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Title: The Life of Sir William Hartley Author: Arthur S Peake, D.D. (1865–1929) * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 0701091h.html Language: English Date first posted: September 2007 Date most recently updated: September 2007 Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html
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Soon after the death of Sir William Hartley I was invited by his family to write his Life. It was not possible for me to decline the invitation, though I was already committed to a heavy programme of literary work. We had been united by a long and intimate friendship; we had been fellow-labourers in a common task; I held him in the highest esteem and cherished for him a loyal affection. More over it was due to his initiative that I left Oxford to enter the service of my own Church. I could do no other, then, than respond to this last obligation of friendship. Yet I was conscious that in some ways I might be unfitted for the task. The world of business, in which he achieved so resounding a success, is territory which I have left almost unexplored; and the technicalities of manufacture are, if possible, even more unfamiliar. But it was the wish of the family, as it was in harmony with my own instinct, that the emphasis of the biography should lie on the personality of the man and on his activities so far as they disclosed it, rather than on the mere facts in themselves or the steps by which he rose till he became one of the merchant princes of our land.
In fulfilment of this design I have not attempted to write a continuous record of events. The thread of biography would have failed me again and again. For while the life of Sir William was rich in action far beyond the common measure, it was not the kind of action which could readily be recorded in a connected narrative. I quickly recognized that the material must be handled according to subject rather than forced into a chronological scheme. The facts, so far as it was possible to ascertain them, could still secure a place in the record; but they are more appropriately grouped on this method, and their significance is more clearly revealed. Nevertheless it has been possible to throw part of the material into the more strictly narrative form, especially the story of his earlier and of his closing years, together with a summary of the part he played in the affairs of his Church.
In any account of his career a large place must inevitably be given to his work for his own denomination. Not one of his Church's many activities failed to secure his sympathy and co-operation. An ample proportion of the book has accordingly been devoted to the service he rendered in this sphere. And since many will be interested in his life to whom the history of the denomination and its institutions and the conditions under which its work is done will be unknown, it has been necessary to insert a brief account of the origin and characteristics of early Primitive Methodism and to supplement this by statements on the various aspects of denominational life, apart from which the story of his contribution would not be correctly understood or estimated at its full value. The numerous readers who will be familiar with this already will excuse the prominence given to these explanatory sections.
My thanks are due in the first place to members of Sir William's family. Lady Hartley and Miss Hartley gave me much help at the beginning, especially as to Sir William's earlier days. They also took me over to Colne, where, under their guidance, I visited the Cottage Hospital, the Hartley Homes and the new Hospital which has recently been opened. Mr. J. S. Higham, Sir William's son-in-law, has been unfailing in the help he has given me. It was he who conveyed to me the invitation to write the book. He sent me all the material he could discover, welcomed me to Aintree and facilitated my inspection of the Works. Both he and Miss Hartley have read the proofs; and I am sincerely grateful to them for this additional guarantee of accuracy. I am indebted to my colleague, the Rev. H. J. Pickett, for the same service. I have also to thank Mr. Allan Rigsby, the manager at Aintree, both for the time he devoted, at a very busy season, to taking me over the Works and for information about Sir William and his impressions of his personality. I received similar courtesy from Mr. Hewson, the manager of the London Works, who freely gave his time to conducting me over the various departments. Another conversation which was very illuminating I had with Mr. Handley, who was for thirty-three years Sir William's secretary. The Rev. J. T. Barkby discussed various points in connexion with the preparation of the book with me at an early stage and he sent me some reminiscences and a personal impression which I have included in their place. Mr. Gibbens, a son-in-law of Sir William, also took the trouble to prepare genealogical tables for my use.
Several friends have sent me letters or reminiscences, of which some are acknowledged in the book itself. For others which have not been directly used I wish to express my thanks; they have contributed to the total impression which lies behind what I have said, though in several cases they have simply illustrated what was abundantly illustrated already. Among the friends who have thus helped me I desire to mention the Rev. Joseph Ritson and the Rev. George Trusler for reminiscences, the Rev. J. G. Bowran, the Rev. B. A. Barber and the Rev. G. W. Meadley for letters, also the Rev. Thomas Jackson for letters sent to the late Rev. R. S. Blair. Fortunately I had preserved a very large number of Sir William's letters addressed to myself, and these have been of material service in the preparation of the book. I have drawn not a little on my own recollections which were both full and vivid.
I am conscious that some explanation is due for the delay in the appearance of the book, but it has been prepared and dictated under the pressure of many other urgent claims on my time. Even so it was my hope to have completed it a year earlier, but this was made impossible by medical prohibitions which robbed me of two months in the summer of 1924. Weeks and even months have not infrequently passed in which the work has been untouched.
In saying farewell to a task which it has been a privilege to perform, I may be permitted to add a few closing words. The memory of Sir William Hartley will be cherished, not because of his wealth or even his commercial genius, but for the lofty use to which his wealth and his genius were consecrated. His deeds of splendid generosity are impressive when taken singly, they are overwhelming in their mass. I have sought to uncover the roots from which so rich a fruitage issued and disclose the forces which found so magnificent an expression. He rose to affluence and then to vast wealth; he had exceptional capacity for toil, amazing energy and driving power, the genius to conceive, the strength to execute lofty designs, the gift of rising to the level of an occasion and doing great things in a great way. His rich and many-sided personality had been captured by a religion enlightened and ethical, but redeemed from cold intellectualism or a frigid legalism by the emotion which glowed at the centre. He looked out upon the world, he saw its misery and was filled with compassion. His sympathies were strong and deep; he was pitiful in the presence of sorrow and pain. "There is much misery in the world," he once said to me, "and few know so much of it as I do." Disease and poverty were enemies to be fought. The ignorance and the vice which were responsible for so much physical and moral defect must be attacked not simply in themselves but in their roots. The spread of knowledge, the destruction of barriers, the creation of a social conscience, the quickening of a sensitiveness to social and moral evils which was numb through habit and conventionality, these were the means by which our sorely wounded social system might find relief. And so he fought disease by hospital and sanatorium and the endowment of medical research. He fought ignorance by the ample provision he made for University and College and the circulation of the best books. He alleviated the evils of poverty by a just and even generous wage, by profit-sharing and provision for old age, by almshouse and by orphanage, by loans to tide people over critical periods, or by gifts to those from whom no repayment could ever be expected.
And grateful tribute must be paid to the work which he did for his own denomination. He was not a narrow ecclesiastic, his sympathies were broad as they were deep. But he recognized that the communion in which he had been placed had the first claim on his loyalty and service. His gifts of money made much possible which could not have been other wise achieved. But they were rendered far more valuable, partly by the use he made of them to elicit help from others, partly by the extreme care he took to secure that the money should be used to the best advantage. Above all, his statesmanship was one of the most precious assets of his Church. He had the vision to see great opportunities, the resourcefulness and skill to utilize them, the energy to carry the causes he advocated to triumph. He struck with unexampled force into the stream of denominational activity, lifting its quality to higher levels, accelerating the pace of its progress, making possible otherwise impracticable enterprises. Splendid as were his gifts, his leadership was even more far-reaching in its effects. Long years were granted to him, and he filled them to the uttermost. He raised our ideals as he expanded our resources; he was to us at once an inspiration and a conscience. In his many-sided gifts taken singly there have been few to emulate him, while in his combination of gifts he was unique.
ARTHUR S. PEAKE.
September 10, 1925.
Table of Leading Events I Early Years II The Manufacturer III The Employer and his Workpeople IV Profit-Sharing V Systematic and Proportionate Giving VI Relations with his Church VII Reunion and Interdenominational Co-operation VIII Mission IX Church Property X The Education of the Ministry XI The Support of the Ministry XII Temperance XIII Hospitals XIV Almshouse and Orphanage XV Public Life XVI Closing Years XVII Personal Qualities
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Sir William Hartley Lady Hartley Sir. William's Father Sir William's Mother Sir William's Grandfather Sir William's Grandmother Sir William as a Boy of 14 1908 Lady Hartley. Taken probably about the age of 65 Hartley Hospital, Colne The Hartley Homes, Colne Sir William and Lady Hartley being presented to King George V Miss Hartley as Mayor of Southport, 1921-22
TABLE OF LEADING EVENTS
Born at Colne, February 23, 1846.
Educated at the British School and the Grammar School, Colne.
Left school at the age of fourteen. Started in business for himself in Colne at the age of sixteen.
At the age of twenty married Miss Martha Horsfield of Colne on Whit-Monday, May 21, 1866.
Death of his mother at the age of forty-six on May 18, 1870.
Removed to Bootle, 1874.
Vow to devote a specific proportion of income to religious and charitable purposes made January 1, 1877.
Offer of £1,000 if the debt of the Primitive Methodist Missionary Society was paid off, 1884.
Presided at the meeting of the Primitive Methodist Missionary Society at which the removal of the debt was announced, May, 1885.
Communicated to the Primitive Methodist Conference the suggestions which led to the formation of the Chapel Aid Association, 1885.
Built works at Aintree, 1886.
Chapel Aid Association registered, January 2, 1890.
Elected General Treasurer of the Primitive Methodist Missionary Society, June 7, 1890.
Removed from Inglewood, Birkdale, to Aintree at the end of October, 1890.
Visited Oxford, where he celebrated his silver wedding, May, 1891.
Proposed new departure in ministerial education to the Conference of 1891.
Death of his father, January 27, 1892.
Elected Vice-President of Conference, June, 1892.
Jubilee Fund inaugurated at this Conference. On his suggestion sum to be raised fixed at £50,000, towards which he promised £5,000.
Addressed meetings all over the country on behalf of the Jubilee Fund, 1892-3.
Appointed Justice of the Peace, August 18, 1893.
Member of the Liverpool City Council, 1895-8.
Elected on the Walton School Board, January 14, 1895.
Aintree Institute and Cafe opened, 1896.
Founded Hartley Lectureship, 1896.
First extension of Primitive Methodist College, Manchester, 1897.
London business started, 1900.
Cottage Hospital opened at Colne, April 20, 1900.
Botanical Laboratory, University College, Liverpool, opened May 10, 1902.
Removed from Aintree to "Sea View," Southport, 1904.
Second extension of Hartley College opened, June, 1906.
Primitive Methodist Centenary Celebrations, 1907-10. He was appointed Treasurer of the Centenary Fund and contributed £15,000.
Purchased Holborn Town Hall for £31,000 in 1908. The Hall was greatly enlarged and a new Publishing House erected. The enlarged premises were bought from him at cost price (about £50,000) by the Primitive Methodist Church. To this he contributed £17,500.
President of the Primitive Methodist Conference held at Southport, June, 1909.
Freedom of Colne conferred, November 9, 1909.
Pension Fund inaugurated, 1909.
Hartley Homes opened at Colne, 1911.
Unveiled windows presented by him to Hartley College, June 11,1914.
Seventieth birthday, February 23, 1916. Gifts in commemoration to Hospitals, Pension Fund, Grocers' Charities.
Golden wedding, May 21, 1916.
Address of congratulation from the Primitive Methodist Conference, June, 1916.
Removed from Southport to Birkdale, 1919.
Business converted into a Limited Liability Company, 1919.
Declined to accept Mayoralty of Colne, 1919.
Laid foundation-stone of Colne Hospital, September 3, 1921.
Miss Hartley became Mayor of Southport, November 9, 1921.
Death of Sir William Hartley, Wednesday, October 25, 1922.
Funeral service at Church Street, Southport, and interment at Trawden, Saturday, October 28, 1922.
The most exhaustive scrutiny of ancestry and environment cannot fully explain the secret of even the most commonplace personality; much less can it account for men of outstanding gifts and achievement. Yet it may help us in a measure to understand even a character and a career so rare as that of Sir William Hartley, if we consider the stock from which he sprang and the conditions which moulded him in the most plastic period of his life.
The impression that his ancestors belonged to the poorer working classes is incorrect; and to heighten the marvel of his career, too much has often been made of his early disadvantages. "The Hartley family," we learn, "are typical Lancashire yeomen. They can trace their ancestry back to the early seventeenth century; indeed, one branch of the family--Sir William's uncle, Richard Hartley--lived at Barley, under the shadow of Pendle, in a house which, as the date-stone shows, had been in the possession of the Hartley family since 1620. There is also an East Lancashire tradition that the family is of Huguenot stock, and it is associated by marriage with the well-known East Lancashire families of Lister, Pickles, and Horsfield."[*]
[*] Southport Guardian, October 28, 1922.
Sir William was born at Colne, a small but pleasant little town in East Lancashire on the edge of Yorkshire, a few miles north of Burnley. It is situated on a high ridge and is affectionately called by its inhabitants "Bonnie Colne-on-the-Hill." Tourists often take it as their starting-point when they are visiting the Bronte country. How deep were the ties which bound him and Lady Hartley to their birthplace will be clear from this biography; but it will be fitting at this point to quote from the speech he delivered on the occasion when he laid the foundation-stone of the Hospital they presented to Colne, September 3, 1921. "I am now in my seventy-sixth year, and it is forty-seven years since I removed from Colne; but my wife and I never forget that we were born in Colne, and in the erection of this hospital we have endeavoured to show in a practical manner our affection for our native town."
The qualities which made him so successful as a man of business were probably derived in large measure from Christopher Lister, his great-grandfather on the father's side. He had the largest ironmongery in Colne. His death was sudden, and occurred in his carriage at the gates of Horsfield Cottage, his residence. His daughter became the wife of William Hartley, a schoolmaster at Trawden. He was a man of considerable ability, great religious fervour and moral passion. At first a Wesleyan local preacher, he later joined the Primitive Methodists, and was urged to enter the ministry. This, however, through diffidence, he declined to do, though he lamented his refusal in after years. He became in later life a town-missionary in the Isle of Man, and died during an epidemic of fever which claimed him as its victim, as with self-effacing devotion he ministered to the needs of others. His eldest son, Robert Hartley, Sir William's uncle, was a man of very handsome presence and exceptionally fine character. He became a Primitive Methodist minister at an early age, and after spending a quarter of a century in England, went to Australia and laboured for thirty-two years in Queensland. One feature of his many-sided activity was his kindness to the emigrants from England whom he met at the landing-stage. His home was at Rockhampton on the coast; but he covered a wide field, reaching from Brisbane nearly to the Gulf of Carpentaria. He was apparently too much occupied to send home reports of his work; so Dr. Samuel Antliff, when he was sent to visit Australia, was instructed to make investigations. He found him the leading man in Rockhampton. His fellow-citizens celebrated his ministerial Jubilee and presented him with a purse of gold; and after his death dedicated a public fountain to his memory. A Hartley Memorial Chapel also commemorates his work. A letter from Dr. McLaren may fitly be quoted at this point. It was written on July 23, 1892.
"Mr. Hartley was in Southampton during several years of my pastorate there, when I learned to esteem him very highly for his earnestness, warmth of heart, bright temperament, diligence and self-forgetfulness. I had the pleasure of a visit from him when he was in England some years since, and have always cherished warm feelings of friendship for him. I share with your denomination the sense of loss by his death, and should be glad if you would tell Mr. Hartley of Aintree how truly I esteemed and honoured his uncle."
John Hartley, the second son of William and the brother of Robert Hartley, was the father of Sir William. He was born on July 13, 1824. He was a kind, good man, a Primitive Methodist local preacher and class leader, but he had no special aptitude for affairs. In his later years he assisted in his son's business. He was the medium of communication between the work people and the Chief. His sympathetic nature found abundant exercise in the help he gave to people in trouble. He died on January 27, 1892, at the age of sixty-seven. He married Miss Margaret Pickles, who was born on April 20, 1824. She was very tall and not strong, and died on May 18, 1870, at the age of forty-six. From her Sir William derived much of his brain power. He was her only child who survived early infancy. He was born February 23, 1846. His first Christian name was that of his grandfather, his second was the maiden name of his mother.
At that time it was quite usual for children to be taken from school and sent to work at a very early age. But his parents, recognizing his exceptional qualities, gave him an unusually good education for boys of his class. He was sent to the British School till he was thirteen and then for a year to the Grammar School. One accomplishment, for which he was distinguished, was ornamental penmanship. His uncle, Robert Hartley, left England about the time when his nephew's education was nearing completion and expressed the opinion that William would not make much out of life. Others formed a truer judgment of his qualities. When he was quite young a Roman Catholic priest at Colne tried to have him educated for the priesthood It was also suggested that he should be trained as a lawyer; but his mother, who shared the pessimistic estimate of the legal profession which is all too prevalent, objected that the untruthfulness it tended to foster would be damaging to his spiritual interests.
His own wish, on leaving school at the age of fourteen, was to become a chemist. But there was no opening in Colne, so he began work by helping his mother in the grocery shop which she kept. So tiny a sphere offered him no scope, and when a suitable shop became vacant in the main street of Colne he urged his parents to take it. They were aghast at the suggestion, believing that nothing but financial ruin could be the result of so rash an enterprise; and the boy might not have gained his opportunity had not a business man in the town, of larger experience and prescience than the parents, warmly commended his proposal. Lady Hartley still vividly remembers across the intervening sixty years a visit of his mother to her home and her gloomy forebodings that William's headstrong rashness would ruin them all. But her fears were falsified. Starting at the age of sixteen in business for himself, he quickly justified his refusal to move in the old ruts. He combined a dry saltery with his grocery business at Colne. But he was quick to see that a wholesale department would help the retail business and at the same time give him the opportunity for widening the range of his operations. Accordingly he built up a trade in grocers' sundries in the villages and towns round Colne. At the outset the way was very difficult and only the most strenuous determination and unfaltering perseverance could have made this new venture a success. Long after-wards when he acknowledged the presentation of the Freedom of Colne on November 12, 1909, he said: "My pleasant visit to Colne to-day awakens memories of the past. When the Mayor brought me to his house this afternoon on Keighley Road, it reminded me that forty-six or forty-seven years ago I walked the same road, and on through Laneshaw-bridge over Lancashire Moor to Stanbury, journey by journey, starting from my home in Colne Lane before five o'clock in the morning, calling upon my first customer at about seven o'clock. I walked to Haworth, Oak-worth and to Keighley Station, so tired that I was very glad to sit down in the station. I walked about twenty miles, I had called on twenty customers, and on many a journey I did not make a shilling. It took a good deal of resolution to keep that up."
When he was twenty he was married to Miss Martha Horsfield, the daughter of Henry and Ann Horsfield, grocers of Colne. Her home, as Sir William recalled when he received the Freedom of his native town, stood on the site on which the Town Hall in which it was presented to him, was subsequently erected. She was the youngest of thirteen children. Her father was a Wesleyan; but she with some of her sisters attended the Church of England. She became attached to the Primitive Methodists when she was fourteen because they had been so kind to her sister in her illness. When they celebrated their golden wedding in 1916, Sir William gave a very interesting account of their honeymoon to the staff of the businesses in Liverpool and London, at a dinner on May 27. He said: "We were married on a Whit-Monday morning, which in that year (1866) was May 21. Holidays were then a very rare thing in our native town of Colne. Indeed, we scarcely knew that the word 'holiday' was in the language. However, we were quite as happy with half a day on that Whit-Monday as we have been since with a month's holiday. On that afternoon we spent our honeymoon in processioning the town of Colne with the Sunday School scholars and singing the special Whitsuntide hymns in the principal streets of our native town; and I was at business as usual next morning as though nothing had happened."
All who know in any degree the happiness of that union will recognize how fortunate he was in his choice; and if deeper and higher instincts were not involved than wisdom in the conduct of affairs, it might truthfully be said that he never gave a finer example of his sagacity than in the selection of his wife. Of all that they meant to each other and to their family it would not be fitting to speak save with reticence; and what must be said should be reserved for a later point in the story. But in all his business career she was his constant and his wisest adviser. She firmly supported him in his splendid service to religion, philanthropy and education, though striving to temper his enthusiasm when she felt that it carried him beyond the bounds of proper regard for his own health and comfort. In this respect, it is to be feared, that he was sometimes less amenable to her restraining influence than she desired. Her caution and her coolness, her foresight and sound sense, were invaluable qualities. She had a firm grasp of his business in its many ramifications and an intimate familiarity with it. It meant much to her husband that he could always turn to her for sagacious counsel and candid criticism.
It was through an accident that Mr. Hartley became a manufacturer of jam. He entered into a contract with a local grocer to make jam for him. The grocer did not fulfil his contract; and the case was submitted to friendly arbitration, which went in Mr. Hartley's favour. He decided, however, to terminate the arrangement and to manufacture jam on his own account. He felt this to be the more necessary that he was already gaining a reputation for this class of goods and he was determined not to disappoint his customers. He resolved from the first that the quality should be the best he could produce, no matter what the price he would be compelled to charge. People thought this principle was much too optimistic and that he would not hold out long enough for the public to discover the excellence of his wares. But he was resolute in his fidelity to this ideal and adhered to it throughout his business career. The materials he used were of the best, he watched every detail of manufacture and insisted that the whole process should be conducted with the utmost care to secure perfect cleanliness. The people were quick to recognize the excellence of the product; and as it was sold at a reasonable price the business rapidly developed. At last the problem forced itself upon him whether it would not be wise to remove his business from Colne, especially as it was desirable to lessen the cost of the carriage of fruit and sugar. He finally decided to leave Colne and build a jam factory at Bootle. His friends and family were unanimous against the project. He had an excellent business in Colne and the prospect of steady development; and he seemed to them to be sacrificing a secure and promising position for what might prove to be a mere mirage. When he was President of the Primitive Methodist Conference in June, 1909, he spoke of his decision to leave Colne and build a small works near to Liverpool as a most important, decisive and far-reaching step. He added: "This was against the advice of my family and friends, who viewed the step as an expression of vaulting ambition. They all believed I was flying in the face of Providence and prophesied disaster. There was no exception to the adverse criticism. Whenever I look back upon that stirring period of my life, I often think how careful we should be in forming adverse views as to the conduct of others for fear that our criticism should prove to be wrong. It was so in my case."
He passed through a period of great distress and anxiety, he felt his isolation keenly, all the more that his friends were convinced that the disaster would be irretrievable. But he had the courage of his convictions and in 1874 the business was removed to Bootle.
It must be admitted that he ran a very big risk and that the prospects at the outset were such as to discourage the most optimistic. He had sunk the whole of his capital in the new building and nothing was left for fruit or sugar. For this he was relying on money which had been lent to him. At this juncture the lender threatened to withdraw the money unless Mr. Hartley would make him his partner. His wife wisely warned him that he could not do with a partner; and the condition on which the loan was to be continued was refused. It was necessary for him to borrow money and he had to make a hard bargain with necessity. The money was advanced to him on very onerous terms. The loan was to run for seven years and the interest swallowed up seventy-five per cent. of the profits. Long before the date fixed upon for its expiration Mr. Hartley would have been glad to repay it; but those from whom he had borrowed it refused to release him earlier.
Confronted by grave difficulties, hampered by insufficiency of capital, carrying the burden of his heavy indebtedness, he found his energies taxed to the uttermost. Long hours, during which his great powers of work and his magnificent organizing abilities were strained almost beyond endurance, and the inevitable financial worry told upon his health. That he achieved so much in later life was the more amazing that he permanently bore the scars of those earlier years upon him. In the address he gave to his staff on the occasion of his golden wedding he said: "For a number of years in our early days we had great difficulties, and our first struggles were severe indeed." But it was in those days of strain, struggle and anxiety that the foundations of his vast business were well and truly laid. The quality of his manufactures became more and more widely known and the works he had built at Bootle proved too small. Extension became necessary. In due course a second enlargement was required, and once more the volume of business outgrew the capacity of the building. Since the limit of expansion had been reached he decided to build new works at Aintree and this project was carried into effect in 1886. He resided at Bootle for six years, then at Southport and subsequently at Birkdale. He removed to Aintree at the end of October, 1890. From Aintree he removed to "Sea View," Southport, in 1904, and then to Birkdale in 1919.
During their residence at Colne the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hartley was enriched by the coming of four daughters and in the Bootle period the family was completed by four daughters and one son. In the year after the business was transferred to Bootle the fourth daughter died at the age of eighteen months. The rest of the family survived their father, though the grief occasioned by the loss of the husband and father was renewed only a little later by the death of the son and brother.
So far nothing has been said of what must throughout be one of the most prominent features in a biography of this kind--his relation to religion and the Church.
He came of Primitive Methodist stock and was, in fact, a Primitive Methodist of the third generation. William Hartley, his grandfather, passed over from the Wesleyans to the Primitive Methodists and died in that communion as a town missionary in the Isle of Man. His father and mother belonged to it, his father being a local preacher and a class leader. At the time of his birth the denomination had been in existence thirty-five years. It had originated in the Potteries during the closing years of the first decade of the nineteenth century. Stimulated by the accounts of the success which had attended the American camp meetings, two fervent Wesleyan local preachers, Hugh Bourne and William Clowes, with some of their friends, held a camp meeting on Mow Cop, in 1807. The Wesleyan Conference, believing that camp meetings, however suitable to America, were undesirable in England, passed a resolution forbidding such gatherings to be held. Since their promoters, full of evangelistic zeal, refused to comply, first Hugh Bourne and then later William Clowes were removed from the roll of membership. As the work continued it became necessary to form Society classes and soon a new denomination was formed. The feeling of its leaders that they were recovering the methods employed in original or, as it was not infrequently termed at an even earlier period, primitive Methodism, found expression in the title by which it was officially designated The Primitive Methodist Connexion. It spread with amazing rapidity, though with some set-backs; and at the time of Mr. Hartley's birth the membership stood at over 87,000. The evangelistic spirit was still strong, but the period of consolidation had set in; and the membership was recruited, not only from the masses who were unattached to any form of religious organization, but from those who had been born in Primitive Methodist homes. The organization was framed on the Wesleyan model, though with a much greater emphasis on the rights of the laity. The forms of worship were also similar to those of the Mother Church, but they were more spontaneous and less restrained and spiritual raptures not infrequently found a corybantic expression. Theology was, as almost everywhere in English Christianity at the time, rigidly orthodox. Verbal inspiration, a substitutionary theory of the Atonement, the unalterable determination of future destiny at death, eternal punishment including physical torment in fire, were accepted without question. But the theology was also specifically Methodist with great stress on experience. While gradual conversion might not be denied, it was normally expected to be instantaneous and catastrophic; and the shock of contrast betwen the old and the new also led to much emphasis on the inner witness of the Spirit. Entire sanctification, to be received by faith, was also presented as the privilege of all believers, which might, like justification, be instantaneously achieved by an act of faith. The preachers proclaimed "a free, full, and present salvation, obtainable now." Much stress was laid on testimony, to be given in the open air or in the love feasts, or in the factory. The most characteristic Methodist institution was the class meeting in which each member related his spiritual experience to his fellow-members and received from the leader such warning, encouragement or counsel as his case seemed to demand. Personal evangelism had from the first characterized the movement. Great importance was attached to the training of children. But the rules required a certain age to be attained before any could be accepted into membership. When Mr. Hartley was Vice-President of the Conference he strongly criticized the postponement of membership in the case of young people reared in Christian homes. Speaking in June, 1892, he said: "I have been a member of our Connexion for about thirty-two years, ever since I was of the proper age; and I might have been a member sooner had the rules of the Connexion allowed. I have long been of the opinion that we lose the membership of thousands of our young people who are reared in Christian homes through not having some system of enrolling their names as members at an early age. We have too long acted as though it was necessary for our young people to indulge more or less in worldliness and sin, and after a certain time to be converted and received into the Church. I have little sympathy with this view. I think the children of godly parents should be received into Church fellowship, and taught to adorn the doctrines of our Saviour from an early age, and gradually grow up into strong Christ-like characters." He repeated this protest in 1909 when he was President of the Conference.
It was expected of all Church members that they should exhibit a walk and conduct worthy of the Gospel. Regular attendance at the religious services, very strict Sabbath observance, abstinence from what were styled "vain and worldly amusements," in which dancing, the theatre, and card-playing were included, regular contributions towards the expenses of the Society with which the member was connected, and of the circuit to which the Society belonged, were required from all members, together, it goes without saying, with strict obedience to the weightier matters of the moral law. The consequence was that the social life of the members was concentrated on a small scale in their homes, while on a larger scale it had its centre in their chapel. There was a great spirit of cameraderie. Work, of course, was hard and the hours of labour were long; but the week-night preaching service, the class meeting, the tea-meeting followed by the public meeting, the sewing-meeting for the sale of work or the bazaar, the choir practice, the occasional entertainment or lecture, the anniversary of the chapel or the school, provided very rich opportunities for the cultivation of the spiritual life and the satisfaction of the religious instincts. Sunday was, of course, a very full day. On this I am glad to be able to quote Sir William's own testimony given in June, 1909, when he was President of the Conference. He describes his typical Sunday while he was at Colne.
"In those early days I paid the closest attention to my business, but on Sundays I always devoted the whole day to work in connexion with the chapel. At the present time some of our young people think that the services are too frequent. Fifty years ago my Sunday duty was: Sunday School 9 o'clock, service at 10.30, school at 1.15, afternoon service at 2.30, evening service at 6, prayer meeting at 7.30, and occasionally an open-air mission at 5.30 previous to the evening service. I attended all these services at the time, and it never occurred to me that I was doing anything exceptional. I took it as a matter of course as I did my business duties on the week-day."
There was a clear line of demarcation between those who were members of the Society and those who were simply adherents. The qualification for membership was in the first instance, as with the Wesleyans, "a desire to flee from the wrath to come"; and a member had to be on trial at least three months before he was admitted to full membership. As he had to attend the class meeting, where inquiries were regularly made as to the progress of his religious life, it is obvious that the elementary qualification required for membership on trial had to be completed by a definitely Christian experience. Normally it may be said that conversion was taken as the indispensable qualification for membership. The distinction between the member and the adherent, however, was not necessarily a distinction between the converted and the unconverted. There were those who regularly attended the services and supported the Church and its institutions, who might have claimed that they were true members of the Church of Christ but for some reason or other stood outside the membership of the Society, and hence were not enrolled in the membership of the denomination. But the distinction did in large measure hold good. Of course the adherents were not subject to the discipline of the Church or taxed for its support. Nor did they participate in its fellowship meetings. The Society naturally took no responsibility for them; but it was the constant hope that they might cross the decisive line which separated the saved from the unsaved.
Since one very important side of Mr. Hartley's denominational activities was concerned with the easing of financial burdens and the financing of new developments, it should be pointed out that the denomination at the time contained extremely few wealthy people, that the number of members in easy circumstances was not large, and that the vast majority belonged to the working classes, earning slender and often precarious wages. The converts had frequently been drawn from the ranks of the thriftless, the drunken and the lazy. They had become thrifty, sober and industrious; some of them began to rise in the social scale, and if they remained loyal to the Church which had raised them there was often a tendency for the children to drift away into a social environment more congenial than was provided by the little chapel. Thus the very success of the denomination led to some measure of impoverishment. On the other hand, the membership, which in 1846 stood at nearly 88,000, had twenty years later risen to over 150,000, and in 1884 when Mr. Hartley made his challenge offer, which brought him into denominational fame and initiated his great career of service for the whole Connexion, the membership stood at over 191,000. It would have been 200,000 but for the fact that in 1883 nearly 9,000 members had been transferred to the Canadian Methodist Church when Methodist Union was consummated in Canada. It is obvious that with a membership so enlarged and reinforced by so considerable a number of adherents the financial resources of the denomination were far more ample than they had been in the early days of poverty and struggle. But liberality, which was often great and even costly, tended to flow too much in local channels. To these Mr. Hartley was in no way indifferent, indeed through out his career much of his time and financial assistance was devoted to local needs. But he did a great deal to stimulate Connexional interest. His offer in 1884 struck the denominational imagination and not only removed the missionary debt but deepened the interest in missions. And his unwearied exposition of the principle of systematic and proportionate giving, of which he was himself so shining an example, did much to diffuse a more generous temper and to create the habit of regulated rather than spasmodic liberality.
It should be added that, contrary to a widespread opinion, the constitution of the denomination was not democratic. A number of Societies were grouped into a circuit, which was governed by the circuit Quarterly Meeting. A number of circuits were united in a District, which held an annual district meeting. The whole of the Districts were united in the Connexion; and the annual Conference, which was the supreme governing body of the Church, was composed almost entirely of representatives appointed by the District Meetings in the proportion of two laymen to one minister. The non-official, or "private member" as he was called, could not be sent as a delegate to Conference. And indeed, he had practically no voice even in the management of his own circuit. The invitation of the minister, for example, was in the hands of the Quarterly Meeting and the rank and file of the Church members had no voice in the selection. We are not concerned with the wisdom and justice of the system; but as the Primitive Methodists are often described as a very democratic Church it is desirable to make the real position clear. And it has an interesting bearing on our immediate subject. For some time after Mr. Hartley had become the most prominent layman in Primitive Methodism he was not eligible for election as a delegate to Conference, even when he had become the Missionary Treasurer of the denomination. As his presence in the Conference was of great importance, the situation would have been much more serious if the rigid constitution had not allowed one little loophole. The Deed Poll made provision for four other persons than the twelve permanent, or Deed Poll, members and the delegates from the District Meetings to be appointed by the preceding Conference. One of these places had to be taken by the General Committee Secretary, who was charged with the conduct of the business, so that only three places, and these much coveted, were available. For several years Mr. Hartley, being ineligible for membership in any other way, had to be sent as one of the "Four Persons." At length the difficulty was met by the arrangement that the Missionary Treasurer should be one of the delegates for the Missions District. The principle which lies behind the constitution is that the members of the Conference should owe their position to direct appointment and each time have to be nominated and run the gauntlet of an election. This finds expression in the fact that the representatives of institutions, while they must attend the Conference and speak on their reports, and are entitled to intervene in the debate when business affecting their department is before the Conference, nevertheless are not members of the Conference in virtue of their office and can become members only if they are appointed in one of the ways already indicated. In actual practice the system works unfairly, because some officials are secure of appointment while the great majority are not. And it is open to grave question whether a deliberative assembly, which has to conduct the affairs of the Church, is not seriously impoverished when, with few exceptions, those who have the most intimate knowledge of its institutions and whose appointment ought to be some guarantee of capacity are shut out from voice and vote in the supreme court of the denomination.
Such then was the religious atmosphere and environment into which William Hartley was born. In the address he gave as Vice-President of the Conference in June, 1892, he said: "My parents and grandparents were godly people. I was always under the deepest religious impressions, and I never remember a time when I had not an earnest desire to be good." He was taken by his mother to the class-meeting when he was five years old. At the age of thirteen he offered himself for membership. When he presented twenty cottage homes to Colne in October, 1911, he said: "Lady Hartley and I are to-day on familiar ground. We were both born in Colne. We passed our early days here. We were both under the influence of good parents and teachers here, especially at Sunday School, whose wise counsel had a lasting effect upon us. Although we left Colne about thirty-eight years ago, we have never forgotten the helpful influences that surrounded us in our early days."
Next to the influence of his parents, and especially his mother, we should probably place that of his Sunday School teacher, Jonathan Catlow. In later years he often acknowledged the deep impressions made upon him by the character of this man who in humble circumstances yet displayed not a little native talent and width of theological outlook, combined with transparent goodness and deep religious experience.
In the natural order of things Mr. Hartley would have become a local preacher; but his failure to follow the family tradition was an illustration, of the well-known saying that the good is often the enemy of the better. The story is best told in his own words, addressed to the Conference at Southport, of which he was the President.
"I am a Primitive of the third generation, and became a member as soon as the rules of the Church allowed. I have been a member more than fifty years...I never remember a time in my life when I had not a real genuine desire to serve the Lord. My father and grandfather were both local preachers, and when I was a small boy, I often accompanied my father to his country appointments and also into his pulpit. I have given out a hymn many a time when I was a small boy. At that time I had an honest desire to be a local preacher, but this was frustrated. When I was about twelve or thirteen years of age it was decided to have a harmonium in the chapel at Colne, my native town, and it was the earnest wish of my parents, especially my mother, that I should learn to play; and with some financial strain they placed me under a music teacher and purchased a small harmonium for my use at home, with the sole and only object of my officiating at the instrument in the chapel. I have this harmonium now in my house. My idea of being a local preacher was of necessity completely abandoned owing to my duty at the harmonium...I was organist in the Colne chapel for sixteen years until I was twenty-eight."
The training he would have gained as a local preacher would have been very valuable to him in later life. Apart from its system of lay preachers, Methodism would have been severely crippled in its activities. The whole system lends itself to practical training in public speaking. By easy stages the initial difficulties are surmounted, the prayer-meeting and the class-meeting give constant opportunities at which, in early youth, the natural shyness and awkwardness, which are so effective a barrier, are overcome. At first two or three sentences may be put together, for no set speech is required; and at the class meeting the members had not to face the very real trial to a beginner of standing on his feet to address his fellows. As time goes on, other opportunities are afforded, such as a brief Sunday School address. Gradually confidence is gained, signs of promise are observed, the suggestion is made that the higher work of the local preacher should be attempted. But the candidate is not left to himself; he is placed in the care of an experienced local preacher who takes him with him to his services and gives him the benefit of his advice. He is not burdened by the sense that failure on his part will involve the ruin of the service. If for ten or fifteen minutes he can acquit himself creditably, then he is on the highroad to success. But if he cannot sustain so long a flight, no harm is done; his mentor will easily fill the void which his premature collapse would otherwise have created. Thus he begins his work under the most favourable conditions and in particular he is not paralysed by the dread that any failure of nerve on his part will involve disaster to the service. And practice will soon enable him to make good his deficiencies and undertake the whole service himself. But even then he has more than one stage to pass through before he becomes a fully accredited local preacher. It is easy to see what an advantage it is for a man who has to play his part in public life to have gone through a training of this kind. The gift of speaking with ease and confidence, without the painful pauses, the halting delivery, the inarticulate ejaculations which form the stepping-stones from one coherent phrase to another, the self-consciousness and embarrassment which ought to be, but are not always, the accompaniment of so distressing a performance, is a gift which is in many cases a natural endowment, but which may be acquired by such gradual processes as those that have been described. In later life Mr. Hartley had to speak on many public occasions and with his high conscientiousness and very careful preparation he always acquitted himself worthily. But public speaking was a great nervous strain to him; and if circumstances had permitted him to train his gifts and gain facility in early life, much expenditure of time and nervous energy would have been spared. But naturally the work of an organist, who undertook also the duty of training the choir, was very exacting. His presence was required at all the services in Colne; and this was true also of his Bootle period. He bought the organ for the Primitive Methodist Church at Bootle and acted as organist.
He went to the Sunday School at an early age and in due course became a teacher. He was in other respects a very active Sunday School worker and filled several offices beside that of teacher. He was also treasurer of the Chapel trust and, while still quite young, was appointed to the responsible office of circuit steward. His rise into denominational fame came in 1884, when, as will be related in connexion with his work for the Connexional Missionary Society, he made his challenge offer for the extinction of the debt.
Since the most distinctive feature of Mr. Hartley's career was his stewardship of wealth, and the first step which led to such momentous consequences was taken at a very early point, it is appropriate to speak of it here, although the chief developments must be unfolded in the sequel. On January 1, 1877, Mr. and Mrs. Hartley made a vow, which they committed to writing, that they would set aside a specific portion of their income for religious and philanthropic purposes. A fuller exposition of his principles and their application must be reserved for the present, but at this point it will be appropriate to make one or two quotations from speeches of his own. In his Presidential Address to the Conference (1909) he said: "Probably the greatest event of my life occurred on January 1, 1877. On that day my wife and I made a written vow that we would devote a definite and well-considered share of our income for religious and humanitarian work, and that this should be a first charge, and that we should not give to the Lord something when we had finished with everything else. Up to that time I had never heard a sermon or an address upon systematic giving; but I was much helped in my decision by reading a small pamphlet entitled 'Uncle Ben's Bag' by the late Rev. John Ross. This is nearly thirty-three years ago, but since that date we have often increased the proportion, so that the original percentage is now left far behind. As our income has increased, we have felt that religious and humanitarian work had a greater claim upon us. The distribution of the Lord's portion has been the greatest joy of my life, and a real means of grace; it has kept me in constant touch with the promotion of Christ-like work of all kinds; and anything I have been able to do for our Church and humanity (including profit-sharing with my workpeople for over twenty years) has grown out of the vow that my wife and I made thirty-three years ago."
Seventeen years earlier in the address he gave as Vice-President of the Conference (1892) he said: "The real, deep, lasting, and genuine happiness of my own Christian life began about sixteen years ago, when I was led to see how dishonouring to God it was to give money for His cause in a spasmodic manner, and how much more satisfactory and honouring to Him it must be to give help just in the proportion He gave to me. Let me urge you to take Him into partnership and give Him cheerfully and ungrudgingly His share. I started sixteen years ago with setting aside ten per cent. of my total income (I make no deduction for household expenses, or any other expenses) and several years ago I increased it to fifteen per cent. At the present time I am setting aside twenty per cent.--say one-fifth of my total gross income for Christ-like work."
The cynic, who prides himself on never giving people credit for good motives when he can discover bad ones, or who is perpetually belittling noble conduct which rebukes his own mean and paltry nature, will say that it was quite easy for Mr. Hartley to give away large sums of money, for he was a very wealthy man. To this it is enough to reply that the vow was deliberately made and scrupulously kept when he was anything but wealthy. When he and his wife decided to set aside ten per cent. of their gross income, before they touched it for their own necessities, they had a family of six children and an income of £5 a week. But that is not all. This was in the period of acute struggle, when capital was urgently needed for his business. And yet the resolution to give God the first share was strictly kept.
When we think of all that has come out of this resolution, which was adopted in no impulsive mood under the stimulus of some sudden but transient glow of feeling, but had been carefully pondered and calmly and deliberately made, we cannot help feeling that that New Year's Day was a red-letter day, and not in their lives only.
The removal to Aintree was determined not simply by the need for expansion but in order to secure connexion with the railway. The new works were opened in 1886, a large warehouse was built in 1891, a second in 1899-90, a third in 1923, while a fourth is now in process of construction. The factory is self-contained in every respect, and every trade that is necessary is represented in it such as coopers, joiners, box-makers. The jars are made at Melling or St. Helens. All the water needed is pumped by machinery. The factory has its own railway sidings with two locomotives which do all the shunting. In the busy season six trains come in during the day and two hundred waggons are handled. Mr. Hartley chartered his ships and had his own bonded ware houses. Two thousand boxes are often made in a day; the timber, sawn into the requisite sizes, is imported from Norway. Twenty-eight thousand boxes had been sent out during the week before my last visit. The works cover ten acres, and every part has been carefully planned for its own special function and its relation to the whole. It is interesting to record that one of the last additions which Sir William made was intended to facilitate the motor loading. A plot used as a garden was turned into a loading berth which has made the loading of the motors much more easy and convenient for the workers.
Before reference is made to the work carried on in the factory it will be well to complete what has been said about Aintree by reference to the London works. For a long time Mr. Hartley's trade was almost entirely restricted to the North and the Mid lands, and he did not seek to extend it into the South of England. But the demand came, partly through his growing fame, partly through the refusal of his devotees to be put off with anything but his products. It grew so much that the necessity had to be faced either of ampler accommodation at Aintree, or new premises in London or the neighborhood. The latter solution was adopted. The buildings covered two acres. There were 370 tan pits and a linoleum factory on the site. These had to be dealt with, and at a later period, before the war, a whole street of offices had to be pulled down. The factory was much larger than the London County Council allows any single building to be. To minimise the risk from fire no building is allowed to contain more than 250,000 cubic feet. Mr. Hartley's new works contained more than 1,500,000 cubic feet. They had accordingly to be built in several sections connected by passages, but guarded from the spread of fire by thick walls and fireproof doors. The factory was designed to produce over four hundred tons a week which, with the six hundred produced at Aintree, made a total of over a thousand tons a week. Storage was provided for from 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 jars. It was opened on June 25, 1901.
It was a great venture of faith. The cost was naturally enormous and for several years no profit at all was made. On this I may quote a letter he wrote to Mr. Meakin, a Primitive Methodist minister in London on January 12, 1905.
"Yours of the 6th has had much more than usual consideration. We have made no money in London yet. Our works are very large and the cost of the freehold site and of the works plant, stock and working capital, together with the excessive rates and taxes in London, make it difficult to make any profit for a while. We shall make some profit I hope after another year or two, because we are gradually getting the ear of the London buyers, who will in time know the fine quality of our stuff.
"After what I have said you will feel that I cannot help London work as I would like, but it will be a pleasure to me to give the last £100 of the present debt on the mission premises.
"I wish your work every success."
As this letter anticipated, the venture of faith was soon justified and the business having established its reputation in the South moved forward at ever-accelerating speed.
From this general statement about the buildings I pass on to the process of manufacture, reserving some points for special mention in connexion with the treatment of the workpeople. Believing that the people would rapidly appreciate real excellence, he set before himself from the first the highest standard of quality. In a letter he wrote to a correspondent in 1906 he said:
"I trust that I may be pardoned for saying that in my own business I have tried for forty years to make the best possible article, and to turn it out in the best style, believing that high-class quality will not only bring reputation, but dividend, and it is on this basis that I venture to make my suggestion."
He kept a vigilant eye on the quality of the materials. When the London works were opened he gave a description of the materials employed, in which he said: "Our preserves and marmalade are all made direct from the fresh fruit, some of which we grow on our own farms; the remainder is either grown specially for us or carefully selected from the London markets. All the raspberries and strawberries we use are English; we never have any foreign whatever. This is not a recent decision, but has been our invariable practice for thirty years. The fruit is generally gathered and preserved on the same day, and filled direct into the stoneware jars where it remains intact without further disturbance until it is actually consumed. Perhaps I ought to say that all the preserves and marmalade made at these works will be from fresh fruit and lump sugar and no other ingredient whatever. We do not use glass jars because our method is to fill the jam into the jars immediately it is boiled, so that glass jars would not stand the heat without constant breakages and most serious risk of pieces of broken glass getting into the jam, therefore for twenty years we have practically used only the highly glazed stoneware jars."
When the fruit was unloaded at the private railway siding it had to be cleaned. Mr. Hartley was specially interested in machines for cleaning fruit, and I can testify to their efficiency from actual observation. The fruit was then placed in large pans and boiled by steam. The steam was drawn away by electric fans, working at 650 revolutions a minute. The pans were suspended on sockets and were therefore easy to tilt when the jam was ready to be poured out. It was then poured into copper-lined troughs and wheeled away to be transferred to the pots, which, after an effective cleansing, were invariably inverted until the time came for them to be used. When filled they were taken to the warehouse. In July, 1906, three eminent physicians inspected the whole process of manufacture and made this report.
"We are pleased to testify that we have gone through the whole building and watched the processes of manufacture from beginning to end, and I must say that we are exceedingly well pleased with the entire arrangements. The fruit was most excellent; its condition could not have been better, and everything used in the manufacture of the jam was all that we could desire. We were very much impressed with the sanitary arrangements and the perfect system of ventilation which you have here. Everything was clean and fresh, the workers were neat and tidy, and your whole system, apparently, is so devised that there is the minimum handling of the fruit. Another point which occurred to us was the thoroughness with which the fruit is preserved. The great boiling heat in those cauldrons which we saw would sterilize anything. It would be impossible for anything to come out of the pans which was not perfectly sterile after being subjected to that fierce heat."
It will be observed that the whole process was completed without delay. It is not unusual in the manufacture of jam for the fruit to be turned into pulp and kept in that state for a considerable time. The reason for this is that the rush of fruit is so great (the strawberry season, for example, lasts three weeks), that all attention is paid to the preserving of it, the subsequent stages being postponed till the workpeople can be spared to complete them. The disadvantage of this is that fermentation may set in and preservatives are accordingly introduced. On the method which was followed in Mr. Hartley's factories the fruit was potted with all its valuable qualities intact and fermentation could not be set up. Moreover, nothing but fresh fruit and sugar was used.
In this connexion attention may be called to a letter he wrote on August 7, 1906, to the Right Hon. John Burns, who was at the time in charge of the Government department concerned, in which he said:
"I am satisfied that all the high-class jam manufacturers, the entire body of public analysts, together with over 95 per cent. of the medical profession are earnestly desirous that these recommendations should be passed into Law.
"As the Law now stands jam manufacturers who make the best possible article, without any preservative, are much handicapped by the competition of inferior houses who still continue to use salicylic acid. There should be a common basis for all manufacturers.
"The use of salicylic acid is prohibited in America and I believe in several continental countries, and I think it ought to be either allowed by Law and the quantity limited and defined, with its presence named upon the label, or it should be absolutely prohibited."
In accordance with his principle of examining everything himself, not only did he exercise careful supervision over the quality of the fruit and the sugar and the process of preserving, but on the day after the fruit had been boiled he personally tested every sample of every boiling of jam. He would be at the factory at six in the morning and often examined a thousand jars. Nine jars were placed on a stand at a time and brought to him. He touched the paper covering of each in order to test the consistency of the jam. His great delicacy of touch was a valuable asset. This occupied an hour and a half, during which he was standing most of the time. The result of his examination would determine his policy for the day and the formula used. In this way the boilers started right at seven o'clock. More scientific methods have since been introduced. As illustrating his care of the fruit, it may be added that flags were used in place of concrete wherever fruit had to be stored. The regulation in the factories is that all fruit, if it has to be stored, even if only for a few hours, has to be placed on flags, not concrete. The Aintree manager, Mr. Rigsby, tells me that he has tested the matter for himself with oranges and found that it makes 25 per cent. difference in value in a week according as they are stored on concrete or flags, the reason being the natural porosity of stone as against concrete. The regulation suggests that Mr. Hartley must have been struck by the fact that the old people always kept milk on flags and was thus led to adopt the practice.
The quality of the product itself may be indicated by reference to an editorial article in Science Siftings. It contains an analysis of the jam and the editor adds: "Both the bottled fruit and the jams under the most rigorous scrutiny proved to be equally beyond reproach."
There was no detail in connexion either with the business or the workers that he was not himself fully-prepared to discuss, and he expected his managers and his secretaries to be equally ready.
The correspondence was naturally very large, and he was usually free for letters after breakfast. The letters were arranged in a certain order--the business letters first and the more important of these on the top. He dictated his replies, and while he was not naturally a ready public speaker he had remarkable facility in dictation. His language was good and his thought unfolded in regular form. He never took a holiday, except it was on the Continent, without being accompanied by a secretary for purposes of the business. Towards the end of the last century he had an attack of rheumatic fever in the South of France and, to the vexation of the doctor, his confidential secretary used to go to his bedroom for work. Although he was so ill and suffering so acutely he issued his own bulletin.
As the business grew to enormous proportions much care had to be taken in the financing of it. As he was far too good a business man to leave a large amount of capital standing idle so that it might be ready for use in the business season, it was necessary for him to have a very large overdraft at the bank during this period of the year, which would be reduced till it was wiped out as the payments for his goods came in. Of course when new works or warehouses were erected the capital expenditure was enormous and might involve a prolonged overdraft. For example, there is an interesting entry in a diary on January 27, 1890, to the effect that his banking account was that day in credit and he had given notice that he should not require any overdraft for some time to come, if at all. Then he adds: "I have been looking forward to this day for 3-1/2 years since I built the Aintree works, and am much pleased to see it." A letter he wrote on September 15, 1903, two years after the London works were opened, may be quoted appropriately at this point:
"I regret that I cannot send you any more money as I owe my bankers to-day £106,000. My business in Liverpool and London is very large and takes an enormous sum of money. I consecrate a definite and liberal portion of my total income for Christlike work and use the money as a steward, and although I owe my bankers £106,000 I need not owe them that large sum if I was content with a smaller business, or if I had not built the new works in London, and I cannot allow humanitarian work to suffer until I pay the bank off. I must serve the Lord every day to the best of my ability."
I must touch elsewhere on the difficulties created by the war and conditions after the war, but I may quote at this point from a letter he wrote to me on March 23, 1920.
"Money is very scarce, and the Banks are very tight and have more or less considerable objection to lend money even for good business purposes, and now that sugar, fruit and everything we use is three or four times as dear as it was in pre-war times, it takes an immense amount of extra capital, many hundreds of thousands to work the business."
The reputation of an employer of labour largely stands or falls with his treatment of those whom he employs. No munificent gifts to the Churches, no lavish expenditure on philanthropy, can atone for failure here. It is therefore vital to ascertain how Mr. Hartley stood this test. Our answer may start from a statement of his own. At a Young Men's Class a paper was read in which it was stated that he paid wages to some of his female employees of such a character that in order to make a living no option was left them but to lead immoral lives, Mr. Hartley was naturally both distressed and indignant at a statement so criminally reckless and so spitefully untrue. His reply was as follows:
"1. I pay from 20 per cent. to 40 per cent. more for female labour than the general payment by my competitors or others in Liverpool and neighbourhood.
"2. In July, 1903, I voluntarily increased the wages of all my workpeople both male and female. I had not a single complaint from any person, but being desirous to crush selfishness in some measure, I voluntarily increased the wages, and this cost me at the rate of £2,000 a year. This is the third time that I have made a voluntary increase in the past ten or twelve years.
"3. I have practised profit-sharing for seventeen years. The total amount distributed from the beginning up to last January was over £37,000, and all my people get a share of the profits, both men and women.
"4. I provide a fully qualified medical man who has resided in Aintree more than ten years, to attend upon all my workpeople free. There is no club and no charge is made. I pay the doctor an annual fee for his services.
"5. I have a large number of superior houses in the village with exceedingly low rents, the largest proportion of them being 3s. 6d. and 4s. 6d. per week, which includes rates, taxes and water.
"6. My reputation in Aintree and Liverpool as a generous employer is so great that every year in July when our fruit season comes round we have such an enormous number of women desiring to work for us, a thousand or more, that every year we have to employ a county police officer for several weeks to keep order, so great is the desire of the women to work for us, a large number of whom make application season after season. This shows that the women are well pleased with the conditions of their employment."
The gravity of the gross accusation to which Mr. Hartley made so complete and so crushing a reply was enhanced by the fact that owing to the character of the business the preponderance of female over male labour was so enormous. Profit-sharing must receive separate attention. But some of the other points mentioned in his reply will bear further elucidation; and in addition special attention must be directed to the conditions under which the work of the factory was done.
As in other cases, so in his relations with his work people, his conduct was controlled by the Golden Rule. Speaking to an interviewer in 1898, he said: "I have always had the happiest relations with my people. If you ask me how it is to be accounted for, I can only say that it has been my aim from the first to do to them as I would wish to be done by. Three times within recent years the wages have been advanced unasked, and the last advance cost me £1,400 a year."
He felt that their interests were identical with his own and that they had a claim to share in the prosperity of the business. He was constantly on the alert to devise schemes for their welfare and to make the conditions of their work easier. One of his favourite maxims was that the work should be made attractive to the worker. In view of the great preponderance of female labour, the number of women and girls being in proportion to the men and boys as four to one, it was natural that special attention should be paid to the lightening of physical strain. If a piece of work seemed to be at all difficult he would say: "What can be done to take the hardness out of this job? Never mind the cost." Many hundreds of pounds were frequently spent in saving labour, when the expenditure brought no financial return. His altruistic policy was expressed in the pithy maxim, "Leave the money in the bones of the worker." Graduated slopes with very easy gradients were provided for the girls to push the trucks of which there are 800 in the Aintree factory. Miniature tram lines were laid down to facilitate the work. There are six miles of these tram lines in the factory and one mile in the new warehouse. On one occasion some tram trucks were sent and were found to be unduly heavy. He saw them work, he tried them himself and said, "Scrap them." In the specification for the new trucks roller bearings were ordered to make them run as easily as possible. Nor did the work of the men go without similar attention. In the early days the wheeling of the sugar was an arduous task; now in both factories ingenious machinery has been installed to save this labour. After the opening of the London works the Croydon Chronicle made a comment which may be fitly quoted here.
"Of course the requirements of modern life are such that a great deal of work has to be done by machinery; but, to the credit of Mr. Hartley be it said, he has seen that his men have become the masters of the machines instead of their slaves, and thus has made of industrialism a blessing and not, what it is in many cases, an unmitigated curse."
The best proof of the excellence of the conditions under which the women and girls work was afforded by an inspection carried through by women who would have been very competent to detect any oppressive treatment or unduly severe conditions of labour. Miss Gertrude Tuckwell, who was at the time honorary secretary of the Industrial Law Committee, lectured in Liverpool on sweating and insanitary workrooms. She had specially in mind certain small London laundries, but as she mentioned jam factories and the lecture was delivered in Liverpool, Mr. Hartley felt it necessary to take up the matter. He invited Mrs. Allan Bright, who presided at the lecture, to inspect the Aintree works, accompanied by Miss Tuckwell or anyone else, and assured them that they would have the opportunity of asking any questions they wished from any of the female workers. As Miss Tuckwell had then left for a visit to Spain, Mrs. Bright was accompanied by Miss Forman. They thoroughly inspected all the female workrooms. They watched the various processes in actual operation, they stepped into the pits in which the girls stand when they are filling the jam pots to save stooping and to relieve the feet from fatigue. They cross-questioned the women and girls in the works and at the surgery. They explored the village with its model dwellings and its bowling green, and carefully examined a cottage, the weekly rental of which with rates, taxes and water was only 2s. 6d. Mrs. Bright's own statement at the close of the inspection may be given in her own words: "With regard to Mr. Hartley's factory, everything here is most perfect. I regret that the factory is not still larger so that even more hands could be employed under such excellent sanitary conditions. Miss Forman and I asked the many women and girls with whom we conversed whether there were any fines, and we were informed, in every case, that no fines were known. One woman, with nearly twenty years' service, said she had never heard of any such thing as fines at this factory. We asked the patients at the surgery, and they replied to the same effect. We did not see any ground for supposing that there is heavy weight-lifting by females. The ventilation of the factory is admirable. We saw the electric fans working, and were struck with the extremely effective ventilation and the drawing off of the steam."
On several occasions Mr. Hartley took the opportunity afforded by his address at the Profit-Sharing to encourage his workpeople to come to him if they were in any trouble--"and undoubtedly," he said, "many are often in distress from various causes"--and he would always be pleased to do his best to help them. But he made the qualification that he would not on any consideration help anyone who spent his money in drink, because he had no sympathy with drink in any shape or form. The plan which he adopted for allocating the money to be distributed at the Profit-Sharing necessitated personal knowledge of the workers. His own words are worth quoting on this point: "This means that I must be in personal touch with practically every one of my workpeople, and I am sure it works well. They all feel that they are not lost in the size of the business but are in direct contact with me, and they like this, while, of course, it stimulates them to do their best. There is nothing like it for cementing good feeling between employer and employed, and I really think it would be better for both parties if the system were generally adopted."
In this connexion it may be added that a Benevolent Fund was started at the works and it was managed by a committee elected by those employed in the business. On one occasion (May 21, 1894) Mr. Hartley placed £1,000 to the credit of this fund. In addition to the engagement of a doctor to attend upon all the workpeople free he also provided a trained nurse for the same purpose. One year he took all his employees who were over eighteen years of age for a five days' trip to the Glasgow Exhibition and a long sail to the Isle of Arran. He paid them their full wages during the holiday and defrayed their travelling, hotel and exhibition expenses.
At the opening of the year 1909 Sir William announced at the annual profit-sharing an important new departure. He had for some years, he said, been thinking of establishing a pension fund for his workpeople. He had long felt that workers of good character who had rendered long and excellent service ought to receive such recognition. He would have spoken to them on the subject at least two or three years earlier but felt that he must wait until the Government bill had been settled. He was now satisfied that this need not interfere with the scheme he had in his mind but would on the contrary be of assistance to it. His own earnest desire and endeavour would be so to shape it that no deserving man or woman who had spent the best of his days in their service and lived a consistent, respectable, and thrifty life need be worried as to their means of livelihood in their declining days. No absolute age limit would be fixed, but all would be eligible, both men and women, whether their need arose from old age, accident or infirmity, provided they met the conditions named. He desired them all to have savings of their own so far as circumstances permitted and this would be considered no barrier to their receiving a pension or reason for lessening the amount, but rather the reverse. To give the pension fund what he considered to be a fair and moderate start he had decided to transfer to it from that night the sum of £5,000. No contributions would be asked from the workpeople; it would therefore be free from actuarial calculations; and since he proposed to contribute the whole himself no complications could arise. When the £5,000 was used up, the fund would naturally come to an end; but there was at present no serious demand upon it and in case of need both principal and interest could be exhausted, so it would last for a considerable time. The administration would be in the hands of trustees appointed by himself well-known to them and trusted by all. The granting, withholding or continuing of pensions would be at their absolute discretion. The trustees would act with him during his life and would continue to act after his death. His view was that, speaking generally, workpeople should contribute to a pension fund where such a fund was in existence; but he had adopted a non-contributory scheme so as to avoid actuarial calculations. He expressed the hope of increasing the sum in future years.
In 1910 he added £500, and £1,000 in 1911. At the profit-sharing
of 1915 the fund had been raised to £11,119. At that gathering he
announced that he had executed a document putting the fund into legal form,
thus making it absolutely certain that, whatever happened, the money could be
used for pensions alone. In March, 1916, soon after he had celebrated his
seventieth birthday, he explained that when the War Loan was issued in July,
1915, he invested in it the sum at which the Pension Fund then stood,
£11,200. On his seventieth birthday he decided to put this fund on a
satisfactory basis; he therefore transferred £10,000 of his own War Loan
investment to the fund, which thus stood at £21,200. He thought that he
would not have to pay anything more to it as he believed that it was now
adequate for all purposes. Moreover, he had transferred the whole of the amount
from his own name into the names of trustees. He pointed out that the money he
had contributed to the London and Liverpool hospitals, along with that given to
the Pension Fund, had exhausted the whole of his War Loan investment amounting
Employers are now compelled to provide dining accommodation for workers who cannot get home in the middle of the day. Here also Mr. Hartley was a pioneer. He was one of the first, probably the first, to provide a dining-room for his workers. The men and women have separate accommodation. The dining-hall for the women measures 82 feet by 42 feet. The men's dining-room is naturally much smaller; it measures 36 feet by 17 feet. In these rooms 750 can dine at once. They are on the ground floor together with the stores, pantries, etc. The provision for cooking, which includes a large bakery, is on a very elaborate scale since, in the height of the season, 1,000 to 1,500 dinners have to be prepared every day. As the rooms are in use for several hours in the day and during this time 3,000 to 4,000 meals are served, the question of ventilation is of great importance. Mr. Hartley wished the party that dined at one o'clock to have the benefit of an atmosphere as good as the party that dined at twelve. Immense trouble had been taken to secure the best system, and Mr. Hartley, in company with the architect, visited a considerable number of buildings, so as to secure not only the best general system but to avoid regrettable mistakes in detail. The atmosphere can be renewed, if necessary, thirteen times in an hour, and it is purified before it is forced into the rooms and warmed in cold weather to whatever temperature is required. I was present when the dining-hall was opened and had personal opportunity of observing the efficiency of the system, and indeed have an entertaining recollection that some who were not used to over-much fresh air found the system, if anything, too efficient. At the close of the tea and the speeches Mr. Hartley announced that the temperature of the room was only one degree higher than when the room was empty. It was his desire that every thing in the cooking department should be both nice and cheap. Accordingly, while all arrangements were made that the food should be as well prepared as possible, the meals were provided at cost price, since he would make no profit out of them. It should be added that although this dining-room was erected several years after the Aintree works were opened, Mr. Hartley had not waited so long before providing for the needs of his work people. But the original dining-hall had proved too small and the accommodation generally had been found insufficient.
Close to the works Mr. Hartley also erected a model village. Rental including rates, taxes and water was from 2s. 6d. a week. A five-roomed cottage was let for 3s. 6d. a week. He also built a number of better houses to be sold at cost price to working men, who might include others than his own workpeople. His method was to charge 3-3/4 per cent. on the amount of the purchase money and for part of the principal to be paid off each month, the repayment being complete within a period of twenty years. The purchaser could pay it off in a shorter period if he so desired. So far back as his early Aintree period Mr. Hartley was keenly interested in the question of housing which has now become so acute. He had a very good opinion of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain's Housing Act and made suggestions to him when it was being prepared. He wished that it could be more generally adopted. The cottages for the workpeople were provided with gardens, the streets were wide, there was a central bowling green and a field for football and hockey. At the rear he preserved a passage of 12 feet. This was a point in which he was interested when he was a member of the Liverpool City Council. He fought strenuously to secure the improvement in the city regulations by which a minimum passage of 9 feet was required.
His system of Profit-Sharing also illustrates his relations with his workpeople, but it is best reserved for separate description. A further point, however, should be mentioned here. One of the great difficulties which arose out of the nature of the work was that of finding employment for the full number of workpeople in the slack season when no fruit could be obtained. The number of women and girls employed accordingly varied at Aintree from about 600 to 2,000. This was necessitated by the fact that the process of jam-making was completed at one time and not, as in many factories, left incomplete in the busy season for completion in the slack period. Marmalade, of course, could be made in the winter, but here again the quality of the product determined the date. He would have been willing to open his marmalade season some weeks before Christmas but he felt compelled to adhere to the use of Seville oranges alone, and as these are grown near the coast and on high ground the fruit did not reach him till about December 20.
He maintained very cordial relations with his staff. He picked his own men and trained them in his own methods. He would provide necessary technical training also. Since Chemistry was an essential factor in the business he would give a manager a full Chemistry course at his own expense. He exercised such an attraction on members of his staff that it was a pleasure for them to do what they could for him. He knew how to get the best out of every man. Once, after an additional boiler had been built in thirteen weeks, he said to one of his managers, "I want you a minute." To show his appreciation of the way in which the work had been done he had some heaps of sovereigns on the table. He put one of the heaps, containing £50, into an envelope, handed it to the manager and slipped away before he had the opportunity to thank him.
At the profit-sharing, January, 1910, he acknowledged a presentation given to his wife and himself at Christmas, On his arrival home from the office on Christmas Eve he found a large and beautiful silver table-centre accompanied by an illuminated address. This read:
"Dear Sir William and Lady Hartley,--
"The officials, travellers, office staff, and works' employees of the Aintree establishment ask your acceptance of this piece of plate in acknowledgment of much kindness received by them during many years, and unite in sending you and your family the season's greetings, praying that you may have continued health and prosperity.
"Aintree, Christmas, 1909."
He expressed his own and Lady Hartley's appreciation of their kindness and their admiration for the artistic design but, more than all, their thanks for such a token of goodwill. He added that it was always a pleasure to do anything he could for their welfare, and it was a source of much gratification to himself and his family to know that for a number of years they had been able to work together in that satisfactory manner.
A few words may be appropriately added at this point on his relation with those from whom he purchased his fruit. His usual principle was to determine the price himself after the fruit had been delivered. One grower who felt that this was "not business" insisted on the price being fixed beforehand. Mr. Hartley acquiesced; but the price was much less than he would have actually given had the matter been left to his discretion. I remember how more than thirty years ago a friend of my own was talking to a Herefordshire fruit grower who supplied Mr. Hartley with strawberries. Quite unaware that my friend knew something of Mr. Hartley in another connexion, he told him that he had such confidence in him that he left the fixing of the price entirely to him and found it altogether satisfactory. Another friend tells me that on one occasion Mr. Hartley had engaged to purchase black currants at a fixed price. It turned out that there was a great scarcity that season, but this man fortunately had a very good crop. Mr. Hartley paid him the market price, which was far higher than that which had been agreed upon.
A much more remarkable example has been communicated to me by the Rev. J. T. Barkby. He was dining one night at the National Liberal Club with a number of friends. Sir Henry Holloway said to him: "I heard a lovely story about your father-in-law a little while ago. I was up in Scotland and was in the company of a cultured gentleman who was a fruit farmer. I asked him what he did with his fruit and he said, 'I send all of it to Sir William Hartley, and I shall not send any to anyone else.' 'That is a great thing to say,' I replied. 'Yes, and I mean it,' the farmer said, 'and if you had experienced at the hands of another the kindness that Sir William has shown me, you would say the same. Last season was a bad season. I had arranged with Sir William about the price as usual and had sent on my stuff to him. Unfortunately the farms produced much less than was expected. There was a shortage of fruit and the price went up, so that I was losing heavily. Without my saying a word to Sir William I one day received a letter from him in which he said, "I am sure you must be losing money on the fruit you are sending to me; tell me frankly the position." I wrote and acknowledged the receipt of his letter saying how good he was to me and at the same time laying before him the facts of the situation. He replied, saying how sorry he was for me, and quite spontaneously sent on a cheque for a large sum of money to help to cover my deficiency. Do you wonder that I say what I do in relation to sending to Sir William?'" Mr. Barkby tells me that he believes the cheque sent by Sir William was for some thousands of pounds. He wrote to Sir William, thinking that the story would cheer him in his illness, but the letter reached his house on the morning of the day on which he had passed away.
Although it is not strictly relevant to our present topic this may be the most convenient place in which to relate a similar incident which Mr. Barkby has communicated to me. In conjunction with Mr. John Bunting, Sir William had purchased several mills in Oldham. These mills had been partially erected in the time of prosperity by some who were engaged in different businesses, for example as machine-makers, engineers, boiler-makers, with a view to getting business and furnishing the mills with such things as they made. They took part of the cost of things in shares, only partially paid up. Trade became bad; they were unable to finish the mills and were called upon to pay up much of their share capital. Some of them were unable to do this and had to compound with their creditors. Sir William and Mr. Bunting acquired the mills at a public auction. Trade improved and the mills made money. Sir William said to Mr. Barkby that he felt it was not right for him to be making money out of these mills while some of the men who had built them had lost their all. One week he sent for one of the men, a boiler-maker or engineer, who came with not the slightest idea of Sir William's reason in sending for him. Sir William told him that he did not feel that he could pocket all this money out of the mills whilst his visitor had lost so much. To his bewilderment and overwhelming gratitude Sir William gave him a cheque for a thousand pounds. Mr. Barkby adds that he believes that some time later Sir William gave him another thousand pounds. He says that these incidents are only typical of what Sir William was doing for many years. I am glad to have the opportunity of relating them--they were quite unknown to me--since Mr. Barkby as Sir William's son-in-law and his minister in Southport for twelve years had exceptional opportunities of knowing what the giver himself would have been the last to publish abroad.
Sir William once told me that some of his foreign growers had suffered heavily owing to some natural catastrophe and that he was sending them a considerable sum of money to alleviate their disaster. And it is worth while to quote a letter which he sent to me in 1907 which is incidentally a striking revelation of the man. The condition of things described created great difficulties for himself, but it is not on these that he dwells. He wrote.
"Up to the present we have had a most anxious and pessimistic season and all my strawberry growers are exceedingly depressed. The strawberries are there, but the sun is not there, therefore they only ripen at about one-sixth the usual speed, and in a word the weather is so cold, wet and sunless, that the strawberry crop is now certain to be well below the average--indeed only the very best of the fruit can survive the weather conditions. Unless there is an almost immediate change in the weather the crop will be nearly ruined, which means that my growers can hardly survive the financial shock. I name all this to show the great difficulties under which my strawberry growers are working; in a word, every heart knows its own bitterness."
I have left to the last perhaps the most crucial of all the tests, the rate of wages. On this it will be enough, in addition to what has been already said, to select two of his utterances, each delivered on the occasion of his profit-sharing. Speaking at the close of 1897 he pointed out that most of his workpeople were engaged in ordinary unskilled duties. He had always paid the full rate of wages current in Liverpool, and indeed much more, as he had voluntarily advanced the rate of wages, especially for women, during the last seven years. The last advance which had been made on June 22, the day of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, had cost £1,400 a year. Such was his desire for his workpeople to be properly paid that if it could be shown to him that in any department of his works his wages were not as high or higher than in the works of his Liverpool competitors, he would not only be willing, but pleased, to increase such wages immediately.
Speaking at the London profit-sharing fourteen years later, in January, 1912, he said:
"We have also gone carefully over the duties and the wages of each person in our employ. After considering the merit and the work of each of you we have decided to voluntarily advance the wages of 277 of our work people. It is not only our duty, but it is a real pleasure to endeavour to crush selfishness and to voluntarily advance your wages without being asked to do so. The advance includes most of the permanent day workers, and we have endeavoured to do justice to you all. We have desired especially to watch the interests of our women workers. We looked into your wages carefully at the last profit-sharing, so that the advance you will receive at the next pay day will be over and above the increases that were made a year ago."
Among the best-known features of Mr. Hartley's business was his system of profit-sharing. He saw the account of a Frenchman who had adopted the system, and this first set him thinking on the subject. But in his own opinion he would never have adopted the practice but for the training he had given himself in systematic and proportionate giving. The Rev. George Trusler has told me that he said to him that the greatest battle of the kind which he had fought turned on the question whether he should introduce profit-sharing into his business. He added: "No one asked for it, no one expected it, no one had a claim upon it, it might be resented by some in the trade. I paid a little more than others for the work done, but I felt it my duty and privilege and shall continue to do it."
Before I describe his method it will be well to indicate his views on co-partnership. He dealt with the subject most fully in an address he delivered in 1921.
Co-partnership, he said, was an excellent idea. It was strongly recommended by thousands of the best people in the country. Theoretically it was perfect. He was afraid, however, it would not work out so well in their special case. He had given much thought to it, and his view was that if there was co-partnership between his workpeople and himself it would be worse for the workpeople. He did not think there was a single man or woman in his employ who would get the same financial benefit under co-partnership as they now did in their present liberal system of profit-sharing. Suppose he invited his people to invest their savings in the Aintree business, he did not believe that the most thrifty, the most economical, and the most saving among them could invest as much money as would bring them in more than half the amount in dividends as they now got in profit-sharing, because the total capital required would be so very large compared with the small amount that each of their workpeople would be able to put in. Even at the best in their case, there could only be a limited co-partnership because of the extra casual labour unfortunately needed in each fruit season. In addition to these there was the large preponderance of female workers, a large number of whom could not stay long enough in their employ to enter upon a co-partnership scheme. At the same time he repeated that there was nothing but good to be said about co-partnership between masters and men, and he hoped it would spread far and wide.
In the same speech he quoted with warm approval what Sir Christopher Furness said to the shipbuilders in his employ when he offered them co-partnership. In this the speaker dwelt on the true conception of partnership and the principles he expounded were warmly endorsed by Sir William.
A quotation of what he said to a journalist in January, 1909, will show that his views at this date were identical with those he expressed twelve years later.
"Theoretically co-partnership is best, but in practice I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that it would not work out anything like so well for the employee as my system. Not even the most thrifty could save enough money to put into the business to bring them in as dividend what they now get as their share of the profits. As it works out, of course, my method is a sort of co-partnership, only the capital the employee puts in is not money but energy, and he gets rewarded according to the amount of energy he invests."
He was quite ready to admit that his method might not be universally suitable. When the question was put to him whether it would be possible to follow it in other business concerns he replied: "That is a difficult question to answer. I understand my own business, but cannot pretend to be as well acquainted with other people's. The system I adopt could not be applied in every case; but the principle should be capable of application in most business concerns. The spirit of profit-sharing is to my mind the great thing."
He dissented from the practice which was adopted by most firms which practised profit-sharing. Nearly all of them reserved one-half or two-thirds of the money, if not the whole, and invested it either in a bank or in the firm itself or in some other way so that it might be useful to the owners in time of need. He had considered the matter from time to time and always reached the conclusion that it was better to give the money at once to the workers and depend upon their discretion for making the best use of it. He lamented, however, that so few firms adopted the system. He had many inquiries from other employers of labour requesting him to furnish particulars on the subject. Almost invariably the question was asked if profit-sharing paid. His reply was always that he did not look closely into that, but it was evident that if the profit was less then the profit-sharing would also be less. He simply asked himself was it right, was he doing as he would like to be done by. Having settled this, he began it and continued it. It is perhaps no cause for surprise that the correspondence usually terminated at this point. In an interview he gave in 1898 he said: "Profit-sharing is over and above a fair and just wage, and is given, not because I think it pays commercially--for I never ask myself that question--but because it seems to me right and doing as I would be done by." Ten years later he expressed himself much more definitely on this point. In reply to a representative of the Westminster Gazette he said that the system had justified all his hopes. He added: "Some twenty years ago I had to take the idea entirely upon trust, but since then it has proved such a success that I may say now that I believe it to be in all respects commercially sound and humanitarian."
He always drew a sharp distinction between profit-sharing and the payment of wages. It was natural that the people who reveal their own characters in the maxim that there is no such thing as disinterested generosity and assume that wherever it seems to be displayed there must be a trick somewhere, asserted that what was distributed at the profit-sharing had previously been saved out of wages. It has already been shown that this was entirely untrue, that the standard rate of wages was not only maintained but exceeded, and that voluntary advances had again and again been made. There was no legal claim to any share in the profits nor any business tradition or convention to create a legitimate expectation. His conviction from the outset of his career had been that the interests of employer and employed were mutual and not antagonistic. Of this profit-sharing was an expression. He said on one of the occasions when the money was distributed: "I cannot carry on the business without your co-operation, and I venture to think that in my capacity as your employer I render some service to you. Whatever pleasure it gives you to receive the profit-sharing, I can say with perfect sincerity that it gives me equal pleasure to hand it to you."
His method was as follows. After each yearly stocktaking he set aside the sum to be allocated for the purpose. The proportion of the total profit given to the workpeople steadily increased as his ideas broadened; so that, as he said at the profit-sharing in 1897, an amount which would have been impossible at the first had now become comparatively easy. The simplest and most obvious method would have been to base the amount paid to individuals upon the wages that they earned. The whole matter could then have been one of calculation to be carried through by the clerks. The method actually adopted was far more laborious and it cost the management, and above all, the head of the business, prolonged and anxious consideration. In the individual allocation the amount of wages received was, of course, taken into account. But it was modified by the principle that those should receive the largest share who in his opinion had put the most thought, heart, and conscience into their work. This, of course, involved constant observation throughout the year and delicate discrimination. He conferred with the heads of departments on the case of each individual. When he had secured their opinion as to the amount of energy and interest displayed he went over the names himself. And that not once only but several times. Not only did he go personally into every individual case but he entered every amount in his own hand. I may at this point quote two letters. On January 8, 1906, he said in a letter to the Rev. R. Blair: "I was tired yesterday and I am tired this morning, and on Saturday I could not bear to get up until five o'clock, and I was dictating my letters in bed across at Inglewood. Last week I had long and anxious work preparing for the profit-sharing, which takes a great deal to do; to go through all the names of our people and allot to each with accuracy and almost religious strictness the amount is really too big a job for me in addition to my ordinary daily duties."
The other letter he sent to me on March 28, 1919, explaining that he could not attend a meeting of the Methodist Union Committee on that day. It should be remembered that Sir William had completed his seventy-third year at this time.
"It is my thirtieth Annual Profit-sharing on Saturday next, and I could not possibly attend the Committee and also prepare the profit-sharing details, which is a very big job for me. Having the claims of about 800 persons to assess personally it takes hours and days of work to do it."
Exacting though the work was from the first, it was greatly increased when the London business had sufficiently developed to make a profit and justify a profit-sharing. Precisely the same method was followed here as at Aintree, though naturally he had not the opportunity of constant observation such as he enjoyed at Aintree. He felt that his method had the advantage that it involved personal contact between the employer and the employed which helped the workpeople to feel that they were counted as personalities in whom a human interest was taken and not as mere parts of a complex inhuman machine.
The annual profit-sharing was always an interesting occasion. The distribution was naturally the core of the proceedings; but music was always provided and there were speeches. The Chairman was often a man eminent in civic or national life whose speech was worthy of the occasion. The speech delivered by the head of the business was always an interesting feature of the ceremony. Something would be said in it of the system itself, the motives behind it, its influence in cementing friendly relations between employer and employed. He would urge the recipients to use the money wisely, sometimes putting in a plea that none of it should be spent on intoxicants or used for gambling. He would announce new developments which affected the interests of the workpeople. Occasionally he would offer his opinion on larger issues. Frequently he would express the conviction that even if voluntary profit-sharing was not a solution for all labour problems, the spirit of it would put an end to the conflicts between labour and capital. Nor would he shrink from touching on the religious root of his attitude and conduct in this matter. I may illustrate this from his address at the profit-sharing of December, 1894.
"I do not say that voluntary profit-sharing such as you will see to-day is a solution for all labour problems, neither do I claim for myself any special credit. I simply try in some measure to carry out the teaching of Jesus Christ. This much I perhaps may be allowed to say, that, if any persons are inclined to criticize my plan adversely, I would ask them to give it a trial in their own business and with their own employees; and they will find that by the time that they have reached the point of distributing the money they will have had hundreds of struggles with their natural selfishness."
He would also urge the recipients to put what energy they could into the business. Speaking at the London profit-sharing in January, 1912, he said: "I earnestly appeal to every one of you who receive profit-sharing to-day to put your whole heart into the business. There is no doubt that every one of us can put some initiative and originality into our work and in that way do something to help to make a profit. This will react on the profit-sharing from year to year. It took some years for our excellent quality to become known. The London public now know and appreciate our goods."
At the Aintree profit-sharing he said: "We have now reached our thirtieth distribution and can claim that profit-sharing has worked well with us. Our interests are mutual; I cannot get on without your assistance and I trust that I render some service to you. I want to appeal to you to do your best in the business interest. Be punctual at your work, and see that there is no waste of time or material either on your own part or on the part of others. Don't need supervision, but use your best efforts to make a profit. We have great competition and very properly the house that makes the best article at the most reasonable price should win. I want us to be that house. I rely on your co-operation."
Sir Edward Russell, the editor of the Liverpool Daily Post, more than once took the chair, and it will be fitting to add an extract from his speech at the gathering in January, 1912.
That profit-sharing alone--if they regarded the figures of it--was a great climax of generosity, and a continued climax of generosity from year to year. There was again the pension fund, which seemed to be Sir William's proposition, entirely generous on his part, and without doubt a great benefaction to their particular community. Then they were reminded of their own obligations to the community in which they lived by the gifts they made to the hospitals. Sir William had told them that the spirit of that profit-sharing was the absolute cure for labour evils. That he entirely agreed with. It was a spirit of mutual understanding. It was the spirit of each party placing itself in such a position as to take the point of view of the other.
It only remains to state that the total amount distributed in profit-sharings at Aintree and London up to the time of Sir William's death was £145,000. In the three years which have passed since his death an additional £27,000 has been distributed, making a total of £172,000 up to the end of 1924.
The root of Mr. Hartley's amazing career of philanthropy and support of Christian work was found by himself in the vow made on New Year's Day, 1877, to which reference has already been made. When the proportion was determined, that amount of his gross income was set apart, as he once put it, not in his head but in his books. He spoke on the subject again and again, and in view of the place it filled in his thought and the controlling influence it had in his life I have thought it well to quote his own utterances with exceptional fullness. But I may first summarize the grounds on which he based the necessity of systematic and proportionate giving. Only so, he urged, can we really know what we are giving and save ourselves from fond delusions as to our liberality. Many people imagine themselves to be far more generous in their gifts than they really are. For want of such a principle members of religious communions normally give no more than is extracted from them by the financial machinery of their Church. This method alone will enable us to solve successfully the grave financial difficulties which constantly hamper our Church work. But its reaction on character and religious experience is of the highest value. He felt that business men in particular needed some avenue of escape from the whole atmosphere of commercialism, and systematic giving provided it. It was the most effective instrument for securing the victory of the higher over the lower self. He said: "Nothing raises money to a higher plane and gives it a higher interest than systematic giving. I sit on my money; I don't let it sit on me. To distribute my money is a harder and more anxious task than making it." He once said to me when he had experienced very heavy losses that he was not troubled by them. "No one holds his money with a lighter hand than I do." He found in systematic giving the supreme means of grace, and believed that only in this way could the deepest joy in co-operation with God be attained. He never concealed from himself or from others the fact that his principle cost him hard struggles. The gift for making money was not by any means easily reconciled with the impulse to give it away. His commercial instincts would have led him not only to create the wealth but to hold it fast. Speaking at the end of 1897, with twenty-one years' experience of systematic giving behind him, he said that it had taught him to regard money as a talent to be used in some degree for the good of others--not as a beautiful theory only, but in the actual business of life. To serve humanity as they should they ought to be ready to give up some portion of what they would naturally like to keep. It was not easy to do that. On the contrary, it was extremely difficult. The lower self at once asserted its claim, and said, "I have it, and it is mine." But the higher self, if it was in full sympathy with the teaching of Jesus Christ, would rise above the temptation and be ready in some reasonable degree to share with others. That spirit could only find ample scope with the greatest possible determination. He once said: "If a man has crushed his own selfishness to any considerable degree, he has had something to do."
The obstinate resistance of the selfish nature he insisted upon many times. But as a practical man he recognized that the acceptance, once for all, of a guiding and inflexible principle protected him from the wear and tear of constant debate as each new appeal was made to his generosity. On this point he said: "If a man has to have a fight with the devil over every half-crown or five-pound note he gives away, he will often be worsted; he will imagine, too, that he is giving far more than he really is.[*] With my system the struggle only comes once a year and you know exactly where you are."
[*] Dr. J. H. Jowett made the same observation: "I have noticed that some people assume they are very generous, but it is simply because they have no system in their giving, and no record of their gifts."
But his experience was that the difficulty lessened as time went on. Speaking, in 1898, of the consecration of a definite share of his income to religious and philanthropic work he said: "This I conceive to be one of the best checks to that natural selfishness which is inherent in human nature. The man who resolutely carries out that principle will find that as he grows in wealth his ideas broaden and his liberality increases. Personally I find it easy comparatively to give a sum annually which would have been impossible to me, even if the money had been at my command, twenty years ago. This practice was to me a sort of moral education, a culture of conscience, and enabled me some years later to adopt my principle of profit-sharing."
Somewhat earlier he said: "Every succeeding year my ideas have broadened, so that what would have been impossible at first is now comparatively easy." What he felt to be the underlying principle was confessed in these memorable words: "The adoption of an enlightened policy is generally a gradual process, but the more we cultivate the spirit of Jesus Christ, the easier the thing becomes; and what appeared to us quite impossible at the beginning becomes not only possible but absolutely a joy."
When he had occasion to speak of the unwillingness of wealthy people to help good causes in a degree proportionate to their means, I have heard him quote the maxim: "Much will have more." On May 14, 1903, when he was ill with rheumatic gout, he wrote to Dr, F. B. Meyer who had asked him to help in raising a fund, which he thought ought to have been raised by rich London Free Churchmen. He told him that he felt very sad at the request, which should have been unnecessary. He added: "The fact is that unless men begin to give the Lord a share of what they get when they are comparatively young, the money becomes their master, and they are no happier for it, but much more stingy and miserable."
He held strongly that, as the income grew, the percentage of the money set aside for religious and philanthropic purposes should be increased. He observed with distress that the tendency was frequently in the other direction. If a man gave £40 out of an income of £400 he was often inclined to feel that to give £400 out of £4,000 would be very extravagant generosity. This would be because he contrasted the gifts rather than the capacity to pay and the amount left when the gifts had been subtracted. When these considerations were put in the foreground it was obvious that a percentage, which was adequate for a small income, might be quite inadequate when the income had become much larger. He recognized, with rare humility, that there were poor people who gave more than he did if measured by the qualitative rather than the quantitative test. Few things touched him more deeply than the sacrifices made by some of the very poor to help a worthy cause. His percentage was altered several times during the course of his career, and always to a higher level. Soon after I came to know him he told me that it was only a short time since he had emerged from his earlier business difficulties and that he had advanced cautiously in raising the percentage. He was anxious not to be compelled to recede from the highest point he had previously attained. Beginning with 10 per cent., he went forward by gradual stages till a third of his gross income was set aside as "the Lord's money."
While the distribution of this money was the greatest joy of his life it often cost him far more trouble and anxiety than the making of it. The number of applications was enormous and since not a few were marked "Confidential" the personal labour involved in dealing with them was greatly increased, especially when they were badly written on flimsy paper and with poor ink. But much of the correspondence dealt with trivial matters which ought never to have been permitted to consume the time of so busy a man. Leaving these aside, there was still a great mass of applications which deserved consideration. Many were humanitarian in character and occasioned by sickness, bereavement, poverty or disaster--distressing cases which appealed to his sympathies and merited his help. Others were definitely religious or ecclesiastical--the erection of new churches, reduction of Church debts, assistance to needy societies or circuits, bazaars, forward movements, church institutes. Many of these applications arose within his own denomination; but a great many also came from outside. In dealing with these he had certain principles to guide him. He felt that places with which he was specially associated had an exceptional claim upon him. His birth-place, the towns in which he resided, health resorts that he visited, and the towns and cities where the volume of his business was largest, all seemed to him to have unusual claims. Similarly places with which members of his family were connected made an appeal to him. Thus in a letter containing an offer of help, addressed to Rev. J. S. Buckley (September 24, 1903), he said: "In making this offer I do not of course forget that Penzance was one of the circuits on which my late uncle, Rev. Robert Hartley, laboured." Then he realized a peculiar duty to his own denomination. Most of the other denominations were much wealthier and had a larger proportion of rich men. He was in warm sympathy with their work and often helped them; but he felt that in his own church the need was greater and the duty was more compelling.
In certain enterprises, especially those of great magnitude, he bore the entire cost. But the appeals of the kind I have just enumerated were commonly dealt with by the offer of a definite percentage, raised within a specified time, which was in fact frequently extended, and with definite conditions attached. He gave in such a way as to stimulate other people to give. If, for example, a hundred pounds was needed he might offer 10 per cent. on all sums raised up to the required amount, or he might offer to give the last ten pounds if the sum was raised by a given date. And while he acted in this way with appeals made to him, he frequently pursued the same policy with schemes he himself initiated. He would draw attention to the need that some piece of religious or philanthropic work should be done, and then make a challenge offer on a large scale designed to elicit large donations in order that the total sum might be reached. If he established any fund, he preferred to fix a time-limit. For instance, when he founded the Hartley Lecture, which is delivered at the Primitive Methodist Conference, he provided the sum required for a period of ten years. This was in order that the experiment might be tried. Later he extended the period but would not create a perpetual endowment. He wrote to the General Committee Secretary, the Rev. W. Goodman, on April 20, 1896, saying: "I have an objection to endowing anything in perpetuity, because I think future generations should more or less provide for themselves." In some cases where a new departure was desirable but it might have been difficult to get it started, he would finance it himself entirely for a term of years and then the responsibility would be taken over by the organization concerned. In this way, for example, new tutorial appointments were made possible at Hartley College. When large capital sums had been raised, his policy was that these, principal and interest, should be exhausted within a certain period, and then the responsibility of carrying on the work should be met by the creation of new funds.
It was perhaps not unnatural, in view of his widely scattered and generous gifts, that quite extravagant misconceptions were entertained as to the extent to which help might be forthcoming for objects in which people were interested. I was once approached with an inquiry as to the probability of his helping a quite worthy cause and asked whether he might be willing to contribute £1,000. My answer was that I doubted whether he would contribute anything at all; and thought that at the outside his gift would not be likely to be more than £25. There were hundreds of other causes which were equally worthy and most of them likely to appeal to him more as in the line of his personal duty. He gave princely sums for great and costly enterprises with far-reaching possibilities of good. But over wide areas of Christian and humanitarian work he had to choose either the alternative of helping a comparative few with munificent gifts or that of spreading the money available over a great number of cases. He was not carelessly generous. He had to do even-handed justice to a multitude of competing claims. Excess in one case was bound to mean defect in another. It must always be remembered that this was not a question of generosity. The total amount to be distributed was fixed, it was the allocation which remained to be determined; and if £ 1,000 was devoted to an object for which £25 would have been an average donation, it meant that this particular cause was favoured at the cost of £975 to some thirty-nine others, all perhaps equally worthy. He was deeply annoyed when it was suggested to him that he should contribute half of the total debt to an organization which owed £1,500. It seemed to him so extravagant that so much should be asked for one object, which he was quite prepared to help in reason, but in which he had no special interest and for which he felt no special responsibility, that in speaking of it to me he said: "They must think that I steal the money." No doubt many with a rather defective imagination were sometimes disappointed that no more was given for their own particular institution, when this could not have been done without injustice to institutions with equal claims.
It was his custom to exercise careful discrimination and to investigate the circumstances of each case. He had a vivid sense that the money when it had been set apart, no longer belonged to himself; it was definitely "the Lord's money" and he was simply a steward. He had accordingly to spend it with the utmost care and to make it go as far as he could. All the keenness of his business faculty was exercised on spending it to the best advantage. Hence indiscriminate giving had to be avoided and impulsive giving had to be regulated. In his later period he frequently did his best to secure that help should be forthcoming from other interested quarters. In this way adequate relief might be provided at perhaps half the cost to his fund which would have been involved had he taken the whole responsibility, and thus the money saved would enable more cases to be assisted. It should be added, however, that he had trusted friends who were instructed to ask him for money required to help deserving cases which came under their notice. The sum named was always given, the only question asked was whether it would be enough for the purpose. Along these secret channels money was constantly flowing in the relief of penury or the alleviation of pain. It was stipulated that the names of those who were helped should not be communicated to him and that his name should not be disclosed to those who received the gifts.
He felt also that the actual giving was not enough; a man should attend to the distribution himself. This involved far more than the gift of money. It meant an exhausting tax on time and strength and personal service. The consecration of personality preceded and perpetually underlay the consecration of wealth. He especially deprecated the too common practice of holding possessions fast till death and then leaving legacies for religious and charitable purposes. He was so convinced that the personal distribution should be inseparable from the gift, that he resolved to leave nothing for these purposes in his will. In principle he adhered to this decision, but qualified it by making provision not only for the fulfilment of all his promises but to continue payment to institutions and causes to which he was a regular contributor on a diminishing scale till the subscription expired.
It should be added that his principle as to the duty of giving was not limited to money. In a speech delivered at Southport in the Cambridge Hall when the question of old age pensions was before the country, he spoke in support of it and also affirmed his belief in a graduated income-tax. He lifted the matter, as was not unusual with him, above the level of party strife into the atmosphere of great Christian principles. He said that the burden of the country ought to be shared in such a way that those who had the most of this world's goods should pay a larger proportion. Nay, he went further than this, believing as he did, that the followers of Jesus Christ who had more endowments of any kind whatever than their fellows, must not consider that those endowments were for themselves alone, but were meant to be shared and must be shared, in a reasonable and liberal manner, with others less endowed.
A more striking expression of the same principle was given by him when he laid the foundation stone of the Cottage Hospital at Colne, on April 1, 1899. Those who were endowed, he said, with wealth, knowledge and time, in any measure over and above the average, owed a great debt to those who were less endowed. The inequalities of human fate were best explained, and even rendered tolerable only by the doctrine of election to service. The teaching of Jesus Christ was that those who, by the inequality of human fate, turned up at the top, owed a great debt, and by a portion of their money, knowledge and time, they should redeem this debt for the benefit of those who were less endowed.
At this point it will be best to quote his own words expounding and enforcing the principle which lay so near his heart and was the secret of his wonderful munificence. In his address as Vice-President of Conference he says: "The greatest joy that can come to us is the privilege of being co-workers with God; and in its truest and deepest sense we cannot know what this joy really is until we have a fund consecrated to the service of Jesus Christ and give Him His share with religious strictness and in proportion to all we get. Speaking generally, the bulk of our people simply give what is drawn from them. We have Sunday collections, class-meeting pence, special services, tea-meetings, pew rents, and occasionally special efforts for mission and other objects. Our whole system is based on constant appeals and this is the result of our almost universal system of spasmodic giving. The bulk of us have not a concentrated fund out of which we support our Church work; and there are many objects of Christian activity in addition to the demands of our own Church."
In the same address, referring to his own practice of setting aside a definite and increasing proportion for this purpose, he said: "This has not been done without many a struggle with the devil and my lower self; and my daily prayer is that God will show me what He wishes me to do. I only want to see clearly His guiding hand, and I am daily asking Him to lead me. I see my responsibility more and more; and I often picture what account we shall give at the last if the Judge shall say that He was aware we had gone to Church, to the class, to the prayer-meeting; but when it came to sacrificing our money to His cause we let our lower self prove the master. This country spends 130 to 140 millions a year on intoxicating drinks. How much is the Christian Church spending to evangelize the world? The distribution of the Lord's portion, which I set apart, has been the greatest joy of my life, and a real means of grace because it has kept me in constant touch with the promotion of Christ-like work of all lands; and I am not going too far in saying that this personal contact with the actual work has been quite as helpful to me in my Christian life and more so than any other means of grace."
In his Presidential address to the Conference, June, 1909, he traced the bearing of systematic giving on denominational problems. Pointing out that they were for the most part financial questions he proceeded: "At present we are held back in our medical missions, our foreign missions, our home missions, and most of our aggressive enterprises for want of money. I am persuaded--and this persuasion has grown out of a long personal experience--that all our financial difficulties would soon disappear, and we should have money and to spare for all such enterprises as those named and many other great projects, if only every disciple of Jesus Christ willingly consecrated to the Master's service a definite share of his income. Primitive Methodists who are now successful men of business tell me confidentially that they cannot bring their mind to support religious and philanthropic enterprises with the liberality they should, not because they have not got the money, nor because they do not admit it to be their duty, but because they have not sufficiently developed the disposition to give. They did not start soon enough."
He did not limit his exposition of the great principle, of which he was so ardent an evangelist, to religious assemblies. He referred to it briefly when he was opening the Botanical Laboratory, which he presented to the University of Liverpool in May, 1902, pointing out that his own practice afforded him an outlet from the commercial into the distinctively Christian atmosphere. He expressed the same conviction when he laid the foundation stone of new buildings for the Liverpool workshops for the Outdoor Blind (1908). He said that it had long been his conviction that a successful business man needed some corrective, some safety-valve, some definite means of escape into the larger life of the higher world; and he knew of nothing to compare in that regard with the decision to devote to humanitarian work a definite and growing share of the total income. The larger their income, the larger the proportion should be. It was not what they gave but what they had left. When in 1909 he received the Freedom of Colne he said: "I am very proud of my native town. If I am to judge from my own experience, the pleasure of memory is much enhanced when, after the lapse of years, one desires to share with his native town those fruits of prosperity which may be made helpful to the many who in the fulness of life, are less happily circumstanced. It is--so it seems to me, my friends--the primary duty, the first duty of those who have money to remember in a liberal manner those who have not, and so contribute to their needs as to make their lives more worth living. It has been to my wife and myself the greatest joy of our lives--that is saying a lot, but I feel it to be true--to devote a definite, a well-considered, and a constantly increasing share of our total income to the needs of mankind. As we have got better off, we have constantly considered what was our further duty, and at least half a dozen times we have considerably increased the percentage of our total income that we decided to give for humanitarian work. Where much is given much is required."
It goes without saying that the fund was administered with all the care which he devoted to his own commercial undertakings. He said, "I watch my business to a penny"; and he was no less scrupulous and exact in his stewardship of "the Lord's money." The percentage allocated from his total income was entered in his books, so that there was no possibility of confusion with his business or personal expenditure. The administration and distribution of the fund were carried through with the same methodical care and punctilious accuracy as in the case of his business. In a letter written on January 24, 1907, he said: "I always send out my charity cheques towards the end of January in each year and not at varying dates during the year, but the whole lot in one batch and on one day." For the greater part of his career much of the correspondence and book-keeping involved was done at the works. There were cases, however, in which he might secure the help of friends who were interested in some special project. But in any case the tax on his own time and strength was inevitably considerable owing to his resolute adhesion to his principle of personal supervision. In 1908 he took a very important step in the delegation of a measure of his responsibility. He invited the Rev. Thomas Mitchell to leave London and come to Southport in order to devote his time to this work. Dr. Mitchell was singularly fitted for this task. As a Primitive Methodist minister of great experience and very wide knowledge of his denomination, he had an exceptional equipment for dealing with a side of the work which inevitably bulked largely in the selection of causes to be helped and in the allocation of the amounts allotted. Dr. Mitchell had been President of the Primitive Methodist Church, he had been the controller of its publishing house and the financial secretary of the denomination. He had been associated for a long time with its general administration and was thoroughly familiar with its organization, its difficulties, the need of its institutions and its Churches, the opportunities for expansion or extension of which advantage could be taken. He had long been one of Sir William's advisers on matters relating to the denomination. But he was also an active member of the Free Church Council and shortly afterwards became its President. He was therefore well fitted to co-operate in the promotion of interdenominational causes in which Sir William took a deep interest. The Primitive Methodist Conference gave its sanction to his acceptance of the invitation and his duty was to investigate applications for help, recommend the policy to be adopted and undertake the necessary correspondence. This could not in the case of Sir William involve transference of the ultimate responsibility; and he still felt it his duty to give personal attention to the applications for help. But it was of great advantage to have the materials for decision collected, sifted and digested, and presented with Dr. Mitchell's expert comment and advice. The relief from the burden of correspondence was also very considerable, since Dr. Mitchell attended to this, and it was not now necessary for Sir William to dictate the letters himself. On the other hand, it perhaps had the effect of prolonging his working day, because previously the correspondence relating to his charity fund had been dealt with at the works, but now much time was given up in the evenings to his discussions with Dr. Mitchell after his return home. Their association was broken by the sudden death of Dr. Mitchell away from home, February 14, 1915. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. S. White, a minister of long experience and high character with a wide knowledge of the denomination. He also was taken away by sudden death, on November 19, 1921.
The seed which Sir William scattered in season and out of season often seemed to fall on reluctant and unresponsive ground. On this I cannot do better than quote from a communication sent to me by the Rev. Joseph Ritson. He says: "There were times when the apparently small results of his life-long propaganda of systematic and proportionate giving depressed him--perhaps irritated and amazed him would be a more correct way of putting it. What he saw so clearly and felt so strongly surely ought to be seen and felt by others. If only the Connexion would adopt his plan all its financial problems would be solved. The slowness of even good men to adopt this method of mastering their natural selfishness and the difficulty of rising superior to age-long custom he could not understand or make adequate allowance for. And yet in spite of everything he persisted. In speech after speech, at Conference after Conference, he took up his parable, and sought to drive home the truth to the hearts and consciences of his hearers. There can be no doubt that he succeeded far beyond his most sanguine expectations. The wonderful liberality shown in these later years has not been due merely to the larger resources of the Connexion, but to the patient, persistent teaching and the brilliant example continued through a generation, of Sir William Hartley."
And yet his enthusiasm for this cause did not degenerate into unreasoning fanaticism. He recognized that the principle might be pushed to an extreme. He wrote to a friend: "When we think of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then nothing that we can do is too much; but possibly even this point of view may be exaggerated, because in your case you have certain claims from a personal and family point of view." This finds more trenchant expression in a letter he wrote to the Rev. R. S. Blair. The Rev. Thomas Jackson and his wife had done service at their mission in Whitechapel of quite an exceptional order and at the cost of great and continuous personal sacrifice. The value of it may be suggested by the fact that Sir Charles Russell, later Lord Russell of Killowen, invariably attended the anniversary of the Primitive Methodist Mission in Whitechapel to testify to the quality of Mr. Jackson's work. Sir William's letter, dated August 9, 1900, explains itself.
"I noticed by The Primitive Methodist last week that Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were going to the extraordinary length of giving to the Home of Rest the £100 which we gave them from the General Missionary Committee for their extra work and splendid management of the Whitechapel Institute job. I don't at all approve of this; because they have no money to spare that they need have gone to this extraordinary length. I think it was most extravagant on their part considering their circumstances; but when they had made such an enormous sacrifice I felt that I ought to send £50, which I did."
On another occasion, when the Rev. W. Holland was, in spite of the gravest medical warnings, returning for another term of missionary service on Fernando Poo, Mr. Hartley was at the farewell meeting. The missionary secretary, the Rev. J. Travis, said that in all their correspondence Mr. Holland had never raised the question of money and did not know what his salary would be when he reached Africa. Mr. Hartley's business instincts were somewhat outraged at such proceedings. He exclaimed that it was most unbusinesslike, but it was Christlike of Mr. Holland to act in this way; and he should not suffer for his unselfishness, so he gave him £20 to use as he wished.
At this point it is desirable to give a connected record of Mr. Hartley's relations with the Primitive Methodist Church. Several things will be dismissed with bare mention, because detailed reference is made to them elsewhere. His challenge offer of £1,000 for the liquidation of the Missionary Society's debt was made in 1884. At the annual Missionary Meeting held in the Metropolitan Tabernacle in May, 1885, he was the Chairman, and the removal of the debt was announced. At the Conference of that year the question of Chapel debts was considered and a scheme proposed by Mr. Hartley was referred to a committee of which he was a member. This committee recommended the formation of an Association on the lines suggested by him. The scheme was finally sanctioned by the Conference of 1889 and the Chapel Aid Association was registered January 2, 1890. Mr. Hartley became its treasurer. In 1890 the Conference appointed him Missionary Treasurer. In 1891 he took up the cause of ministerial education, offering to pay for five years the salary of a tutor at the College in Manchester. This led to my appointment by the Conference of 1892. Of this Conference Mr. Hartley was the Vice-President. As the Jubilee of the Missionary Society was to be celebrated it was decided to raise a fund. The proposal was for a comparatively small sum, but Mr. Hartley urged that £50,000 should be raised, of which he promised £5,000. During his year of office he travelled all over the denomination advocating its claims. The President of the Conference was the Rev. James Travis and he rendered the most valuable service to the Fund by his powerful appeals on behalf of the causes to which the Fund was to be devoted. For several months he was speaking at meetings in all parts of the denomination. As he was constantly accompanying the Vice-President it is fitting to quote the tribute he pays to the services rendered by his colleague.
"The Vice-President (Mr. W. P. Hartley), especially considering the demands of his great business, cheerfully devoted an amazingly large portion of his time to this important movement. His clear and convincing presentation of the question was always listened to with great respect. And his persistent exhortations to proportionate giving, so strongly emphasised by his own example, often made a great impression, and are still bringing forth fruit. It is bare justice to say that, but for his munificent generosity and personal influence, the movement would never have culminated in the success it did" (Seventy-five Years, pp. 136 f.).
The fund, which was successfully raised, was devoted in equal shares to the Missionary Society, the College, the Chapel Loan Fund and the Superannuated Ministers', Widows' and Orphans' Fund.
At the Edinburgh Conference, 1895, Mr. Hartley promised to defray the total cost of the enlargement of the College, and this was completed and the first extension opened at the Conference held in Manchester in 1897. At this Conference the first Hartley Lecture was delivered, the lecturer being Dr. Joseph Ferguson. It was he who had suggested to Mr. Hartley the founding of the Lectureship and it had been sanctioned by the Conference of 1896.
It soon became obvious that a second extension of the College would be necessary if the three years term of residence was to be maintained, since the demand for men made by the circuits was so great. Mr. Hartley accordingly promised to finance this addition, and the new buildings were opened at the Conference held in Manchester in 1906. In the Primitive Methodist Church it is possible for a layman to be President of the Conference, though since the earliest days such an appointment has been extremely rare. Not a few felt that it would be peculiarly fitting if when this superb gift, crowning what he had previously done for ministerial education, was to be presented to the denomination he should receive the highest honour it was in the power of his Church to confer. Several of his friends mentioned the matter to him and he considered it very carefully. He had all along felt that the time he could give to the duties of the office would be rather limited, as he had much more on hand than when he was Vice-President fourteen years earlier, especially as the extension of his business to London had added considerably to his work. His health was also very unsatisfactory. He sent a circular letter on March 14, 1906, to those friends who had spoken about it stating these difficulties and adding that a recent experience had finally convinced him that it would be unwise both in his own interests and that of the Church to accept the nomination. He closed the letter with these words: "It is generous of my friends to mention the matter and I value the suggested honour more than I can express, but I have regretfully come to the conclusion that it would be unwise to fall in with their kind suggestion."
The centenary of Primitive Methodism was celebrated in 1907 and 1910. The former celebration was of the first Camp Meeting on Mow Cop, the latter was of the formation of the Society Class in 1810, which has commonly been regarded as the tiny nucleus which grew into the Primitive Methodist Church. The occasion was naturally celebrated by the raising of a centenary fund. The sum fixed was a quarter of a million, of which one hundred thousand pounds was to go to denominational, and one hundred and fifty thousand to local objects. In view of the fact that Sir William had only just before devoted a very large sum (£20,000) to the second extension of the College it was a fine expression of his Connexional loyalty that he should give £15,000 to this object. He also accepted the treasurership. He was fortunate, as was the Church, in that the organizing secretary of the fund was the Rev. George Armstrong, who devoted to his task great gifts of organization and of advocacy. The fund realized more than the total aimed at, though, unfortunately, the portion devoted to Connexional objects fell somewhat short of the £100,000 which had been contemplated in the scheme.
In 1909 the Conference was held at Southport, where Sir William resided. It was not unnatural that the thoughts of many turned to the hope that he would allow himself to be nominated for the Presidency. A quotation from a letter he wrote to me on June 4, 1909, will indicate his own attitude towards the suggestion.
"The matter had not entered my mind until I was approached in the first instance by the Rev. James Pickett; and I replied to him that I always considered I had not the requisite gifts, and that I could not take on work I could not fulfil in a satisfactory manner. If I thought it would give real satisfaction to our Church generally, that would weigh very much with me."
It was obvious that Sir William could not fulfil the Presidential duties as commonly understood. During his year of office the President travels all over the denomination, preaching and speaking. Sir William was not a preacher, and, of course, the claims of his business made it impossible for him to spend a great deal of his time in travelling. The suggestion put before him was that a minister should be appointed as Vice-President who would undertake the duties which normally fell to the President, while he would himself try to attend gatherings which included the Churches of a city or a district.
When the Conference met he was elected President by a unanimous vote, the Rev. John Welford being appointed Vice-President. His conduct in the Presidential Chair was marked by great dignity, combined with a tendency to curb prolixity and accelerate business. He had little patience with overmuch talk in business meetings. I remember a humorous comment he made in one Conference when a question involving about £20 was being debated: "I could make the money in the time that you are talking about it."
At this Conference he gave his report on the Holborn Town Hall, which he had bought and offered to the denomination. The report was very well received; but unfortunately at the next Conference, which was held at Tunstall, in connexion with the second centenary Camp Meeting on Mow Cop, the Holborn Hall scheme was severely criticized. He felt the criticism to be unjust and deeply resented it, especially as the protagonist of the opposition was a colleague in charge of the missionary department. He resolved to resign the treasurership of the Missionary Society, and it was only in deference to extreme pressure put upon him that this disaster was averted. Happily the breach was not permanent.
In 1916 Sir William attained his seventieth birthday. This was also the year of his Golden Wedding, and among the other celebrations of the two events it was natural that his own Church should take its part. The Conference of that year was held at Nottingham, and the Rev. A. T. Guttery was President. The General Committee had decided that a casket should be presented to Sir William and Lady Hartley containing an illuminated address, which I had been asked to prepare. An afternoon session of the Conference was devoted to the ceremony. Before reading the address I touched on the coincidence that the Silver Wedding had been spent in Oxford and that they had lunched in my rooms. The address was as follows.
The Conference of the Primitive Methodist Church
Held at Nottingham--June, 1916,
Sir William and Lady Hartley.
We offer to you, our dear and honoured friends, our warm congratulations on the occasion of your Golden Wedding. We are grateful that God has granted you this long and happy fellowship, and spared you to each other and to your family through so many years.
But yours has been no secluded felicity, finding its satisfaction only in the joys of home. Rooted in the love of God, it has found its constant expression and enrichment in the loving service of humanity. The wealth won by genius and unflinching toil has been held as a sacred trust, and a large and increasing proportion of it has been definitely consecrated to God and distributed with scrupulous care and discrimination. Your gifts, princely in themselves, have stimulated generosity in others. The alleviation of poverty, the relief of pain, the conquest of disease have been objects of your deep concern, as almshouse, hospital, sanatorium, and endowment of research, abundantly testify. Multitudes owe you undying gratitude for timely help in seasons of stress. Profit-sharing and a generous scheme of insurance have helped to maintain happy relations between employer and employed. And you have given not money alone, but time and strength and anxious thought.
While we admire your catholic sympathies and far-reaching philanthropy, we recognize with special thankfulness your loyalty to our Church and your vigilant devotion to its interests. To its missions, its finance, the training of its ministry, and the care of its orphans, you have rendered incalculable service. If the burden of Chapel debts has been materially lightened; if notable extensions of our work have been possible at home and abroad; if students for our ministry have far ampler opportunities in a College splendidly equipped and adequately staffed; we owe it largely to your munificence, your statesmanship, and your vision. Nor have other parts of our work been excluded from your generous interest.
In unabated affection and confidence we commend each of you to the care and blessing of our Father in Heaven.
Signed on behalf of the Primitive Methodist Church:
Arthur T. Guttery, President of Conference.
Albert Shaw, Vice-President.
George G. Martindale, Secretary.
Matthew P. Davison, General Committee Secretary.
Samuel Horton, General Missionary Secretary.
John Mayles, Financial Secretary.
Joseph Johnson, Book Steward.
J. Dodd Jackson, Editor.
The President of Conference made the presentation. He was an orator of great gifts; his speech on this occasion was of the type to which no report could do justice. Its lightness of touch, its dexterity of phrasing, its spontaneity, its intimate sympathy combined to make it one of the most felicitous, perhaps the most felicitous, address of its kind I ever heard.
Where so much had been done, the suggestion was not unnatural that Sir William might expect exceptional deference to be paid to his wishes. On this I am glad to quote an emphatic statement of his own in a letter of September 26, 1904, to the Rev. J. G. Bowran. It was with reference to a view expressed that a unanimous vote of the Conference had been given to please him. He says: "I think you will all agree with me that I have never desired our Conference to do anything that was not in my opinion for the best interests of our Church and the Kingdom of God, and I don't think that any person can point to anything that I have suggested during the past fifteen years that has not turned out in the end perfectly satisfactory to all concerned. I will never have it said that I desire the Conference to do anything to please me, because such would be so contrary to my true feelings. I certainly desire to give the Conference my best, whatever that may be worth; but I have never wished that they should follow my advice unless they were perfectly convinced that it was the right thing to do."
He was amply justified in the claim that his advice when followed had been vindicated by success, although in several instances he had to convince the incredulous, to stimulate the laggards, or to overcome opposition.
The inspiration of his service was a deep and ardent loyalty to his Church. Here he had been placed by Providence. In it his religious experience had come to birth and found its unfailing nourishment. To it his devotion was primarily due. Speaking once in the Conference with great emotion he made the words of the Psalmist his own as he confessed his attachment to his Church: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning!" He encountered opposition, but he braced himself to meet it; criticism, but he was justified by the event; he was hurt by disappointment and saddened by disillusion, but they did not sour him or cause him to abandon his task in impatience or disgust. To set over against these less happy incidents there was in his own Church a great volume of appreciation and goodwill, of gratitude and pride. And this was to be found especially in the ranks of its leaders, who were best qualified by their intimate acquaintance with the problems to value aright the contribution he made towards their solution.
While he was a loyal member of his own Church he entertained very friendly feelings towards other Churches, was a warm friend of interdenominational enterprises and looked eagerly towards reunion. As was natural, Methodist Union was nearest to his heart. Quite early in his career he favoured it and advocated it in public utterances. The prominence he gave to the improvement of ministerial education and the reduction of debt on Church property was partly due to his desire that the Primitive Methodists should be prepared to take their place in a Church comprising all sections of the Methodist people. He supported the movement for the union of the Primitive Methodists with the Bible Christians. This denomination had come into existence a little later than his own and much in the same way. There was accordingly a natural sympathy between them. As they were strongest in Devon and Cornwall, where Primitive Methodism was relatively weak, the Union would have seemed on the surface to be a very simple matter. It is one of the peculiarities of Primitive Methodism that in its Conference and its District Synods the proportion of laymen to ministers is two to one. The promoters of the Union recognized that it was desirable to move towards a constitution which would be accepted by other Methodist Churches. As it was quite clear that the "two to one principle," as it was called, would have no chance of acceptance in a larger union the scheme was drafted embodying the principle that the membership of the Conference and the Synods should be equally divided between ministers and laymen. But the hostility aroused in Primitive Methodism by this proposal was so great that the whole project was decisively defeated. It is an interesting fact that in the negotiations now in progress for Methodist Union no serious difficulty has been raised by the Primitive Methodists on this point. What no doubt weighs heavily in this matter is the consideration that the scale on which Union is now proposed is so great and the object to be attained so worthy that an objection of this kind ought not to be pressed.
The next movement for Union did not embrace Primitive Methodism. This was the Union, effected in 1907, of the Methodist New Connexion, the Bible Christians and the United Methodist Free Church. It must have been a surprise to many that in negotiations of this kind the Primitive Methodists were not included. Mr. Hartley was very much interested in the matter and invited a number of Primitive Methodist ministers to meet three prominent officials of the United Methodist Free Church who were members of the Joint Union Committee. This was towards the end of September, 1904. He gave an account of the gathering to the Rev. J. G. Bowran in a letter dated September 26, 1904. There was a long and very frank conversation, the conclusion of which was that the three Churches should continue their negotiations and when they had reached a conclusion should report it to the General Committee. There was a unanimous feeling that in the future the Primitive Methodists would be bound to come into a Methodist Union of some kind or other or they would be discredited in the eyes of the nation; but the officials were not ready. The letter continues: "The three brethren of the Methodist Free Church were much pleased to hear at first hand the view of thirteen of our ministers, and the idea was that the three Churches now negotiating should proceed with their work and make their constitution as wide and liberal as it was possible for them to agree to in the hope that when they had finished it and submitted it to their quarterly meetings again, (it was expected to take three years for final consummation including an Act of Parliament), our Church might then, or at some future time in the near future thereafter, be willing to accept their constitution as settled by them without any alteration whatever."
The letter closes with the following paragraph, which is interesting for the estimate of the strength of opinion among the members as contrasted with the officials.
"Time is on the side of the Union Movement and it is now evident to my mind that our officials will want a great deal of educating. Several brethren stated on Friday that they had no fear that our membership would be sound on the question if they were let alone, but that is just the point, because when a Church Meeting is called the officials would be present and would influence the members for or against the proposal."
This letter was followed by another on September 29, in which an answer is given to the question why the Primitive Methodists had been left out. The letter is as follows.
Dear Mr. Bowran,--
It was unfortunate that the three Churches should begin their negotiations without our being asked to join them. I raised this matter last Friday, and it was explained that when the question of Union was before the Ecumenical Conference the Methodist Free Church thought that they would like to talk the matter over with the Bible Christians: but subsequently they came to learn that many of the leaders of the New Connexion would also like to join in the conversation, and the reason that we were not invited was twofold.
First, that we had recently failed to join with the Bible Christians.
Second, that Mr. Mitchell was reported to have said during the debate on Union at the Ecumenical Conference that probably we should be the last to come in.
I don't think this remark was premeditated, but no doubt these two things together made them think that it was no use inviting us. Since that date we have had many opportunities to come in and only have our selves to blame. I quite agree with you that there is a vast difference between a small union and a large one.
The Joint Committee meets in London, to-morrow, Friday, and they are certain to report to our General Committee; but you see we have no mandate from Conference to do anything but submit the matter to the Quarterly Meetings and membership, and it was thought by the great bulk of the brethren last Friday, if not even by all of them, that we were not yet ready and that it would not be wise to submit it before next Conference, otherwise we might lose the vote or only get a bare majority and so put back the thing for many years.
He was in the warmest sympathy with the proposals for Methodist Union between the Wesleyans, the Primitive Methodists and the United Methodists which are now under consideration by the three Churches. He was a member of the Union Committee, and although unable to attend he kept in close touch with the negotiations. The future of the movement is still uncertain and he has been taken from us before the final decision has been reached, but many of us hoped that he would live to see the consummation of a desire he had long cherished.
He often showed his friendliness to the other Methodist Churches. He was anxious to secure cooperation between them and to avoid overlapping. When the new coalfields were being opened in South Yorkshire and parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire he promoted a Conference to consider how the Methodist Churches could do their share in keeping pace with the growth of population in these areas. The Conference was held at Doncaster, and the three Methodist Churches were represented at it. Sir William presided. The object of the Conference was to formulate a policy by which overlapping and competition might be avoided.
But his sympathies were not bounded by Methodism. He was in warm sympathy with Dr. Shakespeare's proposals for the Union of the Evangelical Free Churches. A Conference of between eighty and ninety delegates, appointed by the national Unions or the governing bodies of the Churches concerned, was held in Oxford to consider the proposals. When we consider the distinction of many of its members and their multitudinous engagements it has always struck me as a really amazing thing that not one of them was absent. Sir William and I travelled together to it. It was held at Mansfield College, Oxford, and he faithfully attended the sessions. Ultimately it proved impossible to create more than a Federation of the Evangelical Free Churches. The Federal Council meets annually. It has already justified its existence. Among its representatives are many of the most distinguished ministers and laymen in the denominations which belong to the Federation. The National Free Church Council consists of representatives appointed by the local Free Church Council and the chief sphere of operation is in the localities themselves. The Federal Council, on the other hand, is armed with what authority it possesses by the denominations themselves, and although its powers are strictly limited it can speak in their name. It was providential that the Council came into existence when it did, since there was a body in existence which could act for the Evangelical Free Churches when the Lambeth proposals for Reunion had been made. The final responsibility, it is true, must rest with the denominations themselves, but the Committee which has met the bishops at Lambeth and in particular the Free Church members of the sub-committee which has frequently met at Lambeth to explore the ground have acted for the Federal Council.
As an illustration of his goodwill to other than Methodist Churches I may mention a letter written on November 25, 1907, to Dr. J. H. Jowett. It was in connexion with the founding of the Digbeth Institute, a project which was very near to Dr. Jowett's heart. The letter contained a challenge offer, the final thousand pounds of the £25,000 required. Sir William said: "I am constrained to do this in recognition of your great services to the Free Churches of the country and I trust that other Free Churchmen will be moved to help you liberally."
He was a generous supporter of the Y.M.C.A., he gave £5000 towards the building in Tottenham Court Road and £1,000 towards a local scheme for raising £10,000. He was a good friend to the British and Foreign Bible Society, of which he was elected a Vice-President.
He was very desirous of co-operation in humanitarian work between all the Churches. This was never more clearly expressed by him than in connexion with the movement for establishing an Institute in Aintree. The suggestion came from him and he offered £1,000 towards the project. At a meeting on March 4, 1892, he opened the discussion and said that the reform he would like to see in that district was that all the Churches, from the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England down to the very smallest mission room, should enter into a Christlike compact to fight against evil in every form. He hoped that in the near future the combined Churches in that neighbourhood would erect in some central position a large building, containing a concert and lecture hall and, if possible, a gymnasium and reading room. The chief under lying idea that struck him as new was that the work should be run by a committee of all the Churches. It would then be known as the rendezvous of all good works, where all, no matter what their religious creed, might meet to promote all good objects. The cost would depend on the amount of money they could raise; anything from £3,000 to £10,000 might be spent on the building. The work would be carried on at a loss if it was carried on in the vigorous and Christlike manner he would like to see, and he was quite prepared to subscribe £50 a year towards this cost. If the scheme was approved he suggested that a Committee should be formed of half a dozen persons from each Church, including the minister, and that it should have a free hand in determining cost, style and accommodation.
The suggestion did not prove acceptable. More than two and a half years later he spoke again upon the subject. He said how he had desired in that district a centre and rallying point for everything that was elevating and of a Christlike character. He would endeavour to bring into line every person in the community for humanitarian works--everyone who desired to serve his fellows. He had done his best during the past two years or more to arouse some local sympathy in such a practical form as to result in the erection of suitable premises. His efforts, unfortunately, had been unsuccessful. He did not feel that he was called upon to provide such a centre, but he saw no chance of it being provided in any other way, he therefore had decided to do the work himself, entirely on his own responsibility. His plan was to give a site of nearly three acres which would be laid out as a recreation ground with bowling greens and tennis grounds. A cafe was to be built with two billiard rooms and private dining rooms and a work man's restaurant, specially designed for the carters who in large numbers daily passed along the two roads on which the cafe stood. A large space was provided where the horses could be fed, and the scheme also included large stables. A hall, to accommodate 650 people, measuring 64 by 40 feet, with balconies, was part of the plan. This would be fitted up with a stage and the roof constructed in such a way that when the hall was not otherwise in use it could be utilized as a gymnasium. Class-rooms and a lecture-room would complete the building on the educational side.
The Institute and Cafe, costing with subsequent extensions £12,000, was thus provided entirely by Mr. Hartley in 1896. It was opened by the Earl of Derby, who was at the time Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Mr. Hartley himself being then a member of the Liverpool City Council. It has served a very useful purpose for indoor and outdoor recreation and also for education, and it has proved of value in its provision of refreshment free from the temptations of the public-house.
As further illustrating his elevation above all narrow sectarianism I may quote what he said when he gave the cottage homes to Colne: "There will be no religious tests. Human need will be the only test."
The Primitive Methodists, by the very conditions in which the denomination came into being, were for many years absorbed in the evangelization of England. This had the somewhat unfortunate result that they were late in undertaking work in the foreign field. Their slender financial resources and their heavy commitments at home were largely responsible for the slowness of their development and the restricted areas in which they worked. In the early eighties the Missionary Society had contracted a debt of about £5,000, which appeared extremely formidable. In 1884 Mr. Hartley, who was then at Bootle, made the challenge offer which lifted him at once from local into denominational fame. He offered to give £1,000 towards the liquidation of the debt on condition that £4,000 was raised. In the light of later achievements the debt appears trifling; but very competent judges believed that the required sum would not be reached. The challenge, however, struck the imagination of the people and appealed to their generosity, so that when the missionary meeting was held in the Metropolitan Tabernacle in May, 1885, it was possible to make the announcement that £4,542 had been raised, and that the debt had been removed. It was fitting that Mr. Hartley, who was still on the youthful side of forty, should be the chairman of this meeting. His address was on lines he was again and again to follow in the course of his career. After a brief reference to the gratitude with which he thought of the connexion of his family for three generations with Primitive Methodism, he turned to the financial question. He thanked the members of the denomination for the thorough and hearty manner in which his challenge offer had been met; but he called attention to the slackness shown by many circuits in remitting the money, thereby losing a considerable sum in commission and interest. He added that this was all too characteristic of the general practice in remitting missionary revenue to the treasurer, saying that it was high time that the circuits should begin to send it without the loss of a single day after the accounts had been made up. He then turned to the principle and practice which had made his own gift possible, and enforced the duty and privilege of systematic giving. Later utterances on this congenial theme are quoted elsewhere, but it is appropriate at this point to record his first plea, addressed to the denomination as a whole, for this cherished conviction.
"A great many years ago I was led to see that there is only one Scriptural mode of benevolence; indeed, to take much lower ground, I think there is only one business-like mode, that is to set aside, to lay by, a definite portion of our gross income for Christian purposes; and since I have been acting upon this principle the distribution of the money so set apart has been one of the greatest joys of my life...What a pleasure there is in being able to conquer selfishness and go in for some degree of self-sacrifice! You will agree with me that it is comparatively easy to swim with the stream of ordinary outward Christian duties; but we are told on high authority that unless we have the spirit of Christ we are none of His, and I appeal to you to exhibit such a measure of the spirit of Christ as will enable you regularly and cheerfully to set apart a definite portion of your gross income for Christ-like purposes. The money is then no longer your own, to use for self, but simply held in trust; and this applies to each of us, not only to the man with ten talents, but also to the man who only possesses one. This is the ideal I set before you, that I urge upon you, and I do it for your own sake; if you want to feel the luxury of doing good have a separate fund wherewith to do it, then the thing is easy and certain of accomplishment. I also urge it upon you for Christ's sake, He who gave His life as a pattern, who died for you and for me, who by His life and death calls upon us by acts of self-sacrifice to show to the world that the Christian religion is a reality. When we have crucified the natural selfishness which we all have more or less, and made the grand resolve to regularly lay by in store as God hath prospered us, then it is simply a stewardship, and as faithful stewards we have only to consider the various claims that come before us, and give much or little as the cases deserve and our funds will allow. It is not for me to say what proportion you ought to set apart. Five per cent. of the gross income of a working man would be a greater self-sacrifice than 20 per cent. from a man with a large income. What I plead is, that each of us interpret our obligations in a liberal and not a niggardly spirit. It is very easy to sing.
'My all is on the altar,
I'm waiting for the fire;'
"and when we are full of enthusiasm we can sing:
'Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;'
"but, brethren, when we descend from the heights of ecstasy and poetry down to our hard, every-day, matter-of-fact life, then is the time to keep our lamp alight that the world may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven."
When at the Conference of 1890 it was necessary to appoint a new missionary treasurer to take the place of Mr. Henry Hodge it was only natural that the name of Mr. Hartley should be suggested. At that time the Rev. James Travis, who subsequently became President of the Conference and was some years later President of the National Free Church Council, was General Missionary Secretary. He reminded the Conference that the appointment was a most important one and that the treasurer must not only be a man of good standing in the denomination but also in the commercial world. He believed that the name he had to submit would meet with universal favour; it was the name of Mr. W. P. Hartley. He hoped the Conference would give a hearty and unanimous vote for the nomination, and in that case he had little fear but that Mr. Hartley would see his way to accept the office. His appointment would relieve the Missionary Committee of much anxiety. His predecessor in the secretarial office, the Rev. John Atkinson, seconded the nomination, heartily endorsing what Mr. Travis had said, and adding that a more suitable man it would be very difficult to find. The election was unanimously made on Saturday, June 7. Mr. Hartley was not in attendance at the Conference, but he went to Sunderland on the following Monday, June 9, accepted the office and had a most enthusiastic reception.
He devoted much thought and time to the duties of this office. He supported the Missionary Society with generous gifts and stimulating offers. He watched over its finances with as much, if not greater care, as he devoted to his own business, and at certain times of the year advanced large sums to it. He took a deep interest in the various spheres of operation and in the missionaries themselves. Medical missions appealed greatly to him. When he was President of Conference he spoke strongly on denominational short comings in this respect. They had a Divine Master, he said, who went about proclaiming a Gospel of love and healing the sick, and they had failed thus far in their attempts to found a medical mission. If they had spent half the money on medical missions they had spent on their ordinary missions in Africa they would have had far better results. He paid for the training of Dr. Gerrard, the first medical missionary sent to Africa by the Primitive Methodist Missionary Society. In a letter to Mr. William Beckworth, written July 22, 1907, he refers to the desire of the Rev. Edwin W. Smith, now Literary Superintendent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, but at that time a Primitive Methodist missionary in Africa, that the denomination should open a new mission in Africa. He said: "I am willing to find half the money to found this new mission providing the other half can be obtained throughout our Church without seriously interfering with the ordinary income of our African fund." The minimum figure was placed at £3,000 and the maximum at £4,000.
The rapid developments in Africa demanded a constantly expanding income. The denomination for reasons already suggested has not shone in its provision for missionary enterprise. It ought perhaps to be said that during his Treasurership of the Missionary Society the money raised by circuits for this object was nearly trebled. Much of the advance was due to the stimulus he gave by offering large percentages on the increase beyond the previous year. When the Jubilee of Primitive Methodist African Missions arrived it was decided to celebrate it by raising a fund of £50,000. That the sum was not larger is to be explained by the heavy demands made for other needy causes. The centenary fund by which over £300,000 had been raised, lay not so far behind. Immediately before the Jubilee was celebrated a Lightning Fund of £20,000 had been raised to help superannuated ministers and the widows and orphans of ministers in the hard struggle occasioned by the war, and immediately after it a fund of £60,000 was raised to place the Preachers' Friendly Society in a financially sound condition. To the African Jubilee Fund Sir William contributed £5000.
Conspicuous service was rendered by Mr. Hartley to his Church in connexion with the burden of heavy chapel debts. A period of great commercial prosperity had encouraged the building of chapels on a large scale. The enterprises were undertaken in a sanguine spirit, since it seemed that there was every prospect of paying for them within a reasonable period. The rules requiring a certain proportion of the cost to be raised before building was begun were much less stringent then than they subsequently became. Unfortunately a period of trade depression set in and the rosy anticipations with which the trustees had faced the future were in very many instances grievously falsified. The condition became one of acute struggle. The rate of interest was often high; the people themselves were much poorer; to meet the current liabilities often imposed a heavy strain upon them; to reduce the debt, except by desperate efforts, was well-nigh impossible. The situation excited widespread concern and various suggestions were made for grappling with the problem. The matter came before the Conference held at Reading in 1885. Among the communications sent in there was an important one from Mr. Hartley. In this he drew attention to the high rate of interest paid in many cases. He urged that a company should be created to borrow and lend money at reasonable rates and with easy repayment, and that it should be managed on rigid business lines. A committee was appointed with Mr. Hartley as one of its members and with the Rev. J. Travis as convener. The policy which Mr. Hartley advocated had been carefully thought out by him several years earlier, and he had pressed it on the attention of denominational leaders. But at that time he had not established his reputation as a financial expert, brilliant, far-sighted and safe; and his proposals were almost universally regarded as impracticable. In The Origin and History of the Primitive Methodist Church the Rev. H. B. Kendall thus summarises the reasons urged against the scheme.
"One of these objections was that the margin of profit allowed for the payment of expenses was too small; another that the people of our Church had no money to invest, and if they had they would not invest it in this company; another that trustees who borrowed would not feel the same obligations to pay promptly as though they had borrowed in the ordinary way--through a solicitor."
But in 1885 Mr. Hartley had stepped into the front rank of denominational leaders and the committee which met in the autumn recommended the formation of an association on the lines he had laid down. This resolution was accepted by the Conference held at Derby in 1886, which also instructed the Committee to continue its deliberations and lay their conclusions before the building committees in the districts. The scheme went steadily, if somewhat slowly, forward through the necessary stages; and the Conference held at Bradford in 1889 sanctioned it in its final form and on January 2, 1890, the Company was registered. Mr. Hartley was its treasurer and the Rev. John Atkinson, who had just retired from the missionary secretaryship, in which he was succeeded by the Rev. J. Travis, was its secretary. The title of the Company was "The Primitive Methodist Chapel Aid Association Limited."
The method followed was to receive deposits and to pay interest at 3-1/2 per cent. The money was lent to trustees of Church property at 3-3/4 per cent., thus a quarter per cent. was left for working expenses. As we have already seen it was one of the objections to the scheme that the margin left for working expenses was far too small. This, however, was happily proved to be incorrect, and Mr. Hartley's faith was, in this as in other respects, more than justified. For not only has it sufficed for working expenses but it has made it possible to build up a considerable reserve fund and make grants to special funds for Church extension or debt reduction. One of the conditions was that a portion of the debt should be repaid each year. In this way the debts continually grew smaller and the burden of interest was lightened.
But naturally the success of such a scheme depended largely on its wide popular appeal. For capital had to be provided in order that the loans might be made, and confidence had to be created. With a comparatively low rate of interest the depositors to be attracted were naturally those with small investments to make. We might perhaps best describe them as belonging to the class which was accustomed to put its savings in the Post Office Savings Bank at 2-1/2 per cent. This was so widely popular because of its simplicity and its absolute security. The Chapel Aid Association offered 1 per cent. more, but the cautious small investor would naturally ask if it was safe. Mr. Hartley again and again expounded its principles to the Conference and to District Meetings. But he himself set a splendid example. He told the Conference that it was his intention to invest his own money in the Association. He could, of course, as he pointed out, have secured a much larger return than the modest interest the Association paid; but he characteristically added that this was not the first thing for a Christian man to consider. In this way he did much to meet the two initial necessities of the situation--he provided capital and he created confidence. Thus the Association was not crippled at the outset by inability to advance money to trustees who wished to avail themselves of the great advantages of the scheme; while investors who had only scanty savings to deposit, and for whom safety was the all-important consideration, found in the Chapel Aid Association an investment altogether to their mind. All the forebodings of the pessimists were completely refuted; and although Mr. Hartley himself was sure of success, his most sanguine anticipations were far exceeded. The Association has been served by very able and careful secretaries; in particular it owed very much in its initial stages to its first secretary, Rev. John Atkinson. Great care has always been taken in making the loans to trustees, and conditions are laid down which must be met. No one was more competent to speak from personal knowledge of the value and success of the movement than the Rev. James Travis, who had taken a large share in its formation and who was twice asked to become the secretary of the Association. Writing shortly before the out break of the war he said: "It has now been at work for nearly a quarter of a century and has proved an unqualified success. Its deposit account amounts to over half a million, and its securities are ample beyond all question, and it is year by year adding to its reserve fund. It has been an incalculable benefit to the trust estates during these years. No one can estimate the indebtedness of our Church to Sir William P. Hartley for conceiving the idea of the Association, paying its initial costs, financing it in its early years, and for freely placing his prestige and eminent business qualities at its service. It is one of the many memorials of the devotion of Sir William to the interests of our Church such as no future historian of Primitive Methodism can ignore."
The saving of legal expenses has been a great boon to trustees. The necessary legal documents are prepared without charge by the secretary and no cost is incurred beyond the very small amount incurred in stamp duty. Bad debts are, I believe, unknown, and the interest is punctually paid.
The last report signed by Sir William as chairman is dated February 14, 1922. It was the thirty-second report and the figures it gives speak for themselves. Reference is first made to the loans made by the Association to trustees. These amounted during the year to £65,934. The repayments amounted to £62,963, which means that the debts on Church property throughout the denomination had been reduced by this sum. In a hundred and twenty cases the total debt had been cleared off during the year. Turning next to the deposits made by investors, we find that these amounted to £65,067. This year the repayments to depositors slightly exceeded the sum invested, they amounted to £65,169. The deposit account stood at £594,148, and the reserve fund at £23,594.
The total amount paid off the debt on Church property up to the end of 1922, a few weeks after Sir William's death, was £1,388,868 4s. 1d.; and the total number of loans paid off up to the same period was 1,365. During the two years which followed the total repaid was over £112,000 and the number of loans paid off was 157.
The Association was supported by shareholders as well as by depositors, and as the range of its operations widened it seemed desirable that the number of share holders should be considerably increased. On February 1, 1904, Mr. Hartley sent out a circular letter which it will be well to quote at this point.
It will be known to you, the great success of the Chapel Aid Association. Our investments are now upwards of £360,000 and constantly increasing. I have signed promissory notes during the last four weeks for over £10,000 which has been lent to the Association by various persons.
We have at present about 300 shareholders, holding from 5 to 50 shares each, some more and some less. The Association has proved of good service to our Church, and during the year 1903 Chapel debts were reduced by over £23,000 through our Association, and over £160,000 from the beginning. The Directors, along with myself, feel that the time has come when the number of shareholders should be largely increased. The shares are £10 each with only 5s. paid up, leaving £9 15s. per share as reserve liability, and this of course is needful to give the requisite confidence to the large number of persons who are constantly honouring the Association by lending us money.
I should be glad if you would join us and I would respectfully suggest that you take shares, more or less as you may desire. Of course there is no compulsion, and you need not take them unless you wish. Interest at the rate of 3-1/2 per cent. per annum is paid to all shareholders every five years.
The response to this appeal was generally satisfactory; Mr. Hartley spoke of it as "splendidly responded to by a large number of those to whom it was addressed."
While the Chapel Aid Association was the most efficient piece of machinery devised for the reduction of debts on Connexional property, Mr. Hartley did much in other ways. For Colne, his birthplace, and adjacent towns he made challenge offers. There were cases which demanded extraordinary help, and to the Acute Cases Fund he contributed many thousands of pounds. He was all the time helping local efforts all over the country for the removal of debt. But his scheme for London deserves special mention.
Primitive Methodism has not made in London an advance corresponding to that made in many other parts of the country. In accordance with his general principle that the places where his trade was done had a special claim on his help, he naturally felt that the erection of his works in London and the increasing sale of his products constituted a call to greatly increased attention to the metropolis in the allocation of his gifts. On January 12, 1905, he wrote a letter to a London minister, quoted elsewhere, in which he said that he had as yet made no money in London. On the same day he sent a letter to the Rev. T. Mitchell, the Rev. R. S. Blair, and Mr. E. C. Rawlings, placing in their hands £1,000 a year for three years, to consolidate and extend, under carefully specified conditions, Primitive Methodist work in London. This was the result of considerable deliberation.
Early in 1913 a much more elaborate scheme was launched. Dr. Mitchell, on Sir William's request, ascertained the indebtedness of the chapels in the Metropolitan area. It amounted to about £75,000. Sir William proposed to add an average of 25 per cent. to all raised for debt reduction during the next five years, the fund closing on April 30, 1918. It was explicitly laid down that no amount could be regarded as reduction of debt if the current account was allowed to fall into arrears. He hoped that the offer would meet with a hearty, and indeed an enthusiastic response, and that even if the debts were not completely wiped out, at least every menacing debt would disappear. This offer committed him to a maximum contribution of about £15,000, and it was hoped that the whole of this might be claimed. The outbreak of the European War did not enter into the calculations of philanthropists and ecclesiastical statesmen.
It is interesting to record that the Rev. J. T. Barkby, Sir William's son-in-law and Ex-President of the Conference, who as Missionary Secretary gained much first-hand knowledge of the problem, consented at the Conference of 1925 to become the Secretary of a Committee of Investigation, from which great results may confidently be anticipated.
That Sir William was a warm supporter of the Chapel Loan Fund, which helped worthy and necessitous cases, where the payment of interest was difficult, and of the Church Extension Fund, designed to promote the establishment of new Churches, goes without saying, but perhaps calls for no special emphasis. It should be added, however, that both at Southport and at Aintree he did much to secure worthier buildings. During his earlier residence in Southport and Birkdale he stimulated the officials to build an excellent School Chapel in Derby Road, Southport, and after his removal from Aintree to Southport he took the keenest interest in the erection of a beautiful Church on the same plot of land on which the School Chapel already stood. Besides large donations to the building scheme and for the extinction of debt, he gave the organ, substituted oak for a cheaper wood, and at a later period put in the stained-glass windows elsewhere described.
Mr. Hartley rarely did anything more striking, I might even say more spectacular, than when he purchased the Holborn Town Hall. The Hall was built in 1879, at the junction of Clerkenwell Road and Grays Inn Road. The site cost £18,000, and the total expenditure on the building up to the time of its sale was £42,000. For some time the Holborn Borough Council was anxious to sell it, and in 1907 it was put up for sale by auction. As £27,000 was the highest bid, the property was withdrawn. In the following year Mr. Hartley made an offer to purchase. He had taken the greatest precautions to keep the matter secret, and had not told anyone at all, except his private and confidential clerk. He was accordingly much surprised when in the former part of May, 1908, the negotiations were reported in the Press. The project of the Council was by no means unanimously approved in the Borough. I well remember calling on a friend of mine in Holborn. His father was a prominent citizen who had taken an active part in opposing the Council's policy. He believed that the property should be retained by the ratepayers, that it was worth much more than the price the Council was willing to accept, and would grow in value as time went on. Learning from his son that I was a friend of Mr. Hartley, he put his view quite emphatically to me in conversation. And there were many others whose opposition was equally strong. Mr. Hartley feared that premature publication might damage the negotiations. The matter was, in fact, not immediately settled; but it was so far advanced that when, about a month later, the Primitive Methodist Conference met in London, provisional resolutions were carried. The price named in the Press was £30,500. The price named in the Conference resolutions was slightly more. The crucial resolution was as follows: "In the event of the purchase of this property by Mr. W. P. Hartley at the price named, £31,000, including organ, chairs, etc., the Conference sanctions the leasing of the Hall to the Connexion at a perpetual ground rent of 5-5/8 per cent. (£1,123 l5s. 0d. per year), providing Mr. Hartley will enter into a covenant to give the Conference the option of purchasing the same at the price of £31,000 within seven years."
This obviously gave effect to Mr. Hartley's own wish. His offer to purchase the Town Hall was inspired by his desire to provide a centre in the metropolis for his denomination. Here under one roof each department which had its head-quarters in London could have its offices, and those in charge of the departments could thus be in constant contact. Some important departments were in the provinces, the College for the training of the ministry in Manchester, the Sunday School Union in Leeds, the Chapel Aid Association in York. But the General Secretary of the Church, the Missionary secretaries, the Editor, the Book Steward, were all in London. Naturally it would not have been worth while to purchase premises so extensive, simply to secure a set of departmental 1908 offices. But it was intended to provide a new Publishing House, or "Book Room," to use the traditional name. The Publishing House was at that time in Aldersgate Street, to which it had been removed in the mid-nineties. To this another Conference Resolution referred. It ran as follows: "That the Conference approve the building of a suitable Book Room in the yard of the Town Hall, at an outlay say of £8,000 or thereabouts, and sanctions the sale of the premises in Aldersgate Street, provided Mr. Hartley consents to finance the new erection until the present property can be disposed of in accordance with this suggestion."
It was thought that the large hall which was capable of seating 800 persons, and was furnished with a fine organ, might be used for services on the Sunday, and although this has not been done, it is possible that it may be realized in the future.
The purchase was soon completed and the process of adapting the Hall to its new function was begun. The scheme was lucidly expounded by Sir William Hartley at the Southport Conference in 1909, of which he was President, and we cannot do better than follow his description. He pointed out that the Hall was in a grand position, very central, and best of all that it was a freehold property, which constituted its great value. The site was unusually large, it would have been extremely difficult to secure such a site anywhere else in London. The New Publishing House was already half-built, every brick was set in cement, and when finished it would be a most substantial erection. No premises in the City would have more light and air. There would be ample space for goods to be received and dispatched on their own premises, without interference with the public roads. It would have five stories and accommodate an increasing business. He proposed that the main building should be raised two stories, both in the Grays Inn Road and the Clerkenwell Road. This could be done with perfect safety since the structure had been built on very heavy lines, and in complete harmony with the requirements of the London County Council. The two stories would provide more than fifty excellent offices, so that when the denominational requirements had been met there would be a large number of offices to be let at a fair rental, which with other sources of income would pay the working expenses and interest on the purchase money. The total cost of the whole scheme would be about £50,000. It was a considerable sum, but he said, "The cost is right; if you don't like it, I do." If they did not want the premises he would have them himself.
The descriptive report in The Primitive Methodist Leader indicates at the close the impression made by this exposition of the scheme:
"With his masterly statement, the President carried the Conference with him completely. It should be stated that Sir William Hartley will hold and finance this immense undertaking for some years to come, and the Connexion has had enough proof, again and again, of his insight and foresight and business prescience and ability to feel quite safe in his hands."
This tribute did no more than justice alike to the quality of the statement itself and to the leadership which for many years Sir William had placed at the service of his Church. In spite of this the scheme was sharply criticized at the Conference held in Tunstall in 1910. He was deeply hurt and said in reply that if the Conference was apprehensive of the risk he would keep the premises himself. Happily, the timid policy did not prevail. The scheme was completed, the property was purchased by the denomination, the original name was changed to "The Holborn Hall." Sir William's own contribution was £17,500.
It was inevitable that a denomination which had originated in a revivalist movement led by laymen and at the outset drawing its converts from the ranks of the poor and illiterate should be slow in making provision for the proper training of its ministry. For one thing there was the urgent need for workers. The fields were white unto harvest and the primary necessity was that the labourers should be thrust into the field as rapidly as possible. This attitude and policy will never be rightly appreciated by those who have not the sympathetic imagination to envisage the situation as it presented itself to these ardent missioners. They accepted without any shadow of misgiving the current eschatology. The moment of death fixed for ever the fate of the individual. The sharp division between the converted and the unconverted, the sheep and the goats, was not toned down by any mediating devices. The destiny of the unsaved was appalling beyond all conception. Hell was not simply a mental state, it was a place. Nor were its torments limited to the consciousness of irretrievable loss, to the pangs of unavailing remorse, or the scourge of a guilty conscience. Its penalties were those of physical torture by fire, intolerable yet unending. Evangelistic effort was not paralysed by the sense of its futility, which would have been the logical effect of a scheme of election and reprobation. The human will was free, at any moment the sinner might turn from his evil way and live. No labour or sacrifice could be too great to warn and save those who were rushing to their ruin, and the first duty of the Church was to send out its messengers into a sodden and brutal England and with affectionate urgency warn the unsaved to flee from the wrath to come. Delay might mean that souls which could have been won for heaven would be doomed for eternity to horrible suffering in hell. For this task education and a training in the technicalities of theology was less essential than an unshrinking belief in the current evangelical creed, an unwavering faith in "the plan of salvation," a profound pity for the lost, a sense of desperate urgency, and, of course, the evangelistic gift. So in their thousands their converts streamed into the Kingdom.
But this inevitably created the problem of the spiritual and moral training of these new members of the Society. The meetings were still largely evangelistic in character and the members were expected to support this side of the work. But definite teaching and exposition had to be given to them, and even though this was rudimentary it involved study and preparation. For the most part the preachers were eager for self-improvement and their efforts to make good the deficiencies of early education were often beyond all praise. Out of a salary which was but a meagre pittance they saved money to buy books, they met for study in small groups, they toiled hard to equip themselves for the worthy discharge of a teaching ministry. The emphasis was unavoidably shifted as the congregations consisted more and more of those who had been born into the denomination and not brought into it from outside. Evangelism was still the ruling passion, but the training of the children and of the young people became more and more important. And this accelerated the tendencies which were to result in far more thorough provision for the training of the ministry. It must at this point be explained that when a man was accepted for the ministry, the first four years of his ministerial career were spent on probation. A course of study with an annual examination was prescribed for this period, so that by the time that he was accepted into "full ministry" he had been compelled to pass through a course of study which furnished him with some measure of intellectual equipment. It became clear, however, that definite training was needed before a man entered the ministry, though the system of probation, with its course of four years' study, still remained and has in fact remained till this day. Private enterprise on the part of some of the better qualified ministers effected something; but accommodation had been provided and some training had been given at Elmfield College, a denominational school in York. A college for the training of ministers was opened at Sunderland, and some time later another college was established in Manchester, the tiny nucleus out of which Hartley College has grown. The college at Sunderland was abandoned, and although for a long time there was no necessity for a man to pass through college before he was taken into the ministry, the tendency was developing in the direction of making this the more usual course. The first Principal of the Manchester College was the Rev. James Macpherson, and he remained as a tutor when he was succeeded in the principalship by Dr. Joseph Wood. Mr. Macpherson had given generous help to young ministers in their study, he had been the denominational Editor and the President of Conference, and he did much by his advocacy and his work to make the Manchester College possible.
It must be remembered that there was great apathy on the whole subject, not so much in the ranks of the ministry itself as among the lay officials and the members. This indeed was not unnatural. Where revivalistic passion was intense the necessity for college training was apt to be depreciated. The earlier preachers had succeeded amazingly well without it; the simple Gospel could be assimilated and proclaimed without prolonged and directed study. But the objection was not merely negative. Multitudes were convinced that college was positively dangerous. The ardent young evangelist, all on fire for the salvation of souls, ran the risk, it was firmly believed, of losing his revivalistic zeal and becoming coldly intellectual in his ministry. It was not, indeed, at that time a count against the college training that it infected its victims with heresy; a conservatism so rigid as that of Mr. Macpherson and Dr. Wood would be but rarely found among Primitive Methodist ministers to-day.
It has been necessary to give this long historical explanation, since otherwise the significance of the new development with which Mr. Hartley was so intimately connected would be far from clear. I must also apologize that in what follows my own part should be so prominent, but this cannot be avoided.
In May, 1891, Mr. and Mrs. Hartley were taking a driving tour, accompanied by Miss C. Hartley, who later became Mayor of Southport, and the Rev. F. N. Shimmin. They stayed for a few days in Oxford, and my friend, Mr. J. Harryman Taylor, who was in training for the Primitive Methodist ministry at Mansfield College, brought them round to my rooms at Merton College on the Saturday evening. They lunched with me on the Monday. It happened that I had at this time been thinking a good deal about the training which was being given at the Manchester College. I was profoundly dissatisfied with the situation. The length of the course, one year, was quite inadequate, the curriculum was antiquated and reactionary. I spoke about the matter to my guests with freedom. Mr. Hartley himself had helped the College but had no special interest in it and had in fact, when sending a contribution to Mr. Macpherson, intimated that this was the last that he might expect from him. Mr. Hartley was much interested as I expounded my ideas on the vital necessity of ministerial training and on the kind of training which should be given. It was of course quite natural that this should be on my mind since, after attending Dr. Fairbairn's lectures for three years with the greatest profit, I had accepted his invitation to join the teaching staff of Mansfield College. I was accordingly painfully sensitive to the defectiveness of the training for the ministry in my own Church. Beyond this I think there was nothing in my mind. I was very happily settled in Oxford. I had my Fellowship at Merton and my lectureship at Mansfield. I had planned my chosen line of study and my future literary work for some time ahead. But I believe that Mr. Hartley's mind at once moved forward to plan the development which actually followed. But of this I did not learn till later. Soon after he communicated with Mr. Taylor on the matter, and in this way I learnt that he was considering the question whether I could be induced to leave Oxford for Manchester. I was naturally much exercised over the suggestion. In nearly every way the proposal was unattractive. My roots were very deep in Oxford as I had been there for eight years. My work and the conditions in which it was done were thoroughly congenial. I had many intimate and valued friendships. On the other hand I recognized that the opportunity of serving my own Church was a great one, though I was too ignorant of the situation to realize how momentous the decision might be. My mind moved gradually in the direction of acceptance, should the request come to me. I knew that Mr. Hartley, without mentioning my name, I believe, had suggested the new policy to the College Committee and the attention of the Conference was called to it in its Report. I wrote to Dr. Fairbairn on the matter, partly in duty to him as my chief, partly because there was no one whose advice I should have valued so much. He wrote me a letter which has been printed in his Life by Dr. Selbie (pp. 244-5). His personal desire was that I could remain in Oxford; but he felt that the opportunity was very great and that I had been raised up to do the work that was most necessary. The next time we met he expressed his sorrow at the prospect of my leaving Mansfield, as everything had been so happy, but once again dwelt on the opportunity for service. Some time later, when the matter had come into the sphere of practical politics, he told me that he had thought about it again and again, his judgment oscillating but always in the end settling to the conviction that I ought to go.
The Conference of 1891 was held at Northampton. I had already intended to visit it as I had never attended a Conference. The President, Dr. Ferguson, and Mr. Hartley very kindly introduced me to the assembly. At a later point in the proceedings, when the College Report was under discussion, he urged the appointment of a new tutor to whom a free hand should be given, and said that he would finance the new departure for five years. He mentioned my name in the course of his speech in illustration of the kind of appointment he had in his mind. After I had left the Conference and returned to Oxford the proposal was definitely made that I should be asked to meet the College Committee. I had told Mr. Hartley before I returned to Oxford that I should be willing to consider the question. On June 19 he sent me the following telegram.
"Conference decided that a Committee meet you personally to talk over College course, entrance examination and your probable engagement."
It is no cause for surprise that the suggestion was met in several quarters with hesitation and criticism. I was only twenty-five years of age at the time, very little known in the denomination, and of course there was the question whether I should be theologically "sound." The term which had been used to designate my office was "classical tutor." I interpreted the term in the sense it would commonly bear, and as I had chosen theology for my life work I had no intention of abandoning this for the classics. My own indication that I wished to teach theology was in its turn somewhat misunderstood. Up to that time systematic theology, by which Methodist theology was understood, had always been in the hands of the Principal, and it was not unnaturally felt that it should remain where it was. This was entirely agreeable to me. I was no specialist on this subject, and, if the truth must be told, had only a tepid interest in Methodist theology as such, though I was interested in systematic theology in the larger sense. But when I had spoken of theology as the field I desired to cultivate I had not systematic theology in my mind at all. My work was to be done on the Old Testament, the New Testament and the History of Doctrine. I mention this because it is necessary for the full understanding of a letter I received from Mr. Hartley in reply to one in which I had put my ideas before him and called attention to the difficulty occasioned by the use of the term "classical tutor." His letter was as follows. September 17, 1891.
Dear Mr. Peake,--
Yours of 15th and I agree with everything you say; indeed it is exactly to my mind, every word. I do not know when the committee desire to meet you, but I will take care to be present myself if it be at all possible, that is, nothing even of the first business importance, shall prevent my being present.
I will write you again in a few days after I have made a little private inquiry. I think you may rest contented that the use of the word "classical" was simply either ignorance or inadvertence.
When you meet the Committee you must not forget to come to Aintree to see us. Hope you are well; all my people join in kindest regards.
W. P. Hartley.
A sub-committee consisting of seven members, and including Mr. Hartley, met me at the College, and I put my views fully before it. A resolution was passed very cordially recommending my appointment. A pleasant feature of my visit was that we met the students then in residence and Mr. Hartley and I addressed them. I went with him to Aintree for the night, making the acquaintance of those members of the family whom I had not yet met, and returned to Oxford on the following day. Subsequently I met the full committee at its Quarterly Meeting in May, 1892, if I remember rightly, and put my plans before it, and a resolution was passed recommending my appointment to the Conference to be held at Norwich in June. Mr. Hartley, it is needless to say, was present to advocate the proposal which he had been the first to suggest.
Meanwhile, however, another very important step had been taken, also on his initiative. The Conference of 1891 had made the normal term of residence two years instead of one, and this at once raised the question of an extension of the College building. The College could at that time accommodate twenty-eight students. What was now suggested will be clear from the following letter which Mr. Hartley circulated to a large number of ministers and laymen.
April 8, 1892.
A special sub-committee of the Manchester College was held on Tuesday last to take into consideration the desirability of enlarging the College buildings.
By order of the last Conference, students are in future to stay a minimum of 2 years and the Committee unanimously agreed to recommend that accommodation be provided for 32 additional men, making a total of 60; that would be practically duplicating the present College buildings and would allow a maximum of 30 students to enter our ministry each year, but as I hope some would probably prefer to equip themselves still more thoroughly by staying 3 years, we might take it that 25 men would be available for the ministry each year, and as this number is under the required yearly average, no stronger argument need be used to show the urgency of the suggested extension.
Until this is done we cannot educate the requisite number of men for our ministry, and under these circumstances the Conference has to fall back upon young men of very imperfect education, and practically no training, which in my opinion is disastrous to our connexional influence.
Now that a forward movement has been inaugurated, and the service of Mr. A. S. Peake, M.A., Oxford, secured as tutor, the committee think this an opportune time to ask the permission of Conference to enlarge the College buildings. The estimated cost is £5,000, and as I feel most strongly the importance of the better education of our young ministers, believing it to lie at the very root of our future connexional prosperity, I have offered to give one third of the total amount, namely £1,666 13s. 4d., on condition that the remainder is subscribed.
The committee desire me to ask your favourable consideration of the scheme, in the hope that you will signify your approval by adding your name to the subscription list. It will probably be two years before the whole of the money will need to be paid, and necessarily a considerable time will elapse, before even the first instalment is wanted.
I have addressed a copy of this letter to about 150 of the ministers and laymen best known to me, to test the question, and shall be glad of replies, say in a week, so that they may be laid before the specially summoned meeting of the College Committee, which is to be held this month. I have for some years been trying to render assistance to various connexional projects, and I earnestly hope you will lend your valued co-operation to this important proposal.
W. P. Hartley.
At the meeting of the sub-committee Mr. Hartley made it clear in his speech that on no account did he wish the scheme to go on unless the committee was unanimous in its support. Several speeches were made, some for and some against; but in the end a unanimous vote was given for a further appeal to be made and the work to go forward.
The Primitive Methodist Conference of 1892 met in June at Norwich. As is related elsewhere, Mr Hartley was elected its Vice-President and the Jubilee Fund was inaugurated. It was momentous, however, for the cause with which we are concerned in this chapter. Cinderella stepped into the limelight. A public meeting to advocate the claims of ministerial education was held, at which Dr. Fairbairn, Dr. Wood and I were the speakers. Mr. Hartley was in the chair. The meeting was an extraordinary success. Dr. Wood excelled as a racy and felicitous speaker and he was heard to great advantage on that occasion. My own address, apart from the personal note which was inevitable on the occasion, was chiefly directed to expounding and commending the lines on which my work at Manchester would, if I should be appointed, be conducted. Dr. Fairbairn was rather uncertain as a speaker, but at his best he stirred and moved me as scarcely any speaker to whom I have listened. That night he "got away," and his speech, which was greatly conceived and magnificently expressed, was inspired by a passionate conviction and transfigured by an emotional glow which places it in my memory among the finest it has been my lot to hear. It produced a profound and an enduring impression. The following morning I was, without any dissent, appointed a tutor of the Primitive Methodist College with a free hand to plan my own curriculum and teach on my own lines. Looking back to that action across the intervening three and thirty years I pay a sincere and grateful tribute to the generous confidence which it implied. But its intrinsic significance went much deeper than any personal element in the situation. It meant that, for the first time, the official training of the ministry in the Primitive Methodist Church was in contact with the modern spirit and outlook. That it fell to me to be the pioneer in this respect was more or less accidental; the essential thing was that whether through one channel or another the new light should be suffered to shine. The credit for making it possible and securing its acceptance by Conference belongs to Mr. Hartley more than to any man. It is, of course, well known that there was for a time not a little uneasiness and even resentment in some quarters at the kind of teaching I was giving to the students. But it scarcely ever found public expression; and the really important thing is that year by year the College Committee has recommended and the Conference has passed my reappointment without discussion and has from time to time appointed new colleagues who occupied a standpoint similar to my own.
The Jubilee Fund was inaugurated with the object of raising £50,000, and it was necessary for the Conference to determine how the money should be allocated. On this Mr. Hartley wrote to me from the Conference on June 14: "I have been careful to put the College right in this effort; we shall get £12,500 out of the £50,000. This will pay for the extension, capitalize the ground rent, and leave 4 or 5,000 to spare."
As a matter of fact, however, the extension of the College was delayed because some were not convinced of its necessity. When it was actually taken in hand Mr. Hartley assumed the entire financial responsibility. The building was planned on an ampler scale. He laid the foundation stone on May 12, 1896, and the extension was completed and opened at the Conference in 1897. The total cost was £12,500 and the share of the College from the Jubilee fund was handed over to it intact. The opening ceremonies concluded with a meeting in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, with Mr. Hartley in the chair and Dr. Fairbairn as the chief speaker.
It was usual for Mr. Hartley to attach conditions to his promises, and the offer to extend the College was accompanied by the condition that the course should be extended to three years. At this time Dr. John Watson was Principal, and when his five years term of office came to an end he was succeeded by the Rev. G. Parkin. Dr. Watson remained on the College staff, taking the superintendency of a circuit in Manchester and relieved of part of his circuit duties by an assistant. The double responsibility, however, proved too great, especially when death deprived him of the companionship and help of Mrs. Watson, which had been his mainstay for many years. A disastrous breakdown abruptly terminated his connexion with the College, and at the following Conference it became necessary to appoint a second full-time tutor. Mr. Hartley's nominee for the position, the Rev. A. L. Humphries, was appointed. At the end of Mr. Parkin's term it was felt to be necessary to appoint an assistant tutor. It was realized that this was only a temporary expedient and that a third tutor would be necessary. The Rev. W. L. Wardle accordingly became assistant tutor in 1903. Mr. Hartley eased the new departure by payment of the salary for a term of years. In due course Mr. Wardle became a full tutor. It was clear, however, that the whole group of philosophical subjects, of which only a section could be taken by the existing staff, in view of their other duties, ought to be entrusted to a tutor who was a specialist in those subjects. For this post Mr. Atkinson Lee was suggested and the appointment was made by the Conference of 1908, Mr. Hartley again financing the new departure for a term of years. It should be borne in mind that it was not merely the desirability of having the subject taught much more fully than had been previously possible, but also the necessity of readjusting the work so as to relieve the Principal, whose administrative duties had become much heavier, of systematic theology. This subject was now entrusted to Professor Humphries, who combined with it part of the New Testament Exegesis and Greek, while Professor Wardle was responsible for Hebrew and English.
Soon after the enlargement had been completed in 1897 experience made it clear that the needs of the denomination demanded a larger building still. The extension had been planned so that the College might accommodate sixty students. Before long seventy were in residence and special provision had to be made. But it was necessary to contemplate a second extension. The complete responsibility for this was also under taken by Mr. Hartley. The building was now planned to accommodate 105 students which, assuming a three years' course, would permit an average of over thirty students to be sent into the ministry each year. A much larger dining-hall was required, and this set free the old dining-room for a lecture room. The new building contained in addition new rooms for the students and for the staff built in a quadrangle which also included a new and much larger lecture room. The College Chapel was added at the end of the quadrangle. The library had been used by the students as their Common Room, but this unsatisfactory arrangement was brought to an end by the provision of an entirely new library. The second extension was, of course, on a much greater scale than its predecessor. Its cost was £20,000. The new building was opened at the Conference of 1906 which was held in Manchester. Mr. Hartley opened the door of the chapel. A tablet commemorating his double gift was unveiled by his friend, Mr. William Beckworth of Leeds, for long one of the most prominent lay leaders in the denomination and a very finished speaker, who had spoken at the Free Trade Hall meeting in 1897. The inscription on the tablet was as follows.
This tablet commemorates the munificence of William P. Hartley Esq., J.P. of Southport who, for the glory of God, and moved by his profound sense of the value of ministerial education, built and presented, completely furnished, to the Primitive Methodist Church this Chapel and the adjacent study block, at the same time adding the new dining-hall and library to the older block, the greater portion of which had been similarly erected and presented by him in 1897.
Unveiled at the opening of the later enlargement during the Conference in Manchester, June 18th, 1906.
After the tablet had been unveiled the opening sermon was preached by Dr. Fairbairn and a short meeting followed, held in a tent. The evening meeting was held in the Free Trade Hall. Mr. Hartley was in the chair and the meeting was addressed by the Rev. J. Dodd Jackson, Dr. James Hope Moulton and Dr. Fairbairn.
In 1907 Mr. Hartley wrote to me expressing his desire that such students as were competent to do so should enter the University of Manchester and take their degree. Since many who read this volume may not understand the conditions and will think of University training as a natural part of the education for theological students, it is necessary at this point to explain the difficulties as they affect the Methodist Churches. It has already been pointed out that a Methodist minister is required as a normal thing to spend four years on probation. He is not allowed to marry till his probation has been satisfactorily completed and the salary he receives as a probationer is much less than that of a man who is on the list of fully approved ministers.
In a paper on "Interdenominational Possibilities in Ministerial Education," which I had read several years before to the National Free Church Council at Sheffield, I had spoken of this system as a millstone round the neck of educational reform. It is clear that so long a probation almost inevitably involves a much briefer College course. The system generally followed at the University of Manchester is that an Arts Degree is taken in three years and the B.D. Degree in two years more. It is obvious that a College course of five years, followed by four years of probation, would involve in a large majority of cases a very heavy burden on the student and his friends and make him unduly old before his probation ceased. Yet the connexional system makes it very difficult to touch the term of probation. A circuit which takes a student when he leaves College pledges itself to provide for a married preacher at the end of four years. This involves a much heavier financial responsibility, since a house has to be furnished and a much larger salary paid. It is assumed that the four years interval will make the assumption of additional responsibilities possible. It is accordingly out of the question to abolish the system and difficult to modify it.
In my reply to Mr. Hartley's letter I pointed out that there were three types of student to be considered. There were those who had already graduated and who could proceed at once to the B.D. course, which would be completed in two or three years. There were the students who had already matriculated who, if they could face a five years' College course, could take their Arts and their Divinity degrees. The third case was of students who had not matriculated but who, at the end of two years spent on the ordinary curriculum, might succeed in matriculating and completing their Arts course in three years. In the two former cases some modification of probation might reasonably be granted. Mr. Hartley approved of the suggestions and they went through the College Committee with the recommendation that the modification allowed should be the reduction of probation from four years to three and exemption from probationers' examinations. He undertook the whole cost of financing the scheme, but, as was not unusual, he committed himself to a limited period only. This was again and again extended and the support was continued till his death, and all students who had entered on their University course at the time when he was taken from us will have the cost of completing it defrayed by his executors. They also generously admitted new students to the advantages of the scheme in the year following his death. Those who have had intimate knowledge of its working will be the first to recognize that this was among the conspicuous services he rendered to the cause of ministerial education. The Conference held at Scarborough in 1925 assumed responsibility for the future.
A letter written by Sir William on October 10, 1908, may here be quoted as indicating the feeling with which he looked back on the history of the work that had been done for the cause. My volume Christianity: Its Nature and its Truth had just been published, and I had dedicated it to him. The dedication was as follows:
SIR WILLIAM P. HARTLEY
Large-hearted in Philanthropy
Fertile and Sagacious in Counsel
Faithful in the Stewardship of Wealth
I Dedicate this Volume in Gratitude for the Privilege of his Friendship
in Admiration of his Conspicuous Services
to the Cause of Ministerial Training.
His reply was as follows.
Dear Dr. Peake,--
It is very good of you to send me your book Christianity: Its Nature and its Truth. I received it safely last night on my arrival home, and all at Sea View were much pleased both with the book and with your great kindness in dedicating it to me. The words of the dedication are exceedingly choice and beautiful, and touch us very much.
What a wonderful change for the better has come over the ministerial education in our Church since we first met in Oxford. Neither of us at that time could foresee the wonderful events that would happen.
We are all very glad that Mrs. Peake and the children are coming to winter in Southport, and that you will usually be down for the week-ends. It will give us many opportunities of important conversations.
We again thank you.
W. P. Hartley.
Another letter may be added here as it indicates the way in which he wished his contribution for this purpose to be administered.
November 15, 1909.
Dear Dr. Peake,--
I note that one of the students wishes to take a class in Hellenistic Greek in addition to his Arts work, and from what you say I think he should do it. As regards the payment would it not be better to let the young fellows pay such items as these themselves; in other words is it not possible to do too much for them?
I leave it entirely to your judgment. I only want to make the best use of my Charity money, and you can just act as you think is the best and I shall be agreeable whatever it may be. I leave the whole matter in your hands both present and future to act as you think is best, giving me the minimum of work and correspondence.
On the suggestion of the Rev. George Armitage, at that time the secretary of the College, it was decided to recognize the completion of twenty-one years of my work at the College. The actual date was 1913, but from various causes the ceremony itself took place on June 11, 1914. A portrait painted by Mr. Nowell was unveiled by the Rev. John Day Thompson. When Sir William heard of the suggestion he warmly approved of it and intimated his intention of taking a special part in it himself. He had previously, in recognition of his election as President of the Conference, which was held in 1909 at Southport, put some stained-glass windows in the Church where the Conference was held and which he himself was in the habit of attending. At his request I had submitted a scheme to him, which he approved. The large window represented the Visit of the Magi and eight windows appropriate for single figures were filled as follows: Moses and Isaiah represented the Old Testament, Paul and John the New, Athanasius and Augustine the undivided Church, Luther Protestantism, and John Wesley Methodism. The artist was Mr. Arming Bell. In a letter Sir William wrote to me on April 15,1912, he said: "In connexion with the twenty-first anniversary of your appointment to Manchester I am intending to put in the stained glass windows to the College Chapel, and at some mutually convenient date, I must come over to Manchester and have a conversation with yourself and your colleagues as to what is the best to be done. I cannot fix a date just yet, but I must do my best to spare an afternoon before my summer season begins. We must make up our mind first of all what has to be done, and then we will bring in the artist Mr. Anning Bell."
When he met us it was decided that three stained-glass windows should be put in. I suggested that the window over the communion table should represent Christ at Calvary. I did not wish that the actual Crucifixion should be represented since I felt this to be morbid. The moment chosen for representation was when Jesus had actually reached Calvary but before the execution itself had begun. In view of the fact that the College was designed for the training of the ministry I suggested as the subjects for the other windows Elijah on Carmel and Paul at Athens. The suggestions were cordially accepted and the artist produced three beautiful and striking windows. The Principal of the College, the Rev. H. J. Pickett, presided at the afternoon ceremony and Sir William unveiled the windows. He said that he looked back with unalloyed pleasure to my appointment in 1892. In my reply I recognized to the full how impossible it would have been for me to carry on my work if it had not been for the munificence with which Sir William had helped us, the courage with which he had confronted difficulties and the statesmanship with which he had guided our course. He presided at tea, and interesting speeches were made by Professor F. E. Weiss, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr. J. H. Moulton, at that time Dean of the Faculty of Theology, the Rev. James Travis, Professor Humphries, the Rev. George Armitage, and the College treasurer, Mr. T. L. Gerrard, who made a presentation to my wife and myself. One feature of the celebration which gave me peculiar pleasure remains to be mentioned. In addition to his gift of the windows Sir William founded a number of scholarships and half-scholarships for needy students. My relations with the students had always been very happy. I knew something of the difficulties they had to meet and was glad to think that I had been the occasion of such timely and welcome help.
His interest in the College continued unabated, but our work was soon modified and then arrested by the war, the buildings being used as a Red Cross Hospital. As soon as it was possible we reverted to the old conditions. No further incident calls for special mention; but I cannot close this account of his relations to the College without adding that, great though his work was for other sides of denominational life and for the amelioration of misery and the healing of disease, the work which was more far-reaching in its effects than anything else was that which he did for the training and equipment of the ministry.
It is appropriate in this connexion to speak of the help he gave to ministers by gifts of books or by the arrangements he made to enable them to purchase books at a greatly reduced price. He presented my first book, A Guide to Biblical Study, to all Primitive Methodist ministers and offered at half-price several of my other books. Professor George Adam Smith's The Historical Geography of the Holy Land was similarly made available for many who would have found it difficult to purchase it outright. But much more remarkable was his offer of books up to five guineas at half-price, to be selected from an elaborate catalogue which I prepared for him. An interesting point in this connexion was that the figure was lifted from five pounds to five guineas in order that the complete Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible in five volumes might be included. It is pleasant to record that the ministers, whom he had helped in this and in other ways, testified their deep appreciation of his thoughtful generosity, by the presentation to him of a very beautiful vase.
Local preachers also were not forgotten. A special catalogue on a smaller scale was prepared by Mr. H. Jeffs of The Christian World, and myself, and they were included in the offer of several of my own books; indeed in some instances Sunday School teachers were also allowed to participate. A friend of mine who had published an excellent book specially designed to help lay preachers told me that he was grateful to me for selling out a whole edition of it. Since so much of the work of the denomination is done by lay preachers and Sunday School teachers who, often at great cost to themselves, freely give their labours, it was very fitting that such help should be rendered to them as well as to the ministers.
In another way he gave substantial assistance to men already in the ministry. The Summer School was a familiar institution in America for some time before it was introduced into England. It is now a well-known institution in this country. The Friends a quarter of a century ago initiated a series for members of the Society. Politics, economics, social welfare, mathematics and other subjects have recently followed where theology long before led the way. The first was held at Mansfield College in 1892, for ministers of all denominations. Mr. Hartley, seeing the announcement, recognized how valuable such a course as the School offered might be to the ministers of his own Church and at once asked me to secure places. He offered to pay half the total cost, that is for travelling, board and lodging, as well as for the lectures themselves. The School was international and inter denominational and the list of lecturers was very brilliant. A second School was held in 1894 with equal success. In both cases a considerable number of Primitive Methodist ministers availed themselves of Mr. Hartley's offer. The Mansfield College Summer School was discontinued, but when Dr. Rendel Harris was President of the National Free Church Council a Summer School was held in Cambridge. Another Cambridge Summer School was held at Westminster College, Cambridge. More recently, largely under the inspiration and guidance of Dr. Estlin Carpenter, a Summer School has been held at intervals in Oxford. It has been made possible by the help of the Hibbert trustees. For all of these the same generous assistance was given by Mr. Hartley and the administrative work connected with them has been efficiently carried through by the Rev. J. Harryman Taylor. The value of these gatherings has been very great. They have enabled men whose College days lie in a rapidly receding past and whose opportunities for study are curtailed by the incessant demands of pastoral and administrative duties, to hear from experts about the recent developments in Biblical and theological scholarship and ascertain what problems are specially engaging attention and in what directions the pioneers are moving. The lonely minister in rural areas who often has little money for boots, and perhaps no friend who shares his interests, finds in that golden fortnight, alike in the stimulus of the lectures and in the opportunities for informal discussion, a renewal of intellectual energy, a quickening of his theological interest and a refreshment of spirit in the strength of which he will journey for many days.
The support of the ministry in Primitive Methodism is for the most part the responsibility of the individual circuit. But in some cases it is necessary for aid to be given from other sources. There are Home Missions Stations under the direction of the Missionary Committee and largely supported from its funds. In other cases help is derived from a Sustentation Fund. Naturally as Missionary Treasurer Mr. Hartley had his part to play in such matters, but this calls for no special reference. I may, however, quote one incident which is of interest as showing that he did not wait till consequences forced themselves on his attention, but anticipated them. After a Welsh strike he wrote on September 14, 1898, to the General Chapel Fund Committee of the denomination, pointing out that help would be needed for trustees in localities dependent entirely upon colliery work, and to make up deficiencies in ministers' salaries. He suggested that the Committee should make a grant and raise a Fund in addition. To this Fund he promised to add 25 per cent.
Among the difficult problems created for the Churches by the war that of ministers' salaries was one of the most urgent. It may be well to explain that the Methodist principle can be summed up in the phrase, "Not payment but support." When the denomination accepts a man for its ministry, it takes responsibility for him. He receives his salary, a furnished house when he has completed his probation, and some help for his children. Everything is on a very modest scale; indeed the story of the Methodist manse has often been one of heroic sacrifice and brave unremitting struggle to maintain on inadequate resources the expected standard. On the other hand the Connexional system secures a minimum below which a minister's salary is not allowed to fall; and although there is no maximum which may not be exceeded, the range of inequality is far less than in communions where the salary is settled by an autonomous local church.
In all the Churches the strain of rising prices, which had been felt before the war, was becoming, as the war went on, increasingly severe. The situation was aggravated by the other difficulties which arose out of the war; the withdrawal of some of the best workers from weaker societies, and the impoverishment of many of the most liberal supporters.
The gravity of the situation was creating wide concern before the end of 1917. On November 17 of that year Sir William sent out a circular to 220 laymen inviting contributions to a fund from which an addition of 25 per cent. might, within certain limits, be granted on any increase of salaries circuits might make. The letter ran as follows.
November 17, 1917.
Primitive Methodist Ministers' Salaries.
Probably you will have seen the correspondence on this subject in the Leader, and also the leading article in the British Weekly. The question has been on my mind for some time past, and I feel that for the honour of our Church, and the efficiency and well-being of our Ministers, it is essential that something should be done to increase the salaries. The present purchasing power of money is probably only about 50 per cent. of the pre-war value. Under these conditions I think you will agree that each married Minister's Salary should, if possible, be increased to at least £150 a year, and Probationers' to £90.
The suggestion is--that a Connexional Fund be raised by contributions from our leading laymen, and to induce the circuits to take the matter up, a challenge offer would be made from this fund of 25 per cent. on any increase in salary they may make within the limits named above, for a period of three years. Only those circuits that raised their proportion would come under the scheme.
Example.--If a circuit should decide to increase the minister's salary by say £20 a year--£5 would be provided by this fund, and £15 by the circuit, and pro rata, whether more or less.
It is estimated that this challenge offer would require a special fund of £7,500 in addition to the amount provided by the circuits. If half this sum is promised, I will give a like amount, and thereby provide the £7,500. I hope you will assist this humanitarian effort, which, if successful, will bring great joy to hundreds of homes, where at present there must be severe privation, if not absolute debt.
It is suggested that promises be paid in three annual donations, the first instalment in February, 1918, and each February during the three years, so as to be in time for payment to each March Quarterly Meetings.
The scheme has the approval of the General Committee and the Secretary hopes to communicate with all the circuits in time for consideration by the December Quarterly Meetings.
I trust to receive your early and favourable reply.
W. P. Hartley.
The appeal brought in more than the amount suggested and it seemed probable that this amount would prove to be considerably in excess of that required. It was accordingly proposed that the surplus should be used to augment the fund which was being raised to help those ministers whose circuits were unable to pay more than the minimum salary.
When a Primitive Methodist minister retires from active service his superannuation allowance is derived partly from the Superannuated Ministers, Widows and Orphans' Fund and partly from the Preachers' Friendly Society. The allowance from the two sources combined is slender, and few ministers are able to save much out of their salaries for old age, or to provide for those who are dependent upon them. This class was accordingly hit very hard by the depreciation in the value of money. On the initiative of some outstanding laymen at Northampton a Lightning Fund of £20,000 was raised in a few weeks. This was a movement very much to Sir William's mind and specially welcome because it had originated quite independently of any suggestion of his own. He was, in fact, rather troubled by the fact that the denomination had come to look so much for his leadership, and greatly wished that others would come forward to initiate new schemes.
An even more important movement for the same object was soon after set on foot. For several years the condition of the Preachers' Friendly Society had occasioned no little anxiety. When the Society came into existence too little was known of the conditions which had to be observed if the fund was to be maintained in a healthy state. For some time the premiums paid were too small and the payments too large. Steps had been taken to mitigate the evil, but the Society was, in the judgment of actuarial experts, unsound. It was clear that sooner or later something drastic would be necessary. And it would have to be done by the Church itself. It was an act of bare justice to those who had spent all their strength in its service. The possibilities of Methodist Union were becoming all the time more prominent, and although the financial position of the Primitive Methodist Church was placed in an altogether too unfavourable a light by some opponents of Union in a way which Primitive Methodists resented as unworthy and unjust, the condition of the Preachers' Friendly Society was not one of which any Primitive Methodist could feel proud. It would certainly have been much fairer if the opponents of Union had recognized the truly amazing efforts which the denomination had made, and instead of emphasizing its financial liabilities had been more generous in its recognition of the speed with which they were being liquidated. Nevertheless the Friendly Society was a weak point which had to be made good. At this juncture the General Secretary of the denomination received a letter from a writer who wished his name not to be disclosed. He offered £10,000 towards the sum required for the purpose. I well remember how Sir William reported to his minister, the Rev. H. J. Pickett, and myself, as we were walking from church, the receipt of a letter from the General Secretary informing him of the offer. We were not quite sure at first whether he was not himself responsible for the mystification. He divined what we were thinking and quickly assured us that he was not the anonymous donor. He proceeded to speculate on his identity, leaning to the correct solution. At the following Conference it leaked out that the donor was Mr. Clapham, of Yarm, and he was requested to address the assembly. In that address he said that the example of Sir William Hartley had been one which had greatly influenced him. It was pleasant to see it bearing such precious fruit. The Conference decided that a committee of laymen should be appointed to raise a fund of £60,000. Some of the leading laymen in the denomination--Sir Thomas Robinson, Mr. William Arnold, Mr. Moses Bourne, Mr. Joseph Longstaff--gave themselves without stint to the task of advocating the claims of the Fund. Up to this point of his career Sir William had not displayed any special interest in the Preachers' Friendly Society. But he promised a conditional donation of £10,000, and this, too, was an anonymous offer. It was not surprising that he made it anonymous. It was a measure for self-protection. Whenever any large donation of his to a religious object was announced, he was sure to receive a number of anonymous letters, admitting perhaps that the object was a good one, but asserting that it would have been much better if he had given the money to his employees. Undoubtedly he gave as much thought to the distribution of his money as any of his anonymous censors, and none strove harder to enlighten and then to follow his conscience. And it does not appear whether they had considered the question how the action they exhorted him to take would have been viewed by his competitors; or whether they would themselves approve the application of a parallel principle if taken by a worker. These unpleasant letters worried him, and he had said to me some time before that he must, to save himself from them, resort to anonymity.
It is pleasant to record that the money was duly raised and Sir William's promise was duly claimed. But Methodism is served by a great army of lay preachers, and they too have claims on the generosity of the Church. Often they are working-men, earning, especially in the agricultural districts, a scanty wage. They do their work as local preachers without fee, often tramping long distances in all weathers and sacrificing the rest which a hard week's toil has amply earned. Mr. Hartley, for reasons already given, did not belong to their order. But he had great sympathy with them and admiration for their work. I have elsewhere spoken of what he did for them by the gift of books. I might add that in connexion with the Local Preachers' Training Fund he offered at the Conference of 1907 that if each Circuit would contribute the five shillings expected from them he would add a donation of £100 in order to prosecute the work to a greater extent. He confirmed this in a letter to Professor Humphries on June 24, 1907. For many years Professor Humphries did a very valuable service to the cause of local preacher training; and this, together with his long and faithful service at Hartley College, was fittingly recognized by his designation as President of the Conference to be held at Manchester in June, 1926.
How keenly Mr. Hartley felt the obligation that rested on the denomination to provide for its needy local preachers will be clear from a letter he wrote to the Primitive Methodist on June 24, 1893.
"It has several times been stated recently in Conference and elsewhere that there were local preachers and officials of long standing in various parts of the Connexion in needy circumstances. To myself, and I dare say to many others, this statement has given surprise and pain.
"The claim of such persons is, I think, first of all upon the circuit that has profited by their labours. I hold with Dr. Chalmers that every Church should provide for its own poor. Prosperous circuits in manufacturing districts ought to have a fund of their own adequate to this purpose. But there are poor and struggling circuits in agricultural districts that need outside help, and such help I am prepared during the next year to render.
"The claims of my business render it impossible for me to undertake the work of investigation which will necessarily be involved. This must be done by the circuit authorities. First let the local fund be started, then submit any cases needing help to the Quarterly Meeting. If deemed deserving, a brief statement of each case, with the minute passed hereon by the Quarterly Meeting should be forwarded, accompanied by a short statement of the circumstances of the circuit.
"When these conditions are complied with and it is shown that the circuit is not in a position to give all the help needed, I am prepared to render financial assistance to a reasonable extent, and thus supplement the amount raised on the spot."
There was from the first a very strong temperance sentiment among the Primitive Methodists. Hugh Bourne, one of the founders, was a teetotaller before the seven men of Preston and in the benighted period when total abstinence was generally regarded as a displeasing and unsocial eccentricity. It was natural that a Church which had grown out of an evangelistic movement should more and more range itself on the side of total abstinence, for its converts were often reclaimed drunkards, and drink was preeminently the enemy which it was constantly compelled to fight. And this favoured a rapid spread of total abstinence principles. Arm-chair moralists are inclined to handle the question in the abstract, and fail to understand the forces which necessitate a practice that they regard as extreme. But those who are devoting their lives to the grim struggle with vice soon learn that they are immeasurably weakened in their appeals for sobriety if they are not themselves total abstainers.
It was natural that Mr. Hartley, as a Primitive Methodist of the third generation and born into a family steeped in its Puritan tradition, should be firm in his adherence to the more rigid standard. He was personally a life-long abstainer. At the profit-sharing in January, 1910, urging his workpeople to use the money distributed to the very best advantage, he said that he and his wife were life-long teetotallers; he believed that he was within the truth when he said that they had never tasted beer or spirits in their lives. The man or woman who indulged in either liquor or gambling was only courting poverty and sorrow. Accordingly when he entreated his people, as at the distribution of profits he constantly did, to spend none of the money in intoxicants, his exhortation had behind it the weight of his settled conviction and his personal example. On these occasions he would express his willingness to help any of his people who were in trouble; but he limited this by the proviso that they should not have brought their misfortunes on themselves by intemperance. "I have no sympathy," he affirmed, "with drink in any shape or form."
Writing in reply to a request to help a temperance organization, he said in a letter dated October 14, 1908: "I need not say that all at Sea View are total abstainers and that we are helping the work in many large and important ways. For instance, I gave a cheque in June of this year for £500 to help the funds of the United Kingdom Alliance and another for £500 to Sir Thomas Whittaker for the same purpose."
He was a Vice-President of the British Temperance League. But one of the causes in which he took special interest was the training of the young in temperance principles. For three years he contributed £310 annually towards the cost of temperance teaching in the Liverpool Schools. He was a generous supporter of the Lancashire and Cheshire Band of Hope Union, of which his son-in-law, Mr. J. S. Higham, has for long been the treasurer. He presided at the annual meeting in February, 1909. In his address he said that he was present to show his deep interest in the temperance work, but especially in the teaching of temperance in the day schools. The surest way to attain their end was to place the scientific treatment of temperance before young people in the day schools throughout the country. Temperance teaching in the day schools was now optional in the curriculum, but he hoped it might be made compulsory before very long. It had been stated that in America there were twenty-two million children receiving that kind of education. But until that happy day arrived in this country they must put forth every effort in their power to provide that scientific teaching in which they had so much confidence. He called special attention to Alcohol and the Human Body, which had recently been published by Sir Victor Horsley and Dr. Mary Sturge. Describing it as a book of immense value, he said that he so fully recognized the supreme importance of such a book getting into the right hands that he had arranged for a special edition to be prepared with the intention of presenting a copy to each recognized speaker belonging to the Lancashire and Cheshire Band of Hope Union and each recognized speaker of the national Band of Hope Union. He had also arranged for a copy to be placed in the hands of each minister of all sections of the Methodist Church who was in active service. Altogether the special edition would probably amount to 18,000 copies. He was sure that the perusal of the book by such an army of public speakers would result in great good to the cause they had so much at heart.
As was not unusual, his plans developed, and in the distribution of the book he went far beyond what he had originally contemplated. He included ministers of other than the Methodist Churches, both Anglican and Free Church, so that the total number of copies distributed was about 40,000.
He served the cause in other ways. The cafe and institute which he built at
Aintree, and to which reference is made elsewhere, had for one of its objects
to provide a counter-attraction to the public-house. Another instance is not
without a touch of humour. When the Licensing Bill was before the country many
brewers resented the active support given to it by the Bishops and clergy of
the Church of England and announced that they would withdraw the financial help
they had previously given to their work. Sir William promptly forwarded a
cheque for £500 to Dr. Chavasse, the Bishop of Liverpool, to distribute
among the various diocesan funds. The repartee was greatly enjoyed by the
friends of sobriety and all who resented the action of the brewers and its
implications; while the widespread interest which the incident excited had a
moral effect more valuable than the financial aid rendered by the gift.
In the address delivered at the profit-sharing of 1910, already quoted, Sir William coupled gambling with drinking as the prolific source of poverty and sorrow. In the same context he said, referring to himself and Lady Hartley, that as for gambling, they never thought of it even for a sixpence. How deeply he felt on the subject is clear from his protest against raffling at bazaars. In connexion with a Liberal Bazaar which he had been asked to help, he wrote a letter on March 8, 1907, in which, after referring to a conversation with two friends on the project, he continues: "I also explained to them that I was entirely out of sympathy with any form of raffling or means in which the element of chance was brought in. Ever since I can remember I have heard it preached against, and I and my family have never had anything to do with a bazaar in which raffling was introduced. When I noticed this matter in the Southport Guardian I was very much astonished, indeed I had the greatest of difficulty to believe it, hence my reason for writing you to ask if it was so. I regret I don't see my way to modify my opinion. I was very firm in the expression of my view to the deputation, and since then I and my family have talked the matter over several times and have always come to the same conclusion, therefore I regret I cannot take any part in the present appeal either direct or indirect."
On July 8 he wrote to one of the two friends previously mentioned as follows: "It gives me pleasure to promise a donation of £250 towards the forthcoming Liberal Bazaar in October, and I will send you my cheque at that time. I am glad that the raffling has been done away with. I am also sorry that it was ever attempted, and even more sorry that it was not thrown over at a much earlier period."
No form of philanthropic activity appealed to Mr. Hartley more than the relief of pain and the healing of disease, and it was natural that this should find its chief expression in the provision of hospitals. For here his philanthropic instinct was linked with his interest in building and his sense of the valuable results to be expected from scientific research. But he was deeply concerned for the support of institutions already in existence. He was characteristically liberal in his personal contributions and he stimulated the gifts of others by adding in many instances an equivalent amount. It was in fact by no means uncommon for him to double the collection made on Hospital Sunday in Churches with which he was connected or in which he had some interest. He financed research on the cause and cure of cancer at the University of Liverpool, and he was also keenly interested in its School of Tropical Medicine--all the more so because of its importance for missionary work.
One of the first of his larger contributions was occasioned by an accident to his youngest daughter, which occurred in the very week when he left Southport to live at Aintree. I quote his own account of it.
"On Sunday, October 26, 1890, it was a wild morning and we were driving to Cambridge Hall, Southport, in a cab, this being our last Sunday in Southport, and going down Alma Road, Birkdale, the cab door flew open and Constance fell out. I sprang out in a moment, expecting she would be lamed or killed on the stone pavement, as the cab was going at a good speed: and to my glad surprise she was scarcely hurt at all. A policeman who saw the accident said the wheel went within an inch of her head and the deliverance was a miracle. I never felt so thankful before, as nothing short of a providence could have saved her, either from being hurt on the hard pavement or perhaps killed with the wheel."
As a thankoffering he endowed a bed at the Children's Infirmary in Liverpool at the cost of £500, and the story is told on a brass plate affixed to it.
One of the tasks which specially appealed to him was the battle with consumption. When the foundation-stone of the Cottage Hospital was laid at Colne on April 1, 1899, Mr. Hartley said in his address that he was glad to know that consumption was curable. He had an interview along with a deputation with Sir William Broadbent in London two months earlier; and he said that given rest, abundant food, and life in the open air, even the dread disease of consumption was curable. Believing this to be true they were arranging in Liverpool to erect a Sanatorium for the care of poor people threatened with consumption and they hoped in twelve months to have it in order.
The Sanatorium, to which reference is made, was erected at Delamere. Lady Willox, whose husband had at one time been Editor of the Liverpool Courier, shared in this work with Mr. Hartley, and in 1902 the buildings were handed over to the Committee to form part of the work of the Liverpool Consumption Hospital. The total cost was £15,000 and it was borne equally by the two donors.
Prolonged experience and deepened study of the subject convinced him that the problem was a vast one far beyond the capacity of individual benevolence. Speaking in Liverpool in November, 1908, he said that the more he looked into the matter the more he felt that the prevention and cure of consumption should be a national question, and until that time arrived he thought the great municipalities should take it up. "I have for years felt strongly," he continued, "that it is a disgrace to our civilization and our religion that respectable men and women should be allowed to die of consumption simply for the want of financial assistance, which it should be our duty and our pleasure to supply."
The radical mistake which vitiated so much of their efforts and compelled them to stop short at palliatives when they might have obtained cures, was that the cases were taken in hand too late. For the patients, owing to financial necessities, struggled on while the disease was striking deeper and deeper roots, and when they were driven to seek proper treatment it was too firmly established to be eradicable. His own view of the subject is admirably expressed in a letter he wrote on October 20, 1908.
"I have given great thought to this matter for the last three or four years, and I can see plainly that what is wanted is a large sum of money that would admit working men and women threatened with consumption at a fee of only 10s. per week, and even then in scores of cases the poor people would have the greatest difficulty to find the money, because not only is the fee to find for the Sanatorium, but the person's family is to be considered during the time. A very great number of lives could be saved and much suffering avoided providing that there was enough money forthcoming either from public or private sources.
"This is such a great question and so far-reaching all over the country that it ought to be either a national or a municipal matter! It is really too great a matter for ordinary benevolence, because if the money could be arranged it ought to be publicly known that persons suffering from consumption could have sanatorium treatment at a very low fee, whereas as it is, persons go on working three months or six months too long until in many cases the mischief is done."
He took a great interest in the Royal Infirmary at Manchester, which was opened by King Edward the Seventh. He endowed five beds in 1908 and five in 1909, at a cost of about £6,000.
His most notable gifts of the kind were made to Colne. The decision to present a Cottage Hospital to his native town was accidental. On May 13, 1897, a town's meeting was held to consider and determine the way in which the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria should be commemorated. Among the suggestions put forward was one for the erection of technical schools, but this was rejected in favour of the provision of a Cottage Hospital. Mr. Hartley, who after he had left Colne kept in touch with it by reading its newspaper, saw a report of the meeting and on May 18 wrote the following letter to the Mayor.
"I am willing to provide the money to build and furnish a Cottage Hospital for Colne; the cost of land and building to be about three thousand pounds. I have a site of freehold land on Keighley Road, which cost between £700 and £800, and I think a good plain building could be erected and furnished for about £3,000 including the land. I offer this on the following terms, viz. that the people of Colne and neighbourhood subscribe a similar amount for an endowment fund, not necessarily to be a perpetual endowment, but if the Council so desires, the endowment could be limited to twenty years, the principal and interest might be totally expended in the twenty years.
"On this basis each thousand pounds would bring in about £66 a year, so that £3,000 would give about £200 a year for twenty years.
"A committee elected by the donors should go into the whole question and take advice from various places where Cottage Hospitals have been successfully worked, and if they find it needful to spend more than £3,000 on land, buildings and furnishing, I am willing to go to £3,500 or even £4,000, with only one condition, viz., that a similar amount be subscribed by the public towards the endowment."
The Mayor's comment at the meeting of the Council was that this was a most noble and generous offer, the most generous they had ever had in Colne; and he was pleased they had a Colne man who was able and willing to do such a thing. When the foundation-stone was laid by Mr. Hartley, on April 1, 1899, he increased his offer to £5,000. The actual cost of the land, the hospital itself, its furnishing and equipment was £4,595. The hospital, which is situated in Barrowford Road, was designed by Mr. Henry Holgate of Colne, and it provided accommodation for fourteen patients. It was opened by the late Earl of Derby, on Saturday, April 20, 1900. Soon after that date the endowment fund was completed. The first patient was admitted in June, 1900, and the total number of patients treated in the hospital has exceeded 4,600.
By 1910 the Cottage Hospital had become inadequate for the needs of the district. Schemes were suggested for its enlargement, Sir William offering to defray the cost if conditions similar to those previously imposed were fulfilled. But he became convinced that something on a much larger scale was required, and in 1914 offered to provide an entirely new hospital which should be sufficient for the district and be completely equipped with the latest appliances. He estimated the cost as £25,000. His condition was that a sufficient annual income should be guaranteed. He suggested a weekly contributory scheme, a method of which he had long been in favour. Early in the century he had proposed at a profit-sharing that his workpeople should institute a weekly collection for the Liverpool hospitals. He promised that he would contribute an equal amount and the suggestion had been accepted in the form that one penny a week was deducted from the men's wages and one halfpenny a week from the women's wages. Speaking to his work people when the scheme had been in operation for five years he pointed out that a very large sum could be collected for the hospitals, not only in Liverpool but in every town in the country if the weekly system were adopted. He regarded it as much the easiest plan. He said that the best example he knew was Leicester, where the workpeople in the factories, workshops and shops contributed no less than about £11,000 a year, being much more than double the amount contributed by the ordinary annual subscribers. Accordingly in December, 1914, representatives of the six largest trade organizations in Colne visited Leicester on his invitation. The scheme was in operation in connexion with the Leicester and county infirmary and convalescent homes. The deputation found the workers and trade organizations in the Leicester district "whole-heartedly in favour of the weekly contributory scheme and proud of its success." Their own conclusion was stated in the following terms: "We are so convinced of the soundness of such a scheme that we severally and collectively are willing to recommend our members to adopt the same for Colne and will do what we can for the success of the movement if it is started."
The war, however, prevented any further progress with the scheme. Mr. Hartley consulted the Treasury as to his duty and was requested not to proceed with the work but to delay it till the war was ended. A site was selected in Keighley Road, adjoining the Hartley Homes, and plans were prepared, but of the work itself nothing could be done. On November 19, 1918, eight days after the Armistice, Sir William visited Colne to meet the Committee. He explained that he was prepared to go forward with the building and impressed upon the Committee the need of initiating the weekly contributory scheme. A town's meeting was held on January 21, 1919, attended by Mr. Wooley, the organizing secretary of the Leicester scheme, and a resolution was adopted approving of a similar scheme for Colne. In March Mr. J. E. Keighley was appointed to organize it, and it has received steadily increasing support.
Meanwhile conditions had changed enormously for the worse and Sir William had to face the very serious fact that the building and equipment, which before the war were estimated to cost about £25,000, would now cost about £100,000, an estimate which proved to be accurate. In spite of a heavy possible commitment at Liverpool he decided to proceed with his promise to Colne. Messrs. Holgate and Spivey of Colne were appointed the architects, and the Medical Superintendent of the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, Colonel Mackintosh, a leading expert on hospital construction, was retained as consultant.
The plot bought as the site of the hospital was four and a half acres in extent and it had a frontage of 527 feet. It rose in a steep gradient and thousands of cubic yards of soil had to be removed before the foundations could be laid. The buildings lie about a hundred feet from the road, and terraces, constructed from the excavated soil, rising one above the other, fill the space between the road and the hospital itself. Owing to the nature of the ground the building is exceptionally long in its frontage; and this has the additional advantage that the most is made of the south aspect. The women's ward has accommodation for sixteen beds, the children's for eight and the men's for twelve. There are in addition four private wards. The intention of the donors that the latest appliances devised by medical or surgical science should be provided, and that the most advanced ideas in hospital construction should be incorporated in the buildings, has been amply fulfilled. The visitor is specially impressed by this when he examines the section of the hospital devoted to operations. This contains the operating theatre itself, the sterilizing room, an X-ray room, a dark room and a surgical store. A feature which will be quite new to most visitors is the "Scialytic" light suspended over the operating table. The peculiar feature of this light is that it eliminates shadows. But what is true of the operating block is true of the whole building. It is "the last word" in hospital construction and equipment.
The foundation-stone was laid on Saturday, September 3, 1921. It was a most impressive ceremony. There was a great procession through the town and a large gathering of spectators witnessed the proceedings. It had been the wish of Sir William to secure a distinguished visitor to lay the foundation-stone, but the Committee firmly insisted that no one but the donor himself should perform the ceremony. In the speech he delivered he laid special stress on the measures which had been taken to ensure adequate financial support. He said: "The pleasure is all the greater because the financial position of the hospital will be assured by the weekly contributions of the working people assisted by annual subscription. Hospitals all over the country are finding the utmost difficulty in raising money for their upkeep, and during the last few months there have been frequent references in the Press of the country to the serious position of Hospital finance. You have met the difficulty here in Colne in the only practical manner in which it could be met--that is by your contributory scheme--and I congratulate my native town and neighbourhood on rising to a true conception of its responsibility. There is a great clamour, as you know, from many quarters for State assistance, but I am more pleased than I can express that you intend to run the hospital yourselves and not go cap in hand to the State. You can rely upon my promise that everything known to medical science will be provided in it and that nothing will be left undone to make it complete and up-to-date in every particular."
The interest which Sir William took in the progress of the building was unabated, but he was not spared to see its completion, since his death occurred in less than fourteen months after he had laid the foundation-stone. But the work went on and the opening ceremony took place on Saturday, June 21, 1924. The weather was less favourable for the procession, but it improved before the actual ceremony took place. It was eminently fitting that Miss Hartley, who had recently been Mayor of Southport, should take her father's place. Her task was singularly difficult and imposed upon her a great emotional strain, but her address was as admirable in its conception as it was felicitous in its expression.
A scheme to which he gave prolonged thought, and for which he made extensive preparations, was planned in recognition of an urgent need. Some time before the war he had determined to build a Maternity Hospital for Liverpool. Knowing the increasing difficulty of obtaining land, he took immense trouble to examine all available and possible sites in the heart of Liverpool, and finally, after a consultation with the best authorities, the position was chosen and part of the land was secured by the Maternity Hospital authorities. To complete the site, to enlarge it, and to give it a really commanding position, Sir William, by negotiating with the Corporation and by buying other properties and land at a cost of about £5,000, made available perhaps the finest site that could be found in Liverpool; and the Maternity Hospital Committee probably owe to his perspicacity and business sagacity the plot of land upon which they are now building a great Maternity Hospital. Sir William presented this land to the proper authority, and set aside £25,000 in cash as his donation towards the building. He would have completed the whole scheme himself ten years ago, and according to the plan which he mentioned to me it would have been opened in connexion with his Golden Wedding, if the War had not broken out and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not, in consequence of the necessities of the national situation, placed his veto upon building.
Another great gift was in commemoration of his seventieth birthday. It was announced at the London profit-sharing in March, 1916. He said that the public both in Liverpool and London had shown great confidence in the firm and bought its goods in increasing quantities every year. He felt that the public had behaved handsomely and earned their gratitude. He and his son had accordingly considered together most anxiously for months--not weeks but months--how they could repay their debt to the public, and they had decided that they could not do better than by doing something for the hospitals. After careful and prolonged consideration he had decided to transfer £10,000 from his investment in 4-1/2 per cent. War Loan to twenty-two London hospitals. After he had given a list of these, with the sums allotted to each, he added that the firm had been in Liverpool forty-two years, and that city could not be left out, and to it he had allotted £5,000.
This is the most convenient place to mention that on the same occasion he allotted £5,000 to the Charities of the trades which acted as intermediaries in the sale of their goods. With the sum of £10,000 transferred, as is related elsewhere, to the Pension Fund for his workpeople, his total War Loan investment of £30,000 was exhausted.
One of the most splendid gifts of Sir William and Lady Hartley to their native town was that of the Hartley Homes. These were actually presented to the Borough in October, 1911. But this was only the consummation of a long-cherished design as is clear from the statement made on that occasion by Sir William. He said: "Lady Hartley and I have had the erection of almshouses in contemplation for twenty years. I think it is fifteen years since we bought land for this purpose on the Keighley Road, nearly opposite the Horsfield Cottage. The explanation of the long delay in the erection of the almshouses is that it was felt in the town many years ago that a Cottage Hospital was really a necessity, and for a time this postponed the erection of the almshouses. It was on the strong recommendation of my friend Mr. Smith, the Deputy Mayor, that we discarded the original site nearer the town and substituted the present one. This is much larger and much superior in every way, and has enabled us to erect many more homes than we originally contemplated, or would have been possible on the old site."
It had been originally intended to provide eight Cottage Homes, but the abandonment of the site first selected for the purpose and the purchase of the larger site made it possible to erect twenty Homes. The total cost was £13,000. The Homes stand on a plot of land measuring an acre and a half, adjoining the plot on which the Hartley Hospital was subsequently erected. They command a glorious prospect and, beautiful themselves, they are surrounded by beautiful grounds. They are arranged in three sides of a quadrangle, the fourth side being left open. Eight of the homes, divided by an imposing clock tower into groups of four, face south, the long extension thus giving the maximum exposure to the sun, and this is flanked by six at either end, running at right angles to the long line of eight homes. The nature of the site, which rose sharply from the road, made similar treatment necessary to that subsequently applied to the site of the Hartley Hospital in the adjoining plot. The space between the central building and the road is laid out in terraces.
Speaking at Colne in November, 1909, when the project was still in its initial stages, Sir William expressed his intention to present the Homes to the Town Council "together with such a sum of money as will provide in perpetuity for the upkeep, for the ground rents, for the gardener, for the rates, and for the expenses generally." As to the qualifications for occupancy, he said that the applicants must be of the age required to claim the Government old age pension. Besides natives of Colne who were resident in the town there might be others, now living perhaps at Nelson or Burnley, who might desire to spend their closing years in their native town. Such would, in his opinion, be very suitable applicants. "So far as I see at present," he added, "the Colne Town Council will be the governing authority, and their decision as to who shall be appointed to live in the houses will be final." When the houses were handed over, an endowment sufficient to bring in an income of £150 a year for all time was settled upon them.
When the time came for the property to be transferred, the gates were opened by Sir George Pilkington, the High Sheriff of Lancashire. The documents conveying the homes to the Town Council were presented to the Mayor by Sir William. He said: "It will be a pleasure, Mr. Mayor, to Lady Hartley and myself and my family, to know that many old and deserving people of our native town will be able to pass the remainder of their days amidst such bright and beautiful and comfortable surroundings. It is a real pleasure to me, one of the greatest pleasures of my life, to present to you the Trust Deeds of the 'Hartley Homes' and all the papers in connexion therewith."
In his reply the Mayor stated that the Homes were primarily intended for the people of Colne who were in receipt of, or entitled to old age pensions; but the trust deeds had been framed with such elasticity as to widen the range of beneficiaries so as to secure at all times the full number of tenants and the admission of specially deserving persons, with any attendants they might need.
The property is vested in trustees and it is controlled and managed by sixteen governors. The Mayor is ex officio a governor, there are nine life-governors, of whom three must be women, and six representative governors appointed for terms of five years by the Town Council, two of whom must be women. The place accorded to women conforms to Sir William's own desire. In the address he gave in November, 1909, he said: "My present idea, subject to the Council, is that one third of the management committee should be women. I dare say in a short time there will be ladies on the Colne Town Council. I could vote for that myself."
The care for the aged, exhibited in the Hartley Homes, was fitly matched by the provision he made for the young. The Primitive Methodists had an Orphan Home at Arlesford. This proved successful, and as further accommodation was required, Sir William and Lady Hartley came forward to meet the need. In 1907 he invited a tender for one pair of homes and another tender for two pairs. He was informed that only one pair was required, and this was opened at Harrogate during the year which ended June, 1909. Shortly before the Conference of that year he ascertained that the second pair was needed, and he and his wife offered during the Conference, of which he was President, to build and furnish the two homes. Each pair provided accommodation for twenty-four children.
Spurgeon gained a fame by his Orphanage in circles which were not reached by his sermons; and a burglar who had once robbed him restored the stolen property when he found that it had been taken from "the horflins' Spurgeon." The famous preacher, in a striking variation on Elijah's challenge to the priests of Melkart, once said, "The God that answereth by orphanages, let him be God." Sir William might well have adapted it in a fuller form: "The God that answereth by hospital, by almshouse, by orphanage, let him be God."
With the heavy duties and responsibilities involved in the care and extension of his business, in his work for the Church and his expenditure of time as well as money on service to uplift his fellow-creatures and ameliorate their lot, it would not have been surprising if Mr. Hartley had found no leisure for public service. And it is true that such activity played a very subordinate part in his crowded career. Still he took some share in municipal and political life. In 1893 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the county of Lancaster, and sat at the Courts in the Kirkdale division of Lancashire. On January 14, 1895, he was elected on the Walton School Board. From 1895 to 1898 he was a member of the Liverpool City Council. For a year he served on the Health Committee, and on his suggestion this Committee abolished the 4-feet back passages, and substituted the 9-feet back streets. The late Lord Derby was then Lord Mayor. An invitation which greatly appealed to him was that he should accept the Mayoralty of Colne. This came to him in 1919, when he was seventy-three years of age. In view of the fact that he was a native of Colne, that he had presented to his birthplace the Cottage Hospital and the Hartley Homes and was preparing to build the new hospital, the invitation was very fitting. Moreover he had become an Honorary Freeman of Colne in 1909. He carefully considered and took medical advice on the suggestion. He regretfully declined it because the medical verdict was adverse and because his residence was too far away. He told me at the time that the Town Council had offered to make the duties as light as possible so as to facilitate his acceptance. But he had felt that he could not accept an office the duties of which he could not adequately fulfil. Undoubtedly he did wisely to refuse, but naturally he felt very deeply the call from his native town to which he was so profoundly attached. He was knighted by King Edward VII on July 21, 1908, and he was presented to King George V and Queen Mary when they visited Southport in 1913.
Few distinctions which Sir William received were more highly valued than his admission to the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Colne. On Wednesday, July 28, 1909, the Mayor, Councillor John Smith, introduced the following resolution at a meeting of the Town Council which had been passed by the General Purposes Committee:
"That in the opinion of the Committee of the Town Council it is the most fitting opportunity to place on record its appreciation of the high esteem in which Sir William Hartley, of Aintree, is held by the inhabitants of his native town; and in recognition of the many valuable services rendered by Sir William to the Borough, as well as to the community at large, that he should be created a Freeman of the Borough, and that the usual formalities required by the Municipal Corporations Act be complied with."
In proposing the resolution the Mayor spoke as follows:
"I felt I was only voicing the thoughts of the inhabitants of Colne when I asked Sir William if he would accept this honour in my interview with him on the 30th of June. I was better pleased with his reply that he left the matter entirely in our hands, and said that if we thought fit to confer upon him the Freedom of the Town, he would be pleased to accept it; but what he had done for his country, and for his native town in particular, had been done because he considered it his duty and not for any gain or reward in any shape whatever. Without saying any thing further, I am proud that we, in Colne, can claim such a gentleman as a native, and my only desire is that he may have health and strength for many years yet, so that he will be able to enjoy the fruits of his good works."
At a special meeting of the Town Council the following resolution was moved by the Mayor and seconded by Alderman R. Foulds.
"That this Council desires to place on record the high esteem in which Sir William Hartley of Aintree is held by the inhabitants of his native town and to recognize the many valuable services rendered by Sir William to the Borough as well as to the community at large.
"In the year 1900 Sir William erected and presented to the Borough the Jubilee Cottage Hospital, an Institution which is daily administering relief and affording comfort to the sick and injured of the Borough and District, and as a further manifestation of his kindly consideration of the old and infirm, Sir William is at the present time engaged in the arrangements for the erection, in the Borough, of a group of twenty Cottage Homes, to be used as residence for the aged poor of the district.
"This Council also offers to Sir William its most sincere congratulations on his elevation to the dignity of Knighthood, an honour and distinction His Majesty King Edward has been graciously pleased to confer, in recognition of the many princely acts of beneficence and philanthropy rendered by Sir William to his country.
"The Council further recognizes with extreme pleasure that during the present year the Primitive Methodist Church, in annual Conference assembled, marked the high esteem and appreciation in which Sir William is held by the Church with which his name is associated, by electing him to the honourable position of President of the Conference, a distinction only conferred upon one other layman during the past hundred years.
"In grateful recognition of his services and in addition to and following on the honours already mentioned, this Council doth, in pursuance of the Honorary Freedom of the Borough Act, 1885, confer upon Sir William P. Hartley of Aintree and Southport the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Colne, and doth hereby admit him to be an Honorary Freeman of the said Borough accordingly, the highest distinction which it is in the power of the Council to confer.
"John Smith, Mayor.
"Alfred Varley, Town Clerk."
The presentation was made at the Mayor's banquet on November 9, 1909. In his reply Sir William touched on his early business struggles in Colne in a passage already quoted[*]. He continued: "I have other memories awakened during this dinner. I have been reminded that this very site of ground--where the Town Hall now stands--is the one on which the cottage house stood in which my wife lived in her young days before we were married. I thank the Council with all my heart for the honour you have conferred upon me in making me a Freeman of my native town, and I also much appreciate the kind words spoken by Alderman Foulds and the other gentlemen. The honour of being a Freeman of Colne touches me very much; more so than the Freedom of any other borough. The ups and downs of life and the development of a business career often take men from the home of their childhood. That has been so in my case. But there are few men who do not retain happy memories of the playground of their youth and the place where their ambitions were born."
[*] Transcriber's note: see quote in Preface beginning with "My pleasant visit to Colne".
In politics Mr. Hartley was a Liberal. Owing to the excessive claims on his time and the unsatisfactory condition of his health he never stood for Parliament, though he was frequently pressed to do so.[*] But he contributed liberally to the party funds, especially when some great principle was at stake in which he was interested. On such issues as the education controversy, or the veto of the House of Lords, or Temperance Reform or Old Age Pensions, he was heartily in sympathy with the policy of his party. He was a Passive Resister to the Education Act passed by the Unionist Government, whose majority had been largely secured by votes given for another purpose at the Khaki election. He watched with great interest the Parliamentary career of his son-in-law, Mr. J. S. Higham, who was for a number of years the Liberal member for Sowerby Bridge, and lost his seat in a triangular contest, a misfortune which deprived the House of Commons of a member who had held a prominent place in the Radical wing of the party and had done very useful work on committees of the House.
[*] On October 2, 1903, he wrote to Mr. H. R. Mansfield, M.P., a fellow Primitive Methodist, as follows: "Allow me to say that I have watched with great interest and satisfaction your Parliamentary activity, both inside and outside the House. If my health were better, I should certainly accept the pressing invitations to stand for a constituency."
The European War somewhat modified his attitude. He favoured a coalition Government before it became a matter of practical politics, and when the rupture came between Mr. Asquith and Mr. Lloyd George he enthusiastically supported the latter. He had been inclined in the closing years of his life to dissent from the party policy on Free Trade, believing that some modification of its rigidity in the direction of Colonial Preference was desirable.
He had no belief that Socialism was a practical remedy for the evils which all men of good-will deplore. At the profit-sharing in January, 1912, with Sir Edward Russell in the chair, he expressed his views on the subject. He referred to the fact that during the preceding year there had been a succession of strikes all over the country and general labour unrest. To cure the trouble it was necessary, he said, that a reasonable attitude should be adopted on both sides and that each should look at all questions from the point of view of the other. Labour was often highly organized, and organized labour, if it was not carefully guided, could be as despotic as the most selfish capitalist. They had much to be thankful for that the good understanding which had always existed between them at Aintree had saved them from labour troubles. Much was said, he continued, in some quarters in praise of Socialism; but if any of them were tempted to think that Socialism was a cure for Labour troubles, he would suggest that Socialism, as generally understood, namely that the means of production, distribution and exchange should be taken out of the hands of the persons who were at present responsible for it and placed in the hands of the State, would not work. The theory was excellent, but you must reckon with human nature as it was. In his opinion what was needed was an equal opportunity for every one.
When the Primitive Methodist Conference was held at Nottingham in 1893, Mr. Hartley presided at a meeting for working men. He made a speech, the major part of which deserves to be quoted. He said: "A working man's meeting at a Primitive Methodist Conference is in every way a fitting arrangement. For more than fifty years Primitive Methodism has been intent upon the working man's material, social, and religious welfare. Our Connexion was busy in the early half of this century preparing the miners of the North and the agricultural labourers of the South for the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. As some part of the fruit of our labours I would point to the number of men nurtured in Primitive Methodism who are to-day the trusted leaders of the working men. We have reason to be proud of such men as Thomas Burt, Charles Fenwick, John Wilson, and many others that might be named. In the peaceful revolution which has enthroned the democracy Primitive Methodism has played a leading part. We have not the reputation of being wealthy--but 'A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.' Thank God, happiness is from within, not from without. It is what a man is, and not what a man has. At the same time, a man may be as rich as the Rothschilds, and yet be a decided Christian. You need not envy such a man, because to be a follower of Jesus Christ he must hold his wealth as a stewardship, and to do this involves such a crucifixion of our natural selfishness as to make it one of the most difficult things in the world...Religion is not only a thing of the Church, the prayer meeting, or holiness conventions; it is all these but a very great deal more. It is a thing of the factory, the workshop, the mine, the office; in a word, it is a life to be lived, and I want Primitive Methodist working men to be models of their class. Don't give as little service as you can to your employers, and expect impossible wages; and when trade is good don't follow the example of those who stay away from their work on a Monday and only turn up on Tuesday, and when bad trade comes go round singing, 'We've got no work to do.' Remember the command, 'Be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.' I would say, my friends, let employers also remember that as followers of Jesus Christ they are bound to treat their workpeople as fellow-workers, and carry on their business on Christian principles."
With the outbreak of the War on August 4, 1914, life for all of us passed into a new phase. Sir William was at the time sixty-eight, and after his laborious years and heavy trials he might well look forward to less strenuous times. But the war brought very severe demands not only on his resources but on his time and energy. He was one of a small company, summoned in the early days of the conflict by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Lloyd George, to advise him on financial policy. He contributed very largely to benevolent funds. To the War Relief Fund he gave £10,000, he also doubled the weekly gifts of his workpeople and the members of the staff. He supported Red Cross Work with great liberality. He contributed £5,000 to the French Fund and led off with a donation of £5,000 to the Belgian Fund. As was usual, he looked after the interest of those among his employees who joined the colours and cared for their dependents. The heavier rate of taxation was felt by him as by multitudes more.
But he found the strain of the situation in other ways. His staff was greatly depleted, to such a degree indeed that the position became nearly impossible. At one time he told me that if another man was taken from his staff he could not go on, but would have to close down. He was much hampered by the incompetent interference of Government officials. Directions were sent down as to how the jam was to be made. "We know," he said to me, "that it can't be made in that way." Large Government orders had to be fulfilled, but it was difficult to procure the necessary material. Much precious time was consumed by the filling in of forms giving quite unnecessary information. "We have nothing to conceal," he said; but whole weeks went in gratifying the official thirst for irrelevant statistics, and this at a time when it taxed his strength to keep pace with the legitimate demands of his business. He did not complain about the financial burden. He was whole-heartedly devoted to the cause of his country and cheerfully met the obligations it imposed. But he felt that a difficult task was rendered more difficult than it need have been by the unreasonable attitude of Government officials.
Nor did he escape the sorrow which came to so many homes. His dearly loved grandson, Hartley Barkby, the son of his eldest daughter and the Rev. J. T. Barkby, a boy of exceptional promise and of great personal charm, was killed in action. He had joined the forces as an artillery officer just when he was about to begin his course at Cambridge. His devotion to the national cause may be judged from the fact that he celebrated his eighteenth birthday in the trenches. In commemoration of him Sir William founded a scholarship in perpetuity at Mill Hill School where he had received his education.
In February, 1916, he attained his seventieth birthday. In grateful recognition of the Providence which had spared him to so ripe an age he devoted the whole of the £30,000 he had invested in War Loan to hospitals in London and Liverpool, to Trade Charities, and the Pension Fund for his workpeople.
In May of the same year he and Lady Hartley celebrated their Golden Wedding. They were the recipients of warm congratulations from children, grandchildren and numerous friends, from their work people and staffs at Aintree and in London, from institutions and churches with which they were associated. It had been their hope before the war broke out that this happy Jubilee might be celebrated by the opening of the Maternity Hospital at Liverpool. But this project, like that of the Colne Hospital, had been frustrated by the national situation. I can speak from personal recollection of two celebrations; one was at Church Street, Southport, the Church he attended. A presentation was made to him and to Lady Hartley, and several speakers expressed the goodwill of the gathering. The other was at the Primitive Methodist Conference in Nottingham, to which reference has already been made.
There is naturally little to record in the period which followed down to the Armistice on November 11, 1918. They were years of great anxiety and strain and told upon his health. The Armistice, of course, gave an immeasurable relief to the country; but the years which followed brought with them new and formidable difficulties of their own. The process of decontrol of prices affected him very seriously. It was necessary for him to lay in very large stocks of sugar which had to be bought at a high price. It was no doubt a great benefit to the ordinary consumer for the price to be reduced, but the consequence was that jam which had been most costly to produce, owing to the very high price at which the sugar had been bought, had to be sold at a price corresponding to the far lower price to which sugar was reduced--or it had to remain unsold.
He was distressed for others who suffered commercial shipwreck, but was grateful that he was able to weather the storm. His position would have been easier if he had taken advantage of the rise in prices during the war. But speaking at his profit-sharing in January, 1915, he explained the position as he saw it.
"We could have made a much larger profit in the past year had we taken advantage of the rise in sugar when war was declared on August 4; but as our soft fruits--raspberry, strawberry, and black currant--had at that time nearly all been made, we decided that we would not advance the prices of the soft-fruit jams, although as a matter of business we were entitled to do so. We were resolved--I was very firm on it myself--not to make profit out of national necessities."
He experienced much difficulty also through the tightness of money and the inability or unwillingness of the banks to advance money even for legitimate business enterprises, at least to the extent which the colossal character of his business required.
His charity fund was also seriously hampered by the conditions. As I have already explained he had promised to build a hospital at Colne and he lost no time after the Armistice in taking up the project at the point where he had been compelled to lay it down. But the enormous rise in the cost of materials and labour now involved an expenditure of £100,000 instead of a quarter of that amount.
1919 was notable for other developments. In this year his business was turned into a limited liability company. He was fortunate in that his son-in-law, Mr. J. S. Higham, was able to come for part of his time to Aintree, owing to the fact, lamentable in itself, that in a three-cornered contest at Sowerby Bridge he had lost his seat in Parliament. This brought Sir William considerable relief. In this year he was invited to accept the Mayoralty of Colne, an invitation which he highly valued; but, as I have related elsewhere, he was reluctantly compelled to decline. The year was also memorable in his home life, since he sold Sea View, Southport, and purchased Horsfield Cottage, Oxford Road, Birkdale, as his residence. His only son was married and at the head of the works in London, and six of his daughters had also married. The family was thus reduced to three, and the domestic strain was greatly lightened by removal to a smaller house. For some years Miss Hartley had rendered great service on the Ormskirk Board of Guardians and she subsequently became a member of the Southport Town Council. But her public duties did not diminish the vigilant and affectionate care which she lavished on her father and mother. When in 1921 the invitation to become Mayor of Southport was tendered to her it was at first refused because of her obligations at home. When it was finally accepted, although it inevitably involved a heavy tax on her time and strength, she watched over their health and comfort with true filial devotion. Her father was proud of the honour which had come to her and proud of the distinction she attained in her office. When she accepted it he said to her, "Do it well"; and in a letter written towards the end of her term he testified that she had carried out his counsel. He anticipated that soon he would be looking back on a brilliant year of office successfully completed.
But it was ordered otherwise. For some years he had been liable to attacks of angina pectoris; and for some time before his death the trouble seemed to be provoked by very slight exertion. I happened to be in frequent correspondence with him during this period, and in letter after letter he referred to it. His language was so ominous that I feared that the end might come at any time. On the other hand he had often shown such resilience in the past, such a fund of recuperative energy, that I hoped that this period too would end in a return to more stable health. To the members of his own family he seems to have been more reticent, with characteristic unselfishness shrinking from alarming them. But Miss Hartley watched over him with the utmost care and had been in his room three times during the night which ended in his death. He felt, however, sufficiently well to contemplate going to Aintree in the morning, but on October 25,1922, the end came suddenly with the dawn.
Though I had been so fully prepared for the news that when it came the shock of surprise was only faint, it was long before I could fully realize that he had gone. He had filled so large a place in our thought and touched our life at so many points that his withdrawal meant the creation of a void which it was not easy to measure.
The funeral service was held on October 28 at Church Street, Southport, where for so many years he had worshipped and for which he had done so much. From far and near a great assembly gathered to do his memory honour. The Church was crowded to its utmost limits. The Town Council, the County and Borough magistrates and the Board of Guardians attended. A large number of institutions sent representatives. The minister of the Church, the Rev. H. J. Pickett, conducted the service. The Rev. F. W. Dwelly, the Vicar of Emanuel Church, read the Psalm. The lesson was read by the Rev. T. J. Gladwin, the secretary of the Chapel Aid Association. The President of the Conference, the Rev. H. J. Taylor, offered the prayer. At the request of the family the difficult task of giving the address was entrusted to me. After the service the funeral procession went by road to Colne. The whole town where he had been born, and for which he had done so much, was in mourning. The body was buried at Trawler, where his father and mother had also been laid to rest. The service at the graveside was taken by the Rev. J. H. Pickup, minister of the Colne Primitive Methodist Church, Dr. S. P. Duval the Rector of Colne, and the Rev. H. J. Pickett. On the following day the morning service at Church Street was devoted to Sir William's memory. It was conducted by the Rev. H. J. Pickett, who paid a full and beautiful tribute to his personality and his achievements. Many appreciations appeared in the Press, many resolutions of sympathy were sent by religious, philanthropic and municipal organizations, and from a host of friends and admirers there came messages of sympathy, admiration and love.
As was fitting, the resolution of the Primitive Methodist Conference, held at Liverpool in the following June, was moved at the Session devoted to the business of the missionary department. For it was in connexion with it that he first attained denominational fame, and he had been treasurer of the Missionary Society for many years. His friend, Sir Thomas Robinson of Cleethorpes, the Vice-President of Conference, was in the Chair. The resolution was prepared and proposed by the Rev. A. Baldwin, the financial secretary. The Rev. H. J. Pickett paid a tribute so just and adequate in its substance and so perfect in its phrasing that I wished we could have carried the resolution while his voice still lingered in our ears. But at the bidding of the Chairman I tried to express the mind of the Conference as we thought what manner of man he was and what by his gifts and still more by his statesmanship, he had done for our Church.
In his honour a Hartley Memorial Fund was raised, chiefly from contributions voted by trustees of Churches. The money was allotted to the training of medical missionaries and the help of needy students. Part of it was expended on a bust which has been placed in Hartley College. The service at its unveiling was conducted by the Rev. H. J. Pickett, formerly Sir William's minister at Southport, now serving for a second term as Principal of the College. It was fitting that the bust should be unveiled by a member of the family, the Rev. J. T. Barkby, in his official capacity as President of the Conference. He had been Sir William's minister for twelve years, he had been his colleague in the Missionary Society, acting as its secretary, while Sir William was its treasurer, and the words he uttered had behind them the weight of long, intimate, and varied knowledge. The Committee invited me to give the address. It was a special pleasure to me that the Rev. George Armitage, who had just retired from the office of General Secretary of the denomination, should represent the Memorial Committee of which he had been the secretary. He had done much for the College as its secretary for many years, and there had fallen to his share more than one heavy burden during his term of office, especially that in connexion with the second enlargement.
That the bust should find its home in Hartley College was altogether appropriate, but we might apply in his case the words inscribed on Christopher Wren's tablet in St. Paul's Cathedral: "Monumentum si quaeris, circumspice." The College itself is his true monument.
It remains to give a connected description of his personal characteristics and some estimate of his achievement.
Nature had been liberal in her gifts. The distinction of his personal appearance was very striking, people turned to look at him as he passed along the street, and he commanded attention in whatever company he might be. In his prime he was a handsome man, and age touched his face with a new beauty. He was endowed with fine sensibilities, in particular with great delicacy of touch. But it is constantly borne in upon us how large a part health plays in our career. It is true that much of the world's best work has been done by delicate people. But it is also true that for the great worker health is an invaluable asset. We sometimes speak of tireless energy, and when we watch the vast and steady output year after year we imagine that behind it there must lie a physical constitution, tough, wiry, elastic, with an iron strength and nerves of steel. But often it is not so. Of the cost to brain and nerve only the man himself can tell; and much is achieved simply because the spirit resolutely insists on maintaining the upper hand of the body. Presumably Nature equipped Mr. Hartley with a constitution both tough and flexible. But to have laboured at the full stretch of his power for long hours every day--for though Sunday brought with it its change of occupation, it was nevertheless a full day--was enough to damage seriously a constitution even more robust. Before he had passed into middle age he had to pay heavily for his excessive toil, and the state of his health was a constant anxiety to his friends. It was inevitable that in later life some of the old vigour should have gone. Yet considering all that he put into his life--his long hours, his innumerable anxieties, his refusal, while he was making his position secure, to give himself any holidays,[*] it is surprising that he retained so much of the old elasticity and driving power of his youth.
[*] At a later period he did take holidays, but even then he would not on any account leave his business between the beginning of July and the end of September. In a letter he wrote on May 24, 1899, he says that he had never left his business during that period for twenty-five years. A voyage might have given him the rest and the change of air that he needed, but unfortunately he was a bad sailor. Writing to a cousin in Australia on December 6, 1904, in response to an invitation, he said: "I have been once to the Mediterranean and once to America, twenty years ago, and I was the worst sailor on board each way, and this makes me very nervous. If I were a good sailor I should be with you with very little loss of time." And it was not merely from long voyages that he shrank. In a letter of August 23, 1903, to a minister in the Isle of Man, he said: "I know little of the Isle of Man, as I am a bad sailor, and have not been there for more than ten years."
He was subject to great fluctuations of mood and these tended to vary with his health. At times nothing could thwart his amazing energy or daunt his radiant optimism. But when his nerves were badly worn or he was visited with the severe oppression on the top of his head, to which his friends at one period of his life so often heard him allude, this buoyancy gave way to depression and weariness. Sometimes the sense of physical fatigue and lassitude forced him to rest; at other times his resolute will might gain a costly victory over it. Nevertheless he had great resilience and surprising recuperative power. He laid down the most stringent rules for himself against accepting any fuller responsibilities in his business. I have before me a most interesting paper, dated May 28, 1890, for insertion as the first page of his pocket books. He determined not to engage any new travellers or make any new article or any speciality of his existing articles; to limit the extension of his trade to the natural requirements of the 5,000 customers he already had; before erecting a new warehouse to be convinced of its necessity for at least three months, and then to do it only for his present customers; to do one thing at a time, the most important first; to think of his health first and his business second; and as soon as he went to Aintree to keep a pair of carriage horses so as to get all the fresh air he possibly could.[*] The trouble of which he complained was a fearful oppression on the head if he did much detailed work, especially figures, and the failure of mind and memory which had lost their former elasticity. He says that he had had these oppressive warnings for about ten years. He closes with an interesting quotation:
"Let not thy mirth be so extravagant as to intoxicate thy mind, nor thy grief so heavy as to depress thy heart: this world affordeth no good so transporting, nor inflicteth any evil so severe as should raise thee far above, or sink thee much beneath the balance of moderation."
[*] This was carried out. A note for October 23, 1890, runs: "Used own carriage and pair for first time to-day."
It is interesting to observe that on October 20 in the same year he had a consultation with the architect as to the erection of a new five-floor warehouse and that within eight days a ware house with six floors was contemplated. Even if, as is quite probable, this warehouse had been previously decided on, he erected a second warehouse at Aintree in 1899-1900, while the London ware house was opened in 1901; the Botanical laboratory was built and equipped at Liverpool and opened in 1902; the first extension of the Primitive Methodist College was complete in 1897 and the second much larger extension in 1906. In addition to these the Aintree Institute, the Cottage Hospital at Colne, the Cottage Homes and the large new Hospital only recently opened, all still lay in the future.
He was himself quite aware of his tendency to break his good resolutions. Thus in a letter to the Rev. J. G. Bowran, June 27, 1907, explaining his lack of leisure for reading, he said:
"My life is very full because with my large business in Liverpool and London, together with my public and charity work, I have double the amount of work that any man ought to attempt. I make dozens of resolutions that I will lessen it, but for some reason I am unable to do it. I am quite sure that the strenuous life I lead will tend to shorten my life, and indeed it is a sin against light and knowledge.
"I am constantly asked and pressed to go here, there, and do this and that, and every day brings me an enormous correspondence--I cannot tell you how I was deluged with begging letters of all kinds after the Leicester Conference."
Another letter which is interesting for the writer's self-analysis was sent to Dr. Thomson on October 5, 1908, with reference to a conversation they had had on an extension of the sanatorium at Delamere. In the course of it he says:
"I ought also to say that on my way home in the motor on Saturday night I felt that it would have been better for me not to have mentioned the matter of any extension to you because I am so much engaged every day with my large business in Liverpool and London, together with my public and private work, that I really have not time to give attention to all the big engineering and other schemes that would be needful if a substantial enlargement were to take place. One of the faults of my make-up is that I go into these things much too closely, and while I am immensely interested in the whole affair and able to talk to you on the matter when I am at Delamere, my difficulties at once begin when I come to business and find so very much to do."
In this connexion I might quote from a letter written to me by the Rev. J. T. Barkby, who speaks on the subject with quite exceptional knowledge and authority. He expressed himself in the same sense when he unveiled the bust of Sir William at Hartley College.
"Few things in Sir William surprised me more than the continual freshness of his interest in the affairs of men and women, Society and the Church. He had plenty to chill and deaden his interest. People disappointed him; some deceived him; he lost money at the hands of people he had implicitly trusted, and sometimes large sums of money; but his willingness to help was always fresh and keen. I have known him come in at night after a very tiring day at business and deal with disappointing things in connexion with the Church and philanthropy, and his interest was always keen. I have not known a person who kept fresher his interest through all the vicissitudes of life than Sir William, not one equal to him."
We must next inquire what were the qualities which made him so successful in his career. The long and crowded story of English industry and commerce contains the names of many who have amassed great fortunes, though they started from a comparatively humble position. Sometimes it has been an exceptional stroke of luck, as we call it, which has given them the start in the race or proved the turning-point in their upward struggle. Sometimes they have achieved because they have had the knack to reap where others had sown, to exploit for their own advantage the brains of their less enterprising and pushful fellows. Others again have owed their success to their unscrupulousness. They have cared little for the dictates even of ordinary business morality, in their determination to command success. But we render a fuller honour to those who have attained their position by their own native qualities. Sometimes it has been won by sheer plodding and tenacity of purpose, sometimes brilliant financial genius has, with comparatively little labour, secured a bountiful harvest.
When, late in life, Sir William was asked to give the first twelve rules of success, his answer was: "For the first twelve rules of success I should repeat 'hard work' twelve times." This was salutary advice to offer and no one could with a fuller right enforce the duty of unceasing labour. Indeed, but for this he might himself have gone under in his early career; or at least his success might have been long delayed. But obviously it is not a complete account of his own success. Strenuous labour and unremitting attention to his calling might have laid the foundation of a solid business and a responsible position in the commercial world.
But he would never have risen at a comparatively early age to be one of our merchant princes had he not been gifted with rarer qualities than these. If genius were, as it has been incompletely defined, an infinite capacity for taking pains, Mr. Hartley would have exemplified it perhaps in only too large a degree. His friends were sometimes tempted to regret that he devoted such minute attention to detail. They have felt that he often gave personal attention to things which others could do and thus leave him free for work which few could do as he did. But on reflection they have come to recognize that this close study of minutiae was a very important element in the success he achieved and that his complete command of the facts equipped him with no little of his power. He himself attributed his success to the fact that he kept his eye on details and was alert to note every improvement that might make for the quality of his manufactures and the health and comfort of his work people.
But we are entitled to speak of genius in the higher sense of the term. It goes without saying that the qualities which enabled him to erect, from the ground upwards, so solid and so imposing a structure, were very remarkable. That beyond all this he was able to devote such precious time and unshrinking labour to unselfish assistance of good causes, is itself a striking tribute to his constructive and executive powers. Genius was not in his case simply the capacity for taking pains, but that quick intuition into the heart of a thing and broad grasp of it in all its bearings which so signally characterized his career. The touch of impatience, which sometimes came into his conversation, was due partly to his sense of the value of time and partly to the quickness and keenness of his intellect. While others were unfolding their fumbling explanations, he had grasped the situation and divined possibilities which their slower minds may not have apprehended. He was gifted with great fertility and resourcefulness, with the power of combination and an almost uncanny foresight. His agility of mind, his shrewdness, his sagacity, were all noteworthy. He had a quick eye for the defects of a scheme and was fertile in suggestions for improvement. For all his speed and power of swift decision, he had a cool and balanced judgment and would weigh with great care the arguments for rival courses. To all these qualities he added great driving force. His executive and administrative ability was astonishing, his energy when his strength permitted, seemed to know no bounds. His capacity for work was quite exceptional and the amount he accomplished was colossal. Untiring industry, the courage to face drudgery without shrinking, largely accounted for his early success, but they were characteristic of him to the end. He owed his position neither to his industry alone nor yet to his genius alone, but to the union of these, with which, however, we must not forget to associate a sterling integrity and a resolution that whatever he offered to the world should be the best that he could produce. All these qualities were rendered the more efficient by his talent for handling large and complex problems and his readiness to seize the favourable opportunity.
And yet this is not all. He would probably have failed to obtain the position he reached, and indeed would have fallen far short of it, if to his unswerving industry and commercial genius he had not added the qualities of courage and self-reliance. This was remarkably exemplified in his resolve to leave Colne for Bootle. It was only his resolute determination to trust his own judgment in face of the adverse opinion of all his friends which emboldened him to take the tide of his fortune at the flood. This belief in himself, this determination to stake his fortune on the soundness of his judgment, must have been no inconsiderable factor in the total result.
Yet his great gifts and his self-reliance did not make him the type of man who settles everything and consults nobody. Of his wife, as his foremost and most trusted counsellor, I have already spoken. He talked over his plans with the other members of his family, who shared his interests and contributed what illumination they had to offer to the subject under consideration. But naturally he had other advisers. He would take and carefully consider the advice of the experts on any subject in which he was at the time interested. He might not accept their counsel, for he recognized that the responsibility for final decision must rest with himself; but if he rejected it, it would be because, after careful consideration, he felt that his duty lay in another direction. And sometimes his caution intervened at the last moment. If the decision was a vital one, after all the expert counsel had been carefully weighed and he had brought his own mind to bear on the problem and seemed on the point of settlement, he would not infrequently determine to sleep on it.
He certainly did not need the warning already quoted against intoxication by a too extravagant mirth. But he had a cheerful temperament, a quiet humour of his own, and great enjoyment of a good story. One day as we were walking from Church together something had suggested the topic of sittings in Church and pew rents. I illustrated it by a story which amused him so much that he had to stop and laugh in the street. The story told how Magee related in the House of Lords an experience he had when he was a Vicar. One Sunday morning after service an infuriated parishioner came into the vestry and said, "I wish to inform you, Sir, of an outrage which has been inflicted on me this morning. When I came to Church I found a stranger sitting in my pew !! I had too much regard for religion, Sir, and the house of God to have him turned out--but I took the liberty, Sir, of sitting on his hat!" He was greatly amused by a letter which he received from a Welsh customer. It ran as follows.
Why in the name of goodness gracious don't you send the jam I ordered last week? I have already lost Mr. Jones' custom through you. Why don't you send the jam, man? Bother you, you are a nuisance whatever! Send the jam at once, quick.
Since writing the above letter I have found the jam under the counter.
At table he would often be discussing some question of importance, but if the conversation happened to strike an amusing vein, and especially if this took the form of a good story, he would share as heartily as anyone in the entertainment it created. But I was often struck by the deftness with which he contrived to switch the conversation back to the practical problem without in the least giving the impression that he resented the diversion. The same point was noticed by Rev. J. Ritson, who was from 1891-8 the Primitive Methodist minister at Aintree, and in constant communication with Mr. Hartley. He says: "With a brain teeming with new ideas--commercial, architectural and philanthropic, the marvel was that he could bear the strain. He found it difficult to relax. He liked a good story, and would often be jovial or hilarious over dinner or tea; but even there business and philanthropic schemes would be discussed with his family."
It is not surprising that he had rather little time for reading. He kept in touch with the papers, both secular and religious, and found time to read some new books, though he lamented that his opportunities were so slender. He was specially attracted by books which travelled on lines congenial to himself, such as books on the right use of money, on the removal of social evils, and on the fight with disease. He was deeply impressed by a volume, which caused at the time of its publication a considerable sensation, What Would Jesus Do? He found Russell Wallace's Man and the Universe a book of entrancing interest, and wrote of it to me with enthusiasm. In his diary for 1890 there is a note on June 5: "I read this week 'God in Business' with great pleasure and lasting profit." He spoke to me once of the pleasure and stimulus he had found in reading one of Andrew Carnegie's books; I think it was his Problems of To-day. In the letter already quoted, which he wrote on June 27, 1907, to the Rev. J. G. Bowran, better known to many as Ramsay Guthrie, he said:
"It is very good of you to send me a copy of your book, which I accept with pleasure, and will do my best to read it, and I will ask my daughters to do the same. I have very little time for reading, indeed much too little.
"I did read some of the stories in the Leader, and every one that I read gave me much pleasure. I think they were very well done, and I could follow the dialect fairly well."
His opportunities did not lead him in the direction of scholarship; but in his attitude towards learning he was honourably distinguished from not a few manufacturers. The wife of a very eminent scholar once said to me, speaking of the manufacturers with whom she came in contact, "They have no appreciation of any talent which does not find expression in money-making." I was constantly struck by Sir William's complete detachment from such a standpoint. It would have been excusable if in a life in which money-making played so large a part the horizon had gradually contracted and he had lost the appreciation for the less material side of existence.
But fortunately he escaped this peril. If it was not his vocation to tread the high and difficult path of scholarship and abstract thought, no one was warmer or more cordial in his recognition of the great part these qualities must play in our complex life. How magnificently this was expressed in his zeal for ministerial training has been told at length. But he was deeply interested in education as such. He was a munificent benefactor of the University College, which later became the University of Liverpool. Reading in the newspaper that a clock was required, for which donations were invited, he presented a clock and chimes on his own initiative. He set it in motion on Tuesday, November 15, 1892.
But his greatest gift was that of the Botanical Laboratory, splendidly equipped. This cost £14,000. The opening took place on May 10, 1902. Sir William Thiselton-Dyer gave the address. In the resolution of thanks gratitude was expressed to the donor not merely for his generosity in providing the Laboratory but also "for the personal interest he has shown in the details of its arrangement and equipment." It happened that the formation of a new shipping combine, which it was thought might threaten disaster to Liverpool, had been announced in the morning papers. I well remember how Mr. Hartley began his reply by expressing his faith in the commercial future of Liverpool, "shipping combines notwithstanding." He went on to say that they wanted Liverpool to be a city of light and leading in still higher respects than commerce. They wanted it to be distinguished by all that pertained to knowledge, to the discovery of truth, to the encouragement of science in its pure, as well as its applied branches, knowledge which not only made their wealth more and their comfort greater, but which cultured the mind and developed the higher faculties and functions of the soul. His object in giving the laboratory to the city of his adoption was to help in that direction.
A wireless installation has now become so commonplace that it is difficult to realize that this development is so recent. But in May, 1912, he presented a complete wireless installation to the University, which was the only educational institution in that part of the country to be so fortunately equipped. He did not feel that Manchester had the same claims on him as Liverpool, but he gave me £1,000 for the new Arts Building at the University.
He had the faculty of generous admiration for types of talent other than his own. We are all familiar with the lament of Darwin that he had devoted himself so strenuously to science that he had become a mere machine for grinding out general laws from a great mass of facts. He said that if he had his time over again he would take care to read some poetry and hear some music every week, since if he had practised this rule his enjoyment of these aesthetic pleasures would not have become atrophied for want of exercise. Sir William never suffered himself to be sterilized into a mere machine for grinding out money. A distinguished journalist once said to me that his interest seemed to be limited to business, religion and philanthropy. But this was because he had not the opportunity of observing the more artistic side of his nature. His concentration on the business in hand was in fact so great that those who met him in connexion with particular causes and interests might easily fail to discover that there were quite other sides to his character and aptitudes. He was, as a matter of fact, very fond of music[*] and he had great love of art. He bought pictures more freely than anything else, not to decorate his walls, but out of sheer joy in their beauty.
[*] The Rev. J. Ritson writes to me: "Music always had a great influence over him. He often said that many of his best purposes owed their inspiration to music and song."
Had he adopted architecture as his profession he must have risen to great eminence in it. He loved to study plans. His criticism was sound, well-informed and acute, his suggestions fresh and ingenious. He could calculate costs and quantities almost instantaneously, with a rapidity, indeed, which reminded one of the feats of the calculating boys. He knew the details of any buildings he was erecting with great thoroughness. It was by no means an unknown thing for him to put the architect right on his own designs. The artistic side of architecture appealed to him; he liked a beautiful design. But this was controlled by his practical instinct. He never lost sight of the purpose to which the building was to be put, and adequate strength and solidity, ample light and ventilation, easy gradients, facility for handling the stock, storage capacity, were all matters for careful consideration. He was just as vigilant in his attention to the special requirements of Hospitals or College as to the construction of his own Works, and his advice to ministers and trustees with reference to their churches and schools was of great value. The principle he followed in his own building enterprises was: "Don't let us have too much in the window, and let us have more on the counter." And he would apply this maxim in the advice he gave as to churches and schools. He deprecated undue ornamentation as involving an expenditure which might necessitate undesirable economy in the provision of what was more essential. He would also urge the importance of very careful consideration of details at the outset. A short time spent on these details at the very beginning might save much time later on and prevent the discovery of mistakes when it had become too late to rectify them. He was, it need hardly be said, no friend to ugliness; but he was a devotee of efficiency and the prudent use of money. He loved the beauty of simplicity.
In illustration of what I have said I might quote from a letter he wrote to the Rev. J. G. Bowran on February 11, 1908:
"I am just afraid you are about to make the new Church rather too small. If you could increase the seating capacity by 100 or even 50, it would be a good thing. I have considerable experience in building and I would suggest, that whatever architect you employ, you yourself, and any other of the friends who have any idea at all of building, should criticize the plans again, again and again. Make up your mind how much or how little adornment you want, both outside and inside; in other words, be perfectly satisfied in every way before the quantities are taken out and the contract is let. A few hours now might save much money and much disappointment."
I pass on to those qualities which found their fullest expression in more intimate, personal relationships. When I gave the address at his funeral I selected the term "loyalty" to express his outstanding characteristic. His loyalty to his native town will have been evident to all who have followed his story as related in this biography. Local patriotism was one of the salient features of his character. Just because he was born in Colne and had lived there in the impressionable days of childhood and youth, learning the lessons which were to stand him in such good stead in later life, he felt that he was bound to it by ties of gratitude which he must honour. He cherished a deep regard for the friends of his early days, especially those of his birthplace. I well remember how one Sunday morning some of his old friends were at the service and we walked along with them part of our way. When they had left us he turned to me and said with emotion, "It's like meat and drink to me to see those people." But it was not to the friends of his boyhood and youth alone that he was loyal. As life went on he made many new friends. A quotation which was not infrequently on his lips was this: "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly." And right through his life he proved himself staunch and loyal in his friendship. He was loyal to those who were associated with him in business and to the places where his goods were sold. He seemed happiest of all with his family about him, and he was whole heartedly devoted to all the members of it. His loyalty to his Church and to the larger Church which transcended denominational limits has been abundantly evident in our story. And dominating all was the supreme loyalty.
In his attitude towards women and the woman's question he was in advance of his time. He had constant experience of the value of his wife's judgment and was thus not naturally disposed to acquiesce in conventional views as to the incapacity of women for affairs. Women preachers were by no means unknown in his own Church, and in its earlier days the denomination had women ministers. He had seven daughters, a situation which I used to say to them reminded me of Isaiah iv. 1. When they were old enough to be consulted, their opinion was often asked and welcomed in the family circle, especially on causes to be helped from his philanthropic fund. Miss Hartley, in the address she gave after she had been made Mayor of Southport, paid grateful tribute to the fact that she had been brought up in a home where the opinion of women was invited and valued. Her father appreciated and understood to an unusual degree the woman's point of view. He recognized that women had their part to play not only in the home, but in public life and in the Church. He was in warm sympathy with the work done by Miss Hartley on the Board of Guardians and on the Southport Town Council. When he offered the Hartley Homes to Colne he desired that a third of the managing committee should be women, and said that he should greatly approve the appointment of women on the Town Council.
He was very hospitable, and so far as the extraordinary pressure of his work and engagements permitted, would give up time to his guests. He was solicitous for their comfort and anxious to consult their convenience. And he had both sides of the virtue mentioned in the well-known couplet; he would not only welcome the coming, he would also speed the parting guest. Many times during my residence at Freshfield he would remind me on a Sunday evening that I must go if I was to catch the last train home. Similarly on a Sunday morning it was our custom to walk away from Church together, and he was careful to see that I did not go so far with him as to risk missing my train, and he would not infrequently, especially if we had much to talk about, walk back part or the whole of the way to the station with me.
For a man of his great wealth his mode of life was very simple. He lived in a good house with reasonable comfort. But he did not keep up an establishment such as many with far less ample resources would have felt themselves justified in doing. He was, in fact, rather shocked at the style in which some very good and philanthropic people lived, although they did not exceed or even reach the standard of living which would be usual with people of their means. And he disapproved of the way in which people who had risen from comparative poverty launched out in personal and family expenditure before they had amply secured their financial position. He coveted the best things for his family, and so far as money was needed to provide them he cheerfully gave it even when it meant sacrifice. Unlike so many who rise to great wealth from a humble station in life he was simple and frugal in his personal tastes and habits. He was in no sense penurious, but vulgar show, senseless extravagance, and selfish luxury were utterly repellent to him. He shunned ostentation, he remained hearty and cordial to his old friends, though their social and financial position remained what it was when he had known them in his native town. He was a great believer in the virtue of thrift. He welcomed it in his workpeople; he called attention to it when instituting his pension fund; he inculcated it when distributing the profits. Thus at the profit-sharing in January, 1910, after counselling them against liquor and gambling, he went on to urge them, if they felt it necessary to spend their profit-sharing, to do so with great care, and if they could save it, or a part of it, for a rainy day, so much the better. All the great benefactors of whom they had any record had been thrifty people. He and his wife had practised thrift during the whole of their married life, and he strongly advised them to pursue the same policy.
He had by nature a fundamental integrity of character which furnished the sound basis for the finer graces and qualities of his personality. A friend of mine was once in a grocer's shop and heard a customer expressing himself scornfully about the Nonconformist conscience. "What is this 'Nonconformist conscience,' I should like to know?" he said. The grocer promptly reached down a pot of Hartley's jam and, placing it with some emphasis on the counter, said, "That's the Nonconformist conscience!" This sterling integrity not only made him exact and even punctilious in maintaining the quality of his goods, but in the conduct of his business it often took him far beyond his legal or even his conventional obligations. His promptness and punctuality, his sense of order, his accuracy and exactness, his minute attention to detail, his watchfulness in things little as well as things great, his sense of honour, his cultivation of the commonplace as well as of the finer business virtues, were all expressions of a personality which was sound from the surface to the core. And yet with all this he might have been an unattractive personality. There are men who have built up their own fortunes by eminent business abilities and with strict integrity of character who yet inspire us with a feeling of cold dislike. They may be conceited in their self-appreciation, and irritating in their self-complacency, overbearing and arrogant in their manner, selfish and sordid in their outlook, dead to everything but material concerns. But in the case of Sir William inflexibility of principle was redeemed from all that was narrow or sour by his more humane and generous qualities. There was a gracious courtesy in his bearing, which did not slide into undue familiarity because it was always informed by self-respect. And while he could not be blind to the qualities which had given him his great position, he preserved throughout unaffected modesty of demeanour and genuine humility of spirit. His far-reaching philanthropy expressed in his maxim, "Humanity first!" was rooted in warm affections and a tender heart. The misery and suffering of his fellows moved him to a profound pity.
These moral and intellectual qualities were transfigured by religion. He exhibited that balanced combination of the ethical and the religious which creates the finest type of personality. Conscience was the monitor to be implicitly obeyed, duty the guide to whose voice he was never deaf. But religion had transformed conscience and duty into something more winning and inspiring, though not less lofty. Through a long life religion was his supreme interest, but religion interpreted in no contracted way. It was for him an experience which demanded adequate expression in conduct. He was far from insensible to its emotional value; but he had no use for a religion which found no outlet in the service of humanity or in a holiness which culpably failed to pay twenty shillings in the pound. Without religion he might have done much useful humanitarian work, or found a field for his energies in the duties of citizenship. But it was religion which was the mainspring of his humanitarian achievement. And that not simply in the largely ecclesiastical channels into which it was directed. The definite consecration by himself and his wife of one-tenth of their income to religious and charitable purposes was a distinctively spiritual act. And it was in the strength and under the inspiration of religion that, as wealth grew, the proportion was steadily increased. It was religion which, in spite of disillusion and weariness, of disappointment and ingratitude, kept him to the steady fulfilment of his self-imposed obligations through so many years.
But while he had no patience with the pietism which expresses itself in an emotional religion, but sits loosely to the obligations of honour, is content with an indifferent morality or disregards the sanctities of life, those would utterly misjudge him who thought of him as untouched by the warmer and more emotional side of religion. Religion was indeed for him no relaxing bath of luxurious emotion. Yet, as we should expect in one of such deep feeling, he was no stranger to that emotion in which the central experience of religion consists.
He was not talkative about his religious experiences, but no one who knew him intimately could doubt that his reticence veiled an intense spiritual life. He was content to be a silent worshipper, following the whole service with reverent absorption and listening to the preacher with the keenest interest as he developed his theme. But a touching story, communicated to me by the Rev. George Trusler, exhibits his devoutness in a less familiar light. It should be said that Mr. Hartley was in the habit of visiting the Primitive Methodist places of worship in towns or villages where he was staying or through which he was passing, in order that he might acquaint himself with the condition of the structure and its adequacy for the neighbourhood in which it was situated. When Mr. Trusler was a minister at Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, more than thirty years ago, Mr. Hartley visited the island, and in addition to seeing the minister went to the Primitive Methodist chapel. The chapel-keeper was an elderly woman and was at her work when he entered the building. She told how a gentleman had come in and asked many questions about the work carried on and the minister, and continued, "He took hold of my hand before leaving and said 'Let us pray,' and he stood and prayed for you and for us all." She added: "I've shown lots of you ministers the chapel, but none of you ever prayed with me as he did." It was a great joy to her when she learned who the visitor was.
Another illustration may be given at this point. It was not unusual on a Sunday evening for a hymn to be sung before we separated; often it was, "Oh, for a heart to praise my God!" One night we sang Miss Havergal's hymn, "Master, speak, Thy servant heareth." When we had sung the second verse, he asked that we might sing it again, quoting the two opening lines,
"Speak to me by name, O Master,
Let me know it is to me,"
and adding "That is very sweet." The remark seemed to me very suggestive. It lit up by a sudden flash how much in his own religious life and the action which grew out of it, he was dependent on the sense of personal guidance from above.
With all this he was very critical of certain doctrines of sanctification. He distrusted the representation of its attainment as an instantaneous act; he felt that holiness was the outcome of long discipline and struggle. He expressed himself strongly on this point in his address as Vice-President of Conference. Naturally this cut rather sharply across Methodist sentiment, and provoked some criticism, based on the conviction that entire sanctification was not the outcome of human effort, but was the gift of omnipotent grace, and might thus be attained in a moment. He was on his part critical of holiness conventions. He felt considerable annoyance at the statement that he had been so "mightily impressed" by some meetings at Oxford that he had promised £5,000 to a Free Church Fund. Of these meetings he said himself, "I was deeply impressed with Mr. Meyer's address and Dr. Morgan's sermon. Both these gave me great searchings of heart, and I have thought a great deal about them." But his promise had been made on the previous day. In a letter to Mr. Beckworth of September 22, 1903, he said: "You see therefore that I went to Oxford with my mind made up what to do. I always go to our own Conference wound up previous to going and I did the same here...I am coming more and more to the conclusion that many of our people, and other people as well, can do very little until they have been wound up by a holiness Convention."
It was not unnatural in view of his strong practical interests that he should relegate theology to a comparatively unimportant place. Whether his doctrinal views were accurate or not seemed to him relatively unimportant when compared with the question whether in his daily life he exhibited the fruits of the Spirit. And he felt that the teaching in the pulpit and in the Sunday School should be primarily directed to train Christian character and produce Christian conduct. He would probably have agreed with Matthew Arnold that conduct was three-fourths of life, except that he might have urged that this proportion was too small. He put his position with some emphasis when he was Vice-President of the Primitive Methodist Conference in 1892.
"I am not one of those who are much troubled as to creed; but I am much exercised as to whether I am such a disciple of Jesus Christ that my work people, my business friends, my neighbours, and my family can constantly see the spirit and temper of the Master in my actions.
"My own opinion is that for thirty-five years (this being the time of my recollection) we have listened to too many doctrinal and theological sermons and too few as to the absolute importance of living Christlike lives; and unless we be actually miniature Christs day by day, breathing His spirit and living His life, it matters not what we believe, for our religion is a sham. Our actual creed is what we put into practice, and no more; and we want to be careful to see that our practice is equal to our creed."
When, seventeen years later, he was President of the Conference, he enforced the same position at least in its positive form. He said:
"My last word must be that we Primitive Methodists, followers of Jesus Christ, must carry into our life His spirit and teaching, and that whatever we think Jesus Christ would have done, had He been in our place, whether we are employers or employed, whether we are in business or out of business, that we are compelled to do. This is the secret of all true success; the consecration of ourselves and our substance to Him who loved us and laid down His life for us."
This may fittingly serve as our "last word" also.
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