W.T. Stead Journal Entry (July 6, 1879)

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W.T. Stead Journal Entry (July 6, 1879)

Quoted in J. W. Robertson Scott, The Life and Death of a Newspaper (1952) pp. 108-110

Completed my thirtieth year yesterday and where do I stand now? Wife still, three boys still and another child expected. I no longer feel like a prophet without a message. Beaconsfield and his possible foreign policy have at least done that much for me. Never before the terrible ordeal of the last three years did I realise so intensely my mission, my power, my responsibility and the frightful issues which come of neglecting the Christian ideal of citizenship.

I still labour under my chronic trouble of want of time. With nine hours’ sleep the remaining fifteen leave me barely room to turn round. Without nine hours I get languid, tired and unable to write with freedom or with ease. My only worry, family needs, looking up. I am awfully busy. I have a lad, but he cannot mow and I have to mow for my animals, but this will soon be over. I am neglecting my correspondents, even Madame Novikoff. Whether my book will ever be done or not I don’t know. The Zulu War has thrown the Afghan crime into the shade, and a General Election looms.

Last year I made my first public speeches at Manchester. Was well received and reported in The Times, Daily News and Scotsman. Believe I could speak effectively if occasion arose. Was somewhat elated at the ease with which I commanded the audience and spoke without exhaustion. Annand predicts jocularly that I will be in Parliament in six years. I have no ambition that way. If I can be more useful there than here I will be sent. I have been more useful, more powerful than half-a-dozen ordinary M.P.s, and a Parliamentary career offers few attractions compared with those of a journalist.

The times are hard; Bell [John Hyslop Bell – N. Echo proprietor] is very hard pinched. I have not had a rise since I was married, save £50 for the weekly and a £50 for the year now concluding, which I may never get. I have stuck exclusively to the Echo, having written nothing or rather had nothing accepted save Darlington for the Encyclopaedia Brit.(sic) I wrote Henry Pease’s life but the old man has got better. I am still as much or rather more bothered by want of space in the Echo.

My political creed or rather the present phases of it may be summed up thuswise:

(1) English race, like Jews and Romans even more, has a world wide mission to civilise, colonise, Christianise, conquer, police the world and fill it with an English-speaking law-abiding Xian race. I am an Imperialist “within the limits of saility and the ten Commandments”, the phrase quoted by Forster. God has given us the most magnificent of missions, and it is impious to seek help from the devil to carry it out. We must never use the sword save as a policeman’s baton. (2) From this primary concep­tion of our providential position and mission many other doctrines are legitimately deduced. (a) In Europe our duty is to act as peacemakers, promote goodwill, remove misunderstandings and systematically crusade against the system of national war. (b) Promotion by every means of a hearty union between all branches of the English race. If we cannot have a Parliament of Man and a Federation of the World, we ought at least to have a Parliament of Anglo-Saxondom and the federation of the English­ speaking and English-ruled realms. (c) The elevation and education, in every sense, of the English people. The gutter child of today may be the founder of a settlement tomorrow. (3) The great object of England in the counsels of the Continent should be the establishment of the United States of Europe. A European Senate may be among the realised ideals of this generation. This Senate must for European purposes dispose of European force. (4) The special duty of England is to cultivate friendly relations with the Power with which there is the most danger of collision, viz Russia. (5) We ought to use our taxes, etc., in developing the character of our own people, not in civilising others. Others, as in India, should pay their own charges. Missionary voluntary enterprise by all means, but it ought to be voluntary. Our subjugated realms ought not to be policed at the cost of the Durham miner and the Lancashire operative, except so far as that policing is done to maintain highways of commerce, necessary for disposing of British manufactured goods. (6) I am not very sanguine about the Land question. We are on the eve of a revolution in agriculture and I am among the foremost in helping the farmers to help themselves. It is possible that the aristocracy may emerge more powerful than ever from the crisis with which we are threatened. (7) A great deal needs to be done in developing and maintaining a high standard of political intelligence and public spirit. (8) The Established Church is an anomaly, an injustice and inconsistent with religious equality, out of place in a democratic State where its faith is repudiated by a large proportion of the people. But all these things weigh less with me than the fact that, judged by results, the Church lowers the standard of Xian citizenship. Its influence is always on the selfish side, in favour of high-handed wrong, against justice, against right. It is a great nursery for Jingoism. It has made itself a friend of the mammon of unrighteousness, it has joined itself unto Caesar and it approves of all that Caesar does except when he does an act of justice from which it suffers. (9) Theologically, I think self-sacrifice is the essence of Xianity, and as for Hell, there is too real a hell all around for any one to find much consolation in thinking of another in the next world. Immortality dowered with endless Hell for the majority is no glad tidings but a terrible, horrible nightmare. It is a subject which always leaves me troubled. So goodbye. God loves us, Christ died for us and between them they will get us out of the fix somehow.