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revival ; and, as competition is the soul of business, in things religious as well as in things secular, the somewhat leathery conscience of John Bull was assailed from opposite quarters with appeals the like of which he had not listened to since the early days of the great Methodist revival.
The conflicting enthusiasm of Tractarians and Evangelicals, of Old Kirk and Free Kirk, of Anglicans and Dissenters, operated, as might have been expected, on the practical nation to which they were addressed. Despairing of ascertaining which of the excited disputants was right in his view of the sacred mysteries, the man in the street decided that the safest thing for him to do was to try to carry out in some practical fashion the teachings which were common to all the jarring creeds. This tendency
was powerfully reinforced by the growth in Oxford itself, partly as a reaction against the sacerdotal pretensions of the Tractarians, of a Broad Church party which had Jowett as its hierophant and Stanley as its apostle. Agnosticism also asserted itself, , and Secularism, and it was with genuine relief that men and women betook themselves to the helpful works of charity and mercy as a way of escape from the battle of the chasubles, and from the arithmetic of Bishop Colenso. Hence indirectly arose the great philanthropic altruistic movement which is one of the glories of the reign. It was a spirit of practical Christianity, often unconscious of its origin, which inspired most of the humanitarian legislation of the latter years of the reign.
Tractarianism ran to seed in Ritualism. Dean Stanley died and left no successor. But our English soil, ever fertile in new growths of religious enthusiasm, threw up a new organisation in the Salvation Army, which, as befitted a sect born in the Queen's reign, owed much of its success to the utilisation of the spiritual enthusiasm of women. Mrs. Booth, with her husband's assistance, founded the Salvation Army; and her work is still carried on by the children whom she brought forth, dedicated from the womb to the service of the Salvation Army.
The part played by women in latter-day religious movements recalls another notable feature of the Victorian era. The Queen's reign has been emphatically the period of women.
The charming paper in which Sir Algernon West described the social revolution of the last sixty years brought out nothing more clearly than the enormous improvement that has been wrought in the lot of women. Society is becoming civilised. Some time, perhaps, we may even become as human as the Russians, who always leave the room after dinner with the ladies. I can remember when it was regarded as horribly improper for a lady to ride in a hansom, and as for the top of a 'bus, it was impossible. Occasionally even now we come upon a lady who regards it as savouring of impropriety to lunch with a male friend in a restaurant. But even the most strait-laced prudes now feel it right to do what would have been regarded as the height of indelicacy by even a hoydenish ancestor. The old assumption that no man and woman could be safely left alone together has perished. The railway carriage killed it. The old tradition that no woman can travel about without a chaperone has perished likewise. It was slain by the cycle. The ancient notion that it was not good form for a lady to be interested in politics has vanished. It was exorcised by the Primrose League. The superstition that it was ladylike to be delicate was beaten to death by lawn tennis bats. It is no longer the mark of a blue-stocking to go to Girton. A University girl is becoming as familiar a phenomenon as a University lad. Women can vote and be elected for School Boards, Parish and District Councils, Vestries and Boards of Guardians. They can vote for Town and County Councillors, but they are not yet eligible to take their seat if elected. The justice of their claim to full citizenship has been admitted by a majority of seventy of the present House of Commons, and even those who voted against them admit that they are indispensable at elections. Their title to hold property in their own right, even though married, has been recognised ; and although the right to their children is only absolute if they dispense with marriage, even in this respect some improvement has been effected. They are grudgingly admitted into the purlieus of the lucrative professions. To all the worst paid employments the chivalry of man has long made them welcome.
The reign has produced no greater novelist than George Eliot, and no better incarnation of organising ability and Divine tenderness than Florence Nightingale. In Mrs. Barrett Browning it has seen the greatest female singer since Sappho. In political economy it has given us Harriet Martineau and Mrs. Fawcett. In the distinctively creative, or what might be called the virile gift of inspiring enthusiasm, of compelling conviction, it would be difficult to name any two men superior to Mrs. Butler and Mrs. Booth.
Closely connected with the emerging of woman as a factor in the public life of the nation there is an increased solicitude for the promotion of all that tends to favour home life, whether it be in the discouragement of intemperance, the severer punishment of those who destroy child life, and the enforcement of the law against gambling and other forms of vicious dissipation. No one who will take the trouble to stroll down Piccadilly at midnight need be alarmed at the extent to which moral authority has ventured to circumscribe the liberty of immorality; but the repeal of the C. D. Acts and the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act both testified, although in different ways, to the influence of the new factor in public life.
Girls are no
longer to be regarded as fair game for the fowler-at least, before close time is up; and afterwards, even if a woman makes merchandise of her person, it is grudgingly admitted that she is not on that account to be denied the protection of the law, which secures to all alike, whether vicious or virtuous, the liberty of the subject, and their right to defend the sanctity of their own person.
Of the development of Journalism, which is almost as notable a feature of the reign as the creation of the railway system, I have not space to say more than that it is the only instrument by which Democratic Government can be more than a mere make-believe. It is one of the most potent, perhaps the most potent, instrument alike of popular education and of political direction.
As I bring this rapid and most imperfect survey of the reign to a close, it is impossible not to feel a certain elation of spirit mingled with pride of heart and gratitude of soul that we have been permitted to live in such a reign, where such great events were occurring among men. Not at any previous period, not even in the heroic days of the Crusades, or the still nobler period of the Commonwealth, have there been so many good men and women, stout-hearted Englishmen and clear-souled Englishwomen, living and praying and toiling for the common weal. Never at any previous period, not even when England faced coalesced Europe and maintained alone and indomitable the cause of liberty and nationality against Napoleon, have we occupied a prouder position in the world than we do to-day, surrounded as we are by the lusty progeny of our loins, whose nascent Empires already dominate four continents. Nearly half a century of peace has fortunately made no demand upon our fleet, but never since the morrow of Trafalgar has our naval ascendency been more indubitable.
The one great secular crime, the sin which reproduced in the English race the fatal disunion between the Ten Tribes and the Two of ancient Israel, still divides us politically from our kinsfolk in America. But it is one of the glories of the reign that the grand-daughter of George the Third has been able to do much to bridge the chasm which her grandsire made so broad and deep between the British Monarchy and the American Republic. The one blood feud which we have had in Europe in our day is almost staunched, and Russophobia has lost its virus. Another age-long element of bitterness and hate has been sweetened and mollified : as we no longer hate Russia, neither do we curse the Pope. We have at least made some progress to the recognition of the Unity of all Religions and the Brotherhood of all Peoples.
But while the patriot's heart swells within him as he contemplates the splendour of the reign and the pinnacle of glory upon which the nation stands, it is not with exultation but with deep humility and awe that he contemplates the Future. From those 10 whom much is given much will be required. The extent of our influence is the measure of our responsibilities. If into our hand is given the Leadership of the World in the paths of Liberly and of Peace, woe be unto us if we turn aside to betray the cause of freedom or yield to the passion of war! If to us more than to any nation is given the overlordship of the coloured races, woe be unto us and to our children if we are puffed up with our Imperial sovereignty and forget to do justice and put down oppression, to judge righteously, and to protect the poor among the people. For He who of old time caused the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and laid low the haughtiness of the terrible, still reigneth among the nations of the earth and executeth vengeance among the peoples thereof. In no spirit of vainglory, but rather with confusion of face and a deep consciousness of our own exceeding unworthiness, do we contemplate the world-wide responsibilities of our Empire, the onerous obligations under which we lie to quit ourselves like men in all the good causes of the world. Imagine for a moment what the party of progress in every other country in the world would feel if suddenly Britain fell from her pride of place and shared the fate of the long procession of Empires, of one of whom it was said of old time, “ Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming. All they shall speak and say unto thee, ' Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us?'"
Not since Lucifer, Son of the Morning, fell from Heaven, would there be such a fall as that of Britain, if, after all these years of grace and glory, we were to be false to our sacred trust and forget the terms of the great pact by which we rule one fourth of the children of men :
"Except ye pray the Lord
Single heart and single sword,
Make ye sure to each his own,
That he reaps where he hath sown;
By the peace among our peoples let men know we serve the Lord.” But the comfortable assurance which led the German Emperor to think that the Destinies had invested too much capital in the Prussians and the Hohenzollerns to be likely to allow them to go under, encourages us to hope that, all unworthy though we be, we should not have been brought to our present position in the very foretop of the world if there had not been a work for us to do, for which we have been the predestined instruments of the purposes of God. If we are humbled by the remembrance of our responsibilities, rather than exalted by the spectacle of our prosperity, we need not fear that in the quaint but expressive phrase of Milton it will ever be as if “God was weary of protecting” us, “nor shall we be seen to have passed through the fire ” that we might "perish in the smoke.” But rather with high hope and good courage may we confront the future, feeling sure that if we are but faithful to our trust, even the glories of the Victorian reign will be but as the foil and shadow to the exceeding brightness of the times which are to come.
Additions to British Empire, 29, 158
British Possessions in, 159
Constitution (1836), 29
Dano-German war, 81
Day of Humiliation,” Queen's objection to, 104
Dano-German war, non-intervention advocated
National, initiative taken by the Queen, 112
Royal children, system followed, 1 30
“ Bedchamber" incident, 63
Peel's Ministry (1841), crown nomination of
bedchamber women conceded, 70
Position and duties in House of Lords, Prince
Consort's memorandum, 105
Queen's influence in formation of, 159
of Lucknow, 44
Population, 29, 159
Self-Government granted to, 163
intervention advocated by, 84
Birth, table of dates, 128
Professions adopted by, 136
Queen's headship, 91
Religious movements of the reign, 164
Development, 29, 158
Self-Government granted to, 163
“Day of Humiliation," 104
Imperialism, growth of, 29, 159
Grey, Sir G., reinforcements sent out by, 42,
Transfer of administration to the Crown, 30
Disestablishment of Irish Church, 100
Journalistic development, 167
Kaffir war, threatened, 4+