So wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer and statesman and lover of clouds, on receiving Luke Howard’s autobiography, which he himself had asked Luke Howard to write.
Luke Howard was a deeply religious man with a strong sense of duty towards those less fortunate than himself, and who is remembered by the Quakers as one of the earliest pioneers of Quaker relief work.
He led Quaker relief efforts after the Napoleonic Wars, which had caused great suffering in many German states, especially among civilians. The £7000 raised by Quakers in Britain led to the British Government voting to provide a further £100 000 towards relief efforts. Luke Howard became joint secretary (with Robert Humphrey Marten) of the organising London committee and by 1814 a total of £300,000 had been raised. In recognition he was awarded a gold ring and Meissen vase by the kings of Saxony and Prussia, and received the freedom of the city of Magdeburg.
Luke Howard was no less active at home in England. He was involved in the Anti-Slavery Movement. He was a prominent member of the Society Against Capital Punishment, Society Against Cruelty to Animals and a founding member of the African Institution.
In Tottenham he was on the committee of the Lancasterian School as well as holding offices in the Tottenham Vestry and being elected overseer of the poor in 1820.