For more than one hundred and fifty years the Cambridge Apostles have played an influential role in the development of the British intelligentsia. Peter Allen's concern is with the origins and early history of this long-lived coterie and in particular with those years just before the first Reform Bill when the central figures among the Apostles were F. D. Maurice, Arthur Hallam and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He explains the reasons for the club's extraordinary powers of survival and traces the stages of its early development. Using manuscript material, he describes the principal members of the Apostolic group and reveals its inner life through extensive quotation from their correspondence. The early Apostles' role in the formation of the Victorian intelligentsia is exemplified, and they are shown to have made important contributions to the rising movement of liberal intellectualism, a movement which brought about profound changes to Victorian opinion and in society itself.