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on account of his religious opinions ; or from any James the Second, was set at rest by his downfall, idea that those opinions would prevent the dis- and, having slept during more than a century, was charge of his ordinary duties. He was excluded revived by that great stirring of the human mind because he substantially formed a member of a of France. During thirty years the contest went on
which followed the meeting of the National Assembly conspiracy or confederation, which had for its in both houses of Parliament, in every constituent avowed object to overset both the established re- body, in every social circle. It destroyed adminisligion and the civil liberties of the nation ; and no trations, broke up parties, made all government in one can doubt that had the Test Act not passed, both one part of the empire impossible, and at length would unquestionably have been sacrificed. It is brought us to the verge of civil war. Even when equally certain that the same precautions were the struggle had terminated, the passions to which
it had given birth still continued to rage. It was necessary for the protection of the new order of
scarcely possible for any man whose mind was unthings established at the revolution. It was the
der the influence of those passions to see the events men who were dangerous, not the opinions; and of the years 1687 and 1688 in a perfectly correct at them the measures in question were levelled. light.
While, therefore, we would by no means say One class of politicians, starting from the true that, apart from imminent political dangers, the proposition that the revolution had been a great religious intolerance of the revolution Protestants blessing to our country, arrived at the false conclumight not have led to unjustifiable results, it is sion that no test which the statesmen of the revoquite clear, from Mr. Macaulay's narrative, that our religion and our freedom, could be safely abol
lution had thought necessary for the protection of the Test Bill originally, and the safeguards adopt-ished. “Another class, starting from the true proped at the revolution, afford not the slightest evi- osition that the disabilities imposed on the Roman dence that it would have done so. These were Catholics had long been productive of nothing but barriers thrown up to exclude an avowed, open mischief, arrived at the false conclusion that there and acknowledged enemy.
This and this alone never could have been a time when those disabilihad been the policy of Elizabeth. Bacon scorn- former fallacy pervaded the speeches of the acute
ties could have been useful and necessary. The fully denies the contrary imputation. And in the and learned Éldon. The latter was not altogether case of James himself, he was not so much driven without influence even on an intellect so calm and out because he favored Popery, as Popery was philosophical as that of Mackintosh. excluded because it alone, and its adherents, then Perhaps, however, it will be found on examinaprompted, maintained, and defended the arbitrary tion that we may vindicate the course which was and dark counsels of James. In the penal statutes unanimously approved by all the great English the nation were not doing homage to an abstract
statesmen of the seventeenth century, without
questioning the wisdom of the course which was principle. They were not vindicating the pu: unanimously approved by all the great English rity of the Protestant religion-or placing civil statesmen of our own time. government on a religious basis. They were Undoubtedly it is an evil that any citizen should only defending themselves by an act of ordinary be excluded from civil employment on account of prudence. They had seen their most sacred his religious opinions ; but a choice between evils privileges and their dearest interests menaced by is sometimes all that is left to human wisdom. A Popery. Irish mercenaries guarded the king; majority must either impose disabilities or submit
nation may be placed in such a situation that the and avowedly only waited the hour of strength to to them; and that what would, under ordinary cirdestroy the constitution. The rights of old foun- cumstances, be justly condemned as persecution dations and corporations were set at nought, and may fall within the bounds of legitimate selfpopish priests intruded into the dignities of the defence ; and such was, in the year 1687, the situchurch and the universities. If the nation had ation of England. host the game, Popery would unquestionably have
According to the constitution of the realm,
James won it. The nation was triumphant; and Popery public functionaries, political, judicial, ecclesias
possessed the right of naming almost all only shared, for the time, the usual fate, and, in tical, military, and naval. In the exercise of this this instance, deserved fate, of the vanquished. right he was not, as our sovereigns now are, under
We do not recollect to have met, anywhere, the necessity of acting in conforinity with the adwith so calm and convincing an elucidation of this vice of ministers approved by the House of Comvery important topic, as Mr. Macaulay has fur- mons. It was evident therefore that, unless he nished us with in the passage quoted below, were strictly bound by law to bestow office on none which we make our solitary extract, not as an in- office on none but Roman Catholics. The Roman
but Protestants, it would be in his power to bestow stance of brilliant composition, but as a clear and Catholics were few in number; and among them unanswerable view of a series of facts, which was not a single man whose services could be serihave been perverted, until very recently, to very ously missed by the commonwealth. The proporintolerant and ignoble party purposes.
tion which they bore to the population of England
was very much smaller than at present. For at It is not easy for any person who, in our time, present a constant stream of emigration runs from undertakes to treat of the revolution which over- Ireland to our great towns; but in the seventeenth threw the Stuaris, to preserve with steadiness the century there was not even in London an Irish colhappy mean between these two extremes. The ony. Forty-nine fiftieths of the inhabitants of the question whether members of the Roman Catholic kingdom, forty-nine fiftieths of the property of the church could be safely admitted to Parliament and kingdom, almost all the political, legal, and military to office convulsed our country during the reign of ability and knowledge to be found in the kingdom, were Protestant. Nevertheless the king, under a la partition of offices ; and carefully to reserve for strong infatuation, had determined to use his vast the members of the Church of Rome a portion which patronage as a means of making proselytes. To might have sufficed for them if they had been one be of his church was, in his view, the first of all half instead of one fiftieth part of the nation. One qualifications for office. To be of the national secretary of state, one commissioner of the treasury, church was a positive disqualification. He repro- the secretary at war, the majority of the great digbated, it is true, in language which has been ap- nitaries of the household, the majority of the officers plauded by some credulous friends of religious lib- of the army, are always to be Catholics. Such were erty, the monstrous injustice of that test which the designs of James after his perverse bigotry had excluded a small minority of the nation from public drawn on him a punishment which had appalled the trust; but he was at the same time instituting a whole world. Is it then possible to doubt what his test which excluded the majority: He thought it conduct would have been, if his people, deluded by hard that a man who was a good financier and a the empty name of religious liberty, had suffered loyal subject should be excluded from the post of him to proceed without any check? lord treasurer, merely for being a Papist. But Even Penn, intemperate and undiscerning as was he had himself turned out a lord treasurer, whom his zeal for the declaration, seems to have felt that he admitted to be a good financier and a loyal sub- the partiality with which honors and emoluments ject, merely for being a Protestant. He had re- were heaped on Roman Catholics might not unnatpeatedly and distinctly declared his resolution never urally excite the jealousy of the nation. He owned to put the white staff in the hands of any heretic. that, if the test act were repealed, the Protestants With many other great offices of state he had dealt were entitled to an equivalent, and went so far as to in the same way. Already the lord president, the suggest several equivalents. During some weeks lord privy seal, the lord chamberlain, the groom of the word equivalent, then lately imported from the stole, the first lord of the treasury, a secretary France, was in the mouths of all the coffee-house of state, the lord high commissioner of Scotland, orators; but at length a few pages of keen logic the chancellor of Scotland, the secretary of Scot- and polished sarcasm, written by Halifax, put an land, were, or pretended to be, Roman Catholics. end to these idle projects. One of Penn's schemes Most of these functionaries had been bred church was that a law should be passed dividing the patmen, and had been guilty of apostasy, open or ronage of the crown into three equal parts; and secret, in order to obtain or to keep their high that to one only of those parts members of the places. Every Protestant who still held an im- Church of Rome should be admitted. Even under portant post in the government held it in constant such an arrangement the members of the Church of uncertainty and fear. It would be endless to re- Rome would have obtained near twenty times their count the situations of a lower rank which were fair portion of official appointments; and yet there filled by the favored class. Roman Catholics al- is no reason to believe that even to such an arrangeready swarmed in every department of the public ment the king would have consented. But, had he service. They were lords lieutenants, deputy consented, what guarantee could he give that he lieutenants, judges, justices of the peace, commis- would adhere to his bargain? The dilemma prosioners of the customs, envoys to foreign courts, pounded by Halifax was unanswerable. If laws colonels of regiments, governors of fortresses. The are binding on you, observe the law which now share which in a few months they had obtained of exists. If laws are not binding on you, it is idle to the temporal patronage of the crown, was much offer us a law as a security. more than ten times as great as they would have It is clear, therefore, that the point at issue was had under an impartial system. Yet this was not not whether secular offices should be thrown open the worst. They were made rulers of the Church to all sects indifferently. While James was king of England. Men who had assured the king that it was inevitable that there should be exclusion ; they held his faith, sat in the high commission ; and the only question was who should be excluded? and exercised supreme jurisdiction in spiritual —Papists or Protestants, the few or the many, a things over all the prelates and priests of the estab- hundred thousand Englishmen or five millions. lished religion. Ecclesiastical benefices of great We look on this passage as one of very grave dignity had been bestowed, some on avowed and lasting importance, as far as the example of Papists, and some on half concealed Papists. And those times is of moment in our own. Indeed, the all this had been done while the laws against Popery were still unrepealed—and while James principle of religious toleration actually made proghad still a strong interest in affecting respect for ress under James, as far as the merely religious the rights of conscience. What then was his con- element was concerned. Puritanism did by no duct likely to be, if his subjects consented to free means flame so high in England at that time as it him, by a legislative act, from even the shadow of did this side the border; and there really seems restraint? Is it possible to doubt that Protestants little reason to believe that, if the nation could have would have been as effectually excluded from em- felt satisfied that neither the church establishment ployment, by a strictly legal use of the royal prerogative, as ever Roman Catholics had been by act
nor freedom of person and conscience would have of Parliament ?
been endangered by the repeal of the test, there How obstinately James was determined to bestow would have been any deep resistance, on religious on the members of his own church a share of patron- grounds, against the admission of Roman Catholics age altogether out of proportion to their numbers to secular power. That very singular negotiation and importance, is proved by the instructions which, with the dissenters, on the part both of James and in exile and old age, he drew up for the guidance the Church of England, which Mr. Macaulay deof his son. It is impossible to read, without mingled pity and derision, those effusions of a mind on scribes with so much spirit, and the subsequent cor. which all the discipline of experience and adversity diality with which the church and 'the dissenters had been exhausted in vain. The Pretender is ad- coöperated at the trial of the bishops, certainly vised, if ever he should reign in England, to make evince far more liberality on the part of both the Episcopalian and the dissenting clergy of that day, the highest degree felicitous. They saved this than many of their descendants could boast of. nation, by their happy coincidence, from the neces
Perhaps the most original and brilliant part of sity of resolving many difficult questions, in extrithe whole work, is the author's description of the cating which too many states and commonwealths character, views, and opinions of King William; have “found no end." He was not a conqueror, and his estimate of the effects of that character and for he came by invitation. He was not a creature those views on the immediate condition and future of the hour, for he dictated his own terms. He was fortunes of England. Nothing more powerful in not a usurper or an upstart, for his position was but writing, more discriminating in judgment, or more a step higher, and his time a few years earlier, than masterly in comprehensive analysis, is to be found the strict course of succession would have made in English history. Even here, Mr. Macaulay's them; yet he did not continue the dynasty, and he eye for the picturesque has not failed him; and broke once and forever that ill-twisted cord on there is a singular felicity in the contrast between which depended his character of William and that which he had
The right divine of kings to govern wrong. drawn of James. The picture is, as far as we can judge, in no respect overdrawn or flattered; but He was not an alien to our nation or our blood, nothing could be more strongly or happily marked for he was doubly connected with the royal line of than the far-sighted, intellectual, energetic character England ; and yet he was so thoroughly removed of the one, when set off as a foil to the imbecility, from the provincialisms of English party-so thorinjustice, and indecision of the other.
oughly European in his statesmanship and his views, The account of the origin and progress of the that all grades of rank, and men of all shades of intrigue, for such it was, which brought William political opinion, felt that in welcoming him they to our shores, is one of the most elaborate and most gave no triumph to an adversary. Thus he occuvaluable parts of the volume before us. Mr. Mac- pied at once that position of independent and constiaulay had access to many sources of information on tutional isolation of which the juncture of the times this subject, which collectively no other writer has stood so much in need, and was enabled to hold the ever probably enjoyed, and he has probably thrown balance even between contending factions, as the all the light on it which it is now capable of receiv- arbiter of their differences, while he was the sering. The result of the narrative is to show how com- vant only of the constitution. pletely the destinies, not of this country only, but All this was greatly aided by the nature of his of Europe, hung on the will of one man—and that personal ambition. He was the more gladly subman not a mighty monarch, but the prince of a mitted to, and, indeed, welcomed by the nation at third-rate territory. We found in this account two large, that the crown of England was not a prize things of which we had not been so distinctly aware at which he was too eager to grasp ;—and that he before. The first was the object which William made it evident that, except with the goodwill of had in his English enterprise. The European pol- his future subjects, and on terms honorable to himicy of William is familiar to everybody. But we self, he had no desire to rule over them. Nor was certainly never saw it so clearly explained else- there any affectation in this. It would not have where, how entirely subordinate the English throne aided the schemes he had really at heart, to have was, in the mind of the Prince of Orange, to his succeeded to the tedious task of controlling a murgreat European schemes ; or how completely he muring and unwilling nation, and maintaining an regarded it as a mere rampart constructed against alien sceptre by the swords of mercenaries.
That the power and the encroachments of France. Our would have infused no additional strength into the author develops this view in the most convincing great Protestant alliance of Europe. It would, on manner; and it serves to explain much in William's the contrary, have proved a new source of anxiety subsequent conduct, which must otherwise appear and weakness. Therefore it was that he would not inconsistent or unintelligible—however little grati- strike the blow, until he was sure the design was fying the explanation may be to our national pride. ripe; and that he waited with such singular sagacity It is not, we confess, without some regret that we till the appointed time-resisting the solicitations acknowledge the truth of this view of the " great of too eager friends, and the lures of enticing opporand good King William.” We had supposed him tunity. He had no wish for the kingdom unless he more of a fellow-countryman than he ever was, or acquired it under circumstances which should leave wished to be. Well and nobly as he discharged him leisure, while they gave him power, to use all the duties of sovereignty in the land which adopted the energies of the ancient monarchy he represented, him, his heart evidently never naturalized itself to in defence and furtherance of his great scheme of his English home; and in his inmost soul he cursed European policy. our politics, our sports, and our climate to the last. While thus the Prince of Orange, in ascending He was in fact transplanted too late in life to take the throne of England, had no local interests to kindly to our soil ; but he came among us with high serve, or wrongs to avenge, he saved us also from views and lofty ends; and how these were carried that worst result of revolutions, the dislodgment of out, we may safely predict has never yet been told those rude but strong corner-stones on which the as Mr. Macaulay will tell us in his next volume. foundations of the constitution were built. For, let
Indeed, the accidental combination of circum- men theorize as they may, nothing is clearer by stances which placed William on the throne was in experience than that a free constitution cannot be safely or certainly constructed on a month's or a | renounced philosophy, and Canning letters—and year's warning; nor will men ever regard with the where Pitt and Fox poured forth, with more than same respect, or defend with the same jealousy, the Grecian inspiration, the exhaustless treasury of new-fledged code of yesterday, as that which is their thoughts. It was then that the House of made up of customs which are entwined round our Commons began, in fact, to reign ; and from these earliest recollections, and are strong in the strongest beginnings, by slow and gradual steps, has it beof human impulses the force of habit. Persons come the model on which (at present at how great who see how ancient laws, too narrow for the growth a distance !) almost every free representative asof society, cling, nevertheless, round the old pillars sembly in the world has since been formed. of the state with resisting tenacity, and who find the The gradual ascendancy of the House of Compath of reform far more upward and difficult than a mons will, we doubt not, be more graphically philosopher might think it ought to be, are fre- portrayed in Mr. Macaulay's future volumes than quently too much inclined to despise and overlook it has ever been before. But none can doubt that that great engine of civil government, antiquity. it was materially indebted to the personal position, On the contrary, we have learned by the fate of character, and temperament of William the Third, other countries, to look on it as our greatest good for the first consolidation of its power. fortune, that, in our history, from its earliest dawn, Mr. Macaulay has done much to redeem the we have never been compelled to rebuild a shattered character of William from the impression of coldor uprooted constitution. Its growth has been spon- ness and want of feeling, which has generally been taneous. It has from time to time cast off its super- prevalent regarding him. Not that after all, unfluous or contracted limbs, as crustaceous animals less we had been Dutchmen, he was, even by our do their shells, by its own internal energy; not only historian's account of him, exactly the companion without its identity being impaired, but with the we should have chosen. It does, however, appear nation's old ancestral pride in the fabric deepened that warm fires burnt beneath the frigid and phlegand enlarged under each renovating effort. And matic exterior ; and his letters to Bentinck, some though no doubt the gravitating principle which of which are referred to in the text, betoken a nakeeps ancient customs firmly fixed on our English ture not unfrequently combined with strength and soil, does also retard the chariot-wheels of improve- resolution—a mind so jealous of its softer moods, ment, and compels many measures of reformation, as never to allow them to be suspected by the simple and plain in themselves, to convulse and world, devouring its sorrows, and stifling its joys, agitate the whole civil system before they can be as weaknesses not to be disclosed but to ears and finally engrafted on it, yet it also ensures that, when hearts the most familiar. To strangers he cerfairly incorporated with the constitution, they will tainly was unattractive, and distant even to his acquire at once stability from its age, while they associates ; but we must remember, he lived surcontribute strength and vitality to its functions. rounded by men he could not trust. In his inmost From this cause it is that, while we have so often heart, when the barriers were once broken, he seen, on the continent, a constitution which was seems to have been simple, cordial, and joyous, the idol and deity of one day trampled upon the fond of field sports and gardening, and easily next, the storm of revolution has beaten with so amused. The best and generally the least known innocuous a surge on our rock-bound island. trait of his more domestic life is the unquestionable
Now the peculiar position of William left him attachment with which he inspired his wife. He at liberty, as it induced him, to allow the native had no external or superficial advantages, which vigor of the English constitution to take the re- were likely to strike the eye, or charm the fancy quired precautions for its own future integrity of a woman ; and the devotion Mary felt for him, Nothing could be more imposing to the new king, must have had its anchor in the unfathomed depths the exiled monarch, and all Europe, than the de- of a character, of which she had learned more, cent gravity with which Parliament proceeded, in and which she had read more truly, than the pubthat singular crisis, to search the records for pre- lic. cedents! Such was the silent homage which, We have endeavored, in the preceding pages, even in that strange conjecture, they paid to the as far as our limited space for so large a field constitution ; implying that, so far from the estab- would permit, to illustrate some of the more striklished order of things being subverted or shaken, ing and characteristic features of our author. Of the case was probably one which the law had fore-course we are far from saying that, in details, there seen and provided for. Then arose-built on the must not be points here and there on which his solid though unformed masonry of their ancestors work may not be open to just remark, or difference —the noblest organ of government which the world of opinion ; but we are satisfied, that in the comever saw—the theatre of profoundest statesmanship, pleteness and correctness of the basis of his facts, of learning, law, eloquence, and wit, which, from and the completeness and correctness of the inferthat auspicious time till now, has absorbed the ences which he has drawn, he has given a new flower of the rank, genius, power, and wealth of impulse and direction to the public mind. And Britain—where the fascinating St. John charmed the hearty, healthful spirit he has breathed into his hearers into forgetfulness of his life by the the annals of the past—the honest glow of pride magic of his tongue—for which “ truant Wynd- which he alike feels and inspires for patriotism ham every muse gave o'er"-for which Burke and liberty—the strong arm of scorn with which
he has dashed aside the false philosophy and hol- | pected to go down! We might sweep them all low subserviency of former writers, and the truth away with one contemptuous paragraph from a ful beauty and spirit which his unrivalled rhetoric hand equally opposed to Mr. Macaulay in politics, has cast over a narrative of sober fact, have well but far too candid and too generous to resort 10 entitled him to the popularity he has commanded, such warfare. and would have atoned for faults far more grave “We shall not,” (says Blackwood, in a late arthan the most censorious reader has yet imputed ticle, in which we may without offence hint that to him.
we trace the hand of another deservedly eminent Such is this great national work—as our coun- historian of the day, and which breathes a spirit trymen have already pronounced it to be. The of generous candor,) we shall not, in treating loud, clear voice of impartial fame has sounded her of the merits of this very remarkable production, award ; and it will stand, without appeal, as long adopt the not uncommon practice of reviewers on as Englishmen regard their past history and love such occasions. We shall not pretend to be better the constitution of which he tells. From one informed on the details of the subject than the auquarter only--and that a quarter of which we ex- thor. We shall not set up the reading of a few pected, and which perhaps wished for itself, better weeks or months against the study of half a lifethings—has the melancholy wailing of disappointed time. We shall not imitate certain critics who jealousy been heard. The public naturally looked look at the bottom of the pages for the authorities with interest for the notice of Mr. Macaulay's of the author, and having got the clue to the requiHistory in the “ Quarterly Review.” The notice site information, proceed to examine with the uthad not long appeared when it was observed, with most minuteness every particular of his narrative, equal wit and truth, that the writer of it, in at- and make in consequence vast display of knowltempting murder, had committed suicide. We edge wholly derived from the reading which he have doubted whether we should add a word in has suggested. We shall not be so deluded as to illustration of a judgment, in which the public has suppose we have made a great discovery in biograshown, through almost all its representatives, that phy, because we have ascertained that some Lady it cordially agrees. It has never been our practice Caroline of the last generation was born on the 7th to fall foul of brother critics in our common October, 1674, instead of the 8th February, 1675, walk; and if one of our fraternity gives way to as the historian, with shameful negligence, has occasional eccentricity, and executes strange or affirmed ; nor shall we take credit to ourselves for disagreeable gambols on the path, we generally a journey down to Hampshire to consult the parish find that his own sense of propriety, or the silence register on the subject. As little shall we in fuof his companions, is check enough speedily to ture accuse Macaulay of inaccuracy in describing restore his balance. Nor do we mean in this in- battles, because on referring, without mentioning stance to follow the critic to whom we refer it, to the military authorities he has quoted, and through his forlorn and labored journey, the more the page he has referred to, we have discovered that especially as no one doubts the point from which at some battle, as Malplaquet, Lottum's men stood it started, or the goal it had in view. That a on the right of the Prince of Orange, when he says. journal of deserved name and reputation should an- they stood on the left ; or that Marlborough dined nounce of these volumes, propositions so openly on a certain day at one o'clock, when in point of contradictory as that, on the one hand, their author fact he did not sit down, as is proved by inconhas produced no new facts and discovered no new testable authority, till half-past two. We shall materials—and that, on the other, he has made the leave such minute and Lilliputian criticisms to the facts of English history “ as fabulous as his · Lays' minule and Lilliputian minds by whom alone they do those of Roman tradition !”—betrays, it is true, are ever made. Mr. Macaulay can afford to smile some rankling wound behind. This, however, at all reviewers who affect to possess more than his would not have provoked our notice ; nor should own gigantic stores of information.” 'we have written a sentence to refute the theory Nothing could have been more happily exthat Sir Walter Scott's historical novels were the pressed by anticipation, to characterize the criwild fire that led Mr. Macaulay astray. All this tique which made its appearance on the same day the public were quite able to appreciate, and have with these just and honorable sentences. appreciated, at exactly its true value. But his Paying, however, more regard to the quarter merits have been questioned in a department which from which the missiles are ostensibly launched, may, perhaps, call for, or at least excuse, some than to their own weight or calibre, we mean to remark. A show has been made of bringing the spend a few sentences—and they shall be very combat to closer quarters, of grappling with small few-in showing that the enemy has not even facts, and detecting great misstatements in very loaded with the small shot he professed to emlittle matters. It is with very tiny pebbles indeed ploy, and that all this sound and thunder is but a that this strippling comes forth to do batile with volley of blank cartridge after all. the giant. Whether this man's father was a knight Let us take him ad aperturam. or a baronet—whether that man was a whig or a It is said, that in the anecdote of Francis, who tory—whether Lord Peterborough did or did not was executed for the murder of Dangerfield, Mr. write a sermon at sea—these, and such as these, Macaulay was not justified in calling Francis a are the weapons before which Mr. Macaulay is ex- | tory gentleman. But Mr. Macaulay was very