Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Francis Edward Mineka:

22) The Dissidence of Dissent. The Monthly Repository 1806- 1838.

Chapel Hill 1944

Only little is known about the literary historian Francis Edward Mineka, who with this substantial scholarly survey on the radical Unitarian periodical had paved the way for all subsequent examinations. The study starts with a short history of organized Unitarianism and the tradition of English religious periodicals from the Civil War period on and provides analyses of all of the various phases of the magazine under the four editorships of Robert Aspland, William Johnson Fox, Richard Hengist Horne and Leigh Hunt. The most distinctive and prolific contributors such as Harriet Martineau, John Stuart Mill, Ebenezer Elliott and William Bridges Adams are introduced in the form of biographical sketches. As the great majority of contributions were anonymous or signed only with pseudonyms or initials, the extensive list of identification of authorship, which Mineka provides in the appendix, proves to be of substantial support for the contemporary reader of the magazine.

The author emphasises the precedence of Fox’s editorship, in whose “hands the magazine broke away from its sectarian connections and became an important organ of the radical party.” He also discusses the influences of Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarism and of Comte de Saint-Simon’s New Christianity on Fox’s editorial concept. Like Thomas Carlyle, the pugnacious Unitarian minister had been “tremendously attracted” by the Saint Simonians’ social gospel, but unlike the Tory socialist Carlyle, he always kept a very critical distance to their hierarchical system of a privileged aristocracy. Young Linton only entered the Fox circle when The Monthly Repository declined. He never contributed and congruously Mineka doesn’t mention him in the study, but he used his biography as a major source for his appraisal of Fox’s and Horne’s editorships.