This eulogy appeared in the Whig Edinburgh Review of July 1858.1 It complemented the confident declaration made the same year by Lord Grey, son of the premier who passed the 1832 Reform Act, ‘that Great Britain stands distinguished among the nations of the earth for the prosperity it has enjoyed, and for the social progress it has made during the time it has been under a Parliamentary Government’.2 Grey felt obliged to exclude Ireland from this sanguine state of affairs. But it remained, for him, self-evident that by the 1850s England, Wales and Scotland were enjoying a social stability, economic prosperity and political harmony to be envied by the rest of the world.
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