Autobiography (4)
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CHAPTER XXII.
PLEADING IN THE COURT OF QUEEN'S BENCH:
CHARTIST PRISONER LIFE:
1843.


AND now the most heartrending trial I had ever to meet in my life was at hand.  My poor dear wife was in a very dangerous state, worn almost to a skeleton, always in bed, and incapable of helping herself; and I had to leave her in that state on the 2nd of May—for we were summoned to appear in London to receive sentence on the 4th.  I had told her that I expected two years' imprisonment, because they had given Capper that sentence.  One of her sisters, with other women, who stood around her bed, as I stooped to give her, as I expected, the last token of love in this life, burst into an exclamation of amazement, as they saw her glance upwards and smile, with an expression that meant, "We shall meet in heaven!"

    I spoke in the market-square of Northampton on the evening of the 2nd of May, and in the John Street room, in London, on the evening of the 3rd.  On the morning of the 4th, in the court of Queen's Bench, O'Connor, Harney, Doyle, Leach, Bairstow, Hill, Parkes, Arran, Railton, Brooks, James Arthur, and several other members of the Manchester Convention, and I with them, were first arraigned, and bound in £100 each to keep the peace, and appear again when summoned, and then dismissed.  Next, Daddy Richards and I (for Capper was safe in Stafford Gaol, and Ellis was sent across the sea) were re-arraigned, as convicted of sedition and conspiracy, before Lord Denman (the Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's bench), Sir John Patteson, and Sir John Williams; and we were directed to plead "in mitigation of judgment, or sentence."

    Sir Frederick Pollock and Serjeant Talfourd were in court all day; but Sir William Follett was only called in, from the House of Commons, just at the close.  O'Connor, Wheeler, Skevington of Loughborough, and a great band of Chartists, were also in court, all day, and witnessed all the proceedings.  Judge Patteson and Judge Williams read judge Erskine's notes of our trial; and again, it was read out that "Mistake" was written on the evidence for felony, by the judge, at the request of the jury.  When they had finished the reading of judge Erskine's notes, I began to plead, and referred to printed proofs that the outbreak originated with the Anti-Corn-Law League; but was interrupted by Lord Denman, who told me that I had said all that at Stafford, and need not repeat it now.  I recommenced; but again he interrupted me, saying, very angrily,—

    "We cannot have the time of this court taken up with mere repetitions of what you said at Stafford.  You are here simply to plead in mitigation of judgment—and so, go on, sir!"

    The last words were spoken with such haughty harshness, that I burst into tears.  I had been taught to worship this man, all my life.  He was Brougham's coadjutor in the defence of poor Queen Caroline, and bore so high a name for patriotism, liberality, and uprightness, that my sensitive nature felt his words as if my mother had chidden me.

    "My lord," I said in a broken voice, "is that worthy of yourself—of the name of Denman?  I cannot address the Court, if your lordship speaks to me in that manner.  Will you allow John Richards to go on, and let me address the Court when he has done?"

    "If you like!" said the Lord Chief Justice, in the same haughty tone.

    So I sat down, and Daddy Richards went on, and very admirably, too—for the old man had fine native powers, and spoke with a little stateliness that was very becoming to a white-headed, large-foreheaded man of threescore and ten.  He told the Court that he learnt his first lessons in patriotism and politics from "the Right Honourable Charles James Fox, and the Right Honourable William Pitt."  He gave a really clever sketch of the progress of opinion in politics during his own time—strongly set forth the broken promises of the Whig Ministry and its supporters—and argued well for the People's Charter; in conclusion, telling the Lord Chief justice, to his face, that his lordship's doings in the past had greatly helped the progress of Chartism.

    "My lords," said the fine old man, "I have spent my life in the good old cause of freedom, and I believe still that it will prevail.  I am seventy years old; but I shall live to see the People's Charter become the law of the land yet!"

    The judges smiled, and O'Connor and the Chartists looked as if they could have liked to give the old Daddy three cheers.  I resumed when the old man concluded—I think about one o'clock; and I went on till five, and then asked if I might conclude my plea on the morrow.

    Lord Denman eyed me with cruel archness this time, and, with a grim mocking smile, said,—"We mean to hear you out to-night"

    So he beat me out of my naughty design of making them sit two days; and in another hour and a half I concluded.

    Sir William Follett was now summoned from the House of Commons to address the Court.

    "My lords," said he, "I entreat you to pass a severe sentence on the prisoner Cooper: you will probably have some consideration for the advanced age of the prisoner Richards."

    Sir John Patteson, the large dark-eyed, and large-horned judge—for he was deaf, and wore huge hearing horns—had to pronounce sentence; and he spoke to us with admirable courtesy—but sentenced me to two years', and John Richards to one year's, imprisonment in Stafford Gaol.

    I sprang up immediately, and begged, before the Court was broken up that the judges would allow me literary privileges during my imprisonment—as the chaplain of Stafford Gaol had forewarned me that if I came there again as a convicted offender, I could have nothing but the Bible and Prayer Book to read, and could not be allowed to write or receive a letter, or make use of pen, ink, and paper; since all that was contrary to the rules of the prison.

    "We have no control over the rules of any gaol in the kingdom," replied the Lord Chief justice, as haughtily as ever; "at present you are committed to the custody of the Marshal of the Marshalsea—so get down, sir!"

    We remained only one week in the Queen's Prison "Queen's Bench Prison" as it used to be called.  Richard Oastler then occupied what the prisoners called " the state-room"; and I and Daddy Richards dined with him on the Sunday. Mr. Oastler wrote to Lord Kenyon to intercede with Lord Denman, and get him to express his wish to the Stafford magistrates that I should be allowed the literary privileges I had asked for; but Denman sternly refused.

    We were suddenly told, at ten o'clock on the night before we left the Queen's Prison, that we were to be taken to Stafford at six the next morning.  I neither took off my clothes, nor slept, that night; but passed it in busily revolving the events of the last two years of my life, and resolving that I would turn the two years' imprisonment into a fresh start for an honourable life, or die.  I vowed that I would break down the system of restraint in Stafford Gaol, and win the privilege of reading and writing, or end my life in the struggle.  I thought I should never see my dear wife again: she would die before I left the prison, and so I need not be careful of my life on her account.  And if I could not write the poem on which I believed my whole future on earth depended—if it were to be honourable—it was not worth enduring two years' dismal and unrelieved imprisonment, to come out in rags and with a ruined constitution.

    My resolution was at once put to the test when we reached Stafford Gaol again.  My box, in which I had a considerable number of books, was taken from me, and one of the turnkeys demanded the key to it.  I refused to give it him; and he said he must take it from my pocket.

    "Do, if you dare," said I ; "if you attempt it, I'll knock your teeth down your throat!"—and I said it in such a way that he slunk aside, and said no more.

    We were put into the same day-room with Capper; and for the first few weeks we all three slept in one room.  Very soon, we were placed in separate sleeping cells.  Each cell had a stone floor; was simply long enough to hold a bed, and broad enough for one to walk by the side of it.  An immense slab of cast iron formed the bedstead, and it rested on two large stones.  A bag stuffed so hard with straw that you could scarcely make an impression on it with your heel formed the bed.  Two blankets and a rug completed the furniture.  There was no pillow; but remembering that, from my former imprisonment, I had brought in with me a small Mackintosh pillow, which I could blow up and put under my head.  The best thing I had was a very large and very heavy camlet travelling cloak.  If I had not brought this with me, I could not have slept in that cell during the winter without becoming a cripple for life, or losing my life.

    The prison-bell rang at half-past five, and we were expected to rise and be ready to descend into the day-yard at six.  At eight, they brought us a brown porringer, full of "skilly"—for it was such bad unpalatable oatmeal gruel, that it deserved the name— and a loaf of coarse, dark-coloured bread.  At twelve at noon, they unlocked the door of our day-room, and threw upon the deal table a netful of boiled potatoes, in their skins, and a paper of salt—for dinner.  At five in the evening, they brought us half a porringerful of "skilly;" but no bread.  At six, we were trooped off, and locked up in our sleeping cells for the next twelve hours.

    I demanded better food; and was told I could not have it.  I asked to write to my wife, and receive a letter from her; but still they refused.  One day I slipped past one of the turnkeys, as he unlocked our day-room door, ran along the passages, and got to the door of the governor's room, and thundered at it till he came out in alarm.

    "Give me food that I can eat," I said; "or some of you shall pay for it."

    "Go back—get away to your day-room," cried the governor.

    "I will, if you will give me something to eat," I said.

    "Here—come here, and take him away!" cried the governor to two of the turnkeys who had just then appeared, but who looked sorely affrighted.

    "I'll knock the first man down who dares to touch me," said I; and the turnkeys stood still.

    The governor burst into laughter, for he saw they were plainly in a fix.

    "What d'ye want to eat, Cooper?" said he, in a gentle tone ; "tell me, and I'll give it you."

    "All I want of you, at present," said I, "is a cup of good coffee, and a hearty slice of bread and butter.  When I can speak to the magistrates, I shall ask for something more."

    And I did ask the magistrates; but they would not yield.  So I led the officers of the prison a sorely harassing life, poor fellows!  I was ever knocking at the door, or shattering the windows, or asking for the surgeon or governor, or troubling them in one way or other.  I had not gone to the gaol chapel since my return to Stafford.  I refused to do so; because when I was in the gaol during those eleven weeks, we Chartist prisoners had to be locked up in a close box while we were in the chapel, and look at the chaplain through iron bars.  I said I would not be treated in that degrading way, and refused to go.  But when we had been about a month in the gaol, the second time, Capper said to me one day as they returned from the chapel,—"You should go to the chapel now; they have taken us out of the lock-ups, and we sit in the open chapel, along with the short-timers, now."

    I made no reply to Capper; but what he said raised a resolve in my mind at once.  He told me this on a Wednesday; but Friday was also a chapel day.  So when the Friday came, I took one of the prayer-books in my hand, and placed myself next the door, to be ready to step out in a moment, when the turnkey opened it, and said, "Chapel!"

    He unlocked the door; and, before he could say "Chapel," he stammered, in surprise, "Are you going, to-day?"

    "Yes," said I, and stepped past him in a moment.  Capper and Richards took their seats in the open part of the chapel, facing the pulpit, and I sat down beside them, keeping my eyes strictly fixed on the open door, where the chaplain must enter.  I no sooner caught sight of his white surplice, than I bounded forward, and seizing him by the arm, just as he was about to step up into the pulpit, I cried,—

    "Are you a minister of Christ?  If you be, see me righted.  They are starving me, on skilly and bad potatoes; and they neither let me write to my wife, or receive a letter from her—if she be alive!"

    The poor chaplain shook like an aspen leaf, and stared at me with open mouth, but could not speak!

    "D'ye hear, man?" I cried, shaking him by the arm—"Will you see me righted, I say?"

    "He's mad!—he's mad!" gasped the poor chaplain; "take him off! take him away!"

    Four of the turnkeys seized me by the legs and arms, and bore me away, while I made the chapel and vaulted passages ring with my shouts of "Murder! murder!"

    This violence exhausted me greatly; and the surgeon prescribed some extra food.  I think it was two boiled eggs, with coffee and bread and butter.  But as all went on as usual the next day, I continued to tease the keepers, and to send messages to the governor, and to ask for the magistrates; but nothing was yielded to me.  So about eight or ten days after my adventure in the chapel, I said to Capper and old Daddy Richards,—

    "Go out into the day-yard, both of you.  I want to try the effect of a bombardment; and I don't want either of you to be in the scrape."

    "What art thou about to do, Tom?" said the dear old Daddy; "art thou about to ruin us?"

    "Ruin you! you old goose," I said; "you are ruined,—are you not?"

    The old man ran off, laughing, into the day-yard, wondering what I was about to do.  There was no chair in our day-room; but only a heavy wooden bench, on which we all three were expected to sit.  It was very heavy; but I got hold of it, and turning one end unto the inner door, I let go, as a sailor would say—at the door, with all my might, crying "Murder! murder! murder!"  Soon came the whole body of turnkeys; and the chief of them, Chidley, who was a large, stout man, opened the door, and cried,

    "What do ye mean by this? We'll settle you! Come along—we'll take you to the black-hole!"

    They took me to no black-hole; but they locked me up in an empty room, and kept me there till dusk of evening, when they took me to bed without food.

    I found my strength sorely lessened by these continued and exhaustive attempts to break down the prison system; and one morning, when the bell rang at half-past five, I felt so weak that I could not rise.  Soon came a turnkey, unlocked the door, and threw it open as usual.

    "Holloa!" said he; how's this?—why are you not up?"

    "I am too weak to get up," I answered; and he closed the door, locked it, and went his way.

    In a few minutes, I heard the feet of several persons in the passage, and could tell that they were sweeping it.  They drew near the door, and I heard a whispering.  Soon one of them whispered through the large keyhole.

    "Mester Kewper! dooant yo knaw me?  My name's John Smith.  I cum thrum th' Potteries; an' I heerd yo' speeak that day, upo' th' Craan Bonk. Dun yo want owt?"

    "Want aught?" I said, "why, what can you get me?"

    "Some bacca, if you like—or, maybe, the old Daddy would like some."

    "But how can you get it, and what are you doing in the passage?"

    "Why, we've getten lagged, [Sentenced to transportation] yo see; and they setten us to sweep th' passages and th' cells, till we go off.  We can get you owt yo like, throo th' debtors.  There's a chink i' th' wall where we get things through."

    "Can you get me some sheets of writing paper—one large sheet—and a few pens and a narrow bottle of ink ?  If you can, I'll give you the money to buy 'em."

    And I thrust two shillings under the bottom of the door, for the space was wide; and they promised to bring me what I wanted, if I could be in the same place the next morning.

    "I'll take care to be here," said I.  And the next morning, when the turnkey found me in bed, as he opened the door, he closed it again, without asking a question, and left me alone as before.

    "Can you get me a letter sent out to the post-office?" I asked, as they brought me the ink and pens and paper.

    "Yes," they said; if yo conna be here ageean tomorrow morning, leave th' letter under th' mattrass.  We shall be sure to get it a few minutes after.  We knaw them amung th' debtors that'll see it sent safe to the post-office."

    I drew up a petition to the House of Commons on the larger sheet of paper—asking that I might have food on which I could subsist; that I might be allowed to write to my wife and a few friends, and receive letters from them; and that I might be allowed the use of my books, and be also allowed to write what I pleased, for my own purposes, during my confinement.

    I also wrote to the great friend of poor Chartist prisoners, noble Thomas Slingsby Duncombe, and told him that I had written out a petition to the House of Commons, and should address it to himself for presentation; that I should put it into the hands of the governor of the gaol on the morrow, and request him to place it before the magistrates.  I particularly desired Mr. Duncombe to mark how long it was before he received the petition, and to note that it was dated.

    I left the letter under the mattress; and it was safely received by Mr. Duncombe.  When the governor made his usual morning call, just as he entered our dayroom, I put the petition into his hands.

    "Please to show that to the magistrates," said I; "and then take care that it is sent to Mr. Duncombe, the member of Parliament for Finsbury."

    "What is it, sir?" asked the governor, all in a flutter.

    "A petition to the House of Commons," said I.

    "Take it back sir—take it back—I'll have nothing to do with it," cried the poor governor, trying to push it into my hands.

    "On your peril, sir," said I, "lay that petition before the magistrates.  Refuse, if you dare, sir!  And tell the magistrates if they do not send the petition to Mr. Duncombe, they shall be reckoned with, if I live to get out of this place."

    "Where did you get the paper, sir?" he asked; "and the pens and ink?"

    "I shall not tell you.  If you were to hang me you should not know."

    "Well, sir," said he, going away; "I must tell the magistrates all about it; but, depend upon it, you have got yourself into a pretty mess."

    "Tell the magistrates they will get themselves into a pretty mess, if they do not forward my petition to Mr. Duncombe," I shouted after him.

 
CHAPTER XXIII.
CHARTIST PRISONER'S LIFE, CONTINUED:
1843—1845.


FOR many days I asked the governor of the gaol, as he paid us his morning visit, if my petition had been sent to Mr. Duncombe; but his answer was "No."  At length it was "Yes;" and, two days after, Governor Brutton suddenly opened the door of our day-room, and, with a really happy look, said,

    "Now, come, Cooper, the magistrates want to see you; and do be respectful to them, and you'll get all you want."

    "Trust me, governor," said I, "if there be a change of that sort in the wind, I'll be respectful enough."

    The magistrates invited me to sit down, after they had said "Good morning, Mr. Cooper;" and I thought that was really respectful, and I would be respectful also.

    The Hon. and Rev. Arthur Talbot, brother to Earl Talbot, read Mr. Duncombe's letter to me, stating that he had presented my petition to the House of Commons, and had asked the Speaker if it were right and constitutional to detain the petition of a political prisoner nearly a fortnight, as the magistrates had done; and the Speaker had replied that it was neither right nor constitutional.  He (Mr. Duncombe) did not wish to make any harsh observations: he simply thought that my requests were so reasonable that the magistrates would deem it right to comply with them.

    "I may say," said Mr. Talbot, "that your own conduct in the gaol induced us to detain your petition—but we will say no more about that.  With regard to your food, the surgeon has full liberty from us, now, to allow you what he deems necessary for your health.  We have also resolved that you shall be allowed to write to your wife and receive letters from her; but all letters must be delivered open by yourself to the governor, and he will open all letters from your wife, before he delivers them to you.  In the course of time we may allow you, also, to correspond with two or three of your friends,—so long as they are not political."

    "May I write to my wife weekly, and receive a letter from her weekly?" I asked; "you ought to allow me to do that, considering that she seemed so near death when I left her."

    My request was granted at once.

    "And now, gentlemen," I said, "there is one more favour I must beg of you.  Let me have the use of my books, and also be allowed to proceed with my writing.  I have an unfinished romance that I want to complete, and some other things I want to do.  I hope there will be no objection to my employing myself in a peaceable way.  Depend upon it, you shall not have to complain of my behaviour if you treat me reasonably."

    "You have no objection to our seeing the books, I hope?" said the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Talbot; "if they be political, we should object to your having them."

    "I will open the portmanteau, if you will order it to be brought in," said I; "and you can take out the political books, if you find any; but I do not think you will."

    They took out two small books which I cared nothing for, and which I did not know that I had with me; and then they gave up the portmanteau and all that it contained into my possession.  I thanked them, and went back to my day-room.

    My companions were highly gladdened; for when the surgeon came to visit us, and asked what I wished for in the way of food, he prescribed an equal allowance for them also: so my struggle had won food for all three of us.  I asked, first, for coffee; and we had a good allowance of it, and the article was good.  We had also a sufficient allowance of sugar, butter, and rice.  The surgeon would only allow us a quarter of a pound of meat daily, at first; and this was our worst allowance: it was invariably either a bit of the breast of mutton, or of the "sticking piece" of beef; and became so unwelcome before my two years' confinement was ended, that I often loathed the very sight of the meat.  One evil we had to endure was beyond the surgeon's power to remedy.  We had to take all the water we drank from a pump in our day-yard; and it was so bad that we had to let the bucket stand a long time that all the unmentionable stuff might settle to the bottom, before we could use the water.  I should not forget to say that Mr. Hughes, the surgeon, kindly directed that I should have the use of an arm-chair, so that I could sit by myself to write, at the table, while the old men chose to sit by the fire.  The reader must understand that our day-room was not a palace.  The floor was stone slabs, and the wind assailed us in every quarter.  It was a place to create tooth-ache and neuralgia, daily.

    In the course of the first summer, we had an addition to our number; and in the second spring a second companion sojourned with us for a short time.  On the 12th of August, 1843, Arthur G. O'Neill of Birmingham, came in to undergo a year's imprisonment; and on the 6th of April, 1844, Joseph Linney of Bilston was transferred from the Penitentiary, London, to complete his term of imprisonment with us.  His stay was but short: he left us in twelve weeks.

    I was allowed but three visitors, as friends, during my imprisonment: one at the end of six months, another at the end of twelve, and another at the end of eighteen.  My dear old friend and benefactor, Dr. J. B. Simpson of Birmingham came first; and my dear departed friend, Thomas Tatlow of Leicester, came last.  The other visitor was Bairstow, to whose hands the poor stockingers had committed a little money for my relief; but he kept three-fifths of it for himself.  Let me dismiss the name of this depraved, pitiable young man.  I had taken him into my house and given himself and his wife hospitality for many months; I had given him money for his journeys; and when I left Leicester, I gave him the care of my business, that he might live out of it, and take care my wife did not want—telling him, in the presence of all the men who crowded round me, as I was departing, that, if my wife died, Bairstow was to consider the business entirely his own.

    But he made the house a place of dissipation, invited card-players into it, and ruined the business altogether; so that the house had to be given up, and my wife had to be carried out and taken care of, chiefly by my dear and true friends Thomas Tatlow and William Stafford, who provided her with a kind nurse in her suffering.  Bairstow's acceptance with the people as an orator had caused me to keep him at Leicester.  He left his wife before the end of my imprisonment; and was never more heard of.  He is supposed to have come to his end in some obscure way.

    My great business in the gaol has yet to be related.  During the first two months I not only could not get at my books, but I had locked up the only copy I possessed of the hundred lines written as a blank verse commencement of my purposed poem, " The Purgatory of Suicides."  As I could not recover them, and did not know whether they would ever yield to allow me the use of my books and papers, I thought I could defeat their purpose by composing the poem and retaining it in my mind.  So my thoughts were very much intent on making a new beginning,—and on the night of the 10th of June, 1843, when we had been one month in the gaol, I felt suddenly empowered to make a start; and when I had composed the four opening lines, I found they rhymed alternately.  It was a pure accident—for I always purposed to write my poem in blank verse.  Now, however, I resolved to try the Spenserean stanza.  So I struck off two stanzas that night: they are the two opening stanzas of my poem; and they are the first Spenserean stanzas I ever wrote in my life.

    The remembrance that Byron had shown the stanza of the "Faery Queene" to be capable of as much grandeur and force as the blank verse of " Paradise Lost," while he also demonstrated that it admits the utmost freedom that can be needed for the treatment of a grave theme, determined me to abide by the Spenserean stanza.  When I obtained the use of writing materials, at the end of those two months of struggle, I very soon had a fair copy written of the, perhaps, thirty stanzas I had by that time composed.

    The creation of my "Purgatory of Suicides" I have called my "great business" in the gaol.  And so it was—for it employed a great part of my thought, and absorbed some mental effort, of almost every day I spent in Stafford Gaol, except one period of three months that I shall have to refer to.

    I could revel in Shakspeare and Milton as soon as I got possession of my books; and in Chambers' "Cyclopædia of English Literature" I had portions of almost every English poet of eminence.  At an after-date, I had "Childe Harold," and Shelley (the small pirated edition), with Jarvis's translation of "Don Quixote," White's "Selborne," and other books, sent into the gaol.  But I set about solid reading.  I read Gibbon's great masterpiece entirely through, in the gaol.  The reader will remember that this was my second reading of the magnificent "Decline and Fall."  In Latin, I read the Æneid and the Commentaries through once more, attended a little to my Greek, and also re-read the volume of German stories, twice or thrice.

    O'Neill had been allowed to have some books, and so I read his copy of Prideaux's "Connexion of the Old and New Testament," Milner's Church History, and some other things he possessed.  We also formed a purpose of pursuing the study of language together, as O'Neill had been a student in his time.  I had copies of the New Testament in several languages, and we read in each, every morning, for a short time; but one of my constitutional periods of passion approached, and I was carried away with it.

    I fastened on the Hebrew, with a fine old German-printed Old Testament and the lexicon of Gesenius; and for three months I read nothing, thought of nothing, but Hebrew.  I copied out all the verbs, I classified and copied out nouns.  I purposed to commit everything to memory.  My poem stood still—everything stood still—but Hebrew.  At length, I almost raved about it while talking to O'Neill—who kindly and affectionately watched his opportunity, when he saw my health was giving way, and I was becoming incapable; and then he took all my Hebrew books into his own possession, and told me I must give it up, or I should lose my senses.  I had common sense enough to perceive, in a day or two, that I was wrong; and so I tore myself away from the study of Hebrew, and never attended to it again, except with great caution, while I remained in the gaol.  During the three months my passion had lasted, to the best of my memory, I went through about two-thirds of my Hebrew Bible.

    Good old Daddy Richards left us on the 4th of May, 1844; Linney left us on the 29th of June; O'Neill's time of imprisonment ended on the 10th of August; and on the 30th of September, 1844, Capper left me, a lonely prisoner, for I had yet seven months to serve.

    I had broken down the stupid custom of sending us to our sleeping cells at six in the evening, before O'Neill came into the gaol; and soon after I obtained leave to buy candles for my use, that I might read or write till nine o'clock, when we were taken to our sleeping cells.  Now I was left alone, I began to feel very apprehensive for the consequences, if I should have to sleep another winter on the bag of straw and iron slab, in that cold shivering hole, where the water trickled down the walls in damp weather.  I was tormented with neuralgia of the head; I was often obliged to lie on my back a whole day, with neuralgia of the heart; and I told the governor and the surgeon that I believed it would end my life, if I had no better sleeping-place.  To my unspeakable relief, the governor said I should sleep in my day-room, so that I could keep the fire in, through the night, if I pleased.  Thus, I believe, my life was preserved by Him who has the hearts of all men in His keeping; and whose loving watchfulness has so often shown itself in the preservation of my life.

    That "God helps them who help themselves," however, I am fully convinced. If I had not shown both resolution and perseverance, I should never have secured any deliverance from the torturous inflictions of what is called "gaol discipline."

    "I admire your pluck, Cooper," said the dear old governor to me one day, in an undertone, a short time before I left the gaol: "your day-room was the dayroom of the Reverend Humphrey Price, the 'good parson of Needwood Forest,' as he was called.  He was a clergyman who sympathised, like you, with the poor; and for defending the poor wretched carpet-weavers of Kidderminster, had to pass a year in this prison.  But he was never allowed a single privilege.  He had to go to bed every night at six o'clock, was never allowed the use of a candle, and had to submit to the common dietary of the prison.  The poor man seemed to take it all like a martyr.  What he might have gained if he had shown as much spirit as yourself, I cannot tell; but he never seemed to have the spirit to ask for anything."

    The magistrates looked in upon me, now and then, when I was left alone.  One day, I had a very agreeable and distinguished visitor.  It was Lord Sandon, now Earl of Harrowby.  He addressed me with so much courtesy and kindness, that I responded cheerfully.  After a few minutes his interest increased, and he sat down to talk.

    My old German-printed Hebrew Bible (given to me by good Mr. Lumley, the bookseller) happened to catch his eye; and I opened it, and showed him the arrangement of the Chamesh Megilloth (Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther) immediately after the Torah, or Pentateuch.  My noble visitor remarked that he had never seen an arrangement like it—for he had been intent on studying Hebrew at one time himself.  We diverged to other subjects; and when the courteous nobleman was gone, I found that nearly half an hour had elapsed since he entered my day-room.

    The behaviour of Earl Ferrers was of a different order.  He came one day to the little window in the passage, and looked at me through his quizzing-glass.  I put on my cap and went close to the window to look at him with a pair of eyes on flame, and that meant, "Who are you, you rude rascal?"  He dropt his quizzing-glass, and slunk away!

    The chaplain—not the reverend gentleman whom I used so roughly at the beginning of my imprisonment—paid me two remarkable visits, but a short time before my term of imprisonment ended.  He desired me to walk out into the day-yard with him, as he wished to have a particular conversation with me.

    "Mr. Cooper," he said, very suddenly, "you would like to go to Cambridge?"

    "To the University?" said I, quickly; "I should think so.  What of that, sir?"

    "You can go direct from this gaol, on the day that your time expires, I undertake to say—if you choose," he replied.

    "Go to Cambridge, from this gaol!" I repeated in wonder.

    "Yes: all your wants will be provided for.  You will have no trouble about anything—only—" and he stopped and smiled.

    "Only I must give up politics?" said I; "I see what you mean."

    "That's it," said he; that's all."

    "I would not degrade or falsify myself by making such a promise," I replied, "if you could ensure all the honours the University could bestow, although it has been one of the great yearnings of my heart—from a boy, I might say—to go to a University."

    The kindly chaplain blamed me for my unwillingness; assured me that all who conversed with me lamented to see me in such a case, and wondered how a man with such a nature and such attachments ever became a Chartist.  But he took his leave without accomplishing the purpose for which he had been sent.  By whom he had been sent, he would not say, though I asked him during his second visit—when he was still more earnest, and seemed distressed when he found I would not yield.  He would not say by whom he had been sent; but I had a shrewd guess about it when I thought of my noble visitor, and our conversation over the ancient Hebrew Bible.  I ought gratefully to say that the good chaplain (Rev. Thos. Sedger, now curate of Bracon Ash, near Norwich) presented me with a valuable copy of Horace de Arte Poeticâ, before I left the gaol; and, a few years ago, sent me a copy of his translation of Grotius de Veritate.
 
    The romance that I mentioned, and which was begun in Lincoln, and the MSS. partially shown to a celebrated author when I first went to live in London, I finished in the gaol; and also wrote several tales to complete a volume, if I could find a publisher.  These and my "Prison Rhyme " I took out of prison with me as my keys for unlocking the gates of fortune.  I was in rags; for although Leicester friends had impoverished themselves to send me money to pay for my extra fire, candles, washing, and writing materials, I could not expect more of them.  A kind friend in London, whom I must not name, sent me ten pounds, fourteen days before my time expired; and so I got a suit of clothes and a hat, and other things I wanted.

    I left Stafford Gaol at six o'clock on the morning of the 4th of May, 1845; and reached London, and slept that night at the house of the friend who had sent me the ten pounds.

    I must now go back, and enter on the recital I have delayed to begin, and which I dread to touch.  But it must be given.

 
CHAPTER XXIV.
SCEPTICISM IN THE GAOL:
LONDON, AND DISAPPOINTMENTS:
1845.


WHEN I first took upon me to talk to Leicester Chartists, in the little room at All Saints' Open, on those Sunday evenings during the spring of 1841, religion formed the staple of my discourse.  I had felt so deep a sense of unworthy treatment when I left the Methodists in 1835, that—as I said at the close of my ninth chapter—"I sought occupation for thought that should not awake tormenting remembrances;"—and so I had avoided religious literature, and conversation on theological topics, as much as possible.  And it was not until I began to talk to poor suffering men about religion that I became conscious of any change in my belief, or in the state of my religious conscience—to adopt one of the phrases of the day.

    If any one had asked me what I considered myself to be in point of religious belief, six years after I left the Wesleyans, I should have answered that I was a Wesleyan still.  But I had not spent many months in talking to the Leicester Chartists, before my "religious conscience" began to receive a new "form and pressure" from its new surroundings.  I could not preach eternal punishment to poor starving stockingers.  But
when the belief in eternal punishment is given up, the eternal demerit of sin has faded from the preacher's conscience; and then what consistency can he see in the doctrine of Christ's atonement?

    Whenever I looked inward—though, alas!  I had little leisure for reflection during all the fiery excitement of my Leicester life—I found that I had ceased be orthodox in my belief.  Yet I never ceased to worship the perfect moral beauty of Christ; and, thank God!  I never ceased to enthrone the goodness and purity and love of Christ in the minds and hearts of the Leicester poor.  To the last hour of my teaching in Leicester, I also maintained, in the hearing of the crowds who listened to me, that the miracles and resurrection of the Saviour were historical facts.

    But, before I left Leicester, clouds of unspoken doubt began to roll across my reason, of a darker and more horrible shade than even a disbelief of the Gospel records.  I gave the reader a hint of what I mean towards the end of my sixteenth chapter.  The coarse atheism expressed by some of the stronger spirits among working men, I often felt, found an echo in my own mind, that startled me.  When I could not sleep after a day of more than ordinary excitement, atheistic reasonings would arise, as I thought of the sufferings of the poor, the extreme differences in men's condition, and the cruel lot of all in every age who contend for truth and right.  These distressing doubts and reasonings for many months passed away when they arose, leaving no conscious lodgment in my mind.  Yet they would come again.

    It was not until I entered on my last imprisonment—in May, 1843,—that I was conscious of atheistic reasonings becoming habitual.  How swift is the process of depravity, even in the understanding, as well as in the heart!  How rapidly the mind and heart take up an entrenched position in unbelief, none can tell but those who speak from experience.  I believe those two months of torture, at the beginning of my two years' imprisonment, served, most fearfully, to bring my atheistic reasonings to a head.  I was conscious of incorruptible disinterestedness in my advocacy of the rights of the poor.  I regarded my imprisonment, with its harsh treatment, as a grievous wrong.  My tender wife was enduring suffering that brought her near to death.  And the poor were suffering still!  I had not lessened their evils an atom by my struggles.  It was a world of wrong, I now reasoned; and there could not be in it the Almighty and beneficent Providence in which I had all my life devoutly believed.  I must give it all up as a dream!

    I had never given up the practice of prayer; and I Knelt beside my iron slab and bag of straw, though I hardly felt I prayed—until, one night, I sprang up from my knees, and said, "I'll pray no more!"  Nor did I ever kneel to pray again so long as I remained in prison.  My angered and distempered mind set itself, now, defiantly to resist the thought of a God.  And in the morbid condition of feeling and thought that grew to be natural in the prison, I fell into trains of reasoning about moral evil and the pain I supposed to be so prevalent in creation—such as the reader will occasionally find in my Prison Rhyme.

    As the end of my imprisonment drew nearer, my gloom began to lessen and hope to brighten.  I felt less inclined to dwell on doubts, and wished I were not troubled with them at all.  When the railway train began to bear me towards London, on that beautiful May morning of my release; I burst into tears, and sobbed with a feeling I could not easily subdue, as I once more saw the fields and flowers and God's glorious sun.  The world was so beautiful, I dared not say there was no God in it; and the old, long-practised feeling of worship welled up in my heart, in spite of myself.

    Nor did I, after my release from imprisonment, yield helplessly to atheistic reasonings.  They would arise in my mind, perforce of old habit; but I did not settle down in them.  I never proclaimed blank atheism in my public teaching.  And I feel certain that I should have broken away from unbelief altogether, had I not fastened on Strauss, and become his entire convert.  I read and re-read, and analysed, the translation in three volumes, published by the Brothers Chapman: the translation begun by Charles Hennell, and finished by the authoress of "Adam Bede."  I became fast bound in the net of Strauss; and at one time would have eagerly helped to bind all in his net: nor did I feel thoroughly able to break its pernicious meshes, or get out of it, myself, for twelve years.

    I was so ill during the first week after my release, that I could not quit my lodging.  The kind friend who had sent me pecuniary relief before I quitted prison, still supplied my wants.  As soon as I had strength for it, I called on Mr. Duncombe, who was then lodging in the Albany, Piccadilly.  He received me with extreme kindness; and asked what I purposed doing.  I told him I had written a poem and other things, in prison, and wished he could introduce me to a publisher.

"A publisher!" said he, "why, you know, Cooper, I never published anything in my life.  I know nothing of publishers.—Oh, stop!" said he, suddenly, "wait a few minutes.  I'll write a note, and send you to Disraeli."

    He wrote the note, and read it to me.  As nearly as I can remember, it ran thus:

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

T. S. DUNCOMBE.

    "But you would not have me take a note like that?" I said.

    "Would not I?" he answered; "but I would.  It's just the thing for you; get off with you, and present it at once.  You'll catch him at home, just now.  Grosvenor Gate—close to the Park—anybody will tell you the house—now, away with you at once!"

    It was Sunday at noon, and away I went to Grosvenor Gate.  A tall Hebrew in livery came to the door, with a silver waiter in his hand.

    "This is Mr. Disraeli's, I believe?" I said.

    "Yes: but Mr. Disraeli is not at home," was the answer, in ceremonious style.

    "Then, when will he be at home?" I asked, "as I wish to present this note of introduction to him, from Mr. Duncombe."

    "Mr. Duncombe, the member of Parliament?" asked the man in livery.  And when I answered "Yes," he presented the waiter, and said, "You had better give me the note: Mrs. Disraeli is at home."

    I gave him the note; and he closed the door, I waiting in the hall.  He soon returned, saying, "Mr. Disraeli will see you.  You understand it was my business to say 'Not at home.'  You will excuse me?"

    "Why don't you bring the gentleman up?" cried a light silvery voice from above.

    The servant led me up the staircase; and, at the top, Mrs. Disraeli very gracefully bowed, and withdrew; and the servant took me into what was evidently the literary man's "study"—a small room at the top of the house.

    One sees paragraphs very often, now, in the papers about the expressionless and jaded look of the Conservative leader's face, as he sits in the House of Commons.  Yet, as I first looked upon that face twenty-six years ago, I thought it one of great intellectual beauty.  The eyes seemed living lights; and the intelligent yet kindly way in which Mr. Disraeli inquired about the term of my imprisonment, and treatment in the prison, convinced me that I was in the presence of a very shrewd as well as highly cultivated and refined man.

    "I wish I had seen you before I finished my last novel," said he; "my heroine, Sybil, is a Chartist."

    I gave into his hands the MSS. of the First Book of my "Purgatory of Suicides."

    "I shall be happy to read it," he said; "but what do you wish me to do?"

    "To write to Mr. Moxon," said I, "and recommend him to publish it—" if you think it right to do so, when you have looked it over."

    "But Mr. Moxon is not my publisher," said he; "and I offered him a poem of my own, some years ago, but he declined to take it.  Why do you wish me to write to Mr. Moxon so particularly?"

    "Because he publishes poetry; and as he has published poetry of his own—"

    "Ah, poet-like!" said the future Prime Minister of England,—"you think he must sympathise with you, because he is a poet.  You forget that he is a tradesman too, and that poetry does not sell nowadays.  Well, I'll write to Mr. Moxon, when I have looked at your manuscript."

    He then directed me to call on a certain day in the week following, when he promised a note should be ready for Mr. Moxon.

    I presented the note; and Mr. Moxon smiled, and said, "Mr. Disraeli knows that poetry is a drug in the market.  He does not offer me one of his own novels."

    Mr. Moxon declined to receive my poem, assuring me that he dared not venture to publish any poem of a new author, for there was no prospect of a sale.  He was very courteous, and seemed to wish me to stay and talk.  He also showed me a portrait which he valued highly in one of his rooms.  I think it was a portrait of Charles Lamb.  He also told me that Alfred Tennyson and the venerable Wordsworth had passed an hour together in that room lately.  He looked at Mr. Disraeli's note, and read it again; and I gave the manuscript of the first book of my "Prison Rhyme" into his hands; and he read parts of it, and still detained me, to show me something else; and when I left him, he said,—

    "I certainly would publish your poem, Mr. Cooper, if I saw anything like a chance of selling it; but I repeat to you, that all poetry is a perfect drug in the market, at present; and I have made up my mind to publish no new poetry whatever."

    I wrote to Mr. Disraeli, and told him that I had failed, and desired him to take the trouble to write me a note to his own publisher, Mr. Colburn, as he had offered to do at first.

    By the next post, I had the note for Colburn, and soon waited on him. I sent up the note to his room; and on being invited up-stairs was met by the little shrewd-looking publisher himself, and his trusty adviser Mr. Schoberl.

    "We publish no poetry whatever: it is a perfect drug in the market," said Mr. Schoberl; "but Mr. Disraeli says here, in his note, that you have written a romance.  What is the subject of it, pray?"

    I gave him a brief description of it; and, turning to Mr. Colburn, he said, "I think Mr. Cooper might as well send us the manuscript, and let us look at it."

    "By all means," said Mr. Colburn.

    I took the manuscript; and they kept it a few days, when they sent it back, with a very polite refusal to publish it.

    And now I ventured to call upon Mr. Disraeli the second time.  He seemed really concerned at what I told him; and when I asked him to give me a note to Messrs. Chapman and Hall, he looked thoughtful, and said,—

    "No: I know nothing of them personally, and I should not like to write to them.  But I will give you a note to Ainsworth, and desire him to recommend you to Chapman and Hall."

    I took the note to Mr. Ainsworth's house, at Kensal Green.  He was not at home; but his sweet-looking daughter received Mr. Disraeli's note and my MSS. from my hands very courteously, and assured me she would give them to her father.

    I called again two days after, and was invited into the drawing-room, into which Mr. Ainsworth entered from his garden.  He was a handsome, fresh-looking Englishman, and showed a very pearly set of teeth as he smiled.  He conversed about my imprisonment; and said the poetry was excellent, but all poetry sold badly now, and he was afraid Messrs. Chapman and Hall would not be much inclined to take my poem.

    "I think," he said, "I had better give you a note to John Forster of the Examiner.  They consult him about everything they publish."

    So I next took the MSS., with Mr. Ainsworth's letter, to Mr. John Forster, and left my parcel at his office, or chambers, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, for they said he was not in.  When I called, two or three days afterwards, I was met by a stout, severe-looking man, who began to examine me with the spirit of a bitter Whig examining a poor Chartist at the bar.  He seemed not to hear anything I said, unless it was an answer to one of his lawyer-like questions; and he usually interrupted me if I spoke before he put another question to me.  I knew that was the practice of lawyers; but I thought a man with the intellect of John Forster should sink the character of lawyer—should forget his profession—while talking to a poor literary aspirant.

    "I suppose you would have no objection to alter the title you give yourself," he said; " I certainly should advise you to strike 'the Chartist' out."

    "Nay, sir," I replied; "I shall not strike it out.  Mr. Disraeli advised me not to let any one persuade me to strike it out; and I mean to abide by his advice.  I did not resolve to style myself 'the Chartist' upon the title-page of my book, without a good deal of consideration."

    My offended interlocutor frowned, and bit his lip; and seemed determined to get quit of the thing.

    "Well, Mr. Cooper," he said, in conclusion, "I will give you a note to Messrs. Chapman and Hall.  There can be no question as to the excellence of your poetry; but I do not know how far it may be advisable for Messrs. Chapman and Hall to connect themselves with your Chartism."

    I could not see that any publisher would necessarily connect himself with my Chartism by publishing my poem; but I said no more to the Whig literary man for I wanted to be gone.

    Messrs. Chapman and-Hall seemed to take great interest in me, when I went to them.  At their own request, I fetched the entire MSS. of my Prison Rhyme, the Romance, and the Tales, from my lodging, and put them all into their hands, that they might form their own judgment of them, as I supposed.  But, I have no doubt, the entire parcel was transferred to Mr. John Forster.  About a week passed, and I was told my Poem and Romance were declined; but they, perhaps, might take the Tales, if I would wait till some volumes they were then issuing, or about to issue, in a series, were published.  I turned away, disappointed, in this instance; for the eager interest with which Messrs. Chapman and Hall first received me, and the manner in which they requested me to show them all the MSS. I had, had rendered me sanguine that they would really become my publishers.

 
CHAPTER XXV
DIFFICULTIES AND SUCCESS:
"THE PURGATORY OF SUICIDES" IS PUBLISHED:
1845.


I HAD kept aloof from Chartists and Chartism since my release from imprisonment, for I had learned that O'Connor, in a fit of jealousy, had denounced me.  Somebody, it seemed, had filled him with the belief that I meant to conspire against him when I got loose.  A few petty subscriptions which had been raised for me in Nottingham, and elsewhere, were withdrawn in consequence of his denunciations of me in his Northern Star; and I sent back two or three sums which were sent to me as Chartist subscriptions.

    My disgust at O'Connor's conduct was so great that I had resolved never to speak to him again.  But I was moved to alter my mind in a way that I could not foresee.  I went to call on my old friend Mr. Dougal Macgowan, the printer of the Kentish Mercury,—whom I had not seen since I ceased to edit that paper, and left London, in November 1840.  He was now printing the Northern Star, for O'Connor; for the paper was nearly ruined, like Chartism itself, about this time, and O'Connor had transferred the publication of the paper from Leeds to London, with the hope of restoring its circulation.  Mr. Macgowan assured me that O'Connor was sorry for having written against me, and wished I would call on him at his lodgings in Great Marlborough Street, as he wished to apologise to me, and renew his friendship with me.  I told Mr. Macgowan that since O'Connor had not signified his recantation in the Northern Star, I should decline calling upon him.

    About a week after I met Mr. Macgowan, and he was very urgent with me to go and see O'Connor.  He assured me that O'Connor took great interest in my poem, and wished me to read some parts of it to him.

    "To tell you the whole truth," said Mr. Macgowan, "he affirms that if you will give the manuscript into my hands, he himself will pay for the printing of it.  And, surely, if it be printed, we can get it published, somehow.  Do go and see him, and hear what he says, that you may judge for yourself."

    This occurred the very day after my manuscripts had been sent back by Chapman and Hall, following on the heel of all the other failures.  Macgowan's hint seemed to open the way for escape from difficulty to a man who was set fast.  It was not the way I wanted my poem to get before the eyes and minds of readers; but when a man is in a strait, he feels he cannot afford to despise any offer of help.
 
    I went and saw O'Connor, and he apologised with great apparent sincerity; and said he would make an open apology in his paper.  What rendered me the more ready to forgive him, was the sight of several letters which had been sent him from Chartists for whom I had done acts of kindness at considerable cost to myself.  The gratuitous malice of some people would be a puzzling anomaly in the history of human nature, if experience did not show it to be a history of contradictions.  I was astonished at what I read.  Such a twisting of minute, unimportant facts, and such skill in misinterpreting my motives!  I could not have thought the writers capable of such ingenious and profitless wickedness, if I had not known their handwriting.

    I had to read parts of my "Purgatory" to O'Connor.  He had had the education of a gentleman, and had not lost his relish for Virgil and Horace, at that time of day; and, while I read, he listened, and made very intelligent criticisms.  He begged that I would permit him to bear the expense of printing my poem; and that I would put it into Macgowan's hands immediately.  As for a publisher, he felt sure, he said, that there would be no difficulty in finding one.

    So I took my manuscript to Mr. Macgowan, and soon began to see the proof-sheets.  Occasionally, I called on O'Connor, and conversed with him; and he invariably expounded his Land Scheme to me, and wished me to become one of its advocates.  But I told him I could not; and I begged of him to give the scheme up, for I felt sure it would bring ruin and disappointment upon himself and all who entered into it.  He did not grow angry with me at first, but tried to win me by assurances of his esteem and regard, and of his kindly intentions towards me.  I could not, however, be won; for all he said in explication of his scheme, only served to render it wilder and worse, in my estimation.

    When Macgowan had got as far as the end of the Fourth Book with the printing of my poem, he proposed that we should take the printed part and try some of the publishers with it.

    "Because," said he, "although O'Connor has given me his word to pay the cost of printing and binding five hundred copies, yet the book will need advertising.  We ought, therefore, to get some publisher to take the book, that he may advertise it."

    So we set out; and as I had a lingering belief that Messrs. Chapman and Hall reluctantly gave up their wish to publish my poem through the influence of their literary adviser, I proposed that we should call on them first.  Mr. Edward Chapman, however, did not seem at all favourably disposed; and Macgowan was so much disheartened with our rebuff, that he said he could not proceed further, that day.  He returned to Great Windmill Street, Haymarket; and I turned from Chapman and Hall's door, in the narrow part of the Strand, to walk to my lodging in Blackfriars Road.  Under the postern of Temple Bar, I ran against John Cleave; and he caught hold of me in surprise.

    "Why, what's the matter, Cooper?" he asked; you look very miserable, and you seem not to know where you are!"

    "Indeed," I answered, "I am very uneasy; and I really did not see you when I ran against you."

    "But what is the matter with you?" he asked again.

    "I owe you three-and-thirty pounds," said I; "and I owe a deal of money to others; and I cannot find a publisher for my book.  Is not that enough to make a man uneasy?"

    And then I told him how I and Macgowan had just received a refusal from the publishing house in the Strand.  More I needed not to tell him; for I had told him all my proceedings from the time I left prison, and ever found him an earnest and kind friend.

    "Come along with me," said he; "and I'll give you a note to Douglas Jerrold; he'll find you a publisher."

    "Do you know Douglas Jerrold?" I asked.

    "Know him!" said the fine old Radical publisher; "I should think I do.  I've trusted him a few halfpence for a periodical, many a time, when he was a printer's apprentice.  If he does not find you a publisher, I'll forfeit my neck.  Jerrold's a brick!"

    So I went to the little shop in Shoe Lane, whence John Cleave issued so many thousands of sheets of Radicalism and brave defiance of bad governments, in his time; and he gave me a hearty note of commendation to Jerrold, and told me to take it to the house on Putney Common.  I went without delay, and left Cleave's note, and the part of the "Purgatory" which Macgowan had printed, with Mrs. Jerrold, and intimated that I would call again in three or four days.

    I called, and received a welcome so cordial, and even enthusiastic, that I was delighted.  The man of genius grasped my hand, and gazed on my face, as I gazed on his, with unmistakable pleasure.

    "Glad to see you, my boy!" said he; "your poetry is noble—it's manly; I'll find you a publisher.  Never fear it.  Sit you down!" he cried, ringing the bell; "what will you take? some wine?  Will you have some bread and cheese?  I think there's some ham—we shall see."

    It was eleven in the forenoon: so I was in no humour for eating or drinking.  But we drank two or three glasses of sherry; and were busy in talk till twelve.

    "I had Charles Dickens here last night," said he; and he was so taken with your poem that he asked to take it home.  I have no doubt he will return it this week, and then I will take it into the town, and secure you a publisher.  Give yourself no uneasiness about it.  I'll write to you in a few days, and tell you it is done."

    And he did write in a few days, and directed me to call on Jeremiah How, 132, Fleet Street, who published Jerrold's "Cakes and Ale," Mrs. S. C. Hall's "Ireland and its Scenery, etc.," the Illustrated "Book of British Ballads," and other popular novelties of the time.  Mr. How agreed at once to be my publisher; and when he learned from me that I did not like the thought of O'Connor paying the printer, and that I meant to repay O'Connor, being unwilling to receive a favour from him, since we had begun to differ very unpleasantly concerning the Land Scheme,—Mr. How immediately offered to go with me to Mr. Macgowan and take the responsibility of the printing upon himself.  Mr. Macgowan readily took an acceptance for the money from Mr. How; I think it was £45, being the cost of 500 copies—paper, printing, and binding.  It might be a trifle more or less.
 
    The growth of O'Connor's Land Scheme rendered him haughty towards me, when he found he could not reckon on me as one of his helpers—of whom he readily found plenty.  I ceased to visit him at last—for I was either told he was not at home, or his bearing was unpleasant to me.  I forbear to enter into the recital of the quarrel—the real and fierce quarrel—I had with O'Connor, afterwards, about his land scheme.  Any of my readers who wish for information regarding it may consult the "History of the Chartist Movement," by Dr. Gammage of Sunderland.  I would have mentioned Dr. Gammage's work earlier and often, if there had not been so many little mistakes in it.  Yet I know no person living who could write a History of Chartism without making mistakes.  I am sure that I could not; and I endeavour, in this memoir, to keep out of the stream of its general history; and only refer to Chartism when it becomes absolutely necessary for making my narrative intelligible.

    My "Purgatory of Suicides: a Prison Rhyme, in Ten Books; by Thomas Cooper the Chartist"—as it was entitled, was published towards the end of August, 1845.  Some will think, perhaps, that I have been too minute in narrating the sinuosities of my experience in attempting to get my book before the reading public.  Yet I humbly judge that I am simply making legitimate contributions to literary history, by giving the details of my experience.  The narrative may be of real service to some poor literary aspirant in the future.

    The first trumpet-blast that was heard in praise of my poem was that from the Britannia newspaper of August 30th.  This periodical had been edited by Dr. Croly and had risen to considerable literary reputation and influence.  The criticism on my poem was not written by Dr. Croly, as people have reported; but by the editor who succeeded him, Mr. David Trevena Coulton.  Mr. Coulton was a most kind-hearted man, and a great enthusiast in aught that he approved; but his commendation of my poem was too undistinguishing, and was greater than it deserved.  William Howitt's generosity led him to write a very enthusiastic eulogy of my "Prison Rhyme" in the Eclectic Review; and he also sent a very noble congratulatory letter to me, and I went to see him and good Mary Howitt.  Our friendship has continued till I am growing old, and he is really an old man.  None of the great or leading periodicals of the day noticed my existence; but the commendations of my book in smaller periodicals were countless; and the 500 copies which formed the first edition were sold off before Christmas.

    Mr. How seemed kindly desirous of bringing me before the reading public as fully as possible; and soon proposed to bring out the simple tales I had written in prison.  Douglas Jerrold had published one of them—and that, perhaps, the very simplest, "Charity begins at Home"—in his "Shilling Magazine"—for which I also wrote a few other things, in prose and verse.  Mr. How thought the Tales I had in manuscript were too numerous for one volume, and persuaded me to give him the fragment of a story which was partly autobiographical, in order to make two volumes.  These he issued about eight weeks after the publication of my "Purgatory," and insisted on calling them "Wise Saws and Modern Instances"—though I wished them to bear the unpretending title of "Simple Stories of the Midlands and Elsewhere."

    Next, Mr. How proposed that I should issue a Christmas Book; and I agreed on condition that it should be in rhyme.  So "The Baron's Yule Feast" came to be published.  But, as it was not brought out till the middle of January, the sale was very slow—for the proper opportunity for sale was lost.

    Alas! my poor publisher's money was exhausted.  He had spent a nice little fortune on publishing.  And now the great printer on whom he had leaned, and from whom he had expected credit—even the millionaire, as he was accounted to be—had gone into the shade, on account of unprosperous railway speculations.  In short, my publisher failed; and my seemingly bright literary prospects were blighted!

I received thirty-two pounds from Mr. How for the two volumes of Tales; but not a farthing for the "Purgatory."  In fact, though we talked of my having £500 for the copyright of it, we never drew up any agreement in writing, for either the "Purgatory" or "The Baron's Yule Feast": so that my poems were still entirely my own when Mr. How failed.

    Let no one suppose, however, that my literary labours produced me only disappointment and disaster.  One of the first to call public attention to my "Prison Rhyme" was the eloquent W. J. Fox, at that time one of the most popular speakers in London and the country, and afterwards M.P. for Oldham.  In addition to his Sunday morning discourses at South Place, Finsbury Square, he was at that period also delivering lectures, on Sunday evenings, on literary and other topics, in the National Hall, Holborn.  He made my "Purgatory" the subject of one of these Sunday evening lectures; and said more kind things about me than I can repeat.  He also invited me to his house; and from that time honoured me with a most kind, and I might almost say a paternal friendship.

    Through the commendation of me by Mr. Fox, the Committee of the National Hall—(among whom were William Lovett, James Watson, Richard Moore, Henry Hetherington, Charles Hodson Neesom, and other well-known Chartists, of the anti-O'Connor school)—invited me to lecture.  Among the hearers was Mr. William Ellis, then a plain citizen of London, but afterwards well-known and most deservedly respected as the founder of the Birkbeck Schools. He accompanied me to my lodgings in Blackfriars Road, one night at the close of October, 1845, and wrote me out a cheque on a Lombard Street bank for £100.

    I paid brave John Cleave his £33; sent part payment to the lawyer for the expenses of my Trials, "Writ of Certiorari," effecting of "Bail," etc. etc.,—and also sent sums to others to whom I was indebted; and felt happier when I had paid away the £100 than I did when I received it.  I had many additional proofs of Mr. Ellis's munificent kindness afterwards.

    I was favoured with interviews by the Countess of Blessington—to whom, through Mr. How's persuasion, I dedicated my Christmas Rhyme, or "Baron's Yule Feast;" and also by Charles Dickens, with whom I afterwards corresponded, and for one of whose periodicals I wrote a little.  But the most illustrious man of genius to whom my poem gave me an introduction was Thomas Carlyle.  I had dedicated my volume to him without leave asked, and from simple and real intellectual homage—in a sonnet composed but a day or two before I quitted the gaol.  At first, I meant to prefix a sonnet as a dedication to each book, and I wrote three or four of the sonnets—one to my playfellow, Thomas Miller, another to Thomas Moore (who was then living), and another to Harriet Martineau.  But I put this thought aside—fearing it would be deemed too formal (though there is a separate dedication to each book of "Marmion"), and resolved to dedicate the volume to Mr. Carlyle.  I sent him the poem; and he sent me a letter so highly characteristic of his genius that I insert it here:—

 

"Chelsea, September 1, 1845.

"DEAR SIR,

    "I have received your Poem; and will thank you for that kind gift, and for all the friendly sentiments you entertain towards me,—which, as from an evidently sincere man, whatever we may think of them otherwise, are surely valuable to a man.

    "I have looked into your Poem, and find indisputable traces of genius in it,—a dark Titanic energy struggling there, for which we hope there will be clearer daylight by-and-by!  If I might presume to advise, I think I would recommend you to try your next work in Prose, and as a thing turning altogether on Facts, not Fictions.  Certainly the music that is very traceable here might serve to irradiate into harmony far profitabler things than what are commonly called 'Poems,'—for which, at any rate, the taste in these days seems to be irrevocably in abeyance.  We have too horrible a Practical Chaos round us; out of which every man is called by the birth of him to make a bit of Cosmos: that seems to me the real Poem for a man,—especially at present.  I always grudge to see any portion of a man's musical talent (which is the real intellect, the real vitality, or life of him) expended on making mere words rhyme.  These things I say to all my Poetic friends, for I am in real earnest about them: but get almost nobody to believe me hitherto.  From you I shall get an excuse at any rate; the purpose of my so speaking being a friendly one towards you.

    "I will request you farther to accept this Book of mine, and to appropriate what you can of it.  'Life is a serious thing,' as Schiller says, and as you yourself practically know!  These are the words of a serious man about it; they will not altogether be without meaning for you.

    "Unfortunately, I am just in these hours getting out of town; and, not without real regret, must deny myself the satisfaction of seeing you at present.

"Believe me to be,
          "With many good wishes,
                     "Yours very truly,
                                     "T. C
ARLYLE."

    A copy of "Past and Present" came by the same postman who brought me this letter—containing Mr. Carlyle's autograph.  The reader may remember that the motto to "Past and Present" is from Schiller—"Ernst ist das Leben"—Life is a serious thing.

    I owe many benefits to Mr. Carlyle.  Not only richly directoral thoughts in conversation, but deeds of substantial kindness.  Twice he put a five-pound note into my hand, when I was in difficulties; and told me, with a look of grave humour, that if I could never pay him again, he would not hang me.

    Just after I sent him the copy of my Prison Rhyme, he put it into the hands of a young, vigorous, inquiring intelligence who had called to pay him a reverential visit at Chelsea.  The new reader of my book sought me out and made me his friend.  That is twenty-six years ago, and our friendship has continued and strengthened, and has never stiffened into patronage on the one side, or sunk into servility on the other—although my friend has now become "Right Honourable," and is the Vice-President of "Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council."

    At the very moment that I read the revise of this chapter, my friend has become about the "best-abused" man in England.  But I am so sure of his most pellucid conscientiousness and sterling political integrity, that I fully believe his most determined foes at the present will become his most devoted friends in the future.

 
CHAPTER XXVI.
JOURNEY FOR JERROLD'S PAPER:
INTERVIEW WITH WORDSWORTH: 1846.


IN spite of the difference between O'Connor and myself, I tried to help the sufferers by Chartism.  I had instituted a "Veteran Patriots' Fund," and an "Exiles' Widows' and Children's Fund;" and I endeavoured to keep these funds in existence, until I was driven out of my purpose by sheer abuse.  This, however, did not prevent me from ministering to the relief of the sufferers, so far as I was able, myself.  I also held it a duty to join in every effort for effecting the recall of those who had been exiled for political struggles.  On the 10th of March, 1846, noble Thomas Slingsby Duncombe made a motion, in the House of Commons, for the recall of Frost, Williams, and Jones, together with William Ellis, who had been reckoned my fellow-conspirator.  The venerable Richard Oastler, James Watson, Richard Moore, and others, made efforts to win members of Parliament to vote for the motion.

    We were eager to learn what success we should have; and I went with Mr. Oastler to the lobby of the House of Commons, and waited till the division was over.  We had the promise of a vote from Mr. Disraeli; and at a quarter to twelve we learned the pitiful result, as he came out of the House into the lobby.

    "We have polled but thirty-one," said he; "and there were one hundred and ninety-six against us.  Macaulay made a most bloodthirsty speech."

    In the spring of 1846, Douglas Jerrold informed me that he was about to commence a weekly newspaper, and wished me to contribute to it.  He, and his intelligent adviser, Mr. Tomline, at length determined that I should go out for three months through the manufacturing counties, and collect accounts of the industrial, social, and moral state of the people.  The Times had had its "Commissioner," a short time before, giving such accounts; and it was proposed that I should furnish weekly articles to the new paper.  It was June before the arrangements were made for my beginning.  I visited the midland and northern English-counties, and sent articles to the newspaper, entitled "Condition of the People of England."

    During the first week in September, while at Carlisle, the weather being as fine as in July, I set out to walk through the Lake country; and as I drew near Rydal Mount, I could not resist the desire of making an attempt to see the patriarchal Poet Laureate.  I think it better to insert here the "Reminiscence of Wordsworth" I inserted in Cooper's Journal than to write the sketch over again.  The reader will please to remember that the article was written and published in May, 1850.

    I saw the patriarchal poet who has just departed, in his own home, in September, 1846; and cannot forbear recording, very briefly, the pleasing remembrances of that interview, now that every lover of poetry is dwelling with emotion on the fact of his death.  I had set out from my friend James Arthur's, at Carlisle, for a four days' walk through the mountain and Lake country, taking simply my stick in my hand, and a map of the district in my pocket.  On the second day I climbed Skiddaw; and on the third, having left beautiful Keswick in the morning, I reached Rydal Lake in the afternoon.

    There was a magnet in the very name of Rydal Mount: how was I to get past it without attempting to see and talk with Wordsworth?  I asked, at a house by the highway side, where he lived; and was immediately pointed to his cottage, lying upwards and to the left, a little out of the direct road to Ambleside.  I began to walk in that direction; but I was somewhat puzzled as to whether my purpose was not too romantic to be carried out.

    I had no introduction,—a fact which would have settled the question at once had I been in London, and the wild thought had entered my head of attempting to make a call so unceremoniously on any of the great men of letters living there.  But Rydal Mount, thought I, does not come, cannot come, under the same category with London: it is an out-of-the-way place; and many must have come on pilgrimage to it, who had no introduction.  Yes,—I reasoned again,—in their carriages they might come, and would then seem to assert their right to be attended to; but what will be said to me, covered with dust, and having nothing to recommend me, except—but I scarcely dared to hope it—the patriarchal Poet Laureate should have heard that a Prison Rhyme was sent forth last year, by a Chartist,—and yet what sort of a recommendation would that be to Wordsworth?  That was my forlorn hope, however; and, determined not to fail for want of trying, I boldly strode up to the door, and knocked.

William Wordsworth
1770-1850

    Behold, a servant-maid came to the door, and when I asked "Is Mr. Wordsworth in?" and she answered "Yes,"—I was for one moment completely at a loss—for she looked at me from head to foot with an expression which told me she was surprised that I should come there covered with dust, and so plainly dressed.  To send in a request, verbally, I felt at once would not do.

    " Stop a moment!" I said; took off my hat, drew a slip of paper from my pocket, and resting it on my hat-crown, I wrote instantly—"Thomas Cooper, author of 'The Purgatory of Suicides,' desires to pay his devout regards to Mr. Wordsworth."  I requested the maid to present it; and, in half a minute, she returned, and said, with an altered expression of face, "Come in, sir, if you please."

    In another half minute I was in the presence of that majestic old man, and I was bowing with a deep and heartfelt homage for his intellectual grandeur—with which his striking form and the pile of his forehead served to congrue so fully—when he seized my hand, and welcomed me with a smile so paternal, and such a hearty "How do you do?  I am very happy to see you"—that the tears stood in my eyes for joy.

    How our conversation opened I cannot remember and yet I think every word he uttered I can recollect—though not the order in which the remarks came from him.  This I attribute partly to our conversation being broken by the visit of a very intelligent and amiable lady—(the widow of a great and good man, the late Dr. Arnold, of Rugby)—accompanied by her little daughter; and also by my being invited to take some refreshment in the adjoining room, and at the kind solicitation of Mrs. Wordsworth,—whose conversation was of too great excellence for me to forget it.  It related chiefly to Southey, whose bust was in the room; and for whose genius and industry—in spite of the Toryism of his manhood—I had a deep admiration, to say nothing of the noble strains for freedom written in his youth.

    What the great author of "The Excursion" said respecting my Prison Rhyme I shall not relate here; but, remembering what he said, I can also bear the remembrance that the Quarterly, Edinburgh, Westminster, and Times, have hitherto, and alike, judged it fit to be silent as to there being such a poem in existence.

    Nothing struck me so much in Wordsworth's conversation as his remark concerning Chartism—after the subject of my imprisonment had been touched upon.

    "You were right," he said; "I have always said the people were right in what they asked; but you went the wrong way to get it."

    I almost doubted my ears—being in the presence of the "Tory" Wordsworth.  He read the inquiring expression of my look in a moment,—and immediately repeated what he had said.

    "You were quite right: there is nothing unreasonable in your Charter: it is the foolish attempt at physical force, for which many of you have been blamable."

    I had heard that Wordsworth was vain and egotistical, but had always thought this very unlikely to be true, in one whose poetry is so profoundly reflective; and I now felt astonished that these reports should ever have been circulated.  To me, he was all kindness and goodness; while the dignity with which he uttered every sentence seemed natural in a man whose grand head and face, if one had never known of his poetry, would have proclaimed his intellectual superiority.

    There was but one occasion on which I discerned the feeling of jealousy in him: it was when I mentioned Byron.  "If there were time," he said, "I could show you that Lord Byron was not so great a poet as you think him to be—but never mind that now."  I had just been classing his own sonnets and "Childe Harold" together, as the noblest poetry since "Paradise Lost;" but did not reassert what I said: I should have felt that to be irreverent towards the noble old man, however unchanged my own judgment remained.

    "I am pleased to find," he said, while we were talking about Byron, "that you preserve your muse chaste, and free from rank and corrupt passion.  Lord Byron degraded poetry in that respect.  Men's hearts are bad enough.  Poetry should refine and purify their natures; not make them worse."

    I ventured the plea that "Don Juan" was descriptive, and that Shakspeare had also described bad passions in anatomising the human heart, which was one of the great vocations of the poet.

    "But there is always a moral lesson," he replied quickly, "in Shakspeare's pictures.  You feel he is not stirring man's passions for the sake of awakening the brute in them: the pure and the virtuous are always presented in high contrast; but the other riots in corrupt pictures, evidently with the enjoyment of the corruption."

    I diverted him from a theme which, it was clear, created unpleasant thoughts in him; and asked his opinion of the poetry of the day.

    "There is little that can be called high poetry," he said. "Mr. Tennyson affords the richest promise.  He will do great things yet; and ought to have done greater things by this time."

    "His sense of music," I observed, "seems more perfect than that of any of the new race of poets."

    "Yes," he replied; "the perception of harmony lies in the very essence of the poet's nature; and Mr. Tennyson gives magnificent proofs that he is endowed with it."

    I instanced Tennyson's rich association of musical words in his "Morte d'Arthur," "Godiva," "Ulysses," and other pieces—as proofs of his possessing as fine a sense of music in syllables as Keats, and even Milton; and the patriarchal poet, with an approving smile, assented to it.

    I assured him how much I had been interested with Mrs. Wordsworth's conversation respecting Southey, and told him that James Montgomery of Sheffield, in an interview I had with him many years before, had spoken very highly of Southey.

    "Well, that is pleasing to hear," he observed; "for Mr. Montgomery's political opinions have never resembled Southey's."

    "That was Mr. Montgomery's own observation," I rejoined, "while he was assuring me that he lived near to Mr. Southey for a considerable time, at one period of his life, and he never knew a more estimable man.  He affirmed, too, that when people attributed Mr. Southey's change of political opinions to corrupt motives, they greatly wronged him."

    "And, depend upon it, they did," Wordsworth answered, with great dignity: "it was the foulest libel to attribute bad motives to Mr. Southey.  No man's change was ever more sincere.  He would have hated himself had he been a hypocrite; and could never afterwards have produced anything noble."

    He repeated Mrs. Wordsworth remarks on Southey's purity of morals, and immense industry in reading almost always with the pen in his hand; and his zeal in laying up materials for future works.  With a sigh he recurred to his friend's mental decline and imbecility in his latter days—and, again, I led him to other topics.

    "There will be great changes on the Continent," he said, "when the present King of the French dies.  But not while he lives.  The different governments will have to give constitutions to their people, for knowledge is spreading, and constitutional liberty is sure to follow."

    I thought him perfectly right about Louis Philippe; and which of us would not have thought him right in 1846?  But yet I had mistaken his estimate of the "King of the Barricades."

    "Ay, he is too crafty and powerful," said I, "to be easily overthrown; there will be no extension of French liberty in his days."

    "Oh, but you are mistaken in the character of Louis Philippe," he observed, very pointedly; "you should not call him crafty: he is a very wise and politic prince.  The French needed such a man.  He will consolidate French character, and render it fit for the peaceable acquirement of rational liberty at his decease."

    I remembered the venerable age and high mental rank of him with whom I was conversing, and simply said—"Do you think so, sir?"—without telling him that I thought he scarcely comprehended his subject.  But how the events of 1848 must have made him wonder!

    He had the same views of the spread of freedom in England in proportion to the increase of knowledge; and descanted with animation on the growth of Mechanics' and similar institutions.

    "The people are sure to have the franchise," he said, with emphasis, "as knowledge increases; but you will not get all you seek at once—and you must never seek it again by physical force," he added, turning to me with a smile: "it will only make you longer about it."

    A great part of the time he was thus kindly and paternally impressing his thoughts upon me, we were walking on the terrace outside his house,—whither he had conducted me to note the beautiful view it commanded.  It was indeed a glorious spot for a poet's home.  Rydal Lake was in view from one window in the cottage, and Windermere from another—with all the grand assemblage of mountain and rock that intervened.  From the terrace the view of Windermere was magnificent.

    The poet's aged and infirm sister was being drawn about the courtyard in a wheeled chair, as we walked on the terrace.  He descended with me, and introduced me to her—as a poet!—and hung over her infirmity with the kindest affection, while she talked to me.

    When I hastened to depart—fearing that I had already wearied him—he walked with me to the gate, pressing my hand repeatedly, smiling upon me so benevolently, and uttering so many good wishes for my happiness and usefulness, that I felt almost unable to thank him.  I left him with a more intense feeling of having been in the presence of a good and great intelligence, than I had ever felt in any other moments of my life.

 
CHAPTER XXVII.
LITERARY AND LECTURING LIFE, IN LONDON;
1847—1848.


WHEN I returned from the journey on which I had been sent to collect matter for the articles on the "Condition of the People," furnished to Douglas Jerrold's paper, I was told by Jerrold himself that he was very sorry to inform me they had not room for me on the paper: it was sinking in circulation, and they must reduce their staff:

    My publisher, Mr. How, had now removed to 209, Piccadilly, and from what he had said to me before I set out on my journey, I had hoped, by the time of my return, he would have been able to publish a second edition of my Prison Rhyme.  He requested me not to offer my book to any other publisher, assuring me he should be in a better position soon.  I waited long: my poem remained out of print a full year—which was a real loss to myself.

    My good friend W. J, Fox, falling ill at the beginning of 1847, he requested me to take his place at South Place, Finsbury Square, till his recovery.  I took it without hesitation; and it caused a few severe remarks from some Cockney critics.  But I saw no inconsistency in what I did.  It was not because I thought I was my peerless friend's equal in eloquence, that I ventured to stand in his place—for he had no equal in England.  But I thought I could say something worth hearing, even by Cockneys; and I had not learned to pretend that I feared to supply the place of another speaker, whoever he might be.

    My friend was soon well again, and returned to South Place, but intimated to me that he should retire from his post as Sunday evening lecturer at the National Hall; and that he had told the committee he wished me to succeed him.  And so I commenced lecturing on Sunday evenings in the Hall, so well known at that time in Holborn.

    I had on several occasions seen it right to speak strongly against the old Chartist error of physical force.  For the more I reflected on the past, the more clearly I saw that the popular desire for freedom had failed through those errors.  One night, the elder Mr. Ashurst, a leading attorney of the city of London, had been among my hearers; and he desired Lovett to ask me if I would deliver two lectures in the National Hall on "Moral Force," as a special theme.  I consented; and the "Two Orations against the taking away of Human Life" were first spoken, and then published, in a pamphlet, by the Brothers Chapman, who were then publishers in Newgate Street.

    Calling on my old friend and playmate, Thomas Miller, one day, he told me that a series of boys' books was being brought out by Chapman and Hall, and he had written two or three of the books—but other writers were wanted; that, as the books were highly illustrated, Mr. Henry Vizetelly, the engraver, was entrusted with arrangements, and I might apply to him.  I called on Mr. Vizetelly, and engaged to write "The Triumphs of Perseverance" for £25.  It was but poor pay.  But I was waiting still for Mr. How; and the lectures at the National Hall were always suspended in summer: so I was glad to get any employ.  Mr. Vizetelly afterwards gave me £10 to alter the "History of Enterprise" which had been written by another person.  Eventually, the two volumes were made into one by some other writer, and so published by Messrs. Darton.

    During the summer of 1847, I was invited to lecture at the John Street Institution, Tottenham Court Road.  It was still held, in lease, by Socialists; and I could not help wondering at the strange changes of my life which had brought me to stand, as a teacher, in the pulpit at South Place, and on the platform at John Street, where I had heard Robert Owen and W. J. Fox, on those two Sundays in 1839.

    The last administration of Sir Robert Peel was now broken up, and the general election came on in August.  So now, again, I had to take the place of my eloquent friend, W. J. Fox, on Sunday mornings, at South Place, that he might be free to contest the borough of Oldham—for which he was speedily returned M.P.
 
    The political atmosphere, almost everywhere, began now to show disturbance.  In Ireland, the writing and speeches of John Mitchell caused considerable alarm.  Continental affairs also began to be very unsettled.  The really popular course taken by Pope Pio Nono, in the autumn of 1847, created great hope.  There were also signs of a struggle for increased liberty in Switzerland.  I had no personal acquaintance, up to this time, with the great and good Mazzini; but, at the request of my friend W. J. Fox, I joined a new society which Mazzini had projected.  It was called "The People's International League;" and we held our meetings, usually weekly, in the parlour of our secretary, Mr. W. J. Linton, the engraver, in Hatton Garden,—who has, it is feared, settled in America.

    Mazzini himself was our great source of inspiration.  He assured us—months before it came to pass—that a European Revolution was at hand—a revolution that would hurl Louis Phillippe from his throne, and endanger the thrones of others.  He affirmed this as early as in September 1847, when it seemed so unlikely to some of us.  But his eloquence and enthusiasm had a marvellous effect upon us.  He wished, he said, to rouse intelligent Englishmen to a right feeling and understanding of foreign questions, that we might show our sympathy with the right—when we really understood where it lay.

    There were three or four Poles and Hungarians who were members with us, of whom Capt. Stolzman was the chief.  In addition to my friend W. J. Fox, and Mr. W. J. Linton and myself, the English members were—the elder and younger Mr. Ashurst, the elder and younger Mr. P. A. Taylor, Mr. James Stansfeld, Mr. Sidney Hawkes, Mr. Shaen, Mr. Richard Moore, Mr. James Watson, Mr. Henry Hetherington, and Mr. Goodwyn Barmby.  Dr. (now Sir John) Bowring and my friend William Howitt, were reckoned members—but neither of them ever attended our meetings. The younger P. A. Taylor is now the incorruptible and unsubduable M.P. for my native town of Leicester; Mr. James Stansfeld is the "Right Honourable President of the Local Government Board;" and Goodwyn Barmby is a Unitarian Minister at Wakefield.

    The wondrous events of the next year put an end to our meetings; but while they lasted they were deeply interesting.  I remember, one evening, Mazzini had been describing to us the strong hope he had that an effective, but secret, movement for the overthrow of Austrian tyranny, was being organized in his beloved Italy.  He then made a strong appeal to us, whether English lovers of liberty should not show their sympathy with his patriotic countrymen by subscribing to furnish them with arms.

    I ventured to say that I felt doubtful whether it was consistent for some of us who were lamenting the physical force folly of some in our own country, and were often and openly protesting against it, to conspire for aiding another people with arms.  Young Peter Taylor followed me on the same side.  But before any other could speak, Mazzini sprang up.

    "Mr. Cooper, you are right about your own country," he said—and those wondrous eyes of his were lit up with a power that was almost overwhelming; "you are right about your own country.  You have had your grand decisive struggle against Tyrannous Power.  Your fathers brought it to the block; and you have now a Representation, and you have Charters and Written Rights to appeal to.  You need no physical force.  Your countrymen only need a will and union to express it, and you can have all you need.  But what are my countrymen to do, who are trodden down under the iron heel of a foreign tyranny?—who are watched, seized, and imprisoned before anyone knows what has become of them?  What are my countrymen to do, I ask you?  They have no Representation—they have no Charters—they have no Written Rights.  What must my countrymen do?  They must fight!"

    We were all subdued—for he was unanswerable.  And when February brought the French Revolution, it seemed to me as if I had listened to one who possessed a degree of prophetic foresight which is given to few among men.  And the wonders that followed, in the year 1848, rendered it the most remarkable year of the nineteenth century,—unless the last year, 1870, be deemed still more remarkable

    I resumed my Sunday evening lectures at the National Hall, in September, 1847, and continued them till February, 1848—when I gave offence to Lovett and his fellow-committeemen, by changing the subject of my lecture that I might describe the struggle in France, as the majority of my hearers wished me to do.  I was soon solicited to transfer my work to the John Street Institution; and there I continued to lecture for a long time.

    We lodged in Blackfriars Road when my Prison Rhyme was published; afterwards in Islington; and then in Devonshire Street, Red Lion Square.  But on the 10th of February, 1848, I ventured once more to become a householder; and from that time, for seven years following, I lived at 5, Park Row, Knightsbridge.  It was the pleasantest house I had ever had in my life.  The access to it was through "Mill's Buildings," a "long square" tenanted chiefly by workpeople and washerwomen, and, therefore, not likely to attract fashionables.  But the houses forming "Park Row," though somewhat old, were large and roomy, and must have been tenanted by "considerable" sort of people, formerly.  We had no access to Hyde Park, but we looked into it from our really beautiful parlour; and had daily views of the Guards, and Royalty, and great people, passing by, in the Park.

    Finding at length that poor How was sinking into greater difficulties, and that I could not hope to see his name again on any book of mine, as the publisher, I yielded to a request which was pressed upon me greatly by working men, that I would let my Prison Rhyme be issued in numbers at twopence each, that they might have it within their power to purchase it.  I made arrangements with James Watson to bring it out in numbers; and we were to have shared the profits.  But some time after, when I was greatly in want of money, I sold the copyright to Watson for £50.  In the year 1860, however, a young intellectual friend (Mr. Thomas Chambers, of H. M. Customs, who possesses the original MS. of my Prison Rhyme) bought back the copyright from him, and presented it to me, so that the copyright of my poetry remains my own.  I ought also to say that Watson gave leave to Chapman and Hall, for a fixed sum, to publish a given number of copies, of a superior appearance to his own, or "The People's Edition."  So Chapman and Hall's edition was called the "Third Edition."

    Being so thoroughly separated from O'Connor and his party, I was entirely kept out of the "Tenth of April" trouble, and all the other troubles of the year 1848.  I was visited, however, by all sorts of schemers, who wished to draw me into their plots and plans; for plotters and planners were as plentiful as blackberries in 1848.  The changes on the Continent seemed to have unhinged the minds of thousands.  It was not only among O'Connor Chartists, or Ernest Jones Chartists, and the Irish Repealers, that there were plots, open and secret.  I got into the secret of one plot of which a grave old politician of great intelligence had become a member.  I was amazed at the infatuation displayed by himself and a fine young fellow who lodged with him.  I saved them both; but had some difficulty in doing it.  I will describe the affair—but must not mention names.

    A tall, dark-looking man came to visit me one day, addressing me with an air of amazing frankness: assuring me that he had been in the Detective Police Force, and knew all about their system; but that he hated the government, and wanted to overthrow it and all other tyrannies upon the earth.  He was proceeding to tell me what were his plans for a revolution; but I would not hear them.  He seemed determined to proceed; but I assured him he had come to the wrong man, and refused to listen.  He was evidently maliciously disappointed; and I was glad when he was gone.

    I had not mentioned his visit to any one.  But, four days after, meeting the grave, matured politician I have already referred to, in Fleet Street,—he drew me into one of the courts, and began to tell me that he had entered into a solemn promise to assist in "ending the present state of things" promise one bold stroke.  I asked what he really meant; and he began to inform me that one was at the head of the plot who had formerly been in the Detective Force, and knew all the secrets of the police.  I scented the personality he referred to—but let him go on.  A young friend of his, he said, had undertaken to be one of five who should fire London, in different places, with a chemical composition which would burn stone itself: nothing could resist it.  In the confusion that must arise, the head of the plot that he had referred to would mount a horse and gallop through the town, proclaiming himself the Dictator.

    The Irish Confederates, he said, had promised to bring out all their force; and when resistance had been overcome—if any were offered—a Republican government would be formed.

    I never felt more astonished in my life than I did at the complete infatuation of the man.  I walked home with him; and asked what time his young lodger would be in.  "In about another hour," he said, "he would come to his dinner."  So I determined to stay and see him, and talked on till he came.  The young man seemed more completely infatuated than the older one.  The plot was to be executed on the next night but one—and so I knew there was no time to lose.  I asked the young man if he knew what the composition was that would burn stone.  He instantly mentioned some chemical—the name of which I have forgot, and said if it were placed on a stone, and sugar of lead were put to it, it would burn up the stone.  I asked if he had tried it—for I saw I must proceed quietly.  He confessed he had not.  I said I should like to see it tried: would he go out and purchase the chemicals at two or three different shops?  He consented—went out—and soon returned.

    We went downstairs, and then into what Londoners call a "back place," which had a brick floor—but there was one large stone in the floor.  The young man eagerly put a portion of the chemical on the stone.  Then, tying a spoon to a stick, he filled the spoon with sugar of lead; and, standing at a distance from the stone, he stretched out the stick and poured the sugar of lead on the chemical.  There was a sudden pink-coloured blaze, and all was over.  The stone was scarcely tinged with black.  I urged him to try it again; and then to try it on wood,—but it would not fire either!

    The young man looked mortified and ashamed; and I took him upstairs to the elder man and communicated the result of our trial; and the elder man looked vexed and ashamed.  But I saw now that I had some advantage in talking to them.

    "How came you to believe such a wild tale without trying it?" I said.  "I can venture my head on the assertion that no man in the world knows of a chemical composition which you can place on the stones of the street and set them on fire—or burn stone houses, or brick houses, either.  This scoundrel who has drawn you into this mad plot came to me, before he came to you—"

    "Came to you?"

    "Came to me, and told me the same tale of his having been in the Detective Force; but I stopped him—although I had to use threatening in order to do it.  He seeks to ruin you both."

    "I'll shoot him if he plays me false," exclaimed the younger man.

    "You had better have no more to do with him; but tell him, when he calls to-night, to walk off."

    "Oh no! I shall not do that," said the younger man; "the job will be done to-morrow night, and I mean to go through with it."

    The elder man now joined the younger in denouncing my attempt to put them off their foolish scheme.  It was time the bad state of things was altered, he said.  He had been struggling all his life against bad governments; and now a determined stroke was to be played, he would not draw back.

I left them; but returned at night, and renewed my entreaties.  I reminded the elder man that he knew the names of Castles, and Oliver, and Edwards, the old spies and bargainers for "blood-money" in Castlereagh and Sidmouth's time, as well as I did; and he might be sure the brood of such vermin was not extinct yet.  As the fellow did not come at nine o'clock, according to promise, the younger man said he would go out, and try to find him.

    "Nay," I said; "you had better stay.  Let him come, and let me confront him."

    Ten o'clock struck; but he did not come.  No doubt he had seen me enter the house; and so felt it would destroy his scheme to meet me, if I had not destroyed his scheme already.  I told the two deluded men that the fellow most likely knew that I was in the house, and would not come in.  The younger man jumped up, and said he should like to know if it were so, and would go to the house of a friend who lived near, and ask if he had called there.

    The young man returned, but not with any news of the whereabouts of the mysterious would-be Dictator.  Yet he had learned that the Irish Confederates had signified they could not "come out" the next night: so, most likely, the thing would be put off for the present.

    I went again the next day, and found that a night's reflection had produced a change.  Neither the young man nor the elder one talked so confidently as before.  They seemed greatly to wonder that their chief had failed to call.

    "If he has been laying a lying information against us, and means to visit us to-day and bring some of the Force with him," said the elder man, "he can prove nothing against us."

    "He could only assert that he had visited you in your houses," I said; "and it would be strange evidence to give against you—though you were unwise to listen to him.  I feel sure you are in no danger from him, if you refuse to let him enter your house when he calls again; and tell him you will have nothing more to do with him."

    They did not promise—but I saw they would take my advice.  So long as the old politician lived, he never met me without a blush.

    Let me add another reminiscence—but of a very different character—before I conclude this chapter.  I mentioned the fact that I met my old Italian instructor Signor D'Albrione on the day of the riot in the Potteries; and in the latter part of 1845 I found him again, in London.  We agreed that he should resume his old office as my French and Italian teacher; and we kept the agreement till I went out into the North of England for Jerrold's paper in 1846.  When I returned, as we went into a new lodging, he failed to find me; and as I had no knowledge of where he lived—for he was always reticent about it—I could not find him.

    One forenoon in the close of 1847, I was passing over Blackfriars Bridge when I caught sight of a tall figure, almost in rags, bending over the parapet, with such a look of misery that, at first, I did not recognize in it the noble face of the brave old Carbonaro and soldier of Napoleon.  Believing it to be the face of D'Albrione, I called him by his name.  He did not speak, but turned upon me a glance of despair that I can scarcely describe—while he sobbed, and the tears rolled down his cheeks.

    "My good friend," I said, "what are you doing here?"  He pointed significantly to the river beneath.

    "Oh, nay, come away," I said, "come away, and tell me about yourself—don't think of that!"

    He told me his dark tale of distress, and it was dark indeed.  His teaching had fallen off, till, at last, he could not get food, and his strength sank; and when he had pawned everything but the rags he wore, he did not feel strength or courage to apply for employment in his profession as a teacher of languages.  I helped to keep him on his legs—though his constitution was gone—until the political earthquake came in 1848; and then he asked me to raise him a little money, and give him an introduction to Mazzini, who, he felt sure, would complete the means of getting him home to his native Turin.  The noble heart of Mazzini was touched with the misfortunes of his countryman, and he effectually opened the exile's path back to his birthplace.  Doubtless the poor wanderer has long since been borne to his rest on his native soil.

 
CHAPTER XXVIII.
LITERARY AND LECTURING LIFE CONTINUED:
1848—1850.


IN the year I848, I think, Chartists were wilder than we were in 1842, or than the members of the First Convention were in 1838.  Experience had rendered me a little wiser than to suffer myself to be mixed up again with any plot, however plausible: so I kept out of them all.  If the reader would know the wild Chartist history of 1848, and learn how imprisonment, and death in prison, were the lot that fell to some of its victims, he can consult Dr. Gammage, as I told him before.  As I had nothing to do with the monstrous "National Petition," or the meeting on Kennington Common, or the "glorious 10th of April," or any of the "monster meetings" of the year, I am cut off, happily, from the later Chartist history of violence and failure.

    Mention of that memorable "10th of April" calls up one agreeable reminiscence.  On the evening before the day, I was kindly invited by my highly intelligent friend Dr. Garth Wilkinson to join a party, in his house at Hampstead, to meet Emerson, the illustrious American.  He was the only American in whose company I ever felt real enjoyment.  The few Americans I have ever met displayed too much of my own native mood—the imperative—to render them pleasant companions.  I met Margaret Fuller twice, during the time she was in London—once at W. J. Fox's, and the other at Hugh Doherty's; but felt only a modified pleasure in her company.  She talked in a nasal tone, and lifted up her head to shout, so as to be heard by all in the room—behaviour so utterly foreign to an Englishman's notions of womanliness!  Emerson did not talk in his nose; and why any American should, I cannot see.  Why do they not master the bad habit?  Emerson's talk was gentle and good; and his manners were those of a quiet English gentleman.  I walked into London with him—as he had intimated a wish to walk.  It was Sunday evening; and he made observations on a host of subjects, as we gently walked on—for he would not hurry.  Religion, Politics, Literature—ours, and America's: he seemed eager to learn all he could, and willing to communicate all he could.  He seemed to think and talk without pride or conceit, and with remarkably good common-sense, so far as my humble judgment went.

    I could say anything to him—but I could not talk to Margaret Fuller.  I remember that my friend. Mr. Fox left his arm-chair to come to the opposite side of his drawing-room, and remind me that I had not yet spoken to his American guest.  And if he had not done so, I do not think I should have exchanged words with her—though my friend Willie Thom stood and conversed with her a long time.

    Poor Willie Thom! how melancholy it seems to look back upon the close of the history of the weaver poet of Inverury! especially when one calls to mind what his natural endowments were, despite his lowly condition.  Mr. Fox used to say that Willie Thom had the richest powers of conversation of any man he had ever known; and Mr. Fox had been intimate with Leigh Hunt, and Macready, and Pemberton, and Talfourd.  And, indeed, it required an effort to free yourself from the conviction that you were conversing with a thoroughly educated man when you talked with Willie Thom.  The thought in every word he used was wondrous, even on the commonest subjects.

    And then he sang so sweetly!  We got up a weekly meeting, at one time, at the Crown Tavern, close to the church of St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, Fleet Street; and it was chiefly that we might enjoy the society of Willie Thom.  Julian Harney, and John Skelton (now Dr. Skelton), and old Dr. Macdonald, and James Devlin, who wrote "The Shoemaker," and Walter Cooper, and Thomas Shorter, and a few others were members of our weekly meeting.  Willie Thom usually sang us his "Wandering Willie," or "My ain wee thing:" and sometimes I sang them my prison songs, "O choose thou the maid with the gentle blue eye," and "I would not be a crowned king."

    The poor poet's singings soon came to an end.  After the publication of his first and only volume, he was induced (as he always said, by Gordon of Knockespock) to come and settle in London, under false promises.  Money had been subscribed for him by Scottish merchants in India and others—I think to the amount of £400.  But he made no proper use of it.  He yielded to people who urged him to sit up singing and drinking whisky the whole night through.  And although he had some constitution left when I first knew him, it soon faded.  Again and again, I carried invitations to him, from Douglas Jerrold, to contribute to the Shilling Magazine, and also from William Howitt, to contribute to his periodical; but it was in vain.

    "Nay-nay!" he used to say, with an air of wretchedness; "I can do nae such thing as they ask, although they promise me siller for it.  I threw off my lilts o' the heart in auld time, when I had a heart; but I think I've none left, noo!"

    At last, he was reduced to absolute starvation, in London.  He had married his servant after the death of his first wife; and when she was in a condition that needed some amendment of life, they were at the lowest.  She actually brought forth her child without any help from a medical man, her own husband in the room,—and they were without food!  George Jacob Holyoake, living near them, was the first to learn the fact; threw them his last sovereign, and ran out to seek the proper help the poor woman needed.

    I went to Mr. P. A. Taylor (the present M.P. for Leicester) so soon as I heard the sorrowful facts; and he promised to renew the help he and his friends had formerly rendered the poor poet.  It was perceived, however, that there was no hope for him in London.  So, by the interest of Sir Wm. Forbes, £40 was obtained from the Literary Fund, and he was sent down to Dundee, under a promise that he would return to the loom.  He lived but a few months, and his wife but a few months after him; and they lie buried together in Dundee Cemetery, not far from the grand river Tay.

    During the stirring year of 1848, I kept on at my lecturing work, on Sunday evenings, at the John Street Institution.  I had large audiences, to listen to history and foreign and home politics, mingled with moral instruction.  One great charm of these evenings, for myself, was the music.  There was a good organ, and I strove to direct the taste of the choir to Handel and Mozart and Haydn and Beethoven; and the result was that we soon had some thorough good chorus-singing.

    I had crowds to listen to me in the winter of 1848-9.  And I might have done great good if I had continued simply to teach history, and to deal with the stirring politics of the time.  But I had now become a thorough adherent of Strauss.  I believed his "Mythical System" to be the true interpretation of what was called Gospel History.  So, in my evil zeal for what I conceived to be Truth, I delivered eight lectures, on successive Sunday evenings, on the teachings of the "Leben Jesu."  I soon repeated them in the "Hall of Science," City Road—for I began in October, 1848, to lecture, alternately, at that place and at John Street.  There is no part of my teaching as a public lecturer that I regret so deeply as this.  It would rejoice my heart indeed if I could obliterate those lectures from the Realm of Fact.  But it can not be.  We must bear the guilt and take the consequences of all our acts which are contrary to the will of Him Who made us, and Who has a right to our service.

    In December, 1848, Mr. Benjamin Steill, of 20, Paternoster Row, asked me if I were willing to conduct a weekly penny periodical, to be devoted to Radical politics and general instruction.  I answered "Yes;" for I could have no doubt that the original publisher of Wooler's Black Dwarf and I would well agree in our political views.  Mr. Steill allowed me to choose a name for the new serial; and, without knowing that Hazlitt had formerly conducted a periodical, or rather published a series of papers under that title, I determined to call it "THE PLAIN SPEAKER."

    Mr. Steill gave me but two pounds per week, and expected me to write the greater part of the contents.  But with the third number he introduced Wooler, the aged editor of the famous old Black Dwarf, of the times of Hunt and Cobbett.  Yet Wooler did not help me effectually.

    "He was, at one time, the finest epistolary writer in England," said Mr. Steill in his commendation.  But the stilted style of the Black Dwarf, however it had been relished by the men of a former generation, was not in favour with the men of my generation, and they could see no resemblance to "Junius" in him.  Nor was Wooler's conversation more animated than his style: it was "flat, stale, and unprofitable."

    The best papers I wrote in the Plain Speaker were my "Eight Letters to the Young Men of the Working Classes."  They were afterwards published as a sixpenny pamphlet, and sold in thousands.  I do not think I ever wrote anything that was instrumental of so much real good as those Letters.

    Letters to Richard Cobden, the Duke of Grafton, the Bishop of London, Joseph Hume, Lord Ashley, the Duke of Beaufort, Lord John Russell, the Earl of Carlisle, the Earl of Winchilsea, Sir Robert Inglis, Sir Robert Peel, the Archbishop of Canterbury, James Garth Marshall of Leeds, Sir E. N. Buxton, John Bright, Benjamin Disraeli, the Marquis of Granby, R. Bernal Osborne, Sir Joshua Walmsley, Lord Stanley, the Duke of Rutland, Lord Brougham, and others, all more or less political, form the staple of my writing for the Plain Speaker.  But the letters to the "Right Reverend the Lord Harry of Exeter" were considered to be the most amusing part of the series.

    In the spring of 1849, I lectured in Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Shields, Sunderland, Carlisle, Leeds, and York; and still kept up my writing for the Plain Speaker.  In the month of May, the kind and true friend to whom Thomas Carlyle showed my Prison Rhyme, asked me to go over with him to Paris.  I hesitated; but my dear wife said I should, perhaps, never have such another offer in my life; and when I consulted Mr. Steill, he said I could write from Paris.  So I consented.  Under the titles "Five Days in Paris" and "A Sunday in Calais," I gave a sketch of my experiences, in the current numbers of the Plain Speaker.  That was the only time I was ever on the Continent; and I feel myself under lasting obligations to my friend for affording me the opportunity of seeing Paris, and Versailles, and St. Denis, and Calais with my own eyes.

    I went over to Leicester in 1849, and addressed meetings, at the request of several old friends, who wished me to present myself again as a candidate for the representation of my native town in Parliament.  I speedily gave up the project, clearly discerning that no poor man, unconnected with aristocracy, or powerful local influences, can succeed in such a purpose.  During this year I also lectured at Cheltenham and Northampton, and other towns.

    In August, 1849, I ceased to write for the Plain Speaker.  The paper was not got out at the proper time of the week (the proprietor not being able to buy the materials), and so the circulation sank.  To enable Mr. Steill to cope a little better with difficulties, I gave up half of my salary as editor; but he still was too late in the week with the publishing; and, seeing no hope of amendment, I withdrew.  Wooler and he struggled on with the paper to the end of the year.

    I cannot close my account of the year 1849 without recording a slight incident connected with the memory of a man of real genius. My friend George Searle Phillips (or "January Searle ") was on a visit to Ebenezer Elliott, and, in my name, presented him with a copy of my " Purgatory of Suicides," and also intimated my wish to see him. The poet (who died very soon after) sent me his mind in a note which is, at once, so characteristic of the man, that I present it to the reader:—

"Hargate Hill, near Barnsley,
"9th September, 1849.

"DEAR MR. COOPER,
    "Stone deaf, as I am at present, and agonized with unintermitting pain, I could not welcome a visit from Dante himself, even if he brought with him a sample of the best brimstone pudding which may be prepared for me in the low country.  But if I should recover, and you then happen to be in my neighbourhood, you will need no introduction but your name; and I will promise you a hearty welcome, bacon and eggs, and a bed.
                                        " I am, dear sir,
                                                     "Yours very truly,
                                                                 "E
BENEZER ELLIOTT."

    Before the end of the year, I was strongly urged by all my friends to commence a weekly penny periodical on my own account; and so on Saturday, January 5th, 1850, the first number of Cooper's Journal was published by James Watson, who lived then at "3, Queen's Head Passage," one of the passages between Paternoster Row and Newgate Street.  I regret deeply that I was persuaded by my freethinking friends to publish my Lectures on Strauss's "Leben Jesu," in the new periodical.  I had many misgivings about it; but some of them urged it so strongly, that I committed myself to a promise, and then felt bound to fulfil it.

    Of course, I had to furnish the greater portion of writing for each number; but I was kindly assisted by friends in filling up the weekly pages of Cooper's Journal.  My best contributors of poetry were Gerald Massey (some of whose earliest pieces first appeared in my periodical), J. A. Langford (now Dr. Langford) of Birmingham, and poor William Jones of Leicester.  There were scattered pieces of rhyme by W. Moy Thomas (now editor of Cassell's Magazine), William Whitmore of Leicester, and others.  My best and most productive prose contributor was Frank Grant—a young man of very considerable powers of mind, but an invalid for years, by paralysis of his lower limbs.  He was the son of an excellent clergyman in the Staffordshire Potteries, but was a free thinker—and that most conscientiously.  Other contributors were my beloved friend Samuel M. Kydd (now a barrister-at-law), George Hooper (author of "The Battle of Waterloo," and an active member of the London newspaper press), my very old intellectual friends, J. Yeats of Hull, and Richard Otley of Sheffield, Thomas Shorter (secretary of the Working Men's College), and a few more.

    There were sold, altogether, of the first number, 9,000; but the sale soon began to decline.  At the end of June I suspended the publication, by announcement, for three months.  But the recommencement, in October, was so unsuccessful, as to lead me to close the publication entirely at the end of that month.

    During the months of January, February, March, April, and May, 1850, I lectured, on Sunday nights, alternately, at the John Street Institution, Tottenham Court Road, and the Hall of Science, City Road.  And during these months I also lectured, on other nights of the week, in several of the smaller Institutes of London.  The months of June, July, and August were devoted to travelling—when I lectured at Coventry, Hull, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Sunderland, North Shields, Alnwick, Carlisle, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesborough, York, Leeds, Keighley, Wakefield Huddersfield; Bradford, Sheffield, Rotherham, and Doncaster, together with Pudsey, Heckmondwike, Cullingworth, and other smaller towns in Yorkshire; and afterwards at Cheltenham, Norwich, and Southampton.  The subjects on which I lectured in these journeyings were—the Lives and Genius of Milton, Burns, Byron, and Shelley; the Genius of Shakspeare; the Commonwealth and Cromwell; the Wrongs of Ireland; and sometimes I lectured on the political changes at home and on the Continent.



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