G. M. Trevelyan

G. M. Trevelyan

Overview
George Macaulay Trevelyan, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, FRS
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, FBA
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 (16 February 1876 – 21 July 1962), was a British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

. Trevelyan was the third son of Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet, and great-nephew of Thomas Babington Macaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay PC was a British poet, historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist and reviewer, and on British history...

, whose staunch liberal Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 principles he espoused in accessible works of literate narrative avoiding a consciously dispassionate analysis, that became old-fashioned during his long and productive career. The noted historian E.
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Quotations

If the French noblesse had been capable of playing cricket with their peasants, their chateaux would never have been burnt.

English Social History, ch. 8. (1942)

In those days, before it became scientific, cricket was the best game in the world to watch, with its rapid sequence of amusing incidents, each ball a potential crisis!

English Social History, ch. 8. (1942)

[Education] has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.

English Social History, ch. 18.

Their demands were limited and practical, and for that reasonthey successfully initiated a movement that led in the end to yet undreamt-of liberties for all.

describing the English barons who pressured John of England|King John into accepting the Magna Carta.

In the Stuart era, the English developed for themselves, without foreign participation or example, a system of Parliamentary government, local administration and freedom of speech and person, clean contrary to the prevailing tendencies on the continent, which was moving fast toward regal absolution, centralized bureaucracy, and the subjection of the individual to the State.

Encyclopedia
George Macaulay Trevelyan, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, FRS
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, FBA
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 (16 February 1876 – 21 July 1962), was a British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

. Trevelyan was the third son of Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet, and great-nephew of Thomas Babington Macaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay PC was a British poet, historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist and reviewer, and on British history...

, whose staunch liberal Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 principles he espoused in accessible works of literate narrative avoiding a consciously dispassionate analysis, that became old-fashioned during his long and productive career. The noted historian E. H. Carr considered Trevelyan to be one of the last historians of the Whig tradition
Whig history
Whig history is the approach to historiography which presents the past as an inevitable progression towards ever greater liberty and enlightenment, culminating in modern forms of liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy. In general, Whig historians stress the rise of constitutional government,...

.

Many of his writings promoted the Whig Party, an important aspect of British politics from the 17th century to the mid-19th century, and its successor, the Liberal Party. Whigs and Liberals believed the common people had a more positive effect on history than did royalty and that democratic government would bring about steady social progress.

Trevelyan's history is engaged and partisan. Of his Garibaldi trilogy, "reeking with bias", he remarked in his essay "Bias in History", "Without bias, I should never have written them at all. For I was moved to write them by a poetical sympathy with the passions of the Italian patriots of the period, which I retrospectively shared."

Early life



Trevelyan was born into late Victorian Britain in Welcombe, Stratford-on-Avon, the large house and estate owned by his maternal grandfather, Robert Needham Philips
Robert Needham Philips
Robert Needham Philips DL was an English merchant and manufacturer in the Lancashire textiles business, a Liberal Party politician, and the grandfather of the Whig historian G. M...

, a wealthy Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

 merchant and the Liberal Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for Bury
Bury (UK Parliament constituency)
Bury was a borough constituency centred on the town of Bury in Lancashire. It returned one Member of Parliament ) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

. Today Welcombe is a hotel
Welcombe Hotel
Welcombe Hotel occupies a 19th century former country mansion house near Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire which was previously known as Welcombe House. It is a Grade II* listed building....

 and spa for tourists visiting Shakespeare's birthplace.

Trevelyan's parents used Welcombe as a winter resort after they inherited it in 1890. They looked upon Wallington Hall
Wallington Hall
Wallington is a country house and gardens located about west of Morpeth, Northumberland, England, near the village of Cambo. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1942, after it was donated by Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, the first donation of its kind...

, the Trevelyan family estate in Northumberland
Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

 as their real home. When his paternal grandfather, Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan
Sir Charles Trevelyan, 1st Baronet
Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, 1st Baronet, KCB was a British civil servant and colonial administrator. As a young man, he worked with the colonial government in Calcutta, India; in the late 1850s and 1860s he served there in senior-level appointments...

, died, George traced his father's steps to Harrow School
Harrow School
Harrow School, commonly known simply as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London.. The school is of worldwide renown. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243 but the Harrow School we know today was...

 and then Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

. After attending Harrow, where he specialised in history, Trevelyan studied at Trinity, where he was a member of the secret society, the Cambridge Apostles
Cambridge Apostles
The Cambridge Apostles, also known as the Cambridge Conversazione Society, is an intellectual secret society at the University of Cambridge founded in 1820 by George Tomlinson, a Cambridge student who went on to become the first Bishop of Gibraltar....

 and founder of the still existing Lake Hunt, a hare and hounds
Paper Chase (game)
Paper Chase is a racing game played outdoors with any number of players. At the start of the game, one person is designated the 'hare' and everyone else in the group are the 'hounds'...

 chase where both hounds and hares are human. In 1898 he won a fellowship at Trinity with a dissertation that was published the following year as England in the Age of Wycliffe. One Trinity professor, Lord Acton, enchanted the young Trevelyan with his great wisdom and his belief in moral judgement and individual liberty.

Role in education


Trevelyan lectured at Cambridge until 1903 at which point he left academic life. In 1927 he returned to the University to take up a position as Regius Professor of Modern History
Regius Professor of Modern History (Cambridge)
Regius Professor of Modern History is one of the senior professorships in history at Cambridge University. It was founded in 1724 by George I. The appointment is by Royal Warrant on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of the day...

, where the single student whose doctorate he agreed to supervise was J. H. Plumb
J. H. Plumb
Sir John Harold Plumb, FBA , known as Jack, was a British historian, known for his books on British 18th century history. He wrote over thirty books.-Biography:...

 (1936). In 1940 he was appointed as Master of Trinity College and served in the post until 1951 when he retired.

Trevelyan declined the Presidency of the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 but served as Chancellor of Durham University
Durham University
The University of Durham, commonly known as Durham University, is a university in Durham, England. It was founded by Act of Parliament in 1832 and granted a Royal Charter in 1837...

 from 1950 to 1958. Trevelyan College at Durham University is named after him. He won the 1920 James Tait Black Memorial Prize
James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Founded in 1919, the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are among the oldest and most prestigious book prizes awarded for literature written in the English language and are Britain's oldest literary awards...

 for the biography Lord Grey of the Reform Bill, was elected a Fellow of the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 in 1925, made a Fellow of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 in 1950, and was an honorary doctor of many universities including Cambridge.

Trevelyan was the first president of the Youth Hostels Association
Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales)
The Youth Hostels Association is a charitable organisation, registered with the Charity Commission, providing youth hostel accommodation in England and Wales...

 and the YHA headquarters are called Trevelyan House in his honour. He worked tirelessly through his career on behalf of the National Trust
National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

, in preserving not merely historic houses, but historic landscapes.

Trevelyan's works


G.M. Trevelyan was a prolific author:
  • England in the Age of Wycliffe (1899). The title of this work is somewhat misleading, since it treats of the political, social and religious conditions of England during the later years of Wiclef's life only. Six of the nine chapters are devoted to the years 1377–1385, while the last two treat the history of the Lollards from 1382 until the Reformation.
  • England Under the Stuarts (1904).
  • The Poetry and Philosophy of George Meredith (1906).
  • Garibaldi's Defence of the Roman Republic (1907). This volume marks the entry of a new foreign historian in the field of Italian Risorgimento, a period much neglected, or, unworthily treated, outside of Italy.
  • Garibaldi and the Thousand (1909).
  • Garibaldi and the Making of Italy (1911). ISBN 978-1842124734
  • The Life of John Bright
    John Bright
    John Bright , Quaker, was a British Radical and Liberal statesman, associated with Richard Cobden in the formation of the Anti-Corn Law League. He was one of the greatest orators of his generation, and a strong critic of British foreign policy...

    (1913).
  • Clio: A Muse and Other Essays (1913).
  • Scenes From Italy's War (1919).
  • The Recreations of an Historian (1919).
  • Lord Grey of the Reform Bill (1920).
  • British History in the Nineteenth Century (1922).
  • Manin and the Venetian Revolution of 1848 (1923).
  • History of England (1926).
  • England Under Queen Anne:
    • Blenheim (1930).
    • Ramillies and the Union with Scotland (1932).
    • The Peace and the Protestant Succession (1934).
  • Sir George Otto Trevelyan: A Memoir (1932).
  • Grey of Fallodon (1937).
  • The English Revolution, 1688–1698 (1938).
  • Trinity College: An Historical Sketch (1943). ISBN 0-903258-01-3
  • English Social History: A Survey of Six Centuries: Chaucer to Queen Victoria (1942 US and Canada, 1944 UK). ISBN 978-0582484887
  • An Autobiography and Other Essays (1949). ISBN 0-8369-2205-0
  • A Layman's Love of Letters (1954).

External links