Hilaire Belloc bought King's Land (in Shipley, Sussex), 5 acres and a working windmill for £1000 in 1907 and it was his home for the rest of his life. Belloc loved Sussex as few other writers have loved her: he lived there for most of his 83 years, he tramped the length and breadth of the county, slept under her hedgerows, drank in her inns, sailed her coast and her rivers and wrote several incomparable books about her. "He does not die that can bequeath Some influence to the land he knows, Or dares, persistent, interwreath Love permanent with the wild hedgerows; He does not die, but still remains Substantiate with his darling plains."

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Thursday 2 April 2015

Mr. Belloc and the Contest in Bethnal Green...

Mr. Hilaire Belloc, having been attacked by The Daily News for taking the chair at a meeting of the candidate opposing Mr. Masterman, has sent a letter to that journal, from which we take the following :

''My object and that of Mr. Chesterton, and I hope of any other democrats of every shade in this election, was to prevent the caucus that governs us from thinking that it had in future an undisputed right to parcel out the constituencies among its nominees and to depend upon calculated and mechanical majorities. . . . He told the electors of Bethnal Green who the Baron De Forest was, what was the origin of those millions which are his sole claim to your support, what manner of man was Hirsch, and what connexion the Baron could boast with him. We informed the working men of the district (from one-third to one-half of whom are allowed to vote under our laws) what that money was, and what its influence now might be upon the public affairs of England. We pointed out that the nominee of the caucus had been thrust upon Bethnal Green without any consultation of the people, and we carefully emphasised his eulogy of the present member for West Ham.

We further told the electorate that this nominee bad voted in favour of the Right to Work Bill before receiving public money—that is, our money—and that after receiving it he bad voted against the Right to Work Bill. We brought in the parallel case of his silence upon every scandal, every job, every sale of a peerage which those who are now his masters had effected. Lastly, we instructed those who beard us upon what they certainly could not otherwise have known—the fact that his co-option into the caucus was solely due to his relationship with its various members upon both of the two sides, "Liberal" and "Conservative," into which the humbug is artificially divided. We quoted all the names, we quoted all the ties of marriage and of blood.

In other words, we told the truth. Until truths of that kind can be told nothing approaching democracy will be possible in England. To tell them upon every occasion, and especially upon such an occasion as this, is the plain duty of all men who have democracy at heart. The further personal attacks you make upon me are easily met. You say I am not a Socialist, and that yet I appeared upon a Socialist platform. You might as well say that because I am a Catholic I should not have appeared on the platform of a Protestant or a Jew. At the very outset of what I said (which you did not report) I very clearly explained what my position in the matter of Mr. Scurr's economic opinions was. Let me add that the Government's nominee for West Ham in this purposely rushed election defined himself as a Collectivist, precisely as Mr. Scurr does, before be abandoned democracy for paid officialism. Further, I told the audience what many of them well knew, that while I was not in sympathy with Mr. Scurr's economic doctrine I was in sympathy with the candidature of an honest man. I supported Mr. Grayson for the same reason. I hope I shall continue to support such men.''

The Tablet 29th July 1911, page 29.

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