found to reduce themselves to two or three. But each of them is developed with such abundance of detail, drawn from such rich stores of knowledge and experience set out with such limpid clarity, that taken together the Midlothian speeches make a handbook of political instruction, of constitutional, of Parliamentary, of diplomatic, of financial lore: and if to inform opinion be the statesman's first duty, no other man has ever equalled or approached him in its discharge. And the lucidity is not the artificial lucidity of a man constraining himself to make things clear. They are clear. The intensity of his own feelings seems to have consumed that overgrowth of alembication and refinement which so often encumbers his Parliamentary speeches: and to have fused into a single and sustained utterance the abstract and concrete, the ideal and the practical, without any effort, or necessity, of dialectic or enforced conjunction. Whether he is speaking of the treaty-making powers of the Crown, of the proper duration of Parliament, or the nature of a realized surplus; of the strategic insignificance of Cyprus, or the relations between the Indian Government and the ruler of Afghanistan; or setting forth the elements of foreign policy, peace, and good faith and the Concert of Europe abroad, just laws at home to maintain the unity, and foster, for worthy occasions, the might of the Empire, every sentence is stamped with the unmistakable precision of a master's hand, and every word has the ring of an entire sincerity.

He was a great man: let us take our leave of him at his greatest hour.


THE LIBERAL MIND IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND1

BEFORE we think for a while about the liberal mind in Victorian England, may I remind you of something which we are all apt to forget--I mean that the Victorian age, as we call it, is the insular phase of a movement common to the whole of

____________________
1
A broadcast delivered on 5 May 1948, and reprinted the same year in Ideas and Beliefs of the Victorians. ( Sylvan Press.)

-110-

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Victorian Essays
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Victorian Centenary 13
  • The Age of Tennyson 46
  • Eyes and No Eyes 70
  • Thackeray 74
  • Mr and Mrs Dickens 79
  • The Schoolman in Downing Street1the Two Mr Gladstones, by G. T. Garratt. 82
  • Mr Gladstone 90
  • The Happy Family 110
  • The Greatest Victorian 116
  • The Mercian Sibyl 129
  • The Victorian Noon-Time 133
  • Sophist and Swashbuckler 142
  • The Faith of The Grandfathers 146
  • Tempus Actum 153
  • B. A. Kohnfeldt 158
  • Katherine Stanley And John Russell 162
  • Maitland 173
  • Topsy 178
  • The New Cortegiano 183
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