Charles Kingsley

Life
1819-75; b. Devonshire, ed. Magdalene Coll., Cambridge, entering in 1838, grad (Classics, 1st Class & Snr. Optime); appt. Rector of Eversley, 1844-75, afterwards Canon of Chester, 1869-73, and Canon of Westminster, 1873-75; professor of history at Cambridge University, and private chaplain to Queen Victoria; his works incl. Yeast, Alton Locke, Saint’s Tragedy, Hypatia and Westward Ho!, as well as hymns including “My Fairest Child, I Have No Song to Give You”; d. 23 Jan. 1875, in Eversely, Hampshire; occupies a place in Irish studies as a notorious exponent of the anti-Irish ‘simian’ stereotype.

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Quotations
Irish chimps: While staying at Markree Castle, Co. Sligo, he wrote: ‘This place is full of glory – very lovely, and well kept up. But I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible country. I don’t believe they are at fault. I believe here are not only amny more of them than of old, but that they are happier, better, more comfortably fed and lodged under our rule than they ever were. But to see white chimpanzees is dreadful’; if they were black, one would not feel it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours. Tell Rose I will get her plants.’ (Letters and Memoirs, Vol. 2; cited in John Wilson Foster, ‘Nature and Nation in the Nineteenth Century’, in Foster & Helena C. G. Chesney, ed., Nature in Ireland: A Scientific and Cultural History, Dublin: Lilliput 1997, p.435.)

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