It seems sad to read in Olga Kerziouk’s European Studies blog on the British Library website and in Ulrich Lins’ book Dangerous Language that from the earliest days of Esperanto, governments were quick to see potential dangers to their authority in the message spread by Esperanto. For Clarence Bicknell (1842-1918), Esperanto was a universal language which was not only an expression of peace but also a mean to furthering peace. Imagine the torment he suffered when the world went to war in 1914… he died in the mountains above Bordighera on the Italian-French border in 1918, in the last weeks of the war.
At Olga's invitation I wrote an article for her blog about European Studies on the British Library web site. It summarises Clarence's dedication to Esperanto late in his life and the extent to which he worked on the universal language as a way of improving the chances of human understanding subjugating man’s addiction to war. The photo, right, from the Bicknell Family Collection in my stewardship and never published before, Clarence is wearing his Esperanto badge on his lapel, probably 1906 to 1910. Is he also wearing his "not so optimistic face"? Was he already thinking of the need to promote Esperanto as a means of avoiding war?