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Location: Oxford Oxfordshire England

Biography of Anthony Ashley Cooper

Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury. Philanthropist. The word ‘Philanthropist’ has suffered the same fate as many other words in our language. It has become hackneyed and corrupted; it has taken a professional taint; it has almost become a byword. We are apt to think of the philanthropist as an excitable, contentious creature, at the mercy of every fad, an ultra-radical in politics, craving for notoriety, filled with self-confidence, and meddling with other people’s business. Anthony Ashley Cooper, the greatest philanthropist of the nineteenth century, was of a different type. By temper he was strongly conservative. He always loved best to...

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Biography of Sir Robert Peel

In the years that lay between the Treaty of Utrecht and the close of the Napoleonic wars British politics were largely dominated by Walpole and the two Pitts: their great figures only stand out in stronger relief because their place was filled for a time by such weak ministers as Newcastle and Bute, as Grafton and North. In the nineteenth century there were many gifted statesmen who held the position of first minister of the Crown. Disraeli and Palmerston by shrewdness and force of character, Canning and Derby by brilliant oratorical gifts, Russell and Aberdeen by earnest devotion to...

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Biography of John Coleridge Patteson

Missionary. New Zealand, discovered by Captain Cook in 1769, lay derelict for half a century, and like others of our Colonies it came very near to passing under the rule of France. From this it was saved in 1840 by the foresight and energy of Gibbon Wakefield, who forced the hand of our reluctant Government; and its steady progress was secured by the sagacity of Sir George Grey, one of our greatest empire-builders in Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. Thanks to them and to others, there has arisen in the Southern Pacific a state which, more than any...

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Biography of Robert Morier

Diplomatist. Diplomacy as a profession is a product of modern history. As Europe emerged from the Middle Ages, the dividing walls between State and State were broken down, and Governments found it necessary to have trained agents resident at foreign courts to conduct the questions of growing importance which arose between them. Churchmen were at first best qualified to undertake such duties, and Nicholas Wotton, Dean of Canterbury, who enjoyed the confidence of four Tudor sovereigns, came to be as much at home in France or in the Netherlands as he was in his own Deanery. It was his...

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Biography of William Morris

Craftsman and Social Reformer. In general it is difficult to account for the birth of an original man at a particular place and time. As Carlyle says: ‘Priceless Shakespeare was the free gift of nature, given altogether silently, received altogether silently.’ Of his childhood history has almost nothing to relate, and what is true of Shakespeare is true in large measure of Burns, of Shelley, of Keats. Even in an age when records are more common, we can only discern a little and can explain less of the silent influences at work that begin to make the man. There...

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Biography of John Richard Green

Historian. The eighteenth century did some things with a splendor and a completeness, which is the despair of later, more restlessly striving generations. Barren though it was of poetry and high imagination, it gave birth to our most famous works in political economy, in biography, and in history; and it has set up for us classic models of imperishable fame. But the wisdom of Adam Smith, the shrewd observation of Boswell, the learning of Gibbon, did not readily find their way into the market place. Outside of the libraries and the booksellers’ rows in London and Edinburgh they were...

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