we have presently to speak in his general poetical character, as
vivid dialogues without the " business " which makes a play.
The two great poets who came early in the fourth decade of the
nineteenth century, to fill up the void when Byron, and Keats, and
Shelley had passed away, were Alfred Tennyson and Robert
Browning. Wordsworth, Rogers, Crabbe, Southey, Coleridge,
Campbell, were still amongst us when Tennyson, an undergrad-
uate of Trinity College, Cambridge, published, in 1830, "Poems,
chiefly lyrical." Browning, educated at the University of London,
in 1835 published "Paracelsus." Moving onward by different
roads towards high excellence and permanent fame, each is, in his
several way, a representative of our age. To Browning belongs
its inquiring and sceptical spirit ; to Tennyson its cultivation of the
home affections, its sympathy with all natural emotions, whether
belonging to the refined or the uneducated. To Browning it be-
longs to follow Paracelsus in his wanderings through continental
Europe ; to see Pippa pass in the Trevisan ; to be in Sardinia
with Victor Amadeus and Charles Emmanuel ; to celebrate Co-
lomb's Birthday at Cleves. In his greater Dramas and his Dra-
matic Lyrics nearly all his scenes are laid in foreign lands which
had become accessible to Englishmen in the age of steamboats
and railroads. He leaves to others to walk in English lanes and
amid English trees. This is the landscape amid which Tennyson
moves. Where " The lady of Shallott " dwells
" On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and cf rye."
"The Gardener's Daughter " grew amidst meadows
E. BARRETT BROWNING. THOMAS HOOD. 325
" Dewy fresh, browsed by deep-udder'd kine,"
and to the solitary garden comes
"The windy clanging of the minster clock."
When the poet leaves the familiar scenes of to-day he takes us
into the same English landscape of the past. We look upon
" King Arthur "
" Among the mountains by the winter sea ; "
Godiva, " clothed on with chastity," rides through old Coventry,
but the poet thinks of her as he is " waiting for the train." How-
ever steadily regarding the Past and glancing at the Future, he
has still the great nineteenth century flashing upon his mind :
" Yet I doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns." *
Tennyson looked upon the transition time of 1832, when fear of
change was perplexing the old, and hopes of a bright future were
leading on the young, and he thought of his country, as
" A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom broadens slowly down
From precedent to precedent."
At once the poet of progress and of conservatism, he is essentially
the representative of the opinions that have made our country se-
cure, amidst the war of Opinion which has been raging all around
us. What Shakspere was to the age of Elizabeth as the suggestive
poet of a just patriotism, Tennyson is to the age of Victoria.
We cannot close the mention of our Poets without adding the
name of Elizabeth Barrett, who in wedding as true a poet as her-
self one who could walk with her in all the fields of learning
over whose thoughts her genius would have a perceptible influ-
ence gave a double immortality to the name of Browning. Nor
must we forget one who long stood alone in the most remarkable
combination of humour and pathos, which gave him an equal com-
mand over laughter and over tears. Thomas Hood was a poet of
the rarest genius ; and yet he was classed by many with the la-
borious manufacturers of jokes who had little care for any result
of their witticisms other than the passing smile. Put Hood's
" Whims and Oddities " by the side of Colman's " Broad Grins,"
and we at once see the almost immeasurable superiority to the
merely grotesque of the " infinite jest " which belongs to the
" most excellent fancy." There was in Hood's table-talk a gravity,
almost amounting to melancholy, which surrounded his humour
" Locksley Hall."
326 HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
with a halo which added to its charm without impairing its power.
It was the same with his writings. The depth of his sympathies
with sorrow and suffering burst out in his latter years in those
pathetic lyrics which abided in the memories of many who were
then coming into the active labours of life, and made them thought-
ful about more things than money-getting. The economist might
say that " Songs of the Shirt " presented a one-sided picture of
human affairs. Rigid moralists might affirm that the frail self-
destroyer might better be left unwept. Nature triumphed. We
believe that the true relations of Labour and Capital, and the just
limitations of Christian sympathy with sin, were better understood
by looking at the exceptional cases which the Poet drew in his day
of sickness and poverty.
Hood occasionally illustrated his writings by his own sketches.
When he died a remarkable publication was in its full vigour in
which the Pen and the Pencil were united to present the ludicrous
aspects of human life, and not seldom the serious aspects of that
sorrow which seemed to spring from legislative indifference to
social evils. " Punch " has been one of the most vital emanations
of this mixed quality of the ludicrous and the reflective. In this
school, Douglas Jerrold first took that hold of the public mind
which his brilliant wit, his ready sarcasm, and his real benevolence,
long commanded. In this school Thackeray first won his spurs.
To look over the forty volumes of the twenty years' existence of
" Punch," is to trace the political and social England of the Vic-
torian era through a medium which, if the age of the Tudors or
the Stuarts could have tolerated such a mirror, would have been
worth a wilderness of State Papers, such as we are now rescuing
out of the dust of oblivion.
We have thus hastily run through three principal classes of
Literature which have been " both an effect and a cause " in rela-
tion to their age. For very obvious reasons we pass by the great
mass of the Theology of this epoch, which the future historian will
have to study as carefully as the High-Church and Nonconformist
polemics must be studied to understand the character of the time
which produced Jeremy Taylor and Baxter. In the Episcopal
Church of England, and in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland,
there have been heresies and schisms, discords and separations,
which have left little leisure for the calm pursuits of learned in-
vestigation, or the cultivation of an eloquence suited to all time.
The Butlers and Barrows have had few rivals in logical profund-
ity ; the Lardners and Paleys have scarcely had adequate succes-
sors as historical or textual commentators. Those, we presume to
say, who have most stood aloof from the controversies of their
own day appear most certain of a durable place in the esteem of
another generation. Such appreciation will, we believe, be awarded
to the Ecclesiastical Historian, Dean Milman ; to Frederick W.
Robertson, the most fervent and yet the most tolerant of preach-
ers ; to those who have walked in the footsteps of Arnold, and
have more enforced that Religion of Love which is all-comprehen-
sive, than the Worship which rests upon ceremonial, and the Faith
which assumes to be most Christian when it is most exclusive.
But amidst the controversies between the two great sections of
the English Church, one great fact stands out, to mark most dis-
tinctly that the spirit of the age has made its Religion more prac-
tically beneficent ; and out of division has compelled union. When
the Clergy, whether Anglican or Evangelical, discovered clearly
that apathy and neglect amidst surrounding ignorance and vice
were not only a reproach but a danger, Dissent saw that the area
of proselytism was materially narrowed, and that its triumphs must
henceforth be won in the generous and honest rivalry of all relig-
ionists in doing good in Schools, in Hospitals, in Prisons in the
pestilent Alleys and the marsh-girt Hovels ; by weaning the drunk-
ard from his dram by inducing a desire for knowledge ; by teach-
ing the slattern and the scold that discomfort makes the husband
brutal and the child undutiful. There is other teaching than that
of homilies ; and all Christian teachers have learnt that there is
other work for them to do than that which Sunday brings.
The essential dependence of all social improvements upon
accurate Statistics has been signally manifested in the period about
which we are writing. The Political Economists, of whom without
disparagement of others we may mention John Stuart Mill as the
most original and influential, have more than ever built their Science
upon Statistics. Macculloch and Porter were individually leading
the way in supplying Theory with its only safe and durable materi-
als. Graham and Farr directed official inquiries to more extensive
uses than the correction of Tables of Mortality. They made the
figures of the Registrar-General's Office subserve every ameliora-
tion of our social condition ; rendering even the most careless
observer sensible that health is dependent upon cleanliness and
upon ventilation, and that the epidemics, which were once deemed
the scourges of a wicked generation, are the visitations of a
Gracious Ruler to teach Man to read in the great book of Nature
how sharp and certain are the penalties of the social neglect of His
The scientific writers, whether in Natural History, or Physi-
328 HISTORY 'OF ENGLAND.
ology, or Physics, or Mathematics, are so numerous, and their
labours have produced such mighty results upon Arts and Indus-
try, that to name the more eminent would in us be presumptuous.
It is not for us to speak of the great Geologists Buckland, Sedg-
wick, Lyell, De la Beche, Hugh Miller of the interpreters of
primeval ages who have trod in the footsteps of Cuvier Owen,
Murchison, Forbes of those who have compelled that alliance of
Science with Sacred Texts which can never impair the true value
of Revealed Truth. But we may pronounce one word of respect
for the teachers who, not stepping down from their lofty heights of
pure science, have made its abstract wisdom lovely in the eyes of the
uninitiated of such as Brewster, as the younger Herschel, as Sabine,
as Airy, as Babbage, as Arnott, as Whewell, as Faraday. Of the
great Discoverers and Inventors Wheatstone, of the Electric
Telegraph Talbot, who first showed how the sun could paint, and
thus made Photography the delight of the age, multiplying all
remembrances of the perishing ruin or the fresh landscape, and
making the familiar faces of the parent or the sister of the English
home its truest memorials in the Antipodes of these, and espe-
cially of the Chemists, who have penetrated more deeply than any
other philosophers into the hidden secrets of nature of these the
honours are inscribed on the imperishable column which records
our Victories over Matter, compelling its unwilling obedience to the
service of man.
The Critics and Essayists abound in an age when Reviews and
Magazines abound more than ever. There are distinct works
which stand out as self-contained achievements. The elder
D'Israeli's " Curiosities of Literature;" Walter Savage Landor's
" Imaginary Conversations ; " Hallam's " Introduction to the Lit-
erature of Europe ; " " Guesses at Truth," by Julius Hare and his
brother ; " Essays written in the Intervals of Business," by
Arthur Helps ; " The Statesman " of Henry Taylor these are
works of real vitality. In Art Criticism Mrs. Jameson exhibited
her remarkable knowledge of the religious symbolism of the Middle
Ages, whilst Mr. Ruskin was startling the orthodox critics by his
eloquent originality on the characteristics of " Modern Painters."
Let us add a word on the impulse which was given in the first ten
years of the Queen's reign to Shaksperean criticism. It would be
arrogant in the author of this History to dwell upon his own labours
as a commentator on Shakspere ; it would be affectation in him not
to mention them in association with the names of Collier, Dyce,
Halliwell, and Hunter. The spirit of inquiry applied to the illus-
tration of Shakspere and our early dramatists, was in some degree
ANTIQUARIAN INQUIRY. 329
a continuation of the labours of the commentators of the previous
century, but constructed upon those broader principles of criticism
with which Coleridge had made us familiar. But it was a peculiar
characteristic of this era that not only were the labours of eminent
individuals, such as Palgrave and Kemble, directed towards a more
searching investigation into all questions of our history and early
literature, but that the deeper and more accurate spirit of antiqua-
rian inquiry was followed up by the formation- of Archaeological
Institutes and Associations, not merely in London but in every part
of the country. The same spirit gave rise to the establishment of
Publishing Societies, such as the Camden Society, for printing old
manuscripts and reprinting scarce books. These and many other
peculiarities in the literary tendencies of the Victorian era, afford
satisfactory proof that the age of loose research and vague gener-
alties was happily past, in whatever department of literature aspired
to a permanent influence.
If we were to attempt a record of those whom an age of univer-
sal communication has sent forth to explore the uttermost ends of
the earth if we were to trace even such persevering and sagacious
explorers amidst the dust of ages as Layard, and such interpreters
of the great fruitful past at Wilkinson we might add to the sug-
gestive interest of our chapters, but should usurp the functions that
belong to a more special history of our age. Of Travel in the time
of Queen Victoria, there are no details more full of human interest
than those which belong to African research, and to the Arctic ex-
peditions, the last of which only developed how our countrymen
would persevere and die in the discharge of the duty assigned to
them, and how their followers in the same course would never rest
till a difficult problem had been solved, whatever might be its
We may conclude with a remark or two on the Commerce of
Literature. When we look back at the various periods of English
publication, and consider how amazingly the aggregate number of
books published in any one period had increased, we must also
regard the size and price of the works published, to form any ade-
quate notion of the general diffusion of literature. Even with a
general reduction of price during a quarter of a century, with the
substitution of duodecimos for quartos, and with single volumes
beyond all former precedent, there is little doubt that the annual
returns of publishing in all its departments had been doubled in
1850, as compared with 1825. The book-trade was to be estimated,
not by the number of the learned who once collected folios, and of
the rich who rejoiced in exclusive quartos, but of the many to whom
330 HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
a small volume of a living author had become a necessity for
instruction or for amusement, and who desired to read our estab-
lished literature in editions well printed and carefully edited,
though essentially cheap. This number of readers had been
constantly increasing, and as constantly pressing for a reduction
of price upon modern books of high reputation.
The altered tone and ability of newspapers was decidedly
marked at this period. At the beginning of the present century the
local newspapers " had no editorial comments whatever," * and
scarcly an original paragraph. The conductors of our five hun-
dred provincial journals at the end of the first half of the century
were watching for every particle of news in their own districts ;
reporting public meetings ;- waiting for electric telegraphs ; ponder-
ing upon grave questions of social economy ; and, to the best of
their judgment, fairly representing the course of events. Much. of
this intelligent and honourable spirit they owed to the progressive
improvement of the London Newspaper Press.
* "Life of Edward Baines," by his Son.
NOTE ON THE CLASSES OF BOOKS PUBLISHED. 331
NOTE ON THE CLASSES OF BOOKS PUBLISHED,
1816 TO 1851.
IN 1853 there was issued a " Classified Index to the London Catalogue of Books,
1816-1851," in .which there are 34 Divisions of Classification. For a special object we
took the pains to analyze this octave volume of 300 pages, and were thus enabled to esti-
mate in round numbers the sort of books which the public were buying, or reading, or
neglecting, in these 36 years. We found that they were invited to purchase in the follow-
ing proportion of classes:
Works on divinity 10,300
History and geography 4l900
Foreign languages and school-books . . . 4,000
Drama and poetry 3,400
Juvenile books . . 2,900
Medical . . . 2,500
Science. Zoology . 550
" Botany 700
" Chemistry 170
" Geology 280
" Mathematics 350
" Astronomy 150
" Natural philosophy 300
Arts, &c. Antiquities . . . . . . 350
" Architecture ...... 500
" Fine arts 450
" Games and sports 300
" Illustrated works 500
" Music 220
" Genealogy and heraldry . . . 140
Industry. Mechanics, &c 500
" Agriculture 250
" Trade and commerce . . . . 600
" Political economy, statistics . . . 700
" Military 300
Moral Sciences. Philology, &c 350
" Education 300
" Moral philosophy . . . 300
" Morals 450
" Domestic economy . . . 200
Miscellaneous (so classed) 1,400
Upon calculations based upon the London Catalogues of Books from 1828, we learn
that after the lapse of a quarter of a century there were three times as many books publish-
ed as in 1828 : that the comparative increase in the number of volumes was not so great,
showing that of the new books more single volumes were published ; that the average
price of each new work had been reduced nearly one-half ; and that the average price per
volume had fallen about five shillings below the price of 1828.
332 CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF BRITISH WRITERS.
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF BRITISH WRITERS,
In continuation of the Table in Volume vii. p. 528.
SPECULATIVE & SCIENTIFIC.
W. H. Ainsworth, born 1805.
Sir A. Alison, b. 1792.
G. B. Airy, b, 1801.
Rook wood, 1834.
History of Europe, 1839.
W. E Aytoun, b. 1813.
Neil Arnott, b. 1788.
Lays of the Scottish Cava-
Elements of Physics, 1827.
P. J. Bailey, b. 1816.
Charles Babbage. b. 1792.
Economy of Manufactures
Joseph Bosworth, b. 1788-
Elements of Anglo-Saxon
John S. Blackie, b. 1809.
and Machinery, 1832.
Lays and Legends of Greece
Sir John Bowring, b. 1792-
Edward Baines, b. 1800.
History of Cotton Manu-
W. T. Brande, b. ; 7 8o.
Outline of Geology, 1817.
Specimens of the Russian
Manual of Chemistry, 1819-
Robert Bell, b. 1800.
Sir B. C. Brodie, b. 1783.
C- Shirley Brooks, b. 1815.
Lives of the English Poets.
George Borrow, b. 1803.
on the influence of the
The Silver Cord, 1861.
The Bible in Spain ; The
Brain on the Action of
Frances Browne, b. 1818.
the Heart, 1811.
Sir David Brewster, b. 1781.
Robert Browning, b. 1812.
On some Principles of Light,
Paracelsus, a poem, 1835.
Henry Lord Brougham, b.
Enquiry into the Colonial
Policy of the European
Henry T. Buckle, b- 1822.
History of Civilization in
(Died in 1862.)
John Hill Burton, b. 1809.
History of Scotland, 1853.
William Carleton, b. 1798 .
Traits and Stories of the
Thomas Carlyle, b. 1795.
Life of Schiller, 1824.
French Revolution, 1837.
W. B. Carpenter.b. 1813.
Principles of Physiology,
John Clare, b. 1793.
Poems of Rural Life, 1820.
W. Wilkie Collins, b. 1825.
William Chambers, b. 1800.
Book of Scotland.
Robert Chambers, b. 1802.
Arthur Cayley, b. 1821.
Edwin Chudwick, b. 1801.
The Woman in White, 1860.
Eliza Cook, b. 1817.
Traditions of Edinburgh.
F. R. Chesney, b. 1789.
Survey of the Euphrates
and the Tigris, 1850.
Mrs. Cowden Clarke, & 1809.
John Cumming, b. 1810.
Concordance to Shakspere,
J. Payne Collier, b. 1789.
Works of Shakespeare, 1844.
G. Lillie Craik, b. 1799.
Pursuit of Knowledge un-
der Difficulties, 1831. '
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF BRITISH WRITERS.
PECCLATITE & SCIENTIFIC.
Charles Dickens, b. i8it.
Sketches by Boz, 1836.
B. Disraeli, b. 1805.
Vivian Grey, 1828.
Elizabeth C. Gaskell, b. 1822.
Mary Barton, 1848.
T. C. Grattan, b. 1797.
Highways and Byways, 1838
Sir E. S. Creasy, b. 1812-
The Fifteen Decisive Battles
of the World,
eter Cunningham, b. 1816.
Handbook of London, 1849.
Vm. Hepworth Dixon, b. 1821.
John Howard, a Memoir,
Alexander Dyce, b. 1798.
Editions of Greene, Peele,
Marlowe, Webster, Shake-
Sir Henry Ellis, b. 1777.
Introduction to Domesday
William Fair, b. 1807.
On Vital Statistics, 1837.
]. D. Forbes, b. 1809.
Norway and its Glaciers,
John Forster, b. 1812.
Life of Oliver Goldsmith,
J. A. Froude, b. 1818.
History of England, 1856.
George Gilfillan, b. 1813.
Bards of the Bible, 1850.
Gallery of Literary Por-
G. R. Gleig, b. 1795.
Military History of Grea
George Grote, b. 1794-
History of Greece, 1846.
Anna Maria Hall, b. 1802.
Sketches of Irish Character
Mary Howitt, b. 1804.
Forest Minstrel, and othe
Samuel Carter Hall, b. 1801.
Ireland, its Scenery am
Character; Art Journal
J. O. Halliwell, b. 1821.
Dictionary of Archaic am
Provincial Words, 1846.
Life of Shakspeare, 1848.
William Hanna, b. 1808.
Memoir of Dr. Chalmers.
Charles Darwin, b. 1816.
Voyage of a Naturalist,
Origin of Species, 1859.
A. De Morgan, b. 1806.
Elements of Arithmetic,
Sir Charles Eastlake, P.R. A.
Contributions to the Litera-
ture of the Fine Arts.
William Ellis, b. 1800.
Social Economy for Schools
Michael Faraday, b. 1794.
On Chemical Manipula-
fames Fergusson, b. 1808.
Principles of Beauty in
Handbook of Architecture.
J. F. Ferrier, b. 1808.
Institutes of Metaphysics,
Albany W. Fonblanque, b.
England under Seven Ad-
W. E. Gladstone, b. 1809.
The State considered in
its Relations with the
George Godwin, b. 1815-
John Gould, b. 1804.
A Century of Birds from
the Himalaya Moun-
Thomas Graham, b. 1805.
Elements of Chemistry,
Robert Grant, b. 1800.
History of Physical Astro-
Thomas Guthrie, b. 1800.
The Gospel in Ezekiel.
Pleas for Ragged Schools.
J. Renn Hampden, b. 1792.
Bampton Lectures, 1832.
Sir W. Snow Harris, b.
Rudimentary Laws of Elec-
Sir J. F. W. Herschel, b.
Examples of the Applica-
tion of the Calculus to
Finite Differences, 1820.
Outlines of Astronomy,i849,
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF BRITISH WRITERS.
SPECULATIVE & SCIENTIFIC.
Arthur Helps, b. 1818.
M. D. Hill, b. 1792.
Essays written in the Inter-
vals of Business, 1841.
The Spanish Conquest in
. R. Hind, b. 1823.
Account of Recent Comets,
Walter Farquhar Hook,D.D.,
. D. Hooker, b. 1817.
Church Dictionary, 1854.
William Howitt, b. 1795-
Book of the Seasons, 1831.
History of Priestcraft, 183 3.
John Keble, b. 1790.
Christian Year, 1827.
Charles Knight, b. 1791.
Results of Machinery, 1830.
[". H. Key, b. 1799.
Latin Grammar, 1846.
Pictorial Shakspere, 1842.
Charles Kingsley, b. 1819.
Alton Locke, 1846.
James Sheridan Knowles, b.