TheVictorians

"We had always been convinced that Victorianism was a myth, engendered by the long life of the sovereign and of her most illustrious subjects. We were constantly being told that the Victorians did this, or the Victorians thought that, while my own difficulty was to find anything on which they agreed: any assumption which was not at some time or other fiercely challenged. 'Victorian History'.


It was rounded off by the invention of the Public Audit and ...

It was rounded off by the invention of the Public Audit and the Grant-in-aid to tighten central control and stimulate local activity. But the corresponding formula for unofficial effort-information, agitation, the parent society, the local branch, the picture,' and the handbill-had been discovered by the Evangelicals and humanitarians in their warfare against slavery, and by them it was imparted to the Chartists and the Free Trade League.

The Evangelical and Utilitarian movements both rested on a body of doctrine which to question was impious or irrational; in both cases the doctrine was the reflection of an exceptional experience, the religious experience of a nation undergoing a moral revival, its social experience during a revolution in the methods of production; and in both cases a larger view was certain to

show that neither

was a more than provisional synthesis. In the meantime they furnished England with a code and a great company of interpreters: with their almost Genevan rigor, and almost Latin clarity, they imposed themselves like foreign task-masters on the large, ironic English

mind, and their great doctrines

were all too readily snipped into texts for the guidance of those who did not wish to think at all, and the repression of those who wished to think for themselves, into Cant for Practical Men and Cant for Serious Men.

Finally, they were alike in this, that each imparted its peculiar virtue: the Evangelicals their zeal for holiness, the Utilitarianís their faith in reason, to the movements, even to the reactions which sprang out of them, to Tractarians and Agnostics who denied their introspective ethic, to Tories and Socialists who challenged their conception of the competitive State. Much of accident goes to the making of history, even the history of thought, which might seem to be most exempt from contingencies.

The Victorian record would have been very different if Canning had lived to the years of Palmerston, if the new writers had grown up under the shadow of Byron, Keats, and Shelley.

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But the old men lived and the young men died. A strange ...

But the old men lived and the young men died. A strange pause followed their departure, and the great Victorian lights rose into a sky which,

but for the rapid

blaze

But the old men lived and the young men died. A strange ...

But the old men lived and the young men died. A strange pause followed their departure, and the great Victorian lights rose into a sky which,

but for the rapid<

There are whimperings, sometimes bellowings, of self-pity, but defiance was no longer ...

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