, 1851, and was received not merely with coldness and unconcern, but with hostile carping and even derision. The critics and Borrow pronounced themselves mutually disillusioned. It was natural that a man like Borrow should magnify and should misinterpret this unexpected blow.
The attitude of his critics was due to a very complex system of causes. The English have always been the most self-complacent of peoples, and 1851 was perhaps the one year in the whole of our history when this little weakness reached its climax. The Oxford Movement, with Newman and Ward as its prophets, had been succeeded by the Manchester Movement, upon which Cobden and Macaulay had long been busily engaged in shedding the most brilliant rays of the prevailing Whig optimism; factories, railways, penny postage, free trade, commercial expansion, universal peace and plenty, industrial exhibitions, religious toleration, general education--these were the watchwords of the day, and all these things alike were repulsive in the highest d