ONE of the features of English Liberalism in the nineteenth century which most distinguished it from its counterparts in other countries of Europe was the habitual use of Christian language. What was called Infidelity took many forms of opposition to practices and dogmas, but it was hardly ever atheism or agnosticism, and rarely abandoned the Christian name. Tom Paine, a convinced deist, had little lasting popular influence; Richard Carlile still less. Even Robert Owen who seemed, alike to the orthodox Tory and the evangelical fanatic, not far removed from the Beast of the Revelation, often wrote and spoke as if he were restoring pure Christianity in his 'Religion of Charity unconnected with Faith'.
In the period of agitation for Parliamentary Reform between the battle of Waterloo and 1832, religious forms of thought were as common as later with some of the leading Chartists. During the worst years of the Liverpool oppression, though the ministers of the chief Nonconformist bodies, Baptist and Methodist, frequently expressed their loyalty to the existing administration, many of their followers were prominent among the Radicals, while several Independent and Unitarian ministers were popular speakers at meetings for Reform. At Middleton in Lancashire the Reformers hired a chapel where reformist sermons were preached in service-time on Sundays, in which religion and politics were inextricably mixed. The Female Reformers of Manchester issued a manifesto in which Jesus Christ was declared to be the greatest Reformer of all. In 1817 a pamphlet