An Autobiographic Memoir

Harriet Martineau, Autobiography, with Memorials by MariaWeston Chapman, 4th ed. (Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Co., 1879),vol. 2, pp. 562-574. Originally published in Daily News (London), June 29, 1876. Written in 1855.

The introduction to the memoir published in the Daily News.


"We regret to announce the death of Harriet Martineau. Thefollowing memoir, though written in the third person, was fromher own pen. The frankness of its self-criticism makes it necessaryto guard the reader against confounding her own strict and sometimesdisparaging judgment of herself with the impressions made by herupon others."

Harriet Martineau was born in 1802, in the city of Norwich, wherethe first of the name settled in 1688. David Martineau, the earliestof whom any record remains, was a French Protestant, who cameover on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. He married a Frenchlady, whose family emigrated in the same ship, and pursued hisprofession as a surgeon in Norwich, where a succession of surgeonsof the name existed, till the death of the most eminent of them,Philip Meadows Martineau (the uncle of Harriet), in 1828. Hewas considered the most eminent provincial surgeon of his day. The eldest brother of Harriet--a man of qualifications so highas to promise to sustain the honour of his name and professionin the old city--died before the age of thirty, and only one memberof the family now remains in the city where many generations grewup. Harriet was the third daughter, and the sixth of eight childrenof Thomas Martineau, who was a manufacturer of the Norwich staples,--bombazineand camlet. [5] His acquaintance with Dr. Parr was kept up andsignalized by the gift of a black camlet study-gown every yearor so, a piece of the right length being woven expressly for thedoctor and dyed with due care.

There was nothing remarkable about the childhood and youth ofany of Thomas Martineau's children, unless in the case of Thomas,the eldest son, already referred to. His scholarship was of ahigh quality, and his mind was altogether of the rare ripenessand richness which comes of the equable cultivation of the intellectualand moral nature. The remarkable feature of the family story,in those days, was the steady self-denial, and clear, inflexiblepurpose with which the parents gave their children the best educationwhich they could, by all honourable means, command. In thosetimes of war and middle-class adversity, the parents understoodtheir position, and took care that their children should understandit, telling them that there was no chance of wealth for them,and about an equal probability of a competence or of poverty;and that they must, therefore, regard their education as theironly secure portion. Harriet came in for her share of this advantage,being well furnished with Latin and French (to which in due timeshe added Italian and German), and exercised in composition aswell as reading in her own language and others. The whole family,trained by parental example, were steady and conscientious workers;but there were no tokens of unusual ability in Harriet duringany part of her childhood or youth. Her health was bad, her toneof spirits low, her habit of mind anxious, and her habits of lifesilent, and as independent as they could be under the old-fashionedfamily rule of strictness and the strong hand. At her entranceupon womanhood a deafness, unperceived during her childhood andslight in youth, was aggravated by a kind of accident, and becameso severe as to compel (for other people's accommodation as wellas her own) the use of a trumpet for the rest of her life. Thismisfortune, no doubt, strengthened her habits of study, and hadmuch to do with the marking out of her career. What other effectsit produced upon her she has shown in her "Letter to theDeaf."

Her first appearance in print was before she was out of her teens,in a religious periodical; the same in which the late Judge Talfourdhad made his early attempts not very long before. [6] Not onlyher contributions to the "Monthly Repository," but herfirst books were of a religious character, her cast of mind beingmore decidedly of the religious order than any other during thewhole of her life, whatever might be the basis and scope of herultimate opinions. Her latest opinions were, in her own view,the most religious,--the most congenial with the emotional aswell as the rational department of human nature. In her youthshe naturally wrote what she had been brought up to believe, andher first work, "Devotional Exercises," was thoroughlyUnitarian. Of this class, and indeed of all her early writings,the only one worth mention is the little volume "Traditionsof Palestine," which first fixed attention upon her, andmade her name known in the reviews. There are some even now whoprefer that little volume to all her other writings. Before itwas out its writer had formed the conception of the very differentkind of work which at once and completely opened her career, her"Illustrations of Political Economy." Her stimulusin all she wrote, from first to last, was simply the need of utterance. This need she had gratified early; and those who knew her bestwere always aware that she was not ambitious, though she enjoyedsuccess, and had pride enough to have suffered keenly under failure. When, in 1829, she and her sisters lost their small fortunesby the failure of the house in which their money was placed, Harrietcontinued to write as she had written before, though under thenew liability of having no money to spend upon ventures. Withoutcapital, without any literary connections (except the editor ofthe "Monthly Repository"), without any visible meansof accomplishing her object, she resolved to bring out a seriesof "Illustrations of Political Economy," confident thatthe work was at that time (1831) very much needed by the working-classes,to say nothing of other persons who had influence in the community,agitated as it then was by the Reform struggle. That Reform struggleand the approach of the cholera on its first visit made the booksellersdisinclined to publish any thing. Messrs. Baldwin and Cradockhad all but consented to the scheme, and had in fact engaged astitcher for the monthly volumes, when they took fright and drewback. Harriet Martineau's forthcoming Autobiography will of coursetell the story of the struggle she passed through to get her workpublished in any manner and on any terms. Almost every considerablepublisher had refused it; the Diffusion Society had declined it,on the report of their sub-committee against it. [7] It appeared,however, at the beginning of 1832, when its writer was worn outwith anxiety and fatigue, and had met with uniform discouragement,except in her own home, where her own confidence that the bookwould succeed, because it was wanted, commanded the sympathy ofher family. In a fortnight after the day of publication her waywas open before her for life. The work reached a circulationof about ten thousand in the next few years. The difficultiesunder which it appeared prevented her being enriched by it; andher own unalterable view of what it could and what it could noteffect prevented her expecting too much from it, either in regardto its social operation or its influence on her own fame. Theoriginal idea of exhibiting the great natural laws of societyby a series of pictures of selected social action was a fortunateone; and her tales initiated a multitude of minds into the conceptionof what political economy is, and of how it concerns every bodyliving in society. Beyond this, there is no merit of a high orderin the work. It did not pretend to offer discoveries, or newapplications or elucidations of prior discoveries. It popularized,in a fresh form, some doctrines and many truths long before madepublic by others. Those were the days of her success in narrative,in fiction. In about ten years from that time she had nearlyceased to write fiction, from simple inability to do it well. On the whole, perhaps, her novel of "Deerbrook" hasbeen the most popular of her works of fiction, though some preferher history (in the form of a romance) of Toussaint L'Ouverture("The Hour and the Man"), and others again her story-bookfor children, written in illness,--"The Playfellow." But none of her novels or tales have, or ever had, in the eyesof good judges or in her own, any character of permanence. Theartistic aim and qualifications were absent; she had no powerof dramatic construction; nor the poetic inspiration on the onehand, nor critical cultivation on the other, without which nowork of the imagination can be worthy to live. Two or three ofher Political Economy Tales, are, perhaps, her best achievementin fiction,--her doctrine furnishing the plot which she was unableto create, and the brevity of space duly restricting the indulgencein detail which injured her longer narratives, and at last warnedher to leave off writing them. It was fortunate for her thather own condemnation anticipated that of the public. To the endof her life she was subject to solicitations to write more novelsand more tales; but she for the most part remained steady in herrefusal. Her three volumes of "Forest and Game Law Tales"and a few stories in "Household Words," written at theexpress and earnest request of Mr. Dickens, [8] and with littlesatisfaction to herself, are her latest efforts in that direction.*

Her popularity was, however, something extraordinary during theappearance of her "Illustrations of Political Economy." It was presently necessary for her to remove to London, to bewithin reach of the sources of information rendered indispensableby the success of her scheme and the extension of her influence. She lived in a lodging in Conduit Street for some months, tillher mother joined her in London. Their house was in Fludyer Street,Westminster; and there they lived till a serious and long illnesscompelled Harriet Martineau to leave London, to which she neverreturned as a resident. On her first taking up her abode theremany foolish stories were afloat about the origin of her series,and the aid she received in it from Lord Brougham and others. The facts were that the enterprise was wholly her own, and theexecution of it also; and that Lord Brougham in particular knewnothing whatever about her or her work till his secretary senthim the first five numbers half a year after the publication began. His lordship's first thought was to engage her assistance inillustrating the evils of the old poor-law and the intended provisionsof the new; and her four little volumes on the poor-laws appearedduring the publication of her larger work. The two years whichfollowed her first great success were the busiest of a busy life. All advocates of all schemes applied to her for cooperation. She was plunged at once into such a social whirl that she dinedout every day but Sundays. New material for her work was alwaysaccumulating on her hands; and besides the production of one number,and occasionally two, of her little volumes per month, she hadan unmanageable amount of correspondence always pressing uponher. It was at that time that she formed the habit which shecontinued for the rest of her life,--of sitting up late, whilegoing on to rise early. She took, on an average, five hours orfive and a half of sleep, going to bed at one in the morning,and being at her breakfast at half past seven, to save the preciousmorning hours for her most serious business. Such was her practice,with few intervals, to the date of her last illness.

Before the publication of her work was completed she had sailedfor America. At first her object was simply to travel for thesake of recreation and repose; but, at the suggestion of the lateLord Henley, she turned her face in the direction of the UnitedStates, in order to examine some points of social policy and morals,honourable to the Americans and worthy of our emulation, but generallyoverlooked by European travellers who go to amuse themselves andreturn to quiz. She hoped to learn some secrets of success inthe treatment of criminals, the insane, and other unhappy classes,and in the diffusion of education. She succeeded in her aimsin some measure; but the interest of the antislavery questionjust at that time absorbed every other. She arrived just at theculmination of that reign of terror which she described afterher return in the "Westminster Review," in the narrativeentitled "The Martyr Age of the United States," whichwas reprinted as a pamphlet, and by which the nature and significanceof the antislavery movement in America (where it involved theentire political and personal liberty of every citizen) were firstmade known in this country. Harriet Martineau, received withunbounded hospitality and unmeasured flatteries, though knownto have written an antislavery story in her series, was not convertedto the American view; as had been hoped and expected. Under circumstancesin which she had no choice but to speak out she condemned slaveryand its political consequences as before; and, for some monthspreceding her return, she was subjected to insult and injury,and was even for some weeks in danger of her life while travellingwhere the tar-barrel, the cowhide, and the pistol were the regimenprescribed for and applied to abolitionists, and threatened especiallyin her case. In her books upon America she said little or nothingof her personal share in the critical troubles of the time, becauseher purpose was, not to interest the public in her adventures,but to exhibit, without passion or prejudice, the actual conditionof society in the United States. Its treatment of herself israther a topic for her Autobiography, and there, no doubt, itwill be found.

After an absence of two years she returned to England in August,1836, and early in the next spring she published "Societyin America." Her own opinion of that work changed much forthe worse before her death. It was written while she was in thefull flow of sympathy with the theoretical American statesmenof that time, who were all a priori political philosophersto a greater or less degree like the framers of the Declarationof Independence. Her intercourse with these may be traced inthe structure and method of observation of her book, and her companionshipwith the adorers of Thomas Carlyle in her style. Some constitutionallawyers of the United States have declared that there is no errorin her account of the political structure and relations of theFederal and State governments of that country; and the book containsthe only account we have of the condition of slavery, and of thecountry under it, at the time of the rise of the abolition movement. But, on the whole, the book is not a favourable specimen of HarrietMartineau's writings, either in regard to moral or artistic taste. It is full of affectations and preachments, and it marks thehighest point of the metaphysical period of her mind. [9] Littleas she valued the second work on America--"Retrospect ofWestern Travel"--which she wrote at the request of her publishers,to bring into use her lighter observations on scenery and manners,it was more creditable to her mood, and perhaps to her powers,than the more ambitious work. The American abolitionists, thenin the early days of their action, reprinted as a pamphlet theparts of these two works which relate to the slave institutionsof their country, and sowed it broadcast over the land. The virulencewith which the Southern press denounces her to this day, in companywith Mrs. [Maria Weston] Chapman and Mrs. [Harriet Beecher] Stowe,seems to show that her representations were not lost on the Americanpublic. If they are operating at the end of so many years, theremust be truth in them. Though the customary dispensers of hospitalityin the United States passed from the extreme of courtesy to thatof rudeness to the traveller, she formed valuable friendshipsin that country which lasted as long as her life. Her connectionwith the interests of America remained a close one, and its politicalcourse was a subject of action to a late period, and of studyto the last.

In the interval between her return from America and her leavingLondon--somewhat less than three years--she wrote "How toObserve Morals and Manners," a volume of a series publishedby Mr. Knight, of which Sir Henry Delabeche's "How to ObserveGeology" was the opening volume; a few of the volumes ofthe "Guide to Service," issued also by Mr. Knight; andher novel "Deerbrook." The "Guides to Service"were originated by the Poor-law Commissioners, with the objectchiefly of training the ideas of children, especially in the workhouseschools, for the occupation of their lives. Harriet Martineauagreed to write the model number, provided she might take the"Maid-of-all-Work" for her subject; which she did, withthe amusing result that at various turns of her life afterwardsshe was met by the popular belief that she had herself been amaid-of-all-work; a mistake which she regarded with some complacencywhenever she encountered it. The other volumes of the Serieswritten by her are the "Dressmaker" (in which she hadsome technical assistance from a professional person), the "Housemaid,"and the "Lady's Maid."

On the publication of "Deerbrook," in April, 1839, shewent abroad with a party of friends, partly to escort an invalidcousin, and partly for rest and refreshment to herself. She wasnot aware of the extent of her own illness; and she was broughthome on a couch from Venice in June, in a state of health so hopelessthat she left London and settled herself at Tynemouth, on theNorthumberland coast, within reach of family care and tendance. There she remained, a prisoner to the couch, till the close of1844. During her illness she wrote her second novel ("TheHour and the Man"), the four volumes of children's talescalled "The Playfellow," and "Life in the Sick-Room,"originating also, in concert with the present Countess of Elginand Mr. Knight, the series since so well known as "The WeeklyVolume." Of her recovery the public heard at the time muchmore than she desired and approved. At the instigation of severalof her friends, and especially of her medical attendant, she madetrial of mesmerism, for the purpose of obtaining some releasefrom the use of opiates. To her own surprise and that of others,the treatment procured her a release from the disease itself,from which several eminent medical men had declared recovery tobe impossible. In five months she was perfectly well. Meantime,doctors and strangers in various parts of the kingdom had rushedinto print, without her countenance or her knowledge; and theamount of misrepresentation and mischief soon became so greatas to compel her to tell the story as it really happened. [10] The commotion was just what might have been anticipated fromthe usual reception of new truths in science and the medical art. That she recovered when she ought to have died was an unpardonableoffence. According to the doctors who saw her enter society againfrom the beginning of 1845, she was in a state of infatuation,and, being as ill as ever in reality, would sink down in six months. When, instead of so sinking down, she rode on a camel to MountSinai and Petra, and on horseback to Damascus, they said she hadnever been ill. To the charge that it had been "all imagination,"her reply was that, in that case, it was the doctor's imaginationand not hers that was involved; for they had told her, and notshe them, what and how serious her illness was. To the friendswho blamed her for publishing her experience before the worldwas ripe for it, her reply was, first, that she had no option;and next, that it is hard to see how the world is to get ripenedif experimenters in new departments of natural philosophy concealtheir experience. The immediate consequence of the whole business--theextension of the practice of mesmerism as a curative agent, andespecially the restoration of several cases like her own--abundantlycompensated Harriet Martineau for an amount of insult and ridiculewhich would have been a somewhat unreasonable penalty on any sinor folly which she could have committed. As a penalty on simplygetting well when she was expected to die, the infliction wasa curious sign of the times.

Being free to choose her place of abode, on her recovery, herfriends universally supposed she would return to London and itsliterary advantages and enjoyment. But literature, though a preciousluxury, was not, and never had been, the daily bread of her life. She felt that she could not be happy, or in the best way useful,if the declining years of her life were spent in lodgings in themorning and drawing-rooms in the evening. A quiet home of herown, and some few dependent on her for their domestic welfare,she believed to be essential to every true woman's peace of mind;and she chose her plan of life accordingly. Meaning to live inthe country, she chose the most beautiful, and settled at theLakes. She bought a field near Ambleside, opposite Fox How, andabout a mile from Rydal Mount. [11] She built a house, and triedher hand successfully on the smallest of farms,--a farm of twoacres. She set on foot some remedial schemes applicable to localmischiefs; and by degrees found herself pledged to a practiceof delivering a series of lectures every winter to the mechanicsof the little town and their families. She and they were so wellacquainted, that there was nothing odd in this in their view,and no strangers were admitted, nor even the gentry of the place,for want of room. Her subjects were Sanitary Principles and Practice,the History of England, the History of North America, and theScenes of her Eastern Travel. In her Ambleside home she livedfor ten years of health and happiness, which, as she was wontto say, was worth all the rest of her life.

At various times since 1832 she had been sounded about acceptinga pension on the Civil List; and she had repeatedly replied byobjecting to receive one. Her objections remained in full forcewhen Lord Melbourne made an express offer to her of a pensionof £150, to be increased as circumstances permitted, as hislast act before going out of power in 1841. Lord Melbourne wasaware that she had invested her spare earnings in a deferred annuity,and that while hopelessly ill she was very poor. Her objections,however, bore no relation to this class of considerations. Herletter to Lord Melbourne found its way into the newspapers withouther knowledge, and it speaks for itself. Not the less for thiswas she misunderstood. Nothing was further from her thoughtsthan passing condemnation on the literary pensioners of the time. They must judge for themselves, and their position was different. It was a matter of feeling with her quite as much as of principle;and she would have thankfully received any acknowledgment of pastlabours which might have been decreed, otherwise than througha method of favouritism. She felt that, once under pecuniaryobligation to the sovereign and the minister, she could neveragain feel perfectly free on political questions, though LordMelbourne generously deprecated any such conclusion. As it happened,she did very well without the money, and she wrote the "Historyof the Thirty Years' Peace," which she could hardly havedone while in receipt of a pension.

This, the bulkiest of her works and the most laborious was undertakenat the request of Mr. Charles Knight, who had himself writtenthe first few chapters, then deputed the work to another, andpresently found it at a stand. Harriet Martineau had no ideawhatever whether she could write history; but, on Mr. Knight'spressing his request, she went to work in August, 1848, and completedthe work (after an interval of a few weeks) in the autumn of 1849. The introductory volume was written in 1850, also at Mr. Knight'ssolicitation. Without taking the chronicle form this historycould not, from the nature of the case, be cast in the ultimateform of perfected history. All that can be done with contemporaryhistory is to collect and methodize the greatest amount of reliablefacts and distinct impressions, to amass sound material for theveritable historian of a future day,--so consolidating, assimilating,and vivifying the structure as to do for the future writer preciselythat which the lapse of time and the oblivion which creeps overall transactions must prevent his doing for himself. This auxiliaryusefulness is the aim of Harriet Martineau's history; and shewas probably not mistaken in hoping for that much result fromher labour. It rendered her a personal service which she hadnot anticipated. There was an impression abroad of her beinga sort of demagogue or dangerous Radical, though it is hard tosay which of her writings could have originated such an impression. The history dispelled it thoroughly and if it proved that shebelonged to no party, it showed that it was not because she transcendedthe extremes of all.

The work which she published on her return from her Eastern travels,which she enjoyed as the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Richard V. Yates,of Liverpool, had shown that she was no longer a Unitarian nora believer in revelation at all. "Eastern Life, Presentand Past," exhibits the history and generation of the fourgreat faiths--the Egyptian, the Jewish, the Christian, and theMohammedan--as they appear when their birthplaces are visitedin succession. She had passed from the Nile to Sinai; and thenceto Jerusalem, Damascus, and Lebanon. The work in which she gaveout her views on her return ranks, on the whole, as the best ofher writings; and her reputation assumed a new, a graver, anda broader character after its appearance. It was followed in1851 by a volume which, though not for the most part written byher, was of her procuring and devising. She took the responsibilityof the Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development,which were for the greater part written by her friend, Mr. Atkinson,in reply to the short letters of her own which occupy a smallproportion of the book. This book brought upon its writers, aswas inevitable, the imputation of atheism from the multitude whocannot distinguish between the popular and the philosophical senseof the word,--between the disbelief in the popular theology whichhas caused a long series of religious men to be called atheists,and the disbelief in a First Cause,--a disbelief which is expresslydisclaimed in the book. A full account of Harriet Martineau'sfaith and philosophy will of course be found in her forthcomingAutobiography, where it is more in place than here. As to theconsequences of such an expression of them, they were somewhatdifferent from what might have been expected. The reception ofthe volume disclosed some curious social facts, revealing to itsauthors an altogether unexpected proportion between the receiversand repudiators of dogmatic theology in this country. What iscalled "the entire periodical press" condemned the book,without, however, in any one case meeting its argument or recognizingits main subject; and yet was it excellently received and widelysympathized with. Every body supposed that its authors wouldbe ruined, excluded from society, stopped in their work, and soforth. But the actual result was that this open avowal of hereticalopinion made all the relations of life sounder than they had everbeen. As Harriet Martineau declared, it dissolved all false relationsand confirmed all true ones. At no time of her life was she moreoccupied, more prosperous, so cheered by sympathy, or so thoroughlyhappy, as during the interval between the publication of thatbook and the close of her labours.

Besides some small works, such as "Guide to the Lakes,"it remained for her to bring out two of more general importance,--hervolume on "Household Education," which is more popularthan almost any of her works, and her condensation of Comte's"Positive Philosophy." The story of the intention andachievement of that work is told in its prefaces. Begun in 1852,it occupied the greater part of the year 1853, and appeared inNovember of that year. It was her last considerable work; andthere is no other, perhaps, which so well manifests the real characterof her ability and proper direction of her influence,--as faras each went. Her original power was nothing more than was dueto earnestness and intellectual clearness within a certain range. With small imaginative and suggestive powers, and therefore nothingapproaching to genius, she could see clearly what she did see,and give a clear expression to what she had to say. In short,she could popularize, while she could neither discover nor invent. She could sympathize in other people's views, and was too facilein doing so; and she could obtain and keep a firm grasp of herown, and, moreover, she could make them understood. The functionof her life was to do this, and, in as far as it was done diligentlyand honestly, her life was of use, however far its achievementsmay have fallen short of expectations less moderate than her own. Her duties and her business were sufficient for the peace andthe desires of her mind. She saw the human race, as she believed,advancing under the law of progress; she enjoyed her share ofthe experience, and had no ambition for a larger endowment, orreluctance or anxiety about leaving the enjoyment of such as shehad.

From the early part of 1852 she had contributed largely to the"Daily News," and her "Letters from Ireland"in the summer of that year were written for this paper. As herother works left her hands the connection with the paper becamecloser, and it was never interrupted except for a few months atthe beginning of her last illness, when all her strength was neededfor her Autobiography. When she had finished that task she hadthe work printed, and the engravings prepared for it under herown supervision, partly to avoid delay in its appearance (becauseany good that it could do would be best done immediately afterher death), but chiefly to spare her executors all responsibilityabout publishing whatever may be found in the Memoir. Her lastillness was a time of quiet enjoyment to her, soothed as it wasby family and social love, and care, and sympathy, and, exceptfor one heart-grief,--the loss in 1864 of her niece Maria, whowas to her as a daughter,--free from anxiety of every kind, andamused by the constant interest of regarding life and its affair,from the verge of the horizon of existence. Her disease was deteriorationand enlargement of the heart, the fatal character of which wasdiscovered in January, 1855. She declined throughout that andsubsequent years, and died-- [12]

--And died in the summer sunset of her home amid the Westmorelandmountains, on the 27th of June, 1876, after twenty-one more diligent,devoted, suffering, joyful years,--attended by the family friendsshe most loved, and in possession of all her mental powers upto the last expiring day; aged seventy-four years.

If, instead of dying so slowly, she had died as she could havewished and thought to have done, without delay, what a treasureof wise counsels, what a radiance of noble deeds, what a spiritof love and of power, what brave victorious battle to the latesthour for all things good and true, had been lost to posterity! What an example of more than resignation, of that ready, gladacceptance of a lingering and painful death which made the sighta blessing to every witness, had been lost to the surviving generation!

During all the last one-and-twenty years death was the idea mostfamiliar and most welcome. It was spoken of and provided forwith an easy freedom that I never saw approached in any otherhome, yet she never expressed a wish respecting a place of burial.[13] But a few days before her death, when asked if she wouldbe laid in the burial-place of her family, she assented; and shelies with her kindred, in the old cemetery at Birmingham.


ENDNOTES

5. Types of cloth, silk.

6. Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd (1795-1854) was a judge, poet, playwright(Ion, 1835), and editor (of Charles Lamb).

7. The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, formedby Henry Brougham (later Lord Brougham) in 1825 to publish new,particularly scientific, information cheaply for the working classes.

* After the above was in the drawer of the "Daily News"office, she wrote some historical fiction for "Once a Week"against her own judgment, and only to gratify Mr. Evans and Mr.Lucas, the proprietor and editor of "Once a Week."

8. Dickens was the editor of Household Words at the timeto which she refers.

9. Here she refers to the second stage of Auguste Comte's epistemology,the first being theological, the second metaphysical, and thefinal and "best," scientific. By this writing she wasa positivist in the Comtean mode. The reference to Carlyle isher way of saying she has rejected the romanticism he represents,it being a metaphysical form of thinking in the scheme she endorseshere.

10. She engages here in a little manipulation of the truth. She published her "Letters on Mesmerism" in the Athenaeumin 1844 first, claiming among other things that her maid,Jane Arrowsmith, had effectively mesmerized her and was clairvoyant. This caused the biggest commotion, and her medical attendant,her physician and brother-in-law Thomas Greenhow, felt compelledto defend his reputation as a doctor. Apparently, he did so withouthis patient's permission, publishing his Medical Report ofthe Case of Miss H---- M----. See Pichanick, Martineau,pp. 129-137, for discussion and quotations from this exchange.

11. Fox How was the home of Hartley Coleridge, brother of SamuelTaylor Coleridge, Rydal Mount the home of William and Mary Wordsworth.

12. At this point the obituary written in 1855 by Martineau herselfends. Note her insertion of the 1864 death of her niece. Thematerial that follows was written by her friend and literary executor,Maria Weston Chapman.

13. This is not so. In the library of Manchester College, Oxford,there is a series of letters from Harriet Martineau, written in1855, addressed to a Unitarian minister friend, presumably PhilipCarpenter, son of her adolescent mentor, Lant Carpenter, in whichshe gives detailed directions for her funeral and burial. Shebelieves that because of her views "which the vulgar wd callatheistical" some of the people in her parish would objectto her burial there (that is, in the Church of England churchyarda mile up the road from her house, a church in sight of the Wordsworths'house, Rydal Mount), so she asks him where the nearest Unitarianburial ground is and if he thinks she might be buried there. She instructs him in one letter to say in the service for herwhat he finds most natural. In another, written the next day,she tells him she forgot the day before to say she wants a simplefuneral with no hatbands or scarves or feasting. It was, of course,more than twenty years before she died.

From Gayle Graham Yates, (Ed.)., Harriet Martineau on Women.New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1985, pp. 35-49.


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