by Joseph Brown, published by A.H. Baily & Co, after John Jabez Edwin Mayall
stipple engraving, published 1 November 1872
8 7/8 in. x 6 in. (225 mm x 152 mm) plate size; 14 5/8 in. x 10 3/4 in. (372 mm x 273 mm) paper size
Given by Miss H. Hall, 1953
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Events of 1872back to top
Current affairsThe (Secret) Ballot Act is passed. By ending open voting in local and general elections, the act reduced the scope for intimidation at hustings, an important step towards democracy. Previously, voters had to mount a platform and announce their choice of candidate to a recording officer, so although most working men had already been enfranchised, employers were able to punish workers who did not vote for their preferred candidate.
Art and scienceGeorge Eliot's novel Middlemarch is published. Exploring the impact of the 1832 Reform Act on provincial England, and charting the changes in class, politics, art and science in the nineteenth-century, Eliot's novel is widely perceived to be one of the best examples of the English realist novel.
InternationalThe Metaphysical Club is formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by William James (brother of author Henry James), Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr, and Charles Sanders Peirce. The group begins to develop the American philosophy of pragmatism, which held that ideas were simply mental constructs that people formed to help them cope with the world, but which did not exist in an ideal realm.
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