English Literature Of The 19th Century:
Third Or Later Victorian Period
William Ewart Gladstone
Historical Literature Of The Later Victorian Period
Edward Augustus Freeman
James Anthony Froude
Sir Henry Sumner Maine
William Edward Hartpole Lecky
John Addington Symonds
Read More Articles About: English Literature Of The 19th Century
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
John Morley is well known as a Liberal statesmen, and has been frequently mentioned as a possible leader of his party in the House of Commons, yet he is really and essentially a literary man, and has done more for literature than for politics. He was born at Blackburn, Lancashire, in 1838, graduated at Oxford and was called to the bar. He became editor of the "Literary Gazette," and in 1867 of the "Fortnightly Review," which owed its success to his efforts. To this he joined charge of the "Pall Mall Gazette" in 1880. But in February, 1883, he was elected to Parliament from Newcastle-upon-Tyne as an advanced Liberal. He now withdrew from editorial duties except those of "Macmillan's Magazine," which he held until 1886. In Parliament he soon rose to be an effective debater, and on the platform he became one of the chief speakers. Gladstone, in 1886, and again in 1892, made him Chief Secretary for Ireland. Morley has since shared the fortunes of the Liberal party, while remaining stead-fast to the policy of Home Rule for Ireland.
To literature Morley has contributed a number of biographical studies of the highest value "Edmund Burke" (1867), "Voltaire" (1872), "Rousseau" (1876), "Richard Cobden" (1881), and "Diderot and the Encyclopaedists" (1878). His essays on historical, literary and social topics were collected in "Critical Miscellanies" (1871 and 1877). Morley was drawn to the French biographies by his interest in the rise of the democratic, socialistic and sceptical views which in modified forms have come to prevail in his own time. He is a sympathetic interpreter of the views and suggestions of those reformers for the amelioration of society, however vague and impracticable their -schemes might be. In spite of the audacity of his utterances on religious questions, Morley, by his clearness of style and skill in presentation of opinions and arguments, won the regard of his readers. In his later works he is more restrained and yet equally effective. Besides the writings already mentioned be published two excellent treatises "On Compromise" (1874) and "Aphorisms" (1887).
The Conservative leader of the House of Commons, Arthur James Balfour, nephew of Lord Salisbury, is an able writer on philosophical subjects. His most import-ant treatises are "The Foundations of Belief" and "An Apology for Philosophic Doubt."