WILLIAM WINWOOD READE was born at Murrayfield near Crieff on the 26th December 1838, of a family distinguished in the annals of the Civil and Military Services of the Honourable East India Company, and was the eldest son of William Barrington Reade of Ipsden House, Oxfordshire, a considerable landowner whose younger brother was Charles Reade, the author of The Cloister and the Hearth and of many other famous novels and successful plays. Winwood Reade's mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Captain John Murray, R.N., herself the inheritrix of an estate in Scotland, and she survived him by many years, as did his five brothers. He was educated first at Henley Grammar School and afterwards by Dr Behr at Hyde House, Winchester, and on the 13th March 1856 matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, not then known by its revived name of Hertford College. The Hall was then of no great reputation, and Reade did not bring to it the mental discipline that he might have acquired at one of the great public schools, at that time rough but efficient nurseries of manners. If his own novel of Liberty Hall be taken as an autobiography of this part of his career, it would seem that he fell at Oxford into a somewhat dissipated set, and acquired there habits which were to stand him in bad stead in after life. On leaving the University without a degree, he at first resolved on a literary career, the success of his uncle, just then risen to fame as a playwright and novelist, doubtless appearing before him as a shining example. In 1859, he published a short sketch called Charlotte and Myra, narrating the misadventures of a young gentleman who, after proposing to and being accepted by one of the twin daughters of a country squire, afterwards confuses her with her sister, and thereby exposes himself to a breach of promise action which ruins him. The story is wildly improbable, but is told with some spirit, the desire of a very young man—he was then not twenty-one—to show his acquaintance with the world and its dissipations being apparent on every page. This was followed the next year by Liberty Hall, Oxon, a novel in the then orthodox three volumes, in which Reade sets himself to describe at sufficient length the lives of a group of University men, who can hardly be any other than himself and his companions, as they appeared to his youthful eyes, and as he thought they were likely to end. Here we have the well-known types of the rowing man, the lady-killer, and the undergraduate who has held a commission in the Army for a short time, and is therefore much looked up to by his contemporaries for his superior knowledge of life. There also appear in these pages the drunkard and the gambler, and it is significant of the bent of Reade's mind at this period that none of his characters come to much good, while he indulges in many diatribes against the extravagance of the University life of the time, the facilities it offered to undergraduates for getting into debt with the disabilities that this imposes upon them in after life, and the useless and perfunctory character of the studies enforced upon them. In the course of this book, the author describes his initiation into Freemasonry, and this probably led him to produce, the year after the publication of Liberty Hall, The Veil of Isis, a work in which he first shows signs of the anti-clerical tendency which was to give so much colour to the speculations of his maturer years. In form, The Veil of Isis is a history of the Druids, to compile which the author raked together, without much exercise of the critical faculty, all the scanty information to be gathered from classical writers such as Caesar, Tacitus, and Ammianus Marcellinus: but its real purpose is probably shown in the Fourth Book, in which he states his conviction that the leading principles of Druidism have been continued and survive in the ceremonies and ritual of Freemasonry. With this he thought fit to couple much abuse of the High Church party in the Church of England, whom be described in words sounding oddly enough to modern ears, as — "false vipers who, warmed and cherished in the bosom of this gentle church, use their increasing strength in darting black poison through all her veins. They wish to transmit to our church those papist emblems and imagery, those ceremonies and customs which are harmless in themselves, but which by nourishing superstition elevate the dangerous power of the priests."
These three works were all very badly received by the Press, the leading literary journals being especially severe upon what they considered the author's insolence of tone, and have long since become extinct; but events were now beginning to take shape which were destined to give a totally different turn to the remainder of Reade's short life. In 1859, Darwin had published his Origin of Species, and the doctrine contained in it soon began to filter through from the learned to the general public. Among the many misrepresentations of it then current was the statement unwarrantably put into Darwin's mouth, that man was descended from the anthropoid apes; and, while the excitement produced by this was at its height, Paul Du Chaillu, a Frenchman domiciled in America, exhibited in London three stuffed specimens of the gorilla, which he described as a newly discovered anthropoid ape of great ferocity and intelligence living in the forests bordering on the Gaboon. "Rattening," then as now, was by no means unknown in scientific circles, and the narrative of Du Chaillu, who was not fortified by any academic credentials or by the prestige which in England seems to attach to those engaged in the instruction of youth, was at once assailed as a tissue of impossible lies, Dr Gray, Assistant Keeper of the Zoological Department of the British Museum, leading off in May 1861 with letters to the newspapers headed "New Traveller's Tales." Yet Du Chaillu found some defenders, including the late Prof. Owen; and Reade, whose tastes had early led him to the study of natural science, and in whose veins ran the blood of many who had sought fortune overseas, conceived the idea of visiting the Gaboon and deciding the controversy for himself. In pursuance of this, he raised money on his inheritance, and started for Western Africa in December 1862, on board the S.S. Armenian, belonging to the African Steamship Company. His first visit was to Fernando Po where Captain, afterwards Sir Richard Burton was H.M.'s Consul. The visit must have been an interesting one and formed the beginning of a lifelong friendship; and it was here that Reade had his first touch of fever. But a fortnight later, he sailed down the coast in a trading vessel and landed at Glasstown, where he was rewarded by the sight of a tame gorilla. From thence, he went up the Ncomo or Upper Gaboon with only native attendants, and succeeded in penetrating as far as the Rapids, then unknown to Europeans. Then, hearing that Du Chaillu had visited the Fernand Vaz or Camma country, he transferred himself to the latter river, where he remained for some time in a kind of honourable captivity as the guest of Quenqueza, king of the Rembo. He also learned that Du Chaillu's account of the habits of the gorilla, though not inaccurate in the main, was entirely derived from native sources, the French explorer having visited the coast merely as a trader and having bought the gorilla skins that he exhibited from native hunters, while his alleged personal encounters with the animal were "written up" from his notes by a New York journalist. Returning to the coast, Reade visited the Congo, which he ascended for a hundred and fifty miles, and although here he only followed in the footsteps of Livingstone, he was one of the first of modern writers to describe the Portuguese city of San Paolo de Loanda and the island of San Thomas which has lately attained notoriety for its export of slave-grown cocoa. Then he ascended the Casemanche river as far as Sedhu, only returning to take passage for Bathurst, whence he visited the Falls of Barraconda, and then went back to the coast and up the Senegal. In these last-named journeys, he studied the Slave Trade at close quarters, and even made the voyage to Loanda in a Portuguese slave-ship which was stopped and searched by a British cruiser. At the time, he was hardly twenty-four years old, entirely dependent on his own resources, and had no knowledge of any African language or even of Arabic, although he managed to acquire some acquaintance with Portuguese en route. In the unexplored countries that he visited, moreover, he went practically unarmed, only having, as he tells us, a large unloaded duck-gun borne behind him "as an emblem of dignity and power." Nor does he seem to have had any previous advice on his equipment or conduct before leaving England except from the surgeon on one of the mail steamers to West Africa whom he met in England in the autumn of 1861, and whose conversation first suggested to him the idea of exploration. In one respect he paid dearly for his inexperience for, by his own confession, he sometimes gave way to intemperance on this trip, and thus probably laid the foundation of the many fevers and other illnesses which were to prematurely cut short his career. Yet, when all is said, the feat was one worthy to rank with those of much more renowned travellers, and has never received half the credit. it deserves.
On his return to England at the end of 1863, Reade published an account of his travels under the title Savage Africa; and then, having determined, rightly enough, that a knowledge of medicine was one of the most important aids to an explorer of savage countries, he set himself to acquire this by entering as a student at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington. Here he remained three years, went through the usual course, and on the outbreak of the cholera epidemic in the autumn of 1866, volunteered for and received the charge of the cholera hospital established at Southampton. In the meantime, he continued to pay attention to literature, a novel called See-Saw written by him under the pseudonym of "Francesco Abati" having appeared in 1865. This recounts the adventures of a prima donna married first to a middle-aged English man of business, but afterwards returning to her first love in the person of an Italian Count of long descent and much wealth who is, somewhat incongruously, a virtuoso and composer; and its scene is chiefly laid in Florence. Its object—for Reade, like his uncle, never wrote other than romans à clef—seems to have been to contrast the simplicity and earnestness of the Roman Catholic faith, as professed by the lower orders in Latin countries, with the hypocrisy and bitterness current among the more Puritanical English sects. It would therefore seem that Reade at this period passed some time in Italy, and that what he saw there induced him to modify his youthful views with regard to the inbred wickedness of Catholicism. Perhaps it was some idea of the way in which the public of the period would be likely to regard this palinode, which led him to adopt the very thin disguise with which he thought to cover the authorship of the novel. According to his own statements, however, it fell as flat as the others, and created only the most momentary sensation. As he himself says a little later, "my books are literary insects, doomed to a trifling and ephemeral existence, to buzz and hum for a season—and to die."
This failure, as he chose to consider it, seems to have entered like iron into a soul ever greedy for personal distinction, and Reade's mind began to turn again to the pursuit of fame as an explorer. In his own words, he reflected that: "it is a curse to aspire and never to attain. To-morrow I shall be thirty years old. For more than ten years I have been writing and writing, and yet have done nothing, absolutely nothing, and at length am learning the unpalatable truth that my fate is Mediocrity."
In these circumstances, it is no wonder that he "began to hunger after Africa again," and thirsted to leave "a red line of his own upon the map." With this view, he besieged all the business men dealing with the West Coast of Africa with offers of his services as an agent, intending, as he says, "to remain for a time patiently upon the Coast, making natural history collections, studying the native languages and customs, and to wait an opportunity of plunging into the interior." Perhaps it was because Reade had neither business training nor had given any signs of capacity for it—or perhaps the firms to which he applied not unnaturally distrusted a subordinate who did not disguise his intention of using their service as a stepping-stone—but they one and all declined the offer of his services, until the Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society thought of introducing him to Mr Andrew Swanzy, the head of an important firm then trading with the Gold Coast. Mr Swanzy was opposed to Reade in politics at a time when politics made a more complete dichotomy of society than at present, but he had for some time meditated doing something for the cause of African exploration, and had even dreamed of making a visit in person to Dahomey and of impressing upon its king the advisability of adopting "a better, fairer, and a more beneficial system of trading and even of governing his people." These schemes for the political reform of the most savage state in Africa were hardly likely to come to fruition, but he recognized in Reade a kindred spirit, and finally offered to bear the expense of a second journey of exploration by Reade to the West Coast, giving him in his own words "carte blanche to go where I please in this country, to stay as long as I please, and to spend as much money as I please." The expedition was placed under the control of the Royal Geographical Society's Council, and Reade started again on a journey to Africa in the autumn of 1868.
This second expedition "in search," as he described it, "of a reputation," all but cost him his life. He went first to Sierra Leone, where he remained for some months, studying the route to be taken, and making trips to the Slave and Gold Coasts. He at one time thought of exploring the Sherboro River, then of penetrating to Coomassie or to Dahomey. He came to the conclusion, however, that the chance of reaching either of these capitals was too slight to be worth the enormous expense involved, while the journey up the Sherboro, where Jules Gerard the lion-hunter was killed, would add little to our geographical knowledge. Finally, he decided to push through from Freetown to Falaba, the capital of the military kingdom of Sulimania discovered by Major Laing in 1825, and thence to make a bid for the sources of the Niger. This plan was much encouraged by Sir Arthur Kennedy, then Governor of West Africa, who visited Freetown during Reade's stay, and was anxious to get the trade route to Falaba reopened; but it is curious to notice that Reade conceived his first idea of the expedition from Major Laing's Travels, published by Murray in 1825, a copy of which he found in a disused cupboard in the Government interpreter's house at Freetown. Reade tells us that he had studied the geography of West Africa ever since his former visit, and had read nearly every book upon it extant; but that, till then, he knew Laing's work only by name. It is odd that be should thus have missed a book to be found in the British Museum and no doubt in other places of the kind, and of such interest to him that, after its first perusal, he was unable to sleep. It convinced him, as he tells us, that the Niger is "close to Sierra Leone;" and on Major Laing's map its source is actually marked as rising near Mount Loma on the borders of the Kissi and Koranko countries. This was confirmed by some negro headmen or "landlords" who had assembled at Freetown to meet Sir Arthur Kennedy, and determined Reade to reach this source or die in the attempt.
At last all his preparations were complete, and he started from Port Loko, the headquarters of the Timni nation or tribe, with all the prestige that could be conferred by the active support of the Government.
He took with him a number of the medals usually given to the native chiefs in alliance with Sierra Leone, and one of his men was dressed in a uniform which gave the expedition the rank of a Government mission. Two interpreters, a guide, a special Timni emissary from Port Loko, and a great train of carriers accompanied the expedition; but it was characteristic of Reade that he took with him no provisions for himself, no medicines but a small quantity of quinine and chlorodyne, and that the only firearms to be found in the convoy were a breech-loading carbine and a few cartridges carried by himself. With these, he traversed the Timni country, crossed the Little Scarcies River, and entered the country of the Limbas, where his troubles began. The medals removed some difficulties caused by his Timoi escort, who were plainly ill-affected to the expedition ; but he discovered that a small subsidy paid to the Limba town of "Big Boumba " (Boumbadi) for the free passage of gold caravans to Sierra Leone had been allowed to lapse, and he was only allowed to go forward on promising to send back from Falaba a Limba messenger for the arrears. On leaving the Limba country, Reade sent back his Timni escort and carriers, who had done little but make trouble, and touched Major Laing's route by crossing a limb of the country of Koranko which here interposes between that of the Limbas and the kingdom of Sulimania. This over, he entered what he calls the Great Central African Plateau, a high tableland separated from the coast by the wood-covered hills through which he had just struggled. Before very long he reached the great town of Falaba and was well received by Sewa, king of the Sulimas. In three months, he had successfully accomplished the first part of his journey, and had opened, as the Government wished, the direct trade route from Sierra Leone to Falaba.
It was here that the expedition nearly terminated in the death of Reade. He had sent back, according to promise, the Limba envoy—one Linseni—with a request for the arrears of the subsidy immediately upon reaching Falaba, together with all the carriers remaining of those who had accompanied him from Sierra Leone. He had trusted neither of the interpreters who remained with him with the real object of his journey. until he reached Falaba, of which town one of them was formerly a citizen. Hence when he told them that he wished to push on to the source of the Joliba or Great River—as the Niger is there called—they advised him that his best course was to say nothing about it to the king of the country for at least a month. When, at last, the revelation was made to Sewa, that worthy answered in true African style that be was then at war with a tribe of revolted Foulas called the Hooboes, but that, when the country was quiet, the white man should go and look at the water of the Great River. The excuse was more than a mere pretext, as was shown by the appearance and execution of Foula prisoners in Falaba; but it soon became plain that Sewa intended to keep Reade in his town as long as possible, and at all events until his goods, which are the money of the country, were exhausted. The disappointment was bitter to Reade, who reflected that so far he had penetrated no further than Major Laing, and doubtless had much to do with the illness which followed. First he was attacked by dysentery, but recovered by returning to a meat diet, then by small-pox, which also prostrated the body-servant whom he had brought with him from the Coast; and during these troubles he discovered that he was really a prisoner, and that Sewa would neither let him go forward to the Joliba nor return to Sierra Leone, at any rate until his fast-dwindling stores were exhausted. At last, having sent away one of his two interpreters with a letter for Sir Arthur Kennedy, he was again attacked by malarial fever. "I am now confined to my hut," he writes at this period; "all strength is gone from me. I never see my face, for I have no looking-glass; but my hand, as I write, startles me—it looks wasted and old. But my spirit is not subdued. If it is death which is approaching, it will find me prepared. When I came to this country a second time I knew that the chances were even against my return. What does it matter after all? Life at the longest is not so very long." But while he was writing these lines, Linseni, the native whom he had sent to Sierra Leone on his first arrival at Falaba, returned. He had been instructed by the Governor to escort Reade to the Coast, and Sewa who desired the English trade, luckily interpreted this as an order to himself to release his prisoner. Three days later, Reade started for Freetown.
On his sufferings in this return journey, there is no occasion to dwell. Unable to walk, he had to be carried in a hammock the greater part of the way, but on arriving at Mobile, he managed to obtain a canoe, and travelled through most of the Timkis' country by water. Moreover, the Governor had on his advice paid the arrears of subsidy due to the Limbas, and the fame of this, and perhaps the presence of a. nephew of Sewa's who accompanied him, prevented the natives from molesting him on the road. On arriving at Freetown, the Government paid all the expenses of his journey and entered into an arrangement with Sewa's emissary by which the King of Sulimania was to receive a small annual payment so long as the road to Falaba was open. This has since been faithfully observed, and Falaba is now the centre of a flourishing trade. The five months that had elapsed since he first left Freetown had not therefore been ill-spent, and all his friends advised him to remain there and recruit his shattered health: yet in a fortnight's time he was again on the now opened road to Falaba, having decided to return with Sewa's envoy. The fear that another expedition might be dispatched by the Government during his convalescence seems to have been the moving cause of his thus risking his life a second time, and the surgeon in charge of the Colony told the Governor that he would certainly die on the road. But Reade was not to be turned back, and the Governor did what he could for him by stipulating with Sewa that he should be allowed to pass through Falaba to the Niger, an agreement which was rigidly kept. Probably Reade was right in not allowing Sawa sufficient time for his gratitude to evaporate.
This time there were no difficulties, although it was now the rainy season, when the bush is supposed to be impossible for Europeans. Falaba was reached without hindrance, and here Reade was able, for the first time since he left it, as he says, "to put on his boots" and walk. Taking Sewa's envoy with him, he pressed on, and struck the Niger at Farabana where it is but 100 yards wide, and where he narrowly escaped again being detained as a prisoner. He also ascertained that Major Laing's account of the source of the Niger, less than fifty miles distant from Farabana, was correct, and that it issues from a small lake belonging to a town called Deldugu and fed from an underground source known to the inhabitants, who yearly sacrifice to it a black cow. He further learned that Deldugu was the centre of a slave-hunting preserve, and that he would require an army to reach it. Then he resolved to travel to the gold-mines of Bouré in the country of the Sangaras, where there is no king, and where all the towns are, as he tells us, municipal republics armed and fortified after the manner of the Middle Ages. In this too, he succeeded, reaching the Niger again at a point a hundred miles higher than had hitherto been reached by any European, and by its waters he sang a kind of Nunc Dimittis before returning to Freetown. "Henceforth," he said,, "no one can say I am only a writer; for I have proved myself a man of action as well as a man of thought. When in the morning I have taken my coffee which sets my brain in a tremble and a glow, I walk along the red path, and as the country unfolds itself before me I say, 'This is mine: here no European has been; it is Reade's Land.'" From Bouré, as from Falaba, he took back with him some influential natives who made an agreement in Sierra Leone with the Governor for the keeping open of the trade route. Thus in ten months, as he says, he had established "friendly and intimate relations between the Government of Sierra Leone and the native powers a distance of 450 miles from the coast."
Thus ended Reade's explorations in Africa.. He had done wonders, especially when his youth and inexperience are considered, and he appears to be quite right when he says that by penetrating to within a short distance of Bamaku, the highest point on the Niger reached by Mungo Park in 1747, he had filled up the gap between that worthy's discoveries and those of Major Laing. Yet the gods sometimes punish us by granting our requests, and it is very doubtful whether all his trials and sufferings would have alone sufficed to gain him the immortal fame for which he longed. He had long been a Fellow of the Geographical Society, to whose Secretary he owed, as we have seen, the introduction which put it in his power to make his second expedition, and who were put in some not very clearly defined way in charge of it. Yet he certainly did not receive the Society's Gold Medal, which he once speaks of as the distinction he most coveted, and his exploits seem to have been mentioned neither in their Proceedings nor in the newspapers of the time. He himself complains  that his journey to the Niger and Bouré had not excited "the slightest interest among English geographers." Yet this is hardly to be wondered at. Reade seems to have studiously avoided the taking of observations, and left behind him on starting from Freetown the sextant and artificial horizon lent to him by the Geographical Society for that purpose. Moreover, he did not himself see the source of the Niger, and the information on the subject that he collected was all drawn from accounts of natives, and therefore while unsupported of no great evidential value. But the cause which chiefly contributed to the public neglect of his results was the extraordinary form in which he thought fit to publish them. They did not appear at all until three years after his return to England, and then only in the form of a journal kept while in the bush for the perusal of a lady whom he addresses as "Dear Margaret," and for whom he seems to have had a deep and tender regard. Even then they formed only a kind of appendix to the African Sketch Book, from which I have so often quoted. But this work was itself a kind of olla podrida, being in great part an abridgment of his former work, Savage Africa, and was stuffed with tales of savage life which are avowedly, like the illustrations with which it abounds, drawn from the imagination merely. Hence, although it contains much solid information on anthropological matters and several good maps, it is hardly the kind of work that a geographer would be likely to consult. It is now extremely scarce, but the late Elisée Reclus  seems to have studied it with advantage, as did the late Mary Kingsley, and Sir Harry Johnston.
At the end of this book, Reade bids a solemn, and as he thought an eternal, farewell to Africa; yet he was destined to visit it once more before he died. The year that the African Sketch Book appeared the Ashanti War broke out, and Reade, thinking with great reason that his knowledge of the Coast combined with his literary experience gave him special claims to the post, offered his services to the Times as their Correspondent at the front. The offer was accepted, and on the 12th September 1873, he embarked with Sir Garnet Wolseley (as he then was) on board the s.s. Ambriz of the West African Line. He went all through the war which followed and was the only civilian present at the taking of Coomassie. On the march he attached himself especially to the 42nd Foot (Black Watch), in whose ranks he fought at the battle of Amoaful; but lie was again attacked by dysentery and fever, and on his return home the following year it was evident that his constitution was entirely broken down, and that both his heart and lungs had suffered irreparable injury. He lived long enough to publish, under the title of The Story of the Ashanti Campaign, his experiences of the war. The book was in fact an amplification of his letters to the Times, and in its pages he, characteristically enough, spared neither the strategy of the General, nor the vacillating policy of the Government which resolved on the expedition. He also wrote, while the hand of death was, as we learn, actually upon him, The Outcast, a novel in which he sets forth the persecution which awaited in the England of his time the open profession of anti-Christian opinions. The book is in the awkward form of letters written by a dying father to his daughter, in which he describes with some pathos the struggles of an "intellectual" who, cast off by his family and driven from one employment to another on account of his religious views, sees his wife die of starvation, and is only himself saved from the same fate by the interposition of a thief with whom he chances to become acquainted. The novel had no greater success than its predecessors, but was the last of his writings. He gradually sank until two of his friends, seeing his state, removed him to the house of Dr Sandwith (of Kars) at Wimbledon. Here he revived for a few days, but at length died on the 24th April 1875, as we are told, in the arms of his uncle, Charles Reade. Three months before; he had completed his 36th year.
Thus died Winwood Reade, in the words of his uncle, heir to considerable estates which he did not live long enough to inherit, and gifted with genius which he had no time to mature. Those who study his writings without personal or family prepossessions will be inclined to revise the last part of this judgment; for it is plain that, apart from a talent for direct and forcible statement, Reade's writings do not exhibit any marked literary gift. An earnest and inquiring reader, always digging into the works of encyclopædic writers like Buckle, Spencer, Tylor and Lubbock, he seems seldom to have consulted their sources, or to have attempted to strike out a line for himself in original research. Yet he had the gift of forming a clear mental picture of the results of his reading, and with practice would have found so little difficulty in transferring it to paper that he might easily have surpassed his guides even in their own field. Unfortunately, he seems to have been imbued from the first with the idea that fiction was the only guise in which his ideas could reach the ears of that great public for whose applause he lusted, and the courage and tenacity which was his most distinguishing characteristic led him to persevere in this, changing his style, as we have seen, from time to time, rather than adopt a medium better fitted to him. That his novels never attained any popularity in his lifetime, and have fallen into oblivion since his death is, I think, to be explained on this hypothesis. They show no gift of characterization, and in the whole series there appears no personage whose personality seems real to the eyes of the most indulgent reader. Nor is there any reason to suppose that his characters were any more real or lifelike to their creator. Ho seems to have regarded them throughout as a. set of puppets into whose mouths be could thrust the opinions that he wished to lay before the public; and as Reade mixed very little with the world, it follows that both the incidents and the dialogue in his books are conventional to the last degree. Moreover, he appears to have been always a singularly self-centred and self-reliant man—as may be seen from his readiness when hardly out of his teens to plunge into the bush with no other companions than natives—and, like his uncle, to have been born with a taste for dogmatically instructing his readers. Hence it comes about that his novels are autobiographical to an extent seldom to be found in modern fiction, and that it would be almost possible to construct from them, even without the help of the self-revelations in the journal from which quotations have been made above, an accurate picture of Reade as he appeared to himself.
It is therefore not astonishing that we find him avowing, in the person of Raymond Jenoure in See-Saw his intention of painting a series of pictures depicting the passions and their influence, of travelling in foreign countries so as to observe the manners and customs of other and especially of savage peoples, and then "should I ever live to carry out these two gigantic designs, having, by that time read all the great books, studied all the great languages, travelled everywhere and seen everything, I shall begin to write the History of the World."
In his novels and his travels he had thus accomplished in some sort the two first heads of his design, and the following pages show how he successfully carried out the third.
We have seen that Reade's longing to achieve something which should cause him to be remembered after his death was an abiding passion, and how all the efforts that he consciously made towards this end failed, in his own judgment, to achieve it. Yet a book that he wrote in great measure to ease his conscience was destined, in spite of the most violent opposition, to make its way where his other endeavours failed, and is still read with pleasure by a large and apparently increasing public among the generation which sprang up after his death. Such a phenomenon is almost without parallel in the history of literature, and cannot, I think, be attributed merely to the subject-matter of the book. Perhaps Reade's style had benefited, as sometimes happens, by the long period of literary idleness that it underwent at Falaba, when, as he tells us, he found it impossible to write anything intended for the public; or perhaps it was purified by the abandonment of the conscious striving after effect noticeable in his earlier works;—the fact remains that the Martyrdom of Man shows just that touch of genius which is lacking in its author's romances and travel-books, and merits in full measure the eulogies which such different critics as Sir Henry Rawlinson, Charles Reade, and Sir Harry Johnston have bestowed upon its literary style.
His own account of its origin is that he first intended to write a history of Africa, showing its connection with that of the more familiar quarters of the world, that he found that this entailed a history of all religions from that of primitive folk down to Islam, the last-comer among world-religions; and that to these he added a sketch of the slave-trade made for another purpose, and the summary of a projected work on the origin of the human mind which the publication of Charles Darwin's Descent of Man had rendered abortive. No doubt this describes with sufficient exactness the actual stages of the book's evolution, but we have seen that seven years before the Martyrdom of Man, he had been possessed by the idea of writing a history of the world, and it is probably with this idea that he collected and digested the great mass of material necessary for the present book. Hence it is under this aspect that Martyrdom of Man must first of all be judged, and it may be said at once that it came to fill a most undesirable gap in the knowledge of most of us. In the system of education prevailing when he wrote—and things do not seem to have materially altered since—the schoolmaster's first axiom was that it was better to know one or two things accurately than to have a superficial knowledge of a great many, and specialization reigned supreme in history as in all branches of learning. Hence it came about that while one scholar devoted his attention to, for instance, the Peloponnesian War, another made himself an authority on the struggle between Rome and Carthage, and both would have regarded as beside the mark any attempt to show how either conflict affected the course of modem history or the march of. civilization. As for the history of the East as known to the ancients beyond the classic regions of Greece and Rome, this was abandoned in all academic circles to explorers like Layard and curators of museums like Birch, while the prepossessions with which it was approached are shown by the fact that the only collective name given to it was that of Biblical Archæology. Only in so far as it was necessary for the better understanding of the Bible was the history of Egypt, of Babylonia, and of the countries that lie between, thought fit for the information of the general reader or, in other words, of the man. who did not wish to make professional use of his knowledge.
From this state of things, Winwood Reade was the first to deliver us. For the first time, he gave us, dashed in with a few bold strokes, the history of Greek and Roman culture seen, not as the very fount and origin of all civilization, but in its proper place as a mere episode in the course of universal history; and to this he joined, in such a way as to be understanded of the people, the history of the nations that had preceded Greece and Rome on the one hand, and, on the other, that of the peoples subjugated by the Mahometan conquest, the ramifications of which in Africa he had investigated at first hand. Nor was this done in the dry-as-dust manner dear to instructors of youth, nor in the controversial style almost forced upon those experts who try to act as guides through undiscovered territories, where every foot of the way has to be disputed with rivals. He tells us in his Preface that he had at one time intended to give his authorities in full "with notes and elucidations"; but we may heartily congratulate ourselves that he did nothing of the kind. Had he carried out his original intention, his book would at once have been attacked by specialists who took a different view of his authorities from himself, or might perhaps have been angry at their own researches being omitted from the catalogue; and the din which would have followed would probably have prevented the general public from reading it at all. Instead of this, we have an easy, flowing narrative which the least well-informed can follow, written in the incisive and epigrammatic phrases which give at least as much pleasure to the reader as he tells us they did to the writer; while for authorities he refers us to books like Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, Bunsen's Egypt's Place in Universal History, Rawlinson's Herodotus, Layard's Assyria, Grote's History of Greece, Gibbon's Roman Empire, and Macaulay's History of England, which were within the reach of all, and had long been accepted by the public as trustworthy guides. He anticipated, indeed, the modern German method which puts into the hand of the student of any subject the Encyclopædie in which the fundamental and best ascertained facts involved in it are broadly stated, before introducing him to the Handbuch, the Lehrbuch, and the rest, in which both facts and authorities are more or less exhaustively discussed. The method has certain disadvantages and is not of universal application; but in Reade's case, where the vast majority of his readers might be supposed to have at least some acquaintance with the facts summarized in the book, there can be no doubt of its exceeding merits. To use an indispensable if hackneyed metaphor, on reading a book written on this principle, we begin to see the wood and to forget the trees.
The human race, however, to use Reade's own quotation, is not placed between the good and the bad, but between the bad and the worse, and it cannot be denied that there are gaps in Reade's narrative. Some of these are, of course, to be attributed to the advance that has taken place in our knowledge since his time. If such a book were to be written at the present day, it would probably begin not with Egypt, but with Babylonia, as the cradle of civilization; nor would it omit, as he does, all mention of the great empire of the Hittites, who once ruled over nearly the whole of Asia Minor and fought on equal terms against both Egypt and the Mesopotamian powers, and of the high culture of the Eastern Mediterranean which Dr Arthur Evans has just recovered for us. In his religious history, we must expect to find even more serious omissions, for the comparative study of religions is a science that has sprung up since the Martyrdom of Man was written, and is even now in its infancy. None of its professors would now, I think, derive all worship, as does Reade (following therein Herbert Spencer), from the fear of ghosts, nor would any account of the early days of Christianity be considered complete without some notice of the rival Eastern religions, such as the worship of the Alexandrian Isis, and the Persian Mithras, which competed with it for the favour of the Western world, and of the different heretical sects called in sub-Apostolic times Gnostics, whose survivors under their then name of Manichæans were in the Middle Ages to wrest for a time nearly all Southern Europe from the Catholic Church. Yet these gaps are relatively small when we consider the amount of canvas covered, and on the historical side a perusal of M. Maspero's Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Orient classique with its excellent continuation by Mr Leonard King and Mr H.R. Hall would almost suffice to bring the beginner abreast of the best-founded views of scholars on the subject. On the religious side, matters are still in that state of flux when theories are easier to come by than facts; but the works of writers like Professor Tylor, Dr J. G. Frazer, and Dr Jevons cannot of course be neglected, and most foreign universities have long since established chairs of comparative religion. Moreover, it should be noted that these omissions in no way interfere with the broad outlines of the striking pictures that Reade shows us: and that, although the Egypt that he paints is not Egypt at her greatest and proudest, but the Egypt of the Phil-Hellenes, when art had become conventional and culture had been barely saved from the withering rule of the priests of Amen, yet it was at this very period that she first began to influence Europe. That he should have been able thus to discern the features that were destined to survive the country's independence is one of the most extraordinary things about this extraordinary book, and shows how he must have improved his critical powers since the Veil of Isis.
Had Reade been content to confine himself to his first intention, and to make his book merely a History of the World, it is probable then that it would still have been popular, and might by this time have come to be accepted as a classic. But he was both by nature and training an opportunist, and, as we have seen, often entered upon an undertaking with one plan, and continued it with another. Thus in his youth be had gone out, to the Gaboon to prove the truth or falsehood of Du Chaillu's assertions, and had then turned his expedition into a rambling exploration of all the rivers on the Coast. Six years later, the same readiness change his plans led him to convert his quasi-diplomatic mission to Falaba into a search for the source of the Niger, and, when foiled in this, into a visit to the gold mines of Bouré. Moreover, the desire to impose his own opinions in all matters on his readers was at least as strongly marked in him as in his uncle, and is in fact the distinguishing feature in his romances. He had thought long and deeply on religious subjects, and after some hesitation, sufficiently reflected in his works, had come to the conclusion that the current Christianity of his time was false. But with Reade, as with his uncle, from a conclusion of this kind to the attempt to convert everyone who would listen to him to the acknowledgment of its truth was but a step; and just as Charles Reade in his novels denounced in turn the conduct of our prisons, of our lunatic asylums, and of our trades-unions, so his nephew was moved to append to his universal history a denunciation of contemporary Christianity. He summed it up in this thesis:— "Supernatural Christianity is false. God-worship is idolatry. Prayer is useless. The soul is not immortal. There are no rewards and there are no punishments in a future state."
The attack was the more unexpected that Reads had in his former writings been careful to avoid any remarks offensive to the reigning religion. In Liberty Hall as in The Veil of Isis, he had spoken of the Church of England with affection as well as with respect, and if he had in See-Saw, condemned the narrowness of certain Protestant sects, it was apparently only in order to bring into relief the greater charity of the Elder Sister. In his papers before the Anthropological Institute, again, while commending Islam as a better religion than Christianity for the savage races of Africa, he had yet disclaimed all attempts to judge between their intrinsic merits, and had borne willing witness to the self-sacrifice and the moral lives of the missionaries of all denominations then at work upon the Coast. Moreover, in the Martyrdom of Man itself, he had displayed political opinions directly opposed to the violent and revolutionary doctrines of those extremists who, under the names of Communists, Anarchists, and the like, had for a few months held France in terror, and were in this country almost the only professed opponents of Christianity. In it, he had defended the Monarchy, praised the hereditary system of the House of Peers, and declared that the whole government of our country was "as nearly perfect as any government can be." Yet the writer who could thus show himself a friend to the established order of things, who could condemn Communism as absurd, and declare that England was better governed than America, in the same book declared that, Christianity must be destroyed, and that in his future assaults upon it he should use "the clearest language that he was able to command." All those who were interested in the propagation of the Christian faith in any of its forms must indeed have felt that it was wounded in the house of a friend.
The consequence was that no one could be found to say a good word for the book. Newspapers like the Times, the Spectator, and the Academy refused to notice it in their columns. The Saturday Review, in a long and, in some respects, not unfair article, said, "it is wild, mischievous, and we should hardly be wrong if we added blasphemous," while it deplored the fact that a book which began so well should end so ill. The Athenæum, which had treated Reade's first literary attempts with great severity, but appeared to have been placated by a kind of apology in the preface to the Veil of Isis, described it as "a thoroughly worthless book, needlessly profane and indecent into the bargain," while it assured its readers that so far from being able to do any mischief, there was "a vulgarity about it which would at once frighten any schoolboy off who might otherwise be in danger of falling a convert to 'the Religion of Reason and Love.'" Yet all these diatribes were entirely ineffective. From the first, the book sold well, and edition after edition was struck off without the call for it in any way diminishing. In the thirty-seven years that have elapsed since its first publication upwards of fifteen thousand copies of it have been sold and this demand has been perfectly spontaneous, no favourable review of it having appeared, so far as can be ascertained, until 1906, while the book has remained in all respects unaltered, and no attempt has been made to increase its sale by advertisement. The young authors who pester editors and others for favourable notices on what the late Walter Besant called the "A-word-from-you" principle may take heart from this instance, and may be assured that if their productions have any intrinsic attraction they will make their way in the teeth of criticism.
The fact seems to be that if, in historical matters, Reade relied only on long-proved guides, in religion he was a good deal in advance of his age. Charles Reade was of opinion that in another fifteen years he would have recanted opinions which, in his uncle's judgment, laid him open to "reasonable censure." This is not impossible, because, as we have seen, his religious ideas had more than once undergone change, and this had not always been in the direction of laxity. It is plain, too, that those which he set forth in the Martyrdom, of Man were so unfamiliar to his critics that they gravely misunderstood them. He has often been called an atheist: but unless "atheist" be taken merely as a term of abuse for those who denounce the reigning religion—in which sense, by the way, it was applied to the first Christians—no one was less an atheist than Reade. So far from denying the existence of God, he goes out of his way in all his writings to assert it. When be affirms that a time will come when "man will be perfect; he will then be a creator; he will therefore be what the vulgar worship as a god," he is careful to assert that "even then he will in reality be no nearer than he is at present to the First Cause, the Inscrutable Mystery, the God," and a belief in this Supreme Being seems to have been the strongest of his convictions. He puts it, indeed, in the form of a confession of faith in the Outcast, written by him, as we have seen, on. his deathbed, where he makes his hero say, "I believe in God, the Incomprehensible, whose nature man can never ascertain." He did not, indeed, believe in a Personal Creator, because, as he points out more than once, those who thus believe are at once brought face to face with the dilemma of Epicurus that the Creator cannot at once be omnipotent and benevolent. From this dilemma, none of the great monotheistic religions—Judæism, Christianity and Islam—seems to have provided any escape; and, according to Reade, the only way of avoiding it, is to believe that "the Supreme Power is not a Mind, but something higher than a Mind; not a Force, but something higher than a Force; not a Being, but something higher than a Being; something for which we have no words, something for which we have no ideas." Now, twelve years after the, publication of the Martydom of Man, we find Herbert Spencer writing in a controversial article appearing in a popular magazine,—and therefore we may suppose divested, so far as in him lay, of all the reservations and divagations that he found necessary in his more purely philosophical writings:—"Though the attributes of personality, as we know it, cannot be conceived by us as attributes of the Unknown Cause of things, yet duty requires us neither to affirm nor to deny personality, but to submit ourselves in all humility to the established limits of our intelligence, in the conviction that the choice is not between personality and something lower than personality, but between personality and something higher; and that the Ultimate Power is no more representable in terms of human consciousness than human consciousness is representable in terms of a plant's functions." 
Reade in the passages quoted above may have been directly inspired by Herbert Spencer, whom he mentions in his preface as one of his "chief guides," and whose works he recommends his readers to study carefully and in their entirety; but in any event the conception of the Deity professed by both appears to have been exactly the same. Why then should Reade's statement of it be stigmatized as blasphemous, needlessly profane, and mischievous, while its restatement at the end of a decade was hailed by the champions of orthodoxy as a, convincing presentation of their own position— I can find no answer to this question save the lapse of time.
I pass over Reade's passionate assertion that "those who desire to worship their Creator must worship him through mankind," because this seems to me to be too plainly in accord with the teaching of St. Simon, Comte, and Mr Frederic Harrison for the essential identity of the two doctrines to be disputed, and we come to what I believe to have been the head and front of Reade's offence against orthodoxy, in his treatment of Scripture. It is very difficult, perhaps, for any of the present generation to realize the extraordinary reverence with which even the letter of the Bible was treated in the early seventies, or the indignation with which any attempt to cast doubt upon the exact truth of its narrative was repelled. One need not go back to the assertions of the Council of Trent and of the Westminster Confession alike that God was "the author of the Old and New Testaments" to see that this was a point—perhaps the only one—in which Catholics and Protestants of every denomination were heartily agreed. The horrors attending the rising and suppression of the Communist Revolution in Paris had confirmed the fear common to most moderate men brought up in this faith that its maintenance was, in some not very clearly defined way, inextricably bound up with the very foundations of society; and the professors of revealed religion took abundant care that the lesson was not lost for want of reiteration. Hence Reade could hardly have chosen a worse time than he did for his assault upon this cherished belief, against which he ran, after his fashion, full tilt. But had he lived till now, he would have found not only that he was engaged in forcing an open door—an exercise for which he had always the strongest disinclination,—but that a great proportion of those within it had themselves set it wide. The Principal of the chief educational institution for the dissemination of what is known as "Unitarian" Christianity said in 1895, in the course of a kind of allocution on the subject:—"At the present day an increasing number of men are becoming convinced that this doctrine [i.e. "the infallible truth and Divine authority" of the Bible] is contrary to fact and cannot be maintained; and among these men are not only opponents of Christianity in all its forms, but also believers who feel that Christianity is the breath of their life, and that in the rejection of this ancient doctrine they are only getting nearer to the heart of religion. Among important groups of theologians the question is, not how they shall defend this dogma as the last stronghold of the Gospel against the swarming hordes of atheism and immorality, but how they shall rid Christianity of what has become an obscuration and an encumbrance, and still retain all the spiritual value of the ancient creed," and that this statement was abundantly justified by the facts, later developments have shown. In the Martyrdom of Man, Reade talked of Moses as a visionary, and said that he consciously deceived the children of Israel, the deceit being according to him not incapable of justification. But if he had lived to see the Encyclopædia Biblica, he would have read there the statements of one who was at once a Canon of the Church of England and Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at Oxford, that Moses probably never existed at all, and that:—"the tradition of the migration led by 'Moses' is in fact necessarily without personal names, the names Moses, Amram, Jochebed, etc., being all ethnic, and not really borne by individuals. All that the earliest tradition knew was that a tribe closely connected with the Misrites and Jerahmeelites, and specially addicted to the worship of Yahwé, the god of Horeb, played a leading part in the migration of the Israelites into Canaan."
It may be said, of course, that this is a matter concerning only the Old Testament, as to which the Catholic Church has always allowed commentators great latitude of interpretation; but that Reade offended the sensibilities of all Christians by writing of the Founder of Christianity in a profane and disrespectful way. Yet it does not seem that this charge is better made out than the other. Reade, indeed, speaks of the "simplicity" of Jesus, thinks that he would have been a persecutor if he had had the power, and considers that He was lawfully condemned to death, according to Bible Law. Without enquiring into the truth of these assertions, it may be said that they are not marked by any contemptuous expressions, and that they do not pass beyond the license of a historian when dealing with an historical character considered as such. Hence, while they would certainly appear shocking to anyone who believes fully in the divinity of Jesus, they should not be offensive to anyone who considers Him merely a man like other men. But few who have not followed the subject are aware of the great change that has came over the language of Protestant theologians on this point within the last decade, Thus in the Encyclopædia, before quoted, we find the author of the article on "Jesus "saying with regard to the "acts of healing" that "whether miraculous or not, whether the works of a mere man or not," they were at any rate a manifestation of the love of Jesus for mankind. In speaking of the Passion, the same writer declares that "for modern criticism the story, even in its most historic version, is not pure truth, but truth mixed with doubtful legend." In another article on "the Gospels," it is stated that, while some former statements of the writer "may have sometimes seemed to raise a doubt whether any credible elements were to be found in the gospels at all," yet nine passages in them are so far authentic that they "might be called the foundation-pillars for a truly scientific life of Jesus," and that: "they prove not only that the person of Jesus we have to do with a completely human being, and that the divine is to be sought in him only in the form in which it is capable of being found in a man; they also prove that he really did exist, and that the gospels contain at least some absolutely trustworthy facts concerning him." 
If such language is now used by the professional apologists of Christianity themselves, they can hardly complain of the allusions to its Founder made nearly forty years ago by one who avowed himself its enemy.
There remain to be dealt with the predictions of the future of the human race with which Reade concluded his book, and which were greeted by the critics at the time as "wild stuff," "hysterical rhapsody" and the like. Reade had by nature a turn for positive science which, in other circumstances, might have enabled him to do good work in research. He was always alive to the advantage of the diligent accumulation of ascertained facts, and during his "Swanzy expedition" collected a large number of both palæolithic and Neolithic flint implements which are still of value to students. But his training in physics and chemistry must have been limited to the three years' course that he pursued at St Mary's Hospital, and after that date, he can hardly have had the time to make experiments for himself. Hence it will be with some astonishment that physicists find him predicting the advent of:-- "Three inventions which perhaps may be long delayed, but which possibly are near at hand . . . The first is the discovery of a motive force which will take the place of steam with its cumbrous fuel of oil or coal; secondly, the invention of aerial locomotion which will transport labour at a trifling cost of money and time to any part of the planet . . .; and thirdly, the manufacture of flesh and flour from the elements by a chemical process in the laboratory, similar to that which is now performed within the bodies of the animals and plants."
We need not follow him in his vision of the extra-ordinary benefits to mankind that will accrue from these inventions, and may even consider it unlikely that they would have the effects that he would attribute to them. But it is surprising to find that all the three inventions he foretells are considerably nearer realization than they were at the time he wrote. Electricity and petrol are rapidly ousting steam from our railways and horse-drawn carriages from our streets, and if any of the projects recently devised for the direct use of solar heat succeed, there can be little doubt that steam will in the long run be superseded for all mechanical purposes. Aerial navigation has during the last decade made such rapid progress that it may almost be said that the "Conquest of the Air," which forms so frequent a heading in our newspapers, has already been achieved in principle, although a much longer time will probably elapse before it can be consolidated and brought to fruition. As for the third invention, its complete realization doubtless seems at present as far off as ever; but it should be noted that the different systems that have lately been adopted for fixing the nitrogen of the air have for their object the making of two grains of wheat grow where only one grew before, and therefore of practically doubling the production of the principal foodstuff of mankind. That Reade should have pitched upon these three lines of advance in sciences in which he was not an expert, shows that his reading in them must have been well-chosen, if not profound; and offers one instance the more that in science, as in other matters, it is lookers-on that see most of the game.
To sum up, then, we see that Reade was "neither an atheist nor an irreligious libertine," and that in both religion and science, the Martyrdom of Man anticipated many of the recent tendencies of modern thought. As what it professes to be—an Introduction to Universal History—it is in the main a sure guide, while the ease and distinction of its style has given it, and in all probability will continue to give it, thousands of readers who would never look into a book on the subject written avowedly for their instruction. Sir Harry Johnston has declared that "it should be given by the State to every young man and woman in the United Kingdom, the United States and—shall we add—Liberia, on their attaining the age of twenty-one years." In the present state of affairs, this would seem a. counsel of perfection rather than one for adoption in practice, but there can be little doubt that the Martyrdom of Man will long remain. a striking example of a book which, by sheer honesty of purpose and brilliancy of execution, has succeeded in over-coming all opposition, and has still before it a career of enduring utility.
2. See obituary notice in Daily Telegraph, 27th April 1876. The notice is said to have been written by Charles Reade. As Reade himself says later (African Sketch Book, London, 1878, ii, p. 331) that in 1861 money was burning in his pocket, it is probable that it was raised for other purposes.
13. He explains in one place (op. cit., p. 376) that the Timni chiefs were at no time in favour of the expedition, no doubt having reasons of their own for not wishing direct trade with Falaba to be resumed.
15. African Sketch Book, vol. ii, p. 471. This was confirmed ten years later by MM. Zweifel and Moustier, the agents on the Coast of Verminck of Marseilles, who undertook to bear the expenses of a voyage of discovery undertaken by them in 1879. They found the fame of Reade still fresh the country, and that the Niger—there called the Tembi—issued from a hill on which was a great hollow tree, afterwards passing through a small lake (Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, Paris, 1881, pp. 97 sqq.). This exactly agrees with the account given by Reade in the African Sketch Book (ii. p. 506). A photograph of the hill and tree taken by Col. Cardew may be seen in the Geographical Journal (July-December 1897, p. 389). MM. Zweifel and Moustier took with them on their journey Reade's servant Joseph Reader and his Limba guide Linseni, mentioned above, together with Sawa's nephew, Fila.
18. It would appear from a collation of Reade's own statements (op. cit., pp. 353, 437) that the money to lie found by Mr Swanzy was only to be advanced on the advice of the Council. The second journey from Freetown to the gold-mines of Bouré seems to have cost £200.
19. The very brief report made by Reade to Sir Arthur Kennedy on his return (21st Dec. 1869) was afterwards communicated by the Colonial Office to the Society and inserted in their Journal (see Proceedings Roy. Geog. Soc., vol. xiv. p. 185). Save for this and the obituary notice at the Anniversary Meeting of 1875, I cannot find any mention of his name in the Society's transactions.
19. African Sketch Book, vol. ii. p. 505.
20. As witness the following words, written
when he believed himself to be dying at Falaba:
"Dear Margaret, be my friend as I am yours: if the horse returns with an empty saddle, if these letters come to you by themselves, remember me with kindness, forget our little quarrel, pardon me that one angry word, and place gentle thoughts, like flowers, on my distant and ignoble grave. If I do come back, be my good angel and adviser. Perhaps by this time you are married; but the feelings which I have for you need not excite distrust or jealousy: I only desire your sympathy and esteem."—African Sketch Book, vol. p. 450. The heroines of two of his novels are also named Margaret.
27. It is to be noted in this connection that his three heroines, Margaret in Liberty Hall, Maddalena in See-Saw, and (again) Margaret in The Outcast, are all of what may be called the Patient Griselda type, whose only function is to listen to the preachments of their lovers and to comfort them ha their struggles, while they themselves meekly endure the hardships into which the wilfulness of these lasts thrust them.
28. I well remember the horror with which one who had taken high honours in the Historical Tripes at Cambridge received my statement, made fresh from my first perusal of the Martyrdom of Man, that Alexander the Great had changed the whole course of human history. "With an air in which pity struggled with contempt, he informed me that as a general, Alexander was not to be thought of with Julius Cæsar, that his conquests in Asia were so ephemeral as to be only comparable with the invasion of Herodotus' Scyths. Yet Marlowe in his time took a clearer view of things, and styled Alexander "the chief spectacle of the world's pre-eminence."
29. At Nippur in Babylonia, tablets in the Sumerian language have been discovered which are said by competent judges to have been written not later than 7000 B.C. No writing has been discovered in Egypt that goes back beyond dynastic times, and the commencement of the First Egyptian Dynasty can hardly be put at an earlier date than 5000 B.C. It is quite possible, however, that writing may have existed in Western Asia a good deal earlier than 7000 B.C., and according to M. de Morgan's latest researches, when the plains of Sumer and Akkad were still under the ice-cap, a high civilization flourished in the mountains of Elam (see Revue d'Assyriologie, 1909, pp. 1 sqq.);
30. Paris 1895, in 3 vols. It has been translated into English, but the French version is to be preferred. An abridgment under the name of Histoire Ancienne l'Orient is kept up to date by the issue of new editions every two or three years.
32. For the Alexandrian or Græco-Egyptien worship, M. Lafaye's Histoire du Culte des Divinités d'Alexandrie (Paris 1884) will set the enquirer oat the right road, while for Mithraism the splendid Textes et Monuments Relatifs aux Mysteres Mithra of M. Cumont (Gand 1899) will tell him all that is certainly known on the subject. No good and modern book on Gnosticism exists, the Histoire du Gnosticisme (Paris 1843) of M. Matter being considerably out of date. M. Carl Schmidt's Histoire du Secte des Cathares is on the whole the best book on mediæval Manichæism; and M. George Foucart's Methode Comparative dans l'Histoire des Religions will be useful in focussing the ideas of a beginner.
33. He afterwards, after his manner, qualified some of these very dogmatic statements. In the Outcast, written three years after the publication of the Martyrdom of Man, he "I disbelieve in a future life; and this disbelief amounts to a positive conviction. But I may be mistaken. It is impossible to know. The doctrine or theory of a future life is not contrary to reason like that of a Personal Creator. We can show it to be most improbable; but on the other hand we must allow that it is a possible contingency "(pp. 257 sq.).
40. I have not myself verified the quotation,
but Mr Frederic Harrison in his article "Agnostic Metaphysics" (Nineteenth
Century, May 1884) says:—"Mr Spencer has developed his Unknowable into
an Infinite and Eternal Energy, by which an things are
created and sustained. He has discovered it to be the Ultimate Cause, the
All-Being, the Creative Power, and all the other
'alternative impossibilities of thought' which he once cast in the teeth
of the older theologies. Naturally there is joy over one philosopher who repenteth. The Christian World claims this as
equivalent to the assertion that God is the Mind and Spirit of the universe;
and The Christian World says these words might have been used by Butler
The position that such beliefs are a negation of Agnosticism itself is well taken by Mr Charles B. Upton in his Lectures on the Bases of Religious Belief (London 1894) Lecture III., which first put me on the track of this controversy.
48. It is a fact lately much commented on that most of the great generalizations in physics have been made, not by those occupied in research, but by men who had gained practical experience in other professions. Thus, Robert Mayer, the discoverer of the law of conservation of energy, was a doctor; Carnot, the founder of thermo-dynamics, an engineer; and Joule, who first gave the mechanical equivalent of heat, a brewer. See Svante Arrhenius, The Life of the Universe (London 1909), p. 223.
4949. Liberia (London 1906), vol.ii p. 257.