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Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of part of a visit to South Africa, headed ‘Third Encyclical’.



Third Encyclical

I write from on board the Scot on the homeward journey; a tedious voyage; a more tiresome set of passengers than are here assembled I think it would be difficult to imagine—at least those in the first class—but of that anon.

The remainder of my time spent in Cape Town passed along pleasantly enough. I forget whether I told you that in front of the Railway Station were always gathered a number of mining refugees from the Transvaal who sat upon the railing and smoked. So one evening I put on my worst looking attire and joined them. By dint of smoking a great number of pipes I managed to get a very fair view of the situation, from a new point of view. As Schreiner said to me “The question is like a diamond with many facets”—Well I was looking at a fresh facet.

Another morning I went & saw the Editor of the Cape Times who is a member of the Imperialist side of the Cape House; another day I went & saw a doctor—Doctor Beck—who is on the other side; & after lunching with him, I went to a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church—an interesting man of distinctly Huguenot origin. From all these I learnt much, & of course it must seem rather unsatisfactory to you that I don’t make some attempt to give you their opinions, but really it is practically impossible. In the first place one has not the right, to say nothing of the ability, to repeat on paper very much of a private conversation; & even if one could, the absence of the personal element would render the attempt more or less abortive. All I can say it that from those I have mentioned, from Hofmeyr, from ex miners of Johannesburg & from numbers of others, from my frequent visits to the House of Assembly—to say nothing of people on board this ship who come from both camps—I think I have got a pretty comprehensive knowledge, both as to the actual state of facts, and as to the actual state of mind which prompted the various actors in the great drama to take up the positions which they actually did. As to the state of feeling to-day it is of course very much harder to speak with certainty, because as a matter of fact no one knows absolutely & each person has a natural race,—class,—interest,—sentimental bias impelling him not only to say but to think in a certain direction.

I may as well say at once that the result of my investigation has been to confirm me in my views; to enable me to sort out the tangible & intangible grievances of the English Outlander population & to estimate how far these stood a chance of redress in case a less violent policy had been adopted; & also to comprehend to some extent the inter-racial position in the Cape Colony; & to form a knowledge of the conduct of the belligerents in the war.

This is not the place to enter into a detailed defence of my views or to attempt to lay down any line of policy, but I may say that I have weighed very carefully in my mind the question of how far any line of opposition to the government tends to encourage the enemy in a futile resistance. I do not think I minimise for a moment the gravity of this contention, or the responsibility which rests upon those who in spite of it, take up a line of active opposition. At the same time I am convinced that the proper thing to do is to actively oppose the government, if for no other reason but because I believe that the only hope to save South Africa lies in the continuance of something of a party, at any rate, at home, who have not been led away by the present state of public opinion.—But to set out the whole case would lead to a very much longer statement that† can be conveniently put down in an encyclical. So let us leave the war question out for the rest.

I enjoyed my stay in Cape Town & made a number of friends; my project to ascend Table Mountain never came off, but one day a party of us drove right round it in a four horse wagonette & had a very jolly time—it was the same round that I think I described to you I had taken on my bicycle—taking up the whole day & stopping at one of the bays to have lunch and a bathe. Cape Town is situated in a peninsular & the drive round is—I think—practically the drive round the peninsular; and the views of the different bays in sight of which one comes from different points are very grand. The weather in Cape Town was very much as it had been in Sydney when I was there; short days but generally sunny & bright like an English September, just the sort of weather that it is pleasant to be about in. Some of the people who had come out on the boat with me stayed some little time in Cape Town & I sometimes saw something of them. I went out on one occasion to dine with some at Queen’s Hill, Seapoint, 3 or 4 miles out of the town and taking my music with me (as I was directed) we had a musical evening & a good deal of boat reminiscences.

I should have said that Seapoint is one of the most beautiful suburbs & I often used to go out there on my bicycle before breakfast to see the waves coming in—I believe I mentioned this in my last encyclical.

As to the Cape Parliament, I think I saw & heard most of the principal people, but I was sorry that Rhodes was away all the time; by the way I heard the other day that he has never learnt to speak or understand Dutch! Anyone is admitted tot he debates, but if you have a speaker’s ticket you are able to get a very much better place; it is only recently that there has been much crowding on the part of the general public. Hitherto a scab act has been perhaps the most exciting sort of thing which has been passed.

Envelope, formerly containing 5/30a–h

The envelope is marked ‘Lord P-Ls | Diary | READ’ and ‘India—Australia—Japan | nearly a year’s travel'. These notes may have been written by Vera Brittain when she was working on Pethick-Lawrence’s biography.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via Yokohama, Honolulu, San Francisco, Yosemite Valley, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone Park, Monida, Ogden, San Francisco (with excursions), Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Jacksonville and St Augustine, Asheville, Washington, New York, Chicago(?), Niagara Falls(?), Boston, and New York.

(A continuation of 5/30g. Headed ‘Encyclical VIII.’ This letter was begun some time after Lawrence’s arrival in the United States on 10 Sept. and completed some time in December.)



Encyclical VIII.

I start now upon my last encyclical and it should be rapid to illustrate the country in which it is written; & yet sometimes I stop & wonder whether this country is as rapid as it is generally supposed. In spite of all some people say, the trains do not run at one express speed, to eat a meal at many hotels is often a lesson in patience, to be shaved is to take a Turkish Bath with all the ceremony & delay attached thereto; but then compare their street cars with our buses & trams (a voice says “What about the London hansom?”), their elevators with our lifts—or absence of the same—their workmen (as employers maintain) with our own; and, well, I am not quite sure what result you come to. But not of all these things did Alden and I think as standing on the deck of the Coptic in drenching rain, we bade farewell to our friends in Yokohama. So the time came that we were to spend 18 days on board ship, crossing the Pacific.

At first we found it slow enough; nobody would do anything, & the Quarter Masters could not be induced to spend the little time required to enable us to play our one game of quoits. The fellow passengers as a whole were uncongenial & the diet was second rate yet the weather was magnificent. So passed away nearly a week; then at last everyone seemed to wake up. The Captain ordered up the swimming tank which he had said he should not allow during the voyage, the Doctor started cricket of a more exciting kind than I have seen on board ship, the quartermasters made our quoits, a game of skittles was introduced, and we formed on[e] or two pleasant acquaintances. So sped away the few remaining days to Honolulu; but I must not forget the doubled day the reward of all the little sacrifices of half hours and twenty minutes, so ungrudgingly given and apparently so heedlessly received.

Honolulu so newly American. Athirst for exercise, we cycle over to the sea baths, bathe & return; a shore dinner, a shore bed—saved only by curtains from a myriad invaders—up to the great pass on our machines to see the view, down again, a “milk shake” & on to the ship at noon thoroughly exercised.

The Japanese steerage passengers who had thronged our fore deck are gone, but in their stead are cabin passengers till the quota is full; all is confusion on board.

Farewell to the bright beautiful islands of Hawaii, farewell for the last time in my travels to the lands of the tropics.

Yale & Harvard men returning to their terms add pleasure to the rest of our voyage; books, games, discussions, music fill up the time; the ship’s engines do their best in a calm sea, and [10 Sept.?] we ride peacefully into San Francisco a day before our scheduled time. {1}

Here then at last have we reached the States, the famous West, for the Orient is left far behind. For ever? I trust not, for the recollection is very pleasant. The absorbing interest of China, the beauty of Japan, & greatest of all, India & all my friends from there, seem to call me to come again; some day perhaps, but not for many years.

How to describe San Francisco? How to delineate its individual character? Quite an established city, altogether civilized. Perhaps you expected something rough, lawless. Not at all, it is quite like an Eastern town (ie a town of the Eastern States) & yet not quite; here on the main street is a fifteen storey building adjoining a one and a half storey wooden shanty; here the road way is about as even as—as an old woman’s apple store which has been half upset—Alas I fear this does not separate it so much from the Eastern cities, but see they are actually making it level & putting down clean firm asphalt! Pleasant atmosphere, warm in the sun cool in the shade, but gives Alden neuralgia in the face. A visit to the Golden Gate Park, to Pres. Jordan of the Stanford Leyland† University, a lunch at the Bohemian Club, and we are leaving the sumptuousness of the mighty Palace Hotel, to go down to the Yosemite Valley. A night in the train, & in the morning we are at Raymond. Then at 7 starts the coach & for 5 hours heat intense and dust unspeakable. So a brush down and a wash and a lunch, & we are off again another 5 hours—the last 3 cooler as we reach an altitude of 4000 feet—& dusty to the marrow we arrive at Wawona which being interpreted means “big tree”.

So a night’s rest and another early start to reach the famous valley at midday. Up up we climb, six thousand feet are scaled & now the great sight bursts upon our view. Near us upon our left is El Capitan that vast slab of rock bare, bold, barren; acres in extent is that cold grey perpendicular face. There to our right a little further on should be a mighty waterfall, but not now is there more than a mere trickle of water. But see in the distance that is the vast Half Dome, awe inspiring tremendous—who will venture to describe? Rapidly we descend to the floor of the valley, level, green, three and a half thousand feet above the sea, walled in with walls of three thousand feet! Four miles & we are at the hotel in this strange unearthly place. From there we wander out, one day along the valley, another to the Eagle’s Peak, another high up to the Clouds Rest—a full day’s climb—another to the Glacier Point; from each we get a different view of the might rocks. Would that the smoke of a forest fire were less obstructive to our vision. So we take a final gaze & return to Wawona.

With the rising sun we are driving out to the giant trees of the Mariposa Grove. Like all big things, their size confuses; it is not till one has climbed up many rungs of a ladder to the top of a prostrate monster, has driven coach & all through another, has seen a third standing side by side with an ordinary huge tree that one appreciates at all what they are; not till then, & then not fully. But the coach is carrying us away back to Ahwanee back to Raymond, & the train takes us an hour along the line to Berenda, where we sleep at a wayside inn, & on the morrow return to San Francisco. A few hours preparations, & [19 Sept.] we are again in the train {2} [,] Alden to Chicago & myself to Salt Lake City; for 36 hours, to Ogden, we travel together, then it is “goodbye”. For 5 months we have been united, our interests have been one, our pleasures in common; & now we part. A few hours & I have the delight of welcoming Annie. So one comes & another goes. “Is that not true of life?” I had hoped that at least for a day I might have had the pleasure of welcoming the coming guest before sorrowing for the parting,—a three cornered day—but it was not to be.

A charming city, the city of the Mormons, fine spacious streets with shady trees on either hand. We visit the Mormon Tabernacle & look upon the Temple from the outside, we are shown round the city with its relics of its old Mormon leaders. We take the car out to the great Salt Lake itself & bathe in its sustaining waters which allow you to float head, shoulders, feet all out of water!

Then we are off to the great Yellowstone Park. A few inconveniences of travel, and we are entering the Park at the Mammoth Hot Springs. A drive round a park, may be you imagine, is a matter of an afternoon, or perhaps, taking it leisurely, a whole day. Not so the Yellowstone. The regular drive round, tots up to something not very far short of 150 miles, & takes 5 days, or as many more as you like to spend. First the Mammoth Springs; terraces of the most delicate colours—white, pink, blue, green, brown or black. Of such were the great terraces of Rotorua New Zealand (destroyed alas volcanically, a few years ago) the wonder of the world. Wonderful indeed are these, as the boiling water pours over their flowery faces, beautiful, strange. The weather is delightful; warm but not too hot, and we congratulate ourselves upon the time of our visit. Now begins our drive, and at Norris a jovial host provides our lunch, then a first glimpse of the geysers. To Annie they are something quite new; I have seen the small ones of New Zealand. But let me wait to describe till we reach the finest of their race.

Fountain Hotel receives us before the sun has set, and the clerk at the office says to us “The bears will come down at 6 and the geysers will play at 8” much as though he had spoken of the arrival of guests & the performance of a brass band—so Annie remarks to me. So at six we go out with the hotel porter who daily spreads out the odds & ends of food at a little distance from the hotel, & shortly out of the wood comes big brown bruin to partake. The Zoo has prevented surprise, but it is the first time we have seen a fellow like that quite free & quite close. A little before 8 the geyser—“the little fountain”—goes through its performance spurting water right up into the sky.

The next day is the great field day for geysers; we drive out to the Upper Basin where they flourish in all their magnificence. From afar we behold one of them in action, & coming near we find the “castle” is performing; from its great turreted orifice it is throwing up water & steam. Like a fountain, and yet not like a fountain; for is not the water boiling hot, does it not mount in irregular violent outpourings, does not the crater gurgle and grunt? Arrived at the lunch station we find in the parlour [These words are followed by a box containing the words ‘Old Faithful will play at’ above a drawing of a clock showing the time 11.06.] So during the day is set a clock at the time of the next display. Every 70 minutes does Old Faithful perform his ceremony; & while seasons, droughts & various calamities affect other greater & less geysers, he remains alone, constant, unchanging, reliable. The time is drawing near, we approach his threshold; he gives a slight gurgle, then he spurts up. At first ten, then twenty, thirty … eighty, a hundred feet or more, into the air. For a minute or two we see him, then once more he lapses into silence, into obscurity within his crater.

Then a guide comes and takes us over the geyser field & tells us tales of some of the folk he has shown through before. Here is the “beehive” which enterprising tourists have soaped (literally) so much in the past that now it plays no more. Here is the “giantess” which only began playing again this year, & plays now 250 feet in the air, on & off for 12 hours at a time every 8 or ten days. Here a little fellow which goes off quick-shot-bang—& all over—once every two minutes. Here is the turban playing about once an hour(?). So we wander along seeing some in action, & regretting that the activity of others will not occur during our visit. Here is a pool of irridescent† blue of red of yellow of emerald. Here runs a cold rivulet where you can catch a fish, & turning yourself round you may boil him in a boiling pool within reach of your arm. Now we drive out a little way & the sun shines for a moment on a pool of sapphire. Now we watch “Daisy” a pretty little geyser which shoots out a fountain spray at an angle, & charms the Sororial heart.

So at length we take our departure not without some regret at bidding farewell to Old Faithful which we have witnessed once, twice, thrice, (now from near by, now right up close, now from afar) fulfil with unremitting zeal his 70 minute mission, an example of duty to the human race. So back to the Fountain Hotel & to the “paint pots” the little sputterers of coloured mud. The next is a long day’s “march”, and as we drive on & on and it gets colder and colder we begin to be not quite so sure of the excellence of the time of year for our visit. At length we reach the highest point of the pass, or the “Divide” as they call it, more than 8000 ft above the sea, then a short descent takes us down to the Lake from which many of the great rivers of the States take their rise. All around are the mountains covered with new fallen snow looking very grand as we make our way across the lake to our destination. Arrived there, we have the huge hotel all to ourselves, for the Yellowstone Park will soon close for the season. That evening a little snow falls, and we are very glad of the steam pipes in our rooms.

Next day we start for the Grand Canyon, & on the way pass a huge mud geysers†—last of our dear friends whom we have loved well but of whom we have grown with such constant familiarity just a little bit … or let me say we murmured

Geysers lofty geysers low
Geysers rapid geysers slow
Geysers gentle geysers rough
We thank the Lord we’ve had enough.

But the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is exquisite, with its golden rocks & lofty waterfalls; and the sun once out, the snow enhances its glory. How easily a week or more might be spent here earlier in the summer, but now we must hurry on, as 2 long days’ coaching await us to take us out of the park to Monida. The first lands us at a hunter’s inn to spend the night; thence a snowy day, & after 11 hours the coach reaches Monida at a walk in 10 inches of snow. [2 Oct.] Ogden by Sunday morning, & away towards San Francisco in the afternoon; en route 3 hours are spent in a siding while the bogey of the dining car is put to rights.

Nine days in the city are spent by me more or less in my room as I have a charming attack of neuralgia in the back, caught in the Yellowstone & accentuated by the air of California which is famous for this scourge. So I haven’t much opportunity to observe again the cosmopolitan nature of the city. It had seemed curious to me when first I came, that whereas when I went to India I kept on setting the natives in comparison with the negroes in the States, now I go about to reverse the process. As a matter of fact there is a very marked difference & next to no similarity. The negro is bright, sharp, cheeky & without any dignity whatever; the oriental is essentially dignified essentially without cheek, but deceitful rather than sharp. As for the Chinese element they are sleek & self complacent, so unlike their humble emaciated compatriots in their own country. So soon upon Oriental as well as upon African & every branch of the European family does the spirit of the American republic stamp itself when once citizenship has been procured.

Annie meanwhile was seeing a few of the sights & getting to know Mrs Cohen with whom we both went to lunch one day in the “skittle alley of the grounds of the burnt mansion”. It was pleasant to meet an old friend.

Then we started on our travels again: first to Del Monte a hotel in superb grounds perhaps the most beautiful I have ever seen. The maze proves of absorbing interest & reminds us of Carry’s recitation. The Lick Observatory on the top of Mt Hamilton, and Santa Cruz claim a visit from myself, & picking up Annie, a return is made to San Francisco. Los Angeles, Passadena† & Echo Mountain how to recite your beauties, how speak of the chain of the orange groves; Coronado beach upon the Eastern Shores of the Pacific. A railway bears us away, a rail to the City of Angels; a railway carries us east for 56 hours in a carriage—longest journey of all, so at length we are stranded at Houston: further a day and a half of discomforts, and rest at Atlanta.

But if you look at a map you perhaps wonder why we did not stop at the famous city of New Orleans; the answer is Yellow Fever in the place. Atlanta brought back our recollections of the Eastern city, though signs of the South were not wanting; from there we went not a long journey to Jacksonville & St Augustine in Florida. But the great frost of ’92 has rather destroyed that part of the country, & as it was not the proper season we reluctantly gave up the thought of descending another 12 hours journey to the orange groves & pine fields.

So we returned & up to Asheville; charming spot, standing in a panorama of gorgeously coloured trees covering the horizon. A few days very pleasantly pass roaming about in the morning & driving in the afternoon; then we get once more into the train, & leaving for good the south with its sugar brakes & its cotton fields come up to Washington. So I return at length to a place which I had seen, before I started out on my travels nearly a year gone by.

What more is there left to tell? Once again have I visited New York & been carried away by the hustle of its streets, once again has educational Boston and grimy Chicago appeared before me, once again have I gazed enraptured upon the resistless fall, the tumultuous rapids, the insidious whirlpools of Niagora†.

But what shall I speak of these things? Shall I write of the Waldorf Astoria full to the brim but yielding its last rooms for my sister and myself? Shall I write of Richard Mansfield in Cyrano de Bergerac? Shall I tell of the Emerson School of Oratory? Shall I describe the banks of Niagora† clad in a mantle of snow? Or should I speak rather of Hull House and of my friends there, of friends in Buffalo, Detroit, Toledo, New York[,] New Haven, or here in Boston itself? How little could I do them justice in a a mere letter; is it not better to leave unwritten?

But let me speak, instead, of my return; another fortnight here, a week in New York, a week on the Atlantic wave & I shall be at home once more in the country of my birth. A year and six weeks shall I have wandered abroad, a voluntary exile. Five months in India, the land of a strange people with strange manners & strange customs, yet pleasant months among friends of the best—countrymen more permanent exiles than myself. Then a time with Percy Alden delightful for his companionship; a month in Australia, a fortnight in New Zealand—countries of modern growth. A few days of intense interest, surrounded by the oldest civilization of the globe; a few weeks in the land of the little people, the people of Artistic delight, and once again to a modern race in the New World.

My sister joins me in my travel, & together we visit the wonders of the States & rest awhile among friends in the East before returning to our Home. {3}

So has been spent my time; ten and a half months upon the land and three upon the sea, & now I look forward to that return which has ever been a premeditated pleasure in my mind. To come back once more to home, to friends, to Cambridge my beloved, to this do I look forward with an ardent longing. Time enough have I seemingly idled & frivoled, the day is near at hand for active endeavour; Heaven grant me a safe return that I may put my hand to the plough & not turn back.

The End.


The dates of many of the events related in this letter are uncertain.

{1} Lawrence was due to arrive on the 10th (see pp. 177, 185), and according to the newspapers the Coptic arrived on that day (see e.g. the Dundee Evening Telegraph, p. 3). Perhaps the ship spent a while in the harbour before the passengers disembarked.

{2} See 6/13.

{3} ‘New Year’s Day (1899) found us on board an Atlantic liner bound for home’ (Fate Has Been Kind, p. 47).

† 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.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via Brisbane, Townsville, Thursday Island, Hong Kong, Canton, Hong Kong and Kowloon, Amoy, and Shanghai.

(A continuation of 5/30e. Identified in the first sentence as the writer’s ‘sixth encyclical’. This letter was begun after Lawrence’s departure from Hong Kong and probably completed before his arrival at Nagasaki.)



The Southern Sun is shining on the China sea, as with a gentle breeze on the “Belgic” {1} I start to write my sixth encyclical.

A vast rush of impressions & experiences crowded into a brief space of time, are beginning to sort themselves out & take distinct shape in my mind, so that I hope to be able to present them to you in something other than a confused jumble; & at the same time to portray oriental existence freed from the unnatural tint of rapidity which the spectacles of the globe trotter impress upon it.

But I cannot pass over without some description the days which were spent on board the Omi Maru on the way up from Brisbane to Hong Kong. I think I told you that we were to get away by the tender at 8 o’clock in the morning to go down the river; so making an early breakfast we got on board & steamed slowly down. At last after 4 hours we came in sight of the Omi right out at sea {2}, & were not altogether pleased to learn that after being prevented from spending the morning in Brisbane we were not to get really off till dawn of the following day. However on arrival on board we were gratified to find that all our belongings—trunks, bags, bundles, books, bicycle, chairs & table—had been duly deposited there in accordance with the mighty swears we had exacted from all concerned in Sydney, & we settled ourselves down, undepressed, to an afternoon of quoits & reading.

The number of passengers including ourselves were only just able to reach into double figures {3}, & of these, 3 were to leave us at Thursday Island; the remainder were capable of classification in a great many ways: thus we were, 3 from S. Africa, 2 from Melbourne, 2 from England; 4 women & 3 men; 3 invalids, 3 nurses and a supernumerary. Perhaps you are at a loss for a moment to see how Percy & I figure in this last numeration, but a recollection of his fondness for break downs will not leave you long in doubt; I always say when I see him racing up hill at a break neck speed that the only thing he retains is a “good heart”.

The first week of our voyage was spent in getting up to Thursday Island; & we kept land in sight nearly all the way. Right out to sea was the great barrier reef, too far away to be visible; but every now & again the ship passed groups of islands on either side. We had a Pilot on board, a grumpy old man, very cautious in his old age, who used to insist upon anchoring nearly every night owing to the narrowness of the channel. A stern breeze (ie a breeze from the stern) assisted the movement of the ship & made our “aft” accomodation† a blessing rather than the reverse.

Every day was very much like its fellow; still not hot enough to have to make one’s bed on deck, a comfortable sleep in our “spacious” cabin could be enjoyed right up till breakfast time, when the Japanese Stewards attended to our requirements after their own peculiar manner. Then would come reading from the library which Percy & I—in our forethought—had brought on board, perhaps a German exercise, & the diurnal contests at Quoits—Percy v self, Percy v “Jim”, “Jim” v self—always ending in a double victory for the Champion, Percy. So would come lunch, & a repetition of events with a pleasant tea on deck; darkness, dinner, a talk with the Captain {4}, dreaminess, & bed.

In the midst of this, Townsville as a diversion.

[7 July] Off in a launch to shore, after an early tea. Would like to “get our hairs cut” but Thursday afternoon is barber’s holiday, so cannot be; fine hill overlooking the harbour, must mount to the top. 1800 feet a good climb for Latitude 16 but not impossible, & magnificent view of land & sea amply repays the effort. Scramble down again to the Queen’s hotel in the speedy gloom of evening, sit in the tropical verandah, dine pleasantly off “land” food with “grenadilloes” {5} for dessert, a quiet smoke, a “hundred up” in 20 minutes & so catch the launch back to the ship, before long to sleep in spite of the continuous disturbance produced by lading. A seagoer’s holiday!

But in the morning the ship is under way again, & the diurnal recreations pursue their course with unaltered regularity; nevertheless it begins to get warmer, & though the Punkah still remains inert, a doubled awning protects the deck. To take “early tea” & get up an hour before breakfast becomes a more reasonable course to pursue; while “flannels” give place to “cottons”, & redundant clothing is altogether discarded. And so the few remaining days go by till [11 July] Thursday Island is reached {6}. Here I go ashore alone to see the sights of the place; & find a wonderfully cosmopolitan town.

Townsville had been interesting as a place well within the boundary of the tropics & yet inhabited almost entirely by the white race; Thursday Island presented an utterly different appearance,—Japanese, Chinese, Philipinos† & multitudes of other races all unite with the Australian to make up the 2000 of its inhabitants, to work its pearl fisheries & to carry on the shipping trade of the most northerly Port of Australia. An hour on land & then back to the ship to sail for China & Japan, to cross once more the famous line.

And now we begin to be surrounded in real earnest by the essentials of the tropics; the warmth of the nights compels us to sleep on deck, the punkah in vain endeavours to cool our meal hours, while the all eternal peg slakes our oriental thirst. In the evening we all gather together & read the tales of “Many Cargoes” {7}, while the Captain listens with no feigned amusement. In the early mornings we stroll about in pyjamas on the deck or play leap frog with “Jim” & so at last come the dress & to breakfast & a short game of quoits, then the day begins to get hot (though the monsoon saves us from anything very severe) & we labour at peaceful occupations till the going down of the sun. Sometimes the Captain talks to us of Japan, sometimes “Jim” retails experiences for our amusement; sometimes we have much to gaze upon in the passing islands.

But who or what is “Jim”? Some six feet of untidiness, a pair of grey trousers braced over a flannel shirt, a pair of brown boots, a shockhead of hair surmounting a weather beaten countenance, 30 years of childlike simplicity combined with farming adroitness, is this all that is to be said of Jim? By no means; an Englishman of S. Africa covered with the veneer of the Dutch, intelligent, good natured, anxious to learn but uncertain what is knowledge; now add to all this a deep fraternal devotion to a consumptive sister obeying as a dog, commands from her or from her nurse, & you have nearly, but not quite, Jim.

Of his sister & her nurse there is not very much to tell, except that they were always having their port hole open & getting their cabin swamped. The 2 remaining passengers were sisters from Melbourne, who had a house there & another place in Tasmania; one of them was an invalid & nervous & so naturally quiet, the other posed as coming under the latter adjective. So we could not be said to have a wildly exciting time, still the days passed away very smoothly.

The boat, as you know, belonged to a Japanese Company, & the only Englishmen on board besides the passengers were the Captain Chief Officer & first engineer; the Captain was a jolly sort of fellow who used to invite us up on to the bridge whenever there was anything to see; we lent & gave him several books of our library & he in his turn added to our store. As for the rest of the officers we did not come much into contact with them. The stewards used to amuse us very much. All very little men, they used to bob & curtsey about whenever they did anything for us, & they used to make a good deal of difficulty in understanding; at the same time they took a lot of trouble to please. The Japanese sailors all looked like boys, but they were pretty sharp about their work & did whatever they were told. Since arriving in China we have heard many tales of difficulties arrising† on boats of this line between the Japanese Crews & English Captains who are said to be only nominally in charge, placed there to satisfy the requirements of the Insurance Companies; of course we don’t know how far these may be true or not, but for our own part we found everything very satisfactory, & aided by smooth weather we made an excellent passage.

We had hoped to get some sort of sight of Manilla, but 20 miles out at 8 o’clock at night does not conduce to much instruction, & ‘divil a bit’ of town of men or of ships did we come across. For all we learnt we might as well have been at the other end of the globe; far better indeed such position if it had been in connection with a telegraph wire.

And so island after island has been passed, & day by day it has grown warmer & warmer & now [21 July?] we were in the China sea on the eve of our arrival in Hong Kong {8}; no boisterous typhoon disturbs the tranquillity of our progress, while once again the Great Bear illumines the Northern sky. So have we come back Westward & Northward from the newest civilisation in the world to the oldest & most decayed. What though there be hundreds of millions of this old world race, is it not rather a trouble after our weeks of tranquillity to rush in amongst them? What can we hope to learn of them in afew† days of sojourn? (what indeed, though it were weeks or months, or years or lifetimes?) Had we not better save our energies for the sprightlier race that lives so close at hand, & turn upon this rabbit-like population a doubtful but unenquiring gaze?

And all the while, steadily but surely the Omi is ploughing her way towards the island of Hong Kong, though in the darkness of the night the myriad toilers of the land rest from their labours in peaceful dreamless sleep.

China at last.

Dawn is breaking in the East, the balmy dawn of the tropics; outside the harbour of Hong Kong is the Omi at anchor. But with daylight she is again under weigh, & we steam slowly through amid the great multitude of craft, past the great sugar works until we anchor again right over against the town.

I suppose the first thing which must strike anyone in seeing Hong Kong is the fact that [it] is all hills; only just along the very front is there anything like level ground, & even there, but a very narrow strip, so that men are endeavouring to reclaim from the sea what nature has denied them on the shore. A large part of the town is built up on the side of the hills, & to this must be added a little colony who live up on the “peak”; in order that they may be able to make an easy & rapid ascent a funicular railway has been built by which you can get up to the level of 1500 feet in about 7 minutes. This is a much more wonderful thing than the ordinary railway of the kind; for instead of a straight run up & a straight run down, it winds in and out & is sometimes steep & sometimes nearly level. Close to the upper terminus is the Peak Hotel which is largely patronised by residents, who gain in coolness of the atmosphere what they lose in convenience, & even seem to find little difficulty in running up there every day for lunch.

We however determined to patronise the Hong Kong hotel which is on the shore, & as we were right in the centre of things & very well looked after, we were glad we had done so. Landing in the hotel launch before breakfast, we found that the rainy season was now on which kept the whole place in an incessant state of moisture, so we promptly invested in suitable clothing of white cotton & found ourselves thoroughly repaid in comfort for having done so.

Nevertheless you may imagine that a continuous temperature of 81 & 82 in a stew bath is not particularly adapted to walking about; & after making the requisite enquiries about our journey on to Japan etc, we took greedily to the rickshaw as an easy, comfortable & inexpensive method of locomotion. We first went to see Mr Smith of Butterfield & Swire’s to whom I had a letter of introduction; he advised us to go away to Canton the same evening while the fine weather held out, & invited us to come up to lunch with him soon after our return. We next set off for a missionary {9} to whom Percy had a letter, & we were directed up the hill; for this the rickshaw is unsuited & we started off to walk, after a little I began to get exhausted & upon being continually pressed by Percy I subsided moist & sticky into a chair & consented to be carried in that, while he walked triumphant at the side. I may add here that this was the last occasion of his triumph, for ever afterwards he always proceeded in like fashion in going any considerable distance where the rickshaw is unable to proceed. By considerable distance I mean perhaps ½ a mile, & for this purpose you have 2 coolies, marvellously strong little chaps who, unlike the Swiss, carry the chair rods upon the shoulders, & so render the motion very steady; they have tremendous calves, &—like Percy himself in a cooler climate—will go up a steep hill at quite a rapid pace. The most picturesque thing about them, I should say, is their hats; in Hong Kong these are blue & of a pretty fair size, while in Canton they are of brown straw & about as big as a small umbrella; when they have them on, they look perfectly wonderful, & Percy & I used to meditate upon the effect in England of ourselves photographed with these environments. Alas we never quite brought ourselves to adopt the still more extraordinary locomotion which can be had in Shanghai; if we had done so, I am sure the mere convulsions of our laughter would have caused us to fall off the … the …. wheelbarrow. These extraordinary conveyances which are wheeled by a single man have on either side of the big wheel an arrangement like the knifeboard of an old fashioned omnibus—where bales can be put or people can sit—; factory girls make use of them in going to their work & as many as 8 or 9 have been counted on the same barrow! Percy himself saw as many as 5 people, & I have seen 4 large bales which I should estimate at little under 2 cwt each. [There follows a sketch of the vehicle in question.] I wish I could draw well enough to give you an idea of the thing in motion, but as I have not succeeded in drawing it correctly even at rest, that is out of the question. [There follows another sketch of the vehicle.] The man of course holds the 2 handles in his hands, but he has also a strap attached to them which goes over his shoulders; residents say the squeak of them coming along, is like the despairing cry of the dying pig; others explain that it is the manner in which a man can move the heaviest load.

Well ultimately after asking the way of nearly everyone we met, (quite a fatuous proceeding so far as the Chinese were concerned, especially as Percy always insisted on spelling the name of the street to those who did not understand) we reach our destination to find our friend out, but his wife at home; so after a short call we descended to the hotel & had lunch. The afternoon was spent in writing a few letters, & fetching the remainder of our luggage off the Omi; then we rickshawed down to the “night” boat to Canton, & were able to have a few words with Dr Pearce (the missionary) & his wife, who had come to see us off, before the boat started.

There were only 2 other first class passengers on board, both men, & one of them came up to me & said “Do you know if the plague is bad in Canton now” “No, but I suppose Europeans are immune as they are in Bombay” “Oh have you been in India?” “Yes I spend† some months there with friends from Trin Coll Camb” “Oh are you a Trinity man, so am I”. Then after a little more; “I think I have heard of you; did you not stop with Willis at Peradéniya, I was there a short time after you left, my name is Reynolds {10}.” And so we had a long talk about all sorts of things; & it turned out afterwards that the fourth passenger was from Magdalene Oxford.

At dinner the Captain told us a lot about the Chinese & about Canton in particular, he said he had some 800 Chinese on board then, & often had a good many more; as a rule they were a very peaceable set & gave no trouble at all; he recommended us to employ Wong Yew as guide on the morrow. [24 July.] At daybreak we were passing through the outlying districts of Canton, & at 6 o’clock we were made fast to the wharf; all around us, busy as bees were the floating population: now a junk with its huge rectilinear sail, now a sampan with father mother & children living their lives out upon it, now a mighty stern wheeler, with its paddle rotated by a hundred human feet—climbing climbing climbing from dawn till dark on each succeeding day—. How many think you, this river population? A few hundred? A few thousand? Try again: Put all the population of Oxford, & all the population of Cambridge, & hardly so will you have reached to the number of those who live & die in boats upon this river, this little part of the river where it flows past Canton.

Surely one might spend days gazing gazing upon this countless crew, & it is well that we have an hour at any rate to inspect; for Wong Yew has told us that, contrary to my expectation, it is better to wait till after breakfast to go ashore & view the city. At last at 8.30 we make a start, Wong Yew putting all of us & himself into chairs; he & Percy have 3 coolies each while Reynolds & myself have 4 each, being supposed—not without truth—to be heavier. [There follows a sketch of four coolies carrying, on poles, a man in a chair.]

And so we go away through the streets to inspect many different shops: who will ever be able to describe the streets to one who has not seen them? Narrow of course,—not wider than the pavement of an average London street—flagged, & often surmounted by a kind of matting to keep off the sun, they were bordered on either side by the “signs” of the shops; signs consisting of narrow vertical boards painted with chinese characters & bearing such inscriptions as “Honesty is the best Policy” & the like. Our method of procedure in single file did not admit of our putting questions, while we went along, to the guide; but everything on the route was of interest & all our senses except that of taste were called into play. Shops of all kinds we stopped to inspect, temples of Buddha, of Tao, of ancestors, the great Doctor temple & the temple of the Emperor, all these we beheld in their glory & decay; but ever to me the most interesting sight was the people, whether to watch the differing types of countenance, to note upon many the signs of culture & of intellectuality, whether to return the stare of the children gazing open mouthed at the foreignor†, or else to admire the skill of the chair coolies in getting round the narrow corners or in avoiding the basket carriers who everywhere abounded. [There follows a sketch of a person carrying two baskets on a pole.] Now & again a Chinese was having shaved the front of his head, or combing out his splendid raven hair, or plaiting it into the famous pigtail; occasionally a high class woman hobbling along on her feet or carried in her chair; but everywhere the incessant stream of human beings, men here & men there & a few women of the common rank with their smooth hair & their uncontorted feet showing bare beneath their trousers.

At last we mounted to the top of the 5 storeyed pagoda & seated at lunch we looked down upon the city; there spread out before us, seemed one continuous mass, filling an area perhaps hardly as large as Derby & yet containing nearly 2 million of living human souls. {11}

And so we came down & the tour of our inspection of the city was continued; one thing in especial we impressed upon our guide that we were anxious of beholding & that was the Examination Hall. At length we were within its classic walls; a long central pathway leads up from the gateway to the dais of the examiners & on either side are rows upon rows of tiny cells. Into one of these on the morning of the first day marches the candidate; his age is not limited by the Psalmist’s allotted span of life, no iron regulation determines the number of his possible attempts. He marches within, & straightway he is immured; from thenceforth no sound reaches his excited consciousness but the stealthy tread of the watchman. The fierce noontide of the hot summer’s day comes & goes, & finds his task but just begun; his daily allowance of food is lowered into his cell, & the lamp of evening has been lit, and still but a mere fragment of his dissertation has been completed. The night wears through, & another long day drags out its torrid course; perhaps he eats a little, perhaps he sleeps a little, perhaps in the excitement of his labour he forgets to do either. Again another night; will he survive another day? For a few more hours he must labour; & then as the sun sinks below the horizon the walls are pulled down, & from each cell there issues forth one bearing the fruit of his exertion,—from all save here a cell & there a cell whence comes no living form, but where there is seen the prostrate figure of what was once a man. So at length for all, the task is finished! For what is the prize awarded? For knowledge of the classics, for elegance of diction, for beauty of style; for everything—in which an essay on a set subject can excel—except for originality or for scientific knowledge. What is this prize which is so coveted a possession; which is one of the highest expressions of filial piety, which ennobles the whole backward pedigree? The prize is the admission of the candidate into the list of those who will become mandarins; & each year in Canton 50 or 60 (??) out of some 2000 competitors achieve the coveted distinction. Room there would be in the spacious “hall” for many many more to make the fateful endeavour, for it has been estimated that the total number of cells hardly falls short of 15 thousand!

As a matter of fact the word “hall”, hardly conveys the correct idea, for the place is quite open to the sky; & while we were there, down part of the long central Avenue, an examination in archery was being conducted. This is part of the examination for military mandarins; & 2 by 2 the students in gorgeous robes came forward upon the dais to fire off their three shots; whether the distance was greater than it appeared, or whether their bows were of a peculiarly awkward pattern, or finally whether the unseen presence of the boorish foreignor† exercised a mystic spell over their movements, I am unable to say, but in my immature judgment proficiency seemed to be remarkable by its absence. At length we had seen enough; & with mixed feelings we bade farewell to the most ancient relic of the system of competitive examination.

A few more shops of curios & another temple were to end our round of Canton; but last but not least we visited a pawnbroker’s. All over the city may be seen certain brick buildings towering up into the sky; 12 or 13 short storeys with narrow barred windows, in each storey stacks upon stacks of neatly tied up parcels with little wooden Chinese labels. Thus is the pawnbroker an institution as well recognised here as in the lands of the west; rules & regulations are very similar, but perhaps quite a large amount of the depositing is done with a view simply to placing the articles in safe custody.

The return to the boat about 4 o’clock in the afternoon concluded one of the hardest days of pure sight seeing I have ever “put in”; & a peaceful night on board, with many discussions upon diverse subjects brought us back [25 July] to Hong Kong. There we were now to remain several days, & in spite of a great deal of rain we were able to accomplish nearly everything we wanted.

One day we took tram up the peak & walked from the upper terminus to the top of the hill, from whence we got a magnificent view all round the island; the harbour is very grand & is capable of containing a large number of vessels simultaneously. To give some idea of the amount of shipping which passes through, it is perhaps worth while mentioning that on the day of our arrival, five boats of the P & O Company alone were riding there at anchor; & I have heard it said that Hong Kong stands second only to London in the quantity of its annual tonnage.

One day we crossed over to the mainland, & visited Kowloon, which, to the regret of everyone on the spot, the British government has left under Chinese jurisdiction while obtaining for England the fine piece of territory in which it is situated. One day Dr Pearce took us over the prison & showed us the Chinese prisoners under the supervision of English & Indian officials. Another day we went up to dinner with him & met a native Chinese doctor, who took us, later on, to a native theatre; we sat in seats upon the stage & were extremely interested both in the spectators & in the drama itself which the doctor was kind enough to explain to us. All the actors are men, but they manage to imitate women very cleverly, when required, both in voice & in their manner of walking; one of the several plays acted during the evening, described the attraction felt by a young lady for the scholar who was instructing her brother! The actors converse in the Mandarin dialect which must be unintelligible to quite a large portion of the audience; nevertheless as the plays run more or less upon fixed lines, they have no difficulty in following them, & scenes such as that in which the young lady titivates herself with a view of compelling the admiration of the scholar, are watched with keen delight.

Another day we went up with Mr Smith to lunch on the peak; from the top of tram line we took chairs to his house which we found very pleasant & cool. Then after lunch we descended in the same way walking down to his office from the foot of the line; in this manner the total time away from office can be reduced well within 2 hours. In the afternoon I went on to see over the greatest sugar factory in the world & was duly impressed.

Another day—I notice I have said this sometimes when it was really the same day—we went on to the Omi again for a short time to bid adiew† to our friends; we found all the passengers rather tired of staying in the harbour, some of them wishing that they had come ashore to a hotel, nevertheless they were looking forward to starting away for Japan the next day.

Another day we visited the “Happy Valley” where the remains of the English race who have died in this spot so far from home are laid at rest; perhaps in the care with which this is tended, if in this alone, the reserve sentiment of “l’Anglais phlegmatique” is attested.

So with one thing & another, not omitting the gentle game of pills at the hotel, our time at Hong Kong passed away; & we found ourselves once more upon a boat {12}, bound for Shanghai & Japan. Stopping for a short time at Amoy to take on a cargo of tea, we reached Shanghai after 3 days sailing, & were pleased to find that we were to have more than a whole day before it would be necessary to get away again; so we proceeded at once, in a manner characteristic of ourselves, to get a lot of information by going & calling upon different people. I hope to be able to narrate to you, presently, a few of the things we heard then & at other times, so as to give you a few ideas about the Chinese; but of course you will remember that they represent only the second hand opinions of a few people coupled with a very minute amount of direct observation, & as such are to be accepted with the greatest caution. Nevertheless as proof that some of what we gathered was good in its foundation, I may perhaps mention that a lady who had been a doctor in China for many years, & was discussing things Chinese with Percy for some time, said at length “you must have stayed a very long time in China”.

These last two sentences must be taken as as kind of interlude representing the time we spent in talking to people, before I mention the things we actually saw & did. Late in the afternoon of the day of our arrival, we went out to the Recreation Ground going by way of one of the principal streets (ie of the foreign settlement, of course); on the way we were very much interested in how things “went along”. Mentally I compared the place with the presidency towns of India; but there were many differences; in some cases Chinese ladies driving about in open carriages, as I only saw of the Parsees in Bombay; in one case I noticed a European coachman driving a couple of Chinese gentlemen; all along the route were Chinese men sitting in rows upon the balconies, watching the foreigner driving down at his accustomed hour to his athletics. Victorias, Dog Carts, bicycles, rickshaws, even Wheelbarrows jostled one another along the road; while occasionally one would catch a glimpse of the Chinese lady with her cramped up feet. At length we reached the recreation ground itself & were struck dumb with admiration; almost every form of athletics & recreation was there displayed; so that so far as I am aware the ground is absolutely unrivalled in the whole world. While we were there, cricket, lawn tennis, bowls[,] quoits, & other games were all going on, & in the winter some of these give place to football & other things; in addition to these all the paths make splendid bicycle tracks, & polo golf & base ball are constantly played. [The preceding sentence is written around a plan of the recreation ground.] The whole enclosure must be something like a hundred acres.

The next morning we started away for an inspection of the Chinese city under the guidance of Mr Box a Missionary; after strolling round a little way on the walls we descended & saw all manner of strange & wonderful things. Here was a temple with god & goddess before whom was spread out a repast of all kinds of real food; of course these are afterwards sold, & eaten by the people, reminding one of “meats offered to idols”. Here was the plaint of weeping women; “this”, said Mr Box, “must mean either a death or a family quarrel[”]. And sure enough as we got nearer we saw them burning the little paper house for the use of the dead man, & with it large masses of paper money made to imitate silver & copper; these with a real suit of clothes were all added to the conflagration. Many things we noticed similar to those we had seen in Canton, & in many cases we learnt their meaning for the first time; but perhaps the most interesting thing we did was to go up to tea in the “willow” tea house. Call up to your consciousness the willow pattern & put it into reality in your mind, then imagine Percy & myself existent there in the flesh, crossing the little bridge & mounting to the top of the little tea house! At first Box gave no sign of knowing the language; but when the proprietor tried to “do” us, he amused every one very much by quoting a Chinese proverb “It is good to skin the foreigner”. He afterwards had a long conversation with the man at the next table, introducing us as 2 scholars from England. At a Chinese tea house, you take neither sugar nor milk, & you pay so much for one “go” of tea; you can have this replenished with hot water as often as you like, & may stay there half the day if you are so minded; for my own part I found it very refreshing. So with interesting & delightful experiences—only marred by the mosquito—we spent our time in Shanghai, where—though there is no absolutely British concession—there are, I believe, more British & American residents than in Bombay or Madras or even in Hong Kong itself.

And now for a few words on China and the Chinese in general; let me take the following points in order:

The pig-tail. Somehow or other I always imagined the pigtail would be a very ugly thing; I was surprised therefore to find that in a great many cases it is really quite the reverse; Percy describes the Chinese “boys” on board the Belgic, with their glossy black pigtails hanging down over their blue blouses as “perfectly fascinating”. I was also under the impression that loss of pigtail in this life was supposed to imply loss of heaven in the next world; this too is quite erroneous, the only thing that it really brings is loss of “face” (which means something rather more than loss of dignity) & it is the greatest loss of “face” which a man can be subjected to; it is a curious custom, & in view of the fact that it is not many centuries ago that it was introduced, & was then a mark of servitude, it goes to show that the Chinese are not quite so slow to change as some people are wont to suppose.

People often get confused about the religion of the Chinese; in point of fact the great mass of them are Buddhists, Taoists, Ancestor worshippers & nature worshippers all combined and par excellence Confucianists. Few among the men would profess much about the former, but nearly all would admit themselves to be disciples of Confucius; & really they might do a great deal worse, for as a system of ethics, his teachings are admitted on all hands, to be of a very high order. What the missionaries aim largely at doing, is to supplant the superstitions of the other religions & particularly of Taoism, the practices of which are continued though there is little or no belief in them retained by the male portion of the population.—In this sentence I have considerably over-stated the position. This brings me as usual on to the inevitable subject of the missionary. Of course there are always objections raised everywhere, but so far as I could gather, the missionary in China is regarded with a good deal more favour by outsiders than he is in other places; in the first place he is almost the only one who is thoroughly conversant with the language, & he is prepared to do a great deal in addition to strictly evangelical work. Commercial men admit that he “opens up” the country; & newspaper men acknowledge the vast debt which they owe the missionary for the amount of news which he is willing to provide for them.

Moreover there are signs that the younger men, at any rate, are beginning to avoid preaching Christianity as the one inspired religion (I had almost said mythology) whose acceptance is a safeguard against all the evils of this world & the next; but instead, they are endeavouring to encourage education & to supplement the deficiencies of the Confucian system with the best parts of Christianity. If and so far as they do this, I believe they will receive support from the Chinese; & there is no reason why their influence should not be extremely beneficial. {13}

A very natural thing for me, was to attempt to compare the Chinese with the Indian, & in this I found a great number of interesting points of difference. Take for instance some of the small everyday matters:—in India it is a sign of great want of respect to a superior, if a man does not remove his shoes & stockings when he comes into your presence, in China it is exactly the reverse; in China head gear is hardly worn at all among the lower orders and where it is, it is merely a protection against the sun, which must be removed in the house, in India on the other hand, the turban is worn indoors as well as out. Then of course caste in any strict sense does not exist in China, & theoretically at any rate there is no reason why a man should not rise from the lowest position to high estate in the country. Turning to the poorest part of the population I was unable to learn of any one earning such small wages as I had observed in the Indigo districts of India (something under a penny a day for a man), but I do not think this at all proves that in out of the way districts there may not be Chinese Coolies earning this wage or even less. At the other end of the scale, Chinese merchants appear to be respected by every one, & their business honesty is world famous; in this way they are contrasted with the Japanese whose merchants are unfortunately regarded with considerable suspicion. {14} The Chinese mandarin is famous for his “squeezes” which spelt vulgarly amounts to nearly the same thing as “bribery & corruption”; defences are allowed to go to rack & ruin because the mandarin whose business it is to look after them, keeps most of the money, intended for the purpose, in his own pocket; the very shells for the guns are often purloined & sold, & dummies are put in their place, while the numbers of a garrison are rarely up to their correct figure in order that the mandarin may pocket the pay of the men who do not exist. The great mass of people, however, suffer very much less from the wholesale official corruption than might have been supposed; so far as the military mandarins are concerned the people care nothing for their military prestige, & even with the civil mandarins they come less into direct contact than might be supposed. Lawsuits they avoid except as a form of murder & suicide (cf Court of Chancery in England); & being of a peaceable nature they are little interfered with except in the matter of a somewhat excessive taxation which they have come to regard as normal.

The Chinese consider the foreigner as essentially a person of no manners; the same attitude in a more or less degree is held with regard to the European all through the East; & if one cannot help realising everywhere that it is true in part one is bound to acknowledge it more particularly in China. Manners, ceremonial, dignity of carriage, a “grave & thoughtful countenance” (which being translated gives “a smile that is childlike & bland”)—in all these things it would be difficult to deny that the Chinese is preeminent; at the same time under this external may lie cruelty, rudeness, & deceit. How far these hidden vices do exist, it is impossible to judge; while those who have the best right to form an opinion differ considerably in their estimate. The erudition of the scholars in works of antiquity is very great; & even the common coolies may often be seen reading the proclamations in the streets written not infrequently in recondite characters.

Taken as a whole I was more favourably impressed with the Chinese than with the Indian; but against this general statement must be set a great many cautions & modifications. In the first place when I speak of “the Indian” I lump together in my mind the people of Bengal Bombay & Madras, leaving out of account altogether the Sikhs, the people of the Punjab, & the people of the Hills who are generally said to be the best people in the country; and secondly I am afraid one must admit with most Orientals that as a rule the better one knows them the less one likes them, & my knowledge of India is very much greater than that of China. Nevertheless taking the opinions of those who know more than myself I believe that my general proposition is to be substantiated.

A few words upon the political outlook will bring this encyclical to a close. I have already spoken of the feeling in reference to Kowloon, this refers to the relations with China itself, but by far the most important points arrise† out of our attitude towards other foreign powers. On all hands it is strenuously urged that we ought to show a bolder front towards Russia, that we ought to put forward a definite position & stick to it, that we ought to be prepared to support China in her opposition to the demands of the Great Bear. They say that there can be no doubt that the Chinese would stand by us if they thought we were prepared to stand by them; on the other hand it must be remembered that Li Hung Chang & the Dowager Empress are directly in the pay of Russia.

People in China complain than† those at home do not appreciate the true state of affairs in the far east; & do not realise how strong Great Britain is & how easily she could enforce her demands. But the editor of a newspaper who was most strenuous in this position & who was in things Chinese extremely well informed, showed that he too was not quite conversant—in my opinion—in the state of affairs in distant countries when he took for granted that if Russia & France were against us Germany would take our side, & Australia would prove to us of very real assistance.

As regards Wei-hai-wai opinions seem to differ a good deal, but the great majority seemed to be of opinion that it would prove of very small value to us. On the other hand I have heard it stated that if we are prepared to spend a large sum of money in fortifying it & keep there a considerable garrison, it may be made a very strong place.

For my own part I feel that China is of immense importance; it is nearer home to-day than India was but a few years ago. It has a vast almost homogeneous population capable of nearly anything. Looking to the future, we should not allow it to fall into the hands of unscrupulous foreign nations, neither for its own sake nor for our own. Let us make ourselves as strong as possible, let us make just demands & see that they are adhered to through everything. We are the only country in the world who can administer a foreign nation; on our resolution to-day must hang the future of China, and may depend the whole destiny of the world.

End of encyclical VI.


{1} The steamship Belgic was built in 1885 for the White Star Line.

{2} The steamer Omi Maru belonged to the Nippon Yusen Kaisha. It stopped at Sydney from 26 June to 2 July, then on the 4th called at Moreton Bay, near Brisbane, where Lawrence and Alden boarded it. It was due to set off again the same day but did not actually go till early on the 5th. See the Brisbane Courier, 5 July, pp. 1 and 3, and 6 July, p. 3.

{3} The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 2 July (p. 10): ‘The following passages have been engaged by the Omi Maru, sailing for Hongkong and Japan, via ports, from west side of Circular Quay [Sydney] at noon to-day in the Nippon Yusen line:—Mr. F. W. Lawrence, Mr. Alden, Dr. Agassiz, Mr. G. Fischer, Mrs. A. Lewis, Mr. H. Arnheim, Miss Parkes, Miss Tyre, Miss Nicholson, Miss Nicholson [sic], and Mr. J. F. Parkes, and a number of Chinese in the steerage.’ This list includes eleven non-Chinese passengers, whereas Lawrence only refers to ten, but perhaps one of the number either did not board or left the ship before Brisbane. ‘Jim’, mentioned subsequently, must be Mr J. F. Parkes, Miss Parkes being his sister. The Miss Nicholsons are the sisters from Melbourne mentioned on p. 208. Miss Parkes’s nurse was either Mrs Lewis or Miss Tyre, probably the latter. Those who left at Thursday Island were clearly Dr Agassiz, Mr Fischer, and either Mrs Lewis or Miss Tyre.

{4} Christopher Young (d. 1907), steamship captain of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha; born at Heligoland. See the Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser, 15 Apr. 1907, p. 1.

{5} The fruit of the passion-flower; see OED, s. v. granadilla | grenadilla, which, curiously enough, cites the phrase ‘The tropical verandah, with the grenadillas trained along the lattice-work’ from The Times, 31 Jan. 1894, p. 13.

{6} The ship left the island the same day. See 6/14 and The Queenslander, 12 July, p. 103.

{7} A collection of humorous sea stories by W. W. Jacobs, first published in 1896.

{8} They were due to arrive on the 22nd (see p. 177), but according to the Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 25 July, p. 3, and The Standard (London), 25 July, p. 8, the ship did not arrive there till the next day.

{9} Thomas William Pearce.

{10} Leetham Reynolds.

{11} The ink changes here.

{12} The S.S. Belgic.

{13} The ink changes here.

{14} The ink changes here.

† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via Colombo, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne and Ballarat, Sydney, Blackheath, and Sydney.

(A continuation of 5/30d. The first sentence is ‘A fifth encyclical!’ This letter was begun after 2 June and finished about 3 July.)



A fifth encyclical! From the Antipodes! Ridiculously short stay. Percy also is writing what with doubtful financial accuracy he terms a circular note; &—must I reveal—referring constantly to his Murray. Tell it not!

[2 June.] A boat two days late starting from Sydney. {1} A somewhat scratch lot of passengers. A combined smell of kerosene oil & oranges. A steward who unnecessarily shuts our port hole & rouses us at dawn of day. Alas luxurious P & O what has† thou done for us that we have become so particular? Where is thy lengthy promenade? Where thy spacious saloon, thy sumptuous cuisine? Not here on the Talune of the Union S S Co. And yet are we not well cared for? Do we not feast on “ox palate” “pig’s face” & “sheep’s head”? Does not the company in its magnificence supply us with deck chairs at its own expense. The passengers starting as I have said from scratch, do they not come in well at the finish? Of musical talent there is abundance; & out of 5 nights we occupy 3 with concerts.

A New Zealand senator finding our interest in social questions, furnishes us with many particulars, & gives letters of introduction to many of the high & mighty. Grace is his name & graceful his actions. He writes us a letter to make us honorary members of the club.

[5 June] So we come in sight of the South Island on the fourth day & watch the snow mountains; then at length on the port side a conical cloud,—so it must be surely—; yet never a cloud so still, so stately; this is Egmont the highest, grandest mountain of the North Island.

To bed, to sleep, perchance to dream, two figures of men are seated on the couch, the electric light is on. Voices. Will you come ashore now? T’is midnight. These are our friends come down to welcome us, & we go ashore & sleep in comfort with no ruthless steward.

Our friends, but in the beginning Percy’s: one is young Atkinson son of a late Premier {2}, the other a friend of his, Evans {3} who runs a quasi settlement.

[6 June] On the morrow we arrange to stop at the club during our stay at Wellington; friends offering hospitality but admitting suburban residence inconvenient. Charming plan in New Zealand of putting up visitors as honorary members of club, & enabling them to make use of it as a very superior hotel.

Busy arranging interviews with the great. Percy is tremendous at obtaining information & makes great use of his letters of introduction to learn all about social & political affairs. To some I go with him & while he is with others I go & see the Bishop {4} an old Cambridge man who was proctor while I was there. Percy says the first man I go & see whenever we arrive anywhere is the Bishop! I also bear my (public &) private letter of introduction to the Governor {5}, but alas he is away touring & will not be back. I have been unlucky with Governors.

Shall I write you a discourse upon New Zealand politics & social matters? I have read Oceana {6}, & desist; out here the author is pitied not disliked.

Wellington is a very poor town “an English watering place out of season” though it is the seat of Government. Of course we didn’t say so. Nevertheless Wellingtonians apologised for it in advance; “you must remember it is all reclaimed land.” Magnificent harbour.

[7–9 June] Tuesday Wednesday Thursday all wet; business (in the shape of interviews) got through. Also high tea & argumentativeness, dinner & Maori tales. Fine intelligent people the Maoris seem to be & particularly to have been; in no way looked down upon as inferior by the white race. Best claim among them to title of land “this land belonged to the chief & people of the tribe X & behold now they are here & he strokes the lower part of his tunic”.

[9 June] Thursday a gathering at the settlement, of interested ladies & gentlemen to welcome ourselves & to hear of work in England. {7} I limit Percy—as he is away for his health—to 20 minutes, & add a few words myself. O marvellous day, & marvellous paper in which I am described as “modest & frank”.

[10 June] Friday to golf, & it is fine; glorious view of harbour; jolly to get first class exercise & jolly game: but our play; Oh the insufficiency of human speech!

Back to the town & to “at home” at the Grace’s†. Miss Grace: “I hear you thought I was 19” “Who told you that?” “Never mind” “Well how old do you suppose I am?” “34” “You are worse out than I was”—we are the same age to within a year. Dr Grace has kindly insisted on having us put up for the club at Napier & also at Auckland, & with renewed thanks to him & anticipatory good wishes to Miss G on her approaching nuptials we bid farewell.

A merry evening at the Atkinson’s† with many a tale, & the last day of our stay in Wellington comes to an end. Many have been the friends we have made even in so brief a visit.

On the morrow we are to start our tour—our grand tour of a week—through the island to Auckland, & to commence with a 12½ hour train journey to Napier.

[11 June] So Saturday morning while it is yet dark we rise & breakfast, & reach the railway station in time to catch the 6.50 train; there to bid us adieu is the kindly indefatigable Atkinson.

A 12½ hour journey is usually dull especially when you are only covering a little over 200 miles, but this fact does not admit of mathematical proof. We were very lucky in meeting a cousin of Atkinson’s at about 9 o’c who was travelling all the way to Napier, so we were not at all dull.

Hospitable club at Napier; I forget whether I told you that as Percy is away for his health I have to keep him amused; it is very trying having to play billiards with him in the evenings when there are so many other things we might be doing; under my able tutelage he is rapidly learning to beat his tutor—“till at last the old man ..[”] but by the way he is the older of the two, though my few remaining locks are blanching & falling off.

From Napier we are to coach thro’ the island for several days doing 160 miles in all, & see the sights.

[13 June] So Monday we make another early start, the coach leaving soon after 6.30; a bright frosty morning. Percy & I are the only passengers & have box seats. The total distance is 52 miles for the day, but the greater part of it consists in going up & down hills, getting magnificent views. So though only an hour’s stop for lunch darkness has set in before we arrive at Tarawera Percy & I have been able to get some exercise & keep ourselves warm. {8}

I haven’t much to tell you of Tarawera, because it is merely a small inn right among the hills; & as we had been out in the open all day & were to make another early start next morning, we turned in soon after our evening meal.

[14 June.] Before the coach, a start to get warm; & for 3 or 4 hours our experience of the previous day is repeated, then up on to the plateau, a plain 2000 [feet] above sea level. So to drive across it during the rest of the day with an interval for lunch. Up on the box seat; an endless stretch of dead level, treeless, barren, hideous. Uninterrupted monotony is only broken by the sight of what appears to be the steam from an engine: “that” says our driver “is a blowhole”.

So at last about 5 o’clock to Taupo[.] Time to have a hot bath in the grounds before dinner: for here we are in the hot lake district. Stay in some time playing about, & not unnaturally catch something of a cold. Not much to see at Taupo & [15 June] early next morning drive on to Weiraki {9}.

Geysers: little geysers: big geysers: water geysers: mud geysers: bubbling pools: champagne pools: blue pond: green pond: purple pond. Why here’s pool which actually has cold water! So dinner & to bed to dream of all things imaginable.

[16 June.] Once more to coach over the plain, all day, interminable: then as darkness descends, Rotorua, a railway terminus, & civilisation. A walk, dinner, & pills {10}—of ivory—& so to bed.

[17 June.] A lake, a legend, a spring starting[,] a river, the fires of h—, & so back by coach. Another day is concluded.

[18 June.] A wet day on the way to Auckland; train goes at such a rate we fear it will be bad for the engine; stop at one point because a cow is on the line in front of the train; a few miles later another stop is made because the same cow is in the way again. Nevertheless the enormous distance of 170 miles is covered in only a little more than 12 hours & we drive up to the Northern club {11}.

[19 June.] We have one day to spare in Auckland, which we employ in climbing to the top of Mt Eden from which the view of the whole place is charming—as of course it ought to be—& in crossing over the harbour & duly admiring.

[20 June] The next morning in accordance with Percy’s dictum I go & call on the bishop {12}; & the boat leaves in the afternoon {13}.

O trip of 4 days back to Sydney with what a light heart were you started upon, with what piteous discomfort were you enshrouded from start to finish.

A big list, a big roll. Two deck chairs lengthwise against the edge of the boat. Two prostrate figures. A minimum of good accomodation†. Unpleasantness & leave-untouchedness of diet. Draw a veil.

[24 June.] The day of our arrival in Sydney {14}; a bit more cheerful, walking up and down: what were we discussing think you, on our return from that land of experiment; that land where social problems are dealt with after their manner, that land of the triple 8 [Footnote: ‘8 shillings a day, 8 hours a day, 8 hours for play’], that land where the working men rules†? I will tell you: we were discussing the probability of the boat getting in in time for dinner at the Australia hotel; & it did by a second. So carnal are the minds of men.

Of our time in Sydney on our return I shall not write at length: of our letter of introduction from Sir J. Abbot† the Speaker}, & of how we sat in the House, & listened to a discussion & of how we were afterwards introduced to Reid the Premier: of how we went out to lunch with an elderly lady & met 7 other elderly ladies & 2 men: of our dinner with Mr & Mrs Wise {15} the former of whom will probably be a minister in the next government[:] of all these I will say nothing {16} but will bring you on to [30 June] Thursday morning, to the time of our departure from the capital {17}. We are to spend the day in travelling up to Quirindy, on the way to Brisbane, & there we are to see all over a sheep farm. So man proposes but …: for when we arrive having been fortified in our tedious hotel by the thought of the instruction of the morrow, we learn that owing to the rain, it is impossible to drive along the road, so a sheep farm is not to be one of the sights seen by F.W.L. Instead, our friend takes us up into a mountain & shows us all the k—I mean we ride up & he instructs us as to the country we see around. Also we get a little exercise by chopping wood for the fire.

[1 or 2 July.] {18} So playing pills we catch the 2.40 A.M train & travelling for the rest of the night & all the next day with some friends to amuse us, we arrive at Brisbane from which this the concluding portion of my fifth encyclical is written. Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane; so have we made the circuit of the capitals, & Brisbane is one of the brightest of them all. Of other parts of Australia do we know much? Now we start upon voyages untold till at last we shall reach U.S.A. For the voyages we have laid in great stock of chairs & a table & expect to do an immense amount of reading, who shall say?

One thing I have not mentioned, Sydney harbour of which the inhabitants are justly proud. No words of mine can adequately describe its glory its beauty & its magnificence.


{1} Lawrence and Alden sailed to New Zealand on board the steamship Talune, 2020 tons, of the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand. It left Sydney on 2 June and arrived at Wellington on the evening of the 6th. See the Sydney Morning Herald, 3 June, p. 4, where a list of the passengers is given, and 8 June, p. 6. A short article announcing Alden’s imminent arrival was printed in the Wellington Evening Post on 6 June (p. 4).

{2} Sir Harry Atkinson, the former Premier of New Zealand, had five sons, named (in the order of their birth) Harry Dunstan, Edmund Tudor, Alfred Charles, Samuel Arnold, and Harry Temple. An Arthur Richmond Atkinson, best known as a temperance campaigner, was closely associated with W. A. Evans in the Forward Movement (see next note) and spoke at the meeting held for Percy Alden on the 6th.

{3} The Rev. W. A. Evans, a Congregationalist minister, was born in Wales but went to New Zealand for the sake of his health, where he founded the Forward Movement, a philanthropic and educational body, at Wellington in 1893.

{4} Frederic Wallis. He was senior proctor at Cambridge in 1892.

{5} Lord Ranfurly, an alumnus of Trinity.

{6} J. A. Froude, Oceana, or England and Her Colonies (1886).

{7} This meeting, which, as indicated, was styled a ‘welcome’ to Percy Alden, was held at the Forward Movement Hall, Manners Street, at 8 p.m. It was announced the previous day (the 8th) in the (Wellington) Evening Post, which carried both a small notice and an advertisement stating that ‘All Friends of Reform’ were invited (p. 4). On the 10th the same newspaper printed an account of the meeting (p. 1) and a related editorial (p. 4), which alluded to the limit im-posed on the length of Alden’s speech for the sake of his health. The source of the compliment to Lawrence’s speech is unknown; the Evening Post described it as ‘humorous and sympathetic’.

{8} The ink changes here.

{9} This place-name is now usually spelt Wairakei.

{10} i.e. billiards.

{11} A gentleman’s club in Princes Street, founded in 1869.

{12} W. G. Cowie, an alumnus of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

{13} Lawrence and Alden sailed from Auckland aboard the steamship Waihora on the evening of Monday, 20 June. See the Auckland Star, 21 June, p. 4, where some of the passengers are listed.

{14} The boat arrived in the evening of the 24th, ‘in time’, as Lawrence notes, ‘for dinner’. See the Sydney Morning Herald, 25 June, p. 12.

{15} B. R. Wise and his wife Lilian.

{16} It may be added that Alden addressed a meeting of the Toynbee Guild at the School of Arts on 28 June (Sydney Morning Herald, 29 June, p. 9).

{17} Lawrence and Alden left their luggage at Sydney to be put aboard the Omi Maru when it called there. See 5/30f.

{18} It is not clear how much time was spent at Quirindi.

† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via Nellore, Madras, Calcutta, Mozufferpore, Calcutta, Sahdol, Mozufferpore, Benares, Lucknow, Roorkee (with an excursion to Moradabad), Delhi, Agra, Gwalior, and Bombay.

(A continuation of 5/30c. Headed ‘4th encyclical’. The first section of this letter (pp. 167–70) was written just before leaving Adelaide on 18 May, the second (pp. 171–5 and the first ten words on p. 176) at Blackheath, between 28 and 30 May. The rest was written before leaving for New Zealand on 2 June.)



4th encyclical

A short time is open to me to write & catch the mail here at Adelaide, before starting off to catch the train to Melbourne.

[2 May] I found P. Alden on board the Britannia at Colombo, we went ashore & drove out to Mt Lavinia & back, & after a pleasant day returned to the boat for dinner {1}.

Then passed 10 days with very little of especial interest to note; only a very small number of passengers; so games of quoits, conversation, books & meals were the only thing which relieved the monotony of an expanse of Ocean.

[12 May] At last we reached Albany at day break Thursday 12th, went on shore to breakfast, & climbed up the hill at the back of the town & got a fine view of the harbour. Then back to the boat & off again before lunch {2}. A fair number of extra people had joined us at Albany, many of whom were going on to Sydney a passage of 8 or 9 days(!).

We settled to get off at Adelaide & go on by train which would give us more time. We expected to get in Sunday afternoon {3}; but at 2 AM the Captain who had not been able to see sun or stars for 2 days, did not like to venture further in a very strong wind, with rocks not far away, & a mist hanging all about. So we turned right round, & beat against the wind running back towards Albany at about a knot or two an hour; this till 10 AM then round again, slowly for another 6 hours, & so on through the day; [16 May] about 6 AM Monday we were able to get along, & got in here about 8 PM.

The waves all the time had been very big, & we rolled a great deal; I think it would have been a great deal more, if we had tried to get along, & the wind had been broadside on. We had had the fiddles off and on all the way from Colombo {4}, but on Sunday things nearly jumped out of them. The waves were nearly as fierce as in my journey across to U.S.A in the “Gallia” {5}.

We got away & came up by train to the town & to this hotel.

[17 May] Yesterday I went to call at Government House & was invited to stay to lunch; I found the Buxtons {6} very pleasant, the son whom I know was not there but was expected in a few days.

[18 May] This morning we drove up to the hills & got a grand view; & I went to lunch afterwards with the Bishop {9} to whom also I had a letter from the Master of Trinity {10}.

{9) I am writing to you from “Blackheath”, not the Blackheath of our native land, & yet not the Blackheath of a foreigner, for the Australians are not foreigners, but a Blackheath up in the Blue Mountains—a very beautiful Blackheath; here are Percy & I with a Professor of the Sydney University {12} in a little cottage belonging to him: I have just had a game of chess with the Professor & another with a friend of his {13} who is staying here also, & now while I am writing this they are playing against one another. The last I wrote you was from Adelaide & I gave a hasty exposition of events up to the time of writing; I think I said there was not much to relate about our voyage, & that was about true, but perhaps I might have mentioned the chief engineer who used to sit at our table. He possessed such an abysmal ignorance of any & every subject that he was a great treat. We wanted to know once how long it would take to get from Sydney to Hong Kong; “Well” said he “I daresay about 8 days, you see the boats are very slow & they stop at a large number of ports” We found out afterwards that he had even had a daughter who had lived & died in the Manillas. On another occasion he thought that the population of Scotland was about 30 million. But his great feat was his method of parrying questions; asked whether supposing we got in at daybreak at a port we should get away again before 12, he would say “we aren’t in at daybreak yet” & consider that that absolutely settled the matter.

There was also an old man whom we called the Ancient Mariner, because he had a habit of fixing his gaze upon you stopping you, & narrating a long yarn; only as people said, he stopped more than one of three. Moreover his yarns generally took the form of an argument, in which the only part in the performance you were allowed to play was that of yessing & noing. At times however when it was a tale, he filled in every particular, & the most fastidious enquirer need not have gone away without receiving full information upon the antecedent & surviving relatives of every one of the principal characters. “I wonder whether you ever met a man of the name of Henson” he would say “a very charming young fellow”—you hastily endeavour to quell the approaching narrative by pointing out that unluckily you never had the pleasure—“ah I used to know his father before he was married —————— at last returning to our friend we have the story of his life & death—he left a widow & 3 children, the eldest was a girl who went out to Melbourne & there she married ——— till all surviving members of the family have been exhausted—Ah he was a charming fellow, it is a pity you never met him”.

There was an Australian & her daughter—quite harmless but inclined to exaggeration.

“You will like Melbourne, & I am sure you will admire our women”—said the old lady, once, who by the way was one of the ugliest people I have ever seen—“they are the most beautiful women in the world; & they know how how† to dress, & what’s more they’ve got the money to do it!”

But you must not take her as a typical Australian.

Of the rest, there was an English girl, a married couple from Madras, & a few others, but no one very exciting.

At Albany got on somewhat of a scratch lot, but among them some very decent fellows who told us a good deal about gold mines.

I don’t think there is a† very much to add about the storm; we were landed in a huddle at Adelaide with all our luggage except my bicycle & big trunk & our deck chairs leaving these to be put off at Sydney which they dont seem as how they have been being probably at Melbourne; fortunately I am not in a hurry for them.

After our two days at Adelaide we took the night train on to Melbourne {14}. The meal arrangements seemed funny to me after my experience in India, for when we stopped for dinner, we got out in crowds, instead of the 2 or 3 first class passengers to which I had been accustomed; & closely packed sleeping accomodation† with railway conductor to make up the beds seemed unlike the extensive apartment generally all to oneself in the Indian railways.

Melbourne customs very rigorous, & they made me pay 10/– on a pair of new boots & a pair of new shoes which were in my trunk. Lucky I did not bring bike & large trunk; otherwise I should have become bankrupt.

Menzies Hotel very pleasant & comfortable though not the luxurious palace, we had been told about; not in the same street with any of the American hotels or even with the “Australia Hotel” at Sydney. Perhaps the word “even” in the last sentence should go out, for the Sydney hotel is really extremely fine.

Cook, the traveller’s friend, [was] of great service in every way, {15} & insisted upon our taking then & there tickets home to London, via Hong Kong, Yokohama & go-as-you-please-in-America; really a very great saving of expense; you see there is a competition between this route, the Cape Horn route, & the P & O. We also fixed up definitely our points up to our arrival in America: you see this was necessary in order to let A.J.L. {16} know when to start if she proposes to meet me in California. In order to see the wonders of the Western States it is necessary to arrive there in September; so it became a question whether we should arrive there in that month, or else cut them altogether. Counsel for the latter urged that we might in this way see more of Australasia, & that the other place must inevitably reduce our time in China to a minimum. Counsel for the former urged that 2 months were enough for Australasia, & that the present year was not the time to do much inland travel in China. In the end the latter counsels prevailed especially as Percy in any case would go on to U.S.A. in time to reach home in October. So we leave here on July 2, reach Hong Kong July 22, go and visit Canton, & leave again about July 26; then boat stopping in passing at the Chinese ports, & finally arrive at Kobe; then after 3 weeks in Japan, take O & O boat via Honolulu to Frisco, which we reach September 10. Percy goes nearly straight home, but I expect to stay in the states till nearly the end of the year.

Melbourne has excellent cable cars, & by riding in the “dummy” we were able to see a good deal of the city: the cars are much better than the Chicago ones, a start & stop with very little jerk. The city itself is something between an American and an English town; but like the former has its 12 storey buildings standing in juxtaposition to little bits of cottages.

[20 May] Federation is in the air all round; the first day we arrived, there was a meeting of the delegates invited by the Mayor from surrounding cities of Victoria {15}. We went, & found no one but delegates were admitted, but Percy sent in his card as deputy Mayor of West Ham, & we were allowed in. [21 May] We also went to a public meeting the next day. Altogether it was very interesting to hear what was to be said. You know there is to be a Referendum on the question at the end of this week. The expectation is that Victoria, S. Australia & West Aus[trali]a & also Tasmania will carry it without difficulty, but that N. S. Wales may refuse it (Queensland is not in it at all) principally owing to underrepresentation in the Senate, & to the probable introduction of protective duties. Of course the bill abolishes (in course of time) the intercolonial duties, but Sydney is afraid that her free trade (with the outside world) which has brought her such prosperity will be forced from her.

One day we went to Ballarat to see a gold mine; we spent 10 hours getting there & back & had 4 hours there, but as it was thoroughly wet while we were in the train, & quite fine while we were there, & we saw all we wanted to, we were quite satisfied. In the first place I was thoroughly disabused of any idea I might have had of finding a semi barbarous village; Ballarat is as civilised a town as you would find anywhere, with comfortable hotels, & I am told that this is nearly equally true of any gold mining centre which has been “going” for the greater part of a year.—Of course Ballarat is several years old—. First we were taken over the machinery—great big vast machinery to crush large quantities of rock, to get out a little tiny quantity of the greedy metal. Something had gone wrong with the works, so the mining was not going on there, & we were taken across to another “claim” which was in working order. First we took off all our clothes & donned mining costume; Percy looked exactly like a cutthroat & he tries to make out I was worse because all the buttons were off my shirt; anyhow I don’t think either of us looked the sort of chap you would care to meet in an out of the way place in a dark night. Then we were crammed into a cage & went down. A much more rough & tumble place than a coal mine: quite warm: gold exists in intrusion quartz: quartz in a narrow band: shaft first sunk to the bottom of it & as dug out, debris falls to the ground & men rise to a higher level: two or three big pumps kept continually working to keep free of water.

So back & up & dress & home.

In the train meet some pleasant University dons: learn that my friend Naylor {19} on whom I had called is away from Melbourne for a few days.

One evening to the theatre to see Wilson Bennett† in The Manxman;—the book I read while I was on the Britannia—don’t care much for the dramatisation; & only good acting done by Maud Jeffreys {17}.

[22 x 27 May] Train to Sydney by night. Had found it really cold at Melbourne, & very cold in train; Sydney warm again as at Adelaide. Very energetic, pay a number of calls on day of arrival, start the ball rolling; & can pick up some of threads on return from New Zealand. Practically all Percy’s friends. Robjohns {22} & his family of whom son is at Mansfield House, Dunstan {23}, MacArthur {24}, Sir J Fairfax {25} & others; also Wood his fellow student at Balliol {26}, & Scott his old tutor both professors of the University in Sydney. The latter invites us up to his cottage at Blackheath in the blue mountains which we gladly accept for Sat–Mon. We hire bicycles for the week & find them very handy: but streets of Sydney odd sorts of things. Town is much more like an English town except that it is on a peninsular like N. York & all traffic into the city flows one way. Principal locomotion effected by what are euphemiously described as trams, but would more correctly be called street trains; in addition to these there are large omnibuses, & the streets are narrow. However the annual number of killed & wounded does not seem enough for alterations to be made. Centennial park outside the city is a fine place to cycle in. Sydney harbour the finest in the world is a marvel & very beautiful.

[28 May] Away to Blackheath, & find capital weather, & though 3,500 feet up quite balmy. Delightful cottage: afternoon walk on Saturday, & [29 May] day trip taking lunch with us on Sunday. Impossible to give an idea of the scenery. Up on a plateau, looking down wonderful gorges with precipitous rocks of sandstone. Everywhere the white trunk & dark leaves of the gum tree. Miles look like feet; & ‘a little way off’ a long walk scrambling through the bush. Percy says it is something like the Rockies.

A game of lawn tennis & back to Sydney charmed with the Blue Mountains, & charmed also to have had some “Ekker” {28}.

To the theatre to see the “Squire of Dames” {29} jolly little piece & well acted.

And now we are off to New Zealand. When I was at home I used to imagine that this was either a part of Australia or at any rate only separated from it by a narrow channel. I fancy other people know better than this, but I doubt whether they realise that it takes very nearly as long to get there direct from here as to cross the Atlantic! Nevertheless we are starting away to get there with about the same feeling as if we were crossing the British channel for 10 days in Paris, & all the luggage I am to be allowed to take is two rags & a b—I mean two rugs & a bag, or rather two bags & a rug.

We are going to confine ourselves to the North Island in order not to be too much rushed, & we shall probably stop a few days in Wellington where we have several friends; & spend about a fortnight in New Zealand altogether. They tell us we shall find the climate very much like England.

In the meantime as you won’t get any further letters for a long while, I propose to conclude my 4th encyclical leaving it for my 5th to take us up to the date of our departure for Hong Kong.

As to letters to me, I dont think it will be safe to address to Yokohama (Chartered Bank of India Australia & China) after July 12, & after that date as I shall be homeward bound all letters sent up till Aug 26 or at any rate Aug 23 should reach me on the same date viz on Sept 10 when I arrive at San Francisco (address c/o T. Cook & Son.)

In concluding, a few words about my impression of Australia & Australians as far as I have gone. I think the following expresses the matter

Australia = 1/3 English, 1/3 American, 1/3 ——
Australians = 1/2 ——, 1/4 ——, 1/4 ——

by this I don’t mean that there are Americans living here, but I am trying to give you an idea of what Australia is like by comparing it with U.S.A.

But perhaps I should add that Sydney is much more English than even the above estimate & planted here unawares one might suppose oneself in an English Provincial town.


{1} The Britannia left Colombo on 2 May. See The Argus (Melbourne), 4 May 1898, p. 5.

{2} The Britannia arrived at Albany at 6 a.m. and sailed for Adelaide at noon. See the South Australian Register, 13 May 1898, p. 5, which gives a list of the passengers in the saloon.

{3} On 18 May the South Australian Register reported (p. 3): ‘Anxiety was felt on account of the non-arrival of the R.M.S. Britannia at Largs Bay on Sunday, May 15. The vessel was expected to arrive at 3 p.m. on that day, but did not reach the anchorage until 7 o’clock on Monday evening, May 16. Heavy weather caused the delay.’

{4} A fiddle is ‘a contrivance to prevent things from rolling off the table in bad weather’. See W. H. Smyth, Sailor’s Word-Book (1867).

{5} Cf. Fate Has Been Kind, p. 36.

{6} Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 3rd Bt (1837–1915), Governor of South Australia, 1895–1899, and his wife Lady Victoria (née Noel) (1839–1916).

{7} John Reginald Harmer (1857–1944), Bishop of Adelaide, 1895–1905; a Fellow of Corpus Christi, Cambridge.

{8} H. M. Butler. The ink changes here.

{9} This section was begun some time between 28 and 30 May.

{10} Walter Scott (1855–1925), Professor of Classics at the University of Sydney, 1885–1900. He had been Percy Alden’s tutor at Balliol, 1884–1885, and like Alden and Lawrence was involved in the settlement movement. He was President of the Toynbee Guild, a settlement at Sydney, in 1897.

{11} Probably G. A. Wood.

{12} They arrived at Adelaide late on 16 May and spent two days there, taking a night train to Melbourne, which suggests they probably arrived on 19 May, but Lawrence referred to the 20th as ‘the first day we arrived’ (p. 178); perhaps he meant the first full day.

{13} The ink changes here, which may explain the confused grammar of the sentence.

{14} Annie Jane Lawrence.

{15} This event, which took place on 20 May in the form of a luncheon in the Town Hall, was widely reported. About 200 delegates attended. See, e.g. The Argus, 21 May 1898, p. 11. The Mayor referred to was Malcolm McEacharn, the shipping magnate, who was Mayor of Melbourne from 1897–1900.

{16} H. Darnley Naylor, lecturer in classics at Ormond College, Melbourne University; a contemporary of Lawrence’s at Trinity.

{17} The Wilson Barrett (sic) Company produced The Manxman—Barrett’s own adaptation of Hall Caine’s novel of 1894—at the Princess Theatre from 21 May to 2 June. Maud Jeffries (sic), Barrett’s leading lady, was born in the USA but spent the latter part of her life in New Zealand.

{18} The Rev. H. T. Robjohns was born at Tavistock, but in 1883 he was appointed an agent for the British and Foreign Bible Society in Australia and he and his family emigrated to that country, where he became pastor of the Hunter’s Hill Congregational Church. His son Leonard, who also became a Congregationalist minister, was at Mansfield College from about 1895 but in July 1898 accepted a call to become pastor of the Rose Park Congregational Church at Adelaide. See The Advertiser (Adelaide), 8 July 1898, p. 15, which contains a few biographical notes.

{19} The Rev. E. T. Dunstan was born at Kilkhampton in Cornwall but emigrated to Australia to take charge of the Trinity Congregational Church at Perth. Afterwards (till 1902) he was pastor of the Pitt Street Congregational Church in Sydney.

{20} Not identified.

{21} Sir James Fairfax, proprietor of the Sydney Morning Herald. He was connected with the Pitt Street Congregational Church.

{22} G. A. Wood, Challis Professor of History in the University of Sydney.

{23} Exercise (university slang).

{24} The Squire of Dames, an English version by R. C. Carton of the play L’Ami des femmes by Alexandre Dumas fils, was produced at the Criterion Theatre, Sydney, from 28 May to 3 June, by Charles Cartwright and his company, who were touring Australia. For a review see the Sydney Morning Herald, 30 May, p. 3.

† 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 Nellore, Madras, Calcutta, Muzaffarpur, Calcutta, Sahdol, Mozufferpore, Benares, Lucknow, Roorkee (with an excursion to Moradabad), Delhi, Agra, Gwalior, and Bombay.

(A continuation of 5/30a. Headed ‘Encyclical no. 2.’ This letter describes events from 14 Dec. onward, but it is clear that it was not begun till after the writer’s arrival at Muzaffarpur on the 23rd. It was completed by 23 Feb., when Lawrence enclosed the last section in a letter to his Aunt Edith (see 6/4). The contents may have been transmitted in as many as six instalments, comprising respectively pp. 35–8, 39–62, 63–70, 71–90, 91–4, 95–106.)



Encyclical no. 2.

Once more I take up the pen to write a little something of my doings; but I am rather at a loss to know where to begin. You all know that I could not bring myself to keep a diary, and I don’t believe that if I did, any of you would be in the least interested in what it contained. How would read a day spent up in Mozuffapore with my friend W. S. Adie? “Awakened at 7.15 by the native barber who shaves me in bed; 7.25 tea & toast; 7.35 get up assisted by Adie’s Chokra (lad) who does not know the proper way of putting on socks; 8 o’clock get on our bicycles, and go for a ride, perhaps with some other people in the station; 10 o’clock, or a little after, come back have a warm bath (ghusl with garum pani) {1} dress & have breakfast; lounge about, or go & see Adie try a case in his court, or go and pay calls, or so on; lunch at 2 or a little later; then lawn tennis or racquets; then back to tea at 5. 30, & then on to the club to play billiards till it is time to come back (& dress if we are going out) to dinner, & so to bed perhaps at 10.30.” Not much of a diary to write up when it is very similar from day to day. And perhaps you will say:—“If that is all you came out to India to do, you might just as well have done it at home.” I don’t know. I fancy somehow I got in this way to appreciate something of Anglo Indian life.

But, if I remember, I left myself, so to speak, at the end of my last encyclical, at Nellore, sitting disconsolate, with Campbell gone away, wondering how I am going to get up to Mozuffapore, getting up every now & again to gaze in silent contemplation of awe & doubt, at the vast accumulation of travelling goods & chattels which are contained in all my trunks, boxes, bags, rugs etc etc, & uncertain as to which of them it will be expedient to carry with me about India. Every now & again Campbell’s Hindustani servant comes along & after gesticulating for some time I discover what he wants, perhaps he opens his mouth & saying something (not mangez-moi) I gather he means, shall I be in to dinner? Or I have to tell him I want the things home from the wash.

So a day or two passes, I make my selection of clothing, & pack up. [16 Dec.] Then Ashworth comes back to the bungalow and with him his “chief” a Madras engineer; & I start off having with great difficulty encrated my bicycle for Madras, the engineer going by same train. I shall arrive in Madras early morning & propose to stop at the club & go on same evening by train probably 3 or 4 days journey to Mozuffapore. Mr Moore (the engineer) kindly looks after me & insists on my staying the day at his house instead of the club which I am very pleased to do. Meanwhile I have brought Campbell’s Hindustani servant along with me to send him back when I leave Madras.

On enquiry I find boat P & O S.S. Parramatta goes up from Madras to Calcutta leaving day after next. Much pleasanter journey; I decide to take it.

[17 Dec.] So I go back to the Moores’ & say that as I have altered my plans & have settled to stop 2 nights in Madras, I will of course go on to the club. But they (he & his wife) will not hear of it, and insist on my stopping with them till I go. So I spend the days in going to shops and making one or two arrangements, & in the afternoons I go to the club for tea, & meet Mr Moore who introduces me to some of his friends, among them Ellis to whom I had an introduction, & we play billiards & get home to dinner at 8. Friday evening we are by ourselves & have some music; [18 Dec.] Saturday a friend comes in to dinner & we all go on to a sort of variety entertainment which the Governor of Madras {2} is attending. What a business it is finding one’s carriage afterwards and in the rain too (for it has actually started raining & been going on for 24 hours or so); the plan is:—every one, who can, crowds into the doorway & then all the carriages drive past, and whenever anyone spots their carriage they hail it & get in. Somewhat primitive! but then you see they don’t as a rule get so many Europeans at the place. (Please excuse writing & style, as I am in a train with not too good illumination.) At last after waiting about ½ an hour we find our vehicle and get back about 1.30 A.M! For entertainments in this country don’t begin as a rule till 9.30 P.M.

Meanwhile I have had it explained to my servant that I want him to take all my luggage to the pier early in the morning; & I myself am to be called at 6 and follow on soon after. I found it always rather a difficulty telling my servant anything, I used to say to someone “Would you mind explaining to my boy such & such things”; it was really rather ludicrous; when I was out in a gari (cab) & thought the driver was not going where I wanted & could not explain, I used to stop in the street when I saw a white man (or more probably Eurasian) & ask him to make it clear; in this way I sometimes gathered quite a little crowd, & I have since heard other English people say they have done the same; for even if you know Hindustani I am not sure whether you will be able to make the Tamil-speaking people of Madras fully comprehend you.

[19 Dec.] Well, I got up Sunday morning bade goodbye with sincere gratitude for the most kind hospitality & arrived at the pier to find my boy there with all my baggage, & getting into a Mozaffee boat (I don’t think this is quite the right word; but they are marvellous craft, put together without any nails, the planks fastened to one another with string. They have about 15 men rowing & one man constantly bailing) I am rowed to the Parramatta. I settle up with my boy, & prepare myself for a quiet 3 days voyage. It is exactly a month since I left London & I find the Parramatta left London on the same day as I did {3}.

Not very much to describe of my life on board the ship. I found the people all very ready to be friendly, quite a small party only some 50 or 60, & I was not quite so much of an intruder as I had expected because a number of them had only come on at Colombo a day or so before.

I sit at meals next an American who is a thorough specimen of the globe trotting Yankee; & who succeeded in doing Madras during the few hours the boat stopped there, by just taking a trolly car from one end of the city to the other end and back again.

Though I got on board according to instructions, about 8 A.M. the boat has so much cargo to deal with that it does not get off till nearly 5 o’c in the afternoon.

[20–21 Dec.] Monday & Tuesday pass along easily enough with deck cricket in the afternoon, & Tuesday night we reach the mouth of the Hoogly (that branch of the Ganges Delta on which Calcutta lies) & remain till dawn, for the ascent of the river must be in daylight. [22 Dec.] Wednesday we slowly proceed up the river an operation which requires some care, as the bed of the river is constantly changing with the shifting sand {4}, & reach the landing stage about ½ past 3. The same night I go on by train to Mozufferpore [23 Dec.] reaching there about noon {5} & am glad to find Adie waiting for me on the platform.

Mozufferpore is a large station with perhaps 80 or a 100 Europeans but I don’t suppose they are ever there all at once, and at Xmas time, particularly, a number of them are away. When one speaks of the residents in an English town one would regard a person who had been there only a couple of years as quite a new comer; this is not at all the case with the stations in India; nearly all the Europeans are officials and they constantly are getting shifted on from one place to another; 2 years would represent an old inhabitant, a few months would cover a good number; and perhaps—I speak quite at random—only ½ the people would have been there over the year. Thus with the I.C.S people they get shifted about during their years in India all through a sort of division of their presidency, and get in time to know nearly everyone in it.

But of such general matters as these I shall be able to speak with more knowledge later on & I propose leaving a great number of them to write about in a final encyclical which I shall write on leaving India.

I may as well state here that I have booked passage (P & O) from Colombo in a boat which will probably leave April 29.

The last date to post letters to India for me will therefore be April 1 & up till then they should be sent | c/o Thos Cook & Son | Bombay.

It will probably be possible to post on to the Australian P & O by which I am going to be delivered to me ‘passenger from Colombo to Australia’, but I am not sure of the name of the boat. Afterwards letters should be sent | c/o Thos Cook & Son | 269 Collins St | Melbourne

As I said at the beginning I do not propose to say very much about my time spent at Mozufferpore because the actual incidents of it would read very much the same as those of easy life anywhere; except perhaps, you will say, the time of rising; well really in India one must get up early, because the hours just after sunrise, & the hour or two as the sun is setting are much the best of the day. But I consider we used to get up rather late at M—, I frequently get up at 6 or 6.30.

When I say ‘the hour or two as the sun is setting’ don’t imagine that we get anything to speak of in the way of twilight; probably at 4 o’clock it is still tremendously hot, & you have to wear your pith helmet against the heat of the sun, & by 6 o’c it is quite dark. When I was at Nellore there was only about an hour we could play lawn tennis; 50 minutes before sunset 10 minutes after.

[25 Dec.] On Xmas day we went to a dinner party at the Collector’s {6} (head Magistrate’s) house, & the whole party played a game of sort of dining room badminton afterwards; [27 Dec.] and on the following Monday we went there again to a jolly little dance. English Xmas fare was of course the order of the day at the dinner, & we pulled crackers & drank to absent friends. On the Monday I danced on into [28 Dec.] my birthday & went (cycled) home with the added weight of the 1st year of my second quarter century!

One day, an indigo planter {7} (there are a great many all round M—) came to stop a day with Adie and offered to take me back with him to spend a couple of nights at his “factory” (this term includes as well as the actual factory, his own house & grounds & I think all the land under indigo cultivation) & this I was pleased to do.

(This letter reminds me of the report of one [of] my speeches in the C. Union, given by the Review “Mr Lawrence with a halting delivery & lame sincerity spoke in contemptuous footnotes” The similarity refers to the footnotes, because I have put into the letter so many parentheses; the halting delivery too probably about hits the mark.)

There was not very much going on at the factory as the growing is in the spring and the manufacture in the summer, and at these times they are very busy; but there were large numbers of coolies at work in the fields & we rode round them inspecting; this the planter does every morning, because if there is no inspection work will be shirked, or the foreman will pretend to have employed more men than he actually has done.

I was interested in the sort of wages received; all the family seem to work, the man gets perhaps 10 pies a day, the woman 8 & the children 4 or 6; and 12 pies make one anna ie one penny! So that one is reminded of the workmen who worked for a penny a day. At the same time the man probably owns some little private land on which he can grow a few things for himself.

The planter is generally landlord as well as employer, and has the people under his thumb; & no doubt he drives a pretty good bargain for himself in many cases by methods which seem somewhat doubtful to English bred ears, but the people are probably surprised that being all powerful he does not make greater use of his opportunities; they would be worse treated under native rulers, & but for the feeling of subservience to a foreign race would prefer the present régime. (Of course you must remember in all these statements of native opinion I only speak from what I have been told, it would be quite impossible for me to get any idea of it direct from the people themselves).

I was also interested in the sort of life the planters lead, far far away from anyone but this extraordinary race of cringing people. A desolate sort of life, & my friend thoroughly disliked it; he seemed to regard India as a sort of trap into which people fell when they were young, & being once out here, found it too late to go back again & start life at home. I have found some other people who have held somewhat ths view and a great many who have held quite the opposite.

For my own part I don’t think I should care to live out here permanently; there is a spirit of unrest about the place which would be very trying.

It seemed funny out in such a lonely spot, to spend the afternoon in putting out & playing a game at croquet, with a set made by Ayers & Son of London.

My friend, the planter, was an old Cambridge man of the same year as myself, but as he belonged to Pembroke we did not find we had very many friends in common.

Adie was very kind to me & took me round to call upon all the people at M—; I think I have said that when a new person comes to a station, it is the custom for him to go round & call upon all the ladies of the station; the proper time to do this is between 12 and 2, as after that hour a great many ladies retire to sleep; the proper length of a call (this would suit Carry) is ten minutes; so every day—or a good many days—Adie & I were to be seen on bicycles performing a round.

One morning I went to see a village industry, blanket making; everything was done from the raw wool to the finished article—not very finished—& all the apparatus was of the most primitive kind: the weaving machine had only 1 beam & no comb, the man using a piece of bamboo cut like a large paper knife & thrusting alternately between the threads instead.

Another morning I went to see the jail, where the prisoners were engaged in various works, among others in making Persian Carpets.

[About 3 Jan.] {8} At the beginning of Jany I returned to Calcutta & one of the first things which I did was to engage a servant from Cooks. Specifically he is a “travelling boy” & speaks English very well; up to this point I had been studying up Hindustani, but now I am afraid I have left off learning it as I require it so little. The man I have got (for though he is called a “boy” he is old enough to be my father) is a Mussulman & seems extremely capable & so far as I can judge honest. He gets what is viewed out here as a fabulously large salary 2 or 3 times as much as most servants get; yet what seems very small from a European point of view. His wages are 35 rupees a month, and it appears all travelling boys of this kind get the same. For this he “finds” himself. He waits on me at table, looks after my clothes & is generally useful, but of course he is not prepared to do nearly as much as an English servant. He also dresses me, but this I think I could do as well without. His principal use is when I am travelling or stopping in hotels, as then nothing is safe from the hand of the despoiler. Later on I shall probably be able to give you a better description.

I spent about a fortnight in Calcutta, & while the first part of my time I found rather slow, leaving my letters of introduction etc, at the end I had so much to do it was difficult to get it all in: I suppose this must always be so more or less when one goes to a strange place, but I think it was partly my own fault, as I did not go & call upon all the people I might have done, at first.

Altogether I met a number of Old Caledonians & old Parramattans & they were a great help to me, & were very kind.

One day I went to tea with Babington Smith the Viceroy’s secretary who is a fellow of Trinity {9} & to whom I had a letter of introduction from the Master of Trinity {10}. [6 Jan.] Then I went to the large ball at the Government House where only Europeans came {11}, almost every one in Calcutta; [11 Jan.] & another evening to a party to which natives also were invited {12}; [13 Jan.] then another day there was the ceremony of the Investiture of different orders Commander of the Indian Empire (C I E) etc. {13} It is difficult for me to say very much in description; some of the costumes of the Indian princes were very magnificent & their jewels were superb. Those whom you have seen, & the pictures of them will probably enable you to get some idea.

Then one evening I went down to the Seaman’s Institute where there was a sort of social gathering and a little dance; it seemed quite like a workman’s club in England, & so funny to find it out here, so many English sailors; I enquired for any from Victoria docks way, but I could not find any.

[12 Jan.] Then one day I spent with a man of the Oxford Mission Rev F W Douglas† who took me round among the slums {14}; we saw the extraordinary images, they do poojah (worship) to; also we saw the place where they burnt their dead. Then too he took me to a Rajah’s palace, full of some really beautiful things & with magnificent floors; but everything lumped about just anyhow, mixed up with any amount of rubbish; on the outside a number of sort of scaffold poles were lying about, looking as though the house was just being done up; but I was assured that it was always so.

Douglas† himself looks after what is known as a “mess”, that is a place where a number of students who are working for their university exams, live together. His place was kept fairly in order & clean, but the places he took me too† where the students ran their messes on their own account might better be described by saying they “pigged” together. The cost for board & lodging is about 12 rupees a month (ie 4/– a week)! Then lectures etc cost them some small sum, & these are their total expenses; rather different from what we have to pay at the Varsity!

Then one day I was taken round the Opium dens by one of the Commissioners. He told me when I started that I might say anything I liked about them to friends, but I must not make use of what I saw to speak or write against government; it seems they have been bothered with a lot of people who have gone prying into the matter, knowing little or nothing, & have made a lot of trouble. These dens used to be licensed & then he could inspect them & see they were kept respectable; now these busybodies had stirred up sentiment & refused to license them any longer, so that unlicensed places grew up quite as numerous as before & much worse kept. Of course every now & then he comes down & catches them & has them fined; so they keep a man on the look out, who gives a note of warning & all the people in the den hurry out of the way. On this occasion my friend was only taking me round, & so he just said “he didn’t intend to catch them” & they seemed quite to trust him in a great number of cases, & remain just as they were. We saw first one class of dens where opium is mixed with a black powder & rolled up into little balls to smoke, and secondly the real opium smoking when the man gets a little opium melted in a flame, & puts it in his pipe, & then still holding his pipe over the flame, just has his 3 or 4 wiffs, & then begins again. My friend made me a present of one of these pipes which I shall show you one day.

Of course you must not confuse the selling of opium & the keeping of smoking dens; the 2 things are quite distinct, the former is allowed in licensed shops, the latter is now forbidden.

One day I went to call upon Mr Whitehead who is a brother of one of the fellows of Trinity {15}; he himself is head of the Bishops College, a school for instructing native Christians; I went to lunch there & was shown over the place; I also had some talk with him about the whole question of native Christianity, but it is a very difficult subject; at any rate it would seem that the work of soundly educating the children of native Christian parents cannot be anything but good. All the missionaries of the College & of the Oxford mission belong to the high church party, & there was staying with them an army man who was more or less of their way of thinking. I was interested in hearing his position, especially as I have known well several low church men in Cambridge. He also took me to his Church. As he had a good deal of time upon his hands I went about with him, sometimes cycling, sometimes going [in] the quaint little boats upon the river. One day we cycled and trained to Chandinagore which is one of the towns under French Jurisdiction. Another day we went across to the botanical gardens, where there are magnificent avenues of tropical trees, a splendid place for cycling. The French station was curious, it looked so funny to see “Rue de la Gare” stuck up and such like.

There was also a zoological gardens which I went to see, but our London Zoo rather spoils us for all other entertainments of a similar kind.

I went several times to the theatre while I was in Calcutta & saw among other things the Liliputian troop performing in Robinson Crusoe; one evening I made up a party of old Caledonians & we all went together and took a box.

Every afternoon as soon as the sun ceases to be hot, there is a special road where every body drives, known as the red road; then when it is dark the band plays in the Eden Gardens some people getting out of their carriages & walking about; but the great majority just have their carriages stop & sit in them, for people are very lazy about walking.

Another afternoon I went to play lawn tennis with some boat friends & spent a pleasant time.

Then I went to call upon Mr Mozoomdar who is one of the leading lights of the Bramo Somaj movement {16}; he insisted upon getting up a meeting of Bramo Somaj students for me, [16 Jan.] & I went there Sunday afternoon, & described to them, as I was requested, a little about Cambridge life. Our whole idea of a Varsity is very different from theirs; they merely look upon it as an institution for giving lectures & for examining. All the students work very hard, principally cramming; so far as I could judge there is very little real interest in the work. They were very much amused at the idea of some of our men going up to Cambridge mainly for the rowing or the cricket, and some of them asked questions. There were, besides students, several other Bramo Somaj people to whom Mr Mozoomdar introduced me, among them I met a man who had been up at Cambridge (a native I mean) & whom I knew slightly when I was there {17}. Then when the meeting was over they put a garland of flowers round my neck(!) which they say is an oriental custom, & gave me to taste of all kinds of native fruits & sweets. I was very glad to have the opportunity of tasting but I can’t say they were highly delectable; while I was going in for these things they didn’t eat but remained looking on & watching my face as I tried each new thing, a little embarrassing to say the least of it. I had come on my bicycle, & they almost wanted to me† wear my garland to ride home in, but I couldn’t quite swallow that, so I got them to do it up in a piece of paper & I hung it in my room at the hotel.

Altogether I enjoyed my stay in Calcutta very much; & was very glad to have the opportunity of studying native life. What with the Opium dens, the slums, the streets of the bazar† (one I drove through was so narrow that the vehicle almost touched both side houses at once) & my visit to the Bramo Somaj I felt I had really got just a little bit behind the scenes, & had ideas of some sides of Indian life of which many Anglo Indians even are ignorant.

One thing my friend Mr Douglas of the Oxford Mission said to me, which impressed me very much, while he was showing me the Students† messes. He said “These Hindoos have beautiful manners; now you would think from this apparent pleasure at seeing us, & the glad welcome they accord, they really liked our coming to see them. On the contrary they hate & dislike us. It is not altogether (or even mainly) fear which make[s] them treat us here as they do, it is simply their manners”. Of the country as a whole he said “We merely govern it by the sword & but for the impossibility of the people acting together we should not succeed; yet mark the marvellous order we are able to keep in the streets; & moreover remember a native would always prefer an Englishman to judge his quarrel”.

All these statements seem somewhat contradictory but I have found other people say almost exactly the same. I don’t know that they are really quite true, & of course you must not include people like the Bramo Somaj. One word more:—The Hindoo is exasperatingly dilatory & the Englishman curses him for it & treats him as a fool! (This is my own.)

{18} But I expect you will be most of all anxious to hear about the eclipse, so I write this at once in case I should not have another opportunity of writing. [17 Jan.] I left Calcutta on Monday evening 17th Jany & travelling continuously [18 Jan.] I arrived at Sahdol at eleven o’clock on Tuesday night. That is what I should call a nice easy pleasant journey, because I only had one change, & no time to wait at the changing station; whereas now on my way back to Mozuffapore, I am stranded here (Bankipore) with 7 —— hours to wait because the trains have just missed. One thinks a good deal in England of having to wait an hour or so at a station; here one just accepts the inevitable. The native sitting & waiting, is in his element & is perfectly happy. When I arrived at Sahdol I was met by a servant, who sent on my bedding with a coolie & a “peon” {19} showed me my way to a tent where my bedding was unfolded and I slept soundly till morn; when I awoke I saw no sign of my other luggage or my boy, till about 8 o’clock Campbell came & said I had really gone to the wrong tent. He himself had only just arrived as he had missed trains somewhere along the route & had been delayed a day; he had wired to the chief to have me met at the station. The tent I had slept in, belonged to a man who was coming up next day, so it was all right.

There were two parties in the Astronomical camp at Sahdol, 1stly the English party consisting of The Astronomer Royal (Christie), Turner & others, unfortunately Dr Common had decided at the last not to come {20}; & 2nd the Madras Party, with Michie Smith the Government Astronomer as chief, & several others among whom Campbell was one; it was this party which I joined, & as soon as I was introduced to Michie Smith he said he would like to make use of me during the eclipse as he was rather short of hands; I had not really quite wanted to be employed, as I had intended to get a good view of the phenomenon; still of course I could hardly refuse, especially as he added ‘you will be able to see the eclipse all right’; further, I was a little pleased at taking a real part (so to speak) in the observations.

During the days which elapsed before the eclipse we lived a rough & tumble sort of life, sleeping in our tents at night under a great pile of blankets, for it was very cold, & wearing thin clothes during the day because of the great heat. The range of shade temperature was from 80 to 30 and this hardly really gives an idea of the heat in the middle of the day, because it is the sun itself which makes it seem so warm. Hot at 5 PM at 5.30 the sun would set, at 6 one wanted a small coat & before 6.30 one needed an ulster, & we often dined in our ulsters in the evening.

We saw something of Christie & Turner & the others of their party; their instruments were especial eclipse instruments, & were similar to the ones I had seen in Norway the summer before last {21}. Our instruments, on the other hand were all general observatory instruments & had to be adapted for eclipse work.

M. Smith himself used a heliostat which was erected on a mound he had had made, some 15 ft high which went by the name of “Mount Sahdol” in the camp. I don’t propose to give a detailed description, but the heliostat is in the main a revolving mirror, & this one reflected the sun down a long 40 ft tube & so by means of lenses to an image on a photographic plate. M Smith & several of the party worked at this; & Campbell was put in charge of another instrument with your humble servant to assist him. This instrument consisted of an ordinary equatorial telescope, with an apparatus (at the end, where the eye would usually be placed) for photographic plates. An “equatorial” I may describe as an ordinary telescope which can be turned towards the sun or a star, & which by means of clock work is made to move so that it continually points towards the same object while the earth goes round its axis during the day. The photographic arrangement was made so as to enable a number of plates to be exposed in succession.

[Alongside the following words is a rough sketch of the telescope and case.] I am afraid my powers of drawing are quite unequal to making you understand even the principle of the thing. The first picture is intended to be a diagrammatic sketch of the telescope & case for the plates {22}. [Alongside the following words is a rough sketch of the case.] The second to show the case for the plates alone. In this the telescope is supposed to be pointing through the paper, with the eye piece end in contact with the plate marked A; then by turning the case round by means of the handles B, each of the plate† successively could be brought into the same position.

Campbell’s business it was to turn the case round, & call out to me the times of exposure, while I stood on a couple of packing cases, & did the exposures by taking off & on my straw hat (!) at the end C.

During the days before the eclipse I was given a good many calculations to do, & worked out from formulae the times of 1st 2nd 3rd & 4th contacts [Alongside the following words are diagrams of the four contacts between sun and moon] ie, the times of commencement of eclipse, commencement of totality, end of totality, & end of eclipse. These times seem to have been verified pretty closely by observation, but they could not be very accurate, as we were not quite certain of our longitude. The totality was about 103 seconds; and the whole eclipse began about 0h–13m–9s & ended 3h–1m–46s local time. The last day before the eclipse we had several practices of the work we had to do. The programme for our instrument was as follows: A few seconds before totality I take off the real cap of the instrument & replace it by my straw hat; then totality having begun, Campbell opens the shutter & calls out “½” whereupon I expose for a guessed ½ second, Campbell rotates the case & calls out “1” & I expose for about a second; then 2, 4, 8, 16, 8, 4, 1, in succession, the longer times I count with a bell which is ringing out seconds. And during the longer exposures I am to have time to look at the eclipse. We find that we have just nice time to get through these 10 exposures during the 103 seconds. After that, Campbell shuts the shutter, I put on the real cap, & afterwards ½ a minute after totality is over, give a very rapid exposure of the partial phase by means of a slit (Campbell raising the shutter meanwhile).

I have not mentioned that the place where we were encamped was in a clearing which had been made right in the middle of the jungle; one day a man brought home a tiger which he had shot less than 2 miles from the camp!

[22 Jan.] Saturday all is ready; & about the calculated time the eclipse begins in a cloudless sky.

During the partial phase I noticed several things the exact opposite of what I saw in Norway; in the first place whereas there the light seemed to remain about the same up to within a minute or two of totality & then to get rapidly darker, here the light seemed to get gradually less all the way through; secondly whereas there the horns of the solar crescent were particularly pointed I noted here that they appeared cut off—no doubt an optical effect.

Thus at Vadsö phases were [There follow sketches of three phases of the solar crescent] here they seemed to be more like this [There follow sketches of five phases, the first and last crossed through.]

It is getting darker, only a few seconds remain to totality.

“There’s Venus!” cries M. Smith.

“There’s the Corona.”

Our work begins.


It’s all over & it’s getting light again.

What have we seen? In the first place let me say that our work somewhat interfered with our appreciation of the phenomenon as a whole; but—though this has to be borne in mind—I am compelled to admit (& I know that I am open to the charge of want of artistic sense in saying it) I was disappointed! I think that was probably because I had been led to expect so much. This feeling of mine was shared by a good many of those observers who were seeing an eclipse for the first time.

To begin with, it never got really very dark, I don’t think it was as dark even as totality in Norway; in the second place there was no shadow to be seen; & thirdly there were hardly any colour effects.

Having said all this, I have probably said too much. We saw the corona, we saw at least one prominence, & we saw Venus & I think Mars & Mercury. The Corona itself is somewhat less tangible or real than one is led to imagine, & looks really much more like the extending rays of the sun which one sometimes sees in England. It is very often drawn like this [There follows a sketch of the sun with rays, or streamers, radiating from it] which gives you an idea that the lines of the streamers go in the directions of the lines drawn. In reality what is shown above is only intended as an outline of all the streamers that there are; I should attempt to draw it as below. [There follows another similar sketch, with a greater number of radial streamers.] all the streamers appearing radial.

The picture I have just drawn represents somewhat the corona of the present eclipse. Out in the direction A was to be seen Venus shining very brightly; & somewhat further on & a little above were Mercury & Mars. When the sun’s disc was covered, a very bright spot could be seen at B. To some this appeared of the same colour as the sun itself, & it flashed through their mind that it might be Vulcan, the conjectured inner planet, but for my own part at any rate this idea was immediately dismissed, 1stly because it was much too bright, 2nd because it was much too big. Other observers saw the spot a brilliant red. It was in fact an exceptionally fine prominence. It comes out well in the 2 photographs which I saw developed, before I left Sahdol; & there are a number of other mushroom shaped prominences to be seen in them as well.

The colour of the corona was, as one is always told, a sort of milky white, & objects on the earth were a dull slate colour.

The horizon, or parts of it, appeared to be bright all through the phenomenon, but some people saw cloudlike shadows on distant hills.

Altogether it was a very fine eclipse, & I was very pleased to have an opportunity of seeing it & taking part in the observations. It was only as a stupendously grand phenomenon, which should indelibly imprint itself upon the mind, & remain there as the most wonderful thing ever seen, that it seemed to me not to fulfil one’s expectation. This impression appears to be shared by the great majority (from what I hear now) of those who saw it.

The fact that we never saw the shadow moving is perhaps to be accounted for by the fact that we only commanded a very limited horizon; but I was given to understand than† one man who had gone up a hill, had not observed it either. Perhaps it is to be connected with the gradual withdrawal of light; but this term is only relative. Moreover people viewing it from other places seem to have observed a sudden withdrawal {23}. Lastly as to colour effects, I suppose it would always be difficult to account satisfactorily for their appearance or non-appearance. Some people apparently saw changes of colour of the inner corona; these I had no opportunity of observing; but in any case I don’t believe they can be seen well unless one deliberately shuts or covers one’s eyes for several minutes before totality begins.

{24} This sheet is by way of being a sort of postscript to my second encyclical. A few pages back I described to you how I had to wait 7 hours at Bankipore; at the present moment I am in a still worse predicament, because I am stranded here (Bankipore again) till my luggage turns up. I saw it booked & labelled at Mozuffapore, but even so it never seems to have been put into the train; & I dare not go any further without it lest I should be divorced from it altogether. Rather hopeless! but I keep the official busy telegraphing & it may ultimately turn up. You can perhaps imagine that the frame of mind I am in is not very conducive to letter writing, & especially is delay disagreeable to me as just at the present, I want all the time I can get, in order to put in everything that I ought to do up here, before going down to join Booty {25} by Feby 26. As you know he lives in S. Canara & in order to avoid the possibility of plague quarantine I shall probably have to go all round by Calcutta Madras & Calicut.

I have just spent a very jolly 2 or 3 days with Adie {26}, coming in for the tail of Mozuffapore week. Sports, tournaments, races, dances all formed part of the programme, & crowds of people as one thinks out here (perhaps 3 or 4 hundred) had come into the station from the surrounding country. [26 Jan.] The last evening, Wednesday, we had a delightful fancy dress ball; of course having stopped 10 days at M— at Xmas time I knew quite a number of people & enjoyed myself immensely. A Pierrot costume is very much more pleasant to dance in than dress clothes. [27 Jan.] I stayed over Thursday & went out to dinner that night, & left by train 1.30 A.M, intending to get on to Benares this morning; but alas man proposes and ——. Every now & again I take train down to the river & take steamer across to meet the trains coming from Mozuffapore, but so far I have met with no success.

[2 Feb.] Roorkee Feby 2. Well you see here I am & not without my luggage! The last occasion of my crossing the river, for which this description was broken off, ended in my finding my luggage come by the Mozuffapore train; I returned with it in triumph, went & looked up a man in Bankipore whom I had met at M—, had dinner with him & caught night train on to Benares. Now I expect you will want a detailed description of what I saw in Benares, and this is just what you won’t get. The really fine thing is the view of the city from the Ganges. I got on to a small boat & was paddled very slowly down. You see the banks are high & slope down into the water; all the temples and Rajahs’ palaces are built at a normal height on the side away from the river; then they have a great wall & steps down on the river side, so that from the water they stand up perhaps 100 feet or more. Then there are a great number of people bathing & washing clothes in the Ganges because it is the sacred river, though you may be sure it is dirty enough really. I am afraid I have made this really grand & impressive Oriental sight only appear ridiculous.

I think in the last page I was speaking of Benares {27}, the great feature of which is the view of the city from the river. Of course there are temples without number, & among them is the monkey temple, where monkeys roam about at their pleasure & issue forth to steal from the surrounding suburb. Then there is the learned holy man who alone of all the holy men one comes across is not prepared to receive a gratuity; he shakes hands with you & presents you with a copy of his commentary on the Vedas.

Lucknow must always be memorable for the successful defence of the Residency during 5 months of siege. I was shown all over the Residency compound & received instruction from the native who is in charge, & who frequently brought his sentences to a close with “and outside there were 50,000 & inside but 2000 men”. And then I went into the grave yard where are buried those who fell during the siege; into this none but Europeans are allowed to go. There I found the famous tomb with the inscription

Here lies
Henry Lawrence
Who tried to do his duty

Altogether the graves were very simple, & the whole effect very impressive.

At Lucknow I also saw the great palace of the king of Oudh; a huge quadrangle all coloured with saffron, not really very fine art, but a thing not to be forgotten.

And so I went on to Roorkee & arriving 4.50 A.M found my friend Tipple awaiting me at the railway station; awfully good of him I thought, especially as it was quite dark & I subsequently found he didn’t as a rule get up till 7.30. “But” said he “it isn’t everyday I get a visitor come & see me, in fact you are the first & I have been out here nearly a year.” Tipple is Professor at Roorkee Thomason College, & during the day while he was occupied, I went also to the labs and spent my time in trying without much success to arrange an apparatus for distilling some very dirty mercury. Then when work was over we played lawn tennis or rowed or rode; & in the evening we either dined alone & talked of old times or we went around to the R.E officers’ mess of which I was courteously made an honorary member during my stay at Roorkee. Altogether a quiet time but very pleasant.

One day Tipple was talking & said that one of the disadvantages of the place was that there was nowhere to get away to from Saturday to Monday. The next day I got a letter from Hutchinson—who came out with me on the Caledonia—saying he was assistant magistrate at Moradabad & his chief was H. S. Rix another old friend of mine. Now Moradabad is quite close to Roorkee, & I found Tipple knew both the men too; so we at once settled to make a Sat–Mon trip over there. [5–7 Feb.] You will perhaps modify your idea of what I call “quite close” when you hear that it took us 7 hours to get over there, & 4 hours in the middle of the night, to come back; the distance was in fact 100 miles, but to a globe trotter who has covered some 2000 miles in the previous 3 weeks c’est une bagatelle. It was rather a relief to be travelling without all my baggage, for my boy by careful subdivision of packages has brought the number up to 14 in all including two of his own. And we spent an extremely pleasant little week end, & it seemed quite like dear Old Cambridge again. {28}

And so I went back to Roorkee, & finished out my stay there & started for Delhi having spent a very pleasant week.

(Before I forget, did I tell you that one day at Calcutta when I was driving through a very narrow street of the bazaar, it got so bad that the driver had to take the horse out to get the small victoria round one of the narrow corners?)

I had a letter of introduction to one of the members of the Cambridge Mission to Delhi, from the Master of Trinity; so when I went to Delhi I stopped at the Mission House, which was once a Rajah’s palace & is a fine old place in a quaint compound.

I do not propose to say anything—at any rate now—on the subject of Mission work, but it was very jolly meeting so many old Cambridge men. I found one man who was up in Trinity in my year. And there was also a layman there who was able to go about a bit with me as he had not much to do.

But my sight seeing in Delhi was somewhat spoilt by the rain, & I am afraid my recollections of the town will always be mixed up with mud & slush. Of course in reality Delhi is not more favoured with rain than other places, & that which they had when I was there was the only rain since October. Arrangements in India are not intended for rain—at any rate in the winter—the interiors of bungalows become very dark, & of course there is little or nothing to be done outside. I suppose however that rain is always “the deluge!”—so to speak—to an idle globetrotter.

The interest of Delhi is of 3 kinds:—1st reminiscences of the mutiny 2nd buildings of the town 3rd the ruins to the south & the Kutb.

Of the reminiscences of the mutiny I do not propose to say anything because no short words of mine can bring them vividly before you. A mixture of sadness & pride must always fill the mind whenever they are exhibited, & these cannot be conveyed in words.

Of the buildings of the town, the fort or palace, & the great wall which runs all round Delhi are relics of the past, while the Jumna Musjid (or Friday Mosque) is used still by Mohammedans; [11 Feb.] I went there Friday morning & at 1 o’clock the mosque itself & the great open court yard which faces it was crowded with worshippers. {29} All men. At a signal they stood up. At a signal they knelt upright. At a signal they knelt with their foreheads touching the ground. A wonderful sight 2 or 4 thousand men all taking part in worship, all acting together. Rather a different thing from the way people get up to sing a hymn in our churches at home.

Some 10 miles south of the city is the great Kutb {30}, a monument some 240 ft high, built of red sandstone with a little marble in places & wonderfully carved. Truly a fine sight & worth coming 10 miles to see; it is in 5 storeys, & there is supposed to be some arithmetic relation between the height of the separate storeys. (I have just read through what I have written & have come to the conclusion that it is utterly fatuous & futile to attempt to describe—at least for me—& the only thing to do would be to copy out the guide book & this I don’t intend to do.)

Between the city & the Kutb are ruins of former cities & tombs, ruins & tombs, tombs & ruins. Some of the tombs are stately marble buildings, some are of the universal red sandstone, all have the dome of the mosque, being tombs of Mohammedan rulers. (an unintentional hexameter)

Of ancient appearance: one dreams of pyramidal antiquity, & it is rather a surprise to learn that they don’t date back as many hundreds as the pyramids† thousands of years.

But if Delhi was perhaps a little disappointing (that was no doubt due partly to the weather), Agra I felt to be most beautiful. And of all things the Taj. The tomb erected by Shah Jehan for his favourite wife. Wondrous structure of white marble of colossal dimensions, of perfect proportions, of the most delicate workmanship. Exquisite carving, labour of years of thousands of skilled men.

The Taj gardens surround it & there in the shade it is possible to sit & gaze & gaze upon the sublime structure.

Many other beautiful things I saw in Agra, & one day I cycled out to a wonderful old Palace at Fatehpur Sikri, sleeping the night there. The next day I wandered about among the ruins & inspected the tomb surrounded by marble screens of beautiful trellis work; & in the evening I returned home.

I was fortunate in coming across several old Varsity men, also globe trotting; 2 Cambridge men & an Oxford man; none of them I knew before, but of course I found we had many friends in common.

From Agra I went to Gwalior where I slept a night. Gwalior is in a Native State, but there is an English Resident there & the whole place seemed to me quite as English if not more so than the English territory. I stayed at the Guest House which is a kind of Hotel, but more like an English Country house than the ordinary Indian Hotel; & I was the only person there.

I drove out to the foot of the fort, & then I rode on an elephant up to the top & was shown all round. It is a grand place & looks quite impregnable, but I am told that at the present day it can be reached by artillery from the distant hills. I also drove to the Palace. The Maharajah is very fond of trains, & has a little private line which runs right into the palace.

Now here I am at Bombay {31} (did I mention before that some of the tram horses here wear hats!) & I sail for Mangalore to see Booty on Friday Feb 25


Square brackets in the MS have been replaced in the transcript by round brackets.

{1} ‘Ghusl’ is, strictly speaking, a form of Islamic ritual washing; ‘garum pani’ is Hindi for hot water.

{2} Sir Arthur Havelock.

{3} Friday, 19 November. See The Times, 15 Nov. 1897, p. 6.

{4} In his autobiography Lawrence added: ‘“All passengers on deck” was called out at the danger point where a former ship, the William and Mary, had been sunk with passengers trapped below. But we encountered no trouble and arrived safely in port.’ (Fate Has Been Kind, p. 38.)

{5} Lawrence apparently crossed the Ganges by steamer at Bankipore (Patna) earlier in the day. See 6/11.

{6} Not identified.

{7} This man has not been identified, though Lawrence later recorded (see p. 53) that he was a Cambridge man of the same year as himself who had been at Pembroke College.

{8} Lawrence probably left Muzaffarpur on 3 or 4 January, which was the intention he expressed in a letter to his sister Ellen on 27 December (6/16), but it does not appear possible to be precise. His letter from Calcutta to his father on 5 January (6/11) gives the impression that he had only just arrived there, and he later recorded (p. 56) that he stayed at Calcutta for ‘about a fortnight’ (he left on the 17th). This evidence cannot be reconciled precisely with his statements elsewhere (6/11; p. 93) that he was at Muzaffarpur for only ten days (this would indicate that he left on the 1 or 2 January), but perhaps these were simply rough estimates.

{9} Henry Babington Smith. He had been elected a fellow of Trinity in 1890 and was in India from 1894 to 1899 as private secretary to the Earl of Elgin.

{10} H. M. Butler.

{11} See 6/11.

{12} See 6/11, 6/3. This party too was held at Government House.

{13} See 6/3 and the Times of India, 17 Jan. 1898, p. 5.

{14} See 6/3. Douglass (sic) had been at the Oxford Mission in Calcutta since 1892. See The Times, 25 July 1949, p. 7.

{15} Henry Whitehead, Principal of Bishop’s College and Superior of the Oxford Mission, Calcutta; afterwards Bishop of Madras. He was brother of the mathematician and philosopher A. N. Whitehead, a Fellow of Trinity.

{16} This visit was made before Lawrence wrote to his aunt on the 12th. See 6/3.

{17} This man has not been identified.

{18} A new gathering (pp. 71–90) begins here, the contents of which were evidently written during Lawrence’s seven-hour wait at Bankipore station during his journey from Sahdol to Mozuffapore, about 26 January. This section contains a number of later annotations in pencil, evidently made in the process of producing an edited report of the eclipse, but the purpose for which this was done is not known.

{19} An attendant or messenger.

{20} The report of the expedition led by Sir William Christie, with a plan of the site, was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, lxiv (17 Nov. 1898–16 Mar. 1899), 1–21, and as an appendix to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. lviii (1898). See also Christie’s papers in the Cambridge University Library (RGO 7/198).

{21} At Vadsö. See Fate Has Been Kind, pp. 36–7.

{22} ‘telescope … plates’ written above ‘whole without showing the supports or the clock’, struck through.

{23} ‘a sudden withdrawal’ written above ‘the opposite’, struck through.

{24} A new folded sheet (pp. 91–4) begins here. The first two paragraphs were written on 28 January, while Lawrence was at Bankipore waiting for his luggage.

{25} Percy Abbey Booty, a friend of Lawrence’s from Trinity. He had entered the ICS in 1894, and at the time of Lawrence’s tour was Head Assistant Magistrate and Collector at Mangalore.

{26} Lawrence probably arrived at Mazuffapur about 25 January. In a letter to his Uncle Edwin on 5 January Lawrence had written that he would probably return there from the 23rd to the 28th, ‘when the special Mozuffapore week is on’. But it would appear that his stay was not as long as he had intended, perhaps owing to his delay at Bankipore. He left for Benares very early on the morning of the 28th (p. 94).

{27} This suggests that the previous part of the letter was despatched before this one was begun.

{28} The ink changes here.

{29} The ink changes here.

{30} Lawrence drove out to the Kut’b on 11 February. See 6/17.

{31} Lawrence arrived at Bombay some time between 20 February, when he was still in the train from Agra (p. 140), and the 23rd, when he wrote from Bombay to his aunt enclosing the conclusion of this encyclical (6/4). For some of his activities there see 6/21.

† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via London, Dover, Brindisi, Port Said, Ismaili, Aden, Bombay, and Nellore (with excursions to Madras and Guddur).

(Headed ‘Encyclical. Part I.’ Between October 1897 and January 1899 Lawrence made a tour round the world, visiting India, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, and the United States, and during this journey he sent home a series of eight long letters for circulation among his family and friends (5/30a–h). Taken together, these circular letters—or ‘encyclicals’, as the writer called them—form a connected account of the tour. A shorter account, largely derived from these letters and including quotations from them, forms the fourth chapter of Pethick-Lawrence’s autobiography Fate Has Been Kind, and some of the letters bear pencil markings made in the process of preparing the text. The letters were formerly in the envelope 5/30i. The first letter was begun some time after 19 Nov. and finished by 16 Dec. It was probably transmitted in three instalments comprising respectively pp. 1–10, 11–18, and 19–34. From the reference to Bombay on p. 11 it is clear that the second instalment was begun after Lawrence’s arrival there on 3 Dec. and probably after his arrival at Nellore on the 5th. Likewise the reference to Madras on p. 23 suggests that the first section of the third instalment (pp. 19–26), which was apparently written at one sitting (the writing changes part of the way down p. 26), was written after Lawrence’s visit to that city.)



Part I.

[18 Nov.] The last day in England. Late to bed having had letters to write, & economic work to get on with. A few hours sleep & [19 Nov.] start away on final preparations; should have plenty of time for preparations but still a lot of economic work to get done: pace must be […] & packing: […] so th[…] th[…] economic work; evening comes on; rapidity of preparations increases: economic maps completed: cabin trunk finished & locked just in time for dinner: dinner: other baggage finally ready. To Victoria. All done; walk on platform: take your seats: goodbye, goodbye; whistle; off! The globe trotter has commenced his trotting!

To the weary, rest.

11. o’c Dover: {1} (this does […] ocean or even [… on]ly a smudge) […]es; on […] boat […]d! […] (ie Café, Dejeuner, tea, dinner.)

[20 Nov.] Wake at 10 o’c; funny little Frenchman serves in Restaurant; lazy day is spent in reading, eating, & watching the scenery which is magnificent; the vineyard hills are glorious, though the vines are past & over; I watch spell bound. (Eating, it will be seen, always occupies a prominent place on board train) The frontier reached, the tunnel, clocks put on an hour—the first hour of the globe trotter’s 24—Italy! Too dark to see much of a new country; dinner, reading, a little work & bed.

[21 Nov.] Saturday {2} Not much new to record, but the train which went a good pace in France goes pretty slowly in Italy & stops at all but the smallest stations; set to work hard to get all economic work & letters finished; don’t know when we shall get to Brindisi 3? 4? 5? or 6? because train runs independent of time tables. So must hurry up & get all ready betimes. Look up every now & then to watch Scenery; at last all work done at 3.30. At last. Breathe more freely. Brindisi reached, as darkness comes on; & after stopping to wire & spend fabulous sums posting type written work to England, come on to quay in sight of Caledonia {3}, my home that is to be for 12 days.

On board! But here must telegraphese cease, for has it not been declared that {4} that which is spent on board is a portion of eternity sandwiched in between two times. Then after finding my hand packages which a man has brought on board I go down to my cabin, and after some time find all my luggage; this little excitement always exists in going on to a boat, a sort of ½ pleasing cause of dread; a wonder, shall I have everything? Not to mention other methods of losing luggage as our poor friend who lost his washing at Vadsö {5} & of whom it is written

There was a young person called James
With whose washing the people played games
So he stuck up a notice
And all that he wrote is
A detailed description with names

But in this case all is found, all but deck chair; where Oh where? But after 2 or 3 days it turns up, & bicycle crate has to be paid for, shortly so that must be on board.

As soon as I get to my cabin to dress for dinner, I find a Cambridge man who says we ought to know one another, he is Hutchinson of Clare {6}; I don’t really remember him, but shake hands effusively, having a faint recollection of his face.

At dinner I sit at one of the central tables not far from the Captain, & meet Miss Noel who is the only person I know on board. She introduced me to her cousin, & afterwards to some of her friends who are going out to be married. The boat is still in the quay waiting for the last mails; & some of my train companions go for a short stroll on the quay; then arrive the mails, having not come by our train as I had supposed, but by a later one. 690 bags in all; we watch them brought up to the boat’s side in little carts, & carried on board by the Lascars & thrown down into a sort of well; with what a thump they go down; one wonders why they don’t get utterly crumpled up; but from recollections of letters received,—& you will be able to judge by this one—they don’t seem to. Then about 10.30 or 11 all is finished & the boat makes a start {7}; & after some difficulty, with the help of a little steamer she gets away. The first Sunday of travel is drawing to a close, Europe is being left behind, the globe trotter is starting for Eastern lands.

[22 Nov.] Rest & Sleep; breakfast is at 9 o’c only on the P & O they have a habit of setting the clock in the early morning; so each day the night is a little shorter, breakfast a little earlier than it appears.

And now I do not propose to detail a chronological history. Boat travellers know what a boat is like, & those who don’t can never understand, because it is a new sense.

The Mediterranean is by no means calm and attendance at meals becomes gradually reduced; dinner is peculiarly empty, sparsely attended at the start, vacant places rapidly increase, the feminine form divine being in general peculiarly conspicuous by its absence.

Dressing for dinner is universal on the P & O; there is not much point in it says Hutchinson, but “it passes the time”; this he says of most things, & it becomes in time a watch word of a small party that springs up who are known to themselves as the Casuals.

Quoits, Bull, Buckets, smoking, talking, music & singing, & last but not least meals all fulfill the condition above, & so [24 Nov.] we reach Port Said; there the ship anchors, & “coalers” come along side.

(To be continued)

Continued from page 10

These coalers consist of flat bottomed boats full of coal; & a large number of very black looking men bring up the coal from these & put it into openings in the side of the ship, carrying the baskets on their head, & singing a sort of dirge all the while. Most of the passengers went ashore, & I went with one party & soon after landing bought a great big green hat [There follows a small sketch of its outline] arrayed in which I looked a thorough globe trotter; this was very cheap, only 3/– but I have since bought in Bombay a proper topee or pith helmet which costs a good deal more. Port Said is an extraordinary place. One of our party said the proper thing to do was to have a donkey ride; to this I rather demurred, but subsequently finding that the Eastern donkey seemed quite accustomed to carry people as big & as heavy as myself and bigger, I gave in, & choosing a strongish moke, I got on & rode through the town, the other members of the party on other mokes;—an extraordinarily comic proceeding. After lunching, buying cigarettes, nougat, turkish delight etc etc we returned to the ship, & found the coaling nearly finished. Then the boat started off & went lazily down the Suez Canal {8} (6 miles an hour top speed allowed for fear of injuring the banks); the scenery on either side cannot be said to be exciting—a desert. Still it was very pleasant and those who had been ill were glad to have it calm. And now as to the rest of the journey of the boat there is not much else to say; we took on one or two passengers at Ismailia [25 Nov.] {9}, got into the Red Sea & went full speed, the temperature getting warmer every day, but never getting really hot—certainly not for the Red Sea it used to be about 85º during the day & 81º during the night. Reached Aden Sunday evening [28 Nov.] but there was not time to go ashore; from there we crossed the Indian Ocean the only incident being that one day we came across a small boat that signalled to us that it wanted water; we came round, & close to it, & then it sent out a little boat with men who brought skins which we filled with water & we also gave them a bag of rice; but they say that such people are very probably a fraud, & it is becoming quite a custom for little boats to waylay large liners & signalling distress to get gratuitous gifts of rice.

By the way in talking of the scenery viewed from Suez Canal, I should have said it was only the beginning that was uninteresting; after a bit that† bold rocky heights were very exciting; it took us about 16 hours to go through the canal. Coming now to the passengers & crew:—Old Captain Andrews to whom I gave Mr Frizell’s letter of introduction is a jolly old chap and so are the rest of his officers, & altogether we had a very jolly time. I do not propose to tell you about it in detail; altogether we had 2 ordinary dances, & 4 concerts and a fancy dress ball. Then we had tournaments in the games:—buckets, quoits, bull, “billiards” & also a number of sports. The Committee who got these things up did not seem always to know how to manage very well, but the sports they arranged capitally. The passengers divided themselves more or less up into cliques; I am afraid we were almost as bad as any, and called ourselves The Casuals. Roughly speaking this party consisted of 2 girls who were going out to be married in India, & Miss Noel, & her cousin Miss Denny; & of the men Hutchinson, Nun, Lambert & myself. I may possibly sometime send you a poem about the voyage, though I am afraid you will only understand parts of it, but I will say now that Lambert was Christened the Watcher. Other passengers there were in great number whom it would take too long to describe but I will give you a rhyme on one which explains itself.

He thought he saw a Homburg hat a Classic brown entwine
He looked again & saw it was Argenti superfine
Judged by the nasal form said he this comes from Palestine.

I calc’late you will reckon on the sort of time we had; as to the dances & concerts I shan’t say anything; in the tournaments & more especially the sports the Casuals were very successful; Nun won the “Cheroots & soda water” race, Lambert the “potato” & I was second in the “Bolster fight”—a very extraordinary performance—; while Miss Rosie (one of the girls to be married) was second in two of the tournaments; the Casuals also won some other things. The fancy dress ball was a great success. Miss Noel & Miss Rosie were magnificent as Japanese, & Miss Price as a peasant; & my Pierrot did capitally; the other members of the casuals did not dress. The fancy dresses which won the prizes presented by the “Gaerkwar of Baroda” (a kind of Maharajah) {10} were a lady who dressed herself in fans & a man who appeared as sports. One man painted his shirt to represent “Caledonia”; altogether a very jolly evening. [3 Dec.] Friday early we reached Bombay; after hurried goodbyes, we went ashore, Campbell’s agent saw my baggage through Custom house & deposited it at a Railway Station, & I went on to a hotel for the day. In the morning I took a drive round Malabar point, from which you get a fine view of the city. My first impression of the tropics I cannot describe; contrary to most things in this world it was what I had anticipated; but I suppose one is prepared for it by the imitations one gets in parks etc in London. Still of course the general “feel” is quite different in the real from that in the imaginary.

Of the Casuals one girl was to be married Friday & the other Saturday, so I attended the Friday marriage in the Bombay Cathedral, the Casuals all collecting for the last time; & afterwards went on to the house; it seemed funny that we who had only known the bride ten days or so were really her best known friends, all the others—not very many it was quite a small affair—being, of course, friends of the bridegroom. So the day passed, & in the evening I started for Nellore. The ordinary train in India is very broad gauge, but there is also a narrow gauge; sleeping car much as elsewhere, but one provided one’s own bed. 3 other passengers among them Gen. Lugard {11}, rather a squash but very kind. [5 Dec.] 2 AM Sunday morning reach Renigunta junction, where Campbell’s servant meets me; change & reach Nellore 11.30 A.M.

First impressions of India

And there was Old Campbell {12} waiting at the Station in orthodox Anglo Indian garb. “Well here you are, I thought you were never coming” “How do you do?”; and then we were driving up to the bungalow in a Bullock coach. It all seemed so strange, & yet I could not imagine I was seeing Campbell for the first time for a year in an out of the way station in a distant land. What a queer thing an Indian Bungalow is! Outside walls, more or less, with a great big verandah running all round; a few fragments of inside walls, but a great big draught goes (if there is air enough!) right through; only diaphanous bamboo screens like this:— [There follows a sketch of a bamboo screen] partially separate room from room. And then what a size! The bungalow where only one other man lives beside Campbell (a Captain Ashworth R.E. {13} who is at work on a new railway), is about the size of the house where the Shah lived when he was in London (& somewhat like it in appearance); & the “Compound” in which it is situated is about as big as the Botanical gardens. And you must remember that none of the servants live in the house; but I shall have more to say of them later. Shortly after my arrival was served at about 12 o’c (11 is the usual hour) breakfast; this should really be called brunch, & you can have either breakfast drinks or lunch drinks with it; but in substance it mainly consists of luncheon foods. A very fine meal it is; & after having had next to nothing since tea & toast at 4.30 AM I was quite prepared to do justice to it.

After breakfast it gets very warm, (though it is winter), & unless one has business to do or calls to pay one stays in doors, & if inclined sleeps. On that particular day I sat and talked to Campbell & much we had to talk about of things English & things Indian; presently my trunks arrived; but in a bachelors† bungalow, it appears, one does not think of unpacking partly because there is next to no furniture & one cannot put things upon the floor because of the ants. And so the day wore on, & at 6 o’clock we went to church where the few Europeans & Eurasians were gathered together, & the Church warden read the service, for the Padré (ie Parson) was away at another town in his parish which extends over some hundred miles or so. Then back to the bungalow with a man in front carrying a lantern—of which more anon—& so ultimately dinner at 8 o’clock. Now 8 o’clock at home does not seem very late for dinner, but out here seeing that one starts the day 2 hours earlier, it appears peculiar, because one expects to go to bed between 10 and 11 at latest; nevertheless it is the custom, though there are not wanting those who regard it as a mistake. Some people take a tiffin (or lunch) about 2 or 3 in the afternoon; but though otherwise there is a long interval between 11 o’c breakfast & 8 o’c dinner interrupted only by tea, I should think those who take it must put away a much smaller breakfast. But quantities differ. In Nellore where the early meal called “Chota Hazri” served at 6 or 7 consists of tea & toast, eggs jam & fruit you get practically an English breakfast, Breakfast is Lunch, & Dinner is a very late late dinner, while the intermediate tea is a big little or a little big tea as you like to look at it. In Madras “Chota” is merely tea & toast; people have breakfast earlier, & take a tiffin as well. (—— the mosquitoes, their bites make one’s hands tingle all over)

Soon after dinner I felt very sleepy & proceeded to go to bed. What a funny thing going to bed is in India! Undress & suitably array yourself in your bedroom & then up to bed for as Campbell says “We all sleep out on the verandah in a row”. What a wonderful land this is! Every night arrayed in pyjamas & slippers & preceded by Campbell’s head man Buddhoo carrying a lantern, up to the verandah. There are the beds. I get in; Buddhoo tucks in the mosquito curtains, reverentially salaams & disappears.

Now about the lantern:—after dark one always goes about with a lantern for fear of snakes; at this time of year, however, there are very few & they hardly ever come into the house. “Still” says Ashworth “it is just as well, even if not absolutely necessary (in the house), & moreover the servants think the more of you if you insist upon having a lantern carried up before you”! This brings me to talk of servants generally out here; & the very thought of them makes me to ripple all over inside with a kind of subdued chuckle. So utterly absurd, so ridiculous, so footling in some respects, so imposing in others. So reverential & obsequious, so foolish, so careless, & so neglectful of their duty. Doing so little themselves, so ready to command others. Try & get outside your idea of an Englishman, imagine a being so constitued that he regards the bare necessaries of life with complacency provided he can do as little as possible. To your best servant you give perhaps 12 rupees a month less than you pay a very inexperienced kitchen maid at home; & moreover he feeds himself into the bargain. Then remember you want some 8 or 10 men to run a bungalow for two people with comfort so far as you expect them in this place. It is funny to see old Campbell who in his native land used to do every mortal thing for himself, brushing his hair while one man holds his coat & another his waistcoat ready to put on when he is ready for them; & yet these same servants probably fail to brush his clothes, or if they do so at all don’t brush them respectably. I have written all this in a casual way; & very casual they are out here altogether; casual & yet in a hurry—at least that is the Europeans—the natives very rarely hurry. As to the natives, generally, (those who are not servants) I have not seen enough of them to be able to speak with any great accuracy, but in any case there are such a lot of different types that it is hard to say anything at all. They are all colours from yellow down to a very dark black; some of them who are a glossy brown appear to me very fine. Some wear next to no clothes at all, others varicoloured garments; the pale green or pale pink being very picturesque. Here in Nellore the Teluga speaking people are some of them handsome, to my thinking, but in Madras the Tamil speaking race appear to me very ugly.

I daresay you will expect me to say something of the scenery; but I don’t know what to say except that it is tropical, & having said this I ought to have conveyed to you the idea of Palm Trees & tropical foliage generally & dry barren sort of looking ground. In places they grow paddy—rice—but this wants a great deal of water & where they have not got artificial irrigation they are rather afraid of famine, as they have not had the proper amount of rain. The moon has been full lately & the nights are wonderfully bright.

As to the climate generally, they call it cold now; I can’t say I think that; but then after all though they call it cold they have a perpetual draught through the house all day, take no excersise† between 11 A.M & 4 P.M, never go out between dawn and 4 PM without a “topee” or pith helmet, & sleep out of doors or in as much of a draught as possible, while in church & often at other times the punkah is kept swinging. You can judge from these things whether they really think it cold, & I am quite prepared to own that [it] is not very hot, but then one takes every precaution. It is funny that the things one avoids at home for health’s sake one does out here without a qualm, while new items take their place. One example of this is that the cold catching area is lowered from the chest to the stomach. {14} But I must give you some more of the curious things & my impressions, another time.

I find my cycle extremely useful out here & am very glad I brought it, as I could not have got anything satisfactory here. I have also played lawn tennis & golf. There is a club in Nellore, & of this I have been made an honorary member & play lawn tennis there; but of this & of my visit with Campbell to Madras & then to Guddur I must write, if I can, later. I proceed to describe immediate circumstances. When we were at Guddur [about 13 Dec.] Campbell received a letter from his head; saying he must come at once to Udayagiri to start famine relief works. Now Udayagiri is 60 miles from Nellore & there is no rail, & we were then at Guddur 20 miles by rail the other way; & the time was 7. PM no train till the next morning. The great difficulty of travelling (other than by rail) here is not so much in getting about oneself, that one can do on a bicycle, but in getting one’s meals on the way, or at a destination unless you have a friend there.

At first I rather thought I could go with him, but he seemed to think I had better not, so rather reluctantly I gave up the idea of it. No train to Nellore till next morning; shall we go in in Bullock Bandies? (Now a Bullock bandy has no springs & is very rough, quite a different thing from the Bullock coach spoken of on p. 19.) Yes & then Campbell will be able to start off at dawn for Udayagiri on his bicycle, carrying biscuits & soda water with him & hope to get there to the Collector that night. B. b s {15} ordered; but don’t come; 10. P.M too late; because they only go 2 miles an hour & not worth while, better get good night’s rest; so sleep at Guddur; & up soon after 5 & Campbell & I cycle into Nellore starting at 6; not good road & wind against us; Campbell wisely decides he cannot do rest of journey—60 more miles—that day on his bicycle; starts off in a “trotting bullock bandy” with his bicycle on top at about 11 o’c (having had breakfast in Nellore). When day gets cool he will get out & cycle & hope to reach U. that night {16}; if not, stop somewhere, feed on biscuits & soda & go in next morning.

Meanwhile I left stranded. Campbell recommends go off to Adie {17} so I wire to know if I can come;—“Yes”. So I shall stay here a day or two & then start for Muzaffapur which is near Calcutta! It is rather a long journey & very likely I shall go up to Calcutta from Madras by sea, if I can get a boat at the right time; otherwise I shall have a 3 or 4 days’ train journey having to get nearly back to Bombay. Moreover I am left here alone (even Ashworth being away) & servants do not understand English to any extent; still I get along somehow, & of course there are Europeans in the place to whom I can go if I want anything.

I am waiting a day or two here because possible Campbell may wire to say he is coming back in two or three days {18}, in which case I shall wait here till he returns.

It is somewhat difficult to find out much about how to get to Muzaffapur, but Ashworth is coming back to-day [16 Dec.] & I shall be able to consult him; in the meanwhile I must pack up my cabin trunk & small things & take my bicycle with me, leaving my big trunk here, in Nellore & hope to pick it up again some time, it is rather sudden to be cast adrift thus.


Square brackets in the original have been replaced by round brackets.

{1} Followed by a word or two, blotted out.

{2} Added in the margin. Apparently a mistake for ‘Sunday’.

{3} A P. & O. ship, made by Caird & Co. of Greenock in 1894. It had berths for 316 first class and 175 second class passengers.

{4} Followed by ‘the time of’, struck through. The phrase should probably read ‘has it not been declared that the time which is spent’, etc.

{5} Lawrence went to Vadsö in Norway to observe the total solar eclipse of 9 August 1896. See Fate Has Been Kind, pp. 36–7.

{6} Henry Norton Hutchinson, an exact contemporary of Lawrence’s at Cambridge. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1896 and eventually became Postmaster-General at Bombay.

{7} ‘The P. & O. s. CALEDONIA, from Marseilles for Bombay, left Brindisi at 11 p.m. on Sunday [21st] with the London mail of the 19th inst.’ (The Times, 23 Nov. 1897, p. 6.)

{8} ‘The CALEDONIA . . . entered the Canal (Port Said) at 3 p.m. yesterday.’ (The Times, 25 Nov. 1897, p. 6.)

{9} The journey through the canal took sixteen hours.

{10} Sir Sayaji Rao Gaikwar, Maharajah of Baroda. ‘In the autumn of 1897 His Highness had felt the equilibrium of his State to be sufficiently restored to allow him to make a visit to Egypt, spending two months away from Baroda. He travelled up the Nile to Cairo, and through the region of the Pyramids to Thebes, etc. He was much interested in the irrigation work done for Egypt by Sir William Willcocks (a product of Roorkee College, India), and particularly in the progress of the Assuan Dam.’ (Philip W. Sergeant, The Ruler of Baroda (1928).)

{11} Probably Sir Edward Lugard (1810–1898).

{12) A. Y. G. Campbell was a friend and exact contemporary of Lawrence’s at Trinity. He entered the Indian Civil Service in 1895, and served in the Madras Presidency as Assistant and Head Assistant Collector from 1896 to 1902. Lawrence (by then Pethick-Lawrence) and his wife visited Campbell again in 1926, when he was Chief Secretary to the Madras Government.

{13} Perceval Ashworth, of the Military Works Department, Bezwada–Madras Railway. See Hart’s Army Lists (1898), p. 210.

{14} The ink changes here.

{15} Bullock bandies.

{16} ‘that night’ altered from ‘to-night’.

{17} Walter Sibbald Adie, a contemporary of Lawrence’s at Cambridge, where he achieved the distinction of being the only senior wrangler ever to gain a rowing blue. He was elected a Fellow in 1896 but entered the ICS almost immediately afterwards.

{18} ‘two or three days’ altered from ‘a day or two’.

† Sic.

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



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

[There is a space here in the MS.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Has the country foreign trade?

2. Do they bring capital with them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[There is a space here in the MS.]

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

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

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

Prices in both will rise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[There is a space here in the MS.]

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

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

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

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

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

[There is a space here in the MS.]

I feel greatly the inadequacy of my investigation.

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


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

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

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

{3} A slip for ‘will’.

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

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

† Sic.

Paper by F. W. Lawrence entitled ‘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.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[There is a space here in the MS.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

{4} Herodotus, Book II, § 28.

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

† Sic.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What has evolution to say to these facts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is to be our definition of a man?

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

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

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

[There is a space here in the MS.]

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

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

1stly upon our views concerning the lower animals.

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

2nd with regard to our views concerning man.

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

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

This brings us to the subject of the bible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are we to have in its place?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

† Sic.

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