Hugh Cunningham

This chapter lays out in graphical form the results of word searches for ‘philanthropy’ and ‘philanthropist’ in the Burney Collection of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Newspapers and the British Library Newspapers Archive on Gale NewsVault and the collections on British Periodicals available on ProQuest. I have also carried out in-depth work on The Times and the Observer and Manchester Guardian and on the Daily Mail from its start in 1896. The results show the growth of use of the words in the second half of the eighteenth century, a slight dip in the early nineteenth century, followed by exponential growth in the 1830s and 1840s to reach a plateau of high usage through to the end of the century. There is then sharp decline through to the 1940s, followed by increasingly rapid growth from the 1980s.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
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Bernhard Zeller, Charles West, Francesca Tinti, Marco Stoffella, Nicolas Schroeder, Carine van Rhijn, Steffen Patzold, Thomas Kohl, Wendy Davies and Miriam Czock

This chapter outlines the main problems the book will address, surveys the national historiographies of Germany, England, France, Italy and Spain and identifies the problems highlighted therein. While national historiographies have different preoccupations, we note the widespread influence of German writing of the nineteenth century and of French regional studies in the twentieth. There are also common themes: free proprietorship and personal freedom and their impact (or not) on emerging institutions; lordship and its many varieties, with a tendency to treat the local through the structures and relationships of great estates; the importance of archaeology and its increasing provision of new data.

in Neighbours and strangers
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Sonja Tiernan

This chapter describes the events on polling day, and the statistics relating to voter turnout and to the number of yes votes. The results are examined and an assessment of how the people’s decision was finally implemented into law follows.

in The history of marriage equality in Ireland
Britain and beyond
Author: Hugh Cunningham

Most people now associate philanthropy with donations of money by the rich to good causes. It has not always been so. The reputation of philanthropy since 1750 explores how our modern definition came about and asks why philanthropy and philanthropists have always been as likely to be criticised as praised. Based on original research in newspapers, periodicals, novels and letters, the book provides a compelling account of a shift from philanthropy being a feeling of love of humankind to one where it became heavily engaged in opposing slavery and reforming prisons, both of them political and contentious issues. On the positive side Britain was praised as the most philanthropic country in the world and something the nation was proud of. But the ‘telescopic philanthropy’ that Charles Dickens lambasted, a philanthropy that focused on those far away to the neglect of the poor at home, was under the spotlight. Equally contentious was the relationship between philanthropy and political economy: to the critics philanthropy led to the creation of a dependency class, it did more harm than good. After almost sinking out of sight in the mid-twentieth century, dismissed critically as ‘Victorian’, philanthropy in the twenty-first century has regained a high profile.

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Bernhard Zeller, Charles West, Francesca Tinti, Marco Stoffella, Nicolas Schroeder, Carine van Rhijn, Steffen Patzold, Thomas Kohl, Wendy Davies and Miriam Czock

This chapter provides basic orientation, with essential information on the physical geography and political history of the period 750–1000, outlining the main political trends in Francia, Italy, England and Spain. Though a period of extreme political instability at the highest levels of kings and emperors, complicated by the long-term impact of invaders from outside, many of the regions within kingdoms sustained an identity over many centuries. The chapter continues with a brief survey of available primary source material for the study of local societies (which is extended in the Appendix). It surveys charters, estate records, narratives (including annals, chronicles and hagiography), capitularies, law texts and liturgy.

in Neighbours and strangers
Priests as neighbours in early medieval local societies
Bernhard Zeller, Charles West, Francesca Tinti, Marco Stoffella, Nicolas Schroeder, Carine van Rhijn, Steffen Patzold, Thomas Kohl, Wendy Davies and Miriam Czock

This chapter explores the position of early medieval priests within local rural societies and the influence they had on the social cohesion of rural settlements. As pastors who taught and preached, they communicated ideas of good and bad behaviour towards relatives, neighbours and God, and in their capacity as confessors and advisors, they played an important role in settling disagreements between members of their flocks. Priests were in a unique 'hinge' position to transmit new rulings from the bishop or the royal court to local audiences, because they were generally capable of reading and understanding Latin, and were trained to translate and rephrase sophisticated knowledge into vernacular messages understandable to illiterate audiences. Priests did not only spend their days praying, preaching, performing rituals or reading books. They were firmly rooted in the lay world and often seem to have been members of local families. Their ministry usually came with landownership and, like other landowners, priests bought, sold and gave land and moveable goods. They were also active in writing charters for local people, in effect performing notarial services for them.

in Neighbours and strangers
Philanthropy 1815–50
Hugh Cunningham

In the first half of the nineteenth century it was still possible to experience philanthropy simply as a feeling. But for many ‘philanthropists’ were lined up with ‘statesmen’ as the people with a responsibility to address social problems at home and more directly political ones abroad. There was a strong feeling that the British were the most philanthropic people in the world. Philanthropy’s opponents, however, were not silenced. Philanthropy was under suspicion for too often disobeying the tenets of political economy – or, alternatively, for being too wedded to them. The Times mounted attack after attack on those it described as mere talking philanthropists; they were, amongst other deficiencies, insufficiently manly, effeminate. A particular target was what Dickens described as ‘telescopic philanthropy’, a concern for those at the farthest reaches of the world rather than those on your doorstep. The campaigns against slavery, particularly after British slavery emancipation in 1833, came under unrelenting scrutiny. This came to a head with Thomas Carlyle’s ‘Occasional discourse on the Negro question’ where he spared no invective against philanthropy in all its guises. John Stuart Mill made a temperate reply. By mid-century there was what one journal described as ‘The Reaction against Philanthropy’.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
The impact of the French Revolution, 1789–1815
Hugh Cunningham

The French Revolution was generally welcomed by those of a philanthropic disposition. The chapter opens with a cameo role for William Wordsworth who planned a politically radical journal to be called ‘The Philanthropist’. Robert Southey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Godwin also engaged closely with philanthropy and with how it could transform society. The government’s repressive measures had effectively silenced them by 1795. Friendly Societies and trade unions built the word ‘philanthropic’ into their titles – and continued to do so through the nineteenth century, testimony that philanthropy and mutualism might have cohered. In the 1790s, however, the tide turned against philanthropy. With Britain at war from 1793, it was no time to be saying that you should love all humanity or be a ‘citizen of the world’. The Anti-Jacobin Review and William Cobbett were philanthropy’s most outspoken opponents. They broadened their attack on radicals to turn it against William Wilberforce and others, strongly evangelical, who were campaigning for an end to the slave trade. The clash between supporters and opponents of the slave trade forged a powerful link between evangelicals and philanthropy, their opponents extending their wrath to suggest that evangelical philanthropists were undermining key characteristics of the nation.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
Hugh Cunningham

The theme of this chapter is that historians of philanthropy have started out with a definition of what ‘philanthropy’ is, even if the word was never used in their centuries, and proceeded from there. Prime examples are the two major histories of philanthropy in England, dating from the 1950s and 1960s, W. K. Jordan’s Philanthropy in England 1480–1660 and David Owen’s English Philanthropy 1660–1960. For the nineteenth century there is one history that excludes anything where the gifting of private money was not vital, another that includes social reform movements, and yet another that defines philanthropy simply as ‘kindness’. None of them are alert to what contemporaries thought of ‘philanthropy’. I go on to consider the ways in which in recent years historians have turned to the anthropological model of gift relationships to understand philanthropy and how concepts of ‘civil society’ have generated new thinking.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
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Sonja Tiernan

Following the Pantigate controversy RTÉ, the national broadcaster, paid compensation to people named on a Saturday night chat show as homophobic. The compensation was paid out of television licence fees, without consultation. This chapter examines the broadcasting implications and political debates that followed.

in The history of marriage equality in Ireland