Collection K/PP83 - MAURICE, Professor (John) Frederick Denison (1805-1872)

Key Information

Reference code



MAURICE, Professor (John) Frederick Denison (1805-1872)


  • c1830-1972 (Creation)

Level of description



3 boxes, 1 engraving

Scope and content

Correspondence and papers of and relating to Frederick Denison Maurice, c1830-1972, including a letter from Maurice to his mother, 1833; the manuscript, c1830-c1834, of Maurice's novel Eustace Conway (published in three volumes, Richard Bentley, London, 1834); ordination certificates and licences to preach, 1834-1871; various pamphlets by Maurice, 1841-1859, including a letter to Samuel Wilberforce on reasons for not joining a party in the church, 1841, one on education, 1847, and a plan for a female college, 1855; five manuscript letters, undated [? 1843], to Sara Coleridge, daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, on religious subjects and bereavement and commenting on her Essay on Rationalism (1843); King's College London correspondence, comprising letters from Maurice, 1841-1853 and undated, pertaining to teaching, students, academic and College matters, including his professorship of Divinity, 1846, and correspondence between Maurice and Richard William Jelf, Principal of King's College London, to be laid before Council, 1853; printed material including copies of the correspondence between Maurice and Jelf, 1853; manuscript letter from Maurice to 'My dear Friends' via Brooke Lambert on leaving King's, 1853; manuscript letter from J[ulius] C Hare to [Derwent] Coleridge (son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge), 1853, concerning a protest against Maurice's expulsion from his theological professorship at King's College; newspapers and news cuttings on Maurice's dismissal by the Council of King's College, 1853; a copy of Maurice's The Doctrine of Sacrifice (1854), inscribed by him; manuscript letter from Charles Kingsley, 1859, soliciting Maurice's help in finding a curate; engraving of Maurice, 1860; manuscript sermon by Maurice on Proverbs c XII v 20, 'Deceit is in the heart ... ', given at St Peter's, Vere Street, [1860s]; copy of Maurice's The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven (1864), inscribed to his son J F Maurice. A scrapbook contains two letters from Maurice to Miss Duncan, one dated 1868 and thanking her for a gift; printed obituaries of Maurice, including news cuttings; portraits of Maurice, including a photograph; a printed catalogue of his works; a printed leaflet on the Working Men's College, London, 1872; manuscript notes (not Maurice's) on sermons preached by him; a printed sermon on Maurice by Charles Kingsley, 1873, for an industrial school for girls in Charlotte Street, Portland Place, London (established by Maurice in 1867); manuscript extracts of letters from T[homas] Hughes (the author?) to Maurice. Other printed material comprises articles and sermons on Maurice's death in 1872, and items relating to a dinner held at Lincoln's Inn, 1972, for its centenary. A manuscript letter from Emily Hill to Mrs Shaen, 1872, describes Maurice's death and a manuscript letter from Charles Kingsley to Maurice's widow, 1872, thanks her for a Greek testament. Other memorabilia relate to Maurice, his family, and friends.

System of arrangement

The engraving of Maurice is stored separately.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born at Normanston, near Lowestoft, 1805; Trinity College Cambridge, 1823; Trinity Hall Cambridge, 1825; went to London to read for the bar, 1826; returned to Cambridge and took a first class in the civil law classes, 1826-1827; joint editor of the Metropolitan Quarterly Magazine from 1825; wrote several articles, attacking Bentham and praising writers including Samuel Taylor Coleridge; contributed to the Westminster Review , 1827-1828; contributed to and then edited the newly-launched Athenaeum , 1828; entered Exeter College Oxford, 1830; baptised in Church of England, 1831; took a second class degree, 1831; ordained to the curacy of Bubbenhall, near Leamington, 1834; his novel Eustace Conway , begun c1830 and published in 1834, was praised by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, although they never met; became chaplain to Guy's Hospital, London, 1836; lectured the students on moral philosophy; The Kingdom of Christ stated his fundamental convictions, which were opposed to the tenets of all the chief church parties, 1838; its publication stimulated attacks from the religious press, which were to endure for the rest of his life; editor of a newly founded Educational Magazine , 1839-1841; believed that the school system should not be transferred from the church to the state; elected professor of English literature and history at King's College London, 1840; the suggestion of Julius Hare in 1843 that Maurice might succeed to the principalship of King's College and the preachership to Lincoln's Inn was countered by his belief that his unpopularity with the chief parties in the church would cause divisions within the College; became acquainted with Charles Kingsley, 1844; appointed Boyle lecturer and Warburton lecturer, 1845; became a professor at the newly-founded theological department at King's College, 1846; elected chaplain of Lincoln's Inn and resigned the chaplaincy at Guy's Hospital, 1846; with other professors at King's College, founded Queen's College to meet the needs of governesses, 1848; affected by the revolutionary movements of 1848, but believed that Christianity rather than secularist doctrines was the only sound foundation for social reconstruction; spiritual leader of the 'Christian Socialists' and - sometimes reluctantly - presided over many of their practical endeavours, 1848-1852; Maurice was growing in disfavour with the chief religious parties, his Christian Socialism represented as implying the acceptance of various atheistic and immoral revolutionary doctrines; attacked in the Quarterly Review , 1851; the principal of King's College, Richard William Jelf, solicited an explanation and pointed out the undesirability of his connection with Kingsley (wrongly suspected of contributing to the freethinking Leader ), suggesting resignation of his professorships as an alternative to disavowal; Jelf accepted Maurice's denial of some charges; the council of King's College appointed a committee of inquiry which reported in Maurice's favour; the matter was dropped for a time, but the publication of Maurice's Theological Essays , 1853, brought a new attack; Jelf brought before the council Maurice's defence of his doctrine that the popular belief in the endlessness of future punishment was superstitious and not sanctioned by the strictest interpretation of the articles; following a long correspondence with Jelf, a council meeting voted that Maurice's doctrines were dangerous, and that his continued connection with the college would be detrimental, 1853; Maurice was hurt by Jelf's decision that he should not even finish his course of lectures; he challenged the council to say which of the articles condemned his teaching, but they declined to continue the discussion; on Maurice's departure he received sympathy from friends and former pupils; his offer to resign the chaplaincy was declined by the benchers of Lincoln's Inn; resigned the chairmanship of the committee of Queen's College and his lectureship there but later resumed the position, opposition having been withdrawn, 1856; drew up a scheme for a Working Men's College, gave lectures in its behalf, and delivered its inaugural address at St Martin's Hall, 1854; Maurice became principal and was active in teaching and superintending; countered H L Mansel's Bampton lectures, 1858, with his What is Revelation? , and a controversy ensued; controversially appointed to the chapel of St Peter's, Vere Street, London, 1860; elected, almost unanimously, to the Knightbridge professorship of 'casuistry, moral theology, and moral philosophy' at Cambridge, 1866; retained the Vere Street Chapel until 1869; agreed to serve on the commission upon contagious diseases, 1870; accepted St Edward's, Cambridge, with no income and little parish work but regular preaching, 1870; also gave professorial lectures and saw undergraduates personally; by 1870 his health was declining, but accepted the Cambridge preachership at Whitehall, 1871; continued to preach, 1871-1872; resigned St Edward's, 1872; died, 1872; buried at Highgate. Cf Life of Frederick Denison Maurice, chiefly told in his own Letters , edited by his son, Frederick Maurice (1884). Publications: Eustace Conway, or the Brother and Sister, a novel (1834); Subscription no Bondage (1835); The Kingdom of Christ, or Hints to a Quaker respecting the Principle, Constitution, and Ordinances of the Catholic Church (1838 and later editions); Has the Church or the State power to Educate the Nation? (1839), a course of lectures; Reasons for not joining a Party in the Church; a Letter to S Wilberforce (1841); Three Letters to the Rev W Palmer (1842), on the Jerusalem bishopric; Right and Wrong Methods of supporting Protestantism (1843), letter to Lord Ashley; Christmas Day, and other Sermons (1843); The New Statute and Dr Ward (1845); Thoughts on the Rule of Conscientious Subscription (1845); The Epistle to the Hebrews (1846), Warburtonian lectures, with preface on J H Newman's Theory of Development ; Letter on the Attempt to Defeat the Nomination of Dr Hampden (1847); Thoughts on the Duty of a Protestant on the present Oxford Election (1847); The Religions of the World, and their Relations to Christianity (1847), Boyle lectures; The Lord's Prayer (1848), nine sermons; Queen's College, London; its Objects and Methods (1848); The Prayer Book, considered especially in reference to the Romish System (1849), nineteen sermons at Lincoln's Inn; The Church a Family (1850), twelve sermons at Lincoln's Inn; Queen's College, London (1850), reply to the Quarterly Review ; The Old Testament (1851), nineteen sermons at Lincoln's Inn (second edition as Patriarchs and Law-givers of the Old Testament , 1855); Sermons on the Sabbath Day, on the Character of the Warrior, and on the Interpretation of History (1853); Theological Essays (1853, second edition 1854 with new preface and concluding essay); The word Eternal and the Punishment of the Wicked (1853), letter to Dr Jelf; The Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament (1853), sermons at Lincoln's Inn; The Doctrine of Sacrifice deduced from the Scriptures (1854); Ecclesiastical History of the First and Second Centuries (1854); The Unity of the New Testament, a Synopsis of the First Three Gospels, and the Epistles of St James, St Jude, St Peter, and St Paul (1854); Learning and Working , six lectures at Willis's Rooms, with Rome and its Influence on Modern Civilisation , four lectures at Edinburgh (1855 ); The Epistles of St John: a Series of Lectures on Christian Ethics (1857); The Eucharist (1857), five sermons; The Gospel of St John (1857), sermons; The Indian Mutiny (1857), five sermons; What is Revelation? (1859), with letters on the Bampton lectures of Dr Mansel; Sequel to the Enquiry, What is Revelation? (1860); Lectures on the Apocalypse (1861); Dialogues on Family Worship (1862); Claims of the Bible and of Science (1863), on the Colenso controversy; The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven (1864), eighteen lectures on the Gospel according to St Luke; The Conflict of Good and Evil in our Day (1864), twelve letters to a missionary; The Workman and the Franchise; Chapters from English History on the Representation and Education of the People (1866); Casuistry, Moral Philosophy, and Moral Theology (1866), inaugural lecture at Cambridge; The Commandments considered as Instruments of National Reformation (1866); The Ground and Object of Hope for Mankind (1867), four university sermons; The Conscience, Lectures on Casuistry (1868); Social Morality (1869), lectures at Cambridge; the article Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy for the Encyclopædia Metropolitana was expanded into three volumes published in the second edition of the Encyclopædia , firstly Ancient Philosophy (1850), secondly Philosophy of the First Six Centuries (1853), and thirdly Mediæval Philosophy (1857), continued by Modern Philosophy (1862), with the four published as Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy (2 volumes, 1871-1872); Sermons preached in Country Churches (1873); The Friendship of Books, and other Lectures , edited by Thomas Hughes (1874); and a few occasional sermons. A bibliography of Maurice's writings by G J Gray was published by Messrs Macmillan in 1885.

Custodial history

The scrapbook was given to King's College by Edwyn R Bevan. Some papers, including Maurice's letters of orders, were given to King's College in 1949 by the Rt Rev John Victor Macmillan, Bishop of Guildford (whose wife was the daughter of Major-General Sir Frederick Maurice, grandson of Frederick Denison Maurice). Maurice's letters to Sara Coleridge and the Hare letter were given to King's College by the Reverend Anthony D Coleridge in 1951. The letter from Charles Kingsley to Maurice was given to King's College Library via the Dean by Professor R P Winnington-Ingram in 1972. The Eustace Conway manuscript and other items including letters from Emily Hill to Mrs Shaen and Charles Kingsley to Mrs Maurice, 1872, the letter from Maurice to his mother, 1833, pamphlets by Maurice and other printed material relating to him, The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven (1864), The Doctrine of Sacrifice (1854), and other memorabilia of Maurice's family and friends were given to King's College Archives in two accessions in 1999 and 2000 by Christopher Graham, a direct descendant of F D Maurice.

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied from open material for research purposes only.

Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archives.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Finding aids

Typescript and manuscript notes on some items available in the reading room at King's College London Archives.

Existence and location of copies

Copies of some items, including Maurice's letters to Sara Coleridge, are stored with the originals.

Related materials

King's College London Archives, KAL/AD6/F52, documents the provenance of some of the papers and includes information such as the supposed date of Maurice's letters to Sara Coleridge. King's College London Archives holds the Council minutes of the College (Ref: KA/C/M), which include an extensive account of Maurice's resignation. In 1854, 55 volumes were presented to King's College by F D Maurice and in 1926 Major General Sir F Maurice gave to King's College Library c350 volumes on theology from the library of F D Maurice, which were dispersed through the library's collection. The bulk of the collection is probably no longer identifiable. Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London, holds papers of Major John Frederick Maurice (1841-1912), eldest son of Frederick Denison Maurice, and of Major General Sir Frederick Barton Maurice (1871-1951), eldest son of John Frederick Maurice (collection level descriptions are available at ).

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Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Archivist's note

Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: brief description in King's College London Manuscripts and Private Papers: A Select Guide (1982); Dictionary of National Biography; National Register of Archives; British Library online manuscripts catalogue; Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London, online catalogue; F J C Hearnshaw, The Centenary History of King's College London 1828-1928 (1929), pp 208-21.

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