Paul, Charles Kegan (DNB12)

PAUL, CHARLES KEGAN (1828–1902), author and publisher, son of the Rev. Charles Paul (1802–1861), by his wife Frances Kegan Home (1802–1848), was born on 8 March 1828 at White Lackington near Ilminster, Somersetshire, where his father was curate. He was educated first at Ilminster grammar school under the Rev. John Allen and afterwards at Eton, where he entered Dr. Hawtrey's house in 1841. He matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, in January 1846, and in 1849 made the acquaintance of Charles Kingsley, whose contagious energy greatly impressed him. Tractarian theories did not appeal to him, and he showed a leaning towards broad church views in theology. Graduating B.A. in October 1849, he was ordained deacon in the Lent of 1851, and accepted the curacy of Tew, in the diocese of Oxford. Friendship with Kingsley brought him into association with F. D. Maurice, Tom Hughes, J. M. Ludlow, and other co-operative and Christian socialist leaders. He was now broadly high church in doctrine, given to ritualism, and a radical in politics. About this time he took up the practice of mesmerism. In 1852, when he was ordained priest, he became curate of Bloxham, near Banbury, travelled in Germany with pupils, and in November 1853 was given a 'conductship' or chaplaincy at Eton College. In 1853 appeared his first literary production, a sermon on 'The Communion of Saints.' He became a vegetarian and turned his attention to Positivism, and was appointed a 'Master in College' (Memories, p. 205) in 1854. Two years later he married Margaret Agnes Colvile (youngest sister of Sir James W. Colvile [q. v.]). He contributed to the 'Tracts for Priests and People,' brought out by Maurice and Tom Hughes, one on 'The Boundaries of the Church' (1861), in which he stated that the very minimum of dogma was required from lay members of the Church of England. These views brought down upon him the wrath of Bishop Wilberforce. He left Eton in 1862 to become vicar of an Eton living at Sturminster Marshall, Dorsetshire. As the endowment was small, he took pupils. In 1870 he joined a unitarian society called the Free Christian Union. In 1872 he associated himself with Joseph Arch's movement on behalf of the agricultural labourers in Dorset, and in 1873 he edited the new series of the 'New Quarterly Magazine.' He gradually found himself out of sympathy with the teaching of the Church of England, and in 1874 threw up his living and came to London. In 1876 appeared his most noteworthy production, 'William Godwin, his Friends and Contemporaries,' with portraits and illustrations, 2 vols. The work was undertaken at the request of Sir Percy Shelley, Godwin's grandson, who placed at Paul's disposal a mass of unpublished documents, which he used with judgment.

For some years Paul had acted as reader for Henry Samuel King, publisher, of Crnhill, who brought out several of his books; King in 1877 relinquished the publishing part of his business and Paul took it over, inaugurating the house of C. Kegan Paul and Co. at No. 1 Paternoster Square. Paul thus succeeded King as Tennyson's publisher. Among Paul's earliest publications were the 'Nineteenth Century,' the new monthly periodical (1877), the works of George William Cox [q. v. Suppl. II], the 'Parchment Library of English Classics,' Tennyson's works in one volume, the 'International Scientific' series (begun by H. S. King), some works of Thomas Hardy, George Meredith, and R. L. Stevenson, and Badger's English-Arabic Lexicon. One of his ventures was to give 5000 guineas for the 'Last Journals of General Gordon,' which cost the firm 7000l. before a single copy was ready. In 1881 Mr. Alfred Trench, son of the archbishop, joined the firm, now styled Kegan Paul, Trench & Co. After various vicissitudes, including a calamitous fire in 1883, Messrs. Trübner & Co. and George Redway joined the firm in 1889, and the amalgamation was converted into a limited company under the style of Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd. They moved into large new premises, called Paternoster House, in Charing Cross Road, in 1891, and for some years the business was prosperous. In 1895 the profits of the publishing firm fell with alarming abruptness, the directors resigned, and the capital was reduced. Paul at the same time lost money as director of the Hansard Printing and Publishing Company, and other enterprises. Paul's publishing concern is now incorporated in that of Messrs. Routledge.

Meanwhile from 1888 Paul began to attend mass, and in 1890 during a visit to France he decided to enter the catholic church, and made his submission at the church of the Servites at Fulham on 12 Aug. 1890. His new views were displayed in tracts on 'Miracle' (1891), 'Abstinence and Moderation' (1891), and 'Celibacy' (1899), issued by the Catholic Truth Society, and an edition of 'The Temperance Speeches' of Cardinal Manning (1894). A volume of 'Memories' (1899), which is interesting for its stories of early school and Eton life, ends with his conversion.

In 1895 Paul was run over in Kensington Road, and never recovered from the accident. He died in London on 19 July 1902, in his seventy-fifth year, and was buried at Kensal Green.

A portrait painted by Mrs. Anna Lea Merritt is in the possession of Miss R. M. Paul, his daughter.

Paul also wrote:

  1. 'Reading Book for Evening Schools,' 1864.
  2. 'Shelley Memorials, from Authentic Sources,' 3rd edition, 1874.
  3. 'Mary Wollstonecraft [afterwards Mrs. Godwin], Letters to Lnlay, with Prefatory Memoir,' 1879 (expanded from 'Godwin, his Friends, &c.').
  4. 'Biographical Sketches,' 1883 (Edward Irving, John Keble, Maria Hare, Rowland Williams, Charles Kingsley, George Eliot, John Henry Newman).
  5. 'Faith and Unfaith and other Essays,' 1891 ('The Production and Life of Books' deals with the ethics and practice of publishing).
  6. ’Maria Drummond, a Sketch,' 1891 (Mrs. Drummond of Fredley, near Dorking, widow of Thomas Drummond (1797-1840) [q. v.]).
  7. 'Confessio Viatoris,' 1891 (religious development elaborated in 'Memories').
  8. 'On the Way Side, Verses and Translations,' 1899.

Paul also published several translations including 'Goethe's Faust, in Rime' (1873) (a careful piece of work in the metres of the original); 'Pascal's Thoughts' (1885, several reissues); 'De Imitatione' (1907); and he edited with a preface 'The Genius of Christianity unveiled, being Essays never before published; by William Godwin' (1873).

[Family information; Paul's Memories, 1899; Allibone, Dict. Eng. Lit. Suppl., 1891; Athenæum, 26 July 1902; The Publishers' Circular, 26 July 1902 (with a portrait after a photograph); Bookseller, 7 Aug. 1902; The Times, 21 July 1902; Who's Who, 1902.]

H. R. T.