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Literary and Political Journal.
JANUARY TO JUNE, 1859.
ALEX. THOM & SONS, ABBEY-STREET.
HURST & BLACKETT, LONDON.
The time has come for an impartial sues her researches among us with a estimate of Arnold. Sixteen years singular mixture of freedom and rehave elapsed since the grave closed verence, his theory of Church and over him at Rugby, amidst the heart- State is, perhaps, more respected than felt grief of several generations of pu- when Bentham and Paley were the pils, who had had the inestimable be- oracles of our thinkers. And, alnefit of his teaching; the more sober, though recent criticism
has shown that but not less sympathetic, regret of á his implicit faith in Niebuhr has led bright array of distinguished friends, him astray in several passages of Rowho loved his intellectual and moral man History, his merits as an historian greatness; the profound respect of a can best be appreciated since the aplarge circle of adversaries in opinion, pearance of such masters as Froude who lamented the loss of a noble foe; and Lord Macaulay. and the mournful consciousness among Arnold was born in 1795, in the many of the English nation, that à Isle of Wight. He belonged to an good and able man had passed away, English family, of the middle class, who, whenever he touched upon pub- outside the circle of an aristocracy, lic affairs, made their real interests then prejudiced and exclusive, but his paramount object. This interval within that accustomed to receive the has not removed him from us as a highest education. At eight years contemporary, or obscured the recol- old he was sent to Warminster school, lections of those who witnessed his and thence, in 1807, to Winchester career; and yet it has placed him in college; but his vacations were spent that historical perspective in which in the Isle of Wight; and when there, his life can be seen in full complete- within sight of the Piræus of Engness, and the character of his works land, then crowded with the trophies can best be determined. In addition and armaments of the war, he acquirto this, it has dissipated a mass of ed that fondness for sea views, and prejudice against him; it has directed that interest in naval and military to other objects the currents of opi- evolutions which form so marked a nion which, some years ago, unduly characteristic of his writings. At elevated or depressed him;
and it has school the love of the picturesque, brought the tendency of English so evident in his history, found its thought into a closer sympathy with natural vent in boyish verses. He him than it ever displayed in his life- was known by the name of Poet Artime. The generation that has be- nold, a title since gained in manhood come mature since 1842 can better by his gifted son; and, as the readers appreciate his speculations in theology of his “Roman Legends” might have than that which only heard the out- expected, he had a fine sense of the break of the conflict between the old beauty of our ancient ballads. But Erastian High Church doctrines, the already his real studies were history Anglo-Catholicism of the school of and geography. He showed skill in Pusey, and the teaching of the Evan- realizing to his mind the aspect of gelical and Dissenting parties. At countries, and their relations to each present, too, when philosophy pur- other; and, at the age of fourteen, he VOL. LIII.-NO. CCCXIII.
had detected the difference, so seldom in 1814, he was elected, in the next intelligible to boyish minds, between year, to a fellowship at Oriel, then, as "the modest, unaffected, and impar- now, the blue ribbon of an Oxford tial narratives” of the great Greek graduate. Within two years he had historians, and “the scandalously ex- gained the prize for both the Univeraggerated boasts of the Latin writers.” sity Essays; but, although there is At this time, too, he probably betray- much vigour and freshness in these ed that dislike to the mere niceties of compositions, they are not free from language which he carried with him unripeness of style and thought, and into afterlife, for his scholarship was have certainly been surpassed by not at all at the level of his powers; others in the series. He remained at and his Latin verses and attempts at Oriel about five years; and when there English composition were somewhat was the associate of a set of young crude, stiff, and ungainly.
men, several of whom were destined At the age of sixteen he was elected to influence deeply the mind of Enga scholar of Corpus Christi at Oxford, land. Among them was Pusey, aland remained there about four years in ready distinguished for mediæval the companionship of several distin- learning, the future renovator in the guished youths, who have sincerisen to Church of England of the tenets of eminence in Church and State. His Laud. John Henry Newman was principal friends at Corpus were Keble there, full of subtle logic, destined and Sir John Taylor Coleridge ; and hereafter to have an influence, perthough all three, in manhood, took haps still inappreciable. There, too, different, and often crossing, lines of was Hampden, one of the founders of life and opinion, it is touching to ob- the Broad Church school of Theology; serve, in a letter of the Judge to Mr. and Whately, eminently qualified to Stanley, how the bond of this friend- restore and make popular the study ship was never severed; and how each of the moral sciences; and Davison, of them regarded it as a pleasing link too soon removed from his place on of memory: At Corpus the abilities earth, but even now conspicuous for of Arnold began rapidly to be devel- brilliant abilities; and Copleston, who, oped. He gave great promise of his perhaps, more than any man of his torical criticism in his studies of Hero- day, contributed to the revival of dotus and Thucydides; he mastered learning at Oxford. When, in 1815, those portions of Aristotle's ethics Arnold entered this high companionand politics which more especially re- ship, how few of its members, howlate to law and government, and ever conscious of great powers, could showed much aptitude for social even guess the place they were to philosophy; and he already evinced hold as leaders of opinion, or the rethat strong sympathy with actual po- sults they were to accomplish in their litical questions which was so dis- generation ! tinctive a feature of his character. With these associations, and in diliAlready, too, his fellow collegians had gent study, Arnold spent the years belearned to admire in him a nature tween 1815 and 1820. In these years earnest, sanguine, truthful, and manly, his faculties, though still growing, and hating wrong and meanness in all their happily kept back from a precocious shapes; sincerely reverent of real development, took a decided turn togreatness, and ever anxious to reach wards theology and history, combined the bottom of questions; but, per- with what we may term the social haps, somewhat intolerant of inferior science. Unlike most Oxford graduminds, a little hasty and bold in form- ates, he also showed an acute and ing opinions, and rather too prone to earnest sympathy with existing polibelieve in the efficacy of change in ame- tics, especially as regards the condition liorating social and political institu- of the poorer classes, who were then tions. At this time, also, we may re- suffering from the great dislocation of mark that he had not yet supplied his employment, that was one of the condeficiencies as a scholar ; and that, al- sequences of the Peace. Having taken though his real powers were already orders in 1818, he married in 1820, acknowledged, his undergraduate ca- and, as his fellowship was held by the reer was not as brilliant as might have tenure of celibacy, he left Oxford after been expected.
a residence of nearly eleven years, and Having taken a first class in classics betook himself to tuition at Laleham, near Staines. He remained about school of Eldon and Percival, as a eight years in this occupation; and narrow and bigoted oligarchy, who these years, in all probability, deter- could not read the signs of the times. mined the place which he was to hold He had a moral sympathy with evanin general estimation. They gave him gelical principles; but, on the whole, an early opportunity for his fitting thought the party ignorant, and unwork—the education of the young- fit for social life, and with entirely and afforded him ample experience wrong views on the true relations of in it, while they left him leisure for Church and State. So, although he that study and reflection which were agreed with the Whigs as regards the soon to produce such fruitful results. policy of Reform in Parliament, then But, at the same time, by withdraw. becoming the paramount question of ing him from the world, while still in the day, he thought their ideas someyouth, they tended to form in him what exclusive and superficial; he those habits of inexperienced theoriz- disliked the economic school of Bening upon the most difficult problems tham and Horner, as one that preof national life--of fixedly working ferred the lesser to the greater end in out his own opinions into system politics; while he had a peculiar averwithout much regard to the actual sion to the Radical party, whom he state of affairs, or to the adverse be- considered essentially Jacobin and Deliefs of others—and of attacking ex- structive. Having already formed an isting abuses energetically, without ideal of what a Christian commonweighing maturely the dangers of wealth should be, out of principles change — which in some degree im- derived from Greek philosophy and paired his intellectual usefulness. In the Bible, put together by his own inshort, these years made Arnold what tellect, and having resolved that that he became-a great educator, a power- ideal was applicable to England, it ful thinker, a noble writer, and a bold, is not surprising that, at this time, he but hasty, Iconoclast in Church and stood in isolation from the ordinary State.
currents of public opinion. Besides, We know from the testimony of the age was one of somewhat shallow one of his pupils at Laleham, that and worn-out ideas; and since the when there Arnold showed that facul- deeper thought which had gradually ty of instruction which was destined been forming in England had not, as to become so conspicuous at Rugby. yet, had full time to influence the Indeed, he devoted himself to this, general mind, it was natural that one his appointed work, with a zeal, an who belonged to the class of profound energy, and an affection, which recall thinkers, should have little in common to our minds the relations of the with the notions dominant in 1820Greek philosophers to their charges. 1827, At the same time his intellectual pro- In 1827, chiefly in consequence of gress was rapid; the views he sub the recommendation of Dr. Hawkins, sequently made public were gradually Arnold was elected to the head masformed; and some essays which he tership of the school of Rugby. Here now wrote in Encyclopædias and Re- his public life may be said to have comviews, display the vigour and ease of menced; and from this point he behis later compositions. The creed in comes conspicuous as an educator and theology and politics which he now an author. He assumed the reins of evolved from his studies and reflec- government at Rugby at a time when tions was in marked contrast with there was a great outcry against the those of the different parties in Church public schools of England, and when, and State. But Arnold never essen- unquestionably, many faults in their tially modified it; and although it system were evident. They were genewas not yet enunciated to the public, rally denounced as behind the age, as it had already separated him widely imparting only an obsolete learning, from most received opinions. He look- as tending to make boys brutal and ed with peculiar dislike upon the vicious, and as soon to yield to the Orthodox High Church party, whose prevalent mania for reform. Much opposition to Catholic Emancipation of this clamour was undoubtedly unand to the relief of the Dissenters, he true, but yet it was not altogether considered equally selfish and unchris- unfounded: and it is the peculiar glory tian. He condemned the Tories of the of Arnold that he silenced it through