William Lovett: Autobiography (6)

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CHAPTER XX.


THE following year (1857) was to me a period of great trouble and anxiety, occasioned, for the most part, by my connection with the National Hall. A publican having taken the premises adjoining to it, resolved to obtain our premises, if possible, for a music hall, in connection with his public-house.  To this end he employed a scheming house-agent to assist him, one who boasted to me that he had travelled upwards of a thousand miles before he could find out the proprietors, and settle with them about the sale of the hall.  These were three Quaker brothers, of Bristol, their agent to whom I paid the rent being another Quaker, living in London.  This last had told me many months previously that be thought the proprietors were disposed to sell the hall, and promised to obtain all the particulars respecting it for me; for though I had no means of purchasing it myself, I had a friend that would have purchased it on account of the schools held in it.  The house-agent referred to, however, found out the proprietors, and in some way arranged with the agent that I should know nothing about it till the bargain had been concluded.

    The publican having thus got possession of the premises, commenced a series of annoyances and persecutions in order to obtain occupancy, for I had upwards of six years of my lease unexpired.  Having just paid off the debt on the hall, and laid out a large sum in putting a new flooring in it and repainting it, I was hopeful that if I could retain it for that period I should be somewhat indemnified for the outlay, labours, and sacrifices I had made during the time the management had been thrown upon me.  I had also two large schools in it, and was doing some good, and that was a strong motive for inducing me to retain possession.  This, however, was not to be, for the publican first began by threatening to stop up the passage leading to the hall, as it ran under his premises, and we had had to obtain the consent of the previous occupant for flooring and covering over a part of it.  His next plan was to get a surveyor to examine the premises, and to make out a report unfavourable to their safety.  But, singular enough, while the surveyor and the publican were going over the premises, to make out this report against their safety, the surveyor was, at the same time, giving him hints, and telling him how he might alter it for a music hall; and assured him that the beams of the roof were sufficiently strong to bear chandeliers.  This curious conversation was overheard, and made known to me by Mr. Henry Mills, the hall-keeper, a man on whose veracity I place the greatest reliance.

    With this false report, however, in his possession, he represented to the Commissioners of Police that the premises were highly unsafe, and that as we were about to have a large public meeting in it of the unemployed, who were in the habit of meeting in Smithfield (which was a great falsity), that we ought to be restrained.  A magistrate's warrant was accordingly issued, and the police surveyor sent to examine the premises.  He accordingly ordered that, before the place should be occupied again, a certain portion of the east wall should be taken down, and piers built up from the foundation to the roof on one side.  I not having the means for accomplishing such extensive repairs went, in my dilemma, to see my kind friend A. B., who had for so many years been a friend and supporter of the school.  He told me that if I entertained any hopes that these repairs would enable me to keep on the schools, and to carry on the business of the hall as usual, that he would lend me the means for completing them.  This induced me to engage a builder to commence the repairs required, which, when the publican heard of, he did all he could to induce the police surveyor to condemn the end of the building nearest to his own premises also.

    Failing in this, as well as in an effort to obtain possession of the magistrate's warrant, so as to turn me out of the place on the plea of insecurity, he sent a person to again threaten me with the blocking up of the passage.  I told him that he might do his worst, as he had done hitherto, and that the law must take its course.  In the course of a few days, however, he sent a person to inquire what I wanted for the remainder of my lease.  I told him that I did not wish to give up the premises, as they were well occupied.  Having, however, in the interim consulted a lawyer friend, respecting my right of way, through the passage, I found that my case was doubtful, and that I should have but a poor chance if I let it pass into a court of law, as the right of way had been abandoned by the people who had the place before us (they having had another entrance) and our right not having been established by the usage of twenty years.

    Then it was that I thought it well to give up the struggle, and to let my lawyer negotiate for me.  This ended in my receiving £600 for the remainder of the lease and fixtures, and £159 for the builder's account for repairing the wall.  Subsequently I received £70 14s. 6d. for the school furniture and apparatus at a public sale, and these conjointly formed my final receipts.  When I had repaid out of this money all sums due for repairs, rent, salaries, loans, legal and other expenses, there remained in my hands the sum of £290 11s. 2d. on account of the hall.  Thus after labouring for about fifteen years to establish and uphold this place did it pass out of our hands to be converted into a gin-palace.  Thus was an institution for the education of about three hundred children, and for the instruction and improvement of the great numbers that attended the lectures and classes held in it, obliged to give way to an institution for corrupting the rising generation; for I hold that no more efficient means for corrupting a people can be found than that of blending their amusements with the means of intoxication.

    It will be remembered, from what I have already said, that the magistrates of Middlesex refused to grant a music license to our Association when we first opened the hall because, forsooth, we were Chartists; persons who aimed at freeing, instructing, and soberizing the people, by excluding all kinds of intoxicating drinks from among them; but no sooner did the hall pass into the hands of a publican than a license was not only readily granted by the magistrates, but some of their body, together with brewers, publicans, and their disciples, met to drink, revel, and rejoice in it, and to express the great gratification they felt that so glorious a change had taken place.  Everything, of course, that will divert the people's attention away from all social and political improvement is by all means to be encouraged by those who live by their ignorance and prosper by their vices.  Hence we see, in all parts of the country, how readily magistrates license places of amusement in connection with public-houses, and how numerous they have become in the course of a few years.  It needs, in fact, little discrimination to perceive that all and every project calculated to divert our young men's attention from all intellectual pursuits, and from all efforts for their social and political improvement, meet ready patronage, praise, and encouragement from those in power and authority.

    When I left the hall, however, I was hopeful that I might soon meet with another place to enable me to carry on my schools as formerly, and I got my desks and other school apparatus warehoused with that hope.  But after keeping them for about four years and having failed in getting any place likely to suit me, I disposed of them by sale, as I have stated. I n the meantime, my kind friend A. B., having recommended me to the Treasurer and Superintendent of St. Thomas Charter-house Schools—the Reverend Mr. Rogers—as a teacher of elementary anatomy and physiology, and my services being accepted, I continued for nearly eight years to teach these subjects there to the best of my ability when health permitted.  Subsequently, I taught the same subjects for nearly two years, at Mr. W. Richardson's Grammar School, Gray's Inn Road.

    My educational efforts having been interfered with at the hall in the manner described, I thought I might possibly be able to render some service to the cause in another way.  Having felt as a teacher the great want of books suitable for enabling me to teach the outlines of science to those committed to my care, I thought I might be able to prepare a few elementary works, adapted for imparting that description of knowledge to children; and I thought also they might possibly be found useful to working men who like myself had not had the advantage of a scientific education.  I know that many will be found to smile, if not to sneer, at the notion of working men being taught anything of science; beings, who are only expected to labour and be content in the situation in which they are placed, and to be obedient and humble to all their betters.  But entertaining the notion that the wealth, happiness, and security of a country depend more on the general enlightenment, good conduct, skill, and industry of the many, than on the superior attainments of the few, I am for the education and development of all the powers God has given to all without reference to the class they belong to, or the station in life they may hereafter fill.  And until that broad principle of education is recognized and acted upon justice will not be rendered to the millions, nor will the productive and manufacturing powers of our country be developed to the extent that they would be if this were done.  With these notions I have laboured and shall continue to labour to the extent of my poor abilities to impart the outlines of science to the rising generation, believing that it can be easily done, and that it will do more towards enabling them to understand their own nature, to know their duties to society, and the means of making them good and useful members of society, than much of what now goes by the name of education.

    The first, then, of the elementary books I prepared was one on astronomy, a science that I think all should know something about, at least of its great outlines.  For in contemplating the heavens of gorgeous grandeur and boundless extent—filled with suns and worlds innumerable—the mind is filled with the most delightful imaginings regarding their nature, origin, and extent; and is lifted far above all superstitious grovelling on becoming acquainted with the great facts the science of the heavens unfolds.  It has been in this region of inquiry above all others that the human mind has been expanded to the achievement of its grandest and proudest triumphs; for in striving to grasp the mighty magnitudes, the rapid motions, the unfathomed distances, and the laws that govern the majestic movements of the orbs above him, man has not only unravelled thread by thread the veil of mystery and error, but has made his knowledge of the heavens his noblest guide on earth; enabling him to push his fearless course across the trackless ocean, to spread his bounties, extend his knowledge, improve and bless his brethren, and finally, let us hope, to link the whole world together in amity.

    My next little work was one on geology, a subject which I think of the highest importance, as from the wide field which it opens out for man's investigation, observation, and thought in every department of nature—from the curious and wondrous records which it unfolds of an immeasurable past—from the facts which it presents of a ceaseless, ever-changing present—and the curious speculations which it affords of the new races and still more advanced forms that may people the future—there is perhaps no other science so well calculated to captivate and expand the intellect, and to excite our imagination, our wonder, and delight; and "Knowledge and Thought," says the great and noble-minded Humboldt, "are at once the delight and prerogative of man and form a part also of the wealth of nations."  Independently, however, of the blessings that spring from knowledge, the study of nature, in all her boundless fields, not only serves to gratify the natural thirst and curiosity which every reflecting person has to know the purposes, the uses, and properties of the existences around him; and the strong desire which he has to trace the past and to question the future; but such studies serve also to solve, or cast a flood of light to illumine, a thousand subjects otherwise dark, perplexing, and mysterious.

    In throwing open the stony records of geological science, the attentive student may read for himself "without the aid of translators or commentators"—a true illustrated history of the various animal and vegetable tribes that lived and flourished on our globe countless ages before the mighty Alps that now lift their rocky summits above the clouds, were ejected from the molten caverns of the earth, and long before the fossilized stones, of which the hoary pyramids are built, were upraised from beneath primeval ocean.  In those records, formed beneath the waters, may he find entombed the stony forms and distinctive features of earth's first living things.  Here may he trace upwards through miles of strata, which it may have taken millions of ages to form, the successive races and ever advancing forms of animal and vegetable life; these "commencing with the simple polype, the arm-footed mollusc, the humble trilobite, and sea-weeds of the lowest forms; and advancing upwards to the succession of fishes, reptiles, birds, and mammals, up to the being man, and the trees, fruits, and plants on which he depends for his sub, existence."

    These observations are made with the view of showing my working-class brethren the great necessity for the cultivation of this important branch of science; not only for the great material benefits that flow from it, but for the mental pleasure it affords to all those who are anxious to know something of the world they inhabit—of the changes that have taken place on its surface—and of the beings that peopled its land and its waters before man, the savage, the oppressor, the slave, or the benefactor of his species, made his appearance upon earth.  Entertaining also the strong conviction that man has hitherto been oppressed and enslaved because he lacked the strength and power which knowledge alone can give, I am anxious to see the masses of my countrymen striving to acquire and disseminate it by every means in their power; for they may rest assured that every increase of useful knowledge will be found an addition to their pleasure—will give them an increase of power for the abolition of evil—will add to their social and political usefulness—will give them greater means for producing and extending the means of happiness—and will create among them the desire to be the friends and benefactors of the various nations of the world.  And amongst the different kinds of knowledge taught, and to a great extent appreciated in the present day, I know of none more valuable than scientific knowledge, including, of course, the sciences of social and political life. Not that any one person can be expected to master many sciences, but I hold that all men might be able to master the great outlines of many sciences, if they were taught them at school, and that without more mental efforts than is now given to teach them the Old and New Testament History, the History of the Churches, Creeds, Collects, Catechisms, Church Formulas, the Geography of Palestine, and much of what is now designated religious teaching.

    That I am not singular in my opinion, that many of these subjects might be well exchanged for a more essential kind of knowledge, I would refer to the Report of the Educational Commissioners of 1861.  In speaking of the then syllabus of the training colleges of the country, they say:—


    "But we feel bound to state that the omission of one subject from the syllabus, and from the examination papers, has left on our minds a painful impression.  Next to religion, the knowledge most important to a labouring man is that of the causes which regulate the amount of his wages, the hours of his work, the regularity of his employment, and the prices of what he consumes.  The want of such knowledge leads him constantly into error and violence, destructive to himself and to his family, oppressive to his fellow workmen, ruinous to his employers, and mischievous to society.  Of the elements of such knowledge we see no traces in the syllabus, except the words 'savings banks and the nature of interest,' in the female syllabus.  If some of the time now devoted to the Geography of Palestine, the Succession of the Kings of Israel, the Wars of the Roses, or the Heresies of the Early Church, were given to Political Economy, much valuable instruction might be acquired, and little that is worth having would be lost."


The lines I have italicized myself. Again they say:—


    "We think also that the present list of alternative subjects, omits some which are so important that the question whether they should not be made compulsory, in all cases, at the expense of sacrificing some of what we have described as the elementary subjects, well deserves the attentive consideration of the framers of the syllabus.  These are the principles of Physiology, in so far as they are necessary to explain those rules which affect the preservation of health."


    To show the opinions of others, of what is at present taught in those colleges and schools, I will adduce a portion of evidence given in the same report; one, by the Principal of a training college, and the other by one of Her Majesty's Chaplains in Ordinary.  The first of these, Mr. Robinson, of York Training College, says,―


    "To use a very significant and very intelligible expression, the great feature of the course of study pursued in training colleges is cram.  In such subjects as Old Testament History, outlines of English History, there is necessarily an immense preponderance of names, dates, and facts, which have to be remembered, but not digested."


The Rev. F. B. Zincke, Her Majesty's Chaplain, says,―


    "A very large portion of the whole school period is usually spent in reading the Holy Scriptures, and in committing to memory the Bible History and more or less of the sacred text.  All the while everybody knows how little good in most cases results from all these efforts and sacrifices."


To which I may add an extract from Mr. Foster's evidence taken from the same report―


    "The efforts of the teachers (says Mr. Foster) whom I met with appeared directed chiefly to the facts of Scripture History, stimulated hereto by the usual tenor of the Inspector's Examination."


Now it requires very little argument to cause thoughtful enquirers to perceive that science, in preference to such teaching, affords the only means for making children acquainted with their own physical, mental, and moral natures; a description of knowledge which would prove the best safeguard of their health, as well as the best security for clearly knowing and understanding their moral duties.  It needs, too, no laboured argument to prove that a knowledge of science can alone enable them to understand the various great and important questions of social life; while, at the same time, it would cause them to clearly perceive the sure and certain path that leads to their own well-being and that of all their brethren.

    Science, too, may be said to form the foundation of all those arts, appliances, and inventions that supply the wants, and minister to the comforts and happiness of civilized life.  And the proof of this is perhaps more evident in our own day than in any past period of our history; for to what do we owe our vast increase of capital, our extended trade and commerce, our rapid transit by sea and land, and our varied and multiplied means of comfort and enjoyment, but to the investigations, contrivances, and labours of a few thoughtful, plodding, persevering men, whose wondrous achievements had their foundation in a knowledge of nature, and of nature's laws?  In fact, science throws open to every enquirer the whole extensive laboratory of Nature—displays before him her immense stores of varied materials fitting for every purpose—stimulates his ingenuity by showing him her countless contrivances, from the most minute to the most stupendous—calls forth his inventive and constructive powers by teaching him the simplicity and efficiency of her wondrous laws—awakens whatever latent genius, whatever feelings of hope or ambition may be in his nature, and bids him energetically and industriously labour to apply all those means and resources for the benefit of his country and his race.  And among those who have availed themselves of those teachings, and who have laboured in compliance with these injunctions, there are surely none who stand higher in the roll of earth's benefactors than those who have sprung from the ranks of labour.

    But great as has been our country's share in the glorious work of human advancement, and justly proud, as we may be, of the men whose labours have made our country, so far, "great, glorious, and free," we must gird up our loins for renewed efforts in the race of invention and improvement, if we would still maintain our position, and enjoy the advantages we derive from it.  Other nations than our own are fast applying our inventions, and stimulating their people to improve and extend them; and we, too, must, by every means in our power, strive to stimulate the latent genius and slumbering energies that, doubtless, now lie buried in the minds of our people beneath an incrustation of ignorance, prejudice, and vice, if we would continue to extend our improvements, our inventions, and means of production, and maintain our ascendency for the advancement of our own and the world's happiness.

    But can we wonder at the extent of ignorance that still prevails in society, when our people are taught nothing at school regarding themselves, nor of the social duties necessary for realizing the means of happiness for themselves or others; nor of the why or wherefore of the political institutions under which they live?  Can we wonder at the vast numbers of our fellow men being content with mere animal indulgences, while they have the means of procuring them, without regard to present duty or future consequences, when they are taught little or nothing at school of the rules of conduct that are necessary for their well-being?  Need we be surprised that thousands of our women are deficient of every moral requisite to fit them for wives or mothers; many of them not being able to cook a decent meal, to make or mend their own or their children's garments, nor even in many cases to keep them clean! when the chief requisites of their school education—if they get any—are to be able to parrot over the catechism, to say a few prayers or collects, to sing a few hymns, or to mumble over a chapter in the Bible; or, if wealthy, to acquire a few of what are called accomplishments"?  I know that "religious education" is thought by some to be the great thing necessary.  But is this, that so often goes by the name of religion, much other than one great sham?

    I should have no objection to see the essentials of religion made a part of education; but not the mere form and shadow of it.  True religion, in my opinion, is a question essentially of duty, and not of mere belief.

    A religion of mere belief can effect little good, neither can it continue to satisfy the mind of an intelligent enquirer.  For being founded on mere belief, it must be more dependent on external circumstances than on deep moral convictions; for the firm belief on any creed or religious notion to-day, may be easily swayed and carried away captive by the stronger evidence of to-morrow.  Hence, we need not be surprised to learn that thousands of persons of deep and earnest faith in some belief or form of religion, which they have in a manner inherited without investigation —and being ignorant of all the great facts of history, and of the science and phenomena of nature—become doubters or apostates to their faith as soon as those facts and that science and phenomenon are made clear to them.

    Some of them thus convinced—as we have recently seen—are content to suffer the greatest obloquy and sacrifice rather than forego their earnest convictions; while others, with less honesty, stifle their convictions, and make their religion a thing of interest, fashion, or expediency.  But when our religious convictions are based on duty, when we are clearly led to perceive that a certain and conscientious course of conduct is necessary to be observed by every individual in this world to secure individual happiness and human well-being, we have a hopeful and stable religion, urging us from day to day, and from year to year, to use our best efforts for the enlightenment, moral elevation, and general improvement of humanity.

    The deep religious conviction that our duty to our brethren is their elevation and improvement, from their cradle to their grave, in order that they may be qualified to help on the great work of human progress, and be made participators in all that can make our earth a home of abundance, comfort, peace, love, and kindness to one another, is a religion stable, cheering, and practicable; a religion insuring happiness here, and best qualifying us for the future state of happiness in store for those who have performed their religious duties.  But a religion of belief and saving faith—often despising works—and of forms, ceremonies, and church and chapel-going, one day in seven, is attended with less trouble, and less sacrifices, than a religion of duty; a religion, such as should cause them to feel that they have a personal religious duty in promoting and supporting the education of all our people, and to see that they are so taught as to be able to read and understand something of the great volume of nature, so trained as to know, and readily perform, life's duties to the extent of their abilities, and so qualified that they shall be able to surround themselves with the means of happiness, and to bless others by their labours.

    Such a duty, however, is never thought of by those who have been taught to regard the masses as mere tools and instruments of labour; whose only education should consist of such schooling as shall serve to make them contented, humble, passive, and obedient serfs.  They think that they have strictly performed their religious duties towards them, when they have given a donation or subscription to the village or district school, and think themselves laudable Christians if they have whiled away their leisure hours in teaching little children their notions of religion in a Sunday or Ragged School.  They never think it a religious duty to endeavour to check pauperism, vice, and crime in the bud by taking care of the thousands of young, neglected, and destitute children, and so placing and training them that they shall grow up to be a blessing to themselves and others. [p392-1]  No! they must first receive their street education or pilfering-schooling to qualify them for a reformatory or a prison; [p392-2] or, escaping these, they must pass from one degree of wretchedness to another till they find a refuge in the workhouse, and then they will grudgingly pay their rates for their support, or give them in their zeal their Bible and Prayer Book.

    Do the great bulk of our so-called religionists, who exhibit such zeal to convert the heathen, think it a religious duty to instruct, elevate, and improve the vast numbers of our adult population, whose education has been neglected?  Do they endeavour, according to their abilities, to give them sound practical lessons on life's duties, and to aid them by personal acts of kindness in want, sickness, and affliction?  No!  With the exception of a few Good Samaritans here and there—the majority of them exercise their charity as they do their religion—by deputy; and that in such a manner as to destroy all self-reliance in the recipients, and to foster hypocrisy and cant.

    Does the religion of duty influence our so-called Christian manufacturers, traders, and dealers, so as to prevent gross adulterations, spurious articles, false weights and measures, and the trickery and deceit so many of them have recourse to?  Does the religion of duty prevent great numbers of them from obtaining vast sums of money—under false pretences—for carrying on their various schemes and companies, and for obtaining extravagant means for their gluttony and dissipation; or for building up fortunes to which they have no just claim?  Are the pillars of the Church among the wealthy of our land influenced by duty in the application of their wealth?  Do they bring up their children to be useful members of the community, to become wise examples, and intellectual and moral workers to help on the world's progress; or do they rear them up in extravagant luxury, idleness, and uselessness?  Do they apply their surplus means for the improvement of society, and to raise up the downfallen; or do they waste them in feasts of boundless luxury and wasteful profusion—in hunting appliances and game preserves, in horse-racing, betting, and gambling; or in bribing their way to power, and subjecting the multitude to their will?  Or does the religion of duty prompt even our clergy to denounce the horrible sin of bribery; to hold up, as they ought, the briber to scorn, or to preach against wickedness in high places?

    When we have so much reverence expressed for what they call religion, either by individuals or by bodies of men, it is well to put a few questions, and to test them by the only practical part of it worthy of consideration; for if all religious duty is to be put aside in their life and conduct, their belief or faith in any particular creed or religion is not worth a grain of mustard seed.  What, for instance, is the religious belief of our bishops worth, when their conduct is anything but Christian? [p394-1]  Take one or two facts only in proof of this.―

    They are said to divide among them the sum of £155,000, or more, annually, averaging about £5,535 a year each, independent of the splendid palaces they live in and the influence and pickings that belong to their order. [p394-2]  This extravagance, too, is shared among them while, according to a statement made a few years ago by the Secretary of the Poor Clergy Relief Society, "there are more than 5,000 curates of the Church of England whose incomes do not average £80 per annum, and about a like number of beneficed clergymen whose clerical incomes are under £150 per year.  That some of them with large families can only afford two meals a day, and animal food [Ed.―i.e. 'meat'] only once a week; and that they have scarcely a decent coat themselves, and that their children have no clothes to enable them to go to church on Sundays."

    In 1869, a poor clergyman, not far from Oxford, told his own tale in the Daily News.  He said that his living was but £70 a year, on which to bring up a family of six children, and that then, in his old age, he had to pay a curate £40 a year to do the service for him.  Surely such abundant means of luxury and profusion possessed by the heads of a Church, who profess the religion of Him who said that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, [p395] that they should take no thought for the morrow, and that even if they had two coats they should charitably dispose of one of them—surely these men show by their conduct that they have little faith in the religion they profess.  As for their poorer brethren—the men who chiefly perform the real work of the Church, many with great zeal and earnestness—the prelates show by their anti-Christian conduct that they have neither charity nor common humanity towards them.  Yet these are the men who talk so much about religion, and the necessity for extending it, by preaching sermons in theatres, music-halls, streets, and highways, while with soft speech they dun the minister by dozens, and with eager hands clutch at every opportunity of preferment, and at every means for advancing their worldly power and aggrandisement.

    These are the men, too, who resist all reform in the Church, all progress in the State.  We have recently seen how pertinaciously they have resisted any alteration being made in the old Church ritual—a compilation which their predecessors mostly borrowed from Catholicism, in order that recent converts from that creed might the more readily adopt it.  Instead of listening to the true friends of the Church, who would reform in order to preserve, and would make their ritual more in accordance with sound Protestantism and the spirit of the age, they—like children over their house of cards—cry out against anyone touching their frail fabric, lest the whole fall to the ground.  Yet, among these so-called Protestant Bishops, are to be found men who have connived, or looked with complacency, at the Popish follies carried on within the churches they rule over—places where altar-pieces, holy roods, candlesticks, tapers, and fine dresses, are thought to be the great essentials of religion; where confession, and all the mummeries and mischief of Catholicism are in full swing, and where Protestant ministers work with such zeal to rebuild all that our great Reformation was effected to destroy, that they have made the bridge already comparatively easy from Protestantism to Popery; a bridge, too, that it is thought very fashionable to pass over. [p396]  But folly, superstition, and mental darkness with these men are not of importance; it is the progress of intelligence, wisdom, and mental light they dread; and, such is their zeal for the Church—with themselves at the head of it—that they have ever sought to block up every cranny by which intellectual light might enter.  We have lately witnessed their zeal in this particular:—

    A few of the most enlightened and learned men of the Church conceived that they might do some service to society by putting forth their views on certain religious questions in the form of Essays.  Now, without taking into account the opinion entertained by most of the reflecting minds of our age, that "Truth can only be elicited by free discussion," and that "It is for the interest of society that truth shall prevail," these men were justified in putting forth their views and opinions by the exhortation of the Scriptures, themselves, for St. Paul has exhorted us to "Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good."

    But what conduct was pursued towards these men by the heads of the Church?  Did they try to answer them?  No; they had recourse to persecution, they appealed to Church-made law; and, when they had got a lawyer to expound how far the opinions of these men were in accordance with their oracles—instead of in accordance with the truth—and had to some extent obtained a verdict against them, then it was that all who sought favour or preferment put forth answers in profusion.  How far any of them have succeeded in disproving the truth of what was stated by the Essayists let any competent judge determine.  But though they succeeded in obtaining the verdict of the Church against these men, they did not silence the truth; for very speedily one of their own order entered the lists as a champion in the cause of truth—shamed into it, according to his own confession, by the questions put to him by an untutored Zulu of Africa.  But his efforts, too, to free his religion from ancient error and to establish what he believed to be the truth, were in like manner assailed by the vindictive vituperations of bigotry and fanaticism.

    The law was at once appealed to, instead of honest inquiry; and when they failed to crush him by that costly engine, they brought the combined power of priestly wrath, from all parts of the world, to denounce and silence him if possible.  But these cowardly proceedings, so foreign to justice, so repugnant to the gentle and forgiving spirit of Christianity, have only served to promote inquiry, and to kindle the love of truth in many minds, instead of stifling or retarding it.  Instead of honestly investigating whether the statements put forth by their brother bishop were true or not; whether they were opposed to or in accordance with the truths of science, and the great laws of the universe, or whether the statements in these old Jewish books might not possibly be "unhistorical"—the mistaken notions, traditions, myths, and speculative crudities of a half barbarous people, who thought themselves the only favourites of heaven, although acting very irreligiously towards the nations around them;—instead of such sober investigations, they threw all intelligent inquiry to the winds, spurned the Christian kindness of the religion they profess, and had recourse to that persecuting spirit they are so prone to condemn in those who made martyrs of persons of their own faith.

    But this vindictive persecuting spirit forms no part of true religion; and if all those who dare question the assertions, acts, and morals, contained in these old Jewish books are to be subject to the persecution of the clergy, then must the Great Founder of their own religion be condemned.  For Christ Himself is said to have repudiated the revengeful laws and questionable morals found in these old records; for he said that "instead of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," he had brought to mankind a new religion, that of the forgiveness of enemies, of love to one another, and of doing good even to those who bate them, despitefully use them, and persecute them.

    These opinions of mine will doubtless procure for me the title of infidel, the great bugbear which priest-craft has set up to frighten and deter, if possible, all those who presume to question its infallibility—the only substitute that free inquiry has left it, with the exception of the Ecclesiastical Court—in lieu of the rack, the dungeon, and the ancient burnings of Smithfield.  This bugbear, however, is fast failing them, and the day is not distant when men will laugh at it and eventually despise it.  If, however, an earnest desire to see our National Church made a great and efficient instrument for the religious instruction, moral elevation, and improvement of our people, and to see it purged and purified of the follies and superstitions that now keep so many thoughtful and earnest men apart from it, and so changed in character that they may be brought to regard and rally round it for the intellectual light and moral and religious life it diffuses through the land—if such desires merit reproach, I am content to bear the name of infidel.  But to the great end I have indicated, the Church must become truly National, must become practically religious; and must cease to be under the dominion of a bench of Bishops.

    The Church and the Church Property truly belong to the whole people, and should not be made the monopoly of a few wealthy families and of an irresponsible hierarchy, whose half papal creed, selfish desire, and bigoted opposition to all reform, either from within or from without, have driven thousands into the arms of Dissent, and whose selfish appropriations and divisions of its revenues outrage all principles of justice, all feelings of true religion.  The Church, belonging to the people, should, I conceive, be placed under the control and government of the People's Representatives in Parliament, and under the management of the minister responsible to them—say a Minister of Education and Religion, as the two functions could be well blended.  But, to prevent either or any of the clergy or servants of the Church from running counter to the wishes of the nation, as ascertained through their representatives, there should be a clear declaration of the principles and requirements of a National Church; of the duties of its Ministers, its Government, and Management; as well as the mode to be adopted for reforming or improving it from time to time, clearly laid down by Act of Parliament; and the present Canons, Articles, and Liturgy, together with the whole machinery of Ecclesiastical Law, thoroughly reformed or consigned to the monkish limbo whence most of them originated. [p399]

    Now, without presuming to say what the national will might be regarding the extent of such reform, I may, as one of the people, rightfully put forth my views regarding what I conceive should be done to make our Church a great and efficient instrument for the elevation of our people.

    In the first place, I would do away with the present manifest injustice of giving to one servant of the Church fifty times greater means of providing for himself and family than another; and, as little difference would exist in their labours if they were fairly divided, I would give as nearly as may be an equal support to all of them.  And as Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, and all such grand offices could be well dispensed with, under the government of a Minister of Religion, their present exorbitant revenues together with the large benefices now monopolized by a few, would—if equally and justly dispensed—give a comfortable maintenance to every Church Minister.  By such change, however, I by no means contemplate the deprivation of any of the present servants of the Church of just means of support; I would only apportion the present revenues and possessions of the Church more in accordance with justice, and with the spirit and principle of the Christian Religion.

    The next great requisite is the abolition of the religion of form and ceremony—of parroting repetitions, denunciatory liturgies, and mere metaphysical preachings, which for so many hundreds of years have been barren of any results worthy of the name of Christianity—and the substituting in their place the great practical lessons taught by Christ;—the teaching of our population, in plain, simple, earnest language, the great moral and religious duties they are bound to perform—individually, socially, and politically—in order to secure the wellbeing, righteous conduct, the peace, prosperity, and happiness of society, and of the great Brotherhood of man. [p400]  Such teaching, too, to be enforced by clear reasoning and demonstrative proofs, so that none should fail to comprehend their meaning or importance.  Their lessons, too, enforced with all the outspoken truth of the Great Teacher, meant equally for all men, of all classes and in all stations, from the idle, improvident, and dissipated workman, to the fraudulent, adulterating producer, the unjust and truthless dealer, the seeker of wealth by questionable means and crooked paths, up to the corrupt, selfish legislator who bribes his way to power, and the Emperor, King, or President who takes delight in contention and war.

    Nor should the labours of our Clergy end here; for they should strive to kindle intellectual light, in order to ensure moral or religious results worthy of the name.  Remembering that ignorance is the gangrene ever festering the heart of society, poisoning the happiness of social life, and causing most of the improvidence, dissipation, vice, and crime, that curse our country, they should sedulously seek to remove the far-spread ignorance from which these evils spring.

    Why then, should not some portion of the Sunday—the only day the great bulk of our population have at their disposal—be devoted to their instruction by their Church Minister?  Not merely in teaching them their moral and religious duties, but in enlightening them regarding the world they inhabit, the numerous diversified existences they are surrounded by, the great facts and phenomena of nature, of the mighty wonders of the orbs above them, and of the great laws of the universe in all their might and magnificence? [p401]  Why should the great majority of their congregation continue to live in the midst of beauties which they see not, be surrounded with wonders which excite not their curiosity—beings for the most part struggling merely to live, and living merely to labour; at best, patient toiling drudges, walking in mental night amid the full blaze of intellectual day?  Are these people, whose labours bless our land with abundance, to be always regarded as the mere spokes and cogs of our great social machine without any consideration of the intellectual powers now folded up within them?  Must ignorance continue to engender ignorance and produce its annual crops of vice and crime, while our clergy—whose duty, above all men, should be to diffuse mental light through the land—are restrained by their ecclesiastical tether to the narrow circle of forms and ceremonies, and the putting forth of old drowsy inanities, the endless repetitions of which neither enlighten nor improve?

    Our clergymen have all received a liberal education—though not always the best—such as with little study and application would qualify them for this great work, were they freed from the trammels that now bind them and found it to be a portion of their duty.  Imagine, then, our twenty thousand clergymen to be earnestly employed in the great work I have indicated—of teaching our people their moral and religious duties, and enlightening them by every means in their power—do you think the future century of the Church would be so barren of good results as the last?  Do you think we should have so many thousands of Dissenters leaving it by reason of its creed, forms, and barren teachings?  Do you think we should witness so much ignorance, improvidence, drunkenness, vice, and crime in the land, if our clergy, with the means they have at their disposal, had been engaged in enlightening our people and in teaching them their moral and religious duties, in place of their parroting services and metaphysical moonshine?  Should we have the strange anomaly we now witness of Prisons, Reformatories, and the increase of outrageous crimes, rising side by side and spreading widely, with the rising up of new Churches, new Schools, and the formation of new Missions, if our clergy had been employed in teaching our people their duties instead of Creeds and Catechisms?

    Seeing, then, these shortcomings and silly ritualistic doings of our National Church, is it not high time to effect a reformation in its teachings or to apply its vast revenues to more useful purposes?  I must confess that, while entertaining the strongest repugnance to our present Church system, I would prefer an Act of Parliament for its reformation rather than one for its disestablishment or its abolition, seeing what a glorious instrument for progress it might be made.
 
    Christianity, as taught by Christ himself, appears to me to be a very plain, simple, and practical religion, which all who can read and rely on their own common sense may readily understand, without expounders or commentators.   It is, to "love God with all our heart, our soul, and strength, and to love our neighbours as ourselves;" on which two commandments, said Christ himself, "hang all the laws and the prophets."  Now, in what better manner can we show our love to God, or to that great Power to which all suns, worlds, and all existences are to be attributed, and all laws for their guidance, and all means for their support and maintenance ordained, than by diligently seeking to acquire a knowledge of those wonders and existences, of the laws that govern and minister to their harmony, and in endeavouring to obey and live in accordance with those laws by every effort of our will?  In what better way can we show our love to God than in seeking to promote the happiness of the creatures He has formed; and more especially of the most intellectually endowed of all His creatures, the being—man?

    Can we be said to love God when we allow man to be brought up in perfect ignorance of the wonders above him, around him, and within him; and to be reared up in the midst of our civilization a perfect savage, without even the virtues of a savage?  Can we be said to love God when we allow millions of our fellow-creatures to pine in want and wretchedness, while abundant means for their comfort and happiness are wasted in our costly and mischievous institutions?  Can we possibly perform the Christian duty of loving one another and our neighbours as ourselves, while all our political and social arrangements are made for securing the power, ascendancy, and luxury of the few, instead of the necessity, comforts, and happiness of all?  Can we be said to love our neighbours, and at the same time be intent on preparations for destroying them—in taking men from their peaceful pursuits, uniting them at home and abroad for the purposes of war and oppression, and in devising the most perfect instruments and schemes for their destruction—and for no other reason than that kings and rulers may maintain their power and ascendancy?

    In fact, the religion of Christ, of peace, love, and kindness, and of doing all we can to promote the happiness of our fellow-men is shown, by the practice of the greater portion of its adherents, to be a mere Utopia—a thing to be talked about, and made the subject of much eloquent cant, but too good for every day's practice.  Hence, soon after its nativity, priests, scribes, and rulers set about to make it more in accordance with their own interests, by gradually blending with it hearsay opinions and fabulous matter foreign to its purity.  Subsequently the relics of paganism formed a part of Christian worship, as well as Judaism, or the laws and customs and the recorded sayings and doings of a half-savage people; and these old Jewish records have ever formed texts, incentives, and apologies for barbarities innumerable, opposed to the religion of Christ.  War has ever met with countenance and apology in these old records, despite the assertion of Christ that his mission was one of peace, brotherhood, and forgiveness of injuries; and slavery, bigamy, concubinage, oppression, vindictiveness, and cruelty have countenance and apology in their pages.

    And, in our own day, what is the Christianity sought to be established in our Protestant churches?  Is it not to set up anew the old Pagan and Papal decorative sensuous religion? a religion in which ornamental crosses and altar-pieces, candles and incense, fine windows and splendid vestments, shall serve to captivate and gratify the senses, while musical intonations, bowings and genuflections, metaphysical sophistry, foppery and folly, shall captivate the reason.  Such progress, too, towards Catholicism has already been made in our country as to call forth the congratulations of the Pope!  The establishing of convents and monasteries is openly advocated by some of our Protestant Churchmen, and priestly confessions practised by others; and, if the united voice of reason is not soon proclaimed against these mischievous follies, and some practical means adopted to check it, we shall soon have the worship of saints and relics, and the sale of indulgences, promulgated in our Protestant churches by the degenerate sons of our great forefathers who effected the Glorious Reformation.

    I have already stated that I am strongly opposed to what is called disestablishment, or to the notion of having the greater portion of the immense revenues of our Church and our numerous churches and cathedrals divided up between the different religious parties into which our Church is at present divided.  For such would only enable them more effectually to build up a priestly domination in each of them: to aid them to disseminate and perpetuate among their flocks gorgeous worship, stupid forms and ceremonies, sour and narrow creeds, bigoted prejudices, and sectarian animosities, instead of the broad and beneficent doctrines of love and brotherhood and universal charity taught by Christ.  I am also desirous of seeing the vast numbers of educated men belonging to our Church Establishment, who are not tainted with the follies of the day, employed in the glorious mission of teaching and training our people, morally and intellectually, to aspire to a higher and nobler life; helping them to progress onwards in all that can be made to improve and dignify humanity, and exhorting them to live together in peace and harmony instead of being split up into different sects, each content in perpetuating their own contracted views, in nursing their own spiritual pride, and in binding down the minds of their followers to the creed and notions of their particular church.  If we had a Church truly National, governed by the whole people through Parliament—its principles and laws clearly laid down, the duties of its ministers clearly defined, and all of them intent on enlightening our people and teaching them their moral and religious duties—we should have a Church loved for the good it diffused through the land, and one that would broaden in its religious sympathies, and its benevolent and enlightened teachings, with the progress of opinion and the spirit of the age.

    It is under our Church system as it is, however, that the education of our people has hitherto been chiefly entrusted; and the Church party now boast that "she has two-thirds of the Voters of England under her direct teaching, and that it will be her own fault if she do not imbue them with her principles and secure their allegiance to her cause." [p406]  This boasting, however, comes with a very bad grace from the Church party, when we know how resolutely at first they opposed all education of the common people, under the plea that it would create a spirit of independence among them, and lead them to disregard their pastors and masters and those placed in authority over them.  But when they failed to prevent the spread of education, then it was that they bestirred themselves to set up rival establishments, so as to direct the streams of knowledge churchwards.  We have seen, from the Education Commission Report, how defective their teachings have been; vast numbers of their schools having failed to give even the simplest elements of knowledge to their pupils, notwithstanding the large amount of money they obtained from the educational fund.  Since the Government have bestirred themselves to establish a National System of Education we have seen how the clerical party have striven to mar it, or to make it an instrument they can turn to their own interest.  And this rivalry and proselytizing of church and chapel will continue until education is made general and secular, and free to all our people.  But to effect this the Working Classes should bestir themselves, and resolve to have vote and voice in determining how their children shall be educated.  Failing to do this they should organize themselves and take the education of their children into their own hands, which they could effectively do by a very trifling payment weekly, a plan for doing which I submitted to them upwards of thirty years ago.


 
CHAPTER XXI.


HAVING prepared a set of diagrams for the illustration of natural history while I conducted the school in Holborn, I thought I might now, in my leisure time, be able to prepare a text-book for the teaching of this important science to children; as well as to aid my working-class brethren to acquire it.  I thought at first to confine it to the vertebrated animals; but, as I proceeded with my task, I found the subject so important that I determined to treat of the invertebrated animals also.  In giving but a brief account of some animals, and their distinguishing characteristics, the subject has swelled out to a larger bulk than I at first anticipated; but thinking it would be imperfect if further abridged, I have persevered as I began; which was to give somewhat full particulars regarding each sub-kingdom, class, order, genera, and family, with a concise account of each animal and its known habits.

    In the prosecution of this work I have hitherto laboured about four years, and it is far from being finished; and if I live to finish it, I cannot see my way to its publication.  I am now in my sixty-fourth year, and from my weakly constitution cannot expect to live many years; but while I live I must keep doing something, though it be but trifling.  I known not what, indeed, I should have done for many years past for my subsistence had it not been for the kindness and munificence of my friend, A. B., who has continued to me a part of what he allowed to the school in Holborn, though I have been enabled to render no other services for it than in teaching elementary physiology and anatomy at St. Thomas Charterhouse Schools, which I did at his desire, and taught there between seven and eight years.

    My friend was also so very kind to me that he would not receive the money I obtained from the sale of the desks and school property when the schools were broken up, but insisted on my putting it in the bank against a rainy day.  Such kindness, indeed, has been rarely witnessed towards a stranger as that which I have received from my noble-hearted friend.  But while I know that all this kindness is extended towards me freely and ungrudgingly, it does, however, jar upon my feelings to think that, after all my struggles, all my industry, and, I may add, all my temperance and frugality, I cannot earn or live upon my own bread in my old age.  Perhaps few persons have worked harder, or laboured more earnestly, than I have; but somehow I was never destined to make money.  When I was in work my earnings were never great, and, consequently, I could never save much.  The few pounds I was able to save at various times, tempted me to venture into business on three different occasions, but all my ventures proved failures.  Perhaps I had not the tact and talent for business, and perhaps my ultra-political principles were much against my success.


    Some time has now elapsed since I made an entry in this book, my time having been taken up in teaching and in writing my Natural History.  During this time the gigantic war in America has been brought to a close, but not to that peaceful settlement of affairs that I think it would have been brought to if President Lincoln had lived.  Happily, by his noble conduct, and the determined energy of the men of the north, the poor negro has been freed from his bonds and can no longer be bought and sold in the market.  But as long as he is placed politically or socially at the mercy of his former masters, they will hate him and use him much the same as the planters of Jamaica have their former slaves.  They will grind him down, and oppress him by local laws and unjust combinations; and when they have goaded and maddened him to rebel, they will delight in hunting, hanging, and destroying him, as the twenty million rewarded planters of Jamaica have recently done.

    Fortunately for the poor American negro, as well as for the cause of humanity and justice, a great number of the representatives of the North are true to those principles, but they are thwarted in their efforts by President Johnston, and by many of his government, and whether the contest now taking place between them will end in giving negro-hating despots the power of again rebuilding slavery in some form or other, or will end in the determination of the people to crush it out for ever, is for the future to solve.  And this contest between the representatives of the people and their President in America, as well as the recent contest between the right divine King of Prussia and the Prussian Parliament, and of the perjured doings and despotic acts of Louis Napoleon, brings forcibly before us a very serious and important question—Of what real use or benefit to a people are emperors, kings or presidents?

    There are times, doubtless, that occur in many states, when a man, fitted to perform a particular duty, might be wisely placed in the position to perform it, unfettered by those who are not so qualified, as Washington was by the American people, or as Lincoln was when he proved himself worthy of their confidence.  But the question most important for the consideration of a nation is—not that an individual may not be appointed to perform particular duties, but whether when placed in that position he shall possess the power to control and mar and run counter to the wishes of the nation, and turn its power and resources to his own advantage—power to foment foreign or domestic quarrels—power to plunge a nation into war—to prevent just laws and wise measures—and set at defiance the wishes of the people, as expressed through their representatives?

    The people of most civilized countries have won for themselves, after many struggles, the great principle of representation, and the establishing of one or two assemblies or houses of parliament, the representative principle being more extensively practised in America than in any other country.  This assembly, parliament, congress, or whatever other name it may assume, so appointed by the people, should, in my opinion, be the sole controlling power and head of the state.  In most civilized countries, heads of departments are appointed by the king, or head of the state, such as the Minister of the Home Department, the Minister of the Colonies, the Minister of War, &c.  These men, and the persons under them, perform the real executive duties of the government, as the representatives of the nation perform the duties of legislation, and the devising of means for the support of the state.

    Seeing, then, that these men—usually called the ministry, or the government—really do perform the work of the state, and are more or less responsible to parliament, why should not parliament have the power of appointing them, and of making them responsible to them alone, and through them to the whole nation?  And why should not the concurrence of the majority of such ministry, in any general measure of national policy or execution of the law, be as effective, if put forth under the seal of the state, as if they were signed by a king or president, and counter-signed by ministers?  Such ministers, too, would be more likely to be the élite of the nation in wisdom and intelligence, if chosen by parliament, and responsible to them alone, than if they were chosen by a king, or president, from among his partisans and supporters, or from among the factions he delighted to honour and uphold.

    The expenses of emperors and kings, and the lavish expenditure of court forms no inconsiderable items in the balance-sheet of most nations; but these are trifling when compared to the evils which these useless state appendages have inflicted and continue to inflict, on the nations of the world.  What is the tale history unfolds to us of the proceedings of emperors, kings, popes, princes, and rulers, from time immemorial?  Is it not a long catalogue of wars, contentions, and cruelties abroad, and of persecutions, waste, profligacy, exactions, and poverty for the masses at home?  Here, on the one hand, we have seen an individual's pride or obstinacy kindle the flame of war, and by the choice of reckless ministers involve a country in expense and loss incalculable—there a despotic, cunning schemer obtains the power, through perjury, of making a state-paid army his tools for the enslavement of the nation—there a pompous king asserts his divine right of governing and setting his parliament at defiance—and so throughout the world have nations been kept in submission, and constrained to do the bidding of individual despots, which their own, or their father's follies originally set up in authority over them. [p411]

    I know most of the courtly arguments in favour of those state chieftains; such as the necessity of concentrating the national will in one person as an executive head—of the benefit of united energy and power free from conflicting councils—of the necessity for individual despotism on great and important occasions, etc.  To all of which I would reply—that inasmuch as one man seldom possesses the knowledge, the wisdom, and the experience of many, we have a better chance of ascertaining the best mode of achieving any given object, of arriving at the truth on any given question, of reconciling different and conflicting interests, and of acting justly for the whole nation, by consulting many men—and these men enlightened—than in trusting to one individual, and that individual often ignorant, self-willed, conceited, and ambitious of securing his own ends and aims.  But some urge the necessity for a king or president to refer to in cases of war, as if the deliberation and judgement of the majority of the ministry would not be preferable to that of a single individual.  Others contend for the necessity of an executive head to dissolve or prorogue parliament, or call it together, as if all such matters could not be provided for by an Act of Parliament, and carried out by the Minister of the Home Department for the time being.

    Nations, however, like individuals, are fast progressing in knowledge; they have already in some of them seen the necessity for limiting the power of their rulers; for placing various checks to control them, and in some for setting aside the arrogant titles of kings or emperors, for that of president, and they will doubtless some day see the necessity for dispensing with them altogether.  Nations, I believe, once freed from kings and emperors would seek to live in peace and amity with one another.  Disputes would doubtless arise between them, but being free to act they would soon come to some peaceful mode of arbitrating and settling their differences; for we all know how generally adverse the people of a country are to war, unless indeed the war spirit is first excited by false reports and representations, and they are hounded on by the interested tools and organs of government.

    Instances might here and there arise when people and rulers entered into war with equal energy, as in the late war in America, as their very existence as a free government depended on the issue, for it was a question of the supremacy of slavery or freedom.  But war has ever been the sport and hobby of kings, and conquest and dominion their greatest delight; and what misery and wretchedness, what holocausts of lives, what destruction of property, and what mountains of debt bear testimony to their doings?  But they are equally the enemies of progress and human happiness in war or peace.  Every effort that may be made by their own people, or by those of the nations round them they can control, in favour of liberty, in favour of free speech, a free press, or in favour of obtaining a greater share of the blessings of their own industry, these state chieftains regard as treason and rebellion against themselves, and relentlessly strive to crush it in the bud.

    Why have those great and evident blessings, the liberty of the press, the right of freely speaking and writing men's thoughts to one another, the right to make and freely exchange their productions, and the right of having voice and vote in the making of the laws they are called upon to obey been of so slow a growth?  Is it not that those kingly rulers and their aristocratic abettors have warred against them for centuries, and are still warring with all their envenomed hostility and terrible power?  Under the plea of protecting from foreign enemies the countries they rule over they have gradually accumulated the most formidable means for keeping their own people in subjection.  The possession of those means and instruments of destruction gives birth to the desire and excuse for using them, and hence the wars they have fomented. 

    These warlike powers they have gone on augmenting in all the nations of Europe till the annual expense for supporting them has outrun the power of many of them to pay; and constant indebtedness, frequent loans, and increased taxation—often beyond the power of their people to pay—is their condition from year to year.  And where, as in our own country, the energies, industry and economy of our people enabled them to produce an annual amount of wealth unexampled in the world's history, and thus enable them to bear up under those great burdens, is it not at the sacrifice of comforts which our toiling millions ought to share in, and in the perpetuating of debts for our posterity, that it is monstrously unjust to contract?

    We call ourselves a Christian country! boast of the Christian truths we spread through the length and breath of the land, and of our great efforts to spread them among the benighted countries of the world.  We also vaunt of our high civilization, and of the spread of knowledge, morality, and religion among our people; and yet with all this Christian feeling, morality, and intelligence we spend about twenty-eight millions annually in warlike preparations. [p413-1]  The so-called Christian and civilized nations of Europe have been engaged for years past in devising the most deadly instruments for destroying one another, without a Christian doubt being raised by bishops or clergy against the wickedness of it, or of any attempts being made for staying the insane, immoral, and anti-Christian folly. [p413-2]  A sceptic observer might be disposed to think that they were all interested in the increase of vice and wickedness throughout the land, seeing that they were paid so well to preach against it; and that if they began to work in earnest, and to strike at the root of the evil among the great and powerful, these annual crops of vice and misery would not be forthcoming, and then their occupation would be gone.


    The subject of the extension of the suffrage has again occupied the attention of the country for several months past, and though the modicum of political power proposed to be given to the working classes is but partial, compared to what it ought to be, it has excited the strongest feelings of opposition from ultra-Whigs and Tories.  But the age of political exclusiveness, and aristocratic rule has seen its zenith, its decadence is beginning, and whether it shall gradually fall and silently moulder away, or be precipitated like an avalanche into the valley of political oblivion, will depend on the conduct of the ruling few to read the signs of the times clearly.  The working millions are beginning to perceive the rights that belong to them, and to feel the power they possess; and when they begin to unite and organize themselves for peaceably securing them, their rights will soon be realized.  Numbers, however, of the reading and reflecting part of them, perceiving that the chances were few of their ever obtaining their political rights, or the means of comfortable support for themselves and families under our aristocratic rule, have already flitted to other countries; and numbers of others are looking to America, Australia, and other countries as havens of refuge where the labourer is welcomed, where comforts await him, and where he will be placed on a footing of political and social equality with others, and acknowledged as a man, and to those countries they are hastening as fast as they can collect the means to convey them thither.  Vast numbers of men, in my time—the most thoughtful, useful, and thrifty of our countrymen—have taken their departure, and are now enriching, and rendering powerful other countries; and the stream of emigration will continue to flow until justice is done to those who remain.  The scarcity of labour is beginning to be felt, and will soon make a great change in our country, and this, perhaps, our rulers may see when too late.  The remedying, however, of this state of things will chiefly depend on the future wisdom of our working classes, coupled with the just feelings of the middle classes, for the aristocratic few will never learn wisdom till it is too late.

    Among the most hopeful signs of our day is the disposition evinced, and example set on the part of some of our capitalist and manufacturers to co-operate with, and to share the profits of their establishments with their workpeople.  These experiments, if justly carried out on both sides, cannot fail of being productive of the best results, and of bringing about that great desideratum—the union of capital and labour in the work of production, with a unity of interests—for, with that union the salvation of our country will be peacefully secured, whether it be effected by the working classes on their own account or by other classes co-operating with them.  Such a system of co-operation would do away with the strife between capital and labour, and effect the saving of vast means that are now wasted.  It would also give the workman increased means of comfort, and awaken his perceptions to the necessity for increased industry, knowledge, and thrifty habits, and for the necessity of higher and nobler acquirements, and for taking more enlightened views of his country and his race.  The influence of the more enlightened and experienced persons united with him in the undertaking is also likely to be more effective in doing with the evils of drunkenness, waste, and improvidence that unhappily prevail among them, than when they had separate and opposing interests; and the intelligence and good conduct of their associates are likely to be effective examples.

    But, to return to the subject of the suffrage, and the claims of the working classes to possess it, and to have a fair share in the election of representatives, these are numerous and unanswerable.  They and their forefathers have converted our land of swamps, bogs, and forests into a blooming garden.  Our roads, rails, bridges, and canals bear witness to their mighty labours.  Our towns and cities, villages, and hamlets were raised chiefly by their skill and labour; and by their industry are daily supplied with every necessary for the wants and comfort of their inhabitants.  Our ships, that traverse every ocean, attest their industry, and bear witness to their skill and daring courage.  Our trade and manufactures exhibit their inventive and constructive power, and attest their skill, ability, and plodding industry throughout the length and breadth of the land.  Their labours have given wings to trade and commerce, which convey the means of happiness to millions in every clime, and will eventually serve to cement the nations of the world in bonds of brotherhood.  And if these testimonials to the right of suffrage fail to convince a haughty few, they can display a long list of right noble names, "of Nature's true nobility," to render contemptible those who, often without merit, were christened and called noble by the voice of kings and princes.


    I have just completed my work on "Zoology for Schools," which has taken the best portion of my time for the last six years.  It has been to me a work of immense labour; though, on attempting the task, I could not boast of much scientific knowledge of the subject; but in teaching it in my school I felt the necessity of some such work, and I thought I might glean an amount of information, suited to my purpose, from authors who never designed their works as school books, acknowledging, of course, the source from wherever I obtained it.  Dr. Gray, of the British Museum, gave me several books, and lent me several others, which were of great service to me.  He was kind enough also to look over my manuscript, and to express himself favourably respecting it.

    I begin, however, to think that I have been labouring in vain for many years past; for, having consulted several publishers, either personally, or through my esteemed friends Mr. William Howitt, and Miss Eliza Meteyard, I cannot get my Zoology or Geology published; some of them saying that the one is too voluminous, and that the other would be too expensive to get up; and some do not care to print them, as science is not much taught in our schools. [p417]  I, however, submitted them to several practical teachers, as well as to scientific friends, and I was encouraged by them to think that my works might be useful, but I laboured without a due consideration of the means of bringing them before the public.  Well, I laboured for the best, and must bear my disappointment with patience.  I now begin to believe that I should never have got my "Elementary Anatomy and Physiology," nor my "Social and Political Morality" printed, if I had depended on the publishers; for who among them would have cared to bring out the works of an old Chartist?  It so happened, however, that at the time they were published I had the means of paying for the printing of them myself; and thus, of giving the public the opportunity of judging of them, as well as enabling me to introduce the teaching of physiology into our Birkbeck Schools.

    After I had finished my Zoology—not liking to be idle—I wrote a little work, entitled, "The A B C of Social Science in Twenty Lessons, addressed to the Working Classes by a Working Man."  This I was induced to write from the singular notions on the subject often circulated among working men.  Here, too, the want of means prevented me from printing it, for Social Science for schools is not a subject to tempt publishers, even if you offer it for nothing, which I did.  This little work may be said to have had its origin in the teachings and writings of my estimable friend Mr. Wm. Ellis, for it was he, who, many years ago, first pointed out to me the value of this important science, and urged me to the teaching of it in my schools, he having given the first lessons.  During the summer of 1868, I, however, got Mr. George Potter, the editor of the Beehive, a working-class paper, to print my social science in it weekly, a lesson each week.  About the same time I also commenced writing for the Beehive a series of papers entitled, "Memorandums for Future Reformers."


 
CHAPTER XXII.


IN the beginning of 1869 I had another severe attack of bronchitis, and during the time I was confined to my room I employed myself in making a model of a District Hall, or permanent voting place, as well as the model of a Self-Registering Ballot Box, both of which were intended to illustrate a cheap, just, and efficient mode of electing Members of Parliament.  For by the present expensive method of electing them few working men's candidates would have a reasonable chance, nor would poor yet competent candidates of other classes; whereas by my plan the only expense they need incur would be the paying for their own printing.

    When the People's Charter was published in 1838, I made a rough sketch of a Self-Registering Ballot Box, and the interior of a District Hall, for the front page, but I had no leisure before the time stated to make models to show their operation.  My friend Mr. Allen made for me a working drawing for the Hall, and a Mr. Keissler, a German, made for me part of the mechanism of the ballot-box.  The model of the hall took me about three months to complete, and when finished I was permitted to exhibit it in the South Kensington Museum, but unfortunately the Council would not allow me to exhibit the ballot-box side by side with it, to show its operation.  I think it was considered by them too political.

    The following description will convey what it is intended to illustrate by these two models:—


    "That for the purpose of obtaining an equal representation of the whole people in the Commons House of Parliament, and for preventing as far as possible the undue influence of great and wealthy families, or of individuals who would seek to control the voter in his choice, the United Kingdom be divided into a sufficient number of Electoral Districts, each containing, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants, and each returning one Representative to Parliament and no more.

    "That all persons of legal age, sound mind, and untainted by crime, who have occupied any house, lodgings, or apartments in a house, for three successive calendar months, be eligible to vote for the representative of the district they live in, and for no other.

    "That preparatory to every General Election the Returning Officer of the district should cause a printed form to be sent round to every householder in the district, requesting him or her to fill up the same with the names of all persons of the age of twenty-one, or upwards, who shall have resided there for three months or more; and from which forms, when returned, he should cause a list of electors to be made out.  That after proper publicity being given to this list, he should hold open Courts of Adjudication in his district for the purpose of hearing and deciding on all objections, and from the list thus revised he should cause a Voter's Certificate to be sent round to every person qualified to vote.

    "That to secure Members of Parliament possessing high intelligence and good moral character, all persons seeking the high honour of legislating for a nation, or for filling any other important office of state—should be required to pass an examination, showing that they possess the requisite knowledge and ability, and should hold a diploma to that effect before they should be entitled to offer themselves as candidates, or take their seats in Parliament, or be appointed to any important office.

    "That the knowledge requisite for Members of Parliament, or for other important offices, should be clearly set forth in a special Act of the Legislature, and the mode pointed out by which persons seeking such high honour, or place of trust, should present themselves before Public Examiners, which Government should appoint to meet at stated times and places; and all persons who should prove their ability and fitness before such examiners, according to the said Act of Parliament, should receive from them a diploma to that effect.

    "That every nomination for a Member of Parliament should be made by a written requisition, delivered to the Returning Officer, and signed by at least one hundred electors belonging to the district, who in recommending their candidate should be required to certify to his moral character, and also that he holds a diploma of having passed an examination, proving that he possesses the requisite knowledge and ability required by law.

    "That to prevent all undue influence, bribery and corruption in the election of Members of Parliament, the votes of the electors should be taken by Ballot.  The present expensive, unjust, and bribing mode of canvassing for Members, should be abolished by law, and persons punished for having recourse to it.  All Committees, or other meetings, for the election of Members held at public-houses should be done away with, as having heretofore been the cause of much undue influence, drunkenness, riot, and disorder.

    "That to do away with the present disgraceful and costly mode of electing Members of Parliament, which excludes the Representatives of the Working Classes, and of all other persons, however competent, who have not the means of purchasing their way to power, it should be the duty of Parliament to enact that a sufficient number of District Halls, or commodious buildings be erected in every voting district to be used as permanent hustings or voting places, which may be used, when not needed for the elections, for the purpose of public meetings, lectures, evening schools, concerts, or other district purposes.  That all candidates for seats in Parliament should have the free use of such halls during the election, such as the use of the large hall below, or the balcony and ground in front—from which to address the electors in their turn—and the use of the Committee Rooms above according to lot; so that the only expense needed to be incurred by Members would be that of printing their own bills and circulars.  The erection and repair of such halls should be paid for by the inhabitants of the district and managed by them, as well as any income arising from the letting of them.

    "That previous to the day of any Parliamentary Election, the managers should cause the large room in each District Hall to be fitted up with movable fittings: and should provide a sufficient number of ballot-boxes, one for each of the candidates nominated, and formed on a plan for securing secrecy of voting, as well as for registering each vote given, so that the Deputy Returning Officer might be able to announce the state of the poll at the end of the election, without the great disadvantage of counting the votes.

    "That the Returning Officer of each district should be required to appoint a deputy for each voting place on the day of election, to see that the voting is conducted orderly and fairly, and to cause all persons to be arrested that attempt to vote unfairly, or seek to promote disturbances.  It should also be his duty to provide the accredited friends of the candidates with seats immediately behind him, where they might see that the voting is conducted properly.  He should also show them the register of each ballot-box before and after voting, and should cause the correct numbers given for each candidate to be posted up outside the building.

    "That every elector entering the hall on the day of election should be required to show his voter's certificate to the Registration Clerk, and if it be found correct he should be allowed to pass on towards the voting place, and receive from the deputy's assistant a balloting ball, when he should enter the balloting place, and with all dispatch drop it into the box of his favourite candidate; the name and colours of the candidate being placed on each box to guide him.  After he has thus given his vote he should pass out of the balloting place by another door, where a turn-table and officer should be placed.  The table before the deputy, outside the screen, should be on an inclined plane, and the channels from the balloting boxes so arranged that the ball, in whatever box deposited, should roll down the middle of the table in front of the deputy to be ready for the next voter, and thus, should any elector make use of any other balloting ball than the one given to him, it would roll out and lead to his detection before he left the room.

    "That any person convicted of registering himself in more than one voting district, of forging or using any forged voter's certificate, of trying to vote in any other district than his own, of trying to vote unfairly or injuring the ballot-boxes, or of going from house to house or place to place to canvass for the votes of electors, or in any other way contravening the Electoral Act, should for the first offence be subject to one year's imprisonment, and for the second imprisonment and the loss of his electoral rights.  Also that any candidate employing persons to canvass for him, or should seek to secure his election by bribery, or by intimidating or using any undue influence over an elector, or otherwise contravening the Electoral Act, should be subject to one year's imprisonment and the loss of his seat for the first offence, and for the second imprisonment and the loss of his electoral rights and disqualified for ever after to sit in Parliament.

    "That in order to obtain properly qualified persons as legislators, men disposed to devote their sole time and attention to their Parliamentary duties—instead, as at present, often dividing their time between their private business and their Parliamentary duties, or in regarding their seats as passports to fashionable society—Members of Parliament should be paid for their services by a writ on the Treasury the same as any officers of state."


    A very important reason for the adoption of this plan, for electing Members of Parliament free of expense, or nearly so, is this—that Members at present are too often disposed to forego their own honest convictions to support a ministry, and often to back them up against the opposition in support of measures they dislike, as they fear a change of ministers and a dissolution, from the enormous expense they are likely to incur, whereas if elections where inexpensive they would be independent.


    The newspapers announce this morning the death of one of Nature's unthroned kings and high priests of humanity, Charles Dickens, one that can be badly spared from among us when so much remains to be done, and one whose equal for good to society will not I fear be readily found.  Fortunately Mr. Dickens was a man whose kindly heart beat in unison with a keen intellect and a well-furnished head; so that while his searching perception left few things to escape his glance, his noble sense of duty led him to expose everything corrupt, unjust, mean, or hypocritical.  In his own inimitable way he has perhaps done more to expose wrong and injustice and to improve society socially and politically than any other writer or worker of the present century; at least he had few to equal him in the good work.  His happy description of the Circumlocution Office and "how not to do it," was a blistering application that the thickest official hide could not but have felt severely; and the scathing doubtlessly did much good as an official stimulus to action and as a corrective of many abuses; although great numbers of the barnacle tribe still stick very tightly to our state vessel.  His lucid expositions, too, of our vast social misery and wretchedness in close contact with luxury, waste, and superfluous grandeur, and his kindly and graphic pictures of the heroes and worthies of humble life have done much to arouse people to a sense of duty and to a great amelioration of the evil, although not to the extent desired; for so great is our social misery, and so indifferent to it are so many people, that the lessons of duty need to be as frequently repeated and as earnestly enforced as they were by Charles Dickens.  Nor was he forgetful of the higher duties of morality and the duties of true religion, for scattered through his numerous works may be found moral lessons and practical sermons, more truly religious, pathetic, and heart-piercing than ever bishop devised or priest delivered.


    In 1870 I was requested by the Secretary of the Alliance to write a few articles for their paper.  Having been a member of that body from the first, and believing the drink traffic to be one of the greatest of our social and political evils, I complied with his request, and several of my articles appeared in their paper.  One of them they sent to the Social Science Congress then sitting at Newcastle.  In this article I endeavoured to show my working-class brethren that no general permanent increase of their wages can possibly take place without a general increase of capital, or rather of that portion of it that is paid in wages.  That every increase of capital, especially in the hands of the working classes themselves, would give them more employment and better wages; and that every wasteful diminution of capital would give them less.  That were the working classes to economize and save what they now extravagantly waste in intoxicating drinks—consisting of nearly a hundred millions annually, besides the annual expenditure necessitated by drink-made paupers and criminals—there would soon be employment for all, and a great increase of wages.  That a very little reflection must convince them that, if this immense sum were saved and annually added to the capital of the country and employed, as most of it would be, over and over again in the work of production, instead of being drunk and wasted year after year, that our unemployed would speedily find work at good wages, and the cost of most necessaries and comforts greatly cheapened by reason of their increase and abundance.  To this state of things, coupled with the increased intelligence, the economical habits, and improved tastes that sobriety would be certain to engender, there would soon be abundance of capital flowing from the ranks of labour, as well as the knowledge to make a wise application of it.


    Alas! there is now another terrific war raging between Germany and France, and is rendered more terrible and destructive by the new inventions and improvements recently made in this accursed art.  This war, originating in the restless ambition and jealous feelings of the Emperor of the French, and urged on by the mercenary tools dependant on his will, made an unprovoked attack upon the German people, with the object doubtless of preventing that unity of their conflicting elements which patriots of all opinions among them have so long desired.  This unjust interference with the rights of a people very naturally called forth the whole warlike power of the nation to repel it, and so rapid and successful were their movements that the tide of war, which was sought to be carried on to their capital, was speedily rolled back upon the soil of France.

    Battle after battle soon proved the power and superiority of the German armies; and after a series of bloody contests, marked by the destruction and misery of thousands upon thousands of lives, the Emperor of the French and a great part of his army were obliged to capitulate, and one town and fortress after another yielded to the victor, till at last Paris itself was surrounded by German armies.

    The chief originator of the war having been captured, and a provisional government formed in Paris, of men who opposed the Emperor and repudiated the war from the beginning, they naturally wished to put an end to the contest.  But here again the ambition of kingly power came in to thwart it: the king of Prussia and his nobles, not content with having driven the enemy from their soil, and to have proved their warlike superiority in many battles, but they now wanted a large portion of the territory of France, in addition to an enormously large indemnity in money—and that without regard to the wishes of the inhabitants, and in opposition also to a considerable portion of the German people, whose leaders and organs were despotically silenced for declaring against the injustice.  In this predicament the French people have resolved to defend themselves to the last, and the German Government would seem resolved to crush them; what will be the result time must show. [p426]

    But, pending the settlement of this destructive contest, is there no lesson to be derived from it?  Is there none that the people of Europe can learn from it that may be profitable for their future welfare?  Seeing the misery and wretchedness that one ruler has originated and another is perpetuating, will they still content themselves with placing royal and despotic rulers at their head, to be continually involving one country or another in war, misery, and ruin when, if their own free Parliament, composed of freely chosen representatives, were alone the supreme head of the country, the just interests and welfare of the whole people would soon lead them to devise the peaceful settlement of every national quarrel?  Will the productive classes of Europe still continue to keep up the competitive race their rulers have been so long pursuing, in providing more and more expensive armies and navies, and more and more destructive means of killing one another?  And that, too, while they talk of Christian brotherhood and advancing civilization?

    These standing armies and powerful navies are not only standing menaces to incite nations to war, and ready tools in the hands of any unprincipled ruler, but are a profligate waste of the productive capital of the people of the various countries—perpetuating a state of poverty and misery among them.  During the present century there have been upwards of fifty of those terrible wars among the so-called "Christian nations of the world," people whose professed creed is one of peace, brotherhood, love, and charity among all mankind; and, during these horrible contests, who can estimate the number of lives that have been sacrificed, the millions of money that have been wasted, the multitude of children that have been made fatherless, the homes that have been rendered desolate?

    The armies of Europe alone at the present time are said to be composed of seven millions and a half of men, and to cost about two hundred and sixty millions annually—an amount of men and money which, if employed productively, would bring joy and happiness to millions of homes, where poverty and misery now crush down their inmates. [p427]  And for whose benefit and advantage is all this expense, profligacy, and waste?  Why, to support a few royal or imperial families in pomp and power; to give them and their aristocratic satellites military toys to play with and boast of; to keep up titled and privileged orders, to the exclusion of worth and merit; and to keep the toiling millions in subjection.

    Rulers and statesmen, as well as legislators, are undoubtedly needed in all countries for the maintenance of order, and for securing, as far as possible, life, property, and freedom; and who is better to do this than representatives freely chosen by the whole people, together with the ministers or the heads of departments and the chief officers that they may appoint, and who should be responsible to them?  And this without the useless expense of royal cyphers or despots, to sign their names to public documents; to appoint pliant tools to suit their purposes, in every important office; to thwart by intrigues and vetoes the laws and wishes of the people's representatives; and to embroil their people in war and misery, through their pride, ambition, or dynastic relations.  War, I believe, will never cease in the world till the rule and destinies of nations are placed in the hands of the people's representatives.

The great want in the present day is, I conceive, to do that for all the Nations of the World, that has been done for the individual people of all civilized countries namely, to bring all nations—as individuals have been brought—within the influence and operation of Law, and of a superior authority to control them, whether the nation be great or small, strong or weak.  The first requisite to this end would seem to be a Congress of Nations, composed of Representatives from all civilized countries, to devise a Code of International Law, which, without interfering with the Constitution, Law, or Government of any country, should declare war to be a crime, which all nations here-.after will unite to prevent, as well as to punish its instigators.  Such Code should also provide laws for the peaceful intercourse of the people of all nations, by sea and land; and, while accepting the present boundaries of nations, should declare against all aggressions of any one nation on another; also to provide for the peaceable settlement of all disputes by arbitration; and should also determine what force should be retained as a police, available for the enforcement of their decisions.  In connection with this Code should be established a Standing Court of Adjudication, composed of representatives from every civilized nation; who should arbitrate on all national quarrels that may be brought before them, according to the Code agreed to, as well as to enforce their decisions should it be found necessary—an act that is never likely to happen, as any rebellious nation would know that all nations would unite to punish it for violating the Code of Nations.


    My old friend Mr. Howitt has just sent me a very interesting letter from Rome, where he is now residing.  He gives a graphic account of the old city and its environs, and of its walks, sites, and curious things.  He tells me also that the obstinate old Pope is silly enough to believe that the Queen of Heaven will yet work a miracle in his favour, and restore him to his former temporalities and power.

    I have also had a very pleasing visit this day from my friend Miss Meteyard [Ed.Eliza Meteyard (1816–1879), writer and advocate of women's rights].   I had a long and interesting conversation with her on books, as well as on the present state of things—for she is a keen politician, as well as a clever biographer and imaginative writer, and possesses a great variety of knowledge on most subjects.  She is also one of the most worthy, industrious, and persevering of women; and has had a very struggling and anxious battle to maintain herself and her old aunt in respectability and comfort, for the last quarter of a century, since I first made her acquaintance.  She is the well-known author of the "Life of Wedgewood," "A Group of Noble Englishmen," "Sacred Spots of Ancient London," and very many tales and imaginative works.

    My friend, Mr. Maughan, has just called to inform me of the sudden death of my old friend, Mr. John King, of Eden Grove, Barnsbury, one of the oldest of my acquaintances, and one of the staunchest to principle and truest of men.  Poor man, it was only on my last birthday, I being then seventy-one, that he reminded me that I "was getting near the end," without suspecting that his own end was so near, or would be so sudden.

    The sudden death of my friend King has been immediately followed by the sudden illness of another old friend, Mr. Matthew Allen, of Tabernacle Walk, the clever designer and builder of the "Improved Homes for the People."  The first of these he built for Sir Sydney Waterlow, and since then a great number for the Company for Building Improved Homes.  Mr. Allen has a genius for designing and constructing; for, in addition to his Improved Buildings of various kinds, he has made great improvements in the heating of places by means of hot water, and was the first to construct an over-house telegraph.  The homes he has designed and constructed are not only better adapted, more convenient, and more ornamental than those that were first erected under the name of "Model Lodging Houses;" as, from his flat roofs, his mode of construction, and a patent kind of stone which he uses, they are made much cheaper than those previously built, and pay from five to ten per cent. on the capital invested in them: a great incentive to builders and capitalists to build improved dwellings for the people, which are very extensively needed.  Mr. Allen has raised himself by his genius, and by his industrious straightforward conduct, from a journeyman bricklayer to his present comfortable position; and I hope that his health will be preserved for many years.

    Not wishing to be idle this winter, for I could not venture out from my cough, I amused myself in making for my friend Allen a little model of his Improved Dwellings situated in Leonard Street, Shoreditch.


    We seem now to be approaching a crisis in our parliamentary affairs, for retrograde Whigs and Tories seem resolved to thwart and delay every effort made in favour of progress, by speaking against time, and wasting the sessions in useless obstructive talk, so much so that Mr. Gladstone has been obliged to give them a serious lesson.

    As, however, these tactics are almost sure to be renewed, it will be well for the liberal majority to legislate so as to prevent the evil.  Let them adopt the wise and simple measure of timing their speakers, and in making the House one for legislative business instead of vain talking and party squabbles.  With the exception of time for the exposition of a budget, or for any important explanation from a minister, or for any member introducing a motion, an hour would seem to be ample, and a quarter of an hour for other members speaking for or against it; and when in committee a far shorter time.  Members should also begin their work early in the morning, like other men of business, and should be impressed with the necessity of concluding at a reasonable time.  As for the obstruction the Lords are often making—the best remedy, short of doing away with hereditary legislation altogether, is for the Commons to declare that any Act passing twice, in the usual way, through the House of Commons shall be the law of the land, whatever obstruction may be pursued by any other branch of the Legislature.


    On calling, to-day, on my friend, Mr. Serjeant Parry, he saw that old age had deprived me of my teeth, when he was kind enough to give me a letter to his dentist requesting him to make some for me.  This great kindness of his I cherish with grateful feelings, although it is only one of numerous other generous acts I have received from him during the many years I have shared his friendship; for during thirty years or more he has invariably sent me a turkey, or a pair of fowls, for my Christmas dinner, and has otherwise shown the greatest generosity and kindness towards me, both in sickness and health.

    I have lately been induced to join the Land Tenure Reform Association, of which Mr. John Stuart Mill is chairman; also the Working Men's Peace Association; and the Anti-Game Law League: all admirable Associations, and well deserving of support.  I regret, however, that I am now too old and feeble to render them any personal service, and I am too poor to aid them with money, unless to an infinitesimal extent.

    My friend, Mr. Thomas Beggs, to whom I am indebted for many acts of kindness, invited me and my wife this summer to visit him at his very pretty residence at Short-lands, in Kent—where we had often been before—to meet our respected friends from Birmingham, Alderman Goodrick and his wife.  We passed a pleasant time there, for Mr. Beggs is not only a hospitable host but is also a man of considerable intellectual abilities and much information, and our friends, the Goodricks, are also very pleasing intellectual people; Mrs. Goodrick especially, being a lady of rare acquirements.  She is also a member of the Society of Friends.


    A Member of Parliament having given notice of his intention to propose the extension of the use of the Cat for certain offences, and my outspoken and courageous friend, Mr. Peter Taylor, having given notice of a motion for doing away with that torturing instrument altogether, I was induced, at the request of friends, to put forth an Address to Social and Political Reformers on the subject.  In this I endeavoured to show that the reintroduction of brutal punishment was a retrograde step, injurious to social progress.  That all punishment should be free from vindictiveness, and such as are calculated to deter or reform (and in the spirit of that Christian charity we profess); and that, as flogging in Army and Navy has greatly been abolished, and that with benefit; and as flogging—and even death-punishment—have failed to deter persons from the commission of heinous crimes, our legislators should direct their attention more to the sources of our social evils, with a view of preventing them, than in devising modes of brutalizing and torturing punishments.  I also endeavoured to show that brutal punishment only excites and strengthens the animal propensities of our people, which we should aim at keeping in abeyance, and at the same time seek the more general cultivation of the intellectual and moral faculties by the adoption of a wiser system of education; and also by the removal of temptations from among them, especially of intoxicating drinks, which, according to our Judges and Magistrates, form the chief source of crime and misery.

    Hearing lately that my old acquaintance, Mr. Stansfeld, was about to bring forward a measure for Improving the Sanitary Condition of the People, I wrote a letter to him containing a plan which I had put forth in the Beehive about three years before.  It was to this effect: that as the chief and greatest obstacles to the sanitary improvement of our towns and cities are the large number of miserable streets, courts, and galleys that abound in them—places often of the filthiest description, where the lowest of our population crowd and often pay high rents—places where their health and morals are injured—where disease is constantly being engendered, and from which it spreads its contagion everywhere around—that as these places mostly belong to town authorities, the magnates of the parish, or persons of great local importance, Sanitary Inspectors very generally fear to meddle with them.  Therefore, in order to remedy so great an evil, an Act of Parliament is necessary, to empower capitalists, bodies of philanthropists, or working men, to obtain leave to erect on those sites lofty, spacious, and healthful homes for the people, or making a fair compensation to the owners of such property according to the decision of a jury, in a manner similar to what is now done by Railway Proprietors.  And in order that no inferior or improper building should be erected on those sites, the persons willing to build (before they obtained power to take possession) should deposit with the Board of Works, or other recognized authority, plans and drawings of the buildings they intend to erect.

    Mr. Stansfeld wrote to me, requesting me to call on him, and in going through the matter he quite agreed with me regarding the desirability of removing those wretched places, but he thought that Parliament would not be disposed so far to interfere with the rights of property.  So it would appear that the "rights of property" extend to the right of poisoning our people, and of preventing real improvement in our towns and cities, and erecting dwellings for those that most need it, and Parliament, as at present constituted, will not interfere. But a remedy will surely come, some day.


    And now, as the end of my story is approximating, let me say a few last words to my working-class brethren.

    Persevere then, I would entreat you, in all peaceful efforts for the reform and perfection of your Social and Political Institutions, and reckon no labours nor sacrifices too great for the attainment of your objects; for on these will depend the prosperity and happiness of yourselves and country.  Those who would divert your minds away from politics, and from lending your aid—however humble—to reform, or to do away with extravagant, useless, and corrupt institutions, and to secure just government, aiming at the happiness of all classes, you may safely regard as the enemies of progress; as you may, also, all those who would urge you on to the attainment of those objects by violence and deeds of blood; for not only are men's hearts hardened and beautified by such barbarous process, but changes thus effected are, in most cases, only changes of one set of oppressors for another.  Not that I would urge you to be silent and passive under great wrong and injustice; for, if the enemies of progress seek to block up every avenue through which the people may peacefully obtain the reforms needed, or to stay our national progress by the sword, or to get enemies to invade our country in the interests of party or faction, then your duty to your children and your country demands that you link yourselves together like a band of brothers to repel them—not by tumult, threats, and fury, but by calm heroic resistance, and a resolute determination to achieve your country's freedom or perish in the attempt.  Do not, however, be led away from pursuing a peaceful and just course by any foolish fears of invasion, which those who profit by war are so anxious to excite; but should an enemy approach your shores, think no sacrifice too great to repel him.

    Examine also, coolly and deliberately, all social and political questions before you espouse them or try to create a public opinion in their favour; for when so much remains to be done for the upraising of our people, you should not waste your energies on vain theories, impractical measures, nor in empty threats or denunciations.  All such doings, therefore; and all talk about the condemnation of capital—which is the heart's blood of an industrial nation—all denunciations of property; or foolish threats of confiscation, tend to social discord and alarm; and to cause all those who possess property to place it if possible beyond the reach of danger and to flee to despots for protection, as the least of evils; and it should also be remembered that, in all social commotion, it is the poor and innocent that first suffer.  Large accumulations of capital, and a vast amount of wealth, have doubtless, in many instances, been acquired by injustice; but in seeking a remedy we should be wise as well as just, for the stability of our whole social fabric would be greatly endangered by any attempts to interfere with the just rights of property.  The true remedy will lie in such peaceful and efficient reforms as shall prevent such unjust accumulations in future, and to prevent such masses of wealth from being made instruments of oppression and injustice.

    One of the most prominent of our national evils—productive of exclusive legislative power, great social injustice, poverty and misery—is the vast accumulation of that land, which God gave as a common heritage to all His children, in the hands of a few persons; and these few claiming the right to regard it as their own absolute property; to cultivate it or not as they think proper; to convert vast portions of it into deer-runs and game-preserves; and to sweep away the human occupants thereon as so many vermin.

    We have recently had many modes proposed for dealing with this monstrous injustice, which it behoves us coolly to examine; but evidently the most simple, as well as the most just, is to do away with those laws and usages which have chiefly led to this unjust accumulation, such as the laws of primogeniture and entail; and, at the same time, legally to compel landowners and others, at death, to divide their land and other property equally among their children.  But in order to prevent the extreme division of land—which might lead to the wretched cottier system—provisions should be made that no division of land should be made less than acres, or a moderate workable farm which one family could cultivate.  In addition to which long leases should be given to tenants; the land should be made to contribute, by taxation, a far larger amount than at present to meet the national expenditure, as one of the conditions for holding it; [p436] and the waste lands cultivated, or given up to the State for the employment of our criminal and pauper population.  Joined to which should be a law for the register of all landed and household property, and a simple and inexpensive transfer of estates; and for selling off all such as are greatly encumbered.

    By such just and peaceful mode our land would, in comparatively a few years, be divided into small or moderate-sized farms; a larger number of persons would be interested in the defence of our country; our waste lands would be utilized, our landed aristocracy would be more usefully employed, and the stimulus afforded by security of possession would cause the land of our country to be more highly cultivated than it is.  Under such a system we should have a free trade in land, and co-operative or individual farming might take place as either might be found most advisable.

    The nationalization, or ownership of the land by Government, which some persons suggest, would, I conceive, be attended with great evils; for the present landholders could not be justly dispossessed without fair indemnification, which would necessitate an enormous addition to our debt; in addition to which the State would make but a very indifferent landlord, and the vast revenues, power, and influence it would derive from the land would make it independent of the people, and would give it a host of land surveyors, collectors, and other officials to support its power.  If too communistic views were acted on—that the land should belong to, and be administered solely by, the Commune—it would only be a reduction of the evil within narrower limits; and from what we have hitherto experienced of municipal and parochial government in minor affairs, it does not augur much in favour of communal government for such a purpose.  And this brings me to the subject of co-operation, about which so many conflicting notions are entertained: some of them rational, and all important as remedies for our social evils, and some very unwise, and projects no ways to be hoped for, even if practical.

    The useful and desirable kind of co-operation is to combine capital and labour in the work of production, so that there shall be a unity of interests, instead of the present conflicting ones, which at present lead to so much social contention and such waste of capital and labour.  This may be carried out in various ways; either in the cultivation of the land, in mining, in the establishment of manufactories, the carrying on of trade and commerce, the building of houses, ships, railroads, and other objects.  Unhappily, the great obstacles at present in the way of those achievements are, selfish, unwise, and despotic feelings on the one hand, and ignorance, unthrift, jealousy, and disunion on the other.  The holders of land and the possessors of capital are, for the most part, too proud of their position and their wealth to interest themselves in striving to solve the great social question—how shall all the resources of our country be best applied so as to administer to the happiness of all our brethren? and a large mass of our people are so intent in obtaining bread from day to day, or intoxicating drink, or a few sensual enjoyments, as to be apathetic to the social and political reforms required, such as the most active and intelligent portion of their brethren are zealously seeking to obtain for them.

    For this ignorance and apathy, the most dangerous of social evils, as have been often seen in revolutions on the Continent, our clergy and exclusive rulers are mainly responsible; the former for having been intent on teaching creeds and catechisms to our people in place of their moral and religious duties, individual, social, and political; and the latter for legislating mostly for party interests, for wasting our country's resources in war and war establishments, for the support and aggrandisement of the few; while they have left the mass of the people in ignorance, and every temptation in their way to allure them the downward road to poverty, vice, and crime.

    The kind of co-operation which I conceive would be productive of great social evil, is that known as socialism: a species of co-operation founded on a community of property.

    I have, in an earlier part of my story, stated that I was formerly prepossessed in favour of this notion, and I have there given my reasons for abjuring it.  I had much to do with co-operation in former years, and have known and conversed with persons who have been connected with most of the experiments made to establish communities both in Europe and America; and the result has been to convince me that their general establishment would produce a kind of social despotism far worse than any that now exists; and that it would be a sacrificing of the highest intellect, of the greatest inventions and discoveries, and of the best capacities and powers of the most industrious, to the least competent, the selfish, the careless, and the indolent.  In addition to which, I regret to say that many of the socialists of a former day entertained very loose opinions on the subject of the sexes and of marriage; and many cases of separation, and great unhappiness occasioned thereby, fell under my own observation.

    Our present marriage system is bad enough as it is: for the state and condition of women under our present laws is a kind of social slavery, binding them in complete subjection to men, with no property they can call their own; nor, if poor, any escape from the most savage brutes, the most drunken spendthrifts, or the most wily of domestic persecutors.  But while this system needs great reform, or the doing away with such laws as sanction inequality, or which gives man any unfair advantage over woman, any alteration in law or opinion that would tend to weaken that most sacred of all agreements and obligations would, I believe, be one of the greatest of all social calamities.  And here let me advise you, that no reform that law can effect, to strengthen this holiest of social ties, will be equal to that which is in the power of the husband alone to achieve.  That is, to endeavour to cultivate in his wife a concord of mind, of hopes and aspirations in his pursuits, as he would seek to secure her heart and affections.  This is a work that should commence as soon as their faith is plighted, and may often require much patience, labour, and sacrifice; but the man who has resolved to make his home his haven of happiness, and to secure the best and truest of friends to advise and counsel with him, as well as to sympathize with him in his cares and troubles as no other will, will not spare his labour to cultivate, as far as he is able, the mind of his wife; to strive to interest her in his business or pursuits, and to allow her to share in all his pleasures.

    Another most important subject, that should engage the serious attention of working men, is the employment of married women in our factories; which I think reflects anything but credit on our manufacturing population, masters and men.  For every reflecting person must perceive that children cannot be properly brought up without the careful nurture and superintendence of the mother; nor can a man's home—in which his chief happiness should be centred—be much other than a mere resting place or nightly refuge when the wife is taken from it to labour, too often to supply the man with mere sensual enjoyments.  It is a folly therefore for such men to talk pompously of right and justice for themselves, while their wives and mothers of their children are thus treated; nor indeed, until they are placed upon a footing of equality, socially and politically, with themselves, and to occupy the station for which they are best fitted.  Women, however, unmarried, or without husbands to support them, should be at liberty, equally with men, to earn their living in any business they choose.

    Aim also, I would beseech you, to secure a proper education for your children; either by seeking to improve the present system, or, failing in that, by taking the matter in your own hands, and to establish a just system by co-operative effort.  The education you should aim at is not merely the old routine of reading, writing, and arithmetic, or such mere technical knowledge as shall enable your children to become more efficient tools of production; but such as shall serve to prepare them to stand on a footing of equality with all others; and possessed of such knowledge, and such moral training, as shall fit them for a life of industry and usefulness, so as to be a blessing to themselves and their country.  To this end they must not only be able to read and write and cipher, but to acquire some knowledge of their own nature; of the world they inhabit; of the existences they are surrounded by; a knowledge of the conditions of social and political life, and rules of conduct on which their well-being chiefly depends; together with the outlines and rudiments of science, which form the foundation of those arts and manufactures that contribute to the prosperity and happiness of our country.  In the pursuit of those attainments there should be little difference made between boys and girls, seeing that women are destined to have the first and chief hand in moulding the minds and character of our people; excepting that girls should be taught at school to make and mend their own clothing, and to cook their own food: qualifications of the first importance to promote the well-being of a family.

    Another great essential you should aim at, is the establishing of libraries and reading-rooms, in sufficient numbers, in different districts of your towns and villages, to which the young and old of both sexes should have free access after the labours of the day; as well as to borrow books from them to take to their homes; as also to have some share in the management.  In addition to which, you should aim at establishing halls of science, where the young might extend the knowledge they acquired at school or obtain a more extensive knowledge of any particular science.  Our museums and galleries of art should also be freely accessible to the people; and at such times, too, when they may best be able to attend them; and if large halls were connected with them, and men of science and art employed to give daily lectures on their contents, they would form schools of instruction of the first importance to our people.

    Seeing, also, the great deterioration that is fast going on among the rising generation owing to most of their recreations and amusements being connected with public-houses, which have spread so extensively within these few years throughout the length and breadth of the land; and seeing, too, the great obstacles in the way of progress which the drinking habits of our people occasion, you should above all things aim to remedy this monstrous evil; and to secure rational and healthful amusements for the young, apart from the means of intoxication.  Taking into account the physical and mental injury produced by the poisonous intoxicating compounds drunk by our people, the vast amount of social misery they occasion, and the great extent of vice and crime that can be clearly traced to their use, you should not fail to consider and weigh the consequences of this great evil, socially and politically, and the great waste of capital it occasions.

    You have been making great efforts for a number of years past to improve your social position by obtaining higher wages, or a larger share of the productions your labour helps to create; but while you have been carrying on these contests, you have been spending the largest portion of a hundred millions annually in intoxicating drinks, exclusive of the great amount of capital you have frequently been obliged to waste in your efforts to obtain a rise of wages, or to prevent a fall of them.  Now, as no labour can be put in motion without capital, or, in other words, without materials, tools, and the means of subsistence for the labourers, every waste of it will diminish the employment of labour, and every increase of it, especially in the hands of the producers themselves, will occasion an increased demand for labour.  The most obtuse among you may perceive that if the hundred millions of capital that is thus annually wasted could be added year after year to the present amount that is now paid our labourers in wages, that a vast change would soon be produced in their favour.  You can readily perceive what a vast demand for productions of various kinds would take place if the money now spent in drink were only spent in decent furniture, comfortable clothing, good food, and the necessary requisites for housekeeping, among the working millions of our country.

    But far beyond this benefit, for giving employment and better wages, there are many others of greater importance.

    The great social want in the present day is the union of capital and labour in the work of production, with a unity of interests, and this great saving would soon enable you to effect it; or if you prefer to put your savings in some savings bank, you could enjoy the interest thereof, and have the best security against ever needing the miserable workhouse, when slackness of work, sickness, or old age, come upon you.  Who can fail to perceive that drunkenness is a great obstacle in the way of progress, socially and politically?  In your trade associations and unions, tipplers and drunkards are the first to shirk their payments, to mar your peaceful objects by their brawls and misconduct; the first to desert your cause and go over to the enemy; and otherwise by their drunken conduct, and neglect of home and children, to bring disgrace upon the general body.  Politically, they are even worse enemies to progress, as their love of drink drowns all regard for the welfare of their country; causes them to seize with avidity the bribe of the enemy, and to be ready tools to fight, or drown by noisy clamour, the best efforts for the improvement of their country, for a paltry modicum of drink.

    These evils should awaken the most thoughtful among you to a sense of duty, and should induce you to band yourselves together to discountenance in your fellows this love of drink, and to join in all efforts for removing this great temptation from among you.  For you must remember that this is a growing and spreading evil at home and abroad; that publicans, gin-sellers, and brewers are all powerful for evil; and that while you and the well-disposed of other classes are making strenuous efforts to reform abuses, remove evils, and to build up your liberties, these men and their drinking tools are doing all in their power to mar or prevent all social and political progress.  It is an evil, however, that sooner or later must be coped with, and the longer it is postponed the more difficult will be its solution.  Year after year it is eating deeper and deeper into the heart of the nation, producing its annual crops of pauperism, vice, and crime; and paralysing the best efforts of all those who are seeking to enlighten and improve mankind.  Every year adds new victims to the seductions of the drink traffic; gives increased wealth and legislative power to those who flourish by it; and enables them to defy all efforts for the mitigation or removal of this great and intolerable curse from among us.

    On the subject of Religion I have already given my opinions, and therefore shall confine myself to a few last words.

    I regard, then, as true religion that teaching which is based on the great and broad principle of human brotherhood, of reciprocal Christian duty, of mental freedom in the pursuit of truth, of love and kindness for the whole human family, and of the necessity for each and all of us doing all in our power for the mental, moral, and physical elevation of our race.  Such a religion—founded on the great commandment of love to God and man—would, in my opinion, be one of the most efficient means for building up society upon the foundations of right and building justice; for calling forth, promoting, and disseminating the love of knowledge; for purifying and elevating mankind by pure morality and ennobling aspirations; and for being a faithful friend and guide to the erring children of humanity; helping so to improve and direct their conduct in this life, as shall render them more worthy of the next.

    You may be assured, then, that all teachers of religion who neglect those great and truly Christian principles of man's elevation and improvement are not truly Christian.  Those who, banded together as a church, or as a Christian community of any kind, seek to dominate and subject to their will the minds and consciences of men; who seek to amuse and interest them with gaudy ceremonials, vain repetitions, creeds and catechisms; who preach to the multitude eternal patience under wrong and injustice; side with their oppressors in the perpetuation of the evil and, wink at wickedness in high places, are not true Christian teachers, whatever name they may assume.  But those who aim at the mental and moral elevation of our race, and at the same time use their power and influence for the physical improvement of all, are worthy of all honour; they being the true imitators of the Great Teacher, who in His day laboured for the poor and oppressed, who went about among them doing good, and who denounced wickedness, hypocrisy and injustice.

    Remember that the highest Christian duty, the highest moral duty, as well as the highest of our political duties, all point to the same great end—that of improving and perfecting our fellow-creatures intellectually, morally, and physically, so that they may be enabled to enjoy the highest amount of happiness in this world, and be better prepared for the enjoyment of the next.  The Christianity, morality, and political philosophy that fall short of this great aim are only delusive shams, upheld by cant, special pleading, and hollow promises, and which can only end in perpetuating the reign of ignorance, demoralization, and wrong, and in consigning the vast majority of our toiling millions to a life of poverty, care, and anxiety, in order to support and pamper a comparative few in the excesses of luxury and extravagance.

    It surely cannot be religiously or morally right that mostly all the means of enjoyment in this world shall be monopolized by a few, and that chiefly by "those who toil not, neither do they spin;" that the land of a country which God gave in common to all should be held by a few great families; and that because their ancestors were great buccaneers, who stole it from our ancestors a few hundred years ago, and the possession of which they have secured as far as possible by laws of their own making.  Nor can it be a satisfactory state of society when the mass of our people are held in a kind of social bondage by a few great capitalists, against whom they are always warring for subsistence; as they must, in most cases, do their bidding or starve, and more especially when trade is bad, and markets over-glutted.  It is surely time to put an end to this social strife in the work of production, and not to allow of a state of things to which we are fast hastening, when all the great capitalists will swallow up all the little ones, and when all the machinism and inventive powers of our age shall be engrossed and used chiefly for their benefit; with the lamentable results of making a few great millionaires on the one hand, and a nation of toiling, poverty-stricken slaves on the other.  For the competition between labourers, with their continually increasing numbers, will always give a power to capitalists to keep down wages to the lowest subsistence point, and especially of unskilled labour. Even among skilled workmen the strife of competition is fast producing similar results, notwithstanding their unions to prevent it.

    We have seen the operation of this system in our day, and how the swarms of Irish labourers—driven from their country by their landowners—have brought down the wages of Englishmen, in field or factory, or wherever unskilled labour is needed.  In America the same system is producing similar results, although somewhat retarded by their great extent of land, and although for labour.  There they have not only the cheap labour of Ireland, Germany, France, and other countries, to keep down a fair rate of wages, but have recently added to these swarms of Chinese and Coolies from other countries.  And we, too, have been lately threatened by our capitalists with an importation of Chinese labourers.

    Some pious defenders of this state of things will doubtlessly tell you that this world is only intended by God as a place of toil and trial, in which your chief duty is to prepare yourself for a future state.  This specious doctrine, my friends, is not genuine Christianity; nor do those who preach it practise it themselves, for they generally manage to get the lion's share of good things in this world.  A true Christian regards his fellow-man as a brother, to whom he wishes to act as he would be done by; and as he would not, if possible, permit a brother to be kept in ignorance, and to be placed in such wretched circumstances as are almost certain to mar the good within him, and consequently to blight, if not destroy, his chance of enjoying the future they talk about, so will he labour with all earnestness to improve his brother's lot, and to make this earth more in accordance with heaven.  In fact, the present state of society, with its mere money-getting and sensual aspirations—with its adulterations, trickery, and cheating in trade and commerce—the constant strife and contentions of its labouring classes to obtain a subsistence—its recklessness, drunkenness, and waste—its mass of squalid misery —and the callous indifference of our legislators to provide a remedy, demand with trumpet voice that all earnest, thoughtful men should seriously begin to look beyond the professions of Churches, Sects, and Parties, to the GREAT RELIGION OF DUTY; this being the only religion that can build up the moral man to subdue his animal nature; that can awaken his duties to his brethren; that can form the great cementing power to unite man to man in social fellowship; that can cause nations to prosper by the establishment of justice at home and abroad; and above all, by its being the religion that Christ enjoined for promoting the happiness of man.

    Remember also, I implore you, that all just and efficient government must depend on the intelligence and virtues of the great mass of our people, as on the possession of these qualities will depend the kind of men that will be chosen for representatives and rulers; and on these will depend the liberty and prosperity of our country.  For if the wisest and best are neglected, and the mere shams of wealth, title, and pretensions, are elevated to place and power, whatever changes we may have, or whatever name our Government may assume, it will be fruitless of benefit to the mass of the people.  And although ignorance, improvidence, and vice still unhappily pervade the ranks of our population to a lamentable extent, it yet greatly lies in the power of the most intelligent of our working and middle classes to enlighten and improve that unhappy portion of their brethren.  For let them but organize and band themselves together for the purpose of their instruction, social and political; let them but exhibit examples of sobriety and orderly conduct, in their own persons, their homes and families, and sternly set themselves against the demoralizing influences that surround them, and the work of reformation will be gradually, but surely, effected.

    Unhappily we live in an age when the vast accumulations of wealth, which our new discoveries and productive powers have conferred upon our race—but which, hitherto, have chiefly been monopolized by the upper and middle classes—are for the most part spent in luxury and excess, and in administering to mere sensual gratifications; the one class of them striving to ape the other in all their extravagance and folly, and each striving to outlive his neighbour in his finery, equipages, and profusion.  This state of things has, unhappily, a corrupting and deteriorating influence on society, not merely by the force of pernicious example on all classes, but by wasting means that ought morally and religiously to be applied to the rescuing of millions from a life of poverty and misery, and for the social and political improvement of our people.

    To stem this current of pernicious example must be the one great aim of Reformers; for while they should urge on their brethren the necessity of having healthful, tasteful, and neatly-kept homes, and well-clad and well-instructed families, they should urge on them at the same time the virtues of temperance, frugality, and the saving of present means for the time of sickness, accident, old age and infirmity; and for enabling them to lend an efficient hand in the social and political reformation of their country.

    Another point to which I would direct the attention of my brethren, is the necessity of their acquiring equal electoral rights in all matters with that of others.

    The people at large, I conceive, in any part of the country, who have a fixed habitation, and help to support the State, should be allowed equal electoral rights with those of householders and landlords.  Not only in the election of Members of Parliament, but in that of School Boards, and of all Municipal and Parochial Officers.  The giving of electoral power exclusively to householders (for the difficulties in the way of Lodger Suffrage have rendered that a nullity), because they pay rates and taxes, is a manifest injustice as those who occupy a habitation and pay rent for it help the householder or landlord to pay his rates and taxes.  In most cases, too, they contribute more largely; for they often help to keep him as well as help him to pay his rates and taxes.  Justice therefore demands that all who contribute, directly or indirectly, to the support of our social or political institutions, should have an equal right in choosing the persons who are to direct or manage them.

    As also the ultimate cost of every kind of waste and extravagance must be borne by the industrious and saving part of the community; and as the ultimate results of every kind of vice and profligacy help to create burthens for them to support; it becomes the duty of the industrious classes, above all others, to raise their voices against gambling, horse-racing, betting, and all kinds of vicious extravagance; not only as a waste of the capital necessary for giving them profitable employment, and for promoting their happiness, but for their demoralizing influence on those they are striving politically and socially to improve and elevate.  Unhappily, those annual saturnalian revels of horse-racing, betting, gambling, and drunken disorder—which had their origin in the low pursuits and gambling propensities of the idle and demoralized portion of our titled and wealthy aristocracy—have, like a foul and muddy torrent, flowed downwards to create a moral pestilence among the unreflecting of all classes of society. Nay! so contagious has been the evil, that even among those who pride themselves on their "respectability," are found persons who take their wives and daughters to witness "this racing and betting frenzy where, in close contact with drunken roughs, slangy sportsmen, showy courtesans, and fighting, roaring, and rampant brutality, they cannot help witnessing scenes and sounds repugnant to all female delicacy and moral propriety.
 
    So much so has this attractive vice of horse-racing, with all its vile accompaniments of betting and gambling, taken possession of the public mind, that even in the Legislature its wealthy and aristocratic patrons have influence enough to stay all legislative proceedings while they go to that carnival of vice and profligacy, the Derby—"A time," says Goldwin Smith, "when men, women, and boys are invited to gratify the vile delights of gambling; mostly to their demoralization, and often to their ruin."  Thus "from high to low the demoralizing influence spreads, contaminating in its course the sporting nobleman, the turf-bitten manufacturer, the gambling shop-keeper, and betting publican, down to the stableman, costermonger, and pot-boy who foolishly club their five shillings or half-crowns, in imitation of their betters, to risk upon a horse-race."

    Our aristocracy and wealthy classes pride themselves on being the élite of the nation, and on the refinement and improvement they effect in society by their high culture, superior manners, worthy deeds, and noble examples; but they cannot suppose that those whom they call "the vulgar herd" are so blinded by the glitter of wealth or title as to believe that racing, betting, gambling, battues and pigeon-shooting, are evidences of culture or merit; or that such doings are very bright examples for the multitude to imitate.  That many thoughtless and weak-minded ones among them do this, however, is greatly to be regretted; and therefore to the reform of those social vices the most intelligent of our brethren should divert their attention.  They must not, however, rely on this or any other great measure of reformation coming from, or being achieved by, the classes above them, for they are generally the opponents of all reform; and that often from the most mistaken notions.  Most of the reforms that have taken place in my day have been won rather in despite of the wealthy and titled classes, than owe to them their origin; though they might at last have been made the unwilling instruments for carrying them into effect.

    So long, therefore, as those who are aiming at cheap and just government, help by vote or voice to place persons who have neither interest nor sympathy with them in the position of representatives or rulers, so long will they be putting obstacles in their own path.  The industrious classes, therefore, would do well to remember the wise fable of "The Lark and her Young Ones," and resolve to do their own work themselves; and that by choosing representatives from their own ranks, or from those of other classes who like themselves are seeking the removal of social and political evils, and the establishing of freedom, peace, and plenty in our land; and by otherwise aiding the great cause of human progress by every intellectual and moral efforts in their power, and to work onward till their labours are crowned with success.  And my working brethren should also remember, that ignorance and superstition are the two chief crutches which prop up and support every species of despotism, corruption, and error in every part of the world; and against these, all who wish for the advancement and happiness of mankind should ever war.  And they would also do well to reflect that, from the past history of this race, little or no improvement can possibly take place in their social position under the strife that is continually waging between capital and labour, until all persons interested in the prosperity and happiness of their country and their race unite to put an end to this strife, by establishing a system of co-operation for the production of wealth, founded on the mutual interests of capital and labour, and such distributed according to each person's industry, capacity, and intelligence—the whole based on mutual right and obligation, the highest principles of morality, and the religion of doing unto all as they could wish to be done by.


    Having referred to my wife and children in the early part of my story, I deem it advisable to say a few concluding words respecting them; as those who have felt any interest in what I have said, might wish to know something more about those who were dearest to me.

    And first of my dear Mary, whom I earnestly hope will outlive me, for the sake of my poor daughter and grand-daughter, knowing that the same watchful care and anxiety she has ever shown for them will ever be extended towards them while any mental or bodily powers remain with her.  For though I would do my best, if unhappily they were left to my charge, I should be but a poor substitute for my overanxious wife.  To me my dear wife has ever been a second self; always my best adviser and truest friend; ever interesting herself, and sympathizing with me in all my pursuits, toils, and troubles; and ever diffusing the sunshine of kindness and good temper in our humble home.  I know not indeed what kind of man I should have been, if I had not met with such a noble help-mate; and this I often think of with grateful feelings.  She has borne to me two children, named Mary and Kezia.  The latter—called after my dear mother—died in infancy; her death, we believed, occasioned by a fall off the lap of a sleepy nurse.

    Mary, my surviving daughter, was born on the 9th of June, 1827, and married, at the age of twenty-two, Thomas C. Hatch, the son of a London carpenter.  He is a compositor by trade, but having worked at Novello's for upwards of twenty years, in setting up the very small type used in music-printing, his eyesight became so weakened in consequence, that he was obliged to abandon his trade; and for several years past has maintained his family by keeping a tobacconist's shop.  My daughter—having only one child—with a view of improving her position, devoted herself for some years to teaching, and to the keeping of a school, and very recently has taken to the stage; a step very much against her mother's wishes and my own, although I have no prejudice against the profession.  She is an intelligent and clever woman, and is very sanguine of success in her new calling, but I would much rather she had devoted herself to her home.

    My grand-daughter Kezia, was born in London, on July 24th, 1857, and has lived with us a great portion of her time, although she attends also to her father's shop when needed.  She is a well-grown girl, fond of music, drawing and reading, and is not deficient of intelligence.  I hope therefore that she will do well in life; that she will seek to acquire useful knowledge as a means of happiness, will always strive to be pure and good, and will aim at diffusing happiness around her.

    During last winter―1875―I had another severe attack of my horrible bronchial complaint; and so severe was it, that I was not able to leave my bed for about eight weeks.  During this illness I have to record, with grateful feelings, the kindness and generosity of friends, who not only supplied me with everything they thought would administer to my recovery, but unitedly subscribed money to supply me monthly with extra comforts in my old age. I have therefore abundant reasons to be thankful to kind friends, and I hereby record my grateful acknowledgements to them.

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[Appendices and Notes]

 



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