THE THREE NEWMANS
IN one of the last conversations I had the pleasure
to hold with Mr. Gladstone, I referred to the "three Newmans" and their
divergent careers. He said he never knew there were "three."
He knew John Henry, the Cardinal (as he afterwards became), at Oxford.
He knew Francis William there, who had repute for great attainments,
retirement of manner, and high character; but had never heard there was a
third brother, and was much interested in what I had to tell him.
The articles of Charles Newman I published in the Reasoner, and
their republication by the late J. W. Wheeler, were little known to the
general public, who will probably hear of them now for the first time.
John Henry Newman
Francis William Newman
Though I name "three Newmans," this chapter relates chiefly
to the one I best knew, Francis William, known as Professor Newman.
The eldest of the three was John Henry, the famous Cardinal. The
third brother, Charles, was a propagandist of insurgent opinion.
Francis was a pure Theist, John was a Roman Catholic, and Charles a
Naturist, and nothing besides; he would be classed as an Agnostic now.
Francis William was the handsomest. He had classical features, a
placid, clear, and confident voice, and an impressive smile which lighted
up all his face. John Henry manifested in his youth the dominancy of
the ecclesiastic, and lived in a priestly world of his own creation, in
which this life was overshadowed by the terrors of another unknown. Francis believed in one sole God—not the head of a firm. His Theism was
of such intense, unquestioning devotion, of such passionate confidence, as
was seen in Mazzini and Theodore Parker, of America. Voltaire and Thomas
Paine were not more determined Theists. In all else, Francis was human. Charles believed in Nature and nothing more. In sending me papers to print
in the Reasoner on "Causation in the Universe," he would at times say,
"My mind is leaving me, and when it returns a few months hence, I will
send you a further paper." Like Charles Lamb's poor sister, Mary, who used
to put her strait waistcoat in her basket and go herself to the asylum,
when she knew the days of her aberration were approaching, Charles Newman
had premonition of a like kind. He had the thoroughness of thought of his
family. The two brothers—the Cardinal and the Professor united to supply
Charles with an income sufficient for his needs. The Cardinal, though he
knew Charles' opinions, readily joined.
When some questioning remark on Professor Newman was made incidentally in
the House of Commons, in consequence of his uncompromising views, the
saying that "for his brother's purity he would die," which, considering
their extreme divergence of opinion, was very noble in the Cardinal.
Professor Newman, I believe, wrote more books, having regard to their
variety and quality, than any other scholar of his time. Science, history,
poetry, theology, political
economy, mathematics, travel, translations—the Iliad of Homer—among them
a Sanscrit dictionary. He wrote many pamphlets and spoke for the humblest
regardless of the amazement of his eminent contemporaries and associates. On questions relating to marital morality, he did not hesitate to publish
published a series of letters for him in the Reasoner—now some fifty
years ago, so we were long acquainted. These earlier communications came
to me at a time when the
authorities of University College in London, where he was Professor of
Latin, were being called upon to consider whether his intellectual
Liberalism might deter parents from
sending their sons there. But it was bravely held that the University had
no cognisance of the personal opinions of any professor. Like Professor
Key, Mr. Newman took an open interest in public affairs. Though variedly
learned, Professor Newman's style of speech, to whomever addressed by
tongue or pen, was fresh,
direct, precise, and lucid.
Mr. Newman's quarto volume on Theism, written in metre, is the greatest
compendium of Theistical argument published in my time, and until Darwin
wrote, no entirely
conclusive answer was possible.
Francis Newman had a travelling mind. From the time when I published his "Personal Narrative" of his early missionary experience at Aleppo, he
grew, year by year, more
rationalistic in his religious judgment. In one of his papers, written in
the year of his death, he said: "It may be asked, 'Is Mr. Newman a
disciple of Jesus?' I
answer, 'Of all nations that I know, that have a religion established by
law, I have never seen the equal to what is attributed to Jesus himself. But much is attributed to
Him—I disapprove of.' On the whole, if I am asked, 'Do you call yourself
a Christian?' I say, in contrast to other religions, 'Yes! I do,' and
so far I must call myself a
Christian. But if you put upon me the words Disciple of Jesus, meaning the
believing all Jesus teaches to be light and truth I cannot say it, and I
think His words variously
unprovable. Now all disciples, when they come to full age, ought to seek
to surpass their masters. Therefore, if Jesus had faults, we, after more
than two thousand years'
experience, ought to
expect to surpass Him, especially when an immense routine of science has
been elaborately built up, with a thousand confirmations all beyond the
thought of Jesus."
What a progressive order of thought would exist now in
the Christian world had Mr. Newman's conception of discipleship prevailed in the Churches!
Mr. Newman's words about myself, occurring in his work on "The Soul," I
remember with pride. They were written at a time when I had an ominous
theologians. When residing at Clifton as a professor, Mr. Newman came down
to Broadmead Rooms at Bristol, and took the chair at one of my lectures,
and spoke words on
my behalf which only he could frame. But he was as fearless in his
friendship as he was intrepid in his faith. He wrote to me, April 30,
1897, saying: "I appeal to your
compassion when I say, that the mere change of opinion on a doubtful fact
has perhaps cost me the regard of all who do not know me intimately." The
to the probability
of annihilation at death. He regretted the loss of friendship, but never
varied in his lofty fidelity to conscience. Whatever might be his interest
in a future life, if it were
the will of God not to concede it, he held it to be the duty of one who
placed his trust in Him to acquiesce. The spirit of piety never seemed to
me nobler, than in this unusual
expression of unmurmuring, unpresuming resignation.
His first wife, who was of the persuasion of the Plymouth Brethren, had
little sympathy with his boldness and fecundity of thought. Once, when he
lived at Park Village,
Regent's Park, his friend, Dr. James Martineau, came into the room; she
opened the window and stepped out on to the lawn, rather than meet him. Mr. Newman was
very tender as to her scruples, but stood by his own. When I visited him,
he asked me, from regard to her, to give the name of "Mr. Jacobs"—the
name I used when a teacher
in Worcester in 1840, where I lectured under my own name and taught under
On February 12, 1897, Mr. Newman wrote:—"MY DEAR HOLYOAKE,—I am not
coming round to you, though many will think I am. On the contrary, I hope
you are half
coming round to me, but I have no time to talk on these matters." He then
asked my advice as to his rights over his own publications, then in the
hands of Mr. Frowde,
printer, of Oxford; but with such care for the rights of others, such
faultless circumspection as to the consequences to others in all he wished
done, as to cause me
agreeable surprise at the unfailing perspicacity of his mind, his
unchanging, scrupulous, and instinctive sense of justice.
He regarded death with the calmness of a philosopher. He wrote to me April
30, 1897: "Only those near me know how I daily realise the near approach
of my own death (he
was then ninety-three). I grudge every day wasted by things unfinished which remain for me to do." No apprehension, no fear, and he
wished I could "appear before him, with a document drawn up," by which he
could consign to me the
custody of all the works under his control. At the time, as he said, he
might "easily be in his grave" before I could accomplish his wishes. He
says in another letter
that his "wife, like himself, abhorred indebtedness." He provided for the
probable cost of everything he wished done. His sense of honour remained
as keen as his
sense of faith. He was a gentleman first and a Christian afterwards.
Mr. Gladstone told me he was under the impression that he had, in some way
unknown to himself,
lost the friendship of Mr. Newman, from whom he had not heard for several
years; and Mr. Newman was under an impression that Mr. Gladstone's silence
was occasioned by
disapproval of his published views of the "Errors of Jesus"—an error of
assumption respecting Mr. Gladstone into which Mr. Newman might naturally,
but not excusably,
fall; for Mr. Newman should have known that Mr. Gladstone had a noble
tolerance equal to his own, or should personally have tested it, by letter
or otherwise, before nurturing
an adverse conjecture. I mentioned the matter to Mr. Gladstone, and found
Mr. Newman's surmise groundless. At the same time I gave him a copy of Mr.
"Secret Songs" (as one copy given to me was called) which revealed
to Mr. Gladstone a devotional spirit he did not, as he said, imagine could
co-exist in one whose faith was so divergent to his own.
The following letter, which has autobiographical value, may interest the
"NORWOOD VILLA, 15, ARUNDEL CRESCENT,
March 22, 1890.
"DEAR MR. GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE,—I had
no idea of writing to Mr.
Gladstone, yet am glad to hear that you gave him my 'Secret Hymns.' Probably my contrast to
my brother, the late Cardinal, always puzzled him. That we were in painful
opposition ever since 1820 had never entered his mind, much less that this
made it impossible to me to endure living in Oxford, which also would have
been my obvious course.
"I did send my 'Paul of Tarsus' to Mr. Gladstone, which partially opened
his eyes. For my brother's first pretentious religious book was against
the Arians, which I think I read
at latest in 1832. Mr. Gladstone has written that my brother's secession
to Rome was the greatest loss that the English Church ever suffered. Of
what kind was the loss
my little book on 'Paul' indirectly states, in pointing out that, as our
English New Testament shows, Paul in his own epistle plainly originated
the doctrine, three centuries
later called Arianism, and held by all the Western Church until young
Athanasius introduced his new and therefore 'false' doctrine.
My brother, with Paul's epistle open before him, condemned the doctrine of
Arian, and did not know that it was the invention of Paul, and thereby
prevailed in the whole
Western Church. Moreover, I read what I cannot imagine met Mr. Gladstone's
eyes, that 'it is not safe to quote any Pre-Athanasian doctrines
concerning the Trinity, since
the Church had not yet taught them how to express themselves.' After this,
could Mr. Gladstone, as a decent scholar, mourn over my brother's
the Church? I hope
Mr. Gladstone can now afford time to read something of the really early
Christianity. He will find the Jerusalem Christianity perishing after the
Roman revolt, and
supplanted by Pauline fancies (not Christian at all) and by Pauline
morality, often better than Christian. To me our modern problem is to
eschew Pauline fancies and
further to improve on Pauline wisdom.
"But since I have reached the point of being unable to take Human
Immortality as a Church axiom, I cannot believe that the problem is above
fully stated, or that Christianity
deserves to become coetaneous with man's body.
"Perhaps I ought to thank you more, yet I may have said too much.—Yours
"F. W. NEWMAN,"
One day as Mr. Newman was leaving my room in Woburn Buildings, he looked
round and said: "I did not think there were rooms so large in this
place"; and then descending the stairs, as though the familiarity of the
remark was more than an impulse, he said: "Do you think you could join
with me in teaching the
great truth of Theism?" Alas! I had to express my regret that my belief
did not lie that way. Highly as I should think, and much as I should value
public association with Mr.
Newman, I had to decline the opportunity. If the will could create
conviction, I should also have accepted Mazzini's invitation—elsewhere
referred to—for Theism never seemed
so enchanting in my eyes as it appeared in the lives of those two
distinguished thinkers who were inspired by it.
MAZZINI IN ENGLAND-INCIDENTS IN HIS CAREER
GIUSEPPE MAZZINI, whom
Englishmen know as Joseph Mazzini, was born in Genoa, June 22, 1805, and
died in Pisa, March 10, 1872. He spent the greater part of forty years of
his marvellous life in London.  Some incidents of his English career,
known to me, may increase or confirm the public impression of him.
Never strong from youth, abstemious, oft from privation, and always from
principle, he was as thin as Dumas describes Richelieu. Arbitrary
imprisonment, which twice befel him, and many years of voluntary
confinement, imposed upon himself by necessity of concealment—living and
working in a small room, whence it was dangerous for him to emerge by day
or by night—were inevitably enervating. When he first came to London in
1837 he brought with him three exiles, who depended upon his earnings for
subsistence. The slender income supplied him by his mother might have
sufficed for his few wants,  but aid for others and the ceaseless cost of
the propaganda of Italian independence, to which he devoted himself, had
to be provided by writing for reviews. At times cherished souvenirs had to
be pledged, and visits to money-lenders had to be made.
It was the knowledge all his countrymen had that he sought nothing for
himself, never spared himself in toil or peril, that was the source of his
influence. He wrote: "We follow a path strewn with sacrifices and with
sorrows." But all the tragedies of his experience we never knew until
years after his death, when his incomparable "Love Letters" were
published in the Nineteenth Century, No. 219, May, 1895.
He appeared to others to have "the complexion of a student," the air of
one who waited and listened. As Meredith said, it was not "until you meet
his large, penetrating, dark eyes, that you
were drawn suddenly among a thousand whirring wheels of a capacious, keen,
and vigorous intellect."
When anything had to be done, in my power to do, I was at his command. I
had numerous letters from him. His errorless manuscript had the appearance of Greek writing. Two letters "t" and "s," such as no other man
formed, were the signs of his hand and interpreters of his words. Of all
the communications I ever received from him or saw, none had date or
address, save one letter which had both. Many sought for conversation, if
by chance they were near him, or by letter, or interview—for ends of
their own. But no one elicited any information he did not intend to give. His mind was a fortress into which no man could enter, unless he opened
Kossuth astonished us by his knowledge of English, but he knew little of
the English people. Louis Blanc knew much; but Mazzini knew more than any
foreigner I have conversed with. Mazzini made no mistake about us. He
understood the English better than they understood themselves—their
frankness, truth, courage, impulse, pride, passions, prejudice,
inconsistency, and limitation of view. Mazzini knew them all.
His address to the Republicans of the United States (November, 1855) is an
example of his knowledge of nations, whose characteristics were as
familiar to him as those of individuals are to their associates, or as
parties are known to politicians in their own country. There may be seen his wise way of looking
all round an argument in stating it. No man of a nature so intense had so
vigilant an outside mind.
He knew theories as he knew men, and he saw the theories as they would be
in action. There was no analysis so masterly of the popular
schools—political and socialist—as that which Mazzini contributed to the
People's Journal. His criticisms of the writings of Carlyle, published in
the Westminster Review, explained the excellencies and the pernicious
tendencies—political and moral—of Carlyle's writing, which no other
critic ever did. But Mazzini wrote upon art, music, literature, poetry,
and the drama. To this day the public think of him merely as a political
writer—a sort of Italian Cobbett with a genius for conspiracy.
The list of his works fills nearly ten pages of the catalogue of the
Under other circumstances his pen would have brought him ample
subsistence, if not affluence. Much was written without payment, as a
means of obtaining attention to Italy. It was thus he won his first
friends in England.
No one could say of Mazzini that he was a foreigner and did not understand
us, or that the case he put was defective through not understanding our
language. The Saturday Review, which agreed with nobody, said, on reading Mazzini's "Letter to Louis Napoleon," which was written in English,
"The man can write." The finest State papers seen in Europe for
generations were those which Mazzini, when a Triumvir in Rome,
wrote—notably those to De Tocqueville. De Tocqueville had a great name
for political literature, but his icy mystifications melted away under Mazzini's fiery
pen of principle, passion, and truth. This wandering, homeless, penniless,
obscure refugee was a match for kings.
Some day a publisher of insight will bring out a cheap edition of the five
volumes of his works, issued by S. King and Co., 1867, and "dedicated to
the working classes" by P. A. Taylor, which cost him £500, few then caring
for them. Mrs. Emilie Ashurst Venturi was the translator of the five
volumes, which were all revised by Mazzini. The reader therefore can trust
Mazzini did me the honour of presenting to me his volume on the "Duties of
Man," with this inscription of reserve: "To my friend, G. J. Holyoake,
with a very faint hope." Words delicate, self-respecting and suggestive. It
was hard for me, with my convictions, to accept his great formula, "God
and the People." It was a great regret to me that I could not use the
words. They were honest on the lips of Mazzini. But I had seen that in
human danger Providence procrastinates. No peril stirs it, no prayer
quickens its action. Men perish as they supplicate. In danger the people
must trust in themselves.
Thinking as I did, I could not say or pretend otherwise.
Mazzini one day said to me, "A public man is often
bound by his past. His repute for opinions he has maintained act as
a restraint upon avowing others of a converse nature." This feeling
never had influence over me. Any one who has convictions ought to
maintain a consistency between what he believes, and what he says and
does. But to maintain to-day the opinions of former years, when you
have ceased to feel them true, is a false, foolish, even a criminal
consistency. To conceal the change, if it concerns others to know
it, is dishonest if it is misleading any persons you may have influenced.
The test, to me, of the truth of any view I hold, is that, I can state it
and dare the judgment of others to confute it. Had I new views—theistical or otherwise—that I could avow with this
confidence, I should have the same pleasure in stating them as I ever had
in stating my former ones. When I look back, upon opinions I published
long years ago, I am surprised at the continuity of conviction which,
without care or thought on my part, has remained with me. In stating my
opinions I have made many changes. Schiller truly says that "Toleration
is only possible to men of large information." As I came to know more I
have been more considerate towards the views, or errors, or mistakes of
others, and have striven to be more accurate in my own statement of
them, and more fair towards adversaries. That is all. Mazzini understood
this, and did not regard as perversity the prohibition of conscience.
In his letter to Daniel Manin, which I published in 1856, Mazzini
described as a "quibble " the use of the word "unification" instead of
"unity." "Unification" is not a bad thing in itself, though very different
from unity. To put forth unification as a substitute for unity was
forsaking unity. It was a change of front, but not "quibbling." The
Government of Italy were advised to contrive local amelioration, as a
means of impeding, if not undermining, claims for national freedom. Mazzini condemned Manin for concurring in this. All English insurgent
parties have shown similar animosity against amelioration of evil, lest it
diverted attention from absolute redress. Yet it is a great responsibility
to continue the full evil in all its sharpness and obstructiveness, on the
grounds that its abatement is an impediment to larger relief. Every
argument for amelioration is a confession that those who object to
injustice are right. What is to prevent reformers continuing their demand
for all that is necessary, when some of the evil is admitted and abated? Paramount among agitators as I think Mazzini, it is a duty to admit that
he was not errorless. High example renders an error serious.
The press being free in England, there needed no conspiracy here. An
engraved card, still hanging
in a little frame in many a weaver's and miner's house in the North of
England, was issued at a shilling each on behalf of funds for European
freedom, signed by Mazzini for Italy, Kossuth for Hungary, and Worcell for
Poland. When editing the Reasoner I received one morning a letter from
Mazzini, dated 15, Radnor Street, King's Road, Chelsea, June 12, 1852. This was the only one of Mazzini's letters bearing an address and date I
ever saw, as I have said. It began:—
"MY DEAR SIR,—You have once, for the Taxes on Knowledge question,
collected a very large sum by dint of sixpences. Could you not do the
same, if your conscience approved the scheme, for the Shilling
Subscription [then proposed for European freedom]? I have never made any
appeal for material help to the English public, but once the scheme is
started, I cannot conceal that I feel a great interest in its success. A
supreme struggle will take place between Right and Might, and any
additional strength imparted to militant Democracy at this time is not to
be despised. Still, the moral motive is even more powerful with me. The
scheme is known in Italy, and will be known in Hungary, and it would be
extremely important for me to be able to tell my countrymen that it has
not proved a failure.
"Ever faithfully yours,
I explained to the readers of the Reasoner the great service they might
render to European freedom at that time by a shilling subscription from
each. Very soon we received 4,000 shillings. Later (August 3, 1852)
Mazzini, writing from Chelsea, said:—
"MY DEAR SIR,—I have still to thank you for the noble appeal you have
inserted in the Reasoner in favour of the Shilling Subscription in aid of
European freedom. My friend Giovanni Peggotti, fearing that physical and
moral torture might weaken his determination and extort from him some
revelations, has hung himself in his dungeon at Milan, with his own
cravat. State trials are about being initiated by military commissions,
and General Benedek, the man who directed the wholesale Gallician
butcheries, is to preside over them. At Forli, under Popish rule, enforced
by Austrian bayonets, four working men have been shot as guilty of having
defended themselves against the aggression of some Government agents. The
town was fined in a heavy sum, because on that mournful day many of the
inhabitants left it, and the theatres were empty in the evening.
People of England have mostly forgotten now
what Italians had to suffer when their necks were under the ferocious heel
In a short time I collected a further 5,000 shillings, making 9,000 in
all, and I had the pleasure of sending to Mazzini a cheque for £450. 
A shilling subscription had been previously proposed mainly at the
instigation of W. J. Linton, which bore the names of Joseph Cowen, George
Dawson, Dr. Frederic Lees, George Serle Phillips, C. D. Collet, T. S.
Duncombe, M.P., Viscount Goderich, M.P. (now Marquis of Ripon), S. M.
Hawks, Austin Holyoake, G. J. Holyoake, Thornton Hunt, Douglas Jerrold,
David Masson, Edward Miall, M.P., Professor Newman, James Stansfeld, M.P. Some of these names are interesting to recall now. But it was not until
Mazzini asked me to make an appeal in the Reasoner that response came. Its
success then was owing to the influence of Mazzini's great name. Workmen
in mill and mine gave because he wished it.
I published Weill's "Great War of the Peasants," the first and only
English translation, in aid of the war in Italy. The object was to create
confidence in the struggle of the Italian peasantry to free their country,
and to give reasons for subscriptions from English working men to aid
their Italian brethren. Madame Venturi made the translation, on Mazzini's
suggestion, for the Secular World, in which I Published it.
In 1855, wishing to publish certain papers of Mazzini's, I wrote asking
him to permit me to do so, when he replied in the most remarkable letter I
received from him:
"DEAR SIR,—You are welcome to any writing or fragment of mine which you
may wish to reprint in the Reasoner. Thought, according to me, is, as soon
as publicly uttered, the property of all, not an individual one. In this
special case, it is with true pleasure that I give the consentment you ask
for. The deep esteem I entertain for your personal character, for your
sincere love of truth, perseverance, and nobly tolerant habits, makes me
wish to do more; and time and events allowing, I shall.
"We pursue the same end—progressive improvement, association,
transformation of the corrupted medium in which we are now living,
overthrow of all idolatries, shams, lies, and conventionalities. We both
want man to be not the poor, passive, cowardly, phantasmagoric unreality
of the actual time, thinking in one way and acting in another; bending to
power which he hates and despises, carrying empty Popish, or thirty-nine
article formulas on his brow and none within; but a fragment of the living
truth, a real individual being linked to collective humanity, the bold
seeker of things to come; the gentle, mild, loving, yet firm,
uncompromising, inexorable apostle of all that
is just and heroic—the Priest, the Poet, and the Prophet. We widely
differ as to the how and why.
"I do dimly believe that all we are now struggling, hoping, discussing, and
fighting for, is a
religious question. We want a new intellect of life; we long to tear off
one more veil from the ideal, and to realise as much as we can of it; we
thirst after a deeper knowledge of what we are and of the why we are. We
want a new heaven and a new earth. We may not all be now conscious of
this, but the whole history of mankind bears witness to the inseparable
union of these terms. The clouds which are now floating between our heads
and God's sky will soon vanish and a bright sun shine on high. We may have
to pull down the despot, the arbitrary dispenser of grace and damnation,
but it will only be to make room for the Father and Educator.
"Ever faithfully yours,
Another incident has instruction in it, still necessary and worth
remembering in the political world. In 1872 I found in the Boston Globe,
then edited by Edin Ballou, a circumstantial story by the Constitutional
of that day, setting forth that Sir James Hudson, our Minister at Turin,
begged Cavour to accord an interview to an English gentleman. When Cavour
received him, he was surprised by the boldness, lucidity, depth, and
perspicacity of his
English visitor, and told him that if he (Cavour) had a countryman of like
quality, he would resign the Presidency of the Council in favour of him
whereupon the "Englishman" handed Cavour his card bearing the name of
Joseph Mazzini, much to his astonishment.
There are seven things fatal to the truth of this story
received and circulated throughout Europe without question:—
1. Sir James Hudson could never have introduced to the Italian Minister a
person as an Englishman, whom Sir James knew to be an Italian.
2. Nor was Mazzini a man who would be a party to such an artifice.
3. Cavour would have known Mazzini the moment he saw him.
4. Mazzini's Italian was such as only an Italian could speak, and Cavour
would know it.
5. Mazzini's Republican and Propagandist plans were as well known to
Cavour as Cobden's were to Peel; and Mazzini's strategy of conspiracy was
so repugnant to Cavour, that he must have considered his visitor a wild
idealist, and must have become mad himself to be willing to resign his
position in Mazzini's favour.
6. Cavour could not have procured his visitor's appointment in his place
if he had resigned.
7. Mazzini could not have offered Cavour his card, for the reason that he
never carried one. As
in Turin he would be in hourly danger of arrest, he was not likely to
carry about with him an engraved identification of himself.
Nevertheless, the Pall Mall Gazette of that day (in whose hands it was
then I forget) published this crass fiction without questioning it.
The reader will rightly think that these are the incredible fictions of a
bygone time, but he will conclude wrongly if he thinks they have ceased.
Lately, not a nameless but a known and responsible person, one Sir Edward
Hertslet, K.C.B., a Foreign Office official, published a volume in which
he related that in 1848 (the 10th of April year, when no political
historian was sane) a stranger called at the Foreign Office to inquire for
letters for him from abroad. A colleague of Sir Edward's suggested that he
should inquire at the Home Office. The strange gentleman replied
indignantly, "I will not go to the Home Office. My name is Mazzini." This
answer Sir Edward put in quotation marks, as though it was really said. Sir Edward has been in the Diplomatic service. He has been a Foreign
Office librarian, and is a K.C.B., yet for more than fifty years he has
kept this astounding story by him, reserved it, cherished it, never
suspected it, nor inquired into its truth.
Mazzini was not a man to give his name to a youth (as Sir Edward was then)
at the Foreign Office. He never went there. It is doubtful
whether any letter ever came to England bearing his name. He was known
among his friends as Mr. Flower or Mr. Silva. When the late William Rathbone Greg wished to see him, he neither knew his name nor where he
resided, and his son Percy—who was then writing for a journal of which I
was editor—was asked to obtain from me an introduction, and it was only
to oblige me that Mazzini consented
to see Mr. W. R. Greg. Sir James Graham never opened any letter addressed
to Mazzini, for none ever came. He opened letters of other persons, as
every Foreign Secretary before him and since has done, in which might be
enclosed a communication for Mazzini. Was it conceivable that the Foreign
Office, then known to secretly open Mazzini's letters, would be chosen by
the Italian exile as a receiving house for his letters, and have
communications sent to its care, and addressed in his name? Was it
conceivable that Mazzini would go there and announce himself when the
Foreign Office was acting as a spy upon his proceedings in the interest of
foreign Governments? This authenticated Foreign Office story would be too
extravagant for a "penny dreadful," yet not too extravagant, in Sir Edward Hertslet's mind, to be believable by the official world now, and was sent
or found its way to Foreign Embassies and Legations for their delectation
and information. Yet Sir Edward was not known as a writer of romance, or
novels, or theological works, nor a poet, or other dealer in
imaginary matters. His book was widely reviewed in England, and nowhere
questioned save in the Sun during my term of editorship in 1902.
Mazzini preached the doctrine of Association in England when it had no
other teacher. Much more may be said of him—but Sir James Stansfeld is
dead, and Madame Venturi and Peter Alfred Taylor. Only Jessie White Mario
and Professor Masson remain who knew Mazzini well. But this chapter may
give the public a better conception than has prevailed of Mazzini's career
MAZZINI THE CONSPIRATOR
THERE have been many conspirators, but Mazzini appears to have been the
greatest of them all. In one sense, every leader of a forlorn hope is a
conspirator. Prevision, calculation of resources, plans of
campaign—mostly of an underground kind—are necessary to conspiracy. The
struggles of Garrison and Wendell Phillips for the rescue and sustentation
of fugitive slaves are well-known instances of underground conspiracy. There the violence of the slave-owner made conspiracy inevitable. In
despotic countries, without a free platform and a free press, the choice
lies between secret conspiracy and slavery. When Mazzini began to seek the
deliverance of Italy he had to confront 600,000 Austrian bayonets. How
else could he do it than by conspiracy?
Those are very much mistaken who think that the
occupation of promoting or taking part in a forlorn hope is a pastime to
which persons disinclined to business or honest industry, betake
themselves. The spy, for instance, who is a well
known instrument in war, takes the heroism out of it. The sinister
activity of the spy turns the soldier
into a sneak. Honourable men do, indeed, persuade themselves that if by
deceit they can obtain knowledge of facts which may save the lives of many
their own side, it is right. At the same time they also betray to death
many on the other side, including some who have trusted the spy in his
disguise. But whatever success may attend the deceit of the spy, he can
never divest himself of the character of being a fraud; and a fraud in
only a little less base than a fraud in business. But it is the perils of
even the patriotic spy, which are so
often under-estimated. If discovered by the enemy, he is sure to be shot;
and he runs the risk of being killed on suspicion by friends on his own
side—too indignant to inquire into the nature of the suspicions
they entertain. The spy dare not communicate the business he is upon to
his friends. Somehow it would get out; then the spy would surely walk the
plank, or hang from the gallows as André did. The spy's own friends
being ignorant of the secret duty he has undertaken, observe him making
the acquaintance of the enemy—hear of him being seen in communication
with them—and he becomes distrusted and disowned by those whom he perils
his life to serve. Mazzini detested the Cabinets, or the Generals, who
employed spies. He made war by secrecy—open war being impossible to
him—but never by treachery. Some who had suffered and
were incensed by personal outrage or maddening oppression, would act as
spies in revenge. Because these were done on the side of Italian
independence Mazzini was accused of inspiring them and employing
Mazzini had another difficulty. Like Cromwell, he sought his combatants
among men of faith. Mazzini was, as has been said, a Theist, like Thomas
Paine, or Theodore Parker, or Francis William Newman, he was that and
nothing more; and, as with them, his belief was passionate. He did not
believe that political enthusiasm could be created or sustained without
belief in God. He seemed unable to conceive that a sense of duty could
exist separately from that belief. Hence his motto always was "God and
the People," which limited his adherents largely to Theists; and implied a
propaganda to convert persons to a belief in Deity, before they could, in
his opinion, be counted upon to fight for Italian independence. Yet there
were contradictions; but contradictions seldom disturb passionate
convictions, and Mazzini himself could not deny that he had often been
faithfully served by men who were not at all sure that God would fight on
their side, if disaster overtook them. One night at a crowded Fulham party
Mazzini was contending, as was his wont, that an Atheist could not have a
sense of duty. Garibaldi, who was present, at once asked, "What
do you say to me?
I am an Atheist. Do I lack the sense of duty?"
"Ah," said Mazzini, playfully, "you imbibed duty with your mother's milk"—which was not an answer, but a good-natured evasion. Garibaldi was not a
philosophical Atheist, but he was a fierce sentimental one, from
resentment at the cruelties and tyrannies of priests who professed to
represent God. To disbelieve unwillingly from lack of evidence, and to
disbelieve from natural indignation is a very different thing.
All the many years Mazzini was in London, Madame Venturi was constantly in
communication with him, and was present at more conversations than any one
else. Had she possessed the genius of Boswell, and put down day by day
criticisms she heard expressed, the narratives of his extraordinary
adventures, and such as came to her knowledge from correspondence, now no
longer recoverable, we might have had as wonderful a volume of political
and ethical judgment as was Boswell's "Johnson." Sometimes I expressed a
hope that she was doing this. Nevertheless, we are indebted to her for the
best biography of him that appeared in her time. I add a few sayings of
his which show the quality of his table talk:—
"Falsehood is the art of cowards. Credulity without examination is the
practice of idiots."
"Any order of things established through violence, even though in itself
superior to the old, is still a tyranny."
"Blind distrust, like blind confidence, is death to all great
"In morals, thought and action should be in. separable. Thought
without action is selfishness
action without thought is rashness."
"The curse of Cain is upon him who does not regard himself as the guardian
of his brother."
"Education is the bread of the soul."
"Art does not imitate, it interprets."
Only those who were in the agitation for Italian freedom can understand
the exhausting amount of labour performed by those who were adherents or
sympathisers. How much greater was the labour of the commander of the
movement, who had to create the departments he administered, to provide the funds for them, to win and inspire its adherents, and correspond
incessantly with agents scattered over Europe and America, and to
vindicate himself against false accusations rained upon him by a hostile,
ubiquitous European press.
Orsini was a man of invincible courage, and could be trusted to execute
any commission given him. No danger deterred him, but in enterprises
prevision of contingencies, he was inadequate. Mazzini thought so; and Orsini secretly contrived to plot against the French usurper, to extort
from Mazzini the confession that he (Orsini) could carry out an in
dependent enterprise. All the same, the adversaries
of Italian freedom made Mazzini responsible for it.
A writer in the press, who did not give his name (and when a writer does
not do that, he can say anything), published, in editorial type, this
passage: "By the way, I remember that Orsini, the day before he left
England to make his attempt upon the life of Napoleon Ill., had a solemn
discussion with Joseph Cowen and Mazzini, as to the justice of
tyrannicide." Mazzini being then dead, I sent the paragraph to Mr. Cowen
and asked him if there was any truth in it, who replied:—
March 2, 1891.
"MY DEAR HOLYOAKE,— I have no idea where the writer of the enclosed
paragraph gets his information. I cannot speak as to Orsini having a
conversation with Mazzini, but I should think it is in the highest sense
improbable, because long before Orsini went to France, Mazzini and he had
not been in friendly intercourse. There was a difference between them
which kept them apart. I had repeated conversations with Orsini about
tyrannicide—a matter in which he seemed interested—but I did not see him
for some weeks before he went to France. "Yours truly,
Mazzini always repudiated the dagger as a Political weapon. It answered
the purpose of his adversaries in his day and since, to accuse him of
advocating it. He pointed out that calumny was
a dagger used to assassinate character, but to that form of assassination
few politicians made objection. Sometimes partisans of Mazzini would
supply a colourable presumption of the truth of this accusation.
A circumstantial story appeared in the "Life of Charles Bradlaugh " (vol.
i. p. 69), signed W. E, Adams, as follows:—
"The year 1858 was the year of Felice Orsini's attempt on the life of
Louis Napoleon. I was at that time, and had been for years previously, a
member of the Republican Association, which was formed to propagate the
principles of Mazzini. When the press, from one end of the country to the
other, joined in a chorus of condemnation of Orsini, I put down on paper
some of the arguments and considerations which I thought told on Orsini's
side. The essay thus was read at a meeting of one of our branches; the
members assembled earnestly urged me to get the piece printed. It occurred
to me also that the publication might be of service, if only to show that
there were two sides to the question of 'Tyrannicide.' So I went to Mr. G.
J. Holyoake, then carrying on business as a publisher of advanced
literature. Mr. Holyoake not being on the premises, his brother, Austin,
asked me to leave my manuscript and call again. When I called again Mr.
Holyoake returned me the paper, giving, among other reasons for declining
to publish it, that he was already in negotiation with
Mazzini for a pamphlet on the same subject. 'Very well,' said I, 'all I
want is that something should be said on Orsini's side. If Mazzini does
this, I shall be quite content to throw my production into the fire.' "
It is true that the pamphlet was brought to me by Mr. Adams, entitled, "Tyrannicide: A Justification." What really took place on my part, as
I distinctly remember, was this. I said: "I was unwilling to publish a
pamphlet of that nature which did not bear the name of the writer, which
the MS. did not. The author answered that "a name added no force to an
argument; besides, his name was unimportant, if put on the title-page,"
which was reasonably and modestly said. My reply was, "That in an affair
of murder, 'justification' was a recommendation, and that any one acting
on his perilous suggestion ought to know who was his authority." Nothing
more was said by me. The writer made no offer to add his name to his MS.,
nor to meet my objection by a less assertive title. As any prosecution for
publishing it would be against me, and not against him, I thought I had a
right to an opinion as to the title and authorship of the work I might
have to defend. It was afterwards issued by Mr. Truelove, a bookseller of
courage and public spirit, but who suggested the very changes I had
indicated to the author; and by Mr. Truelove's desire the author not only
gave his name, but
changed the title into "Tyrannicide: Is it Justifiable?" which was quite another matter. It asked the question; it no
longer decided it.
As to Mazzini, it is impossible I could have said what is imputed to me. I
was not "in negotiation with Mazzini" to write anything upon the Orsini affair. I knew he would not do so. Orsini, as
I have said, concealed his
plot from Mazzini, who never incited it, never approved it, never
justified it—he deplored it. Only enemies of Mazzini sought to connect
him with it. If I left this story uncontradicted, it might creep into
history that, in spite of the disclaimers of Mazzini's friends, he
actually "entered into negotiation" to write in defence of Orsini's
attempt, which must imply concurrence with the deplorable method Orsini
unhappily took; and, moreover, that a publisher, regarded as being in
Mazzini's confidence, had, in an open, unqualified way, told a writer on
assassination of it. The publisher was speedily arrested on the issue of
the pamphlet, as I should have been, but that would not have deterred me
from publishing it in a reasonable and responsible form.
Soon after I printed and published a worse pamphlet by Felix Pyat, which
was signed by "A Revolutionary Committee." The Pyat pamphlet was under
prosecution at the time I voluntarily published it. As what I did I did
openly—I wrote to the Government apprising them of what I was doing.
Besides, I commenced to issue serial "Tyrannicide Literature," commencing
written by Royalist advocates of assassination. Because I did not publish
the Adams Tyrannicide pamphlet right off without inquiry or suggestion, I
was freely charged with refusing to do it from fear. No one seems to have
been informed of the reasons I gave for declining. No one inquired into
the facts. Adversaries of those days did not take
the trouble. But, as I had to take the consequences of what I did, I
thought I had a right to take my own mode of incurring them.
On the last night of Orsini's life, Mazzini and a small group of the
friends both of Orsini and himself, of which I was one, kept vigil until
the morning, at which hour the axe in La Roquette would fall.
The favourite charge of the press against the great conspirator was that
he advised others to incur danger, and kept out of it himself. This was
entirely untrue—but it did not prevent it being said. The principle these
critics go upon is, that whoever is capable of advising and directing
others, should do all he can to get himself shot—a doctrine which would
rid the army of all its generals, and
the offices of all newspapers of their editors. Upon Mazzini's life the
success of twenty small cohorts of patriots depended, ready to give their
Italy. Mazzini was not only the commander of the army of Liberation, but,
as has been indicated, the provider of its reserves, its commissariat and
recruits. His life was also of priceless value to
other struggling peoples. He was the one statesman in Europe who had a
European mind—who knew the peoples of the Continent, whose knowledge
was intimate, and whose word could be trusted. So far from avoiding
danger, he was never out of it. With a price set upon his head in three
countries, hunted by seven Governments, with spies always following him
and by assassins lying in ambush, his life for forty years passed in more
peril than any other public man of his time. Yet it was fashionable to
charge him with want of courage whose whole "life," to use his own
phrase, "was a battle and a march."
Could there be a doubt of the intrepidity of a man who, with the slender
forces of insurgent patriots, confronted Austria with its 600,000
No sooner was Garibaldi in Rome than Mazzini was there in the streets
inspiring its defenders. What dangers he passed through to reach Rome,
knowing well that his arrest meant death!
Rome was not a safe place for Mazzini, neither was London. His life was
never safe. I have been asked by his host to walk home with him at night
from a London suburban villa where he dined, because a Royalist assassin
was known to be in London waiting to kill him.
Mazzini died at Pisa, March 10, 1872, from chill by walking over the Alps
in inclement weather, intending to visit his English friends once more.
A few of his English colleagues protested against his
embalmment. I was not one. Gorini, the greatest of his profession,
undertook to transform the body into marble, and for him Mazzini had
friendship. Dr. Bertani, Mazzini's favourite physician, approved
embalming. It could not be done by more reverent hands. How
could England—who disembowelled Nelson and sent his body home in a cask of
rum; who embalmed Jeremy Bentham, and took out O'Connell's heart, sent it
to one city, and his mutilated remains to another—reproach Italy for
observing the national rites of their illustrious dead?
The personal character of Mazzini never needed defence. In private life
and state affairs, honour was to him an instinct. He saw the path of right
with clear eyes. No advantage induced him to deviate from it. No danger
prevented his walking in it.
Carlyle, whom few satisfied, said he "found in him a man of clear
intelligence and noble virtues. True as steel, the word, the thought of
him pure and limpid as water."
It may be by experience that a nation is governed, but it is by rightness
alone that it is kept noble. It was to promote this that Mazzini walked
for forty years on the dreary highway between exile and the scaffold. It
was from belief in his heroic and unfaltering integrity that men went out
at his word, to encounter the dungeon, torture, and death, and that
families led all their days alarmed
lives, and gave up husbands and sons to enterprises in which they could
only triumph by dying.
No one save Byron has depicted the self-denial incidental to Mazzini's
career, which involved the abnegation of all that makes life worth living
to other men.
"Such ties are not
For those who are called to the high destinies
Which purify corrupted commonwealths.
We must forget all feeling save the One
We must resign all passions, save our purpose.
We must behold no object, save our country.
And only look on death as
So that the sacrifice ascend to heaven,
And draw down freedom on her evermore." 
Mazzini left a name which has become one of the landmarks, or rather
mindmarks, of public thought, and, though a bygone name, there is
instruction and inspiration in it yet.
GARIBALDI—THE SOLDIER OF LIBERTY
DINING one day (June 29, 1896) at Mr. Herbert Spencer's, thirty years
after Garibaldi left England, Professor Masson, who was a guest of Mr.
Spencer, told me that Garibaldi said to Sir James Stansfeld that "the
person whom he was most interested in seeing in England was myself." This
Garibaldi said at a reception given by Mr. Stansfeld to meet the
General—as we had then begun to call him. I was one of the party; but Mr. Stansfeld did not mention the remark to me, and I never heard of it until
Professor Masson told me. Of course I should have been gratified to know
it. We had met before, but it was years earlier, and Garibaldi had
forgotten it. The vicissitudes and battles of his tumultuous career may
well have effaced the circumstance from his mind.
The first occasion of my meeting Garibaldi was at an evening party at the
Swan Brewery, Fulham, when I was asked to accompany him to Regent Street,
where he was then residing. My name would be given to him at the
time, which he might not distinctly hear, as is often the case when an
unfamiliar name is heard by a foreign ear, as occurs when a foreign name
is mentioned to an English ear. On our way he asked me "how it was
that the English people had accorded such enthusiastic receptions to
Kossuth, and yet they appeared to have done nothing on behalf of Hungary?"
I explained to him that "our Foreign Office was controlled by a few
aristocratic families who had little sympathy with and less respect for
the voteless voices of the splendid crowds who greeted Kossuth with
generous acclaim. That was why large and enthusiastic concourses of
people in the streets produced so little effect upon the English
Government." The great Nizzard insurgent had been mystified by the
impotence of popular enthusiasm. In such plain, brief and abrupt
sentences as I thought would be intelligible, I explained that "he must
distinguish between popular sympathy and popular power. He might
find himself the subject of the generous enthusiasm of the streets, but he
must take it as the voice of the people, not the voice of the Government."
Kossuth, who had a better knowledge of English literature and the English
press, never made the distinction, which led him into mistakes and caused
him needlessly to suffer disappointments. To this day the House of
Lords is an alien power in England.
It was at the party which we left that night that I was first
struck with the natural intrepidity of Garibaldi. His square
shoulders and tapering body I had somehow come to associate with military
impassableness, and the easy, self-possessed way in which he moved through
the crowd in the room confirmed my impression. I was told afterwards
by one of his fellow combatants that unconscious courage was his
characteristic on the field. Calmness and imperturbable modesty were
attributes of his mind, as seen in his heroic acts, deemed utterly
impossible save in romance. He had received the triumphal
acclamation of people he freed, whose forefathers had only dreamed of
Since the time of that casual acquaintanceship, Garibaldi had
heard of me from Mazzini, from Mr. Cowen, and as acting secretary of the
Committee who sent out the British Legion to him. We had collected a
considerable sum of money for him, which was lying in unfriendly hands,
but which his treasurer had been unable to obtain. I had sent him
other help, when help was sorely needed by his troops. Besides, I
had defended him and his cause under the names of "Landor Praed," "Disque,"
and my own name, in the press. Garibaldi sent me one of the first
photographs taken of himself after his victorious entry into Naples, on
which he had written the words, "Garibaldi, to his friend, J. G. Holyoke."
He had got name and initials transposed in those eventful days.
After the affair of Micheldever,  he charged his
son Menotti to show me personal and public attention on his visit to the
House of Commons. To the end of his life he saw every visitor who
came to him with a note from me.
When Menotti Garibaldi died, the family wished that the flag
which the "Thousand" carried when they made their celebrated invasion of
the Neapolitan kingdom, should be borne at the funeral. They
therefore telegraphed to the mayor of Marsala, who was supposed to be the
guardian of the relic. The mayor replied that he had not got it, but
that it was at Palermo; so the mayor of Palermo was telegraphed to.
He also replied that he had not got it, and said it was in the possession
of Signor Antonio Pellegrini, but that its authenticity was very doubtful.
General Canzio, one of the survivors of the expedition, says that the flag
possessed by Signor Pellegrini is nothing like the real one, which was
merely a tricolor of three pieces of cotton nailed to a staff. At
the battle of Calatafimi the standard-bearer was shot and the flag lost.
It was said to have been captured by a Neapolitan sub-lieutenant, but all
traces of it have now disappeared. The wonder is not that the flag
has disappeared, but that so many official persons should declare it to
exist elsewhere, of which they had no knowledge. The flag of the
Washington would have been lost had it not been taken possession of by
De Rohan. The last flag carried by the Mazzinians, which was shot
through, would have been lost also had not Mr. J. D. Hodge sought for it
before it was too late. Both flags are in my possession.
Walter Savage Landor sent me (August 20, 1 860) these fine
lines on Garibaldi's conquest of the Sicilies:—
"Again her brow Sicaria rears
Above the tombs—two thousand years,
Have smitten sore her beauteous breast,
And war forbidden her to rest.
Yet war at last becomes her friend,
grief shall end.
Sicaria! hear me! rise again!
A homeless hero breaks thy chain."
How often did I hear it said, in his great days of action,
that had Garibaldi known the perils he encountered in his enterprises, he
would never have attempted them. No one seemed able to account for
his success, save by saying he was "an inspired madman." His heroism
was not born of insanity, but knowledge. His wonderful march of
conquest through Italy was made possible by Mazzini. In every town
there was a small band, mostly of young heroic men, who were inspired by
Mazzini's teaching, who, like the brothers Bandiera, led forlorn hopes, or
who were ready to act when occasion arose. I well remember when
seeking assistance for Mazzini, how friends declined to contribute lest
they became accessory to the fruitless sacrifice of brave men. There
was no other way by which Italy could be freed, than by incurring this
risk. Mazzini knew it, and the men knew it, as Mazzini did not
conceal it from those he inspired.
The following letter to me by one of the combatants was
published at the time in the Daily Telegraph. It is a
forgotten vignette of the war, drawn by a soldier on the battlefield who
had been wounded five times before, fighting under Garibaldi:—
"DEAR SIR,—Just time to say that we are in full possession,
after streams of blood have flowed. Fights 'twixt brothers are
"We want money; we want, as I told you, a British steamer
chartered, with revolving rifles and pistols of Colt's (17, Pall Mall),
also some cannon rayé; but for the
sake of humanity and liberty do hurry up the subscriptions. The
sooner we are strong the less the chance of more fighting. We muster
now some 30,000 all told, though not all armed. We want arms and
ammunition, and caps—Minié rifles.
Or the rifle corps pattern the General would as soon have. He is
well and radiant with joy and hope, though sighing over the necessity to
shed blood. Oh! will the world never learn to value the really great
men of the earth until the grave has closed over them? Garibaldi has
written only one or two of all the things published over his name.
The rest are the inventions of enemies or over-zealous friends.
"Messina must capitulate. If the King grant a
constitution, all will be lost. The Bourbons must be driven from
Italy, for it will never be quiet without. Warn the papers against
trusting the so-called letters, etc., from Garibaldi. He writes
little or none, and dislikes to be made prominent.
"Do try and urge on the subscriptions. The English
admiral here has behaved bravely, and Lord John Russell's praises are in
every one's mouth; but he must not falter or hesitate,
"The Royal Palace was burned down, and the fighting was
"Of all the defeats imputed to the 'insurgents, ' not one has
really taken place. The General was at times obliged to sacrifice
some lives for strategical purposes.
"Now, pray use your influence for England not to allow Naples
to patch up a peace, for I tell you it is useless. Garibaldi and his
friends will never consent to anything short of 'Italy for the Italians.'
"You may communicate this as 'official' if you wish to the
Times or News, reserving my name Yours truly, in great haste,
"G. J. Holyoake, Esq.
"P.S.—I need hardly say this will have to take its chance of
getting to you. I trust it to a captain whom I have given the money
to pay the postage in Genoa, where he is going. Will you let me hear
He did hear from me. Whether it is good to die "in
vain," as George Eliot held, I do not stay to determine. Certainly,
to die when you know it to be your duty, whether "in vain" or not, implies
a high order of nature. Sir Alfred Lyall has sung the praise of
those English soldiers captured in India, who, when offered their lives if
they would merely pronounce the name of the Prophet, refused. It was
only a word they had to patter, and Sir Alfred exclaims, "God Almighty,
what could it matter?" But the brave Englishmen died rather than be
counted on the side of a faith they did not hold. Dying for honour
is not dying in vain, and I thought the Italians entitled to help in their
holy war for manhood and independence.
When Garibaldi was at Brooke House, Isle of Wight, I was
deputed by the Society of the Friends of Italy to accompany Mazzini to
meet Garibaldi. Herzen, the Russian, who kept the "Kolokol" ringing
in the dominions of the Czar, met us at Southampton. The meeting
with Garibaldi took place at the residence of Madame Nathan. The two
heroes had not met in London when the General was a guest of the Duke of
Sutherland. As soon as Garibaldi saw Mazzini, he greeted him in the
old patois of the lagoons of Genoa. It affected Mazzini, to whom it
brought back scenes of their early career, when the inspiration of Italian
freedom first began.
Mrs. Nathan, wife of the Italian banker of Cornhill, was an
intrepid lady, true to the freedom of her country, who had assisted
Garibaldi and Mazzini in many a perilous enterprise. After the
interview at her house, she had occasion to consult Garibaldi on matters
of moment. Misled or deterred by aspersion, which every lady had to
suffer, suspected of patriotic complicity, Mrs. Nathan was not invited to
Brooke House. Under these circumstances she could not go alone to
see the General, and she asked me to take her. Offering her my arm,
we walked through the courtyard and along the corridors of the house to
Garibaldi's rooms. Going and returning from her interview, I was
much struck by the queenly grace and self-possession of Mrs. Nathan's
manner. There was neither disquietude nor consciousness in her
demeanour of the disrespect of not being invited to Brooke House, though
her residence was known.
On the night of Garibaldi's arrival at Brooke House, Mr.
Seely, the honoured host of the General, invited me to join the dinner
party, where I heard things said on some matters, which the speakers could
not possibly know to be true. Garibaldi showed no traces of
excitement, which had dazed so many at Southampton that afternoon.
The vessel which brought him there was immediately boarded by a tumultuous
crowd of visitors. All the reporters of the London and provincial
press were waiting for the vessel to be sighted, and they were foremost in
the throng on the ship. Before them all was Mrs. Colonel Chambers,
with her beseeching eyes, large, luminous and expressive, and difficult to
resist. Garibaldi gave instant audience to Joseph Cowen, whose voice
alone, or chiefly, influenced him. Years before, when Garibaldi was
unknown, friendless, and penniless, he turned his bark up the Tyne to
visit Mr. Cowen, the only Englishman from whom he would ask help.
Garibaldi's first day at Southampton was more boisterous than a battle.
Everybody wanted him to go everywhere. Houses where his name had
never been heard were now open to him. Mr. Seely was known to be his
friend. The Isle of Wight was near. Brooke House lay out of
the way of the "madding crowd," and there his friends would have time to
arrange things for him. The end of his visit to England was sudden,
unforeseen, inexplicable both to friend and foe, at the time and for long
He had accepted engagements to appear in various towns in
England, where people would as wildly greet him as the people of London
had done. When it was announced that he had left England, it was
believed that the Emperor of the French had incited the Government to
prevail upon Garibaldi to leave the country. Others conjectured that
Mr. Gladstone had whispered something to him which had caused the Italian
hero to depart. I asked about it from one who knew everything that
took place—Sir James Stansfeld—and from him I learned that no foreign
suggestion had been made, that nothing whatever had been said to
Garibaldi. His leaving was entirely his own act. He had reason
to believe that Louis Napoleon was capable of anything; but with all his
heroism, Garibaldi was imaginative and proud. He fancied his
presence in England was an embarrassment to the Government. He being
the guest of the nation, they would never own to it or say it. But
his departure might be a relief to them, nevertheless. And therefore
he went. His sensitiveness of honour shrank from his being a
constructive inconvenience to a nation to whom he owed so much and for
whom he cared so much. It was an instance of the disappointment
imagination may cause in politics. 
But Garibaldi was a poet as well as a soldier. Like the
author of the "Marseillaise," Korner and Petöfe,
he could write inspiring verse, as witness his "Political Poem" in reply
to one Victor Hugo wrote upon him, which Sir Edwin Arnold, the "Oxford
Graduate" of that day, translated in 1868. Those do not understand
Garibaldi who fail to recognise that he had poetic as well as martial
THE STORY OF THE BRITISH LEGION—NEVER BEFORE TOLD
GENERAL DE LACY EVANS
is no longer with us, or he might give us an instructive account of the
uncertainty and difficulty of discipline in a patriotic legion which
volunteers its services without intelligently intending obedience.
When I became Acting Secretary for sending out the British Legion to
Garibaldi, I found no one with any relevant experience who knew what to
expect or what to advise. Those likely to be in command were ready
to exercise authority, but those who were to serve under them expected to
do it more or less in their own way. The greatest merit in a
volunteer legion is that they agree in the object of the war they engage
in. They do not blindly adopt the vocation of murder—for that is
what military service means. It means the undertaking to kill at the
direction of others—without knowledge or conviction as to the right and
justice of the conflict they take part in.
General De Lacy Evans being a military man of repute, and
marching with his Spanish Legion had disciplinary influence over them.
Two of my colleagues in other enterprises of danger were among the Spanish
volunteers, but they were not at hand—one being in America and the other
in New Zealand —otherwise I might have had the benefit of their
The project of sending out to Garibaldi a British Legion came
in the air. It was probably a suggestion of De Rohan's, who had
gathered in Italy that British volunteers would influence Italian opinion;
be an encouragement in the field; and, if sent out in time, they might be
of military service. Be this as it may, the Garibaldi Committee found
themselves, without premeditation, engaged in enlisting men, at least by
proxy. It was a new business, in which none of us were experts. We knew
that men of generous motive and enterprise would come forward. At the same
time, we were opening a door to many of whom we could not know enough to
refuse, or to trust. However, the army of every country is largely
recruited from the class of dubious persons, over whom officers have the
power to compel order—which we had not.
As I was the Acting Secretary, my publishing house, 147, Fleet Street, was
crowded with inquirers when the project of the Legion became known. Many gave their names there. For convenience of enrolment, a house was taken at No. 8, Salisbury
Street, Strand, where the
volunteers, honest and otherwise, soon appeared—the otherwise being more
obtrusive and seemingly more zealous. Among them appeared a young man,
wearing the uniform
of a Garibaldian soldier, of specious manners, and who called himself "Captain Styles"—a harmless rustic name, but he was not at all rustic in
mind. Being early in the
field, volunteers who came later took it for
granted he had an official position. It was assumed that he had been in
Italy and in some army, which was more than we knew. His influence grew by
questioned. Without our knowledge and without any authority, he invented
and secretly sold commissions, retaining the proceeds for his own use. To
our military objects on public attention, I drew up a notice, after the
manner of Dr. Lunn's tourist agency, as follows:—
XCURSION to SICILY and NAPLES.—All persons (particularly Members of
Volunteer Rifle Corps) desirous of visiting Southern Italy, and of AIDING
by their presence and
influence the CAUSE of GARIBALDI and ITALY, may learn how to proceed by
applying to the Garibaldi Committee, at the offices at No. 8, Salisbury
Street, Strand, London.
The Committee caused, on my suggestion, applicants to
receive notice of two things:—
(1) That each man should remember that he goes
out to represent the sacred cause of Liberty, and that the cause will be
judged by his conduct. His behaviour will be as important as his bravery.
(2) Those in command will respect the high feeling by which the humblest
man is animated—but no man must make his equal patriotism a pretext for
obedience to orders, upon which his safety and usefulness depend. There no
doubt will be precariousness and privation for a time, which every man
must be prepared to
share and bear.
Further, I wrote an address to the
"Excursionists" and had a copy placed in the hands of every one of them.
It was to the following effect:—
Before leaving Faro, Garibaldi issued an address to his
army, in which he said:—
"Among the qualities which ought to predominate among the officers
of an Italian army,
besides bravery, is the amiability which secures the affection of
soldiers—discipline, subordination, and firmness necessary in long
campaigns. Severe discipline may be
obtained by harshness, but it is better obtained by kindness. This secret
the numerous spies of the enemy will not discover. It brought us from
Parco to Gibil-Rosa, and
thence to Palermo. The honourable behaviour of our soldiery towards the
inhabitants did the rest. Of bravery, I am sure!" exclaims the General. "What I want is the
discipline of ancient Rome, invariable harmony one with another—the due respect for property, and above all for that of the
poor, who suffer so much to gain the scanty bread of their families. By
these means we shall lessen
the sacrifice of blood and win the lasting independence of Italy."
To this address was added the following paragraph:—
"In these words the volunteer will learn the quality of companionship he
will meet with in the field, and the spirit which prevails among the
soldiers of Italian independence."
When we had collected the Legion, the thing was to get it out of the
country—international law not being on the side of our proceedings. As
many as a thousand names 
were entered on the roll of British volunteers for Italy. The Great
Eastern Railway was very animated.
When they were about to set out at a late hour for
Harwich, a "Private and Confidential" note was sent to each saying:—
"As the arrangements for the departure of the detachment of Excursionists
are now complete, I have to request your attendance at Caldwell's Assembly
Rooms, Dean Street,
Oxford Street, at three o'clock precisely, on Wednesday, the 26th instant
(September, 1860 ), when you will receive information as to the time and
place of departure which
will be speedy.
"(Signed) E. STYLES, Major."
By this times the "Captain" had blossomed into
a "Major." Owing to urgency the Committee had to acquiesce in many
things. Garibaldi being in the field, and often no one knew where, it was
futile to ask
questions and impossible to get them answered.
The Government no doubt knew all about the expedition. Captain De Rohan,
or, as he styled himself, "Admiral De Rohan," was in command of the "Excursionists." He
marched up and down the platform, wearing a ponderous admiral's sword,
which was entirely indiscreet, but he was proud of the parade. By this
time he had assumed the
of "Rear" Admiral. De Rohan was not his name, but he was, it was said,
paternally related, in an unrecognised way, to Admiral Dalgren, of
American fame. Of De
Rohan it ought to be said, that though he had the American tendency to
self-inflation, he was a sincere friend of Italy. Honest, disinterested,
others—and the devoted and trusted agent of Garibaldi, ready to go to the
ends of the earth in his service. When the English Committee finally
closed, and they had a
balance of £1,000 left in their hands, they were so sensible of the
services and integrity of De Rohan that they gave it to him, and on my
deposited it in the Westminster Bank. He was one of those men for whom
some permanent provision ought to be made, as he took more delight in
serving others than
serving himself. In after years, vicissitude came to him, in which I and
members of the Garibaldi Committee befriended him.
As our Legion was going out to make war on a power in
friendly relation to Great Britain, Lord John Russell was in a position to
stop it. The vessel (the Melazzo) lay two
days in the Harwich waters before sailing. There were not wanting persons
who attempted to call Lord John's attention to what was going on, but
happily without recognition
of their efforts. No one was better able than Lord John to congeal illicit
Mr. E. H. J. Craufurd, M.P., chairman of the Committee, myself, my brother
Austin,—who was unceasing in his service to the Committee and the
Legion—W. J. Linton, and
other members of the Committee, travelled by night with the Legion to
Harwich. Mr. George Francis Train went down with us and explained to me
vivaciously his theory, that
to obtain recognition by the world was to make a good recognition of
yourself. Train did this, but all it gave him was notoriety, under which
was hidden from public respect his
great natural ability and personal kindness of heart. When I last met him,
I found him—as was his custom—sitting on the public seat in a New York
himself in children, but ready to pour, in an eloquent torrent, the story
of his projects into the ear of any passer-by who had time to listen to
It was early morning when we arrived at Harwich. As the ship lay some
distance out, it took some time to embark the men, and it was the second
day before she set sail. To our disappointment De Rohan did not go with the troops, which we
thought it was his duty to do, but suddenly left, saying he would meet
them at Palermo. He
alone had real influence over the men. No one being in authority over
them, feuds and suspicions were added to their lack of discipline.
The vessel was well provisioned, even to the pleasures of the table. There
was that satisfaction.
It may interest readers who have never sailed in a
troopship to read the regulations enforced:—
1. The men will be allotted berths and divided into messes, regularly by
companies, and their packs are to be hung up near their berths.
2. With a view to the general health and accommodation of the men, they
will be divided into three watches, one of which is to be constantly on
3. A guard, the strength of which is to be regulated by the sentries
required, is to mount every morning at nine o'clock.
4. The men of each watch are to be appointed to stations.
5. The men not belonging to the watch are to be ordered below, when
required by the master of the ship, in order that they may not impede the
working of the vessel.
6. In fine weather every man is to be on deck the whole day.
7. The whole watch is to be constantly on deck, except when the rain
obliges them to go down for shelter.
8. Great attention is to be paid to the cleanliness of the privies. Buckets of water are to be thrown down frequently.
9. The bedding is to be brought on deck every morning, if the weather will
permit, by eight o'clock, and to be well aired.
10. The men are to wash, comb, and brush their heads every morning.
11. At sunset the bedding is to be brought down, and at any time during
the day on the appearance of bad weather.
12. At ten o'clock in the evening, every man is to be in his berth, except
the men on guard and of the watch.
13. The chief of the watch is to be careful that no man interferes with
the windsails, so as to prevent the air from being communicated.
14. The men are strictly forbidden sleeping on deck, which they are apt to
do, and which is generally productive of fevers and flushes.
With a view to preventing accidents from fire, a sentry will be constantly
placed at the cooking place or caboose, or one on each side, with orders
not to allow fire of or any
kind to be taken taken without leave.
1. No lights are to be permitted amongst the men except in lanterns. All
are to be extinguished at ten o'clock at night, except those over which
there may be sentries.
2. No smoking on any account to be permitted, except on upper deck.
3. No lucifer or patent matches to be allowed.
4. The officers are strictly charged to trace when going their rounds
between decks, and to report instantly any man who shall presume either to
smoke there, or to use any
lights except in lanterns.
Every possible precaution is to be taken to prevent liquor being brought
on board ship.
Regularity and decency of conduct are peculiarly required on board ship.
It is the duty of those in command to repress, by the most decided and
any tendency to insubordination, to check every species of immorality and
vice, and to discountenance to the utmost of their power whatever may
disturb the comfort of
others, or interrupt the harmony and good understanding which should
subsist on board.
We had trouble in London. One day at a Committee, held at my house, an
applicant, who was contracting to supply 900 rifles, attended to show
certificates of their efficiency. The legal eye of the chairman (Mr. Craufurd, M.P., one of the prosecuting counsel of the Mint), detected them
to be forgeries. On his
saying so, the applicant snatched them from his hand. The chairman at once
seized the knave, when a struggle ensued to obtain the false credentials. As it was not
prudent in us to prosecute the presenter and have our proceedings before a
court, we let him go.
There being no legal power to enforce order was the cardinal weakness of
the British Legion. A competent commander should at least have been
appointed, and an
agreement of honour entered into by each volunteer, to obey his authority
and that of those under him, on penalty of dismissal, and a certain
forfeiture of money. These
conditions, though not of legal force, would be binding on men of honour,
and place the turbulent without honour at a disadvantage.
At the Queenwood community, in Robert Owen's day, no contract of this kind
was thought of, and any one who declined to leave could defy the governor,
until he was
ejected by force—a process which did not harmonise with "Harmony Hall."
De Rohan met the Excursionists at Palermo on their disembarkation.
"Captain Styles" was prudently absent, and no more was heard of him. The
spurious commissions could not be recognised, and commotion naturally
arose among those who had been defrauded. Captain Sarsfield, Colonel Peard
known as "Garibaldi's Englishman," De Rohan, Captain Scott, and others on the spot,
with colourable pretensions to authority, took different views of the
situation. Appeals were made
to the Committee in London, on whose minutes stormy
telegrams are recorded. Mr. Craufurd, though he had the prudent reticence
of his race, would sometimes fall into impetuous expressions. Yet the
second statement of
his first thought would be faultless. This quality was so conspicuous that
it interested me.
The first man of the Legion killed was young Mr. Bontems, only son of a
well-known tradesman in the City of London—a fine, ingenuous fellow. He
was shot by the
recklessness of a medical student of the London University, as Bontems
stood in a mess-room at Palermo. It was said not to be the first death
caused by the criminal
thoughtlessness of the same person. Mr. Southall, another London volunteer
like young Bontems, was a man of genuine enthusiasm, character, and
promise. He became an orderly officer to Garibaldi, by whom he was
trusted and to whom he gave the black silk cravat he wore on entering
When Garibaldi retired to his island home, he sent to
England the following testimony of the services and character of the
"Jan. 26, 1861.
" . . . They [the British Legion] came late. But they made ample
amends for this defect, not their own, by the brilliant courage they
displayed in the
slight engagements they shared with us near the Volturno, which
enabled me to judge how precious an assistance they would have
rendered us had the war of liberation
remained longer in my hands. In every way the English volunteers
were a proof of the goodwill borne by your noble nation towards the
liberty and independence of
"Accept, honoured Mr. Ashurst, the earnest assurance of my grateful
friendship, and always command yours,
Allowing for Garibaldi's generosity in estimating the services of the
Legion, it remains true that the majority deserved this praise. Many were
of fine character. Many were
young men of ingenuousness and bright enthusiasm, prompt to condone lack
of military knowledge by noble intrepidity in the field.
The Legion cost the Italian Government some expense. Claims were
recognised liberally. The men were sent back to England overland, and each
one had a provision order
given him to present at every refreshment station at which the trains
stopped. Count Cavour was a better friend of Italian freedom than even
Mazzini knew. It was only known
after Cavour's death, how he had secretly laboured to drag his country
from under the heel of Austria. Cavour had the friendly foresight to
give orders that the members
of the English Legion were to be supplied on their journey home with
double rations, as Englishmen ate more than Italians. The Cavourian
distinction was much
The sums due to the men until their arrival in England were paid by the
Sardinian Consul (whose office was in the Old Jewry), on a certificate
from me that the applicant was
one of the Legion.
A request came to me from Italy for a circumstantial history of the Legion
and such suggestions as experience had furnished. The story made quite a
book, which I sent to
Dr. Bertani. When after his death I was in Milan, I learned from a member
of his family that no one knew what had become of it. And so I briefly
tell the story again,
as there is no one else to tell it. Bertani was the confidant and
favourite physician of Mazzini and Garibaldi. No one knew so well or so
much as he who were the makers of
Italian Unity. What has become of his papers?
Among friends of Italy who appeared at our council in London was Captain Sarsfield, the son of the Duke of Somerset. Pallid, with an expression of restrained energy, handsome beyond any face I had seen, it
might have been carved by a Grecian sculptor. His high breeding struck me
before I knew who he was. He took out for me an important letter to
Garibaldi, who had then no postal address. On Sarsfield's return home, he
took, as was his delight, a
furious ride in a high
wind. Washington did the same, and it killed him,
as it did Captain Sarsfield. Difficulty of breathing ensued, and it was
necessary that Dr. Williams should be called in to perform an
operation—all in vain. The Duchess of
Somerset lay all night on the carpet-floor by the dead body of her son,
for whom she grieved exceedingly. In her distress she said Dr. Williams
had been wanting in
promptness or in skill. His great reputation could not be affected by an
accusation made in agony, and his own explanation would vindicate him. But
he took the brutal
course of dragging the distressed and distracted mother into the law
courts. In consequence of remarks I published upon this unfeeling and
egotistic outrage, the Duchess
sent me a letter of thanks, and requested me to call at her residence.
So much for the two men who mainly made Italy a nation. What Castelar
said to the Italian patriots in general, he might have addressed to
Garibaldi and Mazzini individually:—
"That which Julius II. could not effect with his cannon, nor Leo X. with
his arts, that which
Savonarola could not make a reality by giving himself to God, nor
Machiavelli by giving himself to the Devil, has been done by you. You have
made Italy one, you have made
Italy free, you have made Italy independent."
JOHN STUART MILL, TEACHER OF THE PEOPLE
ONE reason for commencing with the remark that John
Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806, at
No. 13, Rodney Street, Islington, London, is to notify the coincidence
that Gladstone, another man of contemporaneous distinction, was born in
Rodney Street, Liverpool,
three years later. Rodney Street, London, where Mill was born, was a
small, narrow, second-rate, odd, out-of-the-way suburban thoroughfare. But
in those days Islington
had the characteristics of a rural retreat. A little above this Rodney
Street, in what is now known as the Pentonville Road, stood the "Angel,"
a favourite hostelry, where
Thomas Paine wrote part of one of his famous books, near the period of
John Stuart Mill
The familiar books concerning J. S. Mill,  treat mainly of his eminence
as a thinker. I concern myself with those personal characteristics which
won for him the regard and
honour of the insurgent industrial classes—insurgent, not in the sense of
physical rebellion against authority, but of intellectual rebellion
against error, social inferiority and
insufficiency of means. Mill regarded the press as the fortress of
freedom. All his life he gave money to establish such defences, and left
the copyright of his works to Mr.
John Morley, to be applied in aid of publications open to the expression
of all reasoned opinion, having articles signed by the names of the
writers. Mr. Mill was the first who
made provision for the expression of unfriended truth. It would be a
surprising biography which recorded the causes he aided and the persons
whom he helped. He was
not one of those philosophers, "selfish, cold and wise," who, fortunate
and satisfied with their own emancipation from error, leave others to
perish in their ignorance. Mill
helped them,  as did Place, Bentham, Grote, Roebuck, Molesworth, and other
leaders of the great Utilitarian party. For ten years I knew Mr. Mill to
receive and write letters of
suggestion from the India House. He would see any one, at any hour,
interested in the progress of the people. As Mr. John Morley has said in
the Fortnightly Review,
"It was easier for a workman than for a princess to obtain access to
A pamphlet by me on the "Liberal Situation" in 1865 
being sent to Mr. Mill, he wrote me the following letter:—
"April 28, 1865.
I have received your pamphlet (the 'Liberal
Situation') which I think is one of the best of your writings, and
well calculated to stir up the thinking minds
among the working classes to larger views of political questions. So
far as I am myself concerned I cannot but be pleased to find you in
sympathy with some of the most
generally unpopular of my political notions. For my own part, I
attach for the present more importance to representation of
minorities, and especially to Mr. Hare's plan,
combined with opening the suffrage to women, than to the plural
voting which, in the form proposed by Mr. Buxton, of attaching the
plurality of votes directly to property, I
have always thoroughly repudiated. But I think what you say of it
likely to be very useful by impressing on the working people that it
is no degradation to them to consider
some people's votes of more value than others. I would always (as
you do) couple with the plurality the condition of its being
accessible to any one, however poor, who
proves that he can come up to a certain standard of knowledge.—I
am, yours truly,
"J. S. MILL.
"G. J. Holyoake."
One night when a great Reform League meeting was held in the Agricultural
Hall, Islington, I accompanied him from the House of Commons to it. There
were rumours of
danger in attending it. This did not deter him. The meeting itself was ill
spoken of by the press—still he went. The crowd about the place made it
perilous for one so
fragile-looking as he, to force a way in. He never hesitated to try it. When we arrived on the thronged platform, it was a struggle to get to the
front. The vast amphitheatre, with
its distant lights and dense crowds—the horsepit presenting a valley of
faces, the higher ground hills of men, the iron rafters overhead were
alive with hearers who had climbed
there—was a strange Miltonic scene. No sooner did the stout voice of
Manton—which alone all could hear—announce the arrival of Mr. Mill than
every man was silent; though
few would catch the low, wise, brave words he uttered. Afterwards I
returned to the House of Commons with him, he being interested in an
John Morley, Viscount Blackburn
The Islington meeting that night had been denounced as illegal. He went to
justify the right of public meeting by his presence, and to
share the responsibility of those who convened it. What man eminent as a
thinker, save he, or Mr. John Morley, would incur the odium, peril, and
discomfort of attending, for
such a purpose, a workman's meeting such as that?
The first time he made a speech at a public meeting was at the Whittington
Club, before a gathering of co-operators. I asked him to address them. I
was as glad as surprised
when he consented. Had it not been for the presence of women taking
interest in co-operative economy, he probably had not spoken then. In a
sentence he defined
the higher co-operation. He never spoke in vain.
When in business in Fleet Street I signed bills for the convenience of a
city friend, who, like William Ellis—Mill's early associate—was a
munificent supporter of progressive
endeavour. By putting my name on his bills I incurred a liability beyond
my means of meeting. My more than imprudence was indefensible because it
involved the business in
which the money of others was invested. Learning that my resources fell
short by £70 of the amount for which I was answerable, Mr. Mill sent me
the £70 from himself and a
friend. When the bills were repaid me from the estate of him for whom I
had signed them, I sent the £70 to Mr. Mill, who returned me half as a
gift, on the condition that I
did not sign another bill, which I never did unless I was able to pay it
if my friend did not, and I was willing to pay it if he could not.
Mr. Mill had quoted portions of my "History of the Rochdale Pioneers," in
his "Political Economy," which was a great advantage to a cause whose
success I much desired. In
many ways I was much indebted to his friendship, and have never changed in
my regard for him. Yet this did not involve spontaneous acquiescence in
all his views. Upon the
ballot I dissented from him. It seemed to me a just condition that the
people should be, for one minute in seven years, free to vote for their
political masters (as members of
Parliament are) without control, intimidation, or fear of resentment. Mr.
Bright himself and Mr. Berkeley were impressed by my view as stated to a
meeting of the Reform
League. Mill thought it conduced to manliness that the elector should
withstand adverse influences at whatever peril—which assumed the
universal existence of a heroic spirit
of self-sacrifice. Since the elector by his vote subjects his
fellow-citizens, it may be, to perilous mastership, Mill inferred every
man had a right to know from whose hand
came the blessing or the blow. There is still force in Mill's view which
commands respect. On the other hand, secret voting is not without its
disadvantages. The citizen may
be surrounded by disguised adversaries. The fair-seeming dissembler he
trusts may stab him at the poll. The
independence given by the ballot may betray the State, and the traitors be
shielded from responsibility. The secret vote also rests on a vast
assumption—that of the universal
paramountcy of conscience and honesty in electors—which paramountcy is as
scarce as political heroism. Those who so trust the people incur the
greater and ceaseless
responsibility of educating them in political honour. They who have shown
their trust in the people, alone have the right of claiming their
fidelity. Mr. Mill was foremost in
teaching the duty of independent thought, and, to do him justice, my
dissent from a principle he had come to hold strongly, made no difference
in his friendship. He was once
a believer in the ballot himself.
Mr. Mill was an instance which shows that even the virtues of a
philosopher need, as in lesser men, good sense to take care of them, lest
the operation of lofty qualities
compromise others. His unguarded intrepidity in defence of the right cost
him his seat for Westminster. Things were going well for him, on his
second candidature, when one
morning it appeared in the newspapers that he had sent £10 to promote the
election of Mr. Bradlaugh. That £10 was worth £10,000 to his Tory
opponent, and cost Mill's own
committee the loss of £3,000, which was contributed to promote his
election. When I was a candidate in the Tower Hamlets, Mr. Mill sent a
similar sum to promote my
election; but I prohibited the publication of an intrepid act of
generosity, which might prove costly to Mr. Mill. At his first election
Dean Stanley nobly urged Christian electors
to vote for Mr. Mill; but at the second election, when it became known
that Mr. Mill was subscribing to bring an Atheist into Parliament, most
Christians were persuaded Mr.
Mill was himself an Atheist, and only the nobler sort would vote for him
again. It was right and honourable in Mr. Mill to stand by his opinion,
that an Atheist had as much
right as a Christian to be in Parliament, and that ecclesiastical heresy
was no disqualification for public or Parliamentary service. To maintain
your opinions at your own cost
is one thing, but to proclaim them at the cost of others, without regard
to time, consent or circumstance, is quite a different matter.
Mr. Mill had refused on principle to contribute to the expense of his own
election, on the ground that a candidate should not be called upon to pay
for his own election to a
place of public service, though it was perfectly consistent that he should
contribute to the election of others. But his committee could not convert
the electorate to this view.
There is nothing so difficult as the election of a philosopher. Mr. Mill
was in favour of the civil equality of all opinions, but it did not follow
that he shared all opinions
himself. But the electors could not be made to see this after the £10 sent
to Northampton became known, and England saw the most famous borough in
the land handed
over for unknown years to a Tory bookseller, without personal distinction
of his own, and a book writer of the highest order rejected by the
electors in favour of a mere
Mr. Mill's father, openly advocating the limitation of families in the
interest of the poor, bequeathed to his son a heritage of disadvantage—of
liability to frenzied imputation. No
man is to be held responsible save for what he himself says and what he
himself does. No man is answerable, or ought to be held answerable, for
the construction others put
upon his conduct, or for their inference as to his opinions. No writer
ever guarded his words and conduct more assiduously than J. S. Mill. Yet
few have been more
misrepresented by theological and Conservative writers. Upon the question
of "limitation of families," Mr. Mill never wrote other or more than this:—
"No prudent man contracts matrimony before he is in a condition which
gives him an assured means of living, and no married man has a greater
number of children than he
can properly bring up. Whenever this family has been formed, justice and
humanity require that he should impose on himself the same restraint which
is submitted to by the
Further instruction of the people upon this subject J. S. Mill might not
deprecate, but he never gave
it. He never went so far as Jowett, who wrote, "That the most important
influences on human life should be wholly left to chance, or shrouded in
mystery, and instead
of being disciplined or under- stood, should be required to conform to an
external standard of propriety, cannot be regarded by the philosopher as a
safe or satisfactory
condition of human things." 
Mill's views, or supposed views, naturally excited the attention of wits.
Moore's amusing exaggeration, which, like American humour, was devoid of
truth, yet had no malice in it, was:—
"There are two Mr. Mills, too, whom those who like reading
What's vastly unreadable, call very clever;
And whereas Mill senior makes war on good breeding,
Mill junior makes war on all breeding whatever."
The way in which opinions were invented for Mill is shown in the instance
of the London Debating Club (1826—1830), which was attended by a set of
young men who
professed ultra opinions. Mr. J. A. Roebuck was one. It was rumoured that
at a meeting at which Mr. Mill was present, a pamphlet was discussed
entitled, "What is Love?"
attributed to a man of some note in his day, and of unimpeachable
character in private life. Mr. Mill might have been present without
knowledge of the subject to be
brought forward, and may have been a listener without choice.
But in those days (and down to a much later period) the conventional
fallacy was in full vogue—that civility to an opponent implied a secret
similarity of opinion. Courtesy was
regarded as complicity with the beliefs of those to whom it was shown. He
who was present at an unconventional assembly was held to assent to what
there—though neither a member, nor speaker, nor partisan.
JOHN STUART MILL, TEACHER OF THE PEOPLE
MILL was so entirely serious in his pursuit of
truth, and entirely convinced of the advantages of its publicity, that he
readily risked conventional consequences on that account. He held it
to be desirable that those who had important convictions, should be free
to make them known, and even be encouraged to do so. In thinking
this he was in no way compromised by, nor had he any complicity with, the
convictions of others. But this did not prevent him being made
answerable for them, as in the case of the distribution of papers sent to
him by friends in his company. A copy of it came into my possession
which assuredly he did not write, and the terms of which he could never
have approved, had they been submitted to him. On one occasion he
sent to me a passionate repudiation of concurrence or recommendation in
any form, of methods imputed to him. These eccentricities of
imputation, supposed to have died by time, were found to be alive at
John Stuart Mill.
The chief resurrectionist was one Abraham Hayward,
known as a teller of salacious stories at the Athenæum. He was a man of many gifts, who wrote with a bright, but by no means
fastidious, pen. In some unexplained, inconsistent, and inexplicable way,
Mr. Gladstone was on friendly terms with him. No sooner was Mill dead, and
illustrious appreciators of the great thinker were meditating some
memorial to his honour, than Mr. Hayward sent an article to the Times,
suggesting intrinsic immorality in his opinions. He also sent out letters
privately to deter eminent friends of Mill from giving their names to the
memorial committee. He sent one to Mr. Stopford Brooke, upon whom it had
no influence. He sent one to Mr. Gladstone, upon whom it had, and who, in
consequence, declined to join the committee.
Hayward was, in his day, the Iago of literature, and abused the confiding
nature of our noble Moor.  Yet, when Mr. Mill lost his seat for
Westminster, Mr. Gladstone had written these great words: "We all know Mr.
Mill's intellectual eminence before he entered Parliament. What his
conduct principally disclosed to me was his singular moral elevation. Of
all the motives, stings and stimulants that reach men through their
egotism in Parliament, no part could move or even touch him. His conduct
and his language were in this respect a sermon. For the sake of the House
of Commons, I rejoiced in his advent and deplored his disappearance. He
did us all good, and in whatever party, in whatever form of opinion, I
sorrowfully confess that such men are rare."
There was no tongue in the House of Commons more bitter, venomous, or
disparaging of the people than that of Lord Robert Cecil, afterwards Lord
Salisbury; yet I record to his honour he subscribed £50 towards the
memorial to Mr. Mill. One of the three first persons who gave £50 was Mr.
Walter Morrison. The Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Derby, the Duke of
Devonshire, Sir Charles and Lady Dilke, Mr. and Mrs. P. A. Taylor were
also among the subscribers of £50 each. Among those who gave large but
lesser sums were Mr. Herbert Spencer, Stopford Brooke, Leonard H.
Courtney, Frederic Harrison, G. H. Lewes, W. E. H. Lecky, Sir John
Lubbock, G. Croome Robertson, Lord Rosebery, Earl Russell, Professor
Tyndall, and Professor Huxley. So Mr. Mill had his monument with honour. It stands on the Thames Embankment, and allures more pilgrims of thought
than any other there.
Purity and honour, there is reason to believe, were never absent from
Mill's mind or conduct; but trusting to his own personal integrity, he
assumed others would recognise it. His admiration of Mrs. Taylor, whom he
frequently visited, and subsequently married, was misconstrued—though not
by Mr. Taylor, who had full confidence in Mr. Mill's honour. No expression
to the contrary on Mr. Taylor's part ever transpired. It might be due to
society that Mr. Mill should have been reserved in his regard. But assured
of his own rectitude, he trusted to the proud resenting maxim, "Evil be
to him who evil thinks," and he resented imputation—whether it came from
his relatives or his friends. Any reflection upon him in this respect he
treated as an affront to himself, and an imputation upon Mrs. Taylor,
which he never forgave. A relative told me after his death, that he never
communicated with any of them again who made any remark which bore a
sinister interpretation. If ever there was a philosopher who should be
counted stainless, it was John Stuart Mill.
In the minds of the Bentham School, population was a province of politics. It would seem incredible to another generation—as it seems to many in
this—that a philosopher should incur odium for being of Jowett's opinion,
that the most vital information upon the conduct of life should not be
withheld from the people. To give it is to incur conventional
reprehension; as though it were not a greater crime to be silent while a
feeble, half-fed, and ignorant progeny infest the land, to find their way
to the hospital, the poor house, or the gaol, than to protest against this
recklessness, which establishes penury and slavery in the workman's home.
Yet a brutal delicacy and a criminal fastidiousness, calling itself public
propriety, is far less reputable than the ethical preference for
reasonable foresight and a manlier race.
Mr. Mill's success in Parliament was greater than that of any philosopher
who has entered in our time. Unfortunately, very few philosophers go
there. The author of "Mark Rutherford" (W. Hale White) writing to me
lately, exclaimed: "Oh for one session with Mill and Bright and Cobden in
the House! What would you not give to hear Mill's calm voice again? What
would you not give to see him apply the plummet of justice and Reason to
the crooked iniquities of the Front Benches? He stands before me now, just
against the gangway on the Opposition side, hesitating, pausing even for
some seconds occasionally, and yet holding everybody in the House with a
kind of grip; for even the most foolish understood more or less dimly that
they were listening to something strange, something exalted, spoken from
another sphere than that of the professional politician."
Mr. Christie relates that in the London Debating Society, of which Mill
was a member when a
young man, it used to be said of him in argument, "He passed over his
adversary like a ploughshare over a mouse." Certainly many mice arguers
heard in Parliament, who made the public think a mountain was in labour,
ended their existence with a squeak when Mr. Mill took notice of them.
The operation of the suffrage and the ballot, questions on which Mill
expressed judgment, are in the minds of politicians to this day, and many
reformers who dissented from him do not conceal their misgivings as to the
wisdom of their course. "Misgivings" is a word that may be taken to mean
regret, whereas it merely signifies occasion for consideration. The
extension of the franchise and the endowment of the ballot have caused
misgivings in many who were foremost in demanding them. The wider suffrage
has not prevented an odious war in South Africa, and the ballot has sent
to the House of Commons a dangerous majority of retrograde members. John
Bright distrusted the vote of the residuum. John Stuart Mill equally
dreaded the result of withdrawing the vote of the elector from public
scrutiny. I agreed with their apprehensions, but it seemed to me a
necessity of progress that the risk should be run. While the Ballot Act
was before the House of Lords, I wrote to the Times and other papers, as I
have elsewhere related, to say that the Ballot Act would probably give us
a Tory government for ten years—which it did. I thought that the elector
who had two hundred years of transmitted subjection or intimidation or
bribery in his bones, would for some time go on voting as he had done—for
others, not for the State. He would not all at once understand that he was
free and answerable to the State for his vote. New electors, who had never
known the responsibility of voting, would not soon acquire the sense of
it. Mr. Mill thought it conduced to manliness for an elector to act in
despite of his interest or resentment of his neighbours, his employer, his
landlord, or his priest, when his vote became known. At every election
there were martyrs on both sides; and it was too much to expect that a
mass of voters, politically ignorant, and who had been kept in ignorance,
would generally manifest a high spirit, which maintains independence in
the face of social peril, which philosophers are not always equal to. No
doubt the secrecy of the vote is an immunity to knaves, but it is the sole
chance of independence for the average honest man. The danger of
committing the fortune of the State to the unchecked votes of the
unintelligent was an argument of great power against a secret suffrage. Lord Macaulay, though a Whig of the Whigs, gave an effective answer when
he brought forward his famous fool, who declared "he would never go into
the water until he had learnt to swim." The people must plunge into the
sea of liberty before they can learn to swim
in it. They have now been in that sea many years,
and not many have learned the art yet. Then was found the truth of Temple
Leader's words, that "if the sheep had votes, they would give them all to
the butcher." Then when reformers found that the new electors voted
largely for those who had always refused them the franchise, the advocates
of it often expressed to me their misgivings as to its wisdom. Lord Sherbrooke (then Robert Lowe) saw clearly that if liberty was to be
maintained and extended, the State must educate its masters.
But has this been done? Has not education
been impeded? Have not electoral facilities been hampered? Has not the
franchise been restricted by onerous conditions, which keep great numbers
from having any vote at all? Has not the dual vote been kept up, which
enables the wealthy to multiply their votes at will? Before reformers
have misgivings concerning the extension of liberty to the masses, they
must see that the poor have the same opportunity of reaching the poll as
the rich have. George Eliot, who had the Positivist reluctance to see the
people act for themselves, wrote: "Ignorant power comes in the end to the
same thing as wicked power."  But there is this difference in their
nature. "Ignorant power" can be instructed, and experience may teach it;
but "wicked power" has an evil purpose, intelligently fixed and implacably
Does any reflecting person suppose, that when the vote was given to the
mass of the people, they would be at once transmuted into intelligent,
calculating, and patient politicians—that their passions would be tamed,
and their vices extinguished—that they would forthwith act reasonably?
Much of this was true of the thoughtful working men. But for a long
time the multitude must remain unchanged until intelligence extends.
We have had renewed experience that—
"Religion, empire, vengeance, what you will,
A word's enough to rouse mankind to kill.
Some cunning phrase by fiction caught and spread,
That guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed."
But the reformer has one new advantage now. He is no longer scandalised by
the excesses of ignorance, nor the perversities of selfishness. Giving the
vote has, if we may paraphrase the words of Shakespeare; put into
"Every man's hands
The means to cancel his captivity."
It is no mean thing to have done this. There is no reason for misgiving
here. If the people misuse or neglect to use their power, the fault is
their own. There is no one to reproach but themselves.
Abolitionists of slavery may, if supine, feel misgivings at having
liberated the negroes from their masters, where they were certain of
shelter, subsistence, and protection from assault of others, and exposed
them to the malice of their former owners, to be maltreated, murdered at
will, lynched with torture on imaginary or uninvestigated accusations. Those who aided the emancipation of the slaves are bound to ceaseless
vigilance in defending them. But despite the calamities of liberty,
freedom has added an elastic race (who learn the arts of order and of
wealth) to the family of mankind, and misgivings are obsolete among those
who have achieved the triumphs and share the vigils and duties of
Mr. Mill was essentially a teacher, of the people. He wished them to think
on their own account—for themselves, and not as others directed them. He
did not wish them to disregard the thoughts of those wiser than
themselves, but to verify new ideas as far as they could, before assenting
to them. He wished them not to take authority for truth, but truth for
authority. To this end he taught the people principles which were pathways
to the future. He who kept on such paths knew where he was. Herbert
Spencer said he had no wrinkles on his brow because he had discovered the
thoroughfares of nature, and was never puzzled as to where they led. Mr.
Mill was a chartmaker in logic, in social economy, and in politics. None
before him did what he did, and no successor has exceeded him. By his
protest against the "subjection of women," he brought half the human race
into the province of politics and progress. They have not all appeared
there as yet—but they are on the way.
ABOUT MR. GLADSTONE
William Ewart Gladstone
MR. GLADSTONE'S career will be
the wonder of other generations, as it has been the astonishment of this. Mr. Morley's monumental "Life" of him will long be remembered as the
greatest of all contributions to the education of the British politician. It is a life of Parliament as well as of a person. Those who remember how
Carpenter's "Political Text Book" was welcomed will know how much more this
will be valued.
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl
Never before was a biography founded on material so colossal. Only one man was thought capable of dealing with a subject so vast and
complicated. Great expectations were entertained, and were fulfilled in a
measure which exceeded every anticipation. The task demanded a vaster
range of knowledge than was ever before required of a biographer. Classic
passages, not capable of being construed by the general reader, are
translated, so that interest is never diverted nor baffled by flashes of
learned darkness. When cardinal and unusual terms are used, which
might be dubiously interpreted, definitions are given which have both
delight and instruction. He who collects them from Mr. Morley's
pages would possess a little dictionary of priceless guidance. A
noble action or a just idea is recognised, whoever may manifest it.
Some persons, as Mr. Gladstone said of Kinglake's famous book, "were too
bad to live and too good to die." Nevertheless, their excellence,
where discernible, has its place in this biographical mosaic. Thus
unexpected pieces of human thought emerge in the careers of the historic
figures who pass before the reader, by which he becomes richer as he
proceeds from page to page. Illuminating similes abound which do not
leave the memory—such fitness is there in them. Historic questions
which interested those who lived through them, are made clear, by facts
unknown or unregarded then. Men whom many readers detested in their
day are discovered to have some noble feature of character, unrevealed to
the public before. Mr. Morley is a master of character—a creator of
fame by his discernment, discrimination, impartiality, and generosity to
adversaries, from which the reader learns charity and wisdom as he goes
along. Knowledge of public life, law, and government, come as part
of the charm of the incidents related. Memorable phrases, unexpected
terms of expression, like flashes of radium, gleam in every chapter.
The narrative is as interesting as the adventures of Gil Blas—so full is
it of wisdom, wonder, and variety. From all the highways, byways,
and broadways of the great subject, the reader never loses sight of Mr.
Gladstone. All paths lead to him. Like Bunyan's Pilgrim, the
biographer goes on his shining way, guiding the reader to the shrine of
the hero of the marvellous story. Mr. Gladstone moves through Mr.
Morley's pages as a king—as he did among men. He sometimes fell into
errors, as noble men have done in every age, but there was never any error
in his purpose. He always meant justly, and did not hesitate to give
us new and ennobling estimates of hated men. His sense of justice
diffused, as it were, a halo around him. Mr. Morley's pages give us
the natural history of a political mind of unusual range and power which
was without a compeer. As Mr. Gladstone began, he advanced,
listening to everybody, to use one of Mr. Morley's commanding lines: "He
was flexible, persistent, clear, practical, fervid, unconquerable."
In "Vivian Grey," Disraeli foreshadowed his bright and
vengeful career. In the same way, Mr. Gladstone wrote the whole
spirit of his life in his first address to the electors of Newark.
His career is in that manifesto, which has never been reprinted. The
reader will be interested in seeing it. Here it is:—
TO THE WORTHY
ELECTORS OF THE BOROUGH
completed my canvass, I think it my duty as well to remind you of the
principles on which I have solicited your votes as freely to assure my
friends that its result has placed my success beyond a doubt. I have
not requested your favour on the ground of adherence to the opinions of
any man or party, further than such adherence can be fairly understood
from the conviction that I have not hesitated to avow that we must watch
and resist that uninquiring and undiscriminating desire for change amongst
us, which threatens to produce, along with partial good, a melancholy
preponderance of mischief, which I am persuaded would aggravate beyond
computation the deep-seated evils of our social state, and the heavy
burthens of our industrial classes; which, by disturbing our peace,
destroys confidence and strikes at the root of prosperity. This it
has done already, and this we must, therefore, believe it will do.
"For a mitigation of these evils we must, I think, look not only to
particular measures, but to the restoration of sounder general
principles—I mean especially that principle on which alone the
incorporation of Religion with the State in our constitution can be
defended; that the duties of governors are strictly and peculiarly
religious, and that legislatures, like individuals, are bound to carry
throughout their acts the spirit of the high truths they have
acknowledged. Principles are now arrayed against our institutions,
and not by truckling nor by temporising, not by oppression nor corruption,
but by principles they must be met. Among their first results should
be sedulous and especial attention to the interests of the poor, founded
upon the rule that those who are the least able to take care of themselves
ought to be most regarded by others. Particularly it is a duty to
endeavour by every means that labour may receive adequate remuneration,
which unhappily, among several classes of our fellow-countrymen, is not
now the case. Whatever measures, therefore, whether by the
correction of the Poor Laws, allotment of cottage grounds, or otherwise,
tend to promote this object, I deem entitled to the warmest support, with
all such as are calculated to secure sound moral conduct in any class of
"I proceed to the momentous question of slavery, which I have
found entertained among you in that candid and temperate spirit which
alone befits its nature, or promises to remove its difficulties. If
I have not recognised the right of an irresponsible Society to interpose
between me and the electors, it has not been from any disrespect to its
members, nor from any unwillingness to answer their or any other questions
on which the electors may desire to know my views. To the esteemed
secretary of the Society I submitted my reasons for silence, and I made a
point of stating those views to him in his character of a voter.
"As regards the abstract lawfulness of slavery, I acknowledge
it simply as importing the right of one man to the labour of another; and
I rest upon the fact that Scripture—paramount authority on such a
point—gives directions to persons standing in the relation of master to
slave for their conduct in that relation; whereas, were the matter
absolutely and necessarily sinful, it would not regulate the manner.
Assuming sin is the cause of degradation, it strives, and strives most
effectually, to cure the latter by extirpating the former. We are
agreed that both the physical and moral bondage of the slave are to be
abolished. The question is as to the order and the order only; now
Scripture attacks the moral evil before the temporal one, and the temporal
through the moral one, and I am content with the order which Scripture has
"To this end I desire to see immediately set on foot, by
impartial and sovereign authority, an universal and efficient system of
Christian instruction, not intended to resist designs of individual piety
and wisdom for the religious improvement of the negroes, but to do
thoroughly what they can only do partially. As regards immediate
emancipation, whether with or without compensation, there are several
minor reasons against it, but that which weighs most with me is, that it
would, I much fear, exchange the evils now affecting the negro for others
which are weightier—for a relapse into deeper debasement, if not for
bloodshed and internal war.  Let fitness be
made the condition of emancipation, and let us strive to bring him to that
fitness by the shortest possible course. Let him enjoy the means of
earning his freedom through honest and industrious habits, thus the same
instruments which attain his liberty shall likewise render him competent
to use it; and thus, I earnestly trust, without risk of blood, without
violation of property, with unimpaired benefit to the negro and with the
utmost speed which prudence will admit, we shall arrive at the exceedingly
desirable consummation, the utter extinction of slavery.
"And now, gentlemen, as regards the enthusiasm with which you
have rallied round your ancient flag, and welcomed the humble
representative of those principles whose emblem it is, I trust that
neither the lapse of time nor the seductions of prosperity can ever efface
it from my memory. To my opponents my acknowledgments are due for
the good humour and kindness with which they have received me, and while I
would thank my friends for their zealous and unwearied exertions in my
favour, I briefly but emphatically assure them that if promises be an
adequate foundation of confidence, or experience a reasonable ground of
calculation, our victory is sure. I have the honour to be,
gentlemen, your obliged and obedient servant,
" W. E. GLADSTONE.
"Clinton Arms, Newark, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 1832."
The sincerity, the intrepidity, the sympathy with those who
labour, the candour of statement, the openness of mind, the sentiments of
piety and freedom (so rarely combined) of his life, are all there.
His whole career is but a magnificent enlargement of that address. I
have lingered before the hotel in the market-place, where he stayed and
from which he made speeches to the electors. There is no one living
in Newark now who heard them. Byron lived in the same hotel when he
came to Newark with his early poems, which he had printed at a shop still
standing in the market-place. The township is enlarged, but
otherwise unchanged as the Conservatism he then represented. I have
thrice walked through all the streets along which he passed, for he
visited the house of every elector. What a splendid canvasser he
must have been, with his handsome face, his courtesy, his deference, his
charm of speech, and infinite readiness of explanation!
I first saw him in the old House of Commons in 1842.
Mr. Roebuck had presented a petition from me that sitting, and I remained
to witness subsequent proceedings. I only remember one figure,
seemingly a young-looking man, tall, pallid-faced, with dark hair, who
stood well out in the mid-space between the Ministerial benches and the
table, and spoke with the fluency and freedom of a master of his subject.
Every one appeared to pay him attention. I was told the speaker was
When he visited the Tyne in 1862, I did not need to be told
his name. At that time I was connected with the Newcastle
Chronicle, and it fell to me to write the leaders on Mr. Gladstone.
The miners were told, when they came up from the pits on that day, they
would see a sight new in England, which they might not soon see again—a
Chancellor of the Exchequer who was known to have a conscience.
Other holders of the same office may have had that commodity about them,
but not employing it in public affairs, its existence had not been
observed. The penny paper which gave the miners that information, we
told them would not exist but for Mr. Gladstone. Thousands of miners
came up from the pits of Durham and Northumberland, and great numbers
succeeded in shaking hands with Mr. Gladstone as he approached the
Harry Clasper, named after the well-known oarsman of the Tyne, who was
on the river with Bob Chambers, who had won a hundred contests.
Clasper and Chambers were always named together. Men swam before Mr.
Gladstone's vessel a considerable distance, as though they were the water
gods of the Tyne, preparing the way for their distinguished and unwonted
visitor. And what a journey it was! Twenty-two miles of banks,
counting both sides, were lined with people. The works upon the
Tyneside, with their grim piles high in the air, crowned with clouds of
blackest smoke, out of which forks of sulphurous flames darted, revealing
hundreds of persons surmounting roofs and pinnacles, cheering in ringing
tones, above, while cannon boomed at their feet below. Amid it all
you could see everywhere women holding up their children to see the great
Chancellor of the Exchequer go by. The Tyne has seen no other sight
It was of this visit that I first wrote to Mr. Gladstone.
The arrangements for his wonderful reception were the work of Mr. Joseph
Cowen, jun. His father was Chief Commissioner for the Tyne—in person
taller than Mr. Gladstone, with a gift of speech which sincerity made
eloquent. His son, who had organised the reception, never came in
sight of Mr. Gladstone from first to last. As I knew Mr. Gladstone
liked to know what was below the surface as well as upon it, I sent him
two informing notes.
"Going to and fro in the land"—not with inquisitive malice as
a certain sojourner mentioned in Job is reputed to have done—on lecturing
purpose bent, sometimes on political missions, I knew the state and nature
of opinion in many places. The soul and Liberalism of the country
was Nonconformist and religious. Many in Parliament thought that
London newspapers, published mainly for sale, and which furnished ideas
for music-hall politicians—represented English opinion at large. At
times I wrote to members of Parliament that this was not so. Mr.
Walter James (since Lord Northbourne) was one who showed my reports to Mr.
One day in 1877 Mr. Gladstone sent me a postcard, inviting me
to breakfast with him. He was as open in his friendship as in his
politics. In all things he was prepared to dare the judgment of
adversaries. Incidentally I mentioned the invitation to two persons
only, but next day a passage appeared in a newspaper—much read in the
House of Commons at that time—to the effect that Mr. Gladstone was
inviting unusual persons to his house, who might be useful to him in his
campaign on the Eastern question, so anxious was he to obtain partisan
support in the agitation in which he was engaged. There was no truth
whatever in this, as Mr. Gladstone never referred to the subject, nor any
of his guests. But I took care at that time not to mention again an
invitation lest it should occasion inconvenience to my host. The
visit to the Tyne had some picturesque incidents. By happy accident,
or it might be from thoughtful design, Mrs. Gladstone wore an Indian shawl
having a circle in the centre, by which she was distinguishable.
Every person whom thousands come out to see, should have some individual
mark of dress, and should never be surrounded by friends, when recognition
is impossible and disappointing to the crowd.
At Middlesboro', Mrs. Gladstone was taken to see molten metal
poured into moulds. I knew the ways of a foundry, and that if the
mould happened to be damp, a shower of the liquid iron would fall upon
those near. The gentlemen around her seemed to think it an act of
freedom to warn her of her danger, so I stepped up to her and told her of
the risk she ran. She said in after years, that if I did not save
her life, I saved her from great possible discomfort.
Middlesboro' was then in a state of volcanic chaos. Mr.
Gladstone predicted that it would become what it is now, a splendid town.
It was in the grey of a murky evening, when blast furnaces were flaming
around him, that Mr. Gladstone began in a small office—the only place
available—a wonderful comparison between Oxford and the scene outside.
Alas! the dull-minded town clerk stopped him, saying that they wished him
to make his speech in the evening—not knowing that Mr. Gladstone had
twenty speeches in him at any time. The evening came, but the great
inspiration returned no more.
The night before he had spoken in Newcastle, when he made the
long-remembered declaration on the war then raging in America, the
reporter of the Electric Telegraph Company had fallen ill, and Mr. Cowen
asked me to take his place. It is easier to report Mr. Gladstone
verbatim than to summarise his speech as he proceeded on his rapid,
animated, and unhesitating way. So I condensed the famous passage in
these words: "Jefferson Davis had not only made a navy, he had made a
nation (Sensation)." The word was too strong. There was no
"sensation;" there was only a general movement as of unexpectedness, and
"surprise" would have been a more appropriate word; but it did not come to
me at the moment, and there was no time to wait for it, and the
"sensational" sentence was all over London before the speech was ended.
The next night he recurred to the subject at Middlesboro' with
qualifications, but the Press took no notice of them. The
"sensation" appended to the sentence had set political commentators on
A notable speech was made by the Mayor of Middlesboro'.
In presenting addresses to Mr. Gladstone, local magnates complimented him
upon his distinction in Greek, which none of them were competent to
appraise. The Mayor of Middlesboro', an honest, stalwart gentleman, said
simply, "Mr. Gladstone, if I could speak as well as you can speak, I
should be able to tell you how proud we are to have you among us."
No speech made to him was more effective or relevant, or pleased him more.
By the courtesy of Mr. Bright, who procured me a seat in the
Speaker's gallery when there was only one to be had, I heard Mr. Gladstone
deliver, at midnight, his famous peroration, when, with uplifted hand, he
said," Time is on our side."
I remember the night well. The Duke of Argyll came into
the gallery, where he stood four or five hours. I would gladly have
given him my seat, but if I did so I must relinquish hearing the debate,
as I must have left the gallery, as no stranger is permitted to stand.
So I thought it prudent to respect the privileges of the peerage—and keep
In the years when I was constantly in the House of Commons, I
was one day walking through the tunnel-like passage which leads from
Downing Street into the Park, I saw a pair of gleaming eyes approaching
me. The passage was so dark I saw nothing else. As the figure
passed me I saw it was Mr. Gladstone. On returning to "The House,"
as Parliament is familiarly called, I mentioned what I had seen to Mr.
Vargus, who had sat at the Treasury door for fifty years. "Yes," he
answered, "there have been no eyes enter this House like Mr. Gladstone's
since the days of Canning."
Yet those eyes of meteoric intensity so lacked quick
perception that he would pass by members of his party in the Lobby of
Parliament without accosting them, fearing to do so when he desired it,
lest he should mistake their identity and set up party misconceptions.
Mr. Gladstone ignored persons because he did not see them. It should
not have been left to Sir E. Hamilton to make this known after Mr.
Gladstone's death. The fact should have been disclosed fifty years
To disappointed members with whom I came in contact, I used
to explain that Mr. Gladstone's apparent slightingness was owing to
preoccupation. He would often enter the House absorbed by an
impending speech—which was true—and thought more of serving his country
than of conciliating partisans. Lord Palmerston was wiser in his
generation, who knew his followers would forgive him betraying public
interest, if he paid attention to them.
30. First in Devonshire Street, Queen Square; in Chelsea; in
Brompton; in earlier years in penury. Where he had command of a
sitting-room, birds were flying about. Uncaged freedom was to Mazzini the
emblem of Liberty.
31. Of Mazzini's great abstemiousness it was written later in
"A cheaper world no one can know,
Where he who laughs grows fat;
Man wants but little here below—
Mazzini less than that."
Mr. Bolton King has published a notable book on the great Italian,
containing more incidents in his career than any other English writer has
collected. I confine myself mainly to those within my knowledge.
32. The expenses of collection I defrayed myself.
33. "Marino Faliero."
34. See "Sixty Years," chap.
35. Some who read Mr. Morley's account of "Garibaldi's
Departure" in his "Life of Gladstone" will think that Garibaldi did not
require much imagination to see that he was not wanted to stay in England.
He heard, even from Mr. Gladstone, words of solicitude for his health, if
he visited the many towns he had promised—and not one suggestion that he
should limit the number, which could do him no harm. There could be
but one inference from this and Garibaldi drew it.
36. Both poems, the one by Hugo and Garibaldi's in reply, were
published with a preface by the present writer.
37. I have preserved all letters of application for curiosity
and conjecture. They might be of interest in the future. Some joined
38. Southall forwarded it to me. A revolver and case was sent
me by request of a soldier who died on the field.
39. Notably those of Professor A. Bain and Mr. Courtney.
40. Like Samuel Morley, he took trouble to aid honest
endeavour, often irrespective of agreement with it.
41. It was in the form of a letter addressed to Joseph Cowen,
42. "Principles of Political Economy," Book ii.
43. "Dialogues of Plato." Introduction to "Republic," vol. ii.
44. My little book, "John Stuart Mill, as the Working Classes
Knew Him," was written to show Mr. Gladstone the answer that could be
given to Hayward.
45. "Felix Holt," p. 265. Blackwood's stereotyped
46. Isaiah could not have prophesied more definitely.
Friends of the slaves stoutly denied that the Scriptures sanctioned their
bondage. They were afraid the fact would go against Christianity.
It was true nevertheless, and the American preachers pleaded this for
their opposition and supineness towards abolition.