A generation which has come to take invention for granted and is, ...
A generation which has come to take invention for granted and is, perhaps, more sensitive to its mischief than its benefits, cannot easily recover the glory of an age when knowledge, and with it power, seemed to have been released for an illimitable destiny.' The Englishman might reluctantly allow that in social amenity the French, in care for the well-being of the people the Prussians, went beyond him / her.
He might at moments be chilled by the aesthetic failure of his time, so profuse and yet so mean: alienated by its ethical assurance, at once so pretentious and so narrow. In a petulant mood, he would talk, with Grote, of the Age of Steam and Cant, but all the while he knew that in the essential business of humanity, the mastery of brute nature by intelligence, he had outstripped the world, and the Machine was the emblem and the instrument of his triumph.
The patriotism of early Victorian England, not yet blooded by the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny, irritated by Napoleon III, or exalted by the vision of empire, was at heart a pride in human capacity, which time had led to fruition in England; and in the great humanist, who brought all history to glorify the age of which he was the most honored child, it heard its own
voice speaking To articulate thecreed of progress, to state its evidences and draw out its implications, was the mission of that remarkable group of men variously known as the Utilitarianís, or the Philosophic Radicals.
In discipleship or reaction no young mind of the thirties could escape their influence. Bentham's alliance with Jesse Mill, Mill's friendship with Malthus and Ricardo, had created a party, almost a sect, with formularies as compact as the Evangelical theology, and conclusions not less inexorable....what next? >>