# 41226

BATTEN, George Henry (1819-1881)

[MELBOURNE] A small archive of original poetry by G. H. Batten, Master of Richmond Grammar School and Honorary Secretary to Governor Sir Henry Barkly. 1859-1880.

$2,200.00 AUD

  • Ask a question

G. H. Batten (1819-1881) was a schoolmaster in Devon for many years before emigrating to Port Phillip in 1856, where he served for a brief time as Honorary Secretary to the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Barkly. In January 1857 Batten became the proprietor and master of the Richmond Grammar School, a school for young gentlemen in Lennox Street, which he continued to run throughout the 1860s. His own residence was a stone cottage on nearby Church Street hill. The democratically-minded Batten was involved in local politics and was a prominent member of the Land Convention, a radical populist organisation which opposed the squatting system and campaigned for land reform in the colony.

Erudite and an accomplished public speaker, Batten gave numerous lectures in Melbourne on scientific and religious topics. In 1875, in collaboration with his son, Hannibal, Batten published a school textbook on English literature, The students’ manual of complete information upon Il Penseroso, The Progress of Poesy and The Bard : containing biographies of Milton and Gray; analysis, parsing, derivations and copious notes, introductory, explanatory and critical / by H.J.L. Batten ; including original notes by G.H. Batten (Melbourne : Samuel Mullen); and, in 1880, he published a pamphlet titled The Pharaoh of the Exodus found at last. (Melbourne, George Robertson).

The State Library of Victoria holds the manuscript of Batten’s draft of an inaugural cantata for the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880, accompanied by notes entitled “On the design and objects of the poem” (MS 9087). One of several hundred entries received in a competition for an appropriate cantata, Batten’s was unsuccessful (see La Trobe Journal, No 56 Spring 1995, p. 25).

The present archive comprises the following manuscript material:

Part I: The original manuscript versions of seven unpublished poems by George Henry Batten:

In Memoriam, Walter Montgomery (Acrostic). Written in ink. 1 page, mourning notepaper (180 x 110 mm). Signed ‘G.H. Batten’ and dated 30 September 1871. The American-born British actor (real name Richard Tomlinson) shot himself in London in 1871, two days after his marriage.

Sonnet Ode on Blackmore’s Portrait. Written in ink. 1 page, notepaper (200 x 130 mm). Signed ‘G.H. Batten’ and dated 26 June 1875.

Sonnet Ode on Milton’s Portrait. Written in ink. 1 page, notepaper (200 x 130 mm). Signed ‘G.H. Batten’ and dated 24 May 1875.

Ode: Anticipatory &c. Written in ink. [4] pp, notepaper (200 x 130 mm). Circa 1875.

The Belles (N.B. No Connection with Poe’s “Bells”). Written in ink. [5] pp, notepaper (200 x 130 mm). Misogynistic rant against the wayward young women of Melbourne, ‘…swearing, screaming, laughing / The maddening wine cup fiercely quaffing …’. Initialed ‘G.H.B.’ and dated 31 August 1876.

A Dream. Lengthy poem written in pencil on the back of a Melbourne Athenaeum flyer printed in magenta on white paper (210 x 170 mm) advertising evening classes for ladies and gentlemen for the Matriculation and Civil Service Examinations, conducted by W. Carmichael and H. J. L. Batten (Batten’s son, Hannibal). Circa 1880.

Retort Courteous. Brief satirical poem written in ink on the back of a flyer printed in black on yellow paper (115 x 140 mm) by Batten’s opponents in a Richmond election (of 1859?), Woolley and Francis. Batten’s retort mocks both men, as well as Evans.

Part II: Batten’s manuscript copies of excerpts from various scientific and religious publications.

Approximately [150] pp. neatly handwritten in ink on notepaper, in Batten’s hand-stitched gatherings.

This material demonstrates Batten’s deep interest in the clash between evolutionary theory and religious faith. Its content also covers different areas of chemistry and physics including the classification of elements, magnetism, and thermodynamics.