HARRY SMITH PARKES was born into a middle-class Walsall family on 24 February 1828. His father had pioneered an ironfounding enterprise, his mother was the daughter of a reputable bookseller. Parkes' paternal grandfather was an Anglican clergyman and his grandmother a vicar's daughter. A further element in the history of the Parkes family was the Royal Navy in which Harry's his uncle John, and several other relatives had served. Heavy industry, the church, and the navy, were among the foundations of nineteenth-century England's power and prestige; and Parkes' background clearly mirrored these dominant forces. Such upbringing was unlikely to produce unorthodox radicalism.