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Franks of Members of Parliament

Part of Cordelia Whewell's collection of franks. The collection includes a letter from William Pickering to William Whewell dated 16 July 1834 with a frank from J. Kennedy (item 201), and three letters to Cordelia from Philip H. Howard, dated Dec. 1839 and 4 and 20 Jan. 1840 (items 195-197).

Extracts from letters and diaries of William Whewell, with his MS poem, "On receiving a chain of Hair"

Bound volume of extracts of William Whewell's letters to his family and perhaps his own diaries, dating from 1812-1839 with the bulk of the material dated 1812-1821. The extracts, which form a narrative of Whewell's activities for this period, are written in an unidentified hand and quote letters to his father John Whewell, aunt Alice Lyon, and sisters Elizabeth, Martha, and Ann Whewell. These extracts are continued by short summaries of Whewell's activities in the years from 1821 to 1839, possibly drawn from diaries, but not identified as such. Accompanied by a poem signed W. W., written on his engagement to Cordelia Marshall.

Whewell, William (1794–1866), college head and writer on the history and philosophy of science

W. A. Wright: Bible Revision (correspondence)

Correspondence, notes, and printed material largely relating to W. Aldis Wright's work as Secretary of the Old Testament Revision Company. Some letters addressed to the Dean of Westminster, A. P. Stanley; to Canon Selwyn, and to others. Includes letters from: Connop Thirlwall, Bishop of St David's; G. C. M. Douglas; E. H. Browne, Bishop of Ely then of Winchester; Frederick Field; John Dury Geden; A. P. Stanley, Dean of Westminster; Alfred Ollivant, Bishop of Llandaff; Hormuzd Rassam; William Selwyn; J. Troutbeck; Duncan H. Weir, James Cartmell; Bartholomew Price; Philip Schaff. Several copies/drafts of letters by W. Aldis Wright to others. Much material regarding the relationship between the British and American Revision Committees.

Wright, William Aldis (1831–1914), literary and biblical scholar

Letter from ‘E. B.’ to ‘Bully’ (probably F. W. Lawrence), including sketches by ‘Multy’

Log Cottage, Hindhead.—Acknowledges the receipt of ‘Bully’s’ letter. Discusses arrangements for meeting next Saturday, and refers to the visit of some factory girls.



Log Cottage | Hindhead
8. Aug. 87.

Dear Bully,

Was it not an odd co-incidence? I had just finished that nice little letter to you when yours came yesterday. After deliberation, I decided that it should go, so that you might be the better able to gauge the revolution of feeling that took place in our ’earts on reading your scrummy (that’s Multy’s) invitation for next Saturday. I have not time to-day to enlarge upon the subject, but Multy has some good sketches which she is doing to enclose in this with a few joint appropriate remarks.

Likewise also is it an odd co-incidence that the day on which we are to have the honour of being presented to les nôtres, our two Mums & the Dad (that sounds rather naughty, & you so young too!) will be staying here & are hoping to see the author of the blouse. Don’t be alarmed they are good sort of folk and ripe for fun at any time.

Our factory girls were a great joke, they stayed from Saturday till Tuesday & thought iverry-think real ’ansim, strite they did. Was the blot that you made in describing your night in the boys’ camp done intentionally and were we to imagine it walking off the paper? Three more of Multys sketches represent what we imagine your feelings to have been on that occasion.

[There follow three pencil sketches of facial expressions, the first apparently asleep, captioned ‘In for the 9 hours’; the second apparently waking and yawning, captioned merely with a blot; and the third screwed up, captioned ‘—!’]

You will come then won’t you (to lunch if possible) next Saturday? though it be through hail, snow, ice thunder, lightning fire, water or sunshine & we will follow thee withersoever thou goest and eat and drink with thee.

Don’t get too legal or too mathematical or too economical, mais restez toujours l’incomparable Bully de nos amies

E. B.

[On a separate sheet are eight more sketches of facial expressions, captioned as follows:]
I July 26th No letter from Bully for a week!
II Aug: 2nd Still silence
III Aug: 7th A.M. Bully chucked!
IV Aug: 7th p.m. Letter!
V E. “My Mother will be here on the 14th!”
VI B. “My Mother will be here on the 14th too!”
VII Both. Phewwww! . . . .
VIII Never mind—BULLY’S COMING –!–

W. A. Wright: Shakespeariana (notes and correspondence)

Letters relating to W. Aldis Wright's editions of Shakespeare (including collaborations with W. G. Clark) as well as notes on the texts and suggested emendations. Some letters addressed to W. G. Clark; several letters with no addressee may have originally been directed to him). Many letters from C. M. Ingleby and Brinsley Nicholson. A leather book binding, separated from its contents and in three pieces, is in the box [pencil note on inside front cover reads 'Add.MS.b.58 69-217]; the spine is stamped 'Shakespeare. Dyce 8', perhaps suggesting that some of the notes are by Alexander Dyce.

Wright, William Aldis (1831–1914), literary and biblical scholar

Paper by F. W. Lawrence entitled ‘Evolution’; read before the Cambridge Nonconformist Union at Easter 1892



Before considering what have been the effects of the theory of evolution on religious views, I feel it is necessary to take a brief glance at the facts on which the theory itself rests; & therefore though I feel much hesitation before those many of whom most know much more about the subject than I do, I have been obliged to enter upon a few preliminary remarks upon the theory itself.

When men believed that there had been a special separate creation for every kind of living being, & yet at the same time they saw that individual differences occurred in reproduction, which in the course of many generations were known to bring about distinct variations, they were compelled to draw a sharp line between Species which had been separately created, & Variations which had been derived in the course of reproduction.

Careful study however shows that it is impossible to draw any such hard & fast line anywhere among created beings; for even the sterility of crossed breeds which might appear at first sight to differentiate them, may be shown to exist in so many different degrees that it would be impossible by it to draw a sharp line.

Thus we reach the first difficulty of those who believe in separate creations.

Again the study of comparative anatomy shows us the extreme similarity in bodily structure of animals even of different families, & this resemblance is still more striking when we come to examine the embryos of the different creatures.

These facts and many others which there is not time to enumerate are the main difficulties which would have to be met by one who believed in separate creation of every kind of animal.

And they all apply to man too; for his bodily structure very largely resembles that of the higher apes, & in the earlier stages his embryo is almost identical.

He too possesses rudimentary organs, useless & sometimes injurious to him, which however are useful to other animals.

Some have said however that man should not trust the conviction of his senses when they come in conflict with Revealed Truth; our answer to this is prompt[:] ‘If all this theory were false, then this singular resemblance of all animals in bodily structure, & especially in an embryonic condition, these laws of heredity & variation, these curious rudimentary organs could be nothing else but one vast deception created for the express purpose of deceiving one of the greatest faculties of man, that of reason.

What has evolution to say to these facts?

Looking around us we see the general laws of heredity everywhere coming into play[,] viz that offspring inherit at corresponding periods of life the characteristics of their parents, but at the same time are never absolutely like either each other or their parents.

Granting this, the evolutionist maintains that progress is inevitable and that starting with a low form of life it was absolutely necessary that a state of things very similar to what is at present must have been brought about.

For by the law of ‘The Survival of the Fittest’ or ‘Natural selection’ it is easy to see that any profitable variation would be retained, owing to the better chance that creatures having this variation would have, in the ‘Struggle for existence’. And as there would be many ways in which profitable variations would occur, so, many variations would be retained & in course of time would obliterate the intermediate links of less fortunate forms.

In this way in nature, it might take thousands of generations of individual differences to produce a well-marked variation & tens or hundreds of thousands of generations to produce what may be classed as distinct species.

Much longer periods of time would be necessary for the production of distinct genera & so on, but when we consider what Geology teaches us in respect to the length of time life has been on the earth, we cannot doubt that geological periods have been suffic[i]ent for the divergence from one original stock to be great enough to produce the distinct families & even orders & classes of to-day.

This being so, we see that the resemblance of the anatomy of different creatures & the presence of rudimentary organs was a necessity, & that as the variations are mainly inherited at a corresponding period of life, the embryo must suffer the least change.

There is a vast difference between the reasoning capabilities of man & those of the higher apes, but when we compare the great progress of the brain even in historic periods with the slow alteration in bodily form, we ought not to be surprised that man’s brain differs so greatly, & his bodily form so little from that of the higher apes.

Now if we could pass in review the ages, & tracing the steps of time, see the gradual improvement of our ancestors, is there any special period at which we should be willing first to give them the title of man?

What is to be our definition of a man?

We shall, I think, be not far wrong, if we define man as one who uses a weapon or tool.

The chimpanzee does crack nuts with a stone, but takes the nut to the stone, & not the stone, but takes the nut to the stone, & not the stone to the nut, which makes a considerable degree of difference; monkeys of course learn to imitate man in the use of a weapon, but that is not the same at all.

I think we may be fairly certain that as soon as the animal used a weapon or tool, his brain power & also his hand would begin soon to develop; for he who was cleverest at selecting branches or stones, or best at using them would survive, and not necessarily he that was strongest; and accordingly through natural selection these characteristics would be increased at† time went on.

[There is a space here in the MS.]

This is the theory of evolution which it is not too much to say will be remembered as the greatest thing of this century just as the discoveries of Newton were the greatest things of his century.

What effect has it had upon our views of every thing.

1stly upon our views concerning the lower animals.

With regard to them it seems to me that not enough stress is laid upon what we are necessarily bound to believe concerning them owing to the theory of Evolution. Since man differs from them in no fundamental degree, we are bound to acknowledge that every law which holds good for man, & that every hope which he has, must also to a certain extent, at any rate, be true for the lower animals.

2nd with regard to our views concerning man.

At the beginning of the century & back through the ages the belief was fairly constant, that man was declining, they looked back on the men of the past as superior to themselves, their thoughts turned back to the ‘golden age’; their object was to make their age not so very much inferior to that preceding it; all this is changed now; we still have a few people who are wont to tell us that the world is going to the bad, & who regret the absence of the good old times of yore; but the numbers of people who will listen to them grows daily less & less, & even the pessimist will hardly deny that the world as a whole is progressing.

Most of this change of feeling if not all of it is due to the introduction of the theory of Evolution; for when we acknowledge the theory, it is but natural to suppose that man having progressed so rapidly in the ages of the past, is still progressing to-day; the belief in the superiority of the past was caused mainly by the view (which the theory of Evolution has shown to be erroneous) that man was originally created almost, if not quite, perfect.

This brings us to the subject of the bible.

Before the introduction of the theory of E. the belief was almost general that the bible was literally word for word inspired.

Now as the theory teaches us that creation was very different from what one would naturally gather from the bible account, we must admit at any rate that it is useless to base any ancient historical fact on the teaching of the Old Test. since the bible account may well lead us to believe things quite contrary to what really took place.

But the greatest divergence is perhaps in the theory of the ‘Fall of Man’.

According to the bible account man was created perfect & fell; according to E he has gradually increased in intellectual & moral capabilities till he has reached his present condition.

Which, I say, is the view most likely to lead to courage & perseverance in the highest endeavours to improve the human race, the view that man’s ancestor was an animal & that the race has progressed up to the present state & is progressing still, & every endeavour helps to make that progress more rapid, or the belief that man’s ancestor was almost if not quite perfect, & that partly owing to the original fall & partly owing to steady decline ever since man has reached his present low condition, & that every endeavour to help the human race is merely one to try & regain some of the lost ground, to put off a little longer if it may be the destruction of the sinking ship.

I say steady decline ever since for undoubtedly till the present century this was the belief of the majority; the men in successive stages of the bible were worse & worse, & throughout later history the retrograde movement had been slow but steady & sure.

According to men of the last century & indeed to some left among us to day, the view they held of the redemption in Jesus Christ was linked to that of the ‘fall of man’ in the following manner: –

Man having been created by God perfect, having fallen & sinned was doomed naturally by the infinite justice of God to an eternal damnation, but God in His infinite mercy was willing to accept the sacrifice of His Son, ‘who was tempted but sinned not’ in the place of humanity. Thus then the Vicarious Atonement was necessary for the salvation of man; and the infinite justice of God was reconciled to sinful man by the sacrifice of One who was innocent, & who since the sacrifice was for multitudes of humanity & was retrospective as well as prospective, must have been himself infinite.

Granting the fall of man & that the infinite justice of God would without sacrifice to appease sin be bound to place man in eternal torment, we see that it was necessary for them if they were to believe in any hope for humanity at all, to hold this view of the atonement.

What has the theory of Evolution to say to this? It seems to my mind to have taken away the foundation stone from the whole theory.

For if there was no fall, & if, as we have a right to believe, God made man imperfect in order that he might continue to progress we feel that He would not be infinitely just if condemning to eternal perdition those whom he had originally created imperfect, simply because they were imperfect.

Thus then the necessity for the belief in the Vicarious Atonement is gone.

What are we to have in its place?

Surely the Redemption is the redeeming of mans† character from sin, & the Atonement, the at-one-ment with God which Jesus Christ has taught man by his life & death. It brings man to God, but needs not to bring God to man.

Let us now look at the difference the Theory of E has caused in our views concerning God.

Men said originally that the Theory of E would upset the belief in the power of God.

But let us place side by side the 2 views and see which represents to our feeble gaze the Omnipotence of God in its greatest light. According to the old view about 6000 years ago the astronomical bodies, the earth, men & the animals were created, the latter at least of imperfect minds & even cruel instincts, & all have continued for that period in much the same condition.

According to the modern view life on this planet began ages upon ages ago & has gradually developed through stages of improvement till it has reached the present condition.

Which is the greatest, the creation of everything nearly as it is now, in one short period of time, or the great plan of E, the vast intricacies of which are only shown to be greater the deeper the study of them is carried?

Some indeed in tracing back the vast plan of life have found in it something so infinitely grand, that they have supposed that of itself and by itself it has existed from all eternity.

But is not their attitude that which would be taken up by men who looking upon a masterpiece of machinery in working order & seeing no hand at work, should consider its parts to be so exquisite as to owe their existence to their own inherent perfection, & not to the brain or work of man at all.

The greater the masterpiece the further back must we be prepared to go before we shall find the original hand at work.

For those who can still believe in God the view of His Omnipotence can be but heightened by the Theory of E.

But more than this, we have gained what is much greater still, a higher conception of His infinite love, the great truth for which Jesus Christ lived and died. Instead of a God who needs to be reconciled to sinning humanity by the death of one,† innocent; we have the belief that the death of Christ was & is the cause of bringing man nearer to God.

Instead of an angry God who condemned to eternal torture those who could not hold certain beliefs, or (according to some) even those who had not had an opportunity given them of believing in them, we hold that God grieves over his sinning child, & we return to our belief in the truth of the parable of the prodigal son which represents God as a Father going forth with joy to meet the repentant prodigal.

All this I maintain to be due largely to the indirect effects of the teaching of Evolution.

Lastly we look forward with different hopes for the future, from those of men of previous centuries.

For the race we look forward to a future of steady progress onward & upward.

And for the individual too, we look forward to continued existence of improvement, till every creature which God in His infinite power has created, shall be won over to God by His infinite love, & as ages upon ages pass away shall draw nearer & nearer to the line of infinite perfection, holiness & love.


This paper was read to the Cambridge University Nonconformist Union during Easter term 1892, Lawrence’s second term at Cambridge. His involvement with the Union may owe something to the jurist C. S. Kenny, its president about this time, for Kenny was a friend of Lawrence’s uncle Edwin Lawrence (D. W. Bebbington, ‘Unitarian Members of Parliament in the Nineteenth Century: A Catalogue’, Supplement to the Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, xxiv, no. 3 (Apr. 2009)). Lawrence addressed the same organisation four years later on ‘The Treatment of Animals’ (see 5/27).

† Sic.

Paper by F. W. Lawrence entitled ‘Our Treatment of Animals’; read before the Cambridge Nonconformist Union on 18 Oct. 1896


Our treatment of animals

I make no apology for my choice of subject, for it seems to me that in these days when the reasons for our actions, & the justification of them are being discussed on every hand a fair consideration of our treatment of animals is essential to a true life. Everywhere the question is attracting increased interest, & I may perhaps mention that in a recent examination which I underwent in my own college “The ethical relations of man to the lower animals” formed one of the subjects upon which an essay might be written.

But I would claim that there are two especial reasons for bringing the question into prominence in the present day.

In the first place civilised man has now realised—in theory—his duty towards his fellow man. He is still in many cases very far from putting it into practice, but since the days of the great Earl Shaftesbury he would be a bold man who would deny, theoretically, the claim which every member of the human race has upon him—the claim which the idea of brotherhood has introduced.

Now the idea of brotherhood is one which is for ever extending its borders. It was considered sufficient in olden days that the feeling of brotherhood should exist between men of the same caste in the same clan. It was deliberately contended that the slave population were of a different order of beings & required little or no consideration. In more recent times, even while such a tenet as this would not have been accepted, one code of morality prevailed between men of the so called upper classes in their dealings with one another, & a different code between them & members of the lower classes. These distinctions have now—in theory at any rate—been swept away & the brotherhood of man as a whole has been vindicated. But the great discovery of evolution has carried the process still further. However much the exclusive pride of man may have rebelled at the idea, he has now been forced to recognise his brotherhood to the whole living race. Hand in hand with this great theory of brotherhood must come the theory of kind treatment. This has been realised in the case of man (remember I am only speaking of theory), it now comes up for discussion in the case of animals. The great Earl S. was to the front in advocating the former, & we must not forget that he was strenuous also in aiding the latter.

Kindness to animals! Be frank! Do not the words almost cause a smile?—a thought of goody goody stories of impossible or improbable tales in books for young children? Do not mince matters—do not evade the truth—I suppose that all of us have at some time or other felt a certain sense of shame in desiring to be kind to animals—certainly I have myself—when I wanted to stop my cabman from overdriving his horse—when I wrote this paper & even now as I read what I have written—there arises a feeling of shame—a fear of being thought silly—of making oneself ludicrous—of becoming (in a word) impossible.

Now if you mention this feeling of shame to some people what do they say? They either ignore it or they say it is wrong & ought not to be. But in very truth they cannot deny its existence, & while they do not attempt to explain it, they fail to eradicate it from the mind of man. What is the good of these general condemnations of things inherently stamped in man. To me the question is extremely important. Let us face it bold[l]y & fearlessly. Why is it that we are ashamed of attempted kindness to animals; or perhaps we may go a step further & ask why are we ashamed in a less degree of all service rendered to the weak? I believe that the main causes are three: {1} inherited instinct, fear of ridicule, fear of doing future harm.

The first two combined seem to form a very powerful check not only to all attempts to assist the weak but to all altruistic desire whatever.

It is not difficult to see how the instinct of neglect of the weak arose; in self preservation each individual could only succeed in so far as it was able to overreach others, & further the time spent in rendering assistance would be so much time lost in the struggle for self preservation.

But as individuals began to herd together in groups, the social instincts arose, whereby within the limits of the society it was essential that one individual should assist another, & thus came the feeling of brotherhood which as I have pointed out, above, is gradually extending its borders. But it is evident that at each stage of the development with regard to those outside the pale of the society no such feeling will exist; & moreover to the natural feeling of the individual against wasting energies upon others will be superadded the fear that members of his own society will object to his conduct as detrimental to their united interests; & thus comes in the fear of ridicule.

Somewhat loosely connected with this feeling is the thought that by assisting or pitying those feebler than ourselves we are actually tending perhaps to weaken our own position.

We remember the lines of T[ennyson].

Yet pity for a horse o’erdriven
And love in which my hound hath part
Can hang no weight upon my heart
In its assumptions up to heaven {2}

Here the suggestion, though rebutted, is originally present.

I think these thoughts account very largely for the feeling of shame, & in so far as it is due to them, we see that it† we must look for a cure in the extension of the idea of brotherhood while this itself offers an explanation why our feeling of shame is much greater in the case of animals than in that of the weaker members of the human race.

But there is yet a third idea which must in part be held responsible & that is the fear of doing future harm. People are beginning to be aware that feelings of pity & sympathy often lead to actions which produce far greater suffering in the future, than that which they momentarily avert; & they are beginning to see that they ought to be ashamed of these short sighted attempts at kindness. In so far as shame is of this nature it is to be encouraged. The man who gives a penny to the first beggar in the street because he can’t refuse him though he knows he is doing harm has need to be ashamed of himself. Perhaps I shall be excused if I relate an anecdote.
A friend of mine one of the kindest men I know, had a little dog which had not yet learned to follow him; one day intending to give the dog a lesson, he was holding it in one hand with a stick in the other in a menacing attitude, when an old lady rushed up & exclaimed “You nasty cruel man how can you be so unkind to a poor little dog.” “After that” said my friend “there was nothing left to do but to strike the dog which I had not originally intended to do.”

This is illustrative of the harm which may often be done by people with the best intention, who are busy bodies.

And within the fear of doing harm must therefore be included the dread of making matters worse by interference.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

I have discussed at some length this question of shame because I believe it offers one of the greatest stumbling blocks to successful achievement.

[There is a space here in the MS.]

To sum up what I have wished to express as one reason for pressing the whole question at the present day, I would urge that before the days of the great E[arl] of S[haftesbury] we neglected in our cosmogony a part of the race of human beings; that now while this error has been rectified, we still neglect a part of the whole living race, & whatever be our ultimate theory of life it is essential that the whole should be included within its scope.

But there is another cause which tends to place this question in especial prominence to-day. This cause is the wonderful knowledge man has obtained of the laws of heredity & his power of putting them into practice. Breeders speak of the characteristics of the animal as something which they can mould to pleasure. {3} It only requires the demand to call forth in a short time a whole race of horses or of cattle, or to summon into existence a whole tribe of fowl or of other animals for food. It may almost be said of man He has become a G[od] he can kill & he can make alive. When man has reached this position it is incumbent upon him to look round & test his actions from an ethical standpoint.

So long as he merely took into his poss[essio]n a wild animal & taught it to serve himself, he was able to throw the whole responsibility of creation upon the Supreme Being. For his own part it was only necessary if he troubled himself about the matter at all, that he only subject the animal to a not more cruel existence than it appeared to have in nature.

But now the issue has changed. Everyday we deliberately call into existence thousands perhaps millions of the brute creation. Can we justify our action on the same grounds. Their bodily form we have adjusted, their characteristics we have produced, we are responsible for their adaptation to their surroundings. Our responsibility is almost that of the creator. And yet I do not deny that, behind, is the responsibility of God not only for the millions of creatures which exist for the service of man but for those countless myriads which throng this earth & the other worlds of the universe. And this is a question which we must be prepared to face with awe & reverence when we try to think of life as a whole. We cry with Tennyson in In memoriam

Yet …

But for the moment this question is not within our scope. We are not discussing the responsibility of God but the responsibility of man & I repeat my prop[ositio]n that the resp[onsibilit]y of man has entered upon a new phase now that he has become a God who can make {4} alive.

We are now met with a very real difficulty; what standard are we going to adopt by which to judge our actions?

It has been proposed by some that we shall be justified in our acts if we add to the sum total happiness of all the beings concerned; & the saying is att[ribute]d to C[harles] Lamb that if he could prove that the pleasure to him of eating a pig roasted alive exceeded the possible pain which could be caused to the pig, his action would be justified. {5} Apart from the mere difficulty of estimating the several amounts of pleasure & pain, I would contend that even if such estimation were possible, conduct founded upon it would not be moral.

Though it is an object of morality to add to the sum of total happiness, I should demur to the sugg[estio]n that we are justified in deliberately taking away hap[piness] from or adding suffering to one being in order to add hap[piness] to another.

It seems then that after all we shall have to come back to some such vague ideas as are implied by saying that the creature shall not live a more unhappy life than appears to be led by other free members of the brute creation. Or we may reason as follows:—

This is a world in which pain & suffering are always before us; human beings are subject to them everywhere. It is not to be expected that we should free the brute creation who serve us from much of both; all we can hope to do, is (taking account of their differing capabilities for suffering & enjoyment) to place them (relatively to ourselves) in a position not incompatible with our theories of the brotherhood of the whole race of sentient beings.

In putting these ideas into practice we must endeavour to avoid a form of sickly sentimentality shown by some who endeavour to shelve responsibility & who while speaking in disparaging terms of acts of cruelty permit & even force others to do them on their behalf. But in saying this I hasten to explain that I do not mean that it is necessary that we should always be willing to do without compunction things of which in theory we approve, & in practice allow others to do for us.—The difference comes in as to whether we do or do not approve of them in theory.

These general statements may seem somewhat unsatisfactory, especially to those who aim at crystallising morality into a permanent & definite set of rules. I think however that indefinite as they are they will be nearly sufficient to enable us to pass judgment for or against most of the particular cases which may happen to arise. I may point out however that a complete solution of the question may be regarded as impossible, inasmuch as if it were achieved half the problem of life itself would be solved.

We may now proceed to consider in some detail how far the actually existing treatment of animals with which man comes in contact fulfills the principles which we have indicated should guide him in his conduct.

For this purpose we divide the animals with which we are concerned into four main divisions.

Animals for man’s pleasure,
———————— food
———————— convenience
———————— instruction.

  1. Animals for pleasure.

In this category we include two almost distinct classes; those animals whose pleasure is mans pleasure, those animals whose pain is man’s pleasure—or perhaps more correctly those whose pain is essential to man’s pleasure.

The first class requires some few comments; where cruelty in any form exists it mainly arises from ignorance or thoughtlessness, & it has only to be pointed out to command redress. On the whole the life of the dog or cat or even of the caged bird or tame rabbit is one of enjoyment & pleasure. And the effect of contact with them is on the whole elevating & tends to broaden the mind.

But when we come to the second class we find ourselves beating about in a rather hopeless way for an excuse. What can we say of bull baiting or bear baiting or cock fighting? {6} It would seem in these as though man was deliberately cruel for pleasure, that he delib[erately] delighted in torture. Is this a fact? Is it true that there is an instinct which delights directly in suffering? Tennyson says

Who trusted God was love indeed
& Love creation’s final law
while Nature r[ed] in t[ooth] & c[law]
With ravine shriek’d, against his creed {7}

The feline tribe are regarded by some as especially cruel, & to watch a cat torturing a mouse is said to have made many a man refuse to believe in the goodness of God.

But why sh[oul]d this be in man. I have attempted to account above for his feeling of shame at attempting to render assistance to the weak by hereditary instinct, founded upon a definite necessary basis, but I cannot see what should have originated this love of torture. That it exists can hardly be denied if we call to mind the evident delight it gives a boy to twist a cockchafer on a pin, or the numerous devices of our ancestors to invent fresh tortures for their human victims. We may perhaps assume however that the feeling really consists in enjoyment at watching a strougle† especially if prowess is is displayed, and 2nd the delight of power & thirdly direct pleasure in taking part in a struggle; & this latter element is that which is most prominent in such a thing as of† pigeon shooting. I do not wish to seem churlish but I find it difficult to find approbation for some of the milder forms of sports practised among us today. {8} If we attempt to shirk the responsibility of our modern forms of cruelty by pleading that some of the animals are wild or that those of them which are domestic have for the rest of the time an agreeable existence . . . . . . . if this excuse be admitted, there stills remain† the brutalising effect of witnessing with equanimity the sufferings of others deliberately caused for the pleasure of man.

It is possible that in the present age some of them must be condoned, & permitted, but I can feel no doubt that as morality progresses these things must be done away.

Turning ton† our 2nd main div[isio]n an[imals] for f[ood] it seems to me that we can fulfill the principles which I have indicated above.

Death comes to all sometime, & I cannot see why death by violence is anything more horrible & cruel than death in any other manner.

If then we assure to animals which are subsequently to serve as food, a happy existence during life—& it is in general to our own advantage to do so—there is little to complain of from their point of view.

I think it may be said that in Chicago the great slaughter house of the world, the animals are extremely well looked after & seem extremely happy up to a few minutes before their deaths; while in the case of cattle & sheep insensibility is almost instantaneous.

There remains the possible brutalising effect upon man, if not upon the consumers, at any rate upon the butchers. I suppose this cannot be denied. But so long as animal food is essential to some men—& I believe it is—& no suitable substitute can be found, I fear this evil must remain.

Coming to the great division of animals for the convenience of man we must take account of the great number of draught animals employed by him.

As a whole their treatment throughout the world is so shocking that it requires but a moment’s thought to condemn it.

In England happily a spirit of humanity has arisen of late years which forbids open illtreatment, but that in a reduced number of cases—still large enough to be intolerable—barbarities are still practised in secret, is attested by the reports of that society which sets itself to unearth them {9}.

I do not propose to detail to you any of these atrocities or of that much larger, viler class which are every day rampant upon the continent. The mind grows sick in contemplation of them, so loathsome (so damnable) do they seem. I suppose every right-minded man in this country is opposed to them absolutely & unqualifyingly. But I do intend to take up a few minutes in dealing with the more general theory of our treatment of draught animals, even where no accepted barbarities are practised. I shall perhaps be pardoned if for a short space I appear to preach a sermon instead of discussing the question.

I take exception to the treatment of the horse.

I do not complain because the life of the bus horse is proverbially short, or of the tram horse unusually severe; provided they are treated well during their life & it is now being found out that it is advantageous as well as humane to do so. But I do complain of the theory which suggests that while it is cruel to illtreat a fine young horse, it is only to be expected that you should illtreat a weary old one. I do complain that a spirit of humanity is not sufficient which forces people to treat kindly their carriage horses so long as they are their own, but does not prevent them from selling them—when too old for respectable carriage work—for some small pittance, to an owner who will work them to death.

Who will attempt seriously to justify the tyrannies which are practised on horses when old or tired. Or again who will justify the cruelties with which they are treated in order to gratify the vanity of their owners or to save a few minutes trouble to their coachmen. I doubt whether anyone could seriously defend the common practice of docking tales† of horses, or of fastening up their heads with a bearing rein & so preventing the free action of their limbs. Personally I believe the bearing rein practically always to be disadvantageous even where not absolutely cruel. And this is attested to by many who have far more right to speak on the question than I have. But however that may be, it no doubt causes a position of discomfort while standing. 2 or 3 months ago I went to Hurlingham to see some ladies’ bicycle race, & I was shocked to find that of the great crowd of fair spectators & competitors the majority had left their carriage horses to stand all the afternoon in a blazing sun with their heads fixed up in a position of extraordinary discomfort. And of these many no doubt were among the number of those who at the pet dog show at Ranelagh said it was so cruel that they were not able to stay all the time with their little dogs, they wanted fanning poor little things.

Yet do not let it be supposed that I would cast blame on the upper classes & not on the lower. Each in their own way is guilty of cruelty.

One thing more on the subject relating to ourselves. Cabhorses are often the object of illtreatment, it is certainly cruel to leave so short a time for a cab drive that it [is] necessary for the driver to “hurry up” all the way to get us to our destination in time.

But enough! There are many cases to be recorded of great kindness; & as I have already noticed a spirit of humane treatment is rapidly progressing over England. I cannot but mention in passing that in Norway the treatment, {10} & perhaps we may look forward to the time when autocars will supplant horse in all heavy work.

This brings us to our fourth division of animals for man’s knowledge; & passing over the animals rapidly killed & preserved for mans instructed† we reach the much vexed question of vivisection. On this question so much has been said that only a few remarks will suffice. There can be no doubt that the conditions & line of conduct suggested above are not fulfilled in this case. Yet we cannot blink our eyes to the fact that a great amount of knowledge, saving incalculable suffering has been acquired by means of this practice. And it is on these ground justification must be based[.] I remember reading in The Descent of Man a description by the great Charles Darwin, of an experiment on a dog in which he tells how at the moment of intense suffering the dog licked the operator’s hand as a sign of affection, & he adds “That man if he had not a heart of stone must have had remorse to his dying [day]”, {12} why remorse if he only did his duty? The question remains unsolved. And those of us who would hesitate to perform such operations ourselves may yet be content to regulate but not forbid those who see in it their means of benefiting the human race.


The wrapper is marked ‘Treatment of animals | Oct 18 1896 | before Camb. Non. Con. Union.’ Lawrence read a paper on evolution (5/26) to the same body (the Cambridge Non-Conformist Union) in 1892. The text is hastily written in parts and includes a number of revisions.

{1} Colon supplied in place of a full stop.

{2} In Memoriam, § LXIII. The printed text has commas at the end of the first three lines and a full stop at the end of the fourth.

{3} Full stop supplied in place of a semi-colon.

{4} The words printed as ‘who can make’ (following the phrasing of an earlier passage) are very indistinct.

{5} See ‘A Dissertation upon Roast Pig’ (Essays of Elia).

{6} Question-mark supplied in place of a semi-colon.

{7} In Memoriam, § LVI. The printed text runs:

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law—
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed—

{8} Full stop supplied in place of a question-mark.

{9} Presumably the RSPCA, founded in 1824.

{10} ‘I cannot … treatment’ appears to be the reading, but the meaning is unclear. Perhaps something is missing after ‘treatment’.

{11} Followed (on the next page) by ‘come to the much vexed question of vivisection.’, which ought to have been deleted when the passage was revised.

{12} Darwin’s exact words were as follows: ‘In the agony of death a dog has been known to caress his master, and every one has heard of the dog suffering under vivisection, who licked the hand of the operator; this man, unless the operation was fully justified by an increase of our knowledge, or unless he had a heart of stone, must have felt remorse to the last hour of his life.’ (The Descent of Man, Chapter III.)

† Sic.

W. A. Wright: Shakespeariana (notes and correspondence)

Notes on Shakespeare by W. Aldis Wright, Sir Philip Perring, Albert Matthews, George Parker, H. P. Stokes, Eduard Thiessen and G. O. Wray. Printed reply by Edward H. Pickersgill to a paper by James Spedding, interleaved with Spedding's MS comments.

Letters (some of those without stated address perhaps originally sent to W. G. Clark) including correspondence from P. A. Daniel, W. G. Fletcher, F. J. Furnivall, R. Markham Hill, C. M. Ingleby; also some draft letters from W. Aldis Wright to various correspondents.

Wright, William Aldis (1831–1914), literary and biblical scholar

Paper by F. W. Lawrence entitled ‘Wages’; read before the Cambridge Economic Society on 5 Nov. 1896



Before commencing to read my paper I should like to express my deep regret that enforced absence from Cambridge prevented me from listening last week to the address of our President, an address which I had particularly wanted to hear.

[There is a space here in the MS.]

The question of wages, which we are met here to discuss to-night is one of the most important in the whole range of political economy; it is one which has perhaps the closest connections with the social wellbeing of any community, especially of our own country at the present time. {1} At the same time—with the possible exception of ‘money’—it is a question one of the most difficult which we are called upon to discuss. It has not been therefore without a feeling of my audacity that I have embarked upon its consideration. I was for a long time in doubt at what point to make my attack upon the question, & even thought of taking a general glance at the whole, attempting to give a resumé of the theories of economists of the past with criticisms passed upon them by those of the present day. But I was convinced that such an attempt must end in superficiality, & I accordingly determined to take a special problem and consider it more in detail.

But even so my scant knowledge of economics & the impossibility of reading up more than a mere fraction of what has been written on the subject, has been to me no imaginary difficulty. For if I should merely attempt to rearrange & classify what others had said, then even where I did not fail to catch the correct meaning, most people would probably prefer the exposition of the original author; while if I attempted to strike out a line of my own, it would probably turn out that I was only covering the ground which some writer whose works I had not seen, had trod; & that I was falling into pitfalls which he had escaped. It was therefore with great fear & trembling that I entered on my task.

One of the principal difficulties which occurs in the question of wages is the element of time; & it is through neglect of this particular element that we are so very likely to make a mistake. Is it too audacious to suggest that it is mainly to neglect of this element that mistakes where they have occurred in the past are due?

I have spoken above of the problem of money; but in this the difficulty {2} is mainly that of grasping the principal problem, & of looking beneath the surface of what apparently exists to see the reality underlying.

In the problem of wages—the past—present &—future, —intervals of time short,—medium—& long all enter with varying importance into the consideration, & until we have learnt to discount the value attached to each nearly correctly we cannot hope to arrive at any useful information. The most common illustrations of this are of course the time necessary for a flow to take place of labour from one occupation to another, or of children to be brought up to a new trade; to these I should like to add one other on the question of personal efficiency. Suppose that it be true that a man working 9 hours a day does more than if he worked 10. This does not mean that having worked 9 hours he will do a negative am[oun]t of work in the 10th, but that after several days or weeks of 9 h[ou]r work his efficiency will be so much increased that he will do more work in the 9 hours than he previously did in 10. Here a man might be working on his own acc[oun]t 10 h[ou]rs a day without ever realising his mistake. Simply because the element of time has entered into the question. It is in some what the same way we may keep a mixture of two gases together existing in the right prop[ortio]n for comb[inatio]n without any action taking place, simply for a want of a lighted match to start the explosion. But I do not wish to press the analogy too far.

So much has been said on the influence of the number of the labouring classes upon the wages they receive; & the results arrived at seem often so unconsciously to be led away by virtue of neglect of the element of time, possibly even by making allowance for it on one side, & omitting it on the other, that I have tried to construct a problem of pop[ulation] in which the element of time in so far as it comes at all shall enter in a new way. This problem is imaginary but not inconceivable. And I think it may serve to illustrate some of the wages problems.

I suppose a country with a population somewhat that of England, an old country in which all the best land at any rate is under cultivation, to suddenly receive an accession from abroad of say some 100,000 labourers with their families; that these new men are average men trained in the various labour occupations of the country skilled & unskilled, in about the same proportions as the old inhabitants & that their general efficiency for labour is about the same; that they bring enough food with them to last at any rate for a few days; finally that the general means of emigration & immigration of the country are not increased. then† the results produced will depend on the answers to the following questions.

1. Has the country foreign trade?

2. Do they bring capital with them?

3. Supposing them all to have come from one country for some non-economic reasons has this country a foreign trade.

Let us first consider the case in which the country to which they have come has no foreign trade, & in which they bring no capital or entrepreneurs.

This question seems to be that raised in substance by the wages fund theory, & therefore it is worthy of some consideration.

I have supposed the country to have no foreign trade so that all food must be grown at home.

The arrival of the new men will affect the society of the country in two ways, firstly through their demand for commodities & secondly through their supply of labour.

They will have an immediate demand for houseroom, & for food so soon as the limited supply which they brought with them has been exhausted; but these demands will only be partially effective because a great many will have nothing in their pockets which to offer for house room & food, until they have set themselves to labour. The first step will be therefore that the new labourers will spread themselves over the country & try & get occupations in their respective trades.

But employers have got all their workshops full, all their machinery looked after, & at present they have seen no increase of effective demand for their commodities; & even if they act with foresight thinking that there probably will soon be an effective demand for them, they will not be able to take on many extra hands all at once.

Accordingly the new labourers will attempt to undersell the old, & the price of wages will begin to fall.

At this cheapened rate the employer will probably find it convenient to employ rather more labourers, but whether he will actually spend more money in wages than before we shall not be able to determine. What we may feel pretty sure however is that he will not necessarily spend just the same, through having put on a shelf a certain number of £s ss & ds to pay his labourers for the week; if he thinks he is going to make more profit by spending more he will be tempted to use up more of his own capital which he might have spent in luxuries, or he will be prepared to offer higher interest for other people to do the same. But it does not follow that he will require more.

[There is a space here in the MS.]

The case will however be different with the producers of the immediate necessaries of life; in these trades even the slightly effective demands of the newcomers will give a stimulus, & as in all trades more workers at lower wages are being employed the effective demand for necessaries will be increased. (Each labourer at a lower wage still offering nearly as much for his necessaries while contracting his demand for luxuries). Accordingly in these trades there will be a great stimulus to greater production.

We may distinguish somewhat between the demand for house room & the demand for food.

In the case of the former, trade is capable of considerable expansion while in the latter this is not possible for some time.

Prices in both will rise.

In the building & allied trades employers will increase their business rapidly; houses partially built will be finished off quickly & new ones begun, old tumbledown houses will be put into repair, while inferior dwellings will be run up at a great pace. Meanwhile in order to do this the employers will have had to take on a number of extra men, probably far more than the proportion of immigrants who knew the business; wages in these trades will therefore rise & this will have the effect of using up some of the surplus men from other trades, more especially from those trades whose employeés† can soon learn building business etc.

Moreover the additional men employed; & the increased wages given in the building trades will cause an extra demand for commodities in other trades, this will act first to check the fall in demand caused by low wages generally, & finally may actually raise the demand.

Somewhat the same process will have been going on with regard to food; but here the possibility of increasing the supply will be much more limited. The holders of food for the time being will raise their prices.

& should food consist almost entirely of such things as grain which cannot be increased during the year, there might almost amount to a famine; still the proportion of newcomers to the old not being very great, the price would probably not get to this level, but would stop below that, when generally everyone had a proportionally small quantity than he had before.

In view of the high prices a great many people will determine to grow additional serials†, & a great many labourers will be set to work for preparing the ground to yield a harvest in the following year.

If we look at the position of affairs after a few months we shall find the people who are doing best are the owners of the food reserve, they will have reaped a distinct rent. The builders also, will be making handsome profits, (& those house-owners who have not been prevented from raising their rents) & will be doing very well; meanwhile agricultural labourers, & those in the brickmaking & building trades will be obtaining increased wages, but owing to the additional cost of food these must be to a certain extent discounted.

Meanwhile in other trades the co-existence of cheap labour (I here suppose the efficiency of the workmen has not deteriorated through insufficient food) & probably increased demand will tend to enlarge the employer’s profits; while the unfortunate labourer with low wages & increased cost of food with {3} suffer all round.

We thus do arrive at a position something like that propounded by the believers in the wage fund theory. The increase of labour has not increased much the power of employment without reducing the wages, so that the total amount spent in wages all the country over may be about the same as before; meanwhile until the next harvest the food supply will be roughly the same, & therefore if this supply was originally just such as was sufficient to carry on till next harvest the average share will be this constant quantity divided by the number of people. This result however will no doubt be largely modified owing to the substitution of things other than serials† for food. Finally the extra zest given to capital will call it forth from all the crannies where it was before lying hidden.

We may sum up by saying that capital & labour being previously balanced the addition of labour on the one side has produced a diversion in favour of capital.

But this result, in its intensity at any rate, will only be of short duration. I proceed to show that the share of labour (per labourer) will soon be very nearly restored to its former level even without the accumulation of more capital. We have seen that with the coming harvest the food supply will be very much increased, & that the price will sink to nearly its former level (because free competitors will have started into the field to grow additional corn) the law of diminishing returns holding good the price will be still rather than higher than before. This fall of price will now allow the effective demand for commodities other than food to increase, & there is little doubt that by this time the whole demand from all the inhabitants (in virtue of their greater numbers) will far exceed what it was before the immigration. The employers therefore will desire to produce more largely, & to do this they will want more labourers; more even in proportion, if their stock of capital has not increased unless the law of increasing returns comes in to intervene. This will now be the labourers’ chance, & owing to competition among employers, he will get back step by step the points which he lost.

How far in the end everyone will be as well off as they were at the beginning, will depend on how far the action of the law of increasing returns in some industries has succeeded in counteracting the effects of that of diminishing returns in others. While if during the period I have been contemplating, perhaps a couple of years, capital has not increased up to the proportion of the additional labour, we must remember that the same amount of c[apital] is spread over more l[abour] & that even with constant returns this will not give results proportional to the amount of labour.

I have thus endeavoured to show that in the case we are considering the wage fund theory might hold roughly though not accurately in the early stages, but would soon cease to hold whether additional capital came to be stored or not.

The fact that it held even roughly at first was due to the arbitrary manner in which the additional labour was introduced, so that effects took place before the country had accomodated† itself to its circumstances. Under the ordinary increase of population we may suppose these temporary effects would hardly exist at all.

I do not want it to be thought that I have constructed this problem to flog the dead horse of the wages fund, my object has been to examine how far there are elements of truth in it with a view to throwing light upon the problem of distribution.

Let us now examine the changes that have to be made in the theory by changes in our premises.

Suppose we remove the restriction that the country has no foreign trade, supposing however that the country from which the labourers have come is limited the effect of this freedom will be that some of the results will be distributed more or less over the whole commercial world.

The price of food will be raised very little throughout, but the building trade in the country will be affected almost as much as before.

Again food being imported there a larger quantity of exports to match them will have to leave the country & the result will be an effective demand for more of the country’s goods which were exported previously & a new demand for some of those not already exported.

The result will be a stimulus to these trades in the country with a smaller stimulus than in the first case to the agricultural interests.

As in the 1st case a higher interest is offered to capital & this will get more capital into the country than there would have been but for the immigration of labour. Either cap[ital] will actually come in from abroad or that which would have gone out under ordinary circumstance will stay at home.

The final results will be much the same as in the preceding case except that the final proportion of labour to capital will be that induced by competition throughout the whole commercial world.

[There is a space here in the MS.]

Let us now make a third case by removing the limitation that the country from which the labourers came had no foreign trade; but assume to avoid complications that the reason for their coming was on non-economic grounds.

This is rather an important consideration & prevents the direct application to problems in existence at the present day; but this clause is necessary, because without it, it would obligatory to consider of the natures of the economic clauses themselves.

The problem now before us differs considerable† from that of the first two cases for now the food supplies which would have fed the labourers in their old country will follow them to the new. And the moveable capital of employers will do the same. Meanwhile those in the old country who created the effective demand for the commodities which the labourers produced, will still create an effective demand, but the manufactures instead of being carried on in their original place will be in the country to which the labourers have come. (The building trade will receive a great stimulus in the coun[try.]) {4}

In this way the effect on general wages in the country of adoption will be slight & transitory, trade will be in a prosperous condition, but in the other country employers will be badly off. And the gain in the new one will not (unless the country of adoption be eminently more suitable than the other) be as great as the loss in the other.

For there will be a net loss to the world of all those buildings & immoveables in the old country which stand idle after their evacuation by the labourers.

[There is a space here in the MS.]

I feel greatly the inadequacy of my investigation.

My object has been to cast a side light on the problem of distribution. So that I hope the discussion which will follow will not be confined to the partic[ular] prob[lem] I have suggested. At the same time if there is any point arising out of this particular problem, it would be perhaps [be best] {5} to get it out of the way before venturing on a wider field.


1 wrapper, 26 sheets, 3 of them folded. The leaves are numbered 1–35. The wrapper is marked ‘Wages. Nov 5. 1896 | Cambridge Economic Society.’

{1} Inserted here is the note ‘(cf Walker 365)’, probably a reference to Francis A. Walker, The Wages Question: A Treatise on Wages and the Wages Class (New York, 1876).

{2} A circle has been drawn around this word, presumably to emphasise it.

{3} A slip for ‘will’.

{4} Followed by ‘(below)’, perhaps an indication that the point should be made later.

{5} Some such words appear to have been omitted here by mistake.

† Sic.

Paper by F. W. Lawrence entitled ‘Gambling’; revised version, read before the Oxford Livingstone Society in June 1896



In prefacing the few remarks that I have to make upon gambling I should like to excuse myself for the egotistical line I have taken up. My excuse must be that gambling is so essentially a subject upon which each one must form an opinion of his own, that in dealing with the matter, I have thought it best to speak for myself & myself alone.

I do not pretend to any deep knowledge of the subject & my aim would be to give rise to fruitful discussion, rather than to deliver a didactic discourse.

It seems to me that there are two questions raised, the first is, “Is gambling foolish? The second is “Is gambling immoral?” These two questions I believe to be almost entirely distinct & I shall therefore make an attempt to treat of them quite separately. In the first place then[,] Is Gambling foolish?

Now gambling is of two kinds which we may call fair gambling, & unfair gambling. In the first all persons taking part have an equal chance, & consequently it is only pure luck (which may be combined with more or less skill) which renders one man a winner and another a loser. Of this kind is gambling at cards or betting on horses between men of equal standing. In unfair gambling one or more of those concerned is allowed an extra chance to pay him or them for the trouble & expense of keeping up the table or whatever is necessary for the game. Of this kind may be cited gambling at Monte Carlo or betting with a Bookmaker; & examples might be multiplied without end.

As one example of the former case let us take a man of fairly large means playing for small points (which are to him a mere bagatelle) at such games as whist or Nap. Here no question (as far as he is concerned) save that of a very slight increase or diminution in his income is at stake, & if he is of about equal intellectual ability to those with whom he plays, in the long run he will be about level; if he is more scientific he will very likely gain a little; while if the others are sharper than he is, he will no doubt lose a trifle; but even on this last supposition, we can hardly blame him (on our present point of worldly foolishness) if he considers that the added enjoyment he obtains from the game, is quite worth the trifling expenditure that it costs him.

But the question becomes entirely different as the value of the stake increases & approaches the man’s own means. To take an extreme case: Suppose a man whose total wealth is £100 to enter upon an even bet (or gambling transaction) of £100. Though the gamble is apparently a fair one, will he really gain as much if he wins as he will lose if he is obliged to pay? Though I can conceive of cases to the contrary, I should say emphatically no in general. A man pos[s]essing £200 is so to speak more well to do than the man who has only £100; but both are closely allied to one another compared with the man who has not a penny in the world. But the stake need not be exactly equal in amount to the man’s total pos[s]ession, if it [is] slightly less, we have only to contrast, say, the position of the man with 180, 100 or 20£ to see the truth of the statement; while if the man has to borrow to pay if he loses, the propn is still more evident. {1}

I said however that I could conceive of cases to the contrary. I will endeavour to illustrate them. Suppose a man having £200 ready money owes his creditors £300. An even bet of £200 is offered him. Then whether he refuses to bet, – or bets & loses – he still will be a bankrupt, the only difference being that in the one case he will pay his creditors 13/4 in the pound & in the other case 0; while if he bets & wins, he will clear off all his debts & have a 100 in hand. Clearly then from a worldly point of view he does wisely in taking the bet. {2}

Or again suppose a man to have some special object for his money, failing which it will be of little use to him; suppose say he wants £400 for the special object & has only £200 at his command, it may be worth his while to risk losing all by gambling on an even 200.

So far we have been considering what I have called fair gambling. When we come to unfair gambling it may be worth while to cast a glance at what is popularly known as the ‘mounting up’ of chances. This is illustrated in a great many ways; take for example a game at Lawn Tennis between two nearly equal players. The chance that the one, who is slightly the better of the two, will win any particular stroke, is not very much greater than even, & in fact he will only win a few more strokes than the other in the long run; yet his proportion of games will be very much larger & he will probably win nearly every set. This kind of thing is especially applicable to what I have called unfair gambling. To take a very simple case. A man offers to toss you a penny 200 times, & every time it comes down heads, he will give a penny to you. The fair price for the 200 tosses is evidently 100d but for his trouble etc he asks 5d extra, or 105d altogether; even supposing him to toss fairly it may be shown that the chance is more than 4 to 1 that you will lose.

In such a way as this the profit of the Bookmaker or sharp, is assured, even if he play fair, while the dupe who loses money has no one but himself to blame.

To sum up then: gambling in general as people go in for it, is essentially foolish, but exceptional cases arise in the following; 1st where a man is only staking what to him is an insignificant sum, & considers that even a certain small loss is worth the pleasure it affords him, & 2ndly where a man wishes to reach up to a certain sum below which his money is of no use to him.

[There is a space here in the MS.]

I hope I shall be pardoned for having thus dealt as† some length with what may be called the secular or worldly view of the case. No doubt the positions which I have set forth & the opinions which I have expressed are well known to all & accord more or less closely with their own views on the case, but I have thought it necessary to state them at the outset in order that there might be no confusion as to the issue, between the foolishness of gambling & the question of its morality.

I think I may claim to have established more or less definitely that gambling is in general foolish, but not by any means always so. I now turn to the second question:— Is gambling always immoral.

Seeing the great devastation caused by gambling, the homes that it has ruined, the characters it has wrecked, an attempt has often been made to lay down general principles upon which gambling may be condemned.

I am afraid good people are often so eager to do this, that they introduce by special pleading, new principles for the purpose,—principles which if really sound would condemn a great many other things beside g[ambling], but which often in reality are themselves hopelessly untrue.

With this in mind I have endeavoured to take a brief for the gambler as against the objections which are often set forth, & having thus to my own satisfaction demolished them where futile, I have tried to place on firm ground accusations against him, not without fear that some persons more ingenious than myself will be able to sweep these also away.

Thus it has been suggested as an objection to gambling that money does not belong to the possessor but is his only in trust; that it is not his to spend as he will, or to throw away at will. A man may make answer, do you consider the indulgence in any luxury immoral? G[ambling] is my luxury; if I spend £50 a year on g[ambling]; you spend £50 a year more than I do upon your clothes & your meals your amusements & your luxuries; you cannot call me immoral & not yourself because I spend my money upon what amuses me, & would not amuse you, & you spend it upon what pleases you but would not please me. Moreover you use your money in such a way as to take up the time of the world’s workers for your selfish convenience; my money is merely handed on to some one else who will no doubt make as good use of it as I should have done.

Or do we suggest that the wrong consists in rich men to whom the stake is as nothing playing with (& may-be taking money from) those who can ill afford to lose it. Many a man may make answer ‘Though I know this is an existing evil, yet for my own part I never play for stakes with anyone unless I feel sure he can afford to pay them.

Do we suggest that gambling is immoral because men waste their time upon it which should have been devoted to other things, answer may be made, that this is by no means always the case, & in addition the same objection may be raised against other games & pastimes; yet surely no one would venture to suggest that say cricket was in general immoral for the same reason.

Do we suggest that gambling is immoral because the object of the gambler is to “score off” someone else & take money from him without having done any work for which it is a payment. (This is substantially the line of argument which Dr Martineau takes up, in a letter on the subject which was kindly lent to me by a friend; & he adds that the destruction of character caused by attempting to satisfy this desire of the gambler is the root of the evil of gambling.) {3}

To this the man whom we may call the moral gambler makes answer: If it is the scoring off some one else in the abstract you object to, is that not the object of every game that is played; but if it is the taking of money from him that you consider wrong; how about the great majority of commercial transactions; it is impossible for the buyer or seller to consider exactly whether he is only making just a fair profit; & yet you would not call him in general immoral. But in the case of gambling the loser does it with his eyes open. I may surely make a present to a friend of £50, or he may make a similar one to me, there can be nothing wrong in that; yet if I like to suggest to him that one or other of us shall make a present to the other under certain conditions you call that immoral.

I am not quite sure how far this answer is satisfactory. It has been made by separating from one another the 2 clauses which form part of the indictment. It may be true that there is nothing wrong about wishing to beat another man, & nothing wrong in taking money from him according to contract under his good pleasure; & yet at the same time it may be wrong to desire so to beat him as to take money from him. I do not feel quite competent to decide this question. And while some may regard it as the crux of the whole matter, I prefer to consider the question from other aspects.

I have attempted so far to exhaust all the strictly a priori arguments against gambling, & with the exception of the doubtful case of the last argument, so far as I can see, none of them have remained unanswered; & tho’ no doubt a great many gamblers would be convicted on one or other of the charges, there will still be a large body of what we may call ‘petty gamblers’ who will consider perhaps justly that they remain uncondemned.

Before coming to another point of view, we may sum up the results at which we have arrived in one test case. Suppose there was an isolated society in which petty gambling took place, ie gambling in which the sums staked were always so small there was never any chance of the real income of any individual being seriously affected, & suppose that a guarantee existed that these limits never would or could be surpassed. Would you be prepared to condemn them?

It is a question it seems to me upon which there might well be a difference of opinion, but for my own part taking up the line which I have endeavoured to put forward, I should be unwilling to pass a condemnation.

This is no doubt the position which would be claimed by those in the midst of our universities, who habitually play with their friends such games as whist for 3d points & Nap for ½d points. They would claim that they practically fulfilled the conditions of the test case. But it is a position which I for one would deny to them.

And now I come to the grounds upon which I would be prepared to take my own stand; & in doing so I hope I shall not meet with the fate of Herodotus, who in discussing the cause of the rise of the Nile in summer first demolishes all the really reasonable suggestions which had been put forward, & then proceeds to give his own explanation the only one which is hopelessly absurd. {4]

My position then is briefly as follows. We do not live to ourselves alone; & though it is impossible for us in every individual action to weigh thoroughly the effect it may have as an example to others, in addition to all the other results; yet in the case of a continued line of action, this task is quite possible, & it is incumbent upon us to perform it.

I propose therefore to consider whether gambling is to be condemned on the ground of example & ulterior results, ie as some people have said on ‘a posteriori grounds.

In order to do this I have taken the position in an analogous case & endeavoured to classify the various opinions which may be held on it. This problem is the drink question. I am particularly anxious that in so doing I should not divert the discussion of gambling to this very vexed subject. And I have accordingly not even hinted at the conclusion at which I arrive on the latter. But I think it is often very useful to transfer our problems to analogous questions, because not only does it give us considerable light on those subjects which we are discussing, but often it enables us to understand the position of those who differ from us in one subject, by comparing their view in it, with that which we ourselves hold in some analogous subject.

As far as I can judge there are roughly 5 main different positions which may be taken up on the question of drinking.

1st That all drinking of alcoholic liquors is bad (except perhaps medicinally) & that in consequence as soon as men can overcome their lust for it & give up the better.

2nd That drinking them as a beverage is never good, but may not do harm unless carried to excess; nevertheless even those who drink in moderation, should give it up seeing they gain no actual good from it in order that they may set a good example to others.

3rd That drinking may be beneficial to some in moderation; but even so it is better for all to give it up; in order that they may not be a stumbling block to others.

4th that if a man enjoys drinking & it does him no harm, he is not bound to consider the effect on others.

5th that a moderate amount of drink is actually beneficial to a large number of people, & that they should not therefore in the majority of cases give it up; because it causes evil when carried to excess; any more than we should give up the use of fire, because it often does great damage.

These views differ some in the statement of the facts of the case, others in the opinions derived from them. I have set them down, not to argue on them, but to compare them with the views on gambling.

All these views may be held on gambling & as a matter of fact on any great question of the day.

Our final judgment upon gambling will depend upon which of the 5 positions we are prepared to take up with regard to it; & as time presses I will not further delay the discussion by argueing† them out in detail; but I will only add that for my own part I take up with regard to gambling what I have denoted as the 2nd point of view viz that it is never beneficial, but may not do harm in a great many cases; nevertheless even in these cases it should be given up in order that a bad example may not be set to others, who carrying it out in a different way turn it into an absolute evil.

Accordingly I would maintain that gambling is absolutely immoral even to the extent of 3d points at whist or ½d points at Nap. {5}

In mitigation of this I may point out that as morality is to a certain extent relative, extremely anomalous cases might occur in which it might be justified not only as not immoral but even as just & right.

And further I merely set forth my own position on a case which everyone must consider for himself.

I should like to add one remark as a kind of footnote.

There is a specific case which is often quoted as though it stood or fell with gambling. It is the case of Insurance companies.

Now in the first place, judging gambling as I have endeavoured to do, on a posteriori grounds, it would not be special pleading to maintain that Insurance Cos being obviously good did not stand condemned with gambling.

But I would contend that Insurance Cos are not gambling at all, but rather the reverse of it.

All life must inevitably be more or less a game of chance played with varying amounts of skill against nature. The man who insures is to a large extent destroying the chance element in nature so far as he is concerned.

And the Insurance Co are not gambling 1st because their gain is not another’s lost†, & 2nd because they are merely filling the position of the risk takers. A position which must be filled by some [one.]


The conclusion of the paper is wanting, but it seems likely that not very much is missing, possibly only the word supplied. The wrapper is marked ‘Gambling | Revised to read before Oxford Livingstone Society June 1896’. The Livingstone Society at Oxford was connected with Mansfield College, which was at that time a mainly Congregationalist institution not fully incorporated in the University. The Society’s minute books for the period from 1893 to 1930 are preserved at the college.

{1} Below this is written ‘1/10 – 1/10’ and on the facing page (i.e. the back of the preceding sheet) ‘A man twice bets a 1/10 of his income.’ The meaning of these rough notes is not clear.

{2} The following rough note is inserted here: ‘Known as the aphorism “A debtor always plunges”’.

{3} The reference is probably to the letter quoted in James Drummond and C. B. Upton, The Life and Letters of James Martineau (1902), ii. 174–5, as follows:

‘Gambling, I suppose, has its inner source in the competitive passion, or love of superiority, with the addition, distinguishing it from chess or cricket, of the love of gain. The former is irreproachable, where both parties wish to settle their relations by a trial of skill. The latter is always mean and base, where the gain to oneself is simply loss to another. The consent of that other, no doubt, distinguishes the act from thieving; but when you remember that he would not have consented, except in the hope of making you the loser, the whole bargain assumes an ignoble character. Then in the rational estimate of consequences the practice of gambling surely has no less demerit. The moment the simple excitement of competition of skill becomes insufficient without the money stake, the taint of moral character, the contented gain at others' expense, has set in ; and that the stake is 2d, instead of £20 makes no more moral difference than there is between a theft of 2d, and a theft of £20. The mischiefs, of course, increase enormously with high play. But the immorality does not wait to begin with the swollen amount, so as to be a mere question of degree. There are many cases of morals, no doubt, where the division between right and wrong lies somewhere along a line of degree,—e. g. in the ethics of appetite. But this is always where the primitive impulse has itself a blameless beginning and defined function, beyond which excess sets in and runs into ever deeper guilt. In gambling the initial principle—gain by another's loss—is vicious and vitiating.’

A footnote records that ‘The printed copy of this letter which has been placed in my [i.e. Drummond’s] hands contains no indication of time or occasion when it was written, except that it seems to belong to the year 1891, and was composed in reply to a question addressed to him.’

{4} Herodotus, Book II, § 28.

{5} Inserted here is this rough note: ‘(& I would point out that the case of petty gambling in the U[niversity] is not the test case cited above 1st because they are not an isolated com[munity] & 2nd after effect’.

† Sic.

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