Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Tallack, William
TALLACK, WILLIAM (1831–1908), prison reformer, born at St. Austell, Cornwall, on 15 June 1831, was son of Thomas Tallack (1801–65) by his wife Hannah (1800–76), daughter of Samuel Bowden, members of the Society of Friends. He was educated at the Friends' school, Sidcot (1842–5), and the Founders' College, Yorkshire (1852–4). He was engaged in teaching (1845–52 and 1855–8). An early friendship with the Quaker philanthropist Peter Bedford (1780–1864) determined his career. In 1863 he became secretary to the Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, exchanging this in 1866 for the secretariate of the Howard Association, which he held till 31 Dec. 1901. In pursuit of his duties as an agent in the cause of penal reform he visited not only the Continent, but Egypt, Australia, Tasmania, Canada, and the United States. His advocacy of the same cause found expression in numerous tracts, addresses, flyleaves, and articles in periodicals. He wrote much in the 'Friends' Quarterly Examiner'; 'The Times' in an obituary notice speaks of him as 'at one time a frequent contributor,' and justly characterises his writing as 'discursive and somewhat confused,' but emphasising 'wholesome principles,' keeping 'a grip on facts,' and exhibiting 'courtesy and tact.' His 'Penological and Preventive Principles' (1888, 2nd edit. 1896) may be considered a standard work on the subject. His religious writings and correspondence present a liberal type of evangelical religion in conjunction with broad sympathies.
He died at 61 Clapton Common on 25 Sept. 1908, and was buried in the Friends' cemetery, Winchmore Hill, Middlesex. He married on 18 July 1867, at Stoke Newington, Augusta Mary (b. 28 Dec. 1844; d. 21 Jan. 1904), daughter of John Hallam Catlin, and had by her several children.
A nearly complete bibliography of his writings to 1882 (including magazine articles) will be found in ' Bibliotheca Comubiensis' (1874-82). The following may be specially noted: 1. 'Malta under the Phenicians, Knights and English,' 1861. 2. 'Friendly Sketches in America,' 1861 (noticed in John Paget's 'Paradoxes and Puzzles,' 1874, 405-7). 3. 'Peter Bedford, the Spitalfields Philanthropist,' 1865; 2nd edit. 1892. 4. 'A Common Sense Course for Diminishing the Evils of War,' 1867. 5. 'Thomas Shillitoe, the Quaker Missionary and Temperance Pioneer,' 1867. 6. 'George Fox, the Friends and the Early Baptists,' 1868. 7. 'Humanity and Humanitarianism. . . . Prison Systems,' 1871. 8. 'Defects of the Criminal System and Penal Legislation,' 1872 (circulated by the Howard Association). 9. 'Christ's Deity and Beneficent Reserve,' 1873. 10. 'India, its Peace and Progress,' 1877. 11. 'Howard Letters and Memories,' 1905 (autobiographical).