Henry Salt Archive

Henry Salt (1853-1939) was the author of the Life of Henry David Thoreau, Animals Rights and A Plea for Vegetarianism which inspired Gandhi for follow a vegetarian diet.

Socialism

The capitalist classes insist that they are the rightful possessors of wealth which comes in to them without any labour on their part, and attempt to raise the cry “Stop thief” against those who venture even to investigate the origin of their wealth. Our capitalists persist to the bitter end in the fatuous assertion that to live idly on the labour of others is not the same thing as to steal. - Henry S. Salt

Henry Salt's contribution to the Labour movement has largely been overlooked despite great personal sacrifice and a lifelong commitment to the cause. The Dictionary of Labour Biography, for example, included many of Salt's associates in volume 2, yet nine volumes later Henry Salt has still not been included.

Writing in 'Henry Salt and the Humanitarian League', Chien-hui Li commented: “Though the names of (J. L) Joynes and Salt are usually left out of the history of socialist movements, their contribution to the revival of Socialism in the early nineteenth-eighties was great (see H. M. Hyndman, 'The Record of an Adventurous Life'). Their mere giving up of their Eton masterships for the movement was significant enough as a victory to be boasted about in socialist public meetings; and their intellect and literary skills were also most welcomed in the movement. Salt ... remained at the centre of the movement and regularly contributed to the major socialist journals. Salt was a writer of force and feeling, and his talents were always highly praised in socialist circles.”

Though he stopped his most active socialist work, as he devoted increasing amounts of time to the Humanitarian League, he remained a committed socialist throughout his life.