F.C. Ade: Solitary English War Tax Resister

Today I’m going to try to do a little digging to recover what I can about a war tax resister from England who first comes to the attention of the press in , which makes him a real outlier.

The Yorkshire Evening Post wrote:

Pacifist Prefers to Go to Prison

Won’t Pay Tax for Rearmament

Teacher Desires Committal in Holiday

A schoolmaster who appeared before the Bromley Bench preferred to go to prison rather than to pay for rearmament.

Mr F.C. Ade, a master at Eltham College, appeared on a judgment summons for non-payment of £5 11s. 6d. income tax arrears.

“As a pacifist I am unwilling to pay for weapons of war,” he said.

At a previous hearing he said he was withholding that part of his tax which he calculated would be spent on armaments.

The Bench decided that he should go to prison for 21 days, sentence being suspended for 14 days.

He asked that the suspension should be reduced to seven days, so that he could go to prison during the school holidays and thus avoid losing his job.

This request was granted.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph covered it thusly:

Refused to Pay Tax for Arms

Schoolmaster Goes to Prison

“Sticking to His Principles,” Says Wife

Mr. F.C. Ade, of Court Road, Mottingham, London, a schoolmaster at Eltham College, was taken to Brixton Prison to serve a sentence of twenty-one days’ imprisonment imposed on him by the Bromley Justices following his refusal to obey an order of the court to pay income tax amounting to £5 11s 6d.

The order for committal was suspended when made a week ago for 14 days, but Mr. Ade asked that the period of suspension would be reduced to seven days so that he could go to prison in the school holidays and thus avoid losing his job.

The Bench assented, and Mr. Ade surrendered at Bromley.

“He was quite cheerful when he left,” said Mrs. Ade, “and I am also quite cheerful about it. He is sticking to his principles about helping to pay for armaments.”

Mrs. Ade said she was quite in agreement with her husband on the line he had taken.

“I feel he will not spend an unhappy Christmas in prison.”

Across the pond, The Kansas City Star added a few details:

A Pacifist Chooses Prison.

Briton Refuses to Pay Tax to Go for Armaments.

 — F.C. Ade, a schoolmaster at Eltham college, went to prison today rather than pay taxes to be spent on armaments.

Ade refused to pay income taxes amounting to about £5 ($25) which was the proportion of his total assessment he estimated would be spent on war materials. He paid the balance of his taxes, but refused to heed a court order to pay the remainder.

Magistrates sentenced him to twenty-one days’ imprisonment and then reduced the sentence to seven days, so Ade could serve it during his holidays, thus keeping his teaching post.

I tried to find out more about F.C. Ade but it was difficult. There is someone who goes by that name who attended Trinity College in . I also found a book review written by an F.C. Ade for The Ethical Record in that has this interesting passage: “many men feel the need not only of a god to worship but also of a devil to fight.”

If this photo caption is anything to go by, Ade was a math instructor at Eltham and his students called him “Freda”.

With a little more sleuthing, I found some more book reviews in The Ethical Record from the period. I looked through them to see if I could find any hints that this is the same F.C. Ade, but found nothing definitive. The Record was the journal of the “South Place Ethical Society,” which Ade joined in .

Beyond this, I came up with nothing.

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