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Gbe Victorian jExa device

Charles Kingsley

Charles Kingsley


The Christian Social Movement



Dean of Ely

Author of "Village Politics", "Christ and Democracy",
"Christ and Economics", &c. &c.

"The best ultimate success often comes of noble failure. Undying
hope is the secret of social vision."— John Morley.

"Great social transformations never have been and never will be
other than the application of a religious principle— of a moral develop-
ment — of a strong and active common faith." — JOSEPH Mazzini.






The genesis of the Christian Social Movement
of the present century, and the filiation of its ideas,
of which the present memoir is intended to be a
brief record, were both democratic and Christian.
What I have written in the following pages, there-
fore, will be found to be complementary, on the one
hand, to the introductory volume of this series by
Mr. J. Holland Rose on The Rise of Democracy,
and, on the other, to the volume on The Anglican
Revival by Canon Overton. In the first volume
Mr. Rose gave a fairly full account of the rise of
the democratic movement in England, and a sketch
of those " Parliament men" and others who, sixty
years ago, succeeded in stirring up the English
artisans to that action which finally resulted in the
cession of most of their reasonable demands by the
State, and in the event has led to the beneficial
labour legislation of our own day. It has been my
endeavour in the present volume to supplement
Mr. Rose's sketch by a somewhat fuller account of
the Christian Socialists of 1848, and of their influ-
ence in turning the political and economic aspira-
tions of the Chartist workmen into the more

vi Charles Kingsley

peaceful paths of trade-unionism and industrial
co-operation. 1

Canon Overton in his book has given a succinct
account of the Anglican Revival, of that renewed
activity in the English Church which is associated
chiefly with the names of such typical men as
Keble, Pusey, and Newman. It has seemed to
me, however, that no history, however short, of the
religious movement of the Victorian era can be
complete which omits the name of Frederick Deni-
son Maurice, and gives no estimate of the remark-
able influence which that perhaps greatest, certainly
most typical, theologian of the nineteenth century
has exerted upon the later developments of Church
life and thought.

I have endeavoured, therefore, in my introductory
chapter to give an estimate of the position and
place of that great thinker, and to trace briefly the
filiation of those ideas, which are called socialistic,
and which, as a motive force to social service,
whether by the State or the individual, are now so
dominant among us, to their true source, in that
restatement of the great Christian doctrine of the
Incarnation as the exaltation of human nature, and
the consecration of all human relations, by which
Maurice has laid the English State, no less than
the English Church, under so deep a debt.

I have told the story of the movement in especial
connection with the life of Charles Kingsley for

1 A recent volume of this series, Provident Societies and Industrial
Welfare, by Mr. E. W. Brabrook, C.B., Registrar of Friendly Societies,
has dealt more in detail with the development of these societies.

Preface vii

two reasons. In the first place, because, although
Maurice was its real founder, no name is more
closely associated in the public mind with the move
ment than that of " Parson Lot", the pseudonym
under which Kingsley wrote " Cheap Clothes and
Nasty " and the earliest of the Christian Socialist
tracts. And, in the second place, because I am
desirous that these pages should not wholly fail to
pass on to a younger generation some of that
impulse to works of social service and civic reform
which I and my contemporaries thirty years ago at
Cambridge received from the chivalrous teaching
and fine character of Charles Kingsley. Facts are
always more stimulating when told in relation to a

But, of course, this Monograph makes no pre-
tence, even on a small scale, to describe the details
of Kingsley's life. The Letters and Memories of
Charles Kingsley ', edited by his wife, must always
remain the sufficient record of his life, as it is
undoubtedly one of the most inspiring of modern

It only remains for me to acknowledge my in-
debtedness, in the compilation of these pages, to
that book, and my gratitude to Miss Kingsley for
her courtesy in allowing me to make quotations
from it. My sincere thanks are due to Messrs.
Macmillan & Co., Limited, for readily granting to
me similar permission in regard to the other works
of Charles Kingsley — the Poems, the Sermons, the
Prose Idylls, &c. — of which they hold the copy-
right, and also in regard to the Life of Frederick

viii Charles Kingsley.

Denison Maurice, by his son. To the articles in
the Economic Review, by the late Judge Hughes,
on " Frederick Maurice" and on " J. Vansittart
Neale"; and to the two articles in the same Review
by Mr. J. M. Ludlow on " The Christian Socialists
of 1848", I am also indebted. My special thanks
are due to Mr. Bowes of Cambridge for his kind
permission to use the copy of Politics for the People
which had belonged to its first publisher, Mr.
J. W. Parker, and which contained his MS. notes
of the names of the various writers of the Tracts.

Charles W. Stubbs.

The Deanery, Ely,
December, 1898.



Introductory .-.//

A Poet, his Birth and Environment - - - - S°

The Country Parson a?id Village Problems - - - 4.8

Lessons in Village Citizenship - - - - "73

" Politics for the People" 97

The Christian Socialists - - - 129

The Science and Duty of Health 159

Some Personal Characteristics - - - 180


Charles Kingsley.

Chapter I.

"Charles Kingsley could not help being a genius, and he
would have been one had he never heard of Mr. Maurice. But
his whole Theology is drawn from Mr. Maurice: his chief
mission was to be a popularizer of the principles set forth by
Mr. Maurice. ... I was staying with him at Eversley one
Sunday, and he said to me, with his characteristic stutter,
'N-now, J-j-john T-townsend' (a name under which I used
to write), ' I am g-going to t-take a s-sermon of M-maurice's
and t-turn it into 1-language understanded of the p-people'.
To do him justice, the sermon in question was so transformed
by his genius that no one but himself could have accused him
of plagiarism."

J. M. Ludlow.

Two thousand years ago, when the water-
wheel was first introduced into Europe from
the East, the Greek poet Antiparos, in some
verses which have come down to us, sang this
song of the Triumph of Labour : —

"O Labourers! who turn the millstone,
Spare your hands and sleep in peace.

12 Charles Kingsley.

In vain the shrill voice of the cock shall hail the day-
light : sleep on !

By order of Demeter, your labour shall be done for
you by the water nymphs.

Shining- and light, they shall leap upon the wheel as
it revolves;

They shall drag round the axle with its spokes, and
put in motion the great millstone which turns
round and round.

Live ye the happy life of your fathers, and enjoy with-
out irksome toil

The blessings which the goddess showers upon you."

Fifty years ago, when applied science, our
modern Demeter, was, by the application of
steam-power to machinery, revolutionizing the
manufacturing industries of England, and a
new epoch of social happiness, one would
have thought, was about to open for the
world of labour, an English poet might surely
be expected to sing the same song as that of
his Greek brother. But after two thousand
years the economic millennium was as far off
as ever. The triumph-song of labour could
not yet be sung.

"Weep, weep, weep and weep
For pauper, dolt and slave!
Hark ! from wasted moor and fen,
Feverous alley, stifling den,
Swells the wail of Saxon men —
Work ! or the grave !

Introduction. 13

Down, down, down and down

With idler, knave and tyrant !
Why for sluggards cark and moil?
He that will not live by toil
Has no right on English soil !

God's word's our warrant!"

So sang Charles Kingsley half a century ago.
Machinery, it was true, had multiplied riches
and created leisure. But who were those who
were to enjoy them?

Here is the great practical problem of
modern life.

How Charles Kingsley faced that problem;
how he and his friends challenged our modern
consecrated regime of individualism and com-
petition, refusing to accept as final the pessi-
mistic dogmas of an economic science which
forgot that in the last resort the problem was
not about wealth but about men; how they
endeavoured to formulate a social science in
which co-operation rather than competition
should be the true law of industrial relation-
ships, and did in fact succeed in laying the
foundation of what has proved the most hope-
ful industrial experiment of the century, — the
organization of the great co-operative move-
ment, which has already amassed a capital of
fourteen millions, and by its system of feder-

14 Charles Kingsley.

ated societies bids fair to absorb the greater
part of the retail trade of the country; — how
they fought the early battles of sanitary re-
form, and laid down those principles of the
science of public health, whose legal enforce-
ment now forms so large a part of the adminis-
trative work of municipalities and other local
authorities; and how, finally, because the
public remedy of social evils always runs up at
last into moral considerations, they endea-
voured, and not altogether in vain, to awaken
the conscience of both the English Church
and the English people to regard all these
great questions from the Christian point of
sight, — it will be my chief object in this mono-
graph to make plain.

In a former volume of this series, Canon
Overton has told with faithfulness and im-
partiality the story of the Anglican Revival,
and no one who reads that story can deny the
immense debt which the English people, no
less than the English Church, owes to that
remarkable movement. For it had brought
home to the hearts of the English people the
reality of a great spiritual society, extending
through all Christian ages, a storehouse of
Redemption for ever, open to all men, inviting
all men ; a Body, as the apostle calls it, a King-

Introduction. 15

dom, a Church, having a vitality of its own,
a life which is in Christ; having a corporeity of
its own, in and through and by which the life
works; having an administration of its own,
laws and rights and usages quickened by the
living spirit; possessed — in its " notes" of
succession and dogma and sacrament — of
continuity, visibility, authority; being in fact
God's accredited witness to mankind of His
purposes and His benefits.

But there is another aspect of the great
religious movement of our time which Canon
Overton could not notice in the brief space at
his disposal. To revive " the grandeur and
force of historical communion and church life"
in England, and " no less the true place of
beauty and art in worship", was undoubtedly
the work of the Oxford Movement. But
"the Oxford Movement" is hardly the full
equivalent of " the Anglican Revival". The
two terms are by no means convertible.
Newman and Pusey and Keble and Williams
and Marriott are names of great Christian
doctors of the English Church in the nine-
teenth century which must always stand out
prominently from the page of history; but
there is another name, not once mentioned
in Canon Overton's book, for which, never-

16 Charles Kingsley.

theless, the churchmen of a succeeding
generation are likely to demand a still more
prominent historical place than theirs — I
mean the name of Frederick Denison Maurice.
Certainly no estimate of the Anglican Revival
can be an exhaustive one which omits the influ-
ence of that great teacher's thought and work.
Indeed it is hardly too much to say that it
was the doctrine of Maurice, rather than
that of Pusey or Newman, which for forty
years — Maurice began his work in 1835; he
died in 1872 — " kept the whole of the forward
movement in the social and political life of
the English people in union with God and
identified with religion", a doctrine which,
idealized and transfigured in the two great
poets of the century, Tennyson and Browning,
dominant in the teaching of the Cambridge
schools of Lightfoot and Westcott and Hort,
assimilated, as it would seem almost uncon-
sciously, by the younger Oxford theologians
of the Lux Mundi school, has, during this
last decade of the century, turned so wisely
the current of our English Christianity to the
consideration of the great social problems
of the age, and is at this moment so pro-
foundly affecting, moulding, inspiring, trans-
figuring the social ideals of the present.


Introduction. 17

Towards the close of the year 1835 — two
years only after the publication of the sermon
by John Keble on " National Apostasy",
which is usually given as the date of the
actual overt beginning of " the Oxford Move-
ment" — Maurice had written, at the desire
of Hugh James Rose, the distinguished Cam-
bridge pioneer of the Oxford movement, an
article in the Encyclopedia Metropolitana
on " Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy".
That article gradually expanded into a com-
plete history of philosophy, and practically
occupied him for the rest of his life, all his
other work, literary, theological, professorial,
for forty years, tending in fact to aid and
complete this one; The book is a remarkable
one, and has long taken its place as a
standard work of English literature. It is
full of dramatic interest, dramatic, that is, in
the sense that the author all through its pages
is always anxious to assert for each great
leader of the world's thought his own position,
not anxious to merge it in that of some other.
It is full too of divine philosophy, luminous
with the richest lights of meditative genius,
which no really thoughtful and spiritual mind
can read unmoved. But the book is also
remarkable for another reason. It contains

(M508) B

18 Charles Kingsley.

perhaps the earliest, certainly the earliest
authoritative, statement in our time, of that
special view of the doctrine of the Incar-
nation, which, in the last decades of the
century, has become the dominant thought
of the new Oxford school, who, under the
able and courageous leadership of Canon
Gore, " regard themselves as adjusting the
High Church theology of Dr. Pusey and his
generation to the newer knowledge of our
day", and are in reality but following the
lead given by Mr. Maurice more than sixty
years ago.

I do not mean, of course, to assert that
the doctrine of the Incarnation in its modern
restatement originated with Maurice. He
himself freely confessed his obligations to
Coleridge, to Erskine of Linlathen, to
Alexander Knox. And the history of the
heredity of the doctrine may easily be traced
backwards through the Cambridge Platonists
of the seventeenth century, — Dr. Cudworth,
John Smith, Benjamin Whichcot, to the Ox-
ford reformers of the fifteenth century, those
children of the revival of learning, — Colet,
Erasmus, and More, back to the great Greek
Christian fathers of the early church, — Cle-
ment of Alexandria, Origen, Hippolytus. The

Introduction. 19

doctrine was not indeed new. But Maurice
was the writer who first in our century set
it forth in the new form which the new age
needed. As Chaucer says, his was " the
newe corne which cometh year by year out
of the olde fields". Compare, for example,
the brilliant essay in Lux Mundi^ by Mr.
Illingworth, on " The Incarnation and De-
velopment", especially the passage towards
the close of that essay beginning with the
words — " The Incarnation opened heaven,
for it was the revelation of the Word; but it
also reconsecrated earth, for the Word was
made flesh and dwelt among men", — with
the chapter in Maurice's Moral and Meta~
physical Philosophy on ' ' Philo and the Alex-
andrian school", or the later chapters on the
neo-Platonists, and you will see how clearly,
sixty years ago, Maurice had grasped the
truth of the creative and administrative work
of the Pre-incarnate Word and the Incarnate
Christ, which our age needed, to give unity
and breadth and fulness to its theological
conceptions, and also no less to connect for
the Christian evolutionist both the revelations
of science and the developments of history, —
the study of which has influenced so deeply
the later phases of the Anglican Revival,

20 Charles Kingsley.

— with the operation of the same Divine

That doctrine I may briefly summarize
thus : —

The Christian creed announces to us not,
in the first place, a world-wide philosophy, or
even a universal religion, or a definite insti-
tution in "the Church", but it introduces us to
a supreme Person — Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In heaven as on earth, over things invisible
as over things visible, over things immaterial
as over things material, this Person is repre-
sented as supreme.

In the natural creation, in the universe, His
supremacy is that of the eternal reason, the
Pre-incarnate Word of God, the Logos of
Greek thought, by whose agency the world
of matter was created and is sustained, who is
at once the beginning and the end of material
things. ' ' All things have been created through
Him and unto Him."

And in the spiritual creation, in the Church,
this same Person is represented as the inspirer
and the illuminator of man in his intellectual
being, the light and the life of humanity,
the revealer to man of the Divine charac-
ter, "manifesting God with increasing clear-
ness at each successive stage in the great

Introduction. 21

scale of being", until, in the fulness of time,
He Himself "for us men and for our salva-
tion came down from heaven, and . . . was
incarnate . . . and was made man".

This was the doctrine which Maurice ac-
cepted as the true centre and basis of all
Christian philosophy. It is the master-note
of all his teaching, not least of his teaching
on the social problems of the age. For he saw
clearly that the doctrine of the Incarnation
means, in the first place, that God has a plan
for the world : it means that order and pro-
gress in human civilization is real: it means
that the policy of the cynic and social agnostic
is not only not true, but is a gross blasphemy
against God's purpose for humanity : it means
that God has for the world a great educational
plan by which both the perfection of the
individual and the perfection of the race are
to be accomplished : it means that in the
development of that plan each age of the
world* has its own special work to do: it
means that progress through order is not
only a vital fact of human existence, but
that it is its vital law: it means that there
is a Christian ideal for society, for no human
relationship can really be outside the Divine
kingdom: it means that there is a social

22 Charles Kingsley.

order which is the best, and that towards
this order the world is gradually moving : it
means, finally, that the Church of Christ is a
sovereign society, embracing in one compre-
hensive unity all realms of human thought
and action, because Christ in becoming incar-
nate did not desert the rest of His creation,
but is the quickening impulse of all that is
good in modern civilization, the nourisher of
new graces in the ever-widening circles of the
family, the society, the state, the Inspirer of
all true art, literature, morals, government, by
lifting them all into a higher atmosphere of
hopefulness than was ever possible until He
came, "the Head overall things to the Church,
... the fulness of Him that filleth all in all".

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