Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1986


Research Society for Victorian Periodicals/The Johns Hopkins University Press


In 1850, Charles Kingsley lightheartedly told a friend that "The 'Christian Socialist' sells about 1500, and is spreading; but not having been yet cursed by any periodical, I fear it is doing no good."(l) Writing under the pseudonym 'Parson Lot," this young enthusiast did not have much longer to wait for that token of "success." Just two years later, in his defensive Who Are the Friends of Order? Kingsley acknowledged that the Christian Socialists were now besieged on all sides, and had "to hear Edinburgh Reviewers complaining of them for wishing to return to feudalism and medieval bigotry while Quarterly Reviewers (were) reviling them for sedition and cornnunism."(2) Long before his death in 1875 Parson Lot had become an eminent Victorian, and very much a member of the establishment: chaplain to the Queen, tutor to her son, and protege of Prince Albert. It is, therefore, difficult today to understand how anyone could imagine Kingsley a radical. Yet even he and F.D. Maurice saw the mutual acceptance among social classes that they advocated as a kind of revolution. The periodicals of their day concurred, and it is through the eyes of their journalists that we may see most clearly the concern in England aroused by the Continental upheavals of 1848. Young Parson Lot clearly understood the polemics of the struggle: he knew that, if he were going to have any voice in reshaping his country, he would have to attract the attention of the major periodicals. In this, he quickly succeeded.


Copyright © 1986 Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. This article first appeared in Victorian Periodicals Review 19:4 (1986),131-137. Reprinted with permission by Johns Hopkins University Press.



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