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Letter from Joseph Phillips to Alfred Lawrence

11 Brighton Terrace, Icknield Street West, Birmingham.—Has returned to Birmingham with his sister after an absence connected with some sad news. Is pleased that Lawrence has begun doing something. Discusses the progress of work on the Newark bridge and the arrangements at the works. Henderson is ill.

(Black-edged paper.)



11 Brighton Terrace | Icknield St. West | Birmingham
1st. Oct. 1851

My dear Lawrence,

I have your kind note of the 15th. Ult. before me & feel quite ashamed of my neglect, but I have had so much to do & think of these last few Weeks, I can scarcely realize the time which has elapsed.—I returned here on the Monday Night with my Sister by the Mail Train,—just a week after I had first heard the sad news.—My reason for coming back so soon was because I knew my presence was wanted at the Works,—& Mr. Henderson had behaved so kindly in the matter, I did not like to appear taking any advantage.—The change of Air seems to have done my Sister much good,—although she is necessarily very lonely. I however persuaded her yesterday to pay a visit to some Friends who reside at Handsworth, & were very anxious to see her.—I think a little society every-way beneficial,—as my eldest Sister Mrs. S— is very far from well, I fear my Sister’s visit here must be short, her return to Town is already besought.

I intend if possible to take her up myself as I wish to pass a day or two in Town.—

I am very glad to hear you have commenced doing something, although you speak so vaguely I have but little information on the subject,—it is too bad of you to keep one in such suspense.—Why not tell me where & what you are building.—I suppose it will all come in time.

So you see your friend H. G. is at last a liveryman. I have heard nothing of yourself or how you came off—or rather whether you ventured to stand the test.

The Newark Bridge is getting on most dreadfully slow,—& I do not think it will leave our Works for another 3 Months.—There is great difficulty in rolling some [of] {1} the Links for it,—it is still under my entire Charge & I have been at Newark several times setting out Foundations, & arranging the plans & contract for the staging.—

I get on very well with Mr. Henderson, & am not any way mixed with the draughtsmen,—who at this place are a very seedy lot, & for the most part badly paid, & bullied dreadfully they never see Henderson,—but have their orders, through an old Chap who keeps the drawings.—I on the contrary am privileged to enter his rooms when I have occasion, receive all my instructions direct, & am now generally employed, getting out rough sketches & designs under him,—& which the draughtsmen have afterwards to make drawings of.—

When I add to this, that my Salary has been raised as promised & all my back Money paid,—you will suppose I have nothing much to complain of at present,—indeed I am myself quite amazed at my good fortune, when I contrast the treatment I have received with many of those around.—

You will of course recollect old Mowatt of “savage” memory—if I recollect aright he left our Works because of his temper.—Well I should say his temper & his conceit has been the ruin of him do you know that Chap positively got “Henderson” his situation at these Works first,—& now is himself there at the rate of 25s– per Week,—working from 8 oclock in the Morning till 7 at Night, if this time is not made it is all deducted from the said money.

The Chap is as good a draughtsman as ever, but he drinks occasionally, & is fearfully obstinate & altogether has fallen irretrievably he is now also quite a Misanthrope & inveighs with stern energy against such “upstarts” as myself for instance, or in fact with anybody who is happy & contented or speaks a good word of Henderson or gets more tin than him.

For the bye speaking of Mr. H.—I am sorry to tell you his health is very precarious & at times he appears in great pain.—Yet such is his indomitable spirit he will not give up working, for instance,—the other night he was so ill whilst conversing with me he was obliged to send for his Carriage & go home, abt 4 oclock in the afternoon,—saying he would finish the matter with me the next Morning.—Judge my surprise in half an hour to receive a summons to go to his house upon arriving there,—he had just had a warm bath, & was lying on the sofa—& he kept me talking on several matters for 2 hours,—before he would go to bed.—

I fear to have bored you a great deal by the egotism I seem to have displayed in writing so much abt myself—really I do not mean it,—& it is but an apology for a better subject. Should you deem me able to afford you any information you might require I think you will do me the justice to beleive†,—it would confer the greatest pleasure on me to be able to assist in anything whatever.—

Hoping to hear from you soon,—& with my kind regards to your family,

Believe me as ever,

Yrs. Faithfully
Joseph Phillips


{1} Omitted by mistake.

† 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.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via Bombay, Mangalore, Kundapur, Kota, Purdur (and other centres in South Canara), Mangalore, Nellore, Madras, Tuticorin, Colombo, Kandy, and Colombo.

(A continuation of 5/30b. Identified in the first sentence as ‘an encyclical … the third of the series’. The letter was begun some time between 3 and 10 April, and finished on the 30th.)



Once more I start to write an encyclical; this the third of the series, & the last which I shall write about India. At the present moment {1} I am at Katpadi Railway station where I was deposited soon after 3 A.M. Finding no suitable place to go to bed again, & not feeling very sleepy I had some tea & toast (a very early chota hazri) & started to take a little exercise up & down the platform watching the full moon getting lower & lower down, & finally the dawn of day & the rising of the sun just before 6 o’clock. Now I have an hour or two to spare before I shall have breakfast & then at 9.40 my train starts to carry me to Nellore. Probably it would amuse you if you could see me sitting here right out on the platform (on the shady side) in my deck chair writing on a little stool, with the ubiquitous native hanging about all round. Did I ever tell you how the native goes by train? He takes his rug & his cooking pot, & his few rupees tied up in the ends of his turban, & gets to the station; perhaps there is a train just gone, perhaps there will be one going soon, but in that case very likely he misses it by not getting (or not being able to get) his ticket in time; do you think he cares? Not a bit of it. He just sits him down, & perhaps rolls himself up in his rug and goes to sleep; later on when he feels inclined he buys a little food & cooks it & eats it, then he goes to sleep again; he probably won’t get a train for 12 hours very likely not for 24, but it doesn’t make any difference; he is just as happy at the Railway Station as anywhere else, perhaps happier because he has nothing to think about & nothing to do. So it comes about that whatever time of the day or night you arrive at a Railway Station you will probably see a number of bolster like objects strewn about some on the platform some in the sort of native waiting room. On closer inspection these objects turn out to be natives wrapt up head & all in their sheet or blanket. Shall I tell you how the European goes by train? Even he has probably to arrive ½ an hour beforehand to take the tickets & get his luggage booked, unless he allows his boy to do this. In the meanwhile his servants have come with all his luggage brought by coolies or on a bullock cart. One or two big things are very likely booked & sent in the van, the rest are poured pall mall into the carriage under the directions of the boy. The typical Mrs Brown or whoever it is that is jeered at it in England for having big box, little box, .… brown paper parcel, travels quite free handed compared with the ordinary European in India. The first class railway carriage here is generally something like the sleeping carriages of GNR {2} at home, & each compartment can sleep 4 at a pinch (upper & lower berths); but you generally consider yourselves a bit aggrieved if you have to sit more than 2 even during the day for any distance. (Here a native barber has come & shaved me just where I sit) Yesterday coming from Calicut we were 3; every available space under the seats was filled up (& they are very broad) all the space between the seats, in addition to packages on the seats & in the racks; I should think in all they must have got well into the thirties at any rate; every man having 1 or 2 bundles of rugs, one or two bags 2 or 3 despatch boxes, umbrellas, tiffin baskets, bundle of hats (this last may surprise you, my boy always insists on carrying all mine—I don’t include top hat—roll[e]d up in a pillow case) etc etc etc. I used to know at one time how many I had, but I have given that up long ago; I think my boy’s motto must be “Divide et Impera”. I calc’late he will be somewhat surprised when I insist on compressing them well within the single digit before I start for Australia.

While I am on the subject of trains there are two or three things more I want to mention: 1stly most of the lines here are broad gauges 5ft 6in (4-8½ at home) so that there is plenty of room; a few however including the line to Nellore are narrow gauge (metre). Another rather curious thing is that even the main lines (except in one or two places) are only single line & are run almost entirely on the staff system or a modification of it. Generally speaking there is only one fast train in the day along a line each way, & that is the mail. The others are immeasurably slow in comparison, so much so that unless you are only going a short distance you will generally get sooner to your destination by waiting for the mail of the following day. Moreover as distances are long, the mail must pass through many stations at night, thus frequently in travelling you are compelled to start or arrive in the middle of your night’s rest.

The fast mails go 20 to 30 miles an hour[,] stops included; & where there are no fast trains one perhaps covers 10 or 15; so to-day though it is only about 150 miles from here to Nellore I dont† arrive till 8.30 P.M. The stops for meals are definite & marked, the guard or station master wires on how many dinners etc will be required, & when you get out you find all the 1st class passengers assembling in the refreshment room. I think it is time to go & have my breakfast now, & as I am rather hungry perhaps you will excuse my running away to take it! {3}

I write now from Nellore—my 12 hour journey by narrow gauge proved as you may imagine somewhat tedious especially as in the middle of the day it got extremely hot; still I had all the carriage to myself so I did not do so badly.

Before giving you any more general descriptions I will now try & fill up with a few pictures the gap which there is between the date of my writing my last encyclical, & the present.

I think I told you that there were two ways of getting down from Bombay to Mangalore, one by the B.I {4} boat which goes straight, & the other by the little Shepherd steamers {5} which stop at some dozen ports along the coast; the former is in every way superior, but is very uncertain as to time. And so it came about that as Booty was particular as to time when I should reach him, I came to the conclusion at the last minute that I must go by Shepherd {6}. Certainly these boats are very so so but perhaps hardly quite so terrible as the Anglo Indian seems inclined to make them out; nevertheless inundated with natives, & full of cockroaches. Anglo Indians take their servants with them who cook their food for them, but as my boy is not a cook I had to make special arrangements with the Co[mpan]y (who do not as a rule provide anything) to supply me with meals.

[26 Feb.] Reached Marmagoa† Saturday afternoon & fell in with a man who drove me out to Vasco da Gama in a bullock dummy & subsequently gave me dinner before the boat started on again southwards. From there we stopped at all the little ports on the way; but we did not go along side & there was not time to get off.

[27 Feb.] Sunday afternoon I reached Kundapur which is in the South Canara district & [28 Feb.] early next morning we anchored outside the bar at Mangalore. Leaving my Boy with my luggage on board, as I had heard from Booty that he proposed going back to Kundapur in the boat that evening, I went ashore in the launch. I say “went ashore” but in reality I was landed first upon an island where I was disinfected from any chance of carrying plague by being sprinkled with 3 drops of very dilute corrosive sublimate!! After this I was allowed to sail accross† to the mainland, & there found a brougham drawn by two bullocks which conveyed me up to its master’s bungalow—the home of P A Booty.

I hadn’t seen Percy for 2½ years, but he did not seem very much changed, a little thinner perhaps.

“My dear fellow what induced you to put on a linen shirt & a collar; we never do that here except at a dinner party; let me lend you a tennis shirt.”

No sooner said than done; & never again was I so misguided in a district which is the wettest & stickiest I was ever introduced to.

But I have not told you what a pleasure it was to see again Mrs P. A. Booty & to be introduced to the first crowd baby. Query:—am I now Great Grandpapa? Answer:—No: because Percy was always known as “PA”. Unlike the Jerome K Jeromian infant “lots of hair”. “More hair than poor Grandpa haven’t you baby?”

So a pleasant few hours; & then Percy & I are carried away to the Shepherd steamer. Percy regards 3 days on the boat {7} as the 8th wonder of the world. It also tickles him to see me. For my own part, [I am] getting used to finding friends scattered about the vast peninsular.

The Anglo Indian takes beds chairs, table, & servants on board who provide meals. For the Indian cook can cook anywhere; one frying pan is all he wants & will serve you up a dinner of 6 courses. Moreover you can have it at any time. The correct hour is always 8; but if you call out at 6.30, 7, 7.30, 8, 8.30[,] 9.0, 9.30, 10.0 “Boy bring dinner”. Dinner comes.

And so we dine & I am initiated into the mysteries of picquet, sleep on deck, have chota hazri & [1 Mar.] reach Kundapur. Fine bungalow, coming right down to the water’s edge, magnificent view across the backwater—Booty’s head quarters. Sing the glory of the cocoanut palm; all the banks & all the islands of all the rivers of S. Canara are cocoanut palms, cocoanut palms, cocoanut palms. You look North & you see cocoanut palms, you look South & you see cocoanut palms you look East & you see cocoanut palms you look West & you see cocoanut palms; Mangalore is cocoanut palms. Great feathery fans of green resting on brown trunks. This is South Canara.

I have said Kundapur is Booty’s head quarters, but no other Europeans live there; so his wife stays at Mangalore when he goes out into camp. Mangalore is chief station of district, & head quarters of Collector & assistant Collector, but Booty is head assistant Collector & has head quarters of his own[;] he is also head assistant magistrate—the two things always go together—unlike Campbell & Adie who being a year junior are only assistant collectors & assistant magistrates. By the way, though, I should say that this is only an “acting” appointment of Booty’s; but you will find out when you have been in India some time that people are very rarely what they seem, they are only “acting”. Do not read a double entendre!

A ride in the morning, Booty tries cases, lawn tennis, dinner, picquet & bed; so a few days at Kundapur. [5 Mar.] Then out into camp {8}.

Now as “going into camp” is a thing which nearly all Government servants out here, have to do for a large part of their time, perhaps a few words in explanation may not be amiss.

In the first place you will observe that whether a man is in the ICS, is “forest officer”, or “policeman” or a multitude of other things his work will range over a considerable area, & though he will have a head quarters at a station, if his work is to be properly done he will frequently have to spend days & nights (for transit is slow) away from that station. No doubt some men might be inclined to shirk outside work & stay in a sociable station as long as possible. To prevent this there are a† certain regulations. In the first place ICS men are obliged to spend I believe at least 5 months out of a year in camp, & I think most other services have a similar rule. Moreover when out in camp a man draws T.A (Travelling Allowance), so many rupees a day according to his position, or if he “marches” more than 20 miles in the day so much per mile.

You will at once perceive that this is reasonable because he has to keep up his establishment at head quarters as well as that which he takes with him & the object is to encourage rather than discourage going out into camp. A man is “out in camp” whenever he is away from his head quarters, whether he is stopping at a friend’s bungalow, in a “traveller’s bungalow”, or actually under canvas.

Now get out of your head all such things as hotels, inns, restaurants, & general shops, & you will see that it is necessary to carry your whole house about with you;—tents, tables, chairs, beds, bedding, cooking utensils, bread, butter, biscuits, jam, soda water & all the required European stores to say nothing of your servants themselves & your personal luggage. Chickens, rice, & a few similar things you will be able to obtain wherever you go.

The sum total of all the things you have to carry about with you is known down in these parts as your “Saman”. The only method of carrying saman is by bullock cart & as the average rate of progression by one of these is 2 miles an hour, you will see at once that you will not be able to cover any great distance in a day, & further that one part of your saman must precede & another follow you.

If you can avoid it you do not travel in the middle of the day, so that marches are of 2 kinds[,] morning marches & evening marches.

Booty is to do “Jamabundy” {9} in the Udipi taluk (a taluk is something like a county). So after breakfast his boy & his cook start off with one bandy (cart) containing inter alia:—beds & bedding table & chairs, cooking utensils & most of European stores, to go to Kota about 7 miles off. Thither after tea drive Percy & I in dog cart, & after a bit we dine, play picquet & go to bed. In the meantime my boy & Booty’s Peons arrive with the rest of the Saman in another cart.

In most places in S. Canara there is a traveller’s bungalow, looked after by a caretaker, & possibly containing some furniture; at Kota it is out of repair, so Booty has previously had tents sent on. In addition to all this, Booty’s “Office” ie his Office Clerks, & his official books, table etc, etc all follow him about from place; his second sais {10} has brought his second horse; one of his Peons (these are official servants) has brought my bicycle.

After dinner Cook & boy start on again 8 miles to Bremarwaer {11} crossing a ferry on the way, & [6 Mar.] Booty & I proceed in the morning in dog cart, & stay there all day. Next march is to be 15 miles into Purdur {12} where is first centre for Jamabundy. We settle to drive first half, & ride, Percy on horse, self on bike, the second half.

[7 Mar.] We make an early start & at the end of 7 miles find Booty’s horse & my bicycle awaiting us; & so we ride on together till within 2 or 3 miles of Purdur, & then I determine to ride on ahead to get my bath before Booty turns up. So I go on & at the end of another mile I notice a man on in front with a horn, & I gradually become aware that he is making a point of keeping in front of me; every now & then he turns round, sees me & hastens on blowing the horn.

At last I pass him & come upon a conclave of villages holding up a triumphal arch for me to pass under; the Tasseldar {13} is at their head; all respectfully salaam, the tom toms beat the native musicians play their strange harmonies; & so with every sign of reverent appreciation accompanying me I pass onwards to the bungalow clad in blue cycling shorts & socks, a flannel shirt & a topi.

At the time, I supposed they had mistaken me for the Head Assistant Collector for of course they did it all over again when he turned up; but I am not so certain about it now, for knowing that I was with him they could hardly have done less.

In this land a white face always commands respect, & it has often seemed odd to me—who am not really connected in any way with the Raj—that as I passed along the road on my bicycle the native[s] should bow down before me on all sides. But these things are beginning to cease to surprise me.

A few words about clothing. All European clothing is, of course, utterly different from native costumes, & accordingly I don’t suppose one set of clothes appears to the native more odd or more proper than any other.

I suppose it is quite likely that certain fond people at home imagine that the magistrate of a district turns up to his court in a top hat & black coat or at least in a linen shirt & a respectable suit of clothes, whereas as a matter of fact he wears just what he commentably well pleases, which will probably mean a tennis shirt & a suit which a self respecting artisan might think twice before putting on.

Booty has come & we have had Chota. This brings me to say that on the subject of meals of which I wrote in my first encyclical I have yet another variation to give which prevails in S. Canara viz:—“Early tea” (tea & toast) on rising say at 6.30. Chota hazri (Buttered eggs, toast marmalade etc with coffee) after the morning’s exercise say at 9 o’c; Breakfast—a substantial meal—at 12 with wet {14} drinks—you will understand this ridiculous remark—tea at 5 & dinner at 8. “What a lot to eat in a day in a hot climate” You† probably say, & so it is; personally I always used to try to cut down the amount of breakfast.

“Jamabundy”!—spelt up here Jamabandy according to the prevalent method of spelling—“what on earth is that?” {15} Well I wasn’t in much better position myself, for when I had asked about it, people had talked in a vague sort of way about revenue—land settlement—potehls {16}—shanbhogues {17}. And so this afternoon we were to start doing Jamabundy; I think there is a sort of fascination about the word & I will talk about nothing for a little in order to give you time to conjure up all sorts of weird things in connection with it, to piece together all the odd assortment of ideas which you have got in connection with the duties of the collector of a district. Go to sleep & dream about it—Jam—a—bundy!


[8 Mar.] Wake up! It is time to go down to the temple square where Jamabundy is to be held! Arrived: a crowd of comparatively well dressed natives sitting inside, & of worse dressed waiting outside having badges on; we go inside & walk to the end where there are 3 chairs, 2 for us, & one for the Tasseldar (the head of the taluk), the others squatting as is their wont on the floor. Who are these? Are these the potehls & the shanbhogues respectively? No the potehls & shanbhogues are all inside. Those Outside† are the Ugranis {18}. What is an Ugrani?

To-day we only do preliminary work; vague talk about things I do not understand “Stitiberries” or something of that sort, & occasionally a shanbhogue or a potehl comes up to make explanations; the next afternoon we set to work to go through the papers; & I gradually find out what it is all about. The potehl is the headman of the village & it is his business to collect the land revenue. I believe all the land in the Madras Presidency belongs to the government & everyone pays rent for what they have. The potehl makes out a return, showing a few general statistics;—the number of people in the village, the revenue due, the number of people unvaccinated, of cattle killed by wild beasts etc etc. Then several of these reports go together, & the shanbhogue who is an accountant attends to the accounts. For each set of villages Booty has the shanbhogue, the potehls & the Ugranis who are their official servants up before him, sees whether they are fit for their work, & puts a few questions to them connected with the reports, & in fact general[ly] “inspects”.

Nothing very romantic! But if you like, you can say that these people are the fingers of the great Raj—meaning thereby the English Government—of which the Indian Civil Servants are the hands. It is by these people that the rural villagers who perhaps have never seen the white man, come ultimately in contact with his rule. And Jamabundy reduced to its elements is the inspection of revenue collecting, & it is in his capacity of revenue collector that the chief ICS man in a district is known as The Collector, while at the same time he is Head Magistrate, & President of Taluk boards.

One day the Tasseldar said that there was a special festival on at the temple with a temple play, & would we come down & see it; Booty said that the last time he had been to see one of these performances, he had not got back till daylight; the Tasseldar said that if it would please his honour to come, he would see that it began early. So after dinner about 9.30 we saw coming up the hill a torchlight procession, who—having waited till we had finished the particular partie of picquet in which we were engaged—conducted us down to the back of the temple, where there was a sort of broad pathway lined on both sides by rows of spectators, & at the end 3 or 4 chairs for ourselves, & for the more important of the natives who sat down on being so requested by the head assistant collector.

Our position may be perhaps call[e]d the Royal Box, the broad pathway was the stage, & for the footlights, a native on either hand held out a metal pan of oil in which floated a wick. Between us & the “stage” a vase of tapers glowed with odoriferous light, over our heads swung the punkah, strange figures of natives squatted all around among the artificially planted palms, & slowly as the strange play proceeded, ebbed away the hours of night.

The play was an old mythological story of battle, & nearly all the characters were warriors, but such women as there were were represented by boys. Of course there was little or none of what we understand by acting, & there was something more of the pantomime than of the drama. Tom tom[,] tom tom, tom tom, went on all the time & all the warriors danced. You know how excited a boy gets—a boy of 10 or 12 say—when he gets an unexpected holiday or something of the sort, how he jumps up turns round, dances about; so danced these warriors to the sound of the tom tom. Each new player before coming on to the stage stands behind a curtain, which allows you to see his legs & his head, stands with his back to the audience & proceeds to jump about like mad; the greater warrior he is the more he jumps about before he is allowed to come on; at last the tom tom waxes wild & furious & with a yell & a whoop he flings aside the curtain & rushes forward on to the stage jumping & twisting & comes suddenly to a dead stand.

The dialogue of the play was conducted in strict Classical Canarese, and there was a certain amount of definite plot carried into execution, but by far the greater amount of time was taken up by the dances. Thus four warriors would be determining to go out to fight & they would come in & dance round the stage to the accompaniment of tom tóm tom, tom tóm tom, .…, & they would go out again & come in & dance (or rather jump) round to tóm tom tom, tóm tom tom, tóm tom tom, .… & then again to tom tom tóm, tom tom tóm, & again to tóm tititititi tóm tititititi tóm .…, & so on perhaps twenty different processions round the stage ending up with something very fast & furious quite unrepresentable in words with a final tóm with which to come to an abrupt conclusion.

So the play played itself on, every now [&] again one of the human footlights (who took care always to keep his lamp in front of the performers) would come forward & get fresh oil or a fresh wick, every now & again someone would bring us fresh tapers, every now & again the tom tom would stop or change its rhythm. At last the first part of the play comes to and end, and engarlanded & accompanied by torches we reach again our bungalow in time to get 2 or 3 hours sleep before the first grey sign of an early dawn, undisturbed by the distant sound of the tom tom which plays on to the second part till daylight is broad & distinct.

What more have I to tell you of my life in South Canara, of our early marches starting by the light of the opalescent moon, of the welcomes that we received at the various centres, of the bananas with which we were presented, of the tender cocoanuts which we drank, of the temples & statues which we saw, behold you must endeavour to picture them to yourselves out of your imagination.

Neither shall I stop to tell you of [21 x 26 Mar.] our return to Mangalore {19}, of the surprising growth of Doris Marjorie, of golf, of the club, of the calls which I paid in Booty’s bullock carriage or [4 x 9 Apr.] of my departure by B.I steamer after a vast amount of uncertainty as to its arrival.

Steamer, Calicut, Katpadi, fade out of view, & it is 9.15 PM when a tired & famished traveller who has journeyed 150 miles in 12 hours & enjoyed all the warmth that the tropics can provide in April, is put out at the flag station Nellore.

With him is a small bag which a coolie starts to carry, & while the light of the moon prevents the possibility of any mutually unpleasant meeting with the creature that walks on its belly, he explains to the coolie “Mr Campbell’s bungalow”—“Captain Ashworth’s bungalow” & the coolie nods. Presently while the traveller proposes to go straight on, the coolie points to turn off to the left. Can the traveller have forgotten, or have C & A moved? the traveller takes the coolie’s word for it, & soon arrives at a strange bungalow where he only just fails to be embraced by a lady—young & beautiful—who takes him for her husband. Thence a straight march to the right place where Ashworth—but no Campbell—& also dinner. “I hope you haven’t waited dinner.” “Yes I have, but its† not very late; I am afraid you have walked, I sent a bandy to the station, wash & let us set to.” And the traveller did so. It might perhaps seem, that there would be some awkwardness in arriving at the house of a friend, when that friend was absent, having sent no word that you were coming—I had wired both Ashworth & Campbell [not] knowing the latter was out in camp with no telegraph station—& in stopping there several days without any news from him. But this is not so in India. Of course as it was, I knew several of the people in Nellore, & in particular Ashworth with whom I was living; but even without these advantages there would have been nothing particularly strange. On the contrary it seemed the most natural thing in the world.

I went down to the club & played lawn tennis & billiards, I rode out on my bicycle, I played round the links at golf, I dined out, in company with Ashworth, [10 Apr.] I went to church on Easter Sunday, the first time since I left Delhi (Oh Oh Oh, 1st in train Agra–Bombay, 2nd on steamer to Mangalore 3rd 4th 5th out in camp, 6th & 7th in Mangalore where church is being retiled!) & last but not least I joined in the gymkhana which was held on the polo ground. This gymkhana was great fun, & as most of the events included riding I was but a pony (all except very big horses are called ponies here) of an absentee, & took part in the tie tying race, surprise parcel race, hitting polo ball & other things. The first two of these, consisted in galoping† up to a lady who tied on an evening tie, or arrayed you in wondrous costume, mount again & round the flag home; hitting the polo ball I found could not be done with great rapidity; a leisurely walk was all I could manage & even so I sometimes missed it. I also went in for & won a bicycle tortoise race.

So I went along very comfortably, & in the meantime I had a letter from Campbell who had just got word from me, (one of the wires I sent him having been lost), saying he was coming in to the station in a day or two, & it was not worth while for me to join him in camp. So he came in, & it was very pleasant to see him again.

One day we both played polo; of course you can imagine how excessively brilliant my own play was. He, too, is only just beginning, but is practising now assiduously. Four years ago what should we have said if anyone had foretold.

[23 Apr.] And so another week has slipped away, & I have repacked my greater & lesser trunks for a new voyage. To-morrow} to Madras where I shall stop with Michie Smith; then to Ceylon where possibly I shall meet an old friend of my year {20} who I see has just been put in a high position in the Botanical Gardens at Perideniya, & then on to the Britannia {21} where I hope to find P. Alden {22}.

I think being in a station (on a holiday) is a little like being on board ship, one doesn’t have anything to bother about. One never carries any money with one, nor any papers of any kind. One just goes on vegetating. A short space now of having to think & then a return to a placed state of torpor.

A few general impressions I will give before I conclude.

In my first encyclical I think I described an Indian bungalow as a place with outer walls more or less, but with no inner walls to speak of. One is led to this idea because the vast lattice windows & lattice doors seem to occupy the greater part of the wall, & in winter in the south are always open; so that the walls might be described as a “number of openings joined together with masonry”. In the summer, however, one shuts up the house during the day, to keep out the heat, just as in England (in Winter) one shuts it up to keep out the cold, & then one finds that the outer walls can be made pretty tight. Inside, one sits under a punkah, & so long as the night is cool you will see one is able to obtain a very fairly comfortable temperature—probably well over 80°—indoors. But the rub comes when the nights get hot too. I was told that I should get a taste of the hot weather if I stayed in India through April; but I understand that this year it can hardly be said quite to have come yet (April 23) & though the day temperature is about 100° & the night about 74°, I do not find that I notice the heat as much as when I came before in December when the thermometer stood very much lower. This is partly because I have grown into an Indian method of existence & partly because I came here from S Canara where though the temperature did not go above 90° in the day, it scarcely went below 80° in the night, & where if the breeze or the punkah ceased for 2 minutes one’s hands presented the appearance of a morning field after a heavy dew.

I have written above that I have grown into an Indian method of existence; this refers a little bit to the clothes which I wear; it came to me as a surprise the other day that what my boy was calling my thick grey suit, was what I had had especially made in England to be cool, & my tailor called it a “tropical”. Also the calm determination to attempt nothing at all in the middle of the day: thus from 10–4 one would never think of going out of doors unless it was absolutely necessary, of course if a man had to go to office or anything of the kind, he would go, but he would do so extremely leisurely, & would wear sun spectacles. One hardly ever thinks of walking here at all, & in the middle of the day it would be ridiculous.

(I am writing now in the train, so please excuse all defects).

You will see moreover from all this, that life out here does not tend to make one prepared for warm weather at home; whether it be the heat of the sun, for at home one has no topi; whether it be exercise in the middle of the day, for here one never takes it; whether its be for hot nights, for out here one sleeps out in the open air or under a punkah; whether it be to curb ones† thirst, for out here 6 or 7 large sodas (& they are large compared with our biggest at home) is a by no means uncommon daily allowance, & I am told that in the hot weather it may amount to double that figure.

It is rather a curious thing that people seem so very rarely to have cold food to eat. And I remember being very much surprised at home when I was told by a man who sold hot water dishes & the like that he sent a great many out to India. The first may perhaps be accounted for by the rapidity with which many things go bad, & the latter by the fact that there is a tendency for things to cool very quickly owing to the constant draught which there is in the rooms; & nothing is more unpleasant in hot weather than tepid food.

Let me turn to quite another subject:—the Rupee. Don’t be alarmed I am not going to discuss bimetallism or the gold standard, but to speak of its general effective value out here. When you come out, you find you get somewhere about 15 rupees for a sovereign, each of them looks like a two bob bit, but you [are] inclined to reckon them as a little over a shilling. And then each rupee is divided into 16 annas—at present almost exactly pence—& each anna into 12 pies.

When you learn that you can buy a chicken for 2 annas or send a coolie across Calcutta & back for the same sum, & that the wages of a good cook are perhaps 12 rupees a month—& finds himself—you begin to think that living out here must be very cheap, & that the Rupee goes a very long way. But India is essentially the place where pies mount up into annas, & annas into rupees, & moreover of course all “European stores” are abnormally expensive. Things which you could get for 6d at home you will very likely be called on to pay one Rupee for out here. And so gradually one builds up for oneself a new system of relative values & the rupee figures among them on its own lines & one forgets that there is such a thing as an exchange rate which make[s] so many rupees worth a pound.

It is amusing to note that at home one pays 1d for soda bottles & 2d or so for their contents; out here the empty bottles are reckoned often at 5 annas each, while the contents are only worth 8 or 10 annas a dozen. Of course these are not strictly “European stores”, because the soda water is made out here (& it does not contain as I believe it does in England carbonate of soda itself)

“Native servants” might form the subject of a book in itself. The Anglo Indian is fond of remarking on their incompetence, & when you first come out you expect to see them bungle everything. As a matter of fact they don’t, & gradually you begin to build up out of your experience a belief that the Anglo Indian is very hard to please, & that his servant is a very well meaning & intelligent person; but the moment you have got to regard him in this light you begin to see how often he fails, & what a lot of valuable things he spoils by his stupidity & carelessness.

There is rather a good story told which illustrates the “boy”’s method of packing for travelling. A man had a new lamp with glass chimney & globe, & wishing to go into camp he had a special case made to hold the glass parts to prevent breaking, & explained to his boy that he must never carry them about (travelling) without carefully putting them in the case. The boy said he understood. But at the next halt came to him with a long face saying they were quite smashed. On enquiry it was found he had packed them very carefully in the case, but finding just before starting that he had an empty soda water bottle not packed, he wrapped that up in paper & put it inside also! Little acts of petty larceny are particularly attractive to them, while valuable things they will very rarely steal partly I suppose because of the probability of detection. Even on your behalf they will sometimes make strenuous endeavours to save a few annas, perhaps by fair means perhaps not. I remember a lady saying that when she got home from a visit, her bearer (who had been with her of course) showed her a boot polishing brush in great triumph, which he had bagged from the bearer of another visitor.

One other point about servants may surprise you. In the North when you go out to dinner you always take your boy with you.

Of course one never believes anything that a native says if he has any reason for perverting the truth. This is the great difficulty in hearing cases; the evidence is almost always conflicting & it is only a question of which of either is to be believed. A missionary himself told me the following; one day he—or one of his colleagues—went down to talk—I think, to some of their converts—upon the Christian Virtue of Truth; after he had talked & had answered questions for some time, he said to them;—“now supposing I was charged with an offence which you knew I had committed, what would you do?” “The sahib” they answered with one voice “is our father & our mother what could we do but swear he was innocent”

The hindu† mind could never feel this was doubtful for one moment; to him, to abandon a friend in the hour of need that would be base, to defend him would be the only possible course, even at the risk of incurring the penalties for perjury which a fastidious & fatuous Raj may endeavour to inflict.

And now as I have mentioned the missionary I suppose I may as well say a few words about him. In the first place don’t confuse him with the Padré who is the Church of England parson provided by the government for the spiritual requirements of the English speaking population; so far as I am aware he is never a missionary in any sense of the word.

The true missionary is the man who is sent out by private societies to convert the native to Christianity. I don’t know how he really feels, but I can’t help supposing that if he is quite honest he must be prepared to admit that he is somewhat of a failure. He comes out prepared to treat the native as a brother, he finds that unless he rules him with a firm hand he is regarded as a fool; that what he intends for kindness is regarded as fear; that unless he adopts forcible measures his punkah rope is not pulled properly, that he is cheated by his servants, & imposed upon all round. He expects to find opposition to Christianity, he finds indifference. He expects at any rate to make some converts among men of caste, he succeeds in attracting a few among the leather-workers & sweepers, men who have no caste to lose, men who are so low in the scale that the crossing-sweeper in England is high compared with them, men who having nothing to lose & everything to gain by adopting another religion. With these he spends hours of his day arguing out some abstruse doctrinal point. Converted to Christianity these men are freed from the old ethical regulations—feeble as they were—& are hardly constrained by the new.

In his educational work, he tries to inculcate moral principles as well as intellectual, he finds that his students profiting by the position they are able to obtain through their intellectual achievements, make use of it—as the native almost invariably does—for the purpose of tyranny & extortion.

Can it be wondered at that I say that when he is honest he must regard himself somewhat as a failure.

No doubt I have exaggerated, no doubt my ignorance is very great, but the fact remains that the results are very minute. He consoles himself with the thought that he is sowing the good seed, & it is not in his power to determine the fruit which is to be produced.

I am not saying that I disapprove of the missionary or his works; & you must remember that it is not he who is undermining the old religion & any little good it may do but the force of circumstance, the inroad of education, which is I suppose inevitable. The more educated have ceased to believe in Hinduism; are we going to give them anything else?

It has been said that the Anglo Indian is to blame for not intermingling more with the Native. Practically all the upper class Englishmen in India are Officials. Among them the taking of a bribe is almost absolutely unknown. The native always takes bribes; as a whole he is about the most corrupt person in that way you could wish to see in the world. He is not above accepting a bribe from the poorest & meanest, or from forcing a contribution of 25 per cent of the small government dole presented to the starving famine stricken peasant. It is hardly to be wondered at that the white man views him with contempt.

A few short descriptive notes on different points:—

The Presidency of Madras stands out from the rest of India; it has its own way of doing things. By the rest it is regarded as benighted, but it (I of course refer to the Anglo Indian world) is quite sati[s]fied with itself. As it is the home of a vast variety of languages, nearly all the “boys” speak English. It is very rarely cold in Madras.

It should never be forgotten that the Mohammedan & the Hindu exist side by side, the former being generally the conquering race; they are always antagonistic. Both are equally unscrupulous, the Mahommedan† perhaps more intelligently crafty, the Hindu more obese!

In speaking of the native going by train I think I forgot to be† mention how devoted he always is to travelling.

If a coolie brings a note or something to you from a friend & you are out when he arrives, he does not leave it & go away, but sits down & waits even if it be several hours; this he does not regard in any sense as a hardship.

The night punkah coolie is fond of going to sleep (you have 2 for the night), then you wake very damp & perhaps bitten by mosquitoes; to rouse him by voice would rouse the house & ruin your lungs, the only safe thing is a basin of water.

There is no such thing as privacy in India; you can’t shut your door & draw your chair up to the fire; you can never be certain at any hour of the day or night that a native has not pushed aside the curtain, entered with his noiseless feet, come up beside you waiting with some note or paper till it shall be your good pleasure to attend to him.

It was not without a good deal of sadness that I set my face to say goodbye to India, the land in which I had renewed so many old friendships, had made so many new ones, & had been treated with such universal kindness.

India is a marvellous monument to England’s greatness. The immense power which she has, the immense amount of work which she has done in so vast a country, in so short a time, with such a handful of her citizens. The extraordinary justice honour & fidelity of her officials [must leave] {23} an imprint upon history which the finger of time can never obliterate.

The official in India—& under this title must be included the Educationalist & the Railway people as well as the others—stands for trustworthiness as the native stands for corruption.

The Anglo Indian is thoroughly English,—one is surprised perhaps at first to find him not in any sense a Colonial—& as such he possesses the English faults as well as the English virtues but he is charmingly hospitable, & he undoubtedly does his best for the native & endeavours to carry out the task which has been set before him.

The native is the very reverse, docile, & beautifully courteous he fawns upon strength & oppresses weakness.

Such are the races which fate has layed† one across the other like the knife across the fork. Who can predict how it will end? {24}

A couple of quasi postscripts must end my third encyclical.

[24 Apr.] I left Nellore on Sunday morning April 24, driving a friend’s dog cart to the railway station in the dark at 4.30 A.M; & I bid goodbye to Campbell on the platform, & left him standing there looking just as he had done when I arrived nearly 5 months before.

After a warm days railway journey I reached Madras & drove straight to Michie Smith’s house. He has a large compound of 11 acres, & in this & the next he has made a golf course of no mean dimensions. He took me about his grounds & showed me his flowers & trees, & presently we went to the club where I met Moore—who had so kindly entertained me on the previous occasion—& several other friends.

[25 Apr.] Next morning early I played golf with M. Smith & 2 of his friends all of whom played pretty well but fortunately I did not make a fool of myself, & drove over ponds etc much to my own surprise.

In the day I did some shopping & in the afternoon called on Mrs Moore & went on to the club, & came back & met at dinner a mathematician—Stuart—whom M. Smith had kindly asked to meet me.

[26 Apr.] And so next day the time wore on for me to go; & M. Smith had been very good to me, had shown me all over his instruments, & had given me some photographs taken at the eclipse by our instrument, & I had had a very pleasant time.

And I took train, & a day brought me [27 Apr.] to Tuticorin, & a nights passage with rather rough weather [28 Apr.] to Colombo.

And now my second postscript must be about Ceylon.

One always had thought of Ceylon as a sort of appendage to India like the I of Wight to England, & even though I knew it was under the foreign office & not the India Office I still imagined it would be much the same.

Well I landed & went to an hotel where I found electric punkahs.

Then to Cook’s agency about my passage, & wired up to Parkin saying I should be passing through Peradeniya on my way up to Kandy at 6 P.M & could stop if he met me.

He did meet me, he & the Director of the Botanical Gardens—a Mr Willis of Caius Coll. Cambridge {25}. & they made me get out & come to the bungalow. There I found Mrs Willis late of Girton {26}, so we were all Cambridge. And I stopped there the couple of nights I had to spare, & [29 Apr.] the first morning I drove into Kandy with Parkin & we saw the famous temple & the casket in which is Buddha’s tooth, & we looked down upon the great artificial lake. In the afternoon we walked through the Botanical gardens & then played tennis before dinner.

[30 Apr.] This morning we all drove out & had marvellous views & saw a rock temple with a reclining Buddha.

Then we went over a tea factory. And so after a most delightful 2 days, I come down here {27}, & am writing this before going to bed; to-morrow early to the Britannia!

Ceylon is an enchanting place; everywhere are vast masses of verdure, & trees of every description. The Botanical gardens which are famous throughout the world mainly consist of trees; all kinds of palm, rubber trees, giant bamboos, & multitudes of others, extremely beautiful. The mountain views are grand, & it is not nothing to see tea growing everywhere, & coffee & cocoa scattered about. The only place in India a bit like it to look at that I saw was S. Canara.

Here the S.W. Monsoon is on, with an extra large quantity of rain. So it is comparatively cool. I said I had expected to find Ceylon a mere adjunct of India; but it is in reality much more English; it is not necessary to take one’s bed about with one or even to have a boy. English is understood everywhere (ie I do not know anything about out of the way places).

A most delightful place & with 3 fellow Cantabs a parodise†. Really I think if I had had ½ a dozen friends & had had to put them down in India & Ceylon, so as to be most serviceable to myself I don’t think I could have done better than putting them where they are.

Goodbye India, Goodbye Ceylon.


{1} Some time between 3 April, when Lawrence was still in Mangalore, and the 10th, by which time he had arrived at Nellore. See p. 140.

{2} Great Northern Railway.

{3} The ink changes here.

{4} British-India Steam Navigation Company.

{5} The boats of the Bombay Steam Navigation Company, managed by J. A. Shepherd. See W. H. Coates, The Old ‘Country Trade’ of the East Indies (1911).

{6} Lawrence probably set sail on 25 February. See pp. 106, 115.

{7} i.e. Lawrence’s three days on the boat, 25–28 February.

{8} See 6/18.

{9} The process of settling the amount of land-revenue due from a village, etc., or a written statement of the same. See OED, s.v. jumma, and Hobson-Jobson, s.v. jummabundee.

{10} ‘A servant who attends to horses, a groom’ (OED).

{11} The reading of this word is uncertain. In Fate Has Been Kind, where this passage is quoted, the word is printed simply ‘B—’, so evidently Lawrence or the typesetter couldn’t read the word either. The usual spelling of the place in question is now Brahmavar.

{12} This place-name is now usually spelt Perdur.

{13} The chief (native) revenue official of a tahsil or taluk (administrative divisions). See OED, s.v. tahsildar, and Hobson-Jobson, s.v. tahseeldar.

{14} This probably means ‘alcoholic’. Cf. OED, wet, n.2.

{15} Followed by ‘I expect you have been thinking for some time’, struck through.

{16} A potehl is the head-man of a village. See OED and Hobson-Jobson, s.v. patel.

{17} A shanbhogue is a village clerk or account. See Hobson-Jobson, s.v. shambogue.

{18} The first sentence of this sentence was interlined. A ugrani is a village peon under a patel. See Männer’s Tulu-English Dictionary (1886). Lawrence later describes ugranis as ‘official servants’ of the shambogues and patels.

{19} Lawrence was still ‘in camp’ on 20 March, but had returned to Mangalore by the 27th. See p. 140.

{20} John Parkin.

{21} The RMS Britannia, a P. & O. steamer of 6525 tons.

{22} Percy (later Sir Percy) Alden (1865–1944), social worker and politician; warden of the Mansfield House University Settlement at Canning Town, 1891–1901.

{23} ‘which’ interlined after ‘officials’ and struck through. The words ‘must leave’ have also been struck through, but they appear to be required.

{24} The ink changes here.

{25} John Christopher Willis (1868–1958), Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Ceylon, 1896–1912.

{26} Minnie Willis (née Baldwin). She married J. C. Willis in 1897.

{27} i.e. to Colombo.

† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via Shanghai, Nagasaki, Kobe, Kyoto (with excursions to Nara, Lake Biwa, and Arashiyama), Nagoya, Shizuoka, Gotemba, Miyanoshita, Yokohama, Tokyo, Nikko, Lake Chūzenji, Yumotu, Nikko, Tokyo, and Yokohama.

(A continuation of 5/30f. Headed ‘Encyclical VII’. Since the first part of the letter is written on the writing-paper of the S.S. Coptic, it was presumably begun after Lawrence boarded that ship about 23 Aug., though the events narrated begin on 1 Aug. and finish before he went aboard. The latter section was sent to Ellen Lawrence on 20 Sept. (see 6/20).)



Encyclical VII

Once more the scene is changed; instead of the ports of China, are the villages of Japan: instead of the close packed streets, are the mountains & the cottages and the rice fields. Instead of the pigtail is the close cropped hair; instead of the bland unfathomability of the Chinaman is the ready cheerfulness of the Japanese. Where here one walks in stately robe with delicate felt shoes, or glides on newest bicycle with pigtail in pocket; there trudges along on géta (pattens) the sturdy little Jap or laughingly bestrides his machine. No longer is there to be seen the Chinese woman in her black cotton trousers with her sad face & smooth hair, but bright & gay is the Japanese girl, petite et mince, de coiffeur magnifique!

To “Nippon”, this land of wonders, we are hastened in the good ship Belgic; but ere we arrive in port let me tell you a short story about Manilla which I heard while I was upon the way. Before the days of American interference, there lived in one of the towns of the Philippines a little telegraph clerk who was an Englishman a person of no great importance. And it came to pass that certain Spanish soldiers having been worsted in an engagement & being pursued by the rebels took refuge in the telegraph station; now this same telegraph station being quite unfortified could easily have been destroyed by the rebels who quickly surrounded it, but they refrained saying “It is British property, we will leave it alone”. So they sent to the telegraph clerk & said “Come out to us” & he came out, & they said “Give up these our enemies who have taken refuge with you”; but he would not, yet would they not destroy the place because it was British property. So it came to pass that after some time there came to that town the flower of the Spanish army with Commander & Captains great & honourable; & with one accord all the inhabitants of that place fled into the country. Then was the Spanish army in a sore strait, because with the utmost difficulty could they obtain the bare necessities of life.

So the Commander of the Spanish army called to the little English telegraph clerk & said unto him: “Behold now we are in a sore strait because all these villagers have fled, & if they would return I would assure unto them that no harm should befall them; yet if I were to issue a proclamation on this wise, would they distrust my word, so now do you proclaim this matter unto them.” Then in the presence of the Lord Commander of the Spanish force did this little clerk (who was an Englishman) take paper & stamp it with his own private seal, & he issued a proclamation to the villagers & he signed it with his own individual name. And he wrote unto them that if they would return to the village no harm should befall them; and it came to pass that they trusted his word & returned, & the Spaniards molested them not, because they were afraid.

[1 Aug.] It is only some 36 hours since we left Shanghai & we are arriving early in the morning at Nagasaki—first glimpse of Japan {1}. Ashore in a Sampan & away in Jinrickisha—to give rickshaw its full name—to the shrine of the gods. But to pass through the streets is a delight, an experience, an education. Everyone seems to have climbed down out of a picture book—a Japanese picture book. Can these be real these ridiculous little men? Can these be real these still more ridiculous little women? Can—no surely not—these children be—why no they must be little Japanese dolls—in the supremity of their ridiculosity with their brilliant colours & circular hair! And yet the Kurumaya can pull the jinrickisha as no Chinaman could pull it; is he the only substance in a land of shadows? Are these people all around capable of any hard work or are they merely charming puppets, smiling impossibilities, resident upon earth to cheer a labouring world? {2}

And all the while we are drawing nearer to our first sight of a Japanese temple. Arrived, we mount up, up, steep stone steps & gain the summit; all around are the pretty hills, in front of us the beautiful curves of Japanese architecture. Descending, a Japanese teahouse gives us our first taste of Japanese tea;—somewhat disappointing; instead of the rich refreshing beverage of China, a weak decoction of green tea “flavoured hot water”—& 2 little girls perform a dance for our edification. All very quaint & unreal. So back to the ship & watch the operation of coaling; here are Japanese men in great numbers & not a few Japanese women, all smiling, & standing hour in & hour out passing along little baskets of coal. Here in Nagasaki coaling is done by “conduction”, in Port Said by “convection”. But what a difference in the appearance of the “coalies”; though the amount of clotting cannot be described as excessive, everyone succeeds in looking clean & almost neat, while many of the women wear their hair elaborately dressed underneath a loose pocket handkerchief. Altogether the process is a rapid one, for though the baskets are small they make frequent transits to & fro. So at length the work is done; with cheerful faces the workers are rowed away, & we start on our voyage through the inland sea.

[2 Aug.] All through the following day the slopes of the hills are in sight, everywhere are the level terraces indicating the culture of rice; now the water passage is reduced to a narrow strait, now it broadens out till the southern shore is lost to view. Here can be seen a Japanese village; & here out in the water are hundreds of small craft, from junks down to tiny canoes, all inclined to get in the way till the “wow” of the steam whistle warns them that a greater than they is there. Everything is pretty: the mountains, the rice fields, the ships, the roofs of the cottages nestling in among the trees, the occasional view of the inhabitants themselves. So the day passes away while all the while we are drawing nearer & nearer to Kobe where we are to disembark for our 3 weeks visit to Japan. I forget whether I told you that we had decided to go through the country with a guide, & had written from Sydney for a special one who had been recommended to me—a Mr F Takagaki; I mentioned this fact to a gentleman on the boat who was talking to me about Japan & he said “That’s a great mistake, he will be no use to you at all, will only be in your way & will cause you a lot of extra expense”. We have since come to the conclusion that that man must have been a monomaniac upon this point; for he can only be supposed to have spoken truly on the following peculiar assumptions. That to have all worries & bothers about trains, luggage, hotels, tickets, jinrickishas etc etc taken off one[’s] shoulders in a land where only a few people understand a limited amount of English is absolutely no use; that to have any amount of time saved in making arrangements, to be prevented from doing a lot of things that aren’t worth while, that to avoid a number of irritating muddles; that to have everyone with whom we had to do handsomely paid but not ridiculously overpaid,—that all these things are fatuous & futile. Of course I should be the last to deny that by having a guide one does lose something that one would gain by direct contact with the natives; but this is immensely outweighed not only by the direct information which one can obtain from the man himself but also by the fact that with him one is able to go where alone as a foreigner unacquainted with the language one would be ceremoniously dismissed. Add to this that in a country where standards are widely different from our own he knows exactly what is what, & enables one to do all that is amusingly unconventional while avoiding that which one would wish to avoid, & you have a few out of the many advantages which are to be obtained from a guide.

[3 Aug.] Early on the morning of Aug 3rd while we were yet in pyjamas Takagaki put in his appearance & introduced himself to us; then assisting us to pack he convoyed† us ashore, got our baggage through the customs & landed us at the hotel. There we were glad to have breakfast & to spread ourselves out into two rooms; & spent the morning making a few necessary arrangements, writing to the British Consulate at Tokio (enclosing letter of introduction) for permission to view the palaces, & inspecting Kobe from the seat of a jinrickisha. In the afternoon we rode out to view one of the great bronze Buddhas & then on to see the famous waterfall; getting out of our rickshaws at the foot of the hill we zigzagged up, & came at last right out on one of the numberless charming spots of the Islands of Japan. Of course a little tea house at the place, & seated there shoeless upon the matting we watched the splash of the waters, drank up tiny little cups of tea brought us by a smiling damsel, & lazily smoked. Then noticing that a number of coolies were bathing in the basin at the foot of the fall, we went in and joined them & had a delightful swim; and so on this our first day we inaugurated that principle of bathing upon every possible available occasion which was the amusement if it was the secret sorrow of the Takagaki’s heart. The Japanese are peculiarly cleanly people & everyone down to the commonest coolie thinks himself aggrieved if he cannot get two—if not 3 or more—baths in the day; but that a foreigner should be so inclined, & to bathe with common coolies too, such a thing is somewhat strange. Once at Shizuoka—but that is another story.

[4 Aug.] On the morrow we trained it to Kiyoto passing through Osaka the great manufacturing centre on the way. The trains are rather like those in New Zealand, with a 3 ft 6 in gauge, but they don’t go quite so slowly, & they have the continental plan of managing station platforms…… Up to the Yaami hotel. From our rooms upon the verandah we could gaze upon a view far too pretty to be put into words. There lay the ancient capital before us, all its small wooden houses scattered in & out among the trees; here a stately temple, with the sublime outline of its roof, rose into the sky, &, behind all, the hills rising range behind range formed a fitting couch for the sun when it sank to rest. Here we tarried several days, now wandering through the streets in the cool of the evening, now going to gaze upon a temple; verily the art of beauty is not lost, for here newest of all stands the great temple built by the myriad contributions of the peasant. Vast in its faultless architecture, with its curved roof resting upon columns of unvarnished cedar, so great, so heavy that it is said that only that† rope of human hair could raise them into their places. In wonder we gaze; in wonder might one meditate upon the strange coequal reverence for Buddha, Emperor, & Parent. What weird self immolation will they not undertake for their emperor? what awful sacrifice will they refuse to make at parental command?

At the Yaami hotel I fell in with Mr & Mrs Sidebottom fellow passengers of the “Norse King” {3} who have been making a tour of the world in almost exactly the same way as myself; a little bit curious that I never came across them before, however we soon found out that we were to be fellow passengers on the Coptic. We made Kiyoto the head quarters for a number of excursions, & halted each day for lunch at some delightful little tea house, where reclining at full length we partook of the victuals we had brought with us, & reposefully admired the scenery. So one day found us at Nara gazing upon the great Daibutsu (or image of Buddha) now but a wooden counterfeit of the once tremendous bronze statue. In one of the Korean wars the Government, short of money had melted down this vast statue & turned it into small coin; to the Japanese there was nothing impious in this act, & to this day these coins exist in great number and are fitting offerings from the peasant to the temple. A few he gives whenever he worships, the priest exchanges them for larger money & by & bye they find their way back into the peasant’s hand.

One day we rode round the Biwa lake, & bathed—of course—in its delightful waters; then came back to Kiyoto on the great canal {4}. This wonderful piece of engineering was achieved by a student still at college, who tunnelling through mountains brought Biwa into connection with the lower lakes of Kiyoto, irrigating fields, conveying cargo, illuminating the city in one effort.

Or again in a jinrickisha to the Golden Pavilion, the charming summer garden of the emperor. If there is one thing more than any other which the Japanese understand, it is the making of a garden. What else, you may ask, is the whole country? Still even in gardens there is positive, comparative, & superlative…… A garden within a garden! Great trees they transplant, little ponds they dig out, gold fish they import, till in a few months a ridiculous ugly spot is transformed into a wee fairy land hundreds of years old! Of these, the garden of the Golden Pavilion is chief & king; in it stands the Pavilion itself[,] still faced over with the gold with which it was once so richly embellished. To visitors is given tea, not the more ordinary beverage but a foaming mixture made of the powdered leaves; exquisite, even intoxicating; this is the tea of ceremony—ceremonial tea. Away, to the rapids of Arashi-yama, to a little tea house overlooking the flowing waters; there we spend the mid-day hours, now descending & bathing in the stream, now lunching in our little room while a smiling maiden laughs at the odd ways of the foreigner, now lazily smoking & watching the crowds of native trippers who fill the house with pleasing laughter. Then back once more to Kiyoto as the afternoon wanes, & before darkness shuts out sight, we inspect some of the famous Satsuma ware, admire, & promise to return.

Perhaps you wonder why a lazy midday & a bathe occupy such a prominent place in our existence; then learn that in this fairy land of delight there were two things of which we might have sung:—

“We thank thee Lord, that here our joy is mixed with pain”

These two were the heat & the mosquitoes. Of the former not much need be said except that a temperature of 85° at night in a breezeless spot is not peculiarly adapted for repose; as to the latter, well! Construct for yourselves a little figure rampant upon a bed, candle in left hand (little caring of danger to the mosquito nets) towel in right; now a cry of despair; now of exultation as a carcase of another mosquito is added to the slain. At first in our folly had we stept blindly within our curtains at nightfall; & as the long hours wore through found our hands & our feet variegated in relief. So now each evening did the figure of the Percy perform in pyjamas the double war dance; so now each night did we vainly endeavour to prevent an insidious intruder from forcing a baneful entry within the sacred precincts.

The Palace of the Mikado—embodiment of simplicity—the castle of the ancient Shogun with panels of liquid art, shops of Cloisonné, of embroidery, of Satsuma, purchases (contrary to my wont) of a few of the most delightful specimens, & we are journeying on again once more to Nagoya where side by side with the jinrickisha the electric tram hurries through the streets. Here another Shogun’s castle rises high into heaven, & from its lofty battlements we look down upon another ancient capital; but, see! over there the troops are drilling. How many this army? “400,000 strong, & 300,000 tonnage the navy; in 6 years we shall be ready to fight the Russians, aye & we shall beat them”—what if the cup of Russian iniquity is then full!

We travel on, & at last there comes in sight the peerless mountain, Fujiyama the magnificent. Shizuoka to break the journey; & early in the morning to Gotemba, the lofty peak rising higher & higher. Up to the summit of an adjoining hill & thence gaze upon the wondrous cone, rising its 12 000 feet straight up from the lowland plain beneath. Now clear from summit to base, now with a fleecy cloud clinging like a ribbon about the neck; then as we descend upon the other side it is lost to view. Once again was I to behold the peerless mountain, once again, once only. It is Tokio, the sun is sinking in the west, there in the far far distance, towering up into the sky stands Fujiyama; what matter the intervening mountains, what matter one hundred & twenty miles? Graceful in its solitary grandeur, as Egmont with its cap of snow, who dare say that it is unworthy of the worship with which it has been honoured from time unknown?

But we are making the descent to Miyanoshita, to find civilisation & a crowd, & are driven not unwillingly into the Japanese annex.

A rainy day impels us after a visit to the waterfalls, to spend the afternoon in training it to Yokohama; & there we find our room, looking out upon the harbour, cool & pleasant because there is a breeze, though the temperature is still 84°. A morning of business & an afternoon spent in rowing out to see the swimming match between the Japanese & the foreigner. There, are gathered together a large number of the people of Yokohama, & the contest evokes great interest; two out of the 3 races are won by the natives, but a powerful Englishman carries off the one remaining. So we go on to Tokio there to spend for the present only half a day, during which I run off to call on Kentaro Kaneyko† {5}; & Percy taking advantage of my absence, pledges himself to speak at any number of meetings on our return to the city. And once again we are puffing away, this time to Nikko—the beautiful.

The temple of Nikko, the burial place of a Shogun {6}, these are the sights which the Japanese rank as the most exquisite; a proverb forbids anyone to say they have seen the beautiful (ekko) until they have visited Nekko†. But it is not for me to describe the indescribable, to tell of all the faultless outline of the exterior, of the gorgeous lacquer work that is displayed within; rather let me point out to you the stately groves of Cryptomerias & leave you to fill in the edifice from the recesses of your imagination. We wander through, & later on, pay a visit to a waterfall, a spot venerated by the Japanese who come & burn a candle & fasten their visiting card up against the rock!

Next day we start off to the country, walking up to the Lake of Chusenji {7} & then on from there to Yumotu {8}; the first part of our journey is a climb of 2 or 3 thousand feet with waterfalls & the charming green of Japanese scenery all around. But even more interesting to us than all this, were the numbers of Japanese pilgrims, going up to worship on the top of one of the mountains. Only two others share with Fujiyama the honour of supreme worship, & of these one towers above the lake of Chusenji. Thither in one week of September come pilgrims from all over Japan; ascending, they watch the rising of the sun, offer up prayers of intercession for themselves & their village; the priest stamps upon their Kimōno the emblem of their visit & each man returns whence he came. In front of us & behind us & all around us on the road, they press on; some young some old, some quick, some slow & footsore, but all alike wearing the white kimono & white stockings, the rude straw hat, & the great straw matting which serves in the day to protect their back from the heat of the sun & at night forms a bed upon which to lay them down. Here are pedestrians with their long white staves, & here a few are riding on horseback perched up on their high saddles while their horses are led by peasant girl grooms in variegated attire. Now they stop & rest at a tea house, drink their tea, eat their rice & swallow their vermicelli after their own somewhat inelegant fashion; now they pursue the uneven tenour of their way.

A cool lake, a hotel full of Europeans, & we are marching on, now unaccompanied, another 8 miles, another 1000 feet to Yumotu. A fashionable Japanese watering place, if you like; an unconventional village where the European can walk about in Kimono and géta—& feel somewhat of a fool too if he hasn’t done it before—& everyone bathes in hot sulphur springs nearly all day. A hotel Europeo-Japanese, where one can have all the charm of a Japanese apartment without being subjected to the somewhat noxious decoctions which they call food; a refreshing atmosphere, a beautiful lake & commanding mountains.

Alas that we have only two days to spend here, away from the rush & hurry of the world; how easily a week—a fortnight—a month. How many the rambles that there might be; but only one, over the mountain & down to the mine. And the 2 days are passed & we are starting early in the morning to walk away back to Nikko. {9}

So again a little time, & back to Tokio, where Percy sets himself to labour without ceasing; to find out in 4 days all that anyone ever knew or ever might know about social questions in Japan; to pump dry of information every somebody & nobody who could by any possibility have any knowledge upon this or upon any other subject of interest; and at the same time to visit every place in the city where anything beautiful or instructive could be discovered. In this extraordinary attempt I believe he would have been entirely successful, but that Tokio being a garden instead of a town,—though containing nearly two million souls—even a two-manned rickshaw would not infrequently take a full hour at breakneck speed in going from point to point.

However he did succeed in meeting every eminent man who was in or near Tokio at the time, in visiting a prison, an almshouse, a printing press a spinning factory—North, South, East, West of the city—& in giving three addresses, not to speak of taking meals with friends & strangers, dining at the Maple Club, going to see crowds of other things and traversing all the twenty one thousand miles of streets & slums ten times over.

In this race Katayama (who runs a small settlement in some imitation of Mansfield House {10}) & Murai {11} were his trainers, while I came in puffing & blowing a somewhat poor second, with Takagaki nowhere.

I dread to think of even a part of this knowledge leaking out someday, for as I myself feel both like the Queen of Sheba & King Solomon in my attitude to Japan, I expect that in him the preponderance of the latter will be so marked, that the unfastening of the sluices would let loose a stream which would inundate the whole world. {12}

If you go to Japan, you should in no case miss the Maple Club; to dinner there you can invite any Japanese you will—we ourselves took Takagaki. Dinner at a club one usually associates with sitting at one table with a lot of others in the room at which sit members & guests. Not so here. A pretty large room to ourselves. No sign of any furniture, but 3 cushions one on top of the other are offered us for seats. These we scorn, for though we cannot sit kneeling, as do the Japanese, at least we can occupy the floor in some less graceful manner.

So we start away at a Japanese repast served to us by 5 Japanese little girls. There are many things we have to learn. At first we eat ahead in the usual Occidental fashion as though we hadn’t set eyes upon food for several months; this is quite incorrect. A Japanese banquet should last 5, 6 or 7 hours & you may be eating on and off the whole time. Now you might light a cigarette & smoke peacefully for several minutes; now hold out your little cup, for the young lady to pour you out some warm sackie (spelling?) {13} which tastes like a kind of sherry negus.

But see, here are 4 girls with musical instruments, & a troupe of others come in & dance in costume. Quite a little wee operetta for our benefit alone.

All these, says Takagaki, are the daughters of respectable Merchants, they are sent here to learn how to entertain guests; some play, some dance, some do the serving of the food & drink. Every Japanese wife is expected to be ready to wait in person upon her husband’s most distinguished guests.

Now, an you feel minded, you ask for the little water bowl, & dipping in & out your cup, you hand it to the young lady & pouring out sackie, you bid her drink. Smiling she accepts. Percy’s victuals borne upon chopsticks held in his unaccustomed fingers do not always perform their full journey correctly. He has to be taught. I am flattered—& Percy equally depressed—by being told that I handle the strange weapons as though I had eaten with them all my life. This & other scraps of conversation through the medium of Takagaki. All the rest is panto-mime.

Thus a couple of hours or more pass amusingly along while now [one] & now another little operetta is gracefully performed, & elicits our applause; & so we bid farewell to the maple club.

More pretentious though less amusing was our—or rather Percy’s—reception at which we met most of the leading men of Japan, & speeches abounded, like stars in a summer sky. The hot weather provoked diversity of costume; here the cool native dress, here a starched collar & frock coat, now a serge suit (with a potential bowler), now a flannel shirt & cycling knickerbockers. But these were merely the superficial surroundings of leading journalists, leading politicians, leading thinkers who entertained & instructed us, & listened attentively to Percy’s oration, & to my subsequent modest & frank few words.

Or again a hall full of working men: a speech: and a few words—both translated, of course, by an interpreter—: a Japanese “Three cheers”.

Or again a spinning factory of 40,000 spindles. Girls get, at best, about 4/6 a month together with board & lodging; this for 12 hours shifts & 28 working days out of 30,—no Sundays. If any failure to come up to scratch, they only make about 1/6.

Once more to Yokohama—leaving Alden to interview the Prime Minister {14} in Tokio; a day with another old Balliol man; & the hour for our departure draws nigh {15}. But ere we leave this picturesque country let me write a word or so of men & things.

I have spoken of the artistic appearance of all things native, have I mentioned the extreme politeness between man & man; always a smile, always a bow, always the honorific address; if this be once abandoned disruption is complete, even murder & suicide may follow. But chivalrous treatment of women by men is unknown; women stand, to make room for men in a car, & are expected to offer to carry an awkward or burdensome parcel! A wife is a sort of head servant, to show obedience to her lord, but more especially to her mother-in-law; for when a woman’s sons marry her servitude is over & her period of tyranny begins.

Of course among the lower classes where the pinch is felt, necessity steps in to equalize, & gives the rule to the greater brain. Here you will find husband & wife toiling together, now stooping low in the rice fields now tugging along the road the heavy cart. Wonderful the loads that a man will draw; wonderful the distance & the pace that a Kurumaya will run. Thirty or forty miles in the day & he will turn & smile upon his face as though he had gone about 50 yards. Strange, smiling, great-legged, thin-armed, rice-eating, little-caring Kurumaya, go & read your eulogy not undeserved in Miss Bacon’s book on “Japanese girls & women”, though why you figure there I cannot tell.

Industrially the Japanese are rushing eyes open into the revolution which has swept over Europe during the nineteenth century. Hounding their peasants into the towns, I muchly fear whether they will in any wise escape the evils which that transition entailed for us and from some of which we are still suffering to-day.

As a nation they are strong; “point out” said Kentaro Kaneyko†, “to people in England the powerfulness of our position in this part of the world. How long would it take Russia or England to get anything of an army into China? We could place 100,000 men there in less than a week. Our great navy could be brought into operation in a few days. Whichever nation we assisted must be rendered supreme”.

The question comes in, have they the Anglo Saxon doggedness clearsightedness & determination. A Japanese who had spent 5 of his best years at Cambridge said that when he returned to his own country with English eyes, he seemed to see in it a people more resembling the French than the English.

Nevertheless a great nation they undoubtedly are with a patriotism that is a religion: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” is a positive & not a negative sentiment. With many faults, they have many virtues, with some weaknesses they have much strength; & it cannot but be that as years go by they will take an increasingly important position in the comity of nations.


{1} Lawrence and Alden visited Nagasaki on 1 August (see 6/6), and must therefore have left Shanghai late on 30 July.

{2} The ink changes here.

{3} Lawrence travelled on the Norse King when he went to Norway in 1896. See Fate Has Been Kind, p. 37.

{4} The Lake Biwa Canal, constructed between 1885 and 1890.

{5} Count Kaneko (sic) Kentarō.

{6} Nikkō Tōshō-gū, a Shinto shrine, is the burial place of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate.

{7} The usual spelling is now Chūzenji.

{8} Yumoto Onsen.

{9} The ink changes here.

{10} Kingsley Hall, founded by Katayama in 1897.

{11} Murai Tomoyoshi.

{12} The ink changes here.

{13} Saké, of course.

{14} Okuma Shigenobu. An article by Alden on ‘The Future of Japan’, based on this visit, was published in The Outlook, 22 Oct. 1898, pp. 482–5.

{15} Lawrence and Alden left Yokohama about 23 August, and arrived at San Francisco on 10 October, after a journey of 18 days. See 5/30h.

† Sic.

Decorated address to F. W. Pethick Lawrence, designed by H. C. Newman and signed by eighteen employees of The Echo

The signatories express regret at the discontinuance of The Echo and thank Pethick-Lawrence for his generous treatment of them.

(Dated 10 August. Presented the following day. The signatories are G. Newman ('Father'), H. Leverett (‘Clerk’), H. C. Newman, George Atkins, E. R. Pigott, F. J. Freeman, J. E. Crussell, J. A. Wise, W. Bake, E. Hosken, Urban Howard, Frank C. Thorpe, Bertie Ed. Chipps, Albert Ed. White, Alfred James Blundell, George F. Howell, J. Norman, and W. Lockyer. The title ‘Clerk’ by Leverett’s name was perhaps intended to apply to all the succeeding names as well.)

Letter from Sir Stafford Cripps to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

3 Elm Court, Temple, E.C.4.—The course recommended by Pethick-Lawrence (see 5/46) would be the best one for the present capitalist Government to adopt if they want capitalism to stagger on as long as possible. But it is increasingly important for the Labour Party to be frankly socialist and not to think of returning to an era of expanding capitalism.



3 Elm Court, Temple, E.C.4
July 14th 1933

Dear Pethick,

Thanks for your letter and the enclosure {1}. I think it probably sets out the best course to be adopted by the present capitalist Government if they want capitalism to stagger on as long as possible. My own view increasingly is that it should be given the ‘coup de grace’ at the earliest possible moment, and I do not think that a Socialist policy would really have any relation to what Roosevelt is doing in America except in a rather vague way in the earlier stages.

I think it is becoming increasingly important for the Labour Party to be quite frankly socialist and not to think of getting back to an era of expanding capitalism, which I am convinced is inherently impossible, and any way is undesirable.

Yours ever


{1} Apparently a cutting referring to policies adopted by Roosevelt in America.

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