Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
797
MARTINEAU, JAMES

mouth, and remained an invalid till 1844. Besides a novel, The Hour and the Man (1840), Life in the Sickroom (1844), and the Playjellow (1841), she published a series of tales for children containing some of her most popular work: Settlers at Home, The Peasant and the Prince, Feats on the Fiord, &c. During this illness she for a second time declined a pension on the civil list, fearing to compromise her political independence. Her letter on the subject was published, and some of her friends raised a small annuity for her soon after.

In 1844 Miss Martineau underwent a course of mesrnerism, and in a few months was restored to health. She eventually published an account of her case, which had caused much discussion, in sixteen Letters on M esmerism. On her recovery she removed to Ambleside, where she built herself “ The Knoll, ” the house in which the greater part of her after life was spent. In 1845 she published three volumes of Forest and Game Law Tales. In 1846 she made a tour with some friends in Egypt, Palestine and Syria, and on her return published Eastern Life, Present and Past (1848). This work showed that as humanity passed through one after another of the world's historic religions, the conception of the Deity and of Divine government became at each step more and more abstract and indefinite. The ultimate goal Miss Martineau believed to be philosophic atheism, but this belief she did not expressly declare. She published about this time Household Education, expounding the theory that freedom and rationality, rather than command and obedience, are the most effectual instruments of education. Her interest in schemes of instruction led her to start a series of lectures, addressed at first to the school children of Ambleside, but afterwards extended, at their own desire, to their elders. The subjects were sanitary principles and practice, the histories of England and North America, and the scenes of her Eastern travels. At the request of Charles Knight she wrote, in 1849, The History of the Thirty Years' Peace, 1816-1846* an excellent popular history written from -the point of view of a “ philosophical Radical, ” completed in twelve months.

In 1851 Miss Martineau edited a volume of Letters on the Laws of Maris Nature and Development. Its form is that of a correspondence between herself and H. G. Atkinson, and it expounds that doctrine of philosophical atheism to which Miss Martineau in Eastern Life had depicted the course of human belief as tending. The existence of a first cause is not denied, but is declared unknowable, and the authors, while regarded by others as denying it, certainly considered themselves to be affirming the doctrine of man's moral obligation. Atkinson was a zealous exponent of mesmerism, and the prominence given to the topics of mesmerism and clairvoyance heightened the general disapprobation of the book, which caused a lasting division between Miss Martineau and some of her friends. g

She published a condensed English version of the Philosophie Positive (1853). To the Daily News she contributed regularly from 1852 to 1866. Her Letters from Ireland, written during a visit to that country in the summer of 1852, appeared in that paper. She was for many years a contributor to the Westminster Review, and was one of the little band of supporters whose pecuniary assistance in 1854 prevented its extinction or forced sale. In the early part of 1855 Miss Martineau found herself suffering from heart disease. She now began to write her autobiography, but her life, which she supposed to be so near its close, was prolonged for twenty years. She died at “ The Knoll ” on the 27th of June 1876.

She cultivated a tiny farm at Ambleside with success, and her poorer neighbours owed much to her. Her busy life bears the consistent impress of two leading characteristics-industry and sincerity. The verdict which she records on herself in the autobiographical sketch left to be published by the Daily News has been endorsed by posterity. She says-“ Her original power was nothing more than was due to earnestness and intellectual clearness within a certain range. With small imaginative and suggestive powers, and therefore nothing approaching to genius, she could see clearly what she did see, and give a clear expression to what she had to say. In short, she could popularize while she could neither discover nor invent.” Her judgment on large questions was clear and sound, and was always the judgment of a mind naturally progressive and Protestant. See her Autobiography, with Memorials by Maria Weston Chapman (1877) and Mrs. Fenwick Miller, Harriet Martineau (1884, “ Eminent Women Series ).

MARTINEAU, JAMES (1805-1900), English philosopher and divine, was born at Norwich on the 21st of April 1805, the seventh child of Thomas Martineau and Elizabeth Rankin, the sixth, his senior by almost three years, being his sister Harriet (see above). He was descended from Gaston Martineau, a Huguenot surgeon and refugee, who married in 169 3 Marie Pierre, and settled soon afterwards in Norwich. His son and grandson -respectively the great-grandfather and grandfather of James Martineau-were surgeons in the same city, while his father was a manufacturer and merchant. James was educated at Norwich Grammar School under Edward Valpy, as good a scholar as his better-known brother Richard. But the boy proving too sensitive for the life of a public day school, was sent to Bristol to the private academy of Dr Lant Carpenter, under whom he studied for two years. On leaving he was apprenticed to a civil engineer at Derby, where he acquired “ a store of exclusively scientific conceptions/'1 but also experienced the hunger of mind which forced him to look to religion for satisfaction. Hence came his “ conversion, ” and the sense of vocation for the ministry which impelled him in 1822 to enter Manchester College, then lodged at York. Here he “ woke up to the interest of moral and metaphysical speculations.” Of his teachers, one, the Rev. Charles Wellbeloved, was, Martineau said, “ a master of the true Lardner type, candid and catholic, simple and thorough, humanly fond indeed of the counsels of peace, but piously serving every bidding of sacred truth.” “ He never justified a prejudice; he never rnisdirected our admiration; he never hurt an innocent feeling or overbore a serious judgment; and he set up within us a standard of Christian scholarship to which it must ever exalt us to aspire/'2 The other, the Rev. John Kenrick, he described as a man so learned as to be placed by Dean Stanley “ in the same line with Blomfield and Thirlwall, ”" and as “so far above the level of either vanity or dogmatism, that cynicism itself could not think of them in his presence.” 4

On leaving the college in 1827 Martineau returned to Bristol to teach in the school of Lant Carpenter; but in the following year he was ordained for a Unitarian church in Dublin, whose senior minister was a relative of his own. But his career there was in 1832 suddenly cut short by difficulties growing out of the “ regium donum, " which had on the death of the senior minister fallen to him. He conceived it as “ a religious monopoly' ” to which “ the nation at large contributes, ” while “ Presbyterians alone receive, ” and which placed him in “ a relation to the state ” so “ seriously objectionable ” as to be “ impossible to hold.” The invidious distinction it drew between Presbyterians on the one hand, and Catholics, Friends, freethinking Christians, unbelievers and Jews on the other, who were compelled to support a ministry they “ conscientiously disapproved, ” offended his always delicate conscience; while possibly the intellectual and ecclesiastical atmosphere of the city proved uncongenial to his liberal magnanimity. From Dublin he was called to Liverpool, and there for a quarter of a century he exercised extraordinary influence as a preacher, and achieved a high reputation- as a writer in religious philosophy. In 1840 he was appointed professor of mental and moral philosophy and political economy in Manchester New College, the seminary in which he had himself been educated, and which had now removed from York to the city after which it was named. This position he held for forty five years. In 1853 the college removed to London, and four years later he followed it thither. In 1858 he was called to 1 Types of Ethical Theory, i. 8.

2 Essays, Reviews and Addresses, iv. 54. 3 Ibid. 1. 397. 4 Essays, Reviews and Addresses, i. 419.

5 Martineau's “ Letter to the Dissenting Congregation of Eustace Street ” (Dublin). .