Lord Esher on W. T. Stead

Quoted in The American Review of Reviews, (June, 1912), pp. 696-697

His influence upon public affairs was not spasmodic. It never relaxed. Although he ran up many blind alleys, he wonderfully sustained through life his onward march. It is a curious and humiliating reflection that such a man, so disinterested and so patriotic, could for forty years ardently promote everything that is noblest and best in the life of his country without receiving any public mark or recognition of his national and imperial work. He died poor and unrewarded. Yet he was rich in the esteem of many noble minds, and honored by the confidence of the greatest among his contemporaries. I once said to General Gordon, "You appear to me always walking with God." He replied, "Some of us do. Look at Stead."

Captain Fisher of the Excellent  thirty years ago called him the missionary, fearless even when alone, believing in his God—the God of Truth—a man of big heart and great emotions; an exploder of "gas-bags," and the terror of liars.

Lord Fisher, since his death, has written of him, "Old Stead only feared God. He feared no one else. He told me, when I was at the Admiralty, to remember Nebuchadnezzar, but he never needed to be told. He was humble-minded from his mother's womb."

In the early days of their friendship Rhodes said to me, speaking of Stead, "He is the greatest patriot I know; England is his home and every foot of ground over which the British flag flies is his native land."

No man in our time had talked with so many people, from the highest to the lowest. No man was ever more trusted by those with whom he talked, and no man was more deserving of confidence. He was highly tested, when his profession is considered, and his intimate knowledge of secret things is appreciated. The test never failed. For some reason difficult to explain men and women spoke to him with unusual freedom and reserve. Yet even the secrets of his enemies were safe.

About this website

I founded this website in 2001 to assist me in my own research on W.T. Stead, little knowing then that it would become the largest online resource on Stead's life and career. Today this site is used by students, scholars and institutions around the world and has significantly contributed to the Study of W.T. Stead and the evils which he campaigned against. I hope you find it useful.

If you have a question that explicitly concerns any of the content on this website, feel free to Contact me and I will get back to you at my earliest convenience. However, please note that I no longer work in academia. With a very "busy" business to run, the time I can spare responding to enquiries through this website is finite, to say the least. So, please do not ask me to do research for you or assist in matters of family history.

Finally, though this website includes a section on Stead's obsession with spiritualism, I myself am not remotely interested in the subject. So, if you think you have seen Stead's ghost in your kitchen or believe you are the reincarnation of the great editor himself (or anyone else who died on the Titanic), I beg you not to tell me about it..

Owen Mulpetre, BA (Hons) MPhil