Doyle, Barry M. (1996) "Through the windows of a Baptist Meeting House": Religion, politics and the Nonconformist Conscience in the life of Sir George White, M.P. Baptist Quarterly, XXXVI (6). ISSN 0005-576X
Abstract

With the compilation of the New Dictionary of National Biography, under the
general editorship of Colin Matthew, the contributions of many more of the Free
Church men and women who helped shape nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain
will be acknowledged. Among the debutants in the revised canon of great Britons
will be Sir George White MP, 1 the man described by the British Weekly as the
'foremost lay leader of English Nonconformity in our generation' ,2 yet a politician
largely ignored by historians of Edwardian Britain.3 This is a significant oversight,
for White featured prominently in Free-Church politics in the early twentieth
century, chairing the Nonconformist Committee in the House of Commons and
acting as a bridge between old-style dissenting Radicalism and the new(er)
Liberalism of practical politicians like Lloyd George.4 Although 'plain and modest'
with 'no pretentions to brilliance', White reached the top in business, politics and
the Baptist denomination through the classic Victorian virtues of hard work,
dedication and devotion,S his success resting, in part, on his power as a speaker
with 'the enviable faculty granted to the best speakers of saying, and thinking clearly
and strongly while he is on his feet,.6 This paper, which is based primarily on
press reports of his life and death, will outline White's achievements in religion,
business and politics, illustrating the way these elements interacted, and looking, in
particular, at the three areas in which religion most obviously influenced his political
views: class relations, education and temperance.

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