M.P.s who supported the Grey, Melbourne, Russell and Palmerston governments were all described as ‘Liberals’ in contemporary registers such as those by Dod and McCalmont. However, historians have recently attempted to differentiate intellectually among these M.P.s, and in particular to sort out the liberals from the whigs. A difficulty here is that, in a period which was almost equally dominated by religious and ecclesiastical issues on the one hand and social and economic issues on the other, it appears that those politicians who were most ‘liberal’ in one context were least ‘liberal’ in the other. The subject of this article, Lord Morpeth, conformed to a type of ‘whig–liberal’ politician whose social policies were ‘whig’ rather than ‘liberal’, but who exemplified that tolerant approach to religious politics which has been termed ‘liberal Anglican’. It is possible to infer Morpeth's theological views from his many comments on sermons and devotional texts, and it appears that the best way to understand his religion (and its impact on his politics) is in terms, not of liberal Anglicanism, but of incarnationalism combined with a type of joyous pre-millenarianism (or jolly apocalypticism) not uncharacteristic of the mid nineteenth century. Reacting against the evangelical and high church revivals, yet sharing their piety and rectitude, Morpeth's incarnational religion represented an attempt to reconcile a theory of individual personality with ideas of community and brotherhood – to soften the ‘spiritual capitalism’ implied by ‘moderate’ Anglican evangelicalism, while retaining its emphasis on individual responsibility. Its secular equivalent was the type of ‘half-way’ social reform espoused by many whig-liberals in the third quarter of the century.