Home  »  Volume XII: English THE ROMANTIC REVIVAL The Nineteenth Century, I  »  § 6. Ward’s The Ideal of a Christian Church

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XII. The Romantic Revival.

XII. The Oxford Movement

§ 6. Ward’s The Ideal of a Christian Church

And, to add to the disasters which beset the tractarians, the irrepressible W. G. Ward published a heavy and exasperating book, The Ideal of a Christian Church. He gloried in the “most joyful, most wonderful, most unexpected, sight! we find the whole cycle of Roman doctrine gradually possessing numbers of English Churchmen.” On 13 February, 1845, the movement reached its crisis at Oxford. Convocation, attended by more than a thousand members of the university, the most famous as well as the most obscure, condemned the book and deprived the author of his degrees. A proposal to censure tract 90 was defeated by the veto of the proctors. The scene, of passion and humour and snowballs, has often been described; and Edward Freeman, in later years the historian of the Norman conquest, set it to verse after the style of Macaulay’s Virginia.