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Saturday, 7 November 2015

Charles Kingsley

The English Church of England clergyman and social reformer Charles Kingston (1819-1875) was one of the group who launched in 1848 The Christian Socialist movement in England, which was designed to commit the church to a program of social reform.

Kingsley once commented in his Letter to the Chartist's, "We have used the Bible as if it was a constable's handbook, an opium dose for keeping beasts of burden patient while they are being overloaded".

Kingsley was sympathetic to the idea of evolution and was one of the first to welcome his friend Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species.

Charles Kingsley's children's story, The Water-Babies, was written in 1862–63 as a serial for Macmillan's Magazine, and first published in its entirety in 1863.. Its hero, a little chimney sweep, is changed by the fairies into a water-baby and learns about the habits of the water creatures. The novel was published as a protest against child chimney sweeps and public indignation mounted.

1885 cover of The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby 

For twelve years after the publication of Water-Babies, the British politician Lord
Shaftesbury campaigned vigorously for the banning of employing young boys who climb into and clean chimneys and at last an Act in 1875 was passed that outlawed the practice.

Charles Kingsley died on January 23, 1875 (aged 55) in Eversley, Hampshire. He was buried in St Mary's Churchyard in Eversley.

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