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which looked with complacency on all speculations tending to democracy, and with extreme aversion on all speculations favourable to arbitrary power. There was a king who decidedly preferred a republican to a believer in the divine right of kings; who considered every attempt to exalt his prerogative as an attack on his title; and who reserved all his favours for those who declaimed on the natural equality of men and the popular origin of government. This was the state of things from the Revolution till the death of George II. The effect was what might have been expected. Even in that profession which has generally been most disposed to magnify the prerogative, a great change took place. Bishopric after bishopric, and deanery after d anery, were bestowed on Whigs and Latitudinarians. The consequence was that Whigism and Latitudinarianism were professed by the ablest and most aspiring churchmen.
Hume has complained bitterly of this at the close of his history. “The Whig party,” says he, "for a course of near seventy years, has almost without interruption enjoyed the whole authority of government, and no honours or offices could be obtained but by their countenance and protection. But this event, which in some particulars has been advantageous to the state, has proved destructive to the truth of history, and has established many gross falsehoods, which it is unaccountable how any civilized nation could have embraced with regard to its domestic occurrences. Compositions the most despicable, both for style and matter" (in a note he instances Locke, Sydney, Hoadley, and Rapin) “have been extolled and propagated and read as if they had equalled the most celebrated remains of antiquity. And forgetting that a regard to liberty, though a laudable passion, ought commonly to be subservient to a reverence for established government, the prevailing faction has celebrated only the partisans of the former.” We will not here enter into an argument about the merit of Rapin's history, or Locke's political speculations. We call Hume merely as evidence to a fact well known to all reading men, that the literature patronized by the English court and the English ministry, during the first half of the eighteenth century, was of that kind which courtiers and ministers generally do all in their power to discountenance, and tended to inspire zeal for the
liberties of the people rather than respect for the authority of the government.
There was still a very strong Tory party in England. But that party was in opposition. Many of its members still held the doctrine of passive obedience. But they did not admit that the existing dynasty had any claim to such obedience. They condemned resistance. But by resistance they meant the keeping out of James III., and not the turning out of George II. No Radical of our times could grumble more at the expenses of the royal household, could exert himself more strenuously to reduce the military estab lishment, could oppose with more earnestness every proposition for arming the executive with extraordinary powers, or could pour more unmitigated abuse on placemen and courtiers. If a writer were now, in a massive Dictionary, to define a Pensioner as a traitor and a slave, the Excise as a hateful tax, the Commissioners of the excise as wretches, -if he were to write a satire full of reflections on men who receive the price of boroughs and of souls,” who “explain their country's dear-bought rights away," or
“whom pensions can incite
To vote a patriot black, a courtier white," we should set him down for something more democratic than a Whig. Yet this was the language which Johnson, the most bigoted of Tories and High Churchmen, held under the administration of Walpole and Pelbam.
Thus doctrines favourable to public liberty were inculcated alike by those who were in power, and by those who were in opposition. It was by means of these doctrines alone that the former could prove that they had a king de jure. The servile theories of the latter did not prevent them from offering every molestation to one whom they considered as merely a king de facto. The attachment of the one party to the house of Hanover, of the other to that of Stuart, induced both to talk a language much more favourable to popular rights than to monarchical power. What took place at the first representation of “Cato" is no bad illustration of the way in which the two great sections of the community almost invariably acted. A play, the whole merit of which consists in its stately rhetoric,--a rhetoric sometimes not unworthy of Lucan,—about hating tyrants and dying for
freedom, is brought on the stage in a time of great political excitement. Both parties crowd to the theatre. Each affects to consider every line as a compliment to itself, and an attack on its opponents.
The curtain falls amidst an unanimous roar of applause. The Whigs of the “Kit Cat” cmbrace the author, and assure him that he has rendered an inestimable service to liberty. The Tory Secretary of State presents a purse to the chief actor for defending the cause of liberty so well. The history of that night was, in miniature, the history of two generations.
We well know how much sophistry there was in the reasonings, and how much exaggeration in the declamations of both parties. But when we compare the state in which political science was at the close of the reign of George the Second, with the state in which it had been when James the Second came to the throne, it is impossible not to admit that a prodigious improvement had taken place. We are no admirers of the political doctrines laid down in Blackstone's Commentaries. But if we consider that those Commentaries were read with great applause in the very schools where, within the memory of some persons then living, books had been publicly burned by order of the University of Oxford, for containing the “damnable doctrine,” that the English monarchy is limited and mixed, we cannot deny that a salutary change had taken place. “The Jesuits," says Pascal, in the last of his incomparable letters, “have obtained a Papal decree condemning Galileo's doctrine about the motion of the earth. It is all in vain. If the world is really turning round, all mankind together will not be able to keep it from turning, or to keep themselves from turning with it.” The decrees of Oxford were as ineffectual to stay the great moral and political revolution, as those of the Vatican to stay the motion of our globe. That learned University found itself not only unable to keep the mass from moving, but unable to keep itself from moving along with the mass. Nor was the effect of the discussions and speculations of that period confined to our own country. While the Jacobite party was in the last dotage and weakness of its paralytic old age, the political philosophy of England began to produce a mighty effect on France, and, through France, on Europe.
Here another vast field opens itself before us.
must resolutely turn away from it. We will conclude by earnestly advising all our readers to study Sir James Macintosh's invaluable Fragment; and by expressing the satisfaction we have received from learning, since this article was written, that the intelligent publishers of the volume before us have resolved to reprint the Fragment in a separate form, without those accompaniments which have hitherto impeded its circulation. The resolution is as creditable to them as the publication is sure to be acceptable to the lovers of English history.
SIR JOIN MALCOLM'S LIFE OF LORD CLIVE.*
We have always thought it strange that, while the history of the Spanish empire in America is so familiarly known to all the nations of Europe, the great actions of our own countrymen in the East should, even among ourselves, excite little interest. Every school-boy knows who imprisoned Montezuma, and who strangled Atabalipa. But we doubt whether one in ten, even among English gentlemen of highly cultivated minds, can tell who won the battle of Buxar, who perpetrated the massacre of Patna, whether Surajah Dowlah ruled in Oude or in Travancore, or whether Holkar was a Hindoo or a Mussulman. Yet the victories of Cortes were gained over savages who had no letters, who were ignorant of the use of metals, who had not broken in a single animal to labour, who wielded no better weapons than those which could be made out of sticks, flints, and fish-bones, who regarded a horse-soldier as a monster, half man and half beast, who took a harquebusier for a sorcerer able to scatter the thunder and lightning of the skies. The people of India when we subdued them were ten times as numerous as the vanquished Ameri. cans, and were at the same time quite as highly civilized as the victorious Spaniards. They had reared cities larger and fairer than Saragossa or Toledo, and buildings more beautiful and costly than the cathedral of Seville. They could show bankers richer than the richest firms of Barcelona or Cadiz; viceroys whose splendour far surpassed that of Ferdinand the Catholic; myriads of cavalry and long trains of artillery, which would have astonished the Great Captain. It might have been expected that every English:
* The Life of Robert iord Clive; collected from the Family Papers, communicated by the Earl of Powis. By Major-General Sir Joun MALCOLM, K. Č. B. 8 vols. 8vo. London. 1836.