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eration which is accustomed to find chivalrous sentiments only in company with liberal studies and polished manners to image to itself a man with the deportment, the vocabulary, and the accent of a carter, yet punctilious on matters of genealogy and precedence, and yet ready to risk his life rather than see a stain cast on the honor of his house. It is only, however, by thus joining together things seldom or never found together in our own experience that we can form a just idea of that rustic aristocracy which constituted the main strength of the armies of Charles I, and which long supported with strange fidelity the interest of his descendants.
The gross, uneducated, untraveled country gentleman 12 was commonly a Tory; but, though devotedly attached to hereditary monarchy, he had no partiality for courtiers and ministers. He thought, not without reason, that Whitehall was filled with the most corrupt of mankind; that, of the great sums which the House of Commons had voted to the crown since the Restoration, part had been embezzled by cunning politicians, and part squandered on buffoons and foreign courtesans. His stout English heart swelled with indignation at the thought that the government of his country should be subject to French dictation. Being himself generally an old cavalier, or the son of an old cavalier, he reflected with bitter resentment on the ingratitude with which the Stuarts had requited their best friends. Those who heard him grumble at the neglect with which he was treated, and at the profusion with which wealth was lavished on the children of Nell Gwynn and Madam Carwell, would have supposed him ripe for rebellion. But all this ill-humor lasted only 13 till the throne was really in danger. It was precisely when those whom the sovereign had loaded with wealth and honors shrank from his side that the country gentlemen,
so surly and mutinous in the season of his prosperity, rallied round him in a body. Thus, after murmuring twenty years at the misgovernment of Charles II, they came to his rescue in his extremity, when his own secretaries of state and lords of the treasury had deserted him, and enabled him to gain a complete victory over the opposition; nor can there be any doubt that they would have shown equal loyalty to his brother James, if James would
even at the moment have refrained from outraging their 14 strongest feeling. For there was one institution, and
one only, which they prized even more than hereditary monarchy; and that institution was the Church of England. Their love of the Church was not, indeed, the effect of study or meditation. Few among them could have given any reason, drawn from Scripture or ecclesiastical history, for adhering to her doctrines, her ritual, and her polity; nor were they, as a class, by any means strict observers of that code of morality which is common to all Christian sects. But the experience of many ages proves that men may be ready to fight to the death, and to persecute without pity, for a religion whose creed they do not understand, and whose precepts they habitually
disobey. 15 When the lord of a Lincolnshire or Shropshire manor
appeared in Fleet Street, he was as easily distinguished from the resident population as a Turk or a Lascar. His dress, his gait, his accent, the manner in which he stared at the shops, stumbled into the gutters, ran against the porters, and stood under the water-spouts, marked him out as an excellent subject for the operations of swindlers and banterers. Bullies jostled him into the kennel. Hackney-coachmen splashed him from head to foot. Thieves explored with perfect security the huge pockets of his horseman's coat, while he stood entranced by the
splendor of the lord-mayor's show. Money-droppers, sore from the cart's tail, introduced themselves to him, and appeared to him the most friendly gentlemen that he had
Painted women, the refuse of Lewkner Lane and Whatstone Park, passed themselves on him for countesses and maids of honor. If he asked his way to 16 St. James's, his informant sent him to Mile End. If he went into a shop, he was instantly discerned to be a purchaser of everything that nobody else would buyof second-hand embroidery, copper rings, and watches that would not go. If he rambled into any fashionable coffee-house, he became a mark for the insolent derision of fops and the grave waggery of Templars. Enraged and mortified, he soon returned to his mansion; and there, in the homage of his tenants, and the conversation of his boon companions, found consolation for the vexations and humiliations he had undergone. There he once more found himself a great man; and he saw nothing above him, except when at the assizes he took his seat on the bench near the judge, or when at the muster of the militia he saluted the lord-lieutenant.
EXORDIUM TO HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
HISTORY OF ENGLAND."
This exordium is a fine illustration of Macaulay's brilliant rhetoric. In his “ History of England” his style attains its climax, and some of his sketches of men and of epochs, though, perhaps, marked by a tendency to exaggeration, are unsurpassed in all historical literature as examples of graphic delineation. His superb rhythm and his powers of description captivate the imagination, as well as
the taste of his readers; and, if bis estimates are not always marked by that strict sobriety of judgment wbich distinguishes Von Ranke, he is invaluable to young students by reason of the stimulus he imparts to historical reading, an obligation which many now in the vigor of manhood will most gratefully acknowledge.
1 I PURPOSE to write the history of England from the accession of King James II down to a time which is within the memory of men still living. I shall recount the errors which, in a few months, alienated a loyal gentry and priesthood from the house of Stuart. I shall trace the course of that revolution which terminated the long struggle between our sovereigns and their parliaments, and bound up together the rights of the people and the title of the reigning dynasty. I shall relate how the new settlement was, during many troubled years, successfully defended against foreign and domestic enemies; how, under that settlement, the authority of law and the security of property were found to be compatible with a liberty of discussion and of individual action never before known; how, from the auspicious union of order and freedom, sprang a prosperity of which the annals of human affairs had furnished no example; how our country, from a state of ignominious vassalage, rapidly rose to the place of umpire among European powers; how her opulence and her martial glory grew together; how, by wise and resolute good faith, was gradually established a public credit fruitful of marvels, which to the statesmen of any former age would have seemed incredible; how a gigantic commerce gave birth to a maritime power compared with which every other maritime power, ancient or modern, sinks into insignificance; how Scotland, after ages of enmity, was at length united to England, not merely by legal bonds, but by indissoluble ties of interest and affection; how in America the British colonies rap
idly became far mightier and wealthier than the realms which Cortes and Pizarro had added to the dominions of Charles V; how in Asia British adventurers founded an empire not less splendid and more durable than that of Alexander.
Nor will it be less my duty faithfully to record disas- 2 ters mingled with triumphs, with great national crimes and follies far more humiliating than any disaster. It will be seen that what we justly account our chief blessings were not without alloy. It will be seen that the system which effectually secured our liberties against the encroachments of kingly power gave birth to a new class of abuses from which absolute monarchies are exempt. It will be seen that, in consequence partly of unwise interference and partly of unwise neglect, the increase of wealth and the extension of trade produced, together with immense good, some evils from which poor and rude societies are free. It will be seen how, in two important dependencies of the crown, wrong was followed by just retribution; how imprudence and obstinacy broke the ties which bound the North American colonies to the parent state; how Ireland, cursed by the domination of race over race, and of religion over religion, remained indeed a member of the empire, but a withered and distorted member, adding no strength to the body politic, and reproachfully pointed at by all who feared or envied the greatness of England.
Yet, unless I greatly deceive myself, the general effect 3 of this checkered narrative will be to excite thankfulness in all religious minds, and hope in the breasts of all patriots. For the history of our country during the last hundred and sixty years is eminently the history of physical, of moral, and of intellectual improvement. Those who compare the age on which their lot has fallen with a