T.A. Simpson

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Thomas Arthur Simpson
Writer / Philosopher
A Future For Society and others

Simpson, Thomas Arthur (writer and philosopher, b 1832, d 1905)

Tom Simpson enjoyed considerable success as an author and adventurer, both in Celdonia and abroad, during the latter half of the nineteenth century. He was also one of the most influential thinkers of modern Celdonian history, and much of his writings underpin the basic values of Celdonian society today.

Born in Glasburgh, Simpson exhibited a desire to travel from an early age and often accompanied his father, a doctor, on his numerous trips overseas. It was in 1850 however, having just finished school and awaiting the start of the university year, that Simpson undertook his first trip on his own. That journey took him trekking throughout the mountains of Xikuang, but unfortunately lead to him loosing two toes to frostbite and acquiring a slight limp that would remain with him for the rest of his life. The journey did however provide the inspiration for his first novel The Snow Beast, a minor tale of adventure that received little notice in its day and remains one of the authors least know works. Simpson actually wrote the novel while travelling throughout Aperin for the next year, having postponed his entry to university.

Simpson did eventually study law at the University of Glasburgh and graduated in 1856 with a first class honours degree in law. However, for a man with Simpson's wandering spirit it only took two years of civil practice before he packed his bags and took to the road once more. This time he travelled, through the good grace of his friend Charles Patterson (see separate entry) the future newspaper magnate but at this time foreign editor of the Glasburgh Herald, as a journalist. Simpson's remit was essentially open: write something, and if Patterson liked it the Herald would pay for it. Over the next three years Simpson, writing about his experience prolifically, filed some seventy-four reports all of which the Herald paid for. In fact, as the popularity of Simpson's articles grew so did the price the Herald was forced to pay for them. The articles were published as a collection entitled Don't Drink The Water

After three years of travelling Simpson settled in the Rigan Weegies for where he remained, although often taking extended trips to the other southern islands and the southern Aperin mainland, and wrote for the next ten years. During this period he produced his first great work The Pallbearer's Lament (1865), a book still studied in Celdonian schools to this day, four other novels - To Catch a Cloud (1863), Fool On The Road (1866), Dreamspire (1869), and Until Morning Awakes (1872) - and his famous philosophical treatise that challenged the morality of Aperin colonialism entitled Thoughts on Empire (1870). Despite the sympathies Simpson's expressed for the colonial subjects of Aperinian adventures abroad, and the condemnation of Celdonia's attempts to put an end to non-Christian worship in many of its colonies expressed in The Pallbearers Lament, it was Thoughts on Empire that found Simpson's name mentioned in Parliament, and lambasted in much of the press. The book sold in the tens of thousands and is largely credited with beginning the shift in public opinion that would lead to the dissolution of the empire after the Aperin War.

Despite the controversy surrounding Thoughts on Empire Simpson returned to Glasburgh where he accepted the post of Professor of English Literature at The University of Glasburgh, which at the time was renowned as the most radical of Celdonia's universities and the first to offer full degrees to women. Simpson's time back in Glasburgh was not his happiest. The year after he arrived back, in 1872, he met Maria Curtis, a beautiful woman ten years his junior. They married in 1874 and in 1875 Maria gave birth to a daughter, Emily, but, as was not terribly uncommon at that time, she died from complications in the delivery. Simpson's letters to his friends at the time reveal the depths of despair he plumbed, and in one letter he writes: "I simply cannot imagine going on without her, but I suppose I must if for nothing more than the child depends upon me. I keep asking myself whether I blame the child for Emily's death, but I honestly cannot say that a creature who did not solicit to be born, can be blamed for a consequential action. Whether I love the child or not is another matter however and for the moment my sorry heart appears to have governance over whatever logical and ethical thoughts I should have for my ward."

For the next three years Simpson continued to lecture, intermittently write for various newspapers, and sporadically produce academic theses. For her first three years Simpson's mother, Sarah, who came to stay with him following the death of her husband, effectively raised his daughter Emily whilst Simpson appeared to have little time for the infant. However, in 1878 Simpson was to face another ordeal that would see him leave Celdonia for good. On a sharp February morning as Sarah and Emily returned from a nearby park a passing carriage slipped a wheel and collided with them. Sarah suffered a sever blow to the head and was killed instantly. The child also suffered a blow to the head and was hospitalised. When Simpson arrived at the hospital he was advised to remain with his daughter as doctors thought her unlikely to see out the night. Counter to the initial prognosis Emily did make it through the night and after four days of unconsciousness she finally awoke. During the time Simpson had refused to leave her bedside, except on the few occasions when he would be compelled to eat and bathe.

On 23 June 1878 Thomas Arthur Simpson, accompanied by his daughter Emily, boarded a ship ultimately bound for the Rigan Weegies. Although Emily Simpson would return to Celdonia some years later, her father never would.

The Simpson's remained in the Rigan Weegies for only a year before moving on once again, this time to Rehochipe. They settled near Bakrata where Simspon remained resident until he died. Over the next ten years Simspon wrote Suffer The Children (1881), Powerplay (1884), The Man Who Never Forgot (1886), and Catch The Wind (1889). In 1924 a collection of children's stories he wrote for his daughter during his time in Rehochipe entitled Mr Weasel Saves The Day was published posthumously.

At the same time Simpson found himself once again involved with the law when, in 1881, he volunteered to represent a local woman, Tabitha Dakar, who was charged with murdering a Celdonian soldier called Andrew McKay. Simpson won the case when he managed to convinced the jury that McKay had attempted to rape Dakar and that her retaliation had not intended to kill him. This was the first time in Rehochipe’s recent history that a colonized citizen had been successfully defended from an appointment with the gallows. From then on Simpson was inundated with requests for representation, and for the next two years he helped as many as he could. However, by 1884 the demands were becoming too great so he used the not insubstantial wealth he had acquired from his writings to employ four lawyers from Celdonia to work in his practice. More importantly though, he established a scholarship for local Rehochipean teenagers to attend the Law School of the University of Glasburgh of which he stipulated three should be male and three female and to this day the Simpson Scholarship Program sends young women and men of Rehochipe to study law in Celdonia.

Whilst in Bakrat Simpson wrote almost exclusively on political and philosophical matters. His writing was certainly coloured by his affirmation of socialist ideals in 1885 in a letter to his friend Charles Patterson when he wrote: “…what other alternative can there be? I have seen what money leads men to do and, more worryingly, I have seen what it leads governments to do. Charles, can any of us honestly say that we are superior to any other man simply because we benefited from the good fortune of advantageous parentage and the opportunity to become educated? I am a Socialist Charles, and if we are to survive the trials of the next century we shall do it through Socialism.” At the same time he joined, from afar, the Celdonian Socialist Labour Party and authored many pamphlets for them.

Amongst his literary output at the time were the influential volumes The Nature of Society (1893), Morality and Legality (1895), A Warning On The Pursuit Of Wealth (1897), The Law Is An Ass (1899),and Bread And Circuses (1902). At the time of his death he was working on a work that would, on completion by his daughter in 1907, become what is probably his most enduring and influential work. Simpson’s working title for the book was Socialist Governance but he was never happy with the title and in 1908, renamed by his daughter, the completed version was published under the title A Future For Society. A Future For Society remains the most influential piece of literature amongst the left in Celdonia and to this day has sold over 60 million copies in Celdonia and another 20 million throughout the world.

In 1896 Emily Simpson returned to Celdonia for four years to study Economics and Philosophy at the University of Glasburgh. She returned to Rehochipe in 1904 with a Doctorate in Economics only to find that her father’s health was failing. Suffering from lung cancer, Simpson’s condition worsened throughout the year and on New Year's day 1905 Thomas Arthur Simpson passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Over the next two years his daughter Emily, working from her father’s notes, and employing her own sharpness of mind, completed A Future For Society. She insisted that her father be credited as sole author of the work, her name only being added to a publication by the Celdonian Publishers Collective in 1968, the one-hundredth anniversary of her birth, and has remained since. She also insisted the dedication her father had intended it to carry be used. The dedication is well known to most Celdonian’s and reads: “To Sarah and Emily whom I love. They taught me what it means to love people and why it matters so much.”

Thomas Arthur Simpson remains one of the leading lights of Celdonian thinking: its first great travel writer, a major author, a legal pioneer, and its most influential political thinker. Perhaps though, Simpson would have been most pleased that his daughter Emily would become, in 1917, Celdonia’s first female member of parliament and in 1918 its first Minister of Finance serving in the new Socialist Labour Party government following the Aperin War.