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Alton Locke, Tailor And Poet by Rev. Charles Kingsley et al

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An Autobiography.





















































The tract appended to this preface has been chosen to accompany this
reprint of _Alton Locke_ in order to illustrate, from another side, a
distinct period in the life of Charles Kingsley, which stands out very much
by itself. It may be taken roughly to have extended from 1848 to 1856. It
has been thought that they require a preface, and I have undertaken to
write it, as one of the few survivors of those who were most intimately
associated with the author at the time to which the works refer.

No easy task; for, look at them from what point we will, these years must
be allowed to cover an anxious and critical time in modern English history;
but, above all, in the history of the working classes. In the first of them
the Chartist agitation came to a head and burst, and was followed by the
great movement towards association, which, developing in two directions and
by two distinct methods--represented respectively by the amalgamated Trades
Unions, and Co-operative Societies--has in the intervening years entirely
changed the conditions of the labour question in England, and the relations
of the working to the upper and middle classes. It is with this, the social
and industrial side of the history of those years, that we are mainly
concerned here. Charles Kingsley has left other and more important writings
of those years. But these are beside our purpose, which is to give some
such slight sketch of him as may be possible within the limits of a
preface, in the character in which he was first widely known, as the most
outspoken and powerful of those who took the side of the labouring classes,
at a critical time--the crisis in a word, when they abandoned their old
political weapons, for the more potent one of union and association, which
has since carried them so far.

To no one of all those to whom his memory is very dear can this seem a
superfluous task, for no writer was ever more misunderstood or better
abused at the time, and after the lapse of almost a quarter of a century
the misunderstanding would seem still to hold its ground. For through all
the many notices of him which appeared after his death in last January,
there ran the same apologetic tone as to this part of his life's work.
While generally, and as a rule cordially, recognizing his merits as an
author and a man, the writers seemed to agree in passing lightly over this
ground. When it was touched it was in a tone of apology, sometimes tinged
with sarcasm, as in the curt notice in the "Times"--"He was understood, to
be the Parson Lot of those 'Politics for the People' which made no little
noise in their time, and as Parson Lot he declared in burning language
that to his mind the fault in the 'People's Charter' was that it did not
go nearly far enough." And so the writer turns away, as do most of his
brethren, leaving probably some such impression as this on the minds of
most of their readers--"Young men of power and genius are apt to start with
wild notions. He was no exception. Parson Lot's sayings and doings may well
be pardoned for what Charles Kingsley said and did in after years; so let
us drop a decent curtain over them, and pass on."

Now, as very nearly a generation has passed since that signature used to
appear at the foot of some of the most noble and vigorous writing of our
time, readers of to-day are not unlikely to accept this view, and so to
find further confirmation and encouragement in the example of Parson Lot
for the mischievous and cowardly distrust of anything like enthusiasm
amongst young men, already sadly too prevalent in England. If it were only
as a protest against this "surtout point de zele" spirit, against which it
was one of Charles Kingsley's chief tasks to fight with all his strength,
it is well that the facts should be set right. This done, readers may
safely be left to judge what need there is for the apologetic tone in
connection with the name, the sayings, and doings of Parson Lot.

My first meeting with him was in the autumn of 1848, at the house of Mr.
Maurice, who had lately been appointed Reader of Lincolns Inn. No parochial
work is attached to that post, so Mr. Maurice had undertaken the charge of
a small district in the parish in which he lived, and had set a number of
young men, chiefly students of the Inns of Court who had been attracted by
his teaching, to work in it. Once a week, on Monday evenings, they used
to meet at his house for tea, when their own work was reported upon and
talked over. Suggestions were made and plans considered; and afterwards a
chapter of the Bible was read and discussed. Friends and old pupils of Mr.
Maurice's, residing in the country, or in distant parts of London, were
in the habit of coming occasionally to these meetings, amongst whom was
Charles Kingsley. He had been recently appointed Rector of Eversley, and
was already well known as the author of _The Saint's Tragedy_, his first
work, which contained the germ of much that he did afterwards.

His poem, and the high regard and admiration which Mr. Maurice had for
him, made him a notable figure in that small society, and his presence was
always eagerly looked for. What impressed me most about him when we first
met was, his affectionate deference to Mr. Maurice, and the vigour and
incisiveness of everything he said and did. He had the power of cutting
out what he meant in a few clear words, beyond any one I have ever met.
The next thing that struck one was the ease with which he could turn from
playfulness, or even broad humour, to the deepest earnest. At first I think
this startled most persons, until they came to find out the real deep
nature of the man; and that his broadest humour had its root in a faith
which realized, with extraordinary vividness, the fact that God's Spirit
is actively abroad in the world, and that Christ is in every man, and made
him hold fast, even in his saddest moments,--and sad moments were not
infrequent with him,--the assurance that, in spite of all appearances, the
world was going right, and would go right somehow, "Not your way, or my
way, but God's way." The contrast of his humility and audacity, of his
distrust in himself and confidence in himself, was one of those puzzles
which meet us daily in this world of paradox. But both qualities gave him a
peculiar power for the work he had to do at that time, with which the name
of Parson Lot is associated.

It was at one of these gatherings, towards the end of 1847 or early in
1848, when Kingsley found himself in a minority of one, that he said
jokingly, he felt much as Lot must have felt in the Cities of the Plain,
when he seemed as one that mocked to his sons-in-law. The name Parson Lot
was then and there suggested, and adopted by him, as a familiar _nom de
plume_, He used it from 1848 up to 1856; at first constantly, latterly
much more rarely. But the name was chiefly made famous by his writings in
"Politics for the People," the "Christian Socialist," and the "Journal of
Association," three periodicals which covered the years from '48 to '52; by
"Alton Locke"; and by tracts and pamphlets, of which the best known, "Cheap
Clothes and Nasty," is now republished.

In order to understand and judge the sayings and writings of Parson Lot
fairly, it is necessary to recall the condition of the England of that
day. Through the winter of 1847-8, amidst wide-spread distress, the cloud
of discontent, of which Chartism was the most violent symptom, had been
growing darker and more menacing, while Ireland was only held down by main
force. The breaking-out of the revolution on the Continent in February
increased the danger. In March there were riots in London, Glasgow,
Edinburgh, Liverpool, and other large towns. On April 7th, "the Crown
and Government Security Bill," commonly called "the Gagging Act," was
introduced by the Government, the first reading carried by 265 to 24,
and the second a few days later by 452 to 35. On the 10th of April the
Government had to fill London with troops, and put the Duke of Wellington
in command, who barricaded the bridges and Downing Street, garrisoned the
Bank and other public buildings, and closed the Horse Guards.

When the momentary crisis had passed, the old soldier declared in the House
of Lords that "no great society had ever suffered as London had during the
preceding days," while the Home Secretary telegraphed to all the chief
magistrates of the kingdom the joyful news that the peace had been kept
in London. In April, the Lord Chancellor, in introducing the Crown and
Government Security Bill in the House of Lords, referred to the fact
that "meetings were daily held, not only in London, but in most of the
manufacturing towns, the avowed object of which was to array the people
against the constituted authority of these realms." For months afterwards
the Chartist movement, though plainly subsiding, kept the Government in
constant anxiety; and again in June, the Bank, the Mint, the Custom House,
and other public offices were filled with troops, and the Houses of
Parliament were not only garrisoned but provisioned as if for a siege.

From that time, all fear of serious danger passed away. The Chartists were
completely discouraged, and their leaders in prison; and the upper and
middle classes were recovering rapidly from the alarm which had converted
a million of them into special constables, and were beginning to doubt
whether the crisis had been so serious after all, whether the disaffection
had ever been more than skin deep. At this juncture a series of articles
appeared in the _Morning Chronicle_ on "London Labour and the London Poor,"
which startled the well-to-do classes out of their jubilant and scornful
attitude, and disclosed a state of things which made all fair minded people
wonder, not that there had been violent speaking and some rioting, but that
the metropolis had escaped the scenes which had lately been enacted in
Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and other Continental capitals.

It is only by an effort that one can now realize the strain to which the
nation was subjected during that winter and spring, and which, of course,
tried every individual man also, according to the depth and earnestness of
his political and social convictions and sympathies. The group of men who
were working under Mr. Maurice were no exceptions to the rule. The work of
teaching and visiting was not indeed neglected, but the larger questions
which were being so strenuously mooted--the points of the people's charter,
the right of public meeting, the attitude of the labouring-class to the
other classes--absorbed more and more of their attention. Kingsley was
very deeply impressed with the gravity and danger of the crisis--more so,
I think, than almost any of his friends; probably because, as a country
parson, he was more directly in contact with one class of the poor than any
of them. How deeply he felt for the agricultural poor, how faithfully he
reflected the passionate and restless sadness of the time, may be read in
the pages of "Yeast," which was then coming out in "Fraser." As the winter
months went on this sadness increased, and seriously affected his health.

"I have a longing," he wrote to Mr. Ludlow, "to do _something_--what, God
only knows. You say, 'he that believeth will not make haste,' but I think
he that believeth must _make_ haste, or get damned with the rest. But I
will do anything that anybody likes--I have no confidence in myself or in
anything but God. I am not great enough for such times, alas! '_ne pour
faire des vers_,' as Camille Desmoulins said."

This longing became so strong as the crisis in April approached, that he
came to London to see what could be done, and to get help from Mr. Maurice,
and those whom he had been used to meet at his house. He found them a
divided body. The majority were sworn in as special constables, and several
had openly sided with the Chartists; while he himself, with Mr. Maurice and
Mr. Ludlow, were unable to take active part with either side. The following
extract from a letter to his wife, written on the 9th of April, shows how
he was employed during these days, and how he found the work which he was
in search of, the first result of which was the publication of "those
'Politics for the People' which made no small noise in their times"--

"_April_ 11th, 1848.--The events of a week have been crowded into a few
hours. I was up till four this morning--writing posting placards, under
Maurice's auspices, one of which is to be got out to-morrow morning, the
rest when we can get money. Could you not beg a few sovereigns somewhere
to help these poor wretches to the truest alms?--to words, texts from the
Psalms, anything which may keep even one man from cutting his brother's
throat to-morrow or Friday? _Pray, pray, help us._ Maurice has given me
a highest proof of confidence. He has taken me to counsel, and we are to
have meetings for prayer and study, when I come up to London, and we are to
bring out a new set of real "Tracts for the Times," addressed to the higher
orders. Maurice is _a la hauteur des circonstances_--determined to make a
decisive move. He says, if the Oxford Tracts did wonders, why should not
we? Pray for us. A glorious future is opening, and both Maurice and Ludlow
seem to have driven away all my doubts and sorrow, and I see the blue sky
again, and my Father's face!"

The arrangements for the publication of "Politics for the People" were soon
made; and in one of the earliest numbers, for May, 1848, appeared the paper
which furnishes what ground there is for the statement, already quoted,
that "he declared, in burning language, that the People's Charter did not
go far enough" It was No. 1 of "Parson Lot's Letters to the Chartists." Let
us read it with its context.

"I am not one of those who laugh at your petition of the 10th of April: I
have no patience with those who do. Suppose there were but 250,000 honest
names on that sheet--suppose the Charter itself were all stuff--yet you
have still a right to fair play, a patient hearing, an honourable and
courteous answer, whichever way it may be. But _my only quarrel with the
Charter is that it does not go far enough in reform_. I want to see you
_free_, but I do not see that what you ask for will give you what you want.
I think you have fallen into just the same mistake as the rich, of whom you
complain--the very mistake which has been our curse and our nightmare. I
mean the mistake of fancying that _legislative_ reform is _social_ reform,
or that men's hearts can be changed by Act of Parliament. If any one will
tell me of a country where a Charter made the rogues honest, or the idle
industrious, I will alter my opinion of the Charter, but not till then. It
disappointed me bitterly when I read it. It seemed a harmless cry enough,
but a poor, bald constitution-mongering cry as ever I heard. The French cry
of 'organization of labour' is worth a thousand of it, but yet that does
not go to the bottom of the matter by many a mile." And then, after telling
how he went to buy a number of the Chartist newspaper, and found it in a
shop which sold "flash songsters," "the Swell's Guide," and "dirty milksop
French novels," and that these publications, and a work called "The Devil's
Pulpit," were puffed in its columns, he goes on, "These are strange times.
I thought the devil used to befriend tyrants and oppressors, but he seems
to have profited by Burns' advice to 'tak a thought and mend.' I thought
the struggling freeman's watchword was: 'God sees my wrongs.' 'He hath
taken the matter into His own hands.' 'The poor committeth himself unto
Him, for He is the helper of the friendless.' But now the devil seems all
at once to have turned philanthropist and patriot, and to intend himself to
fight the good cause, against which he has been fighting ever since Adam's
time. I don't deny, my friends, it is much cheaper and pleasanter to be
reformed by the devil than by God; for God will only reform society on the
condition of our reforming every man his own self--while the devil is quite
ready to help us to mend the laws and the parliament, earth and heaven,
without ever starting such an impertinent and 'personal' request, as that
a man should mend himself. _That_ liberty of the subject he will always
respect."--"But I say honestly, whomsoever I may offend, the more I have
read of your convention speeches and newspaper articles, the more I am
convinced that too many of you are trying to do God's work with the devil's
tools. What is the use of brilliant language about peace, and the majesty
of order, and universal love, though it may all be printed in letters a
foot long, when it runs in the same train with ferocity, railing, mad,
one-eyed excitement, talking itself into a passion like a street woman? Do
you fancy that after a whole column spent in stirring men up to fury, a few
twaddling copybook headings about 'the sacred duty of order' will lay the
storm again? What spirit is there but the devil's spirit in bloodthirsty
threats of revenge?"--"I denounce the weapons which you have been deluded
into employing to gain you your rights, and the indecency and profligacy
which you are letting be mixed up with them! Will you strengthen and
justify your enemies? Will you disgust and cripple your friends? Will you
go out of your way to do wrong? When you can be free by fair means will you
try foul? When you might keep the name of Liberty as spotless as the Heaven
from which she comes, will you defile her with blasphemy, beastliness, and
blood? When the cause of the poor is the cause of Almighty God, will you
take it out of His hands to entrust it to the devil? These are bitter
questions, but as you answer them so will you prosper."

In Letter II. he tells them that if they have followed, a different
"Reformer's Guide" from his, it is "mainly the fault of us parsons, who
have never told you that the true 'Reformer's Guide,' the true poor man's
book, the true 'Voice of God against tyrants, idlers, and humbugs, was the
Bible.' The Bible demands for the poor as much, and more, than they demand
for themselves; it expresses the deepest yearnings of the poor man's heart
far more nobly, more searchingly, more daringly, more eloquently than any
modern orator has done. I say, it gives a ray of hope--say rather a certain
dawn of a glorious future, such as no universal suffrage, free trade,
communism, organization of labour, or any other Morrison's-pill-measure can
give--and yet of a future, which will embrace all that is good in these--a
future of conscience, of justice, of freedom, when idlers and oppressors
shall no more dare to plead parchments and Acts of Parliament for their
iniquities. I say the Bible promises this, not in a few places only, but
throughout; it is the thought which runs through the whole Bible, justice
from God to those whom men oppress, glory from God to those whom men
despise. Does that look like the invention of tyrants, and prelates? You
may sneer, but give me a fair hearing, and if I do not prove my words, then
call me the same hard name which I shall call any man, who having read
the Bible, denies that it is the poor man's comfort and the rich man's

In subsequent numbers (as afterwards in the "Christian Socialist," and the
"Journal of Association") he dwells in detail on the several popular cries,
such as, "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work," illustrating them from
the Bible, urging his readers to take it as the true Radical Reformer's
Guide, if they were longing for the same thing as he was longing for--to
see all humbug, idleness, injustice, swept out of England. His other
contributions to these periodicals consisted of some of his best short
poems: "The Day of the Lord;" "The Three Fishers;" "Old and New," and
others; of a series of Letters on the Frimley murder; of a short story
called "The Nun's Pool," and of some most charming articles on the pictures
in the National Gallery, and the collections in the British Museum,
intended to teach the English people how to use and enjoy their own

I think I know every line which was ever published under the signature
Parson Lot; and I take it upon myself to say, that there is in all that
"burning language" nothing more revolutionary than the extracts given above
from his letters to the Chartists.

But, it may be said, apart from his writings, did not Parson Lot declare
himself a Chartist in a public meeting in London; and did he not preach in
a London pulpit a political sermon, which brought up the incumbent, who had
invited him, to protest from the altar against the doctrine which had just
been delivered?

Yes! Both statements are true. Here are the facts as to the speech, those
as to the sermon I will give in their place. In the early summer of 1848
some of those who felt with C. Kingsley that the "People's Charter" had not
had fair play or courteous treatment, and that those who signed it had real
wrongs to complain of, put themselves into communication with the leaders,
and met and talked with them. At last it seemed that the time was come for
some more public meeting, and one was called at the Cranbourn Tavern, over
which Mr. Maurice presided. After the president's address several very
bitter speeches followed, and a vehement attack was specially directed
against the Church and the clergy. The meeting waxed warm, and seemed
likely to come to no good, when Kingsley rose, folded his arms across his
chest, threw his head back, and began--with the stammer which always came
at first when he was much moved, but which fixed every one's attention at
once--"I am a Church of England parson"--a long pause--"and a Chartist;"
and then he went on to explain how far he thought them right in their claim
for a reform of Parliament; how deeply he sympathized with their sense of
the injustice of the law as it affected them; how ready he was to help in
all ways to get these things set right; and then to denounce their methods,
in very much the same terms as I have already quoted from his letters to
the Chartists. Probably no one who was present ever heard a speech which
told more at the time. I had a singular proof that the effect did not
pass away. The most violent speaker on that occasion was one of the staff
of the leading Chartist newspaper. I lost sight of him entirely for more
than twenty years, and saw him again, a little grey shrivelled man, by
Kingsley's side, at the grave of Mr. Maurice, in the cemetery at Hampstead.

The experience of this meeting encouraged its promoters to continue the
series, which they did with a success which surprised no one more than
themselves. Kingsley's opinion of them may be gathered from the following
extract from a letter to his wife:--

"_June_ 4, 1848, Evening.--A few words before bed. I have just come home
from the meeting. No one spoke but working men, gentlemen I should call
them, in every sense of the term. Even _I_ was perfectly astonished by the
courtesy, the reverence to Maurice, who sat there like an Apollo, their
eloquence, the brilliant, nervous, well-chosen language, the deep simple
earnestness, the rightness and moderation of their thoughts. And these are
the _Chartists_, these are the men who are called fools and knaves--who are
refused the rights which are bestowed on every profligate fop.... It is
God's cause, fear not He will be with us, and if He is with us, who shall
be against us?"

But while he was rapidly winning the confidence of the working classes, he
was raising up a host of more or less hostile critics in other quarters by
his writings in "Politics for the People," which journal was in the midst
of its brief and stormy career. At the end of June, 1848, he writes to Mr.
Ludlow, one of the editors--

"I fear my utterances have had a great deal to do with the 'Politics''
unpopularity. I have got worse handled than any of you by poor and rich.
There is one comfort, that length of ears is in the donkey species always
compensated by toughness of hide. But it is a pleasing prospect for me (if
you knew all that has been said and written about Parson Lot), when I look
forward and know that my future explosions are likely to become more and
more obnoxious to the old gentlemen, who stuff their ears with cotton, and
then swear the children are not screaming."

"Politics for the People" was discontinued for want of funds; but its
supporters, including all those who were working under Mr. Maurice--who,
however much they might differ in opinions, were of one mind as to the
danger of the time, and the duty of every man to do his utmost to meet that
danger--were bent upon making another effort. In the autumn, Mr. Ludlow,
and others of their number who spent the vacation abroad, came back with
accounts of the efforts at association which were being made by the
workpeople of Paris.

The question of starting such associations in England as the best means
of fighting the slop system--which the "Chronicle" was showing to lie at
the root of the misery and distress which bred Chartists--was anxiously
debated. It was at last resolved to make the effort, and to identify the
new journal with the cause of Association, and to publish a set of tracts
in connection with it, of which Kingsley undertook to write the first,
"Cheap Clothes and Nasty."

So "the Christian Socialist" was started, with Mr. Ludlow for editor, the
tracts on Christian Socialism begun under Mr. Maurice's supervision, and
the society for promoting working-men's associations was formed out of the
body of men who were already working with Mr. Maurice. The great majority
of these joined, though the name was too much for others. The question of
taking it had been much considered, and it was decided, on the whole, to be
best to do so boldly, even though it might cost valuable allies. Kingsley
was of course consulted on every point, though living now almost entirely
at Eversley, and his views as to the proper policy to be pursued may be
gathered best from the following extracts from letters of his to Mr.

"We must touch the workman at all his points of interest. First and
foremost at association--but also at political rights, as grounded both
on the Christian ideal of the Church, and on the historic facts of the
Anglo-Saxon race. Then national education, sanitary and dwelling-house
reform, the free sale of land, and corresponding reform of the land laws,
moral improvement of the family relation, public places of recreation (on
which point I am very earnest), and I think a set of hints from history,
and sayings of great men, of which last I have been picking up from Plato,
Demosthenes, &c."

1849.--"This is a puling, quill-driving, soft-handed age--among our
own rank, I mean. Cowardice is called meekness; to temporize is to be
charitable and reverent; to speak truth, and shame the devil, is to
offend weak brethren, who, somehow or other, never complain of their weak
consciences till you hit them hard. And yet, my dear fellow, I still remain
of my old mind--that it is better to say too much than too little, and more
merciful to knock a man down with a pick-axe than to prick him to death
with pins. The world says, No. It hates anything demonstrative, or violent
(except on its own side), or unrefined."

1849.--"The question of property is one of these cases. We must face it in
this age--simply because it faces us."--"I want to commit myself--I want
to make others commit themselves. No man can fight the devil with a long
ladle, however pleasant it may be to eat with him with one. A man never
fishes well in the morning till he has tumbled into the water."

And the counsels of Parson Lot had undoubtedly great weight in giving an
aggressive tone both to the paper and the society. But if he was largely
responsible for the fighting temper of the early movement, he, at any rate,
never shirked his share of the fighting. His name was the butt at which all
shafts were aimed. As Lot "seemed like one that mocked to his sons-in-law,"
so seemed the Parson to the most opposite sections of the British nation.
As a friend wrote of him at the time, he "had at any rate escaped the
curse of the false prophets, 'Woe unto you when all men shall speak well
of you.'" Many of the attacks and criticisms were no doubt aimed not so
much at him personally as at the body of men with whom, and for whom,
he was working; but as he was (except Mr. Maurice) the only one whose
name was known, he got the lion's share of all the abuse. The storm
broke on him from all points of the compass at once. An old friend and
fellow-contributor to "Politics for the People," led the Conservative
attack, accusing him of unsettling the minds of the poor, making them
discontented, &c. Some of the foremost Chartists wrote virulently against
him for "attempting to justify the God of the Old Testament," who, they
maintained, was unjust and cruel, and, at any rate, not the God "of the
people." The political economists fell on him for his anti-Malthusian
belief, that the undeveloped fertility of the earth need not be overtaken
by population within any time which it concerned us to think about. The
quarterlies joined in the attack on his economic heresies. The "Daily
News" opened a cross fire on him from the common-sense Liberal battery,
denouncing the "revolutionary nonsense, which is termed Christian
Socialisms"; and, after some balancing, the "Guardian," representing in
the press the side of the Church to which he leant, turned upon him in a
very cruel article on the republication of "Yeast" (originally written
for "Fraser's Magazine"), and accused him of teaching heresy in doctrine,
and in morals "that a certain amount of youthful profligacy does no real
permanent harm to the character, perhaps strengthens it for a useful and
religious life."

In this one instance Parson Lot fairly lost his temper, and answered, "as
was answered to the Jesuit of old--_mentiris impudentissime_." With the
rest he seemed to enjoy the conflict and "kept the ring," like a candidate
for the wrestling championship in his own county of Devon against all
comers, one down another come on.

The fact is, that Charles Kingsley was born a fighting man, and believed
in bold attack. "No human power ever beat back a resolute forlorn hope,"
he used to say; "to be got rid of, they must be blown back with grape and
canister," because the attacking party have all the universe behind them,
the defence only that small part which is shut up in their walls. And he
felt most strongly at this time that hard fighting was needed. "It is a
pity" he writes to Mr. Ludlow, "that telling people what's right, won't
make them do it; but not a new fact, though that ass the world has quite
forgotten it; and assures you that dear sweet 'incompris' mankind only
wants to be told the way to the millennium to walk willingly into it--which
is a lie. If you want to get mankind, if not to heaven, at least out of
hell, kick them out." And again, a little later on, in urging the policy
which the "Christian Socialist" should still follow--

1851.--"It seems to me that in such a time as this the only way to fight
against the devil is to attack him. He has got it too much his own way
to meddle with us if we don't meddle with him. But the very devil has
feelings, and if you prick him will roar...whereby you, at all events, gain
the not-every-day-of-the-week-to-be-attained benefit of finding out where
he is. Unless, indeed, as I suspect, the old rascal plays ventriloquist (as
big grasshoppers do when you chase them), and puts you on a wrong scent,
by crying 'Fire!' out of saints' windows. Still, the odds are if you prick
lustily enough, you make him roar unawares."

The memorials of his many controversies lie about in the periodicals of
that time, and any one who cares to hunt them up will be well repaid, and
struck with the vigour of the defence, and still more with the complete
change in public opinion, which has brought the England of to-day clean
round to the side of Parson Lot. The most complete perhaps of his fugitive
pieces of this kind is the pamphlet, "Who are the friends of Order?"
published by J. W. Parker and Son, in answer to a very fair and moderate
article in "Fraser's Mazagine." The Parson there points out how he and
his friends were "cursed by demagogues as aristocrats, and by tories as
democrats, when in reality they were neither." And urges that the very fact
of the Continent being overrun with Communist fanatics is the best argument
for preaching association here.

But though he faced his adversaries bravely, it must not be inferred that
he did not feel the attacks and misrepresentations very keenly. In many
respects, though housed in a strong and vigorous body, his spirit was an
exceedingly tender and sensitive one. I have often thought that at this
time his very sensitiveness drove him to say things more broadly and
incisively, because he was speaking as it were somewhat against the grain,
and knew that the line he was taking would be misunderstood, and would
displease and alarm those with whom he had most sympathy. For he was by
nature and education an aristocrat in the best sense of the word, believed
that a landed aristocracy was a blessing to the country, and that no
country would gain the highest liberty without such a class, holding its
own position firmly, but in sympathy with the people. He liked their habits
and ways, and keenly enjoyed their society. Again, he was full of reverence
for science and scientific men, and specially for political economy and
economists, and desired eagerly to stand well with them. And it was a most
bitter trial to him to find himself not only in sharp antagonism with
traders and employers of labour, which he looked for, but with these
classes also.

On the other hand many of the views and habits of those with whom he found
himself associated were very distasteful to him. In a new social movement,
such as that of association as it took shape in 1849-50, there is certain
to be great attraction for restless and eccentric persons, and in point
of fact many such joined it. The beard movement was then in its infancy,
and any man except a dragoon who wore hair on his face was regarded as a
dangerous character, with whom it was compromising to be seen in any public
place--a person in sympathy with _sansculottes_, and who would dispense
with trousers but for his fear of the police. Now whenever Kingsley
attended a meeting of the promoters of association in London, he was
sure to find himself in the midst of bearded men, vegetarians, and other
eccentric persons, and the contact was very grievous to him. "As if we
shall not be abused enough," he used to say, "for what we must say and do
without being saddled with mischievous nonsense of this kind." To less
sensitive men the effect of eccentricity upon him was almost comic, as
when on one occasion he was quite upset and silenced by the appearance of
a bearded member of Council at an important deputation in a straw hat and
blue plush gloves. He did not recover from the depression produced by those
gloves for days. Many of the workmen, too, who were most prominent in the
Associations were almost as little to his mind--windy inflated kind of
persons, with a lot of fine phrases in their mouths which they did not know
the meaning of.

But in spite of all that was distasteful to him in some of its
surroundings, the co-operative movement (as it is now called) entirely
approved itself to his conscience and judgment, and mastered him so that he
was ready to risk whatever had to be risked in fighting its battle. Often
in those days, seeing how loath Charles Kingsley was to take in hand, much
of the work which Parson Lot had to do, and how fearlessly and thoroughly
he did it after all, one was reminded of the old Jewish prophets, such as
Amos the herdsman of Tekoa--"I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's
son, but I was an herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: and the Lord
took me as I followed the flock, and said unto me, Go prophesy unto my
people Israel."

The following short extracts from his correspondence with Mr. Ludlow, as to
the conduct of the "Christian Socialist," and his own contributions to it,
may perhaps serve to show how his mind was working at this time:--

_Sept., 1850_.--"I cannot abide the notion of Branch Churches or Free
(sect) Churches, and unless my whole train of thought alters, I will resist
the temptation as coming from the devil. Where I am I am doing God's work,
and when the Church is ripe for more, the Head of the Church will put the
means our way. You seem to fancy that we may have a _Deus quidam Deceptor_
over us after all. If I did I'd go and blow my dirty brains out and be rid
of the whole thing at once. I would indeed. If God, when people ask Him to
teach and guide them, does not; if when they confess themselves rogues and
fools to Him, and beg Him to make them honest and wise, He does not, but
darkens them, and deludes them into bogs and pitfalls, is he a Father? You
fall back into Judaism, friend."

_Dec., 1850_.--"Jeremiah is my favourite book now. It has taught me more
than tongue can tell. But I am much disheartened, and am minded to speak
no more words in this name (Parson Lot); and yet all these bullyings teach
one, correct one, warn one--show one that God is not leaving one to go
one's own way. 'Christ reigns,' quoth Luther."

It was at this time, in the winter of 1850, that "Alton Locke" was
published. He had been engaged on it for more than a year, working at it
in the midst of all his controversies. The following extracts from his
correspondence with Mr. Ludlow will tell readers more about it than any
criticism, if they have at all realized the time at which it was written,
or his peculiar work in that time.

_February, 1849_.--"I have hopes from the book I am writing, which has
revealed itself to me so rapidly and methodically that I feel it comes
down from above, and that only my folly can spoil it, which I pray against

1849.--"I think the notion a good one (referring to other work for the
paper which he had been asked to do), but I feel no inspiration at all
that way; and I dread being tempted to more and more bitterness, harsh
judgment, and evil speaking. I dread it. I am afraid sometimes I shall end
in universal snarling. Besides, my whole time is taken up with my book,
and _that_ I do feel inspired to write. But there is something else which
weighs awfully on my mind--(the first number of _Cooper's Journal_, which
he sent me the other day). Here is a man of immense influence openly
preaching Strausseanism to the workmen, and in a fair, honest, manly way
which must tell. Who will answer him? Who will answer Strauss? [Footnote:
He did the work himself. After many interviews, and a long correspondence
with him, Thomas Cooper changed his views, and has been lecturing and
preaching for many years as a Christian.] Who will denounce him as a vile
aristocrat, robbing the poor man of his Saviour--of the ground of all
democracy, all freedom, all association--of the Charter itself? _Oh, si
mihi centum voces et ferrea lingua!_ Think about _that_."

_January, 1850_.--"A thousand thanks for your letter, though it only shows
me what I have long suspected, that I know hardly enough yet to make the
book what it should be. As you have made a hole, you must help to fill it.
Can you send me any publication which would give me a good notion of the
Independents' view of politics, also one which would give a good notion of
the Fox-Emerson-Strauss school of Blague-Unitarianism, which is superseding
dissent just now. It was with the ideal of Calvinism, and its ultimate
bearing on the people's cause, that I wished to deal. I believe that there
must be internecine war between the people's church--_i.e._, the future
development of Catholic Christianity, and Calvinism even in its mildest
form, whether in the Establishment or out of it--and I have counted the
cost and will give every _party_ its slap in their turn. But I will alter,
as far as I can, all you dislike."

_August, 1850_.--"How do you know, dearest man, that I was not right in
making the Alton of the second volume different from the first? In showing
the individuality of the man swamped and warped by the routine of misery
and discontent? How do you know that the historic and human interest of the
book was not intended to end with Mackay's death, in whom old radicalism
dies, 'not having received the promises,' to make room for the radicalism
of the future? How do you know that the book from that point was not
intended to take a mythic and prophetic form, that those dreams come in for
the very purpose of taking the story off the ground of the actual into the
deeper and wider one of the ideal, and that they do actually do what they
were intended to do? How do you know that my idea of carrying out Eleanor's
sermons in practice were just what I could not--and if I could, dared not,
give? that all that I could do was to leave them as seed, to grow by itself
in many forms, in many minds, instead of embodying them in some action
which would have been both as narrow as my own idiosyncrasy, gain the
reproach of insanity, and be simply answered by--'If such things have been
done, where are they?' and lastly, how do you know that I had not a special
meaning in choosing a civilized fine lady as my missionary, one of a class
which, as it does exist, God must have something for it to do, and, as
it seems, plenty to do, from the fact that a few gentlemen whom I could
mention, not to speak of Fowell Buxtons, Howards, Ashleys, &c., have
done, more for the people in one year than they have done for themselves
in fifty? If I had made her an organizer, as well as a preacher, your
complaint might have been just. My dear man, the artist is a law unto
himself--or rather God is a law to him, when he prays, as I have earnestly
day after day about this book--to be taught how to say the right thing
in the right way--and I assure you I did not get tired of my work, but
laboured as earnestly at the end as I did at the beginning. The rest of
your criticism, especially about the interpenetration of doctrine and
action, is most true, and shall be attended to.--Your brother,

"G. K."

The next letter, on the same topic, in answer to criticisms on "Alton
Locke," is addressed to a brother clergyman--

"EVERSLEY, _January 13, 1851_.

"Rec. dear Sir,--I will answer your most interesting letter as shortly as
I can, and if possible in the same spirit of honesty as that in which you
have written to me.

"_First_, I do not think the cry 'Get on' to be anything but a devil's cry.
The moral of my book is that the working man who tries to get on, to desert
his class and rise above it, enters into a lie, and leaves God's path for
his own--with consequences.

"_Second_, I believe that a man might be as a tailor or a costermonger,
every inch of him a saint, a scholar, and a gentleman, for I have seen some
few such already. I believe hundreds of thousands more would be so, if
their businesses were put on a Christian footing, and themselves given by
education, sanitary reforms, &c., the means of developing their own latent
capabilities--I think the cry, 'Rise in Life,' has been excited by the very
increasing impossibility of being anything but brutes while they struggle
below. I know well all that is doing in the way of education, &c., but
I do assert that the disease of degradation has been for the last forty
years increasing faster than the remedy. And I believe, from experience,
that when you put workmen into human dwellings, and give them a Christian
education, so far from wishing discontentedly to rise out of their class,
or to level others to it, exactly the opposite takes place. They become
sensible of the dignity of work, and they begin to see their labour as a
true calling in God's Church, now that it is cleared from the accidentia
which made it look, in their eyes, only a soulless drudgery in a devil's
workshop of a _World_.

"_Third_, From the advertisement of an 'English Republic' you send, I can
guess who will be the writers in it, &c., &c., being behind the scenes.
It will come to nought. Everything of this kind is coming to nought now.
The workmen are tired of idols, ready and yearning for the Church and the
Gospel, and such men as your friend may laugh at Julian Harney, Feargus
O'Connor, and the rest of that smoke of the pit. Only we live in a great
crisis, and the Lord requires great things of us. The fields are white to
harvest. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He may send forth
labourers into His harvest.

"_Fourth_, As to the capacities of working-men, I am afraid that your
excellent friend will find that he has only the refuse of working
intellects to form his induction on. The devil has got the best long ago.
By the neglect of the Church, by her dealing (like the Popish Church and
all weak churches) only with women, children, and beggars, the cream
and pith of working intellect is almost exclusively self-educated, and,
therefore, alas! infidel. If he goes on as he is doing, lecturing on
history, poetry, science, and all the things which the workmen crave for,
and can only get from such men as H----, Thomas Cooper, &c., mixed up with
Straussism and infidelity, he will find that he will draw back to his
Lord's fold, and to his lecture room, slowly, but surely, men, whose powers
will astonish him, as they have astonished me.

"_Fifth_, The workmen whose quarrels you mention are not Christians, or
socialists either. They are of all creeds and none. We are teaching them
to become Christians by teaching them gradually that true socialism, true
liberty, brotherhood, and true equality (not the carnal dead level equality
of the Communist, but the spiritual equality of the church idea, which
gives every man an equal chance of developing and using God's gifts, and
rewards every man according to his work, without respect of persons) is
only to be found in loyalty and obedience to Christ. They do quarrel, but
if you knew how they used to quarrel before association, the improvement
since would astonish you. And the French associations do not quarrel
at all. I can send you a pamphlet on them, if you wish, written by an
eyewitness, a friend of mine.

"_Sixth_, If your friend wishes to see what can be made of workmen's
brains, let him, in God's name, go down to Harrow Weald, and there see Mr.
Monro--see what he has done with his own national school boys. I have his
opinion as to the capabilities of those minds, which we, alas! now so sadly
neglect. I only ask him to go and ask of that man the question which you
have asked of me.

"_Seventh_, May I, in reference to myself and certain attacks on me, say,
with all humility, that I do not speak from hearsay now, as has been
asserted, from second-hand picking and stealing out of those 'Reports on
Labour and the Poor,' in the 'Morning Chronicle,' which are now being
reprinted in a separate form, and which I entreat you to read if you wish
to get a clear view of the real state of the working classes.

"From my cradle, as the son of an active clergyman, I have been brought
up in the most familiar intercourse with the poor in town and country. My
mother, a second Mrs. Fry, in spirit and act. For fourteen years my father
has been the rector of a very large metropolitan parish--and I speak what I
know, and testify that which I have seen. With earnest prayer, in fear and
trembling, I wrote my book, and I trust in Him to whom I prayed that He has
not left me to my own prejudices or idols on any important point relating
to the state of the possibilities of the poor for whom He died. Any use
which you choose you can make of this letter. If it should seem worth your
while to honour me with any further communications, I shall esteem them a
delight, and the careful consideration of them a duty.--Believe me, Rev.
and dear Sir, your faithful and obedient servant,


By this time the society for promoting associations was thoroughly
organized, and consisted of a council of promoters, of which Kingsley was a
member, and a central board, on which the managers of the associations and
a delegate from each of them sat. The council had published a number of
tracts, beginning with "Cheap Clothes and Nasty," which had attracted the
attention of many persons, including several of the London clergy, who
connected themselves more or less closely with the movement. Mr. Maurice,
Kingsley, Hansard, and others of these, were often asked to preach on
social questions, and when in 1851, on the opening of the Great Exhibition,
immense crowds of strangers were drawn to London, they were specially
in request. For many London incumbents threw open their churches, and
organized series of lectures, specially bearing on the great topic of the
day. It was now that the incident happened which once more brought upon
Kingsley the charge of being a revolutionist, and which gave him more pain
than all other attacks put together. One of the incumbents before referred
to begged Mr. Maurice to take part in his course of lectures, and to
ask Kingsley to do so; assuring Mr. Maurice that he "had been reading
Kingsley's works with the greatest interest, and earnestly desired to
secure him as one of his lecturers." "I promised to mention this request to
him," Mr. Maurice says, "though I knew he rarely came to London, and seldom
preached except in his own parish. He agreed, though at some inconvenience,
that he would preach a sermon on the 'Message of the Church to the
Labouring Man.' I suggested the subject to him. The incumbent intimated
the most cordial approval of it. He had asked us, not only with a previous
knowledge of our published writings, but expressly because he had that
knowledge. I pledge you my word that no questions were asked as to what we
were going to say, and no guarantees given. Mr. Kingsley took precisely
that view of the message of the Church to labouring men which every reader
of his books would have expected him to take."

Kingsley took his text from Luke iv. verses 16 to 21: "The spirit of the
Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the
poor," &c. What then was that gospel? Kingsley asks, and goes on--"I assert
that the business for which God sends a Christian priest in a Christian
nation is, to preach freedom, equality, and brotherhood in the fullest,
deepest, widest meaning of those three great words; that in as far as he so
does, he is a true priest, doing his Lord's work with his Lord's blessing
on him; that in as far as he does not he is no priest at all, but a traitor
to God and man"; and again, "I say that these words express the very
pith and marrow of a priest's business; I say that they preach freedom,
equality, and brotherhood to rich and poor for ever and ever." Then he goes
on to warn his hearers how there is always a counterfeit in this world of
the noblest message and teaching.

Thus there are two freedoms--the false, where a man is free to do what he
likes; the true, where a man is free to do what he ought.

Two equalities--the false, which reduces all intellects and all characters,
to a dead level, and gives the same power to the bad as to the good, to the
wise as to the foolish, ending thus in practice in the grossest inequality;
the true, wherein each man has equal power to educate and use whatever
faculties or talents God has given him, be they less or more. This is the
divine equality which the Church proclaims, and nothing else proclaims as
she does.

Two brotherhoods--the false, where a man chooses who shall be his brothers,
and whom he will treat as such; the true, in which a man believes that
all are his brothers, not by the will of the flesh, or the will of man,
but by the will of God, whose children they all are alike. The Church has
three special possessions and treasures. The Bible, which proclaims man's
freedom, Baptism his equality, the Lord's Supper his brotherhood.

At the end of this sermon (which would scarcely cause surprise to-day
if preached by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Chapel Royal), the
incumbent got up at the altar and declared his belief that great part of
the doctrine of the sermon was untrue, and that he had expected a sermon of
an entirely different kind. To a man of the preacher's vehement temperament
it must have required a great effort not to reply at the moment. The
congregation was keenly excited, and evidently expected him to do so.
He only bowed his head, pronounced the blessing, and came down from the

I must go back a little to take up the thread of his connection with, and
work for, the Society for Promoting Working Men's Associations. After it
had passed the first difficulties of starting, he was seldom able to
attend either Council or Central Board. Every one else felt how much more
important and difficult work he was doing by fighting the battle in the
press, down at Eversley, but he himself was eager to take part in the
everyday business, and uneasy if he was not well informed as to what was
going on.

Sometimes, however, he would come up to the Council, when any matter
specially interesting to him was in question, as in the following example,
when a new member of the Council, an Eton master, had objected to some
strong expressions in one of his letters on the Frimley murder, in the
"Christian Socialist":--

1849.--"The upper classes are like a Yankee captain sitting on the safety
valve, and serenely whistling--but what will be will be. As for the worthy
Eton parson, I consider it infinitely expedient that he be entreated to
vent his whole dislike in the open Council forthwith, under a promise on my
part not to involve him in any controversy or reprisals, or to answer in
any tone except that of the utmost courtesy and respect. Pray do this. It
will at once be a means of gaining him, and a good example, please God,
to the working men; and for the Frimley letter, put it in the fire if you
like, or send it back to have the last half re-written, or 'anything else
you like, my pretty little dear.'"

But his prevailing feeling was getting to be, that he was becoming an

"Nobody deigns to tell me," he wrote to me, "how things go on, and who
helps, and whether I can help. In short, I know nothing, and begin to fancy
that you, like some others, think me a lukewarm and timeserving aristocrat,
after I have ventured more than many, because I had more to venture."

The same feeling comes out in the following letter, which illustrates
too, very well, both his deepest conviction as to the work, the mixture
of playfulness and earnestness with which he handled it, and his humble
estimate of himself. It refers to the question of the admission of a new
association to the Union. It was necessary, of course, to see that the
rules of a society, applying for admission to the Union, were in proper
form, and that sufficient capital was forthcoming, and the decision lay
with the Central Board, controlled in some measure by the Council of

An association of clay-pipe makers had applied for admission, and had been
refused by the vote of the central board. The Council, however, thought
there were grounds for reconsidering the decision, and to strengthen the
case for admission, Kingsley's opinion was asked. He replied:--

"EVERSLEY, _May 31, 1850_.

"The sight of your handwriting comforted me--for nobody takes any notice of
me, not even the printers; so I revenge myself by being as idle as a dog,
and fishing, and gardening, and basking in this glorious sun. But your
letter set me thanking God that he has raised up men to do the work of
which I am not worthy. As for the pipe-makers, give my compliments to the
autocrats, and tell them it is a shame. The Vegetarians would have quite
as much right to refuse the Butchers, because, forsooth, theirs is now
discovered not to be a necessary trade. Bosh! The question is this--If
association be a great Divine law and duty, the realization of the Church
idea, no man has _a right_ to refuse any body of men, into whose heart
God has put it to come and associate. It may be answered that these men's
motives are self-interested. I say, 'Judge no man.' You dare not refuse
a heathen baptism because you choose to think that his only motive for
turning Christian is the selfish one of saving his own rascally soul. No
more have you a right to refuse to men an entrance into the social Church.
They must come in, and they will, because association is not men's dodge
and invention but God's law for mankind and society, which He has made, and
we must not limit. I don't know whether I am intelligible, but what's more
important, I know I am right. Just read this to the autocrats, and tell
them, with my compliments, they are Popes, Tyrants, Manichees, Ascetics,
Sectarians, and everything else that is abominable; and if they used as
many pipes as I do, they would know the blessing of getting them cheap,
and start an associate baccy factory besides. Shall we try? But, this one
little mistake excepted (though, if they repeat it, it will become a great
mistake, and a wrong, and a ruinous wrong), they are much better fellows
than poor I, and doing a great deal more good, and at every fresh news of
their deeds I feel like Job's horse, when he scents the battle afar off."

No small part of the work of the Council consisted in mediating and
arbitrating in the disputes between the associates and their managers;
indeed, such work kept the legal members of the board (none of whom were
then overburdened with regular practice) pretty fully occupied. Some such
dispute had arisen in one of the most turbulent of these associations, and
had been referred to me for settlement. I had satisfied myself as to the
facts, and considered my award, and had just begun to write out the draft,
when I was called away from my chambers, and left the opening lines lying
on my desk. They ran as follows:--"The Trustees of the Mile End Association
of Engineers, seeing that the quarrels between the associates have not
ceased"--at which word I broke off. On returning to my chambers a quarter
of an hour later, I found a continuation in the following words:--

"And that every man is too much inclined to behave himself like a beast,
In spite of our glorious humanity, which requires neither God nor priest,
Yet is daily praised and plastered by ten thousand fools at least--
Request Mr. Hughes' presence at their jawshop in the East,
Which don't they wish they may get it, for he goes out to-night to feast
At the Rev. C. Kingsley's rectory, Chelsea, where he'll get his gullet
With the best of Barto Valle's port, and will have his joys increased
By meeting his old college chum, McDougal the Borneo priest--
So come you thief, and drop your brief,
At six o'clock without relief;
And if you won't may you come to grief,
Says Parson Lot the Socialist Chief,
Who signs his mark at the foot of the leaf--thus"

and, at the end, a clenched fist was sketched in a few bold lines, and
under it, "Parson Lot, his mark" written.

I don't know that I can do better than give the history of the rest of the
day. Knowing his town habits well, I called at Parker, the publisher's,
after chambers, and found him there, sitting on a table and holding forth
on politics to our excellent little friend, John Wm. Parker, the junior

We started to walk down to Chelsea, and a dense fog came on before we had
reached Hyde Park Corner. Both of us knew the way well; but we lost it half
a dozen times, and his spirit seemed to rise as the fog thickened. "Isn't
this like life," he said, after one of our blunders: "a deep yellow fog all
round, with a dim light here and there shining through. You grope your way
on from one lamp to another, and you go up wrong streets and back again;
but you get home at last--there's always light enough for that." After a
short pause he said, quite abruptly, "Tom, do you want to live to be old?"
I said I had never thought on the subject; and he went on, "I dread it more
than I can say. To feel one's powers going, and to end in snuff and stink.
Look at the last days of Scott and Wordsworth, and Southey." I suggested
St. John. "Yes," he said, "that's the right thing, and will do for Bunsen,
and great, tranquil men like him. The longer they live the better for all.
But for an eager, fiery nature like mine, with fierce passions eating one's
life out, it won't do. If I live twenty years I know what will happen to
me. The back of my brain will soften, and I shall most likely go blind."

The Bishop got down somehow by six. The dinner did not last long, for the
family were away, and afterwards we adjourned to the study, and Parson Lot
rose to his best. He stood before the fire, while the Bishop and I took the
two fireside arm chairs, and poured himself out, on subject after subject,
sometimes when much moved taking a tramp up and down the room, a long
clay pipe in his right hand (at which he gave an occasional suck; it was
generally out, but he scarcely noticed it), and his left hand passed behind
his back, clasping the right elbow. It was a favourite attitude with him,
when he was at ease with his company.

We were both bent on drawing him out; and the first topic, I think, raised
by the Bishop was, Fronde's history, then recently published. He took up
the cudgels for Henry VIII., whom we accused of arbitrariness. Henry was
not arbitrary; arbitrary men are the most obstinate of men? Why? Because
they are weak. The strongest men are always ready to hear reason and change
their opinions, because the strong man knows that if he loses an opinion
to-day he can get just as good a one to-morrow in its place. But the weak
man holds on to his opinion, because he can't get another, and he knows it.

Soon afterwards he got upon trout fishing, which was a strong bond of union
between him and me, and discoursed on the proper methods of fishing chalk
streams. "Your flies can't be too big, but they must be on small gut, not
on base viol fiddle strings, like those you brought down to Farnham last
year. I tell you gut is the thing that does it. Trout know that flies don't
go about with a ring and a hand pole through their noses, like so many
prize bulls of Lord Ducie's."

Then he got on the possible effect of association on the future of England,
and from that to the first International Exhibition, and the building which
was going up in Hyde Park.

"I mean to run a muck soon," he said, "against all this talk about genius
and high art, and the rest of it. It will be the ruin of us, as it has been
of Germany. They have been for fifty years finding out, and showing people
how to do everything in heaven and earth, and have done nothing. They are
dead even yet, and will be till they get out of the high art fit. We were
dead, and the French were dead till their revolution; but that brought us
to life. Why didn't the Germans come to life too? Because they set to work
with their arts, sciences, and how to do this, that, and the other thing,
and doing nothing. Goethe was, in great part, the ruin of Germany. He was
like a great fog coming down on the German people, and wrapping them up."

Then he, in his turn, drew the Bishop about Borneo, and its people, and
fauna and flora; and we got some delightful stories of apes, and converts,
and honey bears, Kingsley showing himself, by his questions, as familiar
with the Bornean plants and birds, as though he had lived there. Later on
we got him on his own works, and he told us how he wrote. "I can't think,
even on scientific subjects, except in the dramatic form. It is what Tom
said to Harry, and what Harry answered him. I never put pen to paper till I
have two or three pages in my head, and see them as if they were printed.
Then I write them off, and take a turn in the garden, and so on again." We
wandered back to fishing, and I challenged his keenness for making a bag.
"Ah!" he said, "that's all owing to my blessed habit of intensity, which
has been my greatest help in life. I go at what I am about as if there were
nothing else in the world for the time being. That's the secret of all
hard-working men; but most of them can't carry it into their amusements.
Luckily for me I can stop from all work, at short notice, and turn head
over heels in the sight of all creation, and say, I won't be good or bad,
or wise, or anything, till two o'clock to-morrow."

At last the Bishop would go, so we groped our way with him into the King's
Road, and left him in charge of a link-boy. When we got back, I said
something laughingly about his gift of talk, which had struck me more that
evening than ever before.

"Yes," he said, "I have it all in me. I could be as great a talker as any
man in England, but for my stammering. I know it well; but it's a blessed
thing for me. You must know, by this time, that I'm a very shy man, and
shyness and vanity always go together. And so I think of what every fool
will say of me, and can't help it. When a man's first thought is not
whether a thing is right or wrong, but what will Lady A., or Mr. B. say
about it, depend upon it he wants a thorn in the flesh, like my stammer.
When I am speaking for God, in the pulpit, or praying by bedsides, I never
stammer. My stammer is a blessed thing for me. It keeps me from talking in
company, and from going out as much as I should do but for it."

It was two o'clock before we thought of moving, and then, the fog being as
bad as ever, he insisted on making me up a bed on the floor. While we were
engaged in this process, he confided to me that he had heard of a doctor
who was very successful in curing stammering, and was going to try him. I
laughed, and reminded him of his thorn in the flesh, to which he replied,
with a quaint twinkle of his eye, "Well, that's true enough. But a man has
no right to be a nuisance, if he can help it, and no more right to go about
amongst his fellows stammering, than he has to go about stinking."

At this time he was already at work on another novel; and, in answer to a
remonstrance from a friend, who was anxious that he should keep ail his
strength for social reform, writes--

1851.--"I know that He has made me a parish priest, and that that is the
duty which lies nearest me, and that I may seem to be leaving my calling
in novel writing. But has He not taught me all these very things _by my_
parish priest life? Did He, too, let me become a strong, daring, sporting,
wild man of the woods for nothing? Surely the education He has given me so
different from that which authors generally receive, points out to me a
peculiar calling to preach on these points from my own experience, as it
did to good old Isaac Walton, as it has done in our own day to that truly
noble man, Captain Marryat. Therefore I must believe, '_si tu sequi la tua,
stella_,' with Dante, that He who ordained my star will not lead me _into_
temptation, but _through_ it, as Maurice says. Without Him all places and
methods of life are equally dangerous--with Him, all equally safe. Pray for
me, for in myself I am weaker of purpose than a lost grey hound, lazier
than a dog in rainy weather."

While the co-operative movement was spreading in all directions, the same
impulse was working amongst the trades unions, and the engineers had set
the example of uniting all their branches into one society. In this winter
they believed themselves strong enough to try conclusions with their
employers. The great lock-out in January, 1852, was the consequence. The
engineers had appealed to the Council of Promoters to help them in putting
their case--which had been much misrepresented--fairly before the public,
and Kingsley had been consulted as the person best able to do it. He had
declined to interfere, and wrote me the following letter to explain his
views. It will show how far he was an encourager of violent measures or

"EVERSLEY, _January 28, 1852_.

"You may have been surprised at my having taken no part in this Amalgamated
Iron Trades' matter. And I think that I am bound to say why I have not, and
how far I wish my friends to interfere in it.

"I do think that we, the Council of Promoters, shall not be wise in
interfering between masters and men; because--1. I question whether the
points at issue between them can be fairly understood by any persons not
conversant with the practical details of the trade...

"2. Nor do I think they have put their case as well as they might. For
instance, if it be true that they themselves have invented many, or most,
of the improvements in their tools and machinery, they have an argument in
favour of keeping out unskilled labourers, which is unanswerable, and yet,
that they have never used--viz.: 'Your masters make hundreds and thousands
by these improvements, while we have no remuneration for this inventive
talent of ours, but rather lose by it, because it makes the introduction
of unskilled labour more easy. Therefore, the only way in which we can get
anything like a payment for this inventive faculty of which we make you a
present over and above our skilled labour, for which you bargained, is to
demand that we, who invent the machines, if we cannot have a share in the
profits of them, shall at least have the exclusive privilege of using them,
instead of their being, as now, turned against us.' That, I think, is a
fair argument; but I have seen nothing of it from any speaker or writer.

"3. I think whatever battle is fought, must be fought by the men
themselves. The present dodge of the Manchester school is to cry out
against us, as Greg did. 'These Christian Socialists are a set of mediaeval
parsons, who want to hinder the independence and self-help of the men, and
bring them back to absolute feudal maxims; and then, with the most absurd
inconsistency, when we get up a corporation workshop, to let the men work
on the very independence and self-help of which they talk so fine, they
turn round and raise just the opposite yell, and cry, The men can't be
independent of capitalists; these associations will fail _because_ the men
are helping themselves'--showing that what they mean is, that the men shall
be independent of every one but themselves--independent of legislators,
parsons, advisers, gentlemen, noblemen, and every one that tries to help
them by moral agents; but the slaves of the capitalists, bound to them by
a servitude increasing instead of lightening with their numbers. Now, the
only way in which we can clear the cause of this calumny is to let the men
fight their own battle; to prevent any one saying, 'These men are the tools
of dreamers and fanatics,' which would be just as ruinously blackening to
them in the public eyes, as it would be to let the cry get abroad, 'This is
a Socialist movement, destructive of rights of property, communism, Louis
Blanc and the devil, &c.' You know the infernal stuff which the devil gets
up on such occasions--having no scruples about calling himself hard names,
when it suits his purpose, to blind and frighten respectable old women.

"Moreover, these men are not poor distressed needlewomen or slop-workers.
They are the most intelligent and best educated workmen, receiving incomes
often higher than a gentleman's son whose education has cost L1000, and if
they can't fight their own battles, no men in England can, and the people
are not ripe for association, and we must hark back into the competitive
rot heap again. All, then, that we can do is, to give advice when asked--to
see that they have, as far as we can get at them, a clear stage and no
favour, but not by public, but by private influence.

"But we can help them in another way, by showing them the way to associate.
That is quite a distinct question from their quarrel with their masters,
and we shall be very foolish if we give the press a handle for mixing up
the two. We have a right to say to masters, men, and public, 'We know and
care nothing about the iron strike. Here are a body of men coming to us,
wishing to be shown how to do that which is a right thing for them to
do--well or ill off, strike or no strike, namely, associate; and we will
help and teach them to do _that_ to the very utmost of our power.'

"The Iron Workers' co-operative shops will be watched with lynx eyes,
calumniated shamelessly. Our business will be to tell the truth about them,
and fight manfully with our pens for them. But we shall never be able to
get the ears of the respectabilities and the capitalists, if we appear at
this stage of the business. What we must say is, 'If you are needy and
enslaved, we will fight for you from pity, whether you be associated or
competitive. But you are neither needy, nor, unless you choose, enslaved;
and therefore we will only fight for you in proportion as you become
associates. Do that, and see if we can't stand hard knocks for your
sake.'--Yours ever affectionate, C. KINGSLEY."

In the summer of 1852 (mainly by the continued exertions of the members of
the Council, who had supplied Mr. Slaney's committee with all his evidence,
and had worked hard in other ways for this object) a Bill for legalizing
Industrial Associations was about to be introduced into the House of
Commons. It was supposed at one time that it would be taken in hand by the
Government of Lord Derby, then lately come into office, and Kingsley had
been canvassing a number of persons to make sure of its passing. On hearing
that a Cabinet Minister would probably undertake it, he writes--

"Let him be assured that he will by such a move do more to carry out true
Conservatism, and to reconcile the workmen with the real aristocracy, than
any politician for the last twenty years has done. The truth is, we are in
a critical situation here in England. Not in one of danger--which is the
vulgar material notion of a crisis, but at the crucial point, the point of
departure of principles and parties which will hereafter become great and
powerful. Old Whiggery is dead, old true blue Toryism of the Robert Inglis
school is dead too-and in my eyes a great loss. But as live dogs are better
than dead lions, let us see what the live dogs are.

"1.--The Peelites, who will ultimately, be sure, absorb into themselves all
the remains of Whiggery, and a very large proportion of the Conservative
party. In an effete unbelieving age, like this, the Sadducee and the
Herodian will be the most captivating philosopher. A scientific laziness,
lukewarmness, and compromise, is a cheery theory for the young men of
the day, and they will take to it _con amore_. I don't complain of Peel
himself. He was a great man, but his method of compromise, though useful
enough in particular cases when employed by a great man, becomes a most
dastardly "_schema mundi_" when taken up by a school of little men.
Therefore the only help which we can hope for from the Peelites is that
they will serve as ballast and cooling pump to both parties, but their very
trimming and moderation make them fearfully likely to obtain power. It
depends on the wisdom of the present government, whether they do or not.

"2.--Next you have the Manchester school, from whom Heaven defend us; for
of all narrow, conceited, hypocritical, and anarchic and atheistic schemes
of the universe, the Cobden and Bright one is exactly the worst. I have no
language to express my contempt for it, and therefore I quote what Maurice
wrote me this morning. 'If the Ministry would have thrown Protection to
the dogs (as I trust they have, in spite of the base attempts of the Corn
Law Leaguers to goad them to committing themselves to it, and to hold them
up as the people's enemies), and thrown themselves into social measures,
who would not have clung to them, to avert that horrible catastrophe
of a Manchester ascendency, which I believe in my soul would be fatal
to intellect, morality, and freedom, and will be more likely to move a
rebellion among the working men than any Tory rule which can be conceived.'

"Of course it would. To pretend to be the workmen's friends, by keeping
down the price of bread, when all they want thereby is to keep down wages,
and increase profits, and in the meantime to widen the gulf between the
working man and all that is time-honoured, refined, and chivalrous in
English society, that they may make the men their divided slaves, that
is-perhaps half unconsciously, for there are excellent men amongst
them--the game of the Manchester School."

"I have never swerved from my one idea of the last seven years, that the
real battle of the time is, if England is to be saved from anarchy and
unbelief, and utter exhaustion caused by the competitive enslavement of
the masses, not Radical or Whig against Peelite or Tory--let the dead bury
their dead-but the Church, the gentlemen, and the workman, against the
shop-keepers and the Manchester School. The battle could not have been
fought forty years ago, because, on one side, the Church was an idle
phantasm, the gentleman too ignorant, the workman too merely animal; while,
on the other, the Manchester cotton-spinners were all Tories, and the
shopkeepers were a distinct class interest from theirs. But now these
two latter have united, and the sublime incarnation of shop-keeping and
labour-buying in the cheapest market shines forth in the person of Moses &
Son, and both cotton-spinners and shop-keepers say 'This is the man!'" and
join in one common press to defend his system. Be it so: now we know our
true enemies, and soon the working-men will know them also. But if the
present Ministry will not see the possibility of a coalition between them,
and the workmen, I see no alternative but just what we have been straining
every nerve to keep off--a competitive United States, a democracy before
which the work of ages will go down in a few years. A true democracy, such
as you and I should wish to see, is impossible without a Church and a
Queen, and, as I believe, without a gentry. On the conduct of statesmen it
will depend whether we are gradually and harmoniously to develop England
on her ancient foundations, or whether we are to have fresh paralytic
governments succeeding each other in doing nothing, while the workmen and
the Manchester School fight out the real questions of the day in ignorance
and fury, till the '_culbute generale_' comes, and gentlemen of ancient
family, like your humble servant, betake themselves to Canada, to escape,
not the Amalgamated Engineers, but their 'masters,' and the slop-working
savages whom their masters' system has created, and will by that time have
multiplied tenfold.

"I have got a Thames boat on the lake at Bramshill, and am enjoying
vigorous sculls. My answer to 'Fraser' is just coming out; spread it where
you can."

In the next year or two the first excitement about the co-operative
movement cooled down. Parson Lot's pen was less needed, and he turned to
other work in his own name. Of the richness and variety of that work this
is not the place to speak, but it all bore on the great social problems
which had occupied him in the earlier years. The Crimean war weighed on
him like a nightmare, and modified some of his political opinions. On the
resignation of Lord Aberdeen's Government on the motion for inquiry into
the conduct of the war, he writes, February 5, 1855, "It is a very bad job,
and a very bad time, be sure, and with a laughing House of Commons we shall
go to Gehenna, even if we are not there already--But one comfort is, that
even Gehenna can burn nothing but the chaff and carcases, so we shall be
none the poorer in reality. So as the frost has broken gloriously, I wish
you would get me a couple of dozen of good flies, viz., cock a bondhues,
red palmers with plenty of gold twist; winged duns, with bodies of hare's
ear and yellow mohair mixed well; hackle duns with grey bodies, and a wee
silver, these last tied as palmers, and the silver ribbed all the way down.
If you could send them in a week I shall be very glad, as fishing begins

In the midst of the war he was present one day at a council meeting, after
which the manager of one of the associations referring to threatened bread
riots at Manchester, asked Kingsley's opinion as to what should be done.
"There never were but two ways," he said, "since the beginning of the world
of dealing with a corn famine. One is to let the merchants buy it up and
hold it as long as they can, as we do. And this answers the purpose best in
the long run, for they will be selling corn six months hence when we shall
want it more than we do now, and makes us provident against our wills.
The other is Joseph's plan." Here the manager broke in, "Why didn't our
Government step in then, and buy largely, and store in public granaries?"
"Yes," said Kingsley, "and why ain't you and I flying about with wings and
dewdrops hanging to our tails. Joseph's plan won't do for us. What minister
would we trust with money enough to buy corn for the people, or power to
buy where he chose." And he went on to give his questioner a lecture in
political economy, which the most orthodox opponent of the popular notions
about Socialism would have applauded to the echo.

By the end of the year he had nearly finished "Westward Ho!"--the most
popular of his novels, which the war had literally wrung out of him. He

? "_December 18, 1855_.

"I am getting more of a Government man every day. I don't see how they
could have done better in any matter, because I don't see but that _I_
should have done a thousand times worse in their place, and that is the
only fair standard.

"As for a ballad--oh! my dear lad, there is no use fiddling while Rome is
burning. I have nothing to sing about those glorious fellows, except 'God
save the Queen and them.' I tell you the whole thing stuns me, so I cannot
sit down to make fiddle rhyme with diddle about it--or blundered with
hundred like Alfred Tennyson. He is no Tyrtaeus, though he has a glimpse of
what Tyrtaeus ought to be. But I have not even that; and am going rabbit
shooting to-morrow instead. But every man has his calling, and my novel
is mine, because I am fit for nothing better. The book" ('Westward Ho!')
"will be out the middle or end of January, if the printers choose. It is
a sanguinary book, but perhaps containing doctrine profitable for these
times. My only pain is that I have been forced to sketch poor Paddy as a
very worthless fellow then, while just now he is turning out a hero. I have
made the deliberate _amende honorable_ in a note."

Then, referring to some criticism of mine on 'Westward Ho!'--"I suppose you
are right as to Amyas and his mother; I will see to it. You are probably
right too about John Hawkins. The letter in Purchas is to me unknown,
but your conception agrees with a picture my father says he has seen of
Captain John (he thinks at Lord Anglesey's, at Beaudesert) as a prim, hard,
terrier-faced, little fellow, with a sharp chin, and a dogged Puritan eye.
So perhaps I am wrong: but I don't think _that_ very important, for there
must have been sea-dogs of my stamp in plenty too." Then, referring to the
Crimean war--"I don't say that the two cases are parallel. I don't ask
England to hate Russia as she was bound to hate Spain, as God's enemy; but
I do think that a little Tudor pluck and Tudor democracy (paradoxical as
the word may seem, and inconsistently as it was carried out then) is just
what we want now."

"Tummas! Have you read the story of Abou Zennab, his horse, in Stanley's
'Sinai,' p. 67? What a myth! What a poem old Wordsworth would have writ
thereon! If I didn't cry like a babby over it. What a brick of a horse he
must have been, and what a brick of an old head-splitter Abou Zennab must
have been, to have his commandments keeped unto this day concerning of his
horse; and no one to know who he was, nor when, nor how, nor nothing. I
wonder if anybody'll keep _our_ commandments after we be gone, much less
say, 'Eat, eat, O horse of Abou Kingsley!'"

By this time the success of "Westward Ho!" and "Hypatia" had placed him in
the first rank of English writers. His fame as an author, and his character
as a man, had gained him a position which might well have turned any man's
head. There were those amongst his intimate friends who feared that it
might be so with him, and who were faithful enough to tell him so. And I
cannot conclude this sketch better than by giving his answer to that one
of them with whom he had been most closely associated in the time when, as
Parson Lot, every man's hand had been against him--


"And for this fame, &c.,

"I know a little of her worth.

"And I will tell you what I know,

"That, in the first place, she is a fact, and as such, it is not wise to
ignore her, but at least to walk once round her, and see her back as well
as her front.

"The case to me seems to be this. A man feels in himself the love of
praise. Every man does who is not a brute. It is a universal human faculty;
Carlyle nicknames it the sixth sense. Who made it? God or the devil? Is
it flesh or spirit? a difficult question; because tamed animals grow to
possess it in a high degree; and our metaphysician does not yet allow
them spirit. But, whichever it be, it cannot be for bad: only bad when
misdirected, and not controlled by reason, the faculty which judges between
good and evil. Else why has God put His love of praise into the heart of
every child which is born into the world, and entwined it into the holiest
filial and family affections, as the earliest mainspring of good actions?
Has God appointed that every child shall be fed first with a necessary
lie, and afterwards come to the knowledge of your supposed truth, that the
praise of God alone is to be sought? Or are we to believe that the child is
intended to be taught as delicately and gradually as possible the painful
fact, that the praise of all men is not equally worth having, and to use
his critical faculty to discern the praise of good men from the praise
of bad, to seek the former and despise the latter? I should say that the
last was the more reasonable. And this I will say, that if you bring up
any child to care nothing for the praise of its parents, its elders, its
pastors, and masters, you may make a fanatic of it, or a shameless cynic:
but you will neither make it a man, an Englishman, or a Christian.

"But 'our Lord's words stand, about not seeking the honour which comes from
men, but the honour which comes from God only!' True, they do stand, and
our Lord's fact stands also, the fact that He has created every child to
be educated by an honour which comes from his parents and elders. Both are
true. Here, as in most spiritual things, you have an antinomia, an apparent
contradiction, which nothing but the Gospel solves. And it does solve it;
and your one-sided view of the text resolves itself into just the same
fallacy as the old ascetic one. 'We must love God alone, therefore we must
love no created thing.' To which St. John answers pertinently 'He who
loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath
not seen?' If you love your brethren, you love Christ in them. If you love
their praise, you love the praise of Christ in them. For consider this,
you cannot deny that, if one loves any person, one desires that person's
esteem. But we are bound to love all men, and that is our highest state.
Therefore, in our highest state, we shall desire all men's esteem.
Paradoxical, but true. If we believe in Christmas-day; if we believe in
Whitsunday, we shall believe that Christ is in all men, that God's spirit
is abroad in the earth, and therefore the dispraise, misunderstanding, and
calumny of men will be exquisitely painful to us, and ought to be so; and,
on the other hand, the esteem of men, and renown among men for doing good
deeds will be inexpressibly precious to us. They will be signs and warrants
to us that God is pleased with us, that we are sharing in that 'honour and
glory' which Paul promises again and again, with no such scruples as yours,
to those who lead heroic lives. We shall not neglect the voice of God
within us; but we shall remember that there is also a voice of God without
us, which we must listen to; and that in a Christian land, _vox populi_,
patiently and discriminately listened to, is sure to be found not far off
from the _vox Dei_.

"Now, let me seriously urge this last fact on you. Of course, in listening
to the voice of the man outside there is a danger, as there is in the use
of any faculty. You may employ it, according to Divine reason and grace,
for ennobling and righteous purposes; or you may degrade it to carnal and
selfish ones; so you may degrade the love of praise into vanity, into
longing for the honour which comes from men, by pandering to their passions
and opinions, by using your powers as they would too often like to use
theirs, for mere self-aggrandisement, by saying in your heart--_quam
pulchrum digito monstrari el diceri hic est_. That is the man who wrote the
fine poem, who painted the fine picture, and so forth, till, by giving way
to this, a man may give way to forms of vanity as base as the red Indian
who sticks a fox's tail on, and dances about boasting of his brute cunning.
I know all about that, as well as any poor son of Adam ever did. But I
know, too, that to desire the esteem of as many rational men as possible;
in a word, to desire an honourable, and true renown for having done good
in my generation, has nothing to do with that; and the more I fear and
struggle against the former, the more I see the exceeding beauty and
divineness, and everlasting glory of the latter as an entrance into the
communion of saints.

"Of course, all this depends on whether we do believe that Christ is in
every man, and that God's spirit is abroad in the earth. Of course, again,
it will be very difficult to know who speaks by God's spirit, and who
sees by Christ's light in him; but surely the wiser, the humbler path, is
to give men credit for as much wisdom and rightness as possible, and to
believe that when one is found fault with, one is probably in the wrong.
For myself, on Looking back, I see clearly with shame and sorrow, that the
obloquy which I have brought often on myself and on the good cause, has
been almost all of it my own fault--that I have given the devil and bad
men a handle, not by caring what people would say, but by _not caring_--by
fancying that I was a very grand fellow, who was going to speak what I knew
to be true, in spite of all fools (and really did and do intend so to do),
while all the while I was deceiving myself, and unaware of a canker at
the heart the very opposite to the one against which you warn me. I mean
the proud, self-willed, self-conceited spirit which made no allowance for
other men's weakness or ignorance; nor again, for their superior experience
and wisdom on points which I had never considered--which took a pride in
shocking and startling, and defying, and hitting as hard as I could, and
fancied, blasphemously, as I think, that the word of God had come to me
only, and went out from me only. God forgive me for these sins, as well
as for my sins in the opposite direction; but for these sins especially,
because I see them to be darker and more dangerous than the others.

"For there has been gradually revealed to me (what my many readings in the
lives of fanatics and ascetics ought to have taught me long before), that
there is a terrible gulf ahead of that not caring what men say. Of course
it is a feeling on which the spirit must fall back in hours of need, and
cry, 'Thou, God, knowest mine integrity. I have believed, and therefore I
will speak; thou art true, though all men be liars!' But I am convinced
that that is a frame in which no man can live, or is meant to live;
that it is only to be resorted to in fear and trembling, after deepest
self-examination, and self-purification, and earnest prayer. For otherwise,
Ludlow, a man gets to forget that voice of God without him, in his
determination to listen to nothing but the voice of God within him, and so
he falls into two dangers. He forgets that there is a voice of God without
him. He loses trust in, and charity to, and reverence for his fellow-men;
he learns to despise, deny, and quench the Spirit, and to despise
prophesyings, and so becomes gradually cynical, sectarian, fanatical.

"And then comes a second and worse danger. Crushed into self, and his own
conscience and _schema mundi_, he loses the opportunity of correcting his
impression of the voice of God within, by the testimony of the voice of God
without; and so he begins to mistake more and more the voice of that very
flesh of his, which he fancies he has conquered, for the voice of God,
and to become, without knowing it, an autotheist. And out of that springs
eclecticism, absence of tenderness _for_ men, for want of sympathy _with_
men; as he makes his own conscience his standard for God, so he makes his
own character the standard for men; and so he becomes narrow, hard, and
if he be a man of strong will and feelings, often very inhuman and cruel.
This is the history of thousands-of Jeromes, Lauds, Puritans who scourged
Quakers, Quakers who cursed Puritans; nonjurors, who though they would die
rather than offend their own conscience in owning William, would plot with
James to murder William, or to devastate England with Irish Rapparees and
Auvergne dragoons. This, in fact, is the spiritual diagnosis of those many
pious persecutors, who though neither hypocrites or blackguards themselves,
have used both as instruments of their fanaticism.

"Against this I have to guard myself, you little know how much, and to
guard my children still more, brought up, as they will be, under a father,
who, deeply discontented with the present generation, cannot but express
that discontent at times. To make my children '_banausoi_,' insolent and
scoffing radicals, believing in nobody and nothing but themselves, would be
perfectly easy in me if I were to make the watchword of my house, 'Never
mind what people say.' On the contrary, I shall teach them that there are
plenty of good people in the world; that public opinion has pretty surely
an undercurrent of the water of life, below all its froth and garbage;
and that in a Christian country like this, where, with all faults, a man
(sooner or later) has fair play and a fair hearing, the esteem of good men,
and the blessings of the poor, will be a pretty sure sign that they have
the blessing of God also; and I shall tell them, when they grow older, that
ere they feel called on to become martyrs, in defending the light within
them against all the world, they must first have taken care most patiently,
and with all self-distrust and humility, to make full use of the light
which is around them, and has been here for ages before them, and would be
here still, though they had never been born or thought of. The antinomy
between this and their own conscience may be painful enough to them some
day. To what thinking man is it not a life-long battle? but I shall not
dream that by denying one pole of the antinomy I can solve it, or do
anything but make them, by cynicism or fanaticism, bury their talent in the
earth, and _not_ do the work which God has given them to do, because they
will act like a parson who, before beginning his sermon, should first kick
his congregation out of doors, and turn the key; and not like St. Paul, who
became all things to all men, if by any means he might save some.

"Yours ever affectionately, with all Christmas blessings,


"FARLY COURT, _December 26, 1855_.

"I should be very much obliged to you to show this letter to Maurice."

One more letter only I will add, dated about the end of the "Parson Lot"
period. He had written to inform me that one of the old Chartist leaders,
a very worthy fellow, was in great distress, and to ask me to do what I
could for him. In my reply I had alluded somewhat bitterly to the apparent
failure of the Association movement in London, and to some of our blunders,
acknowledging how he had often seen the weak places, and warned us against
them. His answer came by return of post:--

"EVERSLEY, _May, 1856_.

"DEAR TOM,--It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest; and don't cry
stinking fish, neither don't hollow till you're out of the wood--which you
oughtn't to have called yourself Tom fool, and blasphemed the holy name
thereby, till you knowed you was sich, which you wasn't, as appears by
particulars. And I have heard from T---- twice to-day, and he is agreeable,
which, if he wasn't, he is an ass, and don't know half a loaf is better
than no bread, and you musn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but all is as
right as a dog-fox down wind and vi. _millia passuum_, to the next gorse.
But this L25 of his is a grueller, and I learnt with interest that you are
inclined to get the fishes nose out of the weed. I have offered to lend him
L10--hopes it may be lending--and have written a desperate begging letter
to R. Monckton Milnes, Esq., which 'evins prosper. Poor T---- says to-night
that he has written to Forster about it--which he must have the small of
his back very hard against the ropes so to do, so the sooner we get the
ginger-beer bottle out the longer he'll fight, or else he'll throw up the
sponge at once; for I know his pride. I think we can raise it somehow. I
have a last card in old ----, the judge who tried and condemned him, and is
the dearest old soul alive, only he will have it T---- showed dunghill, and
don't carry a real game nackle. If I am to tackle he you must send me back
those letters to appeal to his piety and 'joys as does abound,' as your
incomparable father remarks. When _will_ you give me that canticle? He
says Tom Taylor (I believe all the world is called Thomas) has behaved to
him like a brother, which, indeed, was to be expexed, and has promised
him copying at a shilling an hour, and _will_ give him a chop daily free
gracious; but the landlord won't wait, which we musn't neither.

"Now, business afore pleasure. You are an old darling, and who says no,
I'd kick him, if it warn't for my cloth; but you are green in cottoning to
me about our '48 mess. Because why? I lost nothing--I risked nothing. You
fellows worked like bricks, spent money, and got midshipman's half-pay
(nothing a-day and find yourself), and monkey's allowance (more kicks than
halfpence). I risked no money; 'cause why, I had none; but _made_ money out
of the movement, and fame too. I've often thought what a dirty beast I was.
I made L150 by Alton Locke, and never lost a farthing; and I got, not in
spite of, but by the rows, a name and a standing with many a one who would
never have heard of me otherwise, and I should have been a stercoraceous
mendicant if I had hollowed when I got a facer, while I was winning by the
cross, though I didn't mean to fight one. No. And if I'd had L100,000, I'd
have, and should have, staked and lost it all in 1848-50. I should, Tom,
for my heart was and is in it, and you'll see it will beat yet; but we
ain't the boys. We don't see but half the bull's eye yet, and don't see
_at all_ the policeman which is a going on his beat behind the bull's eye,
and no thanks to us. Still, _some_ somedever, it's in the fates, that
Association is the pure caseine, and must be eaten by the human race if it
would save its soul alive, which, indeed, it will; only don't you think me
a good fellow for not crying out, when I never had more to do than scratch
myself and away went the fleas. But you all were real bricks; and if you
were riled, why let him that is without sin cast the first stone, or let me
cast it for him, and see if I don't hit him in the eye.

"Now to business; I have had a sorter kinder sample day. Up at 5, to see a
dying man; ought to have been up at 2, but Ben King the rat-catcher, who
came to call me, was taken nervous!!! and didn't make row enough; was from
5.30 to 6.30 with the most dreadful case of agony--insensible to me, but
not to his pain. Came home, got a wash and a pipe, and again to him at
8. Found him insensible to his own pain, with dilated pupils, dying of
pressure of the brain--going any moment. Prayed the commendatory prayers
over him, and started for the river with West. Fished all the morning
in a roaring N.E. gale, with the dreadful agonized face between me and
the river, pondering on THE mystery. Killed eight on 'March brown' and
'governor,' by drowning the flies, and taking _'em out gently to see_ if
ought was there--which is the only dodge in a north-easter. 'Cause why? The
water is warmer than the air--_ergo_, fishes don't like to put their noses
out o' doors, and feeds at home down stairs. It is the only wrinkle, Tom.
The captain fished a-top, and caught but three all day. They weren't going
to catch a cold in their heads to please him or any man. Clouds burn up at
1 P.M. I put on a minnow, and kill three more; I should have had lots, but
for the image of the dirty hickory stick, which would 'walk the waters like
a thing of life,' just ahead of my minnow. Mem.--Never fish with the sun in
your back; it's bad enough with a fly, but with a minnow it's strichnine
and prussic acid. My eleven weighed together four and a-half pounds--three
to the pound; not good, considering I had spased many a two-pound fish, I

"Corollary.--Brass minnow don't suit the water. Where is your wonderful
minnow? Send him me down, or else a _horn_ one, which I believes in
desperate; but send me something before Tuesday, and I will send you P.O.O.
Horn minnow looks like a gudgeon, which is the pure caseine. One pounder I
caught to-day on the 'March brown' womited his wittles, which was rude, but
instructive; and among worms was a gudgeon three inches long and more. Blow
minnows--gudgeon is the thing.

"Came off the water at 3. Found my man alive, and, thank God, quiet. Sat
with him, and thought him going once or twice. What a mystery that long,
insensible death-struggle is! Why should they be so long about it? Then had
to go Hartley Row for an Archdeacon's Sunday-school meeting--three hours
useless (I fear) speechifying and 'shop'; but the Archdeacon is a good
man, and works like a brick beyond his office. Got back at 10:30, and sit
writing to you. So goes one's day. All manner of incongruous things to
do--and the very incongruity keeps one beany and jolly. Your letter was
delightful. I read part of it to West, who says, you are the best fellow on
earth, to which I agree.

"So no more from your sleepy and tired--C. KINGSLEY."

This was almost the last letter I ever received from him in the Parson Lot
period of his life, with which alone this notice has to do. It shows, I
think, very clearly that it was not that he had deserted his flag (as has
been said) or changed his mind about the cause for which he had fought so
hard and so well. His heart was in it still as warmly as ever, as he says
himself. But the battle had rolled away to another part of the field.
Almost all that Parson Lot had ever striven for was already gained. The
working-classes had already got statutory protection for their trade
associations, and their unions, though still outside the law, had become
strong enough to fight their own battles. And so he laid aside his fighting
name and his fighting pen, and had leisure to look calmly on the great
struggle more as a spectator than an actor.

A few months later, in the summer of 1856, when he and I were talking
over and preparing for a week's fishing in the streams and lakes of his
favourite Snowdonia, he spoke long and earnestly in the same key. I well
remember how he wound it all up with, "the long and short of it is, I am
becoming an optimist. All men, worth anything, old men especially, have
strong fits of optimism--even Carlyle has--because they can't help hoping,
and sometimes feeling, that the world is going right, and will go right,
not your way, or my way, but its own way. Yes; we've all tried our
Holloway's Pills, Tom, to cure all the ills of all the world--and we've
all found out I hope by this time that the tough old world has more in
its inside than any Holloway's Pills will clear out." A few weeks later I
received the following invitation to Snowdon, and to Snowdon we went in the
autumn of 1856.


Come away with me, Tom,
Term and talk is done;
My poor lads are reaping,
Busy every one.
Curates mind the parish,
Sweepers mind the Court,
We'll away to Snowdon
For our ten days' sport,
Fish the August evening
Till the eve is past,
Whoop like boys at pounders
Fairly played and grassed.
When they cease to dimple,
Lunge, and swerve, and leap,
Then up over Siabod
Choose our nest, and sleep.
Up a thousand feet, Tom,
Round the lion's head,
Find soft stones to leeward
And make up our bed.
Bat our bread and bacon,
Smoke the pipe of peace,
And, ere we be drowsy,
Give our boots a grease.
Homer's heroes did so,
Why not such as we?
What are sheets and servants?
Pray for wives and children
Safe in slumber curled,
Then to chat till midnight
O'er this babbling world.
Of the workmen's college,
Of the price of grain,
Of the tree of knowledge,
Of the chance of rain;
If Sir A. goes Romeward,
If Miss B. sings true,
If the fleet comes homeward,
If the mare will do,--
Anything and everything--
Up there in the sky
Angels understand us,
And no "_saints_" are by.
Down, and bathe at day-dawn,
Tramp from lake to lake,
Washing brain and heart clean
Every step we take.
Leave to Robert Browning
Beggars, fleas, and vines;
Leave to mournful Ruskin
Popish Apennines,
Dirty Stones of Venice
And his Gas-lamps Seven;
We've the stones of Snowdon
And the lamps of heaven.
Where's the mighty credit
In admiring Alps?
Any goose sees "glory"
In their "snowy scalps."
Leave such signs and wonders
For the dullard brain,
As aesthetic brandy,
Opium, and cayenne;
Give me Bramshill common
(St. John's harriers by),
Or the vale of Windsor,
England's golden eye.
Show me life and progress,
Beauty, health, and man;
Houses fair, trim gardens,
Turn where'er I can.
Or, if bored with "High Art,"
And such popish stuff,
One's poor ears need airing,
Snowdon's high enough.
While we find God's signet
Fresh on English ground,
Why go gallivanting
With the nations round?
Though we try no ventures
Desperate or strange;
Feed on common-places
In a narrow range;
Never sought for Franklin
Round the frozen Capes;
Even, with Macdougall,
Bagged our brace of apes;
Never had our chance, Tom,
In that black Redan;
Can't avenge poor Brereton
Out in Sakarran;
Tho' we earn our bread, Tom,
By the dirty pen,
What we can we will be,
Honest Englishmen.
Do the work that's nearest,
Though it's dull at whiles;
Helping, when we meet them
Lame dogs over stiles;
See in every hedgerow
Marks of angels' feet,
Epics in each pebble
Underneath our feet;
Once a-year, like schoolboys,
Robin-Hooding go.
Leaving fops and fogies
A thousand feet below.

T. H.


King Ryence, says the legend of Prince Arthur, wore a paletot trimmed with
kings' beards. In the first French Revolution (so Carlyle assures us)
there were at Meudon tanneries of human skins. Mammon, at once tyrant and
revolutionary, follows both these noble examples--in a more respectable
way, doubtless, for Mammon hates cruelty; bodily pain is his devil--the
worst evil of which he, in his effeminacy, can conceive. So he shrieks
benevolently when a drunken soldier is flogged; but he trims his
paletots, and adorns his legs, with the flesh of men and the skins of
women, with degradation, pestilence, heathendom, and despair; and then
chuckles self-complacently over the smallness of his tailors' bills.
Hypocrite!--straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel! What is flogging,
or hanging, King Ryence's paletot, or the tanneries of Meudon, to the
slavery, starvation, waste of life, year-long imprisonment in dungeons
narrower and fouler than those of the Inquisition, which goes on among
thousands of free English clothes-makers at this day?

"The man is mad," says Mammon, smiling supercilious pity. Yes, Mammon; mad
as Paul before Festus; and for much the same reason, too. Much learning has
made us mad. From two articles in the "Morning Chronicle" of Friday, Dec.
14th, and Tuesday, Dec. 18th, on the Condition of the Working Tailors,
we learnt too much to leave us altogether masters of ourselves. But there
is method in our madness; we can give reasons for it--satisfactory to
ourselves, perhaps also to Him who made us, and you, and all tailors
likewise. Will you, freshly bedizened, you and your footmen, from
Nebuchadnezzar and Co.'s "Emporium of Fashion," hear a little about how
your finery is made? You are always calling out for facts, and have a firm
belief in salvation by statistics. Listen to a few.

The Metropolitan Commissioner of the "Morning Chronicle" called two
meetings of the Working Tailors, one in Shad well, and the other at the
Hanover Square Rooms, in order to ascertain their condition from their
own lips. Both meetings were crowded. At the Hanover Square Rooms there
were more than one thousand men; they were altogether unanimous in their
descriptions of the misery and slavery which they endured. It appears
that there are two distinct tailor trades--the "honourable" trade, now
almost confined to the West End, and rapidly dying out there, and the
"dishonourable" trade of the show-shops and slop-shops--the plate-glass
palaces, where gents--and, alas! those who would be indignant at that
name--buy their cheap-and-nasty clothes. The two names are the tailors'
own slang; slang is true and expressive enough, though, now and then. The
honourable shops in the West End number only sixty; the dishonourable, four
hundred and more; while at the East End the dishonourable trade has it all
its own way. The honourable part of the trade is declining at the rate of
one hundred and fifty journeymen per year; the dishonourable increasing at
such a rate that, in twenty years it will have absorbed the whole tailoring
trade, which employs upwards of twenty-one thousand journeymen. At the
honourable shops the work is done, as it was universally thirty years ago,
on the premises and at good wages. In the dishonourable trade, the work is
taken home by the men, to be done at the very lowest possible prices, which
decrease year by year, almost month by month. At the honourable shops, from
36s. to 24s. is paid for a piece of work for which the dishonourable shop
pays from 22s. to 9s. But not to the workmen; happy is he if he really
gets two-thirds, or half of that. For at the honourable shops, the master
deals directly with his workmen; while at the dishonourable ones, the
greater part of the work, if not the whole, is let out to contractors, or
middle-men--"_sweaters_," as their victims significantly call them--who, in
their turn, let it out again, sometimes to the workmen, sometimes to fresh
middlemen; so that out of the price paid for labour on each article, not
only the workmen, but the sweater, and perhaps the sweater's sweater, and a
third, and a fourth, and a fifth, have to draw their profit. And when the
labour price has been already beaten down to the lowest possible, how much
remains for the workmen after all these deductions, let the poor fellows
themselves say!

One working tailor (at the Hanover Square Rooms Meeting) "mentioned a
number of shops, both at the east and west ends, whose work was all
taken by sweaters; and several of these shops were under royal and noble
patronage. There was one notorious sweater who kept his carriage. He was a
Jew, and, of course, he gave a preference to his own sect. Thus, another
Jew received it from him second hand and at a lower rate; then it went to a
third-till it came to the unfortunate Christian at perhaps the eighth rate,
and he performed the work at barely living prices; this same Jew required a
deposit of 5_l_. in money before he would give out a single garment to be
made. He need not describe the misery which this system entailed upon the
workmen. It was well known, but it was almost impossible, except for those
who had been at the two, to form an idea of the difference between the
present meeting and one at the East-end, where all who attended worked for
slop-shops and sweaters. The present was a highly respectable assembly; the
other presented no other appearance but those of misery and degradation."

Another says--"We have all worked in the honourable trade, so we know the
regular prices from our own personal experience. Taking the bad work with
the good work we might earn 11s. a week upon an average. Sometimes we do
earn as much as 15s.; but, to do this, we are obliged to take part of our
work home to our wives and daughters. We are not always fully employed. We
are nearly half our time idle. Hence, our earnings are, upon an average
throughout the year, not more than 5s. 6d. a week." "Very often I have made
only 3s. 4d. in the week," said one. "That's common enough with us all, I
can assure you," said another. "Last week my wages was 7s. 6d.," declared
one. "I earned 6s. 4d.," exclaimed the second. "My wages came to 9s. 2d.
The week before I got 6s. 3d." "I made 7s. 9d.," and "I 7s. or 8s., I can't
exactly remember which." "This is what we term the best part of our winter
season. The reason why we are so long idle is because more hands than
are wanted are kept on the premises, so that in case of a press of work
coming in, our employers can have it done immediately. Under the day work
system no master tailor had more men on the premises than he could keep
continually going; but since the change to the piecework system, masters
made a practice of engaging double the quantity of hands that they
have any need for, so that an order may be executed 'at the shortest
possible notice,' if requisite. A man must not leave the premises when,
unemployed,--if he does, he loses his chance of work coming in. I have been
there four days together, and had not a stitch of work to do." "Yes; that
is common enough." "Ay, and then you're told, if you complain, you can go,
if you don't like it. I am sure twelve hands would do all they have done at
home, and yet they keep forty of us. It's generally remarked that, however
strong and healthy a man may be when he goes to work at that shop, in a
month's time he'll be a complete shadow, and have almost all his clothes in
pawn. By Sunday morning, he has no money at all left, and he has to subsist
till the following Saturday upon about a pint of weak tea, and four slices
of bread and butter per day!!!"

"Another of the reasons for the sweaters keeping more hands than they want
is, the men generally have their meals with them. The more men they have
with them the more breakfasts and teas they supply, and the more profit

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