Most of us would be at home taking tea at Dr. Johnson’s, hearing the contact of a civilized man with society discussed with British common sense and good nature, with British idiosyncrasy and prejudice. Only we should be aware that we had stepped back out of a scientific, romantic and mobile era into an era literary, classical and static. Dr. Johnson and Burke had never heard of ‘evolution’ in our meaning of the word. They thought that the world would remain what they and their fathers had known it. With them, time moved so slowly that they thought it stayed still withal. A very different experience has taught us to perceive that the forms of our civilization are transient as the bubbles on a river.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
British History in the Nineteenth Century (1782 – 1901) by George Macaulay Trevelyan 1928