Samuel Butler con Ex Voto: "All truth is not to be told at all times" (English Edition)
Samuel Butler was born on 4th December 1835 at the village rectory in Langar, Nottinghamshire.
His relationship with his parents, especially his father, was largely antagonistic. His education began at home and included frequent beatings, as was all too common at the time.
Under his parents' influence, he was set to follow his father into the priesthood. He was schooled at Shrewsbury and then St John's College, Cambridge, where he obtained a first in Classics in 1858.
After Cambridge he went to live in a low-income parish in London 1858–59 as preparation for his ordination into the Anglican clergy; there he discovered that baptism made no apparent difference to the morals and behaviour of his new peers. He began to question his faith. Correspondence with his father about the issue failed to set his mind at peace, inciting instead his father's wrath.
As a result, the young Butler emigrated in September 1859 to New Zealand. He was determined to change his life.
He wrote of his arrival and life as a sheep farmer on Mesopotamia Station in ‘A First Year in Canterbury Settlement’ (1863). After a few years he sold his farm and made a handsome profit. But the chief achievement of these years were the drafts and source material for much of his masterpiece ‘Erewhon’.
Butler returned to England in 1864, settling in rooms in Clifford's Inn, near Fleet Street, where he would live for the rest of his life.
In 1872, he published his Utopian novel ‘Erewhon’ which made him a well-known figure.
He wrote a number of other books, including a moderately successful sequel, ‘Erewhon Revisited’ before his masterpiece and semi-autobiographical novel ‘The Way of All Flesh’ appeared after his death. Butler thought its tone of satirical attack on Victorian morality too contentious to publish during his life time and thereby shied away from further potential problems.
Samuel Butler died aged 66 on 18th June 1902 at a nursing home in St John's Wood Road, London. He was cremated at Woking Crematorium, and accounts say his ashes were either dispersed or buried in an unmarked grave.