Bygones Worth Remembering (5)
Home Up Autobiography Rochdale Pioneers Leeds Co-op Jubilee Derby Co-op Jubilee Co-operation Public Speaking Among the Americans The Reasoner Miscellaneous Main Index Site Search


 

[Previous Page]

 
CHAPTER XXXI.

THINGS WHICH WENT AS THEY WOULD


I COMMENCE with Judge Hughes' first candidature.  There are cases in which gratitude is submerged by prejudice, even among the cultivated classes.  There was Thomas Hughes, whose statue has been deservedly erected in Rugby.  Three years before he became a member of Parliament I told him he might enter the House were he so minded.  And when opportunity arose I was able to confirm my assurance.

Thomas Hughes
(1822-96).
Author of Tom Brown's School Days

    One Friday afternoon in 1865 some Lambeth politicians of the middle and working classes, whom Bernal Osborne had disappointed of being their candidate (a vacancy having attracted him elsewhere), came to me at the House of Commons to inquire if I could suggest one to them.  I named Mr. Hughes as a good fighting candidate, who had sympathy with working people, and who, being honest, could be trusted in what he promised, and being an athlete, could, like Feargus O'Connor, be depended upon on a turbulent platform.  I was to see Mr. Hughes at once, which I did, and after much argument satisfied him that if he took the "occasion by the hand" he might succeed.  He said, "he must first consult Sally"—meaning Mrs. Hughes.  I had heard him sing " Sally in our Alley," and took his remark as a playful allusion to his wife as the heroine of the song.  That he might be under no illusion, I suggested that he should not enter upon the contest unless he was prepared to lose £1,000.

    The next morning he consented.  I took him to my friends of the Electoral Committee, by whom he was accepted.  When he entered the vestibule of the hall of meeting I left him, lest my known opinions on other subjects should compromise him in the minds of some electors.  This was on the Saturday afternoon.  I saw that by issuing an address in the Monday morning papers he would be first in the field.  On Sunday morning, therefore, I waited for him at the Vere Street Church door, where the Rev. F. D. Maurice preached, to ask him to write at once his address to the electors.  He thought more of his soul than of his success, and reluctantly complied with my request.  His candidature might prevent a Tory member being elected, and the labours of the Liberal electors for years being rendered futile, education put back, the Liberal Association discouraged, taxation of the people increased, and the moral and political deterioration of the borough ensue.  To avert all such evils the candidate was loath to peril his salvation for an hour.  Yet would it not have been a work of human holiness to do it, which would make his soul better worth saving?  That day I had lunch at his table in Park Lane, while he thought the matter over.  That was the first and last time I was asked to his house.  That afternoon he brought the address to my home, then known as Dymoke Lodge, Oval Road, Regent's Park, and had tea with my family.  I had collected several persons in another room ready to make copies of the address.

    I wrote letters to various editors, took a cab, and left a copy of the address myself, before ten o'clock, at the offices of all the chief newspapers published on Monday morning.  The editor of the Daily News and one or two others I saw personally.  All printed the address as news, free of expense.  Next morning the Liberal electors were amazed to see their candidate "first in the field" before any other had time to appear.  All the while I knew Mr. Hughes would vote against three things which I valued, and in favour of which I had written and spoken.  He would vote against the ballot, against opening picture galleries and museums on Sunday, and against the separation of the Church from the State.  But on the whole he was calculated to promote the interests of the country, and therefore I did what I could to promote his election.

    I wrote for the election two or three bills.  The following is one:—


HUGHES FOR LAMBETH.

Vote for "Tom Brown."


Vote for a Gentleman who is a friend of the People.

Vote for a Churchman who will do justice to Dissenters.

Vote for a tried Politician who will support just measures and can give
     sensible reasons for them.

Vote for a distinguished writer and raise the character of metropolitan
     constituencies.

Vote for a candidate who can defend your cause in the Press as well as
     in Parliament.

Vote for a man known to be honest and who has long worked for the
     industrious classes.

Electors of Lambeth, vote for Thomas Hughes.


    Mr. Hughes would have had no address out but for me.  Had he spent £100 in advertisements a day or two later he could not have purchased the advantage this promptitude gave him.  I worked very hard all that Sunday, a son and daughter helping—but our souls did not count.  Two weeks went by—during which I ceaselessly promulgated his candidature—and I heard nothing from the candidate.  As I had paid the emergency expenses of the Sunday copyists, found them refreshments while they wrote, and paid for the cab on its round to the offices, I found myself £2 "out of pocket," as lawyers put it, and I sent a note to Mr. Hughes to say that amount would cover costs incurred.  He replied in a curt note saying I should "find a cheque for £2 within"—giving me the impression that he regarded it as an extortion, which he thought it better to submit to than resent.  He never thanked me, then or at any time, for what I did.  Never in all his life did he refer to the service I had rendered him.

    A number of friends were invited to Great Ormond Street College to celebrate his election, but I was not one.  This was not handsome treatment, but I thought little of it.  It was not Mr. Hughes's natural, but his ecclesiastical self.  I withstood him and his friends, the Christian Socialists, who sought to colour Co-operation with Church tenets, which would put distraction into it.  Association with me was at that time repugnant to Mr. Hughes.  Nevertheless, I continued to serve him whenever I could.  He was a friend of Co-operation, to his cost, and was true to the Liberal interests of the people.  My daughter, Mrs. Praill, and her husband gave their house as a committee­room when Mr. Hughes was subsequently a candidate in Marylebone, and she canvassed for him so assiduously that he paid her a special visit of acknowledgment.

Edward Vansittart Neale
(1810-92)

    The Christian Socialist propaganda is another instance of the wilfulness of things which went as you did not want them to go.  In those days not only did I fail to find favour in the eyes of Mr. Hughes—even Mr. Vansittart Neale, the most liberal of Christian Socialists, thought me, for some years, an unengaging colleague. General Maurice, in the Life of his eminent father (Professor Denison Maurice), relates that Mr. Maurice regarded me as an antagonist.  This was never so.  I had always respect for Professor Maurice because of his theological liberality.  He believed that perdition was limited to æons.  The duration of an æon he was not clear upon; but whatever its length, it was then an unusual and merciful limitation of eternal torture.  This cost him his Professorship at King's College, through the enmity, it was said, of Professor Jelf.  I endeavoured to avenge Professor Maurice by dedicating to Dr. Jelf my "Limits of Atheism."  Elsewhere I assailed him because I had honour for Professor Maurice, for his powerful friendship to Co-operation.  When the news of his death came to the Bolton Congress it was I who drew up and proposed the resolution of honour and sorrow which we passed.

    It was always the complaint against the early "Socialists"—as the Co-operators were then called—that they mixed up polemical controversy with social advocacy.  The Christian Socialists strenuously made this objection, yet all the while they were seeking to do the same thing.  What they rightly objected to was that the chief Co-operators gave irrelevant prominence to the alien question of theology, and repelled, all persons who differed from them.

    All the while, what they objected to was not theology, but to a kind of theology not their own, and this kind, as soon as they acquired authority, they proceeded to introduce.  They proceeded to compile a handbook intended to pledge the Co­operators to the Church of England, and I received proofs, which I still have, in which Mr. Hughes made an attack on all persons of Freethinking views.  I objected to this as violating the principle on which we had long agreed, namely, of Co-operative neutrality in religion [52] and politics, as their introduction was the signal of disputation which diverted the attention of members from the advancement of Co-operation in life, trade, and labour.  At the Leeds Congress I maintained that the congress was like Parliament, where, as Canning said, no question is introduced which cannot be discussed.  If Church views were imported into the societies, Heretics and Nonconformists, who were the originators of the movement, would have the right of introducing their tenets.  Mr. Hughes was so indignant at my protest that he, being in the chair, refused to call upon me to move a resolution officially assigned to me upon another subject.  At the meeting of the United Board for revising motions to be brought before Congress, I gave notice that if the Church question should be raised I should object to it, as it would then be in order (should the introduction of theology be sanctioned) for an Atheist (Agnostic was not a current word then) to propose the adoption of his views, and an Atheist, as such, might be a president.  Where­upon Mr. Vansittart Neale, our general secretary, declared with impassioned vehemence that he hoped the day would never come when an Atheist would be elected president.  Yet when, some years later, I was appointed president of the Carlisle Congress (1887)—though I was still considered entirely deficient in proper theological convictions—Mr. Hughes and Mr. Neale, who were both present, were most genial, and with their concurrence 100,000 copies of my address were printed—a distinction which befel no other president.

    In another instance I had to withstand Church ascendancy.

    I was the earliest and foremost advocate of the neutrality of pious opinion in Co-operation; when others who knew its value were silent—afraid or unwilling to give pain to the Christian Socialists, whom we all respected, and to whom we and friendly assistance.  But integrity of principle is higher than friendship.  Some Northumbrian societies, whose members were largely Nonconformists, were greatly indignant at the attempt to give ascendancy to Church opinions, and volunteered to support my protest against it.  But when the day of protest came at the Leeds Congress they all deserted me—not one raised a voice on my side; though they saw me browbeaten in their interest.  My argument was, that if we assented to become a Church party we might come to have our proceedings opened with a collect, or by prayer, to which it would be hypocrisy in many to pretend to assent.  At the following Derby Congress this came to pass: Bishop Southwell, who opened the Industrial Exhibition, made a prayer and members of the United Board knelt round him.  I was the only one who stood up, it being the only seemly form of protest there.  This scene was never afterwards repeated.  Bishop Southwell was a devout, kindly, and intellectually liberal prelate, but he did not know, or did not respect, as other Bishops did, the neutrality of Congress.

    For myself, I was always in favour of the individuality of the religious conscience in its proper place.  I love the picturesqueness of personal conviction.  It was I who first proposed that we should accept offers of sermons on Congress Sunday by ministers of every denomination.  Co-operators included members of all religious persuasions, and I was for their opportunity of hearing favourite preachers apart from Co-operative pro­ceedings.

    It is only necessary for the moral of these instances to pursue them.  There is education in them and public suggestiveness which may justify the continuance of the subject.

    When the Co-operative News was begun in Manchester (1871), I wrote its early leaders, and as its prospects were not hopeful, it was agreed that the Social Economist, which I and Mr. E. O. Greening had established in London in 1868, should cease in favour of the Co-operative News, as we wished to see one paper, one interest, and one party.  As the Manchester office was too poor to purchase our journal, we agreed that it should be paid for when the Manchester paper succeeded, and the price should be what the cessation of the Social Economist should be thought to be worth to the new paper.  It was sixteen years before the fulfilment of their side of the bargain.  The award, if I remember rightly, was £15, but I know the period was as long and the amount as small.  The Co-operative News had then been established many years.  It was worth much more than £100 to the Manchester paper to have a London rival out of the way.  It was not an encouraging transaction; and but for Mr. Neale, Abraham Greenwood and Mr. Crabtree it would not have ended as it did.  But the committee were workmen without knowledge of literary matters.  So I made no complaint, and worked with them and for their paper all the same.  It was a mistake to discontinue the Social Economist, which had some powerful friends.  Co-operation was soon narrowed in Manchester.  Co-operative workshops were excluded from participation in profit.  We should have kept Co-operation on a higher level in London.

    The Rochdale jubilee is the last instance I shall cite.  In 1892 was celebrated the jubilee of the Rochdale Society.  I received no invitation and no official notice.  The handbook published by the society, in commemoration of its fifty years' success, made no reference to me nor to the services I had rendered the society.  I had written its history, which had been printed in America, and translated into the chief languages of Europe—in Spain, in Hungary, several times in France and Italy.  I had put the name of the Pioneers into the mouth of the world, yet my name was never mentioned by any one.  Speaking on the part of the Rochdale Co­operators, the President of Jubilee Congress, who knew the facts of my devotion to the reputation of Rochdale, was silent.  Archdeacon Wilson was the only one who showed me public regard.  The local press said some gracious things, but they were not Co-operators.  I had spoken at the graves of the men who had made the fortunes of the store, and had written words of honour of all the political leaders of the town, and of those best remembered in connection with the famous society, which I had vindicated, without ceasing, during half a century.

    In the earlier struggles of the Pioneers I had looked forward to the day of their jubilee, when I should stand in their regard as I had done in their day of need.  Of course, this gave me a little concern to find myself treated as one unknown to them.  But in truth they had not forgotten me, though they ignored me.  The new generation of Co-operators had abandoned, to Mr. Bright's regret, participation of profit with Labour, the noblest aspiration of the Pioneers.  I had addressed them in remonstrance, in the language of Lord Byron, who was Lord of the Manor of Rochdale:­-


"You have the Rochdale store as yet,
     Where has the Rochdale workshop gone?
 Of two such lessons why forget
     The nobler and the manlier one?"


    Saying this cost me their cordiality and their gratitude; but I cared for the principle and for the future, and was consoled.

    In every party, the men who made it great die, and leave no immediate successors.  But in time their example recreates them.  But at the Jubilee of 1892, they had not re-appeared, and those who had memories and gratitude were dead.  I spoke over the grave of Cooper, of Smithies, of Thomas Livesey—John Bright's schoolfellow—the great friend of the dead Pioneers saying:—


"They are gone, the holy ones,
     Who trod with me this lovely vale;
 My old star-bright companions
     Are silent, low and pale." [53]


    The question arises, does this kind of experience justify a person in deserting his party?

    The last incident and others preceding it are given as instances of outrage or neglect, which in public life explain ignominious desertion of principle.  I have known men change sides in Parliament because the Premier, who had defect of sight, passed them by in the lobby without recognition.  I have seen others desert a party, which they had brilliantly served, because their personal ambition had not been recognised.  Because of this I have seen a man turn heels over head in the presence of Parliament, and land himself in the laps of adversaries who had been kicking him all his life.

    If I did not do so, it was because I remembered that parties are like persons, who at one time do mean things, but at other times generous things.  Besides, a democratic party is continually changing in its component members, and many come to act in the name of the movement who are ignorant of its earlier history and of the obligation it may be under to those who have served it in its struggling days.  But whether affronts are consciously given or not, they do not count where allegiance to a cause is concerned.  Ingratitude does not invalidate a true principle.  When contrary winds blow, a fair­weather partisan tacks about, and will even sail into a different sea where the breezes are more complacent.  I remained the friend of the cause alike in summer and winter, not because I was insensible to vicissitudes, but because it was a simple duty to remain true to a principle whose integrity was not and could not be affected by the caprice, the meanness, the obliviousness, or the malignity of its followers.

    Such are some of the incidents—of which others of more public interest may be given—of the nature of bygones which have instruction in them.  They are not peculiar to any party.  They occur continually in Parliament and in the Church.  I have seen persons who had rendered costly service of long duration who, by some act of ingratitude on the part of the few, have turned against the whole class, which shows that, consciously or unconsciously, it was self­recognition they sought, or most cared for, rather than the service of the principle they had espoused.

    There is no security for the permanence of public effort, save in the clear conviction of its intrinsic rightfulness and conduciveness to the public good.  The rest must be left to time and posterity.  True, the debt is sometimes paid after the creditor is dead.  But if reparation never comes to the living, unknown persons whose condition needs betterment receive it, and that is the proud and consoling thought of those who—unrequited—effected it.  The wholesome policy of persistence is expressed in the noble maxim of Helvetius to which John Morley has given new currency: "Love men, but do not expect too much from them."

    Fewer persons would fall into despair if their antici­pations were, like a commercial company; "limited." Many men expect in others perfection, who make no conspicuous contribution themselves to the sum of that excellent attribute.


"Giving too little and asking too much
 Is not alone a fault of the Dutch."


    I do not disguise that standing by Rightness is an onerous duty.  It is as much a merit as it is a distinction to have been, at any time, in the employ of Truth.  But Truth, though an illustrious, is an exacting mistress, and that is why so many people who enter her service soon give notice to leave.

    [With respect to this chapter, Mr. Ludlow wrote supplying some particulars regarding the Christian Socialists, to which it is due to him that equal publicity be given.  He states "that the first Council of Promoters included two members, neither of whom professed to be a Christian; that the first secretary of the Society for Promoting Working Men's Associations was not one, during the whole of his faithful service (he became one twenty years later), and that his successors were, at the time we took them on, one an Agnostic, the other a strong Congregationalist."  This is the first time these facts have been made known.  But none of the persons thus described had anything to do with the production of the Handbook referred to and discussed at the Leeds Congress of 1881.  Quite apart from the theological tendencies of the "Christian Socialists," the Co-oper­ative movement has been indebted to them for organisation and invaluable counsel, as I have never ceased to say.  They were all for the participation of profits in workshops, which is the essential part of higher Co-operation.  There was always light in their speeches, and it was the light of principle.  In this respect Mr. Ludlow was the first, as he is the last to display it, as he alone survives that distinguished band.  Of Mr. Edward Vansittart Neale I have unmeasured admiration and regard.  To use the fine saying of Abd-el-Kader, "Benefits conferred are golden fetters which bind men of noble mind to the giver."  This is the lasting sentiment of the most experienced Co-operators towards the Christian Socialists.]


 
CHAPTER XXXII.

STORY OF THE LAMBETH PALACE GROUNDS


SEED sown upon the waters, we are told, may bring forth fruit after many days.  This chapter tells the story of seed sown on very stony soil, which brought forth fruit twenty-five years later.

    In 1878, Mr. George Anderson, an eminent consulting gas engineer, in whom business had not abated human sympathy, passed every morning on his way to his chambers in Westminster, by the Lambeth Palace grounds.  He was struck by the contrast of the spacious and idle acres adjoining the Palace and the narrow, dismal streets where poor children peered in corners and alleys.  The sheep in the Palace grounds were fat and florid, and the children in the street were lean and pallid.  The smoke from works around dyed dark the fleece of the sheep.

    Mr. Anderson thought how much happier a sight it would be to see the children take the place of the sheep, and asked me if something could not be done.

    The difficulty of rescuing or of alienating nine acres of land from the Church, so skilled in holding, did not seem a hopeful undertaking, while the resentment of good vicars and expectant curates might surely be counted upon.  Nevertheless the attempt was worth making.

    Before long I spent portions of some days in exploring the Palace grounds, and interviewing persons who had evidence to give, or interest to use, on behalf of a change which seemed so desirable.

    Eventually I brought the matter before a meeting I knew to be interested in ethical improvement, and read to them the draft of a memorial that I thought ought to be sent to the Archbishop at Lambeth Palace.  Persons in stations low and high alike, often suffer wrong to exist which they might arrest, because they have not seen it to be wrong or have not been told that it is so.  Blame of any one could not be justly expressed who had not personal knowledge of an evil complained of.  Therefore I urged that we should give the Archbishop information which we thought justified his action, and I was authorised to send to him the memorial I had read.

    I wrote myself to his Grace, stating that I could testify as to the social facts detailed the memorial I enclosed, which was as follows:—


"MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GRACE,—We, the evening congregation assembled in South Place Chapel, Finsbury—some assenting and some dissenting from the tenets represented by your Grace—represented as worthily as by any one who has occupied your high station, and with greater fairness to those who stand outside the Church than is shown by many prelates—we pray your Grace to give heed to a secular plea on behalf of certain little neighbours of yours whom, amid the pressure of spiritual duties, your Grace may have overlooked.

    "Crouching under the very walls of Lambeth Palace, where your Grace has the pleasant responsibility of illustrating the opulence and paternal sympathy of the legal Church of the land, lie streets as dismal, cheerless, and discreditable as any that God in His wrath ever permitted to remain unconsumed.  In the houses are polluted air, squalor, dirt and pale-faced children.  The only green thing upon which their feverish eyes could look is enclosed in your Grace's Palace Park, and shut out from their sight by dead Walls.  What we pray is that your Grace, in mercy and humanity, will substitute for those Penal walls some pervious palisades through which children may behold the refreshing paradise of Nature, though they may never enter therein.  In this ever-crowding metropolis, where field and tree belong to the extinct sights of a happier age, children are born and die without ever knowing their soothing charm, and hunger and thirst for a green thing to look upon—as sojourners in a desert do for the sight of shrub or water.  No prayer your Grace could offer to heaven would be so welcome in its kindly courts, as the prayer of gladness and gratitude which would go up with the screams of change and joy from the pallid little ones, breathing the fresh air from the green meadows, which only a few more fortunate sheep now enjoy.

    "Might we pray that the gates should be open, and that the children themselves should be free to enter the meadows?  Even the Temple Gardens of the City are open to little friendless people.  They who give this gracious permission are hard-souled lawyers, usually regarded as representing the rigid, exacting, and unsympathetic side of human life—yet they show such noble tenderness to the little miserables who crawl round the Temple pavement, that they grant entrance to their splendid gardens; and half-clad cellar urchins from the purlieus of Drury Lane and Clare Market romp with their ragged sisters on the glorious grass, in the sight and scent of beauteous flowers. If lawyers do this, may we not ask it of one who is appointed to represent what we are told is the kindliness and tenderness of Christianity, and whose Master said, 'Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven'?  We ask not that they should personally approach your Grace, but that the children of your desolate neighbourhood should be allowed to disport in the vacant meadows of the Palace—that their souls may acquire some scent of Nature which their lives may never know.

    "Let your Grace take a walk down 'Royal Street,' which flanks your Palace grounds, and see whether houses so pestilential ever stood in a street of so dainty a name?  Go into the houses (as the writer of this memorial has) and see how a blank wall has been kept up so that no occupant of the rooms may look on grass or tree, and the window which admits light and air has been turned, by order of a former archbishop, the opposite way upon an outlook as wretched as the lot of the inhabitants.  For forty years many inmates have lived and slept by the side of your Grace's park, without ever being allowed a glimpse of it.  You may have no power to cancel such social outrage—but your Grace may condone it by kindly and considerately according the use of the meadows to the poor children—doomed to burrow in these close, unwholesome tenements at your doors.

    "No one accuses your Grace of being wanting in personal kindliness.  It must be that no one has called your attention to the unregarded misery under the shadow of your Palace.  Should Your Grace visit the forlorn streets and sickly homes around you, and hear the despairing words o f the mothers when asked 'whether they would not be grateful could their children have a daily run in the great Archbishop's meadows?' there would not be wanting a plea from the gentle heart of the Lady of the Palace on behalf of these hapless children of these poor mothers.

    "Disregard not our appeal, we pray, because ours are unlicensed voices.  Humanity is of every creed, and it will not detract from the glory of the Church that gratitude and praise should proceed from unaccustomed tongues.

    "Signed on behalf of the Assembly, with deference and respect.

"GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE.

"Newcastle Chambers, Temple Bar,
        "November 21, 1878."


    Within two days I had the pleasure to receive a reply from the Archbishop.

Archibald Campbell Tait
(1811-82)
Archbishop of Canterbury, 1868-82.

"PHILPSTOUN HOUSE,
 "November 23, 1878.


    "SIR,—You may feel confident that the subject of the memorial which you have forwarded to me with your letter of the 21st will receive my attentive consideration.  The condition of the inhabitants of the poor streets in Lambeth has often given me anxiety.  My daughters and Mrs. Tait are well acquainted with many of the houses which you describe, and, so far as my other duties have allowed, I have taken opportunities of visiting some of the inmates of such houses personally.  I should esteem it a great privilege if I were able to assist in maturing any scheme for improving the dwellings of the poor families to which your memorial alludes.  Respecting the use of the open ground which surrounds Lambeth Palace, I have, in common with my predecessors, had the subject often under consideration.  The plan which has been adopted and which has appeared on the whole the best for the interests of the neighbourhood, has been that now pursued for many years.  The ground is freely given for cricket and football to as many schools and clubs as it is capable of containing, and, on application, liberty of entrance is accorded to children and others.  Many school treats are also held in the grounds, and they are from time to time used for volunteer corps to exercise in.  We have always been afraid that a more public opening of the grounds would interfere with the useful purposes to which they are at present turned for the benefit of the neighbourhood, and that, considering the somewhat limited extent of the space, no advantage could be secured by throwing it entirely open, which would at all compensate for the loss of the advantages at present enjoyed.  I shall give the matter serious consideration, consulting with those best qualified from local experience to judge what is best for the neighbourhood, but my present impression is that more good is, on the whole, done by the arrangements now adopted, than by any other which I could devise.
                                                  "I have the honour to be, Sir,
                                                                       "Your obedient humble servant,
                                                                                                          "A. C. C
ANTUAR.
"To Mr. George Jacob Holyoake."


    This correspondence I sent to the Daily News, always open to questions of interest to the people, and it received notice in various papers. The Liverpool Daily Mail gave an effective summary of the memorial, saying:—

    "Of all strange people in the world, Mr. G. J. Holyoake and the Archbishop of Canterbury have been in correspondence—and not in unfriendly correspondence either.  Mr. Holyoake, on behalf of himself and some friends like-minded, ventured to draw the Archbishop's attention to the fact that just opposite Lambeth Palace was a nest of very poor and squalid dwellings, in which many families were crowded together, without any regard for either decency or sanitary law.  The only chance of looking upon anything green that the children of these poor people could have would be in the grounds that surround the Primate's dwelling, and these were absolutely shut off from their view by a high dead wall.  In some cases a former Archbishop had actually ordered the windows of these miserable houses to be blocked up, and opened in another direction, in order, we suppose, that the Archiepiscopal eyes might not be offended by the sight of such unpleasant neighbours."  The writer ended by expressing the hope that if the Archbishop could not open the grounds he might substitute "pervious palisades" for the stone walls impervious to the curious and wistful eyes of children."  For reasons which will appear, the subject slumbered for four years, when I addressed the following letter to the editors of the Telegraph and the Times, which appeared December 20, 1882:—


"SIR,—On returning to England I read an announcement that the Lambeth Vestry had resolved to send a memorial to the Queen praying that the nine acres of field, now devoted to sheep, adjoining the Archbishop of Canterbury's Palace garden, may be appropriated to public recreation in that crowded and verdureless parish.  Four years ago I sent a memorial upon this subject to the late Archbishop.  It set forth that the parish was so densely populated that it would be an act of mercy to throw open the sheep fields to the poor children of the neighbourhood.  It expressed the hope that Mrs. Tait, whose compassionate nature was known to the people, would plead for these little ones, who lived and died at her very door, as it were, seeing no green thing during all their wretched days.  I visited poor women in the street next to the fields who brought fever-stricken children to the door wrapped in shawls.  Their mothers told me how glad they should be were the gates open, that the little ones, whose only recreation ground was the gutter, could enter at will.  The memorial—if I remember accurately, for I cannot refer to it as I write—stated that the houses which, as built, overlooked the fields, had had the windows bricked in by order of a former Archbishop, because they overlooked the garden.  I was taken to the rooms and found that the view was closed up.  The trees of the garden have well grown now, and a telescope could not reveal walkers therein.  The late Archbishop sent me a kindly reply, but it did not answer my question, which was that, if his Grace could not consent to open the gates to his humble friends, we prayed that he, whose Master (in words of tenderness which had moved the hearts of men during nineteen centuries) had said, 'Suffer little children to come unto Me,' would at least substitute palisades for the dead walls which hid the green fields so that no little eyes could see the daisies in the spring.  His Grace's reply was in substance the same as Dr. Randall Davidson's, which appeared in the Times on Monday, who tells the public that rifle corps and cricketers are admitted to the fields and that 'arrangements are made for "treats" for infant and other schools' (whether of all denominations is not stated).  How can poor mothers and sickly children get within these 'arrangements'?  Cricketers are not helpless, rifle corps do not die for want of drill-grounds, as children in fever-dens do for want of the refreshment of verdure and pure air.  To open the gates is the only generous and fitting thing to do, as the lawyers have who admit the outcasts of Drury and the adjacent lanes to the flowers of the Temple Gardens.  Dr. Davidson says that the advice of those 'best qualified from local experience to judge' is that 'no gain could be secured by throwing the fields entirely open.'  Let the opinion be asked of workmen in the Lambeth factories and that of their wives.  These are the 'best qualified local judges,' whose verdict would be instructive.  Mrs. Tait's illness and death followed soon after the memorial in question was sent in, and I thought it not the time to press his Grace further when stricken with that calamity.  All honour to the Lambeth Vestry, which proposes to pray Her Majesty to cause, if in her power, these vacant fields to be consigned to the Board of Works, who will give some gleam of a green paradise to the poor little ones of Lambeth.  The vestry does well to appeal to the Queen, from whose kindly heart a thousand acts of sympathy have emanated.  She has opened many portals, but none through which happier or more grateful groups will pass than through the garden gates of Lambeth Palace."


    Immediately a letter appeared in the Times from the Rev. T. B. Robertson, expressed as follows:—

    "SIR,—Mr. Holyoake may be glad to hear that 'Lambeth Green' is open to schools of all denominations to hold their festivals in.  I should think that no school was ever refused the use unless the field was previously engaged.  The present method of utilising the field—viz., opening it to a large but limited number of persons (by ticket) seems about the best that could be devised.  Mr. HoIyoake asks how poor mothers and sickly children are to gain entrance.  It is well known in the neighbourhood that tickets of admission are issued annually.  The days for distribution are advertised on the gates some time previous, when those desirous of using the grounds can attend, and the tickets are issued till exhausted.  No sick person has any difficulty in getting admission.  I do not know the number of tickets issued, but I have seen when cricket clubs were unable to find a place to pitch their stumps.  If the grounds are open to the public without limitation, it seems that the only way it could be done would be by laying it out in gardens and gravelled walks, with the usual park seats; but there is hardly occasion for such a place since the formation of the Thames Embankment, a long strip of which runs immediately in front of the Palace well provided with seats.  It is evident that if the grounds were open to the public in general, the space being small—about seven acres—the cricketers and other clubs would have to give up their sports, and Lambeth schools and societies would be deprived of their only meeting-place for summer gatherings.
                                                                 "Yours obediently,
                                                                                     "T. B. R
OBERTSON,
                                                            "Curate of St. Mary, Lambeth.
"December 22."


    The comment of the Times upon this letter made it necessary to address a further communication to the editor.  This comment occurred in a leader, which, referring to a letter of the Lambeth Curate, says: "Mr. Holyoake, in a letter which we published on Wednesday, asked with some vehemence, what was the value of permission accorded to cricketers and schools, to the poor children of Lambeth; but Mr. Robertson, the Curate of St. Mary's, Lambeth, answers this morning, that no Poor or sick person has any difficulty in obtaining admission for purposes of recreation and health, and shows that 'Lambeth Green,' as it is called, is in fact available to a large class of the neighbouring inhabitants.  There is certainly force in Mr. Robertson's argument, that an unlimited use would defeat its own object, which is presumably to preserve the grounds as a playground.  The large surrounding population would soon destroy the sylvan and park-like character of the place, and necessitate its laying out in the style of an ornamental pleasure garden, with formal walks, and turf only to be kept green by fencing."

    This is the old defence of exclusive enjoyment of parks and pleasure grounds, as the people, if admitted to them, would destroy them—which they do not.  Why should they destroy what they value?

    My reply to the Times appeared December 28, 1882:—


    "SIR,—It is the weight that you attach to the letter of the Curate of St. Mary, Lambeth, which appeared in the Times of Saturday, which makes it important.  When I have viewed the Lambeth Palace from the railway which overlooks it and seen how completely the sheep fields are separate and apart from the Archbishop's garden, it has seemed a pity that the poor little children of Lambeth should not have the freedom and privilege of those sheep.  No humane person could look into the houses of the crowded and cheerless streets which lie near the Palace walls without wishing to take the children by the hand into the Palace fields at once.  Does the Rev. Mr. Robertson not understand the difference between a ticket gate and an open gate?  How are poor, busy women to watch the gates to find out when the annual tickets of admission are given?  And what is the chance of those families who arrive after the number issued is exhausted?  If all the persons who need admissions can have them, the gates might as well be thrown open.  Of course, the nine acres would not hold all the parish; but all the parish would not go at once.  No statement has been made which shows that the grounds have been occupied by tickets of admission more than forty days in the year, whereas there are 365 days when little people might go in.  To them one hour in that green paradise would be more than a week jostled by passengers on the Embankment watching a stone wall, for the little people could not well overlook it.  But if they could, can the Curate of St. Mary really think this limited recreation a sufficient substitute for quiet fields and flowers?  The Board of Works, if the grounds come into their hands, may be trusted to give school treats a chance as well as local little children.

    "No one who has seen the crowds of ragged, dreary, pale-faced boys and girls rushing to the fields and flowers at Temple Gardens when the lawyers graciously open the gates to them and watched them pour out at evening through the Temple Gates into Fleet Street, leaping, laughing, and refreshed, could help thinking that it would be a gladsome sight sight to see such groups issue from the Lambeth Palace gates.  I never thought when sending the memorial to the Archbishop that the fields should be divested from the see or sold away from it.  I believed that the late Archbishop would, as the new Archbishop may, by an act of grace accord his little neighbours free admission, or at least exchange the dead walls for palisades, so that children playing around may vary the stones of the Embankment for a sight of sheep and grass through the bars.  The late Canon Kingsley asked me to visit him when he came into residence at Westminster.  My intention was to ask him and the late Dean, whom I had the honour to know, to judge themselves whether the matter now in question was not practicable, and then to speak to the Archbishop about it.  But death carried them both away one after the other before this opportunity could occur.  My belief remains unchanged that the late Archbishop would have done what is now asked had time and the state of his health permitted him to attend to the matter himself.  It would have been but an extension of the unselfish and kindly uses to which he had long permitted the grounds to be put."


    From several letters I received at the time, I quote one dated Christmas Eve, 1882:—


    "Honour and thanks to you, Mr. Holyoake, for our recent and former letters respecting Lambeth Palace field.  Very much more good could be got out of it than as a place for cricketing on half-holidays and occasional school-treats, and for desolation at other times except as regards an approved few.

    "There is no recreation ground in London that I look upon with so much satisfaction as a triangular inclosure of plain grass by Kennington Church, enjoyed commonly by the dirtiest and poorest children."


    But a letter of a very different character appeared in the Standard, December 20 1882, entitled, "The Lambeth Palace Garden":—


    "S
IR,—No right-minded person can fail to be deeply impressed by Mr. Holyoake's touching letter in your impression of to-day.  Its sentiments are so very beautiful and its principles so exactly popular, and in such perfect accordance with the blessed Liberal maxim—'What is yours is mine and what is mine is my own,' that I myself am overcome with delight at their enunciation.  The pleasure of being perfectly free and easy with other people's property, evidently becoming so sincere and abounding, and the simple manner in which such liberality can be now readily practised without any personal self-denial or inconvenience, makes the principle in action perfectly commendable, and one to be duly applied and most carefully expanded.

    "With the latter view, I venture to point out that there is a very excellent library of books at Lambeth Palace, which, comparatively speaking, very few people take down or read.  Do not, however, think me selfishly covetous or hankering after my neighbour's property if I venture to point out that there exist more than twenty clergymen in Lambeth, to whom a share or division of these scarcely used volumes would be a great boon.  If the pictures, furniture, and cellars of wine could, at the same time, be benevolently divided, I should have no objection to receiving a share of the same under such philanthropic 're-arrangement.'—I am, sir, your obedient servant,

"A LAMBETH PARSON.

"Lambeth, December 20."


    My reply to this letter appeared in the Standard, December 22, 1882:—


    "S
IR, —This morning I received a letter from a clergyman, who gives his name and address, and who knows Lambeth well, thanking me for the letter which I had addressed to you, as he takes great interest in the welfare of the little ones in the crowded homes around the Palace.  Lest, however, I should be elated by such an unexpected, though welcome, concurrence of opinion, the same post brought me a letter to the same purport of that signed 'A Lambeth Parson,' which appeared in the Standard yesterday.  The letter which you printed assumes that the sheep fields of the Palace are private property, and that I propose to steal them in the name of humanity.  Permit me to say that I have as much detestation as the Lambeth Parson can have for that sympathy for the people which has plunder for its motive.

    "The memorial I sent to his Grace the late Archbishop asked him to give his permission for little ones to enter his grounds.  We never proposed to take permission, nor assumed any right to pass the gates.  There never was a doubt in my mind, that had his Grace opportunity of looking into the matter for himself, he would have granted the request, for his kindness of heart we all knew.  That he gave the use of the fields to what he thought equally useful purposes showed how unselfishly he used the grounds.  If the question is raised as to private property, I would do what I could to promote the purchase of it (if it can rightly be sold) by a penny subscription from the parents of the poor children and others who would chiefly benefit by it.  It would be an evil day if working people could consent that their little ones should have enjoyment at the price of theft.—I am, sir, your obedient servant,

"GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE.

"22 Essex Street, W.C., December 21."


    Meanwhile an important public body had taken up the question.  "The Metropolitan Public Garden, Boulevard, and Playground Association, had, through its officers, Lord Brabazon, Mr. Ernest Hart, Mr. J. Tennant, and the Rev. Sidney Vatcher, addressed the following letter to the Prime Minister:—


    "S
IR,—The undersigned members of the Metropolitan Public Garden, Boulevard, and Playground Association' desire to draw your attention to an article enclosed which recently appeared in a London daily paper, and to request that you will bring the needs of Lambeth district, as regards open spaces, to the notice of the future Primate, in the hope that his Grace may take into consideration the suggestions contained in the article, and with the co-operation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the Metropolitan Board of Works, take such steps as may seem to him most advisable for the purpose of securing in perpetuity to the poor and crowded population of Lambeth the use and enjoyment of the open space around Lambeth Palace.—We have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient and humble servants,

"BRABAZON, Chairman."


    Mr. Gladstone willingly gave attention to the subject, and sent the following reply:—

10, DOWNING STREET, WHITEHALL,
December 21, 1882.

MY LORD,—I am directed by Mr. Gladstone to acknowledge the receipt of the letter which was signed by your lordship and other members of the Metropolitan Public Garden, etc., Association in favour of securing for the use of the population of the neighbourhood the grounds at present attached to Lambeth Palace.  I have to inform your lordship that Mr. Gladstone has already been in communication with the vestry of Lambeth on this subject, and as it appears to be one of metropolitan improvement it is not a matter in which Mr. Gladstone can take the initiative.  He will, however, make known your views to the prelate designated to succeed to the Archbishopric, and should the Metropolitan Board of Works intervene Mr. Gladstone will be happy to consider the matter further.—I am, my Lord, your obedient servant,

" HORACE SEYMOUR.

"The Lord Brabazon."


    Next Colonel Sir J. M'Garel Hogg, M.P., Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works, had the matter before him.  It was stated that the use of the nine acres of ground (of which a plan was presented) depended upon the permission of the Archbishop.  The Lambeth Vestry had sent a memorial to the Queen and the Government saying that the pasture and recreation acres might be severed from the Archbishop's residence.

    The following is the reply received from Mr. Gladstone:—


"10, D
OWNING STREET, WHITEHALL,
December 19th,

"SIR,—Mr. Gladstone has had the honour to receive the communication which you have made to him on behalf of the vestry of the parish of Lambeth on the subject of acquiring the grounds of Lambeth Palace as a place of public recreation.  In reply I am directed to say that as far as he is able to understand this important matter it seems to be a case of metropolitan improvement, and if, as he supposes, that is the case, the proper course for the vestry to take would be to bring the case before the Metropolitan Board of Works for their consideration.  In this view Mr. Gladstone is not aware that Her Majesty's Government could undertake to interfere, but he will make known this correspondence to the person who may be designated to succeed the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he will further consider the matter should the Metropolitan Board intervene.  Mr. Gladstone would have been glad if the vestry had supplied him with the particulars of the case, in regard to which he has only a very general knowledge.—I am, sir, your obedient servant,

" E. W. HAMILTON

"The Vestry Clerk of Lambeth."


    Mr. Hill gave notice of the following motion:—


"That an instruction be given to the Prime Minister that if the proper authorities are willing to hand over the Lambeth Palace grounds for the free use of the public, this Board will accept the charge and preserve the grounds as a portion of the open spaces."


    Then came a hopeless and defensive letter, before referred to, addressed both to the Standard, Telegraph, and the Times:—


    S
IR,—Some of the statements (including a correspondence with the Prime Minister) which have, during the last few days, appeared in the newspapers with reference to Lambeth Palace grounds, would, I think, lead those who are unacquainted with the circumstances to suppose that these grounds have been hitherto altogether closed to the public, and reserved for the sole use of the Archbishop and his household.  Will you, therefore, to prevent misapprehension, kindly allow me to state the facts of the case?

    "For many years past the Archbishop of Canterbury endeavoured, in what seemed to him the best way, to make the grounds in question available, under certain restrictions, to the general public.  During the summer months twenty-eight cricket clubs, some from the Lambeth parishes and some from other parts of London, have received permission to play cricket in the field, and similar arrangements have been made for football in the winter, though necessarily upon a smaller scale.  The whole available ground has been carefully allotted for the different hours of each day.  On certain fixed occasions the field is used for rifle corps' drill and exercises, and throughout the summer, arrangements are constantly made for 'treats' for infant and other schools unable to go out of London.  Tickets giving admission to the field at all hours have been issued for some years past, in very large numbers, to the sick, aged, and poor of the surrounding streets ; and the whole grounds, including the private garden, have been opened without restriction to the nurses and others of St. Thomas's Hospital.

    "His Grace frequently consulted those best qualified from local experience to judge what is for the advantage of the neighbourhood, and invariably found their opinion to coincide with his own—namely, that a more public opening of the ground would interfere with the useful purposes to which it is at present turned for the benefit of the neighbourhood, and that, considering the limited space, no gain could be secured by throwing it entirely open which would at all compensate for the inevitable loss of the advantages at present enjoyed.—I am, sir, your obedient servant,

"RANDALL T. DAVIDSON.

"Lambeth Palace, December 16."


    On January 6, 1883, I wrote to the Daily News, saying:—

Edward White Benson
(1829-96)
Archbishop of Canterbury, 1883-96.

    "SIR,—Your columns have recorded the steps taken by the Lambeth Vestry and by Lord BRABAZON (on the part of the Open Space Society, for which he acts) with respect to the use of the pasture acres connected with the Palace grounds of Lambeth.  I have been asked by a clergyman, for whose judgment I have great respect, to write some letter which shall make it plain to the public that it is not the gardens of the Palace for the use of which any one has asked, but for the nine acres of fields outside the gardens, as a small recreation ground which shall be open to the children of Lambeth, who are numerous there, and much in need of some pleasant change of that scarce and pleasant kind.  No one has dined at the Lambeth Palace, or been otherwise a visitor there, without valuing the gardens which surround it and which are necessary to an episcopal residence in London.  No one wishes to interfere with or curtail the garden grounds.  I thought the public understood this.  I shall therefore be obliged if you can insert this explanation in your columns.  Much better than anything I could say upon the subject are the words which occur in the Family Churchman of December 27th, which gives the portraits of the new Archbishop, Dr. Benson, and the late Bishop of Llandaff.  The editor says that 'every one knows the Archbishops of Canterbury have a splendid country seat at Addington, within easy driving distance of London.  Within the same distance there are few parks so beautiful as Addington Palace, whilst, unlike some parks in other parts of the country, it is jealously closed against the public.  The Palace park is remarkable for its romantic dells, filled with noble trees and an undergrowth of rhododendrons.  There are, moreover, within the park, heights which command fine views of the surrounding country.  It is thought, perhaps not unjustly, that the new Archbishop might well be content with this country place, and, whilst retaining the gardens at Lambeth Palace, might with graceful content see conceded to the poor, whose houses throng the neighbourhood, the nine acres of pasture land.'  This is very distinct and even generous testimony on the part of the Family Churchman to the seemliness and legitimacy—of the plea put forward on the part of the little people of Lambeth.—Very faithfully yours,

"GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE.

" 22, Essex Street, W.C."


    News of the Palace grounds agitation reached as far as Mentone, and Mr. R. Ffrench Blake, who was residing at the Hotel Splendide, sent an interesting letter to the Times—historical, defensive, and suggestive.  He wrote on January 3, 1883, saying:—


"S
IR,—Attention having recently been drawn to the Lambeth Palace grounds and the use which the late Primate made of them for the recreation of the masses, it may be interesting, especially at this juncture, to place on record what were his views with regard to those historic parts of the buildings of the Palace itself which are not actually used as the residence of the Archbishops.  These chiefly consist of what is known as the Lollards' Tower, and the noble Gate Tower, called after its founder, Archbishop Moreton.  The former of these has recently been put into repair, and rooms in it were granted to the late Bishop of Lichfield and his brother, by virtue of their connection with the Palace library."


    Mr. Blake then adverts to the affair of the grounds.  He says:—


    "Nor can I suppose that any well-informed member of the vestry could imagine that it is in the lawful power of a Prime Minister, or even of Parliament, to alienate, without consent, any portion of the Church's inheritance.  It maybe a somewhat high standard of right, which is referred to in the sacred writings, to 'pay for the things which we never took,' but in no standard of right whatsoever can the motto find place to 'take the things for which we never pay.'  Although the Archbishop may have deemed that he turned to the very best account the ground in question, for the purposes of enjoyment and health to the surrounding population, he was far too wise and too charitable to disregard, so far as he deemed he had the power, any petition or request which might, if granted, add to the pleasure and happiness of others, and if it had been made clear to him as his duty, and an offer to that effect had been made to him by the Metropolitan Board of Works or others, I am satisfied he would have consented, not to the alienation of Church property, but to the sale of the field for a people's park, and the application of the value of the ground to mission purposes for South London, and such a scheme I happen to know was at one time discussed by some of those most intimately connected with him."


    Afterwards, January 13, 1883, the Pall Mall Gazette remarked that "it is not a happy omen that the consent of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is required before the well-fed donkey who disports himself in the Palace grounds can be joined by the ill-fed, ragged urchins who now have no playground but the streets."  The Daily News rendered further aid in a leader.  Then a report was made that the condition of the streets, "to which, in his correspondence with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mr. Holyoake had called attention, had been illustrated by the fall of several miserable tenements, in which a woman and several children were fatally buried in the ruins."  The writer says there is "no hope that the unkindly exclusiveness of 'Cantuar ' will be broken down."

    So the matter rested for nearly twenty years before the happy news came that the London County Council had come into possession of the ecclesiastical fields, and converted them into a holy park, where pale-faced mothers and sickly children may stroll or disport themselves at will evermore.  All honour to the later agents of this merciful change.  There is an open gleam of Nature now in the doleful district.  Sir Hudibras exclaims:—


"What perils do environ
 Him who meddles with cold iron."


    Not less so if the meddlement be with ecclesiastical iron and the contest lasts a longer time.


 
CHAPTER XXXIII.

SOCIAL WONDERS ACROSS THE WATER


    BEING several times in France, twice in America and Canada, thrice in Italy and as many times in Holland, under circumstances which brought me into relation with representative people, enabled me to become acquainted with the ways of persons of other countries than my own.  There I met great orators, poets, statesmen, philosophers, and great preachers of whom I had read--but whom to know was a greater inspiration.  Thus I learned the art of not being surprised, and of regarding strangeness as a curiosity, not an offence awakening resentment as something unpardonable, or at least, an impropriety the traveller is bound to reprehend, as Mrs. Trollope and her successors have done on American peculiarities.  On the Continent I found incidents to wonder at, but I confine myself in this chapter to America and Canada, countries we are accustomed to designate as "Across the Water," as the United States and the Dominion which have imperishable interest to all of the British race.

    Notwithstanding the thousands of persons who now make sea journeys for the first time, I found, when it came to my turn, there was no book--nor is there now--on the art of being a sea passenger.  I could find no teaching Handbook of the Ocean--what to expect under entirely new conditions, and what to do when they come, so as to extract out of a voyage the pleasure in it and increase the discomforts which occur in wave-life.  One of the pleasures is--there is no dust at sea.

    On my visit to America in 1879, I, at the request of Mr. Hodgson Pratt, undertook to inquire what were the prospects of emigrants to that country and Canada, which cost me labour and expense.  What I found wanting, and did not exist, and which does not exist still, was an emigrant guide book informing him of the conditions of industry in different States, the rules of health necessary to be observed in different climates, and the vicissitudes to which health is liable.  The book wanted is one on an epitome plan of the People's Blue Books, issued by Lord Clarendon on my suggestion, as he stated in them.

    When I was at Washington, Mr. Evarts, the Secretary of State, gave me a book, published by local authorities at Washington, with maps of every department of the city, marking the portion where special diseases prevailed.  London has no such book yet.  Similar information concerning every State and territory in America existed in official reports.  But I found that neither the Government of Washington nor Ottawa would take the responsibility of giving emigrants this information in a public and portable form, as land agents would be in revolt at the preferential choice emigrants would then have before them.  It was continually denied that such information existed.  Senators in their turn said so.  Possibly they did not know, but Mr. Henry Villard, a son-in-law of Lloyd Garrison, told me that when he was secretary of the Social Science Association he began the kind of book I sought, and that its issue was discouraged.

    On my second visit to America in 1882, I had introductions to the President of the United States and to Lord Lorne, the Governor of Canada, from his father, the Duke of Argyll, with a view of obtaining the publication of a protecting guide book such as I have described, under its authority.  When I first mentioned this in New York (1879) the editor of the Star (an Irishman) wrote friendly and applauding leaders upon my project.  On my second visit, in 1882, this friendly editor (having seen in the papers that Mr. Gladstone approved of my quest) wrote furious leaders against it.  On asking him the reason of the change of view, he said, "Mr. Holyoake, were Mr. Gladstone and his Cabinet in this room, and I could open a trap-door under their feet and let them all fall into hell, I would do it," using words still more venomous.  Then I realised the fatuity of the anti-Irish policy which drives the ablest Irishmen into exile and maintains a body of unappeasable enemies of England wherever they go.  Then I saw what crazy statesmanship it was in the English to deny self-government to the Irish people, and spend ten millions a year to prevent them taking care of themselves.

    The Irish learned to think better of Mr. Gladstone some years later.  One night when he was sitting alone in the House of Commons writing his usual letter to the Queen, after debates were over, he was startled by a ringing cheer that filled the chamber, when looking up he found the Irish members, who had returned to express their gratitude to him.  Surely no nation ever proclaimed its obligation in so romantic a way.  The tenderest prayer put up in my time was that of W. D. Sullivan:--


"God be good to Gladdy,
 Says Sandy, John and Paddy,
 For he is a noble laddy,
     A grand old chiel is he."


    I take pride in the thought that I was the first person who lectured upon "English Co-operation" in Montreal and Boston.  It was with pride I spoke in Stacey Hall in Boston, from the desk at which Lloyd Garrison was once speaking, when he was seized by a slave-owning mob with intent to hang him.  As I spoke I could look into the stairway on my right, down which he was dragged.

    The interviewers, the terror of most "strangers," were welcome to me.  The engraving in Frank Leslie's paper reproduced in "Among the Americans," representing the interview with me in the Hoffman House, was probably the first picture of that process published in England (1881).  I advocated the cultivation of the art in Great Britain, which, though prevalent in America, was still in a crude state there.  The questions put to me were poor, abrupt, containing no adequate suggestion of the information sought.  The interviewer should have some conception of the knowledge of the person questioned, and skill in reporting his answers.  Some whom I met put down the very opposite of what was said to them.  The only protection against such perverters, when they came again, was to say the contrary to what I meant, when their rendering would be what I wished it to be.  Some interviewers put into your mouth what they desired you to say.  Against them there is no remedy save avoidance.  On the whole, I found interviewers a great advantage.  I had certain ideas to make known and information to ask for, and the skilful interviewer, in his alluring way, sends everything all over the land.  Wise questioning is the fine art of daily life.  "It is misunderstanding," says the Dutch proverb, "which brings lies to town."  Everybody knows that misunderstandings create divisions in families and alienations in friendships--in parties as well as in persons--which timely inquiries would dissipate.  Intelligent questioning elicits hidden facts--it increases knowledge without ostentation--it clears away obscurity, and renders information definite--it supersedes assumptions--it tests suspicions and throws light upon conjecture--it undermines error, without incensing those who hold it--it leads misconception to confute itself without the affront of direct refutation--it warns inquirers not to give absolute assent to anything uncorroborated, or which cannot be interrogated.  Relevant questioning is the handmaid of accuracy, and makes straight the pathway of Truth.

    The privations of Protection, which a quick and independent-minded people endured, was one of the wonders I saw.  In Montreal, for a writing pad to use on my voyage home, I had to pay seven shillings and sixpence, which I could have bought in London for eighteen-pence.  I took to America a noble, full-length portrait of John Bright, just as he stood when addressing the House of Commons, more than half life-size--the greatest of Mayall's triumphs.  Though it was not for sale, but a present to my friend, James Charlton, of Chicago, the well-known railway agent, the Custom House demanded a payment of 3o dols. (£6) import duty.  It was only after much negotiations in high quarters, and in consideration that it was a portrait of Mr. Bright, brought as a gift to an American citizen, that that the import duty was reduced to 6 dollars.

    The disadvantage of Protection is that is no one can make a gift to America or to its citizens without being heavily taxed to discourage international generosity.

    The Mayor of Brighton, Mr. Alderman Hallet, had entrusted to me some 200 volumes, of considerable value, on City Sanitation, greatly needed in America.  They lay in the Custom House three months, before I discovered that the Smithsonian Institute could claim them under its charter.  Otherwise I must have paid a return freight to Brighton, as America is protected from accepting offerings of civil or sanitary service.  There often come to us, from that country, emissaries of Evangelism, to improve us in piety, but at home they levy 25 per cent. upon the importation of the Holy Scriptures--thus taxing the very means of Salvation.

    For a time I sent presents of books to working-class friends in America whom I wished to serve or to interest, who wrote to me to say that "they were unable to redeem them from the post-office, the import tax being more than they could pay," and they reminded me that "having been in America, I ought to know that working people could not afford to have imported presents made to them."  Indeed, I had often noticed how destitute their homes were in matters of table service and all bright decoration, plentiful even in the houses of our miners and mechanics in England.  American workmen would tell me that a present of cutlery or porcelain, if I could bring that about, would interest them greatly.

     On leaving New York a friend of mine, a Custom House officer, told me he needed a coast coat, suitable to the service he was engaged in, and that he would be much obliged if I would have one made for him in England.  He would leave it to me to contrive how it could reach him.  The coat he wanted, he said, would cost him £9 in New York.  I had it made in London, entirely to his satisfaction, for £4 15s., but how to get it to him free of Custom duties was a problem.  I had to wait until a friend of mine--a property owner in Montreal--was returning there.  He went out in the vessel in which Princess Louise sailed.  He wore it occasionally on deck to qualify it being regarded as a personal garment.  So it arrived duty free at Montreal.  After looking about for two or three months for a friend who would wear it across the frontier, it arrived, after six months' travelling diplomacy, at the house of my friend in New York.

    I did not find in America or Canada anything more wonderful, beggarly and humiliating than the policy of Protection.  But we are not without counterparts in folly of another kind.

    Visitors to England no doubt wonder to find us, a commercial nation, fining the merchant of enterprise a shilling (the workman was so fined until late years) for every pound he expends on journeys of business--keeping a travelling tax to discourage trade.  But John Bull does not profess to be over-bright, while Uncle Sam thinks himself the smartest man in creation.  We retain in 1904 a tax Peel condemned in 1844.  But then we live under a monarchy from which Uncle Sam is free.

    France used to be the one land which was hospitable to new ideas, and for that it is still pre-eminent in Europe.  But America excels Europe now in this respect.  Canada has not emerged from its Colonialism, and has no national aspiration.  Voltaire found when he was in London, that England had fifty religions and only one sauce.  America has no distinction in sauces, but it has more than 200 religions, and having no State Church there is no poison of Social Ascendency in piety, but equality in worship and prophesying.  I found that a man might be of any religion he pleased--though as a matter of civility he was expected to be of some--and if he said he was of none, he was thought to be phenomenally fastidious, if not one of theirs would suit him, since America provided a greater variety for the visitor to choose from any other country in the world.

    Though naturally dissapointed at being unable to suit the stranger's taste, they were not intolerant.  He was at liberty to import or invent a religion of his own.  Let not the reader imagine that because people are free to believe as they please, there is no religion in America.

    Nearing Santa Fé in New Mexico, I passed by the adobe temple of Montezuma.  Adobe is pronounced in three syllables--a-dö-be--and is the Mexican name for a mud-built house, which is usually one story high; so that Santa Fé has been compared to a town blown down.  When the Emperor Montezuma perished he told his followers to keep the fire burning in the Temple, as he would come again from the east, and they should see "his face bright and fair."  In warfare and pestilence and decimation of their race, these faithful worshippers kept the fire burning night and day for three centuries, and it has not long been extinguished.  Europe can show no faith so patient, enduring, and pathetic as this.

    The pleasantest hours of exploration I spent in Santa Fé were in the old church of San Miguel.  Though the oldest church in America, there are those who would remove rather than restore it.  A book lay upon an altar in which all who would subscribe to save it had inserted their names, and I added mine for five shillings.

When an Englishman goes abroad, he takes with him a greater load of prejudices than any man of any other nation could bear, and, as a rule, he expresses pretty freely his opinion of things which do not conform to his notions, as though the inhabitants ought to have consulted his preferences, forgetting that in his own country he seldom shows that consideration to others.  On fit occasion I did not withhold my opinion of things which seemed to me capable of improvement; but before giving my impressions I thought over what equivalent absurdity existed in England, and by comparing British instances with those before me, no one took offence--some were instructed or amused at finding that hardly any nation enjoyed a monopoly of stupidity.  There is all the difference in the world between saying to an international host, "How badly you do things in your country," and saying, "We are as unsuccessful as you in 'striking twelve all at once.'"

    We all know the maxim: " Before finding fault with another, think of your own."  But Charles Dickens, with all his brightness, forgot this when he wrote of America.  Few nations have as yet attained perfection in all things--not even England.

    When in Boston, America, 1879, I went to the best Bible store I could find or be directed to, to purchase a copy of the apocryphal books of the Old Testament.  In a church where I had to make a discourse, I wanted to read the dialogue between the prophet Esdras and the angel Uriel.  The only copy I could obtain was on poor, thin paper; of small, almost invisible print, and meanly bound.  The price was 4s. 2d.  "How is it," I inquired, "that you ask so much in the Hub of the Universe for even this indifferent portion of Scripture--seeing that at the house of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, in Northumberland Avenue, London, a house ten times handsomer than yours, in a much more costly situation--I can buy the same book on good, strong paper, in large type, in a bright, substantial cover for exactly 3s. less than you ask me."  "You see, sir" said the manager of the store, "we have duty to pay."  "Duty!" I exclaimed.  "Do you mean me to understand that in this land of Puritan Christians, you tax the means of salvation?"  He did not like to admit that, and could not deny it, so after a confused moment he answered: "All books imported have to pay twenty-five per cent. duty."  All I could say was that "it seemed to me that their protective duties protected sin; and, being interested in the welfare of emigrants, I must make a note counselling all who wish to be converted, to get that done before coming out; for if they arrive in America in an unconverted state they could not afford to be converted here."  Until then I was unaware that Protection protected the Devil, and that he had a personal interest in its enactment.

    My article in the Nineteenth Century entitled, "A Stranger in America," written in the uncarping spirit as to defects and ungrudgingly recognising the a circumstances which frustrated or retarded other excellences in their power, was acknowledged by the press of that country, and was said by G. W. Smalley--the greatest American critic in this country then--to be "one of those articles which create international goodwill."  Approval worth having could no further go.  It was surprising to me that mere two-sided travelling fairness should meet with such assent, whereas I expected it would be regarded as tame and uninteresting.


 
CHAPTER XXXIV.

THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH AT SEA


    THE voyage out to America described in the last chapter included an instance of the extraordinary behaviour of the Established Church at sea, which deserves special mention as it is still repeated.

    There is an offensive rule on board ships that the service on Sunday shall be that of the Church of England, and that the preacher selected shall be of that persuasion.

Cunard Line--S. S. Bothnia.
Built J. & G. Thompson in Glasgow, 1874 -- scrapped Marseilles, 1899.

    Several of the twelve ministers of religion among the passengers of the Bothnia in 1879 were distinguished preachers, whereas the clergyman selected to preach to us was not at all distinguished, and made a sermon which I, as an Englishman, was ashamed to hear delivered before an audience of intelligent Americans. The preacher told a woful story of loss of trade and distress in England, which gave the audience the idea that John Bull was "up a tree."  Were he up ever so high I would not have told it to an alien audience.

    The preacher said that these losses were owing to our sins--that is the sins of Englishmen.  The devotion of the American hearers was varied with a smile at this announcement.  It was their surpassing ingenuity and rivalry in trade which had affected our exports for a time.  Our chief "sins" were uninventiveness and commercial incapacity, and the greater wit and ingenuity of the audience were the actual punishment the preacher was pleading against, and praying them to be contrite on account of their own success.  The minister described bad trade as a punishment from God, as though God had made the rascally merchants who took out shoddy calico and ruined the markets.  It was not God that had driven the best French and German artists and workmen into America, where they have enriched its manufacturers with their skill and industry, and enabled that country to compete with ours.

    The preacher's text was as wide of any mark as his sermon.  It asked the question, "How can we sing in a strange land?"  When we should arrive there, there would hardly be a dozen of us in the vessel who would be in a strange land; the great majority were going home--mostly commercial reapers of an English harvest who were returning home rejoicing--bearing their golden sheaves with them.  Neither the sea nor the land were strange to them.  Many of them were as familiar with the Atlantic as with the prairie.  I sat at table by a Toronto dealer who had crossed the ocean twenty-nine times.  The congregation at sea formed a very poor opinion of the discernment of the Established Church.

    On the return voyage in the Gallia we had another "burning" but not "a shining light" of the Church of England to discourse.  He was a young man, and it required some assurance on his part to look into the eyes of the intelligent Christians around him, who had three times his years, experience, and knowledge, and lecture them upon matters of which he was absolutely ignorant.

Cunard Line--S. S. Bothnia, showing the saloon.
Built J. & G. Thompson in Glasgow, 1879 -- scrapped Cherbourg, ca.1900.

    This clergyman enforced the old doctrine of severity in parental discipline of the young, and on the wisdom of compelling children to unquestioning obedience, and argued that submission to a higher will was good for men during life.  At least two-thirds of the congregation were American, who regard parental severity as cruelty to the young, and utterly uninstructive; and unquestioning obedience they hold to be calamitous and demoralising education.  They expect reasonable obedience, and seek to obtain it by reason.  Submission to a "higher will" as applied to man, is submission to arbitrary authority against which the whole polity of American life is a magnificent protest.  The only higher will they recognise in worldly affairs is the will of the people, intelligently formed, impartially gathered, and constitutionally recorded-facts of which the speaker had not the remotest idea.

    Who can read this narrative of the the ignorance and effrontery, nurtured by the Established Church and obtruded on passengers at sea, without a sense of patriotic humiliation that it is continued every Sunday in every ship?  It is thought dangerous to be wrecked and not to have taken part in this pitiable exhibition.


 
CHAPTER XXXV.

ADVENTURES IN THE STREETS


    WERE I persuaded, as many are, that each person is a subject of Providential care, I might count myself as one of the well-favoured.  I should do so, did it not demand unseemly egotism to believe the Supreme Master of all the worlds of the Universe gave a portion of His eternal time to personally guide my unimportant footsteps, or snatch me from harm, which might befall me on doing my duty, or when I inadvertently, negligently, or ignorantly put myself in the way of disaster.  Whatever may be the explanation, I have oft been saved in jeopardy.

    The first specific deliverance occurred when I was a young man, in the Baskeville Mill, Birmingham.  Working at a button lathe, the kerchief round my neck was caught by the "chock," and I saw myself drawn swiftly to it.  To avert being strangled, I held back my neck with what force I could.  All would have been in vain had not a friendly Irishman, who was grinding spectacle glasses in an adjoining room, come to my assistance by which I escaped decapitation without benefit of the clergy, or the merciful swiftness of the guillotine.

    In days when the cheap train ran very early in the morning, I set out before daylight from Exeter, where I had been lecturing.  At the station at which the train stopped for an hour or two, as was the custom in days before the repeal of the tax on third-class passengers, we were in what Omar Khayyám called the "false dawn of morning."  The train did not properly draw up to the platform, and when I stepped out I had a considerable fall, which sprained my ankle and went near breaking my neck.

    On my arrival in Boston, 1879, I was invited by a newspaper friend, whom I had brought with me into the city, to join a party of pressmen who were to assemble next morning at Parker House, to report upon the test ascent of a new elevator.  It happened that Mr. Wendell Phillips visited me early at Adam's House, before I was up.  He sat familiarly on the bedrail, and proposed to drive me round the city and show me the historic glories of Boston, which being proud to accept, I sent an apology for my absence to the elevator party at Parker House.  That morning the elevator broke down, and out of five pressmen who went into it only four were rescued--more or less in a state of pulp.  One was killed.  But for Mr. Phillips's fortunate visit I should have been among them.

    In Kansas City, in the same year (1879), I was taken by my transatlantic friend, Mr. James Charlton, to see a sugar bakery, concerning which I was curious.  The day was hot enough to singe the beard of Satan, and I was glad to retreat into the bakery, which, however, I found still hotter, and I left, intending to return at a cooler hour next morning.  At the time I was to arrive I heard that the whole building had fallen in.  Some were killed and many injured.  This was the City of Kansas, of which the mayor once said: "He wished the people would let some one die a natural death, that a stranger might know how healthy the city was.  Accidents, duels, and shootings prevented cases of longevity occurring."

    Another occasion when misadventure took place, when we--my daughter, Mrs. Marsh, and I--were crossing the Tesuque Valley, below Santa Fé, the party occupied three carriages; road, there was none, and the horses knew it, and when they came to a difficulty--either a ravine or hill--the driver would give the horses the rein, when they spread themselves out with good sagacity, and descended or ascended with success.  One pair of horses broke the spring of their carriage, making matters unpleasant to the occupants; another pair broke the shaft, which, cutting them, made them mad, and they ran away.  The carriage in which I was remained sound, and I had the pleasure for once of watching the misfortunes of my friends.  The river was low, the sand was soft, and the distance through the Tesuque River was considerable, and we calculated that no horses were mad enough to continue their efforts to run through it, and we were rewarded by seeing them alter their minds in the midst of it, and continue their journey in a sensible manner.

    Returning from Guelph, which lies below Hamilton, in the Niagara corner of Canada, where we had been to see the famous Agricultural College, we were one night on the railway in what the Scotch call the "gloaming."  My daughter remarked that the scenery outside the carriage was more fixed than she had before observed it, and upon inquiry it appeared that we were fixed too--for the train had parted in the middle, and the movable portion had gone peacefully on its way to Hamilton.  We were left forming an excellent obstruction to any other train which might come down the line.  Fortunately, the guard could see the last station we had left, two miles from us, and see also the train following us arrive there.  We hoped that the stationmaster would have some knowledge of our being upon the line, and stop the advancing train; but when we saw it leave the station on its way to us we were all ordered to leave the carriages, which was no easy thing, as the banks right and left of us were steep, and the ditch at the base was deep.  However, our friends, Mr. Littlehales and Mr. Smith, being strong of arm and active on a hill, very soon drew us up to a point where we could observe a collision with more satisfaction than when in the carriages.  Fortunately, the man who bore the only lamp left us, and who was sent on to intercept the train, succeeded in doing it.  Ultimately we arrived at Hamilton only two hours late.  When we were all safely at home, one lady, who accompanied us, fainted which showed admirable judgment to postpone that necessary operation until it was no longer an inconvenience.  One lady fainted in the midst of the trouble, which only increased it.  The excitement made fainting sooner or later justifiable, although an impediment, but I was glad to observe my daughter did not think it necessary to faint at any time.

    As we were leaving the sleepy Falls of Montmorency in the carriage, we looked out to see whether the Frenchman had got sight of us, fully expecting he would take a chaise and come after us to collect some other impost which we had evaded paying.  The sun was in great force, and I was reposing in its delicious rays, thinking how delightful it was to ride into Quebec on such a day, when in an instant of time we were all dispersed about the road.  In a field hard by, where a great load of lumber as high as a house was piled, a boy who was extracting a log set the upper logs rolling.  This frightened the horses.  They were two black steeds of high spirit, and therefore very mad when alarmed.  Had they run on in their uncontrollable state, they would, if they escaped vehicles on the way, have arrived at a narrow bridge where unknown mischief must have occurred.  The driver, who was a strongly built Irishman, about sixty, with good judgment and intrepidity, instantly threw the horses on to the fence, which they broke, got into the ditch, and seriously cut their knees.  I leaped out into the ditch with a view to help my daughter out of the carriage; but she, nimbler than I, intending to render me the same service, arrived at the ditch, and assisted me out, merely asking "whether four quietly disposed persons being distributed over the Dominion at a minute's notice was a mode of travelling in Canada?"  Mrs. Hall, who was riding with us, also escaped unhurt.  Her husband deliberately remained some time to see what the horses were going to do, but finding them frantic, he also abandoned the carriage.

    Later, in England, being Ashton way, I paid a visit to my friend the Rev. Joseph Rayner Stephens, whose voice, in early Chartist times, was the most eloquent in the two counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire.  He fought the "New Poor Law" and the "Long Timers" in the Ten Hours' agitation.  His views were changed in many respects, but that did not alter my regard for his Chartist services--and there remained his varied affluence of language, his fitly chosen terms, his humorous statement, his exactness of expression and strong coherence, in which the sequence of his reasoning never disappeared through the crevice of a sentence.  All this made his conversation always charming and instructive.

    After lecturing in the Temperance Hall and the "evening was far spent," a cab was procured to take me to Mr. Stephens's at the "Hollins."  A friend, Mr. Scott, in perfect wanton courtesy, having no presentiment in his mind, would accompany me.  When we arrived at Stalybridge (where there is a real bridge), the cabman, instead of driving over it, drove against it.  I thought, perhaps, this was the way with Ashton cabmen; but my friend came to a different conclusion.  He said the cabman had not taken the "pledge" that afternoon.  I was told Ashton cabmen needed to take it often.  The driver, resenting our remonstrance, drove wildly down a narrow, ugly, deserted street, which he found at hand.  It was all the same to me, who did not know one street from the other.  My friend, who knew there was no outlet save into the river, called out violently to cabby to stop.  The only effect was that he drove more furiously.  Mr. Scott leaped out and seized the horse, and prevented my being overthrown.  Before us were the remains of an old building, with the cellars all open, in one of which we should soon have descended.  Cabby would have killed his horse, and probably himself, which no doubt would have been an advantage to Ashton.  As the place was deserted I should have been found next morning curled up and inarticulate.  We paid our dangerous driver his full fare to that spot, and advised him to put himself in communication with a temperance society.  He abused us as "not being gentlemen" for stopping his cab in that unhandsome way.

    The next morning I went to the scene of the previous night's adventure.  Had Mr. Henley, the loud, coarse-tongued member for Oxfordshire at that time, seen the place, he would have said we were making an "ugly rush" for the river.  Not that we should ever have reached the river, for we should certainly have broken our necks in the brick vaults our driver was whipping his horse into.

    As I needed another cab on my arrival at Euston, I selected a quiet-looking white horse, and a Good Templar-looking cabman, first asking the superintendent what he thought of him. "O, he's all right," was the answer, and things went pleasantly until we arrived at a narrow, winding street.  I was thinking of my friend, Mr. Stephens, and of the concert which at that hour he had daily in his bedroom, when I was suddenly jerked off my seat and found the white horse on the foot-pavement.  I stepped out and adjured the cabman, "By the carpet-bag of St. Peter" (no more suitable adjuration presented itself on the occasion), to tell me what he was at.  I said, "Are you from Ashton?"  "Nothing the matter, sir.  All right. Jump in. Only my horse shied at the costermonger's carrot-cart there.  She's a capital horse, only she's apt to shy."  I answered, "Yes; and unless I change my mode of travelling by cabs, I shall become shy myself."

    Late one night, after the close of the Festive Co-operative Meeting in Huddersfield, a cab was fetched for me from the fair--it being fair time.  The messenger knew it was a bad night for the whip, as he might be "touched in the head" by the festivities, so he said to cabby: "Now, though it is fair night, you must do the fair thing by this fare.  He does not mind spreading principles, but he objects to being spread himself."  Cabby came with alacrity.  He thought he had to take some "boozing cuss" about the fair, with an occasional pull up at the "Spread Eagle."  When he found me issuing from a temperance hotel, bound for Fernbrook, he did not conceal his disappointment by tongue or whip, and jerked his horse like a Bashi-Bazouk when a Montenegrin is after him.  I cared nothing, as I had made up my mind not to say another word about cabs if they broke my neck.  I knew we had a stout hill before us, which would bring things quiet.  The next day the hotel people, who saw the cabman's rage, said they thought there was mischief in store for me.  They knew nothing of Ashton ways, and their apprehensions were original.

    After a pleasant sojourn in Brighton, where the November sun is bright, and the fogs are thin, grey and graceful, softening the glare of the white coast, tempering it to the sensitive sight, I returned to London one cold, frosty day, when snow and ice made the streets slippery.  I had chosen a cabman whose solid, honest face was assuring, and being lumpy and large himself I thought he would keep his "four-wheeler" steady by his own weight.  Being himself lame and rheumatic, he appeared one who would prefer quiet driving for his own sake.  We went on steadily until we reached Pall Mall, when he turned sharply up Suffolk Street.  Looking out, I called to my friend on the box, saying, "This is not Essex Street."  "Beg your pardon, sir, I thought you said Suffolk Street," and began to turn his horse round.  In that street the ground rises, and the carriage-way is convex and narrow, it required skill to turn the cab, and the cabman was wanting therein.  He said his rein had caught, and when he thought he was pulling the horse round, the horse had taken a different view of his intention, and imagined he was backing him, and, giving me the benefit of the doubt, did back, and overturned the cab, and me too.  Not liking collisions of late, I had, on leaving Brighton, wrapped myself in a railway cloak, that it might act as a sort of buffer in case of bumping--yet not expecting I should require it so soon.  Seeing what the horse was at, and taking what survey I could of the situation, I found I was being driven against the window of the house in which Cobden died.  I have my own taste as to the mode in which I should like to be killed.  To be run over by a butcher's cart, or smashed by a coal train or brewer's van is not my choice; but being killed in Pall Mall is more eligible, yet not satisfactory.

    As I had long lived in Pall Mall, I knew the habits of the place.  There is a gradation of killing in the streets of London, well-known to West-end cabmen.  As they enter Trafalgar Square, they run over the passenger without ceremony.  At Waterloo Place, where gentlemen wander about, they merely knock you down, but as they enter Club-land, which begins at Pall Mall West, where Judges and Cabinet Ministers and members of Parliament abound, they merely run at you; so I knew I was on the spot where death is never inflicted.  Therefore I took hold of the strap on the opposite side of the cab to that on which I saw I should fall.  For better being able to look after my portmanteau, I had it with me, and, fortunately had placed it on the side on which I fell.  Placing myself against it when the crash came, and the glass broke, I was saved from my face being cut by it.  My hat was crushed, and head bruised.  It was impossible to open the door, which was then above me, and had the horse taken to kicking, as is the manner of these animals when in doubt, it would have fared ill with me.  Possibly the horse was a member of the peace Society, and showed no belligerent tendency; more likely he was tired, and glad of the opportunity of resting himself.  The street, which seemed empty, was quickly filled, as though people sprang out of the ground.  Two Micawbers who were looking out for anything which "turned up," or turned over, came and forced open the cab-door at the top, and dragged me up, somewhat dazed, my hat off, my grey hair dishevelled, my blue spectacles rather awry on my face--I was sensible of a newly-contrived, music-hall appearance as my shoulders peered above the cab.  A spirit merchant near kindly invited me into his house, where some cold brandy and water given to me seemed more agreeable and refreshing than it ever did before or since.  The cab had been pulled together somehow.  My rheumatic friend on the box had been picked up not much the worse--possibly the fall had done his rheumatism good.  I thought it a pity the poor fellow should lose his fare as well as his windows, and so continued my journey with him.

    On one occasion, after an enchanted evening in the suburbs of Kensington, a fog came on.  The driver of the voiture drove into an enclosure of stables, and went round and round.  Noticing there was a recurring recess, I kept the door open until we arrived at it again, and leapt into it as we passed again. When the driver, who was bewildered, came round a third time, I surprised him by shouts, and advised him to let his horse take us out by the way he came in.  There was no house, or light, or person to be seen, and there was the prospect of a night in the cold, tempered by contingent accident.

    Having engaged to be surety for the son of a Hindoo judge, who was about to enter as a student in the Inns of Court, a new adventure befel me.  I had accepted from his father the appointment of guardian of his son.  My ward was a young man of many virtues, save that of punctuality.  As he did not appear by appointment, I set out in search of him.  Crossing Trafalgar Square I found myself suddenly confronted by two horses' heads.  An omnibus had come down upon me.  It flashed through my mind that, as I had often said, I was in more danger of being killed in the streets of London than in any foreign city or on the sea; and I concluded the occasion had come.  I knew no more until I found myself lying on my back in the mud after rain, but, seeing an aperture between the two wheels, I made an attempt to crawl through.  A crowd of spectators had gathered round and voices shouted to me to remain where I was until the wheels were drawn from me.  Lying down in the mud again was new to me.  There was nothing over me but the omnibus, and as I had never seen the bottom of one before, I examined it.  It happened that a surgeon, of the Humane Society was among the spectators, who assisted in raising me up, and took me to the society's rooms close by, where I was bathed and vaseline applied to my bruises.  My overcoat was torn and spoiled, but I was not much hurt.  The hoof of one horse had made black part of one arm.  It appears I had fallen between them, and had it not been for their intelligent discrimination I might have been killed.  I sent two bags of the fattest feeding cake the Co-operative Agricultural Association could supply, as a present to those two horses.  I had no other means of showing my gratitude to them.  I was not so grateful to the Humane Society's surgeon, who sent me in a bill for two guineas for attendance upon me, and threatened me with legal proceedings if I did not pay it.  As he accompanied me to the National Liberal Club, whence I had set out, I sent him one guinea for that courtesy, and heard no more of him, and did not want to.

    One evening, after leaving a Co-operative Board Meeting in Leman Street, Whitechapel, I incautiously stepped into the roadway to hail a cab, when a lurry came round a corner behind me and knocked me into the mud, which was very prevalent that day.  Some bystanders picked me up, and one, good-naturedly, lent me a handkerchief with which to clear my face and head, both being blackened and bleeding.  The policeman who took charge of me asked me where I wanted to be taken.  I answered that I was on my way to Fleet Street to an assembly of the Institute of journalists to meet M. Zola, then on a visit to us.  "I think, sir," said the reflective policeman, "we had better take you to the London Hospital," and another policeman accompanied me in a passing tram, which went by the hospital door.  After some dreary waiting in the accident ward it was found that I had no rib or bone broken, but my nose and forehead were bound up with grim-looking plasters, and when I arrived at the hotel, four miles away, where I was residing, and entered the commercial room, I had the appearance of a prize-fighter, who had had a bad time of it in the ring.  Knowing the second day of an accident was usually the worst, I took an early train home while I could move.  My ribs, though not broken, were all painful, and I remember squealing for a fortnight on being taken out of bed.  After my last adventure the Accident Insurance Company (though I had never troubled them but once) refused to accept any further premium from me, which I had paid twenty or thirty years, and left me to deal with further providential escapes from my own resources.

Thinking I was safe in Brighton near my own home, I was walking up the Marine Parade, one quiet Sunday morning, when a gentleman on a bicycle rushed down a bye street and knocked me down with a bound.  Seeing two ladies crossing the street I concluded matters' were safe.  The rider told me that he had seen the ladies and had arranged to clear them, but as I stepped forward he could not clear me, so gave me the preference.  As I had always been in favour of the rights of women I said he did rightly, though the result was not to my mind.  He had the courtesy to accompany me to my door, apologising for what he had done, but left me to pay the bill of the physician, who was called in to examine me.  When I recovered my proper senses I found he had not left his card.  Though I advertised for him, he made no reappearance.

    Another serene Sunday morning I was crossing the Old Steine with a son-in-law; nothing was to be seen in motion save a small dog-cart, which had passed before we stepped into the road.  Soon we found ourselves both thrown to the ground with violence.  A huge dog, as large as the "Hound of the Baskervilles" described by Conan Doyle, had loitered behind and suddenly discovered his master had driven ahead, and he, like a Leming rat, made straight for his master, quite regardless of our being in his way.

    In these and other adventures or mis-adventures, I need not say I was never killed, though the escapes were narrow.  To say they were providential escapes would be to come under the rebuke of Archbishop Whately, who, when a curate reported himself as providentially saved from the terrible wreck of the Amazon, asked: "Am I to understand that all less fortunate passengers were providentially drowned?"  The belief that the Deity is capricious or partial in His mercies is a form of holy egotism which better deserves indictment than many errors of speech which have been so visited.  I have no theory of my many exemptions from fatal consequences.  All I can say is that, had I been a saint, I could not have been more fortunate.


 
CHAPTER XXXVI.

LIMPING THRIFT


THRIFT is so excellent a thing--is so much praised by moralists, so much commended by advisers of the people, and is of so much value to the poor who practise it--that it is strange to see it retarded by the caprices of those who take credit and receive it, for promoting the necessary virtues.  Insurance societies continue to recommend themselves by praising prudence and forethought which provides for the future.  Everybody knows that those who do not live within their income live upon others who trust them.  Those who spend all their income forget that if others did as they do, there would be universal indigence.  Insurance companies are supposed to provide inducements to thrift, whereas they put wanton obstacles in its way.

    He who takes out a policy on his life finds it a condition that if he commits suicide his policy will be forfeited--the assumption of insurance offices being that if a man insures his life he intends to cut his throat.  Can this be true?  What warrant of experience is there for this expectation?  Is not the natural, the instinctive, the universal love of life security sufficient against self-slaughter?  If life be threatened, do not the most thoughtless persons make desperate effort to preserve it?  Is it necessary for insurance societies to come forward to supplement incentives of nature?  Is not the fact that a man is provident-minded enough to think of insuring his life, proof enough that his object is to live?

    Answers to a series of questions are demanded from an insurer, which average persons do not possess the knowledge to answer with exactitude; yet failure in any fact or detail renders the policy void, although a person has paid premiums upon it for thirty or forty years.

    Elaborate legal statements which few can understand are attached to a policy which intimidates those who see them, from wishing to incur such unfathomable obligation.  A few plain words in plain type would be sufficient for the guidance of the insured and the protection of the company.  The uncertainty comes from permitting questions of popular interest to be stated by a member of the legal profession.  If the terms of eternal salvation had been drawn up by a lawyer, not a single soul would be saveable, and the judgment day would be involved in everlasting litigation.

    An office known to me had judges among its directors, from which it was inferred by the insured that the office was straight.  The holder of a policy in it, making a will, his solicitor on inquiry found that the office did not admit his birth.  They had received premiums for forty years, still reserving this point for possible dispute after the policy-holder was dead, never informing him of it.  When the insurance was effected, they saw the holder of it and could judge his age to a year.  They saw the certificate of his birth, but gave him no assurance that they admitted it and it had to be presented again.

    In another case within my knowledge, the owner of a policy obtained a loan upon it, from a well-known lawyer in the City of London, who gave the office, as is usual, notice of it.  When the loan was repaid he again wrote to the office saying he had executed a deed of release of his claim on the policy.  That the office was not satisfied with this assurance was never communicated to the policyholder, and when many years later, the lawyer who advanced the loan was dead, and his son who succeeded him was dead, it transpired that the office did not believe the assurances they had received.  They admitted having received the letter by the loan maker, but required to see the deeds relating to the advance and release and repayment of the loan; and they gave the policyholder to understand that he had better keep those deeds, as his executors might be required to produce them at his death.  It was a miracle they were not destroyed.  As the office had been legally notified that the claim on the policy had ceased, it was never imagined that deeds which did not relate to the office could be required by it.  Under this intimidation the deeds have now been kept.  They are fifty years old.  This Scotland Yard practice of treating an insurer as a thief, detracts from the fascination of thrift.

    Another instance was that of a policy-holder who applied to the office for a loan, for which 1 per cent. more interest was demanded than his banker asked, and a rise of 1 per cent. in case of delay in paying the interest, and a charge was to be made for the office lawyer investigating the validity of their own policy, upon which the office had received premiums for forty-seven years.

    Directors, like the Doge of Venice, should have a lion's mouth open, of which they have the key, when they might hear of things done in their name, not conducive to the extension of thrift.

    No wonder thrift goes limping along, from walking in the jagged pathway which leads to some insurance office.

    There are, as I know, offices straightforward and courteous, who foster thrift by making it pleasant.  Yet, as one who has often advocated thrift, I think it useful to record my astonishment at the official impediments to its popularity, which I have encountered.  This is one reason why Thrift, the most self-respecting of all the goddesses that should be swift-footed, goes limping along.


 
CHAPTER XXXVII.

MISTRUST OF MODERATION


TEMPERANCE is restraint in use.  Abstinence is entire avoidance, which is the wise policy of those who lack the strength of temperance.

    How necessary entire abstinence is to many, I well know.  When the drink passion sets in, it leads to an open grave.  The drinker sees it, and knows it, and, with open eyes walks into it.  He who realises the danger, would, as Charles Lamb said--


"Clench his teeth and ne'er undo them,
 To let the deep damnation trickle through them."


For such there is no salvation save entire abstinence.  Thousands might have been saved but for the fanaticism of abstinence advocates who opposed in Parliament every legal mitigation of the evil, thinking the spectacle of it would force the legislature into prohibition.  In discussions, lectures, articles, I advocated the policy of mitigation, and supported measures in Parliament calculated to that end, encountering thereby the strong dissent of temperance writers who, not intending it, connived at drunkenness as a temperance policy.

    Is it true that moderation is dead?  Have teetotalers extinguished it as a rule of daily life?  Bishop Hall, in his fine way, said, "Moderation was the silken string running through the pearl chain of all our virtues."  Was this a mistake of the illustrious prelate?  Is not temperance a wider virtue than total abstinence?  Is there no possibility of establishing temperance in betting?  Can no limitation be imposed on betting?  The public know denunciatory preaching does not arrest it.  Innumerable articles are written against it.  Letters about it are not lacking in the editor's post-bag.  Yet not a mitigation nor remedy is suggested, save that of prohibition, which is as yet impossible.  Betting is a kind of instinct, difficult to eradicate, but possible to regulate.  Games of hazard, as card-playing or dice, are naturally seductive in their way.  They are useful as diversions and recreation.  They exercise the qualities of judgment, calculation, and presence of mind, as well as furnish entertainment.  It is only when serious stakes are played for that mischief and ruin begin.

    But the seduction of card gambling--once widely irresistible--is now largely limited by the growing custom of playing only for small stakes.  Family playing or club playing, professedly for money, is held to be disreputable.  Formerly, drinking which proceeded to the verge of intoxication, or went beyond it, was thought "manly."  Now, where the effects are seen in the face, or in business, it is counted ruinous to social or professional reputation.  Drinking is far more difficult of mitigation than betting, because the temptations to it occur much oftener.  The capricious habit of going in search of luck can be restrained by common sense.  Temperance in betting would be easier to effect were it not for the intemperate doctrine of total abstainers.  By defaming moderation they rob the holy name of temperance of its charm, its strength and its trust.  By teaching that "moderation is an inclined plane, polished as marble, and slippery as glass, on which whoever sets his foot, slips down into perdition;" they destroy moderation by making it a terror.  It brings it into contempt and distrust, and undermines self-confidence and self-respect.  Yet it is by moderation that we live.  Moderation in eating is an absolute condition of health--as the Indian proverb puts it: "Disease enters by the mouth."  A man who disregards moderation in work, or in pleasure, or diet, seldom lives out half his days.  He who has no moderation in judgment, in belief, in opinion, in politics, or piety, is futile in counsel, and dangerous in his example.  If the disparagement of self-control has not destroyed the capacity and confidence of moderation in the public heart, temperance in betting is surely possible.

    Occasionally a minister of religion will ask me what I have to say about betting.  I answer, "It is difficult to extinguish it, but possible to mitigate it."  I give an instance from my own experience.

    Years ago when I was editing the Reasoner, Dr. Shorthouse contributed a series of instructive papers on the physiology of racing horses.  Out of courtesy to him I took a ticket in a sweepstake in which he was concerned, but in which I felt no interest.  Months after, I saw that the owner of the prize was unknown.  My brother, knowing I had a ticket, found it among my papers, and I received £50.  I invested the amount, intending to use the interest in some future speculation, if I made any, which was not in my way.  To that £50 there is added now more than £50 of accumulated interest, with which I might operate if so inclined.  Were I in the crusade against betting I should say, "Form societies for Temperance in Betting, of which the rules shall be--


" '1.--No member may make any bet unless he is able, having regard to his social obligations, to lose the sum he risks, and is willing to lose it, if he fails to win.

" '2.--When he does win anything, he shall invest it, and bet with the interest, and every time he wins, shall add the amount to the original investment, which would give him a larger sum for future recreation in that way.'"


    There is a Church of England Temperance Society which has the courage to believe in moderation, and which makes it a rule of honour to keep clear of all excess.  Thousands in every walk of life have been saved to society under this sensible encouragement, and where an occasional act of excess would have been counted venial, it is regarded as revolting as an act of indecency.

    I have known men in the betting ring who made up their mind that when they acquired a certain sum they would retire, nor step again in the treacherous paths of hazard--and they kept their resolution.  But very few are able to do this, having no trained will.

    I am against extremes in social conduct, save where reason shows it to be a necessity.  If Betting Limited was approved by the public, betting at hazard would become as socially infamous as petty larceny.  In the dearth of suggestions for the mitigation of an evil as serious as that of drunkenness, I pray forgiveness for that I have made.

    Previous to 1868, I assisted in establishing the Scottish Advertiser conducted by Walter Parlane.  It bore the following motto, which I wrote for it:


"Whatever trade Parliament licenses, it recognises--and so long as such trade is a source of public revenue, it is entitled to public protection."


    I still agree with the sentiment expressed.  All I meant was a reasonable protection of the interest which the law had conceded to the trade.  The predatory impudence of the monopoly privileges the trade has since extorted against the public interests was in no man's mind then.  No one intended that the concession of just protection should be construed into extortion.  As respects compensation, the temperate party refused it.  I was not of their opinion.  I agreed with them that the publicans had no logical claim for compensation, but I would have conceded it as the lesser of two evils, just as it was better to free the West Indian slaves by purchase than to continue their lawful subjection.  If to maintain in full force the legalised machinery of drunkenness be only half as dreadful in its consequences as temperance advocates truly represent, it would be cheaper as well as more humane to limit it by graduated compensation.


 
CHAPTER XXXVIII.

PENAL CHRISTIANITY


PREDATORY Christianity would not be far from the mark.  Christianity is of the nature of a penal settlement where independent-minded persons are made to expiate the sin of thinking for themselves.  There can be no real goodwill in any one who is not for justice and equality.  No cause can command respect, or can claim a hearing from others which is not based on absolute fairness.  Many well-meaning Christians never inquire whether the great cause they have at heart fulfils this condition.  In the past this omission has been a lasting cause of alienation from their views.

    Between 1850 and 1860 there sat in St. Bride's Vestry, London, a group of Christian churchwardens who twice a year sent agents to seize property from my house in Fleet Street, because I refused to pay tithes.  Yet there are people who tell us without tiring, of the depravity of the French revolutionists and atheists who laid, or proposed to lay hands upon Church property.  Yet these Christian officers, acting under the eye of an opulent rector in the wealthiest capital in the world, seized clocks and bales of paper on the premises of heretics, in the name of the Church! Did not this disqualify the Church as ministers of consolation?  The greatest consolation is justice.  Is it not spiritual effrontery to despoil a man, then invite him to the communion table?  In our day by predatory acts, they confiscate Nonconformist property to maintain Church schools.  Can it be that heaven recognised agents engaged in petty larceny?  Are they intrusted with the keys of heaven?  May the priest be a thief?  Can a man expect to be admitted at the Golden Gate with a burglar's passport in his hand?  There exist penal laws against all who do not stand on the side of faith, which Nonconformists as well as Churchmen connive at, profit by, and maintain.  Is not this destructive of their spiritual pretensions?  Can they preach of holiness and truth without a blush?  No higher criticism can condemn Christianity, as it is self condemned by resting on predatoriness.  No person who does not stand on the Christian side can leave property for promoting his views, as a Christian can for promoting his.  No Christian conscience is touched at this disadvantage imposed upon the independent thinker.  No sermon is preached against it.  No Christian petition is ever set up against it.  Neither the Church conscience nor the Nonconformist conscience is stirred by the existence of this injustice.  It would cease if they objected to it.  But they do not object to it.

    There are prelates, priests, clergymen, and Nonconformist ministers personally to be respected, who in human things I trust.  But for their spiritual vocation, is it possible to have respect or trust?  To tender consolation with one hand while they keep the other in my pocket is an act never absent from my mind.  I belong to a Secular party who seek improvement by material means; but were there any body of Christians upon whom that party imposed legal disadvantages in its own interest, and kept them there by silence or connivance, Parliament would hear from me pretty frequently until the insulting privileges were annulled.  Any pretension to having principles worthy of acceptance, or regard, or even respect, would be impertinence in us so long as we were unfair to others.

    I caused to be brought into Parliament a Bill in which Sir Philip Manfield took the leading interest, entitled:--

 

 

 


    This Bill was not proceeded with.  It required a member like Samuel Morley, of known Christianity and a conscience, to carry it through the House.

    A theory has been started that by registering an association, under the Friendly Societies Act, it would legalise its proceedings and virtually repeal all the laws confiscating bequests.  No case of this kind has come before the higher courts.  To do the Government justice, I know no case in which the Crown has interfered to confiscate a bequest on the ground of heresy in its use.  Members of families, legally entitled to the property of a testator, may claim the money and get it.  If the family enters no claim the bequest takes effect.  In the meantime the state of the law prevents testators leaving property for the maintenance of their opinions, and Christians bring charges against philosophical thinkers for lack of generosity in building halls as Christians do chapels.  The Christian reproaches the philosopher for not giving, when he has confiscated the bequest of the philosopher and the power of giving.

    Priests often mourn at the disinclination to listen to the tenets they proclaim, and advertise in the newspapers the melancholy fact that only one person in five is found on Sunday in a place of worship, and do not remember how many persons remain away, not so much from dislike of the tenets preached, as from dislike of the injustice which they would have to share if they belonged to any Christian communion.


 
CHAPTER XXXIX.

TWO SUNDAYS


NONE of our Sunday Societies or Sunday Leagues seem ever to have thought of the advantages of advocating as I have long done--two Sundays--a Devotional Sunday and a Secular Sunday:

    The advocacy of two Sundays would put an end to the fear or pretence that anybody wants to destroy the one we have.

    The Policy of a Second Sunday is a necessity.

    It would put an end to the belief that the working classes are mad, and not content with working six days want to work on the seventh.

    It would preserve the present Sunday as a day of real rest and devotion.  The one Sunday we now have is neither one thing nor the other.  Its insufficiency for rest prevents it being an honest day of devotion.  Proper recreation is out of the question.  There is too little time for excursions out of town on the Saturday half-day holiday.  Imprisonment in town irritates rather than refreshes--mere rest is not recreation.


"A want of occupation gives no rest.
 A mind quite vacant is a mind distressed."


    Those who would provide recreation in the country find it not worth while for the precarious chance of half-day visitors.  On a Secular Sunday recreation would be organised and be more self- respecting than it now can be.

    1. It would conduce to the public health.  The manufacturing towns of England are mostly pandemoniums of smoke or blast-furnace fumes.  The winds of heaven cannot clear them away in one day--less than forty-eight hours of cessation of fire and fume would not render the air breathable.

    2. With two Sundays one would be left undisturbed, devoted to repose, to piety, contemplation and improvement of the mind.

    3. It would give the preacher intelligent, fresh-minded and fruitful-minded hearers, instead of the listless, wearied, barren-headed auditors, who lower the standard of his own mind by forcing upon him the endeavour to speak to the level of theirs.

    4. A second Sunday would give the people real rest when nobody would frown upon them, nor preach against them, nor pray against them.

    5. It would be cheaper to mill-owners to stop their works two clear days than run them on short days; and there need not be fears of claims of further reduction of forty-eight hours a week on the part of workpeople, who would have a real sense of freedom from unending toil with two days' rest and peace.  Manufacturing towns would no longer be, as now, penal settlements of industry. Holiness would no longer be felt to be wearisomeness.

    But for Moses, the changes here sought would have existed long ago.  One day's rest in the week was enough for Jews who were doing nothing when one Sunday was prescribed to them.  Had Moses foreseen the manufacturing system, instead of saying "six days," he would have said, "Five days shalt thou labour."

    If he deserves well of mankind who makes two blades of wheat grow where only one grew before; he deserves better who causes two Sundays to exist where only one existed before--for corn merely feeds the body, whereas reasonable leisure feeds the mind.

[Next Page]
_____________________________

NOTES.

 
52.   Personally, I preferred controversy outside Co-operation.
 
53.   "History of Rochdale Pioneers, 1844-1892 " (Sonnenschein).

 


 

[Home] [Up] [Autobiography] [Rochdale Pioneers] [Leeds Co-op Jubilee] [Derby Co-op Jubilee] [Co-operation] [Public Speaking] [Among the Americans] [The Reasoner] [Miscellaneous] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk