James Leigh Joynes

It was largely through his brother-in-law, James Leigh Joynes (1853–1893), that Henry Salt began to meet the more active social reformers of the day. Like Salt, Joynes was a vegetarian and a Shelleyan.

In 1882 whilst a Master at Eton College he visited Ireland with Henry George. Joynes’ account of his travels, A Political Tour of Ireland, was published in the Times, causing great scandal in Etonian circles. When Eton College’s , where he was a Master, learnt of his plan to publish his book The Adventures of a Tourist in Ireland, he was given the choice between remaining as a Master or leaving for his beliefs, he left Eton.

Edward Carpenter, in his autobiography My Days and Dreams, wrote of J. L. Joynes:

“Joynes and his sister [Catherine Leigh Joynes] were singularly unlike externally, yet singularly alike in the depths of their hearts and in their devotion to each other. Both were tall and long-limbed: she dark, raven-haired, with large eyes and sensitive, somewhat sad, Dante-like profile; he red-haired with high complexion, small bluish eyes, heavy features.

“She was intensely emotional, too emotional, but — as such people often are — highly musical; and her literary gift was certainly one of the most remarkable I have known — though unfortunately, except in her letters, rarely utilized.

“He was intensely logical, concentrated, determined — though underneath ran a strong current of poetic feeling — as witness his little book of excellent verses On Lonely Shores (1892).

“Both of them did good work in connection with the Socialist and Labour movement, he more especially by lecturing and writing for the Social Democratic Federation and other such organizations; and she rather more by personal sympathy and helpful friendship towards the rank and file of the workers; both of them were devoted lovers of Nature, and of a natural plain way of life; and their devotion to each other only ended with his too early death in 1893.”

Henry Salt’s tribute to James Leigh Joynes: Some Reminiscences was published in the Social Democrat.


Social Democrat: J. L. Joynes – A Tribute by Harry Quelch
Justice: James Leigh Joynes by Henry Mayers Hyndman