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Our Wicked Mis-statements

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Author Henry Morley
Subjects Accidents; Accident Victims—Fiction; Fires; Search and Rescue Operations; Natural Disasters; Disasters; Disaster Relief
Industries; Industrial Revolution—Great Britain; Industrialization; Industrial Safety; Industrial Laws and Legislation; Industrial Welfare; Industrial Relations;
Newspapers; Periodicals; Journalism
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Index
Other Details
Printed : 19/1/1856
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume XIII
Magazine : No. 304
Views : 1166

Dickens probably added to or modified portions of the following segments of 'Our Wicked Mis-statements': from the beginning to 'discussion of it' (p. 14); from 'On this same point' to 'HOUSEHOLD WORDS' (p. 15); from 'We believe' to 'very like him!' (p. 16); from 'We will pursue' (p. 18) to the conclusion.
Dickens may also have retouched other sections that refer to Miss Martineau.
The Household Words Office Book lists 'Our Wicked Mis-statements' as solely by Morley, but Dickens' letters indicate that he edited portions of the piece with great care and also added passages. In 1855, Morley had written five articles for Household Words ('Fencing with Humanity,' 14 April; 'Death's Cyphering Book,' 12 May; '[Chips:]Deadly Shafts,' 23 June; 'More Grist to the Mill,' 28 July; and 'Two Shillings per Horse-Power,' 8 September) on the subject of industrial accidents and the new factory laws for fencing dangerous machinery. Harriet Martineau, a frequent contributor to Household Words and a friend of Dickens, wrote a pamphlet, The Factory Controversy: A Warning Against Meddling Legislation (1855), on behalf of the manufacturers, attacking Morley's articles and vilifying Dickens. The history of the controversy and the nature of the charges are set forth in 'Our Wicked Mis-statements' reprinted below.
Regarding this article, Dickens wrote to Wills on 6 January 1856:

I have read Morley's article, and gone very carefully over that part of it which refers to Miss Martineau. Supposing the facts to be closely examined and verified, I think it should be printed, and should go into the opening of the next No. as I have arranged it in the enclosed proof. I do not quite distinctly see how it is proved that the renunciation of the idea of paying the penalties dates from that seventh of August beyond all doubt. I should like it made clearer.
Miss Martineau, in this, is precisely what I always knew her to be, and have always impressed her upon you as being. I was so convinced that it was impossible that she could be anything else, having seen and heard her, that I am not in the least triumphant at her justifying my opinion. I do suppose that there never was such a wrong-headed woman born - such a vain one - or such a Humbug.
If you think any little thing I have put in, too hard, consult Forster. If you both think so, take it out. Not otherwise.

Harry Stone; © Bloomington and Indiana University Press, 1968. DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

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