Tuesday, February 06, 2007

D. R. Davies XIV: 'In the Far Country'

D. R. Davies arrived in London with great hopes. He had become notorious at Southport, where he had, in his eyes, suffered for Socialism. His inetntion was to become a freelance journalist and bring his wife down as soon as he could. A meeting with miners' leader A. J. Cook (pictured) secured letters of introduction to a number of Labour politicians. Yet all was to no avail. In a year, Davies made exactly six pounds and three shillings, half for an article on Sheep-dog trials, the other for an article on Suffragettes which never appeared in print. He was forced into stringent economy as he fell into poverty, a poverty for which he was not prepared:

"Like thousands of other ministers and clergy, I had glibly uttered the second-hand truths and consolations of religion. But now I learnt what no college or university could possibly have taught me: that in religion second-hand truth is futile."

He was forced to sell his library in order to survive. By this time, Davies no longer went anywhere near a church, and spent much of his time as a shiftless unemployed scholar, visiting the British Library whenever he could (much like Karl Marx). So ashamed was he that he steered clear of Congregationalists, despite their later assertions that they would have helped him.

A visit to Lewis Phillips, a friend of his wife, saw Davies moving to Enfield, where he landed a job addressing envelopes for a breakfast cereal company. Phillips, a Christian, paid for Davies' wife, Edith to join him, and she, too, took up the work of addressing envelopes. By now, Davies was forty years old, and seemed to have no future. Only an interest in music kept Davies from despair.

Indeed, this interest landed Davies a job as freelance lecturer on music for the HMV Record Company.

At this time, D. R. Davies had a meeting that would change his life forever. Attending a meeting at 55 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, Davies gave a speech that impressed a man called Dimitri Mitrinovic, the leader of a political movement called 'New Britain,' dedicated to the concept of a politically united Europe. A Serb by birth, Mitrinovic called Davies 'the man I've been seeking for the last fourteen years.'

With this step into a political movement stressing human effort, co-operation and organisation, Davies seemed to have turned his back completely on Christianity.



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