An Autobiography HTML version

Britain, The Continent, And Home Again
I went by steamer to Glasgow, as I found the fares by that route cheaper than to
Liverpool. Municipal work in that city was then attracting world-wide attention, and I
enquired into the methods of taxation and the management of public works, much to my
advantage. The co-operative works at Shields Hall were another source of interest to me.
At Peterborough I stayed with Mr. Hare's daughter, Katie, who had married Canon
Clayton. Never before did I breathe such an ecclesiastical atmosphere as in that ancient
canonry, part of the old monastery, said to be 600 years old. While there I spoke to the
Guild of Co-operative Women on "Australia." In Edinburgh I had a drawing-room
meeting at the house of Mrs. Muir Dowie, daughter of Robert Chambers and mother of
Minnie Muriel Dowie, who wrote "Through the Carpathians," and another at the Fabian
Society, both on effective voting. Mrs. Dowie and Priscilla Bright McLaren, sister of
John Bright, were both keen on the suffrage, and most interesting women. I had been so
much associated with the suffragists in America, with the veteran Susan B. Anthony at
their head, that English workers in the cause gave me a warm welcome.
London under the municipal guidance of the County Council was very different from the
London I had visited 29 years earlier. Perhaps Glasgow and Birmingham have gone
further in municipalizing monopolies than Londoners have, but the vastness of the scale
on which London moves makes it more interesting. Cr. Peter Burt, of Glasgow, had
worked hard to add publichouses to the list of things under municipal ownership and
regulation, and I have always been glad to see the increasing attention paid to the
Scandinavian methods of dealing with the drink traffic. I have deplored the division
among temperance workers, which makes the prohibitionists hold aloof from this reform,
when their aid would at least enable the experiment to be tried. But in spite of all
hindrances the world moves on towards better things. It is not now a voice crying in the
wilderness. There are many thousands of wise, brave, devoted men and women possessed
with the enthusiasm of humanity in every civilized country, and they must prevail.
Professor and Mrs. Westlake, the latter of whom was Mr. Hare's eldest daughter,
arranged a most successful drawing-room meeting for me at their home, the River House,
Chelsea, at which Mr. Arthur Balfour spoke. While he thought effective voting probably
suitable for America and Australia, he scarcely saw the necessity for it in England. Party
leaders so seldom do like to try it on themselves, but many of them are prepared to
experiment on "the other fellow." In this State we find members of the Assembly anxious
to try effective voting on the Legislative Council, Federal members on the State House,
and vice versa. Other speakers who supported me were Sir John Lubbock (Lord
Avebury), Leonard (now Lord) Courtney, Mr. Westlake, and Sir John Hall, of New
Zealand. The flourishing condition of the Proportional Representation Society in England
at present is due to the earnestness of the lastnamed gentlemen, and its extremely able
hon. secretary (Mr. John H. Humphreys).
A few days were spent with Miss Jane Hume Clapperton, author of "Scientific
Meliorism," and we had an interesting time visiting George Eliot's haunts and friends.
Through the Warwickshire lanes--where the high hedges and the great trees at regular