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Cover page thumbnail of All the Year Round, Volume IV.

All the Year Round

Volume IV

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The early autumn of 1860 brought significant changes in Dickens’s life. With the sale of Tavistock House complete by the end of August, Dickens was ready to leave his former London home and settle at Gad’s Hill Place, Rochester. From October onwards, this ‘little Freehold’ property, acquired five years ago as a summer retreat (Letters, VII, p. 532), became his permanent residence until his death in June 1870. [1] Bringing a friend up to date, Dickens described how, having sold Tavistock House, he was ‘making this rather complete in its way, and am on the restless eve of beginning a new big [i.e. monthly] book’ (Letters, IX, p. 309). Other projects included preparations for the next Christmas Number of All the Year Round, a charitable reading at the Rochester and Chatham Mechanics’ Institute in December and six public readings in St Martin’s Hall, London, scheduled for the Spring of 1861. In November he travelled to north Devon with Wilkie Collins to gather material for the Christmas story that became 'A Message from the Sea' (p. 573), and then remained at Gad’s Hill for the remainder of the year. By mid-February 1861, he was established in ‘a furnished house’ at 3 Hanover Terrace, Regent’s Park, taken for "the season"’ (Letters, IX, p. 360). This served as his London base until mid-June from which he continued writing and preparing for the Spring public readings.

Serial Novels[Index]

A glance at the arrangements for the fourth volume of All the Year Rounddue to commence in early October – reveals careful planning. A year earlier, Dickens had negotiated with Charles Lever to take over from Wilkie Collins, whose successful The Woman in White was due to conclude in mid-August 1860. [2]   Further correspondence concerned practical matters. Dickens explained that he would need four weekly numbers in type by the end of July 1860 and instructed Lever to maintain the same margin for the duration of the serial. Lever accepted the arrangement, raised the question of receiving proofs in La Spezzia, where he lived, and thanked Dickens for proposing to have them ‘pulled on light paper for the purpose’, and sent regularly by post to Italy (Letters, IX, p. 219). Expressing pleasure, he assured Dickens that the idea he had for a subject, tentatively called a 'Horse for a day the Romance of a Life’ (Letters, IX, p. 215n), was shaping up. ‘Hurrah!’ Dickens responded on 9 March 1860, ‘I think the name a very good one’ (Letters, IX, p. 219). By June, Dickens had read the first set of proofs, conveyed his approval and pronounced the story ‘full of life, vivacity, originality, and humour’ (Letters, IX, p. 267).

Dickens’s confidence in Lever’s novel seems ill-judged. Within three weeks of its appearance on 18 August, A Day’s Ride: A Life’s Romance was in trouble. Readers began to complain and the circulation fell off, dropping ‘rapidly and continuously’. Perhaps they found the style ‘too detached and discursive’, Dickens speculated. But irrespective of the reason, Lever’s story failed to ‘take hold’ and showed no signs of doing so. The only tokens to appear, Dickens reported to Lever, ‘are in the other direction’. As a consequence, there was only ‘one thing to be done’: for Dickens himself to get into the pages of the journal, ‘as soon as possible’, and strike in with a story comparable in length to A Tale of Two Cities (Letters, IX, p. 321, 319).

Decisions taken during a ‘council of war’ held at the office of All the Year Round settled serial matters for the remainder of volume four. Lever’s failing story continued on the front pages until it was replaced by the first number of Great Expectations on 1 December 1860. Thereafter it appeared in tandem with Dickens’s novel, gradually buried, like bad news, at the back of each number beginning on 5 January 1861. Meanwhile, readers excited by Pip’s progress after 17 weekly instalments were left speculating about his summons to Satis House by Miss Havisham.

Short Fiction[Index]

Two novels running simultaneously left little room for other prose fiction. ‘Uncle’s Salvage’ (p. 36), a tall-story about a two-year dispute over a hogshead of claret ,and ‘Inconveniences of being a Cornishman’ (p. 188) both make use of a west-country setting. Possibly a lawyer called Tregarthen in the first prompted either Dickens or Collins to borrow the name in 'A Message from the Sea’ (see below). A third, ‘My Father’s Secret’ (p. 514), also set in Cornwall, treats a son’s efforts to untangle a piece of family history, a dark secret kept by his father fearful that the trauma his wife experienced days before she gave birth would ‘exert an influence’ on their child (p. 518). ‘The Family at Fenhouse’ (p. 260) offers a variant of the Jane Eyre story in which the governess is released by the wife of a brutish husband, only to find herself wandering in London. Confronted with a description of herself as ‘a murderess and a maniac’, she is seized with terror and flees, ‘a wild being hunted and pursued’ for the rest of her existence (p. 264). Elizabeth Gaskell’s more substantial ‘The Grey Woman’ (p. 300), a gothic tale in three parts set in Germany, unfolds in the first person when ‘a bundle of yellow MMS’ notes are handed to two travellers, who spend winter evenings translating their contents from the German (p. 301). The opportunity came to them after they expressed interest in the history of a young, beautiful woman whose fetching portrait in a mill on the side of the Neckar attracted their attention. Emerging from all the terror one might associate with the story of a double-dealing husband with a fortified castle in the Vosges mountains is a warning about marrying ‘up and out’ of a humble background. ‘Lady Seamer’s Escape’ (p. 282) offers a similar cautionary note on social mobility. In this case, the heroine secures a title and a country estate, only to find her husband become a watchful, suspicious, homicidal maniac. Clutching her young child and dressed in nightclothes, she flees a burning house, to return to her mother, ‘greatly changed’ after her escape ‘from a terrible death’. Lest young women underestimate the dangers, we learn that the child ‘did not grow up’ and the estate passed to a distant branch of her husband’s family on his death.

Christmas Number[Index]

As early as January 1860, Dickens mentioned in letter to Wilkie Collins how ‘One of these days, please God’, it might be possible for the two of them to do a story again together (Letters, IX, p. 195). The opportunity didn’t present itself until 11 September, when they met in London to confer about the next Christmas Number. Several weeks later, the two left by train on 1 November for Cornwall, indulging Dickens’s long-held interest in a story set in that part of the country. Four days of exploring ‘inaccessible places’ and picturesque fishing villages like Clovelly – fictionalised as ‘Steepways’ in the story – proved sufficient; and within a week, Dickens reported to Wills that ‘We have got everything we want, I think, and have arranged and parcelled out the Xmas No.’ (Letters, IX, p. 336). 'A Message from Sea' was published on 13 December 1860, a collaborative work in five chapters.[3]  In anticipation of its success, Dickens and Collins sketched out a stage version, perhaps with a view to forestall adapters, one of whom had a version licensed and ready for performance at the Britannia Theatre on 7 January 1861. Swift intervention by Dickens stopped the performance, an unauthorised infringement of the copyright of a joint production, he explained to the Editor of the Times on 8 January 1861 (Letters, IX, p. 364).


Poems appear in 17 of the 24 numbers of the fourth volume. ‘My Will’ (p. 11) offers an antidote to the materialist directions given by Browning’s worldly Bishop. Rather than leave orders for his own splendid tomb, the speaker wills the one true gift – love. ‘The Sacred City’ (p. 445), a narrative about heathen pilgrims en route to Asgard, ends by asking if ‘we Christians strive’ with the same ‘body and heart?' Thoughts of the afterlife occupy other speakers. Some recommend resolution in the face of life’s trials, reminding us that while we often take consolation from dear recollections, a better course is to think ahead ‘to the shining Future’ (p. 134) (see ‘Longings’, p. 133; ‘The World of Love’, p. 180; ‘The Manse’, p. 108); others suggest we rejoice in the beauties inspired by nature (‘Rejoice', p. 228; ‘Snow', p. 276; ‘Forest Voices', p. 299; ‘Northern Lights’, p. 395; ‘The Flight’, p. 419) or in objects (‘The Statues’, p. 541). ‘Guesses' (p. 492), ‘Changes’ (p. 373) and ‘The Watcher’ (p. 320) show an affinity with the Pre-Raphaelite world of waiting or abandoned maidens and lovers looking for confirmation of their feelings. Quite different are the 22 irregular stanzas devoted to the reflections of a husband who took a wife simply as ‘A helpmeet’, hoping that the pair would prosper abroad in ‘the land of gold’ ('Forgiven', p. 251). Incidents pack their return voyage home, including the loss of the ship by fire, as reciprocal recriminations lead to pleas forgiveness, the wife to her husband and he, concluding his long tale, to God – ‘God/Forgive the wounded wife, and pardon me!’ (p. 254).

Current Affairs[Index]

The Government’s domestic agenda for 1860–1861 focused on budgetary matters, the intention to increase income tax to 10d. in the pound for one year, regulations for licensing ‘Refreshment Houses’, wine duties and the need to make better provision for acquiring lands for ‘the Defence of the Realm’.[4] Only military matters received coverage in the present volume: ‘Pay for Your Places' (p. 67), ‘Volunteers at Hythe’ (p. 402), ‘Soldiers and Sailors’ (p. 486), and ‘The French in Lebanon’ (p. 510). All four should be read in the context of a growing sense of national paranoia dating from Louis Napoleon’s bloody coup d’etat in 1851 and the outbreak of war between France and Austria on 26 April 1859.[5] In ‘patriotic songs’ composed by Tennyson, a statement in the Times by the Chairman of the National Rifle Association and in parliamentary legislation the idea gained currency that it was now appropriate for patriotic Englishmen to step forward and do their duty.[6] This call to arms fell on the receptive ears of the author of ‘Volunteers at Hythe’, a resident of London who cheerfully partook, along with 96 other young men, in a fortnight’s drill and weapons training in the bone-chilling cold that prevailed before Christmas 1860.

The remaining three pieces speak to anxieties expressed by informed observers about the state of England’s armed services, whose organisational weakness the Crimean campaign (1854–1856) had relentlessly exposed. The practice of permitting officers to advance by purchasing commissions rather than earning promotion on the basis of merit compared unfavourably with conditions prevailing in the French army. [7] ‘Our neighbours manage these matters much better’, comments the author of ‘Pay for Your Places' (p. 67). Many young Frenchmen, ‘of good birth and fair education, join the army as volunteer recruits’ and with good behaviour and in due time ‘rise even to the highest ranks’ (p. 67). Not so in the British army, where young men with pluck and competence but no capital, can serve until they are fifty without significant advancement. Conditions in the ranks proved no better. ‘Soldiers and Sailors’ (2 March 1861) reviews sympathetically Army Misrule (1860), a damning indictment by ‘a common soldier’ of the mindless brutality meted out as disciplinary punishment for minor infractions and infringements of the dress code (p. 486). ‘Every grain of injustice’, notes this seasoned veteran, ‘grates on the sore heel’ with which the alienated soldier ‘treads his path of life’ (p. 487). Can it be any wonder, then, that readers worried about the preparedness of British troops when contrasted with the excellent morale, efficient training and emphasis on competence and intelligence evident in the French army? Spend a summer on location with the Chasseurs d’Afrique in Syria, and you will ask the same question as the author of ‘The French in Lebanon’. Experiments in the French army had produced conscripts and recruits who ranked among the best trained forces in the world. ‘Could not something of the kind be tried for our vast Indian empire, and even in our Cape Colony?’ [8]

In other numbers more traditional concerns predominated. Writers stoutly defend the country’s poor, literally the victims of the administrative machinery of the Poor Laws, still incapable of responding to unexpected contingencies like ‘the cold Christmas’ of 1860, when snow choked the rail lines, great masses of ice floated on the Thames and longshore men were frozen out of work [9]  Four powerful articles (‘Poor Law Doctors’, p. 210; ‘Hard Frosts’, p. 396; ‘The Frozen-out Poor Law’, p. 446; and ‘A New Chamber of Horrors’, p. 500) treat different aspects of this pressing and familiar matter, while two further pieces (‘Sanitary Science’, p. 29; ‘Registration of Sickness’, p. 227) argue for greater precision in reporting the causes of death and the need to recognise facts about sanitation.[10] Outlet sewers which discharge directly into the Thames, offer no ‘effectual remedy’. They even leave the ‘Queen, Lords, and Commons … in their new and gorgeous palace at Westminster’ no better off ‘than the poorest subject in the realm’. Without sustained political action, the contributor notes, London’s ‘foul sewers’ will continue to ‘taint the atmosphere’ (p. 30).

‘News’ from abroad, nevertheless, takes precedence in Volume IV, focusing particularly on Italy, starting with Dickens’s 'The Uncommercial Traveller' (p. 13) on 13 October. [11] The opening reference to ‘The rising of the Italian people from under their unutterable wrongs’ provides a concise overview of events familiar to readers at the time, who, during the course of three decades, had witnessed steps that lead eventually to Italy’s unification (p. 13). In the ‘now’ of the early 1860s ‘the long long night of oppression’ to which Dickens alludes was gradually lifting, the consequence of two wars fought against Austria, Italy’s foreign oppressor, and the ongoing military campaign, first in Sicily and then on the mainland south of Naples, led by the Italian nationalist Giuseppe de Garibaldi and his volunteer force of Redshirts.

The incident around which Dickens constructs his essay provides a romantic version of a clandestine meeting he undertook with a political prisoner in Italy two decades earlier. But the essay’s general tenor touches lightly on current concerns: anger at the way victims were held in ‘vile old prisons’, indignation at the arbitrary treatment of Italians by their Austrian oppressors, and admiration for the efforts made by English supporters of the Italian cause to secure the release of prisoners (p. 14). Two later contributions (10 November and 8 December) combining reportage with amused detachment, sent by an eyewitness correspondent, provide a different perspective with reports on Garibaldi’s progress as he closed in on Royalist troops under Ferdinand II, the Bourbon monarch, as they fought losing battles against the nationalists at the river Volturno in southern central Italy (‘Going to the Front’, p. 101; ‘Waiting for Capua’, p. 198). Concurrent with these pieces ‘City of Flowers and Flower of Cities’ (p. 45) examines the case for Florence rather than Rome as the future capital of Italy. The question needed to be settled, the contributor urged, since ‘The Kingdom of Italy will shortly take its place among the members of the European family of nations’ (p. 45).

The need to acknowledge events outside Europe also shapes the journal’s contents. Most ominous, but touched on lightly, was the election of Abraham Lincoln as the President of the United States and his forthcoming inauguration 4 March 1861. Tensions surrounding that event had already begun to mount. Lincoln’s known opposition to slavery had earlier prompted seven southern states to secede from the Union on 1 February and more trouble lay ahead (‘Black Weather from the South’, p. 269).[12] The remaining essays treating the U.S., however, avoid contentious issues. English opposition to slavery and concern over the economic consequences of the decline in the export of cotton defer to articles about a huge underground cave in Kentucky, American railroad cars, scenery in different part of the country and the cooperative spirit of American volunteer firemen. [13]

Elsewhere, China, for example, the contributions take a combative turn and make no apology for attitudes we now find disquieting. Four reports sent from the east reveal no qualms about racial stereotyping and speak about ‘John Chinaman’ in ugly terms, a reflection of prejudice and ignorance compounded by an inflexible sense of rightness on both sides. For their part, attitudes in England rested on the assumption that Britain lay at the centre of the civilised world; in China the Emperor laboured under the illusion that he ruled over the only celestial nation under Heaven. Superior technology and firepower – the foundation on which Britain’s aggressive foreign policy rested – however, proved no match for Chinese junks. English writers dismissed them as ornamental, useless and unseaworthy, clearly vulnerable to British warships, an advantage ministers were not slow to exploit. When the East India Company lost its monopoly of trade with China in 1834, private traffickers responded, opening a rift with China, determined in its opposition to importing more opium from India. In two successive wars (1839–1842 and 1856–1860), Viscount Palmerston resolved to teach the Chinese a lesson. In this instance, the British version of Bismarck’s iron fist prevailed in the form of an ‘exemplary drubbing’, administered by an Anglo-French force which captured Peking, compelled the Chinese to accept resident foreign diplomats, agree to and regulate the opium trade and open Tientsin and other ports.[14] To round off the ‘lesson’, Lord Elgin, saviour of the Elgin marbles earlier in the century, was authorised to sack the Emperor’s Summer Palace, a wanton act of destruction unfortunately only too frequently repeated in the dark shadows of colonial and imperial history. [15] ‘Chinamen Afloat’ (p. 116), ‘The Man from China’ (p. 221), ‘Flaws in China’ (p. 414) and ‘Chinamen’s Dinners’ (p. 355) reflect attitudes consistent with Dickens’s own tendency to write off China as a moribund civilisation, the epitome of ‘the doctrine of finality beautifully worked out’ (Household Words, III, p. 358). This description belongs to an earlier comment on the arrival of a Chinese junk in London in 1846. On display in East India Docks, the Keying had sailed from Hong Kong with a crew of thirty Chinese and twelve English. Had it not been for ‘a few enterprising Englishmen’, the voyage would have never succeeded. ‘Imagine a ship’s crew’, Dickens wrote in the Examiner in 1848, ‘in gauze pinafores and plaited hair; wearing stiff clogs, a quarter of a foot thick in the sole; and lying at night in little scented boxes, like backgammon men or chess pieces, or mother-of-pearl counters’. [16] Out-numbered almost three to one, England’s Jack Tars clearly saved the day.

Cultural Affairs[Index]

To assure readers that there was more to Italy than wars and rumours of war, other pieces make the point that civilian life goes on as the country moves towards national unity. Rome’s thoroughfares, for example, offer flậneurs inexhaustible entertainment free for the taking as shops opened their ‘shutter-eyes’ to display their wares (p. 152), veiled ladies tripped to morning mass and the Eternal City came to life (‘Our Roman Day’, p. 152). Alternatively, in 'Gauls in Rome' (p. 223) less sophisticated parties – a family of English tourists armed with ‘their common Red Book’ – gasped their way ‘through the famous Roman sights’, paying their respects to as many statues, churches and paintings as they could visit ‘within a limited period’ (pp. 223-224). Little seems to have changed since Dickens made fun of such foibles in the figure of Mr Davis. Devoured by slow curiosity, he is observed doing extraordinary things, ‘such as taking the covers off urns in tombs, and looking in at the ashes as if they were pickles – and tracing out inscriptions with the ferrule of his umbrella’. [17]

Intelligence dispatched from other European quarters offered additional relief from a political agenda. The several pieces which focus on France, for example, provide informative glimpses into various aspects of French culture and life. Efforts are made to familiarise English readers with obscure writers from the late eighteenth century (‘Despised and Forgotten’, p. 164), a neglected contemporary poet (Pierre Dupont, 1821–1870) who wrote patriotic songs and protest poetry (‘Proscribed Poetry’, p. 31), and a publisher who had an unusual career, beginning as a distributor of pamphlets and then working his way into prominence by publishing important authors, before he was finally ‘crushed by his own speculations’ (‘Unique Publishing’, p. 11).


Remarkable among several pieces reporting on advances in the understanding of the natural world – pieces about marine research ('Wonders of the Sea', p. 294; 'Under the Sea', p. 493) and the germination of seeds ('The Great Sower', p. 9), a new map of the surface of the moon created by Henri Lecouturier ('The Moon', p. 245) and a report on the findings of the importance of water to life, recently documented by the noted geologist, David T Ansted ('Water Everywhere', p. 202), are informative articles on one of the more contentious issues of the time: the origin of life.[18] ‘Transmutation of Species’ (p. 519) guides readers through the work of Darwin’s predecessors – Benoit de Maillet, who in Telliamed (1748) postulated the idea that all land creatures came ultimately from the sea, and Robert Chambers, who argued in Vestiges or the Natural History of Creation (1844) that everything in existence developed from earlier forms – to Darwin himself, ‘one of our most ingenious and most sound geologists’ and also ‘an excellent naturalist', who has advanced ‘a modification’ of Chamber’s work ‘worthy of all consideration’ (p. 520). The summary of Darwin’s views, though brief, is accorded full respect, as is the sympathetic digest in ‘Magic and Science’ (p. 561) of La magie et l’astrologie dans l’antiquité et au moyen age. The latter, published in Paris in 1860, was the work of Louis Ferdinand Auguste Maury, a renowned French scholar interested in documenting how ancient magic and superstition survive in Christian rituals and showing how ‘no amount of religious reprobation has been able to uproot the belief in, or check the practices of sorcery’, evident in belief in the efficacy of holy water and such formulas of exorcism as ‘the sign of the cross’ (p. 563). Only the persistence of ‘wilful Nescience’ in moderns, who have the means at hand to ascertain ‘the fundamental fact that the order of Nature is not capricious but constant’, accounts for the continued belief in incantations and tricks played by imposters in darkened ‘drawing-rooms’ (p. 566).[19]

Editorial Issues[Index]

The 17 installments of Great Expectations which ran alongside Lever’s failing A Day’s Ride inevitably altered the balance Dickens sought between fiction and miscellaneous contributions. That said, any diminution in the range of issues throughout the volume remains hard to detect. Events in Europe received sustained attention, as did news from elsewhere, suggestive of a growing awareness on the part of the ‘Conductor’ to keep abreast of the stream of information pouring in from the world beyond England’s shores. Developments at home received equal coverage and were held to the rigorous standard of readability Dickens demanded of all articles. Avoid unnecessary explanations, he exhorted potential contributors, and don’t give ‘too much … about the subject, and too little of the subject’. This was a tactful way of urging writers to keep discursive commentary to a minimum and make the subject speak for itself. In a similar manner, he warned C. A. Cole not to be ‘a little too didactic and essayical – too much about the thing, without shewing the thing itself’ (Letters, IX, p. 370; 304; cf. also 318).

To appear in the pages of All the Year Round submissions had to earn their place. Approval did not come easily from an editor whose own writing exemplifies one of his deepest convictions. ‘I do not believe in any man’s power to write for the public in a hurry and without great pains – I certainly do not believe, and never have believed, in my own’ (Letters, IX, p. 371). It is one of the marks of Dickens’s greatness that he could maintain his editorial watchfulness and simultaneously compose and publish on demand a novel whose artistry and verbal subtlety set a bar for excellence only occasionally surpassed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         David Paroissien


[1] Charles Dickens, The Letters of Charles Dickens, Pilgrim Edition, 12 vols, ed. by Madeleine House, Graham Storey and Kathleen Tillotson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965-2002). Further references made within the text.

[2] Charles Lever (1806–1872), prolific Irish novelist and friend of Dickens.

[3] Chs. 1, 2 and 5 are principally by Dickens and ch. 4 by Wilkie Collins, though what is properly attributed to each remains contested. Ch. 3, ‘The Club-Night’, consists of four interpolated stories – John Tredgar’s by Charles Collins, David Polreath’s by Harriet Parr (‘Holme Lee’), Captain Jorgan’s (a poem by H. F. Chorley), and Oswald Penrewen’s by Amelia B. Edwards – to which Dickens also contributed an introduction which acts as a prologue to the stories and linking interludes. For an extended discussion of Dickens’s involvement, see Harry Stone, 'Dickens Rediscovered: Some Lost Writings Retrieved', in Dickens Centennial Essays, ed. by Ada  Nisbet and Blake Nevius ( Berkeley: U of California P, 1971), pp. 205–226.

[4] Annual Register: A Record of World Events (1860), p. 2.

[5] After coming to power as the leader of the new republican government in June 1848 following the fall of the French monarchy (restored by the Congress of Vienna in 1815), Louis Napoleon (1808–1873), once crowned on 2 December 1852, embarked on an interventionist course in Europe. English wariness of the new emperor grew, despite the alliance between England and France when they joined forces in March 1854 in response to Russia’s attack on Turkey. Writing in 1852, Dickens described Louis Napoleon as ‘the cold-blooded scoundrel at the head of France’ whose assumption of power rendered ‘the position of France and England so perilous and so peculiar’ (Letters, VI, p. 575).

[6] For Tennyson, see poems nos. 305–307; In a stanza deleted before the publication of ‘Riflemen Form!' in the Times (9 May 1859) on the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, he expressed concern over developments across the Channel, calling on men to form, ‘for France is dumb in her chains’ and ours ‘is the one free voice that remains’ (Poems, ed. Christopher Ricks, p. 1100). The National Rifle Association, formed on 16 November 1859, existed to promote ‘a taste for Rifle shooting’, arguing that what ‘the bow was in former times’ [the source of England’s strength and security] the rifle should now be’ (Times, 9 December 1859). Dickens regarded the Volunteer Movement with a mixture of seriousness and amused detachment (Letters, IX, p. 77, 247). Under the provisions of the Defence Act (22 Vict. c. 12), a corps was to be formed under officers bearing the commission of the lieutenant of the country ‘liable to be called out in case of actual invasion, or appearance of an enemy … on the coast, or in case of rebellion arising out of either of those emergencies.

[7] Commissions in the British army ran as high as £10,000 for a cavalry officer. See C. B. Otley, 'The Sociological Origins of British Army Officers', Sociological Review 18 (1970), pp. 213–239.

[8] Scrutiny of the condition of the British army and navy had begun earlier in Household Words and continued in contributions to All the Year Round, vols. 1–3. See Drew, Dickens the Journalist (Houndsmill: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 150 and n. The question of ‘the discipline and management of the army, and the manning of the navy’, together with the need to keep an eye on France, whose military plans generated concerns, also preoccupied parliament. See Annual Register (1860), 128, ff.

[9] ‘Chronicle’ entries for December document the consequences of the ‘intense’ cold experienced in England (Annual Register, 1860).

[10] Offering Henry Morley assistance with this article, Dickens sent him the substance of a letter he received from the daughter of a clergyman he knew, documenting some of the shortcomings of vestries and Poor Law Guardians dealing with the hard winter of 1860–61. See Letters, IX, pp. 373–374 and also his own comments of the severity of the cold, which caused water in the bedroom jugs at Gad’s Hill to freeze, ‘and blew up the crockery’ (p. 381). See also Letters, IX, p. 389n on the appalling suffering the poor endured.

[11] Republished as ‘The Italian Prisoner’. Dickens’s pro-Italian sympathies have a long history and can be traced in comments made in Pictures from Italy (1846) and in introductions to modern editions of the text. A concise summation of attitudes informing his sense of the need to be merciful towards the faults of a people ‘long-oppressed and priest-ridden’ appears in reservations he expressed to Henry Chorley, whose Roccabella (1859), Dickens thought, passed too strong a judgement. See Letters, IX, p. 205–208. For the persistent strain of anti-Catholic sentiment in both Household Words and All the Year Round, see Drew, Dickens the Journalist, pp. 149–150. How to settle ‘the question of central Italy’ remained central to the Government’s agenda. See Annual Register (1860), p. 208.

[12] Primarily extracts from Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903), A Journey in the Back Country (New York: Mason Brothers, 1860), third in his series on the U. S. slave states.

[13] Arrangements Dickens made for the distribution of All the Year Round in the U. S. played some part in the journal’s changed editorial policies, as Dickens made a concerted effort to accommodate readers in America by decreasing the emphasis on English political and social issues and including more articles on international affairs. See, the following: ‘Mount Vernon Papers’ (p. 138), ‘Black Weather from the South’ (p. 269), ‘American Sleeping Cars’ (p. 328), ‘A Tour in the Mammoth Cave’ (p. 343), ‘American Snake Stories’ (p. 374), ‘A Scene in the Cotton Country’ (p. 398), ‘Scenery of South Carolina’ (p. 438), ‘Charleston City’ (p. 462), ‘American Volunteer Firemen’ (p. 537). Beginning in 1865, AYR ventured into more overtly political matter, addressing the Irish Fenian movement, which drew heavily of American Irish support. See Drew, Dickens the Journalist, pp. 146–149).

[14]  Evelyn Ashley, The Life and Correspondence of Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, 2 vols (London : Richard Bentley, 1879), II, p. 32.

[15] Piers Brendon, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire 1781–1997 (London: Vintage, 2008), pp. 107–108.

[16] Charles Dickens, The Amusements of the People and Other Papers, 1834-1851, ed. by Michael Slater (London: Dent, 1996), p. 100.

[17]  Charles Dickens, ‘Rome’, Pictures from Italy (NY: William H. Colyer, 1846), p. 44

[18] Such articles were one of Dickens’s priorities. ‘All the Year Round’, he wrote to Charles Manby on 18 March 1861, shall lend its aid to the good cause of honest science’ (Letters, IX, p. 394).

[19] Dickens held rappers and spiritualists in contempt and regarded attempts to communicate with the dead in séances as a perpetual and recurring absurdity (Letters, IX, p. 278 & n). Browning, in ‘Mr Sludge, the Medium’, Punch (July, August and September 1860) and other periodicals conducted a similar campaign against those who sought to summon spirits, move objects and levitate themselves, ‘Humbugs’ all, like Daniel Dunglas Home an imposter in ‘every microscopic cell of his skin and globule of his blood’ (Letters, IX, p. 311).

[20] Author of ‘Five Hundred Years Ago: Houses and Modes of Living’ (p. 53), and ‘Dress and Food’ (p. 185) in the same series.

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