Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Apostle of Peace

Henry Richard 1812 - 1888
By Hilary Evans, Abolish War, Spring 2012

"A bayonet has no aptitude for the discovery of truth; gunpowder has no quality of moral discrimination; a Krupp gun or a torpedo has no particular relation to righteousness. All that these can do, if you use them to the day of doom, is to decide, not who is right, but who is the strongest, the most skilful, the most wealthy, the most pertinacious." Henry Richard

‘200 years ago saw the birth of one of our best campaigners for peace – something worth celebrating! Henry Richard was an important and effective figure in several spheres in the nineteenth century and many groups and organisations in London today have good reason to remember and honour his life and achievements. Born in Tregaron on 3 April 1812, he came to London in 1830 to train for the Congregational ministry and stayed for the rest of his life. It is difficult to do justice to such a multi-faceted man in a short summary.

He was … The Apostle of Peace. As this lifelong and indefatigable peace campaigner became internationally known, leaving Marlborough Chapel in 1850 to take up a full-time appointment as Secretary of the London Peace Society (officially The Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace). He organised a series of international peace congresses calling for a system of arbitration as a method of solving disputes between nations, for non-intervention and a mutual reduction of armaments and for improved international communication, and was probably the leading nineteenth century advocate of some form of league of nations underpinned by an effective body of international law.

For about 20 years before his death Henry Richard and his wife attended what is now Kensington United Reform Church, Allen Street, where he was a close friend of the minister the Revd Dr Alexander Raleigh. Henry Richard dies in 1888 and was buried in Abney Park Cemetery, very close to Dr Raleigh’s grave as he had requested.’


On the bicentenary of his birth, come and celebrate the life and work of this remarkable Welshman at:

Abney Park Cemetery (Church Street entrance), Stoke Newington, London N16 0LH on Sunday 1st April from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

A short ceremony at the grave followed by refreshments and an opportunity to visit this interesting non-denominational garden cemetery and local nature reserve. The 73 bus from Victoria, Oxford Circus, Euston Station, Kings Cross and Angel Islington passes the cemetery. For more directions see:

If you are in Wales you can also attend the Peace Fair at Tregaron on 21st April.


The Life and Work of Henry Richard by Ben D. Rees is available from Spokesman Books price £3 (£1 postage in the UK). The author states: 'Henry Richard has, through the efforts of Bruce Kent, Simon Thomas, David Morris and others of us, been given his rightful place as a man of inspiration ... I have been given the opportunity of delivering lectures on Henry Richard in the House of Lords in London and in my church in Liverpool, and now we bring together the story in this book and hope it will be widely circulated.'

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