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I. The “International ;" II. Register of “ Deaths from Starvation" in
the Poor; IV. Correspondence, &c.; V. Sermons.
REV. RICHARD HIBBS, M.A.,
“Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the
Righteousness exalteth a
LONDON AND EDINBURGH: WILLIAMS & NORGATE.
DURHAM: ANDREWS & CO.
The writer of the following pages has been led, from time to time, through the ever changing phases of social politics, to defer their publication. On returning to England, in 1873, from his visit to Elberfeld--whither, when residing on the Continent, he had gone for the express purpose of inquiring into the system there adopted for the relief of the poor,-he happily found the labouring classes in England much better remunerated for their toil than when he went abroad in 1867 ; and, by consequence, not so much in need of parochial assistance. But, besides the fact that wages are again receding, in some parts, to their former inadequate scale, specially in some agricultural districts, for example, in Wiltshire and other counties, there is once again arising in the country, judging from the reported utterances of such speakers on social politics as Lords Lyttleton and Kimberley, the opinion that out-door relief must be given up, and the House Test rigorously enforced. Hence, then, the need that exists once again that poor-relief systems be reviewed, and matters pertaining to them fully ventilated.
But the author has also private, or rather personal, reasons for the printing of these pages, as well as public ones. This will be made apparent in the Appendix, which contains a correspondence, recently passed between a certain Continental Society in connexion with the Church of England and himself. From this it will be seen that the writer has been compelled nolens volens, would he have any regard for his good name, to come forward and challenge his foes to shew cause why they should represent him as unworthy
tu occupy, even temporarily, the pulpit of any of the British Chaplaincies abroad. They have done this on the ground of his professing sentiments, as they suppose, distasteful to many. They aim at stigmatising the author as a “political preacher.” It is manifest that they base their objections on the charges which appeared first in the Saturday Review, in which the preacher-with so much charity on the part of the reviewer—is stigmatised as a Clerical Firebrand;" but more especially on the charges brought against him some years ago by a Knighted Alderman, in the Marlborough Street Police Court. This Knight (of the Thistle, we will presume) seemed to regard the then Street Preacher as personally opposed to him, Sir Robert. On his banneret, it
be surmised, is conspicuously inscribed the defiant motto—“Nemo me impunè lacessit !” Now, had he adhered to the truth in his Jeremiad before the puisne Rhadamanthus, an account of which was published the next morning in The Times, the preacher would have accepted it with all readiness, and without so much as a wish to reply, as he did the previous attack of the Saturday Review, despite its acrimony.
But Sir Robert stated what was not true; and accordingly efforts were immediately made by the calumniated offender to rebut the charge. The magistrate, however, would not allow him to defend himself, or to call witnesses, but gratuitously insulted him, and drove him from the judgment-seat. But what has been the result of all this to the preacher all these years since ? From the correspondence referred to it will be seen that nowhere on the Continent, including both Hesperias, was he permitted, for a period extending between six and seven years, through the persecuting malevolence of those who hate the friends of the poor, to exercise his sacred calling in peace. Everywhere, and at all times, he found himself spoken against and suspected of everything that was unlovely and of ill report. Even friends who asked his assistance in their pulpits were tampered with, and brought over in some instances to the side of his opponents and calumniators. As the Society referred to above has stated, he was regarded as a "public character," and that in the worst sense of the words, It will be seen, too, from this correspondence, that the author is still considered to hold sentiments unworthy of the clerical profession, These things being so, it is high time that he should defend himself against misrepresentations so injurious to himself and his work as a preacher of the Gospel. He cannot "let bygones be bygones," because of their continued pernicious results; and, therefore, because others will not suffer them to be bygones. His foes have only been too successful for him to remain silent one moment longer. He had hoped that they would in time lay aside their hostility, and suffer him to prosecute the duties of his sacred calling, whether at home or abroad, in peace and quietness. The truth is, the Saturday Review and the belligerent City Knight did their work too effectually for the humble name of the object of their malignant opposition to be allowed to sink into oblivion.
From the above remarks it will be seen that the author can produce strong reasons for allowing now to appear his letter to Sir Robert C-, the MS. of which, as will be seen from the date, has lain in his desk more than the period recommended by the Roman satirist to writers in general, whom he dehorts from rushing into print. He had intended to impose the duty of publishing this brochure on his executors. But circumstances, both of a public and private nature, constrain him to bring forth at once to a discerning public things both new and old.”
In adding his own private Register of Deaths from Starvation, which occurred in London alone during less than a moiety of the last decade of years, as attested by Coroners' Inquests, he feels that no apology is needed. Theories are fallacious ; facts are indubitable and indisputable. Let the advocates of Bastilles for the deserving poor defend, if they can, their system in face of such appalling records. Further, let the Temperance nostrum-mongers of every shade hold their peace. Not a single case of death from destitution in these registrations was attributed either by the Coroner or Jury to drunkenness. We should not advert to these good people --for undoubtedly drunkenness is a crying evil in the land, and Temperance Societies do well to decry it-were it not that they