James Martineau: A talk to younger children

Ask the children if they have brothers or sisters or if they would like to have them.

Tell them that this is a story that goes back over 150 years to 1851. It is about a brother and sister called James and Harriet.

James and Harriet were from a family of eight children but they were especially close to each other. Harriet was two years older than James but the difference in age did not matter.

When they were children they did things together and when they grew up they still liked to spend time together.

James became a minister. Harriet did something that was really unusual for a woman at that time - she became a journalist. She wrote for magazines.

As grown-ups Harriet and James lived apart, sometimes a very long way from each other because Harriet visited America and Egypt. As a journalist she wrote books about her visits.

But James and Harriet kept in touch by writing to each other.

And when they had the chance, they used to meet each other and go for walks.

In 1851, Harriet and a friend wrote an article which James did not like. He did not agree with some of the ideas in it. And he wrote about it saying so.

How do you think Harriet would feel? She was very upset.

Harriet and James stopped writing to each other and stopped going for walks together.

They were never really good friends at all after that.

That is a true story and a sad one.

Sometimes brothers and sisters do quarrel. But it is important to love each other so much that the quarrel is quickly made up again.

Both Harriet and James were very well known and very well respected. You can find out about both of them on the internet and in books.

James was born just 200 years ago, on 21 April 1805. But the fact that he and his sister stopped being friends is still remembered even now.

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