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state or in the army, who liad not, according | In a nation proud of its sturdy justice and to the best of his talents and opportunities, plain good sense, no party could be found to emulated the example. It was natural, too, take a firm middle stand between the worst of that this should be the case. The rapidity and oppositions and the worst of courts. When, violence with which change followed change on charges as wild as Mother Goose's tales, in the affairs of France towards the close of on the testimony of wretches who proclaimed the last century, had taken away the reproach themselves to be spies and traitors, and whom of inconsistency, unfixed the principles of everybody now believes to have been also public men, and produced in many minds a liars and murderers, the offal of jails and general skepticism and indifference about brothels, the leavings of the hangman's whip principles of government.
and shears, Catholics guilty of nothing but No Englishman who has studied attentively their religion were led like sheep to the Prothe reign of Charles the Second, will think testant shambles, where were the royal Tory himsell entitled to indulge in any feelings of gentry and the passively obedient clergy national superiority over the Dictionnaire des And where, when the time of retribution Girouettes. Shaftesbury was surely a far less came, when laws were strained and juries respectable man than Talleyrand; and it packed, to destroy the leaders of the Whigs, would be injustice even to Fouché to compare when charters were invaded, when Jeffries him with Lauderdale. Nothing, indeed, can and Kirke were making Somersetshire what more clearly show how low the standard of Lauderdale and Graham had made Scotland, political morality had fallen in this country where were the ten thousand brisk boys of ihan the fortunes of the men whom we have Shaftesbury, the members of ignoramus juries, named. The government wanted a ruffian to the wearers of the Polish medal? All powerful carry on the most atrocious system of misgo- to destroy others, unable to save themselves, vernment with which any nation was ever the members of the two parties oppressed cursed-to extirpate Presbyterianism by fire and were oppressed, murdered and were murand sword, the drowning of women, and the dered, in their turn. No lucid interval occurred frightful torture of the boot. And they found between the frantic paroxysms of two contrahim among the chiefs of the rebellion, and the tradictory illusions. subscribers of the Covenant! The opposition To the frequent changes of the government looked for a chief to head them in the most during the twenty years which had preceded desperate attacks ever made, under the forms the revolution, this unsteadiness is in a great of the constitution, on any English administra- measure to be attributed. Other causes had tion: ard they selected the minister who had also been at work. Even if the country had the deepest share in the worst parts of that been governed by the house of Cromwell, or administration ; the soul of the cabal; the the remains of the Long Parliament, the excounsellor who had shut up the Exchequer, treme austerity of the Puritans would necesand arged on the Dutch war. The whole sarily have produced a revulsion. Towards political drama was of the same cast. No the close of the Protectorate, many signs indi. unity of plan, no decent propriety of character cated that a time of license was at hand. But and costume, could be found in the wild and the restoration of Charles the Second rendered monstrous harlequinade. The whole was the change wonderfully rapid and violent. made up of extravagant transformations and Profligacy became a test of orthodoxy and burlesque contrasts; Atheists turned Puritans; loyalty, a qualification for rank and office. A Paritans turned Atheists; republicans defend- deep and general taint infected the morals of ing the divine right of kings; prostitute cour- the most influential classes, and spread itself tiers clamouring for the liberties of the people; through every province of letters. Poetry judges inflaming the rage of mobs; patriots inflamed the passions ; philosophy undermined pocketing bribes from foreign powers; a the principles; divinity itself, inculcating an popish prince lorturing Presbyterians into an abject reverence for the court, gave addi. Episcopacy in one part of the island ; Pres- tional effect to its licentious example. We byterians cutting off the heads of popish no- look in vain for those qualities which give a blemen and gentlemen in the other. Public charm to the errors of high and ardent natures, opinion has its natural flux and reflux. After for the generosity, the tenderness, the chivals a violent burst, there is commonly a reaction. rous delicacy, which ennoble appetites into But vicissitudes as extraordinary as those passions and impart to vice itself a portion of which marked the reign of Charles the the majesty of virtue. The excesses of the Second, can only be explained by supposing age remind us of the humours of a gang of an utter want of principle in the political footpads, revelling with their favourite beauties world. On neither side was there fidelity at a flash-house. In the fashionable libertinism enough to face a reverse. Those honourable there is a hard, cold ferocity, an impudence, a retreats from power, which, in later days, par- lowness, a dirtiness, which can be paralleled ties have often made, with loss, but still in only among the heroes and heroines of thai good order, in firm union, with unbroken spi- filthy and heartless literature which encourit and formidable means of annoyance, were raged it. One nobleman of great abilities utterly unknown. As soon as a check took wanders about as a Merry-Andrew. Another place, a total rout followed ; arms and colours harangues the mob stark-naked f.om a win. were thrown away. The vanquished troops, dow. A third lays an ambush 1o cudgel a like the Italian mercenaries of the fourteenth man who has offended him. A knot of gen. and fifteenth centuries, enlisted, on the very tlemen of high rank and influence combine to field of battle, in the service of the conquerors. I push their fortunes at court, by circulating
stories intended to ruin an innocent girl, sto- | mer Halifax, the renegade Sunderland, were ries which had no foundation, and which, if all men of the same class. they had been true, would never have passed Where such was the political morality of the the lips of a man of honour. A dead child noble and the wealthy, it may easily be conis found in the palace, the offspring of some ceived that those professions which, even in maid of honour, by some courtier, or perhaps the best times, are peculiarly liable to corrupby Charles himself. The whole flight of pan- tion, were in a frightful state. Such a bench ders and buffoons pounce upon it, and carry it and such a bar England has never seen. in triumph to the royal laboratory, where his Jones, Scroggs, Jeffries, North, Wright, Sawmajesty, after a brutal jest, dissects it for the yer, Williams, Shower, are to this day the spots amusement of the assembly, and probably of and blemishes of our legal chronicles. Differ. its father among the rest! The favourite ing in constitution and in situation, whether duchess stamps about Whitehall, cursing and blustering or cringing, whether persecuting swearing. The ministers employ their time Protestants or Catholics, they were equally at the council-board in making mouths at each unprincipled and inhuman. The part which other, and taking off each other's gestures for the church played was not equally atrocious; the amusement of the king. The peers at a but it must have been exquisitely diverting to conference begin to pommel each other, and a scoffer. Never were principles so loudly to tear collars and periwigs. A speaker in professed, and so flagrantly abandoned. The the House of Commons gives offence to the royal prerogative had been magnified to the court. He is waylaid by a gang of bullies, skies in theological works; the doctrine of and his nose is cut to the bone. This igno- passive obedience had been preached from in. minious dissoluteness, or rather, if we may numerable pulpits. The University of Oxford venture to designate it by the only proper had sentenced the works of the most moderate word, blackguardism of feelings and manners, constitutionalists to the flames. The accession could not but spread from private to public of a Catholic king, the frightful cruelties comlife. The cynical sneers, the epicurean so- mitted in the West of England, never shook phistry, which had driven honour and virtue the steady loyalty of the clergy. But did they from one part of the character, extended their serve the king for naught? He laid his handinfluence over every other. The second ge- on them, and they cursed him to his face. He neration of the statesmen of this reign were touched the revenue of a college and the worthy pupils of the schools in which they liberty of some prelates, and the whole prohad been trained, of the gaming-table of fession set up a yell worthy of Hugh Peters Grammont, and the tiring-room of Nell. In himself. Oxford sent its plate to an invader no other age could such a trifler as Bucking- with more alacrity than she had shown when nam have exercised any political influence. Charles the First requested it. Nothing was In no other age could the path to power and said about the wickedness of resistance till glory have been thrown open to the manifold resistance had done its work, till the anointed infamies of Churchill.
vicegerent of heaven had been driven away, The history of that celebrated man shows, and it had become plain that he would never more clearly perhaps than that of any other be restored, or would be restored at least individual, the malignity and extent of the cor- under strict limitations. The clergy went ruption which had eaten into the heart of the back, it must be owned, to their old theory, as public morality. An English gentleman of soon as they found that it would do them no family attaches himself to a prince who has harm. seduced his sister, and accepts rank and
To the general haseness and profligacy of wealth as the price of her shame and his own. the times, Clarendon is principally indebted He then repays by ingratitude the benefits for his high reputation. He was, in every which he has purchased by ignominy, betrays respect, a man unfit for his age, at once too his patron in a manner which the best cause good for it and too bad for it. He seemed to cannot excuse, and commits an act, not only be one of the statesmen of Elizabeth, transof private treachery, but of distinct military planted at once to a state of society widely desertion. To his conduct at the crisis of the different from that in which the abilities of fate of James, no service in modern times has, such statesmen had been serviceable. In the as far as we remember, furnished any parallel. sixteenth century, the royal prerogative had The conduct of Ney, scandalous enough no scarcely been called in question. A minister doubt, is the very fastidiousness of honour in who held it high was in no danger, so long as comparison of it. The perfidy of Arnold ap- he used it well. The attachment to the crown, proaches it most nearly. In our age and that extreme jealousy of popular encroachcountry no talents, no services, no party at- ments, that love, half religious, half political, tachments, could bear any man up under such for the church, which, from the beginning of mountains of infamy. Yet, even before the Long Parliament, showed itself in ClarenChurchili had performed those great actions, don, and which his sufferings, his long resiwhich in some degree redeem bus character dence in France, and his high station in the with posterity, the load lay very lightly on him. government, served to strengthen, would, a He had others in abundance to keep him coun- hundred years earlier, have secured to him the imrance. Godolphin, Oxford, Danby, the trim- favour of his sovereign without rendering him
odious to the people. His probity, his correcto * Tive manner in which Hamilton relates the circuin- ness in private life, his decency of deportment, stances of the atrocious plot against poor Ann Hyde is, and his general ability, would not have misbe*t possible, more disgraceful to the court, of which he may be considered as a specimen, than the plot itself. I come a colleague of Walsingham and Bur.
leigh. But in the times on which he was cast, or rather pirates. The strongest aversion his errors and his virtues were alike out of which he can feel to any foreign power is the place. He imprisoned men without trial. He ardour of friendship, compared with the loathwas accused of raising unlawful contributions ing which he entertains towards those domeson the people for the support of the army. The tic foes with whom he is cooped up in a narrow abolition of the Triennial Act was one of his space, with whom he lives in a constant interfavourite objects. He seems to have meditated change of petty injuries and insults, and from the revival of the Star-Chamber and the High whom, in the day of their success, he has to Commission Court. His zeal for the preroga- expect severities far beyond any that a contive made him unpopular; but it could not queror from a distant country would inflict. secure to him the favour of a master far more Thus, in Greece, it was a point of honour for a desirous of ease and pleasure than of power. man to leave his country and cleave to his Charles would rather have lived in exile and party. No aristocratical citizen of Samos or privacy, with abundance of money, a crowd Corcyra would have hesitated to call in the aid of mimics to amuse him, and a score of mis- of Lacedæmon. The maltitude, on the con. tresses, than have purchased the absolute trary, looked to Athens. In the Italian states dominion of the world by the privations and of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, from exertions to which Clarendon was constantly the same cause, no man was so much a Flourging him. A councillor who was always rentine or a Pisan, as a Ghibeline or a Guelf. ? bringing him papers and giving him advice, It may be doubted whether there was a single and who stoutly refused to compliment Lady individual who would have scrupled to raise Castlemaine and 10 carry messages to Miss his party from a state of depression, by openStewart, soon became more hateful to him ing the gates of his native city to a French or than ever Cromwell had been. Thus consi- an Arragonese force. The Reformation, didered by the people as an oppressor, by the viding almost every European country into court as a censor, the minister fell from his two parts, produced similar effects. The Cahigh office, with a ruin more violent and tholic was too strong for the Englishman: the destructive than could ever have been his fate, Huguenot for the Frenchman. The Protestant if he had either respected the principles of the statesmen of Scotland and France accordingly constitution, or flattered the vices of the king. called in the aid of Elizabeth; and the Papists
Mr. Hallam has formed, we think, a most of the League brought a Spanish army into the correct estimate of the character and adminis- very heart of France. The commotions to tration of Clarendon. But he scarcely makes which the French Revolution gave rise have sufficient allowance for the wear and tear been followed by the same consequences. The which honesty almost necessarily sustains in republicans in every part of Europe were the friction of political life, and which, in eager to see the armies of the National Contimes so rough as those through which Claren- vention and the Directory appear among them; don passed, must be very considerable. When and exulted in defeats which distressed and these are fairly estimated, we think that his humbled those whom they considered as their integrity may be allowed to pass muster. A worst enemies, their own rulers. The princes highminded man he certainly was not, either and nobles of France, (o the other hand, dij in public or in private affairs. His own ac- their utmost to bring foreign invaders to Paris, count of his conduct in the affair of his daugh- A very short time has elapsed since the Apos. ter is the most extraordinary passage in auto-tolical party in Spain invoked, too successbiography. We except nothing even in the fully, the support of strangers. Confessions of Rousseau. Several writers The great contest, which raged in England have taken a perverted and absurd pride in during the seventeenth century and the earlier representing themselves as detestable; but no part of the eighteenth, extinguished, not indeed other ever laboured hard to make himself des- in the body of the people, but in those classes picable and ridiculous. In one important which were most actively engaged in politics, particular, Clarendon showed as little regard almost all national feelings. Charles the Se. to the honour of his country as he had shown cond and many of his courtiers had passed a to that of his family. He accepted a subsidy large part of their lives in banishment, serve from France for the relief of Portugal. But ing in foreign armies, living on the bounty this method of obtaining money was afterwards of foreign treasuries, soliciting foreigr. aid to practised to a much greater extent, and for re-establish monarchy in their native country. objects much less respectable, both by the The oppressed Cavaliers in England constantCourt and by the Opposition.
ly looked to France and Spain for deliverance These pecuniary transactions are commonly and revenge. Clarendon censures the Conticonsidered as the most disgraceful part of the nental governments with great bitterness for history of those times; and they were no doubt not interfering in our internal dissensions. highly reprehensible. Yet, in justice to the During the protectorate, not only the royalists, Whigs, and to Charles himself, we must admit but the disaffected of all parties, appear to have that they were not so shameful or atrocious been desirous of assistance from abroad. It as at the present day they appear. The effect is not strange, therefore, that amidst the fu. of violent animosities between parties has rious contests which followed the Restoration, always been an indifference to the general the violence of party feeling should produce welfare and honour of the state. A politician, effects, which would probably have attended where factions run high, is interested, not for it even in an age less distinguished by laxity the whole people, but for his own section of it. of principle and indelicacy of sentiment. It The rest are, in his view, strangers, enemies, was not till a natural death had terminated the
paralytic old age of the Jacobite party, that the tal laws of the country, who had attacked the evil was completely at an end. The Whigs rights of its greatest corporations, who had looked to Holland; the High Tories to France. begun to persecute the established religion of The former concluded the Barrier Treaty; the state, who had never respected the law some of the latter entreated the court of Ver- either in his superstition or in his revenge, sailles to serd an expedition to England. could not be pulled down without the aid of a Many men who, however erroneous their poli- foreign army, is a circumstance not very tical notions might be, were unquestionably grateful to our national pride. Yet this is the honourable in private life, accepted money least degrading part of the story. The shamewithout scruple from the foreign powers fa- ess insincerity, the warm assurances of genevourable to the Pretender.
ral support which James received down to Never was there less of national feeling the moment of general desertion, indicate a among the higher orders, than during the reign meanness of spirit and a looseness of moraliof Charles the Second. That prince, on the ty most disgraceful to the age. That the en. one side, thought it better to be the deputy of terprise succeeded, at least ihat it succeeded an absolute king, than the king of a free peo- without bloodshed or commotion, was principle. Algernon Sydney, on the other hand, pally owing to an act of ungrateful perfidy, would gladly have aided France in all her such as no soldier had ever before committed, ambitious schemes, and have seen England and to those monstrous fictions respecting the reduced to the condition of a province, in the birth of the Prince of Wales, which persons of wild hope that a foreign despot would assist the highest rank were not ashamed to circu. him to establish his darling republic. The late. In all the proceedings of the Convenking took the money of France to assist him tion, in the conference particularly, we see in the enterprise which he meditated against that littleness of mind which is the chief chathe liberty of his subjects, with as little scru-racteristic of the times. The resolutions on ple as Frederic of Prussia or Alexander of which the two Houses at last agreed were as Russia accepted our subsidies in time of war. bad as any resolutions for so excellent a purThe leaders of the Opposition no more thought pose could be. Their feeble and contradictory themselves disgraced by the presents of Louis, language was evidently intended to save the than a gentleman of our own time thinks him- credit of the Tories, who were ashamed to self disgraced by the liberality of a powerful name what they were not ashamed to do. and wealthy member of his party who pays Through the whole transaction, no commandhis election bill. The money which the king ing talents were displayed by any Englishman; received from France had been largely em- no extraordinary risks were run; no sacrifices ployed to corrupt members of Parliament. The were made, except the sacrifice which Churchenemies of the court might think it fair, or ill made of honour, and Anne of natural asseceven absolutely necessary, to encounter bribe- tion. ry with bribery. Thus they took the French It was in some sense fortunate, as we have gratuities, the needy among them for their already said, for the Church of Englard, that own use, the rich probably for the general the Reformation in this country was effected purposes of the party, without any scruple. If by men who cared little about religion. And, we compare their conduct, not with that of in the same manner, it was fortunate for our English statesmen in our own time, but with civil government that the Revolution was in a that of persons in those foreign countries great measure effected by men who cared little which are now situated as England then was, about their political principles. At such a we shall probably see reason to abate some- crisis, splendid talents and strong passions thing of the severity of censure with which it might have done more harm than good. There has been the fashion to visit those proceed was far greater reason to fear that too much ings. Yet, when every allowance is made, would be attempted, and that violent move the transaction is sufficiently offensive. It is ments would produce an equally violent reacsatisfactory to find that Lord Russel stands free tion, than that too little would be done in the from any imputation of personal participation in way of change. But narrowness of inteilect the spoil. An age, so miserably poor in all the and flexibility of principles, though they may inoral qualities which render public characters be serviceable, can never be respectable. respeciable, can ill spare the credit which it If in the Revolution itself there was little that derives from a man, not indeed conspicuous can properly be called glorious, there was still for talents or knowledge, but honest even in less in the events which followed. In a church his errors, respectable in every relation of life, which had as one man declared the doctrine rationally pious, steadily and placidly brave. of resistance unchristian, only four hundred
The great improvement which took place in persons resused to take the oath of allegiance our breed of public men is principally to be to a government founded on resistance! In ascrived to the Revolution. Yet that memo- the preceding generation, boih the Episcopal rable event, in a great measure, took its cha- and the Presbyterian clergy, rather than conracter from the very vices which it was the cede points of conscience not more imporiant, means of reforming. It was, assuredly, a hap- had resigned their livings by thousands. ry revolution, and a useful revolution; but it The churchmen, at the time of the Revolu. was not, what it has often been called, a glo- tion, justified their conduct by all those proflirious revolution. William, and William alone, gate sophisms which are called jesuitical, and derived glory from it. The transaction was, which are commonly reckoned among the pein almost every part, discreditable to England. culiar sins of Popery; but which in fact are That a tyrant, whe had violated the fundamen-I everywhere the anodyles employed by minds
rather subtle than strong, to quiet those inter-1 Anne, treated some of those who had directed nal twinges which they cannot but feel, and public affairs during the war of the Grand Al. which they will not obey. As their oath was liance, and the retaliatory measures of the in the teeth of their principles, so was their Whigs after the accession of the house of lla. conduct in the teeth of their oath. Their con- nover, cannot be justified; but they were by stant machinations against the government to no means in the style of the infuriated parties which they had sworn fidelity, brought a re- whose alternate murders had disgraced our proach on their order, and on Christianity history towards the close of the reign of Charles itself. A distinguished churchman has not the Second. At the fall of Walpole far greater scrupled to say, that the rapid increase of infi- moderation was displayed. And from that time delity at that time was principally produced by it has been the practice-a practice not stricte the disgust, which the faithless conduct of his ly according to the theory of our constitution, brethren excited, in men not sufficiently can- but still most salutary-to consider the loss of did or judicious, lo discern the beauties of the office and the public disapprobation as punish. system amidst the vices of its ministers. ments sufficient for errors in the administration
But the reproach was not confined to the not imputable to personal corruption. Nothing, church. In every political party, in the cabi- we believe, has contributed more than this lenet itself, duplicity and perfidy abounded. The nity to raise the character of public men. Am. very men whom William loaded with benefits, bition is of itself a game sufficiently hazardous and in whom he reposed most confidence, with and sufficiently deep to inflame the passions, his seals of office in their hands, kept up a without adding property, lise, and liberty to the correspondence with the exiled family. Ox- stake. Where the play runs so desperately ford, Carmarthen, and Shrewsbury were guilty high as in the seventeenth century, honour is of this odious treachery. Even Devonshire is at an end. Statesmen, instead of being as they not altogether free from suspicion. It may should be, at once mild and steady, are at once well be conceived that at such a time such a ferocious and inconsistent. The axe is forever nature as that of Marlborough would riot in before their eyes. A popular outcry somethe very luxury of baseness. His former trea- times unnerves them, and sometimes makes sop, thoroughly furnished with all that makes them desperate; it drives them to unworthy infanıy exquisite, placed him indeed under the compliances, or to measures of vengeance as disadvantage which attends every artist from cruel as those which they have reason to expect. the time that he produces a masterpiece. Yet A minister in our times need not fear either to his second great stroke may excite wonder, be firm or to be merciful. Our old policy in even in those who appreciate all the merit of this respect was as absurd as that of the king the first. Lest his admirers should be able to in the Eastern Tales, who proclaimed that any say that at the time of the Revolution he had physician who pleased might come to court betrayed his king from any other than selfish and prescribe for his disease, but that if the motives, he proceeded to betrạy his country. remedies failed the adventurer should lose his He sent intelligence to the French court of a head. It is easy to conceive how many able secret expedition intended to attack Brest. The men would 'refuse to undertake the cure on consequence was that the expedition failed, and such conditions ; how much the sense of exthat eight hundred British soldiers lost their treme danger would confuse the perceptions lives from the abandoned villany of a British and cloud the intellect of the practitioner at general. Yet this man has been canonized by the very crisis which most called for self-posso many eminent writers, that to speak of him session, and how strong his temptation would as he deserves may seem scarcely decent. To be, if he found that he had committed a blunus he seems to be the very San Ciappelletto der, to escape the consequences of it by poiof the political calendar.
soning his patient. The reign of William the Third, as Mr. Hal- But in fact it would have been impossible, lam happily says, was the nadir of the nation since the Revolution, to punish any minister al prosperity. It was also the nadir of the for the general course of his policy with the national character. During that period was slightest semblance of justice ; for since that gathered in the rank harvest of vices sown time no minister has been able to pursue any during thirty years of licentiousness and con- general course of policy without the approba. fusion; but it was also the seed-time of great tion of the Parliament. The most important efvirtues.
fects of that great change were, as Mr. Hallam The press was emancipated from the cen- has most truly said and most ably shown, those sorship soon after the Revolution, and the go- which it indirectly produced. Thenceforward vernment fell immediately und the censor- it became the interest of the executive govern. ship of the fress. Statesmen had a scrutiny ment to protect those very doctrines which an to endure wrhch was every day becoming more executive government is in general inclined and more severe. The extreme violence of to persecute. The sovereign, the ministers, opinions abated. The Whigs learned modera- the courtiers, at last even the universities and tion in office; the Tories learned the principles the clergy, were changed into advocates or of liberty in opposition. The parties almost the right of resistance. In the theory of tho constantly approximated, often met, sometimes Whigs, in the situation of the Tories, in the crossed each other. There were occasional common interest of all public men, the Parliabursts of violence; but from the time of the Re- mentary constitution of the country found pervolution those bursts were constantly becom- fect security. The power of the House of ing less and less terrible. The severities with Commons, in particular, has been steadily on which the Tories, at the close of the reign on the increase. By the practice of granting sup