F.D. Maurice (1805-1872)

The English theologian and Christian Socialist was ordained in 1834. After he became Reader at Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, young Octavia Hill attended his Sunday sermons there for three years before her confirmation into the Church of England at 15 years old.

In 1838, he wrote “The Kingdom of Christ”, in which he argued that politics and religion are inseparable and that the church should be involved in addressing social issues. Maurice rejected individualism, with its competition and selfishness, and suggested an interventionist alternative to the economic principles of laissez faire.

Maurice was attracted to the socialist and educational ideas of Robert Owen. He began editing the “Educational Magazine” in 1839, which expressed these views.

In 1840, he was appointed Professor of Literature at King’s College, London. In 1848, Maurice was among a group of tutors there who established the Queen’s College in Harley Street, a new training school for teachers.

In 1853, the Principal of King’s College was deeply shocked by the religious views expressed in his book of “Theological Essays”. The college council decided that Maurice’s doctrines were “dangerous” and asked him to resign from his post as Professor of Theology.

He then concentrated on educational reform and in 1854, drew up a scheme for the Working Men’s College, which started with over 130 students.

From 1866, Maurice was Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge University.