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Rev. Henry Richard MP (3 April 181220 August 1888), the Apostle of Peace was a Congregational minister and Welshmarker 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.

Early life

Born in 1812 in Tregaronmarker, Ceredigion. Educated initially at Llangeithomarker grammar school, Henry Richard attended college close to Londonmarker at Highburymarker 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 Roadmarker, London, whose foundation stone had been laid by Thomas Wilson in 1826. Here Henry Richards succeeded the Rev. Thomas Hughes, and raised sufficient funds to pay off the chapel's outstanding building loans and also establish a flourishing school (British School, Oakley Place).

Secretary of The Peace Society

Rev. Henry Richards resigned in 1850 to devote himself full time as Secretary to the Peace Society. Henry Richards had first begun working as Secretary of the Peace Society two years earlier, in 1848. Now full-time, he helped to 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 of the post of Secretary in 1885.

Member of Parliament

In 1868 Henry Richard was elected Liberal member of parliament for the Merthyr boroughs in Walesmarker, becoming known as one of the foremost nonconformists in the House of Commonsmarker. 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 & Journalist

Among Richard's writings may be mentioned:
  • Defensive War (1846, and again 1890), also 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 again 1884) reflecting his love of Wales;


He also prepared some of the material for the life of his friend and associate, Richard Cobden, which was written by John Morley, later Lord Morley.

In the field of journalism he contributed to the Morning Star and the Evening Star.

Abolitionist

Less well known for his Anti-slavery work, and though unable to support the American Civil War as an appropriate means to end slavery, Henry Richard was 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 Memorial

Rev. Henry Richard MP died in 1888 at Treborth, near Bangormarker. His imposing white stone and marble tomb in the form of a shrine with its own gabled roof, repleat with his carved portrait, was erected by public subscription in 1891 over his grave at the Congregationalist's model non-denominational garden cemetery, Abney Park Cemeterymarker, Stoke Newingtonmarker, Londonmarker. Photo of tomb on flickr

Sources

  • Miall, Charles .S. (1899), Henry Richard, M.P. : a biography, London:Cassell'
  • Appleton, L. (1899), Memoirs of Henry Richard, London:Trubner
  • articles in Cymru Fydd The Anti-Slavery Reporter for 1888.



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