Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/183

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first two novels under the same influence. ‘Yeast’ was published in ‘Fraser's Magazine’ in the autumn of 1848. He had been greatly excited by the events of the previous months, and wrote it at night, after days spent in hard parish work. A complete breakdown of health followed. He went for rest to Bournemouth in October, and after a second collapse spent the winter in North Devon. A further holiday, also spent in Devonshire, became necessary in 1849. The expenses of sickness and the heavy rates at Eversley tried his finances. He resigned the office of clerk-in-orders at St. Luke's, Chelsea, which he had held since his marriage, but which he now felt to be a sinecure. To make up his income he resolved to take pupils, and by a great effort finished ‘Alton Locke’ in the winter of 1849–50. Messrs. Parker declined it, thinking that they had suffered in reputation by the publication of ‘Yeast.’ It was, however, accepted by Messrs. Chapman & Hall on the recommendation of Carlyle, and appears to have brought the author 150l. (Kingsley, i. 277). It was published in August 1850, and was described by Carlyle as a ‘fervid creation still left half chaotic.’

Kingsley's writings exposed him at this time to many and often grossly unfair attacks. In 1851 he preached a sermon in a London church which, with the full knowledge of the incumbent, was to give the views of the Christian socialists, and was called ‘The Message of the Church to the Labouring Man.’ At the end of the sermon, however, the incumbent rose and protested against its teaching. The press took the matter up, and the Bishop of London (Blomfield) forbade Kingsley to preach in his diocese. A meeting of working-men was held on Kennington Common to support Kingsley. The sermon was printed, and the bishop, after seeing Kingsley, withdrew the prohibition.

The fear of anything called socialism was natural at the time; but Kingsley never adopted the socialist creed in a sense which could now shock the most conservative. In politics he was in later life rather a tory than a radical. He fervently believed in the House of Lords (see e.g. Kingsley, ii. 241–3), detested the Manchester school, and was opposed to most of the radical platform. ‘Yeast’ and ‘Alton Locke’ indeed show an even passionate sympathy for the sufferings of the agricultural labourer and of the London artisan. The ballad of the ‘poacher's widow’ in ‘Yeast’ is a denunciation of game-preservers vigorous enough to satisfy the most thoroughgoing chartist. But Kingsley's sentiment was thoroughly in harmony with the class of squires and country clergymen, who required in his opinion to be roused to their duties, not deprived of their privileges. He therefore did not sympathise with the truly revolutionary movement, but looked for a remedy of admitted evils to the promotion of co-operation, and to sound sanitary legislation (in which he was always strongly interested). He strove above all to direct popular aspirations by Christian principles, which alone, as he held, could produce true liberty and equality. Thus, when the passions roused in 1848 had cooled down, he ceased to be an active agitator, and became tolerably reconciled to the existing order.

In 1851 he was attacked with gross unfairness or stupidity for the supposed immorality of ‘Yeast,’ and replied in a letter to the ‘Guardian’ by a mentiris impudentissime, which showed how deeply he had been stung. He sought relief from worry and work in the autumn of 1851 by his first tour abroad, bringing back from the Rhine impressions afterwards used in ‘Two Years Ago.’ One of his private pupils, Mr. John Martineau, has given a very vivid account of his home life at Eversley during this period (Kingsley, i. 297–308). He had brought things into better order, and after his holiday in 1851 was able for some time to work without a curate. Not being able to get another pupil, he was compelled to continue his work single-handed, and again became over-exhausted. His remarkable novel, ‘Hypatia,’ certainly one of the most successful attempts in a very difficult literary style, appeared in 1853, after passing through ‘Fraser's Magazine.’ It was well received in Germany as well as England, and highly praised by Bunsen (Memoirs, ii. 309). Maurice took a part in criticising it during its progress, and gave suggestions which Kingsley turned to account. Like his previous books, it is intended to convey a lesson for the day, dealing with an analogous period of intellectual fermentation. It shows his brilliant power of constructing a vivid, if not too accurate, picture of a past social state. The winter of 1853–4 was passed at Torquay for the sake of his wife, whose health had suffered from the damp of Eversley. Here his strong love of natural history led him to a study of seashore objects and to an article on the ‘Wonders of the Shore’ in the ‘North British Review,’ afterwards developed into ‘Glaucus.’ In February he gave some lectures at Edinburgh on the ‘Schools of Alexandria,’ and in the spring settled with his family at Bideford, his wife being still unable to return to Eversley. Here he wrote ‘Westward Ho!’ It was dedicated to Bishop Selwyn and Rajah Brooke. Brooke was a hero after his own heart, whom he knew per-