W.T. Stead to his Father, the Rev. William Stead (1884)
Quoted in J. W. Robertson Scott, The Life and Death of a Newspaper (1952), p. 97
I have been very busy of late setting the world and its affairs in order, as you used to say in your tender, loving way when you would ask me not to forget that God had still left to Himself some share in the government of the Universe.
The interview with General Gordon and the subsequent appointment of that brave and pious man were great achievements for your harum-scarum son to be instrumental in bringing about. I always knew that with God’s help I was destined to make some stir in the world, but I never ventured to hope that the time would come so soon. Here am I not yet thirty-five, and already almost the most influential man in England! Dear father, when good souls like Mrs. Butler write saying how it does their heart good to see at last a great London newspaper edited in Christian fashion, I think of the dear old home, where at your feet and on your knee and in the dear old chapel where I heard so many excellent discourses, I imbibed those principles of religion and of duty which thank God I can now repeat in the hearing of the whole world. God bless you, dearest father, for all you have been to me!