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CHAPTER IV.

PROPAGANDIST USES OF INTERVIEWING.


IF electricity be the source of life, the press of America may be compared to a vast machine for the production of intellectual electricity, which vibrates through the nation, quickening the life of the people.  One of its original devices for this purpose is the invention of interviewing.

    American newspapers send very able men to Europe, who report upon features and politics in society with great fidelity to facts.  To catch the humors of classes, and manner of thought of strange peoples, is a rare acquirement—more an instinct than an acquisition.  It is one thing to satisfy readers in the country for which you write, who have no means of testing the accuracy of what is said, it is quite a different thing to satisfy the people whom you describe.  At a time when it was a matter of political necessity to me to understand the way in which the "intelligent foreigner" would be impressed by English public affairs, and the opinions formed by them of the chief acts of English legislation, I used to find the New York "Tribune" of the first order of service.  The letters sent from London, signed "G. W. S.," though they were not received from America until twenty days after they were written, frequently contained an estimate of English political questions quite fresh and instructive then—as I said elsewhere years ago.  A stranger in a country, who is a competent observer, will see many things which will not strike an observer at home at all, nor at any time, early or late.  The gods have often been asked, but they never have given us the gift of seeing ourselves as others see us.

    Many persons do not take well to interviewers, who, certainly, are troublesome persons to one who has no definite notions.  It is not pleasant to be asked what you mean if you do not know yourself.  It is often a very perplexing thing, even for a public speaker, to be asked what is the purport of what he intends to say.  It frequently transpires that he has not thought of it himself.  Indeed, I have many times heard very popular speeches made, of which nobody knew what they were about.  Sometimes I have heard sermons which left the congregation in this doubt.  As a journalist, I have seen leading articles in English newspapers which gave the reader a great deal of trouble to discover their object.  Indeed, I will not disclaim having written such myself.  Lord Westbury used to say that many persons assumed the possession of an endowment which "they are pleased to call their minds," which is not at all apparent to others.  Persons who have a talent for not knowing what they mean should keep out of the way of American interviewers.

    The interviewer is an inquirer, and he visits you partly from courtesy, partly for the sake of news.  He asks you questions upon subjects which he thinks may interest the readers of the journal he represents; he uses his own judgment as to what he will report of what you say.  If he inquires where you are going and what your object may be in visiting certain places, and reports the particulars, persons likely to promote your object communicate with you; and people in the towns mentioned become aware of your visit, and bestow attentions and courtesy which otherwise could never be rendered.  If you have special ideas you want to propagate the interviewer is your best friend.  Your views are spread all over the country.  Sometimes by accident, and sometimes by intention, he gives a provoking turn to your ideas; the object is that you should write to his paper and correct them, that is if he thinks a letter from you would be of interest to his journal.  You then have the opportunity of expressing yourself exactly as you wish to be understood.  An ill-tempered or unskilful writer will charge the interviewer with unpardonable inaccuracy.  It is fairer, as well as more prudent, to assume that the error arose in your own unskilfulness in giving impromptu answers to unexpected questions.  This is likely to be the case.  If time admits of it, and you can go to the office at the proper hour, you may revise yourself the proof of what you have said.  A little skill will enable anyone to do this by a change of word here and there, so as not to cause what printers call "overrunning," which would delay the office too much at a late hour.  If a newspaper is disposed to regard your views as interesting to the country, it will even permit you to interview yourself.  In that case you ask yourself the questions you want to answer, and give your own replies; and if you produce an interrogatory paper which is not absolutely dull, you may have the pleasure of seeing it inserted.

    Interviewers, like reporters, are of two kinds.  I remember on one occasion a Cabinet Minister, who, intending to address his constituency in the country, was desirous to provide for an accurate report appearing in the London papers.  He inquired whether he had better take a reporter down.  I answered that it all depended upon what kind of report he wanted to appear of his speech.  If he wanted an exact report of what he said, he must provide a shorthand writer who could follow him word for word.  Such a reporter he might find connected with a good local journal.  But if he wanted an abridgment of his speech, or a condensed report of it, he must take some one from London—one who could perfectly understand what he wanted to say and what he ought to say, and who could present a statement of a speech which would be coherent and effective—a statement that the speaker might not be ashamed of whether he said it or not.  A verbatim reporter is best if you are perfectly sure of what you intend to say and perfectly sure of expressing it accurately and without repetition.  A verbatim reporter reports exactly what you say—errors and all, if there be errors—but as a rule he is utterly incapable of condensing except by omitting and making connections in his own language, which would commonly be slipshod, incoherent, feeble; often expressing the very opposite of what was intended.  In condensing, a reporter is thrown upon his own mind, and if he has no mind the result is commonly commensurate therewith.  An abridged report can only be done by a man of political discernment, who can catch the style and manner of a speaker, and reproduce his idiomatic turn of thought.  A reporter of this capacity is seldom retained about a provincial paper, except in the larger towns, where papers are conducted with metropolitan ability; or where the editor will undertake to condense the speech for you from a literal report.

    Among the interviewers I met in America, some were quite capable of doing this; but when they were otherwise I seldom knew what to expect until I read it.  Sometimes I read reports of interviews I did not know again, until I reread the heading and found they related to me.  I expressed myself in a colloquial, spontaneous way, using expressions never intended to be reproduced—supplying a variety to be selected from, merely to give the interviewer a complete idea of what I had in my mind; and I often found that the oddest phrases had alone made an impression upon the interviewer, who gave the illustrations and left the ideas out.  When I wished to avoid this I had to express myself with deliberate consideration.  Then an interview is quite a useful exercise.

    On one occasion, when travelling in Massachusetts, on my way to Boston, a gentleman who had met me at the Narragansett Hotel, Fall River, joined the train at a wayside station.  Having calculated that I should be in that train he dropped in quite "promiscuously."  In the most casual manner he found an opportunity of entering into conversation with me, and incidentally asked me about my early religious life, and then concerning social and political affairs in which I had been engaged.  His inquiries were in no way obtrusive, nor were they one-sided, as I, glad at falling in with a communicative passenger, asked many questions myself.  The novelty of Boston city, which I saw that night for the first time, soon erased all memory of the conversation.

    The next morning I read in the Boston "Herald" an article beginning—"There arrived last night at the Adams House an English visitor;" and then followed a description of my career and views, and what the writer was pleased to consider my public services, remarkably well expressed.  The character of the article laid me under obligation to the writer, who was clearly a master in the art of interviewing.  His materials were retained in a trained memory; he respected what might be counted as private particulars of an unguarded and friendly conversation, and presented to the public exactly what a gentleman might relate, and what a visitor concerned might even find gratification in seeing told.

    One example of interviewing may explain its character, uses, and vicissitudes, than further description. I retain the first paragraph of the following passage from the New York "Tribune," because it admits that at least I had paid the country in which I was a stranger the compliment of endeavoring to understand its public affairs:


    "Mr. Holyoake is remarkably well versed in American politics, and is as ardent a Republican as if he had lived all his life here, and had taken part in the great struggles against slavery and rebellion.  The Democratic party he likens to the Tory party in England.  It will take England, he says, a generation to make good the mischief the Tories have done during the seven years they have been in power, and he predicts a like misfortune if the party of reaction should be allowed to get possession of this Government.  The other day, a recent convert from Republicanism to Democracy was defending his change by arguing that the country would never be at peace until the South was fully reincorporated into the Union, and that that could only be done by giving it the responsibility of power in the Government.  Mr. Holyoake listened attentively to the argument, and replied: 'That is as if the crew of a good ship which had made a prosperous voyage and beaten off a gang of pirates, should say, 'the only way to get on with these fellows is to invite them on board and ask them to run the vessel.'  The first thing the pirates would de on coming on board would be to cut the throats of the crew.'

    "Mr. Holyoake says Lord Beaconsfield has been filibustering in a shameful manner in Afghanistan and Africa.  'The average Englishman was attached to the monarchy,' he said to a Tribune reporter the other day, while discussing this subject.  'We regarded the crown as a graceful ornament of the State, occupying the ambition of the aristocracy, and quite harmless to the liberties of the people.'  Now we discover this is false.  'When the English people killed Charles I. they did not kill the prerogatives of the crown.  They only frightened his successors from using these prerogatives.  Beaconsfield has shown us that treaties can be made, wars waged, and the country committed to any infamy, without parliament knowing anything about it.  Beaconsfield flattered the Queen with the title of Empress, jeopardizing the succession of her son.  Gladstone served the crown faithfully, and made it respected.  In return the Queen said to Beaconsfield that Gladstone was neither mentally nor morally fitted to govern, thus intimating that he was insane and dishonest—he, the truest, clearest-headed man in all England.  If there were no other escape from an irresponsible government, I would drown the royal family in the Thames, yet no man has more respect for the Queen than I, and I have a much better opinion of the Prince of Wales than many have."


    One passage in this paragraph was erroneously rendered.  As it includes an unfair charge against Lord Beaconsfield, which I would no more make abroad than I would at home, I wrote to the editor, saying:

William Ewart Gladstone
(1809-98)

    "Were it customary, I should desire to express my obligations to the Tribune reporter for the trouble he has taken to render in your impression of Monday, November 10, the general purport of the conversations I had the pleasure to have with him.  Yet, either from my habitual rapidity of speech on subjects which interest me, or from misplacement of some note, an error of statement occurs which it is my duty to ask your permission to correct.

    "It was not her Majesty the Queen who said to Lord Beaconsfield that 'Mr. Gladstone was not either mentally or morally fitted to govern.'  It was Lord Beaconsfield who said this of the Queen.  I well remember it was not long before his accession to power; and that the remark was the wonder of the week as to what he could mean by it.  It was the remembrance of this which occasioned so much astonishment among all classes in England that her Majesty should pay a personal visit to one who had thus spoken of her.  The English people, who have political gratitude, were jealous that her Majesty should accord a distinction to Lord Beaconsfield which she was not known to have paid to Mr. Gladstone—a real friend of the crown, and who had served the nation with splendid disinterestedness and tireless devotion.  Besides, if such a remark as the one in question had been made by the Queen to Lord Beaconsfield, his lordship must be inferred to be the reporter of it.  That is impossible; because a minister of the crown in England never reports words of the Queen without her permission.  No one among us can conceive of the Queen as having made such a remark as that cited, of a minister so eminent as Mr. Gladstone.  Indeed, the delicacy, womanly consideration, and graciousness of her Majesty's language, in whatever she is known to have said, is matter of household admiration in England.  Indeed, the best Republicans I know have, as I have, a sort of reverence for the personal character of the Queen, and at the same time an increasing disbelief in the efficacy or usefulness of the political functions which the Queen has inherited.

Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield
(1804-81)

    "It is our pride to keep these things quite distinct in England.  Great as is my dislike of the rule of Lord Beaconsfield, greater is therefore the obligation upon me not to use any phrase which implies personal injustice to him.  Doubtless he believes he is promoting the rightful interests of England; but my difficulty in perceiving it is, I believe, incurable."


    A change of phrase or mistake in a term may lend an air of ferocity to your language which was never in your mind.  When I wrote the above letter I had not observed that I was committed to "drowning the royal family in the Thames."  It was the crown and not the "royal family" which I proposed conditionally to sink in the London Bosphorus.  There was no intention of desire to misrepresent anything I had said, and the explanation sent was promptly and prominently inserted in the "Tribune," in which the interview appeared.

    The singular speech about the queen was made by Mr. Disraeli at a Tory dinner at Aylesbury.  The reporters were so astonished at it that they hesitated to transcribe it, and I have since been informed that one of them went to Mr. Disraeli and asked permission to read it to him, to be sure of its correctness.  He assented to its accuracy.

    This statement of Lord Beaconsfield seemed, when read in America, quite astounding; and incredulity arose as to whether he really said it.  It was thought that I was under some erroneous impression.  When I returned to England I mentioned it to some "well-informed" politicians, who did not recollect having heard of it.  It was not pleasant to leave it to be supposed that I had made abroad a statement that could not be verified at home.  As looking up the newspapers of nine years ago involved some trouble, I mentioned the matter to a "better informed politician," who said the fact was recorded in Irving's "Annals of Our Time."  Lord Beaconsfield's speech was made thirteen days before the great fire of Chicago.  To save me trouble my friend looked up the facts and sent me this information:

Queeen Victoria with Disraeli

The text of the speech, as reported in the "Standard" and the "Daily Telegraph" of September 27th, 1871, runs thus: "The health of the queen has for several years been the subject of anxiety to those about her. . . . . I do not think we can conceal from ourselves that a still longer time must elapse before Her Majesty will be able to resume the performance of those public and active duties which it was once her pride and pleasure to fulfil..... The fact is that we cannot conceal from ourselves that Her Majesty is physically and morally incapacitated from performing those duties."


     The "Times" and the "Daily News" omit the words "and morally."  Mr. Joseph Irving, in the Supplement to his "Annals of Our Time," gives a paragraph that contains the phrase in full.

    The "Times" omitted the strange word "morally," probably doubting that it could be said.  The "Daily News" omitted it, probably believing it would be offensive to the Queen, as well it might be.  Not long since Lord Sherbrooke, then the Rt. Hon. Robert Lowe, M. P., was required to make a public apology for a mere incidental reference to Her Majesty—a trifle compared to this outrage by Lord Beaconsfield.  Had language such as he used been spoken by a political leader in America of the lady who is at the head of the State, our aristocratic journalists would have written very instructive comments on American political comments.

    In Washington the one inquiry of the interviewer of the "Daily Post" was, "How long would the Beaconsfield Government last?"  They had learned in Washington from the English jingo journals that the Tories believed that the nation was impatient to renew their lease of power.  My answer was that the people did not look upon the Beaconsfield Government as English.  The Zulu and Afghan invasions they regarded as the last wars of the Pentateuch, and that at the next election Mr. Gladstone would be premier again if he chose.  He was disliked by Tories, and by a minority of Liberals, for his sincerity—a quality new and unmanageable by politicians—but a great majority of the people absolutely revered him for that reason.  These remarks were published in the Washington "Daily Post," October 27, 1879, nearly six months before the fall of Lord Beaconsfield, and when very few persons believed its end was near.

    What is the state of Republican sentiment in England? was another question of the interviewer.  My reply was that we had always been told that the Premier was virtually King, and that as he was responsible to Parliament, we had a virtual Republic.  But Lord Beaconsfield had discovered to us that there were sleeping powers of the Crown which might be ignited like a torpedo and blow up the virtual Republic any morning—sleeping powers which any traitor or theorist who happened to be Premier could constitutionally advise the revival of.  During his administration, therefore, he created fifty Republicans from conviction for one that existed before from sentiment.

    Our great political parties in England are as interesting to an American as theirs are to Englishmen.  Being asked for definitions of political parties in England, my answer was this: The Conservatives keep from the people all they can; the Liberals give all they think practicable: the Radicals demand all they think right.

    At Kansas City I had to give my opinion of Mr. Parnell, and Irish Home Rule, and to explain whether I thought him sincere.  I answered that I knew no reason why he should not be, seeing that Home Rule in local affairs is not an unreasonable demand.  The difficulty of giving up Ireland entirely, was the belief that it would be handed over to the occupation of the French, as many of the leaders were spiteful to the English; and that would put England to the trouble of fighting both nations.  For a long time past we had treated the Irish better than they would treat us if we were in their hands.  We had relieved them from an Established Church, and given them a better land law than we had ourselves.  In England, now, we regarded Ireland as the Land of the Free, and thought of emigrating to it ourselves, instead of coming to America.  Events since prove that Ireland is entitled to further and substantial improvement in her land laws, and will get it.

    But interviewing did not all turn on politics.  Industrial, and especially co-operative questions were still more frequent.  It was in this way, and by the ability and generous trouble of interviewers, that the facts concerning co-operation and its progress in England came to be, for the first time, generally diffused over the United States.  I did not know then what Lord Beaconsfield had written in his "Endymion," or it would have confirmed all and more than all I ventured to say of the future of the great movement.  I mean where Lord Beaconsfield represents his new hero, "Endymion," as conversing with one of Mr. Cobden's workmen at his print works in Manchester, when the workman said that there was something better than Free Trade, that would one day carry all before it, and that was "Co-operation."  This is a very remarkable statement from so competent an observer of the advancing forces of society.

    The only time when I took advantage of the facilities of interviewing to say anything personal to myself was when I was asked concerning the writings of mine on Co-operation.  The questions and answers as they appeared were as follows.


    "Is your book on Co-operation to be had in this country?"

    "My first book, called the 'History of the Equitable Pioneers of Rochdale,' published in 1857, was brought out in this country by the 'Tribune.'  I presume it is out of print now.  It was said to have caused the establishment of over two hundred co-operative stores in England within two years after its appearance.  With many other English authors of far more consequence than myself, I have promoted a law of international copyright; but I for one have something to say in favor of pirating.  My 'History of Co-operation in England from 1812 to 1878' is published by Lippincott.  It took me ten years to write it and cost £1,000 ($5,000), counting what I might have earned otherwise in the time, and the cost for printing it.  I never expect to see my money again.  Gain by it never entered my mind.  Now if some enterprising American house will pirate it, I will gladly relinquish my copyright.  Possibly I might gain repute, and certainly it might do good; for the critics who said it was not instructive said it was amusing, and those who said it was not amusing said it was instructive.  If any one had written the history of the past sixty years of the working class after serfdom was abolished and hired service commenced, how the book would be valued now!  My calculation was that two hundred years hence, when co-operation has superseded hired labor by self-employment, some one will find my book in the British Museum and reprint it, as an utterly unknown work.  A friendly pirate might cause the book to be read a little earlier."


    If these details have not wearied the reader, before reaching the end of them, he may see reason to share my opinion as to the propagandist uses of interviewing, and the generous facilities of publicity it affords to strangers.

 
CHAPTER V.

MEN OF ACTION IN BOSTON.


THERE are men of thought and action in most cities.  They abound in New York, in Chicago, in Cincinnati; but it is a different kind of thought from that which excites the interest of a stranger in Boston. In Bayard Taylor's translation of "Faust," the lines occur—

When the crowd sways, unbelieving,
    Show the daring will that warms,
He is crowned with all achieving
    Who perceives and then performs.

    But the merit of this discernment altogether depends upon the quality of the thought which is converted into social force.  The people who perceive what is right and do not do it, are more numerous than is supposed.  Next to the knaves, those philosophers are the most contemptible who, seeing the errors of the multitude, keep their wisdom to themselves.  It is more respectable to be a fool than to have knowledge and be indifferent to the duty it imposes of generously diffusing it, and raising the level of social and public life thereby.  The only philosophers worth honoring are they who, like Petrarch, have a passion "for setting forth the law of their own minds, and employ their understandings and acquirements in that mode and direction in which they may most benefit the largest number possible of their fellow-creatures."

    The greatest of modern Italians, Mazzini, had a favorite phrase, "Thought and Action."  In public affairs thought which does not imply action, or lead to it, or incite it and mean it, is not to be counted in the forces of opinion.  The distinction of Boston is that its thought seems always meant for political or moral action.  It is this purpose which, more than its general intellectual brightness, has given this city dignity and influence beyond that of any other in America.  It led the war of independence; it led the war against slavery.  Its philosophers think, and even its minstrels sing, heroic ballads of improvement.  Other cities carry palms of great achievements which make their names memorable, but Boston is a city of inspiration.

Wendell Phillips
(1811-84)

    If I had a personal object in visiting America, it was to meet Mr. Wendell Phillips, whose intrepid eloquence, confronting dangerous majorities, and animating forlorn hopes, has ever been generously exerted on behalf of the slave, black or white, in bondage to planter or capitalist.  As the only oration he had delivered against any one, out of his own land, was a reply to certain "Ion" letters of mine, in 1854, on "Methods of Anti-slavery Advocacy," I presented myself at his door, as his ancient and alien adversary; and the historic sights of Boston were made more memorable in my eyes, because they were shown me by him.  Men who had heard Mr. Phillips and the most famous orators of Europe, regarded him as excelling in the mighty career of speech, which resembles the torrent rather than the volcano, in its inherent impetus and splendid rush.  While I was in Boston, he was engaged by the Church of the Sacred Heart to deliver an oration on "Daniel O'Connell."  I desired it to be communicated to the authorities concerned, that if they would arrange a time for the oration when I could be present, I would become a votary of the Roman Catholic Church.  Unfortunately they did not attach sufficient importance to my adhesion, and it never fell to my lot to hear him.

    In many cities, from English as well as Americans among all classes, I was told that I "ought not to leave the country without hearing Phillips."  This was never said to me of any other speaker.  Stories I oft heard told of his perils and triumphs on the platform, exceed anything I know in the annals of oratory.  One of his repartees has lately appeared in English papers.  It occurred in the days when all the churches preached in favor of slavery.  One day a minister met Mr. Phillips, and, thinking to be smart and unpleasant, said to him, "If your business is to promote the freedom of slaves, why do you not go South and attend to your business?"  May I ask what is your business?" said Mr. Phillips.  "Oh, my business is to preach the gospel, and save souls from hell."  "Then, why do you not go to hell and attend to your business?" was Mr. Phillips' answer; and the point of the reply was that it was about as pleasant and quite as safe to go down South at that time pleading for slaves among planters, as visiting the Satanic kingdom would be; and the preacher knew it.  It may be said of Wendell Phillips as was said of Luther, "God honored him by making all the worst men his enemies."

    As my business in America was idleness, and the only exercise I intended to take was sleep—never having had a season of recreation before—I did not see half the men of mark I might have met in Boston.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(1807-82)

    One morning, after taking me to Bunker's Hill, and repeating a passage from Webster's splendid oration there when the monument on it was completed, Mr. Phillips showed me the Auburn Cemetery, where I was surprised to see the tomb of Spurzheim, he said, "Hard by lives Mr. Longfellow, in an old English mansion, formerly occupied for a time by General Washington," and there I had the pleasure to converse for a short time with the poet, whose works are in many co-operative libraries, and whose poems of inspiration I had oft heard recited on their platforms.  Longfellow's bearded and august face gives him the appearance now of a Jupiter of poetry. Mr. Lowell's house lies not far away among the trees of Cambridge, but he was in Europe then.  We are all glad he is the American Minister in London now.

    The diffidence Mr. Phillips reproached me with of not visiting persons I wished to see without some colorable pretext, was nearly fatal to my seeing Mr. Emerson.  Several mornings Mr. Phillips went with me to the libraries and book stores, where Mr. Emerson was sure to be found when he came up to Boston from Concord, but without meeting with him.  One day at the library, Mr. Phillips introduced me to a banker, saying, "This is my friend, Mr. Holyoake, from London.  He has never said a word about it, but I suspect he is a believer in 'hard money,' which is the one virtue which you will have to save you."  "Yes, I may escape by that," replied the banker, addressing me; "but your friend, Mr. Phillips, has so many virtues, which we all recognize, that his future is secure, despite his one sin of believing in 'paper currency."'

Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-82)

  It came to pass that Mr. Stevens, of Cambridge, gave me a letter to Dr. Allcot, of Concord, asking him to take me to see Mr. Emerson.  So, in company with my friend, Mr. Verity, formerly of Lancashire, I, not knowing the way, set out to Concord.  The way thereto, and the place itself, were as bright as the historical associations of the town.  If ever Concord made up its mind to be content, it would be in that pleasant spot where water and wood, spacious plains, quiet villas, and fairy roads abound.  Mr. Emerson's daughter being from home, the philosopher received us himself.  Pictures and works of art, which it was good to look upon, were just numerous enough to be part of the household.  Touching, like an enchanter, a panel, which was not noticeable, it slid away, and we entered the study, which no one could see without interest.  Though tall, Mr. Emerson is still erect, and has the bright eye and calm grace of manner we knew when he was in England long years ago.  In European eyes, his position among men of letters in America is as that of Carlyle among English writers; with the added quality, as I think, of greater braveness of thought and clearness of sympathy.  The impression among many, to whom I spoke in America, I found to be that while Carlyle inspires you to do something, not clearly defined, when you have read Emerson you know what you have to do.  However, Mr. Emerson would admit nothing that would challenge the completer merits of his illustrious friend at Chelsea.  He showed me the later and earlier portraits of Carlyle which he most cherished; made affectionate inquiries concerning him personally, and as to whether I knew of anything that had proceeded from his pen which he had not in his library.  Friends had told me that age seemed now a little to impair Mr. Emerson's memory, but I found his recollection of England accurate and full of detail.  A fine portrait of him, which Mr. Wendell Phillips presented to me, has been generally thought by those who have not seen Emerson to be a portrait of Mr. Gladstone, whom he certainly very much resembles now.  Englishmen told me with pride that in the dark days of the war, when American audiences were indignant at England, Emerson would put in his lectures some generous passage concerning this country, and raising himself erect, pronounce it in a defiant tone, as though he threw the words at his audience.  More than any other writer Emerson gives me the impression of one who sees facts alive and knows their ways and who writes nothing that is mean or poor.

    One morning there appeared in the New York "Tribune" the following paragraph:


A day or two ago there met in State Street, Boston—on the spot where the famous massacre took place—Mr. Wendell Phillips, Mr. George Jacob Holyoake, and the son of Mr, John Bright.  Mr. Phillips, who was showing Mr. Holyoake the historic spots of Boston, had stopped his carriage there, when Mr. Bright came up with a friend.  On being introduced to Mr. Phillips, a very cordial greeting took place.  "I am very glad to meet you, Mr. Bright," Mr. Phillips said, "but I would rather meet your father."  "My father is better worth meeting," modestly answered Mr. Bright. "I wish you could persuade your father to visit us," said Mr. Phillips.  "I am afraid he does not like, or fears the sea," was the reply.  "We should be content if he would come and make us just one speech," added Mr. Phillips.  "Ah," said Mr. Bright, "I think my father fears that more."  Mr. Bright is taller than his illustrious father, but has his massiveness and force of carriage.  The expression of his features is that of his mother.  In a speech he made a year ago in his native town, he displayed quite his father's vigor and fire.


    Mr. Phillips asked me afterwards who wrote the paragraph, saying he did not.  Mr. Bright, he said, plainly did not, nor did his friend.  I answered that being a stranger in America, I could not be expected to be able to throw light upon the ways of their native journalism so soon.  One thing the writer might have added which struck me at the time; I observed that Mr. Phillips stood with his hat off all the time of the conversation.  Not Mr. Evarts' message to Mr. Bright from the American people, gave me a deeper sense of the sincerity of the regard felt for him, than this fine act of courtesy in a man so eminent as Mr. Phillips, a man of noble presence and Roman head standing uncovered in a public square, expressing thereby his respect for young Mr. Bright, for his own and his father's sake.  The man and the act were national.

The Parker House Hotel, Boston

    Parker House, Boston, which Dickens thought in his day the most comfortable he found in the States, is frequented by English visitors still.  An improved "elevator" put up here, was talked of when I was in the city, and I wished to try it.  Luckily I was absent when it was first tested, as it came down with some adventurous reporters in it, who were battered and bruised as much as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza were on the night on which they slept at the inn-keeper's, after the affair with the Yangusians.  Had I been in the Parker House that day, I should certainly have shared in that peremptory descent.

    This reminds me that, when at Kansas City, I desired to enter a sugar bakery there, partly to see if I could learn anything to the advantage of the co-operative manager of the Crumpsall Works at home, and partly to escape from the heat of the sun, the ovens of the bakery being cool compared with the street that day.  However, being invited to take a drive through a suburban road, bearing then, or formerly, the pleasant name of "Murderer's Lane," where, I was assured, some one had been assassinated at every twenty-five yards, I went, and before I returned next day the sugar bakery had fallen down, burying five persons, including visitors, in its ruins.

    But it is not my intention to relate either curious escapes which occur to all who travel, nor yet the adventures into which the disability of blindness inevitably leads.  They are not amusing—they are not even credible to those who see.  So little are men sensible of the blessing of sight—which is a blessing because a protection—that they have an ignorant, not to say brutal, incredulity of the dangers which pursue the unseeing.  Such a one, crossing a street, flees from a sound of wheels far off, and runs under noiseless wheels near.  I have seen Lord Palmerston, at seventy-six, cheerily evade the cabs of Palace-yard where a youth with dim sight had surely been run down.  You go in a cab by night—a collision occurs.  He who can see, opens the door and leaps out, and takes another when the one he was in is smashed up, while he who cannot see must sit there, since the danger of moving is the same as that of remaining.

    A person with half-sight takes the mist or the shadow in the roadway at night to be real vehicles, and has to stand still until help comes, although there is nothing in the way.  When living on the Marine Parade at Brighton, if I returned home after dark I would creep by the houses, or railings, or walls, until I arrived at the terrace where I dwelt.  Only a narrow roadway lay between me and the door.  Listening along the ground to be sure that no footsteps or wheel was in motion, I would dart across the road.  Immediately a cab was upon me; it seemed as though it started from the ground.  The fact was, the cabmen were lying still, and seeing me suddenly in the road, moved forward, believing I wanted one.  Thus the most commonplace incident to those who can see, becomes a terror to those who cannot.  When I count my beads I never forget a prayer for the wise oculist who saves lives by his skill.  In America and in Canada, I had watchful friends near me to whom I owed my safety.  Of what occurred at other times I relate no more, as it could only interest the few who are exposed to like peril.  Only one thing I shall say, that the blindness has taught me, as nothing else ever did, how much we are under the dominion of the senses where we least expect it.  To this hour I cannot believe in the dark that any persons can see me, because I cannot perceive them.  Though my reason tells me the contrary, I cannot shake off the impression.

    I know a statesman who incurred years of dislike and contempt from persons who had served him, and whom he passed on public occasions as though he disowned them.  I shared the feeling of dislike myself: I, years afterwards, discovered that he was simply near-sighted, and never saw those whom he was thought to shun.  Alas! what friendships are severed by mere misconception or ignorance as to the conditions under which others live and move and have their being.  On the other hand, I never felt myself so deep a sense of the kindness of unknown people in every condition of life as when I found that I never made an appeal in any land to a gentleman or lady, to crossing sweeper or cabman, to boy or girl, to thief or harlot, or any one I took to be a ruffian, to take me across a thoroughfare in the dark who did not do it in the promptest and kindest manner.

    The Mayor of Boston, with what I thought very great courtesy, volunteered to give me a day to drive me about the city, when I should have seen many places which I hope at another time to visit; but the men who make the value of Boston interested me mainly then.

    One day Mr. Phillips took me to see General Butler—who appeared to me to reside everywhere—who had a great deal to tell relating to the industrial relations of the people.  The burly and animated General, of wayward reputation, took his seat upon a stool in his office, and told me things of great interest for the space of an hour.  On leaving, a friend asked me "what I said to General Butler."  I answered, "You ought to ask me what he said to me; I never had the opportunity of saying a word."  The person to whom I spoke laughed, as though he thought he ought to have foreseen that.

    I had a desire to see Dr. O. Wendell Holmes, who has delighted us so long in England by his charming stories.  Besides being a physician, he is a man of genius and vivacity.  On attaining his seventieth year a dinner of congratulation was given him at Boston.  He made his acknowledgments in a series of verses, which proved to be a new and graceful version of "Pity the Sorrows of a Poor Old Man."  Of course the verses had touches of tenderness and fancy, which are never absent from Dr. Holmes' poetry.

Dr. O. Wendell Holmes
(1811-94)

    All his resources of physiological knowledge, as a physician, were brought into requisition in describing the tremors, discomforts, and bending feebleness of threescore years and ten.  Admirers of Dr. Holmes in England, know with what agitation and sympathy they read of what they must have thought the last appearance in this world of the pathetic and venerable poet.  Being with a friend who met Dr. Holmes in the street, I put an anxious question to him as to the appearance and condition of that sorrowful songster, when the welcome assurance was given that he was perfectly upright, and as lithe and active a gentleman as one would wish to meet; and there is no doubt that the "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table" will be found diffusing wisdom and laughter from his morning chair for many years to come.  The doctor's seventieth birthday verses certainly show that the spirit of poesy is as strong in him as ever, and that the description of his own feebleness was a part of his art, employed to heighten the sentiment of his verse, and as a contrast between his burthen of pitiful words, and his own radiancy of health and song.  It is true that the people of America do not, as a rule, live as long as people in England, but that is owing to causes quite within their control.  They have pursuits which interest them more than longevity.

    Among the pleasant Sundays in Boston was one I spent with Colonel T. W. Higginson, who took me to the house of a lady at Cambridge, where a large number of guests assembled to hear the hostess read a paper on "An Ancient French Poet."  I never understood till then what I had heard Mr. Moncure Conway say, that Colonel Higginson, besides being a man of letters, excelled as an interpreter of an assembly.  At intervals, when deference, or delicacy, or inaptness of thought, caused vacuity in the criticisms of those present, he spoke as though the occasion was created for him.  I thought of what he says of his hero in his novel of "Malbone": "Manhood is never commonplace, and he was a person to whom one could anchor.  When he came into the room, you felt as if a good many people had been added to the company."

William Lloyd Garrison
(1805-79)

   In Boston I met the Hon. Josiah Quincy, whose name we are now familiar with in England as that of a real advocate of co-operation, and under whose influence a co-operative store has been established in Boston.  While I was there a statue of his father was erected before the State House in the city—the Quincys being a family of historic celebrity in those parts.  A meeting being held of a great building society on the Philadelphian plan, which Mr. Quincy had introduced into Boston, he being chairman, asked me to speak to the assembly on co-operation.  It was my first speech on the subject in America.  The place was the Stacy Hall.  The platform was the one from which Lloyd Garrison had been dragged to be hanged, in the evil anti-slavery days.  The door is built up now through which he was taken, but I could see it from the platform where I stood.  To save Garrison, the Mayor ordered him to be taken to jail, and Mr. Quincy, being on the spot in his carriage, took Garrison into it and conveyed him to prison.  Garrison's clothes were nearly torn from his body, and the rope was put around his neck ready to hang him.  In stature and features Mr. Quincy resembles very much George Thompson, the English anti-slavery advocate, whom we all knew.

    Afterwards, I delivered my first American lecture on co-operation in that room.  Nobody asked me: it was done of my own wilfulness.  If the story of co-operation was to be told in America for the first time by an Englishman, who was at the beginning of it, I preferred telling it in Stacy Hall.  When I saw some persons present, besides Mr. Quincy, who presided, I was astonished, and by that time I understood the rage and enthusiasm of the old slave owners, who climbed up those narrow and never-ending stairs in search of Mr. Garrison.  Had I been he, I should have thought myself perfectly safe at that inaccessible elevation.

    It will be long before I forget the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Theodore Parker, the wife of the great preacher.  I had not before met in America so bright and gentle a lady.  She showed me her husband's study, with everything as he last sat in it and the last entry he made in his diary in Florence, where he died.  From his writing-room window, in the house where he lived when he preached his famous sermons, he could see the room where Lloyd Garrison set up his anti-slavery press.  The room where—


                     Unfriended and unseen
Toiled o'er his types a poor unlearned young man;
    The place was dark, unfurnitured and mean.
Yet there the freedom of a race began.


    After Theodore Parker's death his biographer found letters of mine addressed to him some years before the slave war broke out, in which I had apologized to him far having objected to the vehemence of his language against slaveholders, as I knew that he intended war. As Mr. Parker was not known to entertain at that time the idea of war, his biographer wished to see what reply he made to me. He had not written to me that such was his intention. The language he employed I foresaw must lead to war. I concluded that he intended it, and on that ground regarded his language as consistent with that end and no longer to be questioned.

    The Rev. Francis Ellingwood Abbott, the editor of the "Index," interested me greatly.  He displayed great capacity, and a Puritan force and pride in the integrity of the principles he represented.  I know no one in England who has his fine enthusiasm for liberal and religious progress.  As he was the leader in a contest with great forces opposed to him, I knew, through him, other persons whose conversation gave me the impression that higher thought and action are still characteristics of Boston.

    In that insurgent city I met the most animated little clergyman I ever knew, the Rev. Photius Fisk, formerly a chaplain in the American navy, and a generous friend of slaves, who puts up monuments to those who suffered for them.  One was to Captain Jonathan Walker, of the Branded Hand.  He had helped some slaves to escape.  Heavy chains were riveted upon him, his cell was without bed or table: a slave had cut his throat to avoid a worse death, and Captain Walker had to sleep on the bloody floor.  His sentence was twelve months' imprisonment for each of the seven slaves he had tried to free.  His hands were branded with a double S, made red hot.  One blacksmith refused to make it; another, who made it, refused his forge to heat it.  In Missouri three men were sentenced to twelve years' imprisonment each for the same offences.  Photius Fisk was a brave chaplain, who would bury them when none others would and put up monuments to their memories.  I never knew what paternal slavery was so vividly as when I heard him describe it.  The Rev. Charles Tory, a Congregational minister, died in his cell in the same cause.  His beautiful wife prayed that he might be liberated to die.  His dead body was sent to her.

    Salem, where they hanged the witches, is not far from Boston, and is the prettiest town of verdure and water which superstition ever made terrible.  Dr. Oliver took me down to see his father, General Oliver, who was Mayor of Salem, and who showed me the witch houses, in which the rooms are still unchanged, where the poor creatures were brought in for trial.  There is preserved in Salem the first church built by Puritans.  It is a small wooden structure, which might hold one hundred people.  It has a gallery without any entrance or staircase to it.  How the active Puritan Fathers climbed into it does not appear.  The mount where they hanged the poor witches is being encircled now with streets and houses; but the spot itself should be preserved as atonement ground.  It is impossible to conceive that any human being could sleep on that melancholy mound.

    General R. K. Oliver was a name I had known in England in connection with questions of international industry.  The social wisdom of his conversation, now that I had the pleasure to be his guest, impressed me very distinctly.  He explained to me that when he had charge of the Bureau of Labor of Massachusetts, he counselled workmen to provide themselves with competence in declining years, defining "competence" as that sum which, if invested in days of health and work, would procure an income at a given age, equal to their average income, and sufficient to maintain them in the station in which they have moved.  This is what I mean by wise talk—conversation which moves steadily to new issues, and in which material terms are rendered definite.  "Competence" is a term on many tongues.  General Oliver was the first person whom I heard define it as he used it.

    Two letters which I addressed to the public papers in Boston I venture to cite, because the misconception which could arise in so intelligent a city may arise elsewhere.  One was upon the "Rights of Minorities and the limits of Toleration."  It appeared in the Boston "Herald" as follows:


    In the report you did me the honor to make of my address at the Parker Memorial, on Sunday last, occur the words "Lord John Russell has declared that the minority has no rights."  No doubt the fault was my own, not speaking distinctly at that point.  What I intended to convey was a meaning the very opposite of this.  I said we were all grateful to Lord John for being the first nobleman of influence to maintain that the minority had rights.  Earl Russell well knew that I was one who did him honor for his action in this matter, and I would not like that Lady Russell, who takes interest in public affairs as her illustrious husband did, should read those words and suppose that I had forgotten the obligations we were all under to Earl Russell in this matter—obligations which I had personally acknowledged during his lifetime.  I see it stated in your journal that "Mr. Holyoake would have obscene books treated with contemptuous toleration."  On the contrary, I maintained the right and duty of the State to suppress them, whereas (as respects books of opinion, occupying the borderland between science and repulsiveness, which the imbecility of their authors has so confused that an equal fanaticism grows up to suppress them and maintain them), the Lord Chief Justice of England lately declared that such publications were best left alone, as prosecution increased their noisomeness.  I defined as contemptuous toleration, non-interference with these polecat opinions, which was justifiable only as the lesser of the two evils.  For myself I regard the authors of these questionable books, whatever may be their intentions, as the traitors of free thought, who obscure what should be kept jealously clear—the line of demarcation between liberty and license.


    The other letter was upon "Useful and Useless Truth."  It appeared in the Boston "Transcript," saying:


    In the comment you made upon an expression I am supposed to have used in my address at the Parker Memorial, on Sunday, you express wonder at its purport.  I do not wonder that you wonder at it.  You regard me as saying that one of the nuisances of the platform was a man who spoke from belief in the truth of what he was saying.  Of course a man ought to have belief in the truth of what he says.  What I pointed out was that he ought to have more.  He ought to have knowledge of the truth; what he speaks ought to be well ascertained truth—vital truth—relevant truth.  It ought to be as Grote used to express it—"reasoned truth."  There is important truth and unimportant truth; there is wise truth and silly truth; there is truth relevant to the question at issue, and a foolish truth relative to nothing.  What I said was, that persons were nuisances of the platform who did not know this, and who thought that their honest but crude impression of truth was a sufficient justification of public speech.

 
CHAPTER VI.

CITY OF HOLYOKE—DISCOURSES.


MY visiting the City of Holyoke was quite accidental.  I was unaware there was a city of that name till I rode through it on my way to Florence with my friend Mr. Seth Hunt, the treasurer of the Connecticut City Railroad, whose offices in Springfield were in the building in which John Brown was in business, some years before the affair at Harper's Ferry for which he was hanged.  Springfield is as pretty as its name.  There was a company in the city which proposed to supply all the houses with heat—to lay on warm air just as we lay on gas and water in Great Britain.  I sent word to them to come over and warm England.  They would establish depots of warm air in Birmingham, or other midland towns in our country, and make all our cities comfortable for a consideration.  They have perfected the art of house comfort in America to a degree to which we are strangers.  They not only warm the railway cars in America, they warm the railway depots.  In Philadelphia I found a great railway hall, where hundreds of people could wait for cars, warm in every part, even when the great doors were open.  At a junction station in Canada, where I arrived once at midnight, every room I entered was warm.  All about it people could lie down and sleep in comfort.  On returning to England I experienced more discomfort from cold in a midday journey from Liverpool to London, than I encountered day or night in the remotest parts I wandered into in America and Canada, during months of travel.

    Holyoke stands on the banks of the Connecticut River.  It is a young city, which grows faster than Jonah's gourd.  My invitation to deliver the first lecture on co-operation in it came from some citizens; but the arrangements were finally made by countrymen of my own, Mr. Goodenough and others; but the mayor, who is owner of the theatre, assured me he would have given it free for the lecture had it not been engaged that night.

    The city stands in sight of Mount Holyoke, which overlooks the splendid and fertile valleys through which the silver snake-like river winds 400 miles.  The early Puritans who had the sagacity to settle there, had like the old monks at home, a fine eye for settlements of profitable beauty.  Moses saw not a finer sight from Pisgar, than Elizur Holyoke from the mount from which he looked.

    Being told that probably the town was named after some ancestor of mine I said if that was so I should be glad to collect the rents, as I had never been that way before.  The variation in our names I said might be accounted for.  The early settler, whose name the mountain and town bear, probably lost the "a" out of his name in the long voyage over the Atlantic in those days, or had it shot by the Indians when he arrived.  My branch of the family was plainly Druidical, as the name implies, and as the pedigree might show—had it been preserved.  The American branch may have been phonetic in taste, and have eliminated the "a" on principle.  Edward, the son of Elizur Holyoke, became president of the Harvard University.  He was born in 1689, and died in 1769, living eighty years.

    His son, Dr. Edward Augustus Holyoke, who was born in 1728, lived until 1829.  He began to practice medicine at Salem in 1749, continuing in that profession more than seventy years.  He was an acute and learned physician and a good surgeon.  He performed a surgical operation at the age of ninety-two.  Even after he had attained his hundredth year, he was interested in the investigation of medical subjects, and wrote letters which show that his understanding was still clear and strong.  On his hundredth birthday about fifty of his medical brethren of Boston and Salem gave him a public dinner, when he appeared at the table with a firm step, smoked his pipe, and proposed a characteristic toast to the assembly.  It is clear that the climate did not kill these early settlers prematurely in those days, or it was not so vicious then as it is supposed to be now.

    In the old church at the foot of Mount Holyoke one of the regicides of Charles the First's time was buried.  He was sheltered by the clergyman, an old college friend of his in England.  He remained concealed in the rectory.  The country being then held by the English, it was unsafe for him to go abroad, and his existence was unknown in the village.  One day, when everybody was at church, the old military King-killer, looking out from his eyrie, espied Indians advancing at some distant point, with a view to attack the settlement.  He seized his sword, ran down, mounted a horse, rode right away to the church, rushed in, and announced to the congregation their danger.  Worshippers in those days went armed to church.  The old hero remounted his horse and marshalled the plan of defence not a moment too soon, for the Indians were upon them.  His white hair and beard streaming in the wind, he fought in the front.  The moment victory was secured he rode straight away—only the clergyman knew where.  As he had never been seen before, and was never seen afterwards, the honest worshippers deemed him a prophet sent by the Lord for their deliverance.  There are many good miracles of earlier days not so well attested as this.  I relate the tradition as I heard it on the banks of the Connecticut River.

    The first time I spoke to a congregation was at the Free Church, Florence, Massachusetts.  It was delivered in the Cosmian Hall, a pretty name coined out of the word Cosmos.  The student of the order of nature in England would be called a Cosmist—Cosmian is a much more euphonious derivation.  The hall is very large, and the most imposing in the city.  It stands on a plain at the lower end of Florence.  The Cosmian Hall having bells, and the Wesleyan Chapel not having any, the Cosmian bells ring for the Wesleyan worshippers.  I was asked in the morning to meet the teachers of the Sunday School, and make a little speech to them.  Afterwards I was asked to attend the Sunday Schools and make another speech to the pupils.  This constantly occurred to me in other churches; the object was to enable the children to hear and see the stranger who had come amongst them.  In the afternoon, I addressed a congregation in the large and handsome hall devoted to that purpose.  At night, I met for the fourth time an assembly which was considered a reception, in one of the rooms of the hall where, for two hours, we talked over the practical and ethical side of co-operation, about which many intelligent inquiries were made.

    Americans are merciful critics.  They judge that a stranger does not know all at once where he is, in that spacious and unaccustomed country, and pardon unattached ideas in his speech.  My eyes and my mind alike wandered in my speeches that day.  Mr. Charlton had come down more than 1,000 miles to meet me at Springfield, to hear me lecture, as he said, once again.  Notice of his arrival lay at a depot, which was not communicated to me until I had left for Florence, where, however, he would also come.  Every knock at Mr. Hill's door (the house of my host) I went out to answer; on every tramcar stopping before it I listened for the creaking of the gate; every carriage driving to the Cosmian Hall on Sunday reawakened my expectation; every tall stranger who entered the church while I was speaking attracted my attention.  It was thirty years since we had met, and I knew not into what form and appearance America had converted my former Tyneside friend in that time.  After arriving at Springfield he was summoned to a railway convention at Chicago, which I could not know.  It was some weeks later, and hundreds of miles away, before we met.  One night I was feeling my way in alarm amid walls of railway carriages at Rochester, neither knowing where I was going nor how to return, when a lofty figure accosted me in tones which I knew again.  A confluence of trains had arrived that hour, and my friend had had my name proclaimed in each, but as no such creature had ever been heard of in those parts, no response could be had, until I was discovered in the railway ravine through which the last passengers must pass.

    The verdant gaiety of Florence still lingers in my memory no less than the hospitality accorded me there.  The negligence of scenery in the city charmed me.  In England Nature has its hair in curl papers.  In America its locks wave wild.  It was, I believe, in Florence where I first entered an American school house.  It had broad floors and bay windows, from which the children could see the beauty of the scenery around them.  The teachers to whom I spoke expressed astonishment at hearing that in England we built dead walls round our gardens lest the passers by should see the verdure, and built them round even little children's schools lest they should see from their playground a flower-girl pass, or a green thing on a market gardener's barrow.

    I visited Mr. Seth Hunt at his house, where he entertained George Thompson under shadow of the Holyoke Mountains, in the evil days of the anti-slavery cause when his life was in peril.  It was not far from Mr. Hunt's house to where the Rev. Jonathan Edwards dwelt.  In a spot of wondrous calmness and beauty in those days, with wood, river, and mountain before him, he fabricated the iron-bound doctrines which have cast a halo of horror round his name, and makes the stranger tread the streets for the first time with terror.

    The Rev. Mr. Haynes of Providence invited me to speak in his church.  My subject there was "Unregarded Aspects of Human Nature."  In the evening there met at the house of Mr. Frost, a member of the church, whose guest I was, a considerable number of the congregation, to whom I was requested to explain the character and proceedings of our co-operative societies.   

Memorial Hall, Boston

In America, they seem to number the churches as they do the streets.  The Memorial Hall, in Boston, where I spoke twice, bore the name of the 28th or 38th Congregational Church.  Some Churches are called Free Churches, to denote, as I understood, that in America, even Churches, free nowhere else, may be free there.  In Florence, in Boston, in Providence, in Chicago, in Cincinnati, the piety of the worshippers, was simple, manly, and fearless.  They did not, as we do in England, pay any attention to what people thought of them.  There was a sense of reverence, truth, conscience, and duty.  They thought that saints were more wholesome when clean, more acceptable to Heaven when intelligent, more happy for being free, and their hopes hereafter were strong in proportion to their efforts to promote human welfare here.  In no instance was I asked what I should say.  At no time was any condition suggested even as to the form of service I should adopt.  They did me the honor to believe that it was impossible that I could abuse their trust by speaking on controversial points, while the whole field of secular morality lay before me, upon which, if any new light can be thrown, it is the interest of every Church to know it.  The singular thing was, that believing that co-operation had some moral and therefore religious element in it, they were wishful to hear of that.



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