The Liberal Anglican Idea of History

This chapter introduces the Liberal Anglican philosophy of history, which Duncan Forbes analysed in his pioneering study of 1952.1 It examines the leading ideas of its practitioners, predominantly Thomas Arnold and Henry Hart Milman. It concludes by tracing the legacy of these ideas in the movement of the 1850s known as the ‘Broad Church’. It thus prepares the way for demonstration, in Chapter 3, that this philosophy of history influenced the writings of Horace Moule: his prize-winning essay on the early history of Christian oratory, his poetry and his journalism of the 1860s. Moule, as I will show in Chapters 3 and 4, passed these ideas on to young Thomas Hardy first, as Hardy recalled, in their conversation and further by recommending two works, Bagehot’s Estimates and Essays and Reviews, in which leading Liberal Anglicans were both represented and criticised. In the final analysis of this study, these ideas will be shown to form the Liberal Anglican substratum of Hardy’s philosophico-historical thought.