Henry Richard

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Statue of Henry Richard in Tregaron by Albert Toft
File:Henry Richard, Vanity Fair, 1880-09-04.jpg
"Peace". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1880

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.

Early life

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.

Political career

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.[1]

1868 General Election

Following his defeat in Cardiganshire, in 1868 Henry Richard was elected Liberal member of parliament for the Merthyr boroughs in Wales,

Member of Parliament

Following his election, Richard become 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;

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.


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

File:The grave of Henry Richard, Abney Park Cemetery, London.jpg
The grave of Henry Richard, Abney Park Cemetery, London

Richard died suddenly of heart disease on 20 August 1888 at the home of the Lord Lieutenant of Anglesey in Treborth, near Bangor.[2] His body was brought to his London residence in Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, where it lay in state until his funeral on 31 August.[3]

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.[4] The grave lies on an eastern path not far from the southern entrance. His wife Augusta Matilda lies with him.

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.[5]: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."

See also


  1. Jones. Explorations and Explanations. p. 177.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Death of Mr. Henry Richard, M.P." Huddersfield Chronicle. 25 August 1888. Retrieved 20 December 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Funeral of Mr. Henry Richard". Wrexham Advertiser. 1 September 1888. Retrieved 20 December 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Photo of tomb at flickr
  5. Tregaron: Images of a country town Tregaron and District Historical Society & Landmark Publishing UK, 2006. ISBN 1-84306-197-X


  • Miall, Charles S. (1899), Henry Richard, M.P. : a biography, London:Cassell'
  • Jones, Ieuan Gwynedd (1965). "Dr Thomas Price and the election of 1868 in Merthyr Tydfil: a study in nonconformist politics (Part Two)". Welsh History Review. 2 (3): 251–70.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Jones, Ieuan Gwynedd (1981). Explorations and Explanations. Essays in the Social History of Victorian Wales. Llandysul: Gomer. ISBN 0850886449.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Appleton, L. (1899), Memoirs of Henry Richard, London:Trubner
  • articles in Cymru Fydd The Anti-Slavery Reporter for 1888.

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

  • D. Ben Rees The Life and Work of Henry Richard Nottingham, 2007.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Bruce
Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil
With: Richard Fothergill to 1880
Charles Herbert James to 1888
David Alfred Thomas 1888
Succeeded by
William Pritchard Morgan
David Alfred Thomas