A Liberal Descent: Victorian historians and the English past by J. W. Burrow

By J. W. Burrow

The belief of a 'Whig interpretation' of English heritage accommodates the 2 primary notions of development and continuity. the previous made it attainable to learn English historical past as a 'success story', the latter recommended a practical, gradualist political kind because the beginning of English freedom. Dr Burrow's publication discover those principles, and the tensions among them in reviews of 4 significant Victorian historians: Macaulay, Stubbs, Freeman and (as whatever of an anti variety) Froude. It analyses their works when it comes to their rhetorical suggestiveness in addition to their particular arguments, and makes an attempt to put them of their cultural and historiographical context. In doing so, the e-book additionally seeks to set up the importance for the Victorians of 3 nice crises of English background - the Norman conquest, the reformation and the revolution of the 17th century - and the character and boundaries of the self-confidence they have been capable of derive from the nationwide prior. The e-book will curiosity scholars and lecturers engaged on nineteenth-century English heritage, literature or social and political concept, the background of principles, and felony and constitutional historical past. it's going to even be of worth to the final reader drawn to Victorian literature and cultural heritage.

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1. The main channel of transmission for the Scottish conception of stages of society to Macaulay seems likely to be the early numbers of the Edinburgh Review, with whose outlook he came to have so much in common. He was said to have known Jeffrey's articles by heart. Clive, Scotch Reviewers, pp. 45-6. History, Works, i. 620. , ii. 505, 521. , iii. 319. 21 More significantly, a half-civilised Scottish noble like the Earl of Breadalbane united two different sets of vices, the growth of two different regions and of two different stages in the progress of society.

267. Hume, History, Forbes' introduction, p. 23. , p. 298. 8 THE WHIG fanaticism of the Parliamentary opposition than to any abiding 'spirit of liberty' in the constitution. Progress and the constitution: the Whig compromise In the Whig historians of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Millar and Brodie, and the English, Fox, Hallam and Russell, it is tempting to see these emphases continued; Scottish cosmopolitanism set against English nationalism, the Scottish conception of the growth of liberty as part of the history of civilisation against an English Burkean conception of the English people weaving the fabric of a free constitution, spider-like, out of its own entrails.

60. , ii. 339. 53 Hallam, Const. , p. 176. 55 Millar, iv. 294, 298. A heritage and its history 2 5 to the dictates of experience'56 - and he goes on to draw the contemporary moral. Yet it was not enough that the Whig's ancestors had innovated; they must also have been respectful of constitutional precedent and form, to license and enjoin a similar respect in their descendants. 57 The Whig via media, with its belief in the value of continuity and the associated virtue of piety, placed heavy demands on those it chose to claim as ancestors: they must have been unafraid of necessary innovation, yet also deeply versed in, and observant of, constitutional precedent.

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