Rev. Henry Richard MP (3 April 1812 – 20 August 1888), "the Apostle of Peace", was a Congregational minister and Welsh Member of Parliament, 1868-88. The son of the Rev. Ebenezer Richard (1781–1837), a Calvinistic Methodist minister, Henry Richard is chiefly known as an advocate of peace and international arbitration, having been secretary of the Peace Society for forty years (1848–84). He is less widely known for his other interests, for example his anti-slavery work.
Born in 1812 in Tregaron, Ceredigion, and educated initially at Llangeitho grammar school, Henry Richard attended college at Highbury, near London, to obtain qualifications for the ministry. In 1835 he was appointed the second in a line of distinguished pastors at Marlborough Chapel, a Congregational chapel in the Old Kent Road, London, whose foundation stone had been laid by Thomas Wilson in 1826. Here Henry Richard succeeded the Rev. Thomas Hughes, and raised sufficient funds to pay off the chapel's outstanding building loans and establish a flourishing school (British School, Oakley Place).
Secretary of the Peace Society
Rev. Henry Richard resigned in 1850 to devote himself full-time as secretary to the Peace Society, a post he had undertaken two years earlier on a part-time basis. He helped organize a series of congresses in the capitals of Europe, and was partly instrumental in securing the insertion of a declaration in favour of arbitration in the treaty of Paris in 1856. Through this work he became universally known in Europe and the United States until his resignation in 1885.
Member of Parliament
During the early 1860s, Henry Richard became a leading figure in the Liberation Society, whose main aim was the disestablishment of the Anglican Church. The Society increasingly focused its attentions on Richard's native Wales and sought to contest parliamentary elections. At the 1865 General Election 1865, Richard announced his intention to contest Cardiganshire but withdrew in view of the opposition of the Liberal elite in the county. In 1868 Henry Richard was elected Liberal member of parliament for the Merthyr boroughs in Wales, becoming known as one of the foremost nonconformists in the House of Commons. Here he was a leading member of the party which advocated the removal of Nonconformist grievances and the disestablishment of the church in Wales.
Chairman of the Congregational Union
In 1877 Henry Richard MP was appointed chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.
Author and journalist
Among Richard's writings may be mentioned:
- Defensive War (1846 and 1890)
- The Recent Progress of International Arbitration (1884) on the subject of peace and conflict
- Memoirs of Joseph Sturge (1864) in memory of the abolitionist and founder of the mid-nineteenth century Anti-Slavery Society;
- Letters on the Social and Political Condition of the Principality of Wales (1866 and 1884) reflecting his love of Wales;
In the field of journalism he contributed to the Morning Star and the Evening Star.
Less well known for his anti-slavery work and unable to support the American Civil War as an appropriate means to end slavery, Henry Richard was nevertheless respected in this field. Indeed, a few weeks after his death, the Anti-Slavery Society, now Anti-Slavery International, published an obituary in their journal, The Anti-slavery Reporter and Aborigine's Friend
Death and memorials
Rev. Henry Richard MP died in 1888 at Treborth, near Bangor. His imposing white stone and marble tomb in the form of a shrine with its own gabled roof, replete with his carved portrait, was erected by public subscription in 1891 over his grave at the Congregationalist model non-denominational garden cemetery, Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, London.
The equally imposing Henry Richard Memorial statue which dominates the Square at Tregaron was designed by Albert Toft and unveiled by Sir George Osborne Morgan on 18 August 1893.:p30 The inscription on the plinth reads:
Born here in Tregaron, he was educated for the Christian ministry, and in 1835 he was ordained in London. In 1848 he was appointed Secretary to the Peace Society, gaining an international reputation as "The Apostle of Peace." In 1868 he became M.P. for the Merthyr constituency: and such was his concern for Welsh affairs that he became known as "the Member for Wales." He was also a prominent pioneer in education: he served on several commissions of enquiry and in 1883 he became the first vice-president of Cardiff University College.
"I have always been mindful of three things:--Not to forget the language of my country; and the people and cause of my country; and to neglect no opportunity of defending the character and promoting the interests of my country.""My hope for the abatement of the war system lies in the permanent conviction of the people, rather than the policies of cabinets or the discussions of parliaments."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Henry Richard.|
- Miall, Charles S. (1899), Henry Richard, M.P. : a biography, London:Cassell'
- Jones, Ieuan Gwynedd (1981). Explorations and Explanations. Essays in the Social History of Victorian Wales. Llandysul: Gomer. ISBN 0850886449.
- Appleton, L. (1899), Memoirs of Henry Richard, London:Trubner
- articles in Cymru Fydd The Anti-Slavery Reporter for 1888.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press D. Ben Rees The Life and Work of Henry Richard Nottingham, 2007.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil
With: Richard Fothergill to 1880
Charles Herbert James to 1888
David Alfred Thomas 1888
William Pritchard Morgan and
David Alfred Thomas