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AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS



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AUTOBIOGRAPHIC
MEMOIRS



BY



FREDERIC HARRISON

D.C.L., LiTT.D., LL.D.

HONORARY FELLOW OF WADHAM COLLEGE, OXFORD



VOL. I

(1831-1870)



Vivre au grand jour



MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED

ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON

191 1



V^, A /4^^ sjcf^ Z,^^ X3 A^ ^y ' .
hfX^ A*^^ ^^^7 /^;/ c^€u^^^^ //^/^4^« ^^- .



^^1 UNrV^ERSITY OF C-vLiFOKNIA

/■/V Z-^ SANTA BARBARA



TO

MY WIFE

OS OUR KORTTKTH WEDDIKG-DAY
(l7TH AUGI'ST 1910)

Vapliami il lungo studio e il grande amore



CONTENTS



Introductory



I-AOE

xiii



CHAPTER I

Jottings from my Old Diary



Childhood

Country Life in the 'Thirties

Early Victorian Times — Boyhood

Politics in the 'Forties

Books in the 'Forties .

Coronation of Queen Victoria (1838)

London in 1840 — A Day School .

King's College School in 1843-1849

Latin Versification

School Life in London

First Religious Opinions

Life at Home and Abroad .

I become a Scholar and Monitor .

The Highlands in 1849

Education and Public Schools



1

4
11
14
21
24
27
82
33
84
88
47
54
59
60



APPENDIX A



Family History



65



APPENDIX
First Steps in Literature .



B



73



CHAPTER II

Oxford Life



Wadham College in 1849
A Famous Tutor .
Richard Cougreve
VOL. I



81
83
85



vn



a 2



Vlll



AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS



1851— The First Great Exhibition
1851 — Tour in Switzerland .
1852— Oxford— Moderations
1853— Oxford— Final Examination
1853— Tour in Italy .
1854_Oxford— Fellow of Wadham
1855— Oxford— Tutor of Wadham



CHAPTER III

Oxford Society and Thought



CHAPTER IV

Oxford in 1853 and in 1910
History of Reforms of Fifty-seven Years

CHAPTER V

I DECIDE AGAINST HoLY OrDERS .



PAOB

88
89
91
91
93
94
96



Undergraduates in 1852 . . . •


. 102


Oxford Friends, 1852


. Ill


Honours Examination ....


. 125


I take my Degree


. 127


Post-Graduate Study


. 129



132



140



CHAPTER VI

London — Reading Law

1855-1856— Lincoln's Inn {cetat. 24) .
1857 — Lincoln's Inn — Students and Tutors
1858 — Lincoln's Inn — Call to the Bar
Practice at the Bar .....
I become a Radical . . . . ,



149
160
162
153
158



CHAPTER VH

The Crimean War

1854— Russia and Turkey 163

1855 — Impressions of Germany ....... 171

1857— The Indian Mutiny 173



CONTENTS ix

CHAPTER VIII

The Indian Empire

PAGE

The Empire iu 1857 181

CHAPTER IX

Politics in the 'Fifties

Parliamentary Reform in 1858 ....... 184

1859— The Italian Question 186

An Italian Committee ........ 188

CHAPTER X

1859 — Italy after the War

1859 — Visit to the Insurgent Duchies in Italy . . . .199
1861 — Autograph Letter from Count Cavour .... 202

CHAPTER XI

I860 — Literary London

John James Ruskin ......... 204

"'Seo-CYinstia.uity" {Westminster Review) ..... 205

The Creed ofa Layman (in 1861) 209

CHAPTER XII

First View of the Lakes

Visit to Cumberland 219

First Visit to Yorkshire Moors 220

Bolton Abbey 222

Rievaulx Abbey 225

York Minster 227

CHAPTER XIII

1860-1898— RusKiN 229



AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS

CHAPTER XIV

Sociology and Economics













PAGE


1861— A Plan of Life 245


Agenda et Legenda










. 247


Great Building Lock-Out of 1861










. 250


Evening Lectures to ^Forkmen .










. 254


Maurice's Working Men's College










. 255


I visit the Northern Factories










. 255


Bradford










. 258


Bradford Reformers .










. 260


Optimism and Hopes in 1861










. 260


My Thirtieth Birthday










. 261


Goldwin Smith and Comte .










. 262


1 commence Public Lectures










. 265


Popular Lecture Classes










. 267


Meaning of History .










. 267


The New History Class










. 268


King Alfred ....










. 269


I reject Plutonomy










. 271


Study of Social Economy .










. 273


1803 — The Lancashire Cotton Famine










. 275


Studies of Distress










. 278


Pessimism and Despondency in 1863










. 278


A Sad Death ....










. 279


Study of Comte ....










. 280


Translating Comte's Politique










. 280


T adopt the Positivist Faith










. 281


Professor Huxley










. 283


Colenso on the Pentateuch .










. 284


An Alpine Holiday










. 284


A New Labour Organ










. 285


The War with Japan .










. 292


Palmerston's Career .










. 294


Our Foreign Policy in 1867










. 295



CHAPTER XV

Politicians in 1860-1870



Mr. Mill
Mr. Bright



300
304



CONTENTS

Mr. Cobden

Lord Derby ......

Disraeli, Roebuck, and Charles Stewart Parnell
Lord Salisbury ......

Mr. Gladstone

The Jamaica Committee of 1866 .



XI

PAGE

306
307
308
310
311
313



CHAPTER XVI

Royal Commission on Trades-Unions, 1867-1869

Mr. Beesly and his Censors ....... 317

Personnel of the Commission ....... 322

Ireland 323

The Fortnightly Review ........ 325



CHAPTER XVn

The Years 1861 to 1871

Legal Work

As Examiner for Call to the Bar

Royal Commission for Digesting the Law .

An Egyptian Code

CHAPTER XVm

London Life, 1860-1870

Music and Theatres
The Stage and its Critics
Carlyle and Nigger-Philanthropists
A New Lecture on Hero- Worship
1867 — The Abyssinian ^V'ar
The Abyssinian Expedition .



328
329
332
334



336
837
842
343
344
344



CHAPTER XIX



I SETTLE IN Life



.1870 — Marriage
1870 — The Franco-German War



347
348



xu



AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS

APPENDIX C
Familiar Letters to Friends, 1860-1870



Richard Congreve • •

Co-operation .....•••

University Reform .......

Burlesque Epitaph on Lord Westbury, Lord Chancellor
Garibaldi in London .......

The Leonids— The Great Meteor Display of 1866
The " Commonwealth " Newspaper ....

International Policy, by Seven Essayists

A Christmas Holiday .......

Work at the Commission ......

A Child Poet



FAGR

351

352
356
355
356
357
357
358
358
359
359



APPENDIX D

Letters from Switzerland and Italy, 1864-1865

The Alps 362

Venice under the Austrians ....... 367

Rome under the French ........ 373

APPENDIX E

Letters from Rome, 1865

Pio Nono's Capital 382

Rome not Modernised in 1865 ....... 390

Ancient Rome of the Republic ....... 403



INTRODUCTORY

One who is entering on the eightieth year of life,
but retains a clear memory of the events and
habits in four reigns during a momentous epoch
in English history, is prone to regard himself
almost as among the ancestors of the young to-
day, to fancy that they may care to hear what
he remembers of the past, what he anticipates as
the issue of the vast changes he has witnessed in
life and in thought.

The record even of a perfectly simple life, of
one sufficiently in touch with the men and the
things of the time to note their effect and to
understand their meaning, may be useful as what
is called a human document, if it be frankly open
and unaffectedly told.

It happens that I have known some men of
mark in the Victorian age, and have been stirred
by the great revolution in ideas which set in after
the passing away of the Fourth George, just eighty
years ago. How did ordinary people live when
there were no railways, no telegraphs, no penny
postage nor cheap press — in the days of dear
bread, of wooden sailing-ships and muzzle-loading
guns ? What was the Empire when it needed
three weeks' sail to reach Halifax and three months'
sail to reach Calcutta ? What were politics in
the era of Wellington and Peel, when Parliament,
Universities, and Corporations were hedged in

xiii



xiv AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS

with limitations and tests? What did we read
when newspapers cost 5d. and sold less than 10,000
copies ; when the three-volume novel cost a guinea
and a half? I have thought that the story of a
plain man who had been through all this might
have its lessons or its interest to-day.

I have never been able to cure myself of the
habit of putting down on paper what I thought
and what I saw. My parents, who were patterns
of carefulness and method, kept letters, accounts,
notes, and memoranda which go back to my boy-
hood ; and they taught me to do the same. And,
though I made no regular diaries, from time to
time I amused myself with writing recollections
of my early life, of my education, my travels and
experiences of men and the world, my political
and literary ventures. As these were jotted down
to be left as posthumous records for my children
or descendants, I felt no difficulty in making them
quite egoistic and frankly unreserved, since I
thought that they never would be seen by any one
in my lifetime.

Anything in the nature of an Autobiography
is idle if it be not egoistic in the proper sense.
It has to tell what the writer himself saw, felt,
or thought. If he be too shy to tell the truth,
he deceives himself in trying to deceive his readers
by keeping back from them any typical fact, how-
ever trivial or personal it may seem. A man who
is bold enough to stand up as a witness to his
own life must tell the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth.

But now, in the quiet retirement of my old
age, I feel myself so completely to belong to the
majority of the generations past, and to have so
little part in the busy life of to-day, that I see
no reason to lock up my confessions and my
memories any longer, for I am now fairly beyond



INTRODUCTORY xv

the time when either criticism or neglect could
give me any concern.

As I was born before the Reform Act of 1832,
my life covers the era of political, legal, and social
change which followed in the next decade. I
recall William IV. and the Coronation of Queen
Victoria — the "Hungry 'Forties," the Irish Famine,
the great struggle over Protection and Free Trade.
I was deeply stirred at school and college by the
religious excitement of the Oxford Movement,
the secessions to Rome, the wane of Evangelical
Protestantism, and the revival of Catholic activity.
Later on, I was in the thick of the agitation over
the Neo- Christian development in the Churches,
and the scientific triumph of the doctrines of
evolution.

Throughout the last fifty years I have had
something to do with the course of Labour Legis-
lation and the political emancipation of working
men. I have had personal relations with many of
the leading politicians and most of the eminent
writers of the same period, both those at home
and those abroad. During my own lifetime the
population of these islands has nearly doubled.
London has become a dense county rather than
a mere city, and the area of the Empire has
expanded to incredible volume. I have keenly
watched the sudden expansion of both, with a
sense of the tremendous responsibilities and perils
which all this involves.

Since 1840 I remember the stirring of heart
caused by the long succession of our wars in India,
in China, in Japan, in Africa, and in Australasia ;
by the Crimean War and the Indian JNIutiny ; and
again by the wars in Europe wherein England has
been a deeply interested spectator. On many of
these wars and rumours of wars, ententes, and
alliances I have expressed opinions in the Press, in



xvi AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS

addresses, or in books, and I have sought to make
my voice reach the conscience of statesmen and
the public.

From the time of the Fenian troubles in 1865
I have taken some public part in the ever-recurrent
problem of Irish Nationality ; and I have been in
close touch with the leaders of the Home Rule
movement, whether British or Irish. On the only
occasion when I was a candidate for Parliament, it
was to assert the principle of Mr. Gladstone's
Bills at the University of London.

But there is another ground on which I have
felt it a duty to give some account of myself,
either in my own lifetime or to leave it for ulti-
mate judgment when I am gone. It is now fifty
years since I first made public profession of a
religious faith and a moral ideal which at the
time were new in England and were widely con-
demned. I have lived to see a profound revul-
sion of popular feeling in the way that new ideas
in belief are judged and received. And when
others came round me and compelled me to be
responsible for a new development of religious
thought and social fellowship, I made it the
business of my life to accept the task.

To take a part, however humble and sub-
ordinate, in a new religious Reformation is far
the most responsible duty in which any man can
embark. And I feel that I owe it to those who
have trusted me, as well as to the public at large,
to put on record the circumstances on which I
acted, and the gradual growth of the convictions
which have made my life what it has been.

Whatever may be to-day the position of our
faith, I abide with unshaken confidence in the
sure hope that it is destined to prevail in the
near future. And I trust that in my last hour I
may be able to feel that my life has not been



INTRODUCTORY xvii

given up to a vain hope or an illusive vision.
In any case, I have nothing therein to modify
or regret — nothing wherewith to reproach myself
or to wish undone.

It is the plain story, ordinary enough under
the actual conditions, and normal enough in its
unbroken course, but liable, I fear, to be mis-
interpreted even by generous and friendly spirits,
if it be not freely explained. And I think that
I am more able to tell it truthfully than any one
who should attempt to do it on my behalf when
I myself should be no more.

. . . servetur ad imum,
Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet.



Note. — It will he remembered that large passages in this
book — from diaries^ letters, or programmes — were written at
widely d'^erent periods during the last sixty years. Some
discrepancies, both injbrm and in substance, may be observed —
and it is hoped that any inevitable repetition may be forgiven.
These passages were strictly co7ifidential, and were not intended
for publication. They are inserted as they were written at the
time and without correction. In preparing them for the Press,
a few phrases of later date may have slipped in without being
specially noted.



Hawkhurst, 1910.



XVI



AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS



addresses, or in books, and I have sought to make
my voice reach the conscience of statesmen and
the public.

From the time of the Fenian troubles in 1865
I have taken some public part in the ever-recurrent
problem of Irish Nationality ; and I have been in
close touch with the leaders of the Home Rule
movement, whether British or Irish. On the only
occasion when I was a candidate for Parliament, it
was to assert the principle of ^Ir. Gladstone's
Bills at the University of London.

But there is another ground on which I have
felt it a duty to give some account of myself,
either in my own lifetime or to leave it for ulti-
mate judgment when I am gone. It is now fifty
years since I first made public profession of a
religious faith and a moral ideal which at the
time were new in England and were widely con-
demned. I have lived to see a profound revul-
sion of popular feeling in the way that new ideas
in belief are judged and received. And when
others came round me and compelled me to be
responsible for a new development of religious
thought and social fellowship, I made it the
business of my life to accept the task.

To take a part, however humble and sub-
ordinate, in a new religious Reformation is far
the most responsible duty in which any man can
embark. And I feel that I owe it to those who
have trusted me, as well as to the public at large,
to put on record the circumstances on which I
acted, and the gradual growth of the convictions
which have made my life what it has been.

Whatever may be to-day the position of our
faith, I abide with unshaken confidence in the
sure hope that it is destined to prevail in the
near future. And I trust that in my last hour I
may be able to feel that my life has not been



INTRODUCTORY xvii

given up to a vain hope or an illusive vision.
In any case, I have nothing therein to modify
or regret — nothing wherewith to reproach myself
or to wish undone.

It is the plain story, ordinary enough under
the actual conditions, and normal enough in its
unbroken course, but liable, I fear, to be mis-
interpreted even by generous and friendly spirits,
if it be not freely explained. And I think that
I am more able to tell it truthfully than any one
who should attempt to do it on my behalf when
I myself should be no more.

, . . servetur ad imum,
Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet.



Note. — It will be remembered that large passages in this
book — from diaries, letters, or programmes — were written at
widely different periods during the last sixty years. Some
discrepancies, both inform and in substance, may be observed —
and it is hoped that any inevitable repetition may be forgiven.
These passages were strictly confidential, and were not intended
for publication. They are inserted as they were xm-itten at the
time and without correction. In preparing them for the Press,
a few phrases of later date may have slipped in without being
specially noted.



Hawkhurst, 1910.



CHAPTER I

JOTTINGS FROM MY OLD DIARY

Childhood

Thomas A Kempis, 94. Ste. Adbesse, Normandy,

August 7, 1882.

ANN. iETAT. 60.

I HAVE now reached that time of life when memory
offers a far wider range of incidents to recall than
those which I can yet hope to see. I happen to
have met some men and women famous in various
ways, and to have enjoyed the friendship or intimacy
of not a few of these. And there are amongst the
movements of the past generation some with which
I have had a close acquaintance. My boys are
growing up around me ; and I cherish the hope
that they may prolong these friendships and rela-
tions, and perhaps may carry these memories far
into the twentieth century. I shall devote the
short leisure of my holiday abroad to recounting
my recollections for them. If they reach my age
to-day, it may instruct or amuse them and their
children to read the experiences of some two or
three generations preceding. I shall write for my
family, not for the public. These unconsidered
jottings of my memory have no literary purpose,
and will certainly aim at no studied form. And
when I am gone they will have little interest for
any outside my family and my friends.

VOL. II B



2 AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS ch.

My earliest recollections for the first years of
my life are entirely those of the country, and of a
very beautiful country — green, shady, and smoke-
less, although within reach of the city, and now
quite engulphed in the advancing suburbs of
London. We lived in a pretty cottage, on the
crest of the Muswell Hill, just opposite the big
pond which stood in the square at the three
cross-ways. The spot, now a mere suburb of the
great City, in the 'thirties was a beautiful and
peaceful village, knowing none but rustic sights
and sounds, and keeping the ways and notions of
the countryside. My memory as a child is fragrant
with the quiet sleepy strolls of babies and nurses,
innocent happily of perambulators and modern
toys, through flowery meadows and shady copses.
How well I can remember the limpid stillness of
the Muswell, and the knolls where the cowslip and
violet grew under the oaks on the region now
covered by the Alexandra Palace and its grounds.
We would wander there all day and meet no one
but a carter or a milkmaid. Hornsey village and
Highgate were the utmost limits of our excursions,
and our principal experience of town life.

It seems to me but yesterday that I stood gazing
intently into the pellucid spring of the Muswell —
wondering whence its waters rose, what could be
its mysterious power, and whether it was fairy or
saint who had blessed it. No one knew, and I
looked into its depths in vain. Nothing ever came
out. All that I ever found out about our Muswell
is quoted from Norden in the time of Queen
Elizabeth, who says: "At IMuswell Hill there
was sometime a chapel bearing the name of our
Lady of Muswell, of whom there had been an
image whereunto was a continual resort in the way
of pilgrimage from a miraculous cure performed
on a king of Scots by the waters of the spring."



I CHILDHOOD 3

Lysons says it is not famed for any extraordinary
virtues. Of our Lady of Muswell and the king of
Scots our nurses knew nothing. But there was a
faint uncanny tradition about the well.

On our Muswell Hill we knew the story and
the ailments of every villager ; and I well recall the
Quaker family of a small baker opposite, and how
their wisdom was called in for remedies and sug-
gestions, when one of my brothers scalded his chest
with a mug of hot gruel, and when another was
thought to have swallowed a copper penny. There
was no doctor within easy call, and the village
community was its own apothecary and nurse. A
few inhabitants, who, like my father, had daily
business in the city, went and came in the four-
horse coach, the departure and arrival of which
was the stirring incident in the life of the Muswell
village. I can recall now, when our dear Nurse
Naylor first came to us on the birth of my brother
Robert in 1837, how Lawrence and I led her to
the lawn to behold from afar the towers and smoke
of London gathered round the dome of St. Paul's,
as of some mighty and mystic world which it was
our privilege to gaze upon and wonder at. An
early recollection of mine is a narrow lane, down
which we children were forbidden to stroll. The
terror was lest we should meet a savage bull, owned
by a dairy farmer of that country. He was the
grandfather of Cecil Rhodes. So early did the
great Empire-builder's ancestor inspire me with fear.

It is very sad to reflect on that huge, but inevit-
able, growth of the greatest of all cities, such as my
own memory can recall it. I have myself lived to
see a belt of suburbs and connected streets thrown
round London, some four or even five miles wide.
Finchley, Hornsey, Highgate, Holloway, were
rustic villages when I first knew them ; and con-
tinuous streets ceased, almost everywhere, at two



4 AUTOBIOGRAPHIC MEMOIRS ch.

or three miles from St. Paul's Churchyard. I
remember the site of Paddington Station as a
market garden. I have played cricket on the site
of Westbourne Terrace, and I used to try to fish
in the open West-bourne. My father once skated
on the site of Belgrave Square when flooded in
winter. A Londoner in my boyhood could always
take a morning's walk into the country ; and half
an hour's drive would carry him from the Exchange
to a sweet and quiet village. I have seen the
enormous mass of city built which now stretches
westward and north from the Marylebone Road
and southwards from Bermondsey and Vauxhall.
The east of London beyond the Tower I have
never yet seen. [1882 — Ignorance re/nedied in my
County Council Experience of 1890.]

It is one of the most portentous facts in modern
civilisation — this blind accumulation of contiguous
homes which has made the life of London what
the town life of man never before was — a prison
wherein, from the infinite amassing of brick and
pavement, the indweller can never by natural
means breathe the air of the country, or see its
freshness. He can have this experience only at the
cost of a railway journey. And still it goes on.
Surely this is one of those hopeless problems of
existence out of which there seems no tolerable
issue.

Country Life in the 'Jliii'ties

The first years of my life, as I say, were passed



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