, viz.,
that Mr Bradlaugh was being proceeded against for (1) publishing the
_National Reformer_; for (2) being the proprietor of it; and for
(3) selling the paper so published and owned "at a less price than
sixpence, to wit, at the price of twopence."

These last words were pregnant with meaning, for, as my father wrote at
the time, "If the price was sixpence I should not be prosecutable; it
is only cheap blasphemy and sedition which is liable to be suppressed."
The rich might read the covert blasphemies of an affectedly pious
and unaffectedly sixpenny weekly journal, or dally over expensive
and erudite treatises which were openly heretical; but ignorance
and religion were necessary to the masses to keep them in proper
subjection, and woe betide those rash men who ventured to throw open to
these the door of the Chamber of Knowledge! Has not this been the law
of England, and is it not in fact the sentiment of certain Englishmen
even to-day?

As the particulars conveyed in this formidable "information" differed
somewhat from those furnished in the earlier _subpoena ad respondum_,
Mr Bradlaugh applied to the Courts to compel further and better
particulars concerning the penalties for which judgment was prayed.
This application was heard on the 30th May, in the Court of Exchequer,
before Mr Justice Montague Smith, and was opposed by counsel (of whom
there was quite an array) on behalf of the Crown. After a "lengthy
and rather sharp passage of arms" the Judge decided in favour of
the application, and ordered the solicitor to the Inland Revenue to
"deliver to the defendant a further and better account in writing
of the particulars of the statutes referred to in the 3rd and 6th
counts."[41] This victory over the law officers of the Crown was of
trifling consequence, except as giving a little additional time for
pleading, and as showing his opponents that they had to deal with a man
ready to see and ready to use every advantage given him. This second
victory, small perhaps as bearing on the final issues, was of vast
moral importance, for it forced the Crown to state that they relied on
the obnoxious statute of George III. for the enforcement of the 3rd and
6th counts. The assistant-solicitor, Stephen Dowell, Esq., made this
admission in the briefest possible language, abandoning the "to wits"
and other ornamental phraseology of the original wordy information. On
the 1st June Mr Bradlaugh entered four pleas in his defence; but it
was now the turn of the law officers of the Crown to interpose, and
they objected that a defendant might only plead one plea, and referred
their opponent to the 21 James I., cap. iv. sec. 4, as bearing on the
case. The letter conveying this objection was put into my father's
hands at Euston Station just as he was leaving by the 2.45 train for
Northampton, the suffrages of which town he was then seeking to win
for the first time. That very day was the last for giving notice for
the next sittings, and half-past three was the latest time available
on that day. Mr Bradlaugh felt himself in a position of considerable
embarrassment. There was no time for consideration; he doubted the
accuracy of the Government, but he was not acquainted with the wording
of the statute of James; his train was on the point of leaving for
Northampton, and some decision must be come to immediately. He
dispatched a clerk to Somerset House with authority to modify his plea
according to the terms of the solicitor's letter, but reserving his
right to inquire into the matter, and take such course upon it as the
law permitted.

[Footnote 41: The 4th, 5th, and 6th counts were identical with the 1st,
2nd, and 3rd, except that they referred to a different issue of the
paper.]

On his return from Northampton, he went at once to Messrs Spottiswoode,
the Queen's Printers, and there he learned that the statute of James
was "not only out of print, but had not been asked for within the
memory of the oldest employee in the Queen's Printing Office." On
referring to the Statute Book, he arrived at the opinion that Mr
Melvill was once more in error, and therefore went himself to Somerset
House, where, to his "great surprise," he found that the Government
lawyers were no better informed than himself, and merely sheltered
themselves under an opinion of the counsel to the Treasury that he
had no right to plead more than one plea. Upon hearing this, Mr
Bradlaugh immediately wrote Mr Melvill that unless he at once pointed
out the authority under which his right of pleading was limited to
"Not Guilty," he should apply to a judge at chambers to have his
pleas reinstated. Mr Melvill replied on the same day repeating his
declaration, but without giving his authority. The next day (Friday,
June 5th) Mr Bradlaugh was served with a rule that the case should be
tried by a special jury, and that the jury should be nominated on the
Tuesday following. On Saturday the application to reinstate the pleas
was heard before Mr Justice Willes. After a great deal of discussion,
the judge at length endorsed the summons with a declaration giving Mr
Bradlaugh liberty to raise upon the trial all the issues involved in
his pleas.

The trial came on in the Court of Exchequer on Saturday, June 13th,
before Mr Baron Martin. The Court was filled with Mr Bradlaugh's
friends, to witness this great forensic contest between himself,
on behalf of a free, unshackled press on the one hand, and on the
other, Her Majesty's Attorney-General, Sir John Karslake, Kt.,
aided and assisted by the Solicitor-General and an inferior legal
gentleman "in stuff," on behalf of the Government and the oppressive
press laws of George and William. When the jury was called only ten
gentlemen answered to their names; thereupon the Associate asked the
Attorney-General, "Do you pray a tales?" The Attorney-General answered,
"We do not pray a tales." The Associate then asked Mr Bradlaugh the
same question, to which he also replied in the negative. Upon this the
jury was discharged, and the great press prosecution entered into by
the moribund Tory Government of 1868 came to an abortive end.

"It is not in mortals--least of all, in mortals mean as these--to
command success. I make no doubt that the man who has the courage to
defy them will at least do more--deserve it." So wrote "Caractacus"
before this nominal trial came on, and assuredly whatever measure of
success there was in it was surely on my father's side. Mr Bradlaugh
did not "pray a tales," because by so doing he would have forfeited
certain rights; but by not praying a tales, and by not asking for
fines to be imposed upon the absent jurymen, the law officers of the
Crown most clearly showed their eagerness to seize upon any excuse
to abandon the proceedings upon which they had so rashly embarked.
To do the Government justice, I think they had been rather driven
into the matter by their bigoted followers. As far back as 1866 we
find the English Church Union urging the prosecution of an "infidel
newspaper, reputed to possess a considerable circulation." The matter
had actually been brought before the Attorney-General, with a view to
legal proceedings, and he, "whilst suggesting the necessity of mature
consideration as to the desirability of procuring prominence for a
comparatively obscure publication by means of a public prosecution,
promised that the question should be very carefully considered." In
1867 the _Saturday Review_ tried week by week to inflame the mind of
the public against the _National Reformer_ and Mr Bradlaugh, and other
Tory journals followed the example so worthily set them. Judging from
all this, one can hardly be assuming too much in supposing the action
of the Government was not altogether spontaneous.

At the meeting of members of Parliament and others interested in the
matter to which I have already referred, Messrs Ayrton, M.P., Milner
Gibson, M.P., J. S. Mill, M.P., R. Moore, C. D. Collet, E. Truelove,
and A. Holyoake were present, and after some talk it was decided to
raise the question the next evening (June 12) in the House on going
into Supply. Accordingly, on the following evening Mr Ayrton, in a
speech of considerable length, called attention to the state of the law
regarding registration and security in respect of certain publications,
but the Attorney-General politely characterised his statements as
"utterly at variance with the facts." Mr Milner Gibson, in an able
speech, demonstrated some of the absurdities of the press laws. John
Stuart Mill asked for the repeal of the Act, and pending that the
suspension of all prosecutions under it, and Mr Crawford "pleaded in
tones of eloquence and fire for a free and untaxed literature for the
working classes."

It will probably occur to every one, as it occurred to me, that it
would be interesting to know what were the comments of the press upon
this debate, and the abortive trial held upon the following day. I have
looked through several London journals of that particular date, but
have failed to find any comments whatever; the press was apparently in
profound ignorance concerning this important matter, which so vitally
affected its interests.[42] I did, however, find something in my
search; I found that in the _Times_ report of the parliamentary debate
upon the registration of newspapers which I have just alluded to, the
name of the _National Reformer_ was actually omitted from Mr Ayrton's
speech, although the suit against it was deemed of such importance as
to require the services of the Attorney and the Solicitor-General,
and a third counsel. I turned over the pages of the _Times_ and other
papers, vainly seeking for some report of the proceedings in the Court
of Exchequer--but there was not one line: to such pettiness did the
leading journals of the day condescend.

[Footnote 42: A few provincial papers condemned the prosecution, and
later on the _Daily Telegraph_ announced a possible repeal of the Press
Laws, and that in the meantime the Government had resolved not to
press the objectionable clauses.]

In concluding the account of this, the first prosecution of the
_National Reformer_, I cannot pass over without notice the conduct of
the Rev. John Page Hopps, who, with those other gentlemen whose names
have already been mentioned, set up a brilliant exception to the usual
manner in which Mr Bradlaugh was treated by the publicists of the day.
He wrote to my father a hearty letter, saying that while of course
differing from him in certain opinions, he thought the prosecution
"both cowardly and mean," and wishing him "success and support,"
promised him whatever aid he could give.

In the year 1868 Mr Bradlaugh ceased to use that name under which he
had carried on his public career from the time of his return from the
army. The disguise had always been a very transparent one, and the
smallest Christian taunt at his _nom de guerre_ made him cast caution
to the winds and declare his real name. At the time of his first
candidature for a seat in Parliament in 1868 he determined to throw
aside even this semblance of concealment, and all announcements were
henceforward made in the name of "Charles Bradlaugh," although the
repute of "Iconoclast" had been so great that the name clung to him
for many years; in some of the Yorkshire and Lancashire districts it
was proudly remembered until the last. The _National Reformer_ was
issued for the first time on November 15th, 1868, as "edited by Charles
Bradlaugh," instead of "edited by Iconoclast" as heretofore. The winter
of this year was a very stormy one politically; the general election of
December resulted in turning out the Tories and bringing the Liberals
into power under the leadership of Mr Gladstone. Mr Gladstone and
his colleagues had not been in office many weeks before they took up
the press prosecution abandoned by their Tory predecessors, and as
early as January 16th, 1869, Mr Bradlaugh received formal notice that
the Government intended to proceed to trial. Mr Bradlaugh confessed
that this move came quite unexpectedly to him, but he would "fight to
the last," whether against Tory or against Liberal. He regarded it,
however, as "a most infamous shame that a private individual should
have been put to the expense of one abortive trial, and should now have
another costly ordeal to go through on the same account."

On Tuesday morning, February 2nd, the case again came on in the Court
of Exchequer, this time before Mr Baron Bramwell. The Attorney-General,
Sir Robert Collier, the Solicitor-General, Sir J. D. Coleridge, and Mr
Crompton Hutton were there to plead on behalf of the odious Security
Laws, and enforce them against one man and one paper selected out of
"hundreds, nay thousands, of publications liable under the same Acts
of Parliament, which do not comply with their provisions, and which
are yet allowed to go on unprosecuted." Just as had happened in the
previous year, so, curiously enough, on this occasion also only ten
special jurymen answered to their names; but this time a tales was
prayed by the Crown, and the absent jurymen were fined £10 each. Sir
Robert Collier appears to have done his work as little offensively to
my father as possible, and at the end of his opening speech said:--

 "Mr Bradlaugh knows perfectly well that if at any time he had
 intimated his readiness to comply with the provisions of the Act, the
 prosecution would not have been proceeded with. The prosecution is not
 for the purpose of punishing and fining him, but to ensure compliance
 with this Act, as long as it remains the law; and if Mr Bradlaugh sees
 his mistake, as I think he will, and will comply with the Act, no
 penalties will be enforced against him."

For a Republican and Freethought paper to give sureties against
technical sedition and blasphemy, "even if we could find friends insane
enough to enter into recognisances," would be like announcing Hamlet
at the Lyceum with the part of the Prince of Denmark cut out. So in
spite of Sir Robert Collier's grace and politeness, Mr Bradlaugh was
obliged to persist, and the prosecution there upon proceeded with the
examination of witnesses as to the purchase of the paper, etc.

The Crown obtained a verdict; but there were seven points reserved on
my father's behalf for discussion and decision. "At present," wrote
my father, "we are not beaten, and we will persevere to the end; but
we must deplore that the present advisers of the Crown should think
it right to try to ruin an individual with a litigation of such an
enormously costly character."

There were some rather amusing incidents in connection with this trial.
When Baron Bramwell pronounced his verdict for the Crown, Mr Crompton
Hutton rose in his place, and said with a grand air of generosity that
as the first and second counts were the same, "it would not be right
for the Crown to take two penalties," therefore a verdict might be
for the defendant upon the second and fifth counts. As though when
penalties had reached well into seven figures, a million or two less
was of much consequence! Mr Austin Holyoake, in a descriptive article
upon the prosecution, which he found it difficult to class as either
tragedy or farce, since "it resembles very much a melodrama in two
gasps and a tableau," says in regard to the suggested non-enforcement
of full fines:--

 "This relieved my mind very much; for as the penalties have
 accumulated since May last to between three and four millions had
 we been suddenly called upon to pay, I feel sure the sum I had with
 me would have fallen short by at least two millions of the amount
 forfeited to 'our sovereign lady the Queen.' The Chancellor of the
 Exchequer is very busy devising schemes to create a surplus for his
 next budget. Perhaps this is one of them."

The learned Attorney-General, Sir Robert Collier, in the course of his
opening speech, read the statute of the 60 Geo. III. chap. 9, sec. 8,
which laid down regulations as to the publication of any paper, etc.,
which "shall not exceed two sheets, or which shall be published at a
less price than sixpence." In reading this statute, Sir Robert Collier
remarked that the provision as to pamphlets had been repealed. When it
came to Mr Bradlaugh's turn to speak in his defence, he pointed out the
error of this. The Attorney-General "has read to you the statute of the
60 Geo. III. chap. 9, and he himself, the representative of the Crown
here to-day, knows so little of the statute that he ... states that the
part as to pamphlets is a part which has been repealed. The fact is
that the whole of this Act of Parliament is a living Act."

Having put the Attorney-General right in the matter of law, it was
now Mr Bradlaugh's turn to inform the officials at Somerset House of
what went on in their own department. At the trial Mr Edward Tilsley,
a clerk in the office of the Solicitor of Inland Revenue, had sworn,
accurately sworn, under the cross-examination of the defendant, that
the _Sporting Times_ was not registered. On the 4th of February all the
morning papers contained a letter from Mr Tilsley announcing that he
had made a search, and that the _Sporting Times_ was registered, and
he asked for publicity of this fact "in justice to the proprietors of
that paper." The proprietors must have been considerably astonished.
Mr Bradlaugh was; and to such an extent did his amazement carry him,
that he immediately went to Somerset House, where he also searched the
register. The result of his search appeared in the following letter,
published in the papers of the 5th:--

 "SIR--With reference to Mr Tilsley's letter in your issue
 of to-day, permit me to state that I have this morning searched the
 registers at Somerset House in the presence of that gentleman, and
 that his evidence in court seems to have been more correct than his
 correction. The _Sporting Times_ is not registered. Mr Tilsley's
 error, when writing to you, arose from the fact that another paper
 with the same name was once registered, but this was before the
 popular journal of Dr Shorthouse came into existence. I believe
 Dr Shorthouse would contend, as I contended at the trial, that
 his publication does not come under the statutory definition of a
 newspaper."

As the days flew by Mr Bradlaugh grew more and more confident that he
had a good case to go before the judges in asking for his rule, and he
notes that "a feeling in favour of my ultimate success seems gaining
ground in many competent quarters, although the utmost surprise is
felt that a Liberal Government should persist in such a prosecution."
A petition was drawn up setting forth the chief points in the
prosecution, and praying that all such enactments as create differences
between high and low priced publications to the detriment of the
latter might be repealed. Mr Bradlaugh sent his petition to Viscount
Enfield, Member for Middlesex, who duly presented it. For thus doing
his bare duty to one of his constituents, Viscount Enfield was most
virulently attacked by the _Blue Budget_. Lord Enfield and Mr Bradlaugh
were unknown to each other, and the former had merely fulfilled the
obligation of his Parliamentary membership; for this he was accused of
being the apologist for Mr Bradlaugh, for whom he did "not object to
risk his reputation."

On Thursday, April 15th, Lord Chief Baron Kelly, Baron Bramwell, and
Baron Cleasby, sitting in the Exchequer Court, heard the motion for a
new rule. The three judges listened to Mr Bradlaugh with the greatest
attention, and took the utmost care to fully comprehend the bearing of
every argument he put forward, although their continuous interruptions
were rather embarrassing to him. Having heard what he had to urge,
a rule _nisi_ was granted him on three points; if he succeeded in
maintaining his rule on either of two points, the prosecution was at
an end; if he failed in these, but succeeded in the third, then there
would have to be a new trial. It is hardly wonderful that, having
gained so much, he began to feel fairly sanguine of success; nor is it
less wonderful that, with all the worry and all the work, he should
be feeling rather bitter against the Government, which had actually
brought in a Bill on April 8th to repeal those enactments which they
were at that very moment trying to enforce against him.

"If the Gladstone Cabinet had been a generous one," he wrote, "it
would have abandoned a prosecution which, when carried on by the late
Government, some of the members of the present Cabinet had already
emphatically condemned. If the Gladstone Government had been just and
consistent, it should at least, when bringing in a Bill to repeal
the very laws under which we are prosecuted, have delayed the legal
proceedings in this case until after the debate in the House upon this
Bill, which has now actually passed its second reading."

The rule of court granted by the judges was served upon the solicitor
to the Inland Revenue on the 16th of April. Upon the 23rd that
gentleman wrote Mr Bradlaugh that as it was proposed to repeal the
enactments under which the proceedings had been instituted, "the Law
Officers of the Crown will agree to a _stet processus_ being entered,"
and asked if he would consent to this course. To this Mr Bradlaugh made
answer:--

 "SIR,--I will consent to a _stet processus_ being entered,
 not because of the Bill now before the House of Commons, but because I
 am sick of a litigation involving loss of time, anxiety, and expense;
 and I consent only with the distinct declaration on my part, that I
 am not liable under the statutes under which I am prosecuted, and
 protesting that a Liberal Government ought never to have carried on
 such a prosecution. If the Law Officers of the Crown had proposed
 a _stet processus_ when the new Government came into office, the
 act would have been graceful; now, after twelve months of harassing
 litigation, the staying further proceedings, when a rule has been
 granted in my favour, is a matter for which I owe no thanks.

 "If any more formal consent is necessary, I will give it. I never
 courted the contest, nor have I ever shrunk from it; but I have no
 inclination to carry it on; fighting the Crown is a luxury only to be
 indulged in by the rich as a voluntary occupation. I have fought from
 necessity, and have the sad consciousness that I retire victor at a
 loss I am ill able to bear."

In the _National Reformer_ for the following week my father announced
the total monies subscribed for the defence of the _National Reformer_
at £236, 10s.; these were mainly from the hard earnings of poor
friends, although a few had helped out of their fuller purses. He
gave also a detailed account of the money he had actually paid away
during this litigation; it amounted to £300, but of course this did not
include the value of the time lost both directly and indirectly[43]
in the course of these proceedings. To be £50 out of pocket is but a
trifle to a rich man, but when it forms one item amongst many to a
poor man it is a very serious matter. John Stuart Mill wrote him from
Avignon: "You have gained a very honourable success in obtaining a
repeal of the mischievous Act by your persevering resistance." But he
did not think there was any hope of getting the Government to refund my
father's expenses, although, as he said, a "really important victory"
had been obtained. The "poor friends," however, continued to subscribe
their pence and their shillings until the deficiency was in great part,
if not wholly, made up.

[Footnote 43: He was at one period quite ill and under Dr Ramskill's
care through the overwork and mental worry of this lawsuit.]

The repealing Bill introduced into the House by Mr Ayrton and the
Chancellor of the Exchequer passed through its three stages without
debate, and was then sent up to the House of Lords in charge of the
Marquis of Lansdowne, who introduced it to his brother peers on Monday,
May 31st. Lord Lansdowne explained that the Act of Geo. III. was passed
at a time of much agitation,

 "when it was thought necessary to subject the Press to every
 conceivable restriction and coercion. In repealing these Acts their
 lordships need not apprehend that there would be no security against
 an abuse by the Press of the power which it enjoyed, for it would
 remain amenable to the Libel and other Acts, and the distinction
 between newspapers and books being one not of kind but of degree,
 there was no reason why the former should be treated in an exceptional
 way. Generally speaking, moreover, these Acts had not of late years
 been enforced, though their retention on the Statute Book enabled
 persons to take advantage of them with the view of gratifying personal
 feeling."

Lord Cairns, the Lord Chancellor, and the Duke of Somerset, spoke, but
upon points of the Bill other than that referring to newspapers. That
the "debate" was not lengthy will be fully realised from the fact that
upon this occasion the Lord Chancellor took his seat on the woolsack
at five o'clock, and "their lordships adjourned at five minutes before
six." The Bill passed its second and third reading (this last on June
21st) without a further word of discussion. Thus, almost in complete
silence, were the Security Laws swept from the Statute Book, and cheap
prints and dear prints made to stand technically equal in the eye of
the law.

What were the comments of the Press on this great triumph so hardly won
for them? After the trial of February 2nd, the _Morning Star_ printed
a splendid article against the prosecution, but all the other daily
papers of the metropolis persevered in their silence. "To struggle with
the Treasury officials would be no mean task," said my father, "even
if we had words of encouragement and more efficient aid from those,
many of whom stand like ourselves, liable to be attacked as infringers
of an oppressive law. As it is, we fight alone, and only one of the
London journals has spoken out on our behalf." The _Manchester Courier_
wondered why the law had not been put in force against the _National
Reformer_ before. The _Blue Budget_ reviled Lord Enfield for merely
presenting a petition. The _Times_ report of the lengthy proceedings
before the three judges on April 15th occupies only twenty-five lines.
The only London papers which printed Mr Melvill's offer of a _stet
processus_ and Mr Bradlaugh's rejoinder were the _Times_, _Star_,
_Reynolds' Newspaper_, and _Queen's Messenger_. "Not one paper said
a word in our favour or congratulated us on the battle we have had
to fight." Finally, the repealing Bill passed through all its stages
and became law without notice or remark. The bigotry of the leading
journals of the day was so great that although they themselves reaped
an easy harvest from the toil and suffering of their Freethought
contemporary, they had not the grace to utter a word of good fellowship
or rejoicing.

But the Government had not even yet done with Mr Bradlaugh and the
_National Reformer_. After allowing him some years' respite, an
attack was directed against him from another quarter. In the autumn
of 1872 the Postmaster-General, Mr Monsell, gave my father notice
that the _National Reformer_ was to be deprived of the privilege of
registration, notwithstanding that for the past nine years it had been
registered for foreign transmission as a newspaper, and had been within
the last five years prosecuted by both Tory and Whig Attorney-General
as a newspaper.

This notice was quite unexpected, and, as might be imagined, my father
did not take it very kindly.

Quite an unusual number of papers took up the cudgels in his
defence. Most, of course, professed either a profound dislike of his
personality, or ignorance of the contents of his journal, but they
were thoroughly alarmed at the prospects opened up by this novel method
of press censorship.

By the end of October, however, Mr Bradlaugh received an intimation
that the Postmaster-General had withdrawn his objection. The Government
seemed determined to advertise the paper, and although they did not
gain anything themselves, the processes they employed were very
worrying to its poor proprietor. He wrote a special word of thanks to
the numerous journals who had asked for fair play towards him, and in
doing so also tendered his sympathy "to the one or two bigoted editors
who prematurely rejoiced" over the suppression of the Freethought
organ.



CHAPTER XV.

ITALY.


Full of sympathy for Italy, my father spoke much on behalf of Garibaldi
and Italian emancipation. When Garibaldi made his "famous Marsala
effort," money was collected from all parts of the United Kingdom and
sent to his assistance, mainly through the agency of W.H. Ashhurst,
Esq. And men went as well as money. "Excursionists" was the name
given to these volunteers, amongst whom not a few Freethinkers were
numbered. It was always my father's pride to remember that in 1860 he
sent Garibaldi 100 guineas. For if he had an empty purse, he had a
full heart and an eloquent tongue, and with these he minted the gold
to send to Garibaldi and Italy. I have tried, as a matter of interest,
to collect together a list of the towns where these Garibaldi lectures
were given, but I have not traced more than about half. At Sheffield
he earned £20, and Oldham, Holmfirth, Halifax, Nottingham, Rochdale,
Northampton, Mexbro', also furnished funds, each town according to
its rate of prejudice against the speaker or its ardour for the cause
he advocated. In some towns the enthusiasm was so great that hall
proprietor and bill printer refused payment in order that their fees
should swell the funds; in other places piety and prejudice was so
strong that the audiences were not large enough to furnish the actual
expenses. On receiving the money Garibaldi wrote my father a letter
with his own hand, thanking him for the services he was then rendering
to Italy. I am, unfortunately, not able to give the text of this
letter, which my father received on July 20th, 1861, for although I
have a distinct recollection of having seen it, it has either passed
into other hands or become accidentally destroyed.

Mr Bradlaugh became acquainted with Mazzini about 1858, when he was
living at Onslow Terrace, Brompton, under the name of Signor Ernesti.
From the first he won my father's heart, and to the end--although on
certain matters their opinions became widely divergent--he placed him
high above most men, reverencing in him his single-mindedness, his
purity of purpose, his steadfastness and courage. After Mazzini's
death Mr Bradlaugh wrote of him:[44] "He was one of the few men who
impress you first and always with the thorough truthfulness and
incorruptibility of their natures. Simple in his manners, with only
one luxury, his cigar, he had that fulness of faith in his cause which
is so contagious, and by the sheer force of personal contact he made
believers in the possibility of Italian unity even amongst those who
were utter strangers to his thought and hope."

[Footnote 44: "Five Dead Men Whom I Knew When Living," by Charles
Bradlaugh.]

A framed portrait of Mazzini always hung in my father's room. At
Sunderland Villa it hung in his little study; but at Circus Road, where
the crowding books rapidly usurped almost every inch of available
space, the picture hung in his bedroom. Subscriptions received for
the emancipation of Italy were acknowledged on the back of signed
photographs of Mazzini, or on specially engraved forms dated from
Caprera, but bearing Mazzini's characteristic signature. There are
doubtless many people who still retain such acknowledgments received
through Mr Bradlaugh, and just before his death, Mr Joseph Gurney, of
Northampton, very kindly gave me two that he had received in this way.

At the conclusion of his Autobiography Mr Bradlaugh wrote: "In penning
the foregoing sketch I had purposely to omit many facts connected with
branches of Italian, Irish, and French politics," because "there are
secrets which are not my own alone, and which may not bear telling for
many years to come." My father died with these secrets still untold.
For all three countries he risked his life or liberty; but, beyond
knowing this and a few anecdotes--told by him at the supper table at
the end of a day's lecturing--I know very little that is definite. I
have two letters of Mazzini's to my father without date or address; but
although they suggest many possibilities, they tell nothing:--

 "MY DEAR SIR,--I do not think you can do anything for me in
 the three places you mention. Of course, I shall always be glad to see
 you.--Yours faithfully,

  JOS. MAZZINI.

  "Friday."


  "My dear Mr Bradlaugh,
      "Can you? Will you?
          "Ever faithfully yours,

  "Thursday.

  JOS. MAZZINI."

Mr Bradlaugh first visited Naples in November 1861, and some of his
impressions as to Naples and Rome were recorded in the _National
Reformer_ at the time, and more than twenty years later he wrote a
description of Ischia for _Our Corner_. I have the passport issued to
him by "John, Earl Russell," on the 11th November 1861, lying before me
now; it is stamped and marked all over till there is scarcely a clear
space anywhere on it, back or front. Naples 1861, France 1861, Germany
1863, Geneva 1866, Rome 1866, France 1871, Germany (?) 1871, Spain
1873, Portugal 1873, and other places, the stamps of which are now
quite illegible. There is hardly a stamp on it that does not suggest
the possibility, nay, the certainty, of some story we would give much
to know. Naples--Rome--these bring up the thoughts of the struggle
for Italian freedom, linked with the names of Garibaldi and Mazzini;
France--the War, the Commune, and the Republic; Spain--the War, the
Republic and Castelar, the failure. Looking at this passport with its
covering of names and dates legible and illegible, I realise to the
full how little I know, and how feebly I am able to portray the great
events of my father's life; to say that I do my best seems almost a
mockery when we know that this "best" is so poor and so fragmentary.

While he was at Naples in 1861, Mr Bradlaugh was diligently watched by
the police, and his bedroom at the hotel was frequently overhauled.
For instance, an English book he was reading, and marking with his
pencil as he read, disappeared for a day or so, and on its return bore
traces--to the keen eye of its owner at least--of having been carefully
examined.

A story, which I have slightly amended from Mr Headingley's
biography,[45] will give some idea as to how closely he was observed
and what risks he ran.

[Footnote 45: Biography of Charles Bradlaugh, by A. S. Headingley, p.
62.]

The police, as I have said, were soon put on the alert when Mr
Bradlaugh arrived in Italy, and evidently kept a keen watch over his
every movement. Thus it was ascertained that while at Naples, a few
days after Bomba's fall, he had received a packet of political letters.
It has been said that walls have ears. In this case they evidently
possessed eyes.

He was in the room of his hotel, alone, and, as he thought, safe from
all observation. A friend then entered, and without any conversation
of a nature that could be overheard, gave him the packet which he had
volunteered to take over to England with him. Though as a rule not
devoid of prudence, he so little suspected any danger on this occasion
that he took no special precaution. He left Naples in a steamboat
sailing under the flag of the two Sicilies, and all went smoothly,
excepting the ship, till they reached Civitâ Vecchia. Here, to the
surprise, if not to the alarm, of the passengers, a boat-load of Papal
gendarmes came on board. Even at this moment Mr Bradlaugh was not yet
on his guard, and had the gendarmes at once made for his portmanteau,
they might possibly have seized the despatches.

The sub-officer preferred, however, resorting to what he doubtless
considered a very clever stratagem. He politely inquired for Mr
Bradlaugh, whom he discovered with so little difficulty that it is
probable he knew perfectly well the principal characteristics of his
general appearance. With much politeness, this officer informed him
that the British Consul wished to see him on shore. This at once put
my father on his guard. If he went on shore he would be on Roman soil,
subject to the Papal laws, and there was no guarantee for his safety.
On the other hand, he did not know the English Consul, and had no
business with him. Evidently this was but a mere trap, so Mr Bradlaugh,
with equal politeness, refused to land.

The officer, joined by the full force of the Papal gendarmes, proceeded
this time with less ceremony. They ordered him to show his luggage, and
evidently knew that it contained the secret dispatches. My father now
understood that he had been betrayed. Yet no one at Naples could have
seen him when he received the letters, and the walls alone could have
seen the transactions, unless a hole had been made through them, and a
watch kept on all his actions. This, in fact, is the only explanation
that can be given of the circumstance.

In answer to the demand for his luggage, Mr Bradlaugh at once produced
his English passport, and assumed that this would suffice to shield
him from further annoyance. The document was, however, treated with
the profoundest contempt, and the Papal police now prepared to break
open the portmanteau. In vain Mr Bradlaugh protested that he was under
the flag of the two Sicilies, that he was not under nor subject to the
Papal laws; the Papal gendarmes were undeterred by any such arguments.
The position was becoming desperate, and Mr Bradlaugh found himself
terribly outnumbered; but he had learned the value of coolness,
determination, and audacity.

Without any more argument, he set himself against his portmanteau, drew
a heavy six-chambered naval revolver from his coat pocket, cocked,
and aimed at the nearest Papal gendarme. He then simply and quietly
promised to blow out the brains of the first individual who attempted
to touch his luggage. In spite of this threat matters might have gone
badly with him, for he was surrounded by foes, and there was the danger
of an attack from behind. But at this juncture an American, who had
been watching the whole incident with considerable interest, was so
delighted at the "Britisher's pluck" that he suddenly snatched up a
chair, and springing forward, took up a firm stand back to back with
the Englishman, crying, while waving the chair about with fearful
energy: "I guess I'll see fair play. You look after those in front,
I'll attend to those behind!"

This turn of events somewhat disconcerted the Papal gendarmes. They did
not like the look of Mr Bradlaugh's formidable weapon, and the American
had destroyed all chance of seizing him by surprise from behind. They
hesitated for some time how to proceed. At last they resolved to put
the responsibility on others, and go on shore for further instructions.
The moment they had left the ship Mr Bradlaugh employed this reprieve
in bringing all the pressure possible to bear upon the captain, who
was, after some trouble, persuaded to put on steam and sail out to sea
before the gendarmes had time to return. A few days later my father
reached London in safety, and had the satisfaction of delivering the
letters.

Another story told in Mr Headingley's book[46] is very amusing; and
although it has no bearing upon Mr Bradlaugh's political work, yet
shows his resourcefulness and coolness in emergency.

[Footnote 46: Page 103.]

"His experience with the Papal gendarmes had taught him the advantage
of carrying a revolver when travelling in Italy, though this, it
appears, was strictly against the Italian law, and on one occasion
nearly resulted in serious consequences. The diligence in which
Bradlaugh was travelling [between, as he often said with a wry face,
two fat priests smelling strongly of garlic] from Nunziatella to
Civitâ Vecchia had been entirely cleared out on the previous evening
by a band of brigands. Bradlaugh consequently put his revolver in the
pocket of the diligence door, where he thought it would be more readily
accessible in case of attack. When, however, they stopped at Montalbo
for the examination of the luggage and passports, the police discovered
the revolver and were about to confiscate it. Bradlaugh at once tried
to snatch the weapon back, and got hold of it by the barrel, while
the policeman held tight to the butt--by far the safest side. In this
position a fierce discussion ensued, Bradlaugh expostulating that so
long as the Government were unable to protect travellers from brigands
they should not object to persons who sought to defend themselves.
This argument only drew reinforcements to the policeman's assistance,
and Bradlaugh was seized and held tightly on all sides. Finally,
Bradlaugh urged that it was his duty to the Life Assurance Company
where he had insured himself to carry weapons, and protect his life
by every possible means. This novel argument produced an unexpected
and profound impression, particularly when he informed them that he
was connected with the Sovereign and Midland Assurance Companies. The
police respectfully and with minute care noted these names down. What
they thought they meant Bradlaugh has never been able to explain; but
they at once let him loose, and he triumphantly walked away, carrying
with him his cherished revolver."



CHAPTER XVI.

PLATFORM WORK, 1860-1861.


On the third Monday in May 1860 Mr Bradlaugh commenced his second
debate with the Rev. Brewin Grant, which was to be continued over
four successive Mondays. The St George's Hall, Bradford, capable
of holding 4000 persons, was taken for the discussion, and people
attended from all the surrounding districts, and some even came in from
the adjoining county of Lancashire. So much has been said as to the
relative bearing and ability of these unlike men, to the disparagement
of Mr Bradlaugh, that it will come as a surprise to many to learn that
Mr Grant's language and conduct during this debate were condemned in
the most unqualified terms by persons altogether unfriendly to his
antagonist.[47]

[Footnote 47: The _Leeds Times_, in a very unfriendly notice of the
second night's debate at Bradford, said: "Mr Grant had declared there
would be such fun, and ... he should exhibit the characters of some
notorious infidels such as Paine, Carlile, Southwell, and others down
to the last 'mushroom,' 'Iconoclast' himself, and prove from them that
infidelity is the fruitful source of immorality and crime. All this he
did in his opening half-hour's address, but where could anything like
'fun' be found in it all? ... Mr Grant in foisting such matter upon his
audience was shirking the great points of the discussion.... Mr Grant
is anything but a calm and dispassionate disputant, and his indulgence
in sarcasm even when unprovoked is ill calculated to check a tendency
to personalities on the part of opponents, or to lead to the impartial
investigation of the truth."

The _Bradford Review_ had a short article on the four nights'
discussion, and, speaking of the use of personalities, said: "Here we
must say, justice obliges us to say that Mr Grant was the first and
by far the greater offender in this direction. The language would not
have been tolerated in any society. It was an outrage upon the ordinary
proprieties and decencies of life."

The _Bradford Advertiser_ was expressly hostile to Mr Bradlaugh, but
in reviewing the four nights' debate also remarked: "We feel bound to
concede that 'Iconoclast' acted with a dignity which contrasted very
favourably as compared with Mr Grant.... We are glad the course is at
an end: we never attended a discussion where so little gentlemanly
conduct was exhibited, or so much said that was vile and unworthy,
especially from one professing to be a preacher and a practiser of
Christ's teachings."

A letter in my possession, written to a friend by one of the audience
immediately after the second night, gives a private view of the debate.
He writes: "The debate was very hot last night; the excitement was
great. Mr Grant's friends were disgusted with his conduct. At one
time, when Mr Bradlaugh was speaking, Mr Grant put out his tongue
at Mr Bradlaugh, and the audience cried 'Shame' to Mr Grant for his
conduct."]

In the fourth night of the debate, Mr Grant, harping on the alleged
immoralities of Paine and Carlile, twitted his antagonist with calling
him "my friend." When the time came for my father to reply, he rose,
evidently in a white heat of anger, to defend these two great dead men
from their living calumniator. His speech produced such an effect, not
only upon the audience, but upon Mr Grant, that the latter grew quite
uneasy under his words and under his gaze; he asked "Iconoclast" to
look at the audience and not at him. Mr Bradlaugh replied: "I will
take it that you are, as indeed you ought to be, ashamed to look an
earnest man in the face, and I will look at you no more. Mr Grant
complains that I have called him 'my friend.' It is true, in debate I
have accustomed myself to wish all men my friends, and to greet them
as friends if possible. The habit, like a garment, fits me, and I have
in this discussion used the phrase 'my friend;' but, believe me, I did
not mean it. Friendship with you would be a sore disgrace and little
honour."

A verbatim report was taken of this debate; but when the MS. of his
speeches was sent the Rev. Brewin Grant for approval, he refused to
return it, and thus the debate was never published.

Another person who came forward to champion Christianity against
"Infidels" generally, and Mr Bradlaugh in particular, was the Rev.
Dr Brindley. This gentleman, well known as a confirmed drunkard and
a bankrupt, was yet announced as the "Champion of Christianity, the
well-known controversialist against Mr Robert Owen, and the Socialists,
the Mormons, and the Secularists." A four nights' debate was arranged
to take place at Oldham in June in the Working Men's Hall.

The meagre reports show nothing of any interest beyond the fact that on
each evening there were enormous audiences. Mr Bradlaugh had another
four nights' debate with Dr Brindley at Norwich a few months later,
but this did not appear to be worth reporting at all. Dr Brindley was
not by any means so clever as Mr Grant, nor did he use quite such
scandalous language upon the public platform and to his adversary's
face, although, if rumour did not belie him, he was more unrestrained
both as to matter and manner when relieved of his antagonist's
presence.[48] One thing at least he and Mr Grant had in common--an
overwhelming antagonism to Mr Bradlangh. This feeling led each man
into continuous hostile acts, overt or covert, each according to his
temperament and opportunity. Dr Brindley's rage amounted to fever heat
when Mr Bradlaugh became candidate for Northampton, and in that town
he frantically used every endeavour to hinder his return. When Mr
Bradlaugh determined to go to America in 1873, Dr Brindley's feelings
quite overpowered him, and he rushed after his enemy to New York, with,
I suppose, some sort of idea of hunting down the wicked Atheist, though
really, looking back on the past, it is difficult to see that the poor
creature could have had any clear ideas as to what he was going to do
to Mr Bradlaugh when he reached America. He must have been carried
away by some sort of wild frenzy, which amounted to insanity. My
father's first lecture upon the Republican Movement in England, at the
Steinway Hall, New York, proved to be an immense success, and at its
close Dr Brindley offered some opposition. By his language he aroused
such a storm of hisses and uproar, that Mr Bradlaugh was obliged to
interpose on his behalf, which he did by appealing to the audience
"to let the gentleman who represents the aristocracy and the Church
of England go on." This convulsed the assembly, who--in laughter and
amusement--consented to hear the rev. gentleman out. Four days later Dr
Brindley publicly answered Mr Bradlaugh at the Cooper Institute, and
the _Germantown Chronicle_ (Philadelphia) gives the following amusing
account of the proceedings:--

[Footnote 48: This, I gather, did not apply to his attitude to Mr
Bradlaugh only.]

 "Brindley's purpose in life is to go for Bradlaugh hammer and tongs,
 and he has actually paid his way out here, cabin passage, to hunt up
 and show up and finally shut up the six foot leader of the English
 Radicals. He is determined to keep on after Bradlaugh hot foot, and
 wherever that eminent individual leaves a trace of his presence, there
 will the indefatigable Brindley be, with his orthodox whitewash brush,
 to wipe out the name and memory of his Freethinking countryman. Dr
 Brindley is an interesting orator, and the most simple-minded Briton
 that has presented himself at the Cooper Institute for some time. His
 voice is as funny as a Punch and Judy's, and when the audience of
 last night roared with laughter, it was impossible to tell whether
 it was at what Brindley had said, or Brindley's method and voice in
 saying it. Some of the audience were beery, and disposed to ask beery
 questions. The speaker said England was full of wealth, and that
 labour was never so well paid. Everybody was happy, and Bradlaugh was
 an incendiary, a story-teller, a nuisance, who would make a rumpus
 and make everybody miserable, even in the Garden of Eden. 'Were you
 ever in a casual ward?' asked a smudgy fellow in the back of the hall.
 'No,' answered the bold Brindley, 'but if you were there now it would
 save the police trouble.' And so he replied to other impertinent
 questions, until he made the impression that he was not quite such a
 fool as he looked. He said Bradlaugh was an Atheist, whose belief is
 that 'brain power is the only soul in man,' and that as he was played
 out in England he had come over here to air his theories, and pick
 up pennies. 'You know where Cheshire is?' said Brindley, 'Cheshire,
 where the cheese is made,' and Brindley was about to tell a story on
 this head, when a donkey at the back end of the hall cried out, 'There
 ain't no cheese made there now. It's all done in Duchess county.'
 No telling what a good thing this fellow spoiled by his remark.
 Bradlaugh, anyhow, was scalped and vivisected, and Brindley took his
 tomahawk and himself away soon after."

But the farce was to end in a tragedy. Overcome by chagrin and
mortification, Dr Brindley died within a month of his appearance on the
Steinway Hall platform. He died in New York in poverty and neglect,
and was buried in a pauper's grave. The _Chicago Times_, alluding to
the terms of Mr Bradlaugh's appeal to the New York audience to give Dr
Brindley a hearing, said that the rev. gentleman was "slain by satire."
"Since Keats, according to Byron, was snuffed out by a single article,
there has been no parallel except this of a human creature snuffed out
by a single sentence."

       *       *       *       *       *

Following quickly upon the heels of the debate at Oldham with Dr
Brindley came one with the Rev. Joseph Baylee, D.D., Principal of St
Aidan's College, Birkenhead. Dr Baylee himself proposed the conditions
on which alone he would consent to discuss. These conditions threw the
entire trouble and expense of the three nights' discussion upon Mr
Bradlaugh's committee. They provided that Dr Baylee and his friends
might open and conclude the proceedings with prayer, and they also
provided that the debate should consist of questions and categorical
answers with no speeches whatever on either side. Those who recall
Mr Bradlaugh's marvellous rapidity of thought, and the way in which
he could instantly grasp and reason out a position, will see that
this condition would certainly be no disadvantage to my father. The
audiences, as usual, crowded the hall, and listened to both speakers
with the utmost attention. This discussion, which was reported at
length and published in pamphlet form,[49] has had a very wide
circulation. It is in many respects a remarkable debate; but as it is
easily obtainable, I will leave it to speak for itself, more especially
as, from its peculiar form of question and answer, it does not lend
itself conveniently to quotation.

[Footnote 49: God, Man, and the Bible. Three nights' discussion with
the Rev. Dr Baylee.]

Were it possible it would be tedious to follow Mr Bradlaugh through
the hundreds of lectures which he delivered during these ten years,
but it will be interesting, and will give us a clearer idea of the
turmoil and work of his life, to note some of the difficulties he had
to meet thirty or so years ago. Nowadays, as soon as Parliament rises
nearly every member of the House of Commons thinks himself called
upon to go and air his views throughout the length and breadth of the
country; then, public speaking was much more uncommon, and Freethought
lectures in especial were few and far between. To-day, almost every
town of any size has its own Freethought speakers, and speakers come
to it with more or less frequency from adjoining districts and from
London. Little difficulties create great stir and excitement now: then,
great difficulties came almost as a matter of course. But even when
difficulties were frequent and not altogether unexpected, that did not
make them the easier to endure. A brick-bat which reaches its aim hurts
just as much whether it is one out of many thrown or just one thrown by
itself.

At Wigan, in October 1860, my father went to deliver two lectures in
the Commercial Hall. The conduct of the people in this town was so
disgraceful, that he said in bitter jest that if he did much more of
this "extended propaganda" he should require to be insured against
accident to life and limb.

"I may be wrong," he wrote,[50] "but I shall never be convinced of
my error by a mob of true believers yelling at my heels like mad
dogs, under the leadership of a pious rector's trusty subordinate, or
hammering at the door of my lecture room under the direction of an
infuriated Church parson. I object that in the nineteenth century it
is hardly to be tolerated that a bigot priest shall use his influence
with the proprietor of the hotel where I am staying, in order to 'get
that devil kicked out into the street' after half-past ten at night. I
do not admit the right of a rich Church dignitary's secretary to avoid
the payment of his threepence at the door by jumping through a window,
especially when I or my friends have to pay for the broken glass and
sash frame. True, all these things and worse happened at Wigan."

[Footnote 50: _National Reformer_, October 20, 1860.]

There had been no Freethought lectures in Wigan for upwards of twenty
years; the clergy had had it all their own way there undisturbed. They
determined to oppose the wicked Iconoclast in every way, and began by
engaging the largest hall available and advertising the same subjects
as those announced for the Freethought platform. Had they contented
themselves with this form of opposition, all would have been well, but
their zeal outran discretion, carrying with it their manners and all
appearance of decency and decorum. My father, continuing his account of
this affair, said--

 "Being unknown in Wigan, except by hearsay, I expected therefore but
 a moderate audience. I was in this respect agreeably disappointed.
 The hall was inconveniently crowded, and many remained outside in the
 square, unable to obtain admittance. No friend was known to me who
 could or would officiate as chairman, and I therefore appealed to
 the meeting to elect their own president. No response being made to
 this, I intimated my intention of proceeding without one. This the
 Christians did not seem to relish, and therefore elected a gentleman
 named [the Rev. T.] Dalton to the chair, who was very tolerable,
 except that he had eccentric views of a chairman's duty, and slightly
 shortened my time, while he also took a few minutes every now and then
 for himself to refute my objections to the Bible."

With the exception of the excitable and somewhat unmannerly behaviour
of some of the clergymen present, this meeting passed off without
any serious disturbance, and was not unfairly reported by the _Wigan
Observer_, which described "Mr Iconoclast" as "a well-made and
healthy looking man, apparently not more than thirty years of age.
He possesses great fluency of speech, and is evidently well posted up
in the subject of his addresses. Of assurance he has no lack; and we
scarcely think it would be possible to put a question to him to which
he had not an answer ready--good, bad, or indifferent."

By the following evening the temper of the Wiganites had become--what
shall I say? More Christian? Mr Bradlaugh, when he arrived at the hall,
"found it crowded to excess, and in addition many hundreds outside
unable to gain admittance. My name," he says, "was the subject of loud
and hostile comment, several pious Christians in choice Billingsgate
intimating that they would teach me a lesson. As on the previous
evening, I requested the religious body to elect a chairman, and Mr
Thomas Stuart was voted to the chair. Of this gentleman I must say
that he was courteous, generous, and manly, and by his kindly conduct
compelled my respect and admiration. Previous to my lecture the
majority of those present hooted and yelled with a vigour which, if it
betokened healthy lungs, did not vouch so well for a healthy brain; and
I commenced my address amidst a terrific din. Each window was besieged,
and panes of glass were dashed out in more reckless wantonness, while
at the same time a constant hammering was kept up at the main door.
As this showed no prospect of cessation, I went myself to the door,
and, to my disgust, found that the disturbance was being fostered and
encouraged by a clergyman[51] of the Church of England, who wished to
gain admittance. I told him loss of life might follow any attempt to
enter the room in its present overcrowded state. His answer was that
he knew there was plenty of room, and would come in. To prevent worse
strife I admitted him, and by dint of main strength and liberal use of
my right arm repelled the others, closed the doors, and returned to
the platform. I had, however, at the doors received one blow in the
ribs, which, coupled with the extraordinary exertions required to keep
the meeting in check, fairly tired me out in about an hour. Several
times, when any crash betokened a new breach in either door or window,
the whole of the audience toward the end of the room jumped up, and
I had literally to keep them down by dint of energetic lung power.
Towards the conclusion of the lecture, the secretary of the rector
forced his way bodily through a window, and I confess I felt a strong
inclination to go to that end of the room and pitch him back through
the same aperture. If he had intended a riot, he could not have acted
more riotously. Some limestone was thrown in at another window, and a
little water was poured through the ventilators by some persons who had
gained possession of the roof. This caused some merriment, which turned
to alarm when an arm and hand waving a dirty rag appeared through a
little hole in the centre of the ceiling. One man in a wideawake then
jumped upon one of the forms, and excitedly shouted to me, 'See, the
devil has come for you!' After the lecture, I received in the confusion
several blows, but none of importance. When I quitted the building one
well-dressed man asked me, 'Do you not expect God to strike you dead,
and don't you deserve that the people should serve you out for your
blasphemy?' Two spat in my face."

[Footnote 51: The Rev. W. T. Whitehead.]

Being concerned for the fate of the hotel if he carried back with
him the excited crowds which dogged his heels, Mr Bradlaugh's first
impulse was to avoid it; but remembering that he had left all his money
there, he contrived to escape his pursuers, and reached the hotel
unaccompanied, except by one friend. Notwithstanding that there was not
"the slightest disturbance at the hotel, the landlady wished me at once
to leave the house, I appealed to her hospitality in vain. I next stood
on my legal rights, went to my bedroom, locked the door, retired to
bed, and tried to dream that Wigan was a model Agapemone."

Before the dispersal of the meeting, and while the Rev. W. T. Whitehead
was asking the audience to teach Mr Bradlaugh a lesson which should
prevent him coming again, whether intentionally or not, the gas was
turned off, so that the hundreds of persons in the room, already
in confusion, were placed in great danger of losing their lives.
Fortunately, the gas was relighted before any serious consequences had
resulted.

About a month later Mr Bradlaugh was again speaking at Wigan. The Mayor
had threatened to lock him up, but, as might be expected, the threat
was an empty one. The _Wigan Examiner_ entreated the public not to
attend the lectures, but without result. On the first evening a form
was set aside for the accommodation of the clergy, but it remained
vacant. After the meeting (which had been a fairly orderly one) Mr
Bradlaugh relates how he was followed to his lodgings "by a mob who
had not been present at the lecture, and who yelled and shouted in real
collier fashion. The _Examiner_ says they intended to 'purr' me.[52] An
invitation on my part to any two of them to settle the matter with me
in approved pugilistic fashion produced a temporary lull, under cover
of which shelter was gained from the storm of hooting and howling which
soon broke out anew with redoubled vigour. On the second evening the
Christian mob outside were even more discourteous." Some friends[53]
who had offered Mr Bradlaugh the hospitality of their roof, so that he
might not again suffer the treatment he had received at the Victoria
Hotel on the former occasion, were threatened and annoyed in a most
disgraceful manner, besides being hissed and hooted on entering the
lecture hall. Stones were thrown at Mr Bradlaugh and Mr John Watts
as they went in, but during the lecture all was orderly. At the end,
however, Mr Hutchings, a Nonconformist and the sub-editor of the
_Examiner_, amidst considerable noise and confusion, entered with the
Rev. J. Davis and other friends, to contradict what Mr Bradlaugh had
said on the previous night. After some animated discussion, it was
arranged that a set two nights' debate should be held between them. Mr
Bradlaugh then left the hall, and was immediately surrounded by a noisy
crew.

[Footnote 52: C. Bradlaugh in the _National Reformer_ for December 1st,
1860.]

[Footnote 53: Mr and Mrs Johnson of Wigan.]

"I walked slowly home," said my father. "At last, in a narrow court,
one fellow kicked me in the back part of my thigh. I turned quickly
round, and invited an attempt at repetition, promising prepayment
in a good knock-down for the kicker; and the whole pack of yelping
religionists turned tail. Men and women turned out of their houses
half-dressed, and when the name 'Iconoclast' passed from one to
the other, the adjectives attached to it sufficiently proved that
humanising influences were sorely needed to soften the conversational
exuberance of the natives of Wigan."

Those who were not sufficiently brave to come near enough to give
a kick at Mr Bradlaugh's back hurled bricks at him, but cowardice
unnerved them and prevented them from taking a good aim, so that
although his hat was damaged, he himself was unhurt. Mr and Mrs Johnson
courageously insisted upon walking by his side, and the followers
of the meek and lowly Jesus thought it no shame to throw stones at a
woman: here, their victim being weaker, their courage was accordingly
greater and their aim straighter. But if the people acted so merely
from ignorance and narrowness, it is not so easy to explain the
malevolent attitude of certain local journals to my father. Week after
week, the _Wigan Examiner_ persisted in the attack, being especially
virulent in its onslaught upon his personal character. It reprinted Mr
Packer's mendacious letter to Brewin Grant, and the following extract
prefacing the letter will serve to show how great was the desire of the
editor to keep the commandments of his Deity, and not to bear false
witness:--

 "Born in the classic region of Bethnal Green, he [Mr Bradlaugh]
 devoted his juvenile faculties to the advocacy of teetotalism, but
 finding that this theme did not afford sufficient scope for his
 genius, he formed (_sic_) himself to a select band of reformers who
 met in an upper room or garret in the neighbourhood. Being a fluent
 speaker, he was soon exalted to the dignity of an apostle in his new
 vocation, and finding the work in every respect much more congenial
 to his mind than weaving, he broke loose from all restraint, and went
 into the new business with energy."

The debate between Mr Hutchings and Mr Bradlaugh was finally arranged
for the 4th and 5th February (1861). On his way to the hall on the
first evening, my father received "one evidence of Christianity in
the shape of a bag of flour;" this was, of course, intended to soil
his clothes, but "fortunately it was flung with too great violence,
and after crushing the side of another new hat from Mr Hipwell,[54]
covered the pavement instead of myself. I shall need a special fund
for hats," wrote Mr Bradlaugh, "if I visit Wigan often." On his return
from the debate, although he was followed by a large crowd of men and
boys, all hooting was quickly suppressed, and was, in fact, attempted
only by a very few. On his first visit to Wigan he had "retired to
rest, not only without friends to bid me good-night, but with many a
score of loud-tongued, rough lads and men bidding me, in phraseology
startling and effective, everything but so kindly a farewell;"[55]
but during the three months which had elapsed since Mr Bradlaugh's
earliest visit to this Lancashire mining town public feeling had
considerably changed and modified; and in the evening, the house where
he was staying "was crowded out," he tells us, "with rough but honest
earnest men and women, who insisted, one and all, in gripping my hand
in friendliness, and wishing me good speed in my work. The change was
so great that a tear mounted to my eye despite myself." His was always
the same sensitive nature; he was ever moved to the heart by a sign
of true sympathy or real affection. Persecution found him stern and
unflinching, hypocrisy found him severe and unforgiving, but kindness
or affection, instantly touched the fountain of his gratitude and his
tenderness.

[Footnote 54: A Freethinking hatter of Bradford.]

[Footnote 55: C. Bradlaugh in _National Reformer_, February 16, 1861.]

Out of this debate, which contains nothing particularly noteworthy,[56]
arose a lawsuit. The reporter, a person named Stephenson M. Struthers,
after having sold "the transcript" to Mr Bradlaugh at 8d. per folio,
sold a second copy of his notes to Mr William Heaton, on behalf of Mr
Hutchings' Committee, for 3 guineas. This my father did not discover
until he had used some of the copy, and paid Struthers £5 on account.
He then refused to pay the balance (£11, 16s.), and for this the
shorthand-writer sued him. Mr Bradlaugh expressed his willingness to
pay for the labour involved in making a copy; but he objected to pay
for the _sole_ copy when he had not received that for which he had
contracted. The suit came on in the Wigan County Court, before J. S. T.
Greene, Esq., on April 11th (1861). After the case for the plaintiff
was closed, Mr Bradlaugh entered the witness-box to be sworn--at that
time the only form under which he could give evidence. Mr Mayhew (for
the plaintiff), after some preamble as to not desiring to be offensive,
asked "with regret" if Mr Bradlaugh believed "in the religious
obligations of an oath?" Mr Bradlaugh objected to answer any question
until he was sworn. The Judge would not allow the objection; and after
a considerable interchange of opinion and question and answer between
the Judge and Mr Bradlaugh, in which the latter explicitly stated his
readiness to be sworn, he asked to be allowed to affirm. This the Judge
refused to permit. And this is how the episode ended:--

[Footnote 56: The following short passage from this debate may serve as
an example of the incisive eloquence of which my father was capable at
the age of eight-and-twenty:--

"Men say, 'I believe.' Believe in what? 'I believe' is the prostration
of the intellect before the unknown--not an exertion of the intellect
to grasp the knowable. Men who have taught in Sunday Schools,
and children who have been taught there, men worshipping in our
churches--men following men in this way have their ideas made for them,
fitted on to them like their clothes; and, like the parrot in its
gilded cage, they say 'I believe,' because they have been taught to say
it, and not because they have a vital faith when they do say it."]

 The JUDGE: Only give me a direct answer.

 Mr BRADLAUGH: I am not answering your question at all. I have
 objected on two grounds, both of which your Honour has overruled, that
 I am not bound to answer the question.

 The JUDGE: If you put it in that way, I should be sorry to
 exercise any power that I believe I possess according to law. You
 won't answer the question?

 Mr BRADLAUGH: I object that I am not bound to answer any
 question that will criminate myself.

 The JUDGE: You will not answer my question. Do you believe in
 the existence of a supreme God?

 Mr BRADLAUGH: I object that the answer, if in the negative,
 would subject me to a criminal prosecution.

 The JUDGE: Do you believe in a state of future rewards and
 punishments?

 Mr BRADLAUGH: I object that--

 The JUDGE: Then I shall not permit you to give evidence at
 all; and I think you escape very well in not being sent to gaol.

The Judge, having thus taken advantage of his magisterial position to
insult a defenceless man as well as to refuse his evidence, proceeded
with consummate injustice to sum it up as an "undefended case," and
gave a verdict for the plaintiff for the full amount. After the Case
was over, Mr William Heaton wrote to Mr Bradlaugh denying a material
point in Mr Struthers' sworn evidence as to what had occurred between
them. Thus did the laws of Christian England treat an Atheist as
outlaw, and in the name of justice deal out injustice in favour of a
man who, as his fellow Christian stated, had spoken falsely under his
oath in the witness-box.

Mr Hutchings himself felt the disgrace of this so keenly that he wrote
expressing his desire to co-operate in a public movement in Wigan in
favour of Sir John Trelawny's Affirmation Bill. "I do feel strongly,"
he said, "that you were most wrongfully and iniquitously deprived of
the opportunity of defending your cause, and this I feel the more
strongly that it was done in strict conformity with English law."

Two other polemical encounters arose directly out of the Wigan
lectures; these were both held with the Rev. Woodville Woodman, a
Swedenborgian divine. The first, at Wigan, upon the "Existence of God,"
continued over four nights; the second, upon the "Divine Revelation
of the Bible," also a four nights' debate, was held at Ashton in the
autumn of the same year.

Mr Bradlaugh held quite a number of theological discussions about
this time. In addition to those I have already mentioned with the
Rev. Brewin Grant, Dr Brindley, Dr Baylee, Mr Hutchings, and the Rev.
Woodville Woodman, a controversial correspondence between himself and
the Rev. Thomas Lawson, a Baptist minister of Bacup, arose out of some
lectures delivered by Mr Bradlaugh in Newchurch in October 1860. It was
originally intended to hold a set debate upon the subject "Has Man a
Soul?" but no hall could be obtained in Bacup for the purposes of the
discussion. The correspondence was therefore published in the _National
Reformer_ during the spring of the following year. Then a debate upon
the credibility of the Gospels was arranged between Mr Bradlaugh and
the Rev. J. H. Rutherford, and was held in Liverpool in October 1860;
another upon "What does the Bible teach about God?" was held with Mr
Mackie in Warrington in April 1861; and a few months later my father
also debated for two nights at Birmingham with Mr Robert Mahalm, a
representative of the Irish Church Mission in that town.

In the middle of July (1860) he was lecturing for the first time in
Norwich. St Andrew's Hall was taken, and the proceeds of the lecture
were to go to Garibaldi; but this was one of the places where religious
prejudice was strong, and where therefore the receipts did not equal
the expenditure. On the second evening Mr Bradlaugh delivered an
open-air address at Chapel Field, when "yells, hisses, abuse, a
little mud, and a few stones formed the chorus and finale of the
entertainment." Nothing daunted, in September he went to Norwich again,
and the orderly behaviour of his audience formed a marked contrast to
their previous conduct. By November, when he once more visited Norwich,
the Freethinkers there had found themselves strong enough to hire a
commodious chapel for the winter months, substituting a piano for the
communion table. From Norwich his steps turned naturally to Yarmouth,
where he was much amused by hearing the town crier follow up his "Oyez!
Oyez!" by the announcement that "the cel-e-bra-ted I-con-o-clast" had
arrived.

Only a few weeks elapsed before Mr Bradlaugh again went to Norwich and
Yarmouth. He went the week immediately before Christmas, and had an
eight hours' journey to get there, with the driving snow coming through
"the Eastern Counties Railway Company's patent [3rd class] ventilating
carriages," which seemed constructed with the express object of making
"perfectly clear to the unfortunate passengers the criminality of their
poverty." This, his fourth visit to Norwich, was a great success, and
the lectures at Yarmouth were also more favourably listened to. By
January he found his audiences increasing at Norwich, and the interest
perceptibly growing, but at Yarmouth he received a check. There had
been much commotion in the local official circles at the repeated
visits of the Atheist lecturer, and pressure was used on all sides, so
that only a small sale room in a back street could be hired for the
lectures. The room was soon overcrowded; Mr Bradlaugh had to be his own
chairman, and on going home walked to the music of yells and hootings.
This display of intolerance roused up some of the more thoughtful
inhabitants, and the theatre was obtained for the following night,
when, despite the necessarily brief notice, a large audience--including
many ladies--assembled to hear the lecture. A Mr Fletcher was elected
to the chair, the proceedings were orderly throughout, and Mr Bradlaugh
walked home unmolested.

The matter, however, was not to end here. Both the Yarmouth clergy (or
at least _one_ Yarmouth clergyman, the Rev. E. Neville) and magistrates
expressed their determination that the lectures must be put down,
and so Mr Bradlaugh received information that proceedings were to be
taken against him for blasphemy. The _Norfolk News_ and _Yarmouth
Independent_ for March 23rd reported a meeting of magistrates at which
the subject of "Iconoclast's" visits was under discussion, the letting
of the theatre to him was severely commented upon, and the persons
responsible for the letting held up to public odium. Not one of the
nine or ten magistrates present could be found to say a word on behalf
of the Atheist; and the speeches of the Mayor, Mr S. Nightingale, and
one other of the magistrates, Mr Hammond, from which I quote, are
typical of the attitude of the rest:--

 "He [the Mayor] had attended the bench that morning (Tuesday, March
 19) because he had observed bills circulated in the town setting forth
 that 'that wretched man calling himself "Iconoclast"'[57] intended to
 give lectures again at the theatre. He really thought 'Iconoclast' was
 doing a great deal of mischief in the minds of the younger part of the
 community, and he thought they ought to take some steps to prevent
 it. He some time ago called the attention of their clerk to the
 subject, who had proceeded to look into the law of the case. It seemed
 monstrous to him that a man should be allowed to utter blasphemy as
 'Iconoclast' was doing and for them not to interfere.... He wished the
 magistrates to take some steps for putting a stop to these lectures."

[Footnote 57: The Mayor's exact words.]

The Mayor found an ardent supporter in Mr Hammond, who

 "thought the thanks of the town were due to His Worship for bringing
 the subject before the notice of the bench. He had thought of it
 yesterday himself, and spoken to one or two of the magistrates on
 the matter, and he also intended to call on the Mayor about it, had
 he not gone into it. It was evident that Mr Sidney [the lessee of
 the theatre]--at least he (Mr Hammond) thought--could not know what
 he was letting the theatre for. He (Mr Hammond) was part proprietor
 of the theatre himself; but rather than take any part of the profits
 arising out of such a purpose, he would sooner see it shut up for
 twenty years. If no other magistrate would do it, he would move that
 Mr Sidney be refused his licence next year, should these diabolical
 practices be allowed at the theatre. He perceived from the large
 bill issued that the front boxes were to be 6d., the upper boxes
 4d., the pit 3d., and the gallery 2d.; and it must be evident to the
 magistrates that the thing must be disreputable indeed to have a place
 like the theatre let in that way--to have the public mind poisoned
 by a repetition of these lectures, perhaps by-and-by at 2d. each, as
 an inducement to lead the young away that they might hear the Holy
 Scriptures set at nought. He felt very sensitive on the point, and so
 far as his humble assistance went, he would give it to put a stop to
 these nefarious practices. He felt personally obliged to the Mayor
 for bringing forward the subject that morning, and he hoped every
 magistrate on the bench would lend a helping hand towards putting a
 stop to the nuisance. (Applause.)"

 At the conclusion of the proceedings, Mr Nightingale (the
 Mayor) observed "that he felt determined to put a stop to these
 exhibitions."[58]

[Footnote 58: The _Norfolk News_ prefaces its account by saying: "For
some months past considerable excitement has been caused amongst the
religious community of the town by the delivery of lectures tending to
subvert the fundamental principles of Christianity by a Freethinker
under the _soubriquet_ of 'Iconoclast.' We have attended none of
these lectures ourselves, but, judging from what we have heard, we
should think that 'Iconoclast' was a gifted man so far as regards
his elocutionary powers. He has been combated on his own platform,
denounced from various pulpits in the town, and at length a determined
effort seems to have been made to shut him out from all the places in
the town in which a public meeting could be held."]

In a leaderette the local journal commented strongly on the course
proposed by the wise and learned Dogberries; and when Mr Bradlaugh
placarded Yarmouth with an address to the magistrates accepting the
gauntlet thus thrown down, and expressing his resolve to lecture
within their jurisdiction, it spoke of the "spirited reply" which he
had addressed to his would-be persecutors. The upshot of all this was
that my father immediately determined to devote a special week to East
Anglia, commencing with two nights at Yarmouth.

"On my arrival at Yarmouth," he wrote, "I found myself literally
hunted from room to room. The theatre being closed against me, the
Masonic Hall was taken, but the mayor personally waited upon the
proprietor, and the 'screw' being put on I was also deprived of this
room. I was determined not to be beaten, and therefore hired a large
bleaching-ground in which to deliver an open-air address." There were
present about 1000 persons, "including at least one magistrate and
several police officers," and it may be noted as most significant
that the action of the magistrates did not meet with popular favour,
that the meeting concluded with cheers for Mr Bradlaugh and for the
owner of the ground. On the following evening the audience was largely
increased, and numbered at least 5000 persons, who were orderly and
attentive throughout. Outside the meeting there was stone-throwing,
principally by boys. One of the stones struck my mother, who,
identifying the lad who threw it, threatened to give him into custody.
At which the lad answered, "Oh, please, mum, you cannot; the police
have told us to make all the noise, and throw as many stones as we
can." This, we will hope, was a liberal interpretation of the police
instructions, but at least it shows very strongly that the lads
had reason to expect the police to look very leniently upon their
escapades. The magisterial bluster ended in bluster, and the only
result to Yarmouth from a Christian standpoint was a pamphlet against
"Infidelity" written by a Charles Houchen, and whether that can be set
down to the credit of Christianity we must leave it to the followers
of that creed to judge. Mr Houchen said--

 "It has been asked what is the real object of Iconoclast going from
 place to place, and coming to Yarmouth from time to time, and the
 answer has been money, money. Now, I ask the reader what think you,
 whoever you be, suppose Iconoclast himself was guaranteed to be better
 paid than he now is for travelling from place to place, do you not
 think he would turn round?"

To this my father rejoined that "the whole amount of Iconoclast's
receipts from Yarmouth has not equalled his payments for board,
lodging, and printing in that eastern seaport; that he has journeyed
to and fro at his own cost; and that if his object 'has been money,
money,' he has suffered grievous disappointment, and this not because
the audiences have been small, but because of that 'rarity of Christian
charity' which shut him out of theatre and lecture-hall after each had
been duly hired, and prompted policemen to connive at stone-throwing
when directed against an Infidel lecturer."



CHAPTER XVII.

THE DEVONPORT CASE, 1861.


In the early sixties the Freethinkers of Plymouth were a fairly active
body; their hall, the "Free Institute," in Buckland Street, they owed
to the liberality of one of their members, Mr Johns, and there were
some tolerably energetic spirits to carry on the work. At that time Mr
George J. Holyoake was a great favourite in the Western towns, and Mr
Bradlaugh was fast winning his way. He was gaining public popularity
and private friendships on all sides, when an incident occurred which
brought out some of his most striking characteristics and rivetted some
of these friendships with links of steel.

He had arranged to lecture at Plymouth for five days during the
first week in December 1860. The first three and the last of these
lectures were given in the Free Institute; but that for the Thursday
was announced to be given in Devonport Park. At the appointed time a
considerable number of people had assembled, and Mr Bradlaugh was just
about to address them when he was accosted by the Superintendent of
the Devonport Police, who stated that he was authorised by the Town
Council to prevent such lectures, and "all such proceedings in a place
created alone for the recreation of the public." Mr Bradlaugh pointed
out that the Temperance advocates used the Park; why should not he?
Mr Edwards, the Police Superintendent, not only refused to argue the
matter, but said further that if Mr Bradlaugh persisted in his lecture
he should use measures to eject him from the Park. There was a little
more talk, during which Mr Bradlaugh reflected that he was by no means
certain as to what were his rights in the Park; and in the end he
decided not to lecture there that evening. To use his own words, he
"submitted, but with a determination to do better at some future time."
Mr John Williamson (now in Colorado), writing at the time, says: "On
Monday, the 3rd. Iconoclast arrived by the 5 p.m. train, very much
fatigued, and looking ill; he had to go to bed for a couple of hours
before lecturing ... during his stay he suffered much from neuralgia,
which interfered with his rest by night." These few words as to the
state of my father's health will give us some idea of the strain upon
him in all these stormy scenes, added to the anxiety of earning his
living. A comparison of dates will show that many of these episodes ran
concurrently, although I am obliged to tell them separately for the
sake of clearness. I take these incidents in order of their origin; but
while one was passing through its different stages others began and
ended. In addition to these more important struggles, there was also
many a small matter which as yet I have left untouched. All this must
be borne in mind by readers of these pages who wish to get a clear idea
of Mr Bradlaugh's life. My pen, unfortunately, can only set down one
thing at a time, though careful reading can fill in the picture.

The prohibition at Devonport Park was merely a sort of prologue; the
real drama was to come, and the first act was played exactly three
months later. Mr Bradlaugh had, as he said, determined "to do better at
some future time;" with this end in view he set aside a fortnight early
in March, to be devoted to the conquest of Plymouth, and the campaign
opened on Sunday the 3rd.

A field known as the "Parson's Field," or "Parsonage Field,"
adjoining Devonport Park, was hired in February for "two lectures by
a representative of the Plymouth and Devonport Secular Society," for
the first two Sundays in March. Accordingly, about half-past two on
the afternoon of Sunday the 3rd, Mr Bradlaugh went thither accompanied
by two friends, Mr Steed and Mr John Williamson. He took his place
upon a gravel heap, and was just about to speak, when he was informed
that the police were coming into the field, and on looking round he
saw Mr Edwards (the Superintendent), Mr Inspector Bryant, and several
constables. Mr Edwards forbade him to proceed with his lecture, saying
that he had authority to remove him from the field. Mr Bradlaugh
answered that he had given way in Devonport Park because he was then
uncertain as to his rights; now the Superintendent had no right to
interfere; he had an agreement with the owner of the field; he was the
tenant, and there he should remain unless he was removed by force. He
thereupon turned to the audience and commenced his lecture with these
words: "Friends, I am about to address you on the Bible----." His
speech was here brought to an abrupt conclusion, for, acting under the
orders of the Superintendent, he was seized by six policemen,[59] of
whom he said:--

[Footnote 59: It is not without interest to note the number of police
that were always employed when there was any question of forcibly
removing Mr Bradlaugh. The Devonport superintendent contented himself
with six. Twenty years later the House of Commons employed fourteen--at
least, I am told that it was eleven policemen and three messengers.]

 "Two attended to each arm, the remaining two devoting themselves
 to the rear of my person. One, D. 19, I should think had served an
 apprenticeship at garrotting, by the peculiar manner in which he
 handled my neck. Our friends around were naturally indignant, so that
 I had the threefold task to perform of pacifying my friends to prevent
 a breach of the peace, of keeping my own temper, and yet of exerting
 my own physical strength sufficiently to show the police that I would
 not permit a continuance of excessive violence. In fact, I was obliged
 to explain that I possessed the will to knock one or two of them down,
 and the ability to enforce that will, before I could get anything like
 reasonable treatment."

D. 19 in particular made himself very objectionable; twice Mr Bradlaugh
asked him to remove his hand from the inside of his collar, but D.
19 would not, so at length he had to shake him off. When the six
policemen, aided by their Superintendent and Inspector, succeeded in
getting Mr Bradlaugh out of the field, Inspector Bryant told him to go
about his business. He replied, "My business here to-day is to lecture;
if you let me go, I shall go back to the field." The Superintendent
said that in that case he would take him to the Station-house. Mr
Bradlaugh, who was all this time bareheaded in the keen air of early
March, asked for his hat. Mr Williamson stepped forward to hand it to
him, but was pushed roughly aside by the police, and Mr Bradlaugh did
not get his hat till later.

At the Police Station he was detained for some time whilst the question
of bail was under discussion. This was twice refused, once on the
ground that there was no power to accept bail on a Sunday; and after
being subjected to the indignity of being searched, Mr Bradlaugh was
taken into an underground stone cell, without fire, light, chair,
or stool. In the cell there was "a straw palliasse, with a strange
looking rug and one sheet." This cell, it afterwards transpired, had
not been used for two years. In this dungeon-like place he was kept
for four and a-half hours, from half-past four until nine o'clock on
an evening in the beginning of March. At this hour the Superintendent
allowed him the luxury of a stone corridor in which there was a fire;
he was placed here in charge of a policemen, and also allowed the
company of Mr Steer, a Freethinker, who had attended the meeting and
had been taken into custody on a charge of assaulting Mr Edwards while
"in the execution of his duty." Mr Bradlaugh was at the outset charged
with inciting to a breach of the peace, but on Monday was also further
charged with an assault upon Mr Edwards. In the morning he and Mr Steer
were brought up, like felons, through a trap-door into the prisoner's
dock. Their appearance in court was greeted with a hearty burst of
cheering, which the magistrates (of whom there were not less than nine
upon the bench) tried in vain to suppress. The Court was very full, and
such a great crowd had assembled outside the Guildhall, previous to the
opening of the doors, that the Mayor (J. W. W. Ryder, Esq.) decided
that the Court ordinarily used for police business was too small, and
that the case should be heard in the large hall. The case was opened
by Mr Little, of the firm of Messrs Little and Woolcombe, on behalf
of the plaintiff, Mr Superintendent Edwards. After he had recited the
charges, he said he was instructed by the magnanimous Edwards that he
had no desire "to press strongly against the parties, if they would
make a promise not again to make an attack upon public morals." Once or
twice during the progress of the case, Mr Bradlaugh came into collision
with Mr Bone, the magistrate's clerk, but on the whole he carried his
points fairly easily. The case lasted the whole day right into the
evening, and was adjourned to Friday the 8th to give Mr Bradlaugh time
to procure evidence. He and Mr Steer were bound over in their own
recognizances of £20 each.

The Court was again crowded on Friday, every part of the building being
crammed, and the spectators included several dissenting ministers of
various denominations. When Mr Bradlaugh made his appearance in the
dock he was, as before, greeted with tremendous and repeated cheering.
The magistrate's clerk got quite excited, and called out again and
again, "You ought to be ashamed of yourselves." The Mayor commanded the
police to keep their eyes on the persons guilty of such manifestations,
and to take them into custody if necessary. During the course of the
proceedings he gave this order several times in one form or another,
and succeeded in provoking a considerable burst of laughter, as
occasionally nearly every person in Court was cheering or hissing
according to his sentiments, and the Superintendent could hardly have
afforded six constables to capture each disturber. However, at my
father's request, his friends ceased to cheer. The charge against Mr
Bradlaugh was dismissed without hearing the whole of the evidence for
the defence.[60] The magistrates found Mr Steer guilty, but said that
they did not consider the assault to have been of a severe character,
and therefore fined him only 5s. and costs, not to include attorney's
costs. Of course, the question of religious belief was raised on
the swearing of the witnesses for the defence, but the only two who
were questioned happened to be religious persons--one, indeed, was an
"Independent Nonconformist," who was on his way to chapel, and was
attracted to the field by the crowd and the presence of the police. On
the following day (March 9th) notices were served by the authorities,
representing the War Department in Devonport, on the Plymouth
Freethinkers and others concerned, forbidding the use of the Park for
the purpose of lectures; Mr Bradlaugh therefore lectured on Sunday[61]
in the Free Institute, while he turned over in his mind a plan for the
following Sunday (17th). He announced to his audience that he intended
to lecture "very near the Park," but the precise spot would not be made
known until it was too late for the police to interfere.

[Footnote 60: The descriptions of Mr Bradlaugh which appeared in some
of the Devonshire papers, and the opinions expressed in them, are
rather amusing to read now, so many years after they were written. The
_Devonport Telegraph_ said that Mr Bradlaugh was twenty-eight years of
age, and his cross-examinations were such "as would have done credit to
an able barrister."

The _Western Morning News_ said that he was "apparently about
thirty-four years of age, and 5 ft. 10 ins. in height, is stoutly
built, of a sallow complexion, and his countenance is adorned with
neither whiskers nor moustache. He possesses intelligent features,
and a commanding forehead, and he wears his hair brushed behind his
ears.... His examination of the witnesses was conducted with facility
and with much regularity.... He sustained his equanimity of temper in
an admirable manner."

The _Devonport Independent_, referring to the presence in Court of
the various dissenting ministers and others, said "they could not
help admiring his [Mr Bradlaugh's] remarkable precision, his calm and
collected demeanour, and the ability with which he 'conducted his own
case' as well as that of his friend.... He is about twenty-eight years
of age, slight, and of a fair complexion, above the ordinary height,
and bearing the impress of an intelligent countenance."

The _Plymouth Mail_ thought "the infidel lecturer Bradlaugh and his
friend Steer got off easily."

The _Western Daily Mercury_ gave very full reports of the trial, and
under the heading "Scandala Magnata" wrote a condemnation of the
prosecution. It also inserted a number of letters on both sides:
one, from "an old subscriber," who described himself as "the father
of a family and lover of the truths of Scripture," wished that
the inhabitants had "routed the wicked man Bradlaugh out of the
neighbourhood," and expressed a desire that the Government should
punish the dockyard men who co-operated with Bradlaugh.]

[Footnote 61: Meanwhile the Park was occupied by the military and the
police in readiness to clear away the "infidels" should they appear.]


Bills were posted to the following effect:--

 "In consequence of advice received, 'Iconoclast' will deliver an
 open-air address on Sunday forenoon, and will be present near the
 Devonport Park Lodge about half-past ten in order to vindicate the
 right of free speech."

Considerable excitement prevailed in Plymouth. Some thought that,
in spite of the notice from the War Office representatives, the
lecture was to be given in the Park itself; others thought a certain
three-cornered field had been hired. All were wrong; private ground
could not be had for love or money, the owners and renters of all such
having joined the police and the clergy; vacant land belonging to the
borough was also out of the question, because my father felt that to
have lectured on such ground must have resulted in a collision with
the police, and might have ended disastrously for some of his friends.
Mr Bradlaugh, Mr Williamson, and Captain Trenaman consulted together,
and--who originated the idea I do not know--after ascertaining that
all the water was under the jurisdiction of the Saltash Corporation,
it was resolved to give the lecture from a boat in such a way that
while the audience were in the borough of Devonport, the speaker, only
a few yards distant from his hearers, should be outside the Devonport
jurisdiction.

"On Sunday morning, unfortunately, it rained in torrents and blew great
gales," lamented Mr Bradlaugh, in a brief description of the day's
adventures. "We, however, determined to persevere, and on arriving
near the Devonport Park Lodge I soon found myself at the head of a
considerable number, who, despite the rain and the wind, followed me
to Stonehouse Creek, a small tributary of the river Tamar, where I
embarked on board the boat previously hired, and on which we erected
a sort of platform from which I delivered a short address, the union
jack being hoisted at the head of the boat. Directly after I had
commenced to speak, Mr Superintendent Edwards made his appearance, and
certainly looked most disconsolate when he found the plan I had adopted
to avoid his vigilance. As it was still raining very hard, I made my
address a very brief one, telling the people that I was very glad of
the opportunity of asserting the right of free speech, and promising to
assert it again when I next visited Devonport. I was cheered several
times notwithstanding the still descending torrent. Mr Edwards, who
had nearly captured the cab containing my wife, had under his command
no less than twenty-eight policemen besides Inspector Bryant, and the
Mayor was prepared with the Riot Act; but all their precautions were
set at naught, and the right of open-air propaganda was victoriously
asserted. Mr Superintendent Edwards, with scarcely bottled up ire and
indignation, endeavoured to find a victim in the licensed waterman, but
even here he was defeated, as Captain Trenaman had taken his own crew."

Mr Bradlaugh concluded his account by thanking the friends who had
helped him "and the bold Trenamans, father and son, who commanded
under me my first marine endeavour at Freethought propaganda."
Immediately after the conclusion of the police proceedings Mr Bradlaugh
wrote a letter to Superintendent Edwards demanding that he should
publish an apology in certain papers and pay £10 to the Devon and
Cornwall Hospital, £10 to the Stoke Female Orphan Asylum, and his (Mr
Bradlaugh's) witnesses' expenses; but the messenger who delivered the
letter was informed by Edwards that he would take no notice of the
communication, but would consign it to the wastepaper basket. In fact,
all the written reply that Edwards did make was of the shortest and
curtest; it consisted merely of these words: "I beg to acknowledge
the receipt of your letter of this morning." After such a letter, my
father put the matter into the hands of his solicitor, who laid it
before counsel for advice, with the result that legal proceedings were
commenced against Mr Edwards for assault and false imprisonment.

A little later at a meeting of the Devonport Town Council the Watch
Committee reported that they had instructed the Town Clerk to take
measures for Mr Edwards' defence, and asked the Council's approval of
what they had done. After considerable discussion twenty-eight persons
voted for the adoption of the report and two against. The names of
those voting were formally taken down, and it is rather curious to find
that at least four members of the Council who voted that the Town of
Devonport should undertake the expense and conduct of the defence of
the Police Superintendent, had sat upon the Bench and decided against
him without troubling my father to go through the whole of his case. In
their capacity as magistrates they were compelled by the evidence to
find him wrong: as Town Councillors they allowed their prejudices full
scope, and voted that the borough of Devonport should find money to
support the Superintendent in his defence of what they themselves had
agreed were wrongful acts.

The case against Mr Superintendent Edwards came on at the Devon Lammas
Assizes at Exeter, before Mr Baron Channell, on Monday, July 29th. The
reports[62] say that

 "the Court was crowded, great interest being excited in the case. Many
 ladies were present, and nearly the whole of the briefless barristers
 on the circuit seemed roused from their ordinary drowsy dulness into
 something like life and activity. The case lasted from ten in the
 forenoon until nine in the evening, and was tried before a special
 jury."

[Footnote 62: _National Reformer_, the _Western Morning News_, and
_Western Daily Mercury_.]

Unfortunately, Mr Bradlaugh made one great and irreparable blunder.
Instead of conducting the case himself, he allowed himself to be
persuaded into briefing counsel, Mr Robert Collier, Q.C., M.P., and
Mr Cole. The nature of this blunder, and its importance before a
special jury in a cathedral city, may be realised by reading a few
words of comment from a hostile leader on the case which appeared in
the _Western Morning News_ for July 31st. This journal, which was
so unfriendly towards my father's cause as to aver that the devout
Christian looked "to the State to keep the Queen's highway free from
Atheist lecturers and infidel propagandists," nevertheless stated in
the most distinct fashion that "the counsel for the plaintiff was far
more anxious to assert his own orthodoxy than his client's rights." And
with this opinion I think most people will agree who read the Counsel's
speech for the defence; not, however, that I intend to give the whole
of Mr Collier's speech, because it is at once too long, and it goes
over ground with which we are already familiar; still, I will quote a
few of his expressions to prove that I am not judging him too hardly.
Almost in the opening words of his speech Mr Collier said: "I am
informed that Mr Bradlaugh desired to deliver a lecture or a sermon--I
hardly know which." This was pure prevarication, as the utmost pains
had been taken to give Mr Collier the whole facts of the case. A little
later he stated:--

 "Mr Bradlaugh belonged to a Society called the 'Secular Society.'
 Now I have never heard of the Society until this, nor did I ever
 hear of 'Iconoclast' before.... I really don't know what their [the
 Secularists'] tenets are, but I believe they are connected in some way
 with the Unitarians."

This assertion was so monstrous that it immediately brought forth a
letter of repudiation from the Rev. Henry Knott, Unitarian Minister of
Plymouth; although, to do this gentleman justice, he said he believed
that the Secularists were themselves "much too honest to wish to
identify themselves with a body of Christians who have frequently
opposed them in fair and open controversy." Mr Collier then wrote
a letter to the Rev. Henry Knott in reply, regretting that he had
misrepresented the Unitarians, and saying further:--

 "As to the 'Secularists,' I had never heard of them until I had
 received the brief in 'Bradlaugh _v._ Edwards.' I have since
 ascertained, however, that they are a considerable sect; so much so,
 that I wonder that I had not heard of them. _I was informed that a
 portion of them was connected with the Unitarians_, and therefore
 supposed that a portion of them acknowledged the Divine origin of
 Christianity; _if I was misinformed_, I am very sorry for it."

The italics are mine; and if Mr Collier meant to imply that he received
this information from his client or his attorney--the only persons
from whom he should have received information bearing on the conduct
of this case--he still further dishonoured himself, because the
utmost candour was shown him in laying the facts before him, and most
assuredly no such statement as that quoted could have been made to him
by sane men who knew the facts.

But to return to Mr Collier's speech. I will give just two more
quotations, and then leave it:--

 "I should be extremely sorry," he said, "if I were understood, as
 the advocate of Mr Bradlaugh or anybody else, as for one moment
 defending any circulation, either by printing or by word of mouth, of
 anything libellous, seditious, or blasphemous.... If Mr Bradlaugh had
 been permitted to preach, and if he had preached anything improper,
 blasphemous, or seditious, I should not have complained of the
 superintendent; on the contrary, I should praise him if he had taken
 the proper measures for bringing him before a court of justice."

 "I will conclude," he further said, "with this remark, that I cannot
 help thinking that if the doctrines of this Secular Society, or any
 other Society, are preached, which you and I and all of us may think
 pernicious, by far the best thing is to let them alone. 'Truth is
 great and will prevail,' and we need not fear that the foundation of
 our religion will be shaken by a thousand Bradlaughs; and I cannot
 think of anything so pernicious and likely to prevent that very object
 we seek to accomplish, and to elevate persons such as these from
 obscurity into fame, as by making them unjustly martyrs. I cannot
 help thinking that the superintendent of the police, although acting
 from the very best motives, was acting with very great haste and
 indiscretion."

If Mr Collier had been briefed by the other side also, he could hardly
have made a more equivocal speech; and it will be easily understood
how much it was likely to prejudice both the judge and jury against a
man whose opinions were so well known, and who had made no pretence of
concealing them. The defence made every effort to avail themselves of
the _odium theologicum_ when it came to Mr Bradlaugh's turn to take
his place in the witness-box. Mr Montagu Smith, Q.C., counsel for the
defence, wished to cross-examine Mr Bradlaugh on some former lectures
in which he expressed his disbelief in the Bible; Mr Collier objected;
Mr Smith persisted; Baron Channell then allowed the question, taking
note of Mr Collier's objection; Mr Smith again put his question, and my
father replied: "I object to answer that question on the ground that
if I answer it in the affirmative it will subject me to a criminal
prosecution." Then came a little scene, which will strike those
who have been in the law courts with Mr Bradlaugh as by no means
unfamiliar:--

 "His Lordship then asked for the Act of Parliament, and

 "The Plaintiff immediately replied: It is the 53rd William III.
 Archbold recites the statute.

 "His Lordship and the learned counsel were then engaged in finding
 it; and after having spent some time in vain, the plaintiff asked for
 a book, and on its being presented to him, he immediately found the
 statute in question, which he handed to his lordship. The learned
 judge then read it to the counsel, and said, this statute only applies
 to those educated in or making profession of Christianity. In answer
 to his question,

 "The Plaintiff said: I was educated according to the Church of England.

 "His Lordship: I allow the objection, witness claims exemption, and he
 is entitled to it."

Six times Mr Montagu Smith put similar questions to Mr Bradlaugh,
and six times Mr Bradlaugh answered him in the same words. In his
summing-up the judge, Mr Baron Channell, seemed determined not to
be outdone by Mr Collier in evoking the religious prejudices of
the jury. From Mr Smith, for the defence, such conduct was in some
degree pardonable, even if not altogether in accordance with ordinary
un-Christian notions of strict honour; but in Mr Collier, counsel for
the plaintiff, and Mr Baron Channell, presiding over what was supposed
to be a Court of Justice, it was unpardonable. His Lordship regretted
"that the constitution of the plaintiff's mind was such as to render
him unable to believe in those great truths which afforded so much
comfort and satisfaction to others; the notion of going about and
delivering lectures on those views he considered fraught with mischief
and calculated to produce the greatest possible evil," while he further
enlarged upon the "wickedness of disseminating such opinions."

After the summing-up of this just judge the jury gave a verdict for
the plaintiff, with one farthing damages. The evidence was so strong,
and some of the witnesses for the defence were so extravagant and
unsatisfactory, that in spite of their prejudices the jury could not
do other than decide in Mr Bradlaugh's favour; but they did it as
grudgingly as they could, and recorded their animus in the "damages"
they awarded. On the following morning Mr Baron Channell carried this
a step further, and when Mr Collier made the formal application for the
plaintiff's costs he refused to certify.

In spite of all the prejudice roused against him, Mr Bradlaugh met with
considerable sympathy from the press, from foes[63] as well as friends.

[Footnote 63: The _Western Times_ (Exeter, August 3rd), _a hostile
paper_, said: "The plaintiff certainly established his case, and the
verdict was on the face of it ridiculous." "The religious feelings of
the jury neutralized the spirit of the law by the ridiculous 'damages'
which they awarded for his wrongs."

The _Morning Star_ (August 2nd) had a most indignant article,
condemning such a verdict "as a flagrant denial and mockery of
justice." The _Bradford Review_ was courageously outspoken, and urged
that a new trial should be moved for.

In a leaderette the _Weekly Dispatch_ (August 4th) thought that this
Devonshire dealing was altogether a scene for Spain rather than for
England, and condemned Mr Collier's conduct of the case. In the
following issue _Publicola_ had a long article on the proceedings, in
which he deplored "that such an institution as that of trial by jury,
to which we are indebted for magnificent assertions of political right
and freedom, which, generally speaking, is a safeguard against social
injury, should, by the conduct described, become a portion of the
machinery of persecution."

_Punch_ (August 10th) joined in its voice, and published a flippant
article on "A Short Way with Secularists," in which it tells the
story of the seizure of "that fellow Bradlaugh, who calls himself
Iconoclast," and hailed with mock delight the advent of the "orthodox
reaction." Said _Punch_, "The magistrates becoming judges of
controversy, and the policemen forcing their decrees, the office
of justice of the peace will become a holy office indeed, and the
constabulary will rise into familiars of a British Inquisition."

Not the least remarkable article appeared in the Catholic _Tablet_ for
August 3rd. It speaks of the arrest and imprisonment of Mr Bradlaugh as
"frightful persecution," and says: "His legal rights have been violated
by the police, and a jury of British Protestants have refused him
redress, because his interpretation of the Scriptures is different from
theirs. Either that is religious persecution or there is no such thing."

In 1861 the English Roman Catholics regarded Mr Bradlaugh as a weak
and (to them) harmless unit, and they affected to espouse his cause
as a weapon against their deadly enemies, the Protestants. What a
change in less than twenty years to the time when "Henry Edward,
Cardinal-Archbishop," and Prince of the Church of Rome, thought it
necessary, with his own powerful hand, to write protest after protest
in the _Nineteenth Century_, against Mr Bradlangh being allowed to take
his seat in the Commons House at Westminster! What a change from 1861
to 1882, when this same great prelate thought it necessary to pay a
formal visit in solemn state to the town of Northampton itself to use
his mighty influence to turn the electors against "this poor Secular
Iconoclast," as the _Tablet_ once called him.]

Mr Bradlaugh was not the man to remain content with such an
unsatisfactory verdict, and accordingly he moved for a new trial.
The motion was heard in the Court of Common Pleas, Westminster, on
November 4th and 5th of the same year, before the Lord Chief Justice,
Sir William Erle, and the Justices Williams, Byles, and Keating.
Mr Bradlaugh asked for a new trial on the grounds of misdirection,
improper rejection of evidence tendered by the plaintiff, improper
reception of evidence tendered by the defendant; and that the verdict
was a perverse one and against evidence. After reciting the course of
the trial at Exeter, he pointed out that in that trial he "laboured
under a double disadvantage, not only in having all the jury selected
from the county [of Devon], where there was great feeling existing in
the matter, but that they were selected from among men who had to pay
the costs in the action,[64] and who would have to pay further damages
and costs if in my favour, which a verdict of the jury would have given
me."

[Footnote 64: This refers to the decision of the Devonport Town
Council.]

After a lengthy discussion, in which all the judges took active part,
the Lord Chief Justice said that they would consult "brother Channell"
before they gave their answer.

Judgment was given the following day. The rule was refused, and the
plaintiff insulted. Said Lord Chief Justice Erle--

 "I know not in the least what are the opinions of the plaintiff that
 he was bent upon publishing; all that I am certain of is that there
 are opinions which are most pernicious. There are opinions which are
 in law a crime, and which every man ought--that is, every man of sound
 sense and generally esteemed of sound sense, would generally consider
 to be wrong. I do not know what these opinions are, but there are such
 opinions. If the plaintiff wanted to use his liberty for the purpose
 of disseminating opinions which were in reality of that pernicious
 description, and the defendant prevented him from doing that which
 might be a very pernicious act to those who heard him, and if the
 estimate I have mentioned be the true one, might be a matter he might
 afterwards deeply regret, it might be that the jury thought the act of
 imprisonment of the plaintiff under such circumstances was in reality
 not an injury for which a large money compensation ought to be paid,
 but on the contrary was an act which in its real substantial result
 was beneficial to the plaintiff, and so the nominal wrong would be
 abundantly compensated by the small sum given."[65]

[Footnote 65: Shorthand report.]

The other judges concurred with their leader, Mr Justice Keating
making a yet further addition to the remarkable record of intolerant
utterances in this case.

 "I think," said he, "that questions should be put within a certain
 limit to the witness as to his opinion and belief, and that it is
 right the jury should have an opportunity of judging either from his
 answer or from his refusal to answer--should have an opportunity to
 form their own sentiment of the credibility to be attached to it [the
 evidence]."

This judgment, and even more the bigotry apparent throughout the
judgment, was a great blow to Mr Bradlaugh, and he appealed against
the decision. The appeal came on before the very same four judges
on the following Friday (November 8). In spite of his most eloquent
pleading--in which he was repeatedly interrupted by the Lord Chief
Justice--the rule was refused; the Lord Chief Justice kept religiously
(I use the word advisedly) to his already expressed opinion that a
witness "is by implication discredited by his refusal to answer;" and
that he could see no "intentional violation of right;" he further
clinched the matter by saying that "in the present instance there is
nothing which could induce me to interfere."

These proceedings did their work in helping to form public opinion in
favour of free speech, but they cost my father several hundreds of
pounds, and burdened him with a debt which took long to clear off.



CHAPTER XVIII.

"KILL THE INFIDEL."


In the month of January, 1861, Mr Stephen Bendall was charged by Mr
Nicholas Le Mesurier, a constable of St Peter Port, Guernsey, with
having upon several occasions in the month before distributed printed
papers calculated to bring the Christian religion into contempt and
ridicule. The Court sentenced Mr Bendall to give bail in the sum of £20
not to distribute any such tracts during the space of twelve months,
or in default to be imprisoned for a fortnight. That the sentence took
so lenient a form was doubtless in some measure due to the enlightened
remarks of one of the jurats, a Mr Tupper, who warned his colleagues
that they should be "very careful not to countenance persecution on the
ground of religion, for if we entered upon that course we could not
tell where we should stop." Whether he did not feel himself altogether
strong enough to oppose the prevailing temper of the bench, or from
whatever reason, Mr Tupper did not propose an acquittal, but suggested
the above bail, which the Court after some consultation accepted, with
the alternative of a fortnight's imprisonment. The Queen's Procureur
had asked that Mr Bendall should be imprisoned for a fortnight, "three
days in each week solitary and on bread and water, and afterwards to
give security in the sum of £50 not to distribute any of the tracts
during the next twelve months, or quit the island."

This being the state of affairs in the island of Guernsey as to the
freedom of opinion, and, moreover, as some of the tracts distributed
appear to have been written by Mr Bradlaugh himself, it is not
surprising to find the following notice amongst my father's lecture
engagements in the next issue of the _National Reformer_:--

 "February 26th, 27th, 28th--Guernsey. Specially to settle the
 question, Will the authorities put in force the laws against
 blasphemy?"

An advertisement was sent to the _Guernsey Mail_, but that paper not
only ostentatiously declined to insert it, but thought fit to make
a public declaration of its own virtue. The subject of the proposed
"Infidel lectures" was to be an endeavour to prove that the Bible is
not a revelation from an all-perfect Deity; and this the editor of the
_Guernsey Mail_ chose to construe as the admission of the existence of
a God; and upon this glaringly false premise he built quite a series
of astonishingly childish arguments in proof of the wickedness of Mr
Bradlaugh and Atheists generally. Then, apparently quite satisfied as
to the effect of what he had written, he took it "for granted that, if
the Assembly Rooms are really to be applied to Infidel purposes, no
decent person, rich or poor, old or young, will give his countenance or
notice their intention save to dissuade the unwary from lending an ear."

On the Sunday Mr Bradlaugh was lecturing in Sheffield, but he left for
London by the night train, and arrived at Guernsey on Tuesday morning
about half-past eight. On the pier Mr Bendall was awaiting him with
some anxiety.

"His anxiety," Mr Bradlaugh relates, "was partly occasioned by the
knowledge that some preparations had been made to welcome me with
a royal salute of rotten eggs. One Christian lady, I was credibly
informed, had subscribed for the purpose of providing me with this
savoury donation." In spite, however, of all rumours to the contrary,
"the landing was effected without opposition, and I walked into
Guernsey without even a word. Many eyes were directed towards me,
and greater curiosity could scarcely have been evinced had I been a
red-buttoned mandarin of a tritailed Pasha."[66]

[Footnote 66: _National Reformer_, March 9, 1861.]

My father had already thrown down the gauntlet by the circulation of
a handbill addressed to the Procureur, to the clergy (especially of
the Methodist New Connection, who had been particularly prominent in
the proceedings against Mr Bendall), and to the Guernsey public. In
this handbill he stated his intention to lecture on the Bible in the
Assembly Rooms, which had been engaged for the 27th and 28th for that
purpose, and invited free and fair discussion upon his lecture. To
this declaration of defiance he signed his name and gave his address
in full. Mr Bradlaugh's first visit was to the Assembly Rooms, for the
proprietors had yielded to the virtuous displeasure of the _Guernsey
Mail_ and the bigoted section of the community, and had withdrawn from
their contract without giving any reason. On Mr Bradlaugh's application
he was informed that the proprietors did not intend to give any reason.
No printer would print bills, and no crier would make announcement
of the tabooed lectures. These were small difficulties, however, for
which my father was not altogether unprepared, and he had therefore
with him bills already printed; he had the bills, it is true, but now
came another difficulty--no bill poster would post them! "Under these
circumstances," he tells us, "Mr Bendall and myself sallied forth,
armed with a pastepot, brush, and ladder, and by the aid of the moon
succeeded in affixing our notices to the wall in a manner which would
have done credit to a professional bill-poster." He then addressed
letters to the prosecutors in Mr Bendall's case; these included a
Methodist minister, a local preacher, a missionary, and the Harbour
Master, Captain Le Mesurier. He also sent letters to the Bailiff and
the ten jurats of the island; and to these last he further sent three
of his pamphlets.

What happened on the following days I am fortunately able to tell
in Mr Bradlaugh's own words, for he gave a vivid description of his
adventures in the _National Reformer_. He wrote: "During the Wednesday
the excitement increased. On the walls some one had chalked 'Down with
the Infidles,' 'Away with the Infidles;' perhaps the writer thought
that I was a species of musical instrument, or it may be a Guernsey
fashion to spell infidel differently from ourselves. Two immense
boards, on which we had affixed a prominent notice of the meeting, were
carried off from the doors of the Hotel de l'Europe, and recaptured
with some difficulty. Near the hour of the lecture the whole of the
street was crowded with people, but the room was only about half full,
the multitude being apparently afraid to enter.... Directly I began
to speak the room filled, and was soon crowded to excess, as were the
bottom of the stairs and the passage. Many had to retire unable to gain
admittance. At the same time that I commenced my lecture a terrific
uproar was initiated in the streets; yells, hootings, groanings were
raised which would do credit even to ignorant Wigan Orangemen, and at
last a battering was commenced against the window shutters; so terrible
was the din that, after speaking for twenty minutes, I determined to
endeavour to put an end to it, and asked the persons present to kindly
keep their places in the room while I quelled the riot outside. Many
entreated me not to go, assuring me that my personal safety would be
endangered; but I thought it best to go, and I went out alone, and
found to my disgust that a huge mob, many of whom were respectably
dressed, were encouraging some lads to break in the shutters with
stones. I walked deliberately forward, and the lads ran away from their
work. One stone was thrown which passed near my forehead, and the
whole mass of men, women, and children set up a tremendous cry, part
groan, part shriek, part yell, which must have lasted at least three
minutes without the slightest lull. Half deafened by the clamour, I
respectfully bowed, and mentally calculated the effect of sea air in
strengthening the lungs of those cowards, who actually fell back step
by step as I walked alone towards them." Desisting at length from what
seemed a futile attempt to quiet the noisy multitude, Mr Bradlaugh
returned to the lecture room and resumed his discourse. His attempt at
securing peace without was not so wasted as it had at first seemed, for
the noise grew less and less, until it ceased altogether. He lectured
for an hour and a half, and then publicly distributed a hundred of the
condemned tracts, challenging the island authorities to proceed against
him. On going out he found the mob very threatening; they "followed me
to my lodgings," he said, "hooting and yelling, and shouting 'Kill the
Infidel!' 'Murder the Infidel!'"

By the next day the excitement had greatly increased; it was said that
the quay porters had been incited to violence, and certainly several of
them were found collected outside the Hotel de l'Europe well plied with
drink. The narrow street in which the Hotel was situated was crowded by
an infuriated mass of persons, and Mr Bradlaugh had great difficulty
in making his way to the lecture room. His audience was large, and
composed of respectable persons, who listened quietly and attentively
to his discourse. They were, however, only allowed to remain in peace
for about twenty minutes, for at the end of that time the outside mob
became ungovernable, and dashing in the plate glass doors, broke into
the house, and for a few moments stopped the proceedings. "Several
of those, who had been made drunk for the occasion," continued my
father, "I had great difficulty in expelling from the room; and this
difficulty was increased by the addition of half-a-dozen soldiers who,
strange to say, had been provided with passes to enable them to take
part in the disturbance. Notwithstanding, I persevered in my lecture
for about half-an-hour longer, although the exertion required on my
part to control the riotous assemblage was of no ordinary character.
The bulk of the respectable persons seemed highly indignant at the
treatment to which I was subjected, and begged me not to risk my life
amongst the excited multitude outside. An attempt was now made to turn
out the gas, and considerable damage was done to the chairs and forms.
I determined despite all to brave the riot, although shouts of 'Kill
the Infidel,' 'Pitch the Infidel into the sea,' were heard on every
side. My size aided me; the mob were as cowardly as they were noisy;
and none liked to be the first in the projected assault. The soldiery
now seemed inclined to co-operate in the endeavour to offer violence,
and the consequence might have been serious to all concerned had it not
been for the shrewdness of Madame Laval, the proprietress of the hotel,
who, finding it useless to oppose my determination to face the mob,
coolly pretended to show me a better way out of the hotel, and ushered
me into a dark room, and locked me up for a couple of hours until the
excitement had subsided. On Friday morning I quitted the island by the
boat for Southampton; the pier was crowded, and on my appearance a few
began to hiss, but ceased the moment I walked towards them. When the
boat began to start, the cowardly fellows (knowing that I could not
then return), headed by and instigated thereto by Captain Le Mesurier,
the Harbour Master, an old gentleman whose appearance should have
bespoken better conduct, hissed and yelled with a persistence which
would have done credit to a nobler cause."

The local press endorsed the conduct of the "indignant population"
in their treatment of Mr Bradlaugh by calling it "an act of natural
justice," but the local authorities made no attempt at prosecution.
In consequence of the damage done to the hall, the expenses were
considerable, and receipts there were none; but as Mr Bradlaugh wrote
later on, this was only one of thirty-two lectures given in the first
six months of the year 1861 in which he incurred loss in "extending
Freethought propaganda into new districts."



CHAPTER XIX.

PROVINCIAL ADVENTURES, 1860-1863.


In addition to the more serious opposition which Mr Bradlaugh
encountered at such places as Wigan, Devonport, and Guernsey, there
were countless smaller "incidents" constantly occurring, some
unpleasant, others merely ludicrous. I have noted a few for these
pages; of these, perhaps, the greater number may be thought of minor
importance, but at least they will serve to show the kind of reception
given to heretical opinions in the provinces five-and-thirty years ago.

At Altrincham, one Sunday, early in June 1860, my father had engaged
to deliver two open-air addresses. Several highly religious persons
openly indulged in the fond wish that it might rain hard on Hale Moss;
and as if in direct response to their prayers, "the lightning flashed,
thunder pealed, and the rain poured down in torrents." The lightning
struck a public-house chimney and did considerable damage generally.
The clergyman of St Margaret's, Altrincham, foolishly hoped that this
would prove a warning to people to keep away from Infidel lectures.
Mr Bradlaugh's comment on this was, that it was "a curious warning to
strike a public-house with electricity to frighten people from hearing
the address of a teetotal Infidel." In any case, the "warning" was not
a very thoroughgoing one, for the storm cleared, and in the evening
there was a large and attentive audience. A few months later, Mr
Bradlaugh was again lecturing in Altrincham, and without the help of a
single placard 1000 persons attended in the afternoon, and rather more
in the evening. At the end of the evening lecture a police sergeant
came forward and announced to my father that he was obstructing a
thoroughfare, and must therefore "move on." "Legally he may be right,"
said Mr Bradlaugh afterwards, "but if it is a thoroughfare, grass
grows upon it; it is almost impassable for horse and cart, and is a
direct route to nowhere. My lecture, however, being over, I bowed to
the majesty of the law, as represented by Z 1, and only hope that the
police will always wait, in like manner, till the conclusion of the
proceedings before saying 'move on.'"

In August "Iconoclast" had arranged to visit the village of Shaw. The
prospect created great excitement in the district, which was further
worked up by the _Oldham Standard_ inserting letters of attack but
refusing reply; there was even a rumour that force would be used to
prevent the lectures. No room could be obtained, and so the address had
to be delivered in the open air. Mr Bradlaugh had scarcely commenced
to speak when a Royton Police Sergeant called roughly to him to come
down:--

 ICONOCLAST: "Why?"

 SERGEANT: "Never you mind why! Come down, or I will pull you
 down."

 ICONOCLAST: "You may try if you like, and one of us may come
 down, but I do not think I shall be that one."

The police sergeant was sadly bothered; he tried again; but Iconoclast
quoted legal authorities.

The poor policeman then consulted with those about him, and finding
bullying of no avail, at length retired, leaving Iconoclast and
his audience in possession of the field. It can hardly be called
"undisturbed" possession however, for the Christians, having been
unsuccessful in the matter of police interference, hired a drum and
other noise-creating instruments, and posted them on some adjacent
private ground; but even in this way they failed to break up the
meeting, as they counted without Mr Bradlaugh's powerful voice and
tenacity of purpose. He persisted to the end, and delivered his lecture
to a most orderly audience of some 800 persons. He visited Shaw several
times during the next twelve months; but although he was still unable
to get a room to speak in, the manners of his Christian opponents
improved on each occasion.

When Mr Bradlaugh was unknown, he often had difficulty in finding a
chairman to preside at his meetings. Sometimes he would proceed without
one, and sometimes one would be elected by the audience. A chairman
so elected, however, would occasionally have comical ideas as to the
duties of his position, and regard the chair merely as a privileged
place, from which he might make hostile comments upon the methods and
manner of the lecturer. In such a case the harmony of the meeting was
better preserved without the assistance of a chairman.

But if it was difficult to get a chairman to preside over the meeting,
it was even more difficult in many places to get a hall in which
the meeting could be held. At Sunderland the hall was refused to Mr
Bradlaugh because it could not be let for "such damnable doctrines."
In Rochdale the Public Hall, although let for week-day lectures, was
refused for Sunday discourses. The Rochdale Freethinkers therefore
hired the theatre; but the police authorities, whose functions seemed
to include "the cure of souls," intimated to the lessee that if he kept
to his contract his licence would be in danger. When this was explained
to Mr Bradlaugh, he gave way, and delivered his lectures in the open
air; in the morning on the Butts to about 3000 persons, in the evening
in a large field near Roebuck to a still larger audience. The only
result, therefore, of this endeavour to shut him out of Rochdale on
the Sunday, was really to procure for him larger and more interested
audiences. In January 1861, Mr Bradlaugh went to Leigh, in Lancashire,
where no Freethought speaker had been for twenty years. The thermometer
was below freezing, and the roads like ice. A menagerie, with real wild
beasts who roared and a real elephant who walked the streets, occupied
the thoughts of the town. But worse than new place, icy weather, or
wonderful menagerie, was the bellman of Leigh. This bellman, wrote
my father sorrowfully, was not "a teetotaller, and had offered up
considerable sacrifices to Bacchus. This course of conduct sadly
interfered with the clearness of his articulation, and to fill the cup
of my misery he had also to announce the loss of a donkey. The two
announcements were so jumbled together that little was distinguishable
except the donkey."[67]

[Footnote 67: C. Bradlaugh in _National Reformer_, Jan. 12, 1861.]

From Leigh Mr Bradlaugh went in the freezing weather to Warrington,
another place in which no Freethought speaker had raised his voice
for a score or more of years, but where the editor of the _Warrington
Guardian_ had been trying to fan some warmth of hate into the
townsfolk. In the issue for January 5th, the editor announced that
there was to be "a most ribald, ignorant, and virulent attack upon the
Holy Scriptures," adding further that Mr Bradlaugh had been lecturing
in the neighbourhood

 "in such a blasphemous manner that the local papers have been utterly
 unable to report his sayings. Surely Warrington has enough of
 temptations to ungodliness without any assistance from stipendiary
 peripatetics, or pickers up of a lazy living, who cover with their
 slime, like noxious reptiles, what they want sense or taste to admire."

It was by such attack upon an as yet unheard man that this Christian
thought to serve the Omnipotent. From insulting Mr Bradlaugh he went
on to abuse the lessee of the Warrington theatre, who had let the
theatre for the lecture, and here his attack proved successful; for in
consequence of the pressure put upon him, the "unfortunate lessee,"
as my father magnanimously called him, felt compelled to close the
theatre. The _Guardian_ triumphantly announced that the lectures would
not be held, but this was somewhat premature. Mr Bradlaugh succeeded
in getting a small room in a back street, and fresh placards were
issued, although it was so late as the night before the lecture.
After delivering two lectures to small but attentive audiences, he
left Warrington between two and three a.m. for Dumfries, with the
thermometer standing at eighteen degrees. There he remained three days,
lecturing each evening, and had fair audiences and a pleasant time,
notwithstanding that this was the first time within the memory of the
"oldest inhabitant" that a Freethought speaker had been to Dumfries.[68]

[Footnote 68: Mr Barker's lecture (p. 121) was a month or two later.]

When his adversaries could find nothing better to say, they would taunt
him with earning money by his lectures, and this sneer was repeated in
every variety of elegant language.[69]

[Footnote 69: A correspondent to the _Oldham Standard_ enjoined upon
his fellow Christians that it was their duty "to root out of our
establishments every one advocating his principles, for the safety of
those committed to our care, and the honour of our God. Let us do this
and 'Iconoclast,' will fall to the ground and never again rise. His
object is to live upon the pence of his deluded hearers, and, after
a time, when he has become old and infirm, to turn round, and by a
recantation of his present teaching worm himself into comfortable bread
as a reclaimed infidel."

The _North Cheshire Herald_, in alluding to some lectures delivered by
Mr Bradlaugh at Hyde, in the summer of 1861, said:--

"In justice to 'Iconoclast,' we must say he possesses great oratorical
powers, and he has, so far as the ignorant are concerned, a very
pleasing way of practising on their gullibility. He is cunning to
a degree, but his object may be seen through without the aid of
spectacles. It is evident that he means money; for when it is known
that he received £5 for using such blasphemous language as would not
be uttered by the very lowest of the 'fallen' class, the fact is
indisputable.... We sincerely hope that God will change his heart, and
that when he is about quitting this sublunary world, he will not be
heard exclaiming, as other infidels have done, 'What shall I do to be
saved?'"]

No sort of insult was too gross for such people to condescend to for
"the honour of our God." In November 1860, Mr Bradlaugh remarked[70]
that "some one who signs himself 'Z' in the _Glossop Record_, but who
is not a wise head, says I have come 'to raise the wind.' He is right.
It will probably blow a severe gale in the Gospel vineyard in Glossop
before we have done with it."

[Footnote 70: In _National Reformer_ of that date.]

In the spring of 1861, Mr Bradlaugh spent two days at Burnley. As here
again no hall could be obtained, his lectures had to be delivered in
the open air, with the usual result, that instead of having an audience
of a few hundred persons, thousands came to listen to his voice.

About the same time, the Market Hall at Chesterfield was hired for
lectures, and afterwards closed against Mr Bradlaugh. The theatre
was then taken, but even here Mr Bradlaugh was obliged to make his
entrance by force. The audiences were, as usual, orderly and attentive,
"notwithstanding the fact that at one lecture the authorities suddenly,
and without any previous intimation, cut off the gas from the main
and plunged the theatre into total darkness."[71] The editor of the
_Derbyshire Times_, in referring to these lectures, exhibited some
confusion of ideas; he thought too much fuss had already been made
"in the matter of that blustering bigot 'Iconoclast,'" and then
proceeded to devote considerable space to him; he thought the Mayor
of Chesterfield was wrong in shutting him out of the theatre, but
considered he himself was wise in "excluding an Infidel controversy"
from the paper. "In my heart," he said, "I pity Iconoclast. One
serious illness would make him a coward." This is a favourite piece
of clap-trap with a certain class of Christians. It may deceive other
Christians--and it is possibly said with that intent--for an Atheist
it has no meaning. As for this, it is sufficient to say that more than
once, more than twice, my father consciously found himself face to face
with death, and on each occasion his mind was perfectly clear and his
brain wonderfully acute. He was full of regrets and full of anxiety;
but his regrets were for his unfinished work; his anxieties were for
those he loved no less than for those who loved him, or were dependent
upon him. For himself, speaking of the near possibility of death with
his doctors, he said, "Ah, well, I cannot grumble; I have lived the
lives of three men; I have burned the candle at both ends, and the
middle as well." He suffered great physical pain, but he never broke
down, and not for a single instant did his courage waver.

[Footnote 71: In _National Reformer_, June 1861.]

At Worksop, at this period, not only could no lecture room be obtained,
but the prejudice in the town was so great that no one had sufficient
courage to go with Mr Bradlaugh to the place of meeting. It rained
all day until close upon the lecture hour, and then he turned out
rather disconsolately to find the appointed place. Under a lamp he
found a bill announcing that that was the spot from which he was
expected to speak, and by the bill there was the welcome sight of a
Sheffield friend. To this audience of one he commenced his address,
but after a few minutes--despite the counter-attractions heralded by
the drums of a travelling showman--the audience grew in size and in
attentive interest. At the close some questions were put, and there
was some intelligent conversation upon the subject of the lecture. One
Christian, however, who was, for some reason, told that his question
would be answered upon the following evening, cried, "Answer it
to-night; to-morrow you may be where you ought to be, in hell."

In August 1861 Mr Bradlaugh was in Lancashire, and on one showery
Sunday he betook himself to a place known as Boardman's Edge, where it
was arranged that he should lecture. He himself tells the story of this
experience.

"On arriving at the place," he says, "I found a little opposition:
three policemen and a stout gentleman in black, whose precise status I
was unable to ascertain, but who was introduced to me as the 'Lord's
Steward,' forbade the meeting. Their prohibition had little effect,
and the meeting soon assembled in the field hired for the purpose, and
numbered from 1500 to 2000 persons.... The [Royton] band prefaced the
meeting with a march, and then Mr J. Biltcliffe, of Stalybridge, was
elected chairman. Another attempt was now made; the constabulary had
been reinforced, five were now present, and they came with the farmer
from whom the field had been taken, to eject us _vi et armis_. The
police began to talk, but as their oratory is not very inspiring I
ordered them to keep quiet until the farmer had spoken.

"FARMER: You must go away from here.

"ICONOCLAST: The field is mine. I decline to go.

"FARMER: It is true I have let you the field, but I find you
must not have it.

"ICONOCLAST: As you have let the field, I am your tenant, and
occupy it as such. I am sorry to give you trouble, but I decline to go.

"POLICE-OFFICER: Oh, we'll see about that.

"ICONOCLAST: Silence, sir; you and your companions, as
policemen, have no right here on my ground, except by my permission. If
you are disorderly, I shall have you removed." The police were suddenly
subdued; from talkers they became listeners, and the meeting proceeded
peacefully and satisfactorily.

An advertisement, stating that my father proposed to lecture in the
Dewsbury Public Hall on February 9th, 1862, provoked an extraordinary
burst of venom and spite from those who constituted themselves chief
defenders of the faith in Dewsbury. The following is the text of a bill
posted throughout the town, and is probably unrivalled as a form of
attack:--

 "Grand discovery! To be seen to-morrow, Sunday, not one hundred
 miles from the Public Hall, a fine specimen of the gorilla tribe,
 standing seven feet six inches in height, imported into England from
 Sheffield, the capital of the Hollyhock settlement, in the interior
 of Africa, and brought to this town for public exhibition by Mr
 Greenfield. This gorilla is said to be one of the finest of its tribe.
 It presents a bold front, is impudent in its demeanour, and growls
 fearfully at the approach of a debt-collector, magistrate, or any
 Government officer. Having been some time in England under an assumed
 name, it has acquired a smattering of the language, and will address
 visitors on the origin, progress, and future prospects of the gorilla
 tribe. As the animal will be properly secured, parties need be in no
 apprehension of danger."

Of course, the only effect of this ridiculous insult was to increase
the size of the audience, people coming from Huddersfield, Leeds, and
other places round.

A curious incident happened at Leeds, where Mr Bradlaugh was lecturing
in August 1862. The subject for the evening address was, "Were Adam and
Eve our first parents?" and Mr Bradlaugh was opposed by a young man who
had already offered some opposition at the afternoon lecture, and had
then created a favourable impression by the pleasant ease and fluency
with which he spoke. A question arose as to a passage in the works of
Eusebius to which Mr Bradlaugh had referred. The passage, which he
read at request, the young man, who turned out to be a paid preacher
belonging to Kirkstall, near Leeds, said was not from Eusebius, but
from some other book. On Mr Bradlaugh asking for the name of the
book, the young preacher said he had so many books that he could not
remember their names, but if Mr Bradlaugh would go home with him at the
conclusion of the lecture he would show him the book. This audacious
young man must have been somewhat dismayed when he found himself taken
seriously, for after the lecture Mr Bradlaugh hired a cab and went home
with him "accompanied by one Christian and one Infidel to see fair
play." Arrived at Kirkstall, the preacher's "numerous library subsided
into two modest rows of books on a little table, and after about half
an hour's search [he] ended by begging my pardon, and admitting that
_he had made a mistake_."[72] The Christian who had gone "to see fair
play" was so ashamed that he called upon Mr Bradlaugh on the following
evening and reimbursed the cab-hire which the latter had paid. But the
"mendacious parsonling" (as my father called him) knew no shame, for at
Mr Bradlaugh's next lecture he again rose and tried to explain away his
former conduct and misstatement; he further said that he had consulted
with persons well read, in Eusebius, but none had met with the passage
quoted by Mr Bradlaugh, and to satisfy the audience he had procured
the volume of Eusebius and brought it with him. "I rather too hastily
abbreviated his triumph," said Mr Bradlaugh, "by turning to the book he
brought ... and by reading from his own volume the paragraph which he
had so decidedly said was not there." The young Christian teacher did
not seem to mind in the least being a second time exposed, for, quite
unabashed, he rose again to speak on another subject.

[Footnote 72: C. Bradlaugh in _National Reformer_.]

There is one more story which I must tell before quite leaving the
subject of these early provincial lecturing experiences, and I must
tell it not merely because it presents what my father called "a rather
novel feature," but because with a little addendum specially composed
for the purpose it has been made to do duty as a sort of bulwark of the
Christian faith.

On the second Sunday of December, in the year 1863, Mr Bradlaugh was
giving three lectures in the Philosophical Hall, Huddersfield, and the
subject for the evening was "Le Roi Voltaire." A "very voluble lady,"
said to be an enthusiast of the Weaver school, got up after the lecture
to offer some opposition--if what she said could be dignified by that
name! This lady told the audience what we may suppose to have been
intended as an awe-inspiring story, but which must, in reality, have
been provocative of much mirth. Her son, she said, had once purchased
half a pound of butter, and brought it home wrapped up in a leaf of
some work by Voltaire. "The leaf was thrown upon the fire ere fully
read, but the effect was so remarkable," said my father, in recounting
this incident at the time, "that the son dreamed he saw Voltaire, who
appeared with a ball of fire for a head and another ball of fire for a
heart. Voltaire, while thus blazing, informed the lady's son that he,
the French infidel, was burning in hell, where all Voltairians were
sure to join him and share his fate."

This story, albeit rather trifling, is harmless enough, and even
amusing as it stands, but the unauthorised revised version concludes by
saying that Mr Bradlaugh was quite discomfited by the old lady's tale,
and went away unable to answer her. I have seen this used against my
father even since his death. Such are the devices resorted to by the
foolish to convince people of the truths of Christianity.



CHAPTER XX.

A FREEMASON.


As Mr Bradlaugh was very much tied to London after 1862 on account of
his business first in a solicitor's office, and then in the city, he
was unable for a few years to lecture so frequently in the country.
Saturdays and Sundays were almost his only opportunities for provincial
speaking, but these he utilised to the fullest extent that the claims
of his London friends would permit. Quite a large proportion of his
lectures were given for the pecuniary benefit of some person or cause
in need of help. Very often, too, during this period his health gave
way. City work for his livelihood, writing, lecturing, and debating
for his opinions' sake, rushes to France, Italy, or Germany, and
night travelling before the days when long railway journeys were
made easy--were a heavy tax on even his strength. And in addition to
this, which I might call the general routine of his life, he had the
occasional duty of defending his rights in the Law Courts against both
Government and private individuals, and the anxiety of a Parliamentary
candidature.

Amongst those lectures given away was one in August 1862 on
"Freemasonry," under the auspices of the Reformed Rite of Memphis, for
the benefit of the family of a deceased brother Mason. In November of
the same year he, as Orator of the Grand Lodge _des Philadelphes_,
waited upon the Lord Mayor with two others as a deputation from their
Lodge to present £14 5s. to the fund of the distressed operatives
in Lancashire. Of this sum £9 was a donation made in the name of
Garibaldi, and the further £5 5s. by the Lodge of which Garibaldi
was a member, as they proudly put it. I have made a special note of
these early appearances of Mr Bradlaugh in his Masonic capacity,
because his having been a Freemason has often been called in question,
although I have before me some documents which ought to convince even
the most incredulous. The first informs "all whom it may concern ...
that our Brother Charles Bradlaugh, born in Hackney (England), who
has signed his name in the margin hereof, was regularly received into
Freemasonry and admitted to the third degree in the Grand Lodge of
the Philadelphs." This certificate is dated from London the 9th of
March 1859, and is very much stamped and signed with eleven signatures
(exclusive of Mr Bradlaugh's), with a seal attached to it by a blue
ribbon. His sponsor for this initiation was his dear and venerated
friend Simon Bernard.[73] The second document in my possession, also
signed with a dozen or more signatures, is a "_diplôme de Maître_"
(diploma of Master) granted by the Grand Orient of France upon the
demand of the "R -- L -- La Persévérante Amitié or -- de Paris."
This diploma is dated the 15th May 1862. The third is a much later
document, and is to the following effect:--

 "Sur la demande presentée par la R. L. Union et Persévérance o[Symbol:
 therefore] Paris l'effet d'obtenir un diplôme de Maître pour le F.
 Charles Bradlaugh né à Londres le 26 7bre, 1833, demeurant à Londres
 membre reçu d'honneur. Le Grand Orient a delivré au F. Charles
 Bradlaugh le présent diplôme de Maître.

 "Donné a l'O -- de Paris le 4 Novembre 1884 (E. V.)"

[Footnote 73: Towards the end of November 1862 death claimed him
who had been to my father "friend, tutor, brother." When the exile
was buried, Mr Bradlaugh wrote that "the proscribed of all the
Nationalities of Europe mustered round his coffin to do him honour.
Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, Hungary, and France were numerously
represented; and long ranks of the best and bravest of banished men
trod in sadness in the rear of the funeral hearse." By the open
grave at Kilburn, "amongst the hundreds of intellectual looking men
here might be seen most noticeable the bearded figure of that most
omniscient of political writers, Alexander Herzen; here the stalwart
frame of the escaped Bakunin; here the saddened features of an old
Englishman [Thomas Allsop] who had borne part with him in his political
struggles, and who had loved the dead man with the fullest friendliness
of his most honest nature." At the grave side spoke M. Talandier; my
father spoke, also Mr G. J. Holyoake, M. Gustave Jourdain, and then
M. Felix Pyat, whose fiery sentences were followed by the dull and
mournful echo of the earth falling upon the coffin lid.]

It is signed by M. Cousin, Président du Conseil de l'Ordre, the
Secretary, officers of the R. L. Union et Persévérance, and others.

Mr Bradlaugh belonged also to an English lodge affiliated to the Grand
Lodge of England. He was received at Tottenham at the special request
of the Lodge in the early part of the sixties, I believe, but I possess
none of the usual certificates: these he returned to his Lodge when
the Prince of Wales was made Past Grand Master. When it was announced
that the lodges of England were about to honour the Prince of Wales
"with a dignity he had done nothing to earn," Mr Bradlaugh addressed
to him "a letter from a French, Italian, and English Freemason."
This letter was published in the _National Reformer_, and afterwards
reissued in pamphlet form. It was read by his Mother Lodge, _La Loge
des Philadelphes_, and gave such unqualified satisfaction that an
address of approval was sent him from the Lodge. The pamphlet had a
very extensive circulation, and went through several editions.

In March 1874 my father made a fine speech at the annual banquet at
the _Loge des Philadelphes_. It fell to him to speak to the toast, the
"loyal" toast of the Lodge, "To the Oppressed of all Nations." The
oppressed of Italy, of Spain, of France, of England, of Germany, were
each separately remembered, and then he carried the toast on "To the
oppressed of all nations: to the women everywhere; to the mothers,
who with freer brains would nurse less credulous sons; to the wives,
who with fuller thoughts would be higher companions through life's
journeyings; to the sisters and daughters, who with greater right might
work out higher duty, and with fuller training do more useful work; to
woman, our teacher as well as nurse; our guide as well as child-bearer;
our counsellor as well as drudge. To the oppressed of all nations: to
those who are oppressed the most in that they know it least; to the
ignorant and contented under wrong, who make oppression possible by
the passiveness, the inertness of their endurance. To the memories of
the oppressed in the past, whose graves--if faggot and lime have left
a body to bury--are without mark save on the monuments of memory, more
enduring than marble, erected in such temples by truer toast-givers
than myself. To these we drink, sadly and gratefully; to the oppressed
of the present--to those that struggle that they may win; to those that
yet are still, that they may struggle; to the future, that in it there
may be no need to drink this toast."

At this time when English Freemasons chose to cast doubts upon the
reality of Mr Bradlaugh's membership, Freemasons on the other side of
the Atlantic welcomed him to their Lodges.

While visiting Boston, Mr Bradlaugh was by special invitation of the
Columbian and Adelphi Lodges present at their Masonic festivals. The
last occasion should almost be looked upon as historic, as far as the
annals of Freemasonry are concerned, since it was a special festival
in honour of the installation of Joshua B. Smith as Junior Warden of
the Adelphi Lodge, South Boston, the first coloured Freemason elected
to hold office in any regular Lodge. Eight years before[74] the St
Andrew's Lodge had made Mr Smith and six other coloured men Freemasons,
with the idea that they should establish a coloured men's Lodge, but
the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts would not issue the warrant. In the
interval Joshua B. Smith, already a Justice of the Peace, was elected
to the Senate, and joined the Adelphi Lodge, which now took this
opportunity of showing him honour.

[Footnote 74: This was in December 1874.]

Mr Bradlaugh himself always liked to remember that he was a "Free and
accepted mason," and the outward and visible sign of that is to be
found in the fact that he almost invariably selected the Masonic Boys'
School as the charity to be benefited by any money paid as damages for
libelling his personal character.



CHAPTER XXI.

DEBATES 1862-1866.


In September 1862 Mr Bradlaugh held a six nights' discussion with the
Rev. W. Barker, a gentleman who had been lecturing against Atheism to
a Christian Society in Clerkenwell. The debate was held in the Cowper
Street School Rooms, City Road. The report I have by me was published
by Ward & Co., and was taken from the notes of a shorthand writer, and
approved by both disputants. The first two evenings were controlled by
a chairman for each speaker, with Mr James Harvey for umpire; but Mr
Harvey's impartial judgments gave so much satisfaction that the last
four meetings were left entirely under his charge. The attendance--on
some nights so great that people were turned away--averaged twelve
hundred persons, and it was estimated that a thousand heard the whole
of the debate. Some enthusiastic people journeyed long distances,
such as from Yorkshire, Lancashire, Devonshire, and Norfolk, to be
present. After all expenses were defrayed the surplus of £20 was sent
to the Lord Mayor for the Lancashire Relief Fund. The subjects under
discussion were:--

 "I. Are the representations of Deity in the Bible irrational and
 derogatory?

 "II. Is Secularism, which inculcates the practical sufficiency of
 morality, independent of Biblical religion, calculated to lead to the
 highest development of the physical, moral, and intellectual nature of
 man?

 "III. Is the doctrine of Original Sin, as taught in the Bible,
 theoretically unjust and practically pernicious?

 "IV. Does Secularism, which admits the authority of nature alone, and
 which appeals to reason as the best means of arriving at truth, offer
 a surer basis for human conduct than Christianity, which rests its
 claims on a presumed Divine revelation?

 "V. Is the plan of Salvation through the Atonement repulsive in its
 details, immoral in its tendency, and unworthy of the acceptance of
 the human race?

 "VI. Is the doctrine of personal existence after death, and of eternal
 happiness or misery for mankind, fraught with error and injurious to
 humanity?"

My father, writing during the progress of this debate, described Mr
Barker as a speaker not calculated, so far as he had yet seen, to
excite his audience. "He is," said he, "a robust, happy-looking man,
slightly inclined to go to sleep during his speeches, and hardly lively
enough in his sallies. He appears to wish to strike occasionally,
but fears the result of his own blow. Perhaps as the debate proceeds
he will be more vigorous in his replies, and more piquant in his
affirmations."

Mr John Watts spoke of the reverend gentleman in much the same
terms,[75] paying special tribute to Mr Barker's evident desire to
fairly represent his opponent's views.

[Footnote 75: Contrast the delicate words of personal description
written by a Christian in the _Clerkenwell News_: "The manner and
appearance of the minister and the Atheist were as much at variance as
the Gospel of the one is with the 'reasoning' of the other. The one
with a kind, affectionate air--a calm self-reliance, resulting from
faith in a beneficent God and loving Redeemer--was a fit defender of
love and mercy. On the other hand, the Atheist's looks stamped him as
a low demagogue. He was throughout restless; now displaying his ring,
after admiring it himself; now turning with an idiotic grin towards his
followers, who certainly resembled Falstaff's recruits in appearance;
and throughout conducting himself as a boastful, ill-bred man. His
personal appearance did not aid him, for it partook of that animal
which is said much to resemble some men. His voice, like the whine of
a dog, was rendered more unpleasant by a spluttering lisp, occasioned
by his inability to bring his lower jaw forward enough to meet his
protruding upper lip."]

The report of this debate, carried on for six nights, and dealing
with six separate questions in eighteen speeches a side, makes quite
a formidable volume of more than two hundred pages. It has in it much
that is interesting and much that is dull, a little that is witty,
and more that is weak. It would weary the reader, and serve no useful
purpose, were I to attempt a representation of the arguments used.
I will only note that on the sixth and last evening Mr Bradlaugh
opened with an impeachment of the morality of the doctrine of a future
existence in happiness or in torment, the bribe and the penalty of the
Christian religion; and in his final speech, after briefly reviewing
the whole debate, he stated his position. Mr Barker, he tells his
listening audience, "comes as an exponent of God's will to man. I come
as a student of rising thought, of the endeavour to know--as a student
of the great problem of life. I have no revelation; I have no bitter
excommunications--no anathemas to hurl upon you; but I have this to
say: the wide book of humanity lies open before you. Turn its pages
over. I can offer you no inducements to come here. I admit that to be
a Freethinker is to be an outlaw, according to the laws of England. I
admit that to profess your disbelief renders you liable at the present
moment to fine and imprisonment and penal servitude. I admit that that
is the statute law of England. I admit that if you are free enough
to say you are an infidel, your evidence may in a court of justice
be rejected, and that so you may be robbed.[76] I admit we have not
wealth and power on our side--power which the Christian Church, through
eighteen centuries of extortion, has managed to get together. But I
tell you what we have. We have the pleasant consciousness that we
make the public conscience and public opinion step by step with each
thought we give out and each good deed we do. Our church is not a
narrow church, nor narrow chapel, nor Bible sect, but the wide church
of humanity, covered by no steeple, with texts preached from no pulpit,
but with each man as his own priest, working out his own salvation,
and that of his fellows too--not on his knees, but on his feet, with
clenched hand and nervous brain, fighting wrong and asserting right,
and striving to make humanity freer."

[Footnote 76: This was in 1862, before the Evidence Amendment Act,
1869, and Mr Bradlaugh's Oaths Act, 1888.]

On Monday and Wednesday, the 1st and 3rd of February 1864, Mr Bradlaugh
met Thomas Cooper, the sometime Freethinker, author of the "Purgatory
of Suicides," and now "Lecturer on Christianity," in debate. This
debate had been talked of for nearly eight years, but although Mr
Bradlaugh was eager for the fray Mr Cooper was more reluctant; he
affected to despise his junior for his lack of learning, and several
times publicly derided his "ignorance"; he himself was reputed a
scholar, and boasted a knowledge of fourteen languages. As it was, Mr
Cooper himself worded the subjects to be discussed, and refused to
meet my father under his _nom de guerre_ of "Iconoclast." On the first
evening Mr Cooper was to affirm "the Being of God as the Maker of the
Universe," and on the second "the Being of God as the Moral Governor
of the Universe." As the affirmer he had the advantage of leading the
discussion each night.

The wording of the question put Mr Bradlaugh in a peculiar position: he
was "to state the argument on the Negative side," and as any reasonable
person will, I think, clearly see, he could only do this by showing the
fallacy of the arguments used by the affirmer. He told his audience: "I
do not stand here to prove that there is no God. If I should undertake
to prove such a proposition I should deserve the ill words of the
oft-quoted Psalmist applied to those who say there is no God. I do not
say there is no God, but I am an Atheist without God. To me the word
'God' conveys no idea, and it is because the word 'God' to me never
expressed a clear and definite conception ... that I am Atheist....
The word 'God' does not, to my mind, express an eternal, infinite,
omnipotent, intelligent, personal conscious being, but is a word
without meaning and no effect other than it derives from the passions
and prejudices of those who use it."

This debate should have been of more than ordinary interest, both
disputants were lecturers and debaters of long standing, and as an
exponent of the evidences of Christianity Mr Thomas Cooper's reputation
was, I believe, considerable. And since he had himself once spoken from
the Freethought standpoint, he, more than another, should have been
prepared to grapple with the difficulties which lay between the Atheist
and a belief in God the Creator and Moral Governor of the Universe.
Having read his speeches, I am surprised at the poorness of his
arguments, and am driven to the conclusion that his reputation has been
considerably overstated--that is to say, his reputation as an expounder
of Christian doctrines: his language was sometimes absolutely childish;
of his merits as a poet I know nothing. "B. V." wrote some amusing
verses[77] descriptive of Mr Cooper's position as laid down by him in
his opening speech, and a writer in the _Christian Times_ for February
3rd related the impression produced on him by Mr Bradlaugh on the first
night:

[Footnote 77: See "Poems, Essays, and Fragments." (A. and H. B. Bonner)]

 "Let me do this gentleman justice. He was neither vulgar nor
 arrogantly egotistical. He has a loud, harsh voice. He is thoroughly
 earnest in address. His thoughts come to him with admirable
 orderliness. His logical faculty is strong, and his speaking faculty
 is something to be amazed at. He combines precision with volubility.
 He makes argument rhetorically climacteric. In retort, by-play, and
 insinuation, he evinces very considerable skill. He is an adept in the
 use of satire. His style is sharp, clear, incisive. In short, he is
 evidently a young man of somewhat remarkable abilities, who with his
 present opinions must do much mischief, but under a holier inspiration
 would do immense good. In saying this about him, I am but speaking
 honest truth. I have already said with what a prejudice against him
 I went to the hall. I am frank enough to confess that I found that
 prejudice to be to a great extent based on ignorance of the man. It
 has been the custom of many Christian organs to hold the teachers
 of Atheism up to scorn for ignorance, conceit, incapacity, and a
 wanton indulgence in gross and vulgar blasphemies. Often enough the
 representation has been only too faithful; but it would be simply an
 absurd and self-refuting falsehood to charge any of these things on Mr
 Bradlaugh, as far as his behaviour on Monday night would enable one to
 form an estimate of his character. He used sharp weapons, it is true,
 but he used them skilfully; he had a most repulsive task, granted,
 but he came up to it with a manly candour and went through it without
 resorting to a word, gesture, or glance that was indicative of the
 desire to be unnecessarily offensive."[78]

[Footnote 78: Despite the sharpness--to use no harsher term--of Mr
Cooper's words and manner towards him, my father bore no malice,
and showed himself quite ready to forgive and forget. A few months
later, hearing that Mr Cooper was in very straitened circumstances, he
expressed his desire to be allowed to join in the scheme for assisting
his old opponent, for he believed him "to have been a well-intentioned,
warm-hearted man, and one who, as a politician, has done good work."]

I have taken this somewhat lengthy extract from the article as giving
a frank avowal of a prejudgment of my father, unwarranted by the real
facts as realised by a Christian auditor. And yet it was in these
early years that Mr Bradlaugh is said to have been so "unnecessarily
offensive" by those who during the last few years of his life were
compelled to own that he was not so bad after all. These persons,
lacking the generous candour of the writer in the _Christian Times_ of
1864, endeavour to excuse their earlier injustice by saying that, if
not coarse and offensive now, he had been at one time, and his manners
had much improved. This quotation may serve, to those who still need
it, as a hostile contemporary witness in Mr Bradlaugh's favour.

On September 25th and 26th, 1865, Mr Bradlaugh had yet another debate
with his Swedenborgian antagonist, the Rev. Woodville Woodman. The
debate was held in the theatre at Northampton, which was crowded,
numbers of people being unable to obtain admission on the first night.
He had arranged for a three nights' discussion six weeks later at
Keighley with the Rev. Mr Porteous of Glasgow. He was to lecture at
Liverpool on Sunday, October 29th, and the debate was down for the
following Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On the Saturday the express
train in which he was travelling to Liverpool ran into some luggage
vans between Woodhouse and Sheffield, and he was very severely shaken.
How severely he did not at once realise, and with his usual disregard
of himself he insisted upon fulfilling his engagement at Liverpool.
After the exertion of delivering three lectures he felt so much worse
that the journey to Keighley, followed by three nights' discussion,
seemed out of the question. He communicated with Mr Porteous and came
home; I have a distinct recollection of seeing my father come into
the house, looking terribly ill. The Rev. Mr Porteous refused to
postpone his engagement; in fact, he never answered Mr Bradlaugh's
letter, but insisted on proceeding in his absence. For the first two
nights he "debated" in solitary grandeur, but on the third night Mr
Bradlaugh was represented by Mr John Watts, who, "at Iconoclast's
request," went to Keighley to meet Mr Porteous on one night at least.
The committee of the Rev. Mr Porteous paid their champion out of the
proceeds, but "_he nevertheless afterwards claimed and received from
Iconoclast the further sum of £2 10s., not for expenses, but to make
up his 'fee.'_"[79] In June of the following year Mr Bradlaugh was
lecturing at Keighley, and when he arrived there he found the walls of
the town and neighbourhood placarded with a "Challenge to the Image
Breaker" from Mr Porteous. This "challenge" rather prematurely assumed
reluctance on Mr Bradlaugh's part; it was at once accepted, and the
debate fixed for two or three days later, the 14th and 15th June. The
subject for the discussion, which was held in the Temperance Hall, was
"Is the Bible a divine revelation?" and people attended from Burnley,
Leeds, Bradford, and outlying districts; but judging from a brief
report which is all I have to guide me, I doubt whether it was much
worth a journey to listen to. Mr Porteous angrily spoke of my father as

 "one who, being a lawyer's clerk, had never been trusted with a brief;
 but who, in swollen rhetoric and with blatant voice, had indulged in
 misstatements and misrepresentations of the Bible which nothing could
 justify."[80]

[Footnote 79: _National Reformer_, June 24th, 1866.]

[Footnote 80: _National Reformer_, June 24th, 1866.]

It is rather curious to note, too, that during the evening the Rev. Mr
Porteous, just as the Rev. Brewin Grant had done on a former occasion,
strongly complained that Iconoclast looked at him whilst he was
speaking.[81]

[Footnote 81: "Look at me," said Bagheera, and Mowgli looked at him
steadily between the eyes. The big panther turned his head away in half
a minute.

"_That_ is why," he said, shifting his paw on the leaves, "not even I
can look thee between the eyes, and I was born among men, and I love
thee, little brother. The others they hate thee, because their eyes
cannot meet thine; because thou art wise; because thou hast pulled out
thorns from their feet; because thou art a man!"

  _Mowgli's Brothers_, by RUDYARD KIPLING.]



CHAPTER XXII.

"THE WORLD IS MY COUNTRY, TO DO GOOD IS MY RELIGION."


A demonstration was held in Hyde Park on Sunday afternoon, September
28th, 1862, for the purpose of expressing sympathy with Garibaldi, and
protesting against the occupation of Rome by the French troops. The
hour announced for the meeting was three o'clock, and by that time
the _Morning Advertiser_ estimated that there were between 12,000 and
15,000 persons present. The proceedings were, however, very badly
managed; no steps whatever were taken for keeping order, and, indeed,
by three o'clock none of the conveners of the meeting had put in an
appearance, nor had any arrangements whatever been made for a platform
for the speakers. Mr Bradlaugh had been asked to speak, and was, as
a matter of course, punctually upon the scene. He found a ready-made
platform in a great heap about fourteen yards by nine, and rising
three feet from the ground. About this heap, upon which he and a few
others had posted themselves, the crowd gathered, and at length Mr
Bradlaugh, seeing no signs of the conveners, commenced to speak. He
was soon stopped by interruptions of every kind, and to make things a
little more regular, a chairman was appointed; but the chairman had
hardly begun to address the people when he "was hurled with his friends
from their seat of eminence by a movement which a few Irish roughs
had organised in the rear of them, down amongst the crowd beneath. By
remarkable dexterity, however, the chairman regained his place upon
the mount."[82] His efforts to be heard were again unavailing, and the
proceedings rapidly developed into a free fight.

[Footnote 82: _Morning Advertiser_.]

 "During one of the lulls in the fighting position of the affair," says
 the _Morning Advertiser_, "Mr Bradlaugh proposed a resolution to the
 effect that the meeting was of opinion that Garibaldi was faithfully
 doing his duty when he fell at Aspromonte, and desired to express its
 admiration of the heroic fortitude he displayed in his hour of trial."

The resolution was seconded and supported amid general uproar,

 "while it was confidently stated that in the course of the discussion
 of it, and during one of the encounters for the possession of the
 platform, an attempt was made to stab Mr Bradlaugh."[83]

[Footnote 83: Mr Robert Forder, who was present at the Garibaldi
meeting, sends me the following vivid account of what took place on
that day:--

"That afternoon," he relates, "was the first time I had the honour and
pleasure of speaking to your father. A few of us at Deptford, where
I then resided, had had printed a quantity of handbills announcing
the debate with the Rev. W. Barker, then appearing in the _National
Reformer_. I gave your father one, for which he thanked me. I should
like, with your permission, to add a few words as to what took place
on that exciting afternoon. The Irish Catholics had been well whipped
up for the occasion, and were there in force; most of them dock and
bricklayers' labourers, and in the mass totally uneducated. There were
three mounds of earth and stones intended to repair or make roads,
each about four feet high, and, so far as I can recollect after thirty
years have gone by, about thirty yards long by eight deep. These were
about fifty yards apart, and on the middle one were gathered the men
and two women--one of the latter in a red 'jumper,' that was afterwards
known in fashion as a 'Garibaldi.' The Irish were massed on and around
the two other mounds, and during the early part of the proceedings
contented themselves with singing a refrain for 'God and Rome.' It was
about ten minutes after your father had begun to speak that a signal
was given, on which a sudden rush was made upon the meeting. There had
not been up to this moment any indication whatever that the Irish were
armed, but every man and woman (and there were many women and girls
with them) was possessed of a bludgeon of some sort. Their onslaught
was furious and brutal, and for a time successful. They carried the
mound in a few minutes, but the blood upon many of our friends aroused
such a feeling of indignation, that in a time less than it takes
me to write it the mound was stormed from the Piccadilly side, and
again captured by us. There were in the crowd about a dozen Grenadier
Guardsmen, who were ardent admirers of Garibaldi, and there were quite
fifty others, possibly passive spectators. The former formed two deep,
and with their walking-sticks rushed down the mound into the mass of
the yelling Irish. The effect was electrical. Their comrades in the
crowd raised a sudden shout, and in ten minutes the Irish were in full
retreat, throwing away their sticks to escape the indignation of the
people they had so wantonly and brutally attacked. Many were captured
by the police, and I clearly remember the constables gathering up their
bludgeons, and making bundles of them with their belts. It must be
confessed that no quarter was given, and scores of them got severely
mauled. Cardinal Wiseman referred to the brutality of the infidel mob
in a pastoral a few days after, in which he used the term 'lambs' to
describe these religious ruffians. _Punch_, the next week, 'caught on'
to this word, and in its weekly cartoon depicted this mob of Irish
assailing a public meeting over the heading of 'Cardinal Wiseman's
Lambs.'"]

Thus an assemblage which should have done honour to Garibaldi as well
as to England, for, as the _Advertiser_ says, "it was composed of the
élite of the working classes and a large portion of the middle class,"
was turned by the Irish Catholics into a fight and a panic calling
for the interference of the police. It is little to be wondered at
that when Mr Bradlaugh was invited by the Working Men's Committee to
attend and speak he hesitated to accept the invitation, feeling as he
did that the conveners were not able to control the antagonism of the
Irish Catholics which had already manifested itself at other meetings.
"I have no wish," he afterwards said, "for immediate martyrdom, and
considerably abbreviated my speech when I found that knives were used
as arguments."

In the winter of 1862 Mr Bradlaugh made a public appeal to the
Freethinkers of Great Britain to raise money on behalf of the
distressed Lancashire operatives. He begged them to "waste no time,
but at once in your large workshops and in your social meetings levy
a rate for the reduction of the Lancashire distress." Those who were
Freethinkers amongst the destitute in Lancashire were of course
relieved by the General Relief Committee, but naturally they were
excluded from the various charitable undertakings carried out by
committees belonging to different denominations. As the relief afforded
by the General Committee and the Board of Guardians only averaged
1s. 8-1/2d. per head weekly, it will be seen how greatly dependent
the distressed were upon the extra help of these other committees. A
touching little story of Christian charity _versus_ principle in rags
was taken by Mr T. S. Oates, then Secretary to the Lancashire Secular
Union Special Distress Fund, from the _Rochdale Observer_ of Dec.
13th, and was, he said, a fair sample of what frequently happened. A
benevolent lady belonging to Middleton, on making her usual charitable
round, entered one day a house in Parkfield, where she found "poverty
in its worst shape." The father of the family was in rags, and the lady
told the man that if he would come to her house that evening she would
give him other clothes. The man, of course, was overjoyed, but when he
was told that after he had the clothes he would be expected to attend
church, and if he did not do so the clothes were to be returned, his
joy was considerably cooled down. Then it was said that

 "after making her statement, the lady left to make further inquiries
 into the cases of distress, leaving the man of poverty to reflect
 on the offer made to him. After a short consideration he commenced
 looking at his unsightly apparel, and then muttered to himself: 'Yo
 mun poo me through a bit longer, owd friends; it'll do noan to pop mi
 conscience for a shute of cloas!'"

My father did not preach without practising, although to me it is
marvellous how, with his own struggle for existence, he always found
a way to help others in their struggles. But this winter it was
especially hard: several times he was called away to the Continent, and
several times his health broke down, until he was so ill that he had
to give up editing his paper, and for some months was also obliged to
give up lecturing. Nevertheless, he contrived to keep an engagement he
had made to lecture for the Relief Fund in Manchester on Feb. 1, 1863,
in which he paid the whole of his own expenses, and so was able to hand
£10 over to the Treasurer. Later on in the year he was lecturing again
on behalf of the same object.

       *       *       *       *       *

Almost concurrently with his efforts to raise money for Lancashire,
he was making eloquent appeals for funds to aid Poland against her
oppressors, and when he had somewhat recovered his health he addressed
meetings on behalf of the struggling Poles. He spoke at Plumstead,
Deptford, and Cleveland Hall, at Birmingham and Sheffield, where the
fire and passion of his speeches evoked the utmost enthusiasm; at
Halifax, where people walked eight and ten miles in the drenching
rain to hear him, and at other places the details of which are not
recorded. "Viva la Polonia" was a cry which, twenty years ago, found "a
sympathising echo from every freeman in Europe, from every honest heart
in the civilised world;" and my father was behind none in the warmth
of his sympathy, or in the activity he displayed to give it practical
effect.

Neither, with all this public work, was he unmindful or ungrateful for
kindnesses shown himself personally; and so he never forgot the debt
he owed his early friend, Mr Jones, who now in consequence of old age
and infirmities was reduced to extreme poverty. In the November of
this same year he gave the last of his annual lectures for the benefit
of his staunch old friend. On this occasion, too, Mr Bendall, the
lessee of the Hall of Science, gave the use of the hall--as indeed he
frequently did, often at considerable inconvenience to himself--and
the proceeds of the lecture and subscriptions amounted to upwards of
£8, of which the greater part served to pay the funeral expenses of
the brave old man, who, contemporary with Thomas Paine, had played his
part in the struggles for a free press, particularly in those which we
associate with the names of men like Richard Carlile, Wooler, and Hone.

In March 1864 occurred the great inundation at Sheffield; along the
valleys of the Loxley and the Don all was ruin and desolation. Whole
rows of houses, mills, and bridges were carried away, and huge trees
were torn up by the force of the rushing water. Many lives were lost,
and those who escaped with life lost every atom they possessed save the
garments in which they escaped. Many funds were started for the relief
of those so suddenly made destitute, and Mr Bradlaugh was not slow in
offering his help. A Sheffield man, writing at the time, said that the
quality of practical sympathy was one possessed by Mr Bradlaugh "in
a pre-eminent degree, and it is a trait in his character which will
add lustre to his name, and form a rich gem in the wreath which shall
adorn his memory long after he shall have laid his honoured head in the
silent tomb.... His large, generous heart is never insensible to the
sounds of human distress; and accordingly no sooner did he hear of the
Sheffield catastrophe than he at once volunteered his services towards
the relief of the sufferers."[84]

[Footnote 84: He gave two lectures in the Mechanics' Institute (lent
to the Freethinker for this occasion), and the proceeds, £8 11s. 4d.,
were handed over to the fund. "No lecturer gave more to the needy than
Iconoclast," said Mr Austin Holyoake.]

I have mentioned these cases with the idea of showing how wide and
how ready were my father's sympathies. To give money help was no easy
matter to him: he could not write a cheque and say, "Put my name down
for this sum or for that;" he could not even give by denying himself
some little luxury: every penny he gave had to be specially earned for
that purpose, but notwithstanding this, real distress rarely appealed
to him in vain.[85]

[Footnote 85: One of the latest letters he ever wrote, bearing date
Jan. 12, 1891, shows him always the same. He says: "I am extremely
sorry to read your letter, but I have, unfortunately, no means whatever
except what I earn from day to day with my tongue and pen. If the
Committee think it wise, I will lecture for the benefit of such a
fund."]

Unable to do so much provincial lecturing in consequence of the demands
made upon his time by his business, Mr Bradlaugh was yet often to be
found during the latter part of 1865 at the Hall of Science, City Road;
but in the early part of 1866 he was away in Italy so much, sometimes
for weeks together, that he could do very little lecturing. The
proceeds of these winter lectures at the old Hall of Science were to go
to the Hall of Science Company, which he was then actively projecting.
The lease of the City Road Hall expired early in 1866, and the renewal
had been refused. It was proposed to lease or purchase a suitable
building, or a site of land on which to build a lecture-hall and rooms
for classes for secular instruction, etc. To aid in providing funds
for this purpose, it was Mr Bradlaugh's desire to purchase one hundred
shares out of the proceeds of his lectures, and to that end he devoted
the whole of his profits on each occasion that he lectured at the Hall
of Science.



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE REFORM LEAGUE, 1866-1868.


In 1866 the National Reform League was proving itself an extremely
active organisation. Mr Edmund Beales was its honoured President,
and Mr George Howell the Secretary. Mr Bradlaugh was one of its
Vice-Presidents, and he had, oddly enough, amongst his colleagues the
Rev. W. H. Bonner, the father of his future son-in-law. Mr Bonner
had been, and was until his death in 1869, a Lecturer for the Peace
Society, and was then a Vice-President and Lecturer of the Reform
League. They worked together with the greatest cordiality, and Mr
Bradlaugh on one occasion wrote that he wished there were more
clergymen like the Rev. Mr Bonner. My father took part in most of the
meetings of the League which were held in London and in many of those
held in the provinces, and his value as an advocate was appreciated by
men opposed to the Reform Bill--then before Parliament--as well as by
those on his own side who were not blinded by bigotry.

On May 21st a great demonstration in support of the Bill was held
upon Primrose Hill, and was addressed by Mr Beales, Mr Cremer,
Colonel Dickson, Mr Lucraft, and others. Mr Bradlaugh moved the
second resolution, and his eloquence so impressed the reporter to the
_Standard_ that that gentleman, who had assuredly come "to scoff,"
remained, if not "to pray," yet to give and record a reluctant
admiration. The leader which appeared in the _Standard_ for the
following day was intended to be humorously descriptive of the
proceedings without too fine a regard for facts; and in it we find the
following notice of Mr Bradlaugh and his speech, which the writer said
was frequently and enthusiastically applauded:

 "At length, however, a young gentleman--by the name, we believe, of
 Bradlaugh--sprang into the chair, and for the moment awakened in the
 wind-chilled throng a faint thrill of something like enthusiasm. At
 first, judging from the cast of his countenance and from a certain
 twinkle in his eye as he adjusted himself to his task, we anticipated
 a decidedly comic address. But the event soon showed that we were
 mistaken, and the speaker, admirably as his face was adapted for
 purposes of comedy, was himself terribly in earnest; so earnest,
 indeed, and so thoroughly _d'accord_ with his audience, that he soon
 woke them up from the lethargy in which they had remained ever since
 the first old gentleman had begun to read to them the unpublished
 proofs of next morning's _Star_, and set them crying 'Hear, hear,'
 'That's so,' 'Hurray,' 'Down with the Peers,' 'Shame, shame,' and so
 on. Bearing in mind the blood-red banner and the _bonnet rouge_, it
 is needless to say that the speech of this energetic gentleman--who,
 be it observed, spoke really extremely well--consisted simply of a
 furious onslaught upon English institutions in general, and upon
 Government and the House of Lords in particular. He would like to
 see that wretched institution that battened upon the life-blood of
 the English people swept away for ever; and here the Reformers cried
 'Hear, hear,' and applauded with voice and hand. And that was what
 things were tending to; that was what this Bill really meant; and
 he differed from their worthy president--who had apparently been
 endeavouring to persuade the meeting to adopt that convenient little
 Liberal fib that the present Bill had really nothing democratic about
 it--in being ready and willing to take his stand as a supporter of the
 Government measure upon the ground that it was democratic, and that
 its real effect would be to sweep away the whole expensive machinery
 of the constitution, Government itself included. All this, of course,
 everybody knew before, but it is not every Liberal Reformer who is
 bold enough to say it.... The speaker concluded with a significant
 reminder that on this occasion they were allowed to meet undisturbed,
 because they met in support of a Government measure, but that their
 normal condition--he did not say normal, but that was the meaning of
 it--was one of opposition to all Government, and that he might have
 to call upon them to meet here or elsewhere, or even under the walls
 of the sham Parliament at Westminster, when the whole strength of
 Government would be put forth to prevent the meeting, and when the
 English people would rise in their might," etc.

The sarcasm and humour of the foregoing make it no easy matter to pick
out the scattered grains of truth: nevertheless, we may gather from it
that the boldness, earnestness, and eloquence of the "young gentleman
by the name, we believe, of Bradlaugh," did this much--it made an
unusual impression upon his Tory listener.

At a great gathering[86] held in Trafalgar Square on the 2nd of July,
my father was one of the speakers. Lord Russell and Mr Gladstone
had resigned from the Ministry, and Lord Derby had been "sent for."
Parliament stood adjourned until July 5th, and the Reform League held
this meeting prior to the reassembling of the House to protest against
the proposed Derby administration, and to deplore the retirement of
Mr Gladstone and Lord Russell. There was unusual excitement about
this meeting, for Sir Richard Mayne had first of all intimated that
it would not be allowed to take place. He, however, met with such a
strenuous outburst of condemnation that for the moment he was checked,
and withdrew his prohibition. By this time Mr Bradlaugh's popularity
in London was becoming very great, and in the _Times_' notice of the
meeting it is remarked that he was the chief favourite, and that "the
mass soon commenced clamouring" for him.

[Footnote 86: The number of persons present was variously estimated at
from 30,000 to "upwards of 60,000."]

The Derby Cabinet, as every one is aware, was formed with Disraeli[87]
in Gladstone's place as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and with the
formation of the new Cabinet all immediate hopes of the passing of any
real measure of Reform were abandoned, although the League continued
its work with untiring energy. An utterance of Mr Bradlaugh's on the
chief point in the programme of Reform then advocated, viz. extension
of the Suffrage, is worth repeating here, as it indicates a line of
conduct which Mr Bradlaugh himself pursued and enjoined upon others in
regard to other matters of Reform than the Suffrage. He would always
seek and work for a thorough and complete measure; but if he could
not get all that he asked for, rather than have nothing, and thus
leave matters in the bad state in which he found them, he would take
what ameliorations he could get _without ceasing to aim at ultimately
winning the whole_. He had, at the time of which I am writing, occasion
to allude to a little pamphlet published in 1838. He remarked:--

[Footnote 87: Mr Bradlaugh commented somewhat epigrammatically: "The
Right Hon. Benjamin Disraeli is perhaps the man best fitted to be in
opposition, and the least fitted to govern amongst our prominent men.
His waistcoats have been brilliant, but his Parliamentary measures
cannot always successfully compare with the result of his tailor's
skill."]

"The author says well when he tells you, 'Demand universal Suffrage;'
but I am not quite sure that he is right in saying, 'Take no less than
your full demand.' He is right in declaring the Suffrage a natural
right, and therefore undoubtedly all our agitation should be based
on this principle; but I am not of opinion that the extension of the
Suffrage to a portion of the working or middle classes necessarily
makes them enemies to their unenfranchised brethren. Each step in
the Reform movement, whether theological, social, or political, is
educational in its effects even beyond the circle in which the step
is taken. My advice would be: Seek justice; but refuse no point which
may be conceded, for each concession gives you additional means and
strength to enforce your claim. The people are growing stronger
and more worthy every day; but there are, alas! even yet in this
country hundreds of thousands who are intellectually too weak for,
and apparently hardly worthy of, enfranchisement. Our mission is to
educate them to strength and worthiness, to strip off the badge of
servitude they wear, to teach them that labour's rights and duties are
as honourable and onerous as the rights and duties of the wealthiest
employer of labour, and that the labourer--if honest and true to his
manhood--has a higher patent of nobility than was ever given by yellow
parchment or crumbling seal."

The Tories had declared that the people themselves did not want
any extension of the suffrage, and spoke sneeringly of the apathy
and indifference of the working classes towards any measure of
enfranchisement. Determined to show they were not apathetic, working
men in London and the provinces held meeting after meeting. The one
in Trafalgar Square was followed three weeks later by that famous
gathering in Hyde Park, when the railings "came down." This meeting
was announced for Monday, July 22nd, but a few days before the time
arrived Sir Richard Mayne posted a notification on the park gates
forbidding the meeting to take place; and this time Sir Richard Mayne
held to his prohibition. The Council of the National Reform League
met on the 20th specially to consider this police order; Mr Beales,
the president, stated the case as impartially as possible, and put
the legal difficulties before the Council. Mr Bradlaugh moved that
notwithstanding the police notice of prohibition the meeting be
persisted in. Mr Cremer and others opposed the resolution, but when it
was put it was carried by a large majority. Mr Bradlaugh put himself
entirely under the direction of Mr Beales, and it was arranged that at
the given time the leaders of the demonstration should appear at the
Marble Arch and demand admission into the park; if this was refused,
having made their protest, they should separate into divisions and
proceed quietly by different routes to Trafalgar Square.

When the time came, procession after procession marched in orderly
fashion to the park gates, and the meeting became a truly magnificent
one, composed as it was mainly of respectable working men, thoroughly
earnest in their desire for Reform. They were not all Londoners either;
there were representative men from the provinces, from Yorkshire,
Lancashire, Plymouth, and other parts, men who had travelled many miles
and undergone much fatigue to take part in the forbidden demonstration.
From a brief notice of the meeting which Mr Bradlaugh wrote for the
_National Reformer_, it appears that Mr Beales and the committee
reached the Marble Arch Gates shortly after seven o'clock, and leaving
their vehicles they went together to the police at the gate to demand
admission. "The police, however, meant mischief; one mounted man,
'V. 32,' backed his horse right on to Mr Beales and myself, and the
example being followed by another mounted policeman, some confusion was
created, and this was evidently the result desired by the police. The
truncheons were all out, and some rough intimations given to those in
front that mischief was meant." On his demand being made and refused,
Mr Beales and his colleagues turned, as had been arranged, to lead
the meeting by different routes to Trafalgar Square. Mr Bradlaugh's
division turned down Park Lane, but some of those on the outside, being
irritated by the behaviour of the police, made an attack upon the
railings of the Park. Having read numerous accounts of this episode, I
should judge that the first railings fell partly accidentally through
the enormous pressure of the moving crowd, and were partly torn up in
anger. When a few rails had given way, the idea of gaining ingress
to the park in that manner spread through the crowd like a flash of
light, and in a few minutes many yards of railings were upon the ground
and the people leaping excitedly over them. Mr Bradlaugh, strenuously
adhering to the programme of his leader to carry the meeting to
Trafalgar Square, set himself to the difficult task of restraining
the wild tumult and preventing the mass from destroying the railings
and forcing an entry. After a little, although not before he himself
had been knocked down, he was successful, and his column resumed its
orderly and peaceful march to Trafalgar Square, "whence, after much
speechifying, we all went home." The _Times_ remarked that in his
efforts to prevent a breach of the peace "Mr Bradlaugh got considerably
hustled ... falling under the suspicion of being a government spy." It
is little to be wondered at that the people hardly knew friend from
foe, for the confusion and excitement were so great that they were for
a moment bewildered. The police, said the _Morning Star_,

 "hit out with their truncheons like savages who, having been under
 temporary control, were now at full liberty to break heads and cut
 open faces to their hearts' content. It mattered not to them whether
 the interloper had actively exerted himself to force an entrance, or
 whether he had been merely hurled in the irresistible crush of those
 who pressed behind. Wherever there was a skull to fracture, they did
 their best to fracture it; everybody was in their eyes an enemy to
 whom no mercy was to be shown. The mob was at first stunned by the
 vigour of the assault, but presently turned upon the aggressors and
 repaid blows with their kind--in the end inflicting as much punishment
 as they received."

In any case the police attempt to prevent the people entering the
park was futile, for although the more orderly passed on to the
appointed meeting-place, in the course of half-an-hour many thousands
gained admission through the openings made in the railings. At
length, the police confessing themselves powerless, the military were
called out and marched through the park. Lord Derby, in the House of
Lords, asserted that altogether not less than 1400 yards of railings
were pulled down, and complained loudly of the injury done to the
flower-beds and other "property of the Crown;" but on this head a
rather remarkable statement was made by Mr Cowper, M.P., formerly First
Commissioner of the Works, who expressed himself against holding public
meetings in the Park. Mr Cowper said that when the crowd (composed,
according to the _Times_, of "London roughs") had

 "forced down the railings and made good their entrance to the Park,
 they abstained from injuring the flowers, and even in the heat and
 hurry of the disturbance, they frequently went round along the grass
 so as not to tread upon the flower-beds and borders."

After all their prohibitions and precautions to prevent the people
from holding orderly meeting and giving public expression to their
opinion, backed too as they were by police and soldiers, the Government
could only feebly say in the House that the measures they had taken
had prevented "some part of the contemplated proceedings from taking
place." They might also have truthfully added that these same measures
had also brought about the destruction of the Park railings, and
numerous broken heads, "proceedings" which were not "contemplated," at
least, by the conveners of the meeting.

A week later, before the excitement had time to cool down, another
great meeting was held in the Agricultural Hall, and I have often heard
my father say he had never seen gathered together in any building
so many men as found their way into the Agricultural Hall on that
occasion. He reckoned there must have been upwards of 25,000 persons
present, without counting those who came and went away in despair at
not being able to see or hear on the outskirts of so large a crowd. The
great difficulty seems to have been to hear the speakers, and with such
a vast assembly it is not surprising to find that many of them could
only be heard by those nearest to the platform. Mr Bradlaugh himself
felt how impossible it was to make every one hear. He moved the second
resolution, praying the House of Commons to institute an inquiry into
the conduct of Sir Richard Mayne and his subordinates at Hyde Park
on the previous Monday, and wound up what the _Times_ describes as a
"telling speech," with his favourite quotation from Shelley's "Masque
of Anarchy."

One of the results of this week of disturbance was the arrest of
several "good men and true," amongst whom was Mr Nieass, whose recent
death his friends and co-workers have good reason to mourn. On the
evening of July 25th Mr Bradlaugh was suddenly summoned to Bow Street;
some member of the Reform League Council was reported to be under
arrest. When he reached the police station he found Mr Nieass, who had
been seized by the police in the Strand on a charge of inciting the
people to resistance, whereas, as it was afterwards proved, he had been
persuading them to disperse, and but for Mr Bradlaugh's pertinacity, Mr
Nieass would have been, as others actually were, locked up all night,
in spite of the fact that good bail was offered.

The Reform movement seemed to grow and spread through England with
marvellous rapidity. The great meetings in London found their echo in
great meetings in the provinces. As Mr Bradlaugh was not possessed of
any mysterious power of reduplicating himself, he was not of course
present at all these gatherings, although he somehow (I hardly know
how) contrived to make time to attend a goodly number. On the first
day of September, 12,000 persons met at short notice on Brandon Hill,
Bristol, Mr Beales and Mr Bradlaugh attending as a deputation from
London. I find it noted[88] that Mr Bradlaugh was much applauded during
his address, and that he sat down amidst long and continued cheering
and waving of hats. In the _Bristol Times and Mirror_ there is a letter
about the meeting from "A Man in the Crowd," and among much that was
hostile and absurd he wrote: "The speech that told more than any other
on Brandon Hill was that of Charles Bradlaugh, Esq., and it was the
best portion of it that was appreciated; ... his exhortation to men to
be manly carried his hearers along with him.... Nothing was listened
to after Mr Bradlaugh had finished." In a day or so, however, the good
people of Bristol began to realise who this eloquent man was who had
so moved that great crowd, and two days later he was referred to in
the _Times and Mirror_ in most abusive and scurrilous terms, whilst
the _Wiltshire County Mirror_ tried to work upon the imagination of
its more timid readers by drawing a lurid picture of what was likely
to happen if the Reformers were triumphant: "Mr Beales is not a
professed infidel, we believe, but we are persuaded that his religious
convictions and feelings are of a very indiarubber kind.... Let these
two gentlemen [Mr Bradlaugh and Mr G. J. Holyoake] have their way, and
there would be an end to the institution of marriage, and communism
with all its abominations would be established amongst us." When a
too fertile imagination has carried a man thus far it is difficult to
see why he should not put even a little more colour on to his brush;
as it was, his statements only frightened "old ladies" (masculine and
feminine), and so served the purpose of political, religious, or social
intriguers. In this case it was the political intriguers who were
specially served, for it was considered a capital notion to associate
Mr Beales--and through him the cause of Reform--with "Infidelity," the
abolition of "the institution of marriage," and the "abominations" of
Communism. The four ideas well mixed together by not over-scrupulous
writers, formed such a fine jumble that the ignorant and pious could
not always distinguish the one from the other.

[Footnote 88: The _Bristol Daily Post_.]

In London, during the autumn and winter, Mr Bradlaugh spoke for the
Reform League at Chelsea, Cleveland Hall, Battersea, Pimlico, South
Lambeth, the Pavilion Theatre, Whitechapel, and many other places, but
the note we found struck in the _Wiltshire County Mirror_ reverberated
with such force that at length my father said that he was not sure
whether "the course taken by the cowardly respectable press in
denouncing the movement as an infidel one, may not render it wiser for
me to leave the platform advocacy of Reform at the large gatherings to
men whose religious or irreligious views are not so well known as my
own." But when a few weeks later he was re-elected upon the Executive
of the Reform League, he resolved to allow no sneer at his creed to
influence him; no slander to make him hesitate, but to do his best,
whatever that best might be, to aid in winning the battle

 "between Tory obstructiveness and the advancing masses; between
 vested interests and human happiness; between pensioned and salaried
 lordlings and landowners' off-shoots on the one hand, and the
 brown-handed bread-winner on the other." "The people must win," he
 said.

Yes, "the people must win"--in the end; but complete manhood suffrage
is not ours yet, and universal suffrage is still far off. "The people
must win," but Oh how long the winning; and alas! the cost to the
victors.

In October Mr Bradlaugh was speaking for the League in Northampton.
I wonder whether there are Northampton men who still remember that
Reform demonstration held in their town in the autumn of sixty-six,
when they carried out their programme in the pelting, pitiless rain,
just as "cheerily and as steadfastly as though it had been sunshine
and a clear sky." Do they remember the procession, I wonder, when men
and women marched through the incessant downpour, the women as earnest
as the men? And the meetings in the Corn Exchange and the Mechanics'
Institute, where Mr Bradlaugh's speeches were received with great
applause by an enthusiastic audience? There was a meeting at the Town
Hall too, to which he went at Col. Dickson's invitation; though on
arriving it was only to find that the Town Hall was reserved for the
"respectable great guns," and therefore there was no room for him on
that platform. But other times, other customs, and many a time has the
Northampton Town Hall rung with his voice since that wet October day
twenty-eight years ago, when, "too proud to intrude," he went away
slighted and scorned.

Great spontaneity and heartiness met him at Luton, which, "though
a small town in a small county, gave us great welcome," said Mr
Bradlaugh. It had been arranged that a conference of delegates (amongst
whom were Mr Beales and Mr Bradlaugh, representing London) should
be held previous to the Town Hall meeting, at Messrs Willis & Co.'s
factory, but, much to the amazement of the delegates, when they reached
the factory gates they found a meeting of several thousand persons
collected there without call or summons; the gathering was such as "no
living man had ever seen in that still increasing town."[89] Every one
was so anxious to hear the speakers from London and elsewhere that
the conference of delegates was abandoned, and a public meeting was
at once held in Park Square, an open space in the centre of the town.
The _Mercury_ devoted a little leader to this Reform demonstration at
Luton, in which it said that

 "the terse and argumentative speech of Mr Bradlaugh roused the
 feelings of the thousands assembled to their highest pitch, and as he
 put the case of reform in a clear light he was most enthusiastically
 applauded."[90]

[Footnote 89: _Bedford Mercury_ of November 24th.]

[Footnote 90: The _Morning Star_ (London) of November 22nd also notes
the enthusiasm provoked by Mr Bradlaugh's "animated speech."]


In the course of his address, which was interrupted again and again
by the cheering of his audience, he felt it incumbent upon him to
deny that these meetings partook of the character of physical force
demonstrations. Hundreds of thousands of working men, he pointed out,
had assembled and kept their own order even when the police in their
officiousness had failed to preserve it. This denial was made necessary
by the attitude taken up by the Tories and weak Liberals who began to
be frightened by the growth of popular opinion as exhibited in these
great and orderly outdoor and indoor meetings which were taking place
every week in London and the provinces. In order to hide their fear of
_opinion_ they began to pretend fear of physical force, and by dint of
crying "Wolf" often and loudly they did not turn belief into disbelief
like the boy in the story, but reversed the process, and were at length
believed by men who ought to have known a great deal better. Take,
for example, Matthew Arnold, who a year or so later made a wholly
unprovoked attack upon Mr Bradlaugh, speaking of him as "Mr Bradlaugh,
the Iconoclast, who seems to be almost for baptizing us all in blood
and fire into his new social dispensation;" and again, "Mr Bradlaugh is
evidently capable, if he had his head given him, of running us all into
great dangers and confusion."[91] The pious journals were of course
always and increasingly alarmed at the growing popular influence of the
hated and despised Atheist, and tried their best to counteract it, each
according to its lights. The most common way was to decry him: thus he
was not "endowed with superior attainments," nor had he "any faculty
or power of teaching other men." And after devoting a column or so to
showing how mean were his intellectual powers, the Christian critic
would then proceed in the like amiable fashion to decry Mr Bradlaugh's
personal appearance.

[Footnote 91: Essay in _Cornhill Magazine_, 1868, reprinted in book
form as "Culture and Anarchy."]

Just about this time Mr Bradlaugh expressed himself upon a small matter
which will strike a chord in the memories of many of those who took
part in meetings with him. I mean bands at processions. He said he was
glad to note "a strong disposition on the part of the Executive [of
the Reform League] to avoid the use of bands of music in our future
processions. Ten thousand men tramping seriously along the streets
towards Westminster will be unmistakable evidence of our earnestness."
This is the first public expression of his feeling on this subject that
I have come across, but there will still be many who can recall how
much Mr Bradlaugh objected to a serious procession being accompanied
by flying flags and a beating drum. A gala meeting on a Northumberland
or Durham moor was one thing, but men proceeding together in orderly
fashion to soberly demand a right or strenuously protest against a
wrong was another. But people like noise and merriment, even when they
are very much in earnest, and my father often had to submit to the band
and the banner, although in his heart he wished them well at home.

He generously determined that his lectures should not cost the League
one farthing. True, his Freethought friends helped him as much as lay
in their power, but they were poor, and the demands upon their purses
many, so that at the end of the year 1866 he found that in work for the
League he had spent out of his own pocket £30 in mere travelling and
hotel expenses.

At the quarterly election of officers in December 1866 Mr Bradlaugh
was again elected upon the Executive, and he appealed to his friends
to show renewed activity in the time of hard work which he felt lay
before them. On February 11th (1867) the League held two mass meetings,
one in the afternoon at Trafalgar Square, and one in the evening at
the Agricultural Hall. The Trafalgar Square meeting was, if possible,
"more complete, more orderly, and more resolute" than any previous one.
Mr Baxter Langley and Mr Bradlaugh were appointed "deputy marshals;"
they were mounted, and wore tri-coloured scarves and armlets (I have
my father's now). It was their special duty to see that order was
kept, and their office was no sinecure; for although the main body was
entirely orderly, still on the outskirts there was a fair sprinkling
of people who had come "to see the fun," and were bent on seeing it,
even if they had to make it for themselves. One form of creating "fun"
was the snatching off hats and throwing them into the fountain basins;
another was throwing stones from above on to the crowd below. This
dangerous amusement was checked by Mr Bradlaugh, who, singling out a
young fellow who had thrown a stone from the front of the National
Gallery, rode his horse right up the steps in pursuit. The young man
escaped amongst his companions, but Mr Bradlaugh's energy stopped that
form of "fun." That poor little brown horse! It would be difficult
to say which was the more tired, horse or rider, before they parted
company that day; the horse was small--as I have heard my father
say--for the weight it had to carry, and my father had not crossed a
horse since he left the army in 1853. For six and a half hours they
kept order together, and both must have been heartily glad when they
reached the Agricultural Hall, and the little brown horse went home to
his stall and his supper whilst Mr Bradlaugh went inside to speak.[92]

[Footnote 92: In a general "damnatory" description of the demonstration
given from "a club window," which appeared in the _Times_ of February
12th, there is a caricature of Mr Bradlaugh, spiteful in intent, but
amusing and really interesting if one looks between the would-be
scornful words. We are told that "a dapper youth, mounted on a brown
horse, exerted himself to make up for the shortcomings of the public
force, and was a host in himself. He was evidently a man in authority,
and acted in close connection with the Reform magnates, whose carriages
stopped the way before our doors. He raised his whip as freely as if
it had been a constable's truncheon or gendarme's broad-sword, and
apostrophised, or--why should I not say the word--bullied the crowd in
a tone and with manners which would have done an alguazil's heart good.
The sovereign people put up with the man's arrogance with incredible
meekness and patience, and allowed itself to be marshalled hither and
thither as if the Queen's highway were the Leaguers' special property
and the public were mere intruders."

The "Club" man was evidently irritated that these same people who at
Hyde Park had refused to obey a police proclamation backed by a free
use of the truncheon and display of the bayonet, yet implicitly obeyed
the "youth mounted on a brown horse" whose only authority was derived
from the love the people bore him. The sneer as to "tone" and "manners"
is not worth noticing; you cannot issue commands to tens of thousands
in Trafalgar Square in the same gentle tone in which you can ask for
the salt to be passed across the dinner-table.]

The day wound up with the meeting in the Agricultural Hall, which
was addressed by professors, clergymen, and members of Parliament,
Irishmen, Scotchmen, and men like Ernest Jones, directly representing
the working men. Never was there such a wonderful sight as this
gathering. At the previous Agricultural Hall meeting "the vast hall
presented a surging mass of human beings without form or coherence;"
this time it was a solid body of thousands upon thousands of citizens
with faces all anxiously upturned towards the platform. I know not
whether it was arranged that Mr Bradlaugh should be one of the speakers
or not, but in any case he was called for again and again by the
audience, and in response made a brief but earnest speech.

At the next quarterly meeting of the Reform League he was re-elected on
the Executive by a vote of five-sixths of those present, although he
had made a grave declaration to the Council "that events were possible
which would necessitate holding meetings under conditions forbidden by
Act of Parliament, and that he, having determined if needful to resist
the Government decision as to Hyde Park, did not desire to remain on
the Executive of a body whom he might injure by a policy too advanced."

The storm of abuse now broke over Mr Bradlaugh's head in full
force--always with intent to damage the Reform League, for his
enemies had not yet taken the measure of his power and proportions.
For the moment he was merely considered as a weapon, to be used
unscrupulously, and pointed with lies. In this method of warfare the
_Saturday Review_[93] at one bound took a front place. The _Standard_
on the 11th of March reprinted from it the article, "Who are the
Leaguers?" from which journals all over the country took their lead. It
was in this article of the _Saturday Review_ that Mr Bradlaugh is made
responsible for the story of the "Fanatical Monkeys" written by Charles
Southwell (who probably derived it from some old fable), and rewritten
from memory by J. P. Adams, who sent it to the _National Reformer_,
where it was published on February 17, 1867. This story was reproduced
in a hundred shapes, and of course my father was said to be the author
of all of them, a proof, asserted these veracious ones, of his utter
depravity. I have noted a letter of Mr Bradlaugh's, written in 1868,
in which he asked to deny the story for at least "the hundredth time;"
but denial was of little use; the lie sown by the _Saturday Review_
in March 1867, like most other ill weeds, throve apace, and was even
repeated so late as two years ago. Speaking in Trafalgar Square on
March 11th, where as usual he was "loudly called for,"[94] he said
those who were carrying on the struggle had not entered into it without
counting the cost, and, confident in their own strength and manhood,
they were determined upon gaining their rights. He compared the people
with a "resistless wave," and warned those who should dare "to stem
the tide." The _Weekly Dispatch_ jeered at "the figurative Bradlaugh"
for this speech, and, trying in its turn to injure the Reform League,
suggested that the demonstrations were more welcome to the thieves than
to any other class of metropolitan society. Others, like the _Sunday
Times_, struck with the determination and confident purpose betokened
in such a speech, chose to interpret it to mean physical force, and
said--

 "The Reform Leaguers throughout the country are beginning to
 talk treason and must be watched. 'Iconoclast,' who, but for his
 disposition to violence, would be altogether too vulgar for notice,
 systematically threatens violation of the law, and defiance of the
 powers that be."

[Footnote 93: March 9th, 1867.]

[Footnote 94: _Times_, March 12th, 1867.]

The _Sunday Times_ then went on, in the same paragraph, to speak in
terms of reprobation of "a person" who, at some meeting at Newcastle,
urged that an attempt should be made to win the sympathies of the army,
so that in the event of "a collision" the people and the army would be
on the same side. The remarks of an unnamed person at some meeting at
which Mr Bradlaugh was not even present, were thus used as though he
were responsible for them.

Lord Derby's Government began to be frightened at the possibilities
evoked by its own fears and the determined persistence of the League.
Special reporters were sent to the meetings in order to verify speeches
for the purposes of a prosecution, a course which merely made the
speakers more stern and more outspoken. In May it was resolved to
hold another mass meeting in Hyde Park: the Reform League leaders
were convinced that they had the law on their side, and they meant
to insist on their rights. Mr Edmund Beales issued an address to the
men of London, calling upon them to meet the Council of the League
in Hyde Park on Monday evening, May 6th. "Come," he said, "as loyal,
peaceful, and orderly citizens, enemies of all riot and tumult, but
unalterably fixed and resolved in demanding and insisting upon what
you are entitled to. If time presses, stay not to form in processions,
but come straight from your work, come without bands and banners." On
the same evening that Mr Beales' address was read over to the Council
of the League, an "admonition" from the Government was served upon the
delegates, warning all persons "to abstain from attending, aiding, or
taking part in any such meeting, or from entering the Park with a view
to attend, aid, or take part in such meeting."

Much pressure was put upon Mr Beales to prevent the meeting from being
held, but he, knowing that he and his colleagues were in the right,
and _knowing that the Government knew it also_, persisted in the
determination arrived at, after due deliberation, by the Council. The
Government reluctantly, and at the last moment--that is, in the issue
of the _Times_ for May 6th--acknowledged that they had no power to
eject the demonstrators from the Park. Having decided that they had
not the law on their side, Lord Derby, snitching at a straw, thought
the Park regulations would help them, and sent a message to the League
in the afternoon that the meeting would be prohibited; and there was
a talk of prosecuting for trespass each person who had received the
notice of prohibition. But all this "tall talk" was absolutely without
effect: 200,000 persons went to the Park. Mr Bradlaugh was one of
the first to enter; and Platform No. 8 was a "very great centre of
attraction, for this was the scene of Mr Bradlaugh's oratory."[95]

[Footnote 95: The _Standard_, May 7th.]

Mr Bradlaugh was, as I said, re-elected on the Executive of the
League on the full understanding that he had determined to resist
the Government decision as to Hyde Park. During the spring-time he
lectured week after week in London and the provinces, not only bearing
his own expenses, but on one occasion, at least, actually paying
for tickets for his wife and friends. On May 6th, the demonstration
maintaining the right of the people to meet in the people's park was
held, in spite of Lord Derby's opposition and prohibition. On the
following day, May 7th, Mr Bradlaugh tendered his resignation as
vice-president and member of the Council and the Executive of the
Reform League; he took this course "in order to deprive the enemies
of reform of the pretext for attack on the League afforded by my
irreligion, and to save some of the friends of the League from the
pain of having their names associated with my own." Especially Mr
Bradlaugh praises the honourable and straightforward conduct of Mr
Beales, but deeply regrets that he (Mr Beales) should have felt it
necessary publicly to disclaim responsibility for his sayings, and
hopes that his resignation will relieve him from pain. The League
only accepted Mr Bradlaugh's resignation, as far as it related to the
Executive Council; he continued a Vice-President of the League from its
foundation to the end, but after this date he rarely appeared upon its
platforms. If there should be trouble, and his services were desired,
he said, he was ready to do his duty; otherwise he preferred to remain
aloof. Now, mark the generosity of his opponents! Finding he did not
appear as frequently as before on the Reform platform, they began
to circulate every reason for his abstention save the true one--his
honourable desire to aid the cause of Reform even to the extent of
self-effacement, since his persecutors made that necessary. The _Pall
Mall Gazette_ in 1868 said:

 "Mr Bradlaugh, who furnished the _Saturday Reviewers_ with an
 additional sting to articles in which his name was coupled with Mr
 Beales', avowed Atheistical views, but they met with so little favour
 that he had to leave the Committee of the Reform Association because
 he brought discredit on the cause."

Mr Bradlaugh in reply asked if it was true his views found "little
favour," and answering his own question said, "Let the audiences
crowding the theatre at Huddersfield, the circus at Grimsby, the
theatre at Northampton, the halls in London, Dublin, Newcastle, Ashton,
Glasgow, Manchester, Sheffield, and Bradford--let these enthusiastic
audiences reply." And, in conclusion, he printed this letter from
Mr Beales in reply to his resignation, which he had received in the
previous May, but now for the first time made public.

  "4 STONE'S BUILDINGS, LINCOLN'S INN,
  _17th May 1867_.

 "MY DEAR SIR,--Pray excuse my not having sooner answered,
 or noticed, your letter of the 7th inst. to me, tendering your
 resignation as a member of the Executive of the Reform League, and
 asking that your name may be erased from the list of the Council and
 Vice-Presidents. I really have been in such a whirl of occupation
 since receiving your letter that it was not in my power sooner to
 write to you, as I wished. Meanwhile you have, I believe, received
 through Mr Cooper and others intimation that the Executive were
 unwilling to accept your resignation, and lose your services. In that
 unwillingness I concur, whilst I avail myself of this opportunity
 of communicating to you with the utmost openness and frankness, and
 with very sincere regard, my feelings in the matter. I have already
 expressed in public my strong sense of the services you have rendered
 to the League by your ability and good sense, and of the invariable
 fidelity, delicacy, and admirable taste with which you have studiously
 abstained from uttering a word at our meetings that could offend the
 religious scruples of the most sensitive or fastidious Christian. At
 the same time that your known and published opinions on these matters
 (I do not allude to the subject of the _Saturday Review's_ savage
 attack, which was not, I believe, from your pen) have injured the
 League with many in a moral and pecuniary point of view must, I am
 afraid, be admitted, though I doubt whether such injury has outweighed
 the aid you have rendered to the League by your oratorical power
 and talent. At all events, I am not disposed to allow the evil to
 have outweighed the good. You say that the conduct of the Press in
 constantly coupling your name with mine has given me pain. Well, it
 has, but not quite from the cause you suppose. I despise from my soul
 the base motives of the writers in thus coupling our names together,
 and it would only make me more strongly tender to you the hand of
 friendship. But I do feel great pain at the thought of a man of your
 undoubted ability, and, I believe, purity of purpose and high honesty,
 being in such a position from your antagonism to Christianity as to
 make men imagine that they could pain or injure me or the League by
 thus coupling our names together.

 "C. BRADLAUGH.

  "E. BEALES."

Mr George Howell, the Secretary, had also written expressing his
deep regret at my father's resignation, and testifying to the kindly
consideration shown himself, and to the earnest and powerful advocacy
and support given to the objects of the League.

Probably in consequence of the form taken by these aspersions Mr
Bradlaugh was again elected on the Executive Council in December 1868.



CHAPTER XXIV.

PROVINCIAL LECTURING, 1866-1869.


I will take up once more the story of my father's lecturing experiences
in the provinces by telling of the Mayor's attempt to prevent the
delivery of some lectures he had agreed to give in Liverpool, in the
middle of October 1866. The subjects to be dealt with were: "The
Pentateuch: without it Christianity is nothing; with it, Humanity is
impossible;" "The Twelve Apostles," and "Kings, Lords, and Commons."
The bills announcing these particulars were posted all over the
town, and seem to have much alarmed the Mayor. This gentleman was a
Methodist, and held such peculiar ideas concerning the duties of chief
magistrate of so important a place as Liverpool that he preferred,
for example, attending a Scripture Readers' tea-party rather than
the banquet given to the layers of the Atlantic Cable, at which he
was expected. It can be easily understood that such a Mayor would be
greatly disturbed by the possibility of an atheistic criticism of the
Pentateuch and the twelve Apostles. So great was his perturbation that
he consulted with the Chief Constable, Major Greig, with the result
that the latter sent his subordinates to the lessee of the theatre
to explain to him that he must close his doors against the wicked
"Iconoclast." The lessee, hesitating, was carried before the Chief
Constable himself, who, speaking with all the majesty of his office,
told him that the lectures could not be allowed. On Saturday night
(13th October)[96] Mr Bradlaugh's agent, Mr Cowan, called upon the
lessee for the keys, but was informed that he had been ordered not to
permit the meetings to be held. Poor lessee! between the upper and the
nether millstone he got very little peace. Mr Cowan, after considerable
discussion, took him, late at night though it was, to Mr Bradlaugh. Mr
Bradlaugh had gone to bed, but got up at the summons, and all three
went to the Chief Constable's, but nothing was to be done there at
that time of night. In the morning the lessee accepted Mr Bradlaugh's
written indemnity against all consequence, and my father was permitted
to lecture unmolested, although he and his friends were much diverted
to find detectives, police, and magistrates amongst the audience.

[Footnote 96: The lectures were announced for the following day.]

A fortnight later Mr Bradlaugh was due in Glasgow, and on his way
to Scotland made a little halt at Newcastle. For some weeks past a
clergyman, the Rev. David King, sufficiently well known in certain
circles, had been playing the braggart in the north of England. All,
and nothing short of all, the "Infidels" were afraid of him; none dare
meet him in debate--if he had modestly stopped at that, there would
have been little harm done, but to his boasts he added gross slanders
of Freethinkers, both living and dead, individually and in the mass.
My father went up north at the right moment, for on Saturday, 27th
October, this Mr D. King was announced to lecture at Bedlington on
Secularists and their perversions; the Newcastle Freethinkers, who were
highly indignant, asked Mr Bradlaugh to break his journey to Scotland
in order to come and give the reverend slanderer a lesson, and this
he agreed to do. "The news of Iconoclast's coming had spread like
wildfire," said Elijah Copeland in a report he wrote at the time;[97]
and since then I have heard from a Northumberland friend how swiftly
the tidings spread from man to man, and from village to village, that
Iconoclast was coming to teach David King a little truth and modesty.
The excitement was so great that the Lecture Hall at Bedlington was
hardly opened before it was full--but the hour came, and no Iconoclast.
David King commenced his address--full as usual of boasts of himself
and insults to Secularists. Time sped on lightning wings; every moment
intensified the anxiety, every movement, every outside sound increased
the excitement. To many Mr Bradlaugh was known only by fame, and if
a fresh person came into the hall the question, "Is that he?" was
eagerly whispered round the room, only to be answered by those better
informed with a reluctant shake of the head. A little man sitting on
the platform attracted some attention. "Could _that_ be the redoubtable
Iconoclast?" asked some of the anxious ones; no one seemed to know the
stranger, and at last the feeling grew so intense that some one put
the question directly to the unknown man on the platform, and without
surprise he received the obvious answer. The lecture was nearing its
close, and as all danger of the threatened opposition seemed passing
away the lecturer's language grew more and more unrestrained. When,
hark! what was that? A noise outside of many feet, a loud determined
knock, the door thrown open impetuously, letting in a flood of fresh
cold air, and with it the almost-despaired of Iconoclast, who was
greeted with deafening cheers. When the real man came, no one had any
doubt as to his identity--he was recognised at once by all. David
King's tone changed directly, and when the time for discussion came
Mr Bradlaugh gave the lesson he had come to teach, to the unbounded
delight and satisfaction of all the Freethinkers present. After the
discussion came the return drive of twelve or fourteen miles in the
cold and the rain to Newcastle, which was reached at two in the
morning. While my father snatched a couple of hours' sleep, some of
his friends sat and watched in order to rouse him for the Scotch
express, which passed through Newcastle about five o'clock. Arrived
at Edinburgh, my father found he had twenty minutes to wait, so he
thought he would get some breakfast, but "alas!" said he, "it was
Sunday morning, and starvation takes precedence of damnation in the
_unco guid_ city. Instead of drinking hot coffee, I had to shiver in
the cold, admiring the backs of the tumble-down-looking houses in the
high "toon" for want of better occupation. I arrived in Glasgow just
one hour before the time fixed for the morning lecture--dirty, weary,
hungry, thirsty, and sleepy."[98]

[Footnote 97: _National Reformer._]

[Footnote 98: _National Reformer_, November 4 (1866).]

After the evening lecture Mr Bradlaugh had to hurry from the platform
of the Eclectic Hall to catch the train which steamed out of Glasgow
at twenty minutes to nine, so that he might be in time for Monday
morning's business in the city, having spent two nights out of bed,
travelled about 900 miles, and spoken at Bedlington and three times in
Glasgow in less than forty-eight hours.

Four weeks from the day of his Glasgow lectures,[99] my father was
arrested at Huddersfield. Two accounts of this were given in the
_National Reformer_, one from the pen of Mr Bradlaugh, and one from
that of a gentleman who was with him the greater part of the time. It
was a case of "the Devonport blunder" being repeated by "the Religious
Party of Huddersfield."

[Footnote 99: On November 25 (1866).]

The Philosophical Hall, which for some little time previously had
been used as a theatre, had been duly taken for "three lectures by
Iconoclast;" there was a written agreement, the deposit paid, and
a harmonium taken by the Huddersfield Freethought Society into the
Hall. Placards announcing the subjects of the lectures ("Temperance,"
"Reform," and "The Twelve Apostles ") and the name of the lecturer were
posted more than a fortnight beforehand throughout the town and upon
the hall itself. On Saturday, at the eleventh hour, the proprietor,
Mr Morton Price, secretly urged by persons too cowardly to appear
themselves--at least, so it was rumoured--resolved that the lectures
should not take place, and on Sunday morning Mr Bradlaugh "found the
doors of the building locked and barred, and the police authorities on
the alert. I tried," he tells us, "to gain admittance, but the wooden
barriers were far stronger than my shoulders, and after bruising myself
more than the doors, and waiting in the rain for about forty minutes,
while some sort of iron bar was vainly searched for, I returned very
disconsolate to my lodgings. Several members of the Huddersfield
Society begged me to lecture in Senior's schoolroom, but I positively
refused; there were friends in from the country for miles round who
could not be contained in so small a meeting-place. The Yorkshire
energy was roused, and a dozen volunteers started to open the door;
I followed, and came in time to twist a crowbar into curious shapes,
and be arrested by the police and lodged in the station. At first I
was ordered into a cell; my money, watch and chain, keys, toothpick,
and other dangerous weapons being taken from me. As, however, since
Devonport, where the lock-up was damp, I object to cells on principle,
I gently argued the matter, and ultimately the presiding authority
announced that I should be let out _if I could get a magistrate to
become bail_. This was not very probable, and looked like being locked
up for two whole days, but two good friends not only started to arrange
with some local magistrate about bail, but actually succeeded. During
the time they were absent I had, however, effected my own release
from custody without any bail at all.... When the charge was entered
by Superintendent Hannan, who, I am bound to say, behaved in a most
gentleman-like and courteous manner, I again discussed the matter,
and ultimately the stage-manager said he would find bail if I would
agree not to lecture. This I indignantly refused. I came to lecture,
and I meant to lecture; and after many _pour parlers_, I walked out of
custody without any other condition than my word of honour to appear
before the magistrates to answer the charge on the following Tuesday.
The news spread like wildfire, and I had an enormous audience, crowding
the theatre from floor to ceiling, the chiefs of the police honouring
us with their presence."

People had come from far and near to hear him lecture--from Dewsbury,
Bradford, Leeds, Halifax, Manchester, and elsewhere, and great was the
dismay when it was found that the Hall doors were closed against them.
When it was known that he would not lecture in the schoolroom, and he
had determined to make an effort to force the doors, volunteers for
the work immediately stepped forward; they begged him "to keep out of
action" until the doors were down; but to look on whilst others got
into trouble never came easy to my father. So he took a crowbar and
helped with the rest, and the twisted iron was preserved in triumph by
some Huddersfield friends until a few years ago. They attacked the pit
and gallery door in Bull and Mouth Street, and their united exertions
soon threw it open to the crowd impatiently waiting to enter. The
Police Office was next door to the Philosophical Hall, so the police
were able to watch the proceedings with little trouble to themselves.
When they arrested Mr Bradlaugh, so great was the indignation of the
crowd that they even threatened to rescue him by main force, and guards
of police were hastily put at all weak places. It was, however, Mr
Bradlaugh himself who relieved the fears of his captors. He sent a
message to his friends, asking them to leave peacefully and without
disorder, assuring them that he would be all right. In compliance
with his request the people who thronged the hall quietly dispersed,
only one person remaining behind to keep possession of the theatre.
Messrs Armitage and Mitchell rushed off in a cab to find a magistrate
liberal enough to become bail for the imprisoned Atheist, and during
their absence--on what seemed an impossible errand--Mr Bradlaugh sent
word from the police station to the committee that he would lecture at
half-past six. This message was received with the wildest enthusiasm,
but since Mr Bradlaugh was still in the hands of the police and it was
then four o'clock, it seemed, on reflection, highly improbable. But
the first messenger was rapidly followed by a second, bringing word
that "Iconoclast" was free once more. On his appearance on the platform
of the Philosophical Hall at the appointed time the enthusiasm and
excitement were unbounded, and his lecture on "Reform" was said to have
been "one of the most splendid and eloquent he had yet delivered."

On the following Tuesday Mr Bradlaugh had to appear before the
Huddersfield magistrates. Though there were five upon the Bench--only
two, G. Armitage, Esq., and S.W. Haigh, Esq.--heard the case. Naturally
enough, the Court was densely crowded, and many were unable to obtain
admission. Mr Nehemiah Learoyd prosecuted. This attorney was defined
as "a gentleman according to Act of Parliament," though it does not
appear that he had any other claim to the title. In the case against Mr
Bradlaugh he conducted himself with such effrontery and coarseness as
to make it more than ever evident that Acts of Parliament have their
limitations. My father was charged with doing damage to the door of
the Huddersfield Theatre to the amount of twenty-four shillings: after
this charge was read another charge of committing a breach of the peace
was brought forward. Mr Bradlaugh suggested that each charge should be
gone into separately: Mr Learoyd would have them taken together, and
the magistrates decided in his favour. The case for the prosecution was
opened and witnesses called. Mr Bradlaugh raised an objection to the
jurisdiction of the Court, and after some argument and some further
examination of witnesses, the magistrates retired to consider the
point. After an interval of ten minutes they returned, having decided
in Mr Bradlaugh's favour that they had no jurisdiction. Mr Learoyd
then, with unblushing effrontery, wished to proceed with the second
charge--the breach of the peace; but he had elected at the outset to
take both charges together, and by that he was compelled to abide. The
decision of the magistrates was greeted with instant applause, which
was of course rebuked by the Court. The case was reported at length
by the _Huddersfield Examiner_ and the _Huddersfield Chronicle_,
and gained for Mr Bradlaugh many friends in Huddersfield and the
surrounding districts. And thus for once was bigotry frustrated.

On the following Sunday Mr Bradlaugh was lecturing at Newcastle, and
many people, women as well as men, came in distances of fifteen and
twenty miles to hear him. One man told how he had come thirty-eight
miles "to get a grip" of my father's hand. Two days after this he was
at Northampton, where he found himself becoming quite "respectable,"
and, "to the horror of the saints and my own surprise," he said, he
was permitted the use of the Mechanics' Institute for his discourses.
A week or so later he was lecturing in the great Free Trade Hall,
Manchester, on behalf of the widow and family of his late colleague,
John Watts. He gave himself no rest in body or mind, nor did he seem
to relax the strain for a moment. The old year closed, and 1867 opened
with a course of lectures at the City Road Hall, at one of which,
by the by, it is interesting to note that Mr Bradlaugh defended Mr
Gladstone from an attack made upon his sincerity of purpose, "believing
him to be the most able and honest statesman whom the people have on
their side."

Notwithstanding all his lecturing, the great quantity of literary work
he was then engaged upon, the Reform Demonstrations, and harassing
private business, Mr Bradlaugh yet found time in the spring of 1867 to
engage in a six nights' debate with the Rev. J. M'Cann, M.A., curate
of St Paul's, Huddersfield. The discussion was arranged to take place
in the theatre, or Philosophical Hall, which had been forcibly closed
against the Freethinkers only a few months before. The preliminaries
to the debate were a little ominous: in the first place Mr Bradlaugh
was obliged to agree to the terms dictated by his religious antagonist
(or his committee), otherwise there would have been no discussion; and
above and beyond this the Rev. Mr M'Cann "refused to debate if the
name Iconoclast be used, and therefore it will be Charles Bradlaugh
who answers for the shortcomings of Iconoclast, despite the injury in
business caused by the wide publicity recently given to the name and
thus repeated."[100]

[Footnote 100: C. Bradlaugh in _National Reformer_, March 1867.]

The debate arose out of some "Anti-Secularist lectures" which Mr M'Cann
had been delivering in Huddersfield, presumably inspired thereto by
the sensation caused by the theatre episode of the previous November.
The subjects of these lectures were to be discussed for six nights,
three hours each night, Mr Bradlaugh attacking and Mr M'Cann defending.
Mr M'Cann, who was an Irishman, and who from the active part he was
taking in the Literary and Scientific Society and other institutions
of the town, was regarded as a "rising young man," rather disappointed
many of the Freethinkers after the first two nights' discussion.
Immovably confident in the ability of their own representative,
they were anxious to see him meet someone worthy of his steel. Mr
Bradlaugh's opinion, expressed at the conclusion of the six nights,
was that Mr M'Cann was a fluent, ready speaker, honest and earnest,
although no great debater.[101]

[Footnote 101: No verbatim report of this discussion was ever
published.]

The year 1868 was a terribly busy one: the Irish question (of which I
will speak later), the first Government prosecution of the _National
Reformer_, and his first Parliamentary candidature for Northampton,
kept my father constantly hard at work. During the year he lectured
frequently in London, besides visiting Grimsby, Bedlington, Newcastle,
Hull, West Bromwich, Birmingham, Kettering, Northampton, Huddersfield,
Bradford, Sheffield, Ashton, Manchester, Bury, Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Keighley, Sunderland, Plymouth, and other towns.

At Huddersfield he was always welcomed with the utmost enthusiasm,
although some of the inhabitants still seemed determined to resist his
visits. As the theatre was too small to accommodate all his auditors,
the Huddersfield Committee took the circus for some addresses which
he had arranged to deliver in the town in March. The Improvement
Commissioners, however, eager to imitate the conduct of Mr Morton
Price of a year and a half before, drew back from their agreement
to let. Then a curious thing happened. When he was aware of the
behaviour of the Commissioners, Mr Morton Price himself offered the
Huddersfield Freethinkers the use of the theatre; and not only did he
let it to them, but he gave a special advertisement of the meetings.
The advertisement was so peculiarly and significantly worded that I
reproduce it:

  "Theatre Royal, Huddersfield.

 "Mr Morton Price begs to inform the nobility, gentry, and general
 public of Huddersfield that, finding his efforts to preserve his
 theatre from Atheism and Profanity so _appreciative and remunerative_,
 he has let the said theatre for a series of lectures by Mr Bradlaugh,
 the 'Iconoclast,' on Sunday next, March 15th, 1868."

In connection with the Manchester lectures also an amusing incident
took place. It may be remembered that a man named William Murphy was
about this time lecturing in different parts of England on behalf of
the Protestant Church in Ireland, and his conduct had been so strange,
and his language so inflammatory, that in the north he had been the
cause of some very serious "No Popery" riots. In Manchester he was
arrested, and his lectures practically prohibited. My father going to
Manchester just after this prohibition, it occurred to certain good
Christians that this might perhaps be turned to account against him.
Consequently, when he arrived in Manchester on the Saturday night
(September 5th) prior to his Sunday lectures, he found all kinds of
rumours in circulation, friends even telling him that there were
warrants out for his arrest. This was much exaggerated, and what
really had happened was this: On the Friday, at the City Police Court,
before the stipendiary magistrate, Mr Fowler, an application had been
made by Mr Bennett, solicitor, for proceedings to be taken against Mr
Charles Bradlaugh, then announced to deliver a series of lectures in
the Free Trade Hall on Sunday. "The sworn information of a respectable
householder, living in Boundary Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock," was
forthcoming that the lectures could not take place "without giving
rise to a breach of the peace." There was no contention that any overt
acts of violence had ever been committed on account of these lectures;
nevertheless, "the respectable householder"--whose name was afterwards
stated to be Smith--thought they ought to be prohibited, "as in the
case of Mr Murphy." Mr Fowler argued the cases were very different,
and suggested that Mr Bennett should look up his law, and then, if he
thought his position satisfactory, he could attend on the following
morning with his witnesses. So much, indeed, Mr Bradlaugh had gathered
from the London papers read on his journey northwards. Arrived at his
journey's end, he was still in suspense as to what had happened that
day, and the friends who met the train could not set his anxieties at
rest. However, from an evening paper he learned that Mr Bennett had
not found any further support in law for his application, which the
magistrate told him must consequently fail. He said further:

 "You say this case is similar to that of William Murphy, whose case
 was heard in this Court on Tuesday last. But it appears to me very
 different. We must be very careful indeed as magistrates not to
 interfere in any way with the freedom of discussion, and in no way
 by the decision of Tuesday, as far as I can see, have we done so.
 In the case before us on Tuesday it was proved on oath that William
 Murphy was about to deliver a series of lectures, which he had already
 given in other towns, where, from his own conduct, and the threatening
 attitude he assumed by producing a revolver, and other acts, very
 serious riots had arisen, followed by great destruction of property
 and even danger to life; and from what was proved before us as to
 what had already taken place in this city since the announcement of
 these lectures, it appeared there was every probability of the same
 thing occurring here. To prevent this--exercising the power which as
 magistrates, in my opinion, we undoubtedly have--we called upon the
 defendant, William Murphy, to enter upon his recognisances for his
 good behaviour; you mark the words, 'good behaviour,' Mr Bennett.
 That, of course, includes keeping the peace; and under similar
 circumstances to those proved before us, we should certainly do the
 same whether the defendant was Roman Catholic, Protestant, or of any
 other denomination. Now, I think you have entirely failed to show in
 the application you made yesterday that any such result has ensued, or
 is likely to ensue, from the lectures about to be given by the person
 against whom you apply. Therefore the application is refused."

The upshot of this application at the Police Court was a wide
advertisement of the lectures, an intense excitement, and anxiety to
hear the lecturer. The _Saturday Review_, true to the feelings of
bitter animosity which it cherished against Mr Bradlaugh, thought that

 "it might perhaps be plausibly argued that the same reasons which
 weighed with them [the magistrates] when they refused to restrain Mr
 Iconoclast Bradlaugh from attacking and insulting all religions, might
 also have influenced them when they were asked to restrain Murphy from
 insulting one form of the Christian faith."

The _Saturday Review_ elsewhere spoke of Manchester as having been
"the theatre of riots" in consequence of Murphy's behaviour and of the
"savage brutality" exhibited. No sort of disturbance could be alleged
as resulting from Mr Bradlaugh's lectures, but anything was "plausible"
to the _Saturday Review_ as against him.

Of course this rushing about from, city to city, and several hours'
speaking in crowded halls sandwiched in between the long railway
journeys, meant a great physical strain.

In February my father tells how he had travelled on the previous
Saturday in a tremendous storm to Morpeth for Bedlington, arriving at
Morpeth (five or six miles from Bedlington) at the very hour at which
he ought to have been on the platform. "A rapid wash while horses were
being got ready; no time for tea, and off we sped to our destination,
where we found the little hall crowded with an eager and appreciative
audience, some of whom had walked many miles to be present." A midnight
return drive with storm most furiously raging, and then to Newcastle,
where three lectures were delivered on the Sunday. "In forty-eight
hours I travelled nearly 630 miles, delivered four lectures, and came
back to that daily toil for that life-subsistence which is so hard
to win. I need hardly add that the mere travelling expenses on such
a journey swallow up all profit derivable from the lectures." The
Glasgow and Edinburgh lectures in the beginning of August meant "one
thousand miles and four lectures in two days and three nights, and
back to business by ten on Monday." At the end of August another visit
to Newcastle meant "another six hundred miles and three lectures in
one day and a half and two nights, following upon no less than three
open-air addresses at Northampton."

In the following year my father continued to do a great deal of public
speaking. His home troubles were growing greater, and his business life
in the city was daily becoming more difficult, but this seemed only
to make him toil the harder in that cause of religious and political
progress which lay so near his heart. At the new Hall of Science,
142 Old Street, which had just been leased in the interests of the
Freethought party, Mr Bradlaugh delivered in the year upwards of forty
lectures, for none of which he received a single penny, devoting the
whole of the proceeds towards paying the debt upon the building. He did
not allow any one month to pass without giving one or more Sundays to
the New Hall. He lectured several times also at the hall in Cleveland
Street; and in the latter part of the year, for the most part, he
visited thirty or more provincial towns, at many of which he gave three
discourses on the Sunday. In 1869 also Mr Bradlaugh took part in an
examination into alleged spiritualistic phenomena held by the London
Dialectical Society, but without any satisfactory results. Undoubtedly
the chief event of the year for him was his final defeat of the
Government in their prosecution of the _National Reformer_, and through
this the repeal of the odious Security laws. He was involved in another
law-suit, which, as we shall see later, led to the amending of the laws
relating to evidence.

Matters went rather more smoothly with my father's provincial
lecturing this year; no town seemed to be sufficiently encouraged
by the course of affairs in Devonport and Huddersfield to follow
their example very closely. But still he met with some rebuff. For
instance, when he was at Blyth on April 3rd, the innkeepers there were
all so pious that none would give him food or shelter. April 3rd was
a Saturday, not a Sunday, so there was not even the lame excuse of
keeping the Sabbath Day holy by refusing to harbour an Atheist. The
people of Blyth who undertook to provide for the creature comforts of
the inhabitants and visitors must have been bigoted to the last degree,
for in the week before Mr Bradlaugh's visit, a coffee-house keeper had
refused to supply with tea some persons who were rash enough to admit
that they had attended Mrs Law's lectures. Happily, such churlish
bigotry was by no means universal, for the Blyth Lecture Hall was
so crowded when Mr Bradlaugh arrived that he had to gain admittance
through a back window. He afterwards related how "one hearty fellow and
two or three Unitarians volunteered to give me a night's shelter, but
I was unaware of this until I had made my arrangements for a midnight
walk in the dark to Bedlington under escort of half a dozen stalwart
fellows." This is the occasion to which Mr Thomas Burt referred in his
article in the _Primitive Methodist Quarterly Review_ for July 1891.
Mr Burt there says that all the ordinary halls and schoolrooms were
refused to Mr Bradlaugh, but that a gentleman, Mr Richard Fynes, who
had recently purchased a chapel, and was a true lover of free speech,
granted the use of his building to the Bedlington Secular Society. Mr
Burt, who had gone from curiosity to hear Mr Bradlaugh, at the close of
the meeting asked him and some friends home to supper. His people were
rather horror-stricken, but, with true courtesy, allowed nothing of it
to appear to their guest, and the supper passed off quite smoothly, Mr
Bradlaugh making himself very agreeable. It is rather curious that Mr
Burt had no idea how _àpropos_ his hospitality was. It was not until
after he had given his invitation that he learned that in all Blyth
there was no place of refreshment that would open its doors to the
Atheist.

But unfortunately it was not only to Mr Bradlaugh himself that violence
was used or threatened: those who attended his lectures or who were
suspected of sympathising with his opinions sometimes ran considerable
risk. For instance, he had been lecturing at Portsmouth on Monday,
May 10th, on the Irish Church and the Land Question, and his lecture
created considerable excitement in the town. Shortly afterwards a
"converted clown" was holding forth on Portsea Common, and a man
suspected to be in sympathy with Mr Bradlaugh stayed to listen. The
converted one frequently addressed the new-comer as an "unhappy infidel
animal," and so worked upon his pious listeners that in the end they
turned upon the "infidel," who was "hissed, hooted, kicked, cuffed, and
knocked about so unmercifully that he sought protection" in flight. The
whole brutal mob pursued and overtook him, "his clothes were almost
torn from him, and but for the assistance of several passers-by--some
of whom also received rough treatment--he would probably have been
killed."[102]

[Footnote 102: _West Sussex Gazette_, June 24th. And _these_ are the
people who affect to believe in Mr Bradlaugh's violence and coarseness!
"Even so ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full
of hypocrisy and iniquity."]

True, everywhere he went my father met with hate and scorn; yet
everywhere he went he also met with a trust and love such as falls to
the lot of few men to know. The hate and scorn passed over him, scarce
leaving a trace, but the love and trust went deep into his heart,
making up, as he said, for "many disappointments." At Keighley "two
veterans, one eighty and one seventy-three, walked eleven miles to
hear me lecture; and at Shipley another greeted me, seventy-six years
old, asking for one more grip of the hand before he died."[103] On Mr
Bradlaugh's return journey from Yorkshire, at every station between
Leeds and Keighley men and women came to bid him good-bye; from a dozen
districts round they came, "old faces and young ones, men, women, and
smiling girls," and he was moved to the utmost depths of his nature to
see how their love for him grew with his every visit.

[Footnote 103: C. Bradlaugh, in _National Reformer_, July 1869.]

Summer or winter, fair weather or foul, people would come many and
many a mile to hear him speak. At Over Darwen, where he had some fine
meetings that October, he found that some of the poor folk had come in
from a distance of "twenty-three miles; many had come ten to sixteen
miles, some walking steadily over the 'tops' through the mist and rain,
and having to leave home as early as six in the morning in order to get
to us; one sturdy old man declaring that he never missed when I was
within twenty-five miles of his home."[104]

[Footnote 104: Of these Darwen lectures all the Preston papers gave
long reports. The Conservative _Preston Herald_ thought that "the
burning words of eulogium [on Mr Gladstone] that fell from the lips of
the clever advocate" laid Mr Bradlaugh "open to the suspicion of having
accepted a retainer and a brief from the astute statesman"! About 1200
persons attended each lecture, and the "quiet village of Darwen was
rendered as throng as a fair" by the influx of people from so many of
the surrounding villages.]

I should like also to note here the open-mindedness shown about this
time by a Catholic priest at Seghill. Mr Bradlaugh was to lecture
in the colliery schoolroom on "The Land, the People, and the Coming
Struggle," but almost at the last moment the authorities would have
none of such a wicked man. Upon hearing this a Catholic priest named
Father O'Dyer allowed the lecture to take place in his chapel at
Annitsford, and he himself took the chair. Mr Bradlaugh, of course,
greatly appreciated this unlooked-for kindness on the part of Father
O'Dyer, though in his surprise at such unwonted conduct he might
humorously comment "the age of miracles has recommenced."

In December Mr Bradlaugh was in Lancashire--one Saturday at Middleton,
the next day at Bury, where considerable excitement had been created
by the burning of the _National Reformer_ in the Bury Reform Club by
one of the members; on Monday at Accrington, where the lecture was
followed by a three hours' drive in the night across country, over bad
and slippery roads, to Preston to catch the London train. At Preston
the station was locked up, but Mr Bradlaugh managed to get inside the
porters' room, where there was happily a fire, by which he dozed until
the train was due. Then six hours' rail in the frosty night, and back
to city work for Tuesday morning. "Who will buy our bishopric?" he
asked. But to this there was no reply.



CHAPTER XXV.

IRELAND.


I am now come to a point in my father's history at which I must confess
my utter inability to give anything like a just account of his work.
All I can do--in spite of great time and labour almost fruitlessly
spent in following up the slenderest clues--is to relate a few facts
which must not be taken as a complete story, but merely as indicating
others of greater importance. The reason for my ignorance will be found
in Mr Bradlaugh's own words written in 1873:--

"My sympathy with Ireland and open advocacy of justice for the Irish
nearly brought me into serious trouble. Some who were afterwards
indicted as the chiefs of the so-called Fenian movement came to me for
advice. So much I see others have written, and the rest of this portion
of my autobiography I may write some day. At present there are men
not out of danger whom careless words might imperil, and as regards
myself I shall not be guilty of the folly of printing language which a
Government might use against me."[105]

[Footnote 105: _Autobiography._]

That "some day" of which he wrote never came; and to-day we know
little more of what help he gave to the chiefs of the "so-called
Fenian movement" than we did in 1873. There is, however, one man
still living--perhaps there are two, but of the second I am not quite
sure--who could if he chose throw considerable light upon this period;
but this person I have been unable to reach. From the time when, by
sending the 7th Dragoon Guards to Ireland, the English Government
was kind enough to afford the newly enlisted Private Bradlaugh an
opportunity of studying that unfortunate country from within, and by
sending him on duty at evictions to bring him face to face with the
suffering her wretched peasantry had to endure--from that time (in
the early fifties) until his death, English misgovernment of Ireland
and the condition of the Irish people occupied a very prominent place
in his thoughts. Between 1866 and 1868, while Ireland was in a state
of agitation and insurrection, he frequently brought the subject of
her grievances before his English audiences: articles on the Irish
land question and the English in Ireland appeared in the _National
Reformer_, and he himself took the Irish question as a frequent theme
for his lectures. "Englishmen," he would say, "have long been eloquent
on the wrongs of Poland and other downtrodden nations, insisting
on their right to govern themselves; but they have been singularly
unmindful of their Irish brethren. Advocacy of the claims of Poland
showed a love of liberty and freedom. Advocacy for Ireland spelled
treason. The three great curses of Ireland were her beggars, her bogs,
and her barracks. The reclaiming of the millions of acres of bogland,
now waste, with proper security for tenants, would diminish the
beggars; and as bogs and beggars decreased, contentment would increase,
and Government would be deprived of all excuse for the retention of an
armed force." Talking in this strain, he would strive to win English
sympathy for Ireland. At meeting after meeting he pointed out the
evils of our Irish legislation, and won the thanks of Irishmen for his
"outspoken language."

The Fenian Brotherhood, was, as we know, a secret association, founded
and framed by James Stephens, for the establishment of an Irish
Republic. That the association was a secret one was the fault of the
English Government, since it forbade all open and orderly meetings; and
the more open agitation was suppressed, the stronger grew the Fenian
movement. Some of the Fenian leaders, amongst whom were Colonel Kelly
and General Cluseret, came to Mr Bradlaugh for legal advice; and one
of the results of the many consultations held at Sunderland Villa was
the framing of the following proclamation, which was published in the
_Times_ for March 8th, 1867, at the end of two or three columns of
excited accounts of the Fenian rising in Ireland:--

  "I. R.--Proclamation!--The Irish People to the World.

 "We have suffered centuries of outrage, enforced poverty, and bitter
 misery. Our rights and liberties have been trampled on by an alien
 aristocracy, who, treating us as foes, usurped our lands, and drew
 away from our unfortunate country all material riches. The real
 owners of the soil were removed to make room for cattle, and driven
 across the ocean to seek the means of living and the political rights
 denied to them at home; while our men of thought and action were
 condemned to loss of life and liberty. But we never lost the memory
 and hope of a national existence. We appealed in vain to the reason
 and sense of justice of the dominant powers. Our mildest remonstrances
 were met with sneers and contempt. Our appeals to arms were always
 unsuccessful. To-day, having no honourable alternative left, we again
 appeal to force as our last resource. We accept the conditions of
 appeal, manfully deeming it better to die in the struggle for freedom
 than to continue an existence of utter serfdom. All men are born with
 equal rights, and in associating together to protect one another and
 share public burdens, justice demands that such associations should
 rest upon a basis which maintains equality instead of destroying
 it. We therefore declare that, unable longer to endure the curse
 of monarchical government, we aim at founding a republic, based on
 universal suffrage, which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of
 their labour. The soil of Ireland, at present in the possession of
 an oligarchy, belongs to us, the Irish people, and to us it must be
 restored. We declare also in favour of absolute liberty of conscience,
 and the complete separation of Church and State. We appeal to the
 Highest Tribunal for evidence of the justice of our cause. History
 bears testimony to the intensity of our sufferings, and we declare, in
 the face of our brethren, that we intend no war against the people of
 England; our war is against the aristocratic locusts, whether English
 or Irish, who have eaten the verdure of our fields--against the
 aristocratic leeches who drain alike our blood and theirs. Republicans
 of the entire world, our cause is your cause. Our enemy is your enemy.
 Let your hearts be with us. As for you, workmen of England, it is not
 only your hearts we wish, but your arms. Remember the starvation and
 degradation brought to your firesides by the oppression of labour.
 Remember the past, look well to the future, and avenge yourselves
 by giving liberty to your children in the coming struggle for human
 freedom. _Herewith we proclaim the Irish Republic_."

[Illustration - not available for this book]

"THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT."

This proclamation was printed by Colonel Kelly,[106] who obtained
possession of some printing works at Islington, and in one night set
up this famous manifesto. Mr J. M. Davidson says that the document
was drawn by Mr Bradlaugh's hand.[107] Mr Adolphe S. Headingley[108]
says that "the informers Massey and Corydon in their evidence insist
that Bradlaugh himself drew up the proclamation." In spite of a very
considerable search I have not yet been able to find the words used by
Massey or Corydon; but on this point, at least, I am able to quote the
highest authority--my father himself. I was talking to him in his study
one day, and in the course of our conversation he pulled down a thick
green volume--an Irish history--and opening it, put his finger upon
this proclamation. "They say I wrote that," he said with a smile. "And
did you?" I asked. He then told me that the draft of the proclamation,
as it left his study after being approved, _was_ in his handwriting;
but that when he saw it in print he found that it had been altered
after leaving his hands. Unfortunately, I did not go over it with him
to ask where it had been altered; but words written by him in January
1868 throw a little light on the matter. He then said:

[Footnote 106: Headingley, p. 105.]

[Footnote 107: _Weekly Dispatch_, November 16, 1879.]

[Footnote 108: Headingley, p. 104.]

"I am against the present establishment of a republic in Ireland,
because, although I regard republicanism as the best form of government
possible, I nevertheless think that the people of England and of
Ireland are yet too much wanting in true dignity and independence,
and too ignorant of their political rights and duties, to at present
make good republicans. We are growing gradually towards the point of
republican government; but it is not, I think, the question of to-day.
A forcible separation of Ireland from England would not unnaturally
be resisted by the latter to her last drop of blood and treasure;
and I do not believe that the Irish party are either strong enough
or sufficiently united to give even a colour of probability to the
supposition of a successful revolution."[C]

Again, "I do not believe in an enduring revolution to be effected by
revolvers;... I do not believe it a lasting republic to be formed by
pike aid."[109]

[Footnote 109: Pamphlet on the Irish Question.]

Hence from Mr Bradlaugh's own words, written in January 1868, it will
be seen that he could not possibly have joined in the proclamation of a
force-established republic in March 1867.

Throughout the year (1867) the country was in a very disturbed state.
The Fenians were numerous, but inefficiently organised; they made
isolated attacks on police barracks in Ireland, and attempted to
seize Chester Castle, which contained a considerable store of arms.
In September Kelly and Deasy were arrested at Manchester, and on the
18th of that month they were rescued while being moved with a number
of other prisoners in the police van from the police court to the city
jail. This rescue was destined to cost a number of lives, commencing
with that of poor Sergeant Brett, whose death was followed, on the 23rd
of November, by the execution of the three patriots, Allen, Larkin, and
O'Brien. For several months from the time of the Manchester rescue our
house was watched, back and front, night and day, and two policemen in
uniform were stationed at Park Railway Station to scrutinise all the
passengers who alighted there. I hardly know in what light my father
regarded this surveillance, but I do not think he can have taken it
very much to heart; we children looked upon it sometimes as a great
distinction and sometimes as a capital joke, and we must to some
extent have reflected the mood of our elders--not that I mean that Mr
Bradlaugh was silly enough to regard this unremitting attention on the
part of the police as a "distinction," but that we could not so have
felt it had he been even a little troubled by it.

Just before the trial of the Manchester Martyrs, Mr Bradlaugh wrote a
short but most eloquent plea for Ireland. He concluded it by urgently
entreating:

"Before it be too late, before more blood shall stain the pages of our
present history, before we exasperate and arouse bitter animosities,
let us try and do justice to our sister land. Abolish once and for
all the land laws, which in their iniquitous operation have ruined
her peasantry. Sweep away the leech-like Church which has sucked
her vitality, and has given her back no word even of comfort in her
degradation. Turn her barracks into flax mills, encourage a spirit of
independence in her citizens, restore to her people the protection
of the law so that they may speak without fear of arrest, and beg
them to plainly and boldly state their grievances. Let a Commission
of the best and wisest amongst Irishmen, with some of our highest
English judges added, sit solemnly to hear all complaints, and let us
honestly legislate, not for the punishment of the discontented, but to
remove the causes of the discontent. It is not the Fenians who have
depopulated Ireland's strength and increased her misery. It is not the
Fenians who have evicted tenants by the score. It is not the Fenians
who have checked cultivation. Those who have caused the wrong at least
should frame the remedy."[110]

[Footnote 110: _National Reformer_, October 20.]

Then came November and the sentence of death upon the four men who had
taken part in the rescue of Deasy and Kelly at Manchester. Despite
the bitter weather that followed, thousands of people assembled at
Clerkenwell Green to memorialize the Government to pardon the condemned
men. Mr Bradlaugh spoke at the meetings held there, and at Cambridge
Hall, Newman Street. But such meetings were of no avail. Englishmen
were panic-stricken, and sought to protect their own lives by taking
other people's. Eloquence, justice, right are pointless weapons when
used to combat blind fear.

Hard upon the "Manchester Sacrifice"--December 13th--followed the
Clerkenwell explosion, by which four persons were killed and about
forty men, women, and children were injured, in a mad attempt to blow
up Clerkenwell Prison in order to rescue Burke and Casey, who were then
on their trial.

This dastardly crime was a shock to all true friends of Ireland, just
as the crime of the Ph[oe]nix Park murders was fourteen years later. Mr
Bradlaugh wrote in the _National Reformer_ a most earnest and pathetic
denunciation of the outrage. He wrote it with the consciousness that he
might lose many friends by the declaration that he had been "and even
yet am favourable to the Irish Cause, which will be regarded by a large
majority as most intimately connected with this fearfully mad crime."
The Committee of the Irish Republican Brotherhood also, I believe,
hastened to protest against and repudiate the outrage.

In the same issue of his paper, Mr Bradlaugh had an article on the
Irish Crisis, in which he laid stress upon his opinion that "it is
utterly impossible to hope for improvement in the general condition
of Ireland until the relations of landlord and tenant in Ireland are
completely altered." In January 1868 he published an essay on "the
Irish Question," which he afterwards issued as a pamphlet.[111] In
this he dealt with four methods which had been put forward as giving
a "fair prospect of solution for the Irish difficulty." These were
(1) Separation of Ireland from England: the people deciding their
own form of government by vote; (2) "Stamping out" the rebellious
spirit by force; (3) A Commission of Inquiry into Irish grievances
having extensive powers of amnesty, to act immediately, and to
be followed by the redressal of all _bona fide_ grievances; (4)
Political enfranchisement of Ireland, or a separate legislature. The
first two methods, which he discussed at some length, he rejected
as "impracticable and objectionable"; the third course he favoured
strongly; and the main difficulty to the fourth seems to have been
the existing suffrage. A separate legislature, he observed, had been
advocated by "some very thoughtful writers, some able politicians,
and some men of extraordinary genius." He wound up his essay with
an appeal--an appeal to the Government and an appeal to the Irish
Republican party. To both he pleaded for "forbearance, for mercy, for
humanity." The Irish Republican party he specially and in most eloquent
language entreated to "repress all violence--to check all physical
vengeance."

[Footnote 111: When he republished this as a pamphlet it was read by Mr
Gladstone, who wrote to him the following autograph letter:--

  "11 CARLTON TERRACE,
  _July 17, 1868._

 "DEAR SIR,--I have read your pamphlet with much interest, and
 with many important parts of it I cordially agree.--I remain, Dear
 Sir, yours very faithfully and obediently,

  W. E. GLADSTONE.

 "Mr C. BRADLAUGH."

This letter is still in my possession.]

Ireland was now more than ever the subject of Mr Bradlaugh's advocacy,
and in connection with it there occurred on the 17th of January (1868)
a rather curious incident. A gentleman--perhaps I ought not to mention
his name--who was a correspondent and friend of my father's, belonged
to a Quaker family, and was at the period of which I write a member
of the Society of Friends, although he subsequently resigned his
membership. He belonged also to a discussion society connected with
the Friends' Institute, Bishopsgate Street. A debate was arranged upon
the Irish question, and Mr ----, knowing how interested Mr Bradlaugh
was in this subject, wrote inviting him to come to the meeting. This
friend writing to me says: "He did come, and by a curious coincidence
I was elected to the chair. Your father spoke, and quite delighted the
Quakers with his earnestness and eloquence. They did not, however,
know who the stranger was, but they pressed him to attend the
adjourned meeting; he said he would, and come fortified with facts and
statistics." My father was extremely gratified by the courtesy shown
him, and the permission given him as a stranger to speak for double
the usual time. At the same time he felt very awkward at receiving the
cheers, congratulations, and special compliments, because he feared
that they would hardly have been so freely accorded if his "real name
and wicked character had been generally known there." His fears were
fully justified, as Mr ----'s letter to me shows. He goes on to say:

 "After the meeting was over and your father had shaken hands with me
 and gone, the members crowded round me to inquire who the eloquent
 visitor was. When they found it was the, at that time, notorious
 Iconoclast, you may imagine their feelings were of a mixed sort. And
 I got into disgrace for introducing him. That I did not mind, and I
 secretly enjoyed their confusion. However, the result was that the
 Secretary of the Society was ordered to write to your father and tell
 him he was not required to attend again."

And Mr Bradlaugh actually did receive a letter officially inviting him
_not_ to attend their next meeting on the Irish question.

In February the formation of an "Ireland Society" was announced in the
_National Reformer_. This was an effort to bring Englishmen together
with the aim of forming "a sounder public opinion" on Irish matters,
but I doubt whether it met with the success the idea deserved. It had
specially for its objects (1) The abolition of the Irish State Church;
(2) A harmonious settlement of the land question; (3) Education for the
poor in Ireland; (4) Atonement for English oppression by encouraging
Irish Industries. At Leeds, at Sheffield, at Newcastle, Mr Bradlaugh
spoke to his audiences on the subject of Ireland until they were moved
to tears by his pictures of the wretched condition of the unhappy Irish
people. At Newcastle, a warm-hearted Irish Catholic stepped upon the
platform and gave his earnest thanks "to the orator" for expressing
the sentiments held by all true Irishmen,[112] and the audience from
end to end rose cheering and waving their hats. At Ashton-under-Lyne
in April he spoke to an audience of 5000 persons, and reminded them
that the Irish question might equally be called the English question,
as it affected England as well as Ireland. Previous to this lecture
there were rumours of violence, and threats "against life and limb,"
and the town was in a state of extreme excitement, a strong police
force were mustered, and one magistrate attended the meeting with the
Riot Act ready in his pocket! About a score or so of Orangemen managed
to get into the hall and created considerable disorder at the outset,
but they reckoned without chairman or speaker. The chairman, J. M.
Balieff, Esq., J.P., despite the outcry raised against Mr Bradlaugh
on account of his views on religion, had yet the moral courage to
support him in his political opinions. The Orangemen opened up with a
storm of hisses and groans, which was responded to by the friends of
Ireland with excited cheering. This went on for some minutes, but was
quickly quieted when the chairman resolutely stated that if it were
necessary he should stay there all night, for he was quite determined
that Mr Bradlaugh should state his views. At the conclusion of the
lecture Mr Balieff publicly rebuked the bigotry which, unable to answer
Mr Bradlaugh's political advocacy, assailed him for his speculative
opinions. Amongst other places, my father went to Huddersfield to speak
on the Irish question. My sister and I were in Huddersfield at the
time staying with some friends, and we, of course went to the lecture,
which was held in the theatre on Saturday, the 25th of April. This is
the first lecture of my father's that I distinctly remember. I had
been present at very many before, but of those I have only the vaguest
recollections. The one at Huddersfield stands out as a complete picture
in my memory. A stormy day, followed by a stormy night with strong wind
and rain, had not prevented the earnest Yorkshire folks from coming to
hear "the lad" (as they so often called him), and the theatre was full
of eager, sympathetic faces when we went upon the platform. Mr Woodhead
took the chair, and we, my sister and I, sat a little to the back of
the stage, where I remember we were much troubled by the cold wind
blowing round the "wings." So vivid is the memory that it seems almost
as though I could recall the very words my father uttered, and the
tones of his voice--now earnest, now impassioned, at one time severely
rebuking, at another ardently pleading, or gravely narrating. Or there
was some joke or amusing anecdote, and the audience--who a moment
before had been brushing away their tears openly or surreptitiously,
each according to his temperament--now with one consent burst into
hearty laughter. There was one old man in the front row, who with
ear-trumpet to ear remained eagerly bent forward throughout the whole
lecture, so unwilling was he to lose a single word. I was just ten
years old then, and it seemed a revelation to me; for the first time I
felt and realised something of my father's power over men.

[Footnote 112: _National Reformer_, Feb. 16, 1868.]

In spite of fears entertained for his safety as a suspected man
entering a disturbed country during the suspension of the _Habeas
Corpus_ Act, on the 18th of March Mr Bradlaugh was lecturing in Dublin
under the auspices of the Irish Reform League. It was St Patrick's
day, and "an enthusiastic barrister" whom he knew drove him about in
his carriage. He wrote home that he heard the band play "'God save the
Queen,' and the populace acknowledged it with a mixed sort of hiss and
groan, which I believe is called 'keening.'" The lecture was delivered
at the Mechanics' Institute, the hall was crammed to its utmost
capacity, and lengthy reports of the speech appeared in the _Freeman's
Journal_ and _Dublin Evening Post_. At the conclusion an address was
presented to Mr Bradlaugh as some testimony of Irish appreciation
of his "disinterested and sincere devotion to our country's cause."
The address reads: "We can but offer you our best thanks and warmest
admiration, and tender you the unaffected and sincere love of warm
Irish hearts, thus proving that Irishmen are never insensible to
kindness," etc. By the light of later events, what bitter irony all
this seems! The "sincere love of warm Irish hearts" looked much more
like hate and malice in the years of Mr Bradlaugh's Parliamentary
struggle. However, it was doubtless honest at the moment, and the
greatest enthusiasm prevailed amongst the Dublin audience when the
address was formally read and presented. The proceedings were orderly
and unanimous throughout; nevertheless when the meeting separated they
found the front of the building occupied by a detachment of police
numbering about a hundred men; inspectors in attendance took the names
and addresses of those who had taken any prominent part in the business
of the evening; while the rank and file scrutinised the faces of the
audience. The Dublin correspondent of an Irish Catholic paper published
in London indulged in a tirade of abuse against Mr Bradlaugh, whom he
described as "the hired agent of the English Reform League, the Atheist
Bradlaugh;" but he only aroused a host of defenders, whose defence,
since he was unable to answer, he affected to despise.

When the turn of Elections in 1868 brought Mr Gladstone into power,
Mr Bradlaugh applied at the Treasury for the withdrawal of the
warrant out against General Cluseret for his arrest on the charge
of treason-felony, but this clemency was refused.[113] With the
subsidence of the Fenian agitation and the relief anticipated by the
Disestablishment of the Irish Church there was less and less immediate
need to Ireland for Mr Bradlaugh's activity, and when 1870 ushered
in the Franco-Prussian War, his energies were turned for the time in
another and more instantly pressing direction.

[Footnote 113: Headingley, p. 107.]



CHAPTER XXVI.

NORTHAMPTON, 1868.


There is, I think, not the least doubt that very early in my father's
life he began to nurse dreams of one day playing his part in the
legislature of his country, and indeed it is currently reported in
Northampton that as early as 1859 he spoke to some friends there of
his wish to represent that borough in Parliament. As I have no exact
evidence that Mr Bradlaugh went to the town before that year, I think
the report puts the date a little too early, but in any case I do not
find that the idea took any definite shape in his mind until about the
end of 1865 or early in the following year. In 1867 it is clear that
the possibility of his candidature was realised even by those outside
the circle of his personal friends, for in the spring of that year we
find a sarcastic prognosis of the possible results of the extended
franchise in a West of England paper, in which the writer says: "Mr
Bradlaugh would perhaps take the Government of India from the hands
of Sir Stafford Northcote, his intelligence being not less, and his
catholicity in religious matters making him a more acceptable ruler to
the 'mild' but shrewd Hindoo." In place of the Government of India Mr
Bradlaugh was destined to take other things of not quite so pleasant
a nature from the hands of Sir Stafford Northcote, although it is
rather curious that the _Western Times_ should have selected in jest an
appointment which would have afforded him so much scope for good and
useful work.

Some time before anything definite had been said as to my father's
candidature at the forthcoming elections in 1868, it was regarded as
so much of a certainty that people began spontaneously to subscribe
towards his election expenses. In June he notified his friends through
the _National Reformer_ that he would shortly announce the name of the
borough to which he proposed to offer himself, and at the same time he
would issue his address. This was done within the next few days, in
the midst of the burden and anxiety of the Government prosecution of
the _Reformer_.

My father was well known in Northampton. Since he went there to lecture
on the invitation of Mr Gurney and Mr Shipman, he had, as we have seen,
many times visited the town, and his opinions on political, social, and
religious questions were thoroughly well understood. As his address
forms a sort of landmark of Mr Bradlaugh's views on many of these
important subjects, some of which are still hotly discussed, and most
of which still await a satisfactory solution, I give it exactly as he
issued it.

 "_To the present and future electors of the borough of Northampton_:

 "In seeking your suffrages for the new Parliament, I am encouraged
 by the very warm feeling exhibited in my favour by so many of the
 inhabitants of your borough, and by the consciousness that my own
 efforts may have helped in some slight degree to hasten the assembly
 of a Parliament elected by a more widely extended franchise than was
 deemed possible two years ago.

 "If you should honour me by electing me as one of your
 representatives, I shall give an independent support in the new
 Parliament to that party of which Mr Gladstone will probably be chosen
 leader; that is to say, I shall support it as far as its policy and
 action prove consistent with the endeavour to attain the following
 objects, which I hold to be essential to the progress of the nation:--

 "1. A system of compulsory National Education, by which the State
 shall secure to each child the opportunity of acquiring at least the
 rudiments of a sound English education preparatory to the commencement
 of the mere struggle for bread.

 "2. A change in our land laws, commencing with the abolition of the
 laws of primogeniture and entail; diminishing the enormous legal
 expenses attending the transfer of land, and giving greater security
 to the actual cultivation of the soil for improvements made upon it.

 "3. A thorough change in our extravagant system of national
 expenditure, so that our public departments may cease to be refuges
 for destitute members of so-called noble families.

 "4. Such a change in the present system of taxation that for the
 future the greater pressure of imperial taxes may bear upon those who
 hold previously accumulated wealth and large tracts of devised land,
 and not so much upon those who increase the wealth of the nation by
 their daily labour.

 "5. An improvement of the enactments relating to capital and labour,
 so that employer and employed may stand equal before the law, the
 establishment of conciliation courts for the settlement of trade
 disputes, and the abolition of the jurisdiction in these matters of
 the unpaid magistracy.

 "6. A complete separation of the Church from the State, including in
 this the removal of the Bishops from the position they at present
 occupy as legislators in the House of Lords.

 "7. A provision by which minorities may be fairly represented in the
 legislative chambers.

 "8. The abolition of all disabilities and disqualifications consequent
 upon the holding or rejection of any particular speculative opinion.

 "9. A change in the practice of creating new peerages; limiting the
 new creations to life peerages, and these only to be given as rewards
 for great national services; peers habitually absent from Parliament
 to be deprived of all legislative privileges, and the right of voting
 by proxy in any case to be abolished.

 "10. The abolition as a governing class of the old Whig party, which
 has long since ceased to play any useful part in our public policy.
 Toryism represents obstructiveness to Radical progress, but it
 represents open hostility. Whiggism is hypocritical; while professing
 to be liberal, it never initiates a good measure or hinders a bad one.
 I am in favour of the establishment of a National party which shall
 destroy the system of government by aristocratic families, and give
 the members of the community born poorest fair play in their endeavour
 to become statesmen and leaders, if they have genius and honesty
 enough to entitle them to a foremost place.

 "In order that my competitors shall not have the right to object
 that I unfairly put them to the expense of a contest, I am willing
 to attend a meeting of the inhabitants of your borough, at which Mr
 Gilpin and Lord Henley shall be present, and to be governed by the
 decision voted at such a meeting as to whether or not I persist in my
 candidature.

 "In asking your support I pledge myself, in the event of a contest, to
 fight through to the last moment of the Poll a fair and honest fight.
 It would give me special pleasure to be returned as the colleague
 of Mr Gilpin, whom I believe to be a thoroughly honest and earnest
 representative; and if you elect me I shall do my best in the House of
 Commons for the general enfranchisement and elevation of the people of
 the United Kingdom.

  CHARLES BRADLAUGH.

 "Sunderland Villa, Northumberland Park, Tottenham."

In the above address as it appears in the pages of the _National
Reformer_ for July 5, paragraphs 7 and 9 are lightly struck through in
pencil by my father's hand, but whether these pencil marks have any
significance I am not prepared to say. His ideas for a reform of the
House of Lords certainly went very much farther, in later years at
least, than those indicated in the ninth paragraph. He believed in a
single Legislative Chamber and considered two unnecessary, but as a
rule he disliked any sudden abolition of old-established customs, and
therefore in advocating reforms of the House of Lords, he put forward
such as would lead gradually and naturally to its discontinuance as a
House of hereditary legislators.

This address was read in Northampton to a large audience on the last
Sunday in June. Two days later, at a public meeting of about four
thousand persons held in the Market Square, a vote was taken as to Mr
Bradlaugh's candidature, and only one hand was lifted against it.

The issue of this address and the subsequent public meeting produced
a considerable flutter in the political dovecots of Northampton. A
great outcry was raised at Mr Bradlaugh's unheard-of audacity in
putting himself forward without receiving the usual requisition, but,
as he calmly explained at a meeting in the Northampton theatre a few
weeks later, he had for two years intended to become a candidate for
Parliament, and had determined to offer himself to any body of men
wherever he thought he had a fair chance of success. He believed
Northampton was that place, and in putting himself forward without
formal invitation he did not think he had imperilled either his own
dignity or that of the electors. The _Northampton Mercury_,[114] the
local Whig paper, affected the utmost scorn for his candidature, saying
that he had "no more chance of being elected member for Northampton
than he has of being appointed Archbishop of Canterbury." "_Nous
verrons_" was Mr Bradlaugh's only comment upon this declaration, which
was afterwards taken up and repeated by different papers as a sort of
_bon mot_.

[Footnote 114: July 4th.]

But the disdain of the Northampton Whigs was well balanced by the
enthusiasm of the Northampton working-men. They threw themselves into
the work of the election contest, from the very outset, with the utmost
zeal and ardour; they delivered the address by hand at every house in
Northampton--and the work was all done gratuitously. And so with all
the elections in which my father took part: he had neither paid agents
nor paid canvassers; he had no paid speakers (beyond, in some cases,
out-of-pocket expenses) and few paid clerks; all such work was freely
and eagerly volunteered. Nor were the women less ardent than the men.
They soon decided upon his election colours, and at the conclusion
of a meeting held by him in the theatre in the middle of July, they
presented him with a rosette made of mauve, white, and green ribbons,
a combination unique amongst election colours, afterwards generally
identified with Mr Bradlaugh and loved for his sake. Some of these same
rosettes fashioned and worn at this election in 1868 were cast into
the grave at Brookwood in 1891, and some others, which their owners
had carefully treasured for six-and-twenty years, were worn for the
last time on the 25th June 1894, when the statue of Mr Bradlaugh was
unveiled in the town whose name will be for ever associated with his
own.

Amongst those who came to speak for him the first place must be given
to George Odger, who was himself trying to win a seat at Chelsea.
Besides Mr Odger there were the Rev. J. K. Applebee, Austin Holyoake,
R. A. Cooper, E. Truelove, C. Watts, and others, and everywhere the
meetings were large and enthusiastic. Poor men--freethinkers and
radicals--throughout the country vied to help in this election; but
men in Edinburgh and men in Lancashire could neither vote nor canvass,
so they resolved to give aid in money. Long and costly was the
candidature; the elections did not come off until November, and thus
the campaign continued over five months. Some of the northern towns
endeavoured to raise a regular monthly subscription, some a weekly one,
and soon long lists appeared in the columns of the _National Reformer_,
long lists made up mostly of small sums, of threepences or sixpences,
or shillings; sums of £1 and over were rare, and seldom indeed was
there such a heavy donation as £10, Mr Bradlaugh's supporters being,
with scarcely an exception, poor working men. At the end of August John
Stuart Mill drew upon himself a hailstorm of abuse by sending £10 to
Mr Austin Holyoake, secretary of the Election Fund, with the following
letter:--

  "Avignon, August 28th, 1868.

 "DEAR SIR,--I enclose a subscription of £10 to the fund for
 defraying the expenses of Mr Bradlaugh's election to the House of
 Commons. I do so in the confidence that Mr Bradlaugh would not contest
 any place where by so doing he would risk the return of a Tory in the
 room of a supporter of Mr Gladstone, and of the disendowment of the
 Irish Church.--I am, dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

  J. S. MILL.

  "AUSTIN HOLYOAKE, Esq."

Much capital was made out of the assertion that Mr Bradlaugh was trying
to divide the Liberal vote at Northampton, and so let in a Tory, but it
was an assertion entirely without foundation. Over and over again he
stated that it was Lord Henley's[115] seat that he was trying to win,
and that rather than risk the losing of it to a Tory he was prepared
to submit to a decision of a test meeting of the electors. At that
time there were 5,729 electors on the register, and of these as many
as 3,400 were new voters, so extensively had the new Act affected the
voting power in the single borough of Northampton. Mr Bradlaugh's offer
to be governed by the decision of a public meeting of the electorate
was entirely ignored. "It was in vain," says the writer of the little
_Souvenir_ book issued on the occasion of the unveiling of my father's
statue at Northampton, "it was in vain that Mr Bradlaugh offered to
abide by any fair test that might be devised to settle beforehand which
of the two Liberal candidates in the field should go to the poll." A
test ballot had been taken at Manchester to decide the claims of Ernest
Jones. "If, however," continued the writer of the _Souvenir_, "the
Manchester method were unacceptable, Mr Bradlaugh was prepared to agree
to any other form of gauging the opinion of the constituency that was
equally just to him" and to Lord Henley. But the Whigs seemed afraid
to put it "to the touch," and my father's address was rapidly followed
by one signed jointly by Charles Gilpin and Lord Henley. The Tories
followed considerably later with two candidates, Messrs Merewether
and Lendrick, and later still came a sixth candidate, Dr F. R. Lees,
well known as a Temperance advocate. Why he came it is a little
difficult to say, for before coming he wrote my father that he was not
hostile to him; and he publicly declared that if he were elected in Mr
Gilpin's place, he would at once resign in that gentleman's favour. Mr
Bradlaugh therefore asked him, as it was impossible that both could
win Lord Henley's seat, "to at once consent to adopt some course which
will avoid division of the Radical strength." At his first meeting
amendments were carried in Mr Bradlaugh's favour, but Dr Lees persisted
right up to the last day, and abandoned his candidature "only on the
day of the poll, when it was too late to prevent nearly five hundred
electors recording their votes on his behalf."[116]

[Footnote 115: The sitting members were Charles Gilpin and Lord Henley.]

[Footnote 116: _Souvenir._]

During the whole time, from the end of June to mid-November, Mr
Bradlaugh was of course constantly addressing meetings from one end
to the other of the constituency, and it is rather curious to note
that in one of his earliest speeches he shadowed forth what really
happened to him twenty years later. At the conclusion of an address
delivered in the theatre on the 16th of July on the subject of "Capital
and Labour and Trades Unions," some one asked him whether if he were
delegated to the House of Commons he could "guarantee to enact laws
that should satisfy all Trades Unions and the public generally."
"Certainly not," was the reply; "I daresay I should give as much
dissatisfaction to Trades Unionists as anybody. But that would not be
my fault. I should act honestly, and if the Trades Unionists were the
bulk o£ my constituency, and they thought I acted in contravention of
my programme, I should resign my trust into their hands." And when
Mr Bradlaugh did act thus honestly in the matter of the Employers'
Liability Bill in 1889, the Trades Unions were exceedingly dissatisfied
with him, and were for the most part very bitter against him.

In a very short time the Northampton election became the subject
of discussion everywhere, and the press from one end of England to
the other had some sort of comment to make upon it--hostile to Mr
Bradlaugh, of course. The _Daily Telegraph_, then professing Liberal
views, was one of the earliest to raise the _odium theologicum_ against
him;[117] it speculated in pious dismay as to "what outrage on good
taste and on the conscientious convictions of his fellow-citizens
'Iconoclast' may not attempt in the wider circle to which he seeks
admittance," and held up its Jewish hands in holy horror in imagining
the possibilities of a time "when Englishmen will revile the sublime
moralities of the New Testament." My father challenged Mr Levy, the
editor, to give an instance of any such "outrage" committed by him,
adding, "I do more than this; the Government have, out of the public
funds, paid for shorthand notes of several of my speeches since 1865.
These notes still exist; I know in some cases the actual professional
reporters employed, and I dare the publication of these notes."

[Footnote 117: _Daily Telegraph_, August 3, 1868.]

The cowardly insinuations of the _Daily Telegraph_ were printed as a
placard and posted all over the town, where they produced the strongest
excitement and bitterness. This placard was quickly followed by another
of bright green, conveying a message from "The Irish Reform League
to the Irishmen and friends of Ireland in Northampton." Northampton
was entreated to return to Parliament "a man like Charles Bradlaugh,
who advocated the cause of Ireland with pen and tongue when such
advocacy was unpopular, if not dangerous." Irishmen in Dublin appealed
to Irishmen in Northampton not to deserve the reproach of the defeat
of such a man. "We, the Reformers of Ireland, gladly and heartily
recommend him: by his works in the cause of Reform we know him; as a
politician we endorse him; ... we believe him to be true, we have faith
in his political honesty, in his undaunted perseverance, and in his
desire to elevate the downtrodden in our land and in his own."[118]

[Footnote 118: In October Mr Keevil, chairman of the Irish Reform
League, wrote again to Northampton. "Our members," he said, "consist
of every denomination of Christians, and although we regret that
Mr Bradlaugh does not believe in matters of religion as we do, and
probably Mr Bradlaugh also regrets that we are not of the same
religious opinions as himself, yet we do not think such controversial
matters can hinder his usefulness for the people's work in the House of
Commons. We in Ireland have had special opportunities of knowing the
value of Mr Bradlaugh's works.... The field of Mr Bradlaugh's early
labours was Ireland; the Lecture Hall in French Street, Dublin, was
the arena of his triumphs, and the people soon recognised in him a
champion. Private Bradlaugh was well known in County Cork many years
ago as a man who would maintain the oppressed tenants against the
injustice of landlordism."]

In September one of the newly enfranchised electors wrote to Mr John
Bright for his advice as to the casting of his "maiden vote," and
received from Mr Bright the following letter in reply:--

  "Rochdale, September 17, 1868.

 "DEAR SIR,--I cannot interfere in your election matters, but
 I can answer the question you put to me.

 "I do not think you can improve the representation of your borough by
 changing your members. I think Lord Henley and Mr Gilpin worthy of
 your support.--I am, yours truly,

  JOHN BRIGHT.

  "Mr THOMAS JAMES, Northampton."

When Mr Bradlaugh saw this letter, which was given the fullest
publicity, he wrote Mr Bright as follows:--

  "23 Great St. Helen's, London, E.C.
  "September 19, 1868.

 "SIR,--I feel some difficulty in intruding myself upon you;
 but as you have taken a step in the Northampton election which I
 regard as prejudicial to my interests, you will pardon my trying to
 set the matter right. At the end of June I issued the address of which
 I enclose you a copy; the only other address issued is that of the
 sitting members. You will see in my address that I offered to submit
 my claims to the decision of an aggregate meeting, which offer has
 been entirely disregarded by Lord Henley. Whether or not Lord Henley
 is worthy of the support of the electors is a query to which a large
 proportion of the inhabitants of Northampton have already responded;
 they declare that he is not. As to whether I shall make a better
 member, I here offer no other remark than that through my life I
 have actively striven to advance the cause of Reform; while Viscount
 Henley has often discouraged and hindered effort, and has only voted
 in obedience to the irresistible pressure of public opinion. That
 you should support Mr Charles Gilpin with the weight of your great
 influence is natural, but that you should bolster up tumbling Whiggism
 as represented by Lord Henley I confess surprises me. Mr Gilpin's
 name has been associated as a working member in many highly valuable
 social and political reforms. Lord Henley's activity has been nearly
 limited to the prevention of compulsory education, the advocacy of
 increased expenditure for fortifications, and general care for landed
 interests.--Yours most obediently,

  CHARLES BRADLAUGH.

 "JOHN BRIGHT, Esq., M.P.

 "_P.S._--I shall take the liberty of printing this letter and any
 reply you may forward me."

To my father's letter Mr Bright made answer that he had written an
honest reply to a simple question, with no suspicion that he should
be considered as taking sides with any party in the contest, adding
some remarks as to his regard for past services and a tried fidelity,
without any further definite opinion on Lord Henley's fitness. But
if Mr Bright did not suspect that he should be considered as taking
sides--and my father loyally accepted his statement--other people
took a different view of the matter, and his letter was freely used
against Mr Bradlaugh. The _Spectator_ was of opinion that Mr Bright had
succeeded "in more than neutralising the effect of Mr J. S. Mill's very
injudicious and unexpected testimonial to Mr Bradlaugh's (Iconoclast's)
claims as candidate for Northampton;" whilst the _Saturday Review_
considered that if this letter saved Northampton "from the discredit of
electing Mr Bradlaugh," Mr Bright would have done the borough "valuable
service."

Finding that this letter had been such a success, the Whigs next
addressed themselves to Mr Gladstone, asking him if he endorsed the
opinion expressed by Mr Bright. Mr Gladstone promptly replied in these
terms:--

  "Hawarden, N.W., Sept. 25, 1868.

 "SIR,--While I am very unwilling to do or say anything that
 could be construed into interference in any election, I cannot refuse
 to consider the question you have put to me. Having for many years sat
 in Parliament with Lord Henley and Mr Gilpin, I have always considered
 both these gentlemen entitled to respect and confidence as upright and
 highly intelligent men, cordially attached to the Liberal party.--I
 remain, Sir, your faithful servant,

  W. E. GLADSTONE.

 "I send this answer to you individually, and I should not wish it to
 be published unless you find that your brother-electors wish to know
 the purport of it."

I confess that I cannot understand the object of the postscript, for
it must be manifest to the meanest intelligence that immediately
it transpired that an elector had received a communication from Mr
Gladstone upon the subject of the representation of the constituency,
all the rest would be wild with curiosity "to know the purport of it."
As a matter of course, it was read at the next meeting of the Liberal
Association, and then reproduced in the public press.

In striving to win Lord Henley's seat, Mr Bradlaugh had not only Lord
Henley, and Mr Bright, and Mr Gladstone fighting against him, but also
Mr Gilpin, whose seat he was most anxious not to imperil. Mr Gilpin,
although personally very friendly to my father, felt in honour bound
to support his colleague, as he repeatedly stated at meeting after
meeting: "Infinitely would he rather go back to London the rejected
of Northampton than be the man who had deserted a friend in order to
get another in." Nor was this by any means all that he had to contend
against; he had actively against him nearly the whole of the press of
England and Scotland, and no terms seemed too vile or slander too mean
to use to injure him. Of all the newspapers circulating throughout the
United Kingdom, there were not more than three or four--of which the
_Newcastle Weekly Chronicle_ was one--who dared to say so much as a
kindly word of him or of his candidature.

In the town of Northampton itself the opposition of the Whigs and the
Tories grew so bitter and was carried to such an excess that in October
it was found necessary to form a society for the purpose of aiding
working men who lost their employment through their support of Mr
Bradlaugh.

Dr F. R. Lees started a personal house-to-house canvass; this was
followed by the joint canvass of Henley and Gilpin--undertaken at the
urgent request of Lord Henley, for Mr Gilpin publicly declared it to be
a practice which ought not to be encouraged--and then came my father's
canvass. Much as he disliked it, he felt obliged in this case to do
as the other candidates were doing; he issued an address, however, in
which he said: "I desire to put on record my formal protest against
the system of house-to-house canvassing, in which I only take part
in obedience to the wish of my General Committee, and because all my
opponents having resorted to it, some might think me slighting them if
I abstained. I hold with Mr Gilpin that the system is a bad one. In
canvassing, I do not come to beg your vote; if you need such a pitiable
personal appeal, I prefer not having your support. I come to you that,
seeing me, you may question me if you desire, and that you who cannot
be present at the meetings may have the opportunity of better knowing
my principles."

The canvassing in those days of open voting was even harder work than
it is to-day; but Mr Bradlaugh was gallantly supported by a number of
warm friends, amongst whom he was proud to have the veteran Thomas
Allsop, and there was also much that was inspiring in coming face to
face with the ardour and enthusiasm of the Northampton Radical working
men. But if there was much to inspire, there was likewise sometimes
much to sadden; in several instances a voter's wife answered that
her husband "must look to his bread," and one threw an ominous light
upon the penalty liable to be paid for a conscientious vote by saying
that her husband "had lost his situation last election, and this
time she would take care that he voted as his employer wished." My
father, in the course of his canvass also, as might be expected, met
with instances of "bitter and coarse fanaticism," which must have
been peculiarly unpleasant in the somewhat defenceless position of a
candidate making a personal canvass.

At a great town's meeting, held for the purpose of hearing an
expression of their political views and an account of their political
action from the borough members, Mr Bradlaugh's committee sent a
deputation to ask whether their candidate would be heard. They were
told that he would be refused admission; he attended, and was refused
admission, but his friends carried him in. The report before me says
that "Mr Gilpin, on appearing on the platform, shook hands with Mr
Bradlaugh and with Dr Lees; Lord Henley, supported chiefly by his legal
advisers and their friends, shook hands with nobody, but shook himself
when the groans echoed through the building." The four candidates
addressed the meeting, but the uproar during Lord Henley's speech
was so great that he could scarcely be heard, and the proceedings
terminated with "three cheers for Bradlaugh."

As the weeks flew on, fiercer and fiercer grew the fight. The Lord's
Day Rest Association came to the aid of the Northampton Whigs and
Tories, and posted the town with placards headed: "Do not vote for
Charles Bradlaugh unless you wish to lose your Sunday rest;" other
candidates for other constituencies rushed to the rescue. Mr Giffard,
Q.C.--now Lord Halsbury, then the Tory candidate for Cardiff, and the
all-time bitter enemy of Mr Bradlaugh--said, with that fine regard for
accuracy for which he has ever been distinguished: "Mr Bradlaugh was
the avowed author of a work so blasphemous that one or two boroughs
had refused to have anything to do with him."[119] Mr Charles Capper,
M.P., also betrayed a similar inclination towards fiction. At a public
meeting in Sandwich he related that he had been

 "told by the hon. member for Northampton (Mr Gilpin) that the man
 whose name you have heard to-night, Mr Bradlaugh, stood in the Market
 Place of Northampton, and taking his watch from his pocket, said: 'It
 wants so many minutes to so-and-so. I will give you five minutes,
 and I call on your God, if he is your God, to strike me dead in this
 Market Place.' (Loud cries of 'Shame, shame.') That was Mr Bradlaugh,
 the man to whom Mr Mill sends his £10 to support his candidature. Can
 you conceive anything more wretched? Do you think if a man of that
 kind were to come into this town (A voice: 'Turn him out') you would
 not turn him out?--you would kick him out!"

[Footnote 119: The latter part of this myth, at least, seems to
have gained credence, for in July of this year (1894) Mr Courtney
is reported to have said at Chelsea that "Mr Bradlaugh had to try
constituency after constituency because he could not get a majority in
any particular place."]

As will be seen when I come to deal fully with this subject, Mr Capper
was not absolutely the first to have the doubtful honour of reviving
this ancient "watch" story, and applying it to Mr Bradlaugh, and it is
hardly necessary to say of so honourable a man as Mr Gilpin that, when
my father saw him on the matter, he indignantly denied that he had ever
said anything of the kind.

The _Primitive Methodist_[120] jubilantly remarked that "Iconoclast
has been made to wince lately by the reproduction of his published
opinions--very inconvenient to him at this time." My father's comment
on this was that, "as a matter of fact, Mr Bradlaugh's published
opinions are about the only things which have not been reproduced. His
opponents prefer quoting the opinions of others, or else drawing on
their imaginations."

[Footnote 120: See article on "Electioneering Rowdies," October
1868, in which, with innate delicacy, it speaks of Mr Bradlaugh as
"impudent."]

The _Saturday Review_ delighted in an attack on Mr Bradlaugh not merely
for its own sake, but even more as a means of injuring Mr Mill. I have
not heard that John Stuart Mill ever expressed the least regret for
his donation, but had he done so there would have been small cause for
wonder, for he had to pay a heavy penalty for his generosity. It was
used against him everywhere, and his own defeat at Westminster was by
many persons attributed to the outcry raised about his subscription
towards my father's election expenses. Even the mighty _Times_ was not
too mighty to add its voice, saying that the countenance Mr Mill had
given "Iconoclast" had given great offence to the middle classes. The
use of the name "Iconoclast" was quite gratuitous, for Mr Mill did not
send his cheque to assist in the work of "Iconoclast," the Atheist
lecturer; he sent it for the use of Charles Bradlaugh, the Radical
politician.

It will be a matter of interest to those connected with the movement
against compulsory vaccination to know that during the course of this
election contest Mr Bradlaugh attended a meeting in the Town Hall
called by the Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League, and that, while
expressing "no opinion as to the theory of vaccination," in view of the
many objections urged against the practice, he promised to support
a demand for a Royal Commission for full investigation of the facts.
The growth of opinion is so gradual that, although indeed there was a
Select Committee in 1871, it was twenty years before the Commission was
actually appointed, and then, as every one will remember, Mr Bradlaugh
was himself nominated to sit upon it.

On the tenth of November, a week before the polling day, my mother, my
grandfather (Mr A. Hooper), and we three children went to Northampton
to attend a special tea-party given in the Corn Exchange, and I have
a most vivid recollection of the enthusiasm then displayed. The time
of our expected arrival having become known, hundreds of people, with
bands and banners, came to meet us quite of their own accord, and when
we returned to take the train back to London it seemed to my childish
imagination as though the whole town must have turned out, for the
streets were thronged from end to end with men and women cheering,
singing the new song, "Bradlaugh for Northampton,"[121] laughing and
crying in a veritable intoxication of excitement, until the moisture
stood in my father's own eyes.

[Footnote 121: This song was written by a young shoemaker named James
Wilson, and was set to music by another poor but gifted man, John
Lowry. Poor Wilson died early, but his song became a sort of war-cry in
Northampton, and will live long in the hearts of his fellow-townsmen.]

On the Monday after, ten thousand people were gathered in the market
square to witness the nomination of the six candidates. The hustings,
or, as I find it was sometimes called, the "booby hutch," was unusually
large. It was built seventy feet long, in order to allow ten feet to
each candidate and his supporters, and ten feet for the Mayor and
the Corporation officials. The Mayor, Mr J. M. Vernon, opened the
proceedings with a speech, and he was followed by the proposer and
seconder of each candidate. Mr Bradlaugh was proposed by Mr Councillor
Gurney, and seconded by Mr Dunkley. When these twelve speeches had come
to an end, it fell to the candidates to address the electors. In the
course of his speech Mr Gilpin alluded to the complaints that had been
made against him for standing by Lord Henley. "Now," said he, "I want
to do justice to a gentleman who stands on this platform. Mr Bradlaugh
never made that complaint. He could honour the 'chivalry,' as he was
pleased to call it, because he knew I could not have a selfish motive
to serve in doing as I did." The Mayor, in calling upon Mr Bradlaugh
to address the eagerly waiting crowd, said: "Let me say that I have had
the opportunity of witnessing the conduct of Mr Bradlaugh in presenting
himself to this constituency. He has acted in the most gentlemanly way
towards me, and I hope he can say in return that I have acted in the
same manner towards him."

When all the speaking was over, and every one had had his "say," the
Mayor took a show of hands for the various candidates, and declared the
result to be in favour of Mr Gilpin and Mr Bradlaugh, a statement which
was received with the utmost enthusiasm.

And yet my father was beaten: crowds did not always mean voters; and
so, in spite of grand meetings, in spite of popular enthusiasm, he
was beaten. His partial canvass resulted in promises of 1600 votes,
whereas only 1086 were recorded for him, so that at the last moment
500 at least failed to give their votes as they had promised. In his
_Autobiography_[122] he himself says: "I was beaten; but this is
scarcely wonderful. I had all the journals in England except three
against me. Every idle or virulent tale which folly could distort or
calumny invent was used against me."

[Footnote 122: Page 28.]

The poll took place on Tuesday the 17th of November, and was officially
declared by the Mayor from the hustings in the market square on
Wednesday at eleven o'clock.


The figures were:--

C. Gilpin           2632
Lord Henley         2105
C. G. Merewether    1625
W. E. Lendrick      1378
C. Bradlaugh        1086
Dr F. R. Lees        485[123]

[Footnote 123: These were the figures given in _National Reformer_,
November 22, 1868. The _Northampton Mercury_ of that week gives them
rather differently, and the _Souvenir_ brought out in June 1894 again
differently. They give the poll as follows:--

           _Mercury._    _Souvenir._

Gilpin        2691          2623
Henley        2154          2111
Merewether    1634          1631
Lendrick      1396          1374
Bradlaugh     1086          1069
Lees           492           492]

After the public declaration of the poll the various candidates were
supposed to "return thanks" for the support given them, but three
only--Mr Gilpin, Lord Henley, and Mr Bradlaugh--appeared on the
hustings. Mr Gilpin in a short speech said: "I turn to Mr Bradlaugh,
and I say to him that since I met him in Northampton I have had
prejudices removed in reference to himself, and I say unreservedly,
when I observed the peace of this town, after the exciting scenes that
we have had, I feel, and I should not be an honest man if I did not
acknowledge it, it is owing to Mr Bradlaugh having used his influence
to obtain it." These generous words of Mr Gilpin's were received with
much cheering, and when it came to the Mayor's turn to speak he too
said: "I feel it my duty to acknowledge my obligations to Mr Bradlaugh,
because he not merely endorsed the sentiments I uttered,[124] but
from the balcony of his hotel he backed them up by all the power of
argument he possesses in urging you to comply with my wishes. I knew
the appeal that was being made to you was made under the most exciting
circumstances, and I felt the way in which it was conducted might leave
an impression on the people of this country for a long time to come."

[Footnote 124: Praying that there should be no breach of the peace.]

Charles Gilpin did more than speak favourably of Mr Bradlaugh from
Northampton platforms. A day or two after the election he wrote to the
_Morning Star_:--

 "SIR,--I observe that several papers continue to reflect in
 strong terms on the candidature of Mr Bradlaugh at Northampton, and
 it is not of course for me to defend him; but I think it should be
 known that at the declaration of the poll, the Mayor publicly thanked
 him for his successful efforts to preserve peace and good order in
 the borough during an unusually exciting contest, and from my own
 observation I can fully endorse the observations of the Mayor.--I am,
 sir, yours truly,

  CHARLES GILPIN.

  November 20."

Mr Gilpin, moreover, undeterred by the furious onslaught made upon John
Stuart Mill, sent a donation of £10 towards Mr Bradlaugh's election
expenses, and in the March before he died he recommended Mr Pickering
Perry, his own agent, to vote for him.

The extracts from Mr Gilpin's and the Mayor's speeches I have taken
from the _Northampton Mercury_, a paper then thoroughly hostile to
Mr Bradlaugh, and I confess to a feeling of shame that it should be
necessary at this time of day to thus bring forward "witnesses to
character"; yet, while there are many now willing to concede that my
father was in his later years an honourable, temperate, law-abiding,
and even "distinguished" man, they add that he was not all this in his
early years: then he "was coarse, violent, and vulgar." If the word of
the Mayor of Northampton in 1868 counts for anything, and if the manly
testimony of one of Northampton's most honoured members, the Quaker
Charles Gilpin, has any weight, men will find that they must still
further revise their opinion of Charles Bradlaugh, and admit that the
change has been in themselves and not in him, that the qualities they
grant for him in 1890 were his in 1868, and from the very outset of
his career. There was no greater change in him than comes to us all
through the mellowing touch of time; in truth, he changed less than
would most men, and in spite of being a Radical and Reformer of a very
advanced type, he was in many ways extremely conservative. He clung to
old friends, to old habits, and to precedent. He formed his opinions
not hastily but yet rapidly, and after due deliberation, deliberation
which included a really marvellous power of putting both sides of the
question before himself and others. His judgment once formed, he was
extremely slow to alter it, and a course of action once entered upon,
he was rarely if ever diverted from it.

My father left Northampton, followed to the station by such an enormous
crowd of sorrowing men and women that his defeat was grander than
many a victory; he could never, he said, forget those whose hot tears
dropped on his hands on the day he left the borough, and as he wrote
those words we may be sure that his own tears dimmed his eyes and
blurred the page. Hard as iron to opposition, he was acutely sensitive
to every token of affection or kindly feeling.

But there were more to rejoice over his defeat than to sorrow for it.
The Rev. Thomas Arnold, addressing an audience of Northampton men,
said, regardless of his own blasphemy, that they had shown that "they
would not be servants of the man who trampled on their God and their
Saviour;" and the Rev. A. Mursell, who a few years later found more
kindly things to say of my father, speaking at Dundee, "thanked God
that Mr Bradlaugh had been so signally defeated."



CHAPTER XXVII.

SOUTHWARK ELECTION, 1869.


About a year after the General Election the appointment of Mr Layard
as ambassador at Madrid created a vacancy at Southwark, and a number
of working men electors immediately asked Mr Bradlaugh to become a
candidate for that borough. Meetings were summoned for the purpose of
proposing his name, and a committee was formed with a view of promoting
his election, and a very active committee it proved to be. At a crowded
meeting, convened by forty of the "chiefs of the Liberal Party," held
in the middle of November, six names of possible representatives were
brought forward--Mr Milner Gibson, Sir Francis Lycett, Sir Sydney
Waterlow, Sir John Thwaites, and Mr Odger. The "forty chiefs" did
not propose Mr Bradlaugh, whose name was however received with great
cheering, when it was proposed by way of amendment by Mr Hearn, a
Southwark Radical. A week later a meeting was held to decide upon a
candidate to be supported by the working-class electors of the borough,
and this meeting both Mr Odger and Mr Bradlaugh were invited to attend.
The room engaged for the purpose was soon full to overflowing, and at
length the speakers adjourned to the balcony in front of the house
and addressed the crowd of three thousand people congregated in the
road below. Mr Odger was unable to come, and after Mr Bradlaugh had
addressed the meeting a resolution in his favour was passed by "an
overwhelming majority."[125] He said that although he was there at the
earnest invitation of several working men, he was not to be regarded
as a candidate until he had issued his address. If Mr Odger came
definitely before the constituency and was pledged to go to the poll,
he should not contest the borough himself. He wished to see Mr George
Odger in Parliament, and he believed that he would be an admirable
representative.

[Footnote 125: _Daily News._]

Apart from any question of Mr Odger's possible candidature, my father
had another reason for hesitating before incurring such heavy expenses
as the contest of Southwark would entail: the Northampton election,
in spite of the long subscription lists made up from slender purses,
had left him heavily burdened with debt. In August (1869) he wrote
that he had still £250 of borrowed money to repay; by November this
had become reduced, though even then there was still £100 "due to a
friend at Norwich, and £20 to another friend in Huddersfield." A debt
of £120 will seem a mere bagatelle to a rich man, who will pay more
for a handsome dog that takes his fancy, and ten times as much for
a thoroughbred horse; to a poor man, however, a debt of £120 is a
millstone. And for that matter, if this debt had been the only one, my
father would soon have repaid it, but he was hampered on all sides.
Being so encumbered, he naturally felt bound "to exercise extra caution
in contracting further liabilities for election purposes, especially
as the large portion of the funds for such a struggle would probably
be provided by my working friends throughout the United Kingdom, whose
subscriptions I have no right to take except with the certainty of
fighting a creditable if not a successful fight."

However, at the end of November all hesitation on my father's part
was brought to an end by the receipt of the following letter from Mr
Odger:--

 "DEAR MR BRADLAUGH,--I have decided on going to the poll. I
 shall see the Southwark Committee this evening (November 29th), and
 make the declaration to-morrow.

 "Thanking you for your manly and straightforward conduct,--I remain,
 yours truly,

  GEO. ODGER.

  "18 High Street, Bloomsbury."

Under these circumstances my father at once announced that he should
not seek the suffrages of the Southwark electors. He believed Mr Odger
had a better chance of being supported by voters "who would be afraid
of returning one whom the _Daily Telegraph_ had described as an English
'irreconcilable,'" although, as he frankly said, he made no disguise
of his wish to be in Parliament, and of his intention to be there as
soon as possible. He earnestly entreated all his friends in the borough
to give their unreserved support to George Odger, who was a real
representative man.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

LITIGATION, 1867-1871.


Mr Bradlaugh took part in so many law-suits during his life that
people have hurriedly jumped at conclusions, and condemned him as a
"litigious" man. They have not troubled to consider the circumstances
of the different suits; it was sufficient that Mr Bradlaugh took part
in them, and that at once stamped him as litigious. Now, as a matter
of fact, it will be found that in a large number of cases he figured
as _defendant_ in the action, and where he was plaintiff I think it
must be admitted that it was rarely without sufficient cause. Although
many years constantly libelled, he seldom brought an action for libel;
there were indeed such actions, all of which will be found mentioned
in this book. After he had engaged a hall for lectures, it was no
uncommon thing for the proprietor to break his contract; and if it was
a very gross case this occasionally resulted in a suit, but much more
frequently he accepted the situation, trusting to time to wear away
prejudices against him.

In each of the four cases I am now about to speak of Mr Bradlaugh
was the plaintiff. The first was an action arising purely out of his
business as a financial agent, and would have little interest now were
it not for the terms of the Vice-Chancellor's judgment. The second also
arose in the course of business, but was greatly complicated by the
oath question. The third was a libel case; while the fourth was against
the Mirfield Town Hall Company for breach of contract.

In January 1867 the case of the English Joint Stock Bank (Limited)
and Charles Bradlaugh was heard in the Court of Chancery before
Vice-Chancellor Wood. Mr Bradlaugh claimed to be admitted as a
creditor against the Bank, then in course of winding up, for £12,350,
or for such less sum as the Court might think just and reasonable,
in consideration of his having negotiated a purchase for the Bank of
the banking business of Messrs Harvey & Hudson of Norwich for the
sum of £210,000. The sum thus claimed was the one agreed to be paid
him by the general manager of the Bank. The Court decided against
him for reasons not necessary to enter fully upon here, and the
Vice-Chancellor's judgment was reported at considerable length in the
_Times_ of the following day. The extracts given here are based upon
the shorthand notes of the case. Vice-Chancellor Wood commenced his
judgment by referring to "the great ability with which Mr Bradlaugh
had argued his case;" and after dealing with the arguments at some
length, said that he regretted to come to the conclusion that there was
no completed agreement which could be enforced, "as Mr Bradlaugh--to
whom he gave implicit credit as to everything stated by him on his own
recollection--had no doubt been put to very great trouble and anxiety,
but in deciding against his present claim he would not be shut out
from obtaining what he could for his services on a _quantum meruit_.
The costs of the summons would be reserved until the result of such an
application should have been ascertained. The question had been argued
with extreme ability by Mr Bradlaugh, and he could not possibly have
been assisted better by whatever counsel he could have retained than he
had been by his own advocacy. He had put it in the clearest and most
concise manner possible, and the Court had been much assisted by the
whole of his argument. He had very fairly produced every document that
he knew anything about, or which he thought could throw any light upon
the transaction. "The Vice-Chancellor repeated that he gave unfeigned
credit to everything that Mr Bradlaugh had said; he did not try to
exaggerate or to improve upon his case; and he was sorry--because he
had no doubt that Mr Bradlaugh had had great trouble and anxiety in the
matter--he was sorry that he must decide against him on his claim.

These words of Vice-Chancellor Wood's are specially valuable; first,
as showing a judge's appreciation of Mr Bradlaugh's legal ability
even when he was arguing a case which concerned an ordinary business
matter only, and was neither directly or indirectly a defence of those
principles of liberty of speech, of press, or of conscience which
were so close to his heart; and next, as a tribute to that calm and
well-balanced temperament which even as a young man of thirty-three
enabled him to state his case so manifestly without gloss or
exaggeration.

Later in the same year (1867) my father commenced a suit against a
gentleman named De Rin. This case went through various Courts, and
although the subject in dispute was really a private matter, the
peculiar course taken by the defendant resulted in a public benefit,
viz. the extension of the Evidence Amendment Act of 1869. The suit,
begun in 1867, was not finally disposed of until 1870, but during these
years the side issue of the competency of an Atheist to give evidence
involved so much fighting that my father actually lost about fifteen
hundred pounds before it was decided in his favour.

As endorser of three bills of exchange, Mr Bradlaugh brought an action
against Mr De Rin as acceptor of the same. The bills were drawn in
Brussels, and sent for acceptance to the defendant in England; he
accepted, and afterwards endorsed them to a legal gentleman named
Gallet, who in turn endorsed them in France to Mr Bradlaugh. The action
was brought by the latter to enable him to realise the bills in this
country, and was heard before Mr Justice Montague Smith and a common
jury, in the Court of Common Pleas, in December 1867. Mr Lumley Smith
was counsel for the plaintiff; Mr D. Keane, Q.C., and Mr Wood were for
the defendant.

When Mr Bradlaugh entered the witness-box Mr Keane interposed, saying:
"I have a most painful duty to perform, and that is to object to the
witness being sworn on account of his being an Atheist and holding
notoriously Atheistic opinions." Mr Keane repeated that he felt it an
extremely painful duty, but that he had no discretion in the matter;
he had instructions to take this objection, and therefore he must take
it. He added: "At the same time I must say that I have met Mr Bradlaugh
several times on business, and have never seen any conduct on his part
unbecoming a gentleman."

Mr Justice Smith: "You have power, Mr Keane, to waive the objection.
Sometimes it is material to make the objection considering the matters
in issue. But in the present case is it so? I consider this a case in
which the objection had better be waived."

As counsel against Mr Bradlaugh in the Devonport case, Mr Montague
Smith, Q.C., had himself examined Mr Bradlaugh upon his opinions, but
this he considered altogether a different matter; this was purely a
commercial transaction.

Mr Bradlaugh stated that he was ready to affirm or to give evidence
upon oath, and after a short discussion Mr Justice Smith said that
he should take it upon himself to allow him to affirm; but Mr Keane
again interposed, urging that he would not be competent to do so. Mr
Bradlaugh then made his counsel formally tender him as a witness, but
after some conversation Mr Keane agreed to admit the facts which Mr
Bradlaugh was to prove. It was then contended that the endorsement was
not valid according to the law of France, but ultimately the verdict
was given for the plaintiff, with leave to the defendant to move the
verdict for him on the objections he had raised.

Mr De Rin accordingly moved the Court of Common Pleas, and in July
1868 the Court granted a rule absolute to enter the verdict for the
defendant, on the ground that the endorsement did not confer on the
plaintiff the right of suing on the bills in this country. Mr Bradlaugh
appealed against this decision to the Court of Exchequer, and the Court
of Appeal suggested an inquiry as to the fact whether the endorsed
bills came into Mr Bradlaugh's possession by post in England or
whether they were handed to him in France, and Mr S. Prentice, Q.C.,
was nominated as a referee to ascertain the fact. When the case came
on appeal before Mr Justice Lush in October 1868, in the Exchequer
Chamber, bail had to be given for costs, and Mr Austin Holyoake was
tendered as such bail, but Mr Wood, counsel for the defendant De Rin,
objected to Mr Holyoake as not competent to take the oath. "I am known
to be a Freethinker," wrote Austin Holyoake, with just indignation,
"and it is therefore competent for any solicitor or barrister to openly
insult me by calling in question my ability to speak the truth."

After a very long delay, in December 1869 the case came before Mr
Prentice to ascertain, as I have said, whether the bills were delivered
to Mr Bradlaugh in England or in France. Once more Mr Bradlaugh
presented himself as a witness, to prove their delivery to him in
England, and once more, despite the passing of the Evidence Amendment
Act in the previous August, his evidence was objected to. Mr Bradlaugh
appeared in person, and Mr Wood, who had been counsel for the defendant
at the hearing before Mr Justice Lush, again appeared for him. On
Mr Bradlaugh tendering himself as witness, Mr Wood--who, like his
predecessor Mr Keane, said that, acting under special instructions,
he took a course which gave him considerable pain--asked him: "Do you
believe in God?"

Mr Bradlaugh's objection to answer this question was followed by a long
discussion, at the end of which Mr Prentice held that he was bound to
answer. Again Mr Wood put the question: "Do you believe in God?"

Mr Bradlaugh: "I do not; that is, I do not believe in any being
independent of the universe, governing or ruling it."

Mr Prentice: "Do you believe in a future state of rewards and
punishments?"

Mr Bradlaugh: "After death, certainly not."

"Then," said Mr Prentice, "I must refuse your evidence."

A day or so later my father, undaunted, carried his case before Mr
Justice Brett at Judges' Chambers, and asked for an order to compel
Mr Prentice to take his evidence; but Mr Justice Brett held, although
with some doubt, that Mr Prentice was not authorised by the Act of
Parliament to administer the alternative declaration.[126] The Judge
added that Mr Bradlaugh ought to have liberty to apply to the Court
against the decision, and endorsed his judgment with the opinion that
it was "a fit case to go before the full court."

[Footnote 126: The Evidence Amendment Act 1869 (32 and 33 Vict. c.
68) enacted "that if any person called to give evidence in any court,
whether in a civil or criminal proceeding, shall object to take an
oath, or shall be objected to as incompetent to take an oath, such
person shall, if the presiding judge is satisfied that the taking of
the oath would have no binding effect upon his conscience, make the
promise and declaration the form of which is contained in the same
section." Mr Prentice, as arbitrator, did not consider himself a
"presiding judge" within the meaning of the Act, and was not therefore
qualified to satisfy himself as to the state of a witness's conscience.]

A few days after this refusal of Mr Prentice to hear his evidence,
and Mr Justice Brett's confirmation of this refusal, Mr Bradlaugh
was called as a witness in the Central Criminal Court to prove the
signature of Dr Shorthouse of the _Sporting Times_ in an action for
libel brought by Sir Joseph Hawley. On his objecting to take the oath
he was readily permitted to give his evidence upon affirmation. Such
was the confusion in which the law of evidence was left after the
passing of the Evidence Amendment Act of 1869. A witness perfectly
competent to give evidence in one Court was incompetent in another, or
else it was a matter of doubt whether he was competent or not.

In January 1870 Mr Bradlaugh carried his case before Lord Chief Justice
Bovill and Justices Keating, Brett, and Montague Smith, in the Court of
Common Pleas; but after half-an-hour's argument the Judges refused to
hear him on the ground that he was not moving on affidavit. "That is,"
said Mr Bradlaugh, "I was sent back to be sworn as to the refusal of
my testimony before I could be allowed to argue that I was not liable
to take the oath, and before I could be allowed to claim that I had,
notwithstanding, the right to give evidence." A very pretty tangle of
contradiction!

He then proceeded to satisfy all conventions by swearing (affidavits
could not then be affirmed) that Mr Prentice did not consider him
competent to give evidence on oath, nor himself competent to receive
the evidence on affirmation. Mr Bradlaugh returned two days later to
the Court of Common Pleas and asked that "Mr Prentice be directed to
take the evidence of Mr Charles Bradlaugh on the fact to be stated in a
special case." After a very long argument the Court decided that it had
no power to give directions to an arbitrator.

Although no more advanced than when he first brought his action in the
winter of 1867, Mr Bradlaugh did not even yet despair, but determined
to carry his case to the highest possible legal tribunal. Pending the
final decision of the law, petitions were got up all over the country
and sent into Parliament, praying for a further amendment of the Act.

On the 7th of February the case was mentioned at the Sittings in Error;
but although there were seven judges present, Lord Chief Baron Kelly
refused to proceed with it in the absence of the Lord Chief Justice. He
said that the case was one "of the greatest possible importance, not
only in this country, but throughout all Europe; it was therefore of
importance that the Court should be so constituted as to insure general
satisfaction with its decision. The Lord Chief Justice Cockburn had
been present when an argument on part of the case had been heard; it
would be advisable, therefore, that the case should stand over until
the Sittings in Error after the next term."

In consequence of this, it was not until the 16th of May that
the long-drawn-out proceedings in this suit--involving at the
outset a simple business transaction, but now including far wider
issues--entered upon their final stage. For more than two years justice
had been persistently perverted from its course, and used as the tool
of fraud, but now at length matters wore a different aspect. The case
was heard in the Court of Exchequer Chamber, before Lord Chief Justice
Cockburn, Lord Chief Baron Kelly, Justices Blackburn, Mellor, and
Lush, and Barons Channell and Cleasby. The Court was unanimous in its
decision that the endorsee was entitled to sue, and that the verdict
must be entered for Mr Bradlaugh. The Lord Chief Justice remarked that
the defendant had no merits at all in the case; he had relied upon this
"somewhat unrighteous" defence, and the judgment now given was "in
accordance with the good sense and justice and equity in the case."

So, in the end, my father won his suit, but the victory was very
costly. The judgment of the Court of Exchequer did not entitle him
to recover any of the expenses he had incurred in fighting the oath
question. Upon that point the decision of the Court of Common Pleas was
final. In a public statement made at the end of the year at Bristol,
in reply to some observations which had fallen from Professor Newman,
Mr Bradlaugh remarked that in contesting the oath question in the law
courts he had himself lost £1500. This was an allusion to his losses in
the De Rin case, the costs in which alone reached to more than £1100;
in addition to these enormous costs, he lost his debt of £360 because
the Christian De Rin, who objected to the evidence of an Atheist,
became bankrupt when the case was finally decided.

Before the passing of the Evidence Amendment Act in 1869 all persons
who disbelieved in God or in a future state of rewards and punishments
were held to be incompetent to give evidence in a Court of Law.
Freethinkers had long and bitterly felt the injustice and hardship of
their position; and in 1868 and 1869, after the first action in the
case of Bradlaugh and De Rin, a most determined effort was made to move
Parliament to amend the law of evidence. The National Secular Society
sent in petitions to the House of Commons, and the Executive of that
Society put itself in communication with members of both Houses. Mr
Bradlaugh said in 1870 that they tried "to pass a much more distinct
clause in favour of Freethinkers than the one as it now stands,
which is in its legal effect entirely different from the clause as
originally drawn by the Hon. Mr Denman, and printed in the Bill first
read before the Commons. It is Lord Cairns to whom we were ultimately
indebted for the main words which really serve us in the Act of 1869."

In 1870 another Bill, prepared by the Hon. G. Denman and Mr Locke King,
was passed through Parliament to further amend the law of evidence, but
it only met such difficulties as had arisen in the case of Bradlaugh
and De Rin, and did not touch the law as it related to jurymen,
affidavits, or Scotland. Mr Bradlaugh was continually urging members
of the House to get these points amended, but nothing further was done
until he himself carried his Oaths Act of 1888, by which the whole law
relating to oaths was radically altered.

Until the passing of this Act, jurors without religious belief were
liable to be committed to prison if they refused to be sworn, and
the law did not permit them to affirm. Affidavits on interlocutory
proceedings could only be made upon oath. In Scotland all Atheists
and disbelievers in eternal torment were, in addition, incompetent as
witnesses.

In any case, too much discretion was left to the Judge, who was
supposed to satisfy himself, according to the monstrous formula laid
down by the Act, that the oath would have "no binding effect" upon
the conscience of a heretical witness. A promise is binding upon the
conscience of an honest man in whatever form it may be made, and it
put Freethinkers in an entirely false position to be obliged to assent
to the statement that some particular form was not binding upon them.
Conscientious witnesses who wished to affirm hardly knew what to answer
when the Judge put the question to them, and he would not always be
satisfied with the mere statement that the oath gave no additionally
binding effect to the promise. And sometimes his assent to the formula
would be used to the discredit of a witness. I myself once heard Baron
Huddleston tell the jury that it was for them to consider what was the
value of the evidence of a witness whom an oath would not bind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Amongst the multitude of papers hostile to Mr Bradlaugh's candidature
for Parliamentary honours in 1868 was one called the _Razor_. This
journal went so far in its condemnatory strictures that Mr Bradlaugh
felt--as his counsel, Mr Digby Seymour, put it--that he had no option
but to bring an action against the proprietor. The _Razor_ must have
been in a general way a tolerably obscure publication, for when I
went to look it up in the British Museum, no trace of it could be
discovered, although the officials there took considerable pains to
find it for me. But the article against Mr Bradlaugh had been recopied
from its columns and widely circulated in Northampton, where it was
calculated to produce serious mischief. Later on Northampton grew
accustomed to hearing my father accused of every possible crime, and,
knowing their absolute falsity, became hardened to such slanders;
still, at that time the acquaintance was comparatively young between
Northampton and the man whose statue it has this year placed in one of
its most public thoroughfares.

The libel endeavoured to connect Mr Bradlaugh with Broadhead (of the
Sheffield trade outrages), and with the misdeeds of which Mr Montagu
Leverson had been guilty two years after my father quitted his office.
It was published on August 15th, and was read by Mr Bradlaugh on the
19th. He at once telegraphed a demand for an apology, and on the same
day received a letter from the proprietor saying that the editor, who
was then absent, would be requested to offer a suitable apology. This
the editor showed no inclination to do, and some correspondence ensued.
Ultimately the _Razor_ people agreed to publish a statement of facts if
Mr Bradlaugh would draw it up and send it to them. This he did, but the
statement did not appear, and, tired of these proceedings, in October
he issued a writ against them. The case came on in December, at the
_nisi prius_ sittings at the Guildhall, before Mr Justice Blackburn and
a common jury. Mr Bradlaugh did not conduct his own case, but Mr Digby
Seymour, Q.C., and Mr Day appeared on his behalf, while the defendant
Mr Brooks was represented by Mr O'Malley, Q.C., and Mr Griffiths.

No attempt was made to justify the libel, nor was any apology offered,
although Mr Digby Seymour intimated the willingness of his client to
accept it even at that late hour. Mr Bradlaugh was the only witness
(the defence called no evidence whatever) other than those required
for formal proofs; and, having no case, the counsel for the defence
endeavoured to excite the prejudices of the jury by cross-examining
him as to his theological opinions. The method pursued by Mr O'Malley
was so gross that, lest I seem to do him an injustice, I will quote
the exact words of the report of his cross-examination. After asking
a number of questions about Broadhead and trades unions, Mr O'Malley
asked:

 "Do you believe in the existence of a God?"

 C. BRADLAUGH: I decline to answer that question, because,
 according to the present laws of this country I might by so doing
 render myself liable to prosecution.

 Mr O'M.: Have you not said, "There is no God"?

 C.B.: No; on the contrary, I have repeatedly said and written that an
 atheist does not say "There is no God."

 Mr O'M.: Have you not made statements in public against the existence
 of God?

 C.B.: I decline to answer that question.

 Mr O'M.: Did you not once at a public lecture take out your watch
 and defy the Deity, if he had any existence, to strike you dead in a
 certain number of minutes?

 C.B.: Never; such a suggestion is utterly unjustifiable.

 Mr JUSTICE BLACKBURN: If any issues in the action depended
 on this course of proceeding, Mr O'Malley, I should not object, but
 I cannot see that these questions have any relevance to the matter
 before us.

 Mr O'M.: I think I shall be able to show by a few questions more the
 importance of the plaintiff's answers. Are you (to plaintiff) a writer
 in the _National Reformer?_ And have you written under the name of
 "Iconoclast"?

 C.B.: I decline to answer these questions, because prosecutions for
 penalties are at present pending against the _National Reformer_ at
 the instance of the late Government.

 Mr O'M.: Did you write this passage, which appeared in the _National
 Reformer_: "There is a great big monkey," etc. [fable already referred
 to on p. 233].

 C.B., after some hesitation: I might refuse to answer this question
 on the same ground I have refused to answer the other questions. I
 prefer, however, to answer, and I say that passage did appear in
 a paper with which I was connected, but was not written by me. It
 was part of a translation of a German fable, and was copied nearly
 two years ago into the _Saturday Review_ without the context. If
 the context were read with it, the meaning of the passage would be
 entirely different It related as much to Hinduism as to Christianity.
 I wrote a reply to the _Saturday Review_ at the time.[127]

 [Footnote 127: This reply was refused insertion.]

 Mr O'M.: Did you ever take legal proceedings against the _Saturday
 Review_ for publishing this article?

 C.B.: No; I considered it a criticism on my opinions, and answered it
 by other articles in other papers. I should never sue a journal for an
 attack on my opinions.

 Mr O'M.: Do you believe in the truth of the Christian religion?

 C.B.: I decline to answer, because it is a prosecutable offence for a
 man to deny the truth of Christianity after he had been brought up in
 its tenets.

The defence, as I have said, called no witnesses; but Mr O'Malley was a
host in himself, and as far as the jury were concerned, the "eloquence"
of his address more than made up for the weakness of his case. He said
that from Mr Bradlaugh's refusals to answer his questions, "it is fair
to assume that he has no character to be injured by such a criticism as
this," meaning by that that an Atheist had no character to be injured
when his principles were likened to those of such a man as Broadhead, a
"self-confessed assassin," and his morality to that of a man compelled
to flee the country on a charge of fraud. Mr O'Malley went on to say
that while it would have been better if the article had not appeared,
"it was nonsense to talk of it as injury to the notorious character of
such a man. The smallest amount of damages would be sufficient to set
up the character of that 'noble' man. He asked the jury, as Christian
men, to refrain from giving their endorsement to that man Bradlaugh, to
that man Bradlaugh, to that man Bradlaugh."

In the course of his summing up, Mr Justice Blackburn said that "all
in Court must have been disgusted with some of the questions which had
been put in cross-examination." That all were not disgusted was soon
apparent, for, after a short consultation, the jury, feeling bound to
respond to this appeal to their Christianity, returned a verdict for
the plaintiff indeed, but with one farthing damages.

My father was deeply hurt at the mockery of this verdict, and, overcome
by a sense of helplessness in the face of such intolerance, he wrote
these bitter words:--

 "OUTLAW OR CITIZEN? WHICH AM I?

 "When at Bolton I sued for damages occasioned by the breach of
 contract for the hire of the hall in which the lectures were to be
 delivered, I was non-suited by the County Court Judge on the ground
 that the lectures to be delivered were illegal (although there was,
 of course, no possible evidence of what I should have said). When I
 was illegally arrested at Devonport, confined in a damp cell for one
 night, and twice brought before the magistrates, an Exeter jury,
 although they in point of fact decided entirely in my favour, gave
 me one farthing damages; and Lord Chief Justice Erle, on appeal
 to the Court sitting in _banco_, laid down the doctrine that the
 imprisonment which prevented a man like myself from making known his
 views (although that imprisonment had been by the verdict of the
 jury utterly unjustifiable) was rather a benefit to the individual
 imprisoned than a wrong for which damages could be sought. When,
 at Wigan, the evidence of myself and a gentleman and his wife were
 all refused by the County Court Judge, on the ground of our being
 all well-known Secularists, I was legally robbed of nearly thirty
 pounds. When concerned about three years ago in another litigation,
 the statement of my opponent that I was 'Iconoclast, the Atheist,'
 sufficed to defeat me. When I sued as plaintiff last year in an
 action to which there was no defence [Bradlaugh _v_. De Rin] in the
 Court of Common Pleas, my evidence was objected to on account of
 my disbelief in the Scriptures. When on appeal on a point of law
 I tendered Mr Austin Holyoake as bail, he was refused because he
 was a well-known heretic, and could not therefore be allowed to be
 sworn. Now I am grossly libelled, the libel is not justified; the
 only cross-examination is on my opinions; and the counsel for the
 defendant, who actually admits that the libel ought never to have
 appeared, asked the jury to give me the smallest possible damages
 because I am an Atheist. The jury respond to his appeal to their
 religious prejudices, and I get one farthing damages. What am I to
 do? If when I am libelled I take no notice, the world believes the
 libel. If I sue I have to pay about one hundred pounds costs for
 the privilege, and gain the smallest coin the country knows as a
 recompense. Duelling is forbidden alike by my code of morals and the
 law of the country. If I horsewhip the libeller, I am punishable for
 assault. Am I outlaw or citizen--which? Answer me, you who boast your
 superiority; you whose religion makes you better than myself. What
 mockery to tell me that I live in a free country, when it is thus
 justice is dealt out to such as I am!

  "CHARLES BRADLAUGH."

In January (1869) Mr Bradlaugh prayed the Court to grant him a rule
for a new trial, and Lord Chief Justice Cockburn observed that "no one
could say that because a man was an Atheist (even assuming him to
be one) anyone was entitled to say he was a murderer or a swindler.
That, however, probably was not quite the way in which it was put to
the jury; it was probably put rather in this way, that when a man
had publicly put forth certain sentiments in certain language, it
might be that his character was not such as deserved or required much
vindication. As a general principle the damages in actions of tort,
especially in actions for libel, were eminently for the jury." Mr
Justice Mellor made some similar remarks, and Mr Justice Hannen having
put some questions as to the refusal of the apology and the manner of
the denial of the charge, the Lord Chief Justice granted the rule.

It never came to a new trial, however, for in the following November
the defendant, Mr Brooks, withdrew the whole of the charges against
Mr Bradlaugh and apologised for their publication, but his solicitor
intimated that he was in no position to pay the costs. Therefore,
although my father obtained the barren satisfaction of this tardy
apology and the withdrawal of the charges, it cost him not less than
£200. The _Razor_ itself did not survive this litigation, for before
the new year of 1869 had dawned it was already discontinued.

       *       *       *       *       *

In accordance with the wishes of some Yorkshire friends, Mr Bradlaugh
had promised to give two political lectures in Mirfield on the 18th and
19th November 1870. The Mirfield Town Hall was engaged for this purpose
on the 21st of September, and the lectures announced were--"War: its
Effect upon European Peoples, and an Appeal for Peace," and "England's
Balance Sheet." The hall belonged to a Company, and when it was
realised that their property was let to the wicked Atheist for the
purpose of pleading the cause of peace in Europe, some of the directors
objected, and objected so strongly, to the proposed desecration of
their building that they determined to back out of the agreement under
the pretence that the hall-keeper had no authority to let it, although,
in fact, he had taken four guineas, money paid for the hire of the
hall, and had given a receipt for it. Mr Bradlaugh persisted in his
right to lecture, and on making inquiries learned that the hall-keeper
had let the hall on former occasions without any objection on the part
of the directors. In order to complicate matters the Directors let the
hall for the dates assigned to Mr Bradlaugh to a party of Ethiopian
serenaders.

As Mr Bradlaugh made no sign of yielding when the time arrived, the
assistance of the police was summoned, and the hall was guarded, inside
and out, by a body of constabulary numbering about thirty men, under a
superintendent. The directors evidently loved war better than peace. Mr
Bradlaugh reached Mirfield at about a quarter past six on the evening
of the 18th, but, fearing a disturbance, he went straight to the Town
Hall, at once and alone, although the meeting was not summoned until
eight o'clock. Upon reaching the hall he found it prepared for a siege;
in addition to its garrison of police, it was barricaded with huge
baulks of timber. He held some conversation with the Superintendent of
the Police, who was sufficiently polite, and the Chairman of the Board
of Directors, a gentleman particularly prominent in his opposition to
Mr Bradlaugh, and now present to watch over the premises in person.
During the conversation a crowd of about four hundred people collected,
but at my father's request they remained perfectly quiet and took no
part in the proceedings. Mr Bradlaugh then endeavoured to open the
door, but in addition to being strongly barricaded the handle was
held by Mr Johnson (the Chairman), and another man, the former of
whom boasted that he would spend a large sum to keep Bradlaugh out of
Mirfield. Finding the force against him too great, my father, after a
little struggle, gave up the attempt to enter.

He at once commenced an action against the Town Hall Company, but owing
to various delays the suit was not tried until the summer of 1871. It
then came on at the Leeds Assizes on August 7th, before Mr Justice
Mellor and a special jury. Mr Bradlaugh conducted his own case, while
Mr Digby Seymour, Q.C., and Mr Mellor appeared for the Hall Company.
Mr Bradlaugh opened in "a very temperate speech" of "great clearness,"
and then called his witness, Mr Stead, to prove the hire of the hall.
Mr Stead had to go through a preliminary confusing examination as to
his fitness to make affirmation, although Mr Justice Mellor was as
considerate as the obnoxious wording of the Evidence Amendment Act
would allow. Objection being taken to certain questions Mr Bradlaugh
wished to put to his witness, my father was obliged to go into the
witness-box himself to prove the points. Of course Mr Digby Seymour
could not forget the lesson in tactics learned a few months before from
Mr O'Malley, and like his opponent in the _Razor_ case--though happily
with less coarseness--seized the opportunity thus offered to rouse the
religious prejudices of the jury, although the sole question in dispute
was the validity of a contract made by the servant of a Company on its
behalf.

But relevant or irrelevant, by hook or by crook, the religious
question was almost invariably dragged in against Mr Bradlaugh: and
just as invariably a bad case was bolstered up by diverting the minds
of the jury from the real merits of the case to a contemplation of
the wickedness of Atheistic opinions. Hence, according to the usual
procedure, Mr Digby Seymour began:

 "You are the proprietor of the _National Reformer_, I think?"

 Mr BRADLAUGH: I decline to answer that question on the
 ground that it might make me liable to a criminal prosecution. I am
 threatened with one at the present moment.

 Mr S.: Oh, you state that, do you?

 Mr B.: Yes, I do.

 Mr S.: I think you hold strong opinions on political subjects as well
 as on religion?

 Mr B.: Well, I hold opinions some of which are similar to those held
 by Dean Stanley, Mr J. S. Mill, and others.

 Mr. S.: Without putting it unfairly, you hold extreme opinions?

 Mr B.: I hold opinions held by a great many of the first men in Europe.

 Mr S.: And I suppose, as you have refused, I must not ask you any
 question as to the contents of this _National Reformer_ (holding one
 in his hand). May I ask if you think Christianity has a ludicrous
 aspect?

 Mr B.: You may ask, but I shall not answer the question.

 Mr S.: Do you know a work called "The Ludicrous Aspects of
 Christianity"? Is it in your library?

 Mr B.: It is not in my library.

 Mr S.: Then you think that Christianity has a ludicrous aspect?

 Mr B.: I cannot answer that.

 Mr S.: At all events, under your eloquent handling, I believe
 Christianity has been made to assume ridiculous aspects?

 Mr B.: I have never written such a pamphlet as you refer to, nor
 delivered lectures under such a title.

At this point the Judge interfered, and after pointing out that the
lectures to be delivered at Mirfield were of a political character,
warned Mr Seymour that such questions were unnecessary. "If they were
to destroy Mr Bradlaugh's credit I should not object, but there is
really no part of his evidence in dispute," he said.

As Mr Bradlaugh had not otherwise sufficient evidence of the lettings
of the hall, he was obliged to call the hall-keeper himself. This man,
Thomas Balme, was, as might be expected, a very unwilling witness, with
a peculiarly defective memory. Having heard him, Mr Justice Mellor came
to the conclusion that he really had no authority to let the hall, and
that consequently the plaintiff must be non-suited.

Mr Bradlaugh decided to try for a new trial, and applied to Mr Justice
Willes at Judges Chambers a few days later that judgment might be
stayed until the fifth day of Michaelmas Term, in order to enable him
to move the Court of Queen's Bench. Mr Thomas Chitty appeared for the
defendants.

When Mr Justice Willes read the receipt, which ran as follows:
"Mirfield Town Hall Company, Limited. Mr Charles Bradlaugh have taken
the Hall for two nights, November 18th and 19th, for the sum of four
guineas. Paid 21st of September 1870. Thomas Balme, Hall-keeper, liable
to damages,"--he said to Mr Bradlaugh, "I shall be very glad if you
can make out that the law helps you, for I think your case a very hard
one. (Turning to Mr Chitty) With such a receipt and memorandum as this,
having paid my four guineas, I should most certainly expect to lecture.
It is very hard for the plaintiff so be defeated by the mere statement
of your own servant that he had no authority."

Mr Chitty opposed the application. "There is really no good ground
shown for a new trial," he said. "Perhaps at this moment no legal
ground," replied the Judge, "but a strong suggestion which I am
inclined to listen to. This is an application by a plaintiff who will
be stopped if I do not aid him, and the circumstances, not ordinary
ones, are certainly in his favour."

In the end it was arranged that Mr Bradlaugh should have an opportunity
to move, if he could pay £60 into Court within seven days, and on his
side my father pledged himself not to trouble the Court unless he was
quite satisfied that he could prove that Balme had let the hall on
other occasions. I gather that he was unable to get sufficient evidence
on this point, for he carried the case no further. The taxed costs of
the Mirfield Town Hall Company amounted to £98 7s., and as Mr Bradlaugh
was unable to pay this at once an attempt was made to enforce immediate
judgment, but this failed, and it was ultimately arranged that Mr
Bradlaugh should pay £10 per month. So here was another addition to
debt to the load of an already over-weighted man. The debt incurred in
the Devonport trial took him three and a half years to pay. Happily,
his own expenditure in this (the Mirfield) case was covered by the
subscriptions of his poor friends, and they also ultimately contributed
£25 towards the costs of the Hall Company.



CHAPTER XXIX.

PERSONAL.


In our house the year 1870, which was to bring death and sorrow to so
many homes, and rage and despair to so many hearts, opened cheerlessly
indeed. The outlook for my father was dark and gloomy in the extreme.
Overweighted with debt, he seemed to be sinking ever deeper and
deeper in financial difficulties. The prosecution of the _National
Reformer_, the De Rin and the _Razor_ litigation, had each and all
left him more or less deeply involved. The great panic of 1866 had
dealt him a serious blow from which he vainly attempted to recover;
the identification of "C. Bradlaugh, of 23 Great St. Helen's," with
"Bradlaugh, the Atheist lecturer," was fatal to business. The spirit of
the boycott existed long before Captain Boycott lived to give it his
name. People were much too good to do business with an Atheist, and
just as the baker's wife took her custom from the boy coal merchant in
1848, so customers of a different class took their business from the
City merchant twenty years later.

My father began to despair of making his business succeed under these
conditions, and to think seriously of giving up his City life, and of
devoting himself to public work. This course would relieve him from the
anxieties of two clashing occupations; moreover, as he said, "while
prejudice and clamour bring ruin to me as a business man, they can do
me no injury as a lecturer and a journalist."[128]

[Footnote 128: _National Reformer_, April 17, 1870.]

In addition to all these difficulties--the outcome of his public
work--there were others, less serious in some respects, it is true,
but far more so in the discredit attaching to them and the anguish
they caused. I refer to those home extravagances and home debts,
due to my mother's infirmity, which all helped to pile up the total
liabilities to unmanageable figures. In March or April a man was put
into possession at Sunderland Villa, and remained there for several
weeks. My father felt this bitterly, but his course of conduct was
now clear before him, and unhesitatingly decided upon; thus once more
we see the pressure of money difficulties directly shaping his path.
A few personal words in the _National Reformer_[129] indicated his
resolve: "After five years' severe struggle," he wrote, "so severe,
indeed, as to repeatedly endanger my health, I find it is utterly
impossible to remain in business in the City in the face of the strong
prejudice excited against me on political and religious grounds. I
have determined to entirely give up all business, and devote myself to
the movement. I have, therefore, taken steps to reduce the personal
expenditure of myself and family to the lowest possible point, in order
that I may set myself free from liability as early as I can, and I
shall be glad now to arrange for week-night lectures in any part of
Great Britain."

[Footnote 129: May 22, 1870.]

Hence, when these people, moved by their "political and religious"
prejudices, drove Mr Bradlaugh from the City, and prevented him
from making a livelihood in the ordinary way of business, they were
unconsciously forging a weapon against themselves. Instead of giving a
small portion of his time to writing and speaking against Theology, and
on behalf of Radicalism and Republicanism, my father henceforth devoted
the whole of his life to that work.

In accordance with his determination to reduce his personal expenditure
to the lowest point, in the middle of May--before his words could have
been read by those to whom they were addressed--my mother, my sister,
and myself went to Midhurst, to find a home in my grandfather's little
cottage, and my father set aside a modest sum weekly for our board
and clothing. My brother remained with Mr John Grant of the Grenadier
Guards for tuition, and Mr Bradlaugh himself took two tiny rooms at
3s. 6d. a week, at 29 Turner Street, Commercial Road, in the house of
a widow who had been known to our family from her early girlhood. The
size and style of these rooms may be guessed from the neighbourhood in
which they were situated, and from the weekly rental asked for them.
Within a few days or so from our leaving London, our household effects
at Sunderland Villa were sold, my father retaining a few of the least
saleable articles of furniture to supply what was necessary for his two
rooms.

Instead of taking the most comfortable bedstead, he took the one which
had been used by us little girls, and this was the bed upon which he
slept until a year before his death, when I removed it without his
knowledge during his absence in India, and put a more comfortable
one in its place. Our nursery washstand, a chest of drawers, a
writing-table, and half-a-dozen chairs comprised all the furniture
he thought necessary for his use. My mother was not allowed to take
anything whatever with her beyond our wearing apparel and a few trifles
of small actual worth, but which she specially valued. My father's
books, of course, he took with him, these, and one other thing which
I had almost forgotten. The bedroom and sitting-room at Turner Street
communicated, and the walls of both were covered with shelves, except
just over the bed-head, which was reserved for the one other treasure
brought from home. This was a large canvas painted in oils for Mr
Bradlaugh by an artist friend, Emile Girardot. The subject was very
simple, being nothing more than a tired hurdy-gurdy boy sleeping in a
doorway, with a monkey anxiously watching. Whatever the intrinsic value
of the picture might be, to my father it was above all price. He had
quite a love for it, and often spoke of it--even in his last illness he
talked of it, and wondered where it was, and longed for it, for by that
time it had gone out of his hands.

So by the end of May we were all adrift and separated--my father in his
small book-lined rooms in the east end of London; my brother Charlie
with the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, wherever it happened to be;
my mother, sister, and self vegetating in a Sussex hamlet. But bad as
all this was, 1870 held still worse things in store for us. In June my
brother was taken ill with a mild attack of scarlatina, of which we
knew nothing until he came home to us for his holidays on the 20th of
the month. Due precautions had been neglected, and almost immediately
after he reached us kidney disease began to manifest itself. From this
he died on the 15th July, and he was buried exactly a month from the
day on which he came home. The shock of his death was terrible to all
of us, and not least so to my father. Although barely eleven years old
at his death, Charlie was a lad full of promise, quick to learn and to
comprehend, amiable, honourable, and generous; and of these traits I
can recall many little instances. I have a photograph of him taken at
the age of seven or eight, and as I look at it I see his eyes gaze out
from under his square brow with a wonderfully clear and fearless look.

He was buried on the 20th day of July in Cocking Churchyard, my
grandfather's cottage at Cocking Causeway (Midhurst) being in the
parish of Cocking. Of course, we had to submit to the Church of England
service, for it was before the Burials Act was passed, but the Rev.
Drummond Ash was a kindly, courteous gentleman, and he made things as
easy as the circumstances would allow. The burial would have taken
place at the Brookwood Necropolis had my father been able to afford the
expense. As he was not, Charlie was laid perforce in consecrated ground
at the foot of the South Down Hills with Christian rites and ceremonies.

The Rev. Theophilus Bennett, a later Rector of Cocking, has stated that
his predecessor, Mr Ash, "attended" my brother "in his dying moments."
This statement is entirely without foundation; I am not aware that Mr
Ash ever saw or spoke with my brother at all, and certainly the only
persons present when the boy was dying were my grandmother, my mother,
our nurse Kate (who remained with us at her own wish to help nurse him
in his illness), my sister, and myself; moreover, Mr Ash was at that
time reported to be himself ill and away from home, having left word
that if "the little boy at the Causeway should die," all facilities for
his funeral were to be given, or some such message.

The telegram bearing the totally unexpected summons to my father to
hasten to see his son for the last time was handed to him on the
platform at Bury just as he was about to deliver a lecture. I have
been told that when he read the words he turned deathly pale, but with
that self-control which never failed him in adversity, he rose, and
with the least perceptible hesitation, commenced and went through with
his lecture. On Tuesday night he received his summons; on Wednesday he
was with us, though only to leave again by the early train on Thursday
morning. On Friday the boy died, and on that same day and the next
my father had to be in the law-courts as witness in a case relating
to the Naples Colour Company.[130] His grief for the loss of his son
was intense, but he shut it up in his heart, and rarely afterwards
mentioned the name of his boy, of whom he had been so proud.

[Footnote 130: This was an action to try the right of the Sheriff of
Surrey to distrain upon the Colour Machinery at Hatcham. Baron dos
Santos, of the Romish Legation, had wished to trade in Naples colour
in England, under the name of the Company of which Mr Bradlaugh was
Secretary. Mr Bradlaugh had bought and paid for the machinery to grind
the colours before they could be sold, and he claimed to carry on the
business until Baron dos Santos should purchase the things off him.
Obliged to raise money in 1868, when he was contesting Northampton,
Mr Bradlaugh borrowed £600 from Mr Javal upon the machinery, and he
in turn raised some money from the Advana Company. Before this last
had been repaid the defendants seized the machinery under an execution
judgment as creditors of the Naples Colour Company. Mr Bradlaugh was
the principal witness, and the newspaper report notes that he requested
to be allowed to affirm instead of being sworn, but said that he should
take the oath, if his lordship insisted upon it. He was allowed to
affirm, and at the conclusion of the case the jury decided that the
machinery belonged to Mr Bradlaugh, and therefore gave a verdict for
the plaintiffs.]



CHAPTER XXX.

LECTURES--1870-1871.


The early part of the seventies was a period of much Freethought and
Republican activity in England; everywhere in the Freethought ranks
there was movement and life. In spite of the persistent refusal
of Messrs W. H. Smith & Son to sell the _National Reformer,_ its
circulation was largely increasing, and in 1870 it was read in the four
quarters of the globe. In England all sorts of devices were resorted to
damage the sale; country news-agents refused, like Messrs Smith & Son,
to sell it, or said they were unable to obtain it, or quietly returned
it "out of print"; contents bills were no sooner posted in some
towns than they were torn down, and on occasion the police employed
themselves, or were employed, in this work. At Scarborough[131]
evidence was obtained against Police Constable Charlton, and legal
proceedings were commenced. At the last moment, however, the sum of 2s.
was paid into Court, together with costs proportionate to the summons,
and Mr Bradlaugh, overwhelmed with other work and worries, contented
himself with this acknowledgment of the wrongdoing and did not pursue
the matter further.

[Footnote 131: May 1870.]

The high pressure at which my father had been living had so undermined
his health that for a long time he was a martyr to acute neuralgia;
still, notwithstanding this, in the early part of the year he was
lecturing once or twice a week, and as soon as he was able to extricate
himself from the City his lecture list grew tremendously. In the month
of July alone--a month which, as we have seen, brought its own peculiar
burdens--he gave as many as twenty-six lectures. I find it noted that
during this last half-year he delivered as many as one hundred and
seventy lectures, in forty-nine of which the proceeds were insufficient
to cover his railway expenses, and in the case of twenty more,
although his railway was covered, there was not enough to clear his
hotel bill.

Except in one or two very special cases[132] Mr Bradlaugh never took
a fee for his lectures. He took whatever surplus remained from the
admission money, after paying all expenses of the meeting. He made
this arrangement originally so that no town or village might be
hindered from promoting lectures on account of the expense. "Large and
small places," he said, "will be visited indifferently." A charge for
admission was always made at his lectures, usually a small one, varying
from twopence or threepence to a shilling. He objected very strongly to
"free" lectures and collections. Of course he now, as ever, very often
gave away the proceeds of his lectures. His audiences were frequently
very large, especially in places where he was known. He happened to
make a note of the numbers who came to hear him on the Sundays in
January 1871, and he records that on the Sunday evenings alone he
had audiences whose total numbers reached six thousand, and at three
morning lectures there was a total of two thousand five hundred.

[Footnote 132: These cases were so rare that the only one I can
actually recall is that of the Tyneside Sunday Lecture Society.]

Halls were often refused to him, although not quite so frequently as
in former years. In 1870 the Stratford Town Hall was refused by the
West Ham Local Board, and for many years he had great difficulty in
obtaining a hall in Stratford. The St. Mary's Hall, Coventry, was
refused to him by the Mayor of Coventry for a lecture on "The Land
and the People," and the Mirfield Town Hall after it had been duly
engaged for two political lectures was closed against him by the
proprietors.[133] An exactly similar case occurred at Glossop a year
and a half later. The Town Hall was taken for a political lecture,
and at almost the last moment, after the lapse of several weeks, the
Council instructed that the money paid for the hire should be returned.
The effect of this was to produce a much greater and more widespread
excitement and discussion than half a dozen lectures would have done.

[Footnote 133: See p. 294.]

It was in 1870 that Mr Bradlaugh began that close scrutiny of the
history of our reigning family which resulted in the publication
of his "Impeachment of the House of Brunswick," a little book which
created some considerable stir both when it was first published in
1871,[134] and when an edition partly revised by Mr Bradlaugh was
brought out after his death. The "Impeachment" has been widely read
both here and in America, where it was reprinted. Besides writing upon
the Brunswick family, Mr Bradlaugh used to take the history of one or
more of the members of it as a subject for his lecture, and taught
many a good Republican lesson whilst discoursing upon the exceptional
virtues of "George, Prince of Wales," or "the four Georges." A friend
has told me an amusing story concerning one of these lectures. My
father had promised to speak one Saturday evening at Sowerby Bridge on
"George, Prince of Wales." By some curious blunder the friends who were
making the arrangements placarded the town with the subject announced
as "Albert Edward, Prince of Wales." The effect of this was to cause a
large number of police to be drafted into the town, and a Government
shorthand reporter was sent down from London, travelling by the same
train as my father. The hall was, of course, crowded, but whether the
audience were disappointed when my father explained the mistake in
the subject of the lecture, my informant did not say. In any case I
expect that the officials who had been so busy in preparing for treason
and riot, and found only history and order, felt that the proceedings
had turned out rather flat. At Stourbridge, where Mr Bradlaugh was
invited[135] by some "gentlemen of Republican tendencies" to discourse
upon the "House of Brunswick," Lord Lyttleton, as Lord Lieutenant
of the county, tried to induce the Stourbridge Town Commissioners
to withdraw from their agreement to let the Corn Exchange for the
lectures, but his efforts were in vain. His Lordship seems to have
been a little angry, and it was even rumoured that he went so far
as to tell the magistrates that he would have Mr Bradlaugh arrested
for treason. He succeeded in raising such a scare that a large extra
body of police were drafted into the town under the order of the
Chief Constable of the county. There were two lectures, and Colonel
Carmichael, the Chief Constable, was present at both, but, as I gather
from the printed reports, the meetings were large, the audiences
delighted, and of both the end "was peace."

[Footnote 134: At the end of 1872 Mr John Baker Hopkins made a
violent attack upon Mr Bradlaugh for his "Impeachment of the House
of Brunswick" in the pages of the _Gentleman's Magazine_. A reply to
this from my father's pen appeared in the January (1873) Number, but
there was such an outcry raised in the press at the insertion in the
"Gentleman's" Magazine of an article by "Mr Bradlaugh of Whitechapel
and Hyde Park respectively" that Mr John Hatton, the editor, felt
so far obliged to defend himself as to say a word in favour of free
discussion. He further atoned for his sins by allowing Mr J. B. Hopkins
to return to his attack in the following month.]

[Footnote 135: December 1871.]

In the summer of 1871 Mr Bradlaugh went one Monday evening to Newton
Abbot to address a meeting in the New Vegetable Market, used then for
a public gathering for the first time. The subject on which he was to
speak was "The Land, the People, and the Coming Struggle." Very few of
the tradesmen in the town would consent to expose bills of the lecture,
and several who did display them at first took them from their windows
at the advice of the "respectable and pious," and in the end only
two showed the announcements. Two gentlemen who were present at the
meeting--one as a reporter for the local paper, the other, one of the
five Radicals who invited Mr Bradlaugh to Newton--have given a vivid
account of a little incident which enlivened the evening's proceedings.
It appears that in 1871 a certain Mr John George Stuart was the High
Bailiff of the town. "This gentleman," I am told, "was a Methodist,
and had at that time two sons who were studying for the ministry. He
was also a distinguished boxer, and he had the reputation of being the
most formidable wielder of the gloves in England." Mr Stuart, supported
by two friends, "attended the meeting with the avowed intention of
obstructing Mr Bradlaugh. As soon as Mr Bradlaugh began to speak,
Mr Stuart commenced to disturb the meeting. Mr Bradlaugh repeatedly
requested him to reserve his criticisms until the close of the lecture,
when an opportunity would be offered him of speaking from the platform.
But Mr Stuart continued to shout his opinions upon Mr Bradlaugh's
Atheism, although the lecture was on a purely political question. At
last Mr Bradlaugh said that unless the interruptions ceased, he should
be compelled to act as his own chairman, and to request Mr Stuart to
leave the building. As Mr Stuart and his friends would not desist from
shouting, Mr Bradlaugh stepped from the platform, walked up to the
athlete, and carried him to the door with ease. At the doorway Mr
Stuart spread his arms and held the jambs, but Mr White, who was acting
as doorkeeper pushed one of his hands aside, and Mr Bradlaugh set the
disturber down in the street. None of Mr Stuart's friends offered
the least resistance, and the crowd, which was made up of hostile as
well as friendly hearers, loudly cheered Mr Bradlaugh's unceremonious
ejectment of the local hero of the 'noble art.'" The friends to whom
I am indebted for the foregoing say further that Mr Stuart's pride
was brought very low by this episode, and that he rarely appeared
afterwards among the former admirers of his prowess.

In the course of my father's lecturing experiences, he several times
met with local "champions," as defenders of the faith. A few months
later, at Sowerby Bridge, a local champion wrestler entered the room
during the delivery of his lecture and commenced abusing him loudly.
The man was spoken to several times, but he would neither remain
quiet, nor quit the place. Mr Bradlaugh was at length obliged to leave
the platform and put him out _vi et armis_. Put out at one door, he
reappeared at another; but this time the audience took the matter into
their own hands, and kept him out. Another "champion" conducted a
serious disturbance at Congleton, but of that later.

In the month of March (1871) Dr Magee, then Bishop of Peterborough,
delivered three discourses in the Norwich Cathedral in "vindication
and establishment of the Christian faith," and "directed against
modern forms of infidelity." The Freethinkers of Norwich, anxious to
give these discourses the attention which the high position and high
reputation of the speaker demanded, had asked Mr Bradlaugh to come to
Norwich to represent them on the occasion of the Bishop's discourses.
This he consented to do, and attended all the lectures, but--as perhaps
it is superfluous to say--he was not allowed to make any remark upon
them. It was however desired that he should make some reply in the
town where the lectures had been delivered, at least, if not in the
Cathedral to Dr Magee himself, but it was not easy to obtain the use
of a hall for the purpose. A circuit of the town was made in the vain
endeavour to hire a building, and it was only after considerable
difficulty that the Free Library Hall was at last procured. As my
father truly said, "the approved mode of encountering modern infidelity
seemed to be that of free speech for the Church advocate, and gagged
mouth for the pleader on behalf of heresy."[136] In the Norwich Free
Library Hall he delivered three lectures in reply to Dr Magee. These he
afterwards published, together with the Bishop's discourses; and as a
statement of the cases for and against Christianity and for and against
Freethought, coming from such representative men as the late learned
and eloquent Archbishop of York and Mr Bradlaugh, they cannot fail to
be of special interest.

[Footnote 136: "Christianity in Relation to Freethought Scepticism and
Faith: three discourses by the Bishop of Peterborough, with special
replies by Charles Bradlaugh."

A similar case in a small way happened at Deptford in April 1873. A
Rev. Dr Miller had delivered some addresses in the Deptford Lecture
Hall against "unbelievers," and it was proposed that Mr Bradlaugh
should reply to these addresses in the same place. He had frequently
spoken in the Deptford Lecture Hall before, but when the Deptford
Freethinkers sought to engage it for a lecture in answer to Dr
Miller, the Committee refused to let the hall for that purpose. This
intolerance the _Kentish Mercury_ applauded by referring to it in bold
type as "noble conduct."]

During the autumn my father gave a lecture on behalf of the London
Republican Club, and upon this speech all sorts of rumours were
founded, not indeed upon what my father actually did say, but upon
what his detractors chose to believe he said. Mr Disraeli had recently
stated at an agricultural meeting at Hughenden[137] that it could not
be concealed that Her Majesty was "physically and morally incapacitated
from performing her duties," and my father took these words as the text
of his lecture for the Republican Club in London. His speech, which
was unusually long, occupying close upon an hour and a half, was a
most careful recital of the duties of the Monarch and the rights and
duties of the people, with special reference to the course pursued
during the periods when George III. was officially declared incapable
of performing the royal functions. Shorthand writers were present,
and this address, or parts of it, was telegraphed all over the United
Kingdom, to America and to the Continent. Much of it appeared in the
American and Continental press of the next day or so, and after a short
interval distorted accounts of it were to be heard of in most parts
of England. There was one passage in particular upon which a whole
mountain of misrepresentation and worse[138] was afterwards based.
In the course of his address Mr Bradlaugh had said: "Many of you are
aware that I have lately repeatedly declared my most earnest desire
that the present Prince of Wales should never dishonour this country
by becoming its King. My opinion is that if four or five years of
political education are allowed to continue in this land, that worthy
representative of an unworthy race will never be King of England. My
thorough conviction is that neither his intelligence, nor his virtues,
nor his political ability, nor his military capacity--great as all
these are for a member of his family--can entitle him to occupy the
throne of Great Britain. I am equally opposed to his ever being Regent
of England. I trust that he may never sit on the throne or lounge under
its shadow."

[Footnote 137: September 26, 1871.]

[Footnote 138: See Chapter ix., vol. ii.]

Of course my father showed himself much too sanguine as to the time
necessary for the political education of this country towards a
Republican form of Government; but those who recall the seeming vigour
of the Republican movement in England during the early seventies will
know that he was not without excuse for his hopeful views. In any case,
one would have thought that his expression in regard to the Prince of
Wales was strong enough to have been dealt with by English Monarchists
as he made it; but instead, it was perverted into an "impudent and
disloyal announcement that he and a certain number of his friends
would take care that the Prince should never come to the throne."[139]
A very different thing indeed to the "desire" my father had uttered.
The effect of all this was to raise such a tremendous journalistic
storm against him, that a few weeks later he wrote: "As to the hostile
attacks, they are during the past fortnight so numerous that I have not
space even to catalogue them. Many journals call for my prosecution."
One paper, a century or so behind the times, recommended a pillory and
flogging.

[Footnote 139: Earl Fortescue at the King's Nympton Farmers' Club,
November 1871.]

A curious little incident which occurred ten or twelve days after
Mr Bradlaugh's lecture helped to strengthen the outcry against him,
especially on the part of Conservative speakers and the Conservative
press. On the 28th of October Mr Gladstone addressed a vast meeting
of his constituents on Blackheath. He spoke for two hours, defending
the conduct of his colleagues and himself since they had taken office
three years ago. During this important speech he quoted, from what he
called a "questionable book," these lines, which he said contained
"much good sense"--

    "People throughout the land,
    Join in one social band,
        And save yourselves;
    If you would happy be,
    Free from all slavery,
    Banish all knavery,
        And save yourselves."

This sentiment was greeted with deafening applause by the thousands
listening with eager ears to every word that fell from the Prime
Minister. But the epithet bestowed upon the book whence he drew this
example of the "good sense" it contained, roused a perfect frenzy of
curiosity. Literary Conservatives imagined that Mr A. C. Swinburne was
the author, and the dismay exhibited was almost beyond description when
it was discovered--by the horrified _Scotsman_, I believe--that Mr
Gladstone's "questionable book" was the "Secularists' Manual of Songs
and Ceremonies," edited by Austin Holyoake and Charles Watts, with a
preface by Charles Bradlaugh. The press comments upon the discovery are
amusing to read, especially as Mr Bradlaugh was often made in some way
responsible, not merely for the verse, but for Mr Gladstone's quoting
it on Blackheath. Mr Giffard, Q.C., was amongst those who thought it
"an outrage" that such a book should have been so quoted by the Prime
Minister of England. The publisher was indictable, said he wrathfully,
and the writer would have been sent to prison in the good old days when
the Christian religion was more thought of.[140] But neither he nor any
one else moved to prefer the indictment.

[Footnote 140: Address to the Cardiff Constitutional Association.]



CHAPTER XXXI.

FRANCE--THE WAR.


When hostilities were declared between France and Germany in 1870,
Mr Bradlaugh did not take sides with either nation; he entirely and
unreservedly condemned the war. He and his friends kept clear of the
war fever which seemed coursing through the blood of most people. "All
the evil passions of Europe are aroused," wrote Austin Holyoake, "and
even children gloat over the narratives of slaughter where thousands
perish. The soldier, instead of the schoolmaster, has become the
foremost man, and Rage, Revenge, and Murder are the gods of public
idolatry." Not a word would Mr Bradlaugh or his colleagues say to
commiserate the "insulted honour of France," not a word to glorify the
triumphant arms of Germany.

But my father was not neutral because he was unmoved. His sympathies
were always strongly with the French people, but these very sympathies
made him bitterly antagonistic to the French Emperor. In the middle
of August he replied to a correspondent: "You do not understand my
position. I regard Napoleon as one of the greatest amongst modern
scoundrels, and Bismarck as a crafty diplomatist striving to make a
great German Empire under Prussia. I love Bismarck so little that when
the Reform League wrote him an address, I refused to sign it. I hope
to see a German republic, and I believe I shall, but this war will
postpone it. I deeply regret the evoking the 'nationality' madness in
France, for I fear that many of our brave Republican friends will be
killed in striving to save, as they think, the flag of France from
disgrace."

On the 4th of September was declared the third French Republic. The
_National Reformer_ was quick to give it welcome, but my father himself
was away in the provinces just then, lecturing and debating with scarce
a day's respite, and so overwrought with much speaking in heated rooms
and much travelling in wet and changeable weather, that his health
seemed on the point of breaking down. At Leigh he had lectured on
two successive nights in a wooden theatre, admirably adapted to give
free admittance to every gust of the damp night wind. On the morning
(Sunday) following these lectures he had left at six o'clock to go to
Darwen. By that time his voice was reduced to a hoarse whisper, and the
Darwen friend who met him looked grave when he saw how ill he seemed,
especially when my father announced his intention of going to bed until
the lecture hour. Three lectures he gave that day--morning, afternoon,
and evening--with an hour's discussion after the morning lecture, but
his appearance made such an impression upon his Lancashire friends that
they wrote him an address of sympathy.

Ill-health, overwork, financial worries, and domestic sorrows made a
heavy burden to carry; still, notwithstanding all this, he made the
opportunity to write his sympathy with Republican France.

"First," he said, "that there may be no mistake, I throw in my lot
with France--Republican France. While Louis Napoleon reigned at the
Tuileries the memories of December were too bloody, nineteen-year-old
hatreds too bitter, to let me even be just to any cause he led.
A perjured liar, a cold-blooded murderer, a heartless coward, a
paltry trickster, a dishonourable cheat, all this was Louis Napoleon
Bonaparte. I was, therefore, well inclined to Germany from my utter
hatred of the imperial demoralisation of France. But now, when
events are moving so rapidly that perhaps ere this sees the light
all may be changed, it is worth while to ask, Was Prussia guiltless
in the war? and I answer, No! Bismarck and Prussian armies are
evidence on this side. Bismarck using craft of a higher order than
Napoleonic scoundrelism, and moved by a broader ambition than the
mere embezzlement of national funds or personal aggrandisement, has
outwitted Napoleon; but the English people, while repudiating with
fullest indignation the wicked and most monstrous declaration of war,
cannot forget that by-divine-right-ruling and for-victory-God-thanking
William is as much a detester of popular rights as was Napoleon
himself.... At this moment the world's most fearful curse is in its
armies, and our cry is Peace."

It was only just, he said, that the French Republic should pay some
penalty for the previous folly of the nation, and if Prussia exacted
ever so heavy a war indemnity in money, it should be cheerfully paid.
But he spoke most strenuously against the surrender of Alsace and
Lorraine. To Germany he appealed for peace "while yet the glory is
yours--if indeed it be glory to kill and maim, scorch and scathe, and
this at the cost of as many killed and wounded, scorched and scathed,
on your own side." Last of all he appealed to the peoples of England,
France, and Germany to unite for peace; if they were earnest, he wrote,
they must be obeyed, and their "glorious desire must be conceded."

This article was in print on the 14th September; and as he was at
breakfast at his Turner Street lodgings one morning, three days later,
my father received a somewhat startling visit from a French lady, at
that time well known in French and English political circles. Madame
la Vicomtesse de Brimont Brassac was a lady of great beauty and great
persuasive powers, although in her errand that September morning she
had no occasion for the use of either one or the other. She came to
my father with the idea of persuading him to undertake the attempt
to create a feeling in favour of France amongst the English masses;
this was a work after his own heart, and one indeed to which he had
already set his hand in the article to which I have just referred. This
interview had for its immediate result a succession of public meetings,
held both in London and the provinces, in favour of France and Peace.
The first, held at the Hall of Science on Monday the 19th, was, despite
the short notice, attended by upwards of 1400 persons. Through Madame
de Brimont my father learned that Lord Granville was moving against the
French Republic, and was in favour of replacing the Emperor in Paris.
Friends everywhere were urged to counteract Lord Granville's efforts
by striving to make a living public opinion in favour of France and
Peace. At this first demonstration two addresses were agreed to: one to
Mr Gladstone, praying him to use his high office "actively in favour
of peace," for, it was urged, "it will be to England's lasting shame
if every possible effort be not made to prevent further carnage;" the
second was sent to the French Government of National Defence and to the
French people, offering congratulations on the position taken by Jules
Favre, and tendering deep and heartfelt sympathy to the nation in its
sorrow.

In co-operation with Dr Congreve, Prof. Beesly, and other prominent
Positivists, Mr Bradlaugh organised a series of meetings in London
and the provinces. One at St James's Hall on the 24th was a great
success. The hall was densely crowded by an enthusiastic meeting,
which was addressed by Dr Congreve, Prof. Beesly, Sir Henry Hoare,
M.P., Mr George Odger, Colonel Dickson, and others. The addresses to
Mr Gladstone and to the French Nation were voted unanimously, and a
resolution moved by Prof. Beesly, calling upon the English Government
to give an immediate and frank recognition of the French Republic, met
with the utmost enthusiasm. The two addresses were sent for signature
to thirty of the largest towns in England and Scotland, and in two days
forty thousand signatures were obtained.

Just before the commencement of the proceedings at St James's Hall an
incident occurred that admitted of an extremely simple explanation,
but which the Tory press endeavoured to turn to the discredit of the
"France and Peace" Committee. A little while before the speakers were
expected on the platform, the gas, which had been wavering somewhat
uncertainly for a few minutes, suddenly went out, leaving the hall in
complete darkness. As may be imagined, there was great dismay, and with
it all the dangers of a panic. A gentleman who acted as steward at the
meeting tells me that the light was hardly out before Mr Bradlaugh's
voice was heard crying, "Lead me to the front; lead me to the front!"
This he and another friend succeeded in doing. Once at the front of
the platform, he says that my father began to speak, and the audience,
recognising his voice, gave a ringing cheer. He told the people
that the gas would be relighted as soon as possible, and entreated
the people to keep their seats. "He kept speaking for about fifteen
minutes, when the gas was re-lit, and all danger past. The thought of
what would have happened had not Mr Bradlaugh been there gives one an
uncomfortable sensation. A panic under such circumstances would have
been terrible, but the way the people responded to the desire of Mr
Bradlaugh to keep their seats, and to keep quiet until all was put
right, was extraordinary." Not less extraordinary was the explanation
suggested by the _Observer_. Said the veracious chronicler of this
high-class Sunday paper: "This _contretemps_ created a good deal of
speculation, and the general opinion was that the Committee and the
proprietors had been unable to come to terms, and that the latter, in
order to secure their money, turned out the gas." From this it would
seem that to jeopardise the lives of thousands of people[141] (without
counting certain damage to the building) would have been a mere trifle
to the proprietors compared with the possible loss of a few pounds. It
must have been quite a shock to the originators of so diabolical an
idea to learn that the accident was an accident pure and simple, and
due to a matter so ordinary and commonplace as a defect in the water
meter which supplied the gas to the hall.

[Footnote 141: The _Observer's_ own report stated: "At first there
seemed to be an inclination to rush to the doors, which might have led
to great sacrifice of life."]

The St James's Hall meeting was immediately followed by forty-eight
others, and in every case the size of the meeting was restricted
only by the capacity of the building in which it was held. It may be
asked, but what was the outcome of all these meetings, what was their
practical value? In 1873 Mr Bradlaugh gave the answer to this in the
pages of his _Autobiography_. "They exercised," he said, "some little
effect on the public opinion of this country, but unfortunately the
collapse on the part of France was so complete, and the resources
commanded by Bismarck and Moltke so vast, that, except as expressing
sympathy, the results were barren."

Sympathy, however, is often very welcome; his efforts to help the cause
of Peace were warmly received in France, and without any previous
communication having passed between them, the Republican Government at
Tours sent him the following letter:--

  "RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE.--LIBERTÉ, EGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ.

  "Gouvernement de la Défense Nationale.

  "TOURS, _le 21 Octobre 1870_.

 "MONSIEUR,--Les Membres du Gouvernement de la Défense
 Nationale, réunis en délégation à Tours, après avoir pris connaissance
 du magnifique discours que vous avez prononcé au meeting d'Edimbourg,
 tiennent à honneur de vous remercier chalereusement du noble concours
 que vous apportez à la cause de la France et de l'Europe dans votre
 pays.

 "Vous ne ménagez, Monsieur, ni vos efforts, ni votre temps, pour
 éclairer l'opinion publique depuis longtemps si puissante dans le
 Royaume-Uni. Nous nous plaisons à croire que tant de dêvouement
 finira par convaincre l'Europe, sur laquelle l'opinion Brittanique
 exerce une si legitime influence, que la France lutte aujourd'hui
 pour la plus juste des causes, la defense de son honneur et de son
 territoire.

 "Nous ne saurions trop le redire: la guerre actuelle a été entreprise
 contre la volonté de la nation française: la Prusse en la continuant
 combat sans droit et pour la seule satisfaction d'une ambition dont
 l'Europe ne tardera pas à sentir les ruineux effets.

 "Remerciez en notre nom, ceux de vos généreux compatriotes qui vous
 écoutent et vous acclament dans ces magnifiques réunions publiques que
 nous leur envions, où se débattent les plus grands intérêts du monde.

 "L'accueil qui vous est fait partout, nous est un sûr garant des
 sympathies du peuple Anglais pour la France et ses institutions
 nouvelles.

 "Nous ne faisons aucun doute que de cette incessante propagande à
 laquelle vous vous êtes devoué, ne sortent bientôt la lumière qui doit
 dessiller tous les yeux et le triomphe prochain de la justice et de la
 civilisation.

 "Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de notre très haute
 considération.

 "Les Membres de la délégation du Gouvernement de la Défense Nationale,
 réunis a Tours:

  LEON GAMBETTA.
  L. FOURNICHON.
  AD. CRÉMIEUX.
  AL. GLAIS BIZOIN."[142]

[Footnote 142:

  "THE FRENCH REPUBLIC.--LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY.

  "Government of National Defence.

  "TOURS, _21st October 1870_.

 "SIR,--The Members of the Government of National Defence,
 assembled in delegation at Tours, after having become acquainted
 with the magnificent speech which you delivered at the meeting at
 Edinburgh, have the honour to thank you most warmly for the noble help
 which you bring to the cause of France and of Europe in your country.

 "You do not spare, Sir, either your efforts or your time in the
 attempt to enlighten public opinion--for so long all-powerful in the
 United Kingdom. We take pleasure in believing that so much devotion
 will end by convincing Europe, upon which British opinion exercises so
 legitimate an influence, that France fights to-day for the most just
 of all causes--the defence of her honour and of her territory.

 "We cannot too often repeat it: the war itself was undertaken against
 the will of the French nation; Prussia, in continuing it, fights
 without justice, and solely for the satisfaction of an ambition of
 which Europe will not be slow to feel the ruinous effects.

 "Thank, in our names, those of your generous compatriots who listen to
 you, and who applaud you in these magnificent public assemblies--which
 we envy them--where the greatest interests of the world are debated.

 "The welcome which meets you everywhere is to us a sure guarantee
 of the sympathies of the English people for France and her new
 institutions.

 "We have no doubt that from this incessant propaganda, to which you
 have devoted yourself, will soon come the light which should undeceive
 all eyes, as well as the triumph of justice and civilisation.

 "Kindly receive, Sir, the expression of our highest consideration.

 "Members of the delegation of the Government of National Defence,
 assembled at Tours:

  "LEON GAMBETTA.
  L. FOURNICHON.
  AD. CRÉMIEUX.
  AL. GLAIS BIZOIN."]

To this letter are appended the following lines written in September
1871 by Monsieur Emanuel Arago, Member of the Provisional Government of
September 4:--

 "En lisant cette lettre, j'éprouve très vivement la regret de
 n'avoir pu, enfermé dans Paris, joindre ma signature a celles de
 mes collègues de la délégation de Tours. M. Bradlaugh est, et sera
 toujours dans la République, notre concitoyen.

  "EMANUEL ARAGO."[143]

[Footnote 143:

Paris, I was unable to add my signature to those of my colleagues in
the Tours delegation. In the Republic Mr Bradlaugh is, and always will
be, our fellow-citizen.

  "EMANUEL ARAGO."]

About the same time (October 1870) M. Tissot, the Chargé d' Affaires of
France in England, wrote him:--

 "Je viens de lire, avec un extrème intérêt le compte rendu du
 meeting de Newcastle. La cause de la France et de la paix ne pouvait
 être remise entre de meilleures mains et plaidée par une voix plus
 éloquente. Laissez moi vous exprimer une fois de plus, Monsieur, tous
 mes sentiments de reconnaissance pour votre généreuse initiative, et y
 joindre l'assurance de ma haute considération et de ma profonde estime.

  CH. TISSOT."[144]

[Footnote 144:

 "I have just read with extreme interest the report of the meeting
 at Newcastle. The cause of France and of Peace could not be in
 better hands, or pleaded by a more eloquent voice. Let me once more
 express to you, sir, all my feelings of gratitude for your generous
 initiative, and join to it the assurance of my high consideration and
 profound esteem.

  "CH. TISSOT."]

At a crowded meeting held at the Hall Of Science early in the
following year Mr Bradlaugh was still denouncing the war in unmeasured
terms. "There never was a war," said he, "more unjustifiable, more
wicked, more insane, than this which France, as misrepresented by her
Emperor, had declared against Germany." This the _Echo_ condemned as
"Whitechapel style," and loftily asserted that the English people
would decline to accept "Iconoclast" as the representative of France
and her sufferings. But after other immense gatherings at the Beaumont
Institute, the Eastern Hall, Poplar, and the St James's Hall, there was
a notable alteration in its tone. An extract from its report of the
St James's Hall meeting held five days later makes a rather amusing
contrast to its former unqualified condemnation. Said the _Echo_ on
this occasion of my father:--

 "While Professor Beesly was opening the meeting, a tall man with a
 remarkably pleasant face, a little spoilt by a self-sufficient look,
 or, if we are really to describe it, a certain consciousness of power,
 had entered the room and received a perfect ovation of applause. This
 was Mr Bradlaugh, _alias_ 'Iconoclast,' for whom the audience kept
 calling whenever the speaker for the time being grew tedious.... We
 know more of Mr Bradlaugh than we wish. Last night, however, he hid
 the cloven hoof. His speech might have been that, of Bishop Atterbury.
 Not an irreverent expression, not an ill-judged word escaped him. Mr
 Frederic Harrison speaks almost as badly as Mr Bradlaugh writes. Mr
 Bradlaugh speaks almost as well as even Mr Harrison writes. There was
 a sense of power about the man. His audience hung upon his lips; his
 speech was a success and well delivered. He is a master of oratory,
 and a master of action; his voice is powerful, rich, and almost
 musical. And after he had swayed the meeting as he chose for nearly
 half an hour, the huge crowd broke up, after several vain attempts to
 start the Marseillaise."

Amongst those who stood on the St James's Hall platform that night
were George Odger, Lloyd Jones, George Howell, and Captain Maxse,
who, together with Professor Beesly and Frederic Harrison, joined
their voices to my father's to plead for the recognition of the French
Republican Government and against the dismemberment of France. This
series, of meetings was held in consequence of the announcement that
the European powers were to assemble in conference in London, and it
was anxiously desired to impress upon the English Government the duty
of making the question of peace between France and Prussia a matter
for the consideration of the Plenipotentiaries. It had been hoped and
expected that Jules Favre would come to London to take part in the
conference, and Mr Bradlaugh was invited to meet him at the Embassy. A
demonstration had been agreed upon to honour his arrival, and it was
characteristic of my father that he urged those of his friends who
prepared to take part in it not to make it a mere party demonstration;
he begged them to avoid, and to try to persuade others to avoid, the
use of flags calculated to insult Prussia or to cause bitterness of
feeling in the minds of Germans. A great assembly of earnest, orderly
men and women to greet the representative of Republican France would
have weight; "bands and banners," he said, "are needless." Jules
Favre, however, was unable to get to London; and in the absence of
any appointed French representative to the Conference, Lord Granville
conferred with Monsieur Charles Tissot both before and after the
meeting of the Plenipotentiaries. A letter which my father received
from Monsieur Tissot just at this time will once more show with what
warmth his efforts to serve Republican France were received by foremost
Frenchmen:--

  "LONDRES, _4 Février 1871_.

 "MON CHER MONSIEUR BRADLAUGH,--Aucune sottise, aucune
 maladresse ne peuvent m'étonner de la part de Mr R.[145] Mais j'avoue
 que j'ai senti vivement et que je ne lui pardonnerai jamais cette
 à-laquelle vous faites allusion. Je me demande comme vous s'il n'est
 pas devenu fou.

 "Quant à moi, mon cher ami, je ne puis que constater ici, comme je
 l'ai déjà fait, comme je le ferai en toute occasion, la dette que
 nous avons contracté, envers vous. Vous nous avez donné votre temps,
 votre activité, votre éloquence, votre âme, la meilleure partie de
 vous-même en un mot. La France, que vous avez été seule à défendre, ne
 l'oubliera jamais.

 "Je n'ai aucune nouvelle de Bordeaux, ni de Paris outre celles que
 vous avez pu lire dans les journaux. Nous allons voir ce quefera
 l'Assemblée, ce qu'elle decidera--et nous agirons, s'il y a lieu en
 conséquence.--Au revoir, cher et excellent ami. Je vous envoie toute
 mon affection.

  CH. TISSOT."[146]

[Footnote 145: M. Reitlinger, "le Secretaire particulier," of M. Jules
Favre, is, I believe, the person here referred to.]

[Footnote 146:

  "London, 4th February 1871.

 "MY DEAR MR BRADLAUGH,--No folly, no stupidity, on the part
 of M. R. can astonish me. But I avow that I have felt keenly, and that
 I will never forgive him this to which you make allusion. Like you, I
 ask myself whether he has not gone mad.

 "As to myself, my dear friend, I can but acknowledge here, as I have
 done already, and as I shall do on every occasion, the debt that we
 have contracted towards you. You have given your time, your energy,
 your eloquence, your mind--in a word, the best part of yourself.
 France, whom you alone have defended, will never forget it.

 "I have no news from Bordeaux or from Paris, other than that which you
 have been able to read in the papers. We shall see what the Assembly
 will do, what it will decide, and if opportunity arises we shall act
 accordingly.--_Au revoir_, dear and excellent friend. I send all my
 affection.

  "CH. TISSOT."]

When the French elections took place in February 1871, Mr Bradlaugh
was one of the candidates nominated by the city of Paris. I am under
the impression that this was done without his wishes being in any way
consulted, but the very proposal of his name--testifying, as it to some
extent did, the honour in which he was held in Paris--roused scorn and
anger at home. The editor of a Scotch paper,[147] in writing a leader
on the elections, relieved his feelings by saying: "'Bradlaugh, English
Republican,' figures in the list among the motley crew; but what number
of votes were polled for this cosmopolitan patriot, who would have been
a dumb dog in a French Parliament, has not transpired." As the "motley
crew" included such honoured names as those of Garibaldi, Louis Blanc,
Ledru Rollin, and Victor Sch[oe]lcher, it was a distinction to be
placed beside them; but why, asked my father, should it be assumed that
he would be dumb? "Thomas Paine," he added, "who did not speak French,
was not a 'dumb dog' when he pleaded for the life of Louis XVI."

[Footnote 147: _North British Daily Mail._]



CHAPTER XXXII.

THE COMMUNE, AND AFTER.


During the Commune my father found himself in a position of extreme
difficulty. His heart was with the men who had been driven by most
frightful suffering to wild words and still wilder deeds. Some of the
oldest and the best amongst his French friends were playing their parts
in the tragedies daily enacted in Paris; some, like the amiable Gustavo
Flourens--who has been described by Mr Washburne, then United States
minister, as a "young scholar," and one of "the most accomplished
of the agitators and revolutionists"--were laying down their lives;
others, like those kindly and learned brothers, Elie and Elysée Reclus,
were sacrificing their liberties. My father's whole being throbbed in
sympathy with these men; but sympathise as he might, his reason could
not commend, and he remained sadly silent, unable to approve, but
refusing to condemn.

This feeling of standing aside whilst so many old and dear friends were
risking life and liberty was torture to a man of his temperament, and
when an opportunity occurred for active help on his part he welcomed
it with joy. This opportunity came in the form of a request from some
of the French leaders that he should act as intermediary between the
Government of M. Thiers and the Commune. As a foreigner and a known
friend of France, it was hoped that his intervention might be possible,
and might lead to good results.

The terms of peace which he was empowered to propose to M. Thiers
were:--

(1.) Acceptance of the principle of Republican Government. A condition
rendered absolutely necessary by the intrigues of the Legitimists and
the Orleanists, who were striving to place the crown on the head of the
Comte de Chambord, with succession to the Comte de Paris.

(2.) Absolute and unconditional amnesty for all political offences.

(3.) Election by the people of the Chief Executive power of the
Republic. Hostilities were to be suspended during the election, and
disarmament to follow directly the result was known.

When this commission reached Mr Bradlaugh, he had just set out on a
course of lectures in Scotland; but with his heart full of hope that
this might perhaps be the means of staying the terrible bloodshed,
and the tragedies then taking place in France, he determined to allow
nothing to delay him, and, neglecting his engagements, immediately left
Edinburgh for London. In the columns of the _National Reformer_ he
himself told how his errand was frustrated and his journey prevented.

On reaching Calais, after a somewhat rough passage, his ears were
greeted with the "very old cry" of "Passeports, Messieurs!" His
passport was produced and his features examined by means of a lantern.
The result of this examination was that a few minutes later he was
ushered into the grim presence of the Chief of Police, at the station
passport office. "At first," related Mr Bradlaugh, "this gentleman was
slightly brusque, but concluded with a great display of courtesy. The
following discussion, after the Socratic method, took place, all rights
of questioning being reserved by the police:--

Chief of the Police: What is your name?

Charles Bradlaugh.

What is your business?

Editor of the _National Reformer_, to report for my journal.

But you are something else besides editor?

A little.

You are one of the members of the International?

I have not that honour.

You make great speeches?

I try.

You presided at a meeting in Hyde Park the other day?

I did not.

I cannot permit you to go to Paris; your presence there would be too
dangerous.

You do me too much honour to attribute to me so much influence.

The Chief of the Police then took down a book in which 'Charles
Bradlaugh' appeared in good bold characters, with about twenty lines
opposite in writing, which, being very small, I could not read. He then
said: 'I have orders to arrest you. I must send you to the Sub-Prefect
at Boulogne.'"

After being permitted to send a telegram to Versailles, he was sent off
to Boulogne in charge of an officer and two men.

When they arrived there at three in the morning, Boulogne was in
total darkness, and then they had about a mile to walk through the
driving rain before they reached the Sub-Prefecture. Here, except one
man on duty, all appeared to be fast asleep, and M. le Sous-Préfet,
apprised of Mr Bradlaugh's arrival, telegraphed to the Government for
instructions, refusing to take the case until the morning. My father
made up a "bed" of all the chairs he could find, and, still in the
close custody of his three guardians, he attempted to pass the time in
sleep.

"In the morning," he said, "another and more severe interrogation took
place, the Sub-Prefect declaring that I had presided at the Sunday Hyde
Park meeting in favour of the Commune; that I had lately been on some
revolutionary mission in Prussia; and that I had too much influence to
be allowed to go to Paris, where I should be a rallying-point for all
dangerous men." Mr Bradlaugh telegraphed to M. Favre, at Versailles,
asking in what respect his position had altered since ten weeks
earlier, when the Charge d'Affaires of France, acting under his orders,
had tendered him the formal thanks of the French Government for the
services he had rendered France. The only answer from the Government
was an urgent and imperative order to quit France by the next packet,
and a notice that his description had been sent to every railway
station in France, with an order for his arrest in the event of his
return.

Some months later, after the fall of the Commune, Mr Bradlaugh once
more set out for Paris; he was again arrested at Calais, and this time
kept prisoner for nearly three days, but was then released and allowed
to proceed on his journey. The Commissaire at Calais showed him the
order signed by Jules Favre in the previous April. It was emphatic and
unequivocal, and ran thus: "Empechez à M. Bradlaugh d'entrer à Paris
à tout prix."[148] This document had apparently never been cancelled,
hence Mr Bradlaugh's second arrest. He was never afterwards hindered
on his way to the French capital, although, during the Presidency of
Monsieur Thiers, his movements while in Paris were carefully watched.
At one time the French authorities assumed that he was masquerading
under the name of "Lord Campbell," and the late Lord Campbell and
Stratheden, who used to visit at the house of one of my father's
friends in Paris, was made quite unhappy by having his movements
watched by detectives intended for Mr Bradlaugh. The situation was not
without its amusing side, for the particular business upon which Lord
Campbell was engaged just then was connected with a marriage he wished
to contract with a young French lady.

[Footnote 148: Prevent Mr Bradlaugh from entering Paris, at any price.]

After the fall of the Commune, London was full of French refugees, many
of whom were in poverty and distress. My father did his utmost to help
them; he never had money to give away, but he did then what he always
did in cases needing pecuniary help--he gave a lecture on their behalf.
As his views upon the Commune and the French situation were stated in
some detail, I quote a few of the more important passages from a report
of his lecture which appeared in his own paper.[149] He had taken for
his subject "French Republicanism;" and after he had dealt with the
proclamations of the Republic in 1792 and 1848, and the declaration of
the 4th of September, he said:--

[Footnote 149: _National Reformer_, Dec. 24, 1871]

"Coming now to the 18th March, and the Commune, the audience would
remember that he had in that hall, within a few hours of that date,
guarded himself from any expression for or against a movement which
appeared then to have but slight confidence in its own leaders, and
which had at that date issued no programme. In judging it now, he
should judge it more favourably than he did then, trying to avoid alike
the exaggeration of its foes, and the indiscriminating endorsement
of its friends. It was charged against the men of Paris that they
commenced with the assassinations of Generals Lecomte and Clement
Thomas--no one could justify these assassinations--but if this were
to form ground for the condemnation of the Commune, which disclaimed
all participation in the act, with how much more force would other
forms of government fall under the same condemnation. Napoleon I.
shot the Duc d'Enghien in a ditch; Louis XVIII. shot Marshal Ney;
and although, according to the laws of France, capital punishment for
political offences had been abolished, the present Government shot
Cremieux, Rossel, Ferri, and Bourgeois. He did not justify or excuse
the shooting of the Generals; but those who condemned it should see
whether their own hands were clean. Of the latest shootings he hardly
dared trust himself to speak. M. Thiers had sheltered himself behind
a Committee of Pardons, although he feared that it would not be an
incorrect guess to hazard that M. Thiers' own influence had hindered
any commutation. He considered the 18th March a fatal mistake, a sad
blow to the prospects of Republicanism. The Commune asked for the
recognition and consolidation of the Republic. But he denied their
right to do that by force of arms. They had great provocation, for
they had seen Republicanism and Garibaldi insulted at Bordeaux; they
knew that the majority of the Chamber were Legitimist and Orleanist,
that M. Thiers was Republican only in name, and that Prussia even had
been intriguing to put Henry V. on the throne.... But did the Commune
initiate the struggle of force? The people of Paris had arms: they had
these under the Constitution; they took other arms, to which also they
claimed a Constitutional right. It was due to Thiers' weakness and want
of capacity that there was any struggle for the cannon on Montmartre,
or perhaps at all. He treated the men of Paris as rebels, ignoring that
he was the chief of the executive power of a government of rebellion,
unendorsed by any vote of the country. He refused all overtures of
peace in a manner unworthy a man in his position, and availed himself
of iron, steel, famine, and a worse than Prussian bombardment, to
drive to frenzy men whom it might have been possible to win at an
earlier stage by judicious negotiation.... It was not wonderful that
the Commune fell. There was a demon of suspicion, division, and even
treachery amongst prominent men, and the terrible demoralisation of the
masses, resulting from their position and the long continuance of the
previous siege. The wonder was that it stood so long. It was remarkable
how free the city was from common crime. There were, in all the Avenue
Montaigne, only some two or three concierges left in charge, and all
the property was as safe at the end of the siege as at the beginning.
The rent of a first floor in one of those houses was £1000 a year, the
furniture in proportion. Yet there was no pillage, as there would have
been under almost any other Government, with houses left deserted
by their owners. But it was said that the hostages were shot and the
buildings were burnt. Now he would be the last to utter one word of
justification or defence. He trusted that he might never have to take
part in an armed revolution. He believed that if in such a case it was
proposed that the public buildings of our city should be destroyed,
as those of Paris had been, he would kill without mercy the man who
would attempt it. The only thing that could be said was that the men
of Paris were ringed round with fire and steel, and all hope of mercy
was shut out. To keep them in, Papal Zouaves on the one side, Prussian
bayonets on the other. No quarter offered, no generous word of pardon
spoken. It could not be wondered if in madness they committed those
crimes. It was cruel and cowardly to kill the hostages, but was it for
the Versailles troops to reproach the Commune with that? The madness
of cruelty had been great on both sides, and the criminality was the
greater on the part of the stronger.... The cry of vengeance raised
[against the _bourgeoisie_] was criminal, it was also a blunder; for if
nothing was to be done until the middle class was exterminated, then
hope was impossible; it never could be exterminated. There should be no
question of war in any political movement between the working and the
middle classes.... A policy of conciliation as recommended by Talandier
was the true one. Each must, if they could not forget the wrongs of
yesterday, at any rate remember that fresh blood will not wash out
these wrongs. Nations were not to be made up of one class or of another
class, but of the people which included all classes. Here [in England]
he desired a Republic, and would work for it; but if he could picture,
as the only possibility, the walking to its achievement with bloody
hands, fire and smoke, and grim visage, he would turn away now, ere
it was too late. Republicanism in France would have enough difficulty
without class war. Her suddenly increased national debt made a burden
not to be borne with impunity. Self-restraint was needed to conquer
hate. Generosity on both sides, to forgive alike errors and crimes.
Amnesty for yesterday, peace for to-morrow, and then a true Republic
might grow in the fair land of France."

A malicious paragraph subsequently went the round of the press
stating that the French refugees, on whose behalf this lecture had
been delivered, had unanimously refused the proceeds. Of course this
statement was utterly devoid of truth; the refugees, far from refusing
the help of their friend, accepted it gratefully, and sent to Mr
Bradlaugh a formal vote of thanks and an official receipt signed by the
secretary and the treasurer of "La Fraternelle," the Society of French
Refugees.

       *       *       *       *       *

The acquaintance between Madame de Brimont and Mr Bradlaugh, commencing
in her visit to his lodgings on the 17th of September 1870, ripened
into a friendship which lasted for the rest of my father's life. From
that September day these two never ceased to be friends; through good
report and ill report Madame de Brimont stood by him. While my father
lay upon what proved to be his deathbed, I received a letter from her
in which, writing in French, she sent him a message from "sa meilleure
amie," "and that," she said, "I think I may claim to be, for during
the twenty years I have known him I have never once swerved in my
friendship for him--no, not for a single moment." My father, very weak
and ill, was deeply moved when I read the letter to him. "It is true,"
he said brokenly, "it is true."

In visiting at Madame de Brimont's in London and in Paris Mr Bradlaugh
became acquainted with many of the best known men in France. The
Prince Napoléon he met in London at Madame de Brimont's apartments at
the Grosvenor Hotel. He met him, and had fully an hour's talk with
him before he knew to whom he had been chatting so freely; the title
"Monseigneur" given to his companion by another visitor fell upon his
ear; his mind immediately ran over the "monseigneurs" likely to be
present, and by a process of elimination he arrived at the right one.
These two men, so markedly dissimilar on most points, so similar on
one or two, were at once mutually attracted. The name of Napoléon was
a hateful one to Mr Bradlaugh; the idea of a reputed "professional
demagogue" was hardly likely to be pleasing to a Napoléon; yet
despite all the probabilities in favour of a determined antipathy on
both sides, they were the best of friends. Prince Jerome, who was
a Freethinker, went to hear Mr Bradlaugh's speeches at the Hall of
Science, at the Dialectical Society, and elsewhere, and was delighted
with them. My father told me an amusing little anecdote concerning the
first time he dined with Prince Jerome. He (Mr Bradlaugh) did not at
that time own the luxury of a "dress suit," and therefore was obliged
to wear his ordinary frock coat and black tie. His host met him,
dressed of course in the regulation fashion; a few minutes later, as
others came into the room, he disappeared, returning after a moment or
two dressed also in a frock coat and black tie. My father's eye was
quick to note this courtesy, and within a few days he regretfully spent
money he could ill spare on a dress suit, determined never to put any
one to that trouble for him again.

Very many letters passed between the two, covering a period from 1871
to 1889. Mr Bradlaugh often greatly disapproved of the projects of the
Prince, and this after some years had the effect of lessening their
intimacy, although it did not lessen their friendship. When in Paris
Mr Bradlaugh was always a welcome visitor at 86 Boulevart Malesherbes,
or later at the house in the Avenue d'Antin, and once he visited the
Prince at the Villa de Pranzins. During the last ten years, however,
they saw each other but little, although an occasional letter passed,
always on Prince Napoléon's side of a warm, friendly character, like
the one I now give:--

  "Villa de Pranzins, Près Nyon,
  "Canton de Vaud, Suisse, 30 7bre 1887.

 "MON CHER MONSIEUR BRADLAUGH,--Quand on vous a connu et
 apprecié on ne vous oublie pas.

 "Je suis charmé que mon livre vous ait fait plaisir. Si vous avez
 le temps lirez le, mais n'oubliez pas que c'est un livre uniquement
 français. Je lis quelque fois vos discours--vous traversez une
 crise--quel en sera le résultat? Je vois que vous n'avez pas
 oublié votre français. Je vous renouvelle tous mes sentiments
 d'amitiés.--Votre affectionné

  "NAPOLÉON."[150]

The last occasion on which these two met was in 1889, when the Prince
in crossing the Channel met with that terrible disaster in which his
old valet lost his life. He wished my father to help him about his
will; he told him quite tranquilly that he was suffering from Bright's
disease, that he could not possibly live much longer; he had property
in England as well as in France, and he wished to bequeath to his
younger son, Prince Louis, of whom he was very fond, every penny that
the law did not compel him to leave to the elder son, Prince Victor.
Over the dinner-table they had a long chat upon this and other matters,
and my father promised to draft a will. After this they never met
again. On his return my father told me how aged, shrunken, and ill the
Prince looked; in commiserating his condition we had not the remotest
idea that he was himself stricken with that identical complaint, and
would be the first to die! The suggestions, or draft, for a will were
sent according to promise, and Mr Bradlaugh received the following
acknowledgment:--

  "Villa de Pranzins, Près Nyon,
  "Canton de Vaud, Suisse, 2 Mai 1889.

 "MON CHER BRADLAUGH,--J'ai reçu le projet--de loin et par
 êcrit il est difficile de m'en rendre compte. Je me reserver d'en
 parler avec vous à un prochain voyage que je ferai peut-être à Londres.

 "Recevez, mon cher Monsieur Bradlaugh, l'assurance de toute ma
 consideration la plus distinguée.

  NAPOLÉON."[151]

[Footnote 150: "MY DEAR MR BRADLAUGH,--When one has known and
appreciated you, one does not forget you.

"I am charmed that my book has given you pleasure. If you have the
time, read it, but do not forget that it is a book entirely French. I
sometimes read your speeches--you are passing through a crisis--what
will be the result! I see that you have not forgotten your French. I
renew every sentiment of affection for you.--Your affectionate

  NAPOLÉON."]

[Footnote 151: "MY DEAR BRADLAUGH,--I have received the
draft--at this distance and in writing it is difficult for me to fully
understand it. I propose to talk it over with you on my next visit
to London, which I shall perhaps make shortly. Receive, my dear Mr
Bradlaugh, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.

  NAPOLÉON."]

At Madame de Brimont's Mr Bradlaugh also met Monsieur Emile de
Girardin, then of course well on in years, but remarkable for his keen
wit and clear-headedness--although I must confess that I did not, at
that time at least, admire his keen wit. One evening, while we were
in Paris for our schooling, my sister and I were introduced to him;
he looked at us both critically, then again at my sister, and, not
knowing that we understood French, turned to Madame de Brimont and
said: "J'aime mieux celle-ci." I was quite conscious that my sister was
better liked than I, and deservedly so, but to hear such a preference
stated thus coolly before one's face is rather a shock to any girl.
Then there was Monsieur Emanuel Arago, a tremendous talker, who had
been one of the Government of the 4th of September, and with Jules
Favre stood at the window of the Hotel de Ville with Gambetta when he
proclaimed the Republic of France; there were also M. Dupont-Whyte,
the economist; M. Massé, a judge of appeal; M. Edouard Pourtalés,
a journalist of great pertinacity and even greater notoriety, and
many others whose names now escape my memory. Léon Gambetta,[152]
Mr Bradlaugh first met, not, I think, at Madame de Brimont's, but
elsewhere. Yves Guyot, too, had long been a fast friend.

[Footnote 152: In the following extract from an article written by
Mr Bradlaugh in January 1884 upon "The Attitude of Freethought in
Politics," allusion is made to an interesting conversation held with
Gambetta:--"My personal attitude as a Freethinker in politics," said
Mr Bradlaugh, "was the subject of some hostile discussion in France
about four years ago, when the partisans of M. Jules Ferry were
rigorously and, as I thought, harshly, enforcing the laws against the
clerical orders. I strongly disapproved of the application of penal
laws to the religious orders. It was very forcibly and very justly
urged to me by my Radical French friends, that these religious orders
had been, and were, the persevering and persistent foes of liberty,
and that when their party was in power, the clerical legion were
merciless in persecuting the Republicans and Freethinkers. My answer
was and is: 'As I do not admit the right of the Church to use the law
to suppress or punish me, neither will I claim or countenance the use
of the law against the Church.' It was urged, and quite truly, that
the Roman Catholic Church throughout its whole history had been the
never-ceasing persecutor and oppressor of all aspirations for human
liberty. My answer still was and is: 'We should fight with the pen,
the press, the tongue, the school; not the gaol or the officer of the
law.' If we cannot win with reason, I will not try to win with force.
Victory with the latter only decides which it is that is temporarily
strongest. In a long conversation some eleven years ago--which went
far into the night--with the late M. Léon Gambetta, in which he
plainly put difficulties caused to the Republican party by the enmity
of Clericalism to progress in France, and painted in vivid colours
the danger of the struggle, I took the same ground, and here again I
maintain it."]

For his intimacy with such people as Prince Napoléon and M. de
Girardin, Mr Bradlaugh was much attacked by a certain section of
the French Republicans, as well as by Dr Karl Marx, who held him up
to public obloquy for having committed the terrible crime of dining
with such people. Mr Bradlaugh's answer to this was: "As to where I
may or may not have dined, it is too ridiculous for serious reply. I
have dined with a bishop, without giving allegiance to the Church of
England; with a Jewish Rabbi, without adopting the faith of Abraham;
I broke bread more than once with good old Father Spratt of Dublin,
without inclining to Roman Catholicism." Such attacks as these troubled
him little, but, although it made no difference to his conduct, he felt
deeply hurt when some two or three French friends for and with whom
he had worked did not understand that he could know a Prince and yet
remain a Republican.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

A DOZEN DEBATES, 1870-1873.


In 1870 Mr Bradlaugh held five oral debates: one with Mr G. J.
Holyoake, in London, in the month of March; the next with Alexander
Robertson of Dundonnochie, at Edinburgh, in June; the third and fifth
with the Rev. A. J. Harrison, at Newcastle, in September, and at
Bristol, in December; while the fourth debate was held with David
King,[153] at Bury, in December. Besides these there was a written
debate upon Exodus xxi. 7-11, with Mr B. H. Cowper.

[Footnote 153: No accurate report of this debate exists.]

The discussion with Mr George Jacob Holyoake occupied two successive
nights, the 10th and 11th of March, and was by far the most important
of the five. It represents different schools of Freethought, and was
for many years--is, perhaps, at the present day--copiously quoted,
especially by persons opposed to every view of Freethought, who would
confound representatives of one school by quoting opinions taken from
the other. The full wording of the subjects discussed was: for the
first night "The Principles of Secularism do not include Atheism;" for
the second "Secular Criticism does not involve Scepticism." Mr Holyoake
maintained the affirmative of these propositions, and each disputant
occupied two half-hours on each evening. Mr Austin Holyoake took the
chair on both occasions. The difference between Mr Bradlaugh and Mr
Holyoake was not so much a difference of opinion as a difference of the
methods of advocacy of their opinion. Both were Freethinkers of the
most convinced kind; but while Mr Bradlaugh called himself an Atheist,
Mr Holyoake chose rather to describe himself as a Secularist, and the
whole difference between them is indicated in these two names. The
word "Atheist" had been--and is still, to some extent--used as a term
of opprobrium; it has been perverted from its natural meaning to imply
everything that is vile; Mr Bradlaugh wore the name defiantly, and
held to it the closer for the sake of the slandered Atheists of the
past. He was an Atheist, _i.e._ "without God," in the simple meaning
of the word; if others chose to attach to it an odious significance,
the discredit lay in the narrowness of their minds and not in the
Atheist, compelled to endure the baseless calumnies heaped upon him.
Mr Bradlaugh was no "Infidel:" he least of any could be branded as
unfaithful; but since Atheist and Infidel were often used as synonymous
terms, he did not even flinch from sharing the name of "Infidel" with
those brave workers for religious and political liberty, such as Paine
or Richard Carlile. Nevertheless, Infidel he was not, although Atheist
he was.

Now, Mr Holyoake was equally an Atheist, but he did not see that
there was anything to be gained by the use of a name which had so
undeservedly become a term of reproach; he preferred to find a new name
and make a fresh start under new colours. In a debate held seventeen
years before with the Rev. Brewin Grant, Mr Holyoake had said that
opprobrium was associated with the word "Atheist," and that this
would be got rid of by the use of the word "Secularist," which would
also bring before the mind the moral objects in view. Moved probably
by the idea of making the path easy to the faint-hearted who were
frightened by the bogey conjured up by the word "Atheist," Mr Holyoake
was anxious to disassociate his new name altogether from Atheism,
and went so far as to say that Secularism did not involve Atheism or
Scepticism. Thus the new Secularism looked askance at the old Atheism,
and seemed anxious to have it known, that the two had "no connection."
Mr Holyoake regarded the "imputation" that Secularism involved Atheism
and Scepticism as "the greatest impediment in the way of" national
Secular education. He claimed for his Secularism that it was a "new
form of Freethought," perfectly independent of Atheism or Theism.
Secularism proposed "to set up principles of nature in the place of
principles of theology, and found, if possible, a kingdom of reason
for those who found the kingdom of faith inadequate or unreliable."
Secularism, Mr Holyoake contended, should assert its own principles,
but not assail others, neither needing to assail nor condescending
to assail theological systems. These ideas will doubtless commend
themselves to many, especially to those who do not look under the
surface of the words; but we know that before we can put nature "in
the place of" theology, we must depose theology, and we also know that
when geology points out the secular truth of the numberless ages it
has taken to form the earth's crust, by the mere assertion of such a
truth it assails the theological dogma of the creation of the world
in seven days. Mr Bradlaugh in his speech put it in this way: "The
Secularist finds the kingdom of faith impossible, he finds belief in
God impossible, he finds belief in religion impossible. What is the
difference between finding belief in God impossible and an Atheist?" He
said further: "Although at present it may be perfectly true that all
men who are Secularists are not Atheists, I put it that in my opinion
the logical consequence of the acceptance of Secularism must be that
the man gets to Atheism if he has brains enough to comprehend." Mr
Holyoake spoke of various bodies all over the kingdom occupied with
a negative form of Freethought; he met with many orators who were
mere negationists. The stock-in-trade of a negationist, he said, is
the simplest possible; he has only to deny what some one else holds,
and he is set up in the art of warfare. But these societies and these
orators were entirely unknown to Mr Bradlaugh; those he had worked
with for ten years or more had done positive work, and of this he
gave many instances. This attack and reply are of importance because
the terms "negationist" and "destructive freethought" have grown into
cant phrases, used as terms of reproach by persons who do not trouble
to consider either exactly what they mean, or whether there is anyone
to whom they are really applicable. Mr Holyoake asserted that Atheism
does not embody a system of morals, while Mr Bradlaugh replied that
"You cannot have a scheme of morality without Atheism. The Utilitarian
scheme is an Atheistical scheme. The Utilitarian scheme is a defiance
of the doctrine of Providence, and a protest against God." Referring to
Mr Holyoake's objection to the words "Infidelity" and "Atheism" because
of the opprobrium which has gathered round them, Mr Bradlaugh said:--

"I maintain that the opprobrium cast upon the word Atheism is a lie.
I believe Atheists as a body to be men deserving respect--I know the
leading men among them who have made themselves prominent, and I do
not care what kind of character religious men may put round the word
Atheist, I would fight until men respect it. I do not quarrel with
the word 'Secular' if it is taken to include this body of men, but I
do object to it if we are told Atheism has nothing to do with it. I
object when we are told that Atheism is not its province, because I say
that the moment you tell me that you have to deal with the affairs of
this life, to the exclusion of the rest, you must in effect deny the
rest. If you do not deny the rest, you leave your Secularism in doubt,
you partially paralyse the efforts on your own side. If you tell our
people, 'You must not impugn the sincerity of your opponents, that you
must not impute bad motives to them,' when they read the foul lies
heaped on the graves of the great dead, and hear the base calumnies
used against the hard-working living, I say you are teaching to them
that which I do not consider their duty. You should never lightly
impute, never rashly urge against any opponent motives, you should
never do it without full proof to justify your imputation."

The proposition for the second night's debate, as worded by Mr
Holyoake, was, "Secular Criticism does not involve Scepticism." Mr
Bradlaugh opened in a very careful speech. Dealing first with the word
Scepticism, he went on to say, "Criticism is, I presume, the art of
judging upon the merits of any given proposition; and I put it, that
you cannot have criticism at all without doubt. Doubt is, in fact, the
beginning of knowledge, and I put it expressly, that it is utterly
impossible to have Secular Criticism without having scepticism; as
to the dogmas of Theology in general, and scepticism as to the Bible
and Christianity in particular." He then proceeded to state in detail
and at considerable length the points of Scepticism involved by
Secular Criticism. Mr Holyoake, so far from traversing this position,
really endorsed it when he said (in his first speech on the second
night): "The secular method is to criticise the Scriptures so as to
adopt that which is useful, leaving alone that which is mischievous
or disagreeable." A criticism of the Scriptures, undertaken with
the view of accepting some points as worthy and rejecting others as
unworthy, cannot by any possibility exclude scepticism. We examine
a set of precepts, we judge them, we distinguish between the false
and the true, the beauties and the blemishes. To do this, we must
begin by doubting their truth and beauty as a whole, and before we
can leave any alone, we must be sceptical whether a belief in them
is necessary to our salvation and a disbelief in them a sure road to
eternal damnation. Mr Holyoake also spoke favourably of ignoring
Christianity, apparently failing to see that in a country, Christian by
law, with a State-supported Christian religion and Christianity taught
in our schools, to ignore is impossible. Much of Mr Holyoake's speech
had no bearing upon the subject under discussion, but was simply an
attack upon persons and the more transitory aspects of the Atheistic
position. To this Mr Bradlaugh replied, and of course his reply was as
irrelevant as the attack, but putting this aside, he asked in his last
speech: "Has Mr Holyoake shown that Secular Criticism does not involve
Scepticism? Not at all. What secular principles has he advanced which
are inconsistent with the position I take? None." I think with this
everyone who carefully reads the debate will agree. Mr Holyoake in his
final speech, which also wound up the debate, indulged in considerable
sarcasm at his opponent's expense, and made his memorable and
oft-quoted sneer at the Hall of Science; speaking of it as "this kind
of place in which we now meet, opposite a lunatic asylum, where people,
so the enemy says, naturally expect to find us." Before sitting down,
Mr Holyoake quoted statements he had made elsewhere as to Secularism,
from one of which I will take a few lines, in order to put his position
fairly in his own words:--

"Secularism," he said, "is not an argument against Christianity, it
is one independent of it. It does not question the pretensions of
Christianity, it advances others. Secularism does not say there is
no light and guidance elsewhere, but maintains that there is light
and guidance in secular truth, whose conditions and sanctions exist
independently, act independently, and act for ever. Secular knowledge
is manifestly that kind of knowledge which is founded in this life,
which relates to the conduct of this life, conduces to the welfare of
this life, and is capable of being tested by the experience of this
life."

Mr Austin Holyoake, who, as I have said, occupied the chair on both
evenings, was specially invited by his brother to express his opinion.
This he objected to do at the debate, but he afterwards wrote a short
criticism, in the course of which he asked the pertinent question: "How
can any one _not_ an Atheist be a Secularist?" and the answer to this
would, I think, be hard to find.

On the 22nd and 23rd of June Mr Bradlaugh met Alexander Robertson,
Esq., of Dundonnochie, to discuss with him the Existence of Deity.
The meetings were held in the New Waverley Hall, Edinburgh, and
there was a large attendance on each evening. Mr Robertson, however,
proved utterly incompetent; and the affair, regarded as a debate, was
a complete fiasco.[154] On the second evening, indeed, a number of
Christians left the room as a protest against Mr Robertson's method
of advocacy. All that I need note here is that Mr Bradlaugh once more
stated his position as an Atheist. I repeat it, as he himself put it
at different times in his life, because even to this day his views are
often misapprehended.

[Footnote 154: The _Fife News_ spoke of it as a meeting between "the
Atheist and the ignoramus," and the _Christian News_ said: "The second
night's debate was no debate. So completely did the Theist fail,
in more senses than one, that he need never appear in the city of
Edinburgh again as a defender of religion."]

In his opening speech Mr Robertson had conjured up several absurd
theories of Atheism (amongst which the inevitable "chance"--made world
figured), and had triumphantly disposed of them. Mr Bradlaugh in his
reply said:--

 "I am an Atheist, but I do not say there is no God; and until you
 tell me what you mean by God I am not mad enough to say anything of
 the kind. So long as the word 'God' represents nothing to me, so
 long as it is a word that is not the correlative and expression of
 something clear and distinct, I am not going to tilt against what
 may be nothing-nowhere. Why should I? If you tell me that by God you
 mean 'something' which created the universe, which before the act
 of creation was not; 'something' which has the power of destroying
 that universe; 'something' which rules and governs it, and which
 nevertheless is entirely distinct and different in substance from the
 universe--then I am prepared to deny that any such existence can be."

On the next evening he referred to this, and enlarged upon it thus:--

 "I said last night that the Atheist does not say there is no God,
 so long as the word simply represents an indefinite quantity or
 quality--of you don't know what, you don't know where; but I object
 to the God of Christianity, and absolutely deny it. In all ages men
 have fashioned their Gods according to their want of knowledge--the
 more ignorant the people, the more numerous their deities, because
 the Gods represented their personifications of force. Men beheld
 phenomena beyond, and independent of, human ability, and they ascribed
 these phenomena to deities, the 'God' in each case representing their
 ignorance."

The first debate with the Rev. A.J. Harrison was held for two
nights in September, at the Newcastle Town Hall; and 3000 persons,
at least, were present on each night. For each speaker there was a
partisan chairman, and over these an impartial umpire--an arrangement
particularly disliked by Mr Bradlaugh, who thought one chairman
quite sufficient, and who was always willing that that one should be
unconnected with the Freethought party. The umpire--that is to say,
the real chairman--was on this occasion Lieut.-Col. Perkins, and he
won golden opinions for his tact, unfailing good humour, and courtesy,
qualities which the uproarious spirit of the audience rendered very
necessary. Mr Harrison has a certain reputation, so that I can hardly
pass this first debate with my father without some notice, as I might
otherwise have been tempted to do; for, in truth, I do not think there
is very much to be learned from it. Mr Harrison worded the subjects
to be discussed, and Mr Bradlaugh accepted every condition which was
proposed. The propositions which the reverend gentleman chose to affirm
were: (1.) That Secularism, distinctively considered, is not a system
of truth, and therefore cannot justify its existence to the reason;
and (2.) That Secularism, distinctively considered, is not a system of
morality, and is therefore unworthy of trust as a guide. Mr Harrison
opened the debate by examining the proposition he himself had worded,
declaring at the outset that Secularism could not be a system of truth,
"_first_, because it has no truth to offer; and _second_, because it
is not a system at all." Mr Bradlaugh, in reply, thought it was hardly
necessary to discuss "what is needed to constitute a system, or whether
Secularism is a system or not, because," he said, "I think I have
made it clear enough all my life through that the great merit of the
thought of which I am permitted to be the advocate is that it does not
pretend that any one man, or any dozen of men, have a right to lay down
a number of propositions, and say, 'These make a system which shall
bind the world.'" Mr Harrison contended that there were three kinds of
Atheism--the Atheism of doubt, the Atheism of ignorance, and a compound
of doubt and ignorance, which last, said the reverend disputant
politely, was "Mr Bradlaugh's own Atheism."

This version of his views my father repudiated as "monstrously unfair
as well as utterly untrue," and then went on to deal with such other
allegations as:

 "That the Atheist could commit murder, or steal, without fear of the
 consequences. To try the actual value of the argument," he said, "it
 is not unfair to ask, Did a Theist ever steal? If so, then a belief
 in God and his power to punish have been insufficient to prevent him
 from committing the crime. The fact is, that those who overlook such
 arguments overlook the great truth that all men seek happiness, though
 in diverse fashions. The Atheists hold that by teaching men the real
 road to human happiness, it is possible to keep them from the by-ways
 of criminality and error. The Atheist would teach men to be moral
 now, not because God offered as an inducement some reward by-and-by,
 but because in the virtuous act itself immediate good was ensured to
 the doer, and to the world surrounding him. The Atheist would prevent
 men from lying, stealing, murdering, not from fear of the eternal
 consequences after death, but because crime made this life itself a
 course of misery. On the other hand, Theism, by asserting that God was
 the creator and governor of the universe, hindered and checked man's
 efforts by declaring God's will to be the sole and controlling power.
 Atheists, by declaring all events to be in accordance with natural
 laws--that is, happening in certain ascertained sequences--stimulated
 men to discover the best conditions of life, and offered the most
 powerful inducements to morality."

In spite of this statement, directly bearing on the affirmative truths
taught by Atheism, Mr Harrison continued to urge that Mr Bradlaugh had
not proved that there was anything positive in Atheism. "All that Mr
Bradlaugh said was positive with regard to Atheism belonged to Science
and not to Atheism" he said, apparently failing to see that Science
itself is really Atheistic in the true and literal acceptation of the
word, although its teachers and professors may be Theists. Science
teaches the origin and nature of phenomena without reference to God,
and sometimes even in direct contradiction to theological dogmas.

On the following evening Mr Harrison sought to prove that Secularism
was not a trustworthy moral guide, and to this end he contended that
Atheism was without the moral help that came from (1) a belief in God,
(2) a belief in immortality, and (3) a study of human nature. This last
contention showed utter ignorance or misapprehension of the Atheistic
position. Mr Bradlaugh, in reply, dealt very trenchantly with the kind
of moral help to be obtained from the God of the Old and New Testament,
but he was stopped in his argument, as it was ruled that he must not
deal with any particular phase of Theism, only with Theism generally.
Before he was stopped, however, he stated that--

 "The position of the Atheist was that he did not affirm a universe,
 and outside it a God; but he said, 'By your knowledge of the
 conditions of existence, so you may shape, and so will be shaped, your
 thought and your conduct, and that thought and that conduct which tend
 to the greatest happiness of the greatest number, and to the least
 injury of any--that thought and that conduct are moral, whatever your
 religious profession may be.' But that guide to morality was not got
 out of any system of Theism; it was purely Atheistic--that was, it was
 found outside God, without God."

During this debate my father was suffering very much from a relaxed
throat, and on both nights he had to speak, amidst considerable uproar,
the audience being exceedingly noisy. In his final speech, on the
second evening, he became so exhausted by the continual interruption
and outcries that he begged his audience "in mercy" and "humanity" to
allow him to finish his argument in quiet, but this was an appeal which
fell upon deaf ears.[155]

[Footnote 155: "The last speech of Mr Bradlaugh's was a piece of almost
unparalleled eloquence, which might have been very effective had he
received fair play, but this, we are sorry to say, was undoubtedly
denied him, and he proceeded amidst a storm of interruptions, hissings,
and howlings, renewed again and again."--_Blyth Weekly News._

"Mr Bradlaugh was stormed down, and really refused a hearing. This kind
of conduct was bad on the face of it. If his arguments were ridiculous,
they would be the easier answered. If they were beyond or beside the
point at issue, they were unworthy a reply."--_Sunderland Evening
Chronicle._

The Newcastle papers gave lengthy reports of the proceedings, and the
_Weekly Chronicle_ remarked that, in consequence of his suffering from
an affection of the throat, the effect of a severe cold, Mr Bradlaugh
"sustained the debate with considerable pain and difficulty."]

The restrictions placed upon Mr Bradlaugh by the conditions of the
Newcastle debate were such as to cause great irritation and discontent
amongst Freethinkers;[156] and in consequence, a second debate was
fixed to take place at Bristol on the 13th and 14th December. The
subject chosen for argument was "Theism _v._ Atheism." Professor
Newman was in the chair, and on each evening there was a very large
attendance. In the course of his introductory remarks Professor
Newman mentioned an interesting discussion society then in existence
in London--"a society," he said, "called a Metaphysical Club. It was
commenced by the poet, Mr Alfred Tennyson, and, I believe, by Mr
Browning also. They associated with them certain eminent gentlemen in
London, and they induced Archbishop Manning to enter it. Professor
Huxley and others are also members of it, and it was made a condition
that in their discussions every member should be free to deny the
existence of God, and Archbishop Manning entirely concurs in this. Mr
James Martineau, my friend, a very eminent and intellectual gentleman,
belonged to it, and he regarded it to be essential that persons must
speak out from the bottom of their hearts, otherwise they did not get
the fulness of the argument."

[Footnote 156: "I had said, in the course of my remarks against
Secularism, that Secularism was Atheism, and Atheism was a negation. Mr
Bradlaugh claimed the right to say what Atheism negated. According to
the conditions of the debate, I objected to that subject being entered
into" (the Rev. A. J. Harrison, December 1870). These words show how
peculiarly one-sided the conditions were.]

Mr Harrison opened with a speech much more subtle than any of those
delivered at Newcastle, and was throughout more courteous, though even
now there were phrases which would have been better left unsaid, and,
while extremely careful to keep his opponent within the limits imposed
by the conditions of the debate, he was not always so scrupulous about
his own words.[157] Mr Bradlaugh's arguments were clear and forcible
to a degree; he was evidently in much better form than on the previous
occasion, but it is not easy to detach passages, although there is much
that is valuable as giving different aspects of his opinions.[158] In
the following May the Rev. A. J. Harrison and Mr Bradlaugh engaged
in a third contest. This was conducted in Socratic form: no speeches
were made, the discussion being limited to question and answer. Mr
Harrison undertook to prove that "there is an Intelligent Being
superior to man," and Mr Bradlaugh that "there is not and cannot be
an Infinite, Omnipotent, Immutable Being distinct from the Universe."
This discussion was held at Birmingham, and lasted three nights. But
even this did not satisfy the disputants and exhaust their energy,
for in 1872 they had yet another debate, which was this time held in
London, at the Hall of Science. The subject discussed at this, their
fourth public controversy, was the teaching of Christian Theism[159] as
represented on a certain page in Mr Bradlaugh's pamphlet, "A Plea for
Atheism."

[Footnote 157: "If Mr Bradlangh had objected to some things said by Mr
Harrison last night, I should have said they were out of order" (Prof.
Newman on the second evening).]

[Footnote 158: Those who wish to read the whole argument will find a
verbatim report in the _National Reformer_ for 25th Dec. 1870 and 1st
Jan. 1871.]

[Footnote 159: This debate is published in pamphlet form, under the
title, "What does Christian Theism teach?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the summer of 1872 Father Ignatius wrote to Mr Bradlaugh, asking
that an opportunity might be given him to address an audience of London
Freethinkers. This request was readily acceded to, but in consequence
of other work and ill-health Father Ignatius was obliged to delay
the delivery of this address until the end of November. The Hall of
Science, which was put at his disposal, was crowded right out to the
street, and it was estimated that at least two thousand persons were
unable to gain admittance. Mr Austin Holyoake presided over what was
really an informal debate. Father Ignatius elected to speak on "Jesus
Christ, the central point of human history," and when he had finished
Mr Bradlaugh spoke for an equal time in reply. The audience, densely
crowded as it was, listened intently and earnestly, and the perfect
stillness maintained during both speeches was broken only by applause.
Not a sound of dissent was heard; each speaker was listened to with
respect and attention. At the conclusion Father Ignatius was thanked
by the Freethinkers for the fearlessness and the courtesy with which
he had spoken, and the audience were thanked by the Rev. Father for
the fairness with which they had listened to him. He said "he would be
happy if his Protestant fellow-Christians would receive him with equal
fairness."

As he desired to reply to Mr Bradlaugh's speech, Father Ignatius fixed
to go again to the Hall of Science on the 12th of December, but when
the day arrived there was some doubt whether he could get there, as he
had been subp[oe]naed to Worcester as a witness. In consequence of this
the attendance was not quite so overwhelming as before. When Father
Ignatius entered the Hall he was welcomed with much cheering, which
was cordially renewed when he rose to speak. Before entering upon his
subject, he said that he had received permission from Mr Bradlaugh and
the Chairman (Mr Austin Holyoake) to ask God to aid him that night;
but even with that permission, he would not do so, for he had no wish
to hurt anyone's susceptibilities, unless the meeting also gave its
sanction. Those present having signified their assent by a show of
hands, Father Ignatius "in an impassioned prayer sought the assistance
of God to render his address effectual." Then proceeding to the
business of the evening, he deftly--if not very convincingly--explained
away the objections which had been urged by Mr Bradlaugh to certain
Biblical passages. As before, he was followed by Mr Bradlaugh, and both
apparently spoke with great force. In the spring of 1873 there was held
a third of these informal controversies. On every occasion a charge was
made for admission, and the proceeds given, by Father Ignatius' desire,
to the Hall of Science building fund. His frankness, fearlessness, and
courtesy made an indelible impression upon the minds of the frequenters
of the Hall. To Mr Bradlaugh he always wrote in terms of the greatest
cordiality, and although the differences between them were of the
widest possible kind, I am quite sure that my father was sensible of
this kindly feeling and reciprocated it.

       *       *       *       *       *

In addition to the pleasant interchange of opinion on theological
matters with Father Ignatius, Mr Bradlaugh held, in the December of
1872, a set discussion upon Spiritualism with Mr Burns, editor of
_Human Nature_ and _The Medium and Daybreak_. Spiritualism was a
subject to which he had given considerable attention for nearly twenty
years prior to this debate. He had devoted a large amount of time to
the reading of spiritualistic literature and the investigation of
spiritualistic phenomena. He had taken part in many _séances_, and had
seen different mediums, but except in one or two cases the sittings had
led to nothing. With Mrs Marshall he witnessed some "clumsy trickery";
with the Davenport brothers he saw some "clever sleight-of-hand." When
he went to "the conjuring performance of the Davenport Brothers"--as
he somewhere styles it--he was asked to take off his coat and lay
it on the table. He was told, "You must sit in the dark; you must
hold Mrs Fay's hands on one side and Mrs Ira Davenport the other." He
asked, "But why?" They said, "The spirits might hurt you"; to which
he replied, "I will take the risk of that." He was then told, "If you
do not submit to the conditions, there can be no manifestation." Under
these circumstances he concluded to accept the conditions.[160] The
lights were extinguished, and after about a minute and a half they
were re-lit, and Mr Fay, who was tied in a chair, was found wearing
the coat. The lights were again extinguished and the coat thrown upon
Mr Bradlaugh. All tests and opportunities for investigation were
absolutely refused, but my father had no doubt that Mr Fay was untied
and retied in the dark. He afterwards saw Maskelyne do every one of
the tricks done by the Davenport Brothers, and more besides, though
Maskelyne did not pretend that anything other than the clever art of
conjuring lay at the bottom of the performance.

[Footnote 160: _National Reformer_, Jan. 19, 1873.]

When the Dialectical Society made their inquiry into the phenomena
attributed to Spiritualism, my father was one of the Committee. He was
at every sub-committee meeting[161] at which D. D. Home, the well-known
medium, was present, and at half a dozen of the general meetings at
least. However, none of the boasted manifestations occurred, and the
sittings were almost, if not quite, "void of result." Mr Bradlaugh, in
giving his impression of Mr Home and the results obtained with him as
medium, said:--

"I am bound to say that Mr Home met me in the frankest manner possible.
He told me I was one of the few people he wanted very much to see, and
probably, as my address was not known, and I am not a very public man
in England, that was the reason he had not discovered me until I was
placed upon that Committee. But I met him in the same frank spirit;
and as he offered every opportunity for investigation, we took it. And
the first evening we changed every shred of clothing he had on for
some other. Perhaps that might have destroyed the proper combinations,
for we had not the slightest scintilla of anything. I sat with Mr Home
night after night till Mr Home was tired."[162] And the only result,
such as it was, of all this investigation may be summed up in a few
words. There was a tinkling of glass, a slight wave of the table, and a
few raps. The raps were such as could be easily produced by mechanical
means, and were so produced by my father afterwards--not that he
charged Mr Home with causing the raps in that particular way; but as he
pointed out, it was impossible for any one, under the circumstances,
to fix upon the precise spot whence such raps came; it was impossible
that the unguided ear could exactly relegate the sound. The tinkling
of glass was such as he had often heard in a room where there was gas
burning; the wave of the table--which did not move more than half an
inch--was afterwards repeatedly produced by Dr Edmunds and himself.
Beyond these trifles there was no other "semblance of manifestation,"
and yet some Spiritualists boldly asserted that the result of the
Dialectical Society's inquiry was to convert the investigators to
Spiritualism.[163]

[Footnote 161: Held at 4 Fitzroy Square.]

[Footnote 162: _National Reformer_, Jan. 12, 1873.]

[Footnote 163: _Human Nature_, Jan. 1871.]

Mr Bradlaugh opened the debate with Mr Burns, and as always, when he
made the opening speech, he used the most careful language in trying
to make his position clear. Beyond that speech, and for what he told
during the two nights of his personal experiences and inquiries into
Spiritualism, the debate is really of little importance. Mr Burns
afterwards apologised for his treatment of the subject on the ground of
ill-health.[164]

[Footnote 164: _The Medium and Daybreak_, Dec. 20, 1872.]



CHAPTER XXXIV

FAMILY AFFAIRS.


When our home was broken up in May 1870, and my father went to live
by himself in those two little rooms in Turner Street, he was very
downcast and lonely. Apart from the many weighty reasons he had to
make him heavy-hearted, he felt the separation from his children,
young though we were, much more than might be imagined or than we
indeed quite realised ourselves at the time. He felt it for his own
sake, but even more he felt it for ours. We had been away from him but
little more than two weeks--weeks crowded with worry and work--when he
wrote us a little letter, which I shall always keep amongst my dearest
treasures, so much does it seem to convey a sense of his fatherly
love for us, and his fatherly anxiety for our lives in the difficult
circumstances in which we were placed. The letter is written in French
and very legibly, the foreign language making a sort of excuse for the
letter. He writes:--

 "MY DEAR LITTLE DAUGHTERS,--I have a notion to write you from
 time to time in French, because by that means more than by any other I
 shall make you learn the language. Unfortunately for your instruction,
 my own knowledge of this beautiful tongue is very limited, but I hope
 that you will correct me each time you find mistakes. I want to know
 every thought, every act of your lives, because, as you will be too
 long out of my sight, I would keep you very close to my heart, and I
 want to watch in thought the steps I cannot see each day with my own
 eyes.--À vous, mes petites bien aimées,

  C. BRADLAUGH."

Our brother's death drew us yet nearer to him, and while we were at
Midhurst he wrote to us constantly, scolding us if we delayed too long
in answering his little letters. As soon as he was able, he took a
third room at Turner Street, and sent for each of us by turns to spend
a month with him, to write for him; but as he was unwilling to separate
my sister and me for long together this was by no means a regular
arrangement.

After he became acquainted with Madame de Brimont, she soon expressed
a desire to know us. I have said that she was a staunch friend to my
father; to my sister and to me she was goodness itself. She asked my
father to let her find a school for us in Paris, and as he had always
been very anxious for us to know French, he let himself be persuaded,
in spite of sundry misgivings about the extra expense. A school was
found, and to Paris my father took us at the end of September 1872. We
went a few days before the beginning of the school-term and stayed with
him at his old hotel in the Rue Vivienne--now demolished to make room
for the extension of the _Bibliothéque_. We were very proud to be with
him, and proud of course to be for the first time in Paris; we lunched
or dined at Madame de Brimont's, and our leisure moments were filled
up by most delightful drives outside Paris, or walks along the Champs
Elysées or the Boulevards. Before entering school, we three went one
day with Madame de Brimont to make acquaintance with the Directress of
the establishment and to look over the building. The two ladies walked
on first, chatting of the school arrangements and so on, whilst we
behind admired, but could not imitate, the deliberate calmness with
which they trod the highly polished parquet floors. My sister and I,
as we slipped about and frantically caught at each other for support,
thought we never should be able to walk steadily on these waxed floors.
Before we left, Madame la Directrice asked what was our religion. Mr
Bradlaugh, inwardly expecting difficulties, answered, "None, Madame."
Madame's "Ah! Monsieur, that saves trouble," brought a smile of
surprise and amusement to my father's face. Seeing this, the Directress
went on: "You know, Monsieur, I have young ladies here of various
religions, but they are principally Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Greek
Church; it is sometimes difficult to make their different religious
duties fit in with the studies."

We were very happy at this school; there were good masters, and we had
plenty of work to do. On Thursday afternoons, the "at home" day for the
school, Madame de Brimont visited us, and our Saturday afternoons and
Sundays were spent with her. Unfortunately, I was never very strong,
and during the winter I fell ill. At Christmas my father came quite
unexpectedly to fetch us home for the holidays. My sister went back
in the course of a week or two, but the doctor would not allow me to
return. The details of that journey home, and the sad story told at the
end, remain vividly in my memory. We had been surprised at receiving
my father's letter to say we were to go home, a letter followed almost
immediately by my father himself. It was two or three days before
Christmas; he had travelled at night, and coming to us in the morning,
gave us just a few hours to get ready, and in the afternoon he came
to fetch us away. He seemed depressed and preoccupied, and though he
made us plenty of gay speeches, we were conscious that his mood was not
gay. We left Paris that night, and well do I remember what great care
he took of me, the invalid, holding me in his arms a great part of the
way. As we drove to Turner Street from the station, in the gloomy dawn
of a dull December morning, I could not help noticing, in spite of my
own pain and weariness, how grey and haggard his face looked. We passed
the day in London, and in the evening he took us to Midhurst, where we
were all to spend Christmas.

After the first excitement of our home-coming had somewhat subsided,
my father got up from his chair, and throwing back his head with a
peculiar movement, said abruptly, "Well, Bob's in prison."

"My God!" exclaimed my grandfather, who invoked the Deity as
indifferently as if he had been a Christian.

My father was silent for some minutes, and then as, in a few short
sentences, he told the story, my sister and I realised how heavy had
been his care on the previous day whilst he had tried to make merry
with us.

William Robert Bradlaugh was twelve years younger than his brother
Charles, and was only seven years old at the time of their father's
death. He was educated at an Orphan Asylum, and on his leaving this
institution my father found situations for him, which, however, for one
reason or another, he did not keep. At one time, after he had been very
ill, I remember that he passed his time of convalescence at our house,
where he found all the kindness and comfort it was a brother's part to
bestow. To the distress of his relatives, and especially to the grief
of his mother, he took to excessive drinking. His mother he completely
neglected, even during the long illness which kept her to her room
before her death.

Surprise has often been expressed at the evident estrangement
between the brothers; and this has been especially the case with
religious persons after they have listened to, or heard of, the public
protestations of religion and love for my father which have fallen from
the Christian, protestations which the Atheist has received in silence.
He, who so well knew the worth of these phrases, preferred to let
himself be misunderstood by his silence rather than utter the miserable
truth.

The story my father had to tell us that Christmas Eve was that his
brother Robert (he was always called by his second name) had been
arrested on the charge of embezzling various small sums from his
employer. During the next few days, while he was under remand, he wrote
from the House of Detention, thanking my father for his kindness to his
wife, protesting his innocence, and expressing himself as "perfectly
happy and contented," knowing he could clear himself from all charges,
and asking my father's help in his defence. At the final examination
in the Police Court the case was sent up for trial at the Middlesex
Sessions, and at his brother's request my father instructed a solicitor
to appear for him. Mrs W. R. Bradlaugh warmly expressed her gratitude
to him for his kindness, hoping that some day she might be able to
repay him; "Were it not for you," she said, "I do not know what I
should do." Her husband, released on bail, protested that he would
neither see nor speak to his brother until he had proved his innocence.

On the 8th of January my father wrote his sister, Mrs Norman, promising
to allow his brother's wife a small weekly sum in the event of Robert's
conviction, adding that they had already had £12, 10s. from him in
six weeks. He was, as we know, himself so heavily involved in money
difficulties that the smallest unforeseen expense made a serious
addition to him; despite this, a week later he sent more money, and
promised to pay the solicitor's costs. More, he vowed he would not do,
"either for name or for money's sake." He felt the disgrace keenly,
and considered moreover that his brother had no moral claim upon
him, "for" as he wrote his sister, "when he was in full work, and I
in distress, he did not even help me to keep his mother, who loved
him so well." At the Middlesex Sessions a sentence of six months'
imprisonment was passed, at the end of which Robert once more wrote his
brother, thanking him for the kindness he had shown to his wife, and
acknowledging his indebtedness to the extent of £30, which he talked
about repaying on some future occasion. At the same time he assured my
father that his feelings should not again be harrowed by any misconduct
on his (Robert's) part: henceforth his living should be honestly
obtained, or he would starve.

My father sent his brother some more money. Then, of course, came other
applications, coupled at length with the request that the money should
be sent direct, and not, as was my father's custom, through his sister,
Mrs Norman. But my father would not consent to this. He told his
sister of Robert's demand, adding that if she would take charge of the
money he would send what he was able; if she would not, he would send
nothing. My aunt was perplexed; she did not know what to do. Although
she had had her sister-in-law and the child at her house during
Robert's absence, she had not seen her since his return, and she felt
that she did not want to force her brother Robert to receive further
kindness through her hands. However, she at last consented to continue
to act as intermediary; consequently every penny that Mr Bradlaugh sent
his brother passed through her hands.

Just before my father went to America, in the autumn of 1874, Robert
(who, a few years later, alleged that in 1872 his brother cast him off)
suggested that he should go to the States with him, and be introduced
by him as a young man whom he had known for some time; but it is hardly
necessary to say that my father did not acquiesce in this proposal. In
the following year, while still receiving pecuniary assistance from
his brother, Mr W. R. Bradlaugh attended some of Moody and Sankey's
meetings, and there professed "conversion," although, as he was brought
up and educated in the tenets of the Church of England, and was never
at any time a Freethinker, it is difficult to understand from what
he was converted. One day my Aunt Lizzie was somewhat surprised at
receiving a visit from him. He had been to her house only a day or two
before to receive a sovereign which my father had sent at his request,
and she was not expecting to see him again so soon. He walked into the
house, triumphantly exclaiming that he had got "another berth," at the
same time showing her a sheet of the _Christian Herald_ in connection
with which he had been given employment.

From that day until my father's death his brother never ceased to try
and annoy him--always, of course, under the cloak of religion and
love. He would send him religious books--the last came at the New
Year of 1891. "This is from my beautiful brother," said my father, as
he dropped it into the wastepaper basket. He sometimes lectured in the
same town, on the same date as my father, and the hall engaged for his
lectures would perhaps be quite close to the one in which Mr Bradlaugh
was speaking. He would be announced, maybe, merely as "Mr Bradlaugh,"
or even as "the brother of Charles Bradlaugh," or "the brother of the
Member for Northampton," and would very likely entreat his audience
to unite with him in prayer for his "brother Charles Bradlaugh." He
had named his son "Charles," and in a letter written to his brother in
1880, he had recourse to the following unmanly taunt: "I want not to
trade upon your name; it has never helped me, it dies with yourself,
and is to be perpetuated by the son of one whom you at present hate."
My father's own son, who also bore his name and of whom he had been so
proud, had then been dead ten years.

Mr W. R. Bradlaugh did not confine himself to these annoyances--which,
after all, were petty, and even if they irritated at the time, could
be easily endured--but he has been responsible for various false and
injurious statements concerning my father's personal character. Some of
these were circulated during his lifetime, but he remained silent with
every provocation to speak. Even in a "private and confidential" letter
to the editor of a friendly paper which had carelessly quoted some
extremely malicious falsehoods alleged to have been uttered by Mr W. R.
Bradlaugh, my father only said that, "being under great obligation" to
him, his brother tried to injure him.

This is the second time in this book that I have been compelled to
reveal a story of sorrow and disgrace that I would have given much
to have kept hidden, but justice to my father demands that the truth
should be known. If the telling it should bring the smallest injury to
a man who, twenty years ago, erred and expiated his error according to
the laws of our country, it will give me the deepest pain and regret.
Counting surely on my father's silence, however, he chose to pursue a
course of conduct which has obliged me to tell the truth concerning
their estrangement. Out of regard for his brother, my father might
knowingly and deliberately suffer himself to be misunderstood, and
his silence to be unfavourably construed, but it is not for me, his
faithful daughter and biographer, to allow the misunderstanding to
continue.



CHAPTER XXXV.

REPUBLICANISM AND SPAIN.


As I have said elsewhere, during the early seventies the Republican
movement in England was full of life and activity. There was quite a
ferment of political energy tending towards Republicanism, and this
seemed to be most active in 1873, after the temporary check felt in the
reaction of loyalty evoked by the Prince of Wales' illness. In February
1871, the first of a series of Republican Clubs was inaugurated in
Birmingham by Mr C. C. Cattell, and this was followed by the formation
of others in every direction. By the spring of 1873 there were
clubs in Aberdeen and Plymouth, in Norwich and Cardiff; and between
these extremes were to be found more than fifty others, Yorkshire,
Lancashire, and Northumberland having perhaps the largest number. These
Clubs held their periodic meetings, and the addresses delivered were
often thought of sufficient importance to be reported in the local
press. It may well be asked, What has become of all this Republican
fervour? It is difficult to say. Probably much of the energy and
activity has been diverted into other channels, but, however that may
be, we see little sign of it now: in 1894 England is to all appearance
utterly dead to the aspiration of an ideal Republic. But in the early
part of 1873 the Republican movement was believed to be a growing
one, and it was deemed advisable to call a Conference with a view of
establishing a National Republican Organisation, which should unite
all the heretofore scattered clubs. A circular was sent out by the
Provisional Committee convening the meeting, signed by Mr George Odger
and eleven others, of whom Mr Bradlaugh was one. Seeing my father's
name amongst the signatures, an endeavour was made to injure the cause
of Republicanism by denouncing the conveners as "Atheists," although,
as a matter of fact, the majority were Christians. The conference was
fixed for the 11th and 12th of May, and the use of the Town Hall,
Birmingham, was granted for the meetings.

Shortly before this date the Republic had been declared in Spain,
and some of the English Clubs at once sent their congratulations
to Senor Castelar. In addition to these, it was decided to send a
resolution from the Birmingham Conference, expressing sympathy with
Spain in her struggle to establish a Republican Government, abhorrence
at the atrocities committed by the Carlists, in the interests of a
Monarchical Government, and indignation at the non-recognition of the
Spanish Government by the British Government. A resolution was also
put to the great public meeting, held in the Town Hall on the Monday
evening. This message of sympathy, which was passed with the utmost
unanimity, in a meeting of fully 4500 persons, was, together with the
Conference resolution, entrusted to Mr Bradlaugh to carry to Senor
Emilio Castelar. The proceedings at Birmingham caused considerable
stir; the local papers gave long reports, and notices appeared in
different journals throughout the provinces, and even in Conservative
London itself. The impression created by this quiet and business-like
demonstration may be gathered from a leader which appeared in the
_Examiner_ for May 17, of which the following is a short extract:--

 "The Conference of Republicans held at Birmingham on Sunday and
 Monday last far exceeded in numbers, importance, as well as in the
 intelligence displayed by its members, anything of a similar name
 or nature that has been held since the present movement was first
 originated. There were fifty-four accredited delegates present,
 representing nearly as many of our principal towns, and they came from
 every point of the compass--from Norwich, from Bath, from Hastings,
 Paisley, and Aberdeen. The proceedings were marked by singular
 unanimity, and general abstinence from all hasty and ill-advised
 language. This, the least expected feature of the Conference, is
 doubtless deeply regretted by its opponents. To openly avow Republican
 proclivities is, in the minds of a majority of the 'respectable'
 classes, almost synonymous with calling yourself an advocate of
 rick-burning, or any other mad devilry; the Conference will go far
 towards removing this ridiculous impression, and re-assuring the
 timorous. But it must be admitted that a party that can afford to
 speak in the moderate but decisive tones adopted by most of the
 speakers, convinces us, and, we would fain believe, all thinking
 persons, far more of its reality and permanence than had it indulged
 in the most savage braggadocio or bombast."

That same Monday night, with the vote to Senor Castelar in his pocket,
and with the cheers of the crowd ringing in his ears, Mr Bradlaugh
left Birmingham for London, where he arrived at five o'clock on
Tuesday morning. To drive to his Turner Street lodgings, to wash,
pack, breakfast, write some pressing notes, glance at thirty letters,
then to Cannon Street to catch the 7.40 A.M. mail train to
Dover was fairly quick work, but it was accomplished, and he found
himself in Paris the same evening. Dining at the Orleans Station that
night, he found Gambetta, with half-a-dozen friends whom he was seeing
off to Bordeaux, dining at a table quite near to him. Referring to
this incident, Mr Bradlaugh noted that "_Le Diarias_, of Madrid, says
that in passing through Paris I had a long conference with Monsieur
Gambetta. This, like most newspaper paragraphs about me, is a pure
invention." Mr Bradlaugh published an account of his journey to Spain
in the _National Reformer_ at the time. Much of it--which he called
"A fortnight's very rough notes"--was written while on his journey,
and must have been done under very considerable difficulties. In
carrying the message of the English to the Spanish Republicans, he
went at the imminent risk of his life. In Paris and in London it was
currently reported that he was killed. While he was cut off from all
communication with us, we endured an agony of suspense--my mother and
I at Midhurst, my sister at school in Paris; we read in the papers
that he was dead, and received letters of condolence from different
quarters. Indeed, at Midhurst our first intimation of his supposed
death was a letter of sympathy to my mother, written by the Rev. A. J.
Harrison, Mr Bradlaugh's oft-time opponent in debate.

My father gives so vivid a description of his adventures and his
impressions in his "very rough notes" that I give them in his own
words:--

 "At 8.15 [Tuesday evening] I started for Spain, my hopes of a direct
 journey through that country being a little cooled by the fact that
 although the Spanish Consul-General had positively assured me that
 the line was clear to Madrid, the Railway Company refused to book me
 further than Irun, a small town on the banks of the River Bidassoa,
 and just over the French frontier. All information, however, as to the
 state of the Spanish lines was refused, ignorance being pleaded." At
 Bayonne, "while waiting at the station, I was amused by two Spanish
 'gentlemen,' who, after looking carefully at every passenger, came up
 to me and inquired if I was the bearer of letters for Marshal Serrano.
 Curiously enough, Marshal Serrano, whose ambition seems doomed to just
 disappointment, had just fled from Spain in a vessel from Santander.
 I replied in the negative, and the two, whom I presume to have been
 Spanish detectives, remained watching until the train left Bayonne. At
 Irun my troubles commenced: the railway line was completely cut, and
 I must either take to the road or turn back. The road was said to be
 extremely dangerous, for it was in this district that the vicious and
 bloodthirsty curé of Santa Cruz had his band. Some assured me that the
 Carlists--who, all agreed, had possession of nearly the entire Basque
 district--would not interfere with either English or Americans. Others
 were equally certain that the priest of Santa Cruz would show no
 mercy to either if he happened to be in a murdering humour. Everybody
 advised me not to go alone; but when I found that the only vehicles
 for more than two persons were some dirty, ricketty, awful-smelling
 omnibuses drawn by nearly broken-down hacks, in which--the direct
 route being impossible--nearly twenty miles must be done, at least, in
 a burning heat, through a dangerous district, before better conveyance
 could be got, I determined to risk the journey by myself. I hired a
 small open _calèche_, with two good horses, and having emphatically
 explained to the driver that if he stopped voluntarily on meeting
 with any Carlists I should fire at him, I cocked my revolver, laid it
 on my knees, and off we went at a sharp gallop, which scarcely ever
 slackened until we reached San Sebastian. We drove often close to the
 railway, which I found had been cut in many places; the telegraph
 wires were hanging loose and useless, many of the posts hewn in two.
 Two or three times my driver turned to me and said, 'Los Carlistos,'
 pointing to some men in blue carrying guns and hurrying across the
 field towards us. Our rate, which on these occasions he accelerated
 by sharp whipping, carried us on without encounter. Passing near a
 village on the River Bidassoa, about midway between Irun and San
 Sebastian, some very rough and ragged-looking men ran up to the
 carriage, and one, armed with a long knife in his sash, got hold of
 the door, and addressed me in Basque; but as I did not understand a
 word, I simply pointed the pistol at his head and waved him sharply
 away. My driver continued to gallop, whipping his horses, and the
 other men who shouted to the driver, apparently to stop, having fallen
 in the rear, my friend with the knife, who appeared a little out of
 breath and not to like the look of the pistol barrel, followed their
 example. When we got about two miles ahead, my driver explained to
 me in French that these were only thieves, and not Carlists. I had
 afterwards reason to doubt whether this was not a distinction without
 a difference. The man who drove me into San Sebastian refused to go
 any further, alleging that between San Sebastian and Vittoria the road
 was too dangerous. Finding that it was a thirteen hours' ride, and
 that the necessary relays of horses and oxen for the mountains were
 prepared, and could only be obtained for the diligence which started
 at four next morning, I at once booked a place for the _coupé_ of an
 antiquated machine, which appeared to have lain by ever since the
 introduction of railroads, and to have been dragged out hastily, and
 without repairs, in consequence of the sudden interruption of the
 railway traffic. The clerk who took my money quietly told me that
 the proprietors could not be responsible for my luggage.... At three
 o'clock on Thursday morning I was awakened out of a terribly sound
 sleep, for, not having been in bed since Sunday night, Nature had
 overcome will; I was more fatigued than I had imagined. At a quarter
 to four I was seated in the diligence, heavily freighted with luggage,
 with one fellow-passenger in the _coupé_ [Senor Everisto de Churruca,
 a Spanish civil engineer, who not only spoke French but Basque], four
 in the interior, and three in the _banquette_, or open-hooded seat
 behind the driver. All these passengers, except one, we dropped at
 early stages of our journey. The first steep hill we went down at a
 gallop; but our breaks, old and rusty, would not work; the almost
 overweighted diligence swerving to and fro--and if we had had a bishop
 on board we must have capsized; as it was, your light-hearted servant
 just saved his neck. The diligence came to a standstill at the bottom
 of the hill, and after great shouting some olive oil was procured,
 and the screw was twisted backwards and forwards until it forgot its
 rust in its unwonted oil bath. Again we started, this time at even a
 greater pace, to make up for lost time....

 "The first bodily testimony of the fear of the Carlists was at Tolosa,
 an old Spanish city, Mauresque in its surroundings, which was
 fortified with wooden stockades fitted with loopholes for guns. It
 was well garrisoned with a few regular troops and provincial militia.
 The volunteers were, on the whole, a soldierly-looking body of men.
 At Allegria the Town Hall or Public Court House was fortified by the
 doors and windows being blocked up with rough stones coarsely mortared
 in, the necessary loopholes being left for firing through. This being
 in the centre of the town evidenced the fear that the outer works
 might not be strong enough to resist the Carlist assailants. Between
 Allegria and Villafranca I came upon a shocking sight. The Carlists
 had cut the line close to the mouth of a railway tunnel, which they
 had also partially blown up. The next train from San Sebastian came
 on with its usual freight of peaceful ordinary passengers, and no
 friendly warning was given to stay the mad, confiding rush into
 the arms of death. Two carriages over the side of the embankment,
 and the guard's van smashed underneath, three carriages on the
 line crushed into one another, still are there, with the ghastly,
 sickening, dull, dried traces on them to show how well the bloody
 work was done. And these are Carlist doings--work by followers of the
 Divine-right-Bourbon! Prayers are said for these infamous scoundrels
 in Paris, and subscriptions are advertised for them in the London
 _Times_. If they had been Communists instead of Carlists, what then?...

 "At Beasain I found that the fine railway bridge was cut by the
 Carlists, several feet being taken out of the flooring on either side,
 so that any train coming might be utterly dashed to pieces in a leap
 to the depths underneath. When coming near Zumarraga we had two yoke
 of oxen added to our horses, to drag us up the steep hillside, our
 ascent being upon one of the small range of mountains that apparently
 link on to the Pyrenees. Here I began to think the danger was passed,
 as we found men engaged in repairing the permanent way, although the
 strong guard of soldiers protecting the workmen showed that this was
 not quite the opinion of the authorities.

 "At Mondragon a new style of fortification met my view. All these
 cities are built with very narrow streets, and here, in the centre
 of the principal street, a chamber had been run across from window
 to window of opposite houses, built shot-proof, and loop-holed each
 side and underneath. This clearly proved that in this neighbourhood
 the Carlists were looked upon as likely to enter the town itself. At
 Arichavaletta, where the regular troops were stronger than usual, I
 was much puzzled by the conduct of the sentries, who first signalled
 us to stop, and who--when the horses were pulled up to a walk--crossed
 bayonets to prevent our progress. It turned out that the Commanding
 Officer had broken his meerschaum pipe, and our important mission was
 actually to take it to Vittoria to be mended. More fortunate than some
 of the baggage we carried, it actually arrived at its destination.
 At Ezcarriaza, a small open town where we made our last change of
 horses, I noticed that most of the houses were deserted, and the doors
 and shutters fastened. The remaining inhabitants stared at us with a
 pitying kind of curiosity, as though they knew not what fate was in
 store for us. Candidly speaking, as we had now safely done more than
 four-fifths of our journey to Vittoria, I began to think that there
 was now scarcely any risk, and the more especially so as all advices
 of the Carlists placed them much to the north of where we then were.
 My judgment was inaccurate; the sting of the serpent was in its tail,
 the last fifth part of our journey was worse than all the rest. When
 we arrived at the _Cuesta de Salinas_, where two roads branched off, a
 rather good-looking young man, in a blue cap and blue blouse sort of
 uniform, armed with a rifle, a revolver in his sash attached by a ring
 to a cord slung round his neck, and with a bayonet sword by his side,
 waved his hand to our driver in the direction of the lower road. This
 road our diligence now took, our driver saying something we could not
 hear, and my companion adding to me, 'At last, the Carlists!' About
 half a mile further, up started in the middle of the road as rough
 a specimen of the human family as one could wish to meet. Armed and
 dressed like the previous one, he evidently called on our driver to
 halt, and as the diligence came to a standstill, two others, worse
 dressed and badly armed with indifferent guns, joined the first, and I
 cocked my revolver, keeping it however underneath my coat. Our driver
 chatted to the Carlists familiarly in the Basque tongue, but too low
 for my fellow-traveller to catch a word. The last of the Carlists who
 appeared was probably a deserter, as he wore part of the uniform of a
 private of the Twenty-ninth Regiment. Whether the three did not feel
 strong enough to attack us, or whether, as is more likely, they had
 orders to let us pass into the trap carefully laid at the other end
 of the road, I do not know; what is certain is, that again our driver
 gathered up the reins, and away we galloped. I uncocked my pistol,
 and began to believe that the Carlists were a much maligned body of
 men. About a mile further, a house still in flames, with traces of a
 severe struggle close to it, again awakened our attention, and in the
 distance blue uniforms could be seen.

 "At the _fuente de Certaban_, close to Ullsbarri Gamboa, in the
 province of Alava, we fairly fell into the Carlists' hands, like fish
 taken in a net. A party of twelve stopped the roadway, while two kept
 sentry on the heights close to the road, and some others, whom we
 could not see but whom we could hear, were close at hand. Our driver
 descended, and his first act was to give the leader of the Carlist
 party an ordinary traveller's satchel bag with shoulder-strap, which
 had evidently been brought intentionally from one of the towns we
 had passed, and which seemed to give pleasure to the recipient, who
 at once donned it, two or three admiringly examining it. Approaching
 me, the leader then asked, in the name of his Majesty Carlos VII.,
 in a mixture of French and Spanish, if I had anything contraband?
 Unacquainted with the tariff regulations of this Bourbon bandit
 chief, I gave a polite negative, and was about to descend from the
 _coupé_ to see more accurately our new visitors, when, on a signal
 from the chief, they all laid their guns against a bank, one of the
 sentries descending to stand guard over the weapons. Curious guns they
 were--English Brown Bess, old Prussian muzzle-loader, ancient Italian
 regulation muzzle-loader, converted breech loader, and blunderbuss,
 were represented. All who wore revolvers had new ones, perhaps bought
 by the funds subscribed by the London Committee.

 "The diligence, which only contained one passenger besides myself and
 Senor de Churruca, was now literally taken by storm; and at present,
 seeing that there were no signs of fighting, I preserved an armed
 neutrality, keeping my revolver cocked, but still carefully out of
 sight under my coat, only moving the pistol-case on the strap, so
 as to have it ready for almost instantaneous use. The first search
 appeared to be for letters, and I began to quake for one directed in
 Mr Foote's[165] best handwriting to Senor Castelar, and of which I
 was the bearer. I soon found that only the chief could read at all,
 and I much doubt if he could read anything but print. The principle
 of natural selection seemed governed by the appropriation of thick
 and large epistles; and even these, after being turned about, were
 restored to the driver, who, with a slight shrug of his shoulders,
 looked on as though he had but little concern in the matter.

 [Footnote 165: Mr Foote was Secretary to the Committee convening the
 Republican Conference.]

 "Presently a cry of triumph came from the top of the diligence.
 Thinking it was my poor black bag containing the Castelar letter,
 I pressed forward, but was stopped, and a sentry placed in charge
 of me. His gun was a treasure, and I consider that if he had meant
 shooting, there would have been nearly as much danger in the discharge
 to the shooter as to the shot. The triumphal shout had been caused
 by the discovery of two saddles and bridles, which were at once
 confiscated by his Majesty's customs collectors as contraband, and
 despite an energetic protest from the conductor, were carried off
 behind the rising ground. The next thing seized was a military cap in
 its oilskin case; uncovered, it was a thing of beauty--a brigadier's
 cap, thickly overlaid with silver lace. The Carlist commander took
 possession of this with almost boyish delight, giving his own cap to
 one of his followers, who had hitherto been decorated with a dirty
 rag for head-piece. The oilskin covering of the new cap was thrown to
 the ground, and one of the band, who seemed to have a sudden attack
 of madness, drew his bayonet and rushed at the poor cover, furiously
 digging the bayonet through and through, and crying out in Basque
 that he wished that he had the nigger, its master, there to serve in
 the same manner. Suddenly and menacingly he turned to me, and angrily
 asked in Basque whether the cap was mine. When Senor de Churruca
 translated this into French, it was too much for my gravity, already
 disturbed by the mad onslaught on the unoffending oilskin. My thick
 skull is of tolerably large size, this cap was small enough to have
 perched on the top of my head. My reply was a hearty laugh, and it
 seems to have been the best answer I could have made, my interlocutor
 grinning approbation. Bayonets were now called into work to break
 open the portmanteaus of which the owners were absent, and also to
 open certain wooden cases containing merchandise belonging to the
 third passenger. Boots appeared to be contraband of war, and liable
 to instant confiscation. One pair of long cavalry boots did us good
 service, for the chief determined to get into them at once, and
 luckily they were so tight a fit that they occupied his time and
 attention for nearly twenty minutes, during which period the searchers
 came to my black bag, and found the official-looking envelope
 containing the vote of sympathy from the Birmingham meeting. As I
 was in a Catholic country, and the Carlists were pious Catholics, I
 adopted the views of the equally pious Eusebius, and shouted lustily,
 '_Io Inglese, esta mia passeporta._' The man who held it looked at
 it, holding the writing upside down, and returned it to its place.
 Fortunately I had no spare boots, and my Carlist friends had no taste
 for shirts, so I got leave to fasten up my bag. My fellow-traveller,
 who had a fine military-looking appearance, and who had just come
 from Porto Rico, underwent a searching cross-examination, and I began
 to think he was to be walked off into the mountains. Fortunately, he
 not only talked Basque well, but had considerable presence of mind,
 and after exchanging cigars with the second in command (the first
 was still struggling into his boots, one of which resolutely refused
 to go on), he was allowed to move about uninterfered with. No. 3
 passenger was in sore trouble; he had about thirty umbrellas, and was
 required to pay 2-1/2 reals for each, and also duties on some other
 articles, which he said amounted to more than their value. Senor de
 Churruca expostulated with the Carlists in their native tongue, while
 I reasoned with passenger number three in French. His difficulty was
 very simple: the Carlists wanted more money than he had got, and he
 looked bewailingly at his broken boxes and soiled goods. I got him to
 offer about thirty pesetas; these were indignantly refused, violent
 gesticulation was indulged in, our driver now really taking active
 part on our side, but occasionally breaking off and running up to the
 top of the nearest hill, as though looking for some one. At last the
 guns were picked up and pointed at us, everybody talked at once, and
 it looked as if it would come to a free fight after all, when suddenly
 some cry came from a distance--at first faintly, then more clearly;
 and whether some other prey approached, or whether the soldiers were
 coming along the road we had left, I know not, but number three's
 pesetas were hurriedly taken, and this sample of the army of Carlos
 VII. hastily disappeared, leaving us the unpleasant task of repacking
 the luggage on the diligence as best we could, with the cords which
 they had recklessly cut when too hurried to untie. Senor de Churruca
 stated that the Carlists claimed to have no less than 3000 men well
 armed in the Montanas de Arlaban, round which the road passed, of whom
 500 they said could be brought on the spot by signal in a few minutes.
 We resumed our route, pleased and disgusted--pleased at our lucky
 escape, and disgusted because the more than two hours and a half's
 delay would render us too late for the night express to Madrid.

 "The road, too, was now more dangerous for the horses, as the
 telegraph wires lying across the road in curls made traps for their
 legs, and driving at a gallop was occasionally difficult. At last
 we came in sight of Vittoria. Outside, in the road, we came across
 a large body of armed regulars playing pitch and toss, and next a
 volunteer, in full equipment, driving a pig." From Vittoria "at
 eleven on the morning of Friday we started for Miranda, the train
 being escorted by nearly a regiment. The first railway station after
 leaving Vittoria--Nanclares--had been turned into a veritable fortress
 by hastily constructed stone barricades, and was full of troops; but
 we had no novelties until we reached Miranda at 1·30, except that an
 officer of the 12th Regiment had with him a little baby about twelve
 months old. Strange baggage in time of war! At the stations a private
 came and nursed it. I dared not make any inquiry as to his little
 companion, fearing I might give offence." At the Miranda station
 a couple of detachments of prisoners were brought in, of all ages
 from twelve to sixty-five. "The whole of these prisoners were to be
 sent to Cuba, to fight there for the Government against the Cuban
 insurrectionists. I could not help thinking that this practice of
 expatriating these Carlists was as impolitic as it is most certainly
 illegal. The practice was commenced by Senor Zorilla, and the present
 ministry have unfortunately followed in his footsteps." Between
 Miranda and Burgos four railway stations burned to the ground showed
 where the Carlists had been. "From Burgos I had a weary night's ride
 to Madrid, morning dawn showing me, on the left of the line, about
 twenty miles from the capital, the famous Escorial, chronicled amongst
 the wonders of the world. Just after, in a deep cutting through the
 rocks near Las Rozas, we pulled up with a sudden jerk and jump, which
 threw us off our seats. On descending hastily from the train, I found
 that these priest-ridden Carlist savages had planned here our total
 destruction. Some wood and iron had been fixed in two places on the
 rails, and an empty rubbish truck had been turned upside down right
 on our track. Fortunately our train kept the rails, and although
 mischief was done to the engine, we all escaped unhurt, save for a
 rough shaking. A few of us hastily climbed the rocks, and I confess
 it was almost a disappointment to find no one in sight. I felt in my
 anger a desire to take vengeance with my own hand. If the train had
 gone off the line, we should have been pounded against the rocks,
 and nothing could have saved the bulk of us from death or frightful
 injury."



CHAPTER XXXVI.

MADRID AND AFTER.


On arriving at Madrid, Mr Bradlaugh waited upon Senor Castelar at the
Government Palace, Plaza de Oriente, where he was officially received,
and whence a few days later came a fairly lengthy official document,
addressed to Mr R. A. Cooper, as Chairman of the Birmingham Conference,
which was as remarkable for its eloquence as for its moderation. From
Madrid he went to Lisbon, by way of Cuidad Real and Badajoz, the
journey taking thirty-six hours by "express" train. His visit to Lisbon
was upon private business: he particularly desired to learn something
concerning a Portuguese gentleman, the Baron Geraldo F. dos Santos,
with whom he had been connected in 1867 in the Naples Colour Company,
and who had in the October of that year "gone to Lisbon," leaving "no
orders," as was tersely written upon a bill for three hundred pounds
when it became due. The noble Baron who should have met it had returned
to his native land, leaving it to be met by my father, whose name was
on the back of the bill.

My father did not stay many hours in Lisbon, but while he was there a
curious little incident happened. Going into a tobacconist's to buy
a cigar, he asked for it in French, thinking that more likely to be
understood than English. The mistress of the shop smiled, and answered
him in his own tongue, addressing him by name. She was an Englishwoman,
and knew him well, having heard him lecture at the provincial town
where she had lived in England.

About the 22nd Mr Bradlaugh was back again in Madrid; on the 23rd
he received the official reply to Mr Cooper, and also the following
unofficial communication:

  "MINISTERIO DE ESTADO,
  "GABINETE PARTICULAR.

  "Monsieur Bradlaugh.


 "MONSIEUR,--En réponse à votre lettre de ce matin je vous
 prie de vouloir bien m'attendre chez vous aujourd'hui antre deux et
 trois heures. J'aurai alors le plaisir de vous voir et je pourrai vous
 donner des renseignments rélatifs à votre voyage.

 "Agréez, Monsieur, l'assurance de ma considération distinguée.

  "[Signed] EMILIO CASTELAR."[166]

  "Madrid, le 23 Mai."

[Footnote 166:

  "MINISTERIO DE ESTADO,
  "GABINETE PARTICULAR.

  "Mr Bradlaugh.

 "SIR,--In reply to your letter of this morning, I would ask
 you to kindly await me at your hotel to-day between two and three
 o'clock. I shall then have the pleasure of seeing you, and I shall be
 able to give you information relating to your journey.

 "Accept, Sir, the assurance of my distinguished consideration.

  "EMILIO CASTELAR.

  "Madrid, May 23rd."]

On the following day (Saturday) a banquet was given by the Madrid
Republicans to Mr Bradlaugh at the Café Fornos, at which about eighty
persons, including many leading Spanish Republicans, were present.
There had been a loud demand for a banquet in the open air, and many
hundreds of applications were received for tickets. The time at Mr
Bradlaugh's disposal, however, was too short to allow of arrangements
being made for a banquet upon such an extensive scale, and it was
necessary to limit it to more modest proportions.

The invitation to this banquet was signed by the Alcade, Pedro Bernard
Orcasitas, on behalf of the City of Madrid; by Francisco Garcia
Lopez, the newly elected deputy for Madrid; by the famous Francisco
Rispa Perpina, the President of the Federal Centre; by Juan N. de
Altolaguirre, on behalf of the Republican Federal Centre; by Manuel
Folgueras on behalf of the Provincial Deputies; and by a General and a
Colonel commanding the Republican Volunteers.

At seven in the evening the Alcade came in person to Mr Bradlaugh's
hotel to escort him to the Café Fornos. At the dinner the chair was
taken by Senor Garcia Lopez, and the _New York World_ gave a full
report of the speeches delivered. Mr Bradlaugh spoke in English, but
his speech was translated by Senor Eduardo Benot, Secretary to the
Cortes, who in his official capacity had, with his colleague, Senor
Pedro Rodriguez, signed the orders, first for Isabella, and then for
Amadeus, to quit Spain. The banquet came to an end about half-past
eleven, and so great was the enthusiasm that all the guests escorted
the English Republican back to his hotel, where deputation after
deputation waited upon him until half-past two in the morning. In the
street without, a vast but orderly crowd waited patiently for a chance
to see or hear the hero of the hour, and during the whole time music
was played by the bands of the Engineers and the Artillery, specially
sent by the Minister of War. At length, after repeated entreaties, Mr
Bradlaugh said a few words in French from the balcony of the hotel to
the enormous throng below. Thanking the people of Madrid from his heart
for the great kindness shown him, he wished them peace, prosperity,
and order, winding up with the cry, "Vivad la Republica Espanola."
Then, as it was reported, "amidst loud and repeated 'Vivads,' the
crowd peacefully retired, the ladies quitted the balconies, and at
three o'clock Madrid went to bed just as the sun's first rays tried to
overclimb the line of night." Mr Bradlaugh himself went to his pillow
with the reflection that he had that night shaken hands "with at least
eight hundred people."

On Sunday he started on his return journey, but a letter from Senor
Castelar took him once more to his house before he left. Castelar
wrote:--

  "MADRID, le 25 de Mai.

 "MON CHER BRADLAUGH,--Je vous prie d'etre chez moi a deux
 heures precis. Tout a vous,

  E. CASTELAR."[167]

This note was written in Castlelar's own hand, and is--as I give
it--quite innocent of accents. The letter of the 23rd was written by
a secretary and signed by Senor Castelar. These little notes are only
important as witnesses to the friendly way in which Mr Bradlaugh was
treated whilst in Madrid, there having been many assertions to the
contrary, and Castelar himself having stated _since my father's death_
that he "sent a message by a trusty emissary, requesting him not on any
account to call on me at the Foreign Office, but to come and see me at
my house, alone, and at an early hour in the morning, rarely chosen
for visits in Madrid, where few people are early risers."[168] The
welcome given to Mr Bradlaugh in Madrid provoked a stupid exhibition
of rage and spite in certain quarters in England; and amongst the many
fictions circulated at the time it was said that Senor Castelar would
not see him at his official residence, and refused to receive the
Birmingham vote except at his private house. Mr Bradlaugh corrected
this preposterous falsehood at once.

[Footnote 167:

  "MADRID, May 25th.

"MY DEAR BRADLAUGH,--I pray you to come to my house at two
o'clock precisely.--Yours,

  E. CASTELAR."]

[Footnote 168: _Cardiff Weekly Mail_, February or March 1891.]

"The vote was addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs," he said,
"and I delivered it at the Ministry in the Palace, and received the
answer officially from the Ministry. It is perfectly true that Senor
Castelar invited me to his private residence, where I went, and passed
some hours with him on three separate occasions, and that he did me
the honour to visit me at my hotel; but these interviews, while I much
valued them and am extremely pleased they took place, were unsought by
me. The only visit I volunteered was the official one to the Ministry
of State, and there is no pretence for saying that there was any
reluctance to receive me."[169]

[Footnote 169: _National Reformer_, June 15, 1873.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr Bradlaugh's return from Madrid occupied even longer time than the
getting there. Although he left Madrid on Sunday, it was not until late
on Friday night that he reached Paris, and in the meantime all sorts
of rumours as to his death or capture had appeared in the French and
English press. He delayed twenty-four hours in Paris in order that he
might see his elder daughter, who was there at school, and some French
friends, all of whom were in the greatest anxiety as to his fate. He
arrived in London on Sunday morning, and in the evening lectured at
the Hall of Science in reply to a speech delivered by the Bishop of
Lincoln at Gainsborough upon the Inspiration of the Bible. The audience
awaiting him had gathered together full of doubt and uneasiness, and
the relief they felt was expressed by the vehement cheering, again and
again renewed, which greeted his appearance as he entered the hall.

The story of his return journey we have in his own words.

 "Favoured by Senor Castelar," he said, "with special aid in returning,
 we--that is, myself and a Government courier, with despatches
 for Paris and London--left Madrid for our homeward journey on the
 afternoon of Sunday, May 25th. At the urgent request of many of those
 who had taken part in the demonstration of Saturday, I at the last
 moment determined not to return by the route I had come, and this
 determination was confirmed by the certain news that all the passes,
 either across the Pyrenees or by Salinas, were well occupied by the
 Carlists, who did not intend to let me slip easily through their
 fingers. I have no ambition to be a martyr, and determined not to be
 caught if I could avoid it." His return route was now planned to go
 _via_ Santander and Bordeaux. "At Palencia," he continued, "where
 we arrived about three A.M., we received as escort some
 three hundred men of, I think, the Thirty-sixth Regiment. They came
 to parade after great delay, and in a manner showing great lack of
 discipline. I noticed that Pina and Espinosa were strongly guarded,
 and as soon as we passed between some of the hills near Alar del Rey,
 a sharp fusilade, which was returned from the train, wakened me from
 a half sleep, and gave me an occasion for smelling gunpowder, with
 an almost freedom of danger. Our train only went at about ten miles
 per hour, the engine-driver fearing to find the line torn up, or
 obstructions upon it; but fortunately for us, the party of Carlists
 by whom we were attacked were too late to hinder us, although I was
 informed that they succeeded in stopping the next train. The firing,
 sometimes sharp and sometimes interrupted entirely by the ravines,
 lasted about three-quarters of an hour. The Carlists were seen running
 down from the mountains to take part in the skirmish. The casualities
 were small, one soldier on our side being wounded in the shoulder. Not
 a single bullet entered the compartment in which I was seated.

 "From Alar del Rey we passed through some beautiful country to
 Santander, where we arrived about five hours late, and in time to find
 that a steamer I had hoped to catch had left for Bayonne the night
 before my arrival. I went at once in a rage to the Government Offices,
 and was assured by the Captain-General of the port of Santander--who
 was the perfection of civility, and who stated that he had received a
 telegram from the Madrid Government to afford me every facility--that
 it would be impossible to leave for Bayonne before Thursday. This
 horrified me, for I was due to speak in Northampton on the 28th,
 and I at once rushed to the Telegraph Office to send a message. The
 clerk told me he would take my money, but he would not ensure the
 delivery of my message. I was to return later to inquire. I left my
 money and my despatch, and went to the hotel to dine, or breakfast,
 or both in one. On returning to the Dispaccio Telegrafico, I learned
 that the wires were cut in more than one place; that the post-bags to
 the North were being seized by the Carlists; and that all means of
 communicating with my friends in England were temporarily cut off. To
 my disgust, I found that the boat for Bayonne, although advertised
 for Thursday, might not start till Sunday, and here I was, a prisoner
 at large in Santander, not even being able to return from thence to
 Vittoria, or to communicate my whereabouts to any one.... On Monday
 afternoon, while wandering about the streets, I came across a bill
 outside a shipping office headed 'Para Burdeos,' and not quite sure
 of my Spanish, or rather, being quite sure it would not do to trust
 to it, I went inside to inquire for some one who could talk French.
 The only person able to talk anything but Spanish was the principal,
 who turned out to be the same gentleman employed by Mr Layard, the
 English Ambassador at Madrid, to provide the steamer by which Marshal
 Serrano made his escape from Spain. I could not help wondering,
 when this shipowner, after closing, with an air of mystery, the
 sliding window communicating with the clerk's office, showed me the
 letters he had received from Mr Layard bespeaking the steamer, and
 from Marshal Serrano, thanking him after his escape. What would the
 English Government have said if the Spanish Ambassador in England had
 furnished one of the Fenian leaders with the means of escape from
 London to Southampton, and had there engaged him a steamer for Havre?
 Yet this is precisely what A. H. Layard did for Marshal Serrano last
 month in Spain. _Revenons à nos moutons_; I had rightly understood
 there was a steamboat, and 'a fine swift one,' announced to start for
 Bordeaux that evening. I wanted to embark at once, but found that some
 delay had taken place in the embarkation of the cargo, and the boat
 would not leave until two on Tuesday. But even this was comparative
 bliss; the boat was warranted to make the passage in twenty-four
 hours. I should be at Bordeaux at two on Wednesday; I should then be
 able to leave by the express train for Paris, get there on Thursday
 morning, perhaps catching the tidal train to London in time to
 encounter Father Ignatius at the New Hall of Science on Thursday
 evening. My spirits rose, and I went back to the Fonda de Europa to
 sleep joyously till morning.

 "Next morning I received news not so good. The captain of the vessel,
 the _Pioneer_, Captain Laurent, was staying in the same Fonda as
 myself; it was doubtful, he said, if he could weigh anchor before
 four or five. This was driving it very close for saving the train
 at Bordeaux; but worse news was to come: the boat did not start at
 all until Wednesday, and instead of doing the journey in twenty-four
 hours, it took nearer thirty-four hours, so that I ultimately arrived
 in Bordeaux towards midnight on Thursday, and naturally not in Paris
 until Friday night.... The good steamer _Pioneer_ abounded in strange
 smells. The captain said it had never carried passengers before, and
 for the sake of the travellers I hope that she may never carry them
 again; but we (there were eight other passengers) made the best of our
 position, and bivouacked somehow with tarpaulin and sailcloth spread
 on the iron bottom of the hold; and except that in the Bay of Biscay
 the _Pioneer_ sometimes suddenly put my head where my feet ought to
 have been, and then reversed the process with alarming sharpness,
 there was little to complain of."

Of course Mr Bradlaugh's journey was followed by the usual cry from
those whose mercenary minds cannot conceive of a man doing anything
he is not absolutely obliged except for the purpose of gaining some
money reward. Just as earlier it had been said that he was paid by
the Tories, or the Whigs, or the Communists, or some others equally
probable, now the story was that he was paid by--of all people in the
world--the Carlists![170]

[Footnote 170: "We are informed, on what should be the very, best
authority, nevertheless we must refrain from guaranteeing the
authenticity of the statement, that the expenses of the great
Republican deputation from England to Spain was (_sic_) entirely
defrayed by the Carlist Committee in London."--_Weekly Dispatch_, June
8th, 1873.]

What Mr Bradlaugh thought of Senor Castelar will be a point of
peculiar interest to those who have felt respect or admiration for
both men. In narrating his Spanish adventures, my father uttered
no set judgment on the Spanish statesman; he did not weigh him or
criticise him, but here and there he alluded to this or that quality.
"Of Senor Castelar himself," he said in one place, "it is difficult to
speak too highly.... As an orator, he has no equal in Spain; and as a
journalist, his pen has made itself a Transatlantic reputation." He
then went on to enumerate some of the good works which Senor Castelar
had inaugurated or in which he had taken part. Later on, speaking of
the possibility of the maintenance of the Republican Government in
Spain, Mr Bradlaugh said that there needed at the head of affairs "a
Cromwell with the purity of a Washington.... Senor Castelar feels too
deeply, and the pain and turmoil of Government will tell upon his
health if he re-assumes power. He is honest and earnest and devoted
to Republicanism, and withal so loving and lovable in his nature. I
was present at breakfast with Senor Castelar when he received the
telegraphic despatch announcing the fall of Monsieur Thiers, and the
election of Marshal MacMahon as President. The news seemed to affect
Senor Castelar very deeply. He evidently regarded it as paving the way
for the accession of the Monarchical party in France, and consequently
as giving encouragement to the Legitimist or Carlist party in Spain."

"Honest," "earnest," "loving and lovable,"[171]--all admirable
qualities, not enough to make a Cromwell or a Washington, but
nevertheless all very admirable. My father believed Senor Castelar
possessed these, and from him I learned to admire and reverence him.
Since my father's death I have had reason to doubt whether Castelar
really possessed any one of these fine traits of character. At the risk
of his life Mr Bradlaugh went to him to carry a message of sympathy
and congratulation at a critical moment in his career; Senor Castelar
received him with the utmost friendship and cordiality, and every
honour was shown him during his few days' stay in Madrid. Having thus
professed friendship to his face, Senor Castelar waited for eighteen
years, and then, a few weeks after my father's death, he wantonly
published[172] one of the most grotesque, one of the most foolishly
malicious attacks upon Mr Bradlaugh that it would be possible for a
sane man to pen.

[Footnote 171: In New York Mr Bradlaugh afterwards spoke of Castelar as
"one of the most holiest, thorough, and loyal Republicans in Europe.
Spain and the world should be proud of him."]

[Footnote 172: See _Cardiff Weekly Mail_ and other English papers of
this date.]



CHAPTER XXXVII.

GREAT GATHERINGS.


There will probably be many who remember the agitation there was in
London when, at the end of the session of 1872, the Parks Regulation
Bill was "smuggled" through the House of Commons, an agitation which
did not subside until the Government announced that it would not seek
to enforce the regulations before they had been ratified in the coming
session by a vote of both Houses. This concession was regarded by
many as a complete surrender to the Radicals, and equivalent to the
handing over the four chief parks "to agitators, whenever they chose
to take possession of them." In any case Mr Ayrton did not appear to
regard the Government pledge as binding, for before long he posted the
regulations in Hyde Park, and in November he caused Mr Odger and some
ten or eleven others to be summoned as participators in a meeting held
there in favour of the release of the Fenian prisoners. The case first
taken was that of Mr Bailey, the chairman of the meeting, who, upon the
hearing of the summons, was fined £5. As Mr Bailey's case was to decide
the others, it was resolved that the magistrate's decision should be
appealed against.

Mr Bradlaugh maintained that the Commissioner of Works had no power to
make regulations without the sanction of Parliament, and immediately
called a meeting of protest, to be held in Hyde Park on Sunday,
December 1st. As there had been some disturbance at one of Mr Odger's
meetings, as well as some threat of force to be used at his own, in his
last notice convening the meeting my father specially asked that every
one who went to the park should aid the stewards in preserving order.

Sunday December 1st came, and with it most inclement weather; but
in spite of cold and rain and mud, thousands of men and women made
their way to the trysting-place, which came well within Mr Ayrton's
proscribed area. There were no bands or banners, and the journeying
of the people to the park was likened by Mr Austin Holyoake to "a
pilgrimage of passion, all the more intense because subdued." At
this meeting, characterised by the utmost unanimity, Mr Bradlaugh
was the only speaker, and no other inducement was offered to people
to come through all that dreary weather than that of uniting in a
solemn protest against this infringement of the right of public
meeting. "It is useless to blink facts," lamented one of Mr Ayrton's
supporters,[173] "and it may as well be confessed that the assemblage
was large, perfectly under control, and orderly, and composed of
apparently respectable persons. These may be melancholy facts, but
they are facts.... It was a dense assemblage, standing as closely as
it could be packed, and extending over an area of more than an acre."
Even the _Times_ was impressed by the size, the orderly character of
the gathering, and perhaps even more than all by the fact that those
who came "without bands and banners, and marching through the streets,"
pledged nevertheless to maintain order, "and actually succeeded in
no small degree in overawing the 'roughs' and thieves who congregate
on these occasions." In continuation, the _Times_ remarked that "Mr
Bradlaugh, whose voice could be heard at a considerable distance, was
listened to with great attention; he spoke throughout in terms of
advice to the 'people' to preserve peace, law, and order."

[Footnote 173: _Scotsman_, December 2.]

When we find such reluctant witnesses speaking in such terms, one can
form some idea of the size of the meeting and the spirit which animated
it. It is to be regarded as not the least among my father's triumphs
that he could always bring people together in vast numbers, with no
other inducement than the justice of the cause which they had at heart.
A little earlier in that very year George Odger had said in a letter
to him: "It will be a grand day indeed when the Democrats of London
are sufficiently organised as to be ready to march in their tens of
thousands from all parts of London to the park or some other large
place, inspired only by the conviction of right which the soundness
of their principles must ultimately produce." This is exactly what
happened at my father's meetings. He said: "Come, because it is right
to come; come quietly, without clamour." He trusted the men and women
with whom he was working; he knew that when they saw the right, the
cause alone would be sufficient to move them; they would want no other
inducement. His trust was justified and reciprocated; the mass meetings
which he called, and the control of which depended upon himself alone,
were always great demonstrations, were always impressive, and were
always perfectly orderly.

Notwithstanding this open defiance of his regulations, Mr Ayrton
refrained from taking proceedings against either Mr Bradlaugh or any of
those who took part in the meeting. And yet the magistrate's decision
against Mr Bailey was confirmed on appeal by the Court of Queen's
Bench, and the Treasury claimed costs against him. After some delay,
however, this claim was abandoned by the Government, which, in the
matter of these Parks Regulations, at least, does not seem to have
distinguished itself by firmness or decision.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another public meeting held that December furnishes a striking example
of the way Mr Bradlaugh was looked upon as a pariah. My father, as
is well known, attached much importance to the question of Land Law
Reform, and was deeply interested in any measures that would tend to
ameliorate the hard lot of those who live by the land. Hence, when
a meeting was announced to be held in Exeter Hall, in connection
with the Agricultural Labourers' Movement, he determined to be
present. The chair was taken by S. Morley, Esq., M.P., who, himself
a generous donor to the Agricultural Labourers' Fund, laid special
stress on the necessity of giving substantial pecuniary help. The
first resolution, moved by Cardinal Manning, ran thus: "That this
meeting deeply sympathises with the Agricultural Labourers of England
in their depressed circumstances, believing their present condition
to be a disgrace to the best interests of the country, and is of
opinion that measures should be adopted without delay for their social
improvement and intellectual elevation." Mr Bradlaugh felt that this
was at once very vague and very inadequate; it left the character,
of the "measures" to be adopted far too much to the imagination. Nor
was the resolution made more clear by the speeches which followed
from others, who, like Mr Arch and Mr Ball, eloquently as they spoke,
failed to touch the vital causes of the miseries they deplored. Even
the pecuniary help they were seeking, my father considered, would in
itself but perpetuate troubles, unless the grievances themselves were
redressed. Under these circumstances, Mr Bradlaugh "felt bound to rise
to move an addendum to the resolution." His rising was the signal for
great excitement; a hawk in a dovecote could hardly have produced a
greater flutter. "Some," said my father, "yelled lustily; Joseph Arch
begged me as a favour 'not to irritate the kindly gentlemen disposed
to aid the poor labourer,' and Mr Ball ... said they did 'not want any
political opinions which might prevent subscriptions to the movement.'"
Archbishop Manning withdrew from the meeting as soon as the wicked
Atheist came forward. I am in no position to say whether in this case
_post hoc_ meant _propter hoc_, though certainly in some quarters,[174]
at least, the Archbishop's sudden disappearance was attributed to Mr
Bradlaugh's appearance. Mr Samuel Morley asked Mr Bradlaugh not to
move the addendum; my father, however, persisted. Mr Morley then asked
him, "as a favour to himself, as it was then 10.32, not to speak in
support." To this Mr Bradlaugh consented, while maintaining his right
to speak, and merely moved that the following words be added to the
resolution: "And there can be no permanent improvement in the condition
of the agricultural labourer until such vital change shall be effected
in the land laws now in force in this country as shall break down the
land monopolies at present existing, and restore to the people their
rightful part in the land." Had he been allowed to speak, he would
have instanced as necessary "measures" abolition of primogeniture;
easy land transfer; a graduated land tax, and compulsory cultivation
of uncultivated lands capable of cultivation. This last reform he
put elsewhere in the following words:--"Power to deprive holders of
cultivable lands of their property, on proof of non-cultivation, at a
compensation not exceeding seven years' purchase, calculated on the
average nett rental of the preceding seven years. Such lands to be
taken by the State, and let in small holdings to actual cultivators,
on terms of tenancy, proportioned to the improvement made in value;
that is, the greater the improvement, the longer the tenancy. Lands
appropriated to deer forests and game preserves to be treated as
non-cultivated."

[Footnote 174: See _Weekly Register_ (Catholic) for Dec. 14, and
_Liverpool Daily Post_ for Dec. 13.]

Although Mr Bradlaugh's addendum was moved and seconded amidst the
greatest confusion, and little as his intervention was approved of by
the promoters of the meeting, four-fifths at least of those assembled
voted in its favour.[175]

[Footnote 175: Commenting on this emendation, one provincial
journal--the _Liverpool Daily Post_--remarked with more than usual
outspokenness: "Thanks to Mr Carlyle, it has long been acknowledged
that revolutions cannot be made with rose water; and Archbishop
Manning and other amiable ecclesiastical philanthropists will have
to learn that revolutions cannot be made with holy water either. In
this world it is necessary to do good, even if the devil bids you;
and if Mr Bradlaugh can get the ear and the vote of a vast meeting by
turning half-measures into whole ones, his alliance will have to be
accepted, and perhaps his advice may have to be followed." But the day
for that was not yet come, and few saw the inevitable so clearly as
Mr Bradlaugh. The _Times_ very fairly admitted that on a division his
supporters formed the majority of the gathering, but a very garbled
account of the proceedings appeared in many journals, one paper even
going to the length of saying that Mr Bradlaugh was "ejected" from the
meeting, and another seriously admonishing him that his reception at
Exeter Hall ought to show him that the bulk of the working classes had
no confidence in him.]

       *       *       *       *       *

But if my father felt wounded by the way in which he was regarded, and
his help was rejected by the conveners and speakers of this Exeter
Hall meeting, he had his compensation in the following July, when he
was invited, for the first time, to attend the Annual Demonstration of
the Northumberland miners. He had always felt especial sympathy for
the workers in the northern coal mines, and never forgot that one of
the earliest and one of the kindest greetings he ever received in the
provinces was from a coal-hewer at Bebside. At this demonstration he
met Alexander Macdonald, whom he then regarded as one of the strongest
men he had yet come in contact with, connected with any working men's
organization in Great Britain. "To give," he said, "a faint notion of
Mr Macdonald's power, it is enough to point out that he speaks with
the authority of Miners' Organizations representing more than 200,000
men, and has brain enough and will enough to use this vast power
unflinchingly." Mr Thomas Burt, then Secretary to the Northumberland
Miners' Association, and "proposed" miners' candidate for Morpeth, Mr
Wm. Crawford from Durham, and Mr Joseph Cowen, as well as my father's
old antagonist in debate, Dr J. H. Rutherford, all attended to address
the great gathering, which assembled on the moor; and although this was
the tenth of these annual gatherings, it was the first at which any
political resolutions had been proposed.

In the following year, when the Northumberland Collieries balloted for
the speakers for their picnic, my father and Mr Burt came out side by
side at the head of the poll. The date fixed was the fifteenth of June,
and on that afternoon at least 20,000 miners assembled on Blyth Links.
In the evening, in the Central Hall, an address was presented to Mr
Bradlaugh on behalf of the Northumberland miners. In it was told their
appreciation of the services he had rendered "the poor, the neglected,
and the oppressed." It spoke of the prejudice against him on account
of his opinions, but they were happy to affirm that "no such paltry
feeling as this blinds the mining population of Northumberland to your
deserts as a politician and a reformer. It may please you to hear, as
it delights us to testify, that persons of all shades of opinion have
combined in the present manifestation of approval and esteem." And
indeed it appeared that Catholics, Wesleyans, Independents, Baptists,
and Presbyterians had all joined in presenting this address. As my
father stood there that night, listening to the eulogistic speeches
made about himself, and remembered how, but a few short years before,
he was unable to obtain a lodging in that very town of Blyth, he fairly
broke down. This address remained to the last one of his most treasured
possessions, and always occupied the place of honour on his study wall.
And the Northumberland miners were not less faithful than he. Year
after year he was invited to their annual gathering,[176] and when he
died, these poor men--who earn their wage under conditions often of the
most frightful hardship--not only sent individual subscriptions towards
the payment of the liabilities he had left behind him, but even voted
£50 from their funds to the same object. And not only did they do that,
but when his library was sold there were many who contrived to send the
money to buy one or two books, so that they might possess some memento
of the man whose eloquent tongue would speak to them no more.

[Footnote 176: In 1875 Mr Bradlaugh cancelled his acceptance of their
invitation, because Dr Kenealy was also invited. During my father's
absence in America Dr Kenealy had gone out of his way to make a most
unprovoked attack upon himself, and to offer wanton insult to the
Freethought party. Hence Mr Bradlaugh refused to be present on any
platform with him, "except hostilely."]

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1874 Mr Bradlaugh had his first invitation to the Durham miners'
(fourth) annual gala. Here, notwithstanding inclement weather and the
difficulties put in the way of the meeting by the North-Eastern Railway
Company, the gathering on the race-course was enormous; and although
this was the first time he had come to their picnic, my father saw his
own full-length likeness on the two banners belonging to the South
Tanfield and West Auckland Collieries.[177] The evening, too, was made
pleasant by the courageous avowal, in the presence of at least a dozen
people, made by a gentleman of position and influence in Durham--a
former mayor. He told my father that he was delighted to have the
opportunity of seeing him, but he thought it only honest to add that
before his (Mr Bradlaugh's) arrival he had refused to go upon the same
platform with him. He had learned a lesson, he said, since he had been
in my father's company.

[Footnote 177: The miners cannot be accused of concealing their
opinions; in 1875 my father saw not only banners bearing likenesses
of well-known miners' friends and himself, but also one which proudly
displayed portraits of Ernest Jones, Feargus O'Connor, Henry Hunt, and
Thomas Paine.]

As with the Northumberland men, so with the Durham: having once been
invited to their picnic, Mr Bradlaugh was asked again and again, and in
1891 Durham miners also sent of their hard earnings towards the payment
of a dead man's debts or to buy a book from his library.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a monthly delegate meeting of the Yorkshire miners in 1874 Mr
Bradlaugh's name was proposed as a referee in wages questions, but a
delegate objected on the ground that he was an Atheist, and so the
proposition was lost. Prejudice, however, did not carry all before it,
for in the next year we find Mr Bradlaugh addressing the Yorkshire
miners at Wakefield, and the Cleveland miners at Saltburn in 1876. Some
years later I was with him when he addressed the Lancashire miners at a
place near Wigan.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the Somerset and Dorset agricultural labourers held their fourth
annual gathering at Ham Hill, near Yeovil, in 1875, Mr Bradlaugh
was invited to be present. The other speakers included Mr George
Mitchell--"One from the Plough"--who was indeed the chief organiser of
these meetings, Mr George Potter, Mr Ball, and Sir John Bennett, who
evoked considerable indignation by his allusion to a suggestion said to
have been made by Dr Ellicott, Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, that
if Mr Arch visited the labourers in his diocese he should be ducked in
the horse-pond. But, above all, it was said, "the great incident of
the meeting, creating the utmost excitement, was the appearance of Mr
Charles Bradlaugh."[178] My father found the gathering very different
from those to which he had been accustomed--gatherings of Londoners
in Hyde Park, of miners in Northumberland, of Yorkshiremen, or of
Lancashire factory hands; there were ten or twelve thousand persons
present at Ham Hill, but until Mr George Mitchell began to speak he
doubted whether many of them cared much for the serious objects of the
meeting. The attention paid to Mr Mitchell's speech, however, and the
applause with which it was greeted, gave a clearer indication of the
real feeling which animated the labourers.

[Footnote 178: _Weekly Dispatch._ 23rd May 1875.]



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

FIRST VISIT TO AMERICA.


My father had many times been asked to go to America on a lecturing
tour, but it was not until 1873 that he finally consented to do so.
Then indeed he went, as he frankly said, in the hope of earning a
little money, for there was so much that he wanted to be doing at home
that, but for the ever-increasing pressure of debt, he would not have
felt able to give the time for such a purpose. He visited America
three times--in three consecutive winters--but although his lecturing
met with enormous success, and he won friends amongst "all sorts and
conditions of men," yet his fortunes received a check, of more or
less severity, on each occasion. On every one of his visits something
untoward happened; whether it took the form of an American money panic,
an English election, or a serious illness.

These obstacles, unexpected and unavoidable, were over and above those
prepared for him by the pious of various sects, from the Roman Catholic
to the Unitarian, in the attempts to prejudice American opinion against
him. As soon as it was fairly realised that Charles Bradlaugh was
going lecturing in the States, the ubiquitous "London Correspondent"
seemed to think it his duty to prepare the minds of his Boston or
other American readers for the advent of their expected visitor, and
each depicted him according to his fancy. The subjoined extracts will
demonstrate not only the kindliness and veracity of the writers, but
also the choice and elegant language in which they expressed their
sentiments:--

 I.--"You have heard of Mr Bradlaugh. Mr Bradlaugh is a creature six
 feet high, twenty inches broad, and about twelve thousand feet of
 impudence. He keeps a den in a hole-in-the-wall here, dignified by the
 title of the 'Hall of Science,' in which he holds forth Sunday after
 Sunday to a mob of ruffians whose sole hope after death is immediate
 annihilation.... The _Pilot_, if it can do nothing else, can warn our
 people from laying hands upon this uneducated ruffian--a trooper in a
 cavalry regiment, a policeman, a bailiff's cud, a vagabond, and now a
 speculator in the easy infidelity of the States."[179]

 [Footnote 179: _Boston Pilot_, August 2nd, 1873.]

 II.--In England "practical politicians among the advanced liberal
 party avoid him as honest men avoid a felon, as virtuous women avoid a
 prostitute."[180]

[Footnote 180: _Boston Advertiser_ (editorial), September (18-20) 1873.]

On the 6th of September he left Liverpool for his first journey across
the Atlantic by the Cunard steamship the _Scotia_, which arrived at
New York on the 17th--a long passage, as it seems in these days when
vessels make the journey in little more than half that time. He had
been told of the insulting paragraphs so industriously circulated about
himself, and he had so much at stake, that as the _Scotia_ neared
New York he felt oppressed with anxieties and nervousness as to what
was in store for him in this yet untried land. From the very outset,
however, he met with cheery welcome and friendly greeting. When he
landed he presented his customs declaration in the usual way to the
chief collector in order to get his baggage opened, but the collector
surprised and pleased him by saying, "Mr Bradlaugh, we know you here,
and the least we can do is to pass you through comfortably"--and he was
passed through comfortably, for without more ado the chalk "sesame"
was scrawled upon his portmanteau and rugs. He had barely established
himself in his hotel when representatives from several New York
journals came to interview him, and his arrival was advertised by the
press to such an extent that within seven days of landing he had seen
close upon three hundred newspaper notices of himself.[181]

[Footnote 181: We have a fairly full record of these visits to the
States in the weekly letters my father sent to the _National Reformer_,
in addition to numerous newspaper reports and private correspondence.
The weekly letters to the _National Reformer_ gave much information as
to labour questions in the various places visited by Mr Bradlaugh, and
this was at the time of the utmost value, and greatly appreciated by
his readers.]

On the Saturday after his arrival he was invited to dine at the Lotos
Club, where he received the warmest and most hospitable welcome, the
Directory afterwards voting him the privileges of the Club during his
stay in New York. A few days later he was asked to a reception given by
the Lotos to Wilkie Collins. The guests were received by the President,
Whitelaw Reid, and amongst them were Dr Ludwig Büchner and Bret Harte.
Mr Bradlaugh was called upon to speak, and I gather that he made a
very favourable impression. O'Donovan Rossa called upon him soon after
his arrival, and thanked him for his work for Ireland, and showed him
several small courtesies. On Sunday the 28th he was received by the New
York Positivists and welcomed in extremely kind terms by the President
of the Society. The religious journals were greatly irritated at the
attention paid to Mr Bradlaugh, and did not neglect to show it, one
even refusing to insert the advertisement of his lectures sent by the
advertising agency.

Misfortune met him within a few days of his landing in the shape
of a financial panic of unusual severity, which, commencing in New
York, spread through the States. Speaking of this panic in one of his
earliest letters home, he says: "I entered the house of Henry Clews &
Co., about five minutes after Jay Cooke and Co. had stopped payment.
Then the excitement was not so great; people seemed stupefied with the
incredible news, as Jay Cooke was a name like Baring and Rothschild.
Later every one seemed to grow delirious, and crowds gathered round the
doors of several banks, clamouring for admittance, the inside of each
bank being already filled with anxious and angry people waiting to cash
cheques, and doubting while they waited. On Friday things got worse,
and the sight on Friday night, in the hall and reading room and smoking
room of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, was something to remember. There was a
dense mass of men, packed together--Jay Gould, Vanderbilt, Clews, and
hundreds of others who had commenced the week with enormous fortunes,
some entirely ruined in the last two days, and others not knowing
whether or not bankruptcy awaited them in the morning. The _élite_ of
New York as seen in that seething crowd did not show to advantage; the
Money Devil had gripped their entrails and disfigured their faces. On
Saturday the President of the Republic arrived at the hotel in which I
was staying, and then staircases, hall, corridors, smoking and reading
rooms were besieged, and outside, in the streets, were carriages and
uneasy waiters to gather scraps of news or comfort. I guess that
very few went to church on Sunday, September 21st. On Sunday evening
President Grant left for Washington, but the multitude did not decrease
until midnight came. Each one who had seen or who had spoken to the
President was waylaid, buttonholed, and became the centre of an eager
group of questioners. The trouble was so intense that the bankers,
brokers, and railway contractors actually forgot whether they were
well or ill dressed." These financial troubles greatly affected all
lecturing engagements, as one might easily imagine, and Mr Bradlaugh
in particular found his difficulties considerably increased by the
suicide of his agent, whose affairs had become considerably involved in
consequence of the panic.

His first lecture was given in the Steinway Hall at New York, on
October 3rd. Considering the home troubles, the audience was a good
one, one which he himself felt to be very remarkable. Amongst those
present were many members of the Lotos Club, including their President,
Whitelaw Reid, and D. J. Croly, "Jenny June," Colonel Olcott, General
Kilpatrick, Andrew Jackson Davis, Theodore Tilton, Mrs Victoria
Woodhull, O'Donovan Rossa, the Rev. O. B. Frothingham, Colonel Hay,
Bret Harte, and Mr Andrews were also amongst his listeners. My father
had been feeling very nervous about this first lecture. When he arrived
in New York he was asked how long he expected to remain in America. "If
I fail at Steinway Hall on October 3rd, I shall take the next steamer
for England," was the reply. But there was no question of failure;
he met with an immediate and wonderful success; his audience came to
criticise and remained to applaud. In the papers of the following
day his speech was greatly praised, and he himself pronounced one of
"the greatest of living orators." The Brindley episode,[182] which by
covering him with ridicule might have done him serious injury, was, by
his coolness and quick wit, turned into a decided advantage. On the day
after his lecture he had numerous kindly callers and congratulations.
Amongst those who called was Mrs Victoria Woodhull, and Mr Bradlaugh's
impressions of this much-talked-of lady are not without a certain
interest. When Mrs Woodhull called he was talking to Stephen Pearl
Andrews, the author of a learned book entitled "The Basic Outlines
of Universology," and, "while chatting with Mr Andrews," said my
father, "a slightly built lady entered, who was presented to me as Mrs
Victoria Woodhull, the present President of the American Spiritualists,
and advocate of very advanced doctrines on social questions. The
energy and enthusiasm manifested by this lady in our extremely brief
conversation were marvellous; her eyes brightened, her whole face
lit up, and she seemed all life. It would have been impossible to
have brought together two persons more exactly opposite than Victoria
Woodhull and Stephen Pearl Andrews--one all fire, the other all quiet
thought; the one intent on active out-door war, the other content to
work almost isolated in his closet on a huge book, which few can read
and fewer still will care to read. Mrs Woodhull is evidently made for
sharp strife of tongue and pen. Her face lights up with a beauty which
does not belong to it ordinarily, but which gilds it as she speaks.
Mr Andrews uses his pen only to note down the record of his thought,
without the slightest regard to the never-ceasing strife around him.
His forehead is marked with the furrows hard thinking has ploughed upon
it. Many people here speak very bitterly against Victoria Woodhull; at
present I prefer to take sides with none. It is enough to say that she
is most certainly a marvellously audacious woman." Before he quitted
New York for the New England States the Lotos Club gave him another
dinner, at which he met Petroleum V. Nasby and Colonel John Hay.

[Footnote 182: See p. 160.]

In Boston, despite all the prejudices excited against him by the Boston
papers, Mr Bradlaugh met with a really splendid reception. His first
meeting was presided over by Wendell Phillips, who introduced him as
"a man who, Sir Charles Dilke says, does the thinking for more minds,
has more influence, than any other man in England;"[183] and who
himself compared him with Samuel Adams, "the eloquent agitator, the
most statesmanlike mind God lent New England in 1776." Boston people
remarked that the audience was a curious one, unusual to the regular
lyceum lectures. It included many cultivated people, many scholarly and
solid men, many accomplished and delicate women, but in addition to
these, who were customary attendants at lecture courses, there was an
unusually large number of young men present, and more remarkable still
was the large attendance of working men, the whole forming a "strangely
composite" but wonderfully sympathetic audience. On the platform were
Charles Sumner, who, at the close of the address, spoke words of warm
encouragement to my father; William Lloyd Garrison, who cheered him
repeatedly; and other prominent Boston men.

[Footnote 183: This saying, attributed to Sir Charles Dilke, was given
on the authority of Mr Jenkins, author of "Ginx's Baby," who had lately
been in Boston.]

The next day, with Wendell Phillips and George Julian Harney as guides,
he visited the different places of interest in Boston, including
Theodore Parker's house, where he was deeply affected by the reverent
care Mrs Parker bestowed on the rooms formerly occupied by her husband,
and by the evident worship in which she held every memory of him. Mrs
Parker gave him photographs of Theodore Parker and of the library; with
these in his hand, he said, "I hurried away, almost too much moved to
thank the widow for her gentle courtesy."

A large part of his first Sunday in Boston was passed with Charles
Sumner in his rooms at the Coolidge House. They had a very interesting
talk together on the politics of the hour and future possibilities, and
also on matters connected with the Abolition struggle. Mr Bradlaugh
felt a deep admiration for Sumner, and Sumner, in his turn, was most
kind to my father and warm in his praises.

He was invited by Dr Loring, President of the Massachusetts Senate,
to a dinner at the Massachusetts Club, given to Charles Sumner, to
congratulate him on his supposed recovery to health--congratulations
which proved, alas! all too premature. At this dinner he met Henry
Wilson, Vice-President of the United States, and Joshua B. Smith--born
a slave, then a Senator--besides other distinguished men. Every one was
kind to him: Henry Wilson gave him a pressing invitation to Washington;
Sumner bade him disregard the unfair attacks made upon him. When his
health was proposed, and they all rose to their feet to give him three
hearty cheers of greeting, he felt amply repaid for the pain he had
suffered from those coarse attacks, bred by bigotry, which had alike
preceded and pursued him from the Old World to the New. He dined with
Sumner on other occasions, and receptions were given him in Boston, to
which most of the leading men were invited. In fact, such honours and
hospitalities were heaped upon him that, as one journal remarked, he
seemed to have persuaded some people at least "that there are others
besides Satan who are not so black as they are painted."

He naturally became a prey to the usual autograph-hunter. The "Theodore
Parker Fraternity" determined to utilise the demand for his signature
by procuring a supply for their "Fair," and Wendell Phillips undertook
to beg them, which he did in the following letter:--

  "23rd October '73.

 "DEAR SIR,--The 'Theodore Parker Fraternity'--all the Church
 he allowed--hold a Fair, beginning October 27. At Mrs Parker's table
 she sells autographs--and wants some of yours. Now please write
 your name on the enclosed cards--a motto or sentiment also if you
 choose--and re-mail them to me, then I'll thank you, and earn their
 thanks also--and forgive you that you gave Mrs Sargent a photograph of
 yourself and forgot me!

 "I hope you find crowds everywhere as cordial as those you gathered
 here--and where, as at Cambridge, if you don't happen on a crowd, I
 trust you may have one such hearer as you had there--Henry James,
 equal to about 1800 common folk--who was wholly carried away.--

  Yours,
  WENDELL PHILLIPS.

  "Mr C. Bradlaugh."

Wendell Philips also presided at Mr Bradlaugh's second lecture in
Boston, and again the audience was said to include some of the
brightest intellects in New England. Amongst the visitors who came the
next day to congratulate him on his success was William Lloyd Garrison,
who, like Sumner, was one of my father's "great men." These Boston
lectures produced an even greater sensation, and a revulsion of feeling
in his favour more complete, than those delivered in New York.

After lecturing in the New England States, where I gather that many of
the lectures originally contemplated had to be cut out in consequence
of the distress occasioned by the financial panic, Mr Bradlaugh went
west. He visited amongst other places Buffalo, Cincinnati (where the
Roman Catholic Archbishop Purcell was amongst his auditors), St Louis,
and Kansas, and at each place the newspapers waged fierce warfare
after his departure. He reached Kansas in December, two days after
the suspension of the chief bank in that city, and here he met with
a somewhat serious accident. In passing along one of the inclines of
the city, he slipped backwards on the frozen ground, and throwing out
his right hand to save his back, he tore a piece out of the palm,
and deeply gashed his wrist. [184] He was unable to get the wound
properly dressed in Kansas, and as he had to be continually travelling
and lecturing in the severe cold (about 6°), the injury was greatly
aggravated, and it was many months before the wound was properly healed
and without pain. While lecturing he suffered intensely, and when,
as sometimes happened, some gesture or movement would set the wound
bleeding afresh, it was, in addition, extremely inconvenient. The pain,
at times exceedingly acute, rendered him abnormally irritable, and he
afterwards told us one or two amusing stories of his trials and his
temper at this time. At one place amongst his audience were a young
lady, an elderly lady, whom he set down as the maiden aunt of the
younger, and a young gentlemen, whom he assumed to be the young lady's
lover. The young people kept up a continual flow of conversation,
until, almost frantic with pain from his wound (which was also bleeding
so freely that he was obliged to keep his hand raised all the evening),
he stopped short in his lecture, and turning to the young people said,
amidst profound silence, "If that young lady and young gentleman prefer
their conversation to my lecture, I should be greatly obliged if they
would continue it outside." The "aunt," he told us, looked daggers at
the poor girl, and the culprits themselves did not dare to so much as
exchange another glance during the rest of the evening; they looked so
uncomfortable that he felt quite sorry for them, and repented of his
irritability. At another place, where it was exceedingly cold, the man
in charge of the stoves took the opportunity to thrust in huge logs
with a great noise whenever he was unusually pathetic. He says that he
bore with this as Job could not have borne with it had he been tempted
to lecture there, but at last even his patience was exhausted, and he
thundered out "words of affectionate remonstrance, which effectually
prevented any more wood being used that evening."

[Footnote 184: The _Kansas City Times_ gave this amusing description
of the accident:--"Kansas City is not a smooth city. Its greatest
pride is its thousand hills, precipices, and bluffs. And the main
characteristics of its inhabitants are their lofty airs, loud tone,
and agility. This style is natural; it is acquired by hopping and
skipping from the top of one side-walk, across a chasm or ravine, to
the end of the "cut" or bluff, a limited distance, or across the street
to a ledge or plank, which offers a temporary relief from acrobatic
exercise. Bradlaugh is unused to Kansas City side-walks, and never
having practised tight-rope dancing, or walking upon an inclined plane
of forty-five degrees, found himself somewhat surprised on Thursday
morning. He had just left the Broadway, or Coates House, in company
with General Lamborn, of the Kansas Pacific, and was about to cross
Tenth Street, when he suddenly found himself falling; his feet slid
down the inclined plane called a crossing, which was covered with ice,
and he fell. Mr Bradlaugh is a large, heavy man, and had a great fear
of falling upon the edge of the pavement. He threw out his right hand,
and the full weight of his body came down upon his wrist. His hand
unfortunately struck upon the edge of some sharp substance, probably
the edge of the side-walk or curbing, the keen knife-like edge of which
tore through the palm of his hand, inflicting a serious wound, reaching
beyond the wrist, creating a painful but not dangerous hurt.... It is
a merciful providence that the life of this great and good man was
saved."]

Shortly after this he was at Chicago, and was amazed to see how
the city had recovered from the recent fire; the spectacle of the
magnificent buildings seemed like reopening a page from "Aladdin and
his Wonderful Lamp." Just before entering the lecture hall he saw a
face he hardly recognised. "It was one I had not seen for a quarter
of a century," he said. "'Don't you know me, Mr Bradlaugh?' was the
greeting, and the voice seemed more familiar than the face. My memory
went back to the days when food was short, and when I shared the
scanty meal with the questioner, her mother, and her sister at Warner
Place; but twenty-five years had sufficiently blotted the memory and
blurred the page to confuse me in the recognition. Half-hesitatingly,
I said, 'I am not quite sure; I think it is Hypatia.' I was wrong,
however; it was her sister Theophila. And thus, after so long a time,
I was again brought face to face with the daughters of one to whom the
English freethought party in great measure owe the free press and free
platforms we use to-day." He only stayed in Chicago one night, and had
but a short interview with his old friends; yet even that brief glimpse
of them brought him a throb of pain, "for," he said, "I could not help
wondering whether, thirty years after my death, my own daughters might
be in a strange land so entirely overlooked" as these ladies were.

From Chicago he went to Kalamazoo, and there the news of the death of
his lecture-agent compelled his instant return to New York. He was very
feverish and unwell at this time; his general health suffering from the
effects of the wound in his hand, which had now become greatly swollen
and inflamed, and caused him acute pain. The last days of the year
found him once more in Boston, and they were made ever memorable to
him by his first meeting with Ralph Waldo Emerson at a reception given
by Mrs Sargent. As soon as he was able to use a pen--although writing
was for some long time a matter of pain and difficulty--he himself
described his meeting with Emerson, the hero of his boyhood's days.

"On Wednesday, December 31st," he wrote, "I had my first interview with
Ralph Waldo Emerson, at a reception given to him by Mrs Sargent at
her residence in Chestnut Street. The rooms were filled by a company
of probably the most chosen amongst New England's illustrious men
and women, gathered to give greeting to 'the sage of Concord.'...
My hostess gratified me soon after my arrival by searching me out
amongst the crowd with the welcome words, 'Mr Emerson is specially
inquiring for you.' I soon found myself face to face with a kind,
truthful-looking man, reminding me somewhat in his countenance of the
late Robert Owen. After a few words of introductory converse, I was
assigned a chair, which had been specially preserved for me, next to
Mr Emerson. The afternoon will always be memorable to me. Ralph Waldo
Emerson commenced by quietly and unaffectedly reading in a clear,
measured voice his new poem on 'The Tea-party Centennial.' His manner
was so gentle that he seemed only reading it to one person, and yet his
voice was so distinct that it filled the room with its lowest tones.
When Mr Emerson ceased reading, a little to my surprise, and much
to my delight, I was called upon to speak. Twenty-six years before,
when too poor to buy the book, I had copied out parts of the famous
lecture on 'Self-Reliance,' and now I stood in the presence of the
great preacher, at least an example of a self-reliant man. After my
tribute of respectful and earnestly thankful words to Emerson as one
of the world's teachers, I could not refrain from using the spirit of
his lines to ground a comparison between the public opinion of Boston
in 1773 and 1873. Mr Emerson smiled an almost fatherly approbation
of my very short speech; but, what the _Traveller_ terms my 'kindly,
courteous, but frank rebuke of the spirit of the age,' called forth
quite a lively debate, which was opened by Wendell Phillips, who was
followed by Henry Wilson, by the Rev. Mr Alger, and Dr Bartol, then by
Mr Alcott, and last, but by no means least, by a notable woman, Julia
Ward Howe. Mrs Howe strongly recalled to me the cold, intellectual
face of Archbishop Manning, but she manifested feeling as well as
intellect in her brief address. Wendell Philips spoke a second time,
and to my immense delight, for it gave me a better opportunity of
judging the greatest orator in New England. I fully expected that Mr
Emerson, who had listened with marked attention and evident interest
to the conflicting statements, would give some opinion; but as the
oracle remained silent, I was obliged to be content with his pleasant
personal words of promise to seek me out for another meeting before my
departure for England."

On the same night Mr Bradlaugh lectured to a brilliant and crowded
audience in the Music Hall, and the next day the Vice-President of the
United States came to congratulate him on his "continued successes," at
the same time presenting him with the first volume of his invaluable
work upon "The Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America." At Salem,
where my father lectured shortly afterwards, he was the guest of Dr
Loring, President of the Massachusetts Senate. Then at the special
request of the Rev. A. A. Miner, D.D.--who had heard him speak in
Boston--he addressed the students and officers of Tuft's College, and
found in them a rarely appreciative and enthusiastic audience. On the
journey back to Boston Dr Miner told him that he liked his students
to hear every man he thought a true man, whatever might be his views.
"Some denounce me as a bigot," he added, "and others regard me as a
heretic. I wish that when my young men leave me they may be carefully
trained to hear all opinions and to form their own."

Everywhere my father found good friends, both amongst the poor and
amongst the well-to-do; many old remembered faces, too, he met--poor
men who had left the Old World to tempt, and sometimes to win, better
fortune in the New. When he visited Niagara, the man who drove his
buggy turned out to be a Northampton man and a devoted admirer.

But all the kindness and all the friendliness shown him in America did
not weaken his fondness for his mother country and his determination
to serve it. He loved his own land, and the men and women there who
trusted him and worked with him. In the middle of January he wrote
home: "My heart now yearns for Europe; and when I have covered another
twenty thousand miles or so ... I shall pack up the remnants of my
shirts and come home." Little did he think as he wrote those words
that within the brief space of a fortnight he would be on the sea,
going back to England as fast as the _Java_ could take him. But such
was to be the final misfortune attending his first American lecturing
tour. As he was journeying towards Washington to lecture, and to pay
his promised visit to Henry Wilson in that city, a telegram from
Austin Holyoake reached him, telling him that Gladstone had dissolved
Parliament. He stopped short in his journey, and turned back to New
York in order to take the first vessel bound for home.

On his return to England he found that his lectures in the United
States were represented as having been a dead failure; and that he
himself had been mostly laughed at and ridiculed, statements exactly
the reverse of truth. That his lectures brought him no money profit was
the consequence, not of his unpopularity, but of the terrible financial
panic that took place almost as soon as he arrived in the States.
Then just as he was beginning to recoup the losses owing to this, he
was summoned back by the dissolution of Parliament; and this final
catastrophe brought him home with pockets almost as light as when he
started; and worse than all, with a tremendous burden of liabilities
incurred through broken engagements.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

TWO NORTHAMPTON ELECTIONS, 1874.


In the spring of 1873 there was much talk of a dissolution of
Parliament, and everywhere the constituencies were making ready for
the general election--the first under the Ballot Act. In reviewing
the candidatures Mr Bradlaugh said he hoped to see re-elected "Jacob
Bright, as representing the women's question; Sir Charles Dilke for
his outspoken Radicalism; George Dixon for his great services in the
education movement; Henry Fawcett for his advanced Radicalism, and
his knowledge of India; Charles Gilpin for his courage in striving
to abolish capital punishment; C. Wren Hoskyns for his views on the
land; Vernon Harcourt, despite his personal ambition, for his manly
advocacy of popular rights; Edward Miall for his disestablishment
advocacy; Anthony John Mundella and Duncan M'Laren for their useful
support to their betters; Dr Playfair for his brains; Samuel Plimsoll
for his shipping impeachment; Henry Richard for his services as a peace
advocate; Peter Rylands for his endeavours to revive Joseph Hume's
memory; Peter Alfred Taylor for his crusade against the game laws; and
William M'Cullagh Torrens for knowledge of India and general utility."
He did not agree with all these, but "they have work to do," he said,
"and they try to do it." He added: "I shall be rather glad to see
Samuel Morley again returned for Bristol. Personally, I do not know Mr
Morley, but I believe him to be a good honest reformer as far as he
goes, and after his own fashion." Amongst the new members he hoped to
see sitting in the House were Mr Burt[185] (mentioned first of all), Mr
Arch, Mr Odger, and Captain Maxse.

[Footnote 185: How prepared Mr Burt's mind was for the staunch and
unfailing support he subsequently gave Mr Bradlaugh during the long
Parliamentary fight may be gathered from an answer given at this
election. The cry of "heresy" had been raised against him at Blyth, and
at a public meeting he was asked to answer--Yes or no, did he believe
in the authenticity of the Bible? His answer was noteworthy, especially
when looked upon in the light of later events. "As," he said, "I am
not a candidate for a professorship of theology or the occupancy of
a pulpit, I decline to say whether I do or do not believe in the
authenticity of the Bible. It is entirely foreign to the business
before us. The contest in which we are engaged is a political, and not
a religious one. I maintain that the constituency has no right whatever
to institute an inquisition into the faith or creed of any candidate
who may solicit its suffrages. For this reason I refuse to answer all
and every question of a theological nature that may here or elsewhere
be put to me."]

The possibilities of a dissolution, which did not after all come until
February 1874, kept the candidates and committees busy all the year.
Mr Bradlaugh was, of course, active at Northampton, although the
Whigs, or Moderate Liberals as they were also called, asserted that
"under no possible circumstances could Mr Bradlaugh be accepted as
the candidate of the United Liberal party," and they declared he had
no chance whatever of getting elected. Again Mr Bradlaugh offered to
abide by a decision of the Liberal electors of the town or by a test
ballot, but his offers were treated with disdain. In April he received
a communication from the Tower Hamlets Radical Electoral Committee,
asking him to allow a requisition to be promoted in his favour as a
candidate for the borough at the next election, but he was not willing
to desert Northampton. The prolonged electioneering, of course, meant
an expensive contest, and to meet this an election fund was started,
and subscriptions were sent in very readily.

Just as Mr Bradlaugh was leaving for his first visit to America, that
is, in the early part of September, he issued his address to the
electors of Northampton. In this address he declared himself in favour
of various Parliamentary Reforms, such as:--

Short Parliaments, Redistribution of Seats, the Same Franchise
Qualification for Borough and County;

Reform of the House of Lords, including Deprivation of Hereditary
Legislative Privileges; Withdrawal of Legislative Privileges from
existing Peers habitually absent from Parliament; the Creation of Life
Peers, selected for ability in public service; the Veto of Lords to be
a Suspensive Veto only, capable of being overruled in the same session
by sufficient Veto of the Commons; Exclusion of the Bishops and the
Archbishops;

Disestablishment of the Church;

Reform in National Expenditure and in Taxation; and

Changes in the Land Laws; Abolition of the Game Laws;

Alteration of the Law relating to Employer and Employed, and Extension
of Conciliation Courts.

Not expecting the dissolution of Parliament to occur before March
at earliest, Mr Bradlaugh left England with an easy mind as far as
Northampton was concerned, knowing that in his absence his interests
would be well guarded by his true and trusted friend Mr Austin
Holyoake, Mr Charles Watts, and Mr G. W. Foote, and intending to return
in ample time for the next election. When, on the 24th January, it was
announced that Mr Gladstone had dissolved Parliament, and further,
that the writs for the new Parliament were returnable, in the case
of boroughs at least, on the 5th February, every one was taken by
surprise. Mr Austin Holyoake, whose health, unhappily, had now become
very fragile, telegraphed to Mr Bradlaugh with such promptitude that
the message reached him on the afternoon of the same day that Mr
Gladstone's declaration was published, while he was on his journey to
Washington, where he was announced to lecture. He delayed not a moment,
but, as I have said, turned back at once to New York and took the first
steamer homeward bound.

In the meantime Mr C. Watts and Mr Foote held meetings in Northampton
on behalf of his candidature every night; there was considerable
enthusiasm, and the song "Bradlaugh for Northampton," written for the
'68 election, was to be heard through the streets at all hours of the
day. The local papers were, as usual, bitterly hostile. Mr Gilpin and
Lord Henley, in spite of many indications to the contrary, came forward
upon a joint programme, while the Conservative candidates were Messrs
Phipps and Merewether.

The nomination took place on 31st January, my father being proposed
by Mr (now become Councillor) Gurney, as before. Lord Henley's lawyer
opposed the nomination on the ground of Mr Bradlaugh's absence. Mr
Watts, as representing my father, pointed out that there were other
cases of candidates absent from their constituencies, notably Mr
Gladstone from Greenwich. In their anxiety the Radicals also sought
legal aid, only to find, Mr Austin Holyoake said, that "every lawyer
in the town had been retained by our opponents." After a little
consideration, however, the Mayor and the Town-clerk opposed the
objection of Lord Henley's agent, reminding him that if he persisted in
an illegal objection he might render the whole election void. If the
interval between the nomination and polling was short, the meetings
held were many, and, considering the absence of the candidate, the
fervour and enthusiasm at a wonderful pitch. Mr Watts and Mr Foote, as
well as the Northampton committees, worked with unflagging ardour and
zeal. Notwithstanding all this, the election was lost, and Mr Phipps,
one of the Conservative candidates, a fellow-townsman and a brewer, was
placed at the head of the poll. The voting was declared as follows:--

Phipps       2690
Gilpin       2310
Merewether   2175
Henley       1796
Bradlaugh    1653

An analysis of the voting showed that 1060 voters had such confidence
in Mr Bradlaugh that they did not split their votes, but gave them
to him solely. In 1868 he received 1086 votes; now, little more than
five years later, with all the disadvantage of his absence--for,
notwithstanding all the good and loyal work done, this disadvantage
must nevertheless have been considerable--he polled 567 more, and
Lord Henley, in spite of the fact that he was joint candidate with Mr
Gilpin, only received 143 votes more than his rival.

Nothing had been heard from Mr Bradlaugh since the telegram despatched
by him immediately on receiving news of the dissolution, to announce
his return by the next boat. Just before the polling day a rumour was
current that he had not left America at all, but had disregarded the
claims of Northampton. This rumour was only dispelled by the receipt
of a telegram two days after the declaration of the poll, telling of
his arrival in Queenstown. He reached London on the morning of Sunday
the 8th, and went to Northampton on the Tuesday following. The scene
at the station defied description, and the crowd assembled to meet him
extended right into the town. Along the route to the Market Square
people were at the windows, and even upon the housetops, anxious to
see and greet the defeated candidate. He addressed a few words to the
mass of people gathered in the Square, and in the evening 5000 people
crowded the Circus to suffocation, in an overwhelming desire to see and
hear him, and when the time came to vote their confidence, not a single
dissentient hand was held up.

As there was already some talk of Mr Gilpin's early retirement, in
consequence of his failing health, and knowing that the divided
representation of the borough was a cause of much vexation to Whigs
and Radicals alike, since it meant the practical disenfranchisement
of Northampton, Mr Bradlaugh made one last offer "for the sake of
peace." He offered to submit the question of his future candidature
to Mr Gilpin, and if that gentleman, "in his heart and conscience,"
after hearing him, and an official representative of the other (Whig)
side, should think it right to decide against him, he pledged himself
to withdraw. This offer, like all the others of a similar kind, was
refused. Before his death, however, Mr Gilpin expressed himself
favourably towards Mr Bradlaugh's candidature,[186] and he had, as we
know, subscribed £10 towards his expenses in the former election. The
expenses of the present contest were quickly cleared by subscription,
but my father's burden was greatly added to by the liabilities
incurred by his sudden return from America. The broken engagement at
Washington cost him 219 dollars. And after all his haste, not allowing
one moment's avoidable delay in leaving, he had not the satisfaction
of arriving in time for the poll, the borough elections having been
carried through within twelve days, and the Atlantic passage taking
some days longer then than it does now. It is small wonder if he felt
somewhat despondent and disheartened, as he thought of the liabilities
contracted on the other side of the Atlantic, and the lost election at
home.

[Footnote 186: In a statement made by Alderman P. P. Perry late in 1876
on the subject of Mr Bradlaugh's candidature, he said that the late
Mr Charles Gilpin, immediately after his election in 1874, "earnestly
recommended us to come to some arrangement with Mr Bradlaugh."]

He arranged to leave again for the United States about the third week
in September 1874. In many cases where damages had been claimed for
his broken engagements of the spring, he had obtained indulgence by
promising to fulfil them in the autumn, and lectures were arranged for
him for dates extending from October to Christmas. All arrangements for
his lecturing tour were complete, when the death of Mr Charles Gilpin
in the first week of September put him in a terrible dilemma. His
engagements in the States must be kept, Northampton must be fought.

Directly after Mr Gilpin's funeral Mr Bradlaugh issued his appeal for
renewed support, and his address was extensively circulated, although
indeed he might well have felt that the Northampton people must be
getting tolerably familiar with the reforms he desired to advocate,
if permitted to take his place as their representative in Parliament.
A meeting was held in the Town Hall, and a most enthusiastic audience
crowded every corner. For some days it was not known when the new
writ would be issued, whether immediately--in which case my father
might be able to stay for the contest, or in a few weeks--when he
ought to be on the other side of the Atlantic fulfilling those broken
engagements, or after the reassembling of Parliament in the February
of the following year, by which time he could arrange to return. As
the days went on he became more and more perplexed as to what was the
right course to pursue, but when, after a delay of a week or so, it was
announced that the writ would be issued at once, he decided to stay to
fight the battle himself, and again throw himself on the indulgence
of his American friends, although this would necessarily involve a
further pecuniary loss, great or moderate, according to the number of
engagements broken. Mr C. G. Merewether once more contested the borough
in the Conservative interest, and after much searching the Moderate
Liberals finally selected Mr William Fowler as their candidate. This
election was the most bitter my father had yet fought. In addition to
the usual gross exaggerations concerning his political and religious
opinions (which this time included the perennial "watch story"), the
most cowardly statements were made concerning his private life by Mr
Fowler and his adherents. Mr Bradlaugh sought to meet Mr Fowler face to
face; he sought admission to his meetings but was refused, orders being
given to use force if necessary; he went to the house where Mr Fowler
was staying and sought a private interview, but the servant brought a
message that Mr Fowler was "too busy to see Mr Bradlaugh." Five times
at least Mr Bradlaugh tried to meet this man publicly and privately,
but without avail; then, said Mr Bradlaugh, "I shall ask the electors
of Northampton whether they will record their votes for a liar and a
coward." At this there was a terrible outcry, and he was condemned as
"foul-mouthed" for using such "hideous adjectives and substantives,"
such "vulgar virulence." The London and provincial press were equally
severe on him. Mr Bradlaugh, in a speech to the electors during the
contest, thus defended himself: "It had been said that his language
had been strong. What else but strong language could be expected from
a man who found himself slandered behind his back, and who found that
not only was he himself libelled, but that foul language was cast upon
those he was bound by every tie of honour and manhood to protect? To
Mr Fowler he owed it that that afternoon a formal inquiry had been
made to him whether he was married to his wife; to Mr Fowler he owed
it that that afternoon he received a note asking if it were true that
his mother were now living on parish relief. They would not ask him to
deny these things, even to deny them would degrade him; but he asked
them what weapon a man could use against a foe who trampled on his
dead mother's grave, and who struck at women, who at least ought to be
safe from attack?"[187] Later on, in a letter from America, he wrote
in reference to this: "In consequence of Mr Fowler's language as to
my social morality, and my theories on marriage, I received anonymous
letters inquiring if I had ever been married; my committee-men were
actually formally asked if my daughters were illegitimate; and it was
charged against me that my mother was now living in receipt of parish
relief. Protected by Mr Fowler's words--which he dared not utter to
my face--the oft-refuted 'watch story' was circulated with a dozen
variations. And yet men wonder that I called the man 'liar and coward'
who did this behind my back, and who refused me the opportunity of
either public or private explanation." The nomination took place on the
2nd of October, and to Mr Joseph Gurney's name as proposer was added
that of Mr Thomas Adams, one of the truest and most loyal of men, and
an honour to the town of Northampton, of which he was several times
Mayor. His devotion and friendship for Mr Bradlaugh was always the
same--steady, constant, and reliable--and was broken only by his death.
This, there is too much reason to believe, was hastened by overtaxing
himself on my father's behalf whilst suffering from a severe attack of
influenza.

[Footnote 187: See Mrs Besant's account in _National Reformer_, October
11th, 1874.]

The extraordinary bitterness of feeling in the town awakened by the
personalities indulged in on the Whig side and Mr Bradlaugh's strongly
expressed but quite natural resentment, had also its reaction of
intense devotion to my father's personality, and there were most
pathetic evidences of this. When the polling-day came one man ill in
bed insisted upon being lifted out and carried to the polling-booth,
declaring he would go to vote for Mr Bradlaugh even if he died on the
way; another ardent supporter who had broken his leg in two places
a week or two before, in spite of my father's expressed wish to the
contrary, had himself conveyed to the polling-place in order that he
might record his vote. Amongst the working women were many of his most
enthusiastic adherents, and one poor woman, very ill indeed, dragged
herself to the window on the polling day, and, watching for my father,
opened it as he passed to give him greeting and a cheer. Enthusiasm
there was in plenty, but unhappily not voting power enough to carry
him into Parliament, although indeed that was increasing rapidly, for
when the poll was declared on the night of Tuesday the 6th, it stood
thus:--

Merewether    2171
Fowler        1836
Bradlaugh     1766

In eight months therefore he had increased his vote by 113, and had
crept up to within 70 of the Whig candidate.

At the declaration of their defeat the Northampton Radicals, for the
first and only time, lost their self-control; the vile charges made
against the man they had chosen to honour had worked them up to a state
of the extremest indignation and anger, which, hitherto restrained, now
in the first bitterness of their disappointment broke out in violence.
An attack was made upon The Palmerston, Mr Fowler's headquarters; but
Mr Bradlaugh was soon in the midst of the rioters, and using his utmost
energy of rebuke and persuasion succeeded in dispersing the crowd.
Unfortunately, he had to leave at nine o'clock to catch the Cunard
steamship, the _Parthia_, at Queenstown. Relieved of the restraint
of Mr Bradlaugh's presence, the rioting recommenced. The Palmerston
was once more attacked, and the _Mercury_ printing office, and the
houses of some of Mr Fowler's supporters were besieged, in some cases
the windows and doors being very much damaged. Mr Fowler's effigy was
carried round the town by a woman, and was hooted and insulted until
captured by the police. Fighting commenced, and as the excitement
increased, the quieter and more timid inhabitants began to feel greatly
alarmed; the soldiery was then called out, and the Riot Act read. At
first this seemed only like pouring oil upon the flames, for these men,
after their weeks of patience and forbearance, seemed for the time to
have lost all restraint; but little by little the tumult subsided, and
then the fighting was over for good, leaving for the next day a legacy
of excitement or despondency according to temperament, and a legacy
also of many bandaged heads, which, happily betokened but few really
serious injuries. The whole fury of the rioters was directed solely
against William Fowler and his supporters, and it is noteworthy that,
although the Conservative quarters were close by The Palmerston, they
were unmolested. The press was, as usual, for the most part very unfair
to Mr Bradlaugh--some even making him responsible for the rioting
which occurred after he left Northampton. There were, however, a few
exceptions, and of these the _Times_, the _Examiner_, the _Newcastle
Weekly Chronicle_, and the _Birmingham Daily Post_ were the most
notable.

Helping in the work of this election, we again find the name of George
Odger. Two years before there had been some talk of asking him to
become a candidate for Northampton, but he would on no consideration
allow himself to be put forward in opposition to Mr Bradlaugh. Instead
of coming to Northampton to stand against him, he came to try and
win votes for him. Mr Watts and Mr Foote again unweariedly gave
their services, and Mrs Annie Besant was in the town reporting the
proceedings for the _Reformer_ under the pen-name of Ajax.

Captain Maxse was amongst the subscribers to the expenses of this
contest, and he wrote that he regarded Mr Bradlaugh's candidature
as a national one. One would never guess, to see the long list of
subscriptions (most in small sums, as always), that these same people
had already supplied the funds for an election once before in that same
year.

For upwards of five years the Liberals and Radicals of England had
before them the melancholy sight of the Radical borough of Northampton
represented in the Commons House of Parliament by two Conservatives.
Even the Northampton Whigs began to feel that keeping Bradlaugh out was
costing the borough too dear, especially as the people, sometimes in
their very families, were divided into personally hostile camps. Hence,
soon after this last election, the representatives of both parties
met together and formally agreed to unite in contesting the Municipal
and Parliamentary elections. As the Municipal elections were close at
hand, the good results of this alliance were immediately visible, I am
bound to say, however, that this amicable agreement between the Whigs
and the Radicals was not very enduring, and long before the General
Election of 1880 parties seemed almost as much divided as ever. The
more far-seeing among the Whigs realised after the 1874 election that
they must choose between being represented by the obnoxious Bradlaugh,
or the equally (if otherwise) obnoxious Tories, but the more obstinate
and more prejudiced still cried "No Bradlaugh," and it was not until
the eleventh hour, when Mr Labouchere was brought in to run as a joint
candidate with my father, that these yielded; and even then, as the
analysis of the poll clearly showed, there were many who did not vote
straight.


END OF VOL. I.



INDEX.


  Adam, The Hon. Mr, ii. 255, 337.

  Adams, Thomas, i. 398; ii. 210, 413.

  Adams, W.E. ("Caractacus"), i. 64, 68, 80, 109, 123, 125, 142.

  Affirm, Allowed to, ii. 246.

  Affirmation Bills (_see also Oaths Bill and Evidence Amendment_),
    i. 169; ii. 234, 246, 272, 281, 304, 312, 315, 336, 358, 361, 374.

  Agnosticism, ii. 117.

  Agricultural Hall, i. 226, 231.

  Agricultural Labourers' Movement, i. 374, 378.

  Aliens, Destitute, ii. 404

  Allsop, Thomas, i. 64, 68, 273.

  America, Visits to, i. 380; ii. 1.

  Amusements, Boyish, i. 5.

  Andrews, S. Pearl, i. 384.

  Arago, Emanuel, i. 318, 320.

  Arch, Joseph, i. 374, 392; ii. 368.

  Arms Bill, ii. 196.

  Army, Flogging in, ii. 201, 259.

  Army life, i. 25, 35.

  Arnold, Matthew, i. 230; ii. 151, 329.

  Arnold, Rev. T., i. 279.

  Atheism and Secularism, i. 332.

  Atheistic position stated, i. 87, 210, 337, 340; ii. 115.

  Atheistic morality, i. 334, 339; ii. 157.

  Ayrton, Hon. A.S., i. 142, 149; ii. 209.


  "B.V." (_See Thomson._)

  Ball, John, i. 374, 378.

  Ballincollig, An Eviction at, i. 31.

  Baptism, i. 4.

  Bar, Speeches at the, 1st, ii. 241;
    2nd. ii. 267;
    3rd, ii. 295;
    4th, ii. 341.

  Barker, J., i. 121.

  Barker, Rev. W., i. 207.

  Barttelot, Sir W., ii. 239, 272.

  Beaconsfield, Lord. (_See Disraeli._)

  Beales, Edmund, i. 220.

  Beesly, Prof., i. 314, 319.

  Bendall, S., i. 189; ii. 79.

  Bernard, S., i. 64, 79, 99, 204.

  Besant, Annie, i. 400; ii. 12, 33, 65, 70, 87, 92, 136, 175,
    223, 286, 291, 308, 343, 382, 395, 406, 418.

  Biggar, J., ii. 35, 195.

  Birth, i. 3.

  Bismarck, i. 312, 316.

  Bizoin, A.G., i. 317.

  Blanc, L., i. 65, 321.

  Blasphemy Laws, i. 129; ii. 319, 405.

  Blasphemy prosecutions, ii. 316, 324.

  Bohn, H.G., ii. 24.

  Bolingbroke, ii. 116.

  Bonner's Fields, i. 8, 20, 23, 25.

  Bradlaugh, Alice, i. 49, 116; ii. 93, 104, 291, 343, 401.

  Bradlaugh, Charles (jun.), i. 95, 117, 300.

  Bradlaugh, Charles (sen.), i. 2, 3, 13, 27.

  Bradlaugh, Elizabeth (Mrs Norman), i. 13, 15, 20, 27, 35, 37, 349.

  Bradlaugh, Harriet, i. 114.

  Bradlaugh, James, i. 2.

  Bradlaugh, Mrs (sen.), i. 3, 4, 36, 41, 49.

  Bradlaugh, Mrs S.L., i. 49, 173, 181, 276, 300.

  Bradlaugh, W.R., i. 114, 348.

  "Bradlaugh for Northampton," i. 276.

  Bright, John, i. 270; ii. 101, 214, 228, 234, 266, 271, 288, 348.

  Brimont, Mde. de, i. 314, 347.

  Brindley, Dr, i. 160.

  _British Banner_, i. 20.

  Broadhurst, H., ii. 105, 308, 402, 414.

  Bryce, Prof., ii. 216.

  Büchner, Dr L., i. 381; ii. 129.

  Buckle, H., ii. 119.

  Burns, J., ii. 382, 406, 417.

  Burt, T., i. 249, 376, 392; ii. 347, 348, 368, 402, 414.

  Business life:
    office boy, i. 7;
    wharf clerk, i. 7;
    "coal merchant," i. 17;
    selling braces, i. 19;
    soldier, i. 26;
    errand boy, i. 41;
    solicitor's clerk, i. 48, 90, 99;
    city merchant, i. 100, 299;
    financier, i. 101;
    publisher, ii. 17, 100, 417;
    and printer, ii. 101.

  Butler, Bishop, ii. 116, 150.


  Campbell, Alexander, i. 88.

  Capper, C., i. 274; ii. 65.

  "Caractacus." (_See W.E. Adams._)

  Cardinal's Broken Oath, A, ii. 309.

  Carlile, R., i. 9, 159, 333; ii. 165.

  Carlile, Mrs Sharples, i. 9, 19, 20, 24, 41.

  Carlile, Mrs Sharples, The Daughters of, i. 9, 11, 19, 388; ii. 4.

  Carlist country, Through the, i. 355.

  Carlyle, T., ii. 165, 422.

  Castelar, Emilio, i. 154, 353, 359, 364; ii. 4.

  Cavendish, Lord F., ii. 217.

  Chancellor's salary, The Lord, ii. 406.

  Channel Tunnel, The. ii. 381.

  Chaplin, H., ii. 227, 231, 271, 336.

  Character, Alleged change of, i. 211, 279; ii. 415.

  Characteristics, i. 279; ii. 49, 99, 101, 152, 423.

  Childhood, i. 4.

  _Christian, The_, ii. 67.

  _Christian Globe, The_, ii. 264.

  _Christian Times, The_, i. 210.

  _Chronicle, The Daily_, ii. 264.

  Churchill, Lord R., i. 14; ii. 230, 261, 272, 298, 338, 349, 363,
    371, 374, 377, 380.

  City Solicitor, The, ii. 21, 27.

  Clarke, Sir E., ii. 268, 378, 405, 419.

  Clergy, Letters to the, i. 128.

  Clerical libeller, A, i. 99.

  Clerical feeling on the Oath question, ii. 250, 275, 291, 314, 319.

  Clerkenwell explosion, The, i. 257.

  Clifford, Prof., ii. 133.

  Clock Tower, Imprisoned in the, ii. 245.

  Closing years, ii. 102, 368.

  Cluseret, General, i. 115, 253, 262.

  "Cob of Coal" story, ii. 76.

  Coercion Bill, The, ii. 196, 258, 290, 377.

  Collet, C.D., i. 139, 142.

  Commune, The, i. 322.

  Compulsory Education, i. 265.

  Congreve, Dr, i. 314.

  Conway, Moncure D., ii. 9, 41, 43, 276, 312.

  Cooper, Robert, i. 78.

  Cooper, R.A., i. 267, 364.

  Cooper, Thomas, i. 84, 209.

  Corbett, ----, ii. 264, 302.

  Corporation, The London (Malversation Charges), ii. 374.

  Counsel in the various lawsuits--
    Chitty, T., i. 297.
    Coleridge, Sir J.D. (Sol.-Gen.), i. 144.
    Collier, Sir R. (Att.-Gen.), i. 144, 182.
    Crump, F.O., ii. 322.
    Danckwertz, W.O., ii. 352.
    Giffard, Sir H. (_see also Giffard_), ii. 23, 73, 177, 260, 292, 322,
      327, 355.
    Grantham W. (_see also Grantham_), ii. 75, 79.
    Hunter, Dr. W.A. (_see also Hunter_), ii. 322.
    Hutton, Crompton, i. 145.
    James, Sir H. (Att.-Gen.) (_see also James_), ii. 355.
    Karslake, Sir J. (Att.-Gen.), i. 141.
    Keane, D., i. 284.
    Moloney, M., ii. 73, 317, 328.
    O'Malley, i. 90.
    Russell, Sir C. ii. 73.
    Seymour, Digby (_see also Seymour_), i. 290.
    Straight, Douglas, ii. 20.
    Smith, Lumley, i. 284.
    Smith, Montague (_see also Judges_), i. 140, 184.
    Solicitors-Gen., i. 142, 144; ii. 355.
    Wood, i. 285.
    Wright, R.S., ii. 352.

  Courtney, L.H., ii. 177.

  Courtship, i. 44.

  Cowen, Joseph, i. 83, 376; ii. 270, 276, 288.

  Crawford, J.G., i. 130, 139, 143.

  Cremer, W.R., i. 220.

  Crémieux, A., i. 317.

  Cross, Sir R.A., ii. 336.


  Darwin, C., ii. 23, 119.

  Davey, Sir H., ii. 266.

  Death, The fear of, i. 198.

  Death and funeral, ii. 110, 420.

  Debates:--
    Armstrong, ii. 50;
    Barker, i. 207;
    Baylee, i. 161;
    Bowes, i. 87;
    Brindley, i. 159;
    Browne, ii. 44;
    Burns, i. 343;
    Cooper, i. 209;
    Court, i. 88;
    Douglas, i. 63;
    Marsden Gibson, ii. 407;
    Gordon, ii. 47;
    Grant, i. 84, 158; ii, 38;
    Harrison, i. 338, 341, 342;
    Holyoake,
    i .322;
    Hutchings, i. 167;
    Hyndman, ii. 189, 417;
    Father Ignatius, i. 342;
    King, i. 332;
    Lawson, i. 170;
    Lightfoot, ii. 49;
    Mackie, i. 170;
    Mahalm, i. 170;
    Matthias, i. 87;
    M'Cann, i. 244; ii. 142;
    Mensor, i. 87;
    Porteous, i. 212;
    Roberts, ii. 46;
    Robertson, i. 336;
    Rutherford, i. 170;
    Simpson, ii. 47;
    Smart, i. 89;
    Westerby, ii. 51 132, 138;
    Woodville Woodman, i. 170, 212.

  Denning, Inspector, ii. 287, 289, 336.

  Derby, Lord, ii. 177, 294.

  Devonport case, The, i. 175.

  Dickson, Col., i. 220, 315.

  Dilke, Ashton, ii. 216, 289, 308, 347.

  Dillwyn, L.L., ii. 224, 303, 375.

  Disestablishment, i. 265.

  _Dispatch, Weekly_, i. 186, 233; ii. 265.

  Disraeli, B., i. 222, 309; ii. 85, 245.

  Donnybrook Fair, At, i. 32.

  Drysdale, Dr C., ii. 24.

  Drysdale, Dr J., ii. 138.

  Dublin, In, i. 261.

  Duel, Challenged to a, ii. 259.


  Early closing legislation, ii. 401.

  _Echo_, i. 319; ii. 239.

  Education, i. 4;
    of his children, i. 116, 347.

  Eight hours' question, The, ii. 189, 413, 417.

  Election addresses, i. 264, 393.

  Election colours, i. 267.

  Election funds, i. 263, 267, 278, 396, 400; ii. 265.

  Election work, gratuitous, i. 266.

  Emerson, R.W., i. 388.

  Employer and employed. (_See Master and Servant._)

  Employers' Liability Bill, i. 269; ii. 49, 259, 369, 374, 380, 402,
    406, 415.

  Enfield, Viscount, i. 147.

  Enlisting, i. 26.

  Esquiros, A., i. 114.

  Evidence Amendment Act (_see also Affirmation and Oath_), i. 129, 169,
    284, 288; ii. 216.

  _Examiner_, i. 353, 400.

  Expunge the resolutions of exclusion, Motion to, ii. 404, 419.


  Fanatical Monkeys, The, i. 133, 233, 291; ii. 76, 151.

  Farrar, Archdeacon, ii. 116.

  Favre, Jules, i. 314, 320, 322.

  Fawcett, Prof. H., ii. 23.

  Fencing, i. 39.

  Fenian Brotherhood, The, i. 253.

  Ferrier, Dr, ii. 138.

  _Financial Reformer, The_, ii. 68.

  First pamphlet, i. 23.

  Firth, J.F.B., ii. 216.

  Fishing, i. 6, 116; ii. 99, 103, 380, 417.

  Flint, Professor, ii. 56, 120, 125.

  Flourens, G., i. 322.

  Foote, G.W., i. 359, 394; ii. 87, 92, 316, 324, 412.

  Forcibly ejected from the House of Commons, ii. 286.

  Forster, W.E., ii. 195.

  Fournichon, L., i. 317.

  Fowler, Sir R., ii. 226, 271, 287, 374.

  Fowler, W., i. 397.

  France, i. 154, 312.

  Fraser, Bishop, ii. 161.

  _Freeman, The_, ii. 285.

  Freemasonry, i. 203.

  _Freethinker, The_, ii. 316, 324.

  French elections, Nominated at the, i. 321.

  Friendly Societies, ii. 404.


  "G.R." i. 123.

  Gambetta, L., i. 317, 321.

  Garibaldi, i. 67, 114, 150, 170, 203, 214.

  Garrison, W.L., i. 384, 386.

  Gibson, Rev. Marsden, ii. 141, 407.

  Gibson, Milner, i. 142.

  Gibson. J.G. (Att.-Gen. for Ireland), ii. 226.

  Giffard, Sir H. (Lord Halsbury), i. 274, 311; ii. 235, 239, 255, 337.
    (_See also Counsel._)

  Gilpin, C., i. 265, 268, 394; ii. 65.

  Girardin, E. de, i. 330.

  Gladstone, W.E., i. 144, 148, 222, 251, 258, 262, 267, 272, 310, 390;
    ii. 164, 192, 209, 226, 239, 242, 269, 282, 297, 338, 345, 365, 369,
    391, 416, 419, 426.

  Goldsmith's Row, Working Men's Hall in, i. 47.

  Gorst, Sir J., ii. 243, 261, 267, 294.

  Gospels, Early Criticism of the, i. 16, 22, 63, 84; ii. 148.

  Gospels and the Thirty-nine Articles, The, i. 8.

  Grahame, Cuninghame, ii. 382, 384, 414.

  Grand Orient of France, i. 204.

  Grant, Rev. B., i. 19, 73, 84, 158, 160, 166; ii. 39.

  Grantham, W., ii. 75, 257.
    (_See also Counsel._)

  Granville, Lord, i. 314.

  Grote, G., ii. 16, 176.

  Guernsey methods, i. 189.

  Gurney, J., i. 153, 264, 276, 394, 398.

  Guyot, Yves, i. 331.


  Habits and surroundings, ii. 97.

  Hall of Science, City Road, i. 219.

  Hall of Science, Old Street, i. 248, 336, 343.

  Hamilton, Lord G., ii. 308, 375.

  Hamilton, Sir W., ii. 213.

  Harcourt, Sir W.V., ii. 295, 334, 405.

  Harrison, Rev. A.J., i. 338, 341, 342, 354; ii. 39.

  Harrison, Frederic, i. 319.

  Hartington, Lord, ii. 336.

  Harvey, T., i. 94.

  Headlam, Rev. S., ii. 23, 275.

  Henley, Lord, i. 265, 268, 294.

  Herbert, Auberon, ii. 82.

  Herzen, A., i. 115, 204.

  Hicks-Beach, Sir M., ii. 358, 361, 362, 371, 405.

  Hobbes, T., ii. 115, 129.

  Holbach, ii. 116.

  Holker, Sir J., ii. 219, 265, 269.

  Holyoake, Austin, i. 21, 132, 139, 142, 144, 218, 267, 285, 332, 390,
    394; ii. 12, 16.

  Holyoake, G.J., i. 21, 64, 69, 78, 128, 175, 332; ii. 16, 35, 65, 142,
    223, 277.

  Home life, i. 111.

  Home Rule, i. 258; ii. 192, 200, 363, 369.

  Home sold up, The, i. 301.

  Homeless, i. 117.

  Hooper, A., i. 25, 42, 276.

  Hopps, Rev. J. Page, i. 143.

  Hopwood, C.H., ii. 219, 358.

  Horsley, Rev. J.W., ii. 23.

  Howell, G., i. 220, 319.

  Hubbard, J.G., ii. 271.

  Huddersfield, Difficulties at, i. 240.

  _Huddersfield Examiner_, The, ii. 66, 73.

  Hugo, V., i. 65; ii. 162

  "Humanity's Gain from Unbelief," ii. 141, 407.

  Hunger, i. 25.

  Hunter, Dr W.A., ii. 389, 419.
    (_See also Counsel._)

  Hutchings, W., i. 166.

  Huxley, Prof., i. 341; ii. 128, 151.

  Hyde Park Meetings:--
    Sunday Trading Bill, i. 52;
    Government Reform Bill, i. 81;
    Garibaldi, i. 214;
    Reform League, i. 224, 234;
    Parks Regulation Bill, i. 372;
    Peace Demonstrations, ii. 82;
    Grant to Prince of Wales, ii. 84;
    Constitutional Rights, ii. 308.

  Hyndman, H.M., ii. 414, 417.


  "I Believe," i. 168

  "Iconoclast," Use of the name, i. 42, 144.

  Illingworth, A., ii. 258, 337.

  "Impeachment of the House of Brunswick," i. 306; ii. 225, 230.

  India, ii. 108, 198, 409, 416, 426.

  India, Visit to, ii. 106, 409.

  Inniscarra, Right of way at, i. 33.

  _Investigator_, i. 64, 79, 87, 95, 97, 111, 119.

  Italy, The cause of liberty in, i. 151, 214; ii. 192, 198.

  Ireland, i. 29, 252; ii. 192.

  "Ireland Society," The, i. 259.

  Irish Question, Essay on the, i. 257.

  Irish Land Bill, The, ii. 274.


  James, Sir H., ii. 215, 273, 391, 405.
    (_See also Counsel._)

  Jessel, Sir George, ii. 19, 29.

  Jingoism, ii. 82.

  John Street Institution, The, i. 21.

  Jones, B.B., i. 17, 62, 218.

  Jones, Ernest, i. 82, 232, 268, 378.

  Jones, Lloyd, i. 319.

  Judges before whom Mr Bradlaugh appeared--
    Baggallay, L.J., ii. 262, 292.
    Blackburn, Lord, i. 288, 290; ii. 322
    Bovill, L.C.J., i. 287.
    Bramwell, L.J., i. 139, 144; ii. 27, 262, 322.
    Brett, L.J., i. 286; ii. 27, 292, 305, 307, 355.
    Byles, J., i. 187.
    Channell, Baron, i. 187, 287.
    Cleasby, Baron, i. 147, 287.
    Cockburn, L.C.J., i. 287, 293; ii. 21, 23, 36, 179.
    Coleridge, L.C.J., ii. 215, 278, 292, 322, 327, 346.
    Cotton, L.J., ii. 27, 305, 307, 355.
    Denman, J., ii. 278, 292, 305.
    Erle, L.C.J., i. 187.
    Field, J., ii. 79, 320, 321.
    Fitzgerald, Lord, ii. 322.
    Grove, J., ii. 74, 278, 280, 306, 351.
    Hawkins, J., ii. 292, 305, 392.
    Holker, L.J., ii. 305.
    Huddleston, Baron, ii. 306, 351, 393.
    Keating, J., i. 187, 287.
    Kelly, L.C., Baron, i. 147, 287, 288.
    Lindley, J., ii. 74, 280, 355.
    Lush, J., ii. 22, 262.
    Manisty, J., ii. 306, 320, 392.
    Martin, Baron, i. 141.
    Mathew, J., ii. 260, 320, 346.
    Mellor, J., i. 288, 294, 295; ii. 21, 25.
    Prentice, S., Q.C. (arbitrator), i. 285.
    Selborne, Lord Chancellor, ii. 322.
    Smith, Montague, J., i. 284, 287.
      (_See also Counsel._)
    Stephen, J., ii. 318, 320, 346, 354.
    Watkin Williams, J., 278, 292, 306, 320.
    Watson, Lord, ii. 322.
    Willes, J., i. 141, 297.
    Williams, J., i. 187.
    Wood, Vice-Chancellor, i. 282.


  Kant, ii. 122.

  Kelly, Col., i. 115, 253, 256.

  Kenealy, Dr, i. 377.

  Kipling, Rudyard, i. 213; ii. 198.

  Knowlton Pamphlet, prosecution of, ii. 16, 20, 33, 175.


  Labouchere, H., i. 400; ii. 197, 209, 215, 234, 240, 261, 271, 275,
    279, 284, 297, 303, 308, 319, 334, 341, 347, 359, 368, 374, 414.

  Labour Bureau, ii. 191, 369.

  Lancashire relief, i. 206, 216.

  Land laws, Reform of the, i. 129, 264, 375; ii. 179, 182, 368.

  Lansdowne, Marquis of, i. 149.

  Law, Harriet, i. 129, 249; ii. 65.

  _Law Times, The_, ii. 321.

  Lawson, Rev. T., i. 170.

  Lawsuits:--
    Att. Gen. (trial at bar), ii. 91, 351.
    Bolton, i. 77.
    Clarke, ii. 91, 260.
    De Rin, i. 284.
    Devonport, i. 182.
    Edgcumbe, ii. 73.
    English Joint Stock Bank, i. 282.
    Erskine, ii. 91, 96, 109, 307, 321.
    Gossett, ii. 91, 346.
    Gurney, ii. 91, 306, 320.
    Huddersfield, i. 243.
    Knowlton pamphlet, ii. 16, 20, 33.
    Laker, ii. 79.
    Mackay's libellous "Life" (various suits), ii. 397.
    Mirfield, i. 297.
    _National Reformer_, i. 137.
    Newdegate, ii. 91, 322.
    Peters, ii. 109, 393.
    Queen (Sir H. Tyler), ii. 91, 316, 327.
    _Razor_, i. 290.
    _St Stephen's Review_, ii. 392.
    Wigan, i. 168.
    Wyatt, i. 48.

  Layard, Sir A.H., i. 280, 369.

  "Leaves," i. 30.

  Lectures at--
    Accrington, i. 77;
    Altrincham, i. 194;
    Ashton-under-Lyne, i. 260;
    Bedlington, i. 239;
    Blyth, i. 249;
    Boardman's Edge, i. 199;
    Bolton, i. 77;
    Bradford, i. 74;
    Chesterfield, i. 198;
    Congleton, ii. 55;
    Darwen, i. 313; ii. 53;
    Dewsbury, i. 200;
    Doncaster, i. 74, 76;
    Edinburgh, ii. 56;
    Glasgow, i. 78;
    Guernsey, i. 189;
    Halifax, i. 77;
    Huddersfield, i. 202, 241, 245, 260;
    Leeds, i. 200;
    Leigh, i. 196;
    Liverpool, i. 238;
    Manchester, i. 246;
    Newcastle, i. 73;
    Newton Abbot, i. 207;
    Northampton, i. 74;
    Norwich, i. 170, 308;
    Oxford, ii. 52;
    Plymouth, i. 175;
    Portsmouth, i. 250;
    Rochdale, i. 196;
    Scarborough, ii. 58;
    Seghill, i. 251;
    Shaw, i. 195;
    Sheffield, i. 72, 76;
    Sowerby Bridge, i. 306, 308;
    Stourbridge, i. 306;
    Sunderland, i. 73;
    Warrington, i. 196;
    Wigan, i. 162;
    Yarmouth, i. 171.

  Lees, Dr F.R., i. 268.

  Lennox, Lord H., ii. 225.

  Leno, J.B., i. 53.

  Lepard & Co., i. 2, 7, 36.

  Leverson, M., i. 99, 290.

  Lewis, Sir George, ii. 280.

  Linton, W.J., i. 109, 130.

  Literary Work, i. 23, 63; ii. 103.

  _Liverpool Daily Post_, i. 376.

  _Living Age_, ii. 55.

  Lovett, William, i. 8.

  Lunatic visitors, ii. 59.


  Macdonald, A., i. 376.

  Magee, Dr, i. 308; ii. 149, 159, 371.

  Magistrates--
    D'Eyncourt, Mr, ii. 289.
    Figgins, Alderman, ii. 20, 22.
    Flowers, Mr, ii. 280.
    Mayor, Lord, ii. 317.
    Vaughan, Mr, ii. 28, 72, 280.

  Marjoribanks, E. (Lord Tweedmouth), ii. 255, 303.

  Malthus, Rev. T., ii. 169.

  Malthusian advocacy, i. 125; ii. 28, 171, 247, 387, 414.

  Malthusian League, The, ii. 28.

  Manchester Martyrs, The, i. 256.

  Manchester poisoning case, A, i. 91.

  Manning, Cardinal, i. 341, 374, 389; ii. 93, 239, 252, 309.

  Marine adventure, A, i. 181.

  Market rights and tolls, ii. 377, 379, 414.

  Marriage, i. 48.

  Marriage, Views on, ii. 161.

  Marsden, Mark E., i. 7.

  Martin, Emma, ii. 64.

  Martineau, Dr, ii. 123.

  Marx, Dr K., i. 331.

  Master and servant, i. 123, 129, 264.
    (_See Employers' Liability Bill._)

  Materialism, ii. 127.

  May, Sir E., ii. 216, 230.

  Mayne, Sir R., i. 222.

  Mazzini, i. 69, 114, 150.

  M'Carthy, J., ii. 238.

  M'Sorley, Rev. H., i. 102.

  Medical students, Rowdyism of, ii. 83.

  Melvill, W.H., i. 137.

  Memorials, ii. 110.

  Merewether, C.G., i. 268, 394; ii. 209.

  Metaphysical Club, The, i. 341.

  Mill, James, ii. 161.

  Mill, J.S., i. 125, 139, 142, 149, 267, 271, 275, 278;
    ii. 120, 161, 175, 214.

  Miners, i. 376.

  Mitchell, G., "One from the Plough," i. 378.

  Money, Attacked for earning, i. 97, 174, 197.

  "Monkey" story. (_See Fanatical Monkeys._)

  Moore, R., i. 139, 142.

  Morley, J., ii. 116, 177, 216, 227, 239, 276, 332, 347, 390, 420.

  Morley, S., i. 82, 374, 392; ii. 210, 218, 276, 301, 313, 359.

  Mott, Lucretia, ii. 6.

  Müller, Prof. Max, ii. 121.

  Mundella, A.J., ii. 191, 292, 308, 319.

  Mursell, Rev. A., i. 279; ii. 39, 43, 408.


  Naples Colour Company, i. 100, 302.

  Napoléon, Emperor Louis, i. 64, 79, 125, 312.

  Napoléon, Prince Jérome, i. 328.

  National expenditure, i. 264.

  National Liberal Club, ii. 93.

  National Secular Society, i. 78; ii. 13, 14, 86, 106, 246, 253, 258,
    315, 410.

  _National Reformer_, i. 111, 119, 304; ii. 14, 18, 259, 278, 304, 308,
    315, 332, 353, 363;
    and Government prosecutions, i. 137;
    and the Postmaster General, i. 150.

  _Newcastle Chronicle, Daily_, i. 73;
    _Weekly_, i. 273, 400; ii. 80.

  Newdegate, C.N., i. 14; ii. 13, 248, 271, 277, 292, 295, 321, 371, 376.

  Newman, Prof., i. 288, 341.

  _Nineteenth Century_, ii. 252, 256, 309.

  "No Popery" riots, i. 246.

  Norton, Lord, ii. 254.

  Northampton elections, i. 263, 392; ii. 92, 209, 263, 301, 349, 359, 370.

  Northcote, Sir S., i. 263; ii. 203, 217, 228, 242, 265, 282, 295, 315,
    341, 345, 372.

  Norwood, C.H., ii. 249, 359.


  Oath of Allegiance, ii. 211;
    self administered, ii. 229.

  Oath question, Cost of contesting the, i. 288; ii. 399.

  Oaths Bill, ii. 281, 296, 303, 378, 388.
    (_See also Affirmation Bill and Evidence Amendment._)

  _Observer_, i. 315.

  Odger, George, i. 267, 280, 315, 319, 352, 373, 392, 394; ii. 81.

  _Odium Theologicum_ raised at Northampton, The, i. 267.

  "Old woman" story, The, ii. 77.

  "Oppressed of all nations, To the," i. 205.

  Origin of Bradlaugh family, i. 1.

  Orsini, Felice, i. 64.

  "Outlaw or citizen?" i. 292.

  Owen, Robert, i. 78, 159, 389; ii. 168.


  Packer, Rev. J.G., i. 4, 8, 13, 19, 22, 23, 27, 107, 167.

  Paget, Dr, ii. 150.

  Paine, T., i. 158, 218, 321, 333, 378; ii. 111, 117, 140, 153, 165.

  _Pall Mall Gazette_, i. 235; ii. 80, 276, 303, 305.

  Pantheism, ii. 121.

  Papal Gendarmes, i. 155.

  Parker, Rev. Dr, ii. 71.

  Parks Regulation Bill, i. 372.

  Parliamentary candidature, First thought of, i. 263.

  Parliamentary struggle, The, ii. 203.

  Parnell, C.S., ii. 193, 239, 244, 247, 258, 358.

  Peace demonstrations, ii. 82.

  Pearson, Karl, i. 128.

  Perpetual Pensions, ii. 201, 374, 379, 406.

  Personality, Estimate of his, ii. 421.

  Peters and Lord Salisbury, ii. 385.

  Phillips, Wendell, i. 384; ii. 3.

  Phipps, P., i. 394; ii. 207.

  Poetry, i. 44.

  Poland, i. 109, 217.

  Policy, Early, i. 79, 127.

  Political Education, First steps in, i. 6.

  Positivists and the Franco-Prussian War, i. 314, 319.

  _Primitive Methodist, The_, i. 275;
    _Quarterly Review_, i. 249.

  Prince of Wales, The, i. 205, 306, 310; ii. 80, 84.

  _Printers' Journal, The_, i. 134.

  Proclamation of the Irish Republic, i. 253.

  Proportional Representation, ii. 201.

  Pugilists, Encounters with, i. 307, 308; ii. 54.

  _Punch_, i. 186.

  Pyat, Felix, i. 204.


  Quaker Discussion Society, A, i. 258.

  "Questionable" Book, A, i. 310.


  Rathmines Church, At, i. 31.

  _Reasoner, The_, i. 23, 60, 62.

  Reclus, Elie, i. 323;
    Elisée, i. 114, 323.

  Recruits and the Captain, The, i. 29.

  Reform League, Irish, i. 261, 270.

  Reform League, National, i. 220.

  Reform League, Political, i. 81.

  Religious Orders in France, Laws against, i. 331.

  Republican Club, London, i. 309.

  Republican Club, Movement, i. 310, 352; ii. 166.

  _Reynolds Newspaper_, i. 150.

  Richard, H., ii. 248.

  Richards, H.C., ii. 349, 359.

  Riding, i. 39.

  Rogers, Thomas, i. 41, 48, 90, 93.

  Rogers, Thorold, ii. 230.

  Rollin, Ledru, i. 65, 321.

  Rossa, O'Donovan, i. 382.

  Royal Commission, Examined before the, i. 57.

  Ruskin, J., ii. 181.


  Sacrifices of the poor, ii. 96, 401.

  Salisbury, Lord, ii. 304, 369, 385, 393, 414.

  _Saturday Review, The_, i. 133, 142, 233, 236, 247, 272, 275, 291;
    ii. 302.

  Savage, J., i. 12, 19.

  Sch[oe]lcher, V., i. 321.

  Schooling, i. 4.

  _Scotsman, The_, i. 373.

  Secular Society, London, i. 78;
    National. (_See National Secular Society._)

  Secularism, i. 332; ii. 142.

  Security Laws, Repeal of the, i. 149.

  Select Committee (Parliamentary struggle), First, ii. 218;
    Second, ii. 227, 231.

  Seymour, Digby, ii. 178.
    (_See also Counsel._)

  Sheffield inundation, i. 218.

  _Sheffield Telegraph_, ii. 210.

  Smith, Joshua B., i. 206, 385; ii. 6.

  Smith, Goldwin, ii. 276.

  Smith, W.H., ii. 374, 391, 419, 425;

    & Sons, i. 130, 304.

  Smoking, ii. 10.

  Socialism, ii. 185.

  Somerville Club, The, ii. 93.

  Southwark Election, i. 280.

  Souvenir, A Northampton, i. 268, 277.

  Spain, i. 154, 351; ii. 427.

  Speaker, The (Sir H. Brand), ii. 216, 224, 260, 265, 282, 289, 299,
    304, 337, 346, 359
    (Sir A. Peel); ii. 361.

  _Spectator, The_, ii. 183.

  Spencer, H., ii. 127, 151.

  Spinoza, ii. 42, 116, 122.

  Spiritualism, i. 248, 343.

  _Sporting Times_ and Dr Shorthouse, The, i. 146, 286.

  Spurgeon, Rev. C.H., ii. 78, 210.

  _Star, Morning_, i. 150, 186, 225.

  _St. James's Gazette_, ii. 194, 337.

  St Luke's Hospital, N.Y., ii. 9.

  Suez Canal, The, ii. 53.

  Suffrage, The, Adult, i. 129;
    Manhood, i. 125, 129;
    Universal, i. 222;
    Woman, ii. 197.

  Sumner, C., i. 384; ii. 3, 6.

  _Sunday Times, The_, i. 233.

  Swinburne, A.C., i. 44, 311; ii. 309.


  _Tablet, The_, i. 186.

  Talandier, A., i. 114, 204.

  Taxation, i. 264.

  Taylor, P.A., i. 82, 109.

  _Telegraph, The Daily_, i. 143, 269.

  Temperance Advocacy, i. 29.

  Theism, ii. 121.

  Thiers, A., i. 322, 371.

  Thomson, James ("B.V."), i. 40, 44, 49, 80, 91, 96, 109, 117, 133, 210;
    ii. 287.

  _Times, The_, i. 143, 150, 225, 234, 275, 373, 376, 400; ii. 36, 183,
    264, 292, 318, 377, 385.

  Tissot, Ch., i. 318, 320.

  Torrens, M'Cullagh, ii. 337, 345, 359.

  Trades Unions, i. 269.

  Trafalgar Square: Meetings in, i. 223, 224, 231;
    Right of do., ii. 382, 384, 404.

  Trelawney, Sir J., i. 169.

  Trimby, Elizabeth, i. 35.

  Truck Act Amendment, ii. 191, 369, 374, 377, 379.

  Truelove, Edward, i. 64, 139, 142, 267; ii. 22, 28, 50, 85.

  Turberville Legacy, ii. 31.

  Tyler, Sir H., ii. 92, 238, 291, 308, 316, 324, 369.

  Tyndall, Professor, ii. 137.


  Unitarians, i. 131, 183, 380; ii. 319.

  United States, First visit to the, i. 380;
    Second visit, ii. 1.

  University College, ii. 93.

  Utilitarianism, i, 334.


  Vaccination, i. 275;
    Royal Commission on, ii. 414.

  Vickery, Dr Alice, ii. 24.

  Victoria Park, i. 9, 23.

  Voltaire, i. 202; ii. 116, 117, 151, 153.

  Voysey, Rev. C., i. 134.


  Walker, Gen. Sir Beauchamp, i. 35.

  Walpole, Spencer, ii. 219, 227, 236.

  Walter, J., ii. 2, 271.

  Ward, Mrs H., ii. 121, 151.

  Warner Place Hall and its habitues. i. 11.

  Warton, ii. 271.

  Washburne, E.K., i. 322.

  "Watch" Story, The, i. 274, 291; ii. 63.

  Watts, C., i. 138, 267, 311, 394, 400; ii. 16, 30, 35, 77, 87, 100.

  Watts, J., i. 63, 123, 128, 131, 166, 208, 212.

  Watson, J., i. 139; ii. 16.

  Webb-Peploe, Rev. H.W., ii. 78, 314.

  Wedderburn, Sir W., ii. 107, 410.

  Wigan, Difficulties at, i. 163.

  Wilberforce, Canon, ii. 70, 72.

  Wilkes, John, ii. 363, 365.

  Williamson, J., i. 117, 175.

  Wilson, Henry, i. 385; ii. 3, 9.

  Windeyer, Judge, ii. 179.

  Wolff, Sir H.D., ii. 217, 224, 338, 369, 375.

  Woodhull, Victoria, i. 383.

  Worms, Baron H. de, ii. 227, 230, 337.

  Wright, Sir T., ii. 209.


  Yates, Edmund, ii. 78.

  Youth, i. 17.





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