Charles Wentworth Dilke

Charles Wentworth Dilke

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Charles Wentworth Dilke, the son of Charles Dilke, the Whig politician, was born in London on 4th September 1843. His grandfather, Charles Dilke, a prominent literary figure, had a major influence on his upbringing. The boy's health was judged too delicate for him to go normally to school; he was taught mainly at home by a variety of tutors and relatives. (1)

In the autumn of 1862 Dilke arrived at Trinity Hall College. While at Cambridge University he studied mathematics before switching to law. He was also President of the Cambridge University Student Union. (2)

On the death of his father he inherited enough property, much of it in the form of two literary publications, The Athenaeum and Notes and Queries, as well as more specialized publications, including the Gardeners' Chronicle and the Agricultural Gazette, to bring him an annual income of around £7,000.

After leaving university he went on a world tour. In 1868 he published Greater Britain: A Record of Travel in English-Speaking Countries. "Its title was chosen to encapsulate not only his itinerary but a large part of his political philosophy... He was for what he regarded as British energy and superiority, but against such archaic British institutions as the monarchy and an oligarchic parliament. The United States, although he maintained a sharp edge of criticism during his four months there, greatly excited him." (3)

Charles Wentworth Dilke was elected to the House of Commons for Chelsea in 1868. Dilke joined forces with John Stuart Mill, Peter Alfred Taylor and Jacob Bright, in supporting votes for women. In July 1869 he spoke at the first public meeting of the London Society for Women's Suffrage and in 1870 with Bright, proposed the inclusion of women's ratepayers in the municipal franchise. (4)

Dilke was one of the most left-wing members of the Liberal Party and on 6th November 1871 he gave a speech to a large crowd of working men in a lecture hall in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, about the need for universal suffrage and other social reforms. He caused a sensation when he also declared that he was a republican and complained about the cost of the royal family and suggested that the country should debate the merits of the monarchy. (5)

"I think that, speaking roughly, you may say that the positive and direct cost of the Royalty is about a million a year. In addition... it is worth remembering that the Royal Family pay no taxes... There is a widespread belief that a Republic here is only a matter of time. It is said that some day a Commonwealth will be our Government. Now, history and experience show that you cannot have a Republic without you possessing at the same time the Republican virtues. But you answer - Have we not the public spirit? Have we not the practice of self-government? Are we not gaining general education? Well, if you can show me a fair chance that a republic will be free from the general corruption which hangs about the Monarchy, I say, for my part - and I believe that the middle classes will say - let it come." (6)

The following day he was attacked by conservative newspapers. The Times reacted by arguing: "Looking only at the language as it is reported, and remembering that it comes from a member of the Legislature, we cannot but recognise it as a recklessness bordering on criminality. Sir Charles 'sets aside the question whether a Republic would not work better,' as if this were not the whole question to be decided, and as if anything could justify the attempt to excite the working class audience against their existing Government, except a firm conviction, supported by solid proofs, that it could be replaced by something better... Sir Charles is prospectively willing to risk the destruction of a Monarchy at least a thousand years old, though he defers till a more convenient season any statement of the little plan which he may have for a new Constitution... But even these allegations of waste and nepotism are not fair and legitimate points... to be handled, and that with little candour or delicacy, before an assembly of working men". (7)

Republican clubs were established in several major cities. The historian, Charles L. Graves, has pointed out that: "There was undoubtedly a strong wave of anti-monarchical sentiment in England in 1871. It was not confined to agitators or extremists, but found utterance in organs which represented moderate opinion." He goes on to argue that some of this hostility dated back to the death of Prince Albert: "Ten years seclusion from social activity and public duty seemed an excessive indulgence in the luxury of sorrow." (8)

Dilke continued to make speeches on the subject of Queen Victoria all over England. These meetings often ended in riots. The Spectator reported on a meeting that took place in Bolton where "a Conservative mob the assailants, who sent brickbats through the windows and afterwards swarmed into the hall". Dilke got out unharmed, but there was afterwards a free fight among the roughs.... The reporters' table was thrown down and smashed into fragments, the pieces being used as cudgels, surely a symbolical act, for public opinion ends where violence begins, and the Press itself ceases to have any function, except to cry aloud and spare not against this overflow of political brutality". (9)

Charles Dilke complained about the money given by the government to members of the royal family. For example, her son Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, received £15,000 a year (£850,000 at today's prices) and Princess Louise was given a marriage dowry of £30,000 (£1.6 million). An anonymous pamphlet entitled What Does She Do With It? was published accusing the Queen of "squirrelling away £200,000 a year". It was later revealed that it had been written by another left-wing Liberal MP, George Otto Trevelyan. (10)

Charles Dilke raised the issue of the monarchy in the House of Commons and on 19th March 1872, he managed to get a debate on the subject. Dilke's only supporters were Auberon Herbert, George Anderson and Wilfrid Lawson. Dilke argued that the cost of the Royal Family to the nation had risen to £1,000,000 a year - ten times what the Americans spent on their president. However, he received little support for his republicanism and his motion was heavily defeated. (11)

Punch Magazine reported: "Auberon Herbert announced his preference for a Republic. The row then set in fiercely, and Mr. Punch inclines to draw a veil over proceedings that did not greatly redound to the credit of the House of Commons. It is true that they were an index of public opinion in the matter, but Parliament is expected to be decorous, and not to allow cock-crowing as an argument... Finally, there were division on the motion itself, and the voters for it, including Tellers, were three Aristocrats, namely, Baronets Dilke and Lawson, and Mr. Herbert, son of an Earl, and they had one friend, Mr. Anderson, of Glasgow. Against these four were, without Tellers, two-hundred and seventy-six... The Republican attack on the Queen was about as contemptible as that by the lad who presented the flintless and empty pistol the other day; but in the latter case as in the former, the affair was one for the police, and Constable Gladstone, was quite equal to the occasion". (12)

On 30th January 1872, Dilke married Katherine Mary Eliza Sheil. "She possessed, according to Dilke, an unusual combination of attributes: extreme attractiveness of appearance, vivacity, intimidating violence of temper, and debilitating ill health. She sang and she played croquet to professional standards." Kate died in childbirth on 20th September 1874. Dilke later wrote that in the weeks following her death he was "deranged". (13)

In 1876 Dilke became involved with Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh in their campaign against the money being spent on the royal family. They were especially against the sum of £142,000 being spent on sending Edward, Prince of Wales, to India. The strip of signatures was almost a mile long and it was rolled around a pole and driven with great ceremony to the House of Commons. The publicity was good, but the tour went ahead. (14)

Dilke now concentrated on trying for a new parliamentary reform act. In 1878 Charles Dilke and George Otto Trevelyan, introduced a motion that stated that urban franchise achieved by the 1867 Reform Act should be extended to the countryside. They were defeated by 275 votes to 222. Dilke calculated that the 275 had been elected by 1,083, 758 electors, the 222 by 1,126,151. "The discrepancy arose from the enduring unevenness of parliamentary elections - from the plural voting, pocket boroughs, universities and other anachronistic constituencies which still existed and whose MPs voted almost unanimously against reform." (15)

The 1880 General Election was won by William Gladstone and the Liberal Party that had successfully obtained 352 seats with 54.7% of the vote. The party had gained from an increase in the number of working-class male voters. Queen Victoria and Gladstone were in constant conflict during his premiership. She often wrote to him complaining about his progressive policies. When he became prime minister in 1880 she warned him against the appointment of left-wing Liberals such as Charles Dilke, Joseph Chamberlain, Henry Fawcett, James Stuart, Thorold Rogers and Anthony Mundella, into his government. (16)

Gladstone rejected the Queen's advice on Dilke and Chamberlain. She wrote a letter of protest to Gladstone: "The Queen regrets to see the names of such very advanced radicals as Mr Chamberlain and Sir Charles Dilke" in the new government. (17) On his return to his office he wrote to Dilke: "I am convinced, from a hundred tokens, that she looks forward to the day of my retirement as a day if not of jubilee yet of relief". (18)

Dilke was appointed as under-secretary at the Foreign Office. Soon after taking office he had written to the Foreign Secretary, Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, to say that "he thought the Republican Government best for France". When the Queen heard about this she called on Gladstone to sack Dilke on the grounds that the republican French Government was composed of violent revolutionaries". (19)

Queen Victoria still remembered Dilke's criticism of the royal family nine years previously and strongly disagreed with his views on universal suffrage. Dilke's opposition to the royal family was undermined on 2nd March, 1882, when Roderick McLean attempted to assassinate the Queen with a pistol. As a result she became extremely popular. Apparently she said that it was worth being shot at "to see how much she was loved". (20)

In December 1882, Dilke entered the cabinet as president of the Local Government Board. "It was perhaps the least glamorous of all departments, and one which certainly met the queen's demand that he should not be close to her person. But it was also one suited to Dilke's talents, and which he made more constructively central to the government than were the great traditional departments. He set up, and himself presided over, a royal commission on the housing of the working classes in 1884, which had perhaps the most remarkable membership of any royal commission ever assembled." (21)

Dilke worked well with William Gladstone although on one occasion he did describe him as a "magnificent lunatic". (22) The relationship between the two men was helped by their mutual commitment to parliamentary reform. The 1867 Reform Act had granted the vote to working class males in the towns but not in the counties. Gladstone argued that people living in towns and in rural areas should have equal rights. Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury, leader of the Conservative Party, opposed any increase in the number of people who could vote in parliamentary elections. Salisbury's critics claimed that he feared that this reform would reduce the power of the Tories in rural constituencies. (23)

In 1884 William Gladstone introduced his proposals that would give working class males the same voting rights as those living in the boroughs. The bill faced serious opposition in the House of Commons. The Tory MP, William Ansell Day, argued: "The men who demand it are not the working classes... It is the men who hope to use the masses who urge that the suffrage should be conferred upon a numerous and ignorant class." (24)

Gladstone told the House of Commons "that every Reform Bill had improved the House as a Representative Assembly". When opponents of the proposed bill cried "No, no !" Gladstone "insisted that whatever might be the effect on the House from some points of view, it was past doubt that the two Reform Acts had made the House far more adequate to express the wants and wishes of the nation as a whole". He added that when the House of Lords had blocked the Liberal's 1866 Reform Bill the following year "the Conservatives found it absolutely necessary to deal with the question, and so it would be again". (25)

The bill was passed by the Commons on 26th June, with the opposition did not divide the House. The Conservatives were hesitant about recording themselves in direct hostility to franchise enlargement. However, Gladstone knew he would have more trouble with the House of Lords. Gladstone wrote to twelve of the leading bishops and asked for their support in passing this legislation. Ten of the twelve agreed to do this. However, when the vote was taken the Lords rejected the bill by 205 votes to 146.

Queen Victoria thought that the Lords had every right to reject the bill and she told Gladstone that they represented "the true feeling of the country" better than the House of Commons. Gladstone told his private secretary, Edward Walter Hamilton, that if the Queen had her way she would abolish the Commons. Over the next two months the Queen wrote sixteen letters to Gladstone complaining about speeches made by left-wing Liberal MPs. (26)

The London Trades Council quickly organized a mass demonstration in Hyde Park. On 21st July, an estimated 30,000 people marched through the city to merge with at least that many already assembled in the park. Thorold Rogers, compared the House of Lords to "Sodom and Gomorrah" and Joseph Chamberlain told the crowd: "We will never, never, never be the only race in the civilized world subservient to the insolent pretensions of a hereditary caste". (27)

Queen Victoria was especially angry about the speech made by Chamberlain, who was President of the Board of Trade in Gladstone's government. She sent letters to Gladstone complaining about Chamberlain on 6th, 8th and 10th August, 1884. (28) Edward Walter Hamilton, Gladstone's private secretary replied to the Queen explaining that the Prime Minister "has neither the time nor the eyesight to make himself acquainted by careful perusal with all the speeches of his colleagues." (29)

In August 1884, William Gladstone sent a long and threatening memorandum to the Queen: "The House of Lords has for a long period been the habitual and vigilant enemy of every Liberal Government... It cannot be supposed that to any Liberal this is a satisfactory subject of contemplation. Nevertheless some Liberals, of whom I am one, would rather choose to bear all this for the future as it has been borne in the past, than raise the question of an organic reform of the House of Lords... I wish (an hereditary House of Lords) to continue, for the avoidance of greater evils... Further; organic change of this kind in the House of Lords may strip and lay bare, and in laying bare may weaken, the foundations even of the Throne." (30)

Other politicians began putting pressure on Victoria and the House of Lords. One of Gladstone's MPs advised him to "Mend them or end them." However, Gladstone liked "the hereditary principle, notwithstanding its defects, to be maintained, for I think it in certain respects an element of good, a barrier against mischief". Gladstone was also secretly opposed to a mass creation of peers to give it a Liberal majority. However, these threats did result in conservative leaders being willing to negotiate over this issue. Hamilton wrote in his diary that "the atmosphere is full of compromise". (31)

Other moderate Liberal MPs feared that if the 1884 Reform Act was not passed Britain was in danger of a violent revolution. Samuel Smith feared the development of socialist parties such as the Social Democratic Party in Germany: "In the country, the agitation has reached a point which might be described as alarming. I have no desire to see the agitation assume a revolutionary character which it would certainly assume if it continued much longer.... I am afraid that there would emerge from out of the strife a new party like the social democrats of Germany and that the guidance of parties would pass from the hands of wise statesmen into that of extreme and violent men". (32)

John Morley was one of the MPs who led the fight against the House of Lords. The Spectator reported "He (John Morley) was himself, be said, convinced that compromise was the life of politics; but the Franchise Bill was a compromise, and if the Lords threw it out again, that would mean that the minority were to govern... The English people were a patient and a Conservative people, but they would not endure a stoppage of legislation by a House which had long been as injurious in practice as indefensible in theory. If the struggle once began, it was inevitable that the days of privilege should be numbered." (33)

Eventually, Gladstone reached an agreement with the House of Lords. This time the Conservative members agreed to pass Gladstone's proposals in return for the promise that it would be followed by a Redistribution of Seats Bill. Gladstone accepted their terms and the 1884 Reform Act was allowed to become law. This measure gave the counties the same franchise as the boroughs - adult male householders and £10 lodgers - and added about six million to the total number who could vote in parliamentary elections. (34)

Charles Wentworth Dilke was responsible for the Redistribution of Seats Bill. Roy Jenkins claims that it was "Dilke's best work" and was involved in detailed negotiations with Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury. "Dilke was the key figure in negotiating with Salisbury in November 1885 a settlement that seemed acceptable from a Liberal point of view, and piloting the resultant bill through the House of Commons with skill and authority. In both the negotiations and the parliamentary process he had the decisive (and for him typical) advantage of knowing twice as much about the subject as anyone else." (35)

The bill was less radical than Gladstone would have liked. He realised he had to pay regard to Gladstone's instinctive conservatism. Another problem was Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire, who was seen as the leader of the Whigs (aristocratic Liberals), who feared that any new system would result in more left-wing politicians being selected as Liberal candidates. Dilke decided that it would be wise to leave alone university representation or other forms of plural voting that was popular with more conservative Liberals. (36)

The Redistribution Act made the following changes to the House of Commons: (i) seventy-nine towns with populations smaller than 15,000 lost their right to elect an MP; (ii) thirty-six with populations between 15,000 and 50,000 lost one of their MPs and became single member constituencies; (iii) towns with populations between 50,000 and 165,000 were given two seats; (iv) larger towns and the country constituencies were divided into single member constituencies. (37)

In June 1885 Gladstone resigned after supporters of Irish Home Rule and the Conservative Party joined forces to defeat his Liberal government's Finance Bill. Gladstone was expected to retire from politics and Dilke was considered to be a possible candidate for the leadership. This speculation came to an end when Virginia Crawford, the 22-year-old wife of Donald Crawford, a lawyer, and also Dilke's brother's sister-in-law. Virginia claimed that Dilke seduced her in 1882 (the first year of her marriage) and had then conducted an intermittent affair with her for two and a half years. Virginia also told her husband that Dilke had involved her in a ménage-à-trois with a servant girl, Fanny Grey (she denied the story). Virginia said she had resisted this but the MP, whom she portrayed as a sexual monster, forced her to co-operate. "He taught me every French vice," she said. "He used to say that I knew more than most women of 30." (38)

Donald Crawford sued for divorce, and the case was heard on 12th February 1886. Virginia Crawford was not in court, and the sole evidence was her husband's account of Virginia's confession. There were also some accounts by servants, which were both circumstantial and insubstantial. Dilke resolutely denied the charges, although his position was complicated from the beginning by the fact that he had, both before and after his first marriage, been the lover of her mother, Martha Mary Smith. Dilke was advised by his legal team not to give evidence in court. (39)

Betty Askwith has pointed out that "as English law stood... a wife’s confession to her husband is evidence of her guilt but did not carry the corollary that the co-respondent whom she accuses is also guilty". (40) As a result the judge ruled that "I cannot see any case whatsoever against Sir Charles Dilke" and ordered Crawford to pay the costs but Virginia was found guilty and the judge granted Crawford his divorce. The judge appeared to be saying "that Mrs. Crawford had committed adultery with Dilke, but that he had not done so with her". (41)

The Spectator reported that the case could bring an end to his political career: "There was no corroboration of those charges, except as to a few dates; and for all that was proved, they might be mere inventions, or the dreams of a woman suffering from a well-known form of hallucination. But then, there was no disproof, and the Judge accepted the confession as substantially true. Sir Charles Dilke's counsel called no witnesses, attempted no cross-examination of Mr. Crawford, and advised their client not to enter the witness-box, and so defend both himself and Mrs. Crawford, lest 'early indiscretions should be raked up,' - obviously a mere excuse. The world is tolerant enough, if not over-tolerant, and no indiscretions could have hurt Sir Charles Dilke as the confession if proved would do. As a result, Mr. Justice Butt, while expressly stating that he believed Mr. Crawford's report of the confession, accepted the confession itself as so true, that though almost uncorroborated, be founded on it a decree of divorce against Mrs. Crawford". (42)

William T. Stead began a campaign against Dilke for not going into the witness box. By April this had persuaded him that he should seek to reopen the case by getting the Queen's Proctor to intervene. The second inquiry began on 16th July 1886. Dilke falsely assumed that his counsel would be able to submit Virginia Crawford to a devastating cross-examination. Instead, both witnesses were examined by the Queen's Proctor. Christina Rogerson also gave evidence and testified that Virginia Crawford had both confessed her adultery with Dilke and conducted another adulterous relationship with Captain Henry Forster, sometimes meeting him at Rogerson’s home. Under oath, Virginia Crawford confirmed her friend’s evidence - and also informed the court that Dilke had told her that Rogerson was another of his ex-mistresses. (43)

Dilke's biographer, Roy Jenkins, has argued: "The result was a disaster. He proved a very bad witness, she a very good one. The summing up by the president of the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division was highly unfavourable to Dilke. The verdict of the jury - in form that the divorce should stand, in fact that Mrs Crawford was a witness of the truth and that Dilke was not - was reached quickly and unanimously". Jenkins is convinced that Virginia Crawford lied in court and was part of a conspiracy to end his political career. (44)

Some newspapers called for Charles Dilke to be prosecuted for perjury. "The sickening details of the Crawford divorce case, which ended yesterday with a verdict in favour of Mr. Crawford, in other words, against Sir Charles Dilke. If that verdict be true, Sir Charles Dilke must have been guilty of a particularly base form of perjury, and for perjury, of course, he must at once be prosecuted... That any man should escape without heavy punishment for the guilt of all these perjuries, which, if perjuries at all, are perjuries of the very meanest and basest kind, perjuries not committed in defence of the woman he had seduced, but for the purpose of making her seem even worse than she really was, would be a scandal to English justice of which it is hardly possible that this generation would exhaust all the miserable consequences". (45)

Brian Cathcart, recently investigated the case and believes that Charles Dilke was innocent of the charges. "This is not to say that the Liberal politician was pure as driven snow. Aged 42 at the time and single, he was known as a ladies' man and among his previous paramours was Virginia's mother. But Virginia also had a sexual track record. The daughter of a Tyneside shipbuilder, at the age of 18 she had been forced against her will to marry Donald Crawford, a man twice her age. With a married sister, Helen, she then set about finding consolation with lovers, particularly among the medical students at St George's Hospital. Both she and Helen also had affairs with an army captain, Henry Forster, whom they met frequently at a brothel in Knightsbridge, and Dilke's friends later produced evidence that the two young women shared the attentions of several men, possibly in the same bed at the same time."

Cathcart then goes on to explain why he was framed: "Various theories have circulated. Politically, he was important and controversial and many people, Liberal and Tory, were glad to see him fall. Queen Victoria was particularly amused, as he was the leading republican of his time.... Virginia was desperate for a divorce, but in the hope of avoiding publicity about her sexual past and of protecting her true lover, Forster, she decided to name some other, innocent man. Her choice fell on Dilke because of his past relationship with her mother and because she was encouraged by a friend, Christina Rogerson, who felt she had been jilted in love by Dilke." (46)

It is believed that one of the reasons that Christina Rogerson gave evidence against Dilke is that she expected to become his wife. However, Dilke was also involved with Emilia Francis Pattison, the art historian and an active member of the Women's Trade Union League and spoke "at public meetings across the country, regularly attending and addressing the annual Trades Union Congress as part of her promotion of male-female working-class co-operation." They were both also involved in the campaign for votes for women. The couple got married on 3rd October 1885. (47)

Charles Dilke lost his seat at the 1886 General Election. Although he had been a long-term campaigner for women's rights, a group of women activists, including Annie Besant, Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Elizabeth Blackwell, Frances Buss and Eva McLaren, tried to prevent him from returning to the House of Commons. However, in 1892 he was elected to represent the Forest of Dean, but because of the Crawford divorce case he was never to serve again as a government minister. (48)

Emilia and Charles Dilke were close friends of Richard Pankhurst and his wife Emmeline Pankhurst and they both continued to give money to organisations supporting women's suffrage. However, many of the leaders of the movement did not want to be associated with Dilke because of the Crawford case. Elizabeth Wolstenholme-Elmy felt very strongly about this as "she was clearly not at all in sympathy with his unorthodox extra-marital history." (49)

Dilke retained his radical beliefs and over the next ten years he continued to advocate progressive policies: "He achieved great local popularity, particularly with the miners of what was then a detached but significant small coalfield. He vigorously pursued their interests and those of labour generally, as well as being an independent parliamentary expert on military, colonial, and foreign questions, and was an important link with Labour members and trade unionists". (50)

Emilia Dilke was more concerned with universal suffrage than any limited enfranchisement of women. The main reason for this was the fear that most middle-class women would vote for the Conservative Party. In 1903 she left the Liberal Party and joined the Independent Labour Party. (51)

Charles Wentworth Dilke died of heart failure on 26th January, 1911.

I think that, speaking roughly, you may say that the positive and direct cost of the Royalty is about a million a year. In ... the Army, we have a Royal Duke, not necessarily the fittest man, at the head of it by right of birth, and the Prince of Wales, who would never be allowed a command in time of war, put to lead the Cavalry Divisions in the Autumn Manoeuvres, thus robbing working officers of the position and of the training they had a title to expect. Now, institutions are not good or bad in themselves, so much as good or bad by their working, and we are told that a limited Monarchy works well. I set aside, in this speech, the question of whether a Republic would work better; but I confess freely that I doubt whether... the monarchy should not set its house in order. But you answer - Have we not the public spirit? Have we not the practice of self-government? Are we not gaining general education? Well, if you can show me a fair chance that a republic will be free from the general corruption which hangs about the Monarchy, I say, for my part - and I believe that the middle classes will say - let it come.

Now we pass over the presumption which emboldens Sir Charles Dilke to speak in the name of the middle classes, and forbear to enquire how far he may be himself indebted to Royal favour. Looking only at the language as it is reported, and remembering that it comes from a member of the Legislature, we cannot but recognise it as a recklessness bordering on criminality. Sir Charles "sets aside the question whether a Republic would not work better," as if this were not the whole question to be decided, and as if anything could justify the attempt to excite the working class audience against their existing Government, except a firm conviction, supported by solid proofs, that it could be replaced by something better... to be handled, and that with little candour or delicacy, before an assembly of working men.

Auberon Herbert announced his preference for a Republic. The Republican attack on the Queen was about as contemptible as that by the lad who presented the flintless and empty pistol the other day; but in the latter case as in the former, the affair was one for the police, and Constable Gladstone, was quite equal to the occasion.

England is lapsing into rowdyism. The other day Hackney' held a rowdy meeting, and now Chelsea and Bolton have followed suit. On Tuesday, the anti-Republican constituents of Sir Charles Dilke at Chelsea tried to hold a ticket-meeting to oppose his Republican policy.. But the doors were forced by non-ticket holders, a chairman of their own put into the chair, and a very tumultuous. and violent meeting held... At Bolton, in the Temperance Hall, on Thursday, it was even worse. But here Sir C. Dilke and his friends were the ticket-holders, and the Conservative mob the assailants, who sent brickbats through the windows and afterwards swarmed into the hall. Sir Charles and his friends got out unharmed, but there was afterwards a free fight among the roughs. The reporters' table was thrown down and smashed into fragments, the pieces being used as cudgels, surely a symbolical act, for public opinion ends where violence begins, and the Press itself ceases to have any function, except to cry aloud and spare not against this overflow of political brutality.

Sir Charles Dilke on Monday addressed his electors in an interesting, but very discursive and rather wild speech, of which we find it simply impossible to give any general idea. He talked upon everything, from the suffrage, upon which he was very Radical, wanting more lodgers enfranchised as well as householders, to the defence of Turkey, upon which he was utterly conservative, talking of General Ignatieff's "murder" of Turkey. Granting General Ignatieff's agency, an execution is not a murder. He thought the Conservatives would keep power for two Parliaments on condition that they were Liberals, and thought Lord Hartington a capital leader because the duty of a Liberal leader was to follow his party, and Lord Hartington performed that duty steadily. If so, we may remark, if Lord Hartington really follows, say, only Mr. Lowe, Mr. Bright, and Sir Charles Dilke, on the single question of the suffrage, he must be in very small pieces by this time. Altogether, Sir Charles made a speech full of evidence of his mental courage, wide information, and keen interest in the people, and full also of evidence of the want somewhere which renders all his capacities so little useful. All his trains of thought run on needed lines, and go quick, and can carry many people, but they never correspond, and one gets nowhere.

We consider the incidents of the trial most grave for Sir Charles Dilke and for the nation, which is thereby deprived of his services as a statesman. The facts are patent to all who read legal proceedings. Mrs. Crawford made a confession to her husband, the Member for North-East Lanark, involving charges of unusual profligacy against Sir Charles Dilke, which Mr. Crawford repeated in Court. There was no corroboration of those charges, except as to a few dates; and for all that was proved, they might be mere inventions, or the dreams of a woman suffering from a well-known form of hallucination. Crawford, lest "early indiscretions should be raked up," - obviously a mere excuse. Crawford. Gossip may well be neglected ; but a statement offered in Court, accepted by a first-class Judge, and made the ground of what is really a penal decree, is not gossip; and until it is disposed of in some effective way, Sir Charles Dilke, to the distinct loss of the country, cannot be held "exonerated?"

The sickening details of the Crawford divorce case, which ended yesterday with a verdict in favour of Mr. If that verdict be true, Sir Charles Dilke must have been guilty of a particularly base form of perjury, and for perjury, of course, he must at once be prosecuted. This is a very sad conclusion to a most promising political career, and a conclusion which will shock politicians of all parties. Yet even at the frightful cost of a new trial reverting to these disgusting and debasing details, the prosecution for perjury must take place.

That any man should escape without heavy punishment for the guilt of all these perjuries, which, if perjuries at all, are perjuries of the very meanest and basest kind, perjuries not committed in defence of the woman he had seduced, but for the purpose of making her seem even worse than she really was, would be a scandal to English justice of which it is hardly possible that this generation would exhaust all the miserable consequences. If Sir Charles Dilke be innocent, he will assuredly court such a prosecution, as it will afford him by far the best means he could have of testing the evidence against him in the manner most favourable to his own acquittal. It is only fair to remember that in this trial Sir Charles Dilke has not been represented by his own counsel, but has had to rely on the counsel of the Queen's Advocate.

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(1) Roy Jenkins, Charles Wentworth Dilke : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(2) Roy Jenkins, Dilke : A Victorian Tragedy (1996) page 21

(3) Roy Jenkins, Charles Wentworth Dilke : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(4) Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 (2000) page 169

(5) Paul Thomas Murphy, Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy (2013) page

(6) Charles Wentworth Dilke, speech in Newcastle (6th November, 1871)

(7) The Times (7th November, 1871)

(8) Charles L. Graves, Mr. Punch's History of Modern England: Volume II (1919) page 191

(9) The Spectator (2nd December, 1871)

(10) Christopher Hibbert, Queen Victoria (2001) page 340

(11) Elizabeth Longford, Victoria (1964) page 391

(12) Punch Magazine (30th March, 1872)

(13) Roy Jenkins, Charles Wentworth Dilke : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(14) Rosemary Dinnage, Annie Besant (1986) page 34

(15) Paul Foot, The Vote (2005) page 162

(16) Philip Guedalla, The Queen and Mr. Gladstone (1958) page 135

(17) Queen Victoria, letter to William Ewart Gladstone (16th April 1880)

(18) Philip Magnus, Gladstone: A Biography (1963) page 308

(19) A. N. Wilson, Victoria: A Life (2014) page 411

(20) Christopher Hibbert, Queen Victoria (2001) page 427

(21) Roy Jenkins, Charles Wentworth Dilke : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(22) Roy Jenkins, Dilke: A Victorian Tragedy (1965) page 169

(23) Robert Pearce and Roger Stearn, Government and Reform: 1815-1918 (1994) page 68

(24) William Ansell Day, The Conservative Party and the County Franchise (1883) page 5

(25) The Spectator (12th April, 1884)

(26) Roy Jenkins, Gladstone (1995) page 493

(27) Joseph Chamberlain, speech in Hyde Park (21st July, 1884)

(28) Paul Foot, The Vote (2005) page 166

(29) Edward Walter Hamilton, letter to Queen Victoria (July, 1884)

(30) William Ewart Gladstone, memorandum on the House of Lords sent to Queen Victoria (August, 1884)

(31) Edward Walter Hamilton, diary entry (30th October, 1884)

(32) Samuel Smith, speech in the House of Commons (6th November, 1884)

(33) The Spectator (13th September, 1884)

(34) Annette Mayer, The Growth of Democracy in Britain (1999) page 57

(35) Roy Jenkins, Charles Wentworth Dilke : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(36) Roy Jenkins, Gladstone (1995) page 497

(37) Robert Pearce and Roger Stearn, Government and Reform: 1815-1918 (1994) page 70

(38) Kali Israel, Names and Stories: Emilia Dilke and Victorian Culture (1999) page 207

(39) Christopher Howse, The Daily Telegraph (10th January 2009)

(40) Betty Askwith, Lady Dilke: A Biography (1969) page 149

(41) Roy Jenkins, Dilke: A Victorian Tragedy (1965) pages 238-9

(42) The Spectator (20th February, 1886)

(43) David Nicholls, The Lost Prime Minister: A Life of Sir Charles Dilke (1995) page 307

(44) Roy Jenkins, Charles Wentworth Dilke : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(45) The Spectator (24th July, 1886)

(46) Brian Cathcart, The Independent (15th April, 1995)

(47) Hiliary Fraser, Emilia Francis Dilke : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(48) Roy Jenkins, Dilke: A Victorian Tragedy (1965) page 376 (49)

(49) Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 (2000) page 169

(50) Roy Jenkins, Charles Wentworth Dilke : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(51) Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 (2000) page 169

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Dilke, Charles Wentworth

DILKE, Sir CHARLES WENTWORTH, second baronet (1843–1911), politician and author, born on 4 Sept. 1843 in the house in Sloane Street, London (No. 76), which his father had occupied and in which he himself lived and died, was elder son of Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke , first baronet [q. v.]. Charles Wentworth Dilke [q. v.], the antiquary and critic, was his grandfather. His mother, Mary, daughter of William Chatfield, captain in the Madras cavalry, died on 16 Sept. 1853. His younger brother was Ashton Wentworth Dilke [q. v.], M.P. for Newcastle-on-Tyne from 1880 until his death in 1883.

Dilke, after being educated privately, became in 1862 a scholar of Trinity Hall, Cambridge his father's college. There (Sir) Leslie Stephen was his tutor. He graduated LL.B. as senior legalist, i.e. head of the law tripos, in 1866, and proceeded LL.M. in 1869. He was an active member of the Cambridge Union, serving twice as vice-president and twice as president. He was an enthusiastic oarsman and rowed in his college boat when it was head of the river. That recreation he pursued all his life. In later years he built himself a bungalow at Dockett Eddy near Shepperton and spent much of his time on the water. He was also a keen and capable fencer and frequently invited his friends to a bout with he foils at his house in Sloane Street. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple on 30 April 1866, but never practised. In 1866 Dilke left England for a tour round the world, beginning with a visit to the United States. Here he travelled alone for some months, but was subsequently joined by William Hepworth Dixon [q. v.] editor of the 'Athenæum,' the paper of which his father was proprietor. The two travelled together for some time, visiting the Mormon cities of Utah, but they parted at Salt Lake City, Dixon returning to England and Dilke continuing his journey westward, ​ visiting San Francisco on his way to Panama. Thence he crossed the Pacific and visited all the Australasian colonies in turn. He returned home by way of Ceylon, India, and Egypt, reaching England at the end of 1867. In the following year ho published the results of his studies and explorations in English-speaking and English-governed lands in a work entitled 'Greater Britain: a Record of Travel in English-speaking Countries during 1866 and 1867.' The book immediately achieved an immense success, and passed through four editions. The title, a novel and taking one, was Dilke's invention (see Murray's New Eng. Dict.), and the whole subject as treated by Dilke was as new as its title. 'The idea,' wrote Dilke in the Preface, 'which in all the length of my travels has been at once my fellow and my guide a key wherewith to unlock the hidden things of strange new lands is a conception, however imperfect, of the grandeur of our race, already girdling the earth, which it is destined, perhaps, to overspread.' Thus, while Dilke was an advanced radical through life, he was also from first to last a convinced and well-informed imperialist.

In 1868 the first general election took place under the Reform Act of the previous year. Dilke was selected by the radical party in the newly constituted borough of Chelsea, to which two members were allotted, as one of its two candidates. His colleague was Sir Henry Hoare, and their opponents were (Sir) William H. Russell [q. v. Suppl. II] and C. J. Freake. Dilke headed the poll on 17 Nov. with 7374 votes, Hoare receiving 7183, and Russell only 4177. He at once attracted the favourable notice of the party leaders and was chosen to second the address at the opening of the session of 1870. He joined the extreme nonconformists in opposition to Mr. Forster's education bill, and moved the amendment which the government accepted for the substitution of directly elected schoolboards in place of committees of boards of guardians. To the normal articles of the radical creed, Dilke added republican predilections, and he frankly challenged the monarchical form of government on many public platforms. He questioned whether monarchy was worth its cost. His statement at Newcastle on 6 Nov. 1871, in the course of an elaborate republican plea, that Queen Victoria paid no income tax excited a bitter controversy. At Bristol, Bolton, Derby, and Birmingham he pursued the propaganda, often amid scenes of disturbance. Heated protests against his attitude were raised in the House of Commons, where he moved on 19 March 1872 for a full inquiry into Queen Victoria's expenditure. His confession of republican faith was then echoed by Auberon Herbert [q. v. Suppl. II], who seconded his motion. A passionate retort followed from Gladstone, the prime minister. Sir Wilfrid Lawson and another were the only members who voted in support of Dilke's motion, for which he and Herbert told. Sharply opposed at Chelsea on the score of his advanced opinions at the next election in 1874, he yet was the only one of three liberal candidates who was elected. He polled 7217 votes, and the conservative candidate was returned as his colleague.

In 1869, on the death of his father, Dilke succeeded to the baronetcy and also to the then lucrative proprietorship of the 'Athenæum' and of 'Notes and Queries'—the former purchased and edited by his grandfather and the latter established by him in 1849—and to a part proprietorship of the 'Gardeners' Chronicle.' He always took an active interest in the conduct of the 'Athenæum' and frequently contributed to its columns, though except during the occasional absence of the responsible editor he never edited it himself. He collected for the press his grandfather's 'Papers of a Critic' (1875), chiefly contributions to the 'Athenæum.' In 1872 he married Katherine Mary Eliza, only daughter of Captain Arthur Gore Sheil.

Meanwhile he was a frequent visitor to Paris, where he became intimate with Gambetta and other republican leaders. He spoke French fluently, though not perhaps quite with the accent of a Parisian. French influence was apparent in his second literary venture, which was published anonymously in 1874. A thin brochure bound in white, it was entitled 'The Fall of Prince Florestan of Monaco.' It told the story of a light-hearted prince, educated at Eton and Cambridge, who was unexpectedly called to the sovereignty of Monaco. He at once set to work to put in action the liberal and reforming ideas he had imbibed at Cambridge, and soon found himself at loggerheads with his subjects, who were all catholics and led by a Jesuit priest. Foiled in his projects of reform, he abdicated and returned to Cambridge. The story was brightly written and displayed no little satiric humour which spared neither Dilke himself nor his radical contemporaries. It showed in Dilke a mood of genial banter and shrewd detachment from popular ​ shibboleths which was otherwise so little in evidence that few suspected its existence. The book passed through three editions and was translated into French. Perhaps it was better appreciated in France than in England.

In 1874 Dilke's first wife died after giving birth to an only son, Charles Went worth Dilke, subsequently the third baronet. Next year Dilke made a second tour round the world, now visiting China and Japan, and thenceforth for many years he spent much leisure at a modest villa which he purchased near Toulon. At the same time during his second parliament (1874-80) he greatly improved his position. He became an effective speaker, and won the ear of the House of Commons ( Lucy's Diary of Parliament, 1874-80, pp. 307-10). His radicalism lost nothing of its strength on shedding its republican features. He made an annual attack on unreformed corporations. On 4 March 1879 he seconded (Sir) George Trevelyan's resolution for extending the county franchise to the agricultural labourer, and on 31 March he moved on behalf of the liberal party a vote of censure on the government's South African policy. To the cause of Greece he proved himself a warm friend. At the general election of April 1880, Dilke for the third time headed the poll at Chelsea with 12,408 votes, carrying the second liberal candidate (Mr. J. B. Firth) in with him with 12,040 votes.

Before Gladstone returned to power in 1880, Dilke was an acknowledged leader of the radical section of his party. Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, M.P. for Birmingham since June 1876, was his chief colleague. Gladstone, however, was very slowly persuaded of the importance of the radical leaders. At first 'he never dreamed of them for his cabinet.' When at length he sent for Dilke while forming his administration, he was annoyed by Dilke's refusal 'to serve unless either himself or Mr. Chamberlain were in the cabinet.' In the end, despite Dilke's superior position in public esteem, Mr. Chamberlain entered the cabinet as president of the board of trade, and Dilke remained outside as under-secretary to the foreign office (cf. Morley , Life of Gladstone, ii. 630).

Dilke's knowledge of foreign affairs was exceptional, and as representing the foreign office in the commons with his chief, Lord Granville in the lords, he enjoyed an influence little short of that of a cabinet minister not yet of the first rank. Of prodigious industry, he conducted the parliamentary business of his department with assiduity, courtesy, and discretion. In 1881-2 he served as chairman of a royal commission for the negotiation of a commercial treaty with France in conjunction with commissioners of the French government. He spent many months over this business, which was conducted in London and in Paris. Early in 1880 his growing reputation had led the Prince of Wales (afterwards Edward VII) to seek his acquaintance and a close intimacy between them lasted through the next four years. They met in Paris as well as at home, and at Paris, by the prince's request, while the commercial negotiations were in progress, Dilke invited his close friend Gambetta to join them at breakfast (24 Oct. 1881).

On Forster's retirement from the Irish secretaryship in April 1882 Dilke was offered the post, but he declined it on the ground that it did not carry with it a seat in the cabinet. Towards the close of the year the cabinet was partially reconstructed, and Dilke at last obtained a place in it as president of the local government board (8 Dec.). At the statutory election at Chelsea he was returned without a contest. There were rumours of reluctance on Queen Victoria's part to assent to Dilke's appointment, which great firmness on the part of the prime minister was needed to dispel (Annual Register, 1882, p. 180). In the House of Commons there was now a general belief that he was destined before long to lead his party (cf. Acton's Letters to Mary Gladstone). An indication of the public confidence which he commanded was shown by the bestowal on him of the freedom of the borough of Paisley (1 Nov. 1883). He had long given close attention to the problems of local government, and his tenure of office as president of the board was marked by much important legislation. In 1884 he presided as chairman over the royal commission on the housing of the working classes, of which the Prince of Wales, Lord Salisbury, and Cardinal Manning were members. He also took an active part in the negotiations which were initiated in that year by Queen Victoria between government and the opposition in the controversy over the Franchise Act of 1884 and the attendant redistribution of seats. By virtue of his office and by reason of what Lord Morley in his 'Life of Gladstone' called his 'unrivalled mastery of the intricate details' of the whole question of redistribution, he took charge of the redistribution bill and conducted it through the House of Commons with exceptional skill. ​ On 18 Jan. 1884 Dilke, Lord Granville, and Lord Northbrook met General Gordon with Lord Hartington and Lord Wolseley at the war office and they decided on behalf of the cabinet to send Gordon to the Soudan.

In 1885 the Gladstone ministry, externally weakened by the miscarriages of its Egyptian policy, and discredited by its failure to rescue Gordon, was also distracted almost to dissolution by internal dissensions arising out of its Irish policy. New bills for a partial renewal of the expiring Coercion Act, for land purchase and for local government in Ireland were before the cabinet early in 1885. Dilke and Mr. Chamberlain recommended a central administrative board, and resisted the other proposals without effect. On 19 May Gladstone announced in the House of Commons a land purchase bill. Thereupon Dilke and Mr. Chamberlain tendered their resignations. They were requested to reconsider them ( Morley's Gladstone, iii. 194). But that necessity was spared them. An unexpected defeat on a proposed increase in the beer duties under the budget gave the whole cabinet an opportunity, which they eagerly welcomed, of resigning (8 June 1885). Neither Dilke nor Mr. Chamberlain had favoured the increase of the beer duties. He and Mr. Chamberlain projected under Parnell's auspices a tour in Ireland for the autumn. But Parnell's negotiations with the new conservative lord-lieutenant, the earl of Carnarvon, led him to withdraw his support, and the visit was abandoned. Dilke never again held office under the crown.

Dilke's fall was sudden and tragical. In August 1885 Mr. Donald Crawford, liberal M. P. for Lanark, filed a petition for divorce against his wife on the ground of her alleged adultery with Dilke. Mrs. Crawford was a sister of the wife of Dilke's only brother Ashton, and with her family he was on intimate terms. On the announcement of the charge, Dilke denied its truth in an open letter to the liberal association of Chelsea. The association accepted his disclaimer. He stood for the constituency — now a single member division — at the general election in Dec. 1885 and was returned by 4291 votes against 4116 cast for the conservative candidate. The divorce suit was heard on 12 Feb. 1886, when Mr. Crawford obtained a decree nisi against his wife, solely on the evidence of her confession. Dilke offered to deny on oath in the witness-box Mrs. Crawford's story, but his counsel declined to call him and his friends unwisely dissuaded him from insisting on being called The outcome of the suit was equivocal. The case against Dilke was dismissed, but Mrs. Crawford's guilt was declared proven on her own evidence, which inculpated none but him. In public opinion Dilke was not cleared of the allegations against him.

Meanwhile Dilke was not included in Gladstone's third administration (Feb. 1886), but he attended parliament as usual, and voted for Gladstone's home rule bill (7 June). His liberal friends at Chelsea expressed sympathy with him, and he stood again at the general election of July 1886. But he was defeated by 176 votes. His connection with the constituency was thus severed after eighteen years. Mainly owing to Dilke's representations to the queen's proctor, the divorce case was re-opened before the decree nisi was made absolute. The queen's proctor did not intervene directly on Dilke's behalf, and the application of both Dilke and Mrs. Crawford to plead in the suit was refused in Dilke's case on the ground that he had not given evidence at the first hearing (30 June). The second hearing began on 16 July 1886. Dilke and Mrs. Crawford both gave evidence at length and sustained a searching cross-examination. Mrs. Crawford acknowledged that she had committed adultery with a man not mentioned in her original confession, but withdrew none of her former charges against Dilke, and added odious details which were regarded by believers in Dilke's innocence to be inventions directed solely to prejudice. Dilke absolutely denied all the accusations. Finally the jury found that the original 'decree was obtained not contrary to the facts of the case and not by reason of material facts not having been brought before the court.' This amounted to a verdict against Dilke, and public opinion at large regarded the verdict as just. Dilke, however, maintained from the first and through the rest of his life the attitude and demeanour of an innocent man, and many, though not all, of his friends avowed and manifested their unshaken confidence in his honour and veracity.

Dilke bowed at once to the decision. To the electors of Chelsea he announced his withdrawal from public life he pointed out the legal disadvantages under which he laboured at the second trial in being denied the status of a party to the proceedings, and at the same time he reasserted his innocence.

At the opening of these difficulties, on 3 Oct. 1885, Dilke married at Chelsea Emilia ​ Francis, widow of Mark Pattison [q. v. see Dilke, Emilia Francis, Lady , Suppl. II]. The marriage was singularly happy, and Dilke owed much to her affection and belief in his innocence. Although saddened, he was not soured nor corrupted by his political and social eclipse. On his retirement from parliament in Dilke returned with great zeal and industry to the study of those larger English and imperial problems which had engaged his attention at the outset of his career. In 1887 he published 'The Present Position of European Politics' (translated into French) and in 1888 'The British Army.' In 1890 appeared his 'Problems of Greater Britain' in two volumes, designed as a sequel to his earlier work on 'Greater Britain.' It was a treatise on the present position of Greater Britain in which special attention was given to the relations of the English-speaking countries with one another and to the comparative politics of the countries under British government. Foreign travel varied his occupation. He paid at least one annual visit to Paris, where his French friends always welcomed him with enthusiasm. In the autumn of he made a journey through the Near East, visiting Greece, the cause of which he had always championed, and Constantinople, where he was entertained by the Sultan. In the winter of 1888-9 he was the guest of Lord Roberts, commander of the forces in India, and attended with his host the military manoeuvres of the season.

In 1892 Dilke returned to public life as member of parliament for the Forest of Dean. The electors had convinced themselves of his innocence. He beat his conservative opponent after a contest by a large majority. He represented that constituency till his death, fighting the elections of 1900 and Jan. and Dec. 1910, but being returned without a contest in 1895 and 1906. Henceforth a private member, he did not speak frequently in the House of Commons. He confined himself almost entirely to industrial questions, to foreign and imperial affairs, and to the larger questions of policy involved in the navy and army estimates. On these subjects his authority was recognised, but his position in the house remained one of some aloofness. He enjoyed, however, the complete confidence of the labour party. He continued his literary work, publishing in 1898 a little volume on 'Imperial Defence' in co-operation with Mr. (now Professor) Spenser Wilkinson and yet another work on the British Empire in the same year. Although he hospitably entertained his friends, he continued to be little seen in society. In Oct. 1904 the death of his wife gravely disabled him, and he prefixed a touching memoir to a work of hers, 'The Book of the Spiritual Life,' which appeared in 1905. In 1906 he served as chairman of the select committee on the income tax and drafted its report, some of the recommendations of which were subsequently embodied in legislation. In 1910 his health began to fail. After the exhausting session of that year he fought with success the general election of Dec. 1910 in the Forest of Dean. But he was unequal to the effort. He returned in Jan. 1911 from a brief vacation in the South of France only to die. He died of heart failure at his house in Sloane Street on 26 Jan. 1911, and his remains were cremated at Golder's Green. He was succeeded in the baronetcy by his only son.

A portrait of Dilke by G. F. Watts was left to his trustees for presentation to a public institution. It is now on loan at the National Portrait Gallery. A caricature portrait appeared in 'Vanity Fair' in 1871.

Dilke owned a valuable collection of works of art, and he dedicated those which were of historic interest to public uses. He left by will the portrait by Watts of John Stuart Mill to the Westminster city council the portrait by Madox Brown of Mr. and Mrs. Fawcett, and the portrait by Frank Holl of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, to the National Portrait Gallery the portrait of Gambetta by Alphonse Legros went to the Luxemburg Museum in Paris. Most of the relics of Keats, which he inherited from his grandfather, were bequeathed to the Hampstead public library. His literary executor, Miss Gertrude Tuckwell, his second wife's niece, was warned, in preparing his political papers for the press, against seeking the assistance of 'anyone closely connected with either the liberal or conservative party.' His pictures by old masters, water-colour drawings, tapestries, and miniatures were sold by auction at Christie's on 7-8 April 1911. The 'Athenæum' and 'Notes and Queries' were, in accordance with the powers given by the trustees under Dilke's will, transferred in 1911 to the printer and publisher, Mr. John Collins Francis.

[Authorities mentioned in the text obituary notices in the press, especially The Times, 27 Jan. 1911 Dilke's publications Herbert Paul's History of Modern England personal knowledge and private information.]

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dilke, Charles Wentworth (1789-1864)

DILKE, CHARLES WENTWORTH (1789–1864), antiquary and critic, was born on 8 Dec. 1789. At an early age he entered the navy pay office, but his leisure hours were devoted to reading, and, sharing the enthusiasm for the Elizabethan dramatists which was created by the publication of Lamb's ‘Specimens of the English Dramatic Poets,’ he turned his attention in that direction. Gifford, who had edited Massinger, and was in the midst of his edition of Ben Jonson, encouraged him, and between 1814 and 1816 he brought out his continuation of Dodsley's ‘Old Plays,’ a very acute and careful piece of editing. He had by this time married and settled at Hampstead, and there made the acquaintance of Charles Armitage Brown [q. v.], and of what was then termed the cockney school, Keats, to whom he proved both a sympathetic and judicious friend, Leigh Hunt, J. H. Reynolds, and Hood. Shelley was also known to him. He was busy contributing to the periodicals which sprang up within a few years of the peace, such as the ‘London Review,’ the ‘London Magazine,’ and ‘Colburn's New Monthly,’ and naturally enough when the ‘Retrospective Review’ was started he became one of its chief supporters. His articles were mainly on literary topics, but in 1821 he produced a political pamphlet in the shape of a letter addressed to Lord John Russell, which was distinctly radical in tone, and pleaded for the repeal of the corn laws.

An event which formed a turning-point in Dilke's life was his becoming connected, about the end of 1829, with the ‘Athenæum,’ which, founded by James Silk Buckingham [q. v.] at the beginning of the previous year, had been purchased by John Sterling, and had subsequently passed into the hands of its printer and a number of men of letters. In the middle of 1830 Dilke became the supreme editor, and the effect of a firm hand on the management of the paper was speedily seen. Early in 1831 he reduced the price of the journal to fourpence, a measure which resulted in a marked increase in its sale and a corresponding reduction in the circulation of the ‘Literary Gazette,’ which adhered to the then customary price of a shilling. Meanwhile his co-proprietors, Reynolds, Hood, and Allan Cunningham, alarmed by the change, gave up their shares in the paper, although they continued to write largely for it, and the financial responsibility fell entirely upon the printer and the editor, who obtained the co-operation of Lamb, Barry Cornwall, Chorley [q. v.], George Darley, and others of his friends, and as soon as he had the opportunity enlisted the aid of Sainte-Beuve, Jules Janin, and other continental writers of repute, quite an unheard-of thing for a British journalist to do in those days. Although the circulation of the paper quickly developed, the heavy duty prevented the growth of advertisements, and for several years there was no surplus profit from which to pay Dilke a salary. The main principle of his editorship was to preserve a complete independence, and to criticise a book without caring who was the writer or who was the publisher, a principle which at the time was a startling novelty, and to maintain it Dilke withdrew altogether from general society, and avoided as far as possible personal contact with authors or publishers. In 1836 the navy pay office was abolished, and Dilke consequently retired on a pension, and devoted all his energies to the improvement of the paper.

In the forties the ‘Athenæum’ had become an established success, and no longer required the constant exertions which had been necessary in earlier days. Dilke consequently handed over the editorship to the late T. K. Hervey, and listened to the overtures of the ‘Daily News,’ which, started with great expectations of success under Charles Dickens, signally failed at first to realise the hopes of its proprietors. They therefore naturally turned to one who was politically in sympathy with them, and had proved his business faculty by converting a struggling journal into a paper of recognised influence and large circulation. Called in at first as a ‘consulting physician,’ he became in April 1846 manager of the ‘Daily News,’ John Forster being the editor, and applied to it the same policy that had proved successful in the case of the ‘Athenæum,’ reducing the price of the ‘Daily News’ by one-half. The capital of the paper proved, however, insufficient to meet the heavy expenses which the competition for news with the ‘Times,’ the ‘Herald,’ and the ‘Morning Chronicle’ involved, and another great stumbling-block was that, the proprietors belonging to various sections of the liberal party, each of them ​ expected his own views to be advocated in the journal. In consequence, when the three years during which he had undertaken to superintend the ‘Daily News’ came to an end, Dilke withdrew from its management. It was not till several years afterwards that, by resuming his policy and reducing its price to a penny, the journal succeeded in obtaining the assured position it has held for the last seventeen years.

A third period in Dilke's career began with his retirement from newspaper management, and the articles on which his reputation rests are all of them subsequent to 1847. While editing the ‘Athenæum’ he had on principle avoided writing in it having ceased to edit it he became a contributor. Although he preserved his early partiality for the Elizabethan drama—a couple of articles on Shakespeare were among his later contributions to the paper—he had studied the literary history of the seventeenth century, and still more carefully that of the eighteenth. The mystery attaching to the authorship of the ‘Letters of Junius’ especially fascinated him, and he acquired with his wonted thoroughness a knowledge of everything bearing on the problem that none of his contemporaries could rival. Unlike other students of the riddle, he was not so anxious to find out who Junius was as to show who he was not and although he is said to have had his own ideas of the identity of the unknown, his published criticisms were entirely destructive. He commenced in the ‘Athenæum’ of July 1848 by demolishing Britton's theory that Colonel Barré was Junius, and in the course of the five following years he wrote a series of reviews which form the most weighty contribution to the perennial controversy that has yet appeared. The study of Junius led inevitably to the study of Burke and Wilkes, and he was the first to rescue Wilkes from the obloquy that attached to his name. He also became the apologist of Peter Pindar.

To Dilke's papers on Junius succeeded his articles on Pope. He had been long interested in Pope, but his investigations were much aided by the purchase by the British Museum in 1853 of the Caryll papers, which revealed the manner in which Pope prepared his correspondence for publication. In a series of contributions to the ‘Athenæum’ and ‘Notes and Queries’ Dilke was able to explain the mystery of the publication of the letters by Curll, to make clear the poet's parentage, to settle several matters in his early life, to identify the ‘Unfortunate Lady,’ and in various other points to throw fresh light on Pope's career and his poetry. These articles brought the writer into controversy with Peter Cunningham, the late Mr. Carruthers, Mr. Kerslake, and other students of Pope, but his conclusions remained unshaken by his assailants, and have been adopted by Mr. Elwin and Mr. Courthope in their elaborate edition of Pope, an edition in which Dilke was invited to take part, but owing to his advancing years he was obliged to decline. One of his last articles in the ‘Athenæum’ was devoted to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her quarrel with Pope, an article prompted by the appearance of Mr. Moy Thomas's edition of her works in 1861.

In his later life the affairs of the Literary Fund occupied a large part of Dilke's attention. As early as 1836 he began to scrutinise the management of the fund but it was not till 1849 that the controversy became open and violent. In 1858 he joined with Dickens and Forster in the manifesto called ‘The Case of the Reformers of the Literary Fund,’ which will be found in the ‘Athenæum’ for 6 March of that year. The reformers, although they had the best of the argument, had the worst of the voting, and, finding it impossible to convert their minority into a majority, they attempted, with the aid of Lord Lytton, to found the Guild of Art and Literature, a scheme which did not meet with the success anticipated.

Dilke in 1862 withdrew altogether from London and settled at Alice Holt in Hampshire, where he died after a few days' illness on 10 Aug. 1864. The best comments on his character and his literary work were those of his old friend Thoms in ‘Notes and Queries:’ ‘The distinguishing feature of his character was his singular love of truth, and his sense of its value and importance, even in the minutest points and questions of literary history.’

[The articles on Pope, Junius, &c. of Dilke were collected and published in 1875, under the title of ‘Papers of a Critic,’ by the present Sir C. W. Dilke, who prefixed to them a memoir of his grandfather, from which the facts of the above notice have been derived.]

Charles Wentworth Dilke - History

Written: February 1821
First Published: 1821
Source: This pamphlet was published anonymously in 1821. Authorship was attributed to Dilke by his grandson who found an annotated copy of the pamphlet acknowledging authorship amongst his granfather's papers.
Translated: Unknown
Transcription/Markup: Steve Palmer
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'This scarcely known pamphlet (about 40 pages) . contains an important advance on Ricardo. It bluntly describes surplus-value—or “profit”, as Ricardo calls it (often also “surplus produce”), or “interest”, as the author of the pamphlet terms it—as “surplus labour”, the labour which the worker performs gratis, the labour he performs over and above the quantity of labour by which the value of his labour-power is replaced, i.e., by which he produces an equivalent for his wages. Important as it was to reduce value to labour, it was equally important [to present] surplus-value, which manifests itself in surplus product, as surplus labour. This was in fact already stated by Adam Smith and constitutes one of the main elements in Ricardo’s argumentation. But nowhere did he clearly express it and record it in an absolute form. Whereas the only concern of Ricardo and others is to understand the conditions of capitalist production, and to assert them as the absolute forms of production, the pamphlet and the other works of this kind . seize on the mysteries of capitalist production which have been brought to light in order to combat the latter from the standpoint of the industrial proletariat.'

Marx Theories of Surplus-Value , MECW, 32, p 374

"The leanness that affects us, the objects of our misery, is an inventory to particularize their abundance." - SHAKSPEARE.

"How to solder, how to stop a leak - that now is the deep design of a politician." - MILTON.

London, February, 1821. MY LORD,

I ADDRESS your Lordship because I believe you to be sincere and zealous in your public opinions and conduct and because I know you to be a young man, and therefore less likely to have your understanding incrusted by established and received theories.

I was confirmed in this intention by an Essay, in a work generally attributed to your Lordship, wherein you acknowledge the little satisfaction you have hitherto received from the contradictory opinions of writers on this subject. They are indeed, my Lord, contradictory, not only the one to the other, but to our best feelings and plainest sense. From all the works I have read on the subject, the richest nations in the world are those where the greatest revenue is or can be raised as if the power of compelling or inducing men to labour twice as much at the mills of Gaza for the enjoyment of the Philistines, were proof of any thing but a tyranny or an ignorance twice as powerful.

How far my own opinions will be conclusive with your Lordship's, I dare not hazard a conjecture but as many of them are uncommon, they may, as Hume says, "repay some cost to understand them". But, my Lord, if they are true, they have most important consequences I therefore earnestly intreat you not to reject them without a patient and attentive examination.

Here then, my Lord, after having, for the interest of our suffering country, again respectfully solicited your attention throughout the progress of this inquiry, I leave off personally addressing you.

In the consideration of this important question, we must advert to and reason from principles I shall proceed therefore immediately to lay down such as are of immediate consequence to the argument, and such as must, I presume, if the wording be not cavilled at, be universally admitted as true.

First then, I hold, or rather I presume it is universally held, that


revenue may come to us, whether as interest of money--rent of houses, lands, mines, quarries--pensions--profits of trade--salary--tithes:-- come what way it will, through what channel it will, it must be originally derived from labour--either our own labour, or the labour of others.

If then, this first principle be admitted, it follows conclusively that THE


the stores either of money, machinery, manufactures, or produce, &c. &c. that it may possess, being the evidences and representatives of that reserved labour.

It is not my intention to clog this inquiry with an eternal reference to the opinions of other men--I shall hereafter neither controvert nor advert to them but it will be but honest to the uninitiated here to admit, that even this simple proposition has been objected to, and to state the nature of the objection, that he may be satisfied an endeavour to establish every principle against all possible objection, would require a folio rather than a letter. Thus it has been held by some "learned Thebans " to be erroneous, because we omit the powerful agency of nature: now this is strictly true but then other and more "learned Thebans" come upon us with a distinction between "value in use " and "value in exchange," and show it is only true of "value in use " this is still more accurate: but then it needs two more chapters, and, I ask, might not one chapter say to the others "we three are sophisticated?" Does not a plain man find his common interpretation of the language was perfectly correct?

At the same time that I shall be scrupulously studious of brevity, to be clear and intelligible must be the first consideration therefore I shall myself refine a little even upon this second principle, and, for the

avoiding future explanation, add, that the WEALTH OF A NATION CONSISTS IN ITS RESERVED SURPLUS LABOUR, by which I mean the reserved labour beyond

its usual and necessary consumption for without this distinction, which, though too indefinite and inaccurate, may serve my purpose, the wealth of a nation would vary with the seasons before harvest and after harvest materially. Now, however, that I have been stayed by this literal accuracy, I may add that when I shall hereafter speak of the surplus labour of a man, I mean by it, the representative of all the labour of the individual beyond what is exclusively appropriated to the maintenance and enjoyment of himself and family. But once for all, as I profess to neither to be learned nor critical on this subject, I trust the reader will allow my language the utmost latitude of meaning if by so doing it may include what is true, or will limit and restrict any particular word or phrase, if in a general or more extensive sense the opinion would be erroneous--this blundering attempt at definition has already made me despair of any thing like accuracy.

The wealth of a nation having been now defined to be its reserved

surplus labour, I shall add that RESERVED SURPLUS LABOUR IS CAPITAL, and further, that reserved SURPLUS LABOUR OR CAPITAL HAS A POWER OF REPRODUCTION, or of FACILITATING PRODUCE when invested in machinery,

lands, agricultural improvements, &c. &c.

These are some of the best principles with which to begin this inquiry, because they are the least likely to be disputed but there are certain consequences I shall proceed to deduce from them, neither so immediately apparent, nor so certain as to leave me the same assurance of universal assent. The intent and object of all writers of political economy has hitherto been, to suggest the best means of increasing the

wealth or capital of a country now NATURE, I say, HAS PUT BOUNDS TO THE ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL, and further, for this is the great practical purpose of the argument, I hope to shew that THE ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL IS VERY LIMITED, if the happiness of the whole, and not the luxuries of a few, is the proper subject for national congratulation.

We will examine the question simply. Suppose the whole labour of the country to raise just sufficient for the support of the whole population it is evident there is no surplus labour, consequently, nothing that can be allowed to accumulate as capital.

Suppose the whole labour of the country to raise as much in one year as would maintain it two years, it is evident one year's consumption must perish, or for one year men must cease from productive labour. But the possessors of the surplus produce, or capital, will neither maintain the population the following year in idleness, nor allow the produce to perish they will employ them upon something not directly and immediately productive, for instance, in the erection of machinery, &c. &c. &c. But the third year, the whole population may again return to productive labour, and the machinery erected in the last year coming now into operation, it is evident the produce of the whole will be greater than the first year's produce, by the additional power of the machinery, and consequently that the superabundant produce will be one whole year's consumption, and the produce of the machinery in addition. It will follow still more necessarily, therefore, either that this surplus labour must perish, or be put to use as before and this usance again adds to the productive power of the labour of the society, and so on progressively, till men must cease from productive labour for a time, or the produce of their labour must perish.

This is the palpable consequence in the simplest state of society, and neither the detail of figures, the jargon of our political economists, nor the complexity of existing institutions, can alter this consequence, although the one may confuse us in discourse, and the other abuse us in the endeavour and, in proof, we will proceed to trace the progress of the accumulation of capital in existing societies, which will be found confirmatory of what I have stated.

The first step is, that the possessor of capital, never mind how obtained nor how invested, whether in lands, houses, money, or manufactures, engrosses so much of the labour of others for the use of his capital, as they are able to benefit by its use, and this is what is called interest of money, profits of trade, rent, &c. But as all men that have ever felt the accumulative power of money have a passion to accumulate it, the accumulation of capital would proceed, and as capital has a reproductive power, produce would go on increasing, until no man would avail himself of the capital of another, and consequently till no man could live on his capital, because no man would give, his labour for its use[1]. Here then the evil would have corrected itself, and the society would be in the same situation as in the first year, with this difference only, that its surplus produce must perish, because there is no further means of investing it.


same thing, the decreasing quantity of the labour of others that would be given for its use but so long as capital could command interest at all, it would seem to follow, that the society cannot have arrived at that maximum of wealth, or of productive power, when its produce must be allowed to perish.

When, however, it shall have arrived at this maximum, it would be ridiculous to suppose, that society would still continue to exert its utmost productive power. The next consequence therefore would be, that where men heretofore laboured twelve hours they would now labour six, and this is national wealth, this is national prosperity. After all their idle sophistry, there is, thank God! no means of adding to the wealth of a nation but by adding to the facilities of living: so that wealth is liberty-- liberty to seek recreation--liberty to enjoy life--liberty to improve the mind: it is disposable time, and nothing more. Whenever a society shall have arrived at this point, whether the individuals that compose it, shall, for these six hours, bask in the sun, or sleep in the shade, or idle, or play, or invest their labour in things with which it perishes, which last is a necessary consequence if they will labour at all, ought to be in the election of every man individually.

The decreased value of capital is however so certain a consequence, that if we could ascertain the actual value of the surplus produce of any society at any given time, if we could foresee the exact progress of improvement and machinery in facilitating labour, or multiplying its powers, and the necessary expenditure of human labour in their improvement and erection, we could, allowing for the progressive increase of society, by the common rule of proportion, ascertain almost to an hour when capital would cease to be of value, and when labour must abridge its hours of toil, or allow the surplus produce to go to manure the earth, or bestow it on things with which it perishes, though this last alternative being nothing to society, but an election of the individual preferring labour and luxury to idleness, or intellectual enjoyment, should not perhaps have been noticed here. But without this exact data whence we could predict the year, the month, the hour, we have, in the certainty that the produce of all productive labour exceeds the consumption of the labourer, a knowledge and assurance that sooner or later that time must arrive and in the certainty that the surplus produce of every productive labourer is two, ten, or twenty times more than his consumption a gratifying conviction that it can never be far off.

To men accustomed only to the confusion and misrepresentation of many writers on this subject, or to reason from what has been, to what must, and what ought to be, I fear these consequences will appear but a pleasant and idle speculation they are however indisputably true. Why then is it that no existing society, nor society that ever had existence, has arrived at this point of time, considering that in all times, and in all societies, excepting only the very barbarous, a few years would naturally have led to it? How is it too, it might be added, that not­withstanding the unbounded extent of our capital, the progressive improvement and wonderful perfection of our machinery, our canals, roads, and of all other things that can either facilitate labour, or increase its produce our labourer, instead of having his labours abridged, toils infinitely more, more hours, more laboriously, than the first Celtic savage that crossed over from the Cimmerian Chersonesus, and took possession of the desert island? It would indeed require a melancholy retrospective inquiry to answer this question. If we could call up the spirits of departed legislators, and of those men in particular, who have been entrusted with power and authority for the last hundred years, how many whom the ignorance of the multitude have applauded, and interested men have united to commend and honour, must answer to their own shame! I shall however resolve the question to the best of my ability.

We have seen evidently enough the origin of, and progressive increase of capital, its reproductive power, and the consequent rapid advance of society to that real national prosperity, when men would no more labour,

To recommend cool zephyr, and make ease

More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite

and our inquiry is now to ascertain why society never has arrived at this enviable situation, this real national prosperity, although so immediately within its grasp.

The first dead weight that hangs on to impede its progress, is the possessor of capital, who, no longer uniting his labour to the labour of the society, maintains himself on the interest, or the surplus labour of others, that is paid him for the use of his capital, whether in the nature of rent, or interest of money, &c. &c. This I have shewn is an inconvenience that can be of very short duration:--the increase and accumulation of capital will still go on, till no man will give his labour for the use of capital, and then the capitalist must to labour again.

Still the labourer has no real grievance to complain of the capital, on the interest of which the capitalist subsisted, we must presume to be the representative of so much reserved surplus labour, either of his own or his ancestors, and more productive in itself than the labour of the individual could be, or no man could support him by a sufficient payment for its use, and the increase of capital would hourly and daily tend to the removal of the grievance altogether. But it is here that power has ever interfered, and by misdirecting the labour of one part, and destroying the labour of another, no longer permits a real accumulation of surplus produce, nor consequently such an increase of capital as shall reduce the value of existing capital, or reduce the capitalist to the necessity of labouring again.

In this it is assisted by human passions, human ignorance, by armies, navies, wars, and wrongs of all sorts. Divested of all technical intricacy and of those nice distinctions that make plain things unintelligible, it is very easy to offer conclusive proof of this. The productive power of the whole labour of society, it has before been shown, is diminished by the whole order of capitalists withdrawing themselves from labour:--it signifies not that the use of their capital is more than equivalent to their individual labour it cannot be denied that if they continued to add their labour to the productive power of their capital, the whole produce would be greater than the produce of the capital only. But society not only loses the whole productive power of the capitalists by their ceasing to labour, but all that part of the produce of the labour of others, that is necessarily consumed by the capitalist. Thus in a society of one hundred, if the labour of one man produce sufficient for the maintenance of two, the labour of all will be equal to the maintenance of two hundred, or the surplus labour of the whole is equal to the maintenance of one hundred more than the society: but if only fifty cease to labour, the produce of the labour of the society will be exactly equal to its consumption-not an ounce of surplus produce will exist-and it cannot be too strongly impressed on the mind that all unproductive classes have always a two-fold operation, not only ceasing to produce themselves, but actively destroying the produce of the labour of others.

It will be immediately apparent, that all soldiers, sailors, parsons, lawyers, counsellors, judges, and innumerable other persons, must be included among the capitalists, among those that are not only unproductive, but that do actively destroy the labour of the productive classes. No man, I presume, will be so foolish as to imagine I mean by this to censure these persons or to deny their utility:-their use and necessity is not connected with the present inquiry:-I have only to offer proof, as I have done, that they necessarily destroy the produce of the labour of a society, and consequently prevent or delay the further increase of capital. This would be the operation of these persons in every state of society, even in the most simple, where sufficient for his maintenance was sufficient for the man, and where the individuals of these classes exacted no more than sufficient for their individual maintenance: but we know and feel, that with us these, and many other classes, exact a great deal more some sufficient for their own maintenance and five thousand other persons, some of five hundred, some of fifty, some of five. Now this surplus exaction, if I may be allowed the phrase, has exactly the same operation with the first exaction, that is, in the last class, it not only takes five men from the productive labourers, and so far reduces the wonted produce of the whole, but these five act as the first acted the moment they ceased to produce themselves, they began to destroy the produce of the labour of the remainder.

As this evident consequence has, however, been a good deal disputed when the five men happen not to be the personal and household servants, but the coachmaker, the silversmith, or some such trader, employed by the landholder, the fund-holder, the parson, the placeman, or the capitalist as it is the channel of the "refreshing dew" of some writers, and as many have talked of the advantages of luxury, a word or two more in explanation may not be wasted. We will presume that the fund for the maintenance of these five persons, is the interest of the capital of A: now it is the same in operation, whether A. maintains five men wholly, or ten men half whether he engrosses the fourth of the labour of twenty, and contributes one fourth to the subsistence of each, or takes a sixth from the labour of thirty, and thus changes his labourers every day. If he prefer the latter, he will have five men's labour on Monday, and these five he will maintain on Monday, and no longer the effect to society is the same and this difference, and no other, is there between the personal servant and the coachmaker and the silversmith. What signifies it to society whether these five men be employed in building him a chariot, in driving it, or riding behind it? their labour is wholly unproductive, and they must be and are maintained by him mediately, but immediately out of the produce of the productive labourers. Now, if these men were employed in the creation of fresh capital, or in productive labour, we have seen that the consequences would be, of necessity, that in a short time, a very trifling interest, or no interest at all, would be paid for the use of capital, and the produce of labour would have so multiplied that men must abridge that labour and this is the first indication of a real national wealth and prosperity.

To this withering influence of the capitalist, war is a powerful co-operator although after wading through the voluminous financial pamphlets published within the last twenty years, the common sense of common men is so bewildered, that they almost doubt if war was not some curious invention of Mr. Pitt's, powerfully operative in multiplying the produce of labour, and increasing the wealth of a country. When the question is stated plainly it resolves itself. Government acts exactly as a great capitalist acts.[2]If government exacts in taxation sufficient for the maintenance of one hundred men, it must, to get rid of this revenue, employ one hundred men. I have shewn more than once, and the reader must never forget it, although I shall not repeat the argument, that it is impossible long to continue to employ them productively, and we know it does not. If then, they be employed in making gunpowder, their labour is expended and gone for ever with the first feu de joie if in ship­building, it perishes with the ships they build and the men are not only withdrawn from productive labour, but must be fed and clothed out of the produce of the labour of the remainder. If government give a large part of its revenue to one as a judge, or to another as an archbishop, the operation is necessarily the same the judge or the archbishop is then in the situation of the capitalist, and all that has been said of the one is applicable to the other.

So long, however, as the unproductive classes shall be limited to a few, or their exactions to a trifle, which is the same thing in operation,

this inconvenience will not be felt but the PROPORTION BETWEEN PRODUCTIVE AND UNPRODUCTIVE classes (in which latter class, the reader will

remember from the argument, (p.10.) all are to be included whose labour is vested in things superfluous, enjoyed by capitalists only), MUST EVER BEAR SOME PROPORTION: and in a society left at liberty to accumulate capital we have seen they will for as capital increases, interest, or labour to be given for the use of capital, will, after a short time, decrease.

So, too, in a society under ordinary circumstances, where the legislature and the government indirectly operate to prevent the fresh accumulation of capital, the proportion between the productive and the unproductive, or rather the labour exacted from the productive by the unproductive, will continue the same. This is very evident and I shall now proceed to prove that the whole of the distress now experienced in this country, and in America too, although that is beside the question, originates not so much in having unnaturally increased the capital of the country, (for whether the increase of capital be artificial or real, its operation will, if left to itself, be the same,) but in having unnaturally increased the capital of the country, and avoided the natural and


TO BE PAID FOR THE USE OF CAPITAL and consequently, but directly as it

affects this question, in producing an unnatural disproportion between the productive and unproductive classes, or to speak still more correctly, enabling the unproductive classes to exact more than their capital is worth from the productive classes. When I shall have offered proofs of this, I shall proceed to shew why the influence of this error was not felt during the progress of the war, but at its termination.

First, then, to prove that the capital of this county was unnaturally increased, we must ask ourselves what is capital? CAPITAL IS SURPLUS LABOUR RESERVED. It exists in lands, houses, machinery, ships, and a thousand other things, and a small, though powerfully operative part, exists in gold and silver. It is with this last only we are now immediately


LABOUR RESERVED: and neither gold nor silver mines are worked in this



TO OTHER COUNTRIES. Gold and silver too are the medium of exchange, which has for ages been established in this country and called money all

then that I HAVE SAID OF GOLD AND SILVER IS TRUE OF MONEY, namely, that it is

the representative of surplus labour reserved and transported to other countries[3].

It will follow, therefore, that THE QUANTITY OF MONEY IN THIS COUNTRY IS NECESSARILY LIMITED and, without confusing the argument by minute

explanation and reservations, I may add, that the importation of gold and silver can only, in a series of years, be equal to the surplus produce or manufactures, exported, over the produce or manufactures imported. Thus, if we export to France a thousand pounds worth of cotton stockings, or corn, and import from France nine hundred pounds worth of wine or silks, the surplus to be paid in gold is one hundred pounds. Thus, the amount of gold, and consequently of gold currency in this country, is necessarily regulated, by the surplus amount of our exports over our imports, and limited by the quantity of gold in other countries for gold in other countries will rise in value proportionate to its scarcity, and decrease with us in proportion to its abundance, until no more can be had in exchange for our goods.

All coin, then, is the representative of surplus labour. But, for many years, a part of our circulating medium has been paper, and of late years it has been wholly of paper, and paper not convertible into gold. Let us imagine or trace the history of this, and we shall then understand its nature. Suppose the reader to have requested me, for greater security, to lock up 100 guineas in my iron chest, and as an acknowledgment to him, and as an assurance to those to whom he wishes it paid, that I will deliver it to them, I give him my note of hand to that effect, promising to repay it on sight, or in a week, or in a month. This paper is indirectly the representative of so much money, capital, or surplus labour reserved: and the reasoning holds whether it be 100 guineas or 1,000,000, and whether it be given by myself or the Bank of England. But if, upon the strength of a good character and large property, I give him such a bill, without having the gold actually locked up in my iron chest, it changes its character entirely it is no longer the representative of so much money or of capital and in proof, suppose that I have 20,000l. in money, and that no such thing as credit or paper money was known, and that A. B. and C. having each land worth 20,000l, come to me, each requesting a loan of one half his property, for which each is willing to give me a mortgage on the whole. Here is property enough, but can I accommodate them? assuredly not! it is evidently impossible! and why is it so? because the joint property of all four of us is 80,000l. and not 90,000l. and there is no means on earth of increasing the representative of our surplus labour reserved, but by adding to our reserved surplus labour. This reasoning, too, holds good whether A. B. and C. make application to me or to a chartered body called the Bank of England. But, that the question may be less involved, I shall, in the progress of the argument, presume application is made to the bank. Well, in time credit becomes known: the property and character of the bank are known: bills in some cases answer the purposes of exchange better than money: all persons are willing to take the promissory notes of the bank, and then A. B. and C. renew their application. The difficulty is now at an end the bank give their promissory notes and receive the mortgages but notwithstanding this, notwithstanding that these promissory notes answer all the purposes of money, 20,000l. only represent surplus labour reserved, and the other ten represent nothing and in proof, we will imagine the holders of these promissory notes claiming the fulfilment of the promise, and demanding the 30,000l. of the bank. What must follow? why, with the 20,000l. that it has in its iron chest it discharges two-thirds, and transfers one half the property of A. B. or C. to the holder of the remainder. It follows of necessity. This 10,000l. was a fictitious capital. But if, after this issue of paper, the bank be protected against the holders of these promissory notes, this 10,000l. will remain an unnatural and permanent addition to the capital of the country and as nothing here is imaginary, as the bank really was so protected in 1797, I have proved what was intended, that the capital of this country was unnaturally increased: for I presume it is needless to offer proof that the bank had not 30,000,000l. of gold in its coffers, which was the amount of its issues in 181 . In fact, whence could it derive its profits if it were so?

No man, I conceive, will imagine from this reasoning, that I am so mad as to be arguing against the possible advantage of credit. I am now stating a fact, and nothing more: the question of policy will remain to be discussed. As, however, important consequences will be deduced from what is here said, I wish the reader to satisfy himself that what is said is fact, and leave the consequences to hereafter. What I say is this-that all


To proceed then: I have before shewn (p.5.) that the necessary consequence of an increased capital is the decreased value of capital but its decreasing value is not in equal and proper proportion to its increasing amount, because other and extrinsic circumstances tend to counteract this natural consequence. The division of labour, and the increase of trade, and of all purchases and exchange, where money is used, require an increased circulating medium, and tend therefore to uphold the value of money, which is that medium. Now the reader will observe, that whether this circulating medium, or floating capital, be in gold or in paper passing on credit, its natural operation is the same, and with its increase in amount, it would naturally decrease in value. Why it did not is for after proof.

Another thing that was proved, (p. 5.) is, that all capital tends to produce capital, or to increase surplus produce, which gives the idea clearer than the word capital. An increase of trade therefore, as it is the consequence of increased capital, real or fictitious, vested in trade, does tend to further increase capital: But as we have just shewn that increased trade requires an increase of money, where money is the circulating medium and as it was shewn (p. 13.) that an increase of money is very slow and not always possible, it will follow that trade must be cramped and limited, where no other medium of exchange is known, by the

amount of gold in circulation: so that THE INCREASE OF GOLD COIN, or


the increase of trade. This natural check to the increase of trade is however avoided the moment credit is established: still, however, credit itself has a natural check for if its representative promissory notes become circulated to excess, which is felt in the decreased value of the circulating medium, the holders will demand gold for them, until enough is destroyed, for it is destroyed when returned to the issuer, to keep up the value of the remainder. This natural check to credit is itself lost, when promissory notes are by law substituted for money and not to repeat proof, I refer the reader to those offered (p. 14.)

By the establishment then of an inconvertible paper, the natural check on the increase of produce is avoided[4]. Yet, a check and control on the increase of produce is a very necessary thing for even the demand of foreign countries is limited. If the whole world would agree to barter only with this country, I say, this country could not barter with the whole world, because our manufactures are the produce of human labour, however assisted, and vested in things with which it perishes and though our labouring, population should be reduced to feed on thistles, their surplus labour could never equal the surplus labour of the whole world. So much for the ridiculous and impossible supposition of engrossing the whole trade of the world, with which our merchants sometimes indulge us. But overlooking this for a moment, foreign trade, I say, has a much earlier check than the sufferings of our own population. The demand of other countries is limited, not only by our power to produce, but by their power to produce, for do what you will, in a series of years the whole world can take little more of us, than we take of the world, (see p. 13.) so that all your foreign trade, of which there is so much talking, never did, never could, nor ever can, add one shilling, or one doit to the wealth of the country, as for every bale of silk, chest of tea, pipe of wine that ever was imported, something of equal value was exported and even the profits made by our merchants in their foreign trade are paid by the consumer of the return goods here.

The real nature of our foreign trade is very little understood :-lf the writers on the subject understand it themselves, they "palter with us" here, even more than is their custom. In this country, where agricultural and all other necessaries are produced in sufficient quantity foreign trade is mere barter and exchange for the convenience and enjoyment of the capitalist: he has not a hundred bodies, nor a hundred legs: he cannot consume, in cloth and cotton stockings, all the cloth and cotton stockings that are manufactured therefore they are exchanged for wines and silks but those wines and silks represent the surplus labour of our own population, as much as the cloths and cottons, and in this way the destructive power of the capitalist is increased beyond all bounds:-by foreign trade the capitalists contrive to outwit nature, who had put a thousand natural limits to their exactions, and to their wishes to exact there is no limit now, either to their power, or their desires, but impossibility.

This is the direct and palpable consequence of our commerce, and the suffering of our labouring population is evidence of its truth. But our commerce has had a moral consequence, as well as a physical, and in this way it was the bitterest curse that ever afflicted humanity and of this the nation itself will testify to all posterity. Oh, if I dared venture to anticipate the last paragraph of the historian that generations hence shall trace the character of this age and country, it should run thus.-"The increase of trade and commerce opened a boundless extent to luxury:- the splendour of luxurious enjoyment in a few excited a worthless, and debasing, and selfish emulation in all:-The attainment of wealth became the ultimate purpose of life:-the selfishness of nature was pampered up by trickery and art:-pride and ambition were made subservient to this vicious purpose:-their appetite was corrupted in their infancy, that it might leave its natural and wholesome nutriment, to feed on the garbage of Change Alley:-instead of the quiet, the enjoyment, the happiness, and the moral energy of the people, they read in their horn-book of nothing but the wealth, the commerce, the manufactures, the revenue, and the pecuniary resources of the country the extent of its navy and the muster-roll of its hireling army:-in honour of this beastly Belial they made a sacrifice of the high energies of their nature:-they hailed his progress with hosannahs, though on his right hand sat Despotism, and on his left Misery:- they made a welcome sacrifice to him of their virtues and their liberties:-to satisfy his cravings they forewent their natural desires:-honour and truth were offered up on his altars:-and the consummation of their hopes was characterised by misery and ignorance the dissolution of all social virtue and common sympathy among individuals and by a disunited, feeble, despotic, and despised government!

But foreign trade, says a living writer, "augments the materials on which labour may be employed," and Hume, speaking of the advantage of a limited debt, says, "it quickens the labour of the common people." These advantages, common to both trade and debt, are the same, I conceive, or at least the latter advantage is the more intelligible: but let me ask whether these writers would have preferred digging six days a week, at twelve hours a day, for a whole life, or six hours a day for three days a week from twenty to fifty. Is labour, that is, toiling, sweating, digging, delving, hedging, ditching, draining, the only enjoyment of life? or does your spinning-jenny "discourse" such "excellent music" that its eternal hum is the only thing that makes life tolerable? This compelling or inducing people to toil on eternally, seems a very pleasant speculation, and a wonderful progress in political economy, according to these men, but I never heard of one of them but had a relish for quiet and enjoyment himself. Should we have heard. so much of its advantages, had it been then for the first time discovered, and had the consequences of the discovery been to have driven Hume, and every man then existing, to work winter and summer, hail or rain, twelve hours a day, to cultivate the bleak barren surface of Hind Head or Salisbury plain? Yet it would surely be better to "quicken the labour" of the whole, than of a part.

I am afraid these observations on foreign trade have drawn me aside from my argument, and perhaps I have somewhat anticipated it. But to resume I may presume that I have offered proof sufficient (p. 14 and 15) that the capital of this country was unnaturally raised, which the reader will remember was what I proposed to demonstrate. We did so by establishing an inconvertible paper money, which enabled us to add to the floating capital of the country a fictitious capital that did not, as all capital ought to do, represent surplus produce reserved. But this was only one of the means a powerful one it is true, and without which, I believe, enough has been said to satisfy the reader, we could not have succeeded in the other but it was one only. Prohibitory corn laws are another. A man will give no more for a thing to A than to B at whatever price, therefore, the people of this country could import corn, our farmers must of necessity sell their corn at that price, or they cannot sell it at all. The people know nothing, care nothing, about its relative cost their market is the cheapest market: this admits of no argument. Well then, at whatever price the farmer in this country sells his wheat, in proportion to that price he pays a rental, and this rental is the test of the value of the land, and the whole rental of the country is the test of the value of the whole land of the country, or of the capital of the country vested in lands. If now, by some legislative enactment, by the decreased value of money, or by any other regulating circumstances, the price of agricultural produce shall be so raised as to enable the landholders to double their rental, and the interest of money continue the same after as before, the whole capital of the country vested in lands is doubled in amount. We all know that the legislature may so regulate the enactment that this increased rental may come into the hand of government but it may not do so: we all know that the regulating circumstances increasing the value of agricultural produce, may be so counteracted by others, that the landholder shall not receive advantage but it may not :-we have nothing to do with that here: the proposition, as I have stated, is true beyond all cavilling.

Well then, either the enactments of the legislature, or the decreased value of money, or some influential circumstances, or the conjoint operation of these has, within the last thirty years, so increased the value of agricultural produce, that the landholders have been enabled, at least, to double their rental[5]. It is difficult to offer conclusive proof of this, as metaphysicians find it difficult to offer proof that there is such a thing as figure, colour, or matter, of which, however, no reasonable man entertains a doubt: instances might be excepted against, as proof only in those instances: nothing therefore could satisfy a querulous man but the rent-roll of every man's estate in the kingdom, as it was in 1785 and in 1815: we must be content, therefore, to take the notoriety of the fact for proof. I shall hereafter be enabled to show the reasonable probability of it, but for the certainty, every man must take the evidence within his reach, which I am quite sure will support the assertion. That the legal interest of money is the same now as in 1785, is equally notorious: it follows therefore conclusively, that since the year 1785, the whole rental of the kingdom has been doubled and as the interest of money has continued the same, that the whole capital vested in lands has been doubled: and let any man ask himself if there be any estate within his knowledge worth 500l. or 50,000l. in 1785, that is not now worth 1000l. or 100,000l., the estate remaining entire, and wheat selling at eighty shillings.

I have already proved that the capital of the country was unnaturally raised: it remains now to shew that having so raised the capital of the country, we avoided the natural and necessary consequence of an increased capital, its decreasing value: the very progress of the argument, in proof that we have done so, will shew the consequences of so doing, and those natural consequences will be explanatory of the existing distress. The argument therefore is no longer confined to general reasoning, but has increased importance in its direct practical ap­plication.

That I may not be repeating the general reasonings heretofore urged, I shall throughout suppose it to be present to the reader, and content myself with a bare reference to the preceding page in which it may be referred to.

The natural consequence of an increased capital I have shewn to be its decreased value,[6](p. 6 and 7.) but this is not only a natural but a necessary consequence. It is necessary, because if it were possible to continue to increase capital and keep up the value of capital, which is proved by the interest of money continuing the same, the interest to be paid for capital would soon exceed the whole produce of labour. Of the truth of this proof has been offered. It is a principle admitted universally, that men being once sensible of the accumulative power of capital, have a passion to accumulate it-the conduct of a few spendthrifts in no way affecting the principle as of mankind generally, as of a whole society. It has been shewn (p. 5) that capital tends in more than arithmetical progression to increase capital. It is admitted that the interest paid to the capitalists, whether in the nature of rents, interests of money, or profits of trade, is paid out of the labour of others. If then capital go on accumulating, as it would naturally do, the labour to be given for the use of capital must go on increasing, interest paid for capital continuing the same, till all the labour of all the labourers of the society is engrossed by the capitalist. This consequence is logically correct. There is, however, one objection, and only one objection to it, that it is a consequence impossible to happen for whatever may be due to the capitalist, he can only receive the surplus labour of the labourer for the labourer must live he must satisfy the cravings of nature before he satisfies the cravings of the capitalist. But the reader will observe that the objection is only untrue in this extreme case. It is perfectly and entirely true, that if capital does not decrease in value as it increases in amount, the capitalists will exact from the labourers the produce of every hour's labour beyond what it is possible for the labourer to subsist on: and however horrid and disgusting it may seem, the capitalist may eventually speculate on the food that requires the least labour to produce it, and eventually say to the labourer, "You sha'n't eat bread, because barley meal is cheaper you sha'n't eat meat, because it is possible to subsist on beet root and potatoes." And to this point have we come! and by this very progress have we arrived at it!

Well, but, it may be asked, how did we contrive to avoid what you call the natural consequence of an increasing capital, its decreasing value? I answer, by destroying it. By destroying the capital, or the surplus produce that would have become capital, had it been allowed to exist. It was made ducks and drakes of in America-it was fired away in Egypt and at Trafalgar-it was eaten by a hundred thousand men in the Peninsula-by your army and navy for thirty years-you may inquire for it at Walcheren or Waterloo, and hear of it in all quarters of the globe. Well then, it may be said, if the capital were destroyed as it was created, how could the capital increase? This would be a play upon words. Capital did not increase actually, but if it had, it signifies not to the labourer, who is concerned only with the interest that is paid for its use but it did increase nominally, and in all its ill consequences, and in proof look to page 21 for the increase of nominal capital vested in lands. There was no increase of capital but the interest that is paid for the use of capital vested in lands is doubled in amount. Again, the nominal capital might be thus increased. Suppose the reader to borrow of me 100l. at legal interest, and the day or the hour after the loan is completed, his house is burnt and the 100l. with it: the capital is gone, but he must pay the interest as long as the world stands, until he repay the principal. Now suppose that on the receipt of the 100l. he bought a pleasure-boat, and in seven years his boat is rotten and perished: the capital is gone, but the interest remains in perpetuity. Just so it is with this country. We have borrowed in the last thirty years eight hundred millions of money. This 800,000,000 is gone! but I say if this 800,000,000 were now in existence, the country could no more pay the interest of it at five per cent. than it can now it might somewhat better, but still it would be grievously severe: but then had the 800,000,000 still been in existence, it would not have had the interest to have paid: the evil would have corrected itself: the produce of labour, with the addition of great part of this capital in machinery and agriculture, would have been so beyond your consumption, that, unless it is to be said that all human improvements shall only benefit one portion, one division of the people, unless it be said that the labourer shall still labour, though it be changed from productive to unproductive, he shall still labour, though he make nothing but gimcracks, and knick-knackery, and fools' baubles it would have been so beyond your consumption, that possibly no such thing as interest to be paid for the use of capital would have been known. But every shilling of your capital, I say, was destroyed as it was created, and nothing remains but the interest that is to be paid for it. In every sense however in which capital is oppressive, this 800,000,000 has a real existence, and is immortal.

I have just said that every shilling of the real surplus labour of the country, was destroyed as it was created. For the last thirty years I honestly believe, that the exaction from labour has been at its maximum, or as near it as it is well possible to arrive, nay, I believe, beyond it, and that your increasing poor rates are evidences of this, nine tenths of them being so much disgorged by the capitalist, being so much exacted beyond what the labourer can bear.[7]I know it may be urged against this, that taxation and rents, &c. have gone on progressively increasing for the last thirty years, and therefore, that such an assertion is ridiculous. Of course I do not think so. It is difficult to say how much it is possible to exact from the labourer, because I know not how much he can labour, nor how little he can live on. "It is a curious and interesting fact," says Colquhoun, "that an acre of potatoes will produce four times the sustenance of an acre of corn" and he strongly urges the legislature in consequence to encourage its cultivation.

Why, if the labourer can be brought to feed on potatoes instead of bread, it is indisputably true that more can be exacted from his labour that is to say, if when he fed on bread he was obliged to retain for the maintenance of himself and family the labour of Monday and Tuesday, he will on potatoes, require only the half of Monday and the remaining half of Monday and the whole of Tuesday are available either for the service of the state or the capitalist. And this is an "interesting fact?" Great God! is it to be endured that a man, offering a huge volume in proof of the growing prosperity of the country, of its unbounded wealth and resources, is to offer such an insult to our better feelings, as to connect it with the distressing facts, "that butcher's meat has almost become inaccessible to the labouring classes," and that it is a foolish luxury to leave them bread, because human nature may exist on potatoes?

Why, if we are to reason thus, and to act on it, I say again, I know not how much it is possible to exact from the labourer for I know not, when he is reduced to "oatmeal, barleymeal, potatoes and milk," as the doctor would diet him, but that some other "interesting fact" may prove that he can subsist on thistles and furze and that the prickles are a mere sauce piquant, for the doctor hopes to tickle the wretch's palate by the various modes of cooking his oatmeal but if the labourer is to live as well as the labourer did two hundred years ago, if there is to be a standard for his enjoyment below which he is not to fall, and hours beyond which he is not to labour, then I am correct in my opinion that for the last thirty or forty years the exactions have been at the utmost, nay, beyond it.

Notwithstanding "the growing wealth and prosperity" of this country, the situation of the labourer has been getting worse and worse daily and hourly these two hundred years. I have at this moment before me a translation of the Icon Animorum, of Barclay, published in 1614, where, contrasting the English with other nations, he says, of the common mechanics, that they are not "skillful in handicrafts, by reason of their ease and plenty, they themselves not only on solemne and festivall dayes, but every holyday, (who would believe it[8]? ) doe freely take their recreation and pleasure, if it bee faire weather, in field adjoining or if it be rainy, are merry in taverns-there is no fault in the climate to dull their wits, but too much abundance to make them idle." So my Lord Bacon attributes the success of the English over the French in their wars, to the greater plenty and ease of the common people, and to the very same purport is a speech of Sir Dudley Carleton's in the parliament that met in l626. "Indeed you would count it a great misery, if you knew the subjects in foreign countries as well as myself to see them look, not like our nation, with store of flesh on their backs, but like so many ghosts, and not men being nothing but skin and bones, with some thin cover to their nakedness, and wearing only wooden shoes on their feet so that they cannot eat meat, or wear good clothes, but they must pay taxes to the king for it. This is a misery beyond expression, and that which yet we are free from." Those were the times when patriotism and that proud love of his country, which once distinguished an Englishman, were cradled and nurtured. The superiority he claimed was not in the insolence of blind ignorance, but of a knowing and known wisdom and happiness. What he demanded, to the honour of his country was conceded to him even by foreigners themselves. Barclay was a foreigner, and bore this testimony to the "ease and plenty and too much abundance" enjoyed by the English labourer, after a long residence among us, and on his return to his native country.

These are not scattered notices collected with labour and research, but a few, of many, that have offered in the desultory reading accompanying this inquiry.

Lord Chancellor Fortescue too bears equal testimony to their condition one hundred and fifty years preceding in fact, if we are not to be frightened at a name, if serf, or vassal, or bondsman, may not startle us, the labourer of the present day is worse off than he was fifteen hundred years ago, for any thing I know to the contrary. Mr. Turner, it is true, the historian of that age, has told us that he has got a chimney, which a Saxon lord had not but that it is the progress of knowledge which we cannot deprive him of. By the laws of Alfred, "these days were forgiven to all freemen," (by freemen Mr. Turner understands, if I remember rightly, men serving somewhat in the nature of our husbandry servants that are hired for the year,) twelve days at Christmas, Passion week, and Emberweek, and a few others[9] and by the laws of Canute, freedom was given to a slave if his master compelled him to work on a holyday. Why, if a farmer's labourer now has "a game at cards at Easter, or a game of nine-pins on holydays, " he is looked on as incorri­gible and worthless.

Why then should the labourer have fallen below what he was when Sir Dudley Carlton and Barclay were living? If this be the necessary consequence of "increasing wealth and prosperity," the poor man has only to pray God some limit will be found to it.

Look at your labourer two hundred years ago, and look at him now look at him fifty years ago. Had he not a comfortable meal of bread and meat every day of his life, either in his master's kitchen or his own home? had he not, within the recollection of people living? and have the majority now meat more than once a week[10]? Why then, as all beyond what it is possible to exist on may by possibility be wrung from him, if he has been reduced from meat seven days a week, to meat once a week, there is proof that the cost of meat six days in the week has been and is wrung from him: and if he had a right to live as the labourer lived two hundred years ago, insomuch at least as he lives worse, have your exactions exceeded what were just, which is as I stated and I say that the enormous increase of your poor-rates is further evidence of this. That wretched man Colquhoun says, it is attributable "to ignorance, deficient education, and the want of a general diffusion of religious and moral instruction," in defiance of all that the last thirty years have done, exceeding the preceding thousand, to educate and diffuse knowledge among the people. No! it is attributable to human suffering! Want and privation, and wretchedness, have destroyed the moral energy and spirit of the people. It is offensive to hear men talk of abolishing the poor-laws as unjust. The kind-hearted humanity of foregone ages acknowledged the right of every man in existence to support: the support of the poor and miserable is the conditional tenure of every estate in the kingdom. The poor have the same right to support that the clergy have to their tithes, that is, as good a right as the landholder to his nine-tenths.

The increase of your poor-rates is, I say, attributable to the extreme exactions of capital. The poor have a legal claim on the country for subsistence, and are not allowed to earn a subsistence if they toil fifteen hours a day for it. Does the increase of poor-rates need further explanation?

Do not let me be misunderstood. I do not mean to urge this against the humanity of the present generation: no such thing: there is as much honour and as much humanity among us as ever, and if individual exertion or individual sacrifices could afford relief, it would not be wanting an hour. But the occasion of our misery is more general it originated in the errors of the legislature, and legislative wisdom only can correct it.

I believe it will be admitted, when I shall have opened more fully the nature and consequences of loans and their connexion with a paper circulation, that the increase of taxation and rents in the last thirty years, is no valid objection against what I state, that the exactions from labour have been at the utmost these thirty or forty years, and much beyond what is just.

The only possible source of revenue is surplus labour, and every thing that represents surplus labour: money represents surplus labour, and paper, when legally established, represents money, with all its good and ill consequences.

All the false capital then that was created during the last thirty years was an available source of revenue, and government did avail themselves of it, as the 800,000,000 of debt is sufficient evidence. Why, if there had been no such thing as a paper money, could government year after year have negociated a loan of 30, 40, and 50,000,000? Not all the money of all the kingdom at any period since the creation, could have amounted to that sum and could trade have existed, not to say monstrously increased, if all the currency were for one month, or for one week only, withdrawn from circulation, when people but have gone back to barbarism and barter? But the nature of these loans will offer proof how it is that the distress which originated in the excessive expenditure of the war was not felt, or not equally felt, until a great part of the expenditure had been reduced.


this brief definition the reader can foresee the whole argument, and explain at once, why our distress was not so severely felt till the close of the war, and is now felt so bitterly but as I have not hitherto been satisfied without proof, he will excuse my offering it for those not quite so quick of apprehension. A loan, I say, is a tax paid by the capitalist, to which your property-tax was but the small change. It signifies not that he is tempted to this by self-interest and not by patriotism: it is precisely the same to the country in its immediate consequences.

Suppose the capitalists to draw from labour as interest of capital, or in other words, suppose the income of the whole of the capitalists to be 300,000,000l. Suppose the expenditure of government to be 75,000,000l. 25,000,000 of which is above its receipts, and that it borrows this 25,000,000l. by way of loan from the capitalist it can borrow of no other. Let government be considered a great capitalist, which it is in operation, and this excess of its expenditure is nothing to the people, for the exactions of the whole of the capitalists, government being one, are exactly the same: still only 350,000,000. But in the following year the taxation to be raised, never mind wherefore, is 1,200,000l. more than in the preceding year this is felt by the people: but to what extent is it felt? the expenditure of this very loan of 25,000,000l. tends to relieve the pressure: there are the increased profits of contractors, powder manufacturers, ship-builders, and every other person mediately or immediately benefiting by the expenditure of the 25,000,000l. and if 25,000,000l. be borrowed in the following year, when the 1,200,000l. is to be raised in taxation, it, is very possible the tax will be barely felt at all.

One reason, therefore, why the distress is daily and hourly increasing is, that during the war, the exaction from the labourer was little more than at the present moment, whereas the disbursements of government among them were 40 or 50, 000, 000l. greater[11].

Another reason why the exactions from the people were not so severely felt during the war, and again, that the increased rent and taxation was no proof that the exactions from labour were not at the utmost and another reason for the facility of raising loans, and consequently false capital, was the decreased value of money: for not­withstanding all counteracting circumstances and legislative provisions, an excessive issue of paper was possible and could not but have its natural consequences in decreasing its value, particularly when much of the produce of the surplus labour of this country was expended abroad.

During many of the last years of the war, the bank-note, in which the revenue of the capitalists and the taxation of the country were raised, did not pass current for more than thirteen or fourteen shillings: more than one-fourth, therefore, of all rents, taxes, &c. were merely nominal. From the diminished circulation of paper, the currency of the country has risen to its nominal value. Without therefore any legislative or other circumstance, the real taxation of the country, and the rents and revenues of all capitalists, would have been by this one circumstance only, had no other circumstance counteracted it, increased one-fourth and con­sequently, as all income is derived from labour, the exactions from the labourer would have been silently increased one-fourth.

It is difficult, for reasons before given, to say how far the exactions of the capitalist may extend but it is possible to give a rude guess how far they do extend. To do so I must reason from a plain levelling principle, but honest men will not misunderstand such a reference to a principle, and the situation of the country and the blind ignorance as to a remedy will excuse it. Colquhoun in his Estimate has given a table showing the presumed income of all the classes of the kingdom. I have no faith in that work. It is the reasoning that has prevailed for the last twenty-five years collected and embodied, and carried to its most ridiculous extent: notwithstanding this, there are some curious facts, and as he had every facility afforded him of references to official documents, the data are sometimes correct. How far in the present instance, I leave others to determine.

In the calculation I have made, I have been compelled to bring down the high dignity of property and authority to its natural consequence. The real labour of every man is, I say, of equal value, or rather, is equally paid for, the few exceptions of great talents, &c. not being worth distinguishing. Society neither presumes nor pays for extraordinary ability: all the income, then, that a counsellor, or a judge, or a bishop, or a landholder, or a householder, receives beyond the pay of a common labourer, is interest of capital. Some instances seem, and do perhaps in a trifling degree differ, where talents are brought prominently forward, but not enough to affect a general principle. If a clergyman or a lawyer receive two, or three, or five hundred a year, it is because two or three or four thousand pounds is presumed to have been expended in his education. It is the same with all persons, down to the lowest merchants' clerks and others, who are paid only a trifle more than the labourer. The real remuneration for the labour of all men is much the same and therefore the value of the labour of all ought to be estimated by the value of the labour of the lowest great body of labourers for even the high wages of mechanics and other artizans, inasmuch as it exceeds this, is interest of capital capital expended in their apprenticeship, in indentures, premium, food, or clothing, or loss of time. Now, Colquhoun, in his treatise on the wealth, &c. of the British empire, calculates that there are 742,151 heads of families among the agricultural labourers, and that the wages of each amounts to 45l. per annum, per head of family. If then, I take from him the number of the heads of families in other classes, and allow to each the worth of his labour, 45l. per annum, we shall be able to separate the worth of their labour, or the just wages of their labour, from the interest they derive from capital.

I have felt it quite unnecessary to proceed in this painful inquiry to the more trifling exactions of the other classes, although the most trifling is not without its influence: this Table is sufficient for my purpose, and from it we collect that the income of those classes alone amounted in 1814, I think, to. . .

That the real worth of their labour is . .. 275,938,595

And consequently that they exact as interest of capital no less a sum than. . . . .40,951,995

or six times as much as their labour is worth, and 234,986,595 are paid for their labour


Number of Heads of Families, according to Colquhoun Ranks, Degrees and Descriptions Income of Class according to Colquhoun Value of Labour at 45l. per ann. Per head of family Interest of Capital
68,937 The King, Queen, and Royal Family, lineal and collateral— Temporal Peers, including Peeresses in their own right, Bishops, &c.— Baronets, Knights, Esqrs. and Gentlemen and Ladies living on incomes, &c.—Persons in Civil Offices, &c.. 67,753,590 3,102,165 64,651,425
621,000 Clergy, Judges, Barristers, Attorneys, &c-— Physicians, Surgeons, Apothecaries, &c — Artists, Sculptors, Engravers, &c. — Freeholders of better sort— lesser Freeholders— Farmers, &c. 92,830,000 27,945,000 64,885,000
35,000 Eminent Merchants, Bankers, &c.—Lesser Merchants trading by sea, including Brokers, &c.— Persons employing professional skill and capital as Engineers, Surveyors, Master Builders of Houses, &c. , 30,064,000 1,575,000 28,489,000
9,250 Persons employing capital in building. and repairing Ships, Craft, &c.—Ship Owners, letting ships for freight only, &c. 5,652,000 426,250 5,225,750
44,900 Manufacturers employing capitals in all branches, as cotton, wool, flax, hemp, leather, glass, pottery, gold, silver, tin, copper, iron, steel, and other metals, silk, paper, books, gunpowder, painters’ colours, dyed stuffs, &c.—. Beer,
porter, distilled liquors, sweets, candles, soap, tobacco, snuff, salt, &c.—Principal Warehousemen, selling by wholesale, &c.
36,099,600 2,020,500 34,079,100
183,750 Shopkeepers and Tradesmen retailing goods— Persons employing capitals as Tailors, Mantuamakers, Milliners, &c. in the manufacture of stuffs into wearing apparel, dresses, &c. 35,875,000 4,268,750 31,606,250
35,874 Persons educating youths in Universities and Chief Schools— Persons engaged in the education of youths of both sexes, and generally employing some capital in this pursuit, 7,664,400 1,614,330 6,050,070
275,938,590 40,951,995 234,986,595

Now let no honest man believe that I am for levelling all classes and distinctions, or reducing the pay of a judge to the pay of a labourer, or indulge in any other such foolish speculation. I have only produced this calculation to show by a rough draught, the probable amount of the total exactions of the capitalists, and the extravagance of the amount, is, I think, proof of the excess, without any exact standard of reference or comparison.

Here, my Lord, as my argument is drawing to a close, I again personally address you. On reading the whole over with attention, I regret to find that it is not so consecutive, that the proofs do not follow the principles laid down so immediately as I could have wished. The reasoning is too desultory, too loose in its texture. I can only regret it. If I were to rewrite the whole, it would not be better. I have only then to suggest what I conceive to be the best means of correcting the errors of the last thirty years and if your Lordship has borne in mind the origin of our difficulties,- the increase of capital, real or fictitious, without the natural and necessary decrease in the interest to be paid for its use, and the consequent, and unnatural, exactions of the capitalists,-it will follow, that any remedy, to be effectual, ought to reduce the amount of capital, as far as possible, equally, but to reduce the capital by getting rid of the fictitious capital altogether, and leaving as far as practicable the new made capital to accumulate, and consequently to reduce the interest paid on all capital.

To effect this, the first measure I would propose, is the abolition of all laws directly or indirectly affecting agricultural produce.

I have, my Lord, throughout presumed, that the price of corn is 80s.--I know it is not so-but, I believe it is universally agreed, that at a less price it is impossible for the farmer to cultivate the lands with the present rents and taxation, and it was more than this for many years. If then rents and taxation are to continue the same, corn must be brought to this price this price therefore is the just price of the times-The only objection to it is, that at 80s. the manufacturer must be ruined. To this also I agree. Therefore rents and taxation cannot continue the same, and I only fix on 80s. because we must have some standard from which to calculate the reduction.

The consequence of the abolition of all laws affecting agricultural produce, would be to destroy the false capital that the owners of lands exacted interest from, capital to an enormous amount, and to reduce the price of corn by bringing it in competition with the continental market to 45 or 50s.[12]This was an advantage to the land-holder he was never entitled to, never intended to be given to him, arising out of the necessities of the country, and the desperate resources of the state, that could never have raised its enormous revenue[13], but by making the land-holder particeps criminis, and he should be thankful for the advantage he has had, and not complain of injustice in losing it. To what extent this would relieve the country is scarcely credible. Colquhoun estimated the value of the whole produce of lands in 1812-13, prices at 70s. 6d at £216,817,624 at 80s. the present remunerating price, it would be much more: corn influences the price of all agricultural produce if then I say 50,000,000 it is much less than the relief would be if prices were reduced to 45 or 50s.[14] But land­holders were not the only persons benefited by the unnatural state of the country during the last thirty years. The loans to government were made in a depreciated currency, sometimes depreciated 30 and 40 per cent. and the reduction in the circulating medium having now restored its value, is a real bonus to the fund-holder of that whole difference. This, like the arbitrary and accidental increase in the value of lands, is an advantage the fund-holder is in no way intitled to, arising out of the necessities of the country, that could not have raised its extravagant and monstrous revenue, but in a depreciated currency. The fund-holder therefore has no just right to complain, if he be not allowed permanently to benefit by the misfortunes of his country, and the wrongs and sufferings of the people.

Let then a fair estimate be made of the reduction in the rental of lands by the abolition of all prohibitory or regulating corn laws, by the reduction in the price of corn, from 80s. a just remunerating price, to 50s. or what it may be reduced to, by being open to the competition of the continental market- the permanent reduction of rental remember, is a reduction of capital-and proportioned to this, let there he an actual deduction from the whole amount of funded debt.

These are the measures I should propose, and the only measures I do propose, although many others might accompany it, and certainly would be both politic and just.[15] If my suggestion were adopted, my Lord, there would be no difficulty, no intricate calculation, no prying and searching into personal property a single act of the legislature would be conclusive. But personal property, be it remembered, would not escape on the contrary, all the personal property in the country would be reduced in value in an equal and just proportion and there is no other means, in my humble judgment, of really touching the personal property of the kingdom for as to the taking a tythe or a twentieth, as has been proposed, the whole produce would be eaten up by assessors, lawyers, counsellors, and the troops of red coats and black coats, that must accompany the collector but by the abolition of the corn laws, by the reduction of the price of food, we reduce the price of every thing that is the produce of human industry for the price of labour is a part of the price. It would not indeed be reduced in a proportionate degree that is to say a coat that is now worth 80s. would not then sell for 55s. though corn should have been reduced in that proportion, because other things affect the price of the coat besides labour, and labour itself neither would nor ought to be reduced in that proportion, the whole argument having been to shew, that the labourer is not now paid enough but the coat would be reduced in proportion to the reduced price of the material and of labour, if any reduction took place in the price of labour. It would, too, proportionably affect the capital vested in houses houses being but a more permanent manufacture than the coat or other produce of labour more usually understood by manufactures.

Upon a more mature and patient inquiry, however, it is possible some property might be found that would not be affected some specific provision might be made for this. But as many private contracts, mortgages, annuities, &c. rents paid under leases, all commutation payments, &c. where the contracts were entered into during the depreciation of money, have been influenced by the same circumstances, it would be singularly unjust to exclude them from the proposed relief: private debts, therefore, should be reduced in the same manner and proportion that the public debt is reduced, with every possible regulating circumstance in both cases to obviate all injustice for instance, contracts entered into before the year 179_, where the creditor, mortgagee, &c. is the same person, or his heir at law, as before the year 179_, to be exempt from its operation. The pay too, of all placemen, pensioners, &c. of the army and navy, &c. and of all salaries, &c. raised within the last __ years to be reduced.

It seems to me that these measures would affect all persons and circumstances, that are or have been benefited either by the natural rise in the price of money, or the unnatural rise in the price of agricultural produce. Persons in trade, contractors, &c. were no doubt equally benefited, but I know of no investment they can have made of their capital and profits where these measures would not reach it.

These are the only propositions I intend to offer, because they are corrective of the wrongs I have almost exclusively confined myself to I say, again, however, other financial measures ought to accompany them, and it is one of the great advantages of the measures I propose, that their adoption would leave the country at liberty to pursue such a wise and politic system of financial legislation as would leave trade and commerce unrestricted. Commerce might then indeed be of advantage not in the way usually supposed, but in the only way it can, by leaving every country at liberty to invest its labour in those things where nature or accident gives unusual facility, or abundance to its produce thus, instead or expending ten men's labour to produce as many loads of corn on the barren ridge of Dartmoor, or a hundred men's labour to produce it on the dome of St. Paul's, or the stone stairs of the House of Commons, which is only a trifle more extravagant and ridiculous we may invest the ten men's labour in hats, or coats, or cotton stockings, and have ten men labouring for us in Poland, or on the shores of the Black Sea, and producing a hundred loads of corn in return for their labour.

Other measures, I repeat, my lord, might and must accompany these, not with a retrospective action, not to correct the evils that have been, but prospectively to prevent their recurrence. Here, however, I shake hands with the reader, and part, I trust, good friends with your lordship. I cannot but fear, that in this inquiry, conducted with the utmost temper, I may already have given offence to many persons whose opinions only I meant to differ from-not, I feel assured, to your Lordship. I admit "'tis folly, for one poor word or two, still, to nose the offence" but, my lord, I honestly admit I have not nerve enough to venture on the question of our prospective policy, and therefore subscribe myself at once

Most obedient and very humble servant.



[1]Even in these Utopian speculations the great land-holder should possibly be excepted a rent, equal to the expense on importation, being always secure to him. No increase of capital could entirely destroy the rent of lands, because but a small part of the rental is payment for the use of capital, but for the use of the land, which no capital can increase--it is a payment because the land-holder has a monopoly, a payment for nothing.

Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, 2nd Baronet

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Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, 2nd Baronet, (born Sept. 4, 1843, London, Eng.—died Jan. 26, 1911, London), British statesman and Radical member of Parliament who became a member of the Cabinet in William E. Gladstone’s second administration but was ruined at the height of his career when he was cited as corespondent in a divorce suit.

After leaving the University of Cambridge and making a world tour, Dilke was elected to Parliament in 1868 and took an extreme left-wing position, delivering a series of speeches strongly critical of the monarchy. From 1874 on, however, with the Liberals in opposition, he moved closer to his official leaders. In Gladstone’s second Liberal government, Dilke was finally promoted to the Cabinet as president of the Local Government Board in 1882.

Apart from his departmental activities, Dilke was eager, with Joseph Chamberlain, to press the general Radical point of view within the Cabinet. This eagerness led him to submit frequent resignations to Gladstone. It also led him to a position of great political promise. By the end of the government, in June 1885, Benjamin Disraeli’s prophecy of 1879 that Dilke would be prime minister looked plausible.

The issue was never put to the test, for, a month later, Dilke was cited as corespondent in a sensational divorce suit. Virginia Crawford, the 22-year-old wife of a Scottish Liberal lawyer, told her husband that she had been Dilke’s mistress since 1882. Dilke strenuously denied the story, and, when the case was heard, in February 1886, there was adjudged to be no evidence against him, although Crawford got his divorce. A press campaign, in which the Pall Mall Gazette took the lead, made this an inadequate victory for Dilke. To try to clear his name he got the queen’s proctor to reopen the case, and a second hearing took place in July 1886. This went heavily against Dilke. One of his public difficulties was that, although he rebutted Mrs. Crawford’s allegations, he was forced to admit to having been her mother’s lover.

Six years later, Dilke returned to the House of Commons and held the seat until his death. He was active in the Commons as a military expert and as an exponent of advanced labour legislation. Much of his energy, however, was devoted to gathering evidence that might clear his name. The accumulated evidence showed decisively that much of Mrs. Crawford’s story was a fabrication whether there was a substratum of truth remains uncertain.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.


Numerous articles, several books on French art, and two collections of short stories.

To many, Lady Emily Dilke was an inspiration. Her early years and first, extremely unhappy marriage to a man almost 27 years her senior inspired at least three novelists. In 1872, the most famous of the three, George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans ), based her Middlemarch character Dorothea Brooke on Dilke, who was then a young woman known as Frances Pattison. Shortly after Lady Dilke's death, more than 40 years later, her beloved second husband Sir Charles Dilke wrote that his wife had "an overmastering sense of duty, and an unfailing courage, little short of sublime." It was that sense of duty that prompted Lady Dilke to commit the last 20 years of her life to the trade union cause. As an accomplished art critic and wife of a wealthy member of Parliament, she could have chosen to devote herself to her career as an art historian and to her social obligations as the wife of a baronet active in politics. Instead, she chose as her obligation to society the improvement of the conditions of labor for English working women.

She was born Emily Frances Strong, the middle of Henry and Emily Weedon Strong 's five children. Henry Strong, who had served as a British officer in India, was manager of a small bank in Oxford, England, by 1841. There, Frances, or "Fussie" as she was known to family and friends, grew up in a pleasant and politically liberal, middle-class home. Her father, despite the loss of two fingers during his army career, was an amateur artist and encouraged his daughter in her artistic interests. A family friend showed several of Frances' sketches to the renowned British artist John Ruskin. He announced she had talent, and Frances was allowed to go to London to study art over her mother's objections.

From 1859 to early 1861, Frances attended the South Kensington Art School, an intellectually stimulating environment that further defined her developing social conscience. Popular among her fellow students, she was also recognized as a promising artist by the faculty, receiving prizes in two subjects. But despite her artistic training, she had few options outside of marriage, given the social constraints of her class, and, in February 1861 she moved back to her parents' home, likely a difficult return following her days as an art student. By June, she was engaged. In September 1861, shortly after her 21st birthday, she married Mark Pattison, rector of Lincoln College, Oxford.

By contemporary accounts, Pattison was a lifeless academic, who was bitter over his apparent inability to leave behind his background as a poor cleric's son. For both husband and wife, the marriage was unhappy from the start. If marriage for Frances had seemed her only escape, she now found herself in another sort of prison. Divorce was not then the viable option for women it would later become, so she focused on her work, traveling abroad every year to study and to write. Her first published work, The Renaissance of Art in France, appeared in 1879. By then, she had also renewed her friendship with a former fellow art student, Charles Dilke. Three years younger than the vivacious Frances Strong, Charles had admired her from afar at South Kensington. When they met again, in Paris in 1875, he was a recent widower, a wealthy baronet, and a government official. Charles Dilke's radical Liberal politics appealed to Frances as much as his youth and charm, and the two became very close. After Mark Pattison died in 1884, they were seemingly free to marry. However, marriage was delayed for more than a year while Charles, his political career at stake, had to defend himself against charges of adultery brought up in a nasty and very public divorce case. Finally, on October 3, 1885, Emily Frances Strong Pattison and Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke married. Now known as Lady Emilia Dilke, she had the social position and the financial resources to lead a comfortable life. That she did, at the same time devoting herself to assisting women who led lives far different from her own.

Happiness in marriage seemed to provide Lady Dilke with the emotional strength to pursue interests she had long held. Although she had joined the Women's Protective and Provident League (WPPL) in 1875, it was only after her second marriage that she became truly involved in the League. Founded in 1874 by Emma Paterson , the WPPL sought to facilitate trade unionism for English working women. After Paterson's death, Lady Dilke became in effect the head of the WPPL which in 1891 changed its name to the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL). While she was not officially elected president of the WTUL until 1902, Lady Dilke was one of its most public champions, writing numerous articles and making countless speeches. She was also one of the WTUL's most generous donors, giving an average of £100 a year.

While her husband, now a radical Liberal member of Parliament, was instrumental in the passage of protective labor legislation, Lady Dilke helped organize laundry workers, rag pickers and linen weavers. She represented the cause of working women at several Trade Union Congress (TUC) annual meetings, urging that male-dominated organization to welcome women into the TUC as equal partners. However, unlike some of her female contemporaries who stressed equality, Lady Dilke also advocated for the protective labor legislation her husband supported in Parliament. While some argued that such legislation did more harm than good by lumping women in with children as a class in need of protection, the Dilkes felt otherwise. As long as linen carders had an average life expectancy of 30 years because of harsh working conditions and starvation wages, Lady Dilke argued that both government intervention and trade unionism were needed.

Until her death in 1904, Lady Dilke helped the WTUL grow in strength and numbers. In 1876, less than 20,000 of England's working women were trade union members. By 1904, that number had risen to over 125,000, most of them textile workers. Lady Dilke's impassioned speeches as well as her social and political connections were instrumental in the growth of the WTUL. She died at her country home shortly after her 64th birthday, having helped her nation respond to the needs of its women wage earners. Her wit had been an important asset. In a play on words regarding Great Britain's turn-of-the-century preeminence as a world power, Lady Dilke's motto was: "Don't think of the Empire on which the sun never sets—think of the wage that never rises."

Charles Wentworth Dilke - History

Thanks anonymous. It should work now. Apparently the "upgrade" of Blogger automatically refers typed URLs back to the edit page of the post instead of the URL and it would let me change it! So now it says "LINK" instead of

Thank you for the posts and link. Now to study them.

Exceptionally important, related article:

A Black Marxist Scholar Wanted to Talk About Race. It Ignited a Fury.
The cancellation of a speech reflects an intense debate on the left: Is racism the primary problem in America today, or the outgrowth of a system that oppresses all poor people?
By Michael Powell

Adolph Reed is a son of the segregated South, a native of New Orleans who organized poor Black people and antiwar soldiers in the late 1960s and became a leading Socialist scholar at a trio of top universities.

Along the way, he acquired the conviction, controversial today, that the left is too focused on race and not enough on class. Lasting victories were achieved, he believed, when working class and poor people of all races fought shoulder to shoulder for their rights.

In late May, Professor Reed, now 73 and a professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, was invited to speak to the Democratic Socialists of America’s New York City chapter. The match seemed a natural. Possessed of a barbed wit, the man who campaigned for Senator Bernie Sanders and skewered President Barack Obama as a man of “vacuous to repressive neoliberal politics” would address the D.S.A.’s largest chapter, the crucible that gave rise to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a new generation of leftist activism.

His chosen topic was unsparing: He planned to argue that the left’s intense focus on the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on Black people undermined multiracial organizing, which he sees as key to health and economic justice.

Notices went up. Anger built. How could we invite a man to speak, members asked, who downplays racism in a time of plague and protest? To let him talk, the organization’s Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus stated, was “reactionary, class reductionist and at best, tone deaf.”

“We cannot be afraid to discuss race and racism because it could get mishandled by racists,” the caucus stated. “That’s cowardly and cedes power to the racial capitalists.”

Amid murmurs that opponents might crash his Zoom talk, Professor Reed and D.S.A. leaders agreed to cancel it, a striking moment as perhaps the nation’s most powerful Socialist organization rejected a Black Marxist professor’s talk because of his views on race.

“God have mercy, Adolph is the greatest democratic theorist of his generation,” said Cornel West, a Harvard professor of philosophy and a Socialist. “He has taken some very unpopular stands on identity politics, but he has a track record of a half-century. If you give up discussion, your movement moves toward narrowness.” .

He served for many years in the Navy Pay-Office, on retiring from which he devoted himself to literary pursuits.

His liberal political views and literary interests brought him into contact with Leigh Hunt, the editor of The Examiner. He had in 1814-16 made a continuation of Robert Dodsley's Collection of English Plays, and in 1829 he became part proprietor and editor of Athenaeum magazine, the influence of which he greatly extended. In 1846 he resigned the editorship, and assumed that of the Daily News, but contributed to Athenaeum papers on Alexander Pope, Edmund Burke, Junius, and others. His grandson, Sir Charles Dilke, published these writings in 1875 under the title, Papers of a Critic.

Watch the video: The Wild Colonial Boy by William Charles Wentworth. Summary in Hindi